Preserving the harvest...

22 February, 2012

By now all the tomatoes are growing great guns, the zucchini are cropping as fast as I can pick them (and sometimes faster) and the successionally sown corn is giving a plentiful supply of fat cobbs.

But with so much produce, and the risk of winter-time starvation if I don't get some food in the cupboard (either starvation or shame to have to buy food - I'm not sure which is worse...) I've started preserving.

And my first method of keeping the crop has been dehydration.

By far my most prolific crop over summer has been tomatoes, and I've been loving it!

But as much as I love fresh homegrown tomatoes, I also love homegrown tomatoes in the depths of winter. But as I have no greenhouse/polytunnel (but I have ideas - watch this space!) so far my methods of achieving this have extended to making passata (i.e. italian pasta sauce). I learned this from a sicillian friends parents (actually I went and made passata with her family and she was mysteriously absent... but I loved it, the whole ritual and comraderie of it all, not to mention taking home enough passata for two years! But I don't eat that much pasta.) and have since had no tolerance for any other pasta sauce - there is just no comparison!!

But now I want to extend my repertoire, and so in addition to passata I will be drying my tomatoes. And as the Melbourne sun can be unpredictable this will require the use of my dehydrator. So to keep the red tomatoes for passata, I have mainly been drying the yellow pear tomatoes.

My gorgeous yellow pear tomatoes are sliced in half and arranged on the dehydrator levels, and were dried on medium (~60-65 degrees) for about 12 hours.

As I don't like leather (at least not to eat) I've left them somewhat pliable and not entirely dessicated.

And thus I have my own homegrown sun-dried tomatoes (yes, they aren't sun dried per se, but I'm in agreement with Spring Warren from Quarter Acre Farm - such a great book! - that dehydrator dried tomatoes just doesn't sound the same!)

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