I’m so excited to dive into the age old debate from smoothie drinkers everywhere: Blendtec vs Vitamix! While you don’t need to invest in an expensive blender to get started drinking green smoothies and making healthier choices, you might want to upgrade to one of these top of the line blenders eventually for ease of…Read More
Some of you have been writing in and asking how to go about making dehydrated snacks and crackers without a dehydrator. So I thought I’d give you a few options to pick from, so you too can experiment in the kitchen and have some variety of delicious raw treats and staples. First, for those who…Read More
Learn one of the most useful and versatile kitchen tricks: how to grow your own sprouts. Dishes that include fresh sprouts tend to be more multidimensional, super nutritious, and definitely more fun!
Sprouting Guide Video
(If you’re reading via email or feedreader, click here to view the embedded video.)
Why You Should Learn to Sprout
- You can grow sprouts yourself in the winter to get tons of nutrition without spending tons on produce.
- Keeping dry seeds and beans for sprouting is a great way to be prepared for natural catastrophes that might leave you without food. All you need is some water to sprout.
- It’s very satisfying to watch seedlings and beans awaken and sprout in front of your eyes. It reminds us of the magick of nature.
- You can eat a variety of different beans and sprouts that you might not be able to buy in stores if you sprout them yourself.
- Sprouts make a great addition to so many meals and they add a great texture to salads too.
How Sprouting Boosts Nutrition
Photo credit: Sriram Bala
Sprouts are much more nutritious than the dormant seed or bean from which they spring from. By “awakening” these seeds, we are actually eating all of the live potential energy of the sprout.
Because of the higher water content in sprouts as opposed to dry seeds and beans, we find a higher nutritional content. Sprouts contain absorbable protein, and contain increased calcium, potassium, sodium, iron, as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and C.
Growing Your own Sprouts is Cheap & Easy
Another benefit to growing your own sprouts is the cost efficiency. Seeds and beans are inexpensive, and can yield an almost unproportional amount of sprouts.
You can also buy sprouting seeds and store them for long periods of time without spoilage. Contrast that with a bunch of lettuce that does not last more than one week in the refrigerator.
Sprouts are one of the most economical foods and some have called them the foods of the future. Sprouting your own seeds and beans is so simple, and yields such savings and benefits that I cannot recommend it enough.
Do it Yourself – How to Sprout
- Soak seeds overnight in a bowl with water.
- The next morning, drain water and rinse with fresh water once or twice.
- Place in a sprouting bag, or sprouting jar without any water. (Should still be humid, not completely dry.)
- Every morning and night rinse with fresh water, to keep the sprouts wet and clean of mould.
- Ensure the sprouts never dry up, and repeat process until your desired length or age of sprout.
- Rinse out with fresh water and serve immediately in salads, wraps, smoothies, juices, breads/crackers, or just eat as a snack.
Sprouting Tools and Resources
I personally use a nut-milk bag, which resembles cheesecloth, for my sprouting needs. (As you might have seen in the video.) It’s inexpensive, and versatile because you can also use it to make nut milks too.
I’ve tried sprouting in jars, (though not with the Tribest Automatic Sprouter) and I prefer the flexibility and ease that a sprouting bag seems to provide.
Feel free to experiment with what works best for you, depending on the climate where you live.
One great source of sprouting information that has been around since 1993 is Sprout People. You can buy sprouts and sprouting kits from them as well.
What Are Your Favorite Sprouts?
Now I’m curious if you’ve ever grown your own sprouts and which ones are your favorites. I’m partial to mung bean sprouts, and buckwheat sprouts personally.
Do you still crave that warm chewy-comfort food feeling from your raw food? Then chances are the dehydrator is what will solve your issues.
What is a Dehydrator?
(Click here to watch the video on YouTube if you can’t see it here.)
Why Dehydrate… aka What Does a Dehydrator Do?
A dehydrator is a tool that uses low temperatures and a fan to dry food. It essentially removes the water from food, but it keeps the enzymes of your raw food intact.
In my opinion dehydrated foods are not the easiest thing for your body to digest: it’s not the closest thing to nature. Essentially you don’t have the water content and that means it’s not the ideal food.
That being said, I think dehydrated foods are a great way to transition to raw food, and even as a great gluten-free treat. Most of the dehydrated foods can replace the textures and tastes of the most addictive foods like bread, cookies, and chips. Who wouldn’t want that?
How to Dehydrate Raw Food
Most dehydrators come with a temperature setting, and as long as you are dehydrating at temperatures below 112-118F you’ll be keeping your ingredients “raw”. (See what is the raw food diet here.)
Photo by Jacqueline
Use a Dehydrator to Preserve Excess Produce
If you’re lucky enough to have an abundant garden (or just a great deal of fresh local produce) then you can use a dehydrator to preserve your harvest.
Simply clean and cut your fruits or vegetables and place on your dehydrator trays. Depending on how watery the produce is you might need to dehydrate for a longer time. Dehydrated fruits and veggies make great snacks, or can be used to top salads or in sauces and soups. Yum!
Make Raw Kale Chips
In my weekly ezine I wrote about a recipe for yummy kale chips. (Subscribe if you want to receive recipes every week!)
- 1 Bunch Kale
- Sea Salt
- Olive oil
- Diced Garlic
- Juice of Half a Lemon
- Pinch of Cumin
Wash the kale and then cut it into 3 inch long strips. Keep in mind that these chips will get smaller as they dehydrate. Put the sliced kale in a large bowl and add the olive oil, sea salt, diced garlic, lemon juice, and cumin, all to taste. Get your hands in there and massage the ingredients into the kale.
Wait for 10 to 20 minutes: the kale leaves should have shrunk a little bit. Now place your marinated kale on a dehydrator tray and turn the dehydrator on to dry for about 7 to 8 hours at 115F. You’ll be crunching these awesome kale chips so fast you’ll need to make a second batch! Be sure to experiment with different spices and mimic your favorite chips.
If you want a closer look at the process of making kale chips take a look at this post by Dhrumil of We Like it Raw.
Make Fruit Leathers
Making fruit leather is one thing that reminds me of being a kid and eating those sugary processed fruit roll-ups. Of course when you’re in charge of what goes into your fruit leather you can make them as healthy as you want! Why not dehydrate a green smoothie to take with you on a hiking trip?
- Blend your favorite mix of fresh fruits (and/or vegetables!) until smooth. You may need to add a bit of water if your blender cannot process it well, but try not to add too much.
- Spread the mixture on a teflex sheet or piece of cellophane. It should be about 1/4 inch thick, but you can experiment with different thicknesses.
- Place the sheet in your dehydrator and dry at 110F-118F for about 4 hours.
- When the leather is dry enough, peel it off the sheet and flip it over to dehydrate on the other side, and place it on the mesh of your dehydrator. So that both sides dry. Dry for another few hours until it reaches a malleable but dry consistency.
Enjoy as a snack or use it to wrap other ingredients in, let your creativity run wild.
Unlimited Uses for a Dehydrator
Although I always tell people that they should consider investing in a blender before a dehydrator, dehydrators can be fun. I’ll definitely be posting new recipes and ways to make use of your dehydrator.
Depending on how much you care to spend you can get a really good Excalibur Dehydrator or pick up one of the less expensive types at most kitchen stores.
I’ve had my Excalibur Dehydrator for almost 3 years now and I love having the option to make dehydrated crackers, cookies, and fruit leathers.
What’s Your Favorite Dehydrated Snack?
If you’ve ever bought dehydrated snacks or have your own dehydrator, what’s your favorite recipe? Let us know in the comments!
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