chia seeds & agave nectar

So you’d like to learn to dehydrate food? And now you’re in luck! I’ve been dehydrating foods for years now mostly because of the “raw food” movement. In order to keep the food “raw” however, the temperature can only go up to 118 degrees in order to preserve the live enzymes.

Here’s the skinny on why and how to dehydrate.

Food drying, also called food dehydration, is the process of removing water from food, thus inhibiting the growth of microorganisms (enzymes) and bacteria by the circulation of hot, dry air through the food. Removing water from food is the easiest, cheapest the most appropriate method of food preservation and eating “live” food.

Since I love dried bananas and strawberries with a twist, here’s the scoop on how to get delicious fruit with added nutrients plus adding a few key ingredients to make them even more delicious. Mind you, it doesn’t have to be these particular fruits but these are my favs so feel free to choose whatever you want to dehydrate.

Key Items: Food dehydrator & all the fixings: strawberries, bananas, chia seeds, agave nectar, spices

Step 1:

Clean and prepare the fruits. (since I didn’t have organic, I first spray with a bottle of ½ water and ½ vinegar to remove topical pesticides. (doesn’t change the GMO status if they are genetically modified) but it makes me feel like I have cleaner fruits, hopefully removing some pesticides.

Step 2

Cut the fruits into slices and put them in a bowl.

Step 3

Add agave nectar and chia seeds. Stir thoroughly.

Step 4

Line up the fruit slices on dehydrator tray.

Step 5

Dry at 118 degrees for up to 8 hours. Sometimes more as the agave can increase the drying time but it tastes so much better!!

MMMMM, does the house smell good!              

Step 6

Eat and Enjoy!

*Side Notes about dehydrated foods:  Add agave nectar and chia seeds. Why? The agave nectar sweetens the fruit up a bit because once they’re dehydrated, they’re not as sweet in my opinion. The chia seeds give “charge” to the fruits…as in extra energy and some protein.

Vitamin A is retained during the drying process.Some vitamin C is lost during the drying process because vitamin C is an air-soluble nutrient and food drying is an air-based process. When a food is sliced and its cells are cut, the surfaces that are exposed to air lose some vitamin C content.

The caloric value of a fresh food stays the same when it is dried. Dried fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and carbohydrates, neither of which is affected by drying.Dried fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat. Minerals available in certain fresh fruits-such as potassium, sodium, magnesium, and so on-are also not altered when the fruit is dried. I keep the greens on the strawberries on purpose; they are  absolutely edible.

It seems like a lot of time but with planning you’ll have your treats when you get home from work in time for a snack, workout or run.

In case you’re a runner, carry these is a little side pack when running long distances to give you energy with the added chia seeds, it will sustains you quite a bit longer. So if you’re a indeed, a runner or a backpacker/hiker, stick them in your fanny/backpack. 

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