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Digital Subscriptions > Kitchen Garden Magazine > October 2018 > DRIED & TASTED

DRIED & TASTED

Drying is one of the oldest methods of preserving fresh produce, and for the gardener it offers convenience, reliability and speed. Benedict Vanheems tells us what’s involved

PRESERVING

Dehydrating food is an exceptionally easy way to preserve gluts from the garden or allotment.There are many compelling reasons to start drying food if you don’t already do so. Dried fruits and vegetables take up considerably less room than frozen or bottled produce. It doesn’t require great expense or in-depth expertise, and it’s very safe – no risks of botulism or mould!

LOW-TECH ALTERNATIVES

For millennia, aside from salting the only other way to preserve food was to dry it.This simple, low-tech technique has served us well for generations and there’s every reason to continue. Tasty (and healthy!) snacks, chewy fruit leathers, herbs for the larder or dried tomatoes to bring winter cooking to life: just a few of the many reasons to add drying to your preserving schedule.

THE EQUIPMENT

Occasional batches of produce can be dried in a conventional oven set to its lowest temperature. It works to an extent but temperature control and achieving an even result is much harder. By all means stick with your oven if you only expect to dry the odd thing here and there but for accurate, reliable drying every time, it pays to invest in a dehydrator.

Herb drying racks, whether home-made or bought, are a great way to process leafy herbs for winter
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INCLUDING EXCLUSIVE VIDEOS The autumn harvest is under way, which begs the question – what am I going to do with all those surplus crops? Well read on and worry no more, for on page 61 KG regular Ben Vanheems brings you a comprehensive guide to drying fruit and veg – a great way to fill the store cupboard with nutritious goodies. Continuing the theme, top chef Anna Pettigrew has some super recipes and good advice as to how to store some of our most prolific treasures. Deputy editor Emma Rawlings looks at bounty of a different type as she encourages us all to ditch our green waste bins and to compost as much garden refuse as we can, turning it instead into a rich soil conditioner. Grapes have a reputation for being difficult to grow, but with a few top tips from fruit specialist David Patch you’ll soon see how easy they can be. Plus veg expert Rob Smith reveals that there is more to garlic than you may have realised as he urges you to add giant elephant and pungent wild varieties to your growing repertoire. Steve Ott, editor