You are in for some great treats this week -- always healthy, of course.
Here are two great recipes for Jerky and Fruit Leather -- just what you need for weekend treks or that hungry harvester.
Deer or Beef Jerky
* 3-pounds lean meat (1/8 to 1/4 inch thick slices),
* 1-cup soy sauce (for light soy sauce, 1/2 cup soy sauce and 1/2 cup water),
* 3-and-a-half Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce,
* 1 Teaspoon each -- pepper, garlic powder, ground ginger, and
* 1 Teaspoon liquid smoke (optional).
Mix marinade sauce ingredients; add meat, coating each piece. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Heat meat and marinade to 160-degrees before placing meat in dehydrator. This is an important food safety tip.
Dehydrate at least four hours, depending on the type of dehydrator.
Note: You can use your oven to dehydrate jerky, but it takes longer.
You can put it on a rack or a saran-wrap-covered pizza pan sprayed with non-stick coating such as Pam in an oven set on warm (no higher than 170-degrees) and with the door ajar 6-inches. A fan on in the room speeds the evaporation. Use of an oven takes longer than the dehydrator.
You can use a variety of fruit sauces, and the addition of baby foot fruit puree is optional -- it makes the product smoother. Food coloring provides a fun touch for the kids.
* (1) 8-ounce jar pureed baby food apricots, and
* 1- to 2-cups sweetened or unsweetened applesauce (commercial or homemade).
Mix applesauce and apricot puree in a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for six to eight minutes per 2-cups of puree or until puree reaches 160-degrees. Stir every two minutes.
Spread evenly on drying tray or pan sprayed with non-stick spray. Avoid pouring too close to edge of pan or tray. Larger leathers take longer to dry.
For drying in the oven a 13-by-15-inch cookie pan with edges works well. Line pan with plastic wrap and spray, being careful to smooth out wrinkles. Do not use waxed paper or aluminum foil.
Notes: Approximate drying times are six to eight hours in a dehydrator, up to 18 hours in an oven. Keep checking as each batch is individual. Remember to set the oven no higher than 170-degrees and leave the door 6-inches ajar. A fan on in the room speeds dehydration. If these hot days continue, you can try one to two days in the sun. My recommendation is to make a total of 2-cups of fruit mixture to dry per one fruit leather tray/pan. More than that and you increase your drying time.
The addition of baby food fruit such as peaches and pears improves the smoothness of the product. I used a one tub individual serving of cinnamon applesauce and two tubs of Gerber's baby food peaches for one tray of leather, adding a bit of extra cinnamon.
Use unsweetened applesauce for a less sticky product.
Use kitchen shears to cut the leather into strips for sampling.
Storing dehydrated foods in the freezer greatly extends their life.
For more on fall food preservation check out the University of Georgia website: www.uga.edu/nchfp/thankyou.html. That is the Extension research institution for this topic.
Of course you can always call us at the Extension Offices in Clay and Owen counties for a printed copy or to talk about other issues that affect your home and family.
Call the Clay County office at 448-9041 or Owen County at 812-829-5020. There is an Indiana Extension Homemaker Club near you. Purdue Extension is an affirmative action/equal opportunity institution.