My newest toy is a dehydrator - an inexpensive one since I don't know how often I will use it. So far I have dried tomatoes, which came out well. Tonight I am trying banana chips for my son and a friend. I didn't realize until I started looking for recipes that most of the commercially available banana chips are deep fried and coated in honey - so much for a healthy snack! I found a great tip on spraying lemon juice on the slices instead of dipping them, so we will see how the truly healthy banana chips turn out in the dehydrator. Tomorrow I have to pick some peppers :-) ... a branch on one of the bell peppers broke under the weight of four bells - still green unfortunately. I may dehydrate them for use this winter in salads, soups, etc.
I have canned tomatoes for years, but last year started expanding my repetoire. Relishes, pickles, pepper vinegars, freezing tomatoes instead of canning. It is amazing the sense of accomplishment one feels when opening a freezer or pantry full of homegrown food you have put up yourself. You can spend a fortune on all the latest gadgets or do it more frugally as I have - I bought a water bath canner years ago, purchased a simple food saver pump and bags when they were on sale at the grocery and have gone to town. I am going to try dehydrating some of the last San Marzano paste tomatoes along with some green peppers to bag together for winter sauces.
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