Friday, November 9, 2007

Dehydrated is the New Black

Back when I was on the Master Cleanse, I started researching healthier alternatives to my vegetarian lifestyle and got very interested in raw veganism. On the message boards I read, it seemed like everyone and their grandmother had dropped about $57889205 on a fancy dehydrator and it felt like I just couldn't be healthy without one (I'm impressionable!) so I got one similar to this on eBay for $30 including shipping. I wasn't going to drop $200 on a machine I might use twice and get bored of!

Well, I've been using it for about a month and I'm not bored yet.

So far, I've used the dehydrator for fruit, vegetables and even to make crackers with varying degrees of success. Apples, plums and other fruits all came out fine. The crackers stuck to the drying racks and were a total mess, so I think I'll spray them with a bit of oil next time. Vegetables have been far more difficult than fruit.

Many moons ago, I was stuck in Penn Station, waiting for a train at some stupid time of night and absolutely starving. I found a place that sold celery chips and bought them out of curiosity while completely expecting them to suck. They were awesome. I loved them. And haven't been able to find them since.

So, of course, when I got my dehydrator, my first thought was "OMG I'M GOING TO MAKE CELERY CHIPS AND IT WILL BE THE BEST EVER! HOORAY!!" (this was closely followed by "OMG! I can BBQ tofu (or maybe gluten), stick it in there and make my own pseudo-Jerquee!)

So I dried some celery (among other things) and it kind of came out looking like potpourri. Tasted all right, but didn't look or feel particularly appetizing. So I checked the original celery chips' website and noticed the other ingredients in the chips were canola oil and sea salt, two things I happened to have on hand! So next time I loaded up the dehydrator with celery (and carrots and cucumbers) I brushed half of them with oil and sprinkled with salt and kept half of them plain.

The celery still turned into potpourri, but now it was REALLY salty potpourri. The carrots got very hard and chewy, which I liked since I've been off gum for a while, but again, the salt + oil didn't really benefit them much. The cucumbers were by far my favorites. They got sort of leathery but very tasty, but the salted ones were still too salty. One day soon, I definitely want to load the whole thing up with just cucumbers and let it go.

All of the vegetables finished drying at different times, depending on what they were and how I cut them (I'm not very consistent), so I couldn't get a picture of all the dried stuff together (I kind of ate quite a bit of it straight from the dehydrator instead of putting it away). If I just do cucumber next time, that should be more uniform and I'll get a photo then.


Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog and I am really enjoying it--thanks for all of your posts!

I have a dehydrator that I need to start using! What is dehydrated cucumber like?! (it looks like you are dehydrating carrots and cucumbers in the photo?)


Seitan Said Dance said...

Thanks, Courtney!

Yes, that's cucumber. I start with slices about 1/8" thick and they get really thin (about the thickness of a potato chip) and sort of leathery in the center and harder around the edge. They don't snap when you bite into them like a chip, though. I have more in the dehydrator today and will try to remember to post a picture of the finished products this time.