Monday, June 10

Solar Roasted Fresh Garden Veggies and Greens

This year's garden is flourishing and the pattypan squash is demanding attention. Harvest time means it's also time to get started on my annual powdered vegetable mix. By the end of the growing season, I have several jars full of vitamins and nutritious flavor to enhance and thicken my gravies, sauces, and meat mixtures. I do a partial roasting of the veggies before dehydrating, powdering, and then adding each batch to the jar until it is full, when I thoroughly combine everything. By partially roasting the vegetables, they rehydrate quickly but are not overcooked in the final dish. It's an ideal way to both add vegetables and thicken your  sauces and mixes, without using flour.
It was a good time to test both my Copenhagen-type solar oven and a SolarCub(R) without its insulated carrier. Used two five-quart Pyrex bowls that I bought at the thrift shop for only $5.99 each (you can still see the price on the bottom, there!) in the larger oven (15" sides) and a quart-sized canning jar in an oven bag in the SolarCub(R) (12" sides). The 'greens' in the Copenhagen were edible pea pods and a mixture of lettuce, spinach, and chard, in the SolarCub(R).

Two bowls create oven chamber in Copenhagen-type oven
I am the first one to say that testing greens in a solar oven is a lot like frying eggs on a sidewalk -- it's going to happen. Greens break down in heat, rapidly, so there was no question in my mind that things would get done -- even though I started after two in the afternoon. The Pyrex bowls were heavy enough that I didn't need anything to hold the top one in place. I used an oven bag and a rice bag for the "floor" of the SolarCub.

Oven bag with rice bag 'floor'
By three-thirty p.m., the roasting was done. You can see how much the greens reduced in volume in the canning jar. They were stuffed tight to the top at the start.


It's a little harder to see the difference with the pea pods, because I forgot to take a 'before' picture, but both are now ready for the dehydrator.

Oh, I refurbished my garden this year and some of the radishes are really big! My Dad loved radishes and this one would have pleased him, I'm sure.

As summer advances, I'll have several of these ovens set up for the prep work for my veggie mix. I can be roasting from early morn until late afternoon, keeping my kitchen cool, and my energy bill low. It doesn't get any better.


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