Posted by: Rachel | August 10, 2013

harness that sun! (part 3)

It’s that time again…

Summer in Texas is not a season for the faint of heart. However, it does have one upside, in my opinion. It may be a stretch, but there is one thing that August is good for here and that is dehydrating food in my car.

You know about this, we’re already done jujube dates and cherry tomatoes. This year, though, since our daytime temperatures are pretty consistently in the low hundreds (38/39 C) and the drought shows no signs of breaking, I’m doing several kinds of fruit!

frozen blueberries on cookie sheet in car

frozen in time

I started off with blueberries. I had a pint in the freezer (fresh blueberries freeze beautifully, just rinse, dry and freeze) and decided to put them out without thawing them. It worked a treat! I just put them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and set them on the dashboard. They didn’t stand a chance!

They took about two and a half days to go from that to this:

dried blueberries

blueberry bombs

They’re delicious little sweet/sour bombs of flavor. The dried blueberries I get at the store are sweeter and slightly oily somehow, but these have nothing added at all.

I washed them before I froze them so I didn’t do anything to them before I put them in the car. They are slightly chewy and you can just about feel the antioxidants and all that other good stuff bursting in your mouth. And they hold their blueberry flavor – sweeeet and tart. Mmmmmmm!

mangos drying in car

mango-rama!

Since they were done so quickly and we still have plenty of warm days (warm, she says, cough cough…) to come, I moved on to the next fruit on my list – mango. I wasn’t sure how sweet they would be or if they would keep their color and not brown, but these are wonderful!

I cut some of the mango with a vegetable peeler and some with just a knife. The only suggestion I can offer, should you decide to try this at home, is that (as for any project of this kind) it works best if all the fruit or veg is roughly the same thickness.

It won’t actually matter other than the thinner stuff is ready sooner. So basically I can nosh in my car for several days as each thickness is “done”. Mmmmm, I say again!

I wonder (and perhaps some of you can tell me), does it count as “raw” if it is dried? I’m thinking yes as there’s no actual “cooking” involved…

Once this batch of mango is finished I plan to try sliced carrots. Why not? And I’m wondering about kale “chips”. Hmmmmm… the car may not be hot enough for that but I’m curious and willing to give it a shot. Stay tuned!

Meantime, I will tell you that while I have never gotten sick from food I’ve dried this way it is purely up to you if you want to try it. My car holds at pretty much 160F steady, unless I actually have to drive somewhere in which case I open the windows!

Also, that cookie sheet will be HOT! Be careful moving it if you need to use your car as, well, a car, but do move it so you don’t end up with a lap-full of hot cookie sheet and whatever you’re drying at the moment!

If you’re crazy curious enough to try this, do let us know, OK? Meantime, keep cool!!

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Responses

  1. Great idea if you have an extra car you never use…….

    Date: Sat, 10 Aug 2013 18:06:47 +0000 To: jodielew@msn.com

    • Or if, like me, you don’t have to drive all the time. No “spare” car here – just one that smells like blueberries and mango! Mmmmmm…

  2. Love the idea of you sitting in your car with snacks to hand!

    • And *healthy* snacks at that! 😉

  3. One summer, a long time ago, I accidentally left a bunch of fresh dill in my car … my car has never smelled so good! I need to give your method a try!

    • Dill – Wow I bet that car *did* smell good! Mmmmmm…

  4. You certainly do make the most of the hot weather in Texas. Not only do you get healthy snacks but your car smells good. 🙂

    • Yup. Glad August here has *one* upside, anyway! And I tried carrots and they were wonderful! Tomorrow, perhaps zucchini…

      • You are something else…you are definitely finding a positive side to the heat.

      • Nothing gained by griping, hey? Stilllll… 107F yesterday!! Ow!

  5. fantastic.. we have the sun but the temps are still mild out here in illinois, i am making blueberry ice cream though!! c

    • Blueberry ice cream? Sign me up!! Mmmmmmm!!


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