The next decision made in the heat of the moment took me by surprise.
The garden is busy delivering vegetables and fruit. I made the cherries into vodka. I ate the strawberries as they ripened.
The rasperries and tayberries have been a disappointment, the lack of rain means that the fruits have been very small. I've eaten quite a lot, and given the past-best stuff to the Girls. I thought I might make some raspberry jam, but it's been too hot. Then I thought I'd dry some. I needed to get the Dehydrator out anyway, as the pear tree is having a rare bountiful year, and we'll soon be inundated.
I had a look online for some inspiration.
Instead of being inspired by recipes, I found myself looking at new dehydrators.
If I was going to buy a replacement dehydrator, then it needed to be significantly better than the one I had, otherwise there wasn't any point. I read the mixed reviews of L'equip. Hmm, probably not one of those then. My eye was caught by the Excaliburs. Yes, I could see that horizontal drying would be even better than my current dehydrator. It looked like a neat little unit. The user reviews were positive.
I read the comparison charts. Yep, the Excalibur looked great. It wasn't extendable, so I might as well go for the 9 tray version.
I did some price comparisons. I looked on Ebay.
I found a competitive supplier who was also on Quidco. As my finger hovered over the "add to basked" button, I stopped. What was I doing? I don't use the dehydrator anywhere near enough to warrant spending the money.
Step away from the keyboard!
I stepped away.
I did some other stuff. Made bread, looked at the growing pile of courgettes. I've made courgette bread. I've fried courgettes and had them in my salad. I've eaten them raw (not great frankly), I've fed some to the chickens.
I thought about dehydrating. Would I really eat "courgette crisps"? I got some apple leather, made last year, out of the cupboard and munched away.
Back on the puter. I looked at Excalibur again. I looked at the comparison chart again. I noticed a different make on the chart this time. I googled it. I watched a video which directly compared both machines, out of the box. What a great video! I saw how enormous both machines were. But the new machine beat the Excalibur hands down.
I measured where I keep the current dehydrator and the transformer (it's a 110 volt machine so I run it via a transformer). Hmm, not a lot of difference really (in that way that when you want something, there are no real obstacles). The Sedona is designed to be used all the time, and you can fit it into a microwave cavity. Micro processor for accurate temperature (just been reaing about that actually). Can use half the oven. Glass door. Folds down. Controls on the front. Quiet. Timer. Yep, if I was going to get one - which I wasn't as I didn't need anything that big - it'd be the Sedona.
As I prepared dinner, I looked at my microwave. The two dehydraters were no bigger than that. And how often do I use the microwave? Once every couple of weeks to reheat frozen rice? And a few times a year to make microwave popcorn? Why, I could buy a teeny microwave to do that, and put the dehydrator in its place. And if the dehydrator was there on the worktop I'd be more likely to use it. Wouldn't I?
I downloaded some samples of new dehydrator books on to my kindle. I read the info, which sadly stopped before any recipes. I got out my old dehydrator book. I looked online.
Many of the books are about dehydrating food which is then later reconstituted. I'm not really interested in that, I'm more interested in drying food to eat dried.
I decided I'd order one. And I'd order the Excalibur, which was slightly smaller and probably better value. They are tried and trusted, and well regarded. If it didn't work out, I could always easily sell it again on Ebay.
So, remembering to go through Quidco, I went back on to the site. And I ordered the Sedona!
Super service, it arrived the following day (Wednesday). It spent Wednesday blocking the hallway while I looked at the enormous box and wondered what on earth had possessed me. I debated with myself whether to open it or to send it back without opening it.
I opened it. DH helped me rearrange the worktop. It fits on there and looks OK. There was no recipe book, only instructions on how to operate the machine. I decided to wait until my new dehydrator recipe book arrived before attempting anything.
The book didn't arrive. The mountain of courgettes was getting bigger.
I looked online for courgette recipes. I made courgette crisps, and I used only the top half of the oven. I seasoned each tray with something different. I cut up some tomatoes for the last tray. I set it running at 7.30pm, on a 12 hour timer. Before I went to bed, I switched it to "night time mode" so the fan was even quieter. It was great.
This morning, I tried some of the crisps. A bit too thin, like eating rice paper, but they tasted quite good. Actually, they must have tasted OK because I've eaten all of them now. And the tomatoes....were really really delicious. I've saved some to have on my salad.
And I'll be setting another tray of (thicker cut) courgettes this evening.
I've kept the box. And the packaging. Just in case.