Garden Basics with Farmer Fred

216 Drying Fruits and Vegetables

August 02, 2022 Fred Hoffman Season 3 Episode 216
Garden Basics with Farmer Fred
216 Drying Fruits and Vegetables
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

As we are fond of saying on this program every summer, “You grew it. Now, eat it!” Not all at once, of course. What are the best ways to preserve all the fruits and vegetables you grow? One of the easiest is drying them. Sun drying or using a dehydrator is a great way to preserve nutrients while enjoying the literal fruits of your labor throughout the year. But where do you begin? Today, we talk with a Master Food Preserver about drying techiniques for home grown fruits and vegetables.

We’re podcasting from Barking Dog Studios here in the beautiful Abutilon Jungle in Suburban Purgatory. It’s the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast, brought to you today by Smart Pots. And we will do it all in just a little over 30 minutes. Let’s go!

Previous episodes, links, product information, and transcripts at the new home site for Garden Basics with Farmer Fred, GardenBasics.net. Transcripts and episode chapters also available at Buzzsprout

Pictured: Dehydrator
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Fish Dryer
Dehydrators
Outdoor Drying Trays
University of Georgia - Drying Fruits and Vegetables
Citric Acid
Sodium Metabisulfite
Wendy Rose on Twitter
Sacramento County Master Food Preserver Program
Harvest Day, Aug. 6, at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center

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GB 216 TRANSCRIPT Drying Fruits & Vegetables
Farmer Fred  0:00  

Garden Basics with Farmer Fred is brought to you by Smart Pots, the original lightweight, long lasting fabric plant container. it's made in the USA. Visit SmartPots.com slash Fred for more information and a special discount, that's SmartPots.com/Fred.

Welcome to the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast. If you're just a beginning gardener or you want good gardening information, you've come to the right spot.


Farmer Fred  0:31  

As we are fond of saying on this program every summer, “You grew it. Now, eat it!” Not all at once, of course. What are the best ways to preserve all the fruits and vegetables you grow? One of the easiest is drying them. Sun drying or using a dehydrator is a great way to preserve nutrients while enjoying the literal fruits of your labor throughout the year. But where do you begin? Today, we talk with a Master Food Preserver about drying techniques for home grown fruits and vegetables.

We’re podcasting from Barking Dog Studios here in the beautiful Abutilon Jungle in Suburban Purgatory. It’s the Garden Basics with Farmer Fred podcast, brought to you today by Smart Pots. And we will do it all in just a little over 30 minutes. Let’s go!

DRYING FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, PART 1


Farmer Fred  1:22  

We like to answer your garden questions here on the Garden Basics podcast. Mark left us a question at the gardenbasics.net website. And Mark has some very interesting fruit trees. Mark lives over in San Jose in the Santa Clara County area, very moderate climate over there, south of San Francisco. He says, “I’m in the Evergreen Valley. I have a small home heirloom fruit orchard of apricot, prunes, figs and a variety of peaches.” and he has many interesting varieties too that are difficult to find many of which were either developed by Luther Burbank over there in the Bay Area, or were heirloom varieties that were developed in the Santa Clara area. Anyway, he says, “after about four to six growing seasons, the orchard has good production and I'm looking at drying the fruit. I got a dehydrator this year and tried it out with the apricot. They tended to be on the dry side compared to commercially prepared dried apricots. The prunes and figs will be ready shortly. I'll try dehydrating them as well.” And Mark goes on: “I have a lot of questions. which is better, dehydrating or sun drying? What fruits can be dried? Do the varieties within the fruit type matter? What are the best practices for how to prepare fruit, such as pitting or leaving in the pit? Do you dry the fruit whole? Or do you cut up the fruit? Is the cut side down or up during the drying process? Do I need to break the skins of prunes for drying? Is this a thing?” 

So all these questions are beyond my pay grade. So I'm going to defer to Sacramento County Master Food Preserver Wendy Rose. And Wendy first of all, some questions about the Master Food Preserver program. It's much like the Master Gardener Program, isn't it?


Wendy Rose  3:10  

Yes, it's a extension program of the University of California, the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.


Farmer Fred  3:18  

And it's a program that much like the Master Gardener program you get trained in, and then your goal is to go out and share that knowledge with others.


Wendy Rose  3:26  

Right. Our mission is to teach and so we learn how to do safe food preservation. And then we go out into the community and teach. And even though during the pandemic, we couldn't get together for face to face events or classroom events. We switched to Zoom and we've been teaching online and we're still going strong.


Farmer Fred  3:45  

All right. And some of you are very advanced master food preservers, such as yourself, who just got done judging the entries at the California State Fair. what were the categories that you were judging?


Wendy Rose  4:00  

So I judged all three days of the canning show. So the first day is the jam show. The second day is jellies and fruits and tomatoes and stuff spreads. And then the third day is the pickles and sauces and salsas.


Farmer Fred  4:15  

What are the most popular entries as far as the type of fruit or vegetables that are entered?


Wendy Rose  4:22  

So the first day is the jam show and all we judge our jams. So that is really the most popular entry. I think that's the way that most people start doing food preservation, is that they get a hold of some fruit and they make some jam. Strawberry jam is very popular. and ironically, it's not an easy jam to make well, but that's very common, especially in this area.


Farmer Fred  4:43  

If you go back into the annals of the Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter, you can find one that talks about homemade raspberry jam, a freezer jam, that you might want to try out there. But let's deal with Mark’s questions about dehydration. He mentioned he has a dehydrator, he doesn't mention which brand. There are several brands out there. And it's almost like competing armies as far as the favorites. Now I'm very partial to the Nesco Garden Master because it's stacked, the airflow goes up, and it doesn't blow gentle herbs all over the place, unlike the Excalibur, which many people enjoy, but that blows the air from the back. feel free to weigh in on this one, Wendy.


Wendy Rose  5:30  

I have three dehydrators, three electric dehydrators. One of them is an Excalibur. And I think that's my favorite. I like the square trays. And it just dries very efficiently. But I will say I do a lot of sun drying during the summer because of where we live. And the conditions are ideal for sun drying.


Farmer Fred  5:50  

You got that right. We have low humidity and high heat. Welcome to Sacramento. And I noticed that on your Twitter page, you had posted a picture of sun drying pepper slices, bell pepper slices, and I've never seen that before, it never even occurred to me. And what do you do with dried pepper slices?


Wendy Rose  6:10  

I go to a you-pick and I'll pick quite a bunch of produce. And then the bell peppers, specifically all cut into small pieces, and dehydrate them and then store them. And then in November, December, January when I'm cooking chili or soups, I'll toss a handful in. And as long as there's enough liquid in the food that I'm cooking, they'll rehydrate and cook at the same time and add flavor and color. 


Farmer Fred  6:40  

Yeah, that's one thing about dehydration, is the rehydration isn't it?


Wendy Rose  6:45  

Right, exactly. And  I'm all about easy. And this is super easy. I just do a big batch of peppers in the summertime and then store them. And a lot of times I'll just store them dried, in the freezer, and pull them out, to throw into different recipes. 


Farmer Fred  7:01  

Can you slice them up and vacuum seal them and put them in the freezer as well? 


Wendy Rose

Yes, you can. You can. 


Farmer Fred

Alright, so vacuum sealing is a good substitute if all you want to do is slice and freeze.  All right, now I noticed that with your sun dryer that you use to dry the bell pepper, It looks like a perforated tray with a mosquito net around it.


Wendy Rose  7:25  

So the photo that I posted in Twitter recently, I'm actually using my fish dryer, which is a hanging unit. And it's really awesome. It's three levels. It's about a two by two square and it is collapsible, so it stores really easily. And then at the top, it's got a hook. So when it's fully expanded, there are three shelves in there. And I can and I typically will use my Excalibur trays in there, and I'll hang it up on the porch and it's out of the sun. But it's still getting the air circulation, it's still getting the low humidity, and then it will dry nice and gradually over the course of three or four days. And that fish dryer is just awesome. But I do not use it for fish.


Farmer Fred  8:12  

All right, so it's basically a bird cage for food.


Wendy Rose  8:16  

Exactly, they are super easy to use. Yeah.


Farmer Fred  8:19  

Did you buy that or make that?


Wendy Rose  8:21  

Actually the one I'm using right now was a gift. And I believe it was it was purchased at a local Asian grocery store.


Farmer Fred  8:29  

so there you go. That's one if you live in a dry climate. And that's key, isn't it? If you want to do some drying, and we're slowly evolving into Mark's questions here, if you live in an environment where the daily humidity levels are below 60%, and the daytime temperatures are probably in the upper 80s or the 90s or beyond, you're probably good to go with sun drying. 


Wendy Rose  8:51  

Yeah, it's ideal, those conditions.


Farmer Fred  8:53  

now in the Bay Area where Mark lives, I'm not so sure that they have that low of a humidity or not.


Wendy Rose  9:00  

I looked the other day for Santa Clara, I think that they were in the 50% humidity range. 50s in the Bay Area, I think, you have to look at the weather forecast and see what the temperature is going to be and what the humidity is going to be. And then you know, you really need a good maybe four or five days of consistent conditions to be able to sun dry. But if  the conditions are right, then it's an ideal time to do it. And the nice thing about sun drying is really there's no maximum capacity, you can pretty much dry as much as you can,  as much as you've got the screens or trays for.


Farmer Fred  9:34  

what are some minimum requirements for sun drying? Now, obviously, not all of us have a fish dryer. So if people wanted to dry foods outside, sun drying, what sort of trays do they need? What does the material look like? How important is air circulation?


Wendy Rose  9:50  

So it depends on what they're trying to dry. So if you were trying to dry cherries and obviously you'd need some sort of material where the cherries wouldn't fall through. But if you had bigger pieces, like  slices of Apple or pears, I've used baking cooling racks. Those work really well, I've got a set that actually stacks. So it's three levels of racks that you can insert, you can get a lot in a small space. But it just depends on what food  you're trying to dehydrate. If you're trying to do really small things, then it's better to use maybe a screen type material or a loose weave natural fabric or something like that, to make sure that the food doesn't drop through. But you can get these drying racks very easily at hobby stores, craft stores. And the ones that stack are great because, like I said, the footprint is small.


Farmer Fred  10:45  

Do you need some sort of fan to blow that moisture off? Or is the environment windy enough to do it by itself?


Wendy Rose  10:53  

Yeah, so you do want air circulation, you don't want it completely still. you'll still be dehydrating, but it might take longer. And then on the flip side, you don't want it to be super windy to the point where stuff is blowing off the trays or racks.


Farmer Fred  11:09  

Alright, you know a good reference, we should point out, if people want more information about drying fruits and vegetables. I guess is the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. They are the go-to site for information about preserving food. And they have a great pamphlet there on drying fruits and vegetables that you can check out the University of Georgia.


Wendy Rose  11:28  

Or the National Center for Home Food Preservation.


Farmer Fred  11:32  

So getting back to Mark's questions about sun drying, obviously, maybe a drawback is the fact that it's going to take days as opposed to hours to dry.


Wendy Rose  11:43  

Right. So once you set the fruit out, you want to make sure it's prepared correctly and set the fruit out, you'll need to turn the fruit to make sure that it dries evenly. So that's something that you need to do at least, once a day, I've seen recommendations for a couple times a day. But typically once a day is is good, you just want to keep rotating it, so it dries all over. And it is three to four days depending on the conditions and the fruit and how thick it is and how much moisture there is. But it's pretty easy to do. I mean, you just need to rotate it, of course, across those days, and then check after about three days just do a check of the fruit. And typically dehydrated fruit is  pliable like leather, but it's not sticky. So that's the point at which you are basically done. And then there are a couple more steps after dehydrating. It’s conditioning. And then a last step, which sometimes it's called pasteurization, but  what it really involves is getting rid of any last bits of insect eggs or anything like that. It's very easy, and very satisfying. 


Farmer Fred  12:48  

Getting back to that pasteurization question of killing off the insect eggs. You do that after you've done the sun drying?


Wendy Rose  12:56  

Yeah, that's the very last step that you do. The conditioning step is basically getting the residual moisture in the fruit to distribute across all the fruit and just making sure that if you've got a couple little areas of fruit that has some more moisture, it will distribute into the dryer pieces. And then that last step of pasteurization basically, you put the fruit into a Ziploc bag or some sort of closed container, throw it in the freezer for 48 hours. And then if there are any little last buggies in there, that will get rid of them.


Farmer Fred  13:31  

Can you do that same process in the oven for a short period of time?


Wendy Rose  13:35  

Yeah, you can do it in the oven and it takes about 15 minutes, I think it's 175 degrees.


Farmer Fred  13:43  

And that won't dehydrate the fruit any more than it should be?


Wendy Rose  13:48  

That's why I prefer doing it in the freezer. Because I can just throw it in the freezer and 48 hours later take it out. I don't really have to turn on the oven during the summer.


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DRYING FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, PART 2


Farmer Fred  15:58  

Let's get back to our conversation with Master Food Preserver Wendy Rose about dehydration techniques for fruits and vegetables.


Farmer Fred  16:08  

One of the messier processes in food preservation is when it comes to cherries. And you mentioned sun drying cherries involves the pitting of the cherries. That’s when the kitchen ends up looking like a bloody mess, after an hour or two with the cherry pitter. Do you have to remove the pit when it comes to drying either in an electric dehydrator or sun drying?


Wendy Rose  16:30  

Yeah, for doing it at home, it's recommended that you take the pits out, it will help the fruit dry more evenly. It'll make sure that the fruit is dry in the middle. you pit the cherries and then you'd have a cavity in there and the moisture can come out through that cavity. It's true for the stone fruits, apricots, plums, all those. When you're doing it at home, it's recommended that you take the pits out.


Farmer Fred  16:53  

And the size of the piece that is being dehydrated, can you dehydrate whole fruits? Or do they need to be sliced in fairly even slices?


Wendy Rose  17:04  

you can dehydrate whole fruits, I think the conditions really need to be good for that. You need to make sure that it gets dehydrated all the way to the middle. It's easier to have a good result when you cut the fruit into pieces. And you want to make sure that you cut them into very consistent sizes so that they all dry at the same rate.


Farmer Fred  17:24  

Yes, in our experience with the Garden Master dehydrator, sometimes when you're just slicing you end up with some that are a little bit thicker than others. So you tend to group the similar sized ones together on the same trays, and then rotate them as need be, to get the drying process finished. Mark also talked about “breaking the skin for prunes for drying. Is this a thing?” I went online to see about breaking the skin for prunes. I find it interesting. And this is always a red flag when I'm doing internet searches that the wording for breaking the skin for prunes was all worded the same. It's like somebody wrote something originally and a lot of other people copied it. 


Wendy Rose  18:08  

Yeah, so I think technically they call it cracking it or checking the skins. That's for fruit that has skins that are maybe a little bit thick, such as grapes, prunes, plums, cherries, figs, and some berries. And so basically, you can do a blanching process really quickly, and you blanch them and then quickly go into cold water and that will crack the skin so that the air can get in and the moisture can get out.


Farmer Fred  18:37  

Explain the process of blanching for those of us who don't spend much time in the kitchen. 


Wendy Rose  18:41  

So basically, you'd boil a pot of water, and then you'd put the fruit into a pasta pot that has holes in it or something like that. You can also simply spoon the fruit into the boiling water. And it's 30 to 60 seconds, you get the fruit out of that hot water and in into an ice water bath. A bowl with ice and water, throw the fruit into that. The temperature difference between the boiling and the freezing causes the skins to crack.


Farmer Fred  19:13  

You had mentioned, when talking about sun drying, that you do have to flip the fruit around, skin side down, skin side up. Do you have to also flip it when it's in a dehydrator inside the house?


Wendy Rose  19:24  

It's a good thing to do just to try to make sure that you get consistent drying. It also helps to prevent the fruit from sticking to the trays. So if you flip it after a couple hours of sun drying, it'll help the fruit to not stick.


Farmer Fred  19:40  

Mark also had the question about which fruits can be dried and do the varieties within the fruit type matter. And my thought would be: it depends on the size of the fruit.


Wendy Rose  19:52  

Yeah, most fruit can be sun dried within the varieties. You would have maybe differences in the amount of moisture and possibly the amount of sugar. But that would basically then just drive the amount of time that you sun dry. So you can do different varieties. And it helps to kind of experiment, I think, just to see the varieties that you have, and how they how quickly they dry.


Farmer Fred  20:15  

If you are using a dehydrator, and you just brought up a very interesting question, what sort of preparation is necessary for the fruit? Do you need to add anything to the fruit in order to get it to dehydrate evenly?


Wendy Rose  20:30  

Yes, so the process is you basically want to buy or pick your fruit mixture, when it's ripe and it's fresh, you want to wash it, but don't soak it. And then you can choose to peel or not peel, depending on how you want the end result to be. And you want to remove the pits. If you're cutting the fruit, you want to make sure the pieces are consistent size. And keep in mind that thinner slices and smaller pieces dry more quickly. And then you want to pre treat the fruit. And what the pre-treating does is it helps to get rid of any microbes that are there. Microorganisms that are on the fruit. It also helps to inactivate enzymes. And the enzymes are the things that will darken the fruit. So you want to pretreat. There are several ways you can do it. You can use ascorbic acid, which is vitamin C, you can do citric acid, lemon juice also works. And then, people used to do sulfur. They used to sulfur their fruit when they were drying it, and then that's kind of fallen out of favor. But what you can do now is a sulfite dip. And there's something called sodium metabisulfite that you can get, and I've seen it in Amazon. And some people use that with good results. But you do have to make sure that you are not allergic to sulfur products. But you have  several choices in terms of how you want to pretreat the fruit to make sure that that the end result, the color is going to be good and you're going to have reduced the microbial count in the fruit.


Farmer Fred  22:01  

And what happens if you don't pretreat it, other than discoloration?


Wendy Rose  22:04  

Unfortunately, fruit, being a food that grows in your soil, there are microorganisms like salmonella, E. coli, Listeria that can get on the fruit. The process of drying will help to reduce those. They want water to be able to grow and reproduce. And so when you dehydrate, it reduces the amount of water but they still can be on the fruit. The pretreating really helps to reduce that. And then it depends on whether you want the color of the fruit to be true, closer to when it's fresh. When you do apricots at home, typically they're darker. If you don't if you don't sulfur, but if you're okay with the darker colors, then  that's not really an issue but you do want to reduce the possibility that there are any, you know, little buggies on the fruit.


Farmer Fred  22:54  

One motto that we use on this show a lot is, “You grew it, now eat it!”  And that's where dehydration and other food preservation methods come into play. Of all the varieties of fruits and vegetables that you've dried or preserved over the years, Wendy, what are the favorites? what gets eaten the quickest?


Wendy Rose  23:17  

I love dehydrating tomatoes. I love to put dehydrated tomatoes on salads. I I'm just a massive tomato lover. I do also enjoy dehydrating eggplant. That's been  really awesome. When I rehydrate it, then I can turn it into different things. And then the bell peppers and peppers in general. I've dehydrated jalapenos, good result. And so I enjoy making pasta sauce with my dehydrated vegetables. I also will dehydrate pears, and those turned out really nicely. And those are really awesome snacks when we go hiking and things like that.


Farmer Fred  23:58  

Yeah, you know one of my favorites, and I'm looking forward to it because the tree is loaded right now, and I can't wait for October, is the Fuyu persimmon, which is a very meaty, not that much of a juicy type of fruit. But in a dehydrator, it just goes so easily and those get munched the quickest throughout the winter. Any advice for drying persimmons?


Wendy Rose  24:21  

I think the one thing that I found in dehydrated persimmons was that I over dehydrated them. And that was pretty easy to do because it's not a real juicy fruit. So it's just keeping an eye as the dehydrating goes along, checking every  few hours or so just to make sure that they're not getting over dehydrated.


Farmer Fred  24:41  

Good advice there. Mark’s final question is about prunes. And he says he remembers that commercial prunes are dehydrated to low moisture levels, and then rehydrated to optimal moisture levels. “Is this something I should consider doing?”, he asks.


Wendy Rose  24:59  

I don't have a recommendation for rehydrating home dried prunes. There are processes that the commercial dried fruit producers use. I know one of them is they'll coat the dried fruit with safflower oil. But we don't recommend that for people dehydrating food at home, just because they have commercial equipment and commercial processes. And you know, at home we have dehydrators in the sun. So I don't have a recommendation for rehydrating home dried prunes.


Farmer Fred  25:31  

For those wondering, yes, prunes are plums, they are a European plum, whereas the Japanese plum can be eaten fresh, like the world famous Santa Rosa plum. But European plums are also known as prunes when they're dried. And there are a lot of great varieties out there, prunes get a bad rap. Even the California Prune Association changed their name back in the year 2000, to the California Dried Plum Association, but there was such an uproar from the prune growers that they changed their name back to the California Prune Association. Did you have anything else prepared that you want to get into?


Wendy Rose  26:12  

So in terms of pros and cons of sun drying, pros: it's very low cost, it doesn't require electricity. You can do as much as you have racks or trays. you can do as much as you want to do as much as  fruit that you have. You don't need a lot of equipment, you don't need fancy equipment. And it's just really easy to do. And this is actually a really good project for kids, because of that. In terms of cons, it does require attention to temperature, humidity and air circulation. So you do need to check the weather forecast. And it takes longer than an electric dehydrator. So you're looking at three to five days. You need to protect the fruit from insects and predators in the Sacramento Valley. It's so dry here even at night that I really don't bring anything in at night, it's recommended, but the humidity doesn't really go up that much. In the Bay Area, because the Marine effect, I recommend that people bring their trays inside, bring them into the garage overnight so that you don't get dew or any sort of condensation from the evening temperatures.


Farmer Fred  27:21  

Electric dehydrators. Obviously, quickness is a big benefit to those. What about dependability and maintenance?


Wendy Rose  27:29  

Yeah, I mean, it just depends on the dehydrator that you have. Downside to the dehydrators, at least at my house, is that it makes a lot of noise. And then also whatever I'm dehydrating we can smell throughout the house. But it is very, very efficient. And I've taken the dehydrator out onto the patio and plugged it in. And that works too. I have been warned by Master Food Preservers not to dehydrate onions in the house. Apparently the fragrance of that is like B.O. So there's my tip.


Farmer Fred  28:00  

Yeah, yeah, you're right about the noise of dehydrators. Which is why in our house, the garage is a very popular place to do dehydration.


Wendy Rose  28:08  

Yeah, exactly. That's a great place to do it.


Farmer Fred  28:11  

As long as you remember. But the good part about modern dehydrators is they're on a timer. So they're gonna turn off before they get overripe.


Wendy Rose  28:20  

As long as you set the timer to the right amount of time, right. And a lot of times, you don't exactly know what the time should be. So that's why you check the fruit periodically or the food periodically to see how it's progressing.


Farmer Fred  28:33  

That's where sticky pieces of paper come in handy, that you put on every door to remind you to go to the room where the dehydrator is, and check the fruit. And yeah, you're always taking a risk if you decide to do a load of fruit in the dehydrator before you go to bed. Right? Because you never know what it's going to look like in the morning. So anyway, that's the lesson learned the hard way there. But Mark, you've got a great selection of fruit varieties in your home orchard. And for anybody who either buys fruit or grows fruit, dehydration is a great way to save the excess and think about that in your garden as well. We’ve been talking about if you have too many tomatoes, too many peppers, too much zucchini. Can you dry zucchini?


Wendy Rose  29:21  

Oh, yeah, I've done it. All right.


Farmer Fred  29:23  

So there you go to solve all your problems, folks. All right.


Wendy Rose  29:28  

What's really nice about dehydrating is that the dehydrated food will last a long time if it's properly stored. 


Farmer Fred

Yeah, how long will it last? 


Wendy Rose

You can go you know, years. If it's properly dehydrated and properly stored.


Farmer Fred  29:42  

And if you're making it for gifts, what are some precautions to take?


Wendy Rose  29:46  

I would make sure that depending on what pretreating option you're using, I would make sure that the people you're giving things to that they don't have allergies to anything that you're using.


Farmer Fred  29:56  

Alright, and hopefully they will eat it. Because nothing is more disconcerting to a gardener who has gone to the trouble of drying fruits or preserving homegrown goodies for relatives only to go over to their house at Thanksgiving, three years later, and see that same bottle sitting on their shelf.


Wendy Rose  30:15  

Sometimes what's helpful is if you include a recipe for how to use the food, then they've got kind of a direction. if you're giving dried persimmons and then maybe have a recipe that you give them for rehydrating and using the persimmons, or a persimmon bread or something like that, that helps them understand how to use it.


Farmer Fred  30:36  

I think I would just put a note on it that would say, “pour into a tray and snack on it.” All right. We learned a lot about food dehydration, fruit dehydration, Wendy Rose is on Twitter, @canningbee. And you can see some interesting things there. By the way, speaking of that, you posted a picture of some tomatoes that you've recently acquired. I don't know if you grew them, or you bought them. But there are some interesting varieties that I have never seen before. What were those pictures of tomatoes that you posted there on Twitter?


Wendy Rose  31:12  

That was the what I picked yesterday morning. So I have four different types of tomatoes growing. I've got a small tomato garden this year. That's kind of an experiment for me. But I've got Brandywine in there, which is an heirloom, I have a yellow, or I think it's actually called a white tomato. And that was a free seed from Baker Creek. And then I've got some cherry tomatoes and I've got some paste tomatoes out there. And so I had picked a few I usually pick in the morning and pick at the end of the day.


Farmer Fred  31:41  

Yeah, those pleated white yellow tomatoes in the picture intrigued me. Its sort of like a Zapotec Pleated, except there, kind of a whitish yellow. 


Wendy Rose  31:51  

 I did it as an experiment, but the flavor is pretty good. I mean, it really tastes like a tomato. The white color has made it a little bit interesting in terms of knowing when to pick the tomato, but the flavor is good.


Farmer Fred  32:02  

And so I guess to determine when a white or yellowish tomato was ripe, you just kind of squeezed it, to see if it has any “give” to it.


Wendy Rose  32:10  

Exactly, exactly.  I would just push on it a little bit to see if it gives. They're very, very hard and then all of a sudden they get ripe, so I have to kind of test them each day.


Farmer Fred  32:20  

In California there are extensive county programs that include Master Food Preservers, along with Master Gardeners. In other states, there are other master food preservers programs as well,  check with them if you need advice on canning. That's always a good local go-to source if you can find a local master food preserver group. And of course, we mentioned the University of Georgia location, for the National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia that you can check out. They have extensive information on preserving your home grown fruits and vegetables. Wendy Rose, we learned a lot today. Thanks for helping save the harvest.


Wendy Rose  32:58  

Thank you, that was awesome.


“BEYOND THE GARDEN BASICS” NEWSLETTER


Farmer Fred  33:08  

If you are an organic gardener, especially a strict organic gardener, have you ever wondered, is chicken manure fertilizer really organic? Yes, the USDA and many state regulating agencies have OK’d chicken manure as an organic fertilizer, and that’s been true for decades. However, in the past 20 years, the majority of corn and soybean grown in the united states has evolved. It’s now grown from genetically engineered seed, for a variety of reasons. The GE-sourced corn and soybean harvest makes up the bulk of what’s fed to the nation’s commercial chicken flocks. Whose end product, literally, becomes fertilizer. Should GE manure be considered organic? And we will also explain the difference between Genetically Engineered and a Genetically Modified Organism, a GMO. There’s a difference. A big difference.

It’s in the next Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter, out Friday, August 5. Find a link to it in today’s show notes, or visit our website, Garden Basics dot net, where you can sign up to have the free Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter delivered to your inbox each Friday. Also at Garden Basics dot net, you can listen to any of our previous editions of the podcast, as well as read a transcript of the podcast episode you are listening to now. That’s at Garden Basics dot net. For current subscribers, look for the Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter on Friday, August fifth in your email. Take a deeper dive into gardening, with the Beyond the Garden Basics newsletter. And it’s free. Find the link at garden basics dot net.. 


Farmer Fred  34:50  

Garden Basics With Farmer Fred comes out every Tuesday and Friday and is brought to you by Smart Pots and Dave Wilson Nursery. Garden Basics is available wherever podcasts are handed out. For more information about the podcast, visit our website, GardenBasics dot net. That’s where you can find out about the free, Garden Basics newsletter, Beyond the Basics. And thank you so much for listening.

How to Dry Fruits and Vegs, Pt. 1
Smart Pots!
How To Dry Fruits and Vegs, Pt 2
Beyond the Garden Basics Newsletter