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Yeah, you can have it all. You can eat local, organic, cheap and huge variety. Here's how:

This awesome tip came from my super green friend Jan Maltby, who came up with this plan to reduce her throw-away of produce.

She belongs to a CSA but, even with her three kids and generous-to-friends-and-neighbors sensibilities, she could never quite finish the huge bounty of the end of season tomatoes without ending up tossing a few for being squishy. What a waste.

I found the same was happening to me, from the organic bananas I'd buy, to the hot peppers we grow. (Gotta be careful—can't eat too many of those hot mamas at once, or, well..you know what I mean...)

Anyway, Jan is all the sort for self canning. You know the type, very nice but you end up feeling delinquent anyway because she makes a fresh loaf of bread everyday (from scratch) and all that good stuff. But realistically, that's not something we can all swing—(hey, that's why they cancelled Little House on the Prairie—honest Pa!).

So sometimes her 'answers' to my green kitchen dilemmas are not something I'm ready to grab onto without some nudging. But this one is spot on. Will save you hundreds of dollars in the first year, and is super easy.

Jan told me to invest in a fruit dryer. Actually, they are called fruit dehydrators, and they come in a variety of sizes and prices. I bought one with the exciting name of Excalibur for around $100. I felt sheepish as soon as I bought it-wondering of I?d ever actually use it. But I did and do.

It's so easy a caveman can do it! ie, I can do it! And for really ripe fruits that don't need a super sharp knife to cut, like bananas, my kids can slice and dice too.

Here's how it works: