Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Book Review & Fruit Leather Recipe
The name of the book I have been reading is “Mary Bell’s Complete Dehydrator Cookbook”. It is awesome. I can’t believe all the things this lady can do. The book is almost 300 pages, fairly small print and packed with ideas.
She goes through all the fruits and vegetables known to man, well to me anyway, and tells the different ways you can dry them and how to use them after they are dried. She has a section on different meat jerky’s, food leathers, homemade pet food (I skipped that one) , dried flowers and potpourri, homemade spices and seasoning mixes, backpacking trail mixes and about 150 pages of recipes for all these things.
Did you know you can dry yogurt? How about chocolate pudding? How about different punches and beverages? She even dries rice dishes and macaroni and cheese, among other things, for a quickly rehydrated meal while camping or hiking.
I checked this book out from the library and just thought I’d try what I wanted but I’m ordering this book. It is awesome. Check your library if you want to preview the book or check it out on Amazon.com.
Remember the biggest advantage of drying foods is that they require little storage space and if you are cramped for storage space, this is a great alternative.
Here is her recipe for Rhubarb leather (just like the fruit rollups you buy in the store only fresher and preservative free). I made this last night and it is so good.
Rhubarb Fruit Leather
4 c. chopped fresh Rhubarb (1” pieces)
½ c. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon (I did not use this much. Start with ¼ t. and add till it tastes right to you)
Put Rhubarb pieces in a heat resistant bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 10 minutes. Drain. This process softens the texture of the rhubarb and removes some of the acidity so less sweetener is needed. In blender or food processor, puree softened rhubarb (in batches to avoid overtaxing blender and having to use too much water). I did it in the food processor and had to add no extra water. Add brown sugar and cinnamon and taste it. Adjust flavorings as needed and puree mixture till very smooth. Spread puree in a smooth even layer on a lightly oiled solid leather sheet that came with your dehydrator or you can use plastic wrap spread over your tray. Drying time depends on the thickness of the puree and the type of dryer you have. Allow anywhere from 8 to 20 hours. (Mine was done in less than 10!) Peel leather off the sheet and store. This can also be done on the lowest setting in your oven. Experiment on times etc. Always use a light layer of oil so that the sheets of fruit can be easily removed. Also, if you are in a hurry, you can turn the fruit over part way thru the drying time (as soon as you can lift the leather off the sheets) to speed it up.