Our yellow squash plants are producing like crazy, so we had the opportunity yesterday to try out our new dehydrator and new vacuum sealer. New kitchen toys = wheeeeee!!
The four packages in the top row contain squash chips — thinly-sliced and salted yellow squash that was dehydrated, and which can be eaten like potato chips. That’s nine trays’ worth of dehydrated squash, which was something like ten or eleven raw squash.
The packages in the bottom row are the squash that wouldn’t fit in the dehydrator — my hubby blanched and froze them. They’ll be good cooked and tossed with butter or olive oil, or added to soups or stews. That was another six or seven squash.
And there are more on the vines ready to be picked!! I’ll be doing some more dehydrating tomorrow ;-).
Our dehydrator is the Excalibur 9-Tray 3900 (no timer), purchased through Excalibur’s website. Our vacuum sealer is a Food Saver V3460, purchased at Bed Bath & Beyond using a 20% off coupon, which you can get when you first sign up to be on their email list. I plan to purchase the wide-mouth jar sealer, which BB&B did not have, so that we can make use of the bazillion mason jars we have around here, which can be re-used time and again, unlike the Food Saver bags. We love the dehydrator and the vacuum sealer, both, and look forward to getting plenty of use out of them this growing season!!
I’m making use of the vacuum sealer to take larger quantities of items that are in our freezer and putting them into more useful portion sizes. Today I took what was left in our gallon pail of Tropical Traditions organic unsweetened coconut flakes (it was about one-fourth to one-third full still) and packaged up eighteen packages of 1/4-cup servings of coconut flakes. They’ll stay fresher longer in the small vacuum-sealed packages, as compared to being in the big pail.
I’ll do the same thing with the organic raw walnuts and the organic raw almonds in our freezer — they are the BEST-tasting walnuts I’ve ever had! but I’ve been too chicken to try the almonds yet — the potential for my body to negatively react in some way or another to them is high and I’m not willing, yet, to suffer the consequences if they don’t work out for me. So I’ll package the nuts up into small serving sizes and then they’ll stay fresh in our freezer for a good long while.
The vacuum sealer overheats quickly, so during the times when I was waiting for it to cool off enough to be ready to work again, I took my camera out back and had fun taking some snapshots.
I’d never really been around chickens before we got our own, and I’m still, eight months later, in awe of the beauty of their feathers:
Don’t let their beauty fool you, though — survival of the fittest is very much a part of their lives! They will peck each other in order to steal a juicy morsel (worm, beetle, moth, whatever) right out of the other’s mouth. One day my hubby watched one of them attack a sparrow that’d landed inside the pen/garden area to eat some grain. If they see you holding something that appears to them to be edible, they’ll jump and flap to try to snatch it out of your hands. I’m thinking that I don’t want to have an “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” moment around those girls ;-) . . . can you imagine calling Life-Alert and explaining THAT scenario!!
For Mother’s Day, my fellas surprised me with this huge, beautiful set of windchimes:
On the days the weather’s been nice enough to have the doors open, I’ve so enjoyed listening to the music of these chimes. They remind me of what I would expect to hear in a Buddhist temple. They bring a sense of relaxation and peace, when I hear them ever so softly chiming. I really do get the best Mother’s Day gifts from my fellas!!