This section is from the book "Save It For Winter.", by Frederick Fry Rockwell. Also available from Amazon: Save It For Winter; Modern Methods Of Canning, Dehydrating, Preserving And Storing Vegetables And Fruit For Winter Use, With Comments On The Best ... For Saving, And When And How To Grow Them.
Keeping in mind all that has been said in regard to the necessity for getting the product while young and tender, and using it immediately, the Various garden Vegetables may be dried according to the following directions. The time given is approximate, as the time required will vary and the product should be carefully watched during the process of dry ing, and taken off or kept on until it seems to be in the right condition, regardless of the length of time it has been under treatment.
Scrub thoroughly or peel, cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick, and dry.
Or: Boil in skins until nearly done; dip in cold water, remove skins, and slice or cube. Dry 2 1/2 to 3 hours, at 110 rising to 150 degrees F.
Remove stems and loose outer leaves, slice, blanch-with a pinch of soda in water-and dry as for cabbage.
Use firm heads of cabbage, re move loose outer leaves, and the inside core, slice remainder with sharp knife or krout cutter and dry.
Or: Prepare as above, shred into slices 2 or 3 inches long; blanch for ten minutes; and dry for 3 hours at 110 to 145 degrees F.
Wash, peel, cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick and dry.
Or: Scrape, pare, slice and blanch for about five minutes; dry off surface moisture and dry for 2 1/2 to 3 hours in the same temperature as for beets.
Use firm, clean heads; cut out the individual flowers; remove stems; blanch for six minutes; dry for 2 to 3 hours at 110 to 145 degrees. The product will turn black but will regain its natural color when re-soaked. Excellent for omelettes and soups.
Prepare carefully, while the whole leaves can be dried, a better product may be obtained by slicing before drying-especially beet tops, swiss chard, celery, etc., which have a thick stalk or stem as well as the leaf. Cut into sections about 1/4 inch long. Blanch, if desired, to help retain color.
Parsley, mint, sage, celery-tops, and so forth, are easily dried. Blanching is not necessary. Dry either whole or after slicing.
Blanch three minutes, with soda added to water-a teaspoonful to a gallon. Dry from 2 to 3 hours at 110 to 140 degrees. Young fruits may be dried whole. Older ones should be cut, after removing stem, into slices 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
Young and tender fruits may be dried on a string as suggested for peppers.
Remove loose, outside skin with roots and tops. Slice (under water if desired) into 1/8 inch pieces, loosen rings, and dry at once.
Or: wash, peel and slice and blanch for five minutes. Remove; dry off surface moisture, and dry from 2 1/2 to 3 hours at 110 rising to 140 degrees F. Leeks, on account of their different shapes, may be sliced into 1/4 inch strips, instead of being cut across.
Place peppers in pan in oven until skin loosens, or steam until skin is soft. Remove skin; cut in two; remove seed; and dry very slowly at a temperature of 110 in creasing to 140 degrees F. Very small varieties may be dried whole in the sun, or partly in the sun and finished in the drier, or strung on a string as suggested for beans.
Either white or sweet potatoes may be easily dried. This method is particularly good for sweet potatoes, which are rather hard to keep under ordinary conditions as compared to white potatoes.
Scrub thoroughly and boil or steam until nearly done. Remove jackets, and either pass through a meat grinder or a ricer, or slice into pieces about 1/4 inch square. Dry until quite brittle. Toast very slightly in open oven before storing.
Wash, skin leaf-stalks, and cut into pieces 1/4 to 1/2 inch in length. (Some people prefer the skin left on, which gives the rhubarb a pink appearance when cooked.) Blanch as briefly as desired to help retain color. Rhubarb, being one of the most prolific of all the garden vegetables, is usually wasted. This is an easy way to save it.
In drying, the different vegetables are not prepared together, as they are in canning, but each is dried separately. The dried products may be mixed in the proportions wanted, and stored in that way. Carrots, onions, celery, okra, potatoes, and cabbage are the vegetables most often used for this purpose. The proportions may be arranged, of course, according to taste.
Remove seeds and centers. Cut into pieces and pare these, and cut again into small strips or shreds about 1/4 inch thick and 2 inches long. Dry thoroughly.
Or: Cut into 1/2 inch strips; blanch for 3 minutes; and dry for 3 to 4 hours, the temperature rising from 110 to 140 degrees F.