Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What I've Been Doing

Not much. I haven't been doing much.
I am, I will feebly confess, still in a state over the unexpected loss of my pet. It just pops up on you. You move your legs in the bed and think, "Don't knock the doggie off!" You shut down the computer and expect the pooch to jump up and run out of the room with you (because he could always tell when it was shutting down, application by application until the final FOOM. He could tell). I miss him.
Trying to move on, however. I did a lot, a LOT of nothing recently that added up to a huge fall harvest of preserved fruit.
I know. I do this every year, and it's not interesting anymore, except it is to me.
I dried a whole tree of plums. First, I used the previous years' technique of leaving the fruit in perforated laundry bags, outside in the sun. Then, oh my, I discovered a new trick.
You know how hot your car gets in the sun? And the minute you open it up, you can't wait for the heat to dissipate? NO.
Save the sun. Dry your fruit in the car.
I've already had friends laugh at me for this, but jeez, how very ECO. Park the car in the driveway or on the street, load your fruit into trays or laundry bags atop towels or newspapers to catch drips, and just wait. Just you wait.
We're calling our Subaru the Prunaru now.

27 comments:

dancingmorganmouse said...

I might try your car drying trick with the tomatoes this year, if any grow. 3 weeks and I get 1 inch of wibbly, feeble green stick.
There's nothing strange about feeling the loss of a pet, they are a huge part of your life, they provide the simple love you can't get from anything/anyone else. They are one of the best parts of life and to not morn the empty spaces they leave would be strange.
xx

kudzu said...

HA! What a trick. You are my most daring, innovative food friend when it comes to preservation. BTW: I had a friend in Rome who was always broke. He would put his week's underwear in a sealed plastic box with soap and water and place it in the truck of his car while he drove in and around the city. About two days later it was sloshed fairly clean. Live and loin.

peter said...

I would never laugh at you; in fact just yesterday I was talking to someone about the virtues of the car as free solar dryer.

Zoomie said...

This is simply brilliant. Plus, I'll bet your car smells deliciously of plums, now. I'm so bummed that I didn't know this when the peaches were in excess around here!

Kelly said...

i use the car for quite a few culinary short cuts, bread in particular can be good for dry cure!

Greg said...

I dried a peanut butter and jelly sandwich by accident once. More like petrified. I like your plan better.

wot larx said...

Dear Cookie, just a note to say that the minutes I can find in my day to spend with you are some of the best! Not necessarily a public comment, but one I've been meaning to leave for some time. Thanks so much for sharing - everything. Virtual hugs to you and Cranky at this time. And please keep it coming. You brighten my days!

6p00d8341c602353ef said...

Been thinking about you a ton. Came across an old photo of the Sprout today on my blog and got verklempt. xx

denise said...

fantastic idea!

ChrisB said...

I love your car drying fruit technique. When, and if, I get any Gogi berries from my solitary plant I will try it. Mind this is likely to take a few more years yet, so hope I remember come the time LOL.

the sandwich life said...

that is hysterical....and simply brilliant.

Condolences on the loss of your dog....

fastgrowtheweeds said...

Oh yes cars are great. I use ours to get bread to rise (when it's too cool in the house) and of course I use my car as a fruit fly-free zone to ripen peaches. Okay, so, it has a downside (don't drive anywhere) but it's fun.

I admire your resolve to not fill your house with little dogfeet immediately. When our trusty German shepherd died suddenly I didn't even wait a weekend to replace him, and I regret that (mainly because his replacement is crazy). But: the ground under the baby's high chair was so MESSY when he was gone!
xoxo

The Spiteful Chef said...

Ha! That's the greatest idea of ever! Since I'm in Texas, the interior of my car gets to an approximate temperature of "the surface of Mars," so I'll stop worrying about possibly cooking my internal organs when I enter said hotomobile, and start putting fruit and veg inside. You're a genius, you mad woman.

Kate said...

I've heard of people doing just that with tomatoes on old window screens propped up on the dashboard of the car. I may have to try this in coming years, especially as the perennial fruits we planted this year begin to bear.

cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: It would be great for tomatoes. I might still do some of my tomatoes; we're just harvesting the last of them! Happy Spring, friend. Thanks for the gentle words.

Kudzu: Wacky, isn't it? I love the automobile-laundromat! I'd try it myself, but I'm sure I'd end up with a sour mess. (Cranky, meanwhile, is DEVOTED to drying clothes in the backyard. Why not in the car?)

Peter: Not you, ya goon. Hey, whatever happened to those dried chive seedheads? :)

Zoomie: It DOES smell good! It's funny; you put the fruit in the back, and you can still drive around town, virtuous and fragrant.

Kelly: D'oh. See, I would not have thought of this myself. I read it somewhere. Clever you, and thanks for the new ideas.

Greg: I could get into that! Maybe make a little beef jerky back there?

Wot Larx: Oh, jeez, your timing. Thank you. Just when I'm contemplating packing it all in. Thank you.

6p00d8341c602353ef , AKA Jen: Aw, thanks, dear. I think of you a lot too. Why aren't we seeing you more? Well, let's fix that.

Denise: Fantastic idea, and I did not make it up myself. If you Google (I don't know, "car fruit drying" ?) you'll see how prevalent it is. It works, it's charming, I'm happy.

ChrisB: I'll make you a deal. You blog about the gogi berries when they come in, and I'll remind you. Remind me to remind you, OK? :D

Sandwich: I guess it is a little funny. There are only so many people (my entire readership) I will share this crazy idea with. Thanks for the sweet thoughts.

Fast: Our car gets to 150ยบ easily (in summer) so it'd kill bread pretty fast. But, wow. You are resourceful. Do you know how often we talk about you here at chez Crumb?
And -- we are dying for a new puppy. Fortunately they are hard to find, so there is restraint, if not self-imposed. xx

Spitey: In Texas, I'd say it's probably worth going out and BUYING fruit and tomatoes to dry in the car. Do you have two cars? One for food, and one to keep your uterus cool in? ;)

Kate: Perennial fruits, yeah! We were overwhelmed the first two years we lived with fruit trees, but this makes things a lot easier. And -- fruit in the winter, yay. Have fun.

Rev. Biggles said...

That's too cool. What you need to do now is wrap up some veggies/meat in a foil pouch with spices and some moisture, tuck it in the engine compartment near the engine or exhaust manifold and go do your chores for the day! Prunes in the back, dinner roasting under the hood!

Biggles

cookiecrumb said...

Biggles, ya Foo: I am totally into the manifold foil-fold papillote. Look here; you add some prunes to the meat mess, you got FOOD. Wanna drive around and eat?

J-in-Wales said...

Losing your friends leaves a huge hole in your life. Don't underestimate how large that hole might be. It takes time, a lot of time...

But prunes, on the other hand, I don't understand those. My attempts at drying plums in my dehydrator have always ended up with a mouldy mess. Is this a problem with anaemic Welsh plums, I wonder?

Sweet Bird said...

They should add that as an amenity on the Subaru commercials.

Rev. Biggles said...

Yes! We could drive around drinking Schlitz and flinging gnawed on bones out the window at pedestrians!

Just like old times ...

cookiecrumb said...

J-in-Wales: I really appreciate your gentle advice.
As for Welsh plums, yours are probably too juicy! These little green gage plums, when they fall off the tree, are already thick and meaty and half-dried. They're at their best prunified, and it seems like there's no stopping them.

Birdie: Ha Ha! Tears squirted from my eyes. xx

Biggles: Yeah, back when they made Schlitz.

Rev. Biggles said...

Whaddya mean? They still make it, it's a special order from Bev Mo. I think Pabst bought the name and is getting the old recipe back. And, it's being served in a cool bar in SF, http://kozykar.com/. Scary, but cool.

Biggles

namastenancy said...

I miss your posts about the Sprout but, I'm sure, not as much as you miss him. But, as you say, it's best to wait a bit before getting a replacement - and I'm sure you will. I never thought of the car as a fruit drying machine. I remember seeing the huge trays of fruit all over the Middle East, drying in the September sun. That might have been more poetic but your solution is a lot more clever and oh so Californian.

cookiecrumb said...

Biggles: Oh, I know. I shoulda said "back when I drank Schlitz," because I don't drink beer anymore. :(

Nancy: I camped out (illegally, probably) next to some raisin-drying trays in Fresno once. It was kinda neat to realize that's ALL you have to do to get raisins. (Well, I hope they also got rinsed, because there was a lot of dust.)

Rev. Biggles said...

Ah well. I don't either, much. I've had some beer in the fridge for about 3 months and still haven't touched it. I save it for Chilebrown and my friend Ed.

Biggles

Jennifer Maiser said...

LOL - why did my name come out like that? and how did you know it was me? ;)

and yes, something soon. xox

cookiecrumb said...

Jen: Ha ha! No idea, but we do have electronic surveillance...