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Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I purchased a dehydrator. I didn’t plan to purchase a dehydrator. It started with a trip to Lodi to pick figs off of Pam and Bob, my friends’ tree—a huge twenty foot farmhouse fig tree. Filling two bags, while stuffing my face with sun-warmed gooey fruit, I hadn’t a clue what I was going to do with all the figs. On the drive home, I thought of sharing my bounty with family and neighbors. Which I did. Also I planned perhaps to find on the internet a few exotic recipes. Did that too. Still I had more figs than I could eat.

Aside from figs. Home-grown tomatoes arrived on my doorstep with alarming regularity. News of my raw diet has spread throughout the community causing an outpouring of free red-ripe and yellow-heirloom fruit offerings. Yes tomatoes are technically fruit. With my gleeful acceptance, the refrigerator now overflowed with tomatoes and the aforementioned figs.

What to do with all that fruit?
I tried drying figs in my brand new gas oven. Unfortunately the settings did not drop to the required 110 degrees so I burnt my first stab at dehydrating. I found myself that day at Fry’s Electronics and, to my surprise, a brand-new dehydrator sat on the shelf between coffee makers and vacuums. Marked down from $59 to $39, it seemed like a deal.

The three trays of skinned-sliced tomatoes and two trays of halved figs took most of two days to dry in the circular heating unit. After cooling the dried fruit, I packed them in plastic-freezer bags and popped them into the freezer where they will keep bug free for up to two years.

Now what do I do with dehydrated tomatoes and figs?
First the tomatoes—Sundried Tomato Pesto. My recipe.
6 ounces sun-dried tomatoes Soaked in water until soft. Set aside water.
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons red wine (optional)
¼ to ½ cup olive oil
Sea-salt to taste
Combine all the ingredients except the oil. Let rest for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Mix thoroughly. Add soaking water if needed. Mix in oil to taste. I like Cayenne Pepper for a little kick. Use on raw veggies. I like to pour over sprouted mung bean and grind hard raw goat cheese over the top. Tastes Italian to me!

Finally the Figs—A Christmas Figgy Pudding
Fig-raisin Pudding
2 cups 2-day sprouted wheat and rye
1-1 1/2 cups black mission figs soaked overnight
1-1 1/2 cups raisins soaked in fig water for 1 hour
Put all ingredients in a blender, and puree until smooth
- by San Francisco's Living Foods Enthusiasts
I lost one pound this week.