I must be in nesting mode - winter nesting NOT baby nesting just to be clear!! Last week did not go as planned - we had a few issues with our water system. One day it was an overflowing water softener and a few days later someone-who-shall-remain-nameless left a hose running in the barn...OH BOY! The water coming out of the taps after that episode looked like coffee-with-no-cream. The bright side to all of this is my burgeoning education in how all that junk in the basement (that we depend on daily) works. I'm getting there but I am beginning to think what we really need is a plumber to come and have a look at everything.
But one thing leading to another led me to want to clean up the basement and get organized once and for all. I am perhaps delusional on that last bit because things have a way of UN-organizing themselves somehow when I'm not looking.
I was running out of room for my canning jars - filled and empty - so I purchased and installed some new shelving. It all fits so much better than my ragtag assortment of tables and plastic shelves.
I also was able to get rid of lots of cardboard boxes that were holding all those canning jars. One of the boxes looks like it's from more-than-a-few years back. The top of the box says Rolph How Limited O/A Rolph Dom Howe Main Street Orono L0B 1M0 - there's still a Hardware Store in Orono with that name. Cool. (The purrpot insisted on having it's picture taken!)
All this cleaning got me in the mood to clean out the freezers and do some dehydrating too. You can dehydrate almost any fruit or vegetable but some turn out nicer than others.
One of the things I love dehydrated is kale. My mom and dad grow lots of kale - good thing because mine didn't do so well and they were willing to share as always. Mom washes it, strips it off the stocks and puts in the freezer. After it's frozen you can just crush the bag with your hands and it falls apart into little pieces. The handy part about all of this is when you're swamped with work outside you can throw it in the freezer and dehydrate it later..
I did three loads this week in my Excalibur 10-tray dehydrator that lives year round on top of my fridge. If you don't have a dehydrator you can also use your oven set on low or warmed up and then turned off with the light left on. It's a messy job - there were bits of kale everywhere but three loads filled a large ceramic container with the clip lock that will do us for most of the year. (About 9 large freezer bags) I just crunched it up frozen right out of the bag and filled the trays about a 1/2 inch deep and set the temperature for about 105 degrees - this allows it to dehydrate while keeping the nutrition intact. If the heat is higher it destroys the enzymes that make food alive. It took about 3 hours a load. It needs to be completely dried or any remaining moisture will cause the whole container to mould. After dehydrating I pulsed everything in a food processor.
I like the convenience of dumping a few tablespoons into lasagne or soup or pretty much in anything. It's so good for you! Kale Nutritional Info. You just have to remember that a tablespoon is a cup or more when not dehydrated.
I got to thinking about how convenient this was and decided to finally get around to making a vegetable broth powder to replace the expensive organic bouillon cubes I've bought in the past. I found a simple recipe and I adapted to what I had.
The original recipe called for:
2 cups Nutritional Yeast
1/2 cup sea salt
2 Tablespoons onion powder
1 Tablespoon turmeric
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
2 teaspoons marjoram(optional)
2 teaspoons dried powdered lemon peel (optional)
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon powdered thyme
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
Anita's Home Made Vegetable Broth Powder
4 cups nutritional yeast
1/2 cup sea salt
2 tbsp. Onion salt (or powder but I was out)
2 tbsp. turmeric
2 tbsp. basil
1/2 cup parsley
1/2 cup dried veggie mix (carrots, peppers, celery or anything else you have)
This recipe is very forgiving - add whatever sounds good to you. I always figure more green stuff is good for you (it's a bit of a change from 1 tablespoon parsley to 1/2 a cup) I threw it all into a food processor for about 40 seconds until everything was well blended and for much less than the cost of a box or two of cubes I have enough to last me a year. It will keep for at least a year or two if it's in an airtight container.
Winter soups and casseroles anyone??