Dehydrating food caught my interest. After viewing many dehydrating machines, I selected one that has nine trays, stainless steel shelving, digitized timing and heat selections. And of course this machine also had to meet my budget. There are many different price ranges and purchases of trays that can drive up the cost. Luckily I came upon one that provided everything in a bundle.
My first attempt at dehydrating fruits was interesting. Upon reading the manual, I discovered that the dried food in the grocery store has preservatives and this gives it the color. And it tastes different too. At first, I did not have the proper cutting tools and sliced the strawberries very thin. After watching a video one woman suggested an egg slicer to cut the strawberries so I will be trying that out! Although, slicing the strawberries thin makes a great crackle topping to yogurt. The bananas that I purchased were old bananas at discount and very wet. Next time I will just purchase bananas that are ripe and believe that it will dehydrate better, less chewy. The organic pears were delicious and now that I have an apple, potato core hand machine, the slices will be consistent and should dehydrate better. A few days before dehydrating I picked some organic parsley from my garden box and sandwiched it in-between two paper towels for drying. I decided to place the parsley onto a tray and into the dehydration machine and it was amazing how it turned out. I just picked up a handful of organic parsley and it crumbled right in my hand to a very rich consistency. So far I am very excited about trying out other herbs, fruits and veggies and creating fruit rolls. As I explore this dehydrating process it makes sense to share my experiences storing food and dehydration tips on the blog. Hope you enjoy it. Pictured below is fruit crackle on top of yogurt and the fresh organic parsley from my garden box. Dehydrating Food is another form of art where you can be creative!
I was hoping to be traveling and setting up the garden box at a new location but here it is summer again and still not on the road. I planted summer squash, tomatoes, assorted sunflower mix, lettuces, parsley, mint and peppers. So far there is growth coming up out of the soil and I look forward to this mix in the garden box. A beautiful hanging basket adds color until the seedlings grow up.
There is nothing like having fresh vegetables at hand to pick when needed or for dehydrating, canning. I thought about growing an assortment of organic veggies in a box because when traveling and staying at a place for a season in a tiny house on wheels – one has to be prepared.The project chosen prior to constructing the tiny house on wheels is a portable garden box. My thinking is to start on food, water, power preparations and then a shelter. After tossing the idea on what type of box to build, raised or sitting on the ground, I opted to build a type box found in a tutorial video on YouTube. This box appeared to be easy to construct and the materials affordable. It can be assembled and taken apart very easily. The 4′ boards are light weight to handle, deep and lays flat when storing.
I purchased my first power drill at a hardware center store and was so delighted about its ease of use and no need for a chuck. Just twist, turn and the bit locks in place. Now how easy is that! The agricultural professional in the video assured viewers that if he could do it you could too! It is best to have a large flat level table for this project – measure out the brackets on one board with another underneath. Drill through your markings penetrating the two boards and then attach the brackets to the boards. Then align each side board individually and pencil in the respective holes prior to drilling. My box does have a lot of practice holes but I now have the confidence to construct several more boxes and a tiny house on wheels. Make sure you make a shopping list for these hardware parts because the washers and nuts may not come with the eye bolts and are located in an entirely different spot than the eye bolts! Also, watch out and remove those horrible sticky tags placed by the store that cover up a hole on a bracket. Remove before starting! My shopping trip was on a whim and rushed by another so this garden box came up short of eye bolts. I also recommend using all eye bolts and not mixing in regular bolts. The eye bolts are handy for the exterior insertion of your stakes. Sticks, tomato stakes holds the chicken or rabbit wire fencing in place. Also recommended is bird netting on top. And, purchase shorter in length eye bolts so that it does not bump into an adjacent bolt. You can see why in the photo below.
Two missing bolts, make sure you allow for a shorter bolt on inside hole. Two corner brackets – top and bottom of each corner!
Wood sticks or tomato stakes are woven into the fencing and run through the eye bolt.
Cedar is expensive and the sales person suggested a pine board. So it was painted white, people and kids could have fun with this stage of the project. (Use non toxic paint) Four bags of soil for vegetables was mixed in with last falls mulching. The organic veggies planted, watermelon, tomato, cucumber,
herbs. Organic monster sunflowers are planted outside the box to the right. Lacey dog started to eat them so I had to extend the fencing around these plants. Never did I ever imagine a dog would find sunflowers edible. Overall it was fun and now can highly recommend this type of planter for people on the go! Feeling like a garden box pro!
There are things that I decided to use that were found on the side of the road. Today, I decided to put it to some use. A family member purchased some flowers and two tomato plants. The very old galvanized pail was found at the side of the road. A local store used it as a planter and decided to throw it out along with some hooked carpets. Luckily I know how to traditionally hook carpets and can restore the rugs. I found some white spray paint that my sister did not use last year and totally transformed the weary looking pail. The old floral wire support was painted too. It would be nice to string up some white lights on the wire frame and make a patio light. Maybe next year! A few years ago a woman was giving free stuff away on the side of her road and this is how I came upon the plastic snack table. So most of these thrown away items have made a very nice clean looking planter that otherwise would have been overlooked and discarded.