Designing shade into the Girragirra food garden has made it a friendlier place to be over our hot Summers. It’s way more hospitable for the plants as well as the humans and all the other critters who call it home. And we certainly achieved one of the core tenants of Permaculture, “obtain a yield”. Big time.
But what to do with all those grapes? The trellises run east / west through the garden for about 50 metres and yep, they’re all loaded, just like this one!
We’ve eaten more than our fair share, given them away to friends, guests, a local refuge …. random small children. Short of poking them under the door of every house in town we need to get real about preserving the bounty.
So we’ve decided to give dehydrating a go – at least with the smaller fruited varieties. We use quite a few raisins in our house made muesli over the year and bake a pretty tasty sourdough fruit loaf. Plus it’s always handy to have a healthy sweet organic treat for our little friends when they come to visit, or for yours truly when I’m raiding the pantry doing a bit of stress eating cos I’m meant to be in the Office 🙁
This is the go:
If you want to keep your grapes whole because they are tiny, like these yummy little Thompson’s Raisins, or because you really can’t get your head around slicing each one in half (seriously, who does that?) you need to “craze” them by popping them into boiling water for a few minutes. This breaks down that beautiful waxy coating grapes have, allowing them to dry out much faster. We thought we’d try them both ways, crazed and not crazed.
Then into your trusty solar dehydrator they go:
Or into your friends trusty electric dehydrator they go (Scruff does love his gadgets)
Or up on a hot tin roof they go!!
And the end result? Seriously delicious little morsels full of goodness. These ones came out of the electric dehydrator
These little beauties were nicely dried in the solar dehydrator:
And the ones on the roof? Well they’re still up on the roof …. but coming along nicely.
So the verdict on crazed vs not crazed? I’m all for the minimalist approach so if drying time / sunshine is not limited I vote for not crazed, however I have to admit crazing definitely does speed the process up – lots. I’m not sure if there’s any impact on nutrient content, maybe one of you clever ones can enlighten us all?
And I’m sure there’s a “crazy” pun in there somewhere. Feel free!