Drying Tomatoes in the Oven or the Sun
Introduction to Preserving
Making Quick Pickles
Making Quick Jams: Refrigerator or Freezer Jam
How to Can Tomatoes
How to Can Pickles
How to Can Jam and Jelly
Salting and Brining
Howdy, I live in zone 9a and have been drying fruits and vegetables and making jerky for years in my car, I put the food on racks with a layer of parchment paper, behind the back seat, point it east in the morning, then at lunch time turn the car around so the back window faces west. Opening the car to turn it around also lets the moisture out. Recently a friend gave me the book "Sailing the Farm", written in the 1908s, and the author says drying food at such high temps destroys all the nutrients! He says to limit drying temps to 120 F, and most of the year it definitely gets much hotter than that in my car. Since he doesn't give any proof for his claim, are there studies or other information on temperature and other factors to preserve nutrients when drying food?
super easy and no-expense way of drying herbs is to hang them, stem and all, upside down. Ideally you would hang them in a dark dry place, but I have also had good success hanging them in the laundry room (with door open). This year, because we weren't having any big family meals or dinner parties, I dried basil leaves and parsley heads on perforated pizza trays in my dining room. Oh, and I dried a few bunches of lovage (the "soup" herb) that way too. It doesn't take long, maybe a week if I flip them once in awhile, or two if I ignore them. The fresh thyme and dill and green onion that I can't use in my fresh goat cheese I toss, stem and all, into a mesh strainer I always have in the corner of my kitchen counter, and they dry very quickly all by themselves. I have had good success drying jalapeno peppers by hanging them on strings so they look like Christmas lights, but found that in my house it works best if I slice/quarter the fleshy parts not-quite up to the stem and then hang them.
Years ago I came across a vintage Rodale book on preserving foods.
It suggested that a closed car on a sunny day made a great dehydrator! I had a prolific garden that year and dried zucchini, tomatoes, apples and more.
I hung cheese cloth across the upper back seat using the garment hooks. I don't recall exactly how long the items took to dry, only that it was pretty quick, the juicy tomatoes took longer, ( and put a drop cloth over rear seat just in case!)
Works really well, and you can dry more at once than in a dehydrator. I just recalled this today, as I have a new source of wonderful apples this year. The apples I dried in the past lasted YEARS when thoroughly dry! Thanks for all your great tips and articles..... I'm a huge fan and share often
I've dried herbs and veggies for years at low temps in a dehydrator, and use them all winter in various recipes. This year, my friend has introduced me to freeze drying -- the food comes out so much prettier -- very nice. Texture is good as well.
An oven with a pilot light is good but if it doesn’t have one just put a drop light with about a fifty watt bulb in it. Works very good for making beef jerky too.
Thank you for your article on drying tomatoes, peppers, and basil. I recently started using a dehydrator and never even thought of crushing up dehydrated herbs and vegetables for use in dips, etc. I think those would make such incredible Christmas gifts! Add a few dried beans and there you go, soup! Packaged mixes always contain so many ingredients and it would be great to have some alternatives. I also appreciate your suggestion for slicing peppers into ribbons before dehydrating. What an easy, creative way to dehydrate!
I look forward to reading more of your articles. Thank you once again!
I do not currently own a dehydrator but I was wondering how would I dry strawberries, blackberries, pink grapefruit and or tomatoes in the oven. I read that drying this way can still have liquid in them and therfore if you wanted to ground I to powder, it would not go well due to the fruit still being tacky or sticky. I also read freeze drying was better then oven drying but from what I read that will require dry ice to do properly, leaving fruit without liquid and being able to be ground into a dry powder. So can I dry those fruits mentioned earlier, in the oven to the point of being brittle and not tacky like mentioned in the article?
String them and hang them to dry. They are called britches. I am told this is a method used in times past in the N.C. mountains.
I am searching for a recipe for the old fashioned "soup mix" that is made with tomatoes, corn, spices, etc. This is NOT a "dry" soup mix, but the one that our grandparents did in quart jars that we loved to just open and heat and eat during the cold winter months when we didn't want to wait for supper to be cooked. Thanks for any info you can give me.