Joan Jackson

The Raw Kitchen Magician

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12 posts tagged Dehydrating

Preparation Techniques: Dehydrating.

Dehydrating serves many masters: Advance preparation, texturizing, warming, avoiding waste…

The dehydrator is good for so much more than making raw breads, crackers and granolas.  it gives wings to my imagination. Whatever texture I want to create with raw food, the dehydrator can help me get there. And it cures all ails - used too much water, dehydrate - don’t have time to fix this mistake, dehydrate - can’t use it fast enough and it could go bad, dehydrate. When in doubt dehydrate.

Click the “DEHYDRATING" tag below to see the entire post - this is just the cover post.

Advance Prep.
The dehydrator allows me to create my two most important pantries: my “ready to go” pantry of soaked and dehydrated nuts and seeds, and soaked, sprouted and dehydrated grains.  Soaking the nuts, seeds and grains removes the enzyme inhibitors. Dehydrating preserves. Sprouting increases the value of grains.

Texturizing.
The dehydrator allows me to approximate the textures from cooking with high heats. By dehydrating leafy vegetables I can soften them, and the subsequent massage with oil makes them look like I’ve sauteed them. Likewise, dehydrating allows for a finished cast to my lasagna, my stirdry and my antipasto.

Soaking and Melting.
Heat accelerates the soaking process. My wild rice takes 5 days to soften when I soak it on the countertop and 24 hours when I soak it in the dehydrator at 105 degrees. Likewise, I make labor-free chocolate by melting my cacao butter first in the dehydrator, which is so much faster and results in creamier raw chocolate.

Dehydrators. Dehydrators. Dehydrators.

They are the prime real estate consumers in the raw food kitchen.  I have four. To house them all, I had to build a special shelf to hold them just outside of my working kitchen beneathe raised counter of my kitchen. I had this space that I didn’t use, where bar stools could have stood. 

People ask me if I have four dehydrators because I have a raw food business. I answer emfaphtically. No.No.No.  I have four dehydrators because I don’t have time. And time is the element that dehydrators must have. With four dehydrators, I can spend 4-5 hours in my kitchen and make one big mess and be done for the rest of the month with all my dehydrating. (And I do it on the day the cleaning lady comes, so I can leave the deeper cleaning to her. I know it doesn’t sound nice, but I’m just keeping it real. I’m not trying to be in the kitchen everyday, making a mess, and cleaning up my mess.

Think about it like this. You can pair up with two or three other raw-inspired people pool the dehydrators at a person’s house. The pool rotates each week, so now everyone has a chance to dehydrate as much food as they like.

Leave Savory Alone?

When you have foods that are savory - like onion or garlic - dehydrate those foods only with like foods. Savory shouldn’t be mixed with sweet or neutral - garlic infused cheesecake - no unless we’re in Gilroy. Consider having at least two dehydrators.

Piled how high?

With the small items like sunflower seeds and sprouted grains, I pile it high. Since I almost never am dehydrating just one tray, foods like sunflower seeds and brazil nuts will often be together for many hours. So pile high the small stuff, it’ll dry just fine.

How Many Trays?

I try to leave space between trays as a rule. Sometimes that’s not possible because of the amount of foods I’m dehydrating. But that space is important, it allows for less hampered movement of warm air which equals less drying time needed.

Some of my Favorite Toppings and Additions.

Browning-Finishing.

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