I’m a fan of magic and magic is the only word for dried cauliflower. We grow and eat a lot of brassicas. Preserving them is problem though. You can’t can them unless you’re fond of foul, bitter mush. You can freeze them but it’s really hard to get a product that isn’t waterlogged. I counteract that problem by giving broccoli and cauliflower a good spin in the salad spinner before vacuum sealing in a food saver bag, then either stir frying or boiling right in the bag but this requires the constant input of a plastic bag. Drying solves both problems. I dried a bunch of cauliflower the other day to have as a class demonstration. It took only 12 hours to dry. I cut the flowerets and steamed them for three minutes. It took only twelve hours to become crispy dry. Dried cauliflower is funny looking. It’s a weird yellow color and very unappetizing. But set it in a bowl of boiling water for 20 minutes and you get cauliflower that looks and tastes like freshly picked and steamed. I have a mess of carrots that I need to do something with. It’s too early for the root cellar so I plan to slice them into coins, steam and dry. Rehydrated, they are wonderful in soups or glazed.

As much as I love canning, I believe drying is the way to go for flavor and nutrition, ease and energy efficiency. There are few inputs as I store my dried food in vacuum sealed jars with old canning lids. I do add an oxygen absorber packet but it probably isn’t really necessary. The power for the Food Saver and the Excalibur is negligible, certainly in comparison to the propane needed to run the canner. It is a lot less work and mess for me too. When I can’t use the root cellar, the dehydrator is my second choice. I’ll always can meat and broth, apple sauce and tomatoes, jams, jellies ,pickles relishes. I’ll can dried beans and some soups too. Most other things are headed for the Excalibur.

I’m looking forward to a trip to the cannery tomorrow. Maggie and I are going together to get oxygen absorber packets, wheat, oats and whatever else strikes my fancy. I’ll give you a report on Monday.

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