I figure if I am getting my L’Equip Dehydrator down, I might as well keep it going and get a number of items dried for the season.
My first project was dried peaches. I had brought home a box of peaches from the farmers market and after making Honey Peach Jam and Vanilla Peach Butter I still had plenty left over. Sure, you can buy dried peaches but if you happen to have really fresh, really sweet ones…it is well worth the effort. They won’t be “soft” like many commercial ones as they have no sulfites added. That is a good thing! They are great for soaking in your mouth while you hike uphill, chopping up for morning oatmeal and so on…
While peaches can darken/brown and often you will see a lemon juice/water dip called for, I didn’t. Mine came out just fine. Even if they had darkened I was fine with it.
Take as many peaches as you like, that are ripe. Being ripe is important – you will get out of it what you put in. Wash them under running water to remove the fuzzy covering, then peel. Run a knife around to make quarters and pit. Then slice evenly as desired. Fill the dehydrator trays so they have space around each slice. Dry at 135° until, well, dry. Once they are dry let the trays cool down on the counter, then pack up in airtight containers for long-term storage. Mine took between 9 and 12 hours. Most were done but a few were not, so they stayed on longer. I transferred the longer ones to one tray to keep drying. This is a great overnight project.
Roses? Yes. I believe in the concept that unless it produces an edible food for humans and animals, it is a waste of space in my yards. As I have talked on my personal blog, it has been a long process to achieve my ideal and I am still working on it. One of the few plants to remain from the previous owner was a lone rose-bush, hidden along a fence. I have ignored it mostly over the years, only pruning a few times. The perfect rose to harvest from. Nearly wild it receives no pesticides or fertilizers (outside of coffee grounds). Make sure any edible flowers used come from organically raised plants. Do NOT use any that had pesticides used!
Roses produce two crops – rose petals and rose hips later on. Both are valuable crops. To gather rose petals you have two choices. Cut the roses off and harvest the entire stem, if you don’t want rose hips, or carefully pluck the petals off by hand, leaving the rose hips intact. Either way shoo off any little bugs (or spiders) who loiter and discard any munched on. If your roses are aphid overrun…I probably wouldn’t use them but that is my preference.
Lay the petals on mesh lined dehydrator trays, in a single layer. Dry at 110° for a couple of hours. Mine only took 2 hours watch so they don’t over dry. They should be just dry. Let cool down, then gently pack away in a glass jar, airtight, for long-term storage. Mason (canning) jars work well.
What to use them in? Add to granola, trail mix, brew tea and so on.
Up next? Pumpkin bark……keep an eye out for the next entry in dehydrating. And also check out Dehydrating 101 on TrailCooking.