Setting up a raw food kitchen (part 2)

In this post, I will focus on 3 pieces of equipment that I find invaluable in my raw-food kitchen and really open up the options available to you when it comes to producing a large and exciting variety of raw food dishes: the dehydrator, mandoline and spiraliser.

Dehydrator

Dehydrators are amazing pieces of kit. They are fantastic for raw meals in general and also for raw cakes and pies. They remove moisture from the food and heat it without taking it above the temperature that would kill any of the enzymes. Dehydrators are excellent for producing dishes, which take on that slow cooked profile, such as marinated Portobello mushroom steaks. Savoury foods that can be made in a dehydrator also include pizza bases, crackers, raw bread, vegetable wraps, semi-dried vegetables, kale and vegetable crisps to name a few. They are are also useful for desserts and goodies such as cookies, dried fruits and dried fruit strips and making crusts that bit more pastry-like. They can also dehydrate seed, nut and coconut pulp, which can then be blended to make flour.

 

I would recommend the Excalibur dehydrator, which is one of the best on the market. It has either five or nine trays and the heat is evenly distributed, meaning you can dehydrate large amounts of food at the same time. There are many out there though, so do some research and find out which one meets your needs.

Other dehydrators:

  • L’Equip dehydrator – cheaper than the Excalibur but smaller in storage room
  • Nesco range – cheaper option, but still highly reviewed

One point I would make about dehydrators, is that although technically the food is still raw, some would argue that the food loses some of its life force and freshness when moisture is removed. If I have dehydrated elements such as dry crackers, I would always serve them with fresh vegetables, salads, dips and sauces so that there is a healthy balance and diversity of ingredients on offer.

Mandoline

A mandoline is a very clever piece of equipment. It allows you to cut vegetables to your desired thickness from thick chunks to paper-thin. This allows you to then effortlessly marinate all your vegetables to create those perfect flavours and textures for your dish. Most mandolines also have an attachment for creating crinkle cuts and also julienne cuts, which can save a huge amount of time. Please ensure that you always use the hand guard when using the mandolin to slice, as those blades are very sharp!

Mandolines are fairly inexpensive pieces of equipment and you can purchase a decent one for between £30-50. Some of the models I recommend include:

  • Good Grips– has an excellent safety guard and has lots of useful settings
  • John Lewis range – for a slightly less expensive option

Spiraliser

A spiraliser is a really fun piece of kit and can be used to sex up your salads and create pasta strips out of many vegetables. It is especially useful for making spiral courgette strips, which can then easily be served with a sauce to create delicious courgette pasta.

 

Spiralisers cost in the region of £30 upwards. I would recommend the Lurch Spirali or if you want to spend a little more money, a Japanese turning slicer.

Look out for another post coming soon, which will feature other equipment I use to make raw food and a low-down on juicers! 

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