Our version of sun dried tomatoes. When they’re dried, we’ll seal-a-meal them. Pictured are our two most favorite kitchen utensils… our KitchenAid, and our Excalibur dehydrator. If you’re ever going to get a dehydrator, don’t mess around. Just get an Excalibur. Not only is it the best for drying herbs, veggies, fruit, and jerky, but we also use it for raising dough for bread, and making yoghurt.
And, oh yeah, the leaves to the left are basil (of course).
It’s blackberry season here in the Pacific Northwest, and we’ve already got several gallons in the freezer. Now, we love cobbler as much as the next guy, but sooner or later you want to try something different, so I dug deep into the recesses of the garage, and wrested this old ice cream maker from the spiders. There’s a little rust in the container, but I got it cleaned out pretty well, and we’re looking forward to trying it out. We found this recipe that looks like it’s going to be absolutely delicious. I’ll make another post when we’ve had a chance to try it out.
Today’s project (like we need another project). This is one we don’t mind however… brewing up five gallons of Irish Red Beer (from Midwest Supplies). We decided to do it today because we’re going to have a stretch of warm weather, which will help speed up the fermentation. The process is basically sterilizing everything, steeping the grains, boiling, adding hops, cooling, adding yeast, fermenting, and bottling. We use kits with malt extract, which shortens the process but still ends up with a darn good beer.
We planted some spotted bee balm in a flower box last year, and it seems to be popping up in several places, most notably where the soil has been dug up. I’m sure the bees and butterflies are happy about that, but we’re hoping it doesn’t go too crazy. Anyway, besides being a late blooming flower to help the bees with building up a winter store of honey, bee balm has been used as a herb for colds and flu, as well as an antiseptic, and a cough medicine. It has a pleasant sage-like smell.
In our never ending quest to find disparate ways to store food, we got ourselves a seal-a meal. First experiment, cabbage from the garden. Seal it, freeze it, and use it when needed. Of course it won’t be good for cole slaw, but we’ll use it in soups, stews, and stir fries. At first the bags wouldn’t seal, but after a little investigation we found that if there is too much liquid in the bag, it will keep the bag from sealing. Solution? Stick the bag in the freezer for a while, until it ices over.