Protein bars. Dried fruit. Turkey jerky.
You buy this stuff at the store. But you have a feeling you could be making it at home easily yourself while saving a ton of money.
And you know what? That feeling is right. Oh so very right.
What You’ll Need
Get this, you actually won’t need much. Just have us drop off our Food Dehydrator bundle. It comes with a cookbook, silicone mats and a 5-tray Excalibur food dehydrator. You must admit, “Excalibur” sounds like a pretty badass food dehydrator.
Other than that, you’ll just buy the kinds of foods you generally like. Enjoy mango and strawberries? Great, buy them for your dried fruit. Can’t get enough beef? Buy a steak. You’ll be turning it into jerky soon enough.
Back to that beef for a second. You’ll want something as lean as possible, like a flank steak or any of the rounds (top, bottom or eye of-). Freeze it for two hours, then cut it into even 1/8”-1/4” slices. Find a marinade you like online, there are some creative ones out there, and stick it in the fridge for anywhere from 6 hours to a whole day. Drain and pat-dry when you’re through, as moisture effects the drying, then lay the beef strips down in the dehydrator with space between them.
Put the dehydrator on 160-degrees and make sure to rotate your trays halfway through the process. In about four-to-five hours, plus a couple more for cooling, your jerky will be finished and ready to eat or be stored. And taste better than the store stuff.
Now feel free to repeat the process with buffalo, turkey, chicken, goat, gator, chipmunk, gazelle, uh, emu... you get the point.
If you can make your own jerky, it shouldn’t surprise you that can make your own dried fruit, too. Just step right up and pick a fruit, any fruit, the fresher the product, the better the end result.
Wash it, dry it and if the peel is inedible, peel it. Halve the fruit or slice it into ¼” to ½” pieces for bigger produce items. If you’re mixing fruits, strive for a uniform size so they’ll dry together at the same time. Otherwise, you can utilize different racks for different fruits.
If you want the final product to look Instagram perfect, with less browning and wrinkles (this is LA, after all!) brush or spray the fruit with lemon juice.
Finally, arrange the fruits on your dehydrator. You’ll want a range of 125-140 degrees, with higher temperatures speeding up the process; the lower one offering more uniform results.
You’ll need at least 5 or 6 hours, and conceivably more, as you watch the fruit lose its water and dry. Feel free to remove each rack to inspect how your fruit is coming along and keep in mind, it will dry further and change in flavor as it cools outside of the dehydrator.
If you don’t plan to eat it all at once, follow the set guidelines for drying, conditioning and storing the fruit to avoid such small problems as illness and death.
Sorry, Clif. Sorry, Luna. Sorry, Rx. Today you transform into a protein bar-making machine of your own.
All you’ll need is some nuts, fruits, grains and if you want to go all caveman, some good meat. You’ll make a paste of sorts by blending the ingredients, shape them into bars and put them in your dehydrator for about six hours. You’ll be able to make several bars at once and actually know what goes into them for a change.
For good recipes, we like this one for a low-sugar knock-off of an Epic protein bar. If you’re looking to keep it vegetarian, this high-protein oatmeal-and-coconut bar is a classic, taking about 12 hours in the dehydrator.
Armed with your Excalibur, there’s seemingly nothing you can’t shrink into a highly preservable, extremely healthy food to eat in your office or on the road.
__Bonus:__ you can frequently refer to your “Excalibur,” without specifically spelling out what that is.