Harvest Monday, January 20, 2013 – Eating From Storage + Oven Dried Pineapple

Was not going to publish a post today because of photos mishap.

Deleted some photos by mistake with no way to recapture the images and the photo of the finished dish I made was not the best looking but tasted really good so decided to publish.

∞ ∞ ∞

Lacking a root cellar, during fall of 2012 I decided to experiment with storing my root vegetables (buried using pro-mix) in window boxes in my unheated garage. All the root vegetables stored well, a successful experiment. So last fall, 2013, I expanded my storage containers by using large foam ice chest. As you can see from the photo below, all the root vegetables look freshly dug. Decided to use the small celeriac first as they will most likely not keep as well as the larger ones.

Now that the days are getting longer and the weather, hopefully, will be gradually getting a bit warmer, I need to check all the roots more frequently for growth or spoilage.

Root vegetables (IMG_0100)

1 Parsnip, 1 Yellow Carrot, 3 Orange Carrots & 2 small Celeriac

∞ ∞ ∞

Peeled root veggies (IMG_0102)

Peeled root veggies
Left to right: Celeriac, orange carrots, Parsnips, Yellow Carrot & Onion
The onion was stored in the basement

∞ ∞ ∞

Whenever I make a stew, be it beef or pork, I always make extra for the freezer. When the stew is cooked to the stage to add the vegetables, before doing so, I remove the extra, cool and package in meal-sized portion, date label and freeze. Add the vegetables to the remaining stew in the pot and finish the cooking.

That’s why there is no recipe for the dish below.

I thawed a package of pork stew from the freezer, added it to a pot with the above prepared root vegetables. There was not enough liquid from the thawed stew so I added a cup of broth. Covered pot and brought to a boil using medium high heat. Lowered heat and simmered until vegetables reached desired doneness. Easy, convenient and best of all did not taste like it came out of the freezer.

Pork stew with root veggies (IMG_0111)

Pork Stew with Root Vegetables
Should have garnished with some scallion green or parsley to give the dish a cheerful look

∞ ∞ ∞

Was a busy week and completely forgot about the 2 pineapples I bought earlier in the week, when I remembered they were at the point of: use immediately or discard.

Enjoyed a large bowl of freshly sliced and oven dried the remainder.

Decided to cut some of the slices about ¼ inch thick and some about ½ inch thick. Place all on 2 racks on 2 sheet pans, baked at convection 225°F for 3 hours. Left a crack in the oven door during the 1st hour of oven-drying to allow steam to escape (this is an experiment).

My theory behind the above experiment is: during the 1st hour of oven-drying, the pineapple slices release a lot of moisture. Leaving a crack in the oven door allows the moisture to escape resulting in a drier oven cavity thus shortening the drying time. Perhaps I should leave a crack during the whole oven-drying process. What do you think? Sure wish I had 2 ovens to make comparison. Would so love to work in a test kitchen.

Also used a higher temperature, convection 225°F instead of convection 200°F.

Oven dried pineapple (06174)

Oven Dried Pineapple
Took a before photo but it was deleted by mistake

The thinner slices were dry but still pliable the thicker slices were dry to the touch but still plump. Because there is no preservatives all will be stored in the freezer.

To use:
Will combine, when the occasion arises, the thinner slices with the oven-dried apples, persimmons and banana I have in the freezer together with some almonds, walnuts and pecans to make a healthy trail mix. Chocolate is good for you so I will add some too.
Will use the thicker and plumper slices in cooking or add to salads.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

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About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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56 Responses to Harvest Monday, January 20, 2013 – Eating From Storage + Oven Dried Pineapple

  1. Hotly Spiced says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your photo drama – I have had plenty of similar dramas so can sympathise. I love the look of your dried pineapple and your root vegetables look indeed, like they’ve just been dug from the garden xx

  2. Eva Taylor says:

    You are so cute Norma! I’ve inadvertently deleted photos too, thank goodness for time machine (a Mac back up system).
    Great way to freeze stews, frozen veg gets so spongy, it’s a terrible texture. I really appreciate your freezer tips. My freezer is filled with soups, now that we’re home for lunch it’s quick and easy.
    The storage for the root veg is quite interesting too, great tip.
    I’m planning to expand my roof-top garden this year and it’s thanks to you; although I’m excited about it, JT may have other emotions since he does all my heavy lifting!😉

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      To protect the surface that your pot/container will be sitting on and also for better drainage you may want to look into “pot feet”.
      Check out this site: http://containergardening.about.com/od/containergardendesign/qt/PotFeet.htm
      If your container is very deep consider placing a few inches of foam peanuts (make sure they are the type that will not dissolve) in the bottom of the container, cover the peanuts with a layer of landscape fabric (this is to prevent potting mix from migrating into the peanuts) then fill with potting mix, this will make the container a bit lighter.
      Feel free to contact me anytime if I can be of any help.

      • Eva Taylor says:

        Thank you kindly for the advice, I actually want the pots as heavy as possible so the wind won’t blow them off the roof. The urns I have out by the front door have bricks in the bottom so they don’t tip over. The old metal ones were heavy enough but these new ones are plastic and have no weight to them. Putting bricks in the bottom also limits how much earth I have to use.
        The pot feet are a great idea!

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Eva,
        You are welcome. You may want to fill the empty areas around the bricks with foam peanuts and then put a piece of landscape fabric on top to keep the potting mix from getting through.

      • Eva Taylor says:

        Thanks, another great tip.

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Eva,
        You are very welcome.

  3. I hate it when I delete photos or when the memory card does a whack job and nothing is viewable. I usually find that out after we’ve eaten whatever it was I photographed.

    Your pineapple looks great. I’ve always used a dehydrator so I don’t know. In Tennessee I used to use the back window of the car. 🙂

  4. Photo dramas…thanks for admitting to them!!! The idea about storing food in the garage in large foam ice chests is great. Think I will try it next year after I’m at the farm…so much to keep and nowhere to keep it!! I did get tired of drying, cooking and canning. I live in a tri-level and the lowest level is fairly warm so it’s even been a challenge to keep the onions, potatoes and garlic. This is a great plan for next year. I will let you know of my success!!!

  5. Karen says:

    I love all your food experiments…you should have been a scientist. 🙂

  6. Sophie33 says:

    I love all of your tasty dishes & your root veggies look awesome! I also not intentially deleted photos, … deep sigh! xx

  7. I LOVE root veggies, Norma. The stew look super duper yummy! Have to try your oven dried pineapple.

  8. Daphne says:

    You probably get a better texture with your veggies than I do in stew. I always just cook it up, veggies and all and then freeze it. But I like frozen meals that I can pop into the microwave and eat immediately.

  9. mac says:

    I don’ do frozen meals anymore, it’s either I forgot to use them or I don’t like the texture and taste afterwards, I’ll have to try your method of freezing just the meat and add veggies at reheating.

  10. So glad you posted after all. I’ve totally done that – you’re not alone. Really good idea to just freeze the meat. I find on my vegetarian bean stews the texture is a little affected. They become more mealy and mushy I find. And love the dried pineapple!

  11. Stoney Acres says:

    Norma, I would love to see a little tutorial on what you have done to store your root crops in the garage. We have been looking for a way to store more potatoes without a root cellar for years. We love to grow our own spuds but the longest we have been able to keep them in the basement is early December. I’d love to hear more!!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Rick,
      All I do is place a layer of pro-mix in the bottom of a foam ice chest, stack the unwashed root vegetables on top, cover with pro-mix and place along the outer wall of my unheated garage. My garage is under the house, one wall is attached to the house the other outer wall is not and is colder.

  12. Such a great idea on how to store the root vegetables!

  13. wok with ray says:

    That pork stew looks really delicious Norma. Have a good week and keep warm. 🙂

  14. Well I love your tip about freezing stews and adding the veggies later. Would never have thought to do that. And your pineapple experiment looks terrific and I’ll bet they’ll be great in salads. Karen is right, you should have been a scientist…well, really you are a food scientist at that!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Betsy,
      Thanks. As I said to Karen, missed my calling. I have been nibbling on my oven-dried pineapple and may not have any left for other purposes, may have to make more.

  15. Norma, all your root veg look to be in great condition, obviously your storage of them is working out well! Love your almost “instant” dinner! xx

  16. I can completely relate to the photo issues. I have them often! Your stew looks so inviting. I need to remember to try drying pineapple in the oven. I just put some in the freezer. Probably going to use them in smoothies.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Sandra,
      I was going to cut the pineapple in chunks and put them in the freezer as they do freeze well and I like to eat the chunks partially frozen especially during the summer, but I ran out of freezer space and decided to experiment with oven-drying and like the results a lot.

  17. Well done on good storage of your root veggies Norma and both your pork stew and dried pineapple look fantastic.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  18. Wow, lovely root veggies Norma!
    i’m actually jealous with you, celeriac is pretty pricey over here in Indonesia, it cost me about 20 USD for a kilo…

  19. I will have to dry some pineapple in my oven soon too–looks easy and delicious!!

  20. Oh my goodness, that pork stew was calling me to make it immediately. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

  21. Norma your stew looks so rich and delicious and with your home grown root vegetables I am sure it was delightful. I have never tried to oven dry fruits but that sounds like a great way to do it as I do not own a dehydrated. Your posts are always so fun as I get to watch you through the seasons just like a real farmer going from the seeds, to planting to harvesting and then into a meal. Have a super weekend and wishing you an early happy Chinese New Year. Kung Hei Fat choy! Xin Nian kuai le!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Bam,
      The stew did taste better than it looked in the photo. Thank you for your kind words, I enjoy my garden and am always amazed at the results I get from a tiny seed.
      To you as well, Kung Hei Fat choy! Xin Nian kuai le!

  22. shu says:

    Get me that pork stew!! Always love reading your posts because they are so honest to the seasons. And you are right, often times, it’s impossible to write a recipe, because the dish is just the result of having fun with the great produce and ingredients that you have available to you. ps Gong xi fa cai!

  23. Ah Norma, how annoying that you lost the photos! Your pork stew looks and sounds very delicious!

  24. Lrong says:

    The dish looks yummy…

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