August 17, 2014

How to Freeze Peaches

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How to Freeze Peaches

I like to freeze fruit. It’s so easy and if you freeze it while it’s in season you can put it up for those winter months when you’re craving some fruit but the stores expect you pay an arm and a leg for it. Freezing peaches is really easy.

How-to-peel-peaches-bulk-hot-water

1.) First, peel the peaches using this nifty boil technique

2.) After you’ve peeled your peaches, slice them up. You can dice or slice – whatever you like. Be careful, they are slippery when they have been peeled.

Sliced-Peaches-For-Freezing

3.) Put all your sliced peaches in a big bowl and add lemon juice. I had about 10 Cups of peaches and added the juice of one large lemon. This is going to help them from turning brown (oxidizing) when they are exposed to air. If you don’t care about color – skip this step.

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4.) Line cookie sheets with wax paper and spread out the peach slices. We are doing this because we want them to freeze separately. If you throw them all in the freezer in a bag, you will have a HUGE glob of peaches that will be hard to work with.

5.) Pop the cookie sheets into the freezer and leave them in there until the peach slices are completely frozen. Probably about 6-8 hours? I let mine freeze over night.

Frozen-peaches-sliced-how-to-freeze

6.) Mine came out of the freezer looking like this!

Peaches-freeze-how-to-slices

7.) Pop them off the wax paper and put them into a freezer Ziploc bag.

There you have it! These should keep for at least a few months in the freezer. You can pull out a handful of peaches for smoothies, desserts or  even eat them frozen!

make-ahead-pie-filling-freeze

And here’s another idea – make ahead pie filling! Freeze in pie tins, once frozen, remove and store in freezer bag until you’re ready to make a pie!

Other posts I’ve done on freezing or preserving fruit or vegetables:

Do you freeze fruit? 

August 19, 2013

How to peel peaches {easy, quick method}

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How to Peel Peaches

What to do when you have a box of 25 pounds of peaches? The possibilities are endless (baking, canning, freezing) – but most start with peeling the peaches. And although I had heard that peeling peaches was an easy process, I’d never done it before – so I kept putting it off. I finally got around to it this weekend and let me just say, I was silly to procrastinate. Peeling peaches with this method was insanely easy!

Your peaches should be ripe – but not mushy before you start this process.

DIRECTIONS

Peel-Peaches-How-to-slit-x-bottom-peach

1.) Using a paring knife, score a big X into the bottom of each peach. Not too deep, just enough to cut the skin.

2.) Get a big sauce pan of water boiling on the stove.

How-to-peel-peaches-boiling-water

3.) Drop 3-4 peaches into the boiling water, let sit for about 30 seconds

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April 16, 2013

How to dehydrate strawberries

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How to dehydrate strawberries

In addition to dehydrating mangoes, I also dehydrated strawberries last week, and they were so delicious and easy.

Wash-Strawberries

The first thing you’ll want to do is wash and dry your strawberries.

Hulled-Strawberry-Dehydrate

Then you hull them – basically chop off the green top (feed that to your chickens!).

Strawberry-Slices-for-drying

Slice strawberries into 1/4 thick slices.

Drying-Strawberries-sliced-tray

And lay them out on your dehydrator tray.

Dry at 130 degrees F for 8 to 16 hours. You’ll know they are done when they feel dry, leathery and no longer juicy. But they are still pliable.

Dried-Strawberries

And interesting fact I read in The Dehydrator Bible: Includes over 400 Recipes – that locally grown, fresh-picked strawberries will actually dry out faster than varieties that are grown for a longer shelf life! I had no idea, but I’ll have to remember that when I pick up flats of berries from my local berry farm this summer!

My only complaint so far is they get eaten so quickly. I’d love to put them in a jar and admire them all afternoon, but my kids (and husband) devour them within a day. At least they’re getting healthy foods and it sure is fun to see them enjoy it so much.

I’m not an expert at this by any means. I referenced these two books especially, which I’m guessing you can find at your local library (or Amazon):

As for the type of dehydrator that you need – I think all of them are pretty great. First you can check your local thrift shops, because they are big appliances I think people get tired of storing them and donate them a lot.

Nesco-FD-80-square-dehydrator-1

Amazon has this Nesco FD-80A Square-Shaped Dehydrator Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging on sale for $55. This is the best price it’s ever been on Amazon. Regular price is $98 and it has nearly 5 out of 5 star reviews.

Excalibur-dehydrator-reviews

I personally have the Excalibur 3900B 9 Tray Deluxe Dehydrator, Black – but it’s certainly a dehydrator on steroids – probably much more than the average person needs. The only reason I splurged is because I found a crazy good deal that included a lightning deal and a gift card I had. But I have to say that I do love it and I’m super impressed.

Dried-fruit-stored-in-jars

Check out the mangoes that I also dried recently!

I’d love to hear from you – what do you dehydrate? How do you use your dehydrator? Have you dehydrated strawberries before?

April 13, 2013

How to dehydrate mangoes

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Dehydrate mangoes

I just dried mangoes for the first time and they were so awesome, I just had to share!

Fresh-Mangoes-to-dehydrate

First you’ll need a batch of ripe mangoes. I bought a box at Costco. They came out to $1 each, which is not super amazing, but not bad either. Here in the Northwest if you can get them for $0.50 – $0.80 that is stock-up talk.

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October 11, 2012

Slow Cooker Crock Pot Strawberry Applesauce recipe

It’s Crock-toberAs part of this month-long series I’ll be featuring slow cooker and crockpot recipes that are easy and inexpensive! 

This slow cooker Strawberry Applesauce recipe has been a huge hit with my kids and I love it because it’s so darn easy. I searched all over online for a slow cooker strawberry applesauce recipe that I liked and I couldn’t find one – so I made this one up using ingredients I had on hand at the time.

After I let it cool overnight in the fridge I put it into one-cup size, sealed containers to make it an easy snack.

INGREDIENTS

Apples – about three (3) pounds. I used a combination of Gala and Granny Smith apples.

Strawberries – about one (1) pound, I used frozen and I didn’t measure it out exactly
I probably could have used less. If you want just a hint of strawberry flavor, use 1/2 pound

Orange juice, 1/3 cup

Brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons

Juice from one large lemon, which came to about 1/4 cup for me

One whole cinnamon stick

Vanilla, 1 teaspoon

 

HOW TO PREPARE

  1. Peel apples. I didn’t do this the first time and I really wish I had
  2. Cut apples into slices. The size doesn’t really matter – it will all be mush in a matter of hours
  3. Throw apples into slow cooker
  4. Add all the other ingredients to the slow cooker
  5. Cook on low for about 8-10 hours

It will look like this at the beginning

Looks something like this after!

It made about 1.75 quarts of apple sauce for me. I put it in fridge overnight to cool and then separated it into smaller containers for snack time.

Do you make your own apple sauce? What’s your favorite recipe?

Here are other Slow Cooker Crockpot recipes we’ve recently posted:

See Amazon’s best selling slow cookers and Crockpots here

June 15, 2012

Banana chips in the food dehydrator

We’ve been enjoying our bananas this week – with a Roasted Coconut Banana Bread, banana smoothies, banana chocolate chip cookies and dried banana chips! The first batch my son helped me make – it was a super kid-friendly project. It took about 13 hours in the dehydrator  – as we wanted them extra crisp and let me tell you, they didn’t even last that long!

I borrowed a food dehydrator from another preschool mom and I’m not sure I want to give it back.

Basically we just sliced bananas thin (and as uniform as possible) and dropped them into a mixing bowl with lemon juice. This helps keep them from turning dark brown. We started the dehydrator around 8 p.m. at night and let it do it’s thing until around 11 a.m. the next day. Every other recipe I read said 8-10 hours, but I wanted extra crisp banana chips, so we left them on longer.

We stored them in an air tight container – although that didn’t matter much since they were devoured in day.

A couple things I learned from this process:

  • The super duper crunchy ones you find at the grocery stores, the ones in trail mix and fancy packaging. Um yea, they are probably not dried, but rather fried. Sad, but true.
  • On the second batch I tried a tray without lemon juice – and they looked exactly the same. Doh! AND they seemed to stick to the tray less.
  • They did stick to the dehydrator tray. I popped them off with a knife. Only lost one finger in the process.
  • For the person who eats the most in the house (ahem, my handsome husband) – have him pull the banana chips off the trays on the second batch. He’ll see how much work they are and think twice before eating the entire container in one day. Haha.
  • Your entire house will smell like bananas.

If you’re in the market for a dehydrator I recommend watching Craigslist, garage sales and thrift stores – they seem to be fairly common. If you prefer to go the new route, Amazon has some great dehydrator deals.

Like this one – Nesco American Harvest FD-37 400 Watt Food Dehydrator for $35.99 (Amazon prices can change at anytime).

Don’t forget Safeway has bananas on sale $0.39 cents a pound this week!

What is your favorite thing to dehydrate? 

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