This past summer I received an e-mail/press release from a PR firm representing Excalibur dehydrators (I own one and love it) and they were highlighting the fact that their dehydrators could be used to make treats for your pets. Seeing as we had just lost our beloved pup, I did not have the motivation to make any nor did I have a taste-tester even if I had made any.
Fast forward to the present. We have now had our Goldendoodle, Dug, since September and after months of trying to find a food that worked for his sensitive tummy, Dug is FINALLY able to partake in some treats.
These vegan raw hide chews were so simple to make and HE LOVES THEM! All you do is:
Clean some sweet potatoes
Slice the sweet potatoes length-wise 1/4″ thick
Dehydrate the slices until they are hard (it took about 24 hours at 125 degrees)
Now that I know Dug digs these treats, my next batch will be a huge one…his cousin Rufus (my sister’s Newdle/Newfypoo…aka Newfoundland Standard Poodle mix) may even receive a package in the mail!
When I go grocery shopping and walk past the snack aisle I am always shocked by how many different fruit roll-ups there are, not to mention the fruit snacks. Trust me, I understand how good they taste…like candy, but that us essentially what they are. Have you ever looked at how much sugar they add? My guess is that the manufacturers feel they have to add so much sugar because they are probably using fruit that isn’t truly ripe as the basis of their product.
I am so thankful that I have an Excalibur dehydrator. They are pricey, but I eased some of the hurt by buying a Factory Refurbished model ($199 vs. $299) which still has a 10 year warranty! I use my dehydrator a lot and have been using it a ton lately because there are such wonderful organic strawberries at my local farmer’s market.
Making fruit roll-ups couldn’t be easier. Simply wash the berries, remove the stems, place them in your Vitamix high speed blender (I squeezed in an orange for extra flavor, however doing so is not necessary), blend until smooth, sweeten if necessary (you can use dates, maple syrup, stevia, honey), and blend again to incorporate the sweetener.
Pour the mixture in batches on to your dehydrator trays lined with non-stick drying sheets, spread with an offset spatula (This tool is such a help…I first learned about this trick from Kristen Suzanne’s blog) as thin as you’d like making sure that it is evenly spread and there are no holes, and dehydrate at 125 until firm to the touch. I spread my roll-ups to about 1/8″ and they dehydrate within 3-4 hours. If you would like to keep the roll-ups “raw,” dehydrate at 115 degrees (it will take longer). You can also make the roll-ups thicker, it will just take longer to dehydrate.
Once you remove the roll-ups from the dehydrator, allow them to come to room temperature and carefully peel them from the non-stick sheet. Line the back of the roll-ups with parchment paper, cut them to size, and roll them up! I store my roll-ups in glass jars.
Recently I have used this method to make a ton of different flavors; mango, pineapple, apple cinnamon, and white peach. I was so pleasantly surprised by the pineapple fruit roll-ups…they were AMAZING!!! I can’t wait to make my next batch and have been dreaming-up all sorts of flavor combinations.
*TIP – try to keep the roll-up “batter” as thick as possible and do not add extra liquid if possible. You will find that certain fruits are less watery than others i.e. mangoes produce a thicker batter than apples do (the result is much more watery). Dehydrating time will change depending upon which fruit / fruit combo you use.
If you do not have a dehydrator, you can make the roll-ups in the oven by following Catherine McCord’s method on her blog, Weelicious (Click HERE).
Please note that I am a Vitamix affiliate…and I wholeheartedly endorse the use of their wonderful product.
Dried apples are so yummy. With our recent trip to the apple orchard (click here for the post), I had a TON of apples to use and since we all love dried apples, we thought we would try to make some. One of the great things about dried apples is that you needn’t worry about whether or not the apples you use are pretty (clearly the one below was not)…all that matters is that the apples are tasty.
My parents bought me an apple peeler (NORPRO Apple Master) while at the orchard and it has quickly become one of my favorite kitchen gadgets…it makes the peeling, coring, and slicing of the apples as easy as pie (sorry, I couldn’t help it). When prepping the apples all we had to do was push them onto the gadget, spin the handle, take the cut apple off and slice it down the middle to make little moons. The slicer also makes the cuts perfectly uniform which means that the dehydrating time is even for all of the slices.
While the apples were nice and sweet on their own, we thought we’d sweeten them-up a little bit more by making a syrup from the fresh cider that we pressed at the orchard. All we did was pour some cider into a saucepan with some cinnamon and simmer it until it reduced down to a syrup.
We poured the syrup over the apple slices and them tossed it all together.
We then placed the slices on the mesh trays of my Excalibur dehydrator and dehydrated them at 115 degrees until they were as done as we liked. I wish I took note of the exact timing, but I didn’t. I believe it took about 4-6 hours.
The dried apples turned out perfectly with a touch of extra sweet and cinnamon. The kids love it when I put them in their lunches.
"The diet that helps to reduce weight in the short run needs to be the same diet that creates and maintains health in the long run."
~T. Colin Campbell
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