Baking, Canning and Dehydrating… My Favorite Summertime Hobbies

Since moving to Frederick, Md. more than two years ago, I have been a full-time; stay at home mom (SAHM). I force myself to remain occupied, especially since my husband works all day and the kids are otherwise detained.

I am well known for starting hobbies and not seeing them through. There is a multitude of junk, I have collected over the years which remain in boxes about the house; drives my husband bonkers.

My favorite hobby; baking, canning and dehydrating. I have to admit, I hate cooking. I will if I have to, typically on hubby’s duty day. On the other hand, when in the mood, I love to bake, can and dehydrate. I enjoy going to the local farmers markets and orchards and picking up fresh fruits and vegetables to include in the various recipes.

Our first summer here, I bought a dehydrator; it is much more cost effective than the store bought alternative. Dehydrating fruits and vegetables is a never ending learning process; ensuring the consistency of the fruits and veggies comes out just right is key, to good, dehydrated food. My latest realization, I can make homemade fruit roll-ups in the dehydrator. It takes a few extra steps to, but so worth the wait. Sugar is often times unnecessary, especially if you utilize fruit with higher pectin content.

About the same time that I began dehydrating, I also started canning. Because it is such a lengthy process, I do not do it often. I have made a few varieties of jam (i.e. strawberry and blackberry) and some syrup (strawberry and blueberry). I fully intend to try again this summer. We go through jam and syrup faster than any family I know; my husband and children eat waffles every weekend and of course the kids cannot get enough peanut butter and jam sandwiches, so why not save money and make my own.

Baking is another favorite, in particular, breads. It started with making breads in the bread maker, but then I found most of the breads that required additional ingredients beyond flour, sugar and yeast, tasted much better when baked in the oven. Two of my favorite recipes, apple and lemon poppy seed bread. They come out so moist and taste great warm with butter.

My family thoroughly enjoys when mom gets a wild hair up yonder. It is funny; they devour my creations faster than I can make them. One of my goals is to figure out how to lower the calorie content. I am not one that likes to divert from a recipe, but will do anything to create a healthier recipe.

Happy baking, canning and dehydrating.