The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Dehydrator update and The Waiting Room game


Photo: Herbacious border detail

Photo: Herbacious border detail

Our cheap and basic dehydrator continues to delight us. I’m reaping the rewards of dehydrating fruit and vegetables when they were on offer or marked down on the CFC. As all the chopping and preparation has been done prior to dehydrating a slow cooked meal can be prepared very quickly.

This week I had to go for blood tests. I think that the doctors in Newmarket might be suffering from blood testitus as the clinic is always packed and you have to arrive early to get in the queue. I wanted to make our slow cooked skirt of beef stew but time was of the essence. So all the vegetables that I used were dehydrated ones – mushrooms, Fenland celery, Chantenay carrots, onions and garlic. I store the dehydrated food in zip lock bags with the original weight and the dehydrated weight written on the outside. This makes the conversions really easy.

I’ve also found that putting all the dehydrated ingredients in a bowl and covering them with boiling water for a five minute soak before they go into the slow cooker seems to work well as they are already starting to plump up when they are added (including the water) to the slow cooker. I was able to prepare this meal in ten minutes. Switched the slow cooker to auto and shot into Newmarket.

In the hospital I grabbed the penultimate number and found an empty chair. Once the number cards are gone the blood test lady has her full quota for the afternoon. There lies the rub. People keep on arriving and being turned away. Some people get very angry and insist that it’s their right to have a blood test. No wonder the blood test lady looks harassed and stressed.

I sat reading my book Restless by William Boyd and playing my hospital waiting room game. If people come in twos or groups I have to guess which one is the patient. This is surprisingly difficult and challenging as everyone looks stressed. If I get one right I feel like Einstein. At Newmarket hospital there is an extra game within the game – who will make a fuss when they are asked to return the next day.

When I finally got home three hours later I was welcomed by the aroma of slow cooked beef stew. Perfect.

Now I am keen to try making beef jerky in the dehydrator. Watch this space!

  Leave a reply


  1. Thank you for all the dehydrating ideas.
    I bought mine to dry herbs and hops for pillows. Then I tried sliced plums. The damsons, after a lot of fiddling with the cherry stoner, were glorious and are going to be dipped in plain chocolate.
    I’m definitely going to dry some veg next.

  2. veronica

    I’m coming late to this — got a bit behind with my blog reading — but I’d just like to add my support for the ads. No-one really likes to see ads on their favourite sites, but as a regular visitor for years, I was always impressed by the amount of unpaid effort you both put into the site. When the ads appeared, I was actually pleased to think that they would be bringing in some much-needed income and rewarding you for your work 🙂 I haven’t particularly noticed the poker ad; most I’ve seen seem to be highly relevant (gardening/cooking), and are not glaring/flashing, so that’s fine by me. Just don’t start having those belly fat ads that seem to be everywhere 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,254,426 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2023 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder

Skip to toolbar