I want to introduce you all to a
little BIG product Des and I have been working on. Summertime is the ultimate season for snacking. We spend countless hours at the beach, at the park, camping, in the car during a long road trip, or lazily lounging in front of the TV. So instead of turning to your usual pint of ice cream, bag of potato chips, and sugar fruit snacks – we wanted to create a series of tasty, fun, and HEALTHY snacks for you and your family to enjoy this summer. But it doesn’t stop when school is back in session! We hope you’ll enjoy these snacks year round and even include some in your kid’s school lunches.
Each Saturday from now until the end of August we’ll be sharing our latest and greatest snacks. We hope you’ll follow along and please leave us a comment if you tried one! We love to hear if you’re enjoying our recipes!
Now – many of the snacks we will be sharing are dehydrated foods. We’ve found that these are easy to transport and take on the go. But we’ll also be including some non-dehydrated snacks as well.
We wanted to give you the basics of dehydrating before he get started. Many people think you need a dehydrator to dry foods. That is not the case. All dehydrated snacks can be done in your oven. If you do have a dehydrator – great! It’s such a fun appliance to own. I use mine all the time. There is a wide range of prices and quality when it comes to dehydrators. Des uses a Waring Pro dehydrator that she’ll be talking about in a future post. I use a Nesco dehydrator that my mother in law gave us for Christmas a few years back. When shopping for a dehydrator choose a size and price point that’s right for you. We’d love to hear what kind of dehydrator you use!
Food Dehydrating Basics
1. Choose quality produce. The better your food tastes before you dry it, the better it will taste after it’s dried. If you have a sour peach, its still gonna be sour after you dry it.
2. What do you need? Some tools that are handy when it comes to drying foods include a blender, a spatula, and a good sharp knife or mandolin.
3. Store your dried foods in airtight containers. Dried foods will last a very long time – but moisture in the air is the enemy. So make sure they a stored in a tight container.
4. Experiment! The water content of your food will largely determine how long it takes to dry your foods. So there is no hard and fast rule for how long you’ll have to dehydrate a certain food. The easiest way to test them is to touch it. If it still feels moist – let it go a bit longer.
5. Drying foods does not effect their nutritional of caloric value. A minimal amount of nutrients are lost when doing home dehydrating as opposed to store bough dehydrated foods. Also – a dried apple still has the same amount of calories as a fresh apple.
6. Drying summer produce is a great way to preserve summer flavors into the cooler months!
Oven Dehydrating How-Tos
I mentioned earlier that almost all dehydrated snacks can be done in your oven if you don’t own a dehydrator. Let me give you the run-down.
1. Set your oven to the lowest temperature available – usually around 200 degrees, but the lower the better.
2. Place your fresh food on a non stick oven safe baking sheet or container inside of your oven. I recommend using a silicone mat like a Silpat to ensure nothing gets stuck to your pan during the process.
3. Prop your oven door open with a wooden spoon to increase airflow and decrease condensation. Drying foods in the oven may take a bit less time than in a dehydrator so keep an eye on it.
Don’t worry – I haven’t forgotten this delicious recipe! These are about as basic as they get when it comes to dried foods. Dried apples are a classic. They are delicious and easy. I love packing a gallon sized ziplock of these guys when we are on the run. My kids love them, I love them. They satisfy that craving for crunch and they keep me out of the drive thru!
I use a mandolin to slice my apples thin – but a sharp knife would do the trick too. I soak them for a few minutes in a mixture of water, lemon juice, cinnamon, and a pinch of sugar. Then I transfer them to my dehydrator and let it go at medium heat for about 4-6 hours. I’ve tried green, gala, fuji, and honey crisp apples and they are all delicious. So select the variety of your choice and enjoy the delicious snack this summer.
- 4 apples - variety of your choice
- 1 cup water
- juice from one lime
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Slice apples thin - between 1/8 inch and 1/4 inch.
- In a large bowl combine water, lime juice, cinnamon, and sugar. Place apple slices in mixture and soak 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer apples slices to dehydrator trays, or a baking sheet linen with a silicone liner.
- If using a dehydrator set to medium heat and dry until crisp - usually 4-6 hours. Check at 4 hours.
- If using an oven, turn to lowest temp - around 200 degrees. Prop oven door open with a wooden spoon to allow better air flow and bake for 3-6 hours. Check at 3 hours.
- Store in an airtight container.