Monday, November 11, 2013

Raw Vegan Jerky!

Every time we go to the local farmer's market, Mom and I grab stuff off of the almost-bad shelf. It's usually full of over-ripe bananas and other fruits. This time there was a ton of carrots, so Mom asked if we could make some carrot juice. We ended up juicing carrots, apples, pears, grapes and blueberries. When we were done I had a gallon sized baggie packed overflowing of juice pulp. I really didn't want to throw it away, so I tried something new. Juice Pulp Crackers. I went based off of a recipe from Gena at Choosing Raw. I was so excited to try it out, along with my new VitaMix that Hubs won.

I'm not excited about the VitaMix. It didn't blend well, had no cyclonic action to pull unblended stuff from the top to the bottom, and it just shut off after getting too warm. I wasn't using it for more than 45 sec at a time at half speed and it overheated. For a $500 blender, I am not happy. I'm just glad I didn't actually fork out the money for it myself. When I was blending, I was having to use a tamper to push the unblended stuff down, and as someone with rheumatoid arthritis, that was RIDICULOUS. Honestly my hands still hurt from it. But I got the job done, and had 16+ cups of wet juice pulp for crackers. I spread the mix out thin onto my dehydrator sheets, popped them in the dehydrator, and 24 hours later I had Vegan Jerky! I cooked them at a lower temperature than Gena suggested - 105 instead of 115, so it took a lot longer to finish. Most of them were thin enough that they are crispy like crackers now, which was my original intention. Some of the thicker sheets are a little chewy, thus the jerky name. You can't taste the carrots at all, just the fruity flavor, so I think they would go awesome with a little cream cheese at breakfast. True, cream cheese invalidates the vegan claim, but there's vegan cream cheese out there.

I was so excited that these turned out well, and I'll be snacking on them all week. I took some to work and got great reviews from my coworkers. I'm giving some to my neighbors tonight to see what they think. I am definitely going to start doing this often. I need to get back into juicing anyway so I can get more of my leafy greens back in my diet. I'm going back to salads as well, but I've got to get rid of all the crappy dressings I have in the fridge.Crappy dressings make crappy salads, and I don't like crappy salads.

So this recipe is super easy. Take your juice pulp, blend it with some water or juice to make it a little wet, but you still want it to hold together. It also should be easily spreadable. Add flax seed for some extra crunch and omega-3s. Spread it out thin on a dehydrator sheet or parchment paper, and pop them in. After 4-132 hours, depending on the temp you use, flip them over and pop them back in. You can also score them here so they break apart easily when they are done. When they are done, let them cool and stick them in an airtight container. They should last for at least a week. Then dive in! I bet you can't eat just one :)

Gena has suggested that you can do this in the oven, but I haven't tried it.

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