dehydrating

Dehydrating daikon

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This isn't as large as they can grow, making it hard to fit them in the fridge
This isn’t as large as they can grow, making it hard to fit them in the fridge

I’m very partial to daikon, the enormous white radish that’s much loved in Japan. It grows very fast, up to the size of my forearm, and it’s pretty pest resistant.

That success is also the challenge: how to get through an arm-sized daikon with the two of us?

My recent purchase of Preserving the Japanese Way provided a timely solution: dehydration.

It’s not as crazy as it sounds! Plenty of other things are dehydrated (think apple, banana, etc), including Japanese ingredients like seaweed.

A mandolin makes quick work of creating strips.
A mandolin makes quick work of creating strips.

The process is a simple one: use a mandolin to cut the daikon into thin strips. I tried two different sizes of strips, and the daikon was processed in under five minutes.

After a day in the dehydrator, this is the result.
After a day in the dehydrator, this is the result.

Then into the dehydrator it goes! Run it for a day at the medium setting, and the result is a tangle of dry strips. These can then be stored for many months. According to the cookbook, they need to be soaked for an hour or two before use.

Stored in a jar in the pantry, this will last for many months.
Stored in a jar in the pantry, this will last for many months.

 

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Drying tumeric and lemon

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A month ago we harvested a huge amount of tumeric, 2.6kg in total. That’s a lot of tumeric.

Some we’ve frozen, and a lot is stored in our cool cupboard. Following some inspiration from Milkwood, I also decided to dry some, to see how well that would keep.

Tumeric, sliced and ready for dehydration.
Tumeric, sliced and ready for dehydration.

We’ve had a dehydrator for a while now, so we filled up two layers with sliced tumeric.

Sliced lemon, for use in months to come.
Sliced lemon, for use in months to come.

While we were at it, we also set up two layers of sliced lemons, following a suggestion from the excellent book Homegrown tea by Cassie Liversidge.

Two jars, of dried lemon and tumeric slices.
Two jars, of dried lemon and tumeric slices.

24 hours later at medium heat, the results were ready to jar up. Very pretty they look too! More importantly, they’ll hopefully keep for quite some time, and we can compare against our other forms of preservation…