The last of autumn harvest drying; a tale of two dryers

Gardening friend N now has his own food dryer and had been eager to try it out. It had its first run last week and was an outstanding success.

Dryer

According to N, ‘I did a lot of reading about food dehydrators and ended up with an expensive model but it has a lot of functionality and 9 trays. It’s a Sedona Combo from an American company called Tribeca. There’s a mob online called Raw Blend I got it from and they also have quite a few recipes online as well as providing an extensive recipe book. Hard to know where to start.’ Well a start has been made and a good one at that!

N sliced and dried five Granny Smith apples to make a large jar full. He told me ‘Only 7 hours – could probably be longer but still nice. Even the girls liked them – I think the drying process removes some of the sharpness. Going to be some trial and error I guess.’ I can only partly agree – it has always been trial but no errors for me and there doesn’t seem to be any errors in this successful first trial by N. I suspect he will never have any mistakes. There is no rule about how long produce should be dried – it simply depends on when you want to eat it. So well done N!

Stored dried apples

At the same moment as N was drying his apples on one side of Hobart, I was at it at my place on the other. After giving away bags and bowls of Pink Lady and then Granny Smith apples I plucked the few remaining fruits from the trees, sliced them, and layered them in the food dryer. After 12 hours they were ready to store in jars.

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A blog post last week showed my green tomato sauce preparation (refer here. Back then, clearly I had picked the last of the red and reddening tomatoes. These I halved, and loaded into the food dryer. I had undertaken this process previously with a small number of tomatoes and they are now preserved in oil.

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The small cherry tomatoes dried more quickly so I removed some at 9 and then at 12 hours. I turned off the food dryer for the remainder after 14 hours of drying. Each tomato section was dipped quickly into apple cider vinegar before depositing into a jar. Extra virgin olive oil was poured to cover the tomatoes. These semi-dried tomatoes can be eaten at any time, and will last for centuries if not eaten soon.

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This is the end of the season and the food dryer can now go back into storage.

Before I bring it out again next year, most likely I will have consumed the dry food and the otherwise preserved food.

Before adding the remnants to the food dryer, I collected a few seeds from both the large and the small cherry tomatoes using the method shown in blog posts earlier this year. Typically these tomatoes have all been late self-seeded starters and their growth has trailed into June. I would like to see if I can grow them so they get the hottest of early summer sun and therefore produce fruit earlier in the year.

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