Monthly Archives: December 2014

Cleaning Dehydrator Racks


Vinegar, scrub brush, bottle scrubby – my powerhouse team!

This year my husband and I invested in a dehydrator. (If you’ve ever been overwhelmed by cherry tomatoes, then you understand.) It worked like a dream. But cleaning afterwards? Oh my!

My first try with my faithful scrub brush and dish soap didn’t end well. I couldn’t get a good suds going. Once I did, the good suds refused to rinse off very easily. More than once I ended up flicking bits of sud up the walls and up on my shirt. It was like washing a colander – a giant, flat colander that refused to fit in the sink.

There had to be an easier way!

The solution? The dish soap and suds left the picture. Instead, I used a straight solution of vinegar in a spray bottle for a cleaner, and my faithful scrubbers. And it worked great! All the residue from dehydrating the apples came right off.

It’s amazing how having an easy way to clean an appliance encourages a person to use it more.

How do you clean you dehydrator racks? Do you have a stubborn kitchen appliance that defies an easy, thorough cleaning?



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P111314_1809 Merry Christmas

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

(Luke 2:11)

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Preserving without a Garden

Not everyone has a garden. Space can be a limitation as can time or energy. Does that mean preserving fresh produce is out of the picture?

Certainly not!


Prepping a few pounds of Jonagold apples that were on sale at Fairway. These beauties are going to make some fantastic dried snacks!

Even if you have a garden, it doesn’t mean you have easy access for what you need for some recipes. (Marmalade, anyone? As much as my husband and I may wish it, oranges are not native to Iowa. But they do go on sale!)

One great way to preserve is to shop seasonal and local. For instance, during the fall, apples often go on sale for less that a dollar a pound in many stores in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Local orchards may also host deals towards the end of the season. It’s easy to find fresh, economical produce with a little know-how.  Invest in bulk, and you can preserve to your heart’s content and feed yourself, your friends, and your family wholesome produce any time of the year!

Check out this link where you can search for orchards in Iowa: Click Here.

Whether you freeze, dry, or bake apples, here’s a handy tip to keep them fresh.

Crush 1 Vitamin C tablet per every 4 cups of water. Soak the chopped apples no longer than 30 minutes. Use, preserve or freeze after draining. (Lemon juice is a good substitute at well. Anything with citric acid keeps apples from browning.)

Do you have a favorite preserving recipe that uses store bought produce? (Mine is marmalade!)

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Removing Garlic Skins and Roasted Garlic Recipe

The first step before using or preserving garlic is . . .

How to get that pesky garlic skin off?

One easy trick is to separate the garlic cloves and soak them in a bowl of water overnight. In the morning, the normally tough skins will slice and slide off easily.

Here’s one way we’ve been eating through the garlic harvest.

Roasted Garlic

Two bulbs worth of separated, peeled garlic cloves (about 2 cups)

1 Tbsp butter/olive oil

Pinch of salt (Optional)

Directions: Place the garlic on a sheet of foil with the butter and salt. Fold up into a tight packet. Bake in a 400F oven for an hour or until soft. (I usually leave it in a little longer, because I like the gold brown color that develops.)

This makes a healthy, low-fat spread for toast, an excellent addition to garlic bread, or as Derek likes it, eaten straight out the packet.

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Preserving Garlic


About half of our garlic crop came in as these extra large single cloves that looked more like small onions. They still tasted great, though!

What to do with all that Garlic?

We had a harvest of garlic this year. Having only ever purchased the occasional clove or two from the store, it was a little overwelming to have several pounds all at once!
Thankfully, garlic keeps very well in a dry, cool place. Now that preserving season is over, I’ve been turning my attention to how to make that garlic a little easier to get into. If you’re like me, dinner is a busy. There’s not always a lot of time. Peeling and mincing fresh garlic, as much as I love to do it, just doesn’t happen.
So I’ve been exploring ways to preserve garlic, already peeled and minced, to toss into whatever recipe I’m making.


What’s your favorite way to use garlic?




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