Country Lore: October/November 2017

Readers’ tips about vegetable preservation, weed control, pest repellants, how chickens can help in a no-till garden, and more.

| October/November 2017

Preserve Garden Vegetables

We live on a small homestead, and we grow a substantial amount of our own food. With three growing children, I need to have a surplus of everything. My family loves tomatoes, so we grow a lot of them. The problem we were running into was how to store what we needed for winter in a very limited space. Then, a “eureka” moment came to me. Now, I can store hundreds of tomatoes in a quarter of the space, and they last us all winter long. Here’s how I do it.

First, my family and I pick the ripe, beautiful tomatoes from our organically grown plants. Then, I wash them and cut them into thin slices. I leave the skins on the fruits, which saves time and adds to the mix.

Next, I put the slices into the dehydrator and let it work its magic. When the tomato slices are completely dry, I take them out to let them cool for an hour. Once they’re cool, I use my blender to turn them into a powder, but you could also use a mortar and pestle. Then, I put the tomato powder into a clean, dry canning jar for later use.

When I want to thicken soups or add flavor to slow cooker meals, I take out a tablespoon at a time and add it to the liquid. One tablespoon is equal to one medium tomato. I’ve tried a variety of tomatoes, and they’ve all come out tasting great.

I’ve also used this method for onions, peppers, and butternut squash. Powdered butternut squash isn’t as creamy as it is when fresh, but I’ve never had any complaints from the kids. We’ve been using this method for four years now and haven’t had any problem with the powdered produce going bad. Of course, we eat it all before it’d ever have a chance to.

Mel Klipp
St. Joe, Arkansas

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