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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dehydrating Experiments:

Our house smells like oranges.  It is a very pleasant smell, in my opinion.  For some reason, I have been getting some good deals on food lately.  I keep expecting prices to be higher than they are.  Bags of oranges, 2 for $5.00.  Bags of onions, 2 for $4.00.  Bags of potatoes, 2 for $4.00.  Not wanting to pass up on a good deal, I went ahead and bought those bags of oranges, onions and potatoes. Then I had to figure out what to do with all that fresh food.  It does not last forever, as we all know, and there are only two of us here.  I get tired of finding rotten potatoes in the cupboard.  So, I decided to start using that food dehydrator that I bought last year at Bi-Mart.  

I started with the oranges.  I cut them in half, cut the ends off and then sliced them at about 1/4" thick.  The first bag of oranges were not very sweet, so I have decided to use them for crafts.  They were still a little moist and sticky when I took them out of the dehydrator, so I let them dry overnight on cookie racks.  That didn't help dry them out very much, so I got to thinking about how well the rice worked on the orange spice balls that I made before Christmas.  I used a medium sized bag of rice and a cake pan; layering the orange slices with the rice.  In a few days, those oranges should be very dry and ready for use in making a garland.

The second batch of oranges were sweeter, so I plan on keeping them around for snacks.  I dried the ends too, and I am going to put them in my blender and grind them up to use as a spice.  I bought some banana's also.  I have dried bananas before, and they turned out pretty good.  I put them in little jars in my refrigerator so they will last longer. 

These were from the second batch. 
I tasted one, it was good but a bit tart.

We'll see how the other things turn out.  Dried onions should be easy, and will be so much cheaper than those in the little spice bottles that we get at the store.  The potatoes will be a little trickier and more time consuming, since they need to be peeled and blanched (in the microwave) before placing in the food dehydrator.  

It sounds like fun to me!

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