- Full Title: Baby Pip Eats
- Autor: Amie Harper
- Print Length: 64 pages
- Publisher: Murdoch Books
- Publication Date: April 27, 2016
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: B01ASQ8XIQ
- Download File Format | Size: epub | 19,96 Mb
Meine griechische Küche
Rezepte aus meinen Kochkursen
Books on Demand
Unser Leben ist die Geschichte unserer Begegnungen – Anton Kner
Da meine Eltern Griechen waren die schon jung nach Deutschland kamen, bin ich zwar in Deutschland geboren und aufgewachsen, aber dennoch mit der griechischen Küche von klein auf verbunden und vertraut, vor allem mit der sogenannten Hausmannskost.
Irgendwann wurde ich von der Familienbildungsstätte Ulm gefragt, ob ich nicht Kochkurse geben möchte, griechische Kochkurse gäbe es noch nicht. Ich sagte einfach mal „jawoll, jawoll, jawoll” und ahnte damals noch nicht wie aufwendig es eigentlich ist, etwas zusammen zu schreiben, das man immer nur nach Gefühl und ohne Kochbuch gekocht hat.
Nachdem ich Rezepte für den ersten Kurs zusammen gestellt hatte dachte ich: „Das machst du nie mehr, der Aufwand steht in keiner Relation”. Dann machte aber dieser Kurs so viel Freude, so dass dieselben Teilnehmer sich wieder anmeldeten und ich neue Rezepte zusammenstellte und es wurden immer mehr und mehr und die Kurse machten so viel Spaß, dass ich nicht aufhören konnte.
Aus einigen der Teilnehmer sind gute Freunde geworden, die mir zum Geburtstag ein großartiges Geschenk machten:
„Schick du uns die Rezepte die du möchtest und wir machen ein richtiges Kochbuch daraus.” Ja, und so entstand dieses Buch.
Ich hoffe, du hast viel Freude damit und kochst viele Rezepte nach, oder du nimmst sie als Anregung und lässt dann deiner Fantasie freien Lauf für eigene Abwandlungen und Variationen.
Noch ein letzter Satz bevor es losgeht: Weder ich noch meine Freunde sind Profiautoren, Profiköche oder Profifotografen, daher:
„Wer einen Fehler findet darf ihn behalten – oder mir melden“ 😉
Einige Erklärungen und Anmerkungen vorweg:
„Tapsi“ ist das griechische Wort für Backform, die in der Regel aus Blech oder Emaille ist.
„Feta“ ist die griechische Bezeichnung für Schafskäse.
„Kefalotiri“ ist ein würziger griechischer Hartkäse aus Schafsmilch. In Deutschland ist er leider nur schwer erhältlich. Er kann daher auch durch Parmesan oder Pecorino ersetzt werden.
„Kimino“ wird auch Kumin oder Kreuzkümmel genannt und verleiht den Gerichten eine leicht orientalische Note.
„Tomaten reiben“ bedeutet, reife Tomaten zu halbieren und mit einer feinen Reibe in eine Schüssel zu reiben, so dass die Soße schaumig wird und die dünne Haut zurückbleibt. Damit spart man sich das Enthäuten der Tomaten und der Tomatensaft ist sehr locker und leicht. Solltest du keine Zeit dazu haben oder es gerade keine aromatischen Tomaten gibt, dann nimm stattdessen passierte Tomaten.
„Auberginen in Zebrastreifen schälen“ bedeutet, der Länge nach Streifen aus der Haut der Auberginen zu schälen damit beim Einlegen in Salz oder Salzwasser die Bitterstoffe besser gelöst werden können und somit die Auberginen milder schmecken.
Wenn in den Rezepten Öl steht, so ist damit immer Olivenöl gemeint, anderes Öl kommt in der griechischen Küche so gut wie nie zur Anwendung.
In der griechischen Küche wird nur die glatte Blattpetersilie verwendet, nicht die krause Form.
Griechische Hausfrauen schneiden Zwiebeln nicht klein, sondern reiben sie mit der groben Seite einer Käsereibe.
Manchmal steht bei den Zutaten „etwas“, „ca.“ oder „eine Prise“. Kochen ist auch eine Gefühlssache und man kann manchmal schwer eine tatsächliche Menge benennen. Aber wenn du mit Gefühl an die Sache rangehst, wirst du bestimmt die passende Menge erwischen.
In der Regel sind die Rezepte für 4 Personen, außer bei Pita, das ist immer ein ganzes Blech und daher kommt es auf den Appetit der Esser an wie viele davon satt werden ;-).
Die Backofentemperatur bezieht sich immer auf Ober-und Unterhitze. Wenn du Heißluft benutzt musst du die Temperatur entsprechend um ca. 20 Grad reduzieren.
Ein wichtiger Faktor für ein gutes Gelingen aller Gerichte sind die Zutaten. Ich verwende gerne beim Kochen so viel wie möglich frische, am besten ökologische Zutaten. Wenn es aber z.B. keine gut gereiften Tomaten gibt, ist es viel besser du verwendest Tomaten aus der Dose.
In Griechenland gibt es eigentlich keine wirkliche Reihenfolge der Speisen, außer bei Desserts, die kommen immer am Schluss. Meist kommen alle anderen Gerichte gemeinsam auf den Tisch und jeder nimmt sich von allem.
Ich habe die Rezepte folgendermaßen gegliedert:
Zunächst werden verschiedene Variationen von Pita beschrieben, die du entweder als Teil eines Buffets oder auch nur so als Snack zu Bier oder Wein servieren kannst.
Danach kommen Salate, kalte und warme Vorspeisen sowie vegetarische Gerichte. Darauf folgen Hauptgerichte mit Fleisch und Fisch und zuletzt einige griechische Desserts.
Wenn du mal ein griechisches Buffet in kurzer Zeit zaubern möchtest, so kannst du einfach aus den Vorspeisen Rezepte aussuchen und noch eine Pita dazu machen, das kommt immer gut a
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nella grande ristorazione doveva conoscere i vini sulla carta dei vini e servirli ai commensali. Oggi gli vengono richieste conoscenze e abilità molto più profonde, anche se il servizio dei vini rimane ancora l’aspetto più affascinante di questo mestiere nel quale il sommelier può dare libero spazio alle sue competenze professionali e alle sue qualità umane.
Oggi, per il sommelier, è diventato importante possedere una buona capacità di gestione della cantina, degli acquisti e delle vendite, una partecipazione alla gestione economica e al marketing dell’azienda per la quale lavora, nonché avere adeguate capacità di redigere e aggiornare la carta dei vini.
Le sue conoscenze devono basarsi su nozioni scientifiche, non casuali o dettate solo dalla propria esperienza, ma arricchite da continui aggiornamenti che facciano tesoro dell’evoluzione della professione.
Il sommelier non deve quindi essere solo un professionista in grado di consigliare il miglior vino o la migliore bevanda da abbinare a ogni piatto e di servirlo con cura e attenzione, ma deve saper mettere a proprio agio il cliente e, inoltre, deve essere in grado di capire in pochi secondi chi gli sta di fronte per poter assumere di conseguenza l’atteggiamento più idoneo, al fine di soddisfare al massimo le sue esigenze enogastronomiche.
Questa professione si presenta piena di sfaccettature tecniche, umane e psicologiche e richiede una grande preparazione tecnica e una profonda sensibilità.
Il lavoro del sommelier è strettamente collegato alla ricerca di una migliore qualità della vita, legata al consumo dei buoni cibi, abbinati alle bevande più adatte e servite nel modo migliore in un ambiente raffinato, nel tentativo di soddisfare appieno i desideri del cliente. Sempre più raramente autodidatta, il sommelier viene considerato un professionista, ha una preparazione sia teorica sia pratica che applica nell’affrontare e risolvere determinati problemi.
Tra gli obblighi professionali del sommelier troviamo anche quello dell’aggiornamento costante, poiché il bagaglio di conoscenze in suo possesso deve essere il più completo possibile e deve trarre vantaggio non solo dalle proprie esperienze ma anche dalle nuove conoscenze e dai passi avanti che, giorno dopo giorno, in tutto il mondo, vengono realizzati nel settore agroalimentare, ristorativo e alberghiero.
Questo desiderio di continuo miglioramento non deve trasformarsi in un arrivismo sfrenato, in una corsa incontrollata verso nuovi traguardi a discapito di un comportamento serio e onesto. Il sommelier deve sempre osservare il proprio codice deontologico, assumendo corretti comportamenti con i colleghi per quanto riguarda l’acquisizione dei clienti e un giusto rapporto concorrenziale.
Storia del vino e servizio
Il vino ha origini antichissime. Appare per la prima volta nella storia intorno all’XI-IX secolo a.C., anche se le prime coltivazioni della vite, come risulta da affreschi e materiale archeologico, risalgono al 4000-6000 a.C. La viticoltura accompagna l’uomo nell’evoluzione della civiltà soprattutto nei Paesi del bacino mediterraneo. Conoscevano la vite e l’arte della vinificazione gli Assiri e i Babilonesi, gli Egizi e i Greci e, se agli inizi il vino veniva utilizzato soprattutto per cerimonie religiose e i sacerdoti erano gli unici che potevano berlo puro, ben presto il suo consumo si diffonde sulle tavole dei nobili e dei ricchi.
Nell’antica Roma, dopo un periodo di grande austerità in cui il vino era consumato con parsimonia, dalle guerre puniche in poi inizia un grande cambiamento dei costumi e dello stile di vita. Il vino a partire dal II secolo diventa un prodotto di eccellenza e per i commercianti sono anni di grande crescita economica. Catone il Censore nel De agricultura illustra quali sono le caratteristiche di un vino redditizio, come si deve procedere alla vinificazione e alla produzione delle diverse tipologie di vino, come si esegue una buona manutenzione delle presse e come vanno formulati i contratti di mezzadria e di vendita del prodotto finito.
In questo periodo viene alla luce il primo vino di pregio, l’Opimiano (dal nome del console Opimio), la cui regione di produzione è l’Agro Falerno. Siamo nel 121 a.C. e da questo momento viene introdotta la distinzione dei vini in tre grandi gruppi. Nel primo gruppo troviamo i prodotti di alta qualità destinati all’aristocrazia, al secondo gruppo appartengono i vini di largo consumo da bere quotidianamente, mentre fanno parte del terzo gruppo i vini per il popolo, di qualità piuttosto scadente.
Nelle numerose feste pubbliche dell’antica Roma erano presenti delle persone che si occupavano esclusivamente di servire il vino: dei veri e propri sommelier ante litteram.
In Europa, nel Medioevo, c’era una grande diffusione della vite anche per il ruolo che il vino aveva nella religione cristiana. In questa epoca, infatti, sono proprio i monaci gli ar
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LEARNING TO COOK: Over the years, novices have asked me quite simply, “But how do I learn to cook?” I tell them to sit down and make a list of the ten things they most love to eat. It may be French fries or a lemon tart. A perfect puff pastry or chocolate cake. I suggest the list be varied (not all desserts, please). Then, as though you are a pianist learning to play a piece of music, you cook, cook, cook! Practice that first recipe until you feel you have mastered it, or at least have made it taste as good as you think you can at this point. Then move on to the second recipe on the list, and so on. By the time you have reached the tenth recipe, you will have a basic repertoire. Then, of course, make another list of ten and continue the process.
READ THE RECIPE: Most mistakes are made by not reading the recipe carefully or visualizing the final product. I take great care in recipe writing (and constant rewriting) to make every step as clear as possible, making it easier on everyone, giving us all a chance of success in the end.
MISE EN PLACE: meaning “everything in place.” In my cooking school as well as when I am cooking by myself, recipes are enclosed in a small plastic folder, and all ingredients are measured and set out neatly on a tray. This way, if I use up the last egg or drop of vanilla extract, those ingredients are instantly written out on the shopping list hanging in the kitchen. Mise en place means the cook has not only weighed, measured, washed, and chopped, but has checked the recipe for any missing ingredients, lined up equipment such as spatulas and blenders, and preheated the oven if necessary. Mise en place also makes for a neater kitchen, and I find that when the kitchen is neat, there is less chance for disaster or hysteria. (There’s another advantage to all that pre-measuring and collecting of ingredients: If you put something in the oven and turn around to find you’ve forgotten an important ingredient, you can most likely go back to the drawing board and repair any potential mistakes.)
USE THE RIGHT KNIFE OR PAN FOR THE TASK: Over and over again I find that students choose a knife too small for the task, or a pan that is much too skimpy for whatever is to be cooked in it. I don’t know if it is out of a sense of economy, but I always suggest cooks visualize what the end product should look like and go from there.
TASTE, TASTE, TASTE: Often a student will come to me, proudly presenting his or her creation, and when I ask, “Did you taste it?,” more often than not, the answer is no.
COLD FOR COLD, HOT FOR HOT: My freezer always holds small teacups used for serving sorbets, and before preparing cold soups I also place shallow soup bowls in the freezer so at serving time there is no loss of that precious chilled temperature. A warming drawer is always at hand so that hot food can be served on hot plates, but an oven on low heat (250°F; 130°C) will suffice.
MENU PLANNING: I put a lot of emphasis on seasonal menu planning. In fact, with each week’s class I try to work each and every totally seasonal ingredient into the mix, including fish and shellfish, fruits and vegetables, meats and herbs. In the summer, I almost always start with a cold soup, most of which can be prepared ahead of time. A vegetarian menu might be centered around my favorite “pizza pasta,” penne that’s teamed up with my favorite pizza topping of tomatoes, olives, artichokes, and capers.
From the beginning, my goal is for the students to leave the class eager and ready to make every dish we create during the week. There is nothing worse than tasting something and saying to yourself, “This is okay, but I wouldn’t make it again.” So there are many crowd-pleasers, but both simple and complex, ranging from a quick but very doable puff pastry to easy-as-pie dessert squares made with fragrant chestnut honey and almonds.
BEST TASTE OF THE WEEK AND TAKEAWAYS: At the end of our final meal on Friday, everyone gets to vote on Best Taste of the Week. At the same time, I ask students about their takeaway from the week, the one truc or idea, concept or cooking skill, that will remain with them long after we’ve parted ways.
Interestingly, tops on the Best Taste of the Week list are always soups (both cold and warm) and sorbets. Many perennial favorite recipes are included here (such as the Miniature Onion and Goat Cheese Tatins; the Tomato Trio of Yellow Tomato Soup with Evergreen Tomato Tartare and Red Tomato Sorbet; Tomato Tatins; Eggplant in Spicy Tomato Sauce with Feta; Mussels with Lemon, Capers, Jalapeño, and Cilantro; Open Ravioli with Mushrooms; Saffron and Honey Brioche; and Chestnut Honey Squares).
In all classes we focus on the simple (but often mishandled) craft of the proper cutting of vegetables, and for many students that’s a big takeaway of the week. Another technique I try to instill in students’ minds
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mama-son memories. He eats vegetables like a boss now, no matter the form, and I’m happy I found a way to get him over the tiny hurdle without giving up and resorting to chicken nuggets on the regular.
And my own obsession grew. Single-color strands gave way to two-sided noodles, and that quickly veered into rainbow territory. Then I realized that with a few basic tools and some imagination, I could make a whole mess of patterns right on my pasta sheets. These days it’s not uncommon to find me sneaking a photo of the design on a stranger’s shirt, stalking wallpaper like a wallflower, or ordering a pair of shoes just so I can turn the pattern on their toe-box into pasta.
However unconventional it may be, I have found my art, and with that, my true path. My parents always cautioned me to go the practical route—find something dependable and, well, depend on it. In today’s society, I’m not sure that is the best advice. It’s undeniably important to develop a foundation and work hard and smart, but if I hadn’t challenged the norms and put diamond dowels in round holes time and time again, I fear I would never have found the thing that satisfies my soul, not just my monthly creditors.
It will please me to the sweetest end if you want to make the noodles in my book, but I don’t expect colored pasta to be the other side of your BFF heart necklace as it is mine. I do hope that in joining me for a part of this journey, no matter how young or old you are, how busy or free, you are inspired to set aside moments every day to pursue what you really want in life, even if you don’t know exactly what that is. Dedicating the time to figure it out is enough that eventually a door will burst open like a Watermelon Bubblicious bubble, and you’ll know, without a dust mote of doubt, it’s right.
While I have many people to thank for my journey into the colorful, nutritious world of pasta art, I’m fulfilled to the brink of tears that I can attribute my current career and lifelong passion primarily to the most important little guy in my life, Bentley.
MY COOKING STYLE: THE PAST, THE PRESENT, AND THE FUTURE
Here’s a little history lesson that will blow your mind if you’re pasta-obsessed. Let’s talk for a moment about tortelli, ravioli, and gnocchi. What we think of as ravioli—filled pasta—used to be known as tortelli, which is the word still commonly used throughout Italy. Ravioli, rather, were shaped dumplings rolled in such a way as to mimic the round-rooted turnip called rabiola in Latin or rape nowadays. In other words, ravioli was a type of gnocchi—pasta dumplings—rolled into the shape of tiny turnips.
I find that anecdote, gleaned from Giuliano Bugialli’s Classic Techniques of Italian Cooking, fascinating from an evolutionary perspective, because both language and our manipulation of culinary ingredients constantly metamorphose. I don’t presume to comprehend the entirety of Italian pasta, because it is ever-changing, but those of us who endeavor to innovate should do so with as much awareness and respect for the traditional versions as possible.
Breaking that down further, I know I’ll irk some Italian traditionalists with my—shall we say colorful?—approach to pasta, but that is certainly not my intention. I am constantly learning everything I can about noodles that exist or once existed somewhere in the world, but when I set out to make my daily batches of dough, the resulting pasta is mine alone. I began this section by showing that even something as pervasively known throughout the world as ravioli was at one point a completely different thing. By this I mean to gently nudge purists to see that things change, and most of the time it’s okay. Sometimes it’s even for the better.
After all, we wouldn’t have burrata cheese without the enterprising minds of some innovative Pugliese cheesemakers in the 1950s. Looking for a way to use up the scraps left over from mozzarella production, they began to make a final “kitchen sink” cheese at the end of the day. They kneaded the mozzarella scraps into a vessel-like form, poured in some fresh cream for binding, and tied it up in a pretty topknot. Thus, burrata was born, and the world—well, Puglia—rejoiced! Because burrata is so perishable, it rarely traveled outside that region until recently, when global demand caused cheesemakers to duplicate burrata (not quite as well, but still) with pasteurized dairy.
Which brings me to my next point. Those cheesemakers employed a very important Italian notion called . . .
Cucina povera literally means “poor kitchen,” but there’s more to the story. Cucina povera has roots in southern Italy, and hearkens back especially to several postwar periods when food was scarce for everyday people. Beyond just the notion that nothing should go to waste, enterprising cooks found ways to cobble together in
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ng and squeezing coconut milk. It’s important to buy coconuts from stores that sell them often. Coconuts that sit around can turn moldy on the inside. Shake the coconut and listen for a faint sloshing sound. If the liquid sloshes conspicuously, or not at all, that may be a sign of a coconut that is just too old. We learned to buy two coconuts for every one called for in a recipe, in case one was a dud.
Cracking the coconut: There are many ways to crack open a coconut, and none of them is very elegant. This quick method works best for us: Wrap one coconut in three or four layers of paper towels (you could also use a kitchen towel and rinse it out afterward) and place it inside a sturdy plastic shopping bag or a comparable sack (double up on the bags if needed). Find a good hard surface to whack the coconut against, indoors or outdoors. Grip the bag a few inches above the coconut and slap it as hard as you can against the surface. Do this a few times, even after you hear it crack open, so you can loosen the meat and break the coconut apart into a few manageable pieces. Unwrap the pieces and rinse them off in a bowl of cool water.
Removing the flesh: Fold up a kitchen towel and use it to hold a shard of coconut in one hand. Slide a sturdy and—we cannot emphasize this enough—blunt knife in between the shell and the flesh as far as you can while still being able to twist the knife. This twisting motion should pop the coconut meat out. Some coconuts will be easier to work with than others. Take your time and use extra care in handling the sharp edges of the coconut shell. Once all the meat has been removed, peel off the brown skin with a vegetable peeler. Rinse off the peeled pieces in a bowl of cool water. If you are not using them immediately, peeled pieces of coconut can be kept in a bowl covered with a damp towel for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
Grating the coconut: Grate the coconut pieces over a board or a cloth through the large or medium holes of a box grater. Measure out enough coconut for your recipe and keep the rest tightly packed and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to a month. If making dried, grated coconut, spread the coconut out on a large sheet tray and bake in a 200°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. One large coconut should make 4 cups of freshly grated coconut or, after baking, 2 cups of dried coconut.
Making fresh coconut milk: Put the meat of one grated coconut (or the meat of one coconut that has been cut into small chunks) into a blender. Pour in ¾ cup of room-temperature water, preferably nonchlorinated water, such as distilled or spring water, and blend for 1 minute. Add another ¾ cup of water and blend until it is mixed evenly and milky, about 1 minute longer. Strain the coconut milk through a sturdy sieve, pressing down on the coconut and squeezing out as much liquid as you can. You should have just about 2 cups of fresh coconut milk. Use coconut milk shortly after it has been made. If left to sit for an hour or two, it can begin to separate (see “Collecting the Coconut Cream,” below).
Making the most out of your coconut: The squeezed-out coconut can be used for a second pressing by reblending it with the same amount of water. This second pressing will make a lighter coconut milk that can be used to cook rice or poach fish. The squeezed-out coconut can also be dried in an oven on low heat and used as a topping or as a breading in other recipes.
Collecting the coconut cream: Cover the freshly made coconut milk and place it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. The milk will separate into two distinct layers, a thick and creamy top layer and a watery bottom layer. Gently scoop out the top layer of coconut cream, being careful not to mix it back into the thin bottom layer. You should be able to gather about ½ cup of cream from every 2 cups of fresh coconut milk.
Using canned coconut milk. Canned coconut milk can be used when coconuts are not available or if there is not enough time to make coconut milk from scratch. Be sure to buy unsweetened, all-natural coconut milk that contains nothing but coconut, water, and a little guar gum. Canned coconut milk is thicker than fresh, so it must be blended with water before use in these recipes. In general, mix 5 parts canned coconut milk with 3 parts water to obtain a consistency comparable to fresh milk. (To use one 14-ounce can of coconut milk, stir in 1 cup of water.)
Using canned coconut cream. Canned coconut cream is found in a few Asian, Caribbean, Mexican, and South American markets. It can be difficult to find, so we use canned coconut milk in its undiluted form instead. Cream of coconut is a sweetened coconut product more specifically for blended drinks, and also should not be used as a substitute for coconut cream.
Using packaged frozen or dried grated coconut. Freshly grated coconut can be purchased frozen in some Asian or South Amer
lation or air escape unless you have a convection oven and/or prop the door open. Silicone mats or fruit-leather trays impede airflow and ventilation, which can increase drying time. Use them during processing only when they’re needed to prevent sticking. When placing food pieces on the dehydrator trays, always leave space between them for optimal air flow.
RAW MATERIAL PREPARATION
If there is ever a time to be precise with measurements it is when you’re preparing food to dehydrate. Even a difference of ⅛ inch in thickness can result in an hour or more difference in food drying time. When preparing food, you want to ensure that the greatest possible surface area is exposed and cut food into uniform sizes. You may even want to use a ruler.
HOW DOES DEHYDRATION AFFECT NUTRIENTS?
Food dehydration decreases the micronutrients in most foods, though not nearly as much as canning or other cooking methods do. The nutrients most affected by dehydration are water-soluble vitamins, particularly vitamin C and, to a lesser extent, B vitamins. However, minerals and fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, are mostly retained.
There are several ways you can reduce nutrient losses when dehydrating. The first is to dehydrate food at low temperatures. Temperatures lower than 135°F have been shown to preserve enzymatic activity in plants. In addition, to mitigate mineral losses, retain the soaking liquid when rehydrating vegetables or fruit. Fruit soaking liquid can be blended into smoothies, and vegetable soaking liquid can be added to soups, vegetable broths, or used for cooking rice.
Pretreating food before it is dehydrated prevents the loss of some nutrients while increasing the loss of others, and so it is not recommended as a strategy for retaining nutrients.
An overlooked nutrient in food dehydration is the primary element you’re trying to minimize: water. When consuming dried fruits, vegetables, and snacks, it is vital to increase your water consumption, because these dried foods do not contribute to your daily hydration needs like they would have in their fresh, whole form. Sufficient water intake also helps improve nutrient absorption from the dehydrated foods you consume.
There’s more than one way to remove moisture from food. Just look at traditional methods of drying—you can hang food from a line to blow dry in the wind or even wrap it in a palm leaf and bury it in the sand. As nostalgic as those methods are, this book concerns itself with the three conventional modern methods you’re most likely to try: sun drying, oven drying, and an electric dehydrator.
The relatively long, slow process of sun drying—days versus hours—produces delicious results. But some climates are better suited to sun drying than others. I have lived in the Pacific Northwest and Arizona—the Northwest being inhospitable to outdoor dehydrating in all but a few hot summer weeks and Arizona drying food almost as quickly in the summer as an electric dehydrator. If you live in a place with high humidity, low temperatures, or intermittent sunlight, sun drying can be difficult if not impossible. A simple rule of thumb is that day temperatures should be 90°F with less than 60 percent humidity for successful sun drying.
Part of the challenge of dehydrating is removing moisture quickly before food spoils. The low acidity in vegetables makes them unfit for sun drying because they do not dry quickly enough. Also, sun-dried foods should be pasteurized, through heat or freezing, to prevent spoilage from possible insect larvae.
To dry food in the sun, spread it out on food-grade mesh screens and cover it with sheer mesh cloth to protect it from pests. Check food periodically while it is sun drying to ensure the mesh continues to cover it and to stir or flip the food. Overnight, bring the food indoors to prevent it from reabsorbing moisture.
OVEN AND CONVECTION OVEN DRYING
Before you purchase your first dehydrator, you may want to use your oven to test-dry a few batches of food. I used this test method before investing in an inexpensive stackable dehydrator. The conventional oven provides a uniform low temperature but lacks air circulation and ventilation. Two ways to address this are to prop the oven open an inch or two and to place a fan near the oven door.
The downsides to conventional oven drying are: it takes longer than using an electric dehydrator, it is energy inefficient, and it is somewhat of a hassle. Results can mimic those of an electric dehydrator if you use a convection oven, which circulates air around the food. Set the oven to the same temperature you would use with an electric dehydrator and only dry small batches.
ELECTRIC FOOD DEHYDRATOR DRYING
Electric food dehydrators produce consistently uniform results with minimal energy output. The energy cost of most electric dehydr