Zucchini Chips

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Do you have an overabundance of zucchini in your garden right now? Are your friends and neighbors starting to avoid you because they can’t accept any more of your extra zucchini “gifts?” Well, this recipe will help you to easily preserve your harvest without using up any freezer storage space (or annoying your friends). When you pull out these raw zucchini chips on a cold winter night people will gobble them down like they’ve never seen zucchini before in their life.

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When you have a large bowl of sliced raw zucchini it’s time to make the marinade. (You may have to make several batches of marinade in order to coat all the slices).

Ingredients:

1 TBS. olive oil

2 TBS. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 TBS nutritional yeast (for cheesy flavor)

Extra nutritional yeast to sprinkle on top

Pour the marinade over the chips and gently toss them to coat. Make sure that each slice is coated. It helps to slide a coated slice over an uncoated one, front and back, to get the flavor onto each chip. Make more marinade as needed and repeat the process until all slices are coated.

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Arrange the coated slices in a single layer on the mesh dehydrator trays making sure that they do not touch each other. Lightly sprinkle more nutritional yeast on top of each slice. In order to maintain a raw chip dehydrate at only 110 degrees for 10 – 12 hours. I usually dehydrate overnight and then check them in the morning. Add more time if necessary. They are done when all the chips are dry and crisp.

Allow the finished chips to cool in the dehydrator before storing them in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. These will stay crisp and tasty for months stored this way, and you can enjoy your fresh garden produce any time of the year. Zucchini chips are great for parties and healthy lunchbox treats, too!

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Fresh, green veggies… enjoy zucchini all year long!

 

Dehydrating

This is the coldest winter I can remember. I thought I just felt it more because we’ve relocated farther north (from southern Pennsylvania to northern New Jersey), but the locals tell us that this is the coldest winter on record for these parts. So while the heat runs constantly and everything in the garage freezes solid, I have discovered that keeping the dehydrator running and the kitchen cupboard doors open, our under-the-sink water pipes won’t freeze shut again (as they did a couple of days ago). So, I am dehydrating everything within reach. That appliance is running almost constantly!                                                                       Dehydrating

Dehydrating is so easy to do. Much more convenient than canning, in my opinion, and if you do it at a low temperature (I usually dehydrate at 105 – 107 degrees) the fruits and vegetables retain all the living enzymes of raw food. This is important if you want to get maximum nutrition for your effort. My Excalibur Dehydrator has a fan in the back that constantly blows warm air over all the trays, so I don’t need to babysit it and shuffle the trays around to get even air distribution as you would with a round stacked dehydrator with the fan at the top or bottom. Many times I load the dehydrator at night and in the morning everything is done to perfection. (I would highly recommend an Excalibur to anyone considering such a purchase). At this low temperature, it takes awhile longer to properly dehydrate, but I like things to be thoroughly dehydrated.  When I make chips I want them to be thin and crispy, not tough and chewy like leather. The secret is to slice the fruit and vegetables very thin using a mandolin or a very sharp knife if you have the patience — 1/8 inch thick or less is perfect.

In the photo you can see some of the things I’ve done so far. You can experiment with the seasonings you like, but I will tell you what I used and you can improvise from there.  I only use thoroughly washed organic produce because when dehydrating any chemicals in or on the food will be concentrated. Flavor is also concentrated when foods are dehydrated.  Notice that I did not use any sugar at all.  The natural sweetness of the fruit and vegetables is all you need.

The APPLE CHIPS were easy. Just thinly slice each apple, cut slices in half, remove core parts and any seeds, and lay slices in a single layer on the mesh dehydrator tray. You will get a lot of apple chips from one apple! Some people brush the apple slices with lemon to keep them white, but I don’t think it makes that much difference. Sometimes I sprinkle slices with cinnamon before dehydrating. This time I didn’t.

BANANA CHIPS were peeled, sliced very thin and laid in a single layer on the mesh tray. These I did sprinkle with cinnamon and they tasted great!

RED BEET CHIPS were a first for me. Once again I sliced the beets very thin. I made a marinade of 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, and 1/2 tsp. Himalayan Pink Sea Salt. In a large bowl I gently tossed the slices in the marinade until they were evenly coated and let them sit for about a half hour, tossing a couple of times just to make sure each slice was flavored. Each beet, single layer not touching, made a full tray of chips!

SWEET POTATO CHIPS…so yummy! I scrubbed, but did not peel, the sweet potatoes. I cut off about 1/2 inch from each end, thinly sliced them, and placed the slices in a large bowl with 2 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil and 1 tsp. Himalayan Pink Salt. I gently tossed the slices until each one was coated and placed them in a single layer on a mesh tray.

That’s it. When the dehydrator was full I turned it on at 105 degrees and went to bed. No timer, no turning or repositioning trays, no worries. In the morning everything was dried to a perfect crisp chip. No, the flavors did not transfer, and the house smelled wonderful. We have a supply of healthy chips for snacking, AND with the dehydrator fan blowing 105 degrees all night and the cabinet doors open, our kitchen pipes didn’t freeze!

 

Tomato Chips

This is the easiest way I have found to preserve your abundant tomato harvest.  Only two ingredients besides the tomatoes, and so simple!

The first thing you will do is thinly slice the tomatoes — not more than 1/4 inch thick.  Spread the slices in a single layer on the dehydrator mesh tray making sure the slices are not touching each other.  There is no need to line the tray with a teflex sheet or parchment paper.20130917_211051 tomato chips ready for dehydrator, 2

Lightly sprinkle each slice with a little Herbamare (or any sea salt and herb seasoning you desire). Then top with some nutritional yeast. Dehydrate for 6 – 8 hours or overnight.  Store in a tightly covered glass jar in the pantry, and they’ll stay crisp all winter. 20130921_134958 tomato chips jarred, 2

Bet you can’t eat just one!

Raw Pizza Crackers

We made these raw crackers in this week’s Cooking for Health Class, and they are delicious! Serve them with a dip, hummus, or eat them plain.  You will enjoy the pizza flavor which can be enhanced by adding garlic or red pepper flakes if you like your pizza spicy.  The recipe makes two full trays of crackers.  The photo shows how many crackers you will get from one recipe (of course that depends on how big you make them, too).  Easy to make ahead so take some to the next party  — enough for yourself and to share!                                                                                                   20130403_180507 Pizza Crackers

Ingredients:

2 cups ground flaxseed

2/3 cup whole flaxseed

2 large skinned plum tomatoes

2 Tbs. Italian Seasoning

1 tsp. pink Himalayan salt

2 Tbs. nutritional yeast

1 1/3 cups whole raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup sesame seeds

2 cups water (add up to 1/2 cup more, a little at a time, if needed)

Optional additions:  garlic powder, red pepper flakes, onion powder, chopped fresh basil

Nothing needs to be soaked.  Simply mix all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well.

Spread 1/2 batter on each of two dehydrator trays covered with teflex sheets or parchment paper.  Use the back of a spoon to spread batter evenly about 1/4 inch, thick keeping batter as square as possible.  (If you have a round dehydrator you could drop batter by spoon and spread into individual rounds).

Dehydrate at 115 degrees for about 2 hours. They should be starting to harden.  At this point, take a sharp knife and score the crackers (don’t cut all the way through) into squares or triangles as big as you want them to be. (If you score the crackers now they will be easier to break apart when finished).

Pizza Crackers on Tray

Lower temperature and dehydrate at 105 degrees for 6 – 8 hours, until crackers are firm enough to move (go to work, go to school, go to bed).  Remove teflex sheet (some of the crackers may separate along scored lines…that’s okay), and continue to dehydrate at 105 degrees on mesh dehydrator tray until crackers are completely dry and crisp.

Separate crackers along scored lines.

These can be stored in an air-tight jar in your pantry for weeks…but they won’t last that long!

Raw Carrot Apple Cookies

This is another great way to use carrot pulp leftover from juicing.  If you don’t have a dehydrator you can bake them in a  low temperature oven.  I did this for years before I had a dehydrator, but you must keep an eye on them.  If they do actually bake, they will still be yummy, full of fiber and nutrition,  just not raw.  Still a healthy cookie you can feel good about snacking on or giving to the kids.

Raw Carrot Apple Cookies

carrot/apple pulp (leftover from juicing)

soaked ground buckwheat groats OR soaked rolled oats

ground flaxseed

sprinkle of stevia powder (very potent, a little goes a long way!) or a little honey

dash sea salt

ground almond meal

raw sesame seeds

raw sunflower seeds

chopped almonds

chopped dried fruit, your choice ( I used papaya and cherries)

about ¼ c. water with 1 ½ Tbsp, lemon juice

Soak grains in water (not too much) about 20 mins.. Add remaining ingredients; use your own judgment to make a moist dough.  Mix thoroughly using a wooden spoon. Shape and press dough into cookie shapes on teflex or parchment paper sheets.  Dehydrate until they resemble a moist cookie (4 – 6 hours) – not too long or they will be very tough.  If necessary flip and dehydrate on the other side until done.

You can vary this recipe by substituting whatever ingredients you have on hand for the nuts and seeds (poppy seeds, pecans, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seed, coconut, etc.) and chopped dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, blueberries, currants, dates, etc.). Be creative – these cookies never come out the same twice!

Two Easy Granola Recipes

These are two of my favorites.  I always have some type of granola in the house for a quick nutritious breakfast or an easy pie or cobbler topping.  With the price commercial cereals it really is more cost effective to make your own, and then you know exactly what’s in it — all your favorites!
Both of these recipes are very adaptable.  I’ve been trying to avoid wheat, so I don’t use the wheat germ or bran, but double up on one or two of the other ingredients or simply omit them. Granola #2 (low-fat) is perfect for the dehydrator instead of baking; 105 degrees for 4 – 6 hours, or until dry. (I haven’t experimented with Granola #1 in the dehydrator yet)
Granola #1
3 c. rolled oats                                                1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. coconut                                                     1/2 c. honey
1 c. chopped nuts
1 1/2 c. wheat germ
1/2 c. toasted sesame seed
1/2 c. raw sunflower seeds (unsalted)
Toast oatmeal 10 minutes @ 250 degrees.
Add other ingredients (I use a large oblong cake pan to do all this).
Blend together honey and oil, and pour this mixture on top of everything in cake pan.  Stir well to coat.
Spread out mixture and bake @ 300 degrees for about 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes.
Cool and add any dried fruit you like (raisins, cranberries, blueberries, etc.)
Granola #2
In a large bowl combine:
4 – 5 c. rolled oats
3/4 c. wheat bran
1/2 c. bran or bran flakes (optional)
1/2 c. sesame seeds
3/4 c. coconut
3/4 c. raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c. slivered almonds
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
3/4 c. flax seeds (ground or not)
In a separate bowl mix together:
1/3 c. raw, unfiltered honey
2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. fresh apple juice
Pour liquid over dry ingredients, stir to distribute evenly.
Spray oblong cake pan with PAM. Pour entire mixture into pan and bake @ 300 degrees for 30 – 45 minutes, stirring every 10 – 15 minutes.
Cool.  Add any chopped dried fruit.  Store in airtight container.
Enjoy!

Raw Dehydrated Nuts and Seeds

This recipe was graciously shared by Dorothy Gibson, known to many as “the Honey Man’s Wife.”  I regularly shop at their stand, Hallelujah Hive (www.HallelujahHive.com), on Fridays when I’m at Green Dragon Farmer’s Market.  One day she offered a sample of these delicious spiced nuts  after I had told her I was trying to eat a more raw diet.  They are a healthy raw snack that is easy to prepare.  The dehydration process does take a long time, but if you completely fill the dehydrator (mine has 9 shelves) you shouldn’t have to make them too often.  These are so yummy you may be tempted to eat way too many, so please remember that even raw nuts are high in calories — don’t be greedy!

STEP I:

The first step is to soak your choice of mixed nuts and seeds in distilled water for 8 – 12 hours.  This will release the enzyme inhibitors that are present in all nuts and seeds.  As the enzymes are released the nuts become more digestible.  After soaking you can simply refrigerate and use within 2 – 3 days, or you can dehydrate them.

To dehydrate, use a temperature of just 105 degrees for about 36 hours, or until crunchy. It is important to keep the temperature low so enzymes are not destroyed (then you would have cooked food, not raw).  Most ovens are not able to keep a temperature below 118 degrees as is required to prevent enzyme loss.  Enzymes are vital to youth and health for the human body.  If you are using small nuts or seeds like pine nuts or sunflower seeds line the shelves with parchment paper.  You can eat the nuts plain after dehydrating or use one of the versions below:

Dehydrator

STEP II:

Salty Version

For just a salty, non-spicy flavor use Nama Shoyu non-pasturized soy sauce — about 2 Tbsp to every 4 cups nuts and seeds (or about 1 tsp sea salt in 2 Tbsp warm distilled water).  Add Shoyu (or salty water) to nuts in a bowl, stir well and allow to marinate for 2 – 4 hours.  Then, spread the nuts evenly in dehydrator and dehydrate @ 105 degrees for another 36 hours.*

Spicy Version

All the soaking process is the same; the only difference is adding spices to the Nama Shoyu.  For 4 cups nuts/seeds in a small bowl mix the following:

1 Tbsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Stir until well blended,  add to nuts/seeds and toss until the spices are evenly distributed.  After marinating for two hours, taste to see if you’d like it to be saltier or spicier and adjust if desired; then marinate for two more hours.

STEP III:

Spread the marinated nuts/seeds evenly in the dehydrator and dehydrate @ 105 degrees for approximately 36 hours* or until crunchy.

*Dehydrating is a long process.  Depending on the amount of nuts you are making and the type of dehydrator you have, you may find that you can cut down on the length of time for the second dehydration.  Start checking at around 18 hours, and stop when nuts are dry and crunchy.

NOTE: Dehydrated nuts will keep in your pantry in a well-sealed container for about one month, almost indefinitely in the frig.