Preserving Heirlooms

Interesting title…..I struggled with what to call this weeks blog entry, and this appealed to me because it can refer to two of my favorite pastimes…vintage jewelry and gardening.  In terms of jewelry, heirlooms would be pieces passed down from generation to generation.  It has a similar meaning in gardening.  Heirloom vegetables are grown from seeds which have been passed down from generation to generation.  Heirlooms are not crossed with other varieties, and the “children” are true to the parent type.   Some heirloom seeds can be traced to ancient times.

Probably 90% of the seeds I plant in my garden are heirloom vegetables.  There are many sources for heirloom seeds but my favorite is Baker Creek.   Two examples that  I grew this year are Danvers Half Long Carrot and Milan Purple Top Turnip.

In the past , my preservation attempts have centered mostly on canning and freezing.  However, three years ago my husband bought me a great dehydrator for my birthday.  I used it the first year to make Jerky and cinnamon apple rings, and since then , it hasn’t seen much use.  When I had extra carrots and turnips to take care of, I thought that I should give the dehydrator a go once again.

I sliced the carrots and turnips about 1/4 inch thick and placed them on the trays.

Most vegetables will dry nicely at 125 degrees, and so it is for carrots and turnips.  I gave them about 14 hours drying time.

I had about a pound each of carrots and turnips, and filled almost four trays.

After 14 hours of drying, you can see how much they have reduced in size!

I placed them in Ball freezer jars, and stored them in the basement with my canned goods.

You can reconstitute these with water (or with chicken broth for a more savory flavor) or put them right into soups or stews.

I’ll let you know how it turns out when I use them!

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3 Responses to Preserving Heirlooms

  1. Fen. says:

    I love banana chips in the dehydrator! Haven’t tried carrots or turnips.

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