This space has been a little bit neglected over the last few days, so I thought a few posts were in order with what I've been doing to keep busy. One of those things has been our veggie garden and we're finally starting to reap the benefits of all the planting and caring that's been happening here. This week we've been enjoying the first few tomatoes, spring onions, lettuce (including a lovely iceberg lettuce), kale, rhubarb and even a few potatoes. This has also meant being able to plant new veggies and ofcourse, there's been that never ending veggie weeding happening too.
Home made fruit leather is unbelievable good, so much healthier than store bought 'roll ups' that contain all sorts of extra additives. Apple fruit leather is the most popular in our house and I try and make it quite often in our dehydrator, but you can also make it very successfully in the oven too - on a very low heat.
Over the weekend I made a huge batch of beef jerky and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out - not too chewy and a little bit of bite to the flavour.
Monique asked me (on Facebook) about the cut of meat and process involved, so I thought I'd share the info in a blog post.
When drying your own jerky it's important to choose a nice lean cut of meat and ensure that any fat has been removed, because fat will cause the meat to spoil faster once it has been dehydrated. I have an awesome local butcher and he prepared 1.5 kilos of round steak for me, cutting it into 1/4 inch slices that were all ready to go. If your butcher is not so kind, then you'll need to do some nice even cuts for yourself at home.
First of all I marinated the steak overnight in the following mix:
The following morning I drained the meat slightly and then placed it in my dehydrator, ensuring the dial was set to the 'meat' temperature. I left it for 8 hours to dry.
Then I let it cool to room temperature and have now stored it in a container in the fridge, where it will happily keep for around 2/3 weeks.
So good for a snack!
How to tell when it's ready: The meat should crack as you bend it (on the outside) when it's ready.
A couple of months ago I pulled my Fowlers Dehydrator back out of the cupboard and decided to make a concerted effort to use it regularly.
So far it's working and I must say that I'm loving my dehydrator more than ever. I've been quite adventurous this time around and made beetroot chips, carrot chips (above) and kale chips too!
There have also been the usual staples of apple rings and leather happening too, but I'm quite cross because our apple corer has suddenly started taking FAR too much of the apple peel off and it's leaving me with teensy weensy apples to dry. Such a waste - so no more apple rings until I buy a new corer.
I also bought an awesome 1980's dehydrating book, which is so, so good! I'll share details of that soon.
So, tell me - do you have a dehydrator? Do you use it? If so, what do you make? If not, do you want one? If you have dehydrating questions - pop them below and I'll do a blog post to answer.
It seems a bit like I've been glued to the kitchen this last couple of days, playing with my new dehydrator and trying to figure out how to use up all of these tomatoes that I picked up yesterday. I've cooked up the biggest batch of roast tomato and basil soup, some to enjoy for lunches and the rest to freeze for later on.
Then a triple batch of zucchini, onion, capsicum and tomato side dish - one batch to use and the other two to freeze.
Plus, so much dehydrating. Bananas with honey were fun to make, although super sticky to begin with. I mixed 1/4 cup honey with 1/4 cup water and dipped in the banana pieces before dehydrating.
Oh and apple rings sprinkled with cinnamon - totally delicious and definitely our favourite thing so far.
The bananas came out quite brown looking, but the 'taste testers' have said that they're super yummy. I didn't over dry them, so they're more chewy than anything.
Here's some apple fruit leather (torn into pieces) that I made too. That's really yum and I have two more trays of this drying as I type. The apple rings (on the right) are disappearing faster than I can make them.
I also have a tray of tomatoes in drying. These are just plain ones but tomorrow I'm going to play around and marinate them first.
Oh and did you want to see the mess? This is from this afternoon, but it was way worse than that yesterday.
I live with my husband and 2 children in Tasmania, Australia. I love to make nice things, spend time with my family, travel, bake yummy treats, read pretty craft books, give handmade gifts, toast marshmallows in our wood fired oven & live a lovely life.