As I’ve lamented time and time again, I do not own a dehydrator. I can’t effectively draw moisture out of kale chips, juice pulp crackers, or seed-based flatbreads. I can’t set my machine to 115° and let it whir for hours on end. I can’t attend the seances or vegetable-drying fiestas I know all those raw food bloggers host. I can’t call myself a true raw foodie.
But you know what? Raw food doesn’t have to mean shelling out big bucks for specialized equipment like dehydrators, Vita-Mixes, or juicers. If I want to produce slightly more cooked versions of classic raw dishes then by jove, I will, and the dehydrating police can’t stop me!
After weeks of sighing and exiting out of browser windows featuring recipes for raw flax crackers and the like, I finally built up the courage to experiment withy dehydrating in my very own oven. Since raw food technically can never be exposed to temperatures above 115°F, my 170°-minimum oven will never produce completely authentic raw fare, but since I don’t abide by a strict raw diet in any sense, that’s fine by me! I followed Gena’s recipe for Sweet and Light Crackers made with carrots, apples, dates, and flaxseed meal as my very first attempt at oven-dehydrated “raw” crackers.
Alas, just as my blender floated to kitchen appliance heaven, my food processor slowly fades into oblivion after losing its handle and the tiny mechanism that pushes the button activating the blade. Thus, I’m stuck shoving a pencil into the button to operate the dying machine.
How to Dehydrate Without a Dehydrator
You will need:
- 1 recipe for raw crackers, whirred in a food processor and ready to spread on a baking sheet
- Teflex baking mat or parchment paper
- Tin foil
- An oven (a toaster oven with a baking setting also works.)
Preheat your oven to its lowest setting (mine is 170°F).
Spread your pre-cracker goo onto a baking sheet lined with a Teflex baking mat or parchment paper. Make sure you spread it thinly and evenly, lest it won’t properly dehydrate or dehydrate in some spots but not others.
Stick the tray into the oven, propping the door open with a rolled-up tin foil “snake.” If you really want to ensure proper dehydration, place a fan in front of the oven to allow for air circulation.
“Dehydrate” for about 4-5 hours or until the cracker sheet feels stiff and dry to the touch. Carefully peel it off the baking sheet and cut into cracker shapes. Place on wire rack to allow the crackers to completely harden.
Spread with nut butters, hummus, jams, or whatever suits your fancy. TA-DA! You’ve just created semi-raw crackers WITHOUT the aid of an expensive dehydrator. Take that, you raw foodies and your Vita-Mix ceremonies.
How-To featured on Finding Vegan.
Comment Provoking Questions: Have you ever had the urge to attempt a raw recipe but couldn’t because you didn’t have a dehydrator? Did you feel excluded from the raw food community? Have you made raw crackers before? If so, what is your favorite combination of veggies and fruits to use?
Until next time, Ali.