How to Dehydrate Raw Food Without a Dehydrator

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.

Raw Sandwiches

First, for those who don’t know what a dehydrator is check out my article here, where I also share the recipe for making raw kale chips. With a dehydrator you can make a wide range of raw foods like cookies, crackers, cinnamon rolls, wraps, breads, fruit roll ups, and more.

If you want to go ahead and invest in a dehydrator, there are two main options. The first is to buy a low end dehydrator (like this Round Food Dehydrator) and see if you like making raw treats and snacks. The second is the queen bee of dehydrators, the Excalibur Food Dehydrator. It comes with several levels, so you can dehydrate more snacks at the same time.

Oh, and I’ve also got my eye on this new style of dehydrators with a temperature sensor… check this out: L’Equip Dehydrator.

Okay, now what if you don’t have a dehydrator and don’t plan on buying one anytime soon… so what’s an enthusiastic enchantress to do?

1. Use Your Oven

Most people have ovens, so this is the first thing to try when you want to experiment with making dehydrated foods. You may not end up with a completely raw product in the end, but if you’re okay with that then let’s proceed! (See my opinion on why I don’t think it’s necessary to be 100% raw all the time.)

First, start your oven on the lowest possible setting. Place the raw foods that you want to dehydrate in a non-stick oven-ready pan or container. Put the pan in the oven and keep the door open. At this point I would like to recommend you use a fan if you have one. This is to keep the air flowing so that there is no condensation.

The timing will be different when using an oven versus a dehydrator. You may need to “dehydrate” for as little as half the recommended time.

2. Use A Mini-Toaster Oven

A good friend of mine told me about this trick and I wanted to pass it onto you. If you already have one of those mini-toaster ovens then this is for you. If you’re planning on buying one for this – then just get an affordable dehydrator instead.

This is how you should go about dehydrating raw foods in your toaster oven: place the foods you want to dehydrate on a plate or sheet in the oven. Set the toaster oven on the lowest possible setting, and prop the door open. At this point you may also want to put a fan in front of the oven so there is no water condensation taking place. This speeds up the dehydrating process and also makes sure your food won’t get soggy.

Again you may need to check on the food a little more often, since the dehydrating time will be shorter.

3. Sun Dry

If you live in a warm climate or happen to have a very big sunny window you could sun dry your dehydrator recipes. Keep in mind that the sun may get hotter than the 112-120F degrees that is recommended for eating raw. However, if the option is to eat something deep fried or something sun dried I think the best option is pretty clear!

One thing to watch out for using this technique is that animals and bugs may decide to have a bite or run off with some of your food.

4. Make Your Own

Okay, so I need to preface this by saying that I’ve never attempted to make my own dehydrator – despite having an engineering degree. So this is just a simple outline of what you might need to do to create a homemade dehydrator.

The first step is to get a large box. Set it sideways, so that the opening can face the front of your counter. Place any food you wish to dehydrate on a pan or a plate in the box. Now on the open side of the box, place a fan or if you’re ambitious a blow-dryer. If you’re using a fan, you might want to put the box in the sun, to add a little heat and speed the process up.

I don’t really know what to expect if you’re making your own dehydrator – so let me know how you went about it in the comments.

Let’s Get Those Snacks Going

I hope you found this article informative, if not entertaining! I know that not everyone is willing or ready to invest in a dehydrator, so it’s nice to have a few alternate options when it comes to making raw recipes.

Love, Nathalie