Hot, hot, hot!


We planted a padron pepper plant this year and really enjoyed the small green peppers.  So tasty and with a nice little kick.

Then one day I made a risotto when a friend was visiting for the weekend and selected just one - bit larger than normal - padron pepper each which I blistered and served on top of the risotto to add a nice little crunch and kick.

Wow! We couldn't believe the difference in just the change of size compared to the heat of the pepper. Even the tiniest piece was incredibly hot!  None of us could eat it - so I was glad I only served the pepper whole and not cut up in anything!

Just another inch in length and they were so incredibly hot.

So we left the larger peppers on the plant and it now looks so pretty - with beautiful red peppers hanging on the all but dead plant.

I have decided to dry the red peppers and then grind them up to make them crushed red peppers, like you buy in the spice jars.  First taste of one I dried showed that it was, thankfully, milder than its green large form.


But in the meantime, I think they look so pretty  hanging on the plant.  I'm hoping they will sun dry but if there is a chance of rain, I'll bring them in and dehydrate them.

Have you ever tried padrons red? Should I be wary? Was the one I tried just an oddity?


Oh yes, and that is our wonderful arugula in the background of the photos.  Again that is super peppery - love it like that. Maybe that raised bed is destined to be hot stuff!
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August harvest - green pears and apples

This week's harvest is the green pear tree and the first of the apple trees. We first finished off gathering the red pears as we'd left a few smaller ones a couple of weeks ago.  They were so large now -  some pears were over 1lb in weight EACH! Monsters.   One pear can feed a family of 4!


We were hoping the green pears would wait a little while, but no. They were ready so they are now stuffed in the fridge for their big chill, along with all the red ones! It's pretty crowded in our fridges right now!


And yet the apples are ready too, so we picked one tree only...but the others need doing probably this week as well.  Yummy green apples that I am eating every day - but also have got our my trusty dehydrator so that is busy at work with the apples, before the next tree delivers!


Nothing goes on the apples.  Just slice them with the mandolin and dehydrate for a few hours at 115 degrees F, to retain all the nutrients.  No need to core or peel - and that way you even get a little star in the middle where the pips were  *  Nice decorative touch, don't you think?

It's a busy time of year :-D
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Dehydrating fruit

So here is the dehydrated fruit I made - what is left of it, and before its all gone!


Don't the oranges look nice and glossy!


And I love the waviness of the apples - like they have been gently pleated as they dried.


What is your favorite dried fruit?  I don't like pears - they turn a little gritty, and last year I did some of our green table grapes that we grew - making yummy sultanas.....Maybe I'll have to do persimmons this year... Now if only you could dry quince without cooking them.....

I wonder what my next dehydrator project will be????  Oh, if only there were more hours in the day. I love having so many ideas in my head!
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Dehydrating fruit

I had an idea to try dehydrating some citrus fruit.  We are finally coming to the end of all our citrus fruit from the garden but have a few oranges left.  I've never dehydrated citrus before but thought it sounded a nice idea.

And so I sliced them thinly, and added some apples and a couple of strawberries at the same time - might as well fill the dehydrator.


I dried them until they were crispy - and all of them are delicious.


It's great to eat the whole orange - peel as well and because its sliced so thinly, it doesn't taste too bitter.

I had great plans for these crispy snacks - creating something more than just dried fruit - but we ate them before I could finish the plan! I'll have to do some more and not leave them out to be eaten!!

This really is the easiest way to
preserve apples and when our harvest starts later in the year, I know I'll be doing plenty more. You don't have to peel and core the apples - just slice using a mandolin, no need to add anything to them (so unlike bought dried apples, no sulphur or citric acid) - and then just put them in a dehydrator and forget about them for a few hours.

Easy Peasy!  Roll on apple harvest!
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Golden Raisins

I seem to have spent the last couple of days with my hands in sticky fruit juice! What with pulling each little seedless green grape off his stalk to dehydrate them to make golden raisins/sultanas, and with chopping the cherry tomatoes and apples, it's been sticky, sticky, sticky!


I'm delighted with the sultanas/golden raisins.  They don't look particularly golden - but they are! Sultanas/golden raisins are green grapes, and raisins are red grapes.  When you buy golden raisins, they are often a paler color because of the addition of sulphites, which of course I didn't add.

About half way dry
But pulling all the grapes off the stems was a little tedious! I tried dehydrating some of them in little bunches as I thought they would be useful decoratively on dishes..... Surprisingly, those in bunches seem to dry out quicker than individual grapes. I don't quite understand that as you'd think there would be more air flow around individual grapes?????

Little bunch of sultanas
After about 9 trays, I had had enough of de-stemming and juiced the rest.


The juice is so grapey!  No surprise really, but it tastes different than other grape juice - because it's a different grape varietal than is used commercially.  It's not too sweet...but it is bordering on the sweet side!  It came out lovely and clear however.


Happy grape successes! Now onto tomatoes and apples.....before the pears start ripening!
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