Dehydrate Tomatoes

Tomato dehydrator traysThis is how I dehydrate tomatoes. If you grow tomatoes for the same reason I do, because there is nothing like a vine ripened tomato. The ones from the store taste like cardboard in comparison. There are so many varieties to chose from, so I grow more than one and they often come in 6 packs, I plant them all. What happens is a glut of fresh tomatoes. Here is one way I preserve tomatoes.

By dehydrating tomatoes, the flavors are concentrated. They taste great crumbled into salads, over pasta and added to spaghetti  sauce The room needed to store them is just a fraction of the original volume.dehydrating tomatoes

I do use a dehydrator. A simple one I have had for 20 years. I imagine you could dry them in the sun if the humidity is not too high. If you can’t dry them fast enough, mold will grow.Dried Tomatoes

To prepare, just wash and slice the tomatoes into 1/4″ thick slices, put in a single layer on the dehydrator trays, stack in the machine and dry until they snap when twisted. I suggest you do this in the garage- it does smell as the moisture is driven off. Store in freezer bags or airtight containers. If you store in the freezer they will last for years. You can also “can” and freeze tomatoes.Finished dried tomatoes

How to Flash Freeze Asian Green Beans

Asian Green Beans


How to flash freeze asian green beans from the garden or if you get a great deal on any fresh green bean at the market. I grow asian beans. I like this variety because it holds up to the summer heat and gives great production. The problem is they come all at once. It seems like you turn around and there is another foot long bean on the vine. Preparing asian beans is the same as any other green bean. By freezing them you can eat them most of the year. This works with other vegetables too. It is simple.

You need to blanch them in boiling water for just a minute or so, until they turn bright green. You need to do this or they will be rubbery when you thaw and cook them. Plunge them in ice water to stop the cooking. You just want to cook the outside. Put them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Put in freezer for 10 minutes until the water on the surface has frozen. If you fail to do this, before putting them in a freezer bag, you will have a solid block of frozen beans. By freezing the outside, they wont freeze together. You will be able to take out of the bag just what you need. When I want to cook some beans, I take out a hand full place in a covered dish and add a teaspoon of water. Microwave for a minute and a half or steam them. Try freezing vegetables. It is a great way to preserve the taste a nutrients of fresh vegetables.



Review Hitachi RB24EAP Leaf Blower

Hitachi RB24EAP Blower

This is a review of the Hitachi RB24EAP Leaf Blower. I bought it six months ago and now feel I have enough time using it to give my views. I bought it off Amazon Hitachi RB24EAP 23.9cc 2 Stroke 170 MPH Gas Powered Handheld Blower (CARB Compliant)
and received it promptly. I read the reviews and knowing Hitachi to make good products I took the chance. I am happy I did. (NOTE: I did have to do a simple repair on this unit after 6 months. See it here). Update: I have now owned 1.5 years and it is still running great. It gets used once a week, 52 times a year as we do not get winter in Southern California.

Un-boxing it I noticed it was nicely made. With high quality looks and nice plastics used. It came boxed in 3 pieces. It was a very tight fit attaching the blower tube to the main body. I thought it was defective, but it was just tight. Putting the blower on its back and forcing the tube on worked. The nozzle attached easily. There is only one. A fan one would be a nice addition.

Hitachi RB24EAP Leaf Blower Box

After filling the gas tank part way with premix (it does not come with premix oil), I put the choke on and attempted to start it. I say attempted, because it would not start. With “Damn I am going to have to send it back” going through my head, I did some trouble shooting. In the end- I could see the intake hose for the fuel had shifted in transit and wasn’t sitting at the low point in the gas tank. It wasn’t getting fuel. Using a pencil I pushed it down to where it needed to be. this time it started after several pulls. It is an easy pull starter cord and doesn’t kick back like my old blower.

After starting I noticed it was quite at idle. Even after increasing the speed it is not that loud. It puts out a large amount of air. I am just using it to clean off walkways and driveways around the home. I can get most of it done just at idle speed. Revving it up increases the amount of air moved, not necessarily the velocity. I don’t know how good it would be on wet heavy leaves. I will find out soon enough. It works good for my needs.

Some of the cons- It is a bit heavy (8.5 pounds), bulky and gets tiring. But the work goes quickly. I use it on a quarter acre yard. If I had more, I would get a backpack blower. The choke and stop switch are reversed to what I am used to. The choke is on when it is down. Pushing up on the rocker switch turns it off. Turn the choke on to start and when it does back it off quickly as the engine will sputter until you do.

These cons are more annoyances. The pros are-It does start easily. When it is warm, it starts real easy with a quick tug. It is quite, well made. it even has a keeper for the gas cap. I can cleanup the yard quickly. That is what I bought it for and I would buy it again.