We just got back from a family reunion in the Outer Banks (just a week ahead of Hurricane Irene, thank God). On the way back we stopped at a farm stand in South Carolina to buy ourselves two bushels of peaches. We have been eating peaches since we arrived home with the two bushels, but it was time to start preserving them before they start to over ripen or go bad. So two nights ago, Julia started processing them, and canned some lovely jars of peach preserves, and also canned some sliced peaches. The remainder we peeled and prepped for ready made cobbler filling, and dried in our new (thanks to freecycle) dehydrator, and as an extra bonus, Julia made into a carrot peach bread.
I was excited to try out the dehydrator, as this was our first time using it. I had been dreaming of dehydrating food probably since I was in high school. I know, that is probably weird, but I love dehydrated food, and always thought it would be so cool if I could make it myself. I used to read all the backpacking magazines and see all the recipes always called for food that you dehydrate, and would be sad that I would have to scratch the recipe, due to a lack of a good way to dry the food. The kids were very interested, in the process, watching the peaches slowly shrink as they dried into our "fruit snacks." Last night, they looked pretty much ready, so I turned off the dehydrator, and we all tried some dried peaches. They were a huge hit, even Julia, who doesn't normally like dried fruit, loved them, and was finally more keen on the idea of our dehydrator taking up some counter space while it's in use (she's the master chef, so the kitchen is truly her domain, which I can't complain, with all the wonderful things she makes us!)
So now, with Julia and the kids' approval, the world of dehydrating has opened up for us. So now we'll be adding third way of preserving to our repertoire: canning, freezing, and dehydrating!