In addition to garlic, many other types of garden produce are perfect for dehydrating. This year we had a bumper crop of jalapeno peppers. The weather turned hot had dry this summer and the peppers loved it. I quickly found that the easiest way to preserve these were to cut them in half and place them in the dehydrator after a good washing.
Dehydrating is by far less work than canning, pickling, or jellying them. I have in the past made jalapeno jelly. The work to balance the sugar and the pectin is not an easy job. Sometimes the mix refuses to set up. Other times the mix sets too hard. Also, this is a type of canning so again I had to sterilize jars and boil the final product.
Dehydrating yields better results than freezing in my opinion. Frozen peppers can be kept for a while but they eventually always develop freezer burn or that “freezer taste”. And there is always the threat of losing power. If they thaw out, they have to be thrown out.
The dehydrated peppers work great for sauces and stews. We just toss one or two in and they rehydrate from the liquid in the stew or sauce. They are very dry and brittle when they are done dehydrating. This makes it easy to chop them up and crush them when using them.
These are shelf stable. They require no more effort or electricity to store them. I store them in cleaned reused jars in a cabinet with the other spices.
The one warning I will issue on this topic is it to wear food prep gloves when cutting the peppers, loading the dehydrator, and unloading the dehydrator. The capsaicin can be strong and once it settles into your skin it will create a burning feeling that can last for hours. The dehydrating process does not seem to break down the capsaicin. These peppers were too hot to handle even when I put them in the jar. I still need gloves to use them as an ingredient.
In addition to the peppers the fennel plant has done an amazing job this year. The plant soon grew to be the largest thing in the herb garden. It was even larger than the statue it sits next to. The underground bulb part of this plant is edible. I have used fennel bulb in some recipes. But the more commonly used part of fennel is the seeds. This is a common addition of ours to some rye breads, soda breads, and tomato sauces.
I patiently waited for the blooms to produce seeds. I then waited for the seeds to turn a little brown. Then I harvested and washed them. I placed the whole seed heads into the dehydrator. Then once the seeds and seed heads were totally dried, I separated the seeds from the stems and kept only the seeds.
The last step of separating out the seeds was the most labor-intensive part of the whole process. This step is simple but takes time. I did this over many days while sitting and watching videos and doing other activities on the internet.
Like the peppers I store the dried fennel seeds in cleaned reused jars and they are shelf stable.