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Monday, August 21, 2006

And They Said It Couldn't Be Done

Thunder is a pleasant sound to wake to, if you live in Kansas, in August, during a drought. This morning I hear the thunder, something that over the long dry days you forget what it sounds like. {Anyone else thinking, I ride through the desert on a horse with no name...} Looking out my window I see the telltale signs of hail. That is not a good sign. One problem is my garden, plants tend not to fair well when being pounded on with ice cubes. Another problem is that more often than not, hail here means a tornado. But wait! It's August, we are out of tornado season. I am hopeful that this menacing, looming doom is just a freak, and that we have not entered swing season prematurely.

Swing season? Yes, swing season. It's the time of year where mother nature can't make up her mind. She still enjoys the 90f degree {32c} temperatures one day, but the next her hot flash has turned into chills and you must suffer the 40f degree {4c} temperatures with her. This is when she is temperamental and we get tornadoes. Every year between winter and spring, summer and fall. Officially, Tornado season in Kansas is only in the spring, but we know and remember some nasty ones in November. I'd better bring Toto in the house.

I had a very busy weekend. As I told alrescate, canning season will be over soon, and we will get back to the more mundane things. With the new dehydrator at hand, I dried out some spinach and made Florentine. You'll be glad to hear that I waited for the noodles to dry, via food dehydrator {these things where invented for impatient people like myself}

I ignored the recipes I was given and went with what I thought a good Florentine recipe should be. It worked, and I am happy I didn't blow it.

But what would this blog be without me screwing up. I brought in one ear of Hickory Corn. I felt the overwhelming desire to make corn nuts. Please tell me, that some one that reads this has a decent corn nut recipe they are willing to share with me! I couldn't find a recipe in the homesteading books, so I went the route of the internet. There seems to be all of 2 recipes floating around out there. I copied them and followed the directions. The "corn nuts" tasted like burnt, hollow popcorn shells. Good choice.

I needed fruit, apparently lots of fruit. I wanted berries, but that was not in the cards this weekend. The family piled into the car and we headed over to the "local pick your own" farm. Only to discover that they were no longer a "pick your own". Bummer. People had been destroying the trees. So the fruits were already picked and the berries and been turned into jams and butters. But I wanted to do that myself. I bought some pumpkin butter, as I have never had it before, and some honey. A half peck of apricots, a half peck of pears and 4 plums. The plums were promptly eaten.

Home again home again, where my husband ran outside to play with his new weed eater. I gathered eggs and tomatoes. Once inside, I smelled watermelon wine coolers. Something I don't drink. Panicky, I remembered the watermelon that my two youngest boys had poked holes in and I had set aside to deal with later. I found it where I had stashed it, fermenting. The only thing it was good for now, was leather.

Nothing in the books about watermelon leather. But it did talk about how to thicken up the very thin pureed fruits. Watermelon would fall into that category. I cut, sliced, removed seeds and slowly boiled until thought it was a good thickness {but what do I know?} Poured it on the leather sheet and placed it into the dehydrator. While waiting I remembered to search online. {thus I did} No recipes on making it, but I did find a forum that was talking about it. "No, you can not make watermelon leather. You would have to have a lot of melon because of the little amounts of pulp it contains." or..."mix it with some applesauce, that might work".

HA! I give you pure watermelon leather!

After 6 hours, it was firmed up enough to pick at.{ that's not mice nibbles or little fingers, that would be me taking the small chunk}

Did I by chance say pure? Pure concentrated watermelon. I felt the need to don a purple velvet jump suit and solicit others "psst, you want some? It's pure stuff man, can you dig?"

This stuff hurts your teeth. It's not the pleasant "pink" taste that you get from watermelon candies. oh no!

I like watermelon, but this...this was just too much.

I rolled it up anyway, just so I can say I did it. It's a little sticky, but I had rubbed some oil on the sheet before pouring the puree on it, that helped.

Now what to do about the taste. I don't want to add sugar, as it is sweet enough, plus I read that leathers that have sugar in them will crumble in storage. Maybe applesauce?

I do have 4 quarts of the puree waiting for me, and as it only took 1 cup to make the one leather, I have enough to play with, for a while.


Cheryl said...

So was it too sour? Cloyingly sweet? It sounds like it should be so good!

Phelan said...

It was more like a cough drop. I like watermelon, but this was too much.{water melon without the water is very very overwhelming} I have another batch on now, mixed with strawberry. I'll let you know how this turned out.

Anonymous said...

This is a test reply. Seems that some people are not being allowed to post because they are not a blogger. Let's see if this works...


alrescate said...

Someone *please* find this woman a corn nut recipe!! *grin*

I don't know but I think I've had a comment or two not show up as well.....

lisa said...

Hey man...I like the pure stuff...trippy! Seriously, sounds yummy, tart and all. I read your later post about the strawberry mixed about plum? I bet that would jive with melon okay, and no seeds. Oh, and the "swing season" you referred to....I think myself and mother nature are sisters in this state of being! I too go from 90 degrees to 40 degrees and back again in minutes flat-no fun! Sure wish I could manufacture a thunderstorm for relief-wait, lemmie go yell at somebody.. :)

A2JC4life said...

The folks on my dehydrator list often either make it "straight," like you did, or add applesauce or yogurt.

Also, they recommend squeezing/pouring off some of the liquid - this way you can use it for something else (like watermelon jelly) instead of evaporating it off.

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