Friday, November 14, 2014

The thanksGiving series: making dried celery

The last time I considered buying celery flakes, I actually looked at the price and was shocked. I had just been through the produce aisle and seen the price for fresh celery. Whew! Big difference! Of course, I thought, how hard can this be? I think that a lot, which leads me down paths that are best confessed another time. Fortunately, this little project turned out well. I've been drying my own celery ever since. 

Since my supply was getting low, and because I thought you might want to try this too, I bought some "name brand" celery yesterday at the little grocery "down the road from my house". They only had one kind and it was $1.39. 

I washed and dried my celery, then sliced it in 1/4 inch slices. (Really, I just sliced it on the thinnish side. But 1/4 inch sounds good, doesn't it?) put it on a parchment-covered baking sheet in a single layer. One stalk of celery needed two baking sheets. I put it in a preheated oven at 170 degrees and left it there for eight hours. Maybe nine. When I finally made it home from errand day, feeding livestock, and hauling water (which is not my favorite) I remembered the celery and took it out. It was fine. You might call it leather hard. It was not hard crispy but not at all soft. If you are making celery flakes, you've seen them before. It's like the ones in the store.

I actually weighed the dehydrated celery and one stalk had yielded 1.3 oz of celery flakes. My favorite place to buy herbs and spices is Penzey's, so I checked their catalogue. They don't have a 1.3 oz jar, of course, but a 1 oz plus a 0.3 oz supply of celery flakes sells for $7.34. I saved $5.95! It took me less than 5 minutes to slice the celery, tear the parchment paper, put it on a baking sheet and slide it in the oven. That's not a bad savings for five minutes of work. 

I don't know if this worked or not, but I sliced a thin slice off the end of the stalk and stuck it down in some water. It may or may not root (which would make my savings the full $7.34) but romaine roots pretty well like that, so we shall see. 

This has been a crazy week, and I've been a little disconnected with the savings jar totals, but at last report, it contained $210.81.  With the addition of the celery savings of $5.95, the savings jar total is up to $217.76! 

Even if you are not trying to save money, drying your own celery is so easy that it's  a shame not to do it (and now you know how!) In case you are new to this series, the purpose for all this saving is so that we can become extravagantly generous and splurge on giving. Don't forget what it is that God loves - God loves a cheerful giver and that is exactly what we hope to become.