written by Alison Klektau
One of the exciting things about working with food is all the neat kitchen gadgets you get to try out, and while some of them are a necessity for a good working kitchen, there are many items that are easy to do without. What those items are however will depend on your kitchen persona.
A neat kitchen tool that I feel is making a big come-back and is worth looking into is the dehydrator. Though they range in price, there's a good chance you may have one hidden in the basement or at your parents place - or you may even find a great deal on craigslist, as a friend of mine did.
Dehydrating is big in the raw food world - though it's not necessary, it does add more variation and allows for more elaborate dishes. Dehydrating works by slowly removing the moisture from the food with low heat so the enzymes in the food are not destroyed. The only downfall to dehydrating is the wait time - but you can easily have the dehydrator running while you go on with your daily errands. Dehydrating time will of course depend on the item and the thickness - it usually takes around the 8-14 hour range, which is why I think dehydrating loses a lot of fans, simply because it's not as quick as cooking.
However, the things you can make in your dehydrator not only have the potential to save money (have you seen the price of kale chips?!) but it can also be a great healthy alternative to pre-packaged foods. A lot of the recipes are as easy as mixing the ingredient in a food processor, blender, or even just cutting slices of your favorite fruit and then placing it on the trays to dehydrate away. It’s actually not that time consuming; it's just not instant so it will mean planning ahead.
Though the possibilities are endless, some popular things would include raw cookies, fruit leathers, dried fruit, raw pizza crust, raw bread and crackers.
Here is a raw cracker recipe that's a spinoff of my favorite cracker from Organic Lives – a really amazing organic restaurant here in Vancouver!
If you want to make the recipe but don't have a dehydrator your next option would be using a convection oven on its lowest setting. I’ve never actually tried that method out though, so if you do – let us know how it works!
Raw Onion Crackers
What you need: teflex/paraflexx sheets - this will make it so much easier to remove the finished crackers dehydrator food processor 2 medium oranges (remove peel and seeds) or 3 small ones 10 medjool dates 1 large red onion 1 cup sesame seeds 3 Tbsp chia seeds 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt Juice of 1 lemon
This recipe creates 3 cups worth, enough to fill 3, 11”x11” trays.
Step 1: Combine dates and onion in a food processor. Mix well (it'll probably be a bit sludgy looking). Next add in the Himalayan salt and mix again.
Step 2: Add in the peeled oranges, sesame seeds and chia seeds, then mix until well incorporated. You might need to do this in batches, or add some of the seeds in the food processor and then empty it into a big bowl and mix by hand.
Step 3: Place the teflex sheets on the dehydrator trays and spread the mixture evenly (using an offset spatula makes this job a lot easier). These sheets are going to make it so easy to peel off....I have tried parchment paper as well as the fruit leather trays...they do work but require a spatula to peel them off.
Step 4: Place the trays into the dehydrator. Set the dehydrator to 140 for 2 hours (don't worry, it doesn't get that hot in that time period).
Step 5: When 2 hours have passed, turn the dial to 110. Score crackers with a knife to the size you want them. Leave dehydrator on over night (roughly 8 hours).
Step 6: Flip the crackers (you'll have to peel them off the teflex sheets and place them directly onto the trays so the other side is facing up). Continue to dehydrate (you'll have to keep checking depending how thick you made them) but roughly another 4-8 hours.
Step 7: Enjoy the crackers right from the trays or store them in the freezer in a sealed container.
July is our Raw Month!
Have you been eating raw during July? If so, we'd love to hear from you about what you have been eating and making. Let us know if you have a raw recipe you'd like to share with us and we will post it up on the blog!
Raw Support Monthly Menu Planning
The Alkaline Life is a course that is full of information about eating alkaline foods (most of which are raw!) and the benefit this has for the body, mind, and spirit. The Alkaline Life is full of 30 days worth of recipes and menu planners.
Alison Klektau is currently a student at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Vancouver where she is studying to earn her certification as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. It is her passion to educate others on the power of eating a plant-based whole foods diet while incorporating regular exercise, as she believes in a mind-body approach. Previous to that, Alison earned her BFA in Theatre and Film Studies from the University of Victoria.