Flutterby™! : Intentional dehydration

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Intentional dehydration

2006-08-29 03:29:16.918636+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

While some of the tales of Burning Man[Wiki] and biking on this site deal with unintentional dehydration, there's another side.

Charlene's been wanting a dehydrator to play with some confections. Athena[Wiki] has a tree that's been showering her in apples, and we ended up with a large box. And Diana, down the road, has had surgery and hasn't gotten to harvesting from her apple or pear trees. So we popped up on Craig's List and sure enough there was an Excalibur 2900[Wiki] 9 tray beast, unopened in the box, for sale. The only feature it was missing was a timer, which we solved for $9 at the hardware store. It's now whirring away in the other room working on its first load of apples, while the jars for canning the load of apple sauce are sterilizing on the stove.

There's something wonderfully comforting about putting food by. It's something I remember from childhood, summer and fall weren't just times of harvest, they were times of storage and preservation, from canning cherries in June to the night in October when the frost forecast was harsh enough that covering the tomatoes wasn't enough, and we'd drag the vines inside to hang on the laundry racks racks, hoping that a few would ripen more, making of green tomato relish with the rest. I grew up in an area with a fairly short season. And the only time as a kid that I liked kale was after that big frost, because it turned sweet and wonderful.

And, yeah, the carrots packed in sawdust weren't as great as when they were pulled directly from the ground and wiped off on my T-shirt, but food had seasons.

I'm not saying that I don't really enjoy salads in January, but so much of food is in the ritual and meaning that we put into it, and the rituals of preservation are powerful ones.

And last night we talked with Owen, a young man from down the street, about prepping for his first trip to Burning Man[Wiki]. As we thought about ways to use our newly acquired toy, several "Oh, this'd be great for..."s came to mind.

[ related topics: Burning Man Children and growing up Health Nature and environment Food Work, productivity and environment ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-08-29 20:58:47.150774+00 by: Nancy

A dehydrator has been on my list for a long time, mostly for jerky. And the Burn comments are so painful. It just doesn't seem right to not be there, but my time off is in short supply. "Next year" has been our mantra for 2 years now and we SWEAR we mean it this year.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-08-29 21:43:33.159147+00 by: meuon

Yeah.. 'cause I'm going with or without you.. but "with" would be much more fun.

And at )^(, I can live on Jerky and Protein Bars...

#Comment Re: made: 2006-08-29 23:01:59.111205+00 by: Diane Reese

Looks as if next year Charlie and I will be up for Burning Man also, so don't leave us out of the planning!

I only have a little table-model dehydrator, and I mostly use it for fruit slices, but even so it's heavenly. Growing up in a household that had pretty much only '50s-hip canned and frozen produce (except for the Jersey sweetcorn and tomatoes), I didn't have such rituals. But I hope I've passed a few on to my youngsters. And MMMMMMM, doesn't the house smell FANTASTIC when the dehydrator is running??!

#Comment Re: made: 2006-08-30 19:10:27.572258+00 by: ebradway

Nice score on the Excalibur. They are considered to by the cadillac of dehydrators. I just have a little table model as well. I've been told that the big'uns draw power like you wouldn't believe. It'll be interesting to hear your experience!

#Comment Re: made: 2006-08-30 20:00:52.774663+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

The one we've got allegedly sucks down 600 watts. It's got a fan and a monster heating element in the back of it, but I'm guessing that the monster heating element is used as necessary to keep the temperature up, so I'm betting that that's not continuous load. And the fan's got to be almost no load at all.

So, 600 watts peak, and we should get one more heat wave before the rainy season, so I'll put it under the skylight and it should draw almost nothing.

Right now I'm dreading our next shopping trip, 'cause I'm going to be looking for anything, anything, that we can dehydrate, and Charlene's response will be to pull me back to reality. "Oh, look honey, baby food, I wonder what that'd be like dehydrated?"