The prep work for dehydrating vegetables lends itself to comfort in recliners and movie watching. Which makes it much easier to put a happy, helpful crew together! Just supply the staff with cutting boards and knives, then explain the system to them. With a bucket for compost, a bowl for sub-prime pieces (that might still be good enough to cook), and trays to lay the good pieces out on, everyone can keep one eye on a fun flick and one eye on the process. In this way, my four person crew got through this whole pile of broccoli in an hour…watching The Phantom… while I painted my fingernails… 🙂 [hr]
The broccoli plants, a variety called Arcadia, are still producing like gangbusters, with heads that are a good size for dehydrating. Full sized heads would be much more trouble to cut up for this. The stalks were cut to be no more than 1/2 inch thick. The flower heads were just cut in proportion, but not much. They are not dense, like the stalks, so dry very easily. [hr]
[hr] Because the broccoli needed some “head room,” literally, I could only fit 4 trays in at a time. I left it dehydrating over night, so it ended up being a bit more than 7 hours before I rotated the trays. All total, it took 11 hours for it to be perfect.
[hr] The four trays completely filled 3 quart jars, to the brims. I did shake them very gently, as well as smartly tap the bottom of the jars, to get the pieces to settle as much as possible without crushing. These jars, too, will await the arrival of the FoodSaver T03-0023-01 Wide-Mouth Jar Sealer that should arrive next week.
My husband happened to be walking by while I was filling the jars, so he grabbed a few pieces to try out. He made a sound indicating the surprising sensation of pleasant flavor! He says it tastes mildly like oregano and vaguely like broccoli. Then he ate more. I’m not interested in trying it plain, but am looking forward to cooking with it, due to the house being permeated with a sweet aroma while it dries.
There were 2.5 gallon ziplock bags of good pieces still in the refrigerator. I could only fit 1.5 bags worth on 4 more trays again. I think I could easily keep two dehydrators busy at this time of year, but that is partly because I have planted enough for an army. I will have to see who on my Christmas list might like to try some home-deydrated veggies!