2 threads in 1 : question on drying tomatoes and a really nice garden border

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When drying tomatoes in my electric dehydrator, I have a problem with them sticking to the plastic screens. I have tried cutting them a little thicker, but they wont dry and mold infect the whole lot. Anybody found a solution to this sticking problem?

The second thing I wanted to share, natural boardering. I saw a program on PBS the other night and the gardener was making border by driving sticks about 1 in in dia and 18 in long into the ground about every 2 feet around a walkway garden. These are the anchors. She then weaved wild grape vine (the same way its done for door wreaths) into itself and around the anchors. When done she had a bundle aprox 6 in in dia. The next step was to take supple vine and stick in the ground on opposite sides of the bundle , covering the bundle "croquet wicket" style between the uprights. Take pruners and cut the uprights off at 2 in above the bundle. Looks better than timbers and she said it would last one to two seasons before it needed replacement or maintenance.

-- Jay Blair (jayblair678@yahoo.com), August 27, 2000


try spraying the surface with some kind of non stick spray for cooking

-- Stan (sopal@net-port.com), August 27, 2000.

For some of my things that I dehtdrate, I use nylon mesh that I have cut to fit my trays. Sticky stuff will mostly pop off the mesh, when you give it a gentle twist. Get it at the fabric section; it is inespensive, and has lots of uses (ask Heloise!). I soak it in clean soapy water, and rinse it well. It even bleaches nicely.

-- Leann Banta (thelionandlamb@hotmail.com), August 27, 2000.

Stan, I was thinking about the non stick spray, just didn't know if it would affect the dried product in a way to cause spoilage. Have you had experience with it?


The mesh sounds good also, my wife was given a mesh jersey she's to modest to wear, I'll cut it up to try .


-- Jay Blair (jayblair678@yahoo.com), August 27, 2000.

Mine initially stick too, but eventually as it dries, they "unstick" I find I don't have the problem at all with plum tomatoes!

-- Sue (sulandherb@aol.com), August 27, 2000.

For foods that stick to your dehydrator trays, put the tray into the freezer for about a half hour. If your trays have mesh liners, just bend the liner part and the food pops off. Use a plastic spatula or similar tool on one piece trays. On humid days when you take them out of the freezer, you might get a light condensation on the food. Spread it out again and reheat it gently in the dehydrator before you cool it for conditioning and storage. It won't stick the second time and you won't have to worry about excess moisture spoiling the food.

-- marilyn (rainbow@ktis.net), August 28, 2000.

As someone noted in a previous post, the freezer is just about the dryist place in your house. I seldom use ice cubes so I keep having to add water to the trays in case I get company. Thus, the freezer is, in part, a dehydrator.

-- Ken S. in TN (scharabo@aol.com), August 28, 2000.

I'll try the freezer on this next batch. This is the best part of problem solving, trying different solutions to find which works best. Doing this stuff is "living in a laboratory". The mesh worked, clean up is a little messy. The non stick spray worked on the sticking, but shattered the tray the same way beef jerky will if not on paper.

-- Jay Blair (jayblair678@yahoo.com), August 28, 2000.

in regards to drying i use plastic canvas cut to fit the dryer tray. it is sturdy enough to stand up to the use and is easy to clean. gail

-- gail missouri ozarks (gef123@hotmail.com), August 28, 2000.

The final results are : nonstick worked, use only old trays due to shattering. Mesh worked well, took awhile to clean mesh after. Freezer worked well, just have to have room for tray. Plastic sheeting worked well, no stick, easy clean up. I used a freezer bag cut in 2 sheets, then folded the sheets and cut slits "paper snowflake" style. Using the sheeting also allowed use of the "stewed goo" that happens when slicing and skinning for the dryer. All the samples are packaged and stored , let you know if any spoil. Thanks for the ideas.

-- Jay Blair (jayblair678@yahoo.com), August 31, 2000.

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