Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Excalibur 3900 - Investment in the Future


We decided to make an investment in the future.  Not stocks and bonds, gold or silver, but in sustainability- natural, home grown food.  We had a little set aside when we noticed a sale on the Excalibur 3900 plus a a temporarily discounted Preserve It Naturally book.  We can pair this with our American Harvester/Nesco dehydrator to get much more of our garden and farmer's market produce dehydrated.  While we still plan to do some canning, this will allow easier storage using less room and with much less labor.


Tonight we picked the Swiss Chard, stemmed and blanched it, laid it out on the trays and by tomorrow we will have our crop shelf ready for soups, stews or pasta recipes.


The Preserve It Naturally book not only has instructions for drying produce but also making bread dough ornaments, sachets, granola and fruit leathers both plain and filled with goodies.  There is a section on Living and Raw foods, although I don't think I could completely stick to that diet.  While looking delicious it seems essentially vegan and I am far too much of a cheese lover!  

My personal favorite will be the dried fruits.  I have to be careful or the next thing I know, I've eaten three apples and two peaches!  Well, better than the Hershey bars we had at work last week!  

Have a good evening!






17 comments:

Gorges Smythe said...

Yes, but TOO much roughage is still TOO much roughage!

Michelle said...

Great buy. Just drop by to let you know the fishing line worked so far. I watched a baby deer hit it. Then stopped to smell it and walked way. Only problem, it them started eating on my peach tree.I have decided to give up and let them have the tree as long as they stay out of the garden.

Heidi said...

I am so happy for you guys. That's on my wishlist too. I know you'll love it. BTW- I was at Michelle's tonight and she implemented your deer fishing line fencing and we came across three 2 yr bucks eating forage around her garden, but they didn't cross that fishline. She was so excited. Thank you for that post. It really works great.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Have you tried pie tins? We also hung some aluminum pie tins from twine so they would sway in the breeze, and if they can hit something to make noise it was even better.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Glad it worked for the garden. You have to remember to remove it when the garden is done so the deer continue to walk through without feeling the wire- so they don't get used to it. The Excalibur was more than I wanted to spend but I think the cost of it is less than canning everything, especially the things that I don't need canned. Saves space too.

LindaG said...

Congratulations! That is fantastic. I would love to have a dehydrator.
I think I might look for that book, too, even though I won't be buying it right now.
My brother always has trouble with deer, maybe I'll suggest fishing line and pie tins. :o)

Candy C. said...

Looks like it will be a very good investment! Drying foods does require less storage space than canning and no freezer required either! :)

Beth said...

Awesome! My parents gave me a dehydrator last year for Christmas, and I was so excited. Yesterday, I pulled it out and dehydrated green beans for soup later this year! =) Have fun with it!

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

We really used our dehydrator last year, it was working it's little tail off which is why we purchased a second. This one is much more powerful. It sits on the breakfast bar and while we can hear the fan, it doesn't interfere with anything. I love it so far.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Tonight I came home from work to the smell of strawberry all through the house. He found a deal and picked up a bunch, cleaned and sliced them before I got home and was already BBQing chicken. I've been on the mend after pulling out my back so he's been the worker bee all by himself.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

That's great. The book also shows me how to make granolas, sachets, crackers, etc. I'm excited to try all sorts of things. Share your tips and tricks if you have any.

Yahoobuckaroo's Blog said...

To Kathy or anybody else reading this since you all seem to know so much about food stuff: I like soft icecream during those 90 plus summer temps, but the price has totally gotten out of hand at fast food places. They all want $3 for a milkshake anymore. I can almost buy a gallon of milk for that! So I'm thinking of buying an icecream maker. Anybody know of a good inexpensive one? It would be great if it also made SOFT icecream. I don't know what goes into making soft icecream though or if it's possible to do at home, let alone for a reasonable price. If not, I'll settle for regular icecream.

Thanks

Bill

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I cheat on milkshakes! I don't like ice cream that much, it's OK but the only kind I really love is homemade, the first day, right out of the old hand cranked maker. So what do I do??? I buy vanilla ice cream and a little Hershey's chocolate syrup and put it in the blender, heavy on the milk so it's almost like very light chocolate milk with some smushy ice cream mixed in. I've even been known to mix it with a fork- yeah, it's that thin.

With that being said, Tom loves thick malts. You better be able to hold it upside down and then have to dig it out. And butterscotch is better.

I personally would invest in an electric basic mixer, only because I'm too old and broken up to hand crank; however, my neighbor got one of the pricier counter top, sleek models that makes yogurt or ice cream, enough for a meal or two for their family. For her it is worth the investment and she makes amazing flavors with whatever fruit she happens to have.

I'll see if anyone has any ideas.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Last year we used our dehydrator to make zucchini chips - they were yummy!

Nancy said...

We have an older dehydrator and I haven't used it lately -- my bad! I know you will enjoy yours.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Yes, we did too and seasoned them all sorts of ways!

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Today it's a bunch of bananas. So far pretty good.