This is the dedication in my Food Drying with an Attitude book

"This is dedicated to the hope that food drying will find a welcome place in everyone's kitchen and that every farmer's' market will have at least one dried food vendor.  And with heart and soul, I pray that we all embrace a vriety of ways to live more sustainable lives. "

For over a decade every Saturday morning I have participated in the Lanesboro Farmer's Market. Over the years I have dried and tried to sell a variety of packaged products.  My most successful product has been Rhubarb Lace.  One year I had over 50 kale plants and sold everything I dried.  Dried bananas are always a hit. My dried tomatoes sold out every week.  The dried apple pie that I made with those torpedo zucchini were fun to sell.  The only product I had trouble selling was dried eggplant.  I believe that was because it was such a new concept and even though I gave an instruction and recipe sheet, people could not relate to it.   The 4-legged's that got Gobbles were always enthusiastic and appreciative. 

The most frustrating thing about trying to bring dried foods to the marketplace is the restrictive rules and regulations.  It is my belief that the single largest impediment to the local foods movement is the restrictiveness and ridiculousness of these rules.  When I dry food, I do my best to give everyone the best product I can muster.  The rules stop people from sharing with others and I am not convinced they protect anybody.  In Minnesota there is an effort to change the rules of being able to put local foods into stores.  The idea is to take into account the size of the business and how far the food products would travel.  For example, if someone sold $5 to $10,000 worth of product in a year and they sold to stores within a 50 mile radius of where it was produced, that then the licensing process would be made more possible and sane.  People who buy from me know where I live and my product has a face -- to me that is better insurance than a certificate.


Rhubarb Lace

A delicious dried rhubarb snack

Early in my food drying career I witnessed hundreds of school kids bolt out of their school buses, race into the Wisconsin Historical Society building in Madison, Wisconsin, and grab handfuls of rhubarb leather out of big wooden bowls. I was stunned -- it was like watching piranha attack raw chicken. I tried to tell them that it was a rhubarb fruit roll-up, but they were too busy, or too hungry, or it was so tasty, to register they were actually eating rhubarb.

Dried rhubarb can be rehydrated and made into a lightweight healthy sauce -just add water.

Find this recipe in Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook and Food Drying with an Attitude.






Gobbles is a great ingredient for making 100% natural dog and cat treats. Treats made with Gobbles will eliminate salt, artificial colors and other preservatives generally added to pet treats. You can add medicine, ½ teaspoon dried beet powder for a red color, turmeric for yellow and dried mint can serve as a breath freshener. 

If you have a finicky eater, an older pal, or a buddy who's under the weather – Gobbles is your answer. Sprinkle this high protein appetite stimulant on their regular food or mix with an equal amount of water.

100 % pure, natural, healthy, dried, raw turkey granules. No grain. No gluten. No preservatives. No added sweeteners. No antibiotics. No artificial flavorings or colors. Just turkey!  

 Gus - Our finicky eater

MN Dept of Agriculture License No. 20107708

How Gobbles Happened  

Our neighbors are organic turkey farmers that sell fertile turkey eggs.  Their happy, breeding birds are not fed antibiotics and live in an extremely clean facility.  Sanitation is key in keeping the flock healthy and free of disease.  When it is time to cull the flock we buy the turkey breasts and process and dry Gobbles. Just like you, we love our four-legged pals and want them to have the best food we can find—especially healthy and nutritious food.
Will, our German shepherd is a finicky eater. His habit is to take a piece of food out of his bowl, walk around, go back, look at his bowl, take another piece and wander around the house.  The first time we sprinkled Gobbles on his food he finished the entire bowl.   
“When our old dog passed on we decided to adopt a rescue dog. It turned out that Karly, our new 40 pound, German Shorthaired Pointer, was far more fearful than we could have anticipated. For the first year she barked furiously when anyone came near our house and then ran and cowered when a visitor entered our home. The only exception to this has been when Mary Bell visits.  Mary has given Karly pieces of Gobbles and Karly does not bark at her and will lay her head on Mary’s lap. My cat Jack is taking advantage of this situation and sits on the edge of the chair in expectation of receiving his treat too.” 
-- Nancy Martinson of Lanesboro, Minnesota
Break Gobbles into small pieces and sprinkle this high protein appetite stimulant on your pet’s food.  It’s great for a finicky eater, an older pal, or when your four-legged friend is feeling under the weather.  
½-1 teaspoon for cats and small dogs
1-2 tablespoons for larger dogs
Remember cats like small pieces


Banana Chips


Just like Tomato Chips, it's just bananas.











Tomato Chips


Just like Banana Chips, it's just tomatoes.











Dried Kale


Add dried kale to soups, smoothies, eggs, sauces, even salads.











Dried Apple Pie

I believe in finding ways to use underutilized and potentially wasted food.  Torpedo zucchini have never left my mind.  Finally, after tossing a fantastic crop of zucchini onto the compost pile,  the light bulb went off.  I realized what I needed to do after I peeled, removed the seeds, and cut the zucchini into pieces, was cook the zucchini pieces so I could easily puree it in my blender.   

To 20 cups of pureed zucchini, I add
3 cups applesauce
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/4 cup lemon juice

Dried Eggplant

Each package is one medium-sized fresh eggplants that’s been sliced, dipped in a lemon/salt/water solution, then dried. 

Eggplant is a great example of a benefit of drying food. When it’s in season and abundant, then have it on hand when it is out of season and expensive. (Note - most out of season eggplant is grown in other countries.)

    How to Use Dried Eggplant

Crush and add to tomato sauce
Grind into a coarse or fine powder to use as a flavoring
Dip the dried eggplant slices in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes; remove with tongs and let cool 
Dried eggplant can be a great pasta substitute.  Make eggplant lasagna.

Note - dried eggplant does not require as much oil to fry.  Rehydrate slices, dip one in oil, then fry. 


             A simple eggplant casserole.

    2 tablespoons dried bell pepper pieces, ¼-inch thick
    3 tablespoons water
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 cup onion, chopped fine
    1 tablespoon garlic
    1 pound ground meat, lamb or beef
    2 tablespoons dried parsley, crushed
    ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
    ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
    3 cups canned tomatoes
    3 cups water
    24 2 by 7-inch dried eggplant slices
    2 cups ricotta cheese
    3 egg whites, beaten
    ½ cup Parmesan cheese

Put pepper pieces and water in a bowl and rehydrate 30 minutes.  Place oil and onion in a pan and sauté for 3 minutes.  Stir, add peppers and garlic.  Cook and then add ground meat.  Stir and break into small pieces.  Add parsley, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and sauté until well browned.   Add tomatoes and simmer until most of the liquid evaporates.  Remove from heat. 

In a separate pan, bring 3 cups water to a boil.  Add dried eggplant slices one at a time and with a slotted spoon or a tongs remove the slices as soon as they have softened.  Generally this takes 3 to 5 minutes.  Remove slices and lay them flat on a cutting board to cool.  Beat egg whites and gently fold into the cheese.  Oil the inside of a casserole dish.  Dip the eggplant slices in a little olive oil, then layer the slices in the dish with an extra layer on the bottom, then a layer of meat mixture, a layer of cheese, another layer of eggplant, repeating until all ingredients are used.  Top with Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes covered, remove cover and bake 20 minutes more or until the top turns golden.  Cool before serving.
Serves 4 to 6