Dehydrated foods are for more than epic backpacking trips and camping in the mountains.
According to Rawthentic Eatery owner Bill Hadikin, dehydration can be used as an alternative to cooking for healthy, everyday snacks, meals and desserts.
“The benefit of dehydrating is that it keeps your food raw and alive,” Hadikin said. “Cooking kills naturally-occurring enzymes in food, meaning more enzymes and energy are required from your body to digest it. When you eat raw food, you don’t have to use so much of your own enzymes.”
This doesn’t mean you should subsist on fruit leather and dried soups. At Hadikin’s raw restaurants, they use multiple dehydrators with heat sources set to less than 115 degrees Fahrenheit to make everything from wraps to “chic’un” patties to cookies.
“When you get a wrap in our restaurant, the outside of the wrap is nutritious and good for you and we’ve made it from scratch,” he said.
Rawthentic wraps are made from ground flax seed blended with carrots, zucchini, apple, lemon and olive oil. Then they’re poured into a pan and dehydrated until they’re ready to be filled with house-made falafel, “chic’un” patties, chipotle veggies with spiced pumpkin meat, and more.
Hadikin said the protein-rich “chic’un” patties — a vegan play on chicken burgers — are made from cashews and sunflowers, and dehydrated overnight.
Ginger cookies made with real ginger and certified, gluten-free oat flour are dehydrated in-house as well.
If you’re interested in dehydrating your own foods at home, Hadikin suggested getting a dehydrator and start with some simple vegetable side dishes.
“Take vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms or onions, mix them with a little olive oil, then put them in the dehydrator for 30 minutes to 1 hour,” he said. “The vegetables will soften, retain all of their nutrition and not get overcooked. You’ll get the same result as frying in a pan or baking.”
Don’t have the time? Hadikin said you can also “eat well to be well” at any of his three Rawthentic locations.
“Some of our raw foods take 15 hours to make,” he said. “But we start preparing them a day in advance so they’re always convenient for our customers.”
To view the full Rawthentic menu, which also includes juices and smoothies, salads, noodles, tacos, and more, visit rawthenticeatery.com.
Rawthentic locations include 108-4440 West Saanich Rd. in Victoria, 144 Morison Ave. in Parksville and 407-B Fifth Street in Courtenay.