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Intro to Dehydrating


Four key factors effect dehydration and your success with it:
Time, Temperature, Air Circulation, Food Preparation 

TIME
Drying times vary based on your location, humidity, temperature and size of item.  The general rule is that the more surface area exposed; the faster the drying time.  It is important to slice foods to the same thickness for a more consistent drying time.  A common mistake in dehydrating is thinking if you increase the temperature, you decrease the drying time.  If you increase the temperature too much, case hardening may occur.  This means the surface of the food dried to a leathery texture creating a barrier for water removal. 

 How and Why You Should Soak Nuts and Seeds 
It helps with digestibility
They just plain taste better this way!
Nuts and seeds are a wonderful addition to your diet.  They have a bounty of healthy fats, minerals, protein and vitamins.  However, they can also be a bit rough on your stomach.  That’s because they contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that prevent them from being digested well and that can be detrimental to your health.
The answer to this problem is simple: soak your nuts and seeds
When seeds and nuts are planted in the ground, the warmth and moisture in the soil around them breaks down their skins so that they can germinate and grow into plants.  Likewise, when we soak our nuts and seeds, we break down the encasing on these great sources of energy and make the nutrients more available to us.
Notes and Tips:
Cashews have a somewhat toxic coating on them between the nut and the shell. According to most resources that I researched, this coating is removed in processing. (I did find one source saying nothing about it all being removed). Additionally, they are prone to mold and so are not the greatest choice for those sensitive to mold.So I recommend only eating them in moderation or not at all. They also get slimy when soaked longer than 6 hours so if you choose to soak to improve their digestibility, keep an eye on the clock :-).

Temperature control is one way in which the dehydrator is a much better option than the oven. Typically the lowest temperature for an oven is high enough to destroy the enzymes in the nuts/seeds, therefore diminishing their healthful qualities. However, I still think the oven is the best place for someone new to soaking and drying to start.
There is debate about what temperature to dehydrate at in order to preserve the enzymes in your food. For now I am comfortable with 125. I am not an ardent raw foodist, and after researching this I found that the temperature of the food in the dehydrator is significantly below the temperature of the air around it. Thus, if the setting of the dehydrator is 125, your food temperature is almost certainly in the raw food range–115 or below.
How to Soak Nuts and Seeds (aka – How to Make Crispy Nuts)
1. Measure 4-cup amounts of whatever nuts or seeds that you want to soak, depending upon how much dehydrating space you have. With the 9-tray dehydrator, I can dry about 25 cups of nuts/seeds at a time.
2. Completely cover the nuts/seeds with purified water. 3. Add 2 tsp quality salt for each 4 cups of nuts/seeds. I recommended Himalayan. The salt enhances the soaking procedure and gives your nuts great flavor.
4. Soak for 7-12 hours. Overnight is perfect.
5. Spread out in a single layer on dehydrator trays or cookie sheets (for oven drying). You can actually pile up sunflower, pumpkin, or sesame seeds somewhat since they dry much faster than nuts.
6. Dry at a low temperature. Use the lowest temperature of your oven. In a dehydrator I opt for about 125 degrees.
7. Dry until the nuts/seeds are crispy.
8. Enjoy!
9. Store remaining nuts or seeds for the futures.

TEMPERATURE


Nuts/Seeds

                            95’F to 125’F depending on denseness

Herbs

95◦F to 105◦F

Cake Decorations

100◦F to 110◦F

Yogurt

110◦F to 120◦F

Vegetables

115◦F to 130◦F

Fruit

125◦F to 135◦F

Meat / Jerky

155◦F

          In general, food temperature is about 20 degrees cooler than air temperature.  This is due to evaporation.  As the moisture on the surface of the food evaporates, it cools the food.  We have discovered this through hours of testing and measuring the air temperature and food temperature simultaneously during the dehydration process using a Doric Tendricator with type j thermal couples. The temperature reading on the Excalibur dial refers to the food temperature.  If you set the Excalibur at 105F, you are setting it to hold the food temperature at 105 but the air temperature may get as high as 124F.
Go to Food as Medicine recipes for seed/nut recipes

 

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