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05 Jan · Mon 2015
One of my email questions this week asked me, “Can you tell me the benefits of dehydrating fruits and benefits?”
There are so many benefits there is not enough room in this column to mention them all.
First off let me say I have canned, froze and dried just about everything over my many years on this planet. To me canning is the hardest work among the three. With canning you need a stove, jars, lids, rubber seals, lots of time, pantry for storage and your shelf life is about 2 years providing you did everything perfectly.
With freezing you need a freezer, not as much time and some freezer bags and in the worst case you could probably eat something that you found in your freezer that was dated 2 years, but on the safe side I would say use within 6 to 8 months.
Now with dehydration it is a different story. You can air dry or invest in a food dehydrator which is relatively inexpensive and fast and all you need is electricity. A food dehydrator delivers the vast majority of foods with the same vitamins and minerals as their fresh counterparts, in a remarkable array of concentrated flavors, nutrients and enzymes. I like the fact that the dehydration process retains almost 100% of the nutritional content of the food while retaining the alkalinity of fresh produce and actually inhibits the growth of microforms such as bacteria.
I also like the fact that dehydrated foods take up a lot less space, are easy to reconstitute and can last up to 20 years! To back up my statement I quote the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science at
Dried foods may be pricey in a store, but doing your own is easy because you can buy a good multi-shelf dehydrator for under $50.00 and it will be the best investment you may ever make. Once you cut up whatever it is you want to dry, just put it on the trays, put the lid on, set the timer, plug it in and walk away.
At Home Farm Herbery we do a lot of dehydrating and we strive to offer some really good dehydrated products to those who understand the benefits of having them on hand, but who do not have the time or inclination to do it themselves.
We have dehydrated everything from meat to fish to veggies to apples and even made banana chips. We find it is easy to reconstitute the veggies with water and we prefer to use distilled water. We often just steam the veggies as they plump up nicely that way.
You can even dehydrate food for your pets and you will find that they may be healthier for it.
In 1965 I said to my late husband, Carl, “I am no financial genius, but I really believe this society of ours is going back to the nobles and the serfs and I know I will make a rotten serf. So let’s do something about it.” I those days I was thinking about money, but today I feel that time is just about here and within 2 or 3 years anyone who has serious thoughts along those lines better have a big stock pile of dehydrated food on hand because all the money you may have amassed may not be enough to feed you and your family.
Dehydrating is the world’s oldest form of food preservation, it requires no preservatives, and it yields great tasting food with months of shelf life and over the years, especially in my life time, it has gone out of fashion simply because the dehydrator is not a mainstream household appliance. It is time to make it one whether you live in the city or on a homestead in a survivalist mode, a dehydrator is a good investment, a healthy investment even if you just make fruit leather for the kids lunches or your own. Start thinking along these lines!
May the Creative Force be with you,
Posted by Arlene @ 09:18 AM CST
23 Mar · Sat 2013
The Yeast Also Rises©by Arlene Wright-Correll
Home Farm Herbery
The other morning I had two ladies come to Home Farm Herbery kitchen to learn how to make bread the quick and easy way and we had a grand time including a lot of questions.
One of the questions was about the type of yeast to buy and were there any differences between yeast.
I made a lot of different types of bread including crusty European Artisan bread which I sell at our local farmers market 3 times a week and take to special customers who cannot leave their offices during the work hours. It is a great hobby and it allows me to send the net proceeds to my favorite charity which happens to be St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Well to get back to the yeast questions it got me thinking about it as an article. One of the questions asked is there a difference between instant, RapidRise and bread machine yeast? Instant machine yeast and bread machine yeast are the same yeast. RapidRise, Fleischmann’s branded instant yeast, is also instant yeast, but a different strain than SAF or Red Star. Over the years I have used all of them including making bread the hard way so many years ago that I bought cubes of compacted yeast and kept it in the freezer.
I have found that RapidRise is faster out of the gate than SAF or Red Star, but gives out sooner. Since I make my dough in batches that make 4 loaves at a time and I make it 24 hours before I use it because I like to have my dough leisurely rise. The reason is two fold, a long rise brings out bread’s flavor and my batches of dough can sit for up to 14 days in the refrigerator until I use it up, I happen to like SAF/Red Star yeast.
Another question was, “Can I use active dry and instant yeasts interchangeably?”
The answer is yes they can be substituted for one another although I have found that active dry yeast is a little bit slower to rise than instant, as far as dough rising goes. However, in a long rise such as one that lasts from 2 to 3 hours, the active dry yeast catches up.
So just figure it this way. When you have a recipe using instant yeast and it calls for the dough to “double in size, about 1 hour,” you should be prepared to add 15 to 20 minutes to this time if you’re using active dry yeast.
Dough is judged by how much it’s risen, not how long it takes. Many different things effect the rising of dough such as cold weather, low barometric pressure, how hot my kitchen is when I bake, and tons of other factors affect dough rising times. Just remember to use them as a guide, not an unbreakable rule.
Bread baking involves living things (yeast), your own personal touch in kneading technique, and the atmosphere of your kitchen which includes the size of it, is it a small space or a large space like mine is and when my ceiling fans are revolving the time is longer and when my kitchen is hot from a lot of baking the rising time is shorter thus making many variables that it’s almost impossible to say that the dough will double in size in 60 minutes should you have a recipe that says something like that.
I have, over the years, discovered that baking with yeast is a combination of art, science and a bit of magic and I no longer use the kneading method, I just mix by hand, let is sit in its tubs, I stay flexible and everything seems just fine.
Going from the old time methods of making 8 loves at a time when we had farm hands or lots of kids to feed to going down to just 2 of us I changed to a bread machine and that is the one time when you might not want to use instant and active dry yeasts interchangeably. Bread machines use a higher temperature to raise dough, substituting instant for active dry yeast usually causes bread to over-rise, then collapse. If you do not have bread machine yeast and you need to substitute instant yeast for active dry, reduce the amount of instant yeast by 25% when you add it to your bread machine.
Another question asked was, “How much yeast is in a “packet” of yeast?”
A packet used to include 1 tablespoon of yeast now it is closer to 2 generous teaspoons since companies have improved manufacturing methods that produce stronger, more active yeast.
Another question was, “Exactly what does yeast do?”
The answer is quite simple, yeast makes bread rise. Whereas baking soda and baking powder make your muffins and cakes rise, yeast makes breads of all kinds rise. Sandwich bread, dinner rolls, pizza crust, artisan hearth breads and just about any kind of bread you can name such as this wonderful Ciabatta hearth baked bread I make.
In order to work yeast needs a good supply of oxygen and it stops reproducing once it’s in bread dough. When it is in the bread dough it starts to eat sugar (sucrose and fructose) first; once that’s gone, yeast converts the starch in flour into sugar; thus flour is capable of providing yeast with a continuous food source.
CO2, alcohol, and organic acids are the byproducts of feeding yeast. CO2 released by yeast is trapped in bread dough’s elastic web of gluten just like blowing up a balloon. Alcohol and organic acids disperse throughout the dough, enhancing baked bread’s flavor and as long as moisture and food are available, yeast will continue to eat and produce CO2, alcohol, and organic acids. If your bread stops rising, it’s usually not because the yeast isn’t working or has died and that is because the gluten has somehow become “leaky,” failing to retain CO2.
Along the way of writing this article I looked up the dictionary’s definition of yeast and it said that yeast is a single-cell organism, part of the fungi kingdom. The yeast we use most often today, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is one of the oldest domesticated organisms known to mankind: it’s been helping humans bake bread and brew alcohol for thousands of years. Fittingly, the Latin translation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is “sweet fungi of beer.”
My research went on to tell me that Saccharomyces cerevisiae is just one strain of the more than 1,500 identified species of yeast. I went on to discover that those 1,500 identified yeasts are just an estimated 1% of the yeast population in the world; most species remain as yet unnamed.
So in order to have a reliable supply of yeast on hand for all of our baking needs, it was necessary for manufacturers to “domesticate” wild yeast thus stabilizing it, and in the process making it 200 times stronger than its wild counterpart. Now plant scientists who work with a yeast manufacturer identify certain characteristics of wild yeast that they decide are desirable; isolate them, and then replicate them. The resulting yeast is given a “training” diet to make it reproduce. Formerly based on molasses, most manufacturers now feed their growing yeast with corn syrup. Once the cells have replicated to a critical mass – a process that generally takes about a week – they’re filtered, dried, packaged, and sent off to the market where you and I buy it to make wonderful, healthy bread providing we use organic, unbleached flour, providing that anything we add to the bread also is chemical-free, organic and healthy.
Tread the Earth Lightly
Home Farm Herbery
Posted by Arlene @ 10:51 AM CDT
09 Mar · Sat 2013
Foods that Put me in the Mood©
By Arlene Wright-Correll
I really do not need any special kind of food to put me in a good mood because each and every day I find myself still above ground puts me in a good mood. Now I do not say I stay that way each and every day, but I try, I try!
I’m a cooker and I can easily say I am a good cook, no lets make that a very good cook plus I like to eat and when one is pushing 80 there are not a lot of old friends or old family members left standing to cook for, plus the kids and grandkids are all over this planet doing their own thing. Plus really old people seem to lose their appetite as the years go on. I am not one of them.
With all that in mind I guess I have to turn the tables
around and write about what food I may be in the mood for. I think you know what I mean. I go for days and even weeks without having
any pizza. Getting a pizza in my neck of
the woods is a joke for an old broad from
When the pizza mood hits me I get out the flour, yeast, salt and water and make up a good batch of my own pizza dough. I really get into it. I bake on stone any way for my Artisan breads and I have a couple of restaurant size pizza peels. I even have two kitchens with two stoves and if I was 20 years younger I would hire someone to build me a stone hearth out in my cottage garden in a New York Heart Beat! Also my recipe is a good one and it will keep in the refrigerator for 14 days or the freezer for 3 months and that allows me to have everything at hand.
I grow my own tomatoes at Home Farm Herbery and I make a Cracker Jack pizza sauce and freeze them up in the fall. So I haul one of those little dudes out and along the way I decided there was just something missing. After a year of experimenting I finally developed a Pizza Seasoning that just was perfect at least perfect to me. Matter of fact this pizza seasoning is so good we now offer it at Home Farm Herbery’s on-line store.
Often when I am in the mood I will make up a batch of homemade Mozzarella cheese and put the balls into the freezer and that comes in handy.
Now here I am in the mood for some good pizza. Do I do anything about it? Not for a day at least because I could just get everything out of the freezer and defrost it, thus making the pizza. No I wait at least until the stuff thaws out by itself. This is called whetting the appetite.
Once one has everything on hand it only takes a few minutes to make a pizza so I always make two of them when I am alone. Once when we had a crowd in I made 22 of them!
However, just for me I only make two small ones with each one giving me 4 good size slices of pie. I finally get to satisfy my mood. Yet you may wonder what I do with the second one.
Well, old habits die hard and I have a lot of years behind me of eating cold leftover pizza for breakfast and that is what the second one is for.
When all is said and done the mood is finally satisfied.
If anyone wants my pizza dough recipe it is included free, with free shipping when they order my Pizza Seasoning.
May the Creative Force be with you…
Posted by Arlene @ 01:22 PM CST
21 Feb · Thu 2013
If I could ever get the picture icon to work on this site I would put in a picture of these good pancakes.
1/2 cup amaranth flour
Sift together the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.
Separately, whisk together the buttermilk, milk, egg and melted butter. Pour into the flour mixture and stir to combine, do not over-mix.
Allow batter to rest for 10 minutes.
Heat a pan or cast-iron skillet over medium until hot. Brush lightly with butter or oil.
Spoon the batter (about 1/4 cup) onto the skillet. Cook until bubbles appear along the surface, about 1-2 minutes.
Flip and cook on the other side, 1-2 additional minutes. The pancakes should be neither too dark nor too pale. Adjust the heat as needed so that they brown evenly.
Repeat with remaining batter.
Serve warm with honey or syrup and topped with fruit with additional nutritional benefit like blueberries, blackberries or pomegranates
Posted by Arlene @ 07:36 AM CST