- Author: Carol Michael
- Editor: Noni Todd
The Dry Facts
By Carol Michael UCCE Master Food Preserver
I have a bounty of chili peppers in my garden this summer. Can I safely dry excess peppers for use this winter in soups and stews?Nell B, Atascadero
Your cupboards may already be bulging with jars of preserved pickles, fruit jam and jelly, and tomato sauce. Summer's bounty shows no sign of ceasing. Are you wondering what else can be done to preserve fall fruits; save an abundance of fresh herbs for winter use, or turn meat and fish into jerky?
Drying is one of the oldest methods of preserving food for later use. Drying food is simple, and easy to learn. Dried foods are ideal for backpacking, camping, traveling and just for snacking! They are lightweight, take up little space and do not require refrigeration.
Fruit can be dried for trail mix or used as a topping for yogurt and oatmeal; zucchini and carrots can be dehydrated for veggie chips; apples and pears can be turned into delicious fruit chips or leather. Dried tomatoes and chili peppers can be crushed to powder and added to soups, meats and ethnic dishes. Dried food can also be rehydrated and used as an ingredient in many different recipes.
Drying also known as dehydratingis a popular method of food preservation, but make sure you are using research tested techniques such as those found in the National Center for Home Food Preservation's website which is critical for safety when making jerky and will help you create a quality product. A fun way to increase your knowledge of dehydration is to take the upcoming class offered by the UCCE Master Food Preservers of San Luis Obispo County. Different types of dehydrators will be discussed and demonstrated as well as techniques and recipe sharing.
Dehydration: The Dry Facts will be held from10:00am-12:00pm Saturday September 28, 2019 at the UCCE Auditorium, 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. There is a $10.00 fee. Pre-registration is required. Class size is limited. Registration: http://ucanr.edu/dryfacts
If you like to preserve food, are passionate about local produce, and enjoy teaching, then becoming a UC Master Food Preserver volunteermight be a great opportunity for you. The next training begins in March. Contact Dayna Ravalin at email@example.com for more information.