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Create Healthy Snacks at Home

August 19, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo you bought a food dehydrator and now are wondering how to use it. Ideally it’s one with a thermostat so you can safely regulate temperature for preparing jerky. There are many ways to preserve foods for rehydrating later and another option many don’t think of…snacks.

According to the Convenience Store News in 2006 salty snacks alone made up a $3.7 billion industry and included chips, pretzels, crackers, popcorn and meat snacks. This is opposed to $789 million in sweet snacks which included trail mix, energy bars and other snacks in addition to cookies or candy.

ConAgra purchased Lincoln Snacks in 2007, a $45 million company that produced popcorn based snacks such as Fiddle Faddle and Poppycock. They also own several other snack brands.

Snacking is big business. It’s also something that you can create at home with even more variety and freshness than commercial brands can deliver.

Many people bemoan the abundance of zucchini – but you won’t find those with dehydrators worried about too much! Along with zucchini bread, cookies and dried zucchini for soups, stews and casseroles there’s another use. Slice them and sprinkle on your choice of seasoning – some use a Cajun mix while others prefer bbq. Whatever you choose slice, sprinkle and pop in the dehydrator for zucchini chips. Simply slice about ¼ inch thick and dry to crunchy.

Find a deal on bananas or apples or tomatoes? Slice and dry – snack chips without major processing or additives. Some other possibilities – fruit rollups, fruit slices, even sliced ‘bagel bits’ are all easy to make. Mix with your own homemade popcorn – with or without seasoning – for on the go snacks that watch your wallet without a great effort. The dehydrator works while you carry on your life.

You can even dry real liver for dog and cat treats.

Here’s a few more to get you started:

Honey Sweetened Dehydrated Apples

Homemade Fruit Leather

Hawaiian Jerky

Are you looking for another option for snacks? How about sweet potato chips? Peel and slice 2-3 medium sized sweet potatoes and place on the mesh screen. If desired sprinkle with a little salt and run through at 105-112 for 4-5 hours until desired crispy texture is reached.

Look around for produce that “needs to be used” but is still good – load up the dehydrator and create your own snacks at home!

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