Last week, I started making my own dried fruit for the kids. There's so much available at the farmer's markets that I frequently get ahead of myself and buy too much, and some of it goes to waste. So, whatever the kids don't eat, I throw into the dehydrator. I've been making dried strawberries, cherries, peaches, apricots and beets. Sasha loves beets, so I figured I would try drying some and then let him snack on them in the winter.
I've also been making snack bars. I've made sprouted grain and fruit cookies, fruit and nut bars and some fresh fruit leather. I can't believe how cheap and easy it is! All of our leftovers are now incorporated into an endless array of easy snacks.
Why do I bother? Because I can't buy snacks of this quality - organic, made with absolutely the best ingredients, specifically designed for our tastes and super-nutritious. Dehydrating foods adds another important benefit: the vitamins and enzymes are preserved. To make my snacks even more nutritious, I sneak other not-so-greatly loved ingredients into them - pureed dark leafy greens, sprouts, spirulina and bee pollen to name just a few.
I've been using this dehydrator.
It's small enough to qualify as apartment size (they have larger ones, too), and according to the raw food crowd, it's the best there is. I think I'll write a newsletter with some of my more successful recipes, once I've had enough time to experiment. Meanwhile, these books have been really helpful:
How to Dry Foods
Trail Food: Drying and Cooking Food for Backpacking and Paddling