Raw Food – The Low Down
Another of our college lectures focused on Raw Food. Raw food is made up of fresh, whole, unrefined, living plant-based foods such as: fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, nuts and seeds (soaked and sprouted), which are consumed in their natural state, without cooking or steaming. It does not include processed foods and pre-packaged foods, thus avoiding saturated fats and trans fats, which are the main causes of weight gain and heart disease. There are many health benefits to eating raw food, such as increased energy since uncooked food is full of live enzymes, nutrients and vitamins that are easily digested. Plus, raw food requires less of your body’s fluid for digestion, so therefore it promotes better hydration.
However, some plant based foods release more nutrients when they are cooked, such as tomatoes, which release more Lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant. Carrots which are lightly steamed can help them release carotenoids, which is another powerful antioxidant that helps overall immune function. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage have been known to cause digestive problems for some people when eaten raw and cooking them helps to release indole, an organic compound that can fight off precancerous cells.
Preparation and Culinary Techniques
Raw food can be prepared in a number of ways, dehydrating, juicing, soaking and sprouting, fermenting, pureeing and marinating.
In today’s recipe I used my food dehydrator which is a Biochef (6 tray), it’s not top of the range like the Excalibur, which most professional kitchens use, but it does the job and it’s a lot cheaper than the Excalibur.
Food dehydrating has been used for years as a form of food preservation. In RAW food, dehydrating is classed as a transition food as you are extracting the water/moisture out of the food which ‘semi cooks’ it. To keep it in a ‘raw’ state, when using a dehydrator, the temperature should be ideally set at 42o C, no more than 45o C (115o F), otherwise it’s not classed as ‘raw’.
Carrot & Almond Pulp Seed Crackers
These delicious crispy seed crackers are using up carrot pulp from juice and almond nut pulp from almond milk. They are high in fibre and healthy fats.
Makes 20-25 crackers
- Equipment: dehydrator and two trays and two non-stick sheets
- Inactive time: 8 to 10 hours in dehydrator
- Dehydrator Temp 40oc to 45oc
- Preparation time 10 minutes
- 85g carrot pulp
- almond pulp from 150g almonds (about 120g)
- 50g flaxseeds (linseeds)
- 50g sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix with your hands until it comes together to form a ‘dough’.
- Divide into two equal batches and form into two balls.
- Place one ball directly onto a dehydrator sheet, put another sheet on top and using a rolling pin, roll out to about 3mm thick.
- Using the back of a small knife, score squares through the sheet to create squares or triangles, whatever you like. Don’t worry if the edges are uneven, this adds to the ‘artisan’ look of the crackers.
- When finished gently peel off the top sheet and place the sheet with the crackers on, onto a dehydrator tray.
- Repeat for the second batch.
- Set the dehydrator temperature (see notes) and dehydrate for 8 hours or overnight.
- Check the crackers to see if they are dry. At this point you could carefully flip each batch over onto another tray to get an even crispness.
- Dehydrate for a further 4 hrs or until you are happy that they are crispy.
- When you are happy, remove the trays from the dehydrator and allow to ‘cool’ then carefully snap at the scored areas.
- Store your crackers in an air-tight BPA-free container, otherwise they will absorb moisture and go soft.
Notes – Depending on your dehydrator, set the temperature to 42oc if possible, mine goes up by increments of 5oc, so I set it to 45oc.
The crumbs of the crackers are great served as a garnish for soups or, for a nice crunch, try them scattered on your hummus. They are also great as a salad topping!
Recipe Source: The Art Of Eating Well by Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley adapted by Sally Wilson – Natural Vegan Chef
Allergens: sesame, nuts