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My tremendously supportive husband & I have 3 wonderful children, 1 dog, 12 laying hens, 2 dairy goats, 3 bee hives, and a 2000 sq foot vegetable garden on a small 1/4 acre lot in the city. In the center of it all is our small 1,000 sq foot house purchased in 2008 as a foreclosure that we fully renovated to host our growing family, home school adventures, and small home business (CozyLeaf.com). We have a desire to learn a path to self sufficiency finding ways to be good stewards of the resources God has given us. We want to learn to live with less as we laydown roots to our little homestead.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dehydrating Celery

Dehydrating celery has been quite simple :) We had about 30+ heads of celery come from the garden this year and I cut them all down and it has been a several day slow process to get them ready for drying. I gave away quite a few heads of celery and canned up some into a vegetable mix, I also froze 2 gallons of cut pieces...but then the rest was saved for dehydrating! I sure wish I would have taken better pictures of the process, but I didn't.
This could easily be done in a day, but I'm starting to spread out my projects and not have high expectations for finishing them super fast!
Harvest, Clean and Cut your celery (into 1/2" pieces). Soak in water and baking soda for about 10 minutes or so (to preserve the color), I used a large travel cooler to wash and soak all of our celery pieces. Drain and pat everything dry and get ready to start drying them. At this point I put all my pieces of cleaned celery into the refrigerator because it was getting late at night and I didn't want to mess up because I was so exhausted and couldn't think straight! It actually ended up being a couple days later before I got around to dehydrating the pieces, but it didn't affected the outcome! Place all your pieces onto your dehydrating screens. Directions said: Dehydrate 18 hours at 100 degrees. I actually ended up using my oven for this dry set and had it on convection 170 degrees, I ran the oven for about 3 hours and then got a little too nervous to let it run through the night so I shut it off and started it up the next morning. I was glad I did because this seemed to work quite well and alot of the pieces were quite dry just from a partial drying and then resting overnight. I ran the convection for another 2 hours at 170 and then let it rest again and started it up for 1 last run of about 2 hours.
This sure wasn't the best organized method, nor did I follow directions too well, but 7 hours of electrical usage is better than 18.
I am shocked with how well they dried! I am always amazed at how much space is saved by dehydrating!! I am becoming more and more fond of dehydrating! I had 4 packed trays of celery and in the end it all easily fit in the middle of 1 tray and was all nicely tucked into 1 quart sized canning jar!

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