Dried Fruit and Crispy Nuts

Since J’s classes are back to back, he doesn’t get a break for lunch; he needs hearty, non-messy snacks to get him through the day.  Homemade granola bars work out well, but a little variety is nice.  Instead of stocking up on dried fruit (with tons of added sugar) at the grocery store, we decided to make our own.  We borrowed my dad’s dehydrator and made apple and banana chips.

To make the apple chips, I washed and cored the apples and then sliced them as thin as I could.  I just peeled and sliced the banana.  I arranged the slices in a single layer on the dehydrator racks, turned the machine on to 135 degrees and let it do its thing.  The drying time depends on how thin the slices are and how crispy you like your chips.  We let the apple chips dry for 6-7 hours and the banana chips took 8-9 hours.

Nuts also make a great snack, and they are easy to eat on the go.  Unfortunately, nuts are high in phytic acid, a substance which reduces your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in the nuts.  According to Nourishing Traditions (NT), soaking the nuts in salt water for at least 7 hours helps to neutralize the phytic acid and makes the nuts more digestible.  Now I’m not entirely sold on the whole soaking thing, but…since J is eating so many nuts these days and we have a dehydrator on hand, it seemed like a good time to try crispy nuts.

Following the instructions in NT, I put 2 cups of raw almonds in a quart jar, added 1 1/2 tsp salt and added enough filtered water to cover the almonds.  I let the nuts sit overnight, and then I put them in the dehydrator.  I dried the nuts at 135 degrees along with the fruit.  Although NT and other internet sources suggest that it should take 12 – 24 hours to dry the nuts, I thought they were dry enough after about 8 hours.  The soaking/drying process doesn’t change the flavor of the nuts, but the texture is slightly softer.

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