Rehydrating Potatoes and Our Garden Meal

Hello and welcome!

We dehydrated a second batch of potatoes over the weekend. This time rather than slicing them we decided to do shredded potatoes – like would cook up into hashbrowns. After peeling them my husband boiled them until they were nearly done. He then used the food processor with the shredding blade to cut them up. It took about 6 hours at 125 degrees in the dehydrator to dry them.

We packaged the shredded dehydrated potatoes in two-ounce packages.

I had found instructions online that said when rehydrating vegetables, a rule of thumb was to use two parts water to one part vegetable so that’s where I started. I’m not sharing the link because I found out it was inaccurate.

I put the dehydrated potatoes in a metal bowl on the scale. It read 1.9 ounces.

I then reset the scale to zero and added twice as much boiling water as I had potatoes – 3.8 ounces. (I know the scale says 3.9 – .1 ounce over is acceptable.) Hot or boiling water speeds up the rehydration process. I stirred the potatoes and water together and found that once all of the water was absorbed some of the potatoes were still too dry. I again zeroed out the scale and added another 1.9 ounces of water.

I again stirred the mixture and once all of the water was absorbed I had perfectly rehydrated potatoes to make into hashbrowns.

I learned that in order to rehydrate these potatoes I need a 1:3 ratio of potatoes to water.

I put some butter in the cast iron skillet and cooked up these wonderful hashbrowns that tasted as fresh as if I had just dug the potatoes.

It was a breakfast for dinner night, so I cooked up a garden omelet to go with the hashbrowns and sausage. It’ not pretty but it was delicious.

I started, of course, with farm fresh eggs. Added some sautéed Swiss chard, a diced banana pepper, a diced jalapeno pepper and a diced tomato. I then topped it with American cheese which did not come from our farm but was the perfect finishing touch.

Yum!!!

Thanks for visiting.

Preserving Pickles, Peppers and Potatoes

Hello and Welcome! Good News – We got rain 🙂 I’m guessing somewhere around 2 1/2 inches between Wednesday and Thursday. The gardens, the lawns, the trees – everything needed that rain. So while we get at least a few days off from watering let me tell you about some of the preserving we’ve been doing.

PICKLES

Dill Pickles

Dill pickles – It’s been many years since I’ve made dill pickles using the water bath (canning) method. In more recent years I have fermented pickles and made refrigerator pickles, but both take up space in the refrigerator, so I decided to try canning dill pickles again. One of the reasons I had not canned pickles recently is because they tended to get mushy. I did some reading about making crisp dill pickles and one of the suggestions was to use distilled water since the chemicals (chlorine) added to water can cause the pickles to become mushy. I canned three quarts of dill pickles so far using distilled water. I also used our home-grown dill and garlic. We will try them in a couple weeks to see how they turned out.

Bread and Butter pickles – Yesterday I made bread and butter pickles – a tried and true recipe from the Ball Blue Book. The yield was 5 pints and my husband, who loves these pickles, is thrilled.

Bread and Butter Pickles and Red Hot Sauce

PEPPERS

Cayenne – Another recipe that I found in the Ball Blue Book was for red hot sauce. Hot sauce is not something we use a lot of, but my husband likes to add a few drops to certain foods. The recipe that called for two quarts of tomatoes and about 24 cayenne peppers made two pints of sauce. That will likely be enough to last us through the year.

Cayenne Peppers

Cayenne plants tend to be heavy producers and somehow we ended up with a bunch of cayenne plants this year. Rather than use the dehydrator to dry then We decided to string them and hang them to dry. I think I have some daughters that will appreciate a string of hot peppers. Once they are dry they can be used by adding a whole pepper to a pot of chili or similar dish or they can be ground in a spice grinder or food processor to make red pepper flakes or crushed red pepper.

Notice they are turning red (continuing to ripen) as they hang.

Jalapeno and Banana peppers – Thus far I used banana and jalapeno peppers to make poppers. I have several packages of these in the freezer. They freeze well and can easily be cooked up in the oven or microwave. If we continue to harvest a lot of these, I might make up a batch of pickled peppers as well.

Bell peppers – Tuesday night I made stuffed bell peppers for dinner. I also made an additional five packages of stuffed peppers to freeze for future meals.

POTATOES

In past years storing potatoes has been a challenge for us as we don’t have a root cellar so we must try to eat them before they go bad. This year we decided to experiment with dehydrating them. My husband peeled and par boiled the potatoes than sliced them in the food processor to get and even thickness. The took about 4 hours on 140 degrees to dry to a crispy texture (much like the potatoes you would find in a box mix of au gratin potatoes). We then vacuum sealed them.

I have found directions for rehydrating them, but we have yet to try it. I will let you know when we do.

Of course not everything we harvest is being preserved. We are enjoying fresh vegetables daily. I do plan on writing about some of our garden meals but soon, but I don’t want to drag this post out too long so I’m just going to share a recipe I came across that we are REALLY ENJOYING.

I still have several jars of applesauce that I canned last year and wanted to use some up, so I decided to look for an applesauce cake recipe. I found this recipe for Land o Lakes Applesauce Spice Cake. I omitted the pecans in the recipe as I didn’t have any on hand. I also cheated and used a can of store bought frosting. Even with these changes this cake turned out sooo good.

Thanks for reading

A Good Busy

Hello and welcome. August is upon us and I feel like I’ve been MIA (blogging action at least) for a while. It has been longer than I like to go between posts so I’m going share a hodge-podge of things that have been keeping us busy.

Dog Tails

Ruby has been with us for nearly two months now and we are all happy she’s here. When I first introduced you to Ruby I had mentioned a few things that she needed to learn. She has proven to be a quick learner. She no longer tries to get in bed with us at night and rarely puts her paws up on our chests. She is doing well with knowing that she can shoo the chickens out of the barn or off a chair, but she does not chase them for fun. The chickens are no longer afraid of her. To them she is just part of the farm family.

When we adopted Ruby from the shelter we were told that she had not been well socialized and took a while to warm up to people. While at times this may be the case, she had no problem socializing with people and other dogs when we had a family picnic at the farm.

Ruby swimming with the family.
Ruby always eager to play fetch.
Ruby playing chase with Captain and Misty.
Ruby waiting for Kara to throw the frisbee.

It took a few weeks for Ranger and Ruby to bond. At first Ranger seemed to think of Ruby as an intruder, especially when he would be getting attention from my husband or me and she would push her way in or when she would curl up on my lap as I was kicked back in my recliner (he was used to having the choice of my lap or my husbands.) But it wasn’t just our attention that Ruby sought. She worked hard to get Ranger to be her friend.

Often modeling his behavior or initiating play sessions.

She just doesn’t understand the concept of hunting.

Nowadays Ruby and Ranger spend a lot of time ruffhousing or wrestling.

Ruffhousing

Sometimes it can look and sound like they are being mean to each other, but they are just playing and having fun. They really have become good friends.

Besides ruffhousing with Ranger, Ruby’s other activity of choice is playing fetch. A ball, a frisbee, a stick – if we throw it Ruby will fetch it and bring it back to be thrown again. She is definitely a retriever.

My husband often comes home with a sore arm from throwing the ball so many times, but Ruby’s not done, after she eats, she will go get a ball and bring it to me or my husband, wanting to resume the game that was started at the farm.

Incidentally, she has also learned not to chew up her toys. In the first several weeks she chewed up several balls and other toys. Each time she would chew a hole in something we would throw it away as we didn’t want her swallowing plastic or whatever materials the toy was made out of. We began monitoring her and telling her “no chew” or “be nice” when we saw her chewing up a toy and she has since stopped destroying her toys. We do still allow her to chew up sticks.

Making Curtains

Last week, our hottest week so far this year, was a good time for me to have an inside project to work on, so when my husband suggested we needed new curtains for the kitchen and back bathroom I decided to make some. It was also perfect timing because my sister, K.C. was in town for a day, so we had lunch together then made a trip to the fabric store. 🙂

Below are the results of this project.

Kitchen curtains are opened most of the day.
But necessary to block the morning sun.

My husband and I agree – we Love the kitchen curtains! Even when they block the sun they still brighten the room.

The pattern on the bathroom curtains is honeybees and clover. 🙂

We also like the bathroom curtains just not as much as we love the kitchen curtains.

Chickens

It’s been a while since I have blogged about the chickens and quite honestly it hasn’t been our best year of raising chickens. In the spring we lost about half our flock to a fox or family of foxes. We can only assume that there was more than one because on one day we lost seven chickens in just a couple hour time frame. They were not killed on sight they were carried off by their predator(s). On a few other occasions we lost one at a time.

The fox was pretty bold. My husband yelled to chase it off a few times. It has been at least a month now since there has been any evidence of fox in the area, so think that perhaps it has raised its young and moved on.

These chickens are some of the chicks we bought this spring. Out of the 12 chicks we started with this spring we still have six of them – two black and four white. It’s too early to tell, but we suspect one of the white ones might be a rooster since it’s comb and wattles are far more developed than the rest of them. We expect the hens to start laying in August.

Garden Stuff

The gardens continue to do well. Having everything mulched heavily with straw has worked so well. Not only has it kept weeds well under control it helps the soil retain moisture making it available for the plants.

Our squash and pumpkins were planted late but they are doing well.

They are beginning to blossom and form fruit.

Melons and cucumbers were also planted late but are blossoming and forming fruit as well. We did pick our first cucumbers this week and I plan on making pickles soon.

Look at the little watermelon. So cute!

Cabbage is looking good – I’ll be making sauerkraut this year.

We’ve started picking tomatoes. I’ll probably have enough to start canning next week.

Stuffed peppers are on the upcoming menu. We have been including garden produce in our meals each day. Perhaps I’ll share some of these dishes in future posts.

So far this is the only sunflower to blossom since the deer ate the tops off of most of the plants. It is a beauty though.

Thanks for visiting. Watch for future posts on how we are eating and preserving our harvest.

July 2022 Garden Update

I’m happy to report that despite our lack of rain our gardens are doing quite well.

BERRIES
We’ve been harvesting blueberries for several weeks now and what we are not eating fresh I have been putting in the freezer. We’ve also picked about a quart and a half of strawberries despite them just being planted at the end of May.

GARLIC
My husband harvested the garlic last week – a total of 270 bulbs are now drying in the barn. What an easy task it was compared to the years when we grew between 2000 and 8000 bulbs.

GREEN BEANS
We began picking green beans a couple weeks ago and after a few meals my husband was getting tired of them. (He doesn’t like them as much as I do.) I saved our pickings for a few days and had enough beans to can 6 pints. Since green beans are a low acid food canning them requires using a pressure canner and since I have little experience in doing this, I am extremely pleased with the results.

I expect I will be canning another batch of beans this week.

POTATOES

Two days ago, when I offered to make a potato salad for dinner, I thought it odd when my husband hesitated. He then suggested that maybe some of our potatoes were ready in the garden.

He brought me home some beautiful red skin potatoes which I transformed into our favorite potato salad. Oh, so good!

PEPPERS
We have also been picking some peppers – banana peppers, jalapeno, cayenne and a bell pepper. In addition to adding peppers to our morning omelet I made a batch of the poppers we enjoy so much. The popper recipe can be found in this post from September 2020.

Thanks for visiting.

Are you enjoying any fresh summer produce?