I have frequent memories of reading Mad Magazines and torn issues of Cracked as a child. These were cartoony parodies, often cynical and often more cutting than the silly cover portrayed.
Although I have many general memories of these magazines (“What Me Worry?”, Spy Vs. Spy and movie parodies), I only have one specific memory of a particular item in the pages I once poured over. The Magazine would often take common photos and add their own captions for humour. They ran a piece on a motorcycle rally and had a photo of a woman driving a motorcycle with the caption “My boyfriend taught me how to drive his bike – I learn how to stop tomorrow!” (When I read this I missed the obvious sexist undertones as I was young and tender :)).
I don’t know why I remember that cartoon so clearly. Likely because there are a lot of motorcycle drivers in my family, including some aunts (I was among their rank for several years having owned 3 motorcycles in my life). But I also liked the idea of trying to do something you don’t know nearly enough about. I am sure that I did this before I read the cartoon – but it helped solidify and focus that approach. It’s one (the approach, not the cartoon) that I still hold dear.
Last night was time to experiment with dehydrated mandarins. Leftover mini-oranges from the Christmas Season are washed, sliced (a quarter inch thick), seeded and laid on sheets before entering the food dehydrator at 135 degrees until brittle.
The total process took 5 hours for some slices and closer to 12 for others – I am still learning some basics of dehydrating and the importance of making sure the door on the dehydrator is fully closed.
Like the star in my cartoon strip, I learned how to dehydrate oranges yesterday – today I have to learn what to do with them. My guide to dehydrating claims that grinding them to a powder makes a great flavoring for soups, fish, salad or garnishes. That’s a good start but we’d have enough powder to last a lifetime – and I really am not prepping for Armageddon.
What are other possible uses then? So far there’s a few thoughts…
- Added to water in the fridge. The oranges will rehydrate somewhat and will definitely flavor the water. We can always have fruity water without having to run out and buy a single orange.
- Added to normal tea to add flavor. Same can be done with hot water when a little under the weather.
- Chopped and mixed with other dried flavors to create our own teas.
- Experiment with adding to preserves – either during cooking or at the table to add texture and flavor.
The flavor is very concentrated and a little bitter because of the pith. I love how they look and will add a slash of color to our Great Wall of Preserves.