In the past, I have liked playing war games on the computer like Age of Empires, the kind were you have villagers gather resources and you get to build different types of soldiers to do battle. There are times when I have not prepared my defenses adequately and an acute sense of panic hits – the enemy is over-running all my positions! Sort of like the moment Mel Gibson in We Were Soldiers looks around intensely and then yells “Broken Arrow!” on the radio.
Yesterday I shared a picture of a half bushel of tomatoes. Here is a picture from this morning – another half bushel. Yes, we are getting overrun! Granted, in a very good way, but that sense of panic hit me – we basically have about a full bushel of heirlooms that need eating (maybe 10% of them) and preserving (the other 90% of them) – which takes time.
Are We Strange?
Last Thursday we went to the Farmer’s Market and bought a half bushel of peaches, a box of zucchini (probably ~20-25), and a box of beets (probably ~40#). The zucchini we sliced up and dehydrated in 3 runs, the peaches we canned on Sunday afternoon/evening. After the zucchini, I came home last night and sliced up nine trays of cucumbers to dehydrate overnight. My wife had boiled all the beets yesterday during the day, and so after dinner we peeled and chopped beets together while watching Cutthroat Kitchen on Netflix. Today, tomatoes go into the dehydrator probably non-stop runs until we get a handle on the harvest. Tonight, we pickle the beets, one batch with a traditional pickling spice and another with a more cinnamon, allspice, and clove pickling mixture (and possibly a thirds with a mixture of the two).
I really like doing this, and my wife and like doing it together. Lately we have just looked at each other, knit our eyebrows and concluded we are just weird. I mean, who does this in their free time?
Anyway, we did get one batch of tomatoes already dehydrated and sealed in mason jars. It is not easy to correctly time the tomatoes to get the “dried but not too hard” variety to put into olive oil. I chose the rack of dark cherry tomatoes, though, and put them in a pint jar with some fresh rosemary and thyme, a clove of garlic and filled with olive oil. Because I put fresh ingredients in the jar, it has to go into the refrigerator or risk botulism. The tomatoes are probably too hard, but I want to see what happens. I am also hoping for some very flavorful olive oil to cook with! Hopefully, with the tomatoes we are starting to dehydrate now, we get some that flexible enough for olive oil. The others, though, will do fine with re-hydration with hot water. I do have to say, this dehydrator was a great purchase and is getting a lot of use!