Tuesday, October 29, 2013
A visit with Dave...in person!
Earlier this month we went to Texas to meet with Dave and look things over and plan out our next book in the food preserving series and a few other projects we thought up.
A lot of the conversation was about our various food preserving experiments. Dave's house is like a museum of food preserving and it's results.
Cooked, dehydrated, and vacuum-sealed sausage patties. He sent some of these home with us and we munched on them in the car. Delicious, and no one got sick. I don't remember how old he said these were, but he'd eaten some that were older and never gotten sick.
Christmas pudding, which is essentially fruitcake.
It's from last Christmas...almost a year ago. It was tender and moist when we opened it and sampled it. I just recently found out, while doing the "Beets" chapter in our upcoming book that some of the 'fruit' in here was actually beets! They had been canned with sugar, then dehydrated a year later.
Homemade bread that Dave made.
I think it had acorn meal in it, but it might have been the other
homemade bread we had while there.
Dehydrated slices of cheese. This was an experiment I asked Dave to do last winter while we were working on the our book Preserving Meat, Dairy, and Eggs
It's interesting to me that it doesn't scorch on the outside against the jar.
What a great way to have instant desserts!
Texas is a cactus paradise. If the world falls apart, they can eat off those cactus
that grow like weeds all through the woods and roadsides! What a wonderful bounty of foraged food.
We wrote about this in our book, Preserving Fruits, Nuts, and Seeds
I never heard of watermelon preserves, watermelon syrup, or candied watermelon
until I met Dave. He wastes nothing on a food he's working with.
Cream of Chicken soup
Can you imagine even thinking of dehydrating cream soups! Brilliant!
I'm a big fan of dehydrated foods because they take up less room and I don't have to worry about them freezing. I should be opening cans and dehydrating things, one after the other, to eliminate the risk of losing food to freezing. We heat our cabin here in NW Montana with firewood and the back rooms get pretty cold when it's below zero. Dehydrating food is a great answer to the problem
of canned goods freezing.
This lid says "parsley" on it, and below that it says canned greens.
It's dried carrot tops that Dave sprinkles in soups and stuff like dried parsley.
Another one of those "Who would have thought?" moments!
Chili with beans
This really is chili. Complete chili, cooked, put in a food processor, and dried.
He cooked some for us, only he also added some cooked, dried beans to give it
some 'texture', even though there are beans in the chili in the jar. It's not chili powder.
It's powdered chili, the soup!
Leftovers often get canned in Dave's house. He has a refrigerator, but it's more likely to be used for food waiting to be preserved or ingredients for experiments.
Dave makes this as a stomach ache remedy. I can't remember how he said
he made it, so I'll check with him, then edit this post.
Dave's version of canned cheese. Looks just like mine, only I use cheddar cheese.
We have a post on this blog that gives directions for canning cheese
and in our book ( Preserving Meat, Dairy, and Eggs )
When Dave gets enough of it, he cans it to preserve it. Then it's handy when
he needs it, without taking up space in the refrigerator. He stores it where it's
dark and cool so it doesn't get a rancid flavor.
Another one of the ways he uses watermelon. His candied watermelon rinds are
excellent too but I don't have a picture of them.
Fresh acorns on the left, acorn meal on the right.
This is one of the processes we described in Preserving Fruits, Nuts, and Seeds .
I know I'm putting our book links in here a lot today. We put a lot of free information on this blog, but we also spend months working on the books we publish. You can continue to read whatever is on this blog for free, but some things are just in the books. It's only fair to hope for some sales to compensate for all the hours of preserving, experimenting, taking pictures, and writing. But no one is under any obligation to go buy the books.
This is the best of all! I love Dave's pickled cranberries, better than the recipe I had!
He gave us this half-gallon jar and another one that was still half full.
I lived on those and the dehydrated sausage on the 3-day drive home! Mmmm-mmm!
(They're in the Fruit/Nut/Seed book)
My jaw dropped. Dave canned chicken nuggets!
He used the dry-canning technique for meat...and made canned chicken nuggets!
I am SO going to try this! What a great food to have on hand, especially if you don't have refrigerator. Here on our off-grid homestead I can see these being
a huge treat when the grandkids visit!
I feel especially blessed to have a friend like Dave. His hard-working and peaceful nature make him a pleasure to be around, and his knowledge of gardening, food, and food preservation is a wealth in itself. We loved spending time with him and his family, who are every bit as wonderful as he is.
We consider them family, and I hope you do too. Thanks, Dave.
Please leave comments and questions below or at firstname.lastname@example.org
What? You're asking if I took a picture of DAVE while I was there?
It depends. Do you mean before, or after, midnight?
rotfl (rolling on the floor laughing!)