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Dehydrators are for more than just beef jerky and apple chips. Many of your favorite recipes can be created in a dehydrator. Sure, it can take quite a bit longer than your oven, but the results are definitely worth the wait. The low temperature of 115-118 degrees used in most dehydration recipes ensure all the nutrients aren’t cooked away keeping the food “live” or raw. Ovens can’t operate at the same low temperatures causing foods to bake and burn rather than dehydrate. An added bonus of dehydrating fruit, veggies and nuts makes them shelf stable and last longer because the majority of the food’s natural moisture is removed during the dehydration process. It’s a great way to enjoy your favorite foods past their season. I’ve compiled a few of my favorite tried-and-truly tasty recipes to whet your appetite!
Fruit Leather Roll Ups
Blend the fruit and pour thin layers onto silicone or parchment paper-lined dehydrator sheets. Crank up the dehydrator to 115 degrees and leave it to dry overnight. This simple two-ingredient recipe can also be made with frozen mango if you are in a bind. Kelly of Just A Taste creates beautiful mango leather roll ups with no added sugar or ingredients.
Mateo’s Notes: One taste of these and you’ll wonder why you ever ate expensive store-bought fruit snacks. They are perfect little mid-day snack that keeps me going long into the evening. I always add bananas because they help hold the fruit rolls together.
Cashew Cheese Nori Rolls
Blend all the ingredients for the cashew sauce into a paste and divide equally for the 10 nori sheets. Start at one end of the nori sheet by spooning some cashew sauce mixture along the edge and roll them up. Place the nori rolls seam side down on the dehydrator tray and leave them to dry at 115 degrees for 8 to 24 hours. Beulah from Being Vegan leaves some whole cashew pieces in her cashew sauce for added crunchy texture, but you can also blend it smooth if preferred.
Mateo’s Notes: Sometimes I’ll add red bell peppers and hot red chilis to the cashew sauce to make a spicy roll. It’s my go-to travel food for road trips or plane rides since they don’t require any refrigeration and are very filling.
Buckwheat and Berry Granola
After soaking, allow the buckwheat groats to sit for 8 hours to sprout. The sprouting will help with digestion and absorption of nutrients. Once the buckwheat groats have sprouted, mix all the ingredients evenly and spread the mixture onto silicone or parchment paper-lined dehydrator sheets. Set your dehydrator to 115 degrees and let dehydrate overnight or until dry. This recipe calls for all raw ingredients, but you can also use rolled wheat oats or roasted nut butter.
Mateo’s Notes: Over the years, I have found granola to be a really versatile food—you can make it sweet or savory to your liking. My favorite combinations have been cacao powder with bananas or diced apples with cinnamon.
A dehydrator can set you back around $200 new (less if you buy it secondhand) but you’ll save money on grocery bills in the long run. Cut down on food waste by turning slightly too ripe fruits into snacks and even make raw crackers using the pulp of your juicer. If you’re committed to making healthy snacks, it doesn’t get any easier. Just add your food, set the temperature and time and walk away. Paired with a blender or food processor, this bulky kitchen appliance will take you on your dehydrated food journey.