Dehydrating 101

HI all,

dried-fruits

Dehydrating 101
If you’ve just been introduced to raw foods, you would have come across the method of Dehydrating food quite a bit. For this post, I’m going to share a very simple FAQ from  questions about Dehydrating foods:

1. What is Dehydrator?
A dehydrator is a device that removes the water content from your food and aids as a form of food preservation. It is a common equipment in the raw food movement as moisture is removed from food at a very low heat (47 degrees and below), keeping the active enzymes and nutrients intact. I like to call it an “oven that blows cool air”! Dehydrated food normally tastes more intense because when moisture is removed, it alleviates the taste of the ingredients’ natural flavour and taste.

2. Is it necessary to buy a dehydrator on a Raw Foods Diet

Raw buckwheat bread
It isn’t necessary but it definitely makes going raw more fun and interesting! Think raw pizzas, cookies, breads etc!  Espeially if you’re on a strictly raw lifestyle – after meals of salads and fruits, its common to crave warm, salty, chewy comfort food. The picture above is a sandwich I made from raw dehydrated bread and mushrooms!

3. What dehydrator do you use?
I own 2 dehydrators – An Ezi Dri snack maker and a Sedona Dehydrator.

my dehydrators

I bought the Ezi Dri snack maker around a year back. Back then I didn’t want to invest so much in a dehydrator and I thought the price for the Ezi Dri was very reasonable ( can’t really rem, I think it was around $200 plus). I think the Ezi Dri is great if you just wanna dehydrate snacks (like fruits, nuts, veggies, juice pulp etc) so its suitable for anyone really (whether raw or not). What I didn’t really like was that I couldn’t adjust the temperature because it was already preset at Low, Medium, High. Also, the hole in the middle deterred me from making items like pizzas and others that required more height (like bread loafs).

So, 2 months back for my birthday i decided to invest in something more professional. The most widely recognised dehydrator is the Excalibur but i choose to buy the up and  coming Sedona Dehydrator. I’ve used both dehydrators before while working in the kitchen and all I can say is both work well with dehydrating food. But I chose to buy the Sedona it has other functions that give it an edge over the Excalibur:

sedona-dehydrator

1) It looks aesthetically better  – sleek and black like a posh little oven
2) It has energy saving functions You can choose to dehydrate all trays or simply the top/bottom half. Probably my fav function because it allows you to dehydrate in small batches!
3) It is less noisy – Really much less noisy than the Excalibur and you can even set the night mode so that it because even quieter.
4) BPA free trays and mesh screens – important because you are using raw foods!
5) Clear glass door –  to see results without opening!
6) The digital display – which allows you to set timers and set accurate temperature settings.

*I’m not sponsored by Sedona…I’m just a big fan and I highly recommend it!

4. Where can I buy a dehydrator in Singapore?
You can purchase a dehydrator at a few places in Singapore – TOTT store, The Living Cafe, Tangs Orchard or Lemon Zest. Or you can purchase it online at Amazon, Ebay or NaturaWorks (Free SG delivery for more than $80).

5. Is it necessary to get an expensive dehydrator?

Like i mentioned in point 4, it really depends on the lifestyle you are leading. If you are fully raw, then I highly suggest getting a good dehydrator. However, if you are still experimenting with raw foods or simply want to make healthy snacks…then I think a normal dehydrator will suffice. Oh some modern ovens also allow you to adjust the temperature at vey low heat too! The last thing you would want is to buy something expensive and not use it.

6. Is consuming dehydrated food healthy?

There has been quite the debate about this question and you can probably google it online. But my two cents worth – compared to the rest of the food preservation methods out there like canning, baking, frozen food…dehydrated food is probably the least harmful and most healthy way to preserve raw fresh foods because the foods aren’t subjected to extreme temperatures and artificial preservatives. Plus dehydrating them at a low temperature minimizes nutrient loss.  Please please please drink lots of water when you are consuming dehydrated food because there is low or no moisture!

7. How long do I need to dehydrate foods for?\
It depends on the item you are dehydrating, its size, water content and the temperature. But typically, around 12 hours.

Hope the above questions were useful! Do leave a comment if you anything else you want to know and I’ll try my best to answer them! Here are some videos I found about dehydrating foods that might be useful to you too:

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Homemade Cashew Milk

I love making my own nut milk because its fresh, more affordable and just tastes different from the store bought ones. If its your first time making nut milk, Cashew milk is probably the easiest and most fuss-free milk you can start off with.

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Before I start, you should know that the “raw cashews” you purchase in the stores aren’t really completely raw. The raw cashew nut is protected with a shell which contains the urushiol, which is the same chemical that you’d find in poison ivy and can be toxic when ingested. When cashew nuts are sold as a “raw” product, the cashew has actually been steamed to release the urushiol prior to packaging.

Even though I make Almond milk more regularly, I still love my Cashew milk from time to time.

3 reasons why I love Cashew milk
– EXTREMELY EASY to make! No need for a nut milk bag or cheese cloth.
– Thick and creamy
– Great for smoothies!

HOMEMADE CASHEW MILK
Raw, Vegan, Gluten free

What you’ll need
1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked for around 4 hours )
2 1/2 cups water
2 large medjool dates (pits removed)
Pinch of salt
2 drops pure vanilla essence

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Here’s how
1) Blend all the ingredients in a high speed blender till smooth (you should not feel any nut bits). This will probably take 1  – 2 min. If you don’t have a high speed blender, you may need to blend it longer….or get some nut bits in your milk.
2) Pour and store in glass jar for 3 – 5 days.

Easy right?

Here are 2 simple smoothie recipes you can try with your freshly made cashew nut milk

CHOCOLATE “MILKSHAKE”

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What you’ll need
1 cup cashew milk (cold)
1 heaping tbs of cacao powder
1 1/2 frozen bananas (preferably ripe!)
2 drops vanilla essence
4 cubes of ice
Cacao nibs for topping (optional)

Here’s how
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender and top with cacao nibs!

GREEN CREAMY SMOOTHIE

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What you’ll need
1/2 cup cashew milk
1/2 cup water
3 frozen bananas (preferably ripe!)
1 large bunch spinach
3 – 4 cubes of ice

Here’s how
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender and top with your favourite toppings. In the pic above, I topped it with pomegranate seeds, cacao nibs, blueberries, hemp seeds and goji berries.