Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday Product Highlight

On Thursdays I plan on highlighting a product that we carry in the General Store. This will give people a chance to hear about why we chose to carry that product.

Today, I want to talk about the American Harvester Gardenmaster Dehydrator. It comes in 2 sizes. The largest one, model FD1018P comes with 8 trays, each 1 square foot in size and is expandable to 30 trays for a huge 30 square feet of food drying area! The smaller model FD1020 comes with 4 trays, each 1 square foot in size and expandable to 20 trays for a large 20 square feet of food drying area!

I have not personally used this dehydrator, but if mine should ever stop working, I would buy this one. I do know people who have used these and love them. To me a dehydrator is a very necessary piece of equipment in food preservation. I will tell you how I use mine.

I love to dehydrate apple rings. These make a wonderful and healthy snack that even most children will eat. They dried pieces of apple can also be used to make pies or tarts through out the winter. Do your children like fruit leather? There are shallow trays that fit on the dehydrator trays that will hold a fruit puree. When it dries you have a wholesome fruit leather without all the extra dyes and preservatives. When you dry something the flavor increases. You are taking out all the water content which leaves a concentrated version of what was there. You can make your own raisins. Dried strawberry slices are wonderful in oatmeal, granola and cereal. If you dry banana slices you get a sweet snack or again, they are great in cereals and trail mixes. You can dry slices of summer squashes like zucchini or yellow squash. Then use them in your casseroles and soups all winter.

The two biggest uses my dehydrator gets are for onions and tomatoes. If you grow or buy very sweet onions like a Vidalia or Candy or Mars then you keep them to use through out the rest of the year. I peel and then slice them. I dry the slices in the dehydrator. It is best if you can do this on a porch or a basement as it will make your eyes water in your house. =) Ask me, I know!! After the slices are dry, I put them in a food processor or blender. You can store 50 lbs. of onions in a one half gallon jar. The best part though is they taste like candy. I have told many people that. Many roll their eyes and then I have them try one. I have not had one person not decide they were really good. These can be put in soups or casseroles. They can be sprinkled on salads. I have used them in stir fry if I did not have fresh onions.

I basically do tomatoes in the same way. It takes the tomatoes a bit longer to dehydrate as they have more water content. It is also helpful if you spritz the trays with olive oil before you put the tomatoes on. They come off a lot easier. I do not peel my tomatoes either. I slice them and put them on the trays and dehydrate them. I then put them in the blender or the food processor. I do them a bit longer than the onions until I get a coarse powder. You can get almost 100 tomatoes in a quart jar!!! The wonderful thing about the powder is that you have an instant soup thickener. I do not can spaghetti sauce or chili sauce, etc. I turn my tomatoes into juice that I can. I often need to thicken it up if I need tomato sauce or paste. I just add some tomato powder. You can actually take some of the powder and slowly add water and make your own tomato paste. It is great added to hamburgers or meatloaf.

A dehydrator allows me more options on putting up my food. I can get a lot of produce in a much smaller space than I am able to with canning or freezing. The American Harvest Dehydrator has a Full 1-Year Mfg's Warranty. The operating costs average only 1 to 3¢ per hour!

We have contracted with someone to set up our online shopping cart, but until then, there is not a lot of details on our store page. If you would like more information on sizes and pricing of any of the items, please let us know.


Frazzled Farm Wife said...

I used to dehydrate a lot of stuff but haven't done any of it in the last several years. This looks like a wonderful item!

Unknown said...

I love my dehydrator, too. I use it for summer squash, peppers, fruits, etc. I am going to try potatoes and jerky this year.


TnFullQuiver said...

Thanks so much for the information. When we get caught up from vacation, I will be putting in an order!!! Has any more become of Knoxville?
grace and peace,