Friday, July 2, 2010

Dehydrating Okra & Putting up Tomato's

Well folks, it's definitely summer.  Which means lots of tomato's and Okra coming on. The summer vegetables that keep on giving and giving.....
I won't be doing any canning this year.  Funny that I sure am going to miss it.  About this time of the year most years I have the canner going daily and the dehydrator running 24/7.  And every year I think OMG I will be so glad when all this is done! 

Some of you might not have tried a couple of things I am going to talk about here today.  Alot of you probably have.  Canning tomato's is really not all that hard to do.  As a matter of fact it was the very first thing I learned to put up.  All you need is a water bath canner, a pot of boiling water, a sink of cold water, some jars and lids(toss these in some hot water to get the seal "sticky"),a little salt (if you want) and of course Tomato's!  The hardest part of it all is figuring out just what kind of tomato's you want to can.  Most of the time I just end up cutting the tomato's up in quarters or there about and decide later on what I want to do with them.  Get your water boiling in the canner and another pot for blanching your tomato's.  I sterilize my jars in the canner while I am doing the tomato dunking but any way you want to sterilize your jars is fine.  When the water in the dunking pot is boiling, toss off a few tomato's in there just until you can see the skin on them "loosening" a little bit.  Usually about 45 sec to a minute.  Take them out of the boiling water and dunk them in the cold sink water. (I like to use ice water but its not necessary)  Peel off the skins (they should slip right off) core them and cut them how ya want.  Put the tomato pieces in the hot jars and fill to about a 1/2 inch from the top.  Put the lids on the jars and place them in the water bath canner (make sure the water covers the tops of the jars) for 25-30 minutes.  Take them out and place them on a towel on the counter and let them cool.  You should start hearing that beautiful "ping" of the lids soon after.  That's it.... Easy Yes?

Another great way to "put up tomato's is to dehydrate them. You can blanch them and skin them if you want or leave the skins on. There are a few things you can do to prepare them but I'm just going to say that I don't peel mine or do the squeezing of the seeds out.  I slice the tomato's thin and as evenly as I can and place them on the dehydrator trays and turn that baby on.  Check back in a few hours to see your progress.  You want them dry and not tacky to the touch. They will be kind of leathery.When they are done,  I put my dried tomato's in canning jars and use my vacuum sealer to close them but you don't have to.  They will store just fine in ziplock baggies if that is what you have.  They can be used to make anything from tomato's for soups and stews, to tomato paste and tomato sauce.   For tomato paste and tomato sauce I use my blender to make a tomato powder(because I don't have a food processor) and just add water to the desired consistency. Again... Easy Right? 

And now for Okra. In the south it is the plant that keeps on giving, and giving and giving.......

I personally don't care for okra all that much unless it is fried. Mars likes me to put up a few jars of pickled okra and so I do a few.  I'm still experimenting on a recipe I want to stick with so I don't have one to share with you here.  I have done them like dill pickles and also put up some with some peppers included for some spicy ones for him.  There are tons of recipes on the internet.  Knock yourself out.  I don't can okra as we don't care for it all that much.  As I said we pretty much eat fried okra.  And that is how I came up with the idea to dehydrate okra!  We had tons of it.  If you have raised okra you know what I mean. It multiplies seemingly overnight. 
I cut up my okra in even pieces like I am going to fry it and then I season it with Tony's Seasoning while its still in the bowl.  Then I spread it out onto my dehydrator trays.  Don't worry about trying to separate it , its almost impossible what with the slime and all.  Just try to get it in one layer and then season it again.   Let it dry for several hours until it is "crispy". Then try one!  They are good!  Put it up in jars or baggies until you are ready to rehydrate it.  Here's something alot of people don't know..... dried okra makes really good "snacks".  Eat them dry like you would chips or peanuts or whatever!  Really tasty! 
When you are sitting around next winter and wish you could have a yummy plate of fried okra just add water.  It will rehydrate easily.  Even down to the "slime".  Then just cook it like you would cook the fresh stuff.

And there you have it folks.... It doesn't get much easier than that right?  And easy should be my middle name when it comes to doing stuff like this! 


  1. not a big okra fan, but I'd try the dried snacks! Last year I dried my summer squash (no seasoning) and heard that you could eat it like a chip. I loved it! I've the only one who really likes it (except for grandson), so I'm going to add a bit of seasoning when I dry them...I'm even growing a dreaded zucchini to do the same thing with.

  2. I love okra! I never knew you could dry it..duh Ours is just now coming in so guess what I am going to do today!!

  3. Thanks Sci :)
    You make it sound easy. The way my tomato plants are going wild; I may have to try some of your canning advice.

    Okra,no thank you, I'll pass. :D

    (I did remember to take note of the post time. LOL!)

  4. Sci--When I can tomatoes, after I slip the skins off, I save the skins and put them in the dehydrator and dry them out to the point where I can grind them up for tomato powder. Heck, dry up the odds and ends from lots of veggies and fruits and make powder from them...powders can be used for loads of things!

  5. OK this may sound silly but, if I dry the tomatoes and zuchini & store in jars or baggies, wil they need refridgerated? I've canned many a tomato in the past but this year am jumping into dehydrating so zuccs are next

  6. I don't know what happened to Katidid's comment.. it seems to have disappeared into the blogosphere... To answer your question though Kati... You do not need to refrigerate any of these. Just keep in a dark cool place and they will be fine.

  7. I am dehydrating okra and roma's today I used the above recipie last year they all go eat as snacks.. very good