Showing posts with label DIY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DIY. Show all posts

Look What I Made: Apple Leather

So I can thank Hurricane Sandy for the opportunity to try this new recipe.  I'm a fan of my dehydrator as many of you know.  I've made potpourri and tea with it.  In September, I got into a conversation with someone who has been dehydrating for decades and he gave me some great tips that got me wondering what else I could do.  One idea was apple leather.  Fruit leather was what people made long before there was the classic (albeit unhealthy) child' snack, the Fruit Roll-Up.  It's a dehyrdated fruit mixture that is chewy and sweet (and much more healthy).

Thus with Sandy knocking out work for me for 2 days, one project I took to was making some apple leather and it came out pretty awesome.  I instantly bragged about it on Facebook and had a few people request the recipe.  So I figured I do one step better and capture it when I made it again.  So here it is.

Ingredients

  1. 1 Bag of Apples
  2. Rolled Oates (Optional)
  3. Pumpkin Spice (Optional)

Tools

  1. Large Pot
  2. Food precessor (or a really good masher)
  3. Dehydrator
  4. Parchment Paper

Directions

  1. Slice and decore the apples.
  2. Put sliced apples into large pot.
  3. Fill water to about 1 inch over the apples.
  4. Boil apples until mushy (10-15 or so minutes).
  5. Pour apple mush into food processor.
  6. Add 1 cup of rolled oates
  7. Add Pumpkin spice (or other relevant spices)
  8. Run processor until it's all mixed well (about 1 minute or so).
  9. Let cool for a few minutes (the sauce thickens while cooling).
  10. Line a dehydrator tray with parchment paper--1 layer preferably.
  11. Pour the apple sauce onto the parchment paper, try not to get it to more than 1 inch thickness.
  12. Add additional trays (usually 1-2 more depending on how thin you make it).
  13. Put on cover and start dehydrator. I generally do the highest temperature (about 155 F) but there's no set rule.
  14. When dried through, turn off dehydrator.
  15. Peel off parchment paper (should be relatively easy).
  16. Tear or cut into smaller pieces and store in dry air-tight container.

STEP BY STEP WITH PICTURES

Picture of Ingredients and Tools
Ingredients


Slice up apples and throw them in the pot
Slice up apples and throw them in the pot


Fill water to 1" over the apples and boil away.
Fill water to 1" over the apples and boil away.


Place apples and other ingredients into food processor
Place apples and other ingredients into food processor


Run the processor.
Run the processor.


Cover the dehydrator tray with parchment paper.
Cover the dehydrator tray with parchment paper.


Pour the apple sauce onto the parchment paper. (Note: I went too thick with this example)
Pour the apple sauce onto the parchment paper.
(Note: I went too thick with this example)


Turn on dehydrator; check occasionally to make sure that it is dehydrating evenly
Turn on dehydrator; check occasionally to make
sure that it is dehydrating evenly


20+ hours later; it should look like reddish and utterly dry.
20+ hours later; it should look like reddish and utterly dry.


When dehydrated, tear into small bite-size pieces and store in an air-tight container.  ENJOY!
When dehydrated, tear into small bite-size pieces
and store in an air-tight container.  ENJOY!




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Look What I Made: Potpourri

So recently, I came into an abundance of wonderfully smelling flowers in vases that were starting to enter into the decay stage.  Rather than let them go to waste or try to hang them upside down to dry them out (my cats would have had a field day with that!), I decided to use my dehydrator and make some potpourri.  It was a pretty easy process and makes for a wonderful olfactory delight in the apartment.

So here's how I did it:
Flowers:  Step 1:  Bring the flowers together and find a container to put the pedals in.
Step 1:  Bring the flowers together and find a container to put the pedals in.

Flower pedals: Step 2:  Remove pedals from stems and place in bowl. Do your best to mix them up with all the other pedals.
Step 2:  Remove pedals from stems and place in bowl. Do your best to mix them up with all the other pedals.

Pedals in the dehydrator.  Step 3:  Spread out the pedals on the dehydrator trays. Fill the tray so that there's ample overlap.
Step 3:  Spread out the pedals on the dehydrator trays. Fill the tray so that there's ample overlap.

Dehydrated pedals. Step 4:  Run the dehydrator (temperature and times may vary, but continue until pedals are crunchy).
Step 4:  Run the dehydrator (temperature and times may vary, but continue until pedals are crunchy).

Bagged dehydrated pedals. Step 5:  Place the mix in an air-tight contain--preferably one in which you can press out any extra air.
Step 5:  Place the mix in an air-tight contain--preferably one in which you can press out any extra air.

Aroma lamp.  Step 6:  Find an aroma lamp that works well for you. (It can be run by tea lights or light bulbs)
Step 6:  Find an aroma lamp that works well for you. (It can be run by tea lights or light bulbs)

Aroma lamp with pedals. Step 7:  Place dried flowers in the cap. Add a non-scented oil (or even water) and enjoy the delightful smells.
Step 7:  Place dried flowers in the cap. Add a non-scented oil (or even water) and enjoy the delightful smells.

Pretty simple, quick to do, cheap, and a great way to upcycle flowers and keep their usage going long after they've hit their peak.  Enjoy and let me know if you've tried it!


Creative Commons License
By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Look What I Made: Tea

This post has been brought to you by Skillshare, Homestead Survival, and Frugal Sustainable.  And by that, I mean these sites regular updates and encouragement to make and to share got me to start trying it out.  And it's kinda fun!

So what am I'm making and sharing today?  Tea.  Really good tea too that doesn't really need anything added to it.  Tea is the major drink of choice throughout the world and has a long history with many different cultures throughout the world.  I was never really much of a tea drinker, unless you could the inundated sugary drinks that come in glass or plastic bottles.  

A year or two back, I was intrigued by the idea of an edible landscape discussed in the book, Made by Hand by Mark Frauenfelder.  I was equally intrigued by Dickson Despommier's The Vertical Farm.  Both of these had me thinking about the ways in which I could make the landscape that I live in, be both useful and aesthetically intriguing.  It would mean not just pouring in time and money to landscape the yard, but doing so in a way that produced rewards beyond aesthetics.  So I started tinkering with creating an edible landscape.  

I've got a way to go, but one project I've been working on is encouraging the growing of mint in some places, instead of grass or other things.   This has been nice and led me to go further and create a good size herb garden that I plan to develop further.  But all of it has led me to have a whole lot of mint available.  After talking with a few friends, the idea of making a tea out of it was hit upon, since I have the dehydrator.  Thus, I ventured into making tea and finding that I actually really like it.  What I've created is refreshing and tasty and pretty easy to make large amounts of.  

My ingredients include using sweet mint, peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, and stevia.  The mints are hardy perennials that once you plant, you can expect to come up year after year.  I recommend always picking the big leaves and doing this at least once a week.  It often delays the blossoming process (though I don't know if that has an effect on the quality of the leaves).
Sweet mint plant.
Sweet Mint

Chocolate mint plant.
Chocolate Mint (Plant
purchased at Home Depot) 


Stevia plant.
Stevia
Peppermint plant
Peppermint


Washing mint leaves.
Step 1:
Pick leaves and wash.
STEP 1:  So the first thing is to pick them.  This is the 2nd most tedious step in the process.  The higher the leaf is on the stem, the more careful you want to be and use 2 hands.  1 hand to stabilize the top of the stem, and the second to tear the leaf at the base.  Don't pull from the end of the leaf; you're likely to tear the leaf OR take the top of the plant off.  

Laying out mint leaves in the dehydrator.
Step 2:
Lay them out on the
Dehydrator
 STEP 2:  Lay them out on the dehydrator plates.  This is the most tedious part of the venture and I'd lie if I didn't say I sometimes don't lay them out so neatly.  More than picking, if you're careful about the layout, it is likely to be the most time-consuming process.  

Laying out mint leaves in the dehydrator.
Step 3:
Fill up each rack 
Step 3:  Even if you're going to not be as deliberate in the lay out, make sure you have spaced them out to some degree so that they dehydrate evenly.
   
Removing dried mint leaves from the dehydrator
Step 4:
Dehydrate until they are crisp
Step 4:  Dehydrate.  This can take from 3-6 hours depending on how high you put the setting, but you don't have to be present for this.  Just turn it on and go.   I check in usually around the 4 hour mark and see if they are crispy and crunchy to the touch.  If so, I take them out; otherwise, I let it keep going.


Removing dried mint leaves from the dehydrator
Step 5:
Remove the dried leaves



Step 5:  Once done, turn off the dehydrator and start collecting the leaves.  



Storing dehydrated mint leaves.
Step 6:
Place in airtight container
Step 6:  Empty all the leaves into a container that you can seal.  You can choose to crunch them up now or later, but it's best if you do crush them as some point.

Making mint tea with dehydrated leaves.
Step 7:
Add crushed leaves
and water into an
pitcher & shake.
Place in Fridge for
24+ hours.
Step 7:  When it's time to make the tea, figure out a formula (which takes time and testing.  I usually do about 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup of leaves per 2 liters.  But I'm still in the experimental stage.  Toss in the leaves, toss in the water.  Shake it up good and put in the fridge for at least 24 hours (I often go longer because I forget or am finishing the last batch).

Sifting tea leaves out of homemade tea.
Step 8:
Pour mix into other container
using strainer to catch leaves
Step 8:  When done, use a strainer and pour out the tea into another contained.  I would recommend straining at least 2 more times to try to get all the leaves, but that's a personal preference.

Storing homemade tea.
Step 9:
Strain at least 2X
Put drink in Fridge.
Step 9:  When done, pour yourself a cup and put the rest in the fridge.  I don't know about staying times, but my tea has been in the fridge for over a week and still tastes great.

Storing homemade tea.
Some leaves will remain.
It won't destroy the drink.
Note:  There will be residual tea leaves--too small for a strainer.  That's perfectly fine.  It's not harmful in any capacity.

Homemade tea.
Enjoy!



Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email. 

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.