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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Raw Napolenta Pizza Crackers

When I visited Whole Foods in London, I bought this DELICIOUS raw Napolenta Pizza Crackers. Its an Italian styled tomato olive and herb flax cracker..and I’ve been kicking myself ever since for not buying more!!

Neopolitan pizza

Since Wholefoods doesn’t ship overseas, I had 2 choices – Head back to Wholefoods in London/US (um…and incur a big credit card debt) or try to recreate this at home. Obviously chose the latter of course. Note to self though, the next time i visit a Wholefoods store overseas, I need to buy extra luggage for the goodies I’m going to lug home.

I kept the box with the list of ingredients so I went about guessing the right amounts for each. After abit for trail and error, I’m kinda pleased with the results!

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RAW NAPOLENTA PIZZA CRACKERS
RAW,VEGAN, GF

INGREDIENTS
1 cup cashews
6 – 8 pcs sun dried tomatoes
1 whole tomato
1 red bell pepper
1/2 cup olives
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp paprika
1 cup water
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/2 – 2 cups flax seeds ( depending on how thick you want it)

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HERE’S HOW
1) Process all ingredients except the flax seeds and sunflower seeds. But not too find because it’ll be quite nice to have pieces of cashews , tomatoes and olives in the crackers. Add more herbs or salt as you see fit.
2) Stir in the sunflower seeds and flax seeds and let it marinate overnight.
3) Spread the mixture on your dehydrator tray for around 16 hours, then flip it over and dehydrate for another 16 hours.

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THINGS TO NOTE
– This recipe makes quite a big quantity of crackers, so half it if you want less
– I made 3 different trays of with different thickness. One of the trays was super thick because i wanted it to be more like a pizza/bread base. I also made different shapes lol so go have fun with the shapes, thickness and size! If you are making the crackers thinner, won’t need to dehydrate it for so long.

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