Despite the lack of rain this summer, our vegetable garden has produced . . . and produced . . . and produced. The soaker hoses and the timer on the spigot helped.
After sharing the bounty with neighbors and friends and eating as much as we can, we have been preserving the rest by canning (we have jars and jars of pickles and salsa) and dehydrating.
I am new to dehydrating–my family gave me a dehydrator for my birthday–and I am sold! I have been running it practically everyday. It takes pounds and pounds of tomatoes and reduces them to a few handfuls of concentrated tomatoey goodness, which I put in labeled bags and toss in the freezer.
The Roma tomato plants have been the most prolific this year. I cut them in quarter-wedges to dry them. The larger tomatoes I cut into slices. It takes about 10-12 hours to dry them at 135 degrees F.
Sometimes I sprinkle dried basil over the cut-up tomatoes before drying them–it makes the house smell delicious.
I like this dehydrator model because you can use as few or as many (up to eight) drying trays as you need. (Bonus: it is also made here in the Midwest.) It does take a huge chunk of counter space though, so once I scale down production, I’ll store it on a basement shelf.
Next up: fruit (would be perfect for snacks and granola) and jerky (would make my husband and his poker buddies happy!).