There are so many great ways to preserve the food you grow or that you have bought at the farmers market. Canning is probably the most well know. It works great, its easy to do, and there are a million tasty recipes out there to try. The downside? You need storage space. A small batch here or there isn't going to take much space but storing 75 pounds of peaches requires a bit more.
Root cellaring is another great way to preserve food. It takes very little prep work because all food is kept in a cold storage space as is (or pretty close to for the most part). The biggest downside to root cellaring is most of us do not have the space to create one (or the budget).
Freezing is another great way to save food for later use. Its quick and easy for the most part. But like the others above, you do need space for a freezer. If you live in an apartment that might be hard to come by (or even against your lease agreement!).
Enter dehydrating. Talk about a space saving way to preserve summers bounty for the cold winter months! In this post you can see a few jars of dried corn. Not too bad right? That is over 40 ears of corn in those 2.25 jars. Now that is awesome! :)
Dehydrating for some people is pretty daunting but it needn't be. Its simple and pretty fool proof. Join me for carrots....
Start with a bunch of fresh carrots and nice clean dehydrator trays.
Wash them well and slice off the ends.
Next using your food processor (mandolin or knife) cut 'em up! I choose to use my shredder attachment because I wanted to use these mostly for cakes, muffins, pancakes etc. I have in the past used my slicer attachment with great results.
Scoop the prepared carrots out and layer on your trays. With sliced vegetables I do one even level but when I shred them I just throw a bunch on the tray all willy nilly like. I live on the edge sometimes!
Continue the process until all your vegetables have been processed. Stack your trays, put the lid on, and turn it on and set the temperature at 135 degrees. The water content of your vegetable will cause your length of dehydration to vary greatly. The corn I did the other day took about 24 hours. I imagine these carrot trays will take about the same because of how dense they are on each tray.
You can leave your vegetables raw or you can blanch them. I don't waste time blanching, like I said I live on the edge.
So pick up a cheap dehydrator (the one I use was bought for $25 at Wal-Mart. I later found an identical one for $5 at the thrift store!) and give your hand at drying. Its simple, quick, and takes up little space.