Sunday, September 21, 2014

Moisture Removal {Recipe ReDux}

It's been a busy week here with presentations, renovations, and travel. Unfortunately, being out of my kitchen for renovationss means that I don't have a new recipe to share for this month's theme. I still wanted to share the links so you can see what my fellow dietitians are up to and figured I would mention some of my favourite ways to use dehydrated or dried foods. I must admit, because I often work with athletes, I think about fluid needs when I hear the word 'dehydration'.

This month's theme is:
Get Your Dehydrator On
Whether it’s extra garden bounty or a sale at the supermarket – dehydrating food is a budget-friendly way to stock up for later. You can use a food dehydrator, a low slow oven, or natural sunshine to preserve natural healthfulness. Show us how you like to dehydrate, or a healthy recipe for how you enjoy using dehydrated fruits, veggies or other bounty.

A food dehydrator is a kitchen appliance that I don't have, but I have used a low slow oven (for my dried ginger and orange slices) for past ReDux posts and often have dried fruit around for use in energy bites, muffins, bars, granola, etc. Food preservation (ie. canning) is something I haven't really ventured into (yet); so perhaps that will be a goal for next year! Summer is also coming to an end here in Saskatchewan, so I will have to get myself organized and try using sunshine to preserve veggies and fruit next July/August. I do like the idea of being able to enjoy summer's bounty all year round though!

I haven't fully explored the world of dehydrated food, or spent a lot of time in nature requiring compact, long lasting food. However, I have purchased sundried tomatoes a few times for use in egg dishes, pasta, etc. and the flavour is great. Last summer, our foodie group had a night themed "Everything Rolled" and one member made veggie roll ups/jerky - it was very tasty and packed with flavour. My husband also likes to occasionally treat himself to some beef jerky and I have athletes that need shelf stable items to leave in their gym bag or locker. Thus, whether it's a taste or texture you're looking for, an alternative to store-bought fruit snacks, or an emergency stash, there are many times when dehydrated foods can help you out. Since the water is removed, the sugar and calories are concentrated, so remember to practice portion control with dehydrated/dried food. You can read more about the nutritional value, storing, and uses for dried fruit on EatRight Ontario.

One kitchen tool I've been waiting for cool weather to use is the tagine I received for my birthday. Many of the recipes call for dried fruit, so this will be a new way for me to try using these sweet ingredients - I'll keep you posted on my tagine experiments!

Have you dehydrated fruit or veggies? What do you like to do with them?

Check out the great ideas below.