07/30/2012 @ 7:51am

This Spring has been tough on our fruit trees. It was unusually dry and when the trees put out their leaves, there wasn't water to sustain all of them. A lot of the leaves and fruit dropped off and even some branches died back. After that, the month of June was at near record coolness. The early bearing cherries and plums were minimal.  Only the apple trees seem to be doing well.

As the rains have increased along with the temperature, I see that some of the fruit trees are recovering their leaves. We'll wait for next year for the fruit.

The lesson learned is water the fruit trees when it's dry, even if they're 15' tall.
We have been doing a greater variety of dehydrating projects. Part of is due to the fact we are using more dehydrated foods and part of it is that we have more foods to process.

We have been making prunes from plums and raisins from grapes. They are not exactly like the ones you get in the grocery store as they tend to get a little dryer and chewier.  They have a stronger flavor and not quite as sweet and so they are tasty in baking or even for snacking.  

Another big project has been preserving herbs. Sarah picks the leaves off the stems and places them in the dehydrator. The dried leaves then take a few seconds in the blender to finely mince. We have pints and quarts of our favorite spices enough to last through till next year.

We put peaches in the dehydrator and our apples will be going in soon. Watermelon and cantaloupe are great too!

We have two Air Preserve II dehydrators with extra trays and one smaller model. We put them in the greenhouse to keep the warm moist air out of the house. This works out very well for us as we can process a bushel of apples or tomatoes in two-three days. The trays are easy to clean as they can just go in the
dishwasher, a couple at a time.

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