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View Diary: The Dirt I Occupy: Still Life of a Harvest (35 comments)

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  •  When I lived in NM I had a fabulous garden that (4+ / 0-)

    included eggplant. I don't think I've had as much luck with eggplant as I did in NM - it really seems to like hot and dry.

    The world is not interested in the storms you encountered, but did you bring in the ship.

    by Hanging Up My Tusks on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 11:25:15 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  That probably explains my (4+ / 0-)

      complete lack of success with eggplant in my garden (terraced on a mountainside in the southern Appalachian semi-rainforest). Well, that and the dreaded dragon morning glories.

      Built a nifty salvaged window solar dryer a few years ago, and have come to love dehydration over canning. Which, if you've no AC, can make August pretty unbearable in the house. Always amazes me that 16 pounds of tomatoes once fully dried and reduced to powder fits nicely in a medium sized spice jar with room left over!

      •  Morning glories: my brother, who has a tiny "farm" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau, AZ Sphinx Moth, KenBee

        in central NM, calls them bindweed. They're the bane of his existence. My condolences.

        What dehydration does to veggies is nothing short of a miracle. The concentration of flavor in  a veggie without water is just about the tastiest treat around - especially tomatoes. I totally get your preference for dehydration.

        All the "mediterranean" veggies did well in my NM garden, but not so much in my VA garden. Oddly enough, chiles that grow super hot in NM were too mild in VA - they completely lost their heat. On the other hand, things like string beans and cruciferous veggies loved VA. My brother says his most successful crop the past couple of years has been okra. Soil in NM tends to be alkaline, so maybe that's the critical difference.

        The world is not interested in the storms you encountered, but did you bring in the ship.

        by Hanging Up My Tusks on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:11:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I ordered Mary Bell's book (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AZ Sphinx Moth, Marihilda, ladybug53

          Food Drying With Attitude when I built the dryer (must build another this year to keep up), which has all sorts of great info and recipes. It refers mostly to countertop dehydrator or oven dehydration, but it can all be done solar. LOVE the dried veggie no-bake crackers, and now buy extra bags of fresh cranberries when they're cheap around the holidays for making craisins. Half-dry them, rehydrate in orange or pomegranate juice, then dry 'em again. YUM!

          Only things I can these days are pickles and jams. Still have a lot of dried kale from last year (I add it to soups and stews, crunch into flakes on salad and such) and it's time to plant this year's crop. Most of the greens used to go to waste, now I can preserve the vast majority. Dark green leafies (like kale, collards, spinach) are some of the most nutritionally dense foods out there, and drying preserves more of those nutrients than canning or blanching/freezing. Mixed kale and sage chips are my grandkids' favorite snack food, they beg for enough to take home and share with friends at school.

        •  By the way, the reason (4+ / 0-)

          I've tried and tried to grow eggplant isn't because my family loves it (they absolutely don't), it's because I want to try a dry powder for quick-mix baba ganoush. Which I love.

          I figure slicing and roasting the eggplant, then dry-drying (to freeze for powdering). Add X amount of water, sesame oil, tahini, lemon juice and voila! Can't dry tahini to powder due to oil content, but it would be much easier than from 'fresh' eggplant, none of which grows locally. I want to be a locavore!

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