Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Dried Mangoes

My wonderful husband gave me a dehydrator this week for my birthday!! How spoiled am I!?! We had talked about it months ago, when we wondered how much cheaper it would be to dry our own mangoes, as we both LOVE them as a snack.

So you can imagine that I was very excited to try my new toy, and since it came with a few mangoes (hehehe... cute touch), those were the first to get cut and put in the machine.

My new dehydrator
The first batch dried a lot faster than I had anticipated (according to google), but I had cut the pieces too thin. So I pretty much made mango paper! It tasted good, but it looked pretty weird.

So I tried again and this time cut the pieces thicker. I also added a row of apples, just out of curiosity.

ready to dry

This batch took many hours to dry, but the result was divine! Dried mangoes are like fruit candy, but there's absolutely nothing added to them. It's just the natural sugars that become more concentrated. They really are difficult to resist, and it's definitely a case of can't-eat-just-one!

Yummy and healthy "candy". Best snack ever!
Out of my two mangoes, I got at least 3 times the amount I would get in a small bag from the store. It also cost a fraction of the price.

My husband calculated that the required energy / electricity (3.5kWh) for this batch cost about 8 DKK (Danish Crowns). We paid 5 DKK each for the mangoes. That gave a total of 18 DKK.
Divided by 3 would be 6 DKK for about the same amount I would get in a store for 20 DKK or more.
(click here for currency converter)

Plus, I know that nothing has been added - especially if the mangoes are ecologic of course, which I can't say mine were. Shame we can't grow them in Denmark!

There are so many possibilities with the dehydrator. One can dry fruit, veggies, herbs, berries, mushrooms, etc. From what I gathered, dried goods retain most of their nutritional value and can be stored for many months. I think it could be a great way to save surplus harvest. Dried fruit and berries can be used as snacks, in cereals, porridge or in desserts. Dried veggies, mushrooms and herbs can be used in cooking of course. It seems like a good way to use one's own harvest even in the cold season. The device came with 3 trays, but I can stack up to 10 trays! Only issue is storing the thing when not in use! ;)

Huge thanks to my husband. *muuaahh!* This is a very nice addition to my gardening hobbies! (please don't eat all the mangoes... ) ;)

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Fall harvest

September came and went nearly without me noticing! I have been on "back to school" mode after a fantastic summer in the garden. The program I am taking (bachelor degree in social education) is very interesting. It is also challenging and demanding, but I still manage to spend a few hours outside every now and then. It's really good for the head after reading pages of theory. ;)

Fall is so beautiful and cosy in its own special way. Some trees and plants take on beautiful vibrant colours. Other plants just fade and wilt away. Many will sprout again next year with the next warm season.
The air is becoming cool and brisk, and warm blankets are just cosier and cosier. The land is getting ready for the cold season, but that doesn't mean that nothing is happening in the garden. Here's a few examples of what's been going on...

My chili plants gave a LOT of chilies (and still do!) so I made some chili oil (not shown on picture) and chose to hang some chilies to dry. (I also have a basket full apart from those shown here)

Chilies hanging to dry

One of my favorite part about Fall is winter squash harvest! They are just so pretty, delicious and healthy! My pumpkin plant gave 7 pumpkins and my hokkaido plant gave 3. I have been turning some of them into delicious Fall cream soup. There is a recipe *here*. I would also like to make one or two pumpkin pies, using my grandmother's recipe, which I was so lucky to have sent to me a couple of weeks ago!! :)

Pepo pumpkins (what I call "Halloween" pumpkin),  and small Hokkaido squash (also called Red Kuri squash)

Our apple tree was not very productive this year, but I was allowed to pick apples at my friends garden and came home with 7 kilos of huge delicious ones!

7 kilos of apples. A huge thanks to my friends :)

So on a nice Saturday afternoon, I set out to work peeling all this lot. 

I sat in the greenhouse to peel the apples. It was so comfortable out there. 
I then turned all this into yummy pies. I used the same recipe as I did last year. If you're curious, you can find it by clicking *here*.

Last year, I managed to bake 4 pies out of the apples from our apple tree. This year, the 7 kilos of apples allowed me to bake 8 pies!

Apple pie production 2013: 8!

The tomato plants in the greenhouse are currently maturing the few last fruits of the year. Despite some issues earlier in the season, where the tomatoes would rot before having time to mature, I harvested many delicious and healthy tomatoes and enjoyed many tomatoe-basil salads. 

I have also been clearing things out from the vegetable patch. Some things unfortunately were attacked by meldew, others were just done and ready to get cleared out. I however left some of the beans on the plant with the idea to let them dry. I will then harvest and keep the beans / seeds for use next year. Some of them I simply picked up and hung in the greenhouse to dry, as I was afraid they would rot before time if they were left outside. With the empty soil space, I followed my friend's advice and put down some plants I had that were still in pots. They will be better off spending the winter with their feet in full soil, and I can move them early next year before the patch is needed again for vegetables. 

The season is coming to an end, and I am already looking forward to the next season! Thankfully, it's only a few months of waiting, as the first sowing can happen indoor in february with chili plants!

Hmm, but until then, I'll have to take up my winter hobbies! :)