Monday, May 18, 2015

Dehydrated Snacks

Can a healthy snack replace a salty, crunch potato chip? This is what I wanted to explore when I got a new dehydrator. All my experiments with nut cheeses meant that I needed something to spread said cheese on. I was buying chips and crackers, but decided that a homemade spread deserved a homemade cracker.

First up was an amaranth cracker. Making it was simple enough: boil 1 part amaranth with 2 parts water. Add salt and any other seasoning you desire, and spread the mixture 1/4" thick onto dehydrating tray, and dry at 115 °F for 10 hours or more. I liked them, and the boy thought they were "not his favorite." His dislike over these could be due to me not seasoning them very well, but I liked them. They had good crunch, although it was like eating tobiko at a sushi restaurant: you find yourself chewing bits of amaranth minutes after you've finished the cracker.

Attempt #2 was beet chips. I read about making crispy beet chips, starting from raw beets. I thinly sliced the beets in the food processor, and then drizzled them with olive oil and a dusting of salt. They were dehydrated at 115 °F for 20 hours. Does beet taffy sound good to you? If so, you'll love these chips. If it sounds disgusting, avoid at all costs!  I liked them, but they weren't crisp. Further web research shows that maybe I need to fry them first, and then dehydrate them.

Attempt #3 was flax crackers, and for these, I borrowed a juicer. (Having a Vitamix, a juicer, and a dehydrator made my kitchen feel like a regular hippy hangout.) I juiced beets and carrots, mixed soaked flax seeds with some of the vegetable juice and pulp, and dried the mixture out for 10 hours, again at 115 °F. This time, success! While I need to work on scoring the dough so I can break apart the crackers into snackable sizes, the crunch and taste of these are perfect for dipping.

Attempt #4 was just as disgusting as it looks. I mixed together nut pulp, leftover from making nut milk, tahini, and I forgot what else into a dough and dehydrated it. These were recycled into dog biscuits.

I'm losing hope over my leftover nut pulp. The energy to freeze it for future use isn't worth it. I've read that I can dry the pulp, but it's flavorless! Sure, there's fiber, but there are more pleasant ways to get fiber into my diet. So far, nut pulp is good for dog treats and worm food.

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