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Paleo Diet Primal Food Dehydrator Dry Excalibur-min

Have You Got A Dehydrator?

A dehydrator is a great way of adding some variety into your Paleo diet. There are loads of great dehydrators on the market, like the Excalibur – but you don’t have to buy a dedicated dehydrator, as you can dehydrate produce directly in your oven.

A dehydrator is an indispensable machine if you want to dry your own products. This enables you to keep food for longer and is especially great if you have just harvested a lot of fruit or veg – or have a lot of meat to use up. A dehydrator is versatile and suitable for different products. The machine works with hot air that is blasted through the food, has an adjustable temperature and is very efficient. In a climate like ours, where the humidity is high, a dehydrator can provide a solution.

With a dehydrator you can build up a supply of food that will keep for a long time – but without the added ingredients of shop bought equivalents. You will have the perfect instrument to make all the fresh products that are only available for short periods of time during the year, sustainable. It is also a lot better for your bank account as you can bulk buy fresh produce when it is in season, or on offer – and make it last for many months.

Paleo Diet Primal Food Dehydrator Dry Excalibur-min

Dehydrated food is great for people on the go, as the food doesn't weigh very much, so is ideal to take hiking or camping.

You can put pretty much anything inside a dehydrator; vegetables, fruit, meat, herbs, nuts, whatever you like.

Warning: For most products, the temperature should not be higher than 50c (120F) degrees.

Drying meat

Jerky is a great Paleo snack, packed with protein and fat. You can dehydrate any type of meat, either on it’s own or using herbs and spices to add some extra flavor. Biltong and boerewors are popular dehydrated meats in South Africa, which you can make yourself, it your dehydrator. Whilst you can buy jerky, it’s likely to have lots of preservatives – and unlikely to be made from grass-fed high quality meats.

Drying fruit

Try drying your own raisins or dried prunes and apples – or whatever fruit you have an abundance of in the garden. You can also make fruit leather by drying out puréed fruit. Whilst dehydrating fruit concentrates the sugar levels, they can certainly still be enjoyed as an occasional treat.

Drying herbs

A dehydrator is perfect for drying out herbs – great to prevent wastage. If you live somewhere hot & dry, you can dry herbs the traditional way, hung on string, and left out in the sunshine. Collecting the herbs is a fun activity itself, and the prospect of preserving them while maintaining colour and taste, makes it even more rewarding. Nothing is as good as a jar of your own cultured and dried coriander or hot chili peppers, to spice up your dishes for a whole year.

Dehydrating Vegetables

Vegetables are perfect for a dehydrator. Trying making vegetable chips, using kale, carrots or very thinly sliced sweet potatoes. Tomatoes also work really well in a dehydrator, and can be added to recipes for months to come.

How long does the food need to be in the dehydrator?

It totally depends on the amount of moisture inside the product. It can even vary between two items of the same product. Also the size makes a big difference in how long it will take to dry out the food. It’s really important not to cut short the during time, as any left over moisture can result in mould and rotten food. Almost all products need to be dried more than 24 hours, but you should research & experiment further for everything you attempt to dry out.

After drying to products, keep them in airtight pots or bags. Lockable glass pots or mason jars look great as decorations in the kitchen, filled with colourful dried fruit and vegetables.

Have you got a dehydrator, or do you dehydrate things in your oven? I’d love to hear what you do with yours, in the comments below!

sun-dried tomatoes recipe paleo diet oven dehydrator how to

Recipe: Sun-dried tomatoes

Ok so my recipe isn’t strictly accurate, as my tomatoes are oven-dried rather than sun-dried – and my method doesn’t take 7 days, but the end result is the close enough. These are such a simple alternative to buying sun-dried tomatoes, and come with no preservatives or added nasties.

Use different colours and varieties of tomatoes and put these in a jar, to make a beautiful and practical gift.

Instead of basil, you can experiment with your favourite combinations. Try some other Italian herbs, garlic or even lemon for some variety. Capsicum (bell pepper) is also great dried out using this method and complements the sun-dried tomatoes perfectly.

Recipe: Sun dried tomatoes
Recipe type: Sides
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Ingredients
  • 250g tomatoes (I used regular cherry tomatoes, but have got some colourful varieties growing in my garden to try next time)
  • Splash of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 150C (300F)
  2. Slice the tomatoes in half, lengthways (it helps to keep them all evenly sized)
  3. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients, ensuring the tomato halves are evenly coated.
  4. Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper, and arrange the tomatoes evenly (it’s fine if some face up and some down)
  5. Bake for 2 – 3 hours, ensuring they don’t burn. You’ll want the tomatoes to retain a little moisture to ensure a nice texture.
  6. Store you sun-dried tomatoes in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Alternatively you can simply dry out the tomatoes in a dehydrator, if you have one.

I love sun-dried tomatoes as a simple stand alone, with goats cheese, avocado and pine nuts, but they’re also a great addition to lots of recipes. Try them in omelettes, on pizza, in chili or even as a secret ingredient in some homemade ketchup.

sun-dried tomatoes recipe paleo diet oven dehydrator how to

Recipe Raw Zucchini Shoe-String Fries Paleo Network 680-min

Recipe: Raw Zucchini Shoe-String Fries

So I had a couple of trays free in my dehydrator, and some zucchini's that had to be used… so I came up with some zucchini fries that are a great snack, or would make a perfect side dish for dinner. I know a lot of people miss crunchy textures when they go paleo – if that's you, you'll love these!

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If you don't have a dehydrator, get one! No seriously, you can also make these in an oven on a very low heat.

Recipe: Raw Zucchini Shoe-String Fries
Recipe type: Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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A tasty side dish, or a snack on it's own. Crunchy zucchini shoe-string fries!
Ingredients
  • 2 zucchini's
  • splash of olive oil
  • sea salt
Instructions
  1. Slice the zucchini into thin strips
  2. Toss the strips in a drop of olive oil and season
  3. Arrange on a dehydrator sheet
  4. I dehydrated for 16 hours at about 145 degrees - but check regularly!

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recipe_raw_zucchini_shoe-string_fries_paleo_network_2-min

This would be great with so many other vegetables too, carrots, parsnips even capsicum. Note by adding the oil, they won't keep for as long as if you dehydrate them on their own.

Recipe Grain-Free Crackers Potato Rosemary Dehydrator Paleo Network 2-min

Grain-Free Cracker Balls

In my experimentation to make the perfect grain-free cracker, I came up with these cracker-balls, which if I do say so myself, are delicious!

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I used white potatoes and sweet potatoes, but I think you could easily use parsnips or even pumpkin or squash. The key is in the dehydration to give the crunchy end result. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use your oven on a low heat instead (though I've not tested this method). If you’re keen to try a dehydrator (and I highly recommend them), you can go really cheap like this one, or go all out on an Excalibur like this. There are so many ways to use them.

Grain-Free Cracker Balls
Recipe type: Snacks
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These grain-free crackers use potatoes as a base ingredient and thanks to the dehydration, have that satisfying cracker-crunch!
Ingredients
  • 2 large white potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary
  • sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Boil the potatoes in two separate saucepans, as you would if you were making mash
  2. Drain the saucepans and add in half the oil to each
  3. Mash the potatoes and mix in the rosemary, then season.
  4. Once cool enough, roll the mixture into small balls of about 1cm diameter.
  5. Arrange the balls on dehydrator sheets alternatively and "press" them into each other, to ensure they stick together.
  6. Dehydrate at 145 degrees for about 18 hours (but this will depend on the thickness of your crackers, so please check and adjust accordingly!

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recipe_crackers_grain-free_dehydrator_potato_rosemary_paleo_network_4-minrecipe_crackers_grain-free_dehydrator_potato_rosemary_paleo_network_3-minrecipe_crackers_grain-free_dehydrator_potato_rosemary_paleo_network_2-min

Recipe paleo chocolate cookies biscuits dehydrator-min

Recipe: Paleo Chocolate Cookies

Let's get one thing clear – these are a treat – not a daily indulgence (whenever I post sweet recipes I get comments about how cavemen wouldn't eat dessert, yet they're also the most popular recipes I post!).

Recipe Strawberry Date Almond Cashew Cookies Paleo Network-min

As the weather's been a bit cooler, it's been the perfect time to get my dehydrator out. This recipe was a case of making do with what I had and seeing what I could come up with, but very pleased with the results.

If you don't have a dehydrator, you can use your oven I believe, but do some research first. If you're keen to try a dehydrator (and I highly recommend them), you can go really cheap like this one, or go all out on an Excalibur like this.

Recipe: Paleo Cookies
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
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These cookies are a sweet treat straight from the dehydrator. Just six ingredients is all it takes to make these delicious treats!
Ingredients
  • 20 small medjool dates
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 10 strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • Few drops vanilla essence
Instructions
  1. Pit the dates and leave them to soak for a few minutes in a cup of water
  2. I was too mean to buy expensive almond meal, so I put the almonds and cashews in a paper bag on a heavy chopping board, and bashed with a rolling pin until they were almond completely ground down. If you have almond meal - you're done!
  3. Put the date mixture into a blender and pulse until the mixture is consistent, then add in the ground nuts and strawberries. Add in the vanilla and cacao and blend until it's thoroughly mixed and smooth.
  4. Spoon onto a dehydrator sheet and flatten with the back of the spoon to make the cookie shapes.
  5. Recipe Strawberry Date Almond Cashew Cookies Paleo Network Making
  6. I dehydrated at 145 degrees for about 20 hours, but keep checking as you may prefer a different texture.

 

Easy beef jerky recipe dried Biltong recipe paleo network-min

Recipe: Quick & easy beef jerky

Beef jerky is one of my favourite snacks. It's really filling, full of good fats and protein and easy to store. That is if you make your own. The shop bought stuff can have some nasty added ingredients.

These ingredients are from a packet of Jack Link's Original Beef Jerky:

Beef, water, Sugar, Soy Sauce (Water, Wheat, Soy Beans, Salt), Salt, Corn syrup Solids, Flavourings, Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten, Dextrose, Flavour Enhancer: (Monosodium Glutamate), Antioxidant:(Sodium Erythorbate), Preservative: (Sodium Nitrite), Smoke Flavour.

Yeah, that's not even remotely paleo. So make your own! Whilst it's a lot easier to make in a dehydrator (this is mine), you can also give it a try in your oven.

Recipe: Quick & easy beef jerky
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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These are great to keep on hand for a quick healthy paleo snack - they'll keep for ages too!
Ingredients
  • Grass-fed beef (try sirloin or flank steak)
  • Coconut aminos
  • Sea Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Cinnamon
  • Chilli
  • Paprika
  • Ground Pepper
  • Garlic powder
Instructions
  1. You want to slice the meat really thin for best results - to achieve this wrap the beef and put it in the freezer for a couple of hours.
  2. Once the meat is not quite solid, remove it from the freezer and using a sharp knife (and a lot of care!) slice into thin slices. It's important to make the slices as consistent as possible so they will all require the same drying time.
  3. Put the meat in a ziplock bag and add in the aminos, salt and olive oil. Seal the bag and allow the mixture to coat all of the meat. Put the bag in the fridge and allow the meat to marinate overnight.
  4. Remove the strips from the bag and dust with the cinnamon, chilli, paprika, pepper and garlic.
  5. Space the strips out evenly on the shelves in your dehydrator. Keep checking, but your jerky should be dry in 2 to 4 hours.
  6. If you don't have a dehydrator, heat your oven to 70° C (165° F). You'll need to put the strips on a wire rack, with an oven tray underneath to catch the drips. Expect oven dehydration to take two or three hours.
  7. Which ever method you choose, make sure the meat is cooked all the way through and fully dry before removing it.
  8. Store in an airtight container - and enjoy!

Easy beef jerky recipe dried Biltong recipe paleo network-min