Saturday, February 21, 2009


Because VITAL takes place in the warmlands along the coast, the cool weather vegetables (carrots, capsicum {also known as green pepper in the States} zucchini, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes) are hard to come by. And when you do actually find them, they are usually rather expensive and sad looking. SO-after talking about it with Liz, who you may remember helped me out with the buy for the October module, we decided that the thing to do was to plan ahead and purchase these veggies at the market in Ukarumpa, dehydrate them, and bring them down to Alotau when I come for the course.

January was my trial run, and I think that it worked out really well! I made one really big trip to the market and purchased loads of carrots and capsicum, and also some zucchini, cabbage, and potatoes. I borrowed a nice large dehydrator (about 10 trays tall),

and spent a little more than a week, with the dehydrator running pretty much the whole time (and me washing, peeling and chopping). Here are some of the results of that venture.

I spent a lot of time on carrots. Many of the soups we make at VITAL call for about 20 carrots—not the foot-long carrots that we get in the States, but little guys, usually about 6 inches long. In the market at Ukarumpa we can get a “heap” of about 10 carrots for 1 Kina (a little less than 50 cents). At the store in Alotau, a good price would be 2.50-3.00 Kina for 5 carrots. In the picture below, I tried to show what 20 carrots looks like washed and bleached (we bleach almost everything purchased at the market to kill bad germs), then chopped in a bowl and ready for the dehydrator, and the final result--dehydrated carrots in a sandwich bag!

I also dehydrated a few zucchini—they are a really nice addition to chicken soup. As you can see, this zucchini is a little longer than a standard sandwich bag. It probably cost about 2 Kina in the Ukarumpa market. At a store in Alotau, it would sell for closer to 9 Kina.

Cabbage is also an ingredient in our chicken soup recipe. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out (and sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the final product!—next time) but it worked! In the square bowl at the back, you can see the sliced pieces of one cabbage—when dehydrated, it just fit into one sandwich bag. At the front, on the dehydrator tray, is zucchini that has been cubed and then blanched in boiling water (I guess blanching is supposed to stop something inside the veggies, and make them keep longer when dehydrated).

I think that my favorite was the potatoes—they looked really cool all dried up! But, they were the last ones I did, and in my packing haste, I didn’t get a picture of them either. Anyways, in spite of all the time spent bleaching, peeling, chopping, and blanching--I think that the whole thing was a big success!! It was SO nice this module not to have to spend time hunting around Alotau stores looking for nice specimens of these veggies, and knowing that I saved so much on the price!

No comments: