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I am moving most of my blogging back to my livejournal over at fiddledragon.livejournal.com…it just makes more sense for it all to be in one place, and then I can use my assorted happy Digger icons :-)

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Interesting

I just got my first interest payment from Microplace!  I am now $1.78 richer ;-)

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Warm Fuzzies

I’m using part of my charity fund this iteration to buy delicious green wool to spin up and send to Afghanistan.  Or when a4A doesn’t have a drive going, I may also make things for Warm Woolies, a similar charity distributing to tribal reservations in the US and orphanages in Central Asia and Russia.  I shall make hats.  Lots and lots of warm hats.  Today I ordered some Icelandic wool in green and brown pencil roving (very very thin roving that you can just spin up as-is) that should work out to a couple pounds of yarn in only a few hours spinning.  When I say Icelandic, I mean not only the breed of sheep, but that it is actually from Iceland.  With remarkably cheap shipping for being from Iceland.  And very reasonably-priced wool.  Icelandic wool is not the softest in the world, but it’s not too coarse, is amazingly warm, and is water-resistant.  This will keep small children’s heads warm and dry :-)

This week’s schedule has been weird.  I’ve totally lost track of what day of the week it is.  It was the “weekend”, then it wasn’t the weekend, then it was the weekend, and now it will never be the weekend again. (Counting days where I’m being paid to be busy and days where I’m paying Simmons to be busy, I will be working for eight days straight.)

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More jars

– 4 pints and one 10-oz jar corn-tomato salsa

– 5 half-pint jars watermelon jelly (I hope…otherwise it’s watermelon…um…flavoring syrup?)  Edit: Yeah, the little leftover bit that I stuck in the fridge doesn’t seem to be setting.  But I bet one of those half-pint jars would nicely flavor a pitcher of seltzer for homemade soda :-)  I wonder what’s up with my pectin problems?  It’s supposed to last more or less indefinitely and I think I put it in at the right time this batch.

– Some experimental slices of watermelon in the dehydrator.  Yes, you can evidently dry watermelon.  It concentrates the sugars and gets intensely sweet.  This concept amuses me.

Note to self: do not clean the kitchen floor in the middle of canning season.  I mean, get the macroscopic gunk and spills off it, but wait to actually scrub until you’re not planning to coat it in corn and watermelon juice the next day.

(And yes, I have the day off again.  I work on Saturday and Sunday this week.  And Labor Day.  I am not exactly thrilled with this plan, but I enjoy food and rent.)

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What To Do With Dried Zucchini

Because that’s one of the most common search terms used to find this blog, and I don’t think any of the other posts really give it a thorough treatment :-)

To make dried zucchini:

– Slice your zucchini into thin rounds or slices — about 1/8 inch works well.  This is most easily done with a mandoline, but you can also use a vegetable peeler, grater, or knife.

– Put slices on dehydrator trays or on parchment paper.  Set them in your electric or solar dehydrator, or in the oven on “warm” (prop the door open a little).  In a good electric dehydrator in reasonably dry weather, they dry in about five hours.  In wet weather and/oror substandard equipment, it may take longer.  Keep them in until they are brittle.  Pay particular attention to the seeds, as they will take longer to dry than the rest of the slice.

– Keep in a sealed container in a cool dry place.  Check them every few days for mold — if it’s been a couple weeks and they don’t mold, they’re probably fine.

What to do with the zucchini:

  • Sprinkle a little salt or other seasonings on them and eat like chips while they’re still very brittle.  If this will be your primary use for the things, you can season the slices before you dry them, so it will stick better.
  • Sprinkle cheese on them and toast until the cheese melts for a tasty snack.
  • You could probably deep-fry them if you were quick enough with a fryer to get them out before they burned, but I have never attempted this.  It would probably be easier to just fry them *instead* of drying.
  • Throw in vegetable soup and cook until they rehydrate.  Rehydrated zucchini slices will be a bit chewier than fresh ones; in many applications, this is an advantage.  They’ll almost never go mushy like fresh squash sometimes does.
  • Rehydrate in warm broth, then use in casseroles or lasagna.
  • Grind or chop them up and use as part of homemade instant soup powder
  • Add powdered dried zucchini to sauces, veggie burgers, or bread for extra vegetabley goodness.

This will, of course, also work with yellow squash or other assorted cucurbits.  Does anyone else do anything nifty with dried squash?

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Productive day off

I had the day off from work today because this is Wacky Schedule Week, and so far I’ve been very productive!  I finished spinning delicious Blue-Faced Leicester wool, then made three more afghan squares, then went to the thrift store.  At the thrift store I got frustrated with pants, but then found…several…wool sweaters (I lost count) one damaged but not felted cashmere sweater that I’m going to dismember and make other things out of, one warm, water-resistant, and extremely yellow anorak, and rather a lot of yarn.  Good-quality cotton and silk yarn.  Probably at least 50 or 60 dollars worth, that I paid about 8 dollars for.

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Preserving summer

Finally, we’re getting enough of a share to preserve!  So far I have:

1/2 gallon or so dried hearty greens

1 gallon dried zucchini

Dried 1 pint fresh raspberries; still in dehydrator

5 6-oz jars raspberry-peach compote (was going to be jam, but I messed up the pectin)

Raspberry-peach popsicles with rice milk

Upcoming: tomato-corn salsa and Doing Something With That Watermelon

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