A sensible snack at a critical moment of the day can improve your day in great ways. If you are looking to include more snacking options in your diet, you should definitely take a look at dehydrated snacks. If you have dietary restrictions and can’t eat gluten, then take a look at dehydrated and freeze dried snacks. They are practical, highly nutritious and incredibly satisfying. Just open a bag of dried bananas and your evening is complete!
However, before you open your next bag of crunchy pineapple, there is a thing or two you should know about dehydrated foods. How do you dehydrate food? Could you do this process at home or can it only be done professionally?
The Basics About Your Dehydrated Gluten Free Snacks
Dehydration is one of the healthiest and gentlest ways to prepare food without resorting to high temperatures. Because the temperatures are relatively low, you don’t destroy enzymes and vitamins. You can also preserve all kinds of seasonal products, especially fruits, vegetables and aromatic plants, so that they can be consumed the rest of the year.
Before starting this post, we read everything we could on the topic. Believe us, everything. One of the best sites we found was a very comprehensive guide to dehydration by the people from Earth Easy.
In dried foods, the nutrients are concentrated and become super nutritious. They are ideal for snacking between meals or for taking them on excursions and recovering energy. Most vegetables dehydrate in 16 to 24 hours (1 to 4 days in a solar dehydrator). Fruits, because they have a higher proportion of water, require more time (up to 42 hours in the oven and 5 days in the solar dehydrator).
The most critical point in the dehydration process is to stop it at the right time, when the humidity has disappeared and it is not yet toasted. It is easy to determine this, because that’s the chewy goodness you’re looking for in the perfect dehydrated snack. If you don’t believe us, just try one of Nunu Foods energy bars!
The perfect dessert doesn’t exist? Think again!
Dehydrating Snacks at Home
You've probably noticed that dehydrated foods are especially expensive. This is because of the equipment it requires. However, to prepare small amounts of food or to do it from time to time as soon as you can manage with an appliance you already have at home: the oven.
Conventional ovens are not set up to keep the temperature for gentle dehydration, which is around 40ºC, but it is possible to achieve this with a few tricks. To control the temperature you only have to set the thermostat to the minimum and when it reaches 45 degrees, insert the trays with the food and leave the door ajar. You can prevent the door from closing with a wooden spoon.
Leaving the door ajar helps control the temperature, but most importantly it allows water vapor to escape. If the oven has a fan, the drying will be faster. Thanks to the constant flow of air, small fruits or thin slices of vegetables will be ready in a few hours. This is a handcrafted good that takes time, but it is definitely worth it!
Please bear in mind that the texture and consistency will be different. If you are looking for something such as Pure Joy’s Dehydrated Pineapple… it’s better if you buy the snack itself!
If you’re looking for something crunchy and savory, Pure Joy offers crispy cheese bites.
Using the Sun to Make Your Costa Rica Snacks
Humans were dehydrating food when there was still a long way to go before they discovered electrical energy. Sun drying is still practiced today (some producers of dried figs or tomatoes do it, for example) and you can also do it at home.
You could put the food to be dehydrated on a tray, but it is preferable to build a frame that holds a mosquito netting. Cover the food with gauze to protect it from insects and place the frame in a place exposed to the sun, supported by four bricks or chairs. Or you can pile up several frames.
To dehydrate in the sun faster you can build a solar oven. It can be as simple as a wooden box, with the inside painted black or lined with aluminium foil, and one side made of glass or transparent plastic.
Just remember that homemade methods are different and take time. This method, however, requires little resources than freeze dried snacks or food dehydrated using professional equipment. If you have the patience and will to do it yourself, let us know! If not, you can buy healthy food online and continue snacking on your preferred treats!
Local Keeps is the best place to find quality gluten-free snacks and a wide range of curated, artisanal goods. Navigate our categories or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!