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There are so many nutritious benefits to home flour milling! If you're intrigued by the idea of milling your own fresh home-ground flours, there's no better way to begin than with this fascinating book.
Wow, it is hard to believe that July is nearly over, meaning the summer is almost half over, as well as 2016 for that matter. Time flies when you are having fun, right?
For some of us summer is filled, not just with hot days and fun, but with an abundance of garden produce. Sharing our harvest with family and friends is always appreciated, but preserving it for later use allows you to enjoy the "fruits" of your labor throughout the year.
The best way to preserve much of your garden produce is to dehydrate it. Dehydration is the oldest form of food preservation and definitely the most nutritious. Depending on the drying temperature, as much as 97% of the nutrients and flavor, can be retained with dehydration compared to only about 60% with freezing and 40% with canning. In addition to the nutritional benefits, food dehydration has many practical advantages as well.
Removing the major portion of the water from food reduces spoilage while increasing the food's storability. Without water, most spoilage organisms simply cannot survive. Therefore most dehydrated foods have no special storage requirements. Once dried, the foods can generally be simply bagged in a resealable food storage bag and stored at room temperature. No refrigeration, freezing or abundant storage space for jars of food are needed with dehydrated foods. The resealable bags allow me to use as much or little out of the bag without breaking a seal. For longer storage, of course, vacuum sealed bags can be used, but is not necessary. (Tip - I label and date my bags of dehydrated foods and store them in one of my 6 gal buckets with a gamma lid for easy access. I try to keep fruits and milder foods in one bucket and the vegetables or stronger flavored foods, like onions in another.)
Removing the moisture from foods when dehydrating, not only concentrates the flavors of the foods, but also greatly reduces the weight and volume of the food, making delicious dehydrated foods easier to store and to transport and greatly reducing the space needed for storage. For example, 1 cup of freshly grated zucchini or carrots yields only about ¼ cup dehydrated. This means that the equivalent of about 16 cups of freshly grated zucchini, once dehydrated, can be stored in a 1 quart jar or food storage bag. Volume is drastically decreased once the water is removed through dehydration turning a whole cup of fresh spinach into just 1 tablespoon of dehydrated, powdered spinach which is so easy to add to a smoothie or pasta dough.
Dehydrating food is also easy and safe to do. No pressure canners or hot pots of water and jars needed. It is great way to get the whole family involved as the process is as simple as slicing, chopping or grating to desired size, then just spreading the prepared produce out on the dehydrator trays. Turn the dehydrator on, and it does the rest of the work for you.
Perhaps one of the most abundant vegetables in just about any garden is zucchini and it is perhaps one of my favorites to dehydrate.
Here are just a few ideas to help you use up that very versatile and prolific vegetable.
Grated Zucchini can be used in so many ways, such as zucchini bread, muffins and cakes as well as adding to soups and casseroles It is perfect to grate and dehydrate while in season for future use. For years, I froze my grated zucchini in food storage bags until I discovered the advantages of dehydration. Simply spread the freshly grated zucchini out on the dehydrator tray, set the dehydrator to the desired temperature and dry for 3-6 hours, depending on the temperature setting and how thinly the zucchini is spread on the tray. When dry it should be shriveled and slightly leathery. Once dehydrated, the zucchini can simply be bagged and used as desired. I use ¼ cup of dehydrated zucchini for each cup of fresh called for in a recipe. If used in baking, I rehydrate it by simply covering the dried zucchini with water while I am preparing my other ingredients. Then drain and add to my batter or dough. When adding to soups or stews, there is no need to rehydrate. It will rehydrate from the liquids in the soup.
Zucchini slices can marinated and dried for another delicious and easy way to prepare fresh zucchini. It can be eaten raw as a delicious vegetable treat or as, my favorite, in place of pepperoni on a pizza.
Roasted Red Pepper Zucchini Slices
Roasted Red The Pepper Spread mix by Market to Market is one of our favorite "go to" spices for meat rubs, dips and marinades. It is just one of several choices you can use, but it gives a rich flavor with just a slight bit of heat, similar to pepperoni.
2-4 Tbsp Roasted Red The Pepper Spread seasoning mix (I powder the mix in my Tribest Personal Blender so it sticks to the zucchini slices better)
In a large bowl, toss the zucchini slices with the salt and seasoning mix. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Spread the zucchini slices in single layers onto the dehydrator trays. Set it on the desired temperature. Let dry for 3-6 hours until completely dry. It should feel dry and crisp.
For a few baked goodies for all that zucchini try the Garden Harvest Bread on page 213 in my new book, The Essential Home Ground Flour Book by Sue Becker (item #09876) . It can easily be made using freshly grated vegetables and fruit or with dehydrated produce as well. It is delicious either way. Or go gluten free with the Chocolate Zucchini Amaranth Muffins on page 184. They are delicious!
My favorite dehydrator - the Excalibur 9 Tray Dehydrator (Item # 00584) - gives you 15 sq ft of drying space with a varying temperature control. It can also be used without the trays as a yogurt making incubator.
Order by July 22nd and get $10 off plus free shipping (Mention the July eBread newsletter if ordering by phone or in the store. On our web cart, use discount code "JULY2016" at checkout)
Real Bread Outreach
Spreading The Bread To Haiti - Update
Little did we know back in January when God told me "to cast my bread on many waters" that we would be returning to Haiti for a second time now in less than 6 months. Brad and I, along with our Pastor Jamie Powell from Morning Star Church in Canton and a great team from our church will be leaving for Haiti on Thursday July 14.
This trip proves to be very eventful - checking on a garden that was planted back in May by Pastor Jamie at an orphanage in Pouille. His team will be holding Bible school with the children while he and Brad build a chicken coop and install windows in the building where the children sleep.
I will stay part of the time in the town of Mirebalais to expand our bread baking endeavors. I will be working with an amazing young man, named Ricardo, who captured my heart on our first trip. He took a keen interest in the grain milling process and making bread with me. I later learned that he was enrolled and recently graduated from cooking school in Haiti. Since we left, Ricardo has been making bread for the 150 children in the orphanage, but only as funds have allowed. It is my hope to support Ricardo in his efforts. On this trip I will be baking bread with Ricardo as we learn from each other what kind of breads can best be made there from freshly milled whole grains. Ricardo, is 19 years old and has a heart for sharing the love of Jesus with others as well as meeting the physical needs, such as food, with the people in the surrounding areas. We would love to give him monthly support as fulltime facilitator of the bread ministry that has begun in Haiti. Most people live in poverty and starvation. This would give this bright young man a hope for a future and the means to care for others as he desires. I recently read in my devotion one morning, "You don't have to influence thousands of lives to make a difference. Maybe you are called to influence one person who will influence thousands." (Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson).
We have now shipped 6 electric grain mills, 3 hand grain mills, grain and other baking supplies to Haiti. So far, corn is being used to make muffins for the children as corn can be obtained locally. We hope to determine what kinds of additional grains should be supplied to meet the nutritional needs of the children.
Many of the village children come to the orphanages for school each day hungry and their stomachs hurt because they have nothing to eat at home. This affects their learning. We would like to make sure each child that attends one of the orphanage schools that we are supporting is fed something to eat, especially freshly milled whole grain bread, each day. Currently we are working with 3 ministries in Haiti - Global Vision Citadel Ministry (GVCM - where I will be staying), Christian Action Relief for Haiti (C.A.R.H.A) and Together For Christ (tfchaiti). These pastors are passionate about feeding the children in their care the most nutritious food possible - real bread! Combined they care for well over 1000 children.
God has put it in my heart to "Spread the Bread". It is my hope that as we meet the physical need of the hungry the doors will be opened to share real Bread of Life, Jesus Christ.
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you have been searching for me, not because you saw the miracles and signs, but because you were fed with the loaves and were filled and satisfied." John 6:26
It is easy to be overwhelmed in places like Haiti where the need is so great and our gifts seem so small. We may be a small group but Jesus fed over 5000 people with one boy's lunch.
Thank you for your continued support and prayers. We are working on updating the Real Bread Outreach website. If you would like to give to support this ministry, you can send your tax deductible donation to:
Real Bread Outreach 561 Dogwood Hills Lane Canton, GA 30115 We are a 501c3 non profit ministry
Co-ops are a great way to get your grains and other supplies that are just too expensive to ship any other way. Current co-op shipping rates range from 12 cents to 15 cents per pound (depending on distance from our warehouse) when we deliver on our own truck, compared to UPS rates that can be around 60 cents a pound!
We have over 100 co-op locations around the Southeast. Visit our website and find the co-op closest to you, our coordinators will be happy to welcome you into a co-op!