We all had our favourites.
For five straight days, the borrowed dehydrator hummed its white noise day and night. We made apple chips, peach chips, pear chips. There was zucchini, cherry tomatoes, raisins, kale chips, and even banana chips.
Everything we dehydrated, aside from the bananas, was from the bounty we got for $40 at last week’s market, or stuff we still had in the crisper from the previous market.
The purpose of this experiment was to build up a healthy snack section in the pantry for both my son and I; my husband was somewhat leery of it all… I’m working on him 😉
It was fascinating to watch. The apples shrivelling, the grapes caramelizing, the intensely sweet smell of the tomatoes seeping through the centre opening. My son loved the opportunities of tasting to see if the process was complete. Not so secretly, I did too.
When all was said and done, we had 10 glass jars of dehydrated goods, and if we’re being honest, we probably would have actually had two more jars without the continuous “completion” checks.
My favourite was the zucchini. I did two batches: one plain, and another with a little bit of salt and a lot of pepper – those were the best. They came out super crispy, like an actual chip, and had a bit of a peppery nip to them.
My son loved the peaches and bananas. Every time he saw the jars, he was opening them for another slice. These are MY favourites, he repeatedly told me. He chastised me for only doing a small batch of pears. And he kept pulling out different fruits and vegetables from the fridge, asking if they could be next.
I did three different types of apples: gala; macintosh; and sunrise. Interestingly, the macintosh, which were my least favourite fresh, were the ones that came out with the most intense flavour throughout, as well as overall crispness. The sunrise were chewier, and had the least amount of flavour, while the gala’s flavour popped more at the end with the skin, then throughout.
The grapes took the longest. They were small grapes, so I didn’t cut them in half, but i’m wondering had I cut them in half, would they have taken less than two full days to complete? When I pulled them off the tray, there was a stickiness all around. I wondered if all the sweetness was drawn out, but no, when I popped one in my mouth, it had a burst of sweet with the first cut of my teeth. I don’t think I’ve ever had that with any store-bought raisins!
The tomatoes came out looking perfectly sun-dried. I liked them as was, but still, I took the vendor at Ripple Creek’s suggestion and put them in the freezer. Once frozen, I took one out, and holy moly, the flavour! I don’t know if I would call it candy like, but I did keep sticking my hand in going back for more – so addictive!
I was leery to try kale. I’ve had kale chips before, and yes I did enjoy them, but I found they were a lot more work than they were worth. However, Courtney – a dehydrating guru – at Zaklan Heritage Farms convinced me to give them a second chance. She guided me to a recipe that included tahini and nutritional yeast, both of which I had on hand. She said once you had those, you wouldn’t be able to wait to make another batch. It was the last thing we dehydrated, and maybe that’s just because I wasn’t overly inspired. I whipped up the glaze, stuck the kale in the machine, and let her roll.
Like, really smelled.
I was worried.
My husband said no way was he trying those.
Even my son turned his nose up.
When they were done, I had a bite; I still wasn’t sure – it wasn’t the same as the balsamic kale chips I’d made previously. Yes, the crispness was perfect, but the flavour, I just didn’t know.
Two days later I had another bite. I wasn’t expecting much. I’d pretty much given up on these guys. But then, w’oh! They were good. No wait, they were great!
Aged! Yep, total snobby kale eater here 🙂
Zaklan Heritage Farm
- 1 bunch kale $3
- 1 bunch mustard greens $3
- 1 bag mixed greens $4
Ripple Creek Organic Farm
- 1 pint red cherry tomatoes $5
- 1 pint orange sunrise tomatoes $5
Greendale Herb and Vine
- 1 pint green grapes $4
Harvest Direct Farms
- 1 basket macintosh apples $5
- 1 basket gala apples $5
- 1 basket sunrise apples $5
Nature Village Farms
- 1 zucchini $1.50
Total spent $40.50
Overall, it was a lot of work. We got a good amount of snacks, but for all the work it was, I wish we had maybe had double the supply. We’re already running out.
That said, I now understand the jacked up prices on apple chips in stores!