If you would like to incorporate more raw food into your diet using the ‘right equipment’ will make your life easier and your food even more delicious. Elfa Thornsteindottir explains
Having the right tools when preparing raw food makes all the difference. So if you are serious about adding more raw food into your daily lifestyle, then I suggest you start by saving up to buy the right gear. The basics are a high speed blender; powerful food processor; juicer; dehydrator (which you could say is the raw chef’s alternative to an oven!) and fun cutting tools like a spiral slicer. I get asked all the time where is the best place to buy the proper equipment for the raw food kitchen and I can highly recommend UK Juicers (ukjuicers.com). I have bought most of my raw food kitchen tools from them over the years. They are fair in price and the customer service is outstanding.
When it comes to blenders there are only two brands that have been consistently at the top and are guaranteed to give you the perfect outcome every time – they are Blendtec and VitaMix. These two products will also last you a lifetime. The new kid on the block is The Boss from Sage and is a 2200 watts blender, I have not tried it yet, but it looks very promising. When choosing a food processor you want to make sure it is a minimum of 1000 watts. There are many other good brands out there like Magimix, Dualit, Crusinart and Sage, to name but a few.
If you are on the hunt for a juicer, I recommend you go for a slow juicer. The quality and nutrition in the juice will be so much greater than if you use a high speed juicer. The leading brands in slow juicers are Hurom and Omega, but more and more brands are following in their footsteps.
A dehydrator is a tool that uses low temperatures and a fan to dry food. It essentially removes the water from food, but keeps the nutrients in the raw food intact – it means that you can create a wider variety of textures and flavours with your raw food meals. Dehydrators can turn all fruits into sweets in a few hours and open up endless possibilities. Pineapple, mango, banana and strawberries, chopped or sliced and then dehydrated overnight are a family favourite. I also make bread, crackers, pizzas, energy bars, pancakes, cookies, crisps of all sorts and granola in my dehydrators. I can highly recommend Excalibur, which is the brand that has been around for the longest, and is very reliable. Sedona is also another great make. When you buy a dehydrator make sure you also order some non-stick sheets that fit perfectly with the trays of your dehydrator.
Another kitchen-essential for the aspiring raw food chef is the spiral slicer. A spiral slicer is a tool that turns vegetables like beets, sweet potatoes, courgettes, swedes etc. into beautiful spaghetti-like strands in next to no time. I find that it’s a great way to get the kids involved in the kitchen and encourages them to eat more fresh vegetables.
Here I will share two recipes with you – one using a dehydrator and another using a spiral slicer.
Kale Crisps (Dehydrator required)
- 400 gr. kale
- 250 gr. cashew nuts
- 250 ml. water
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp. onion granules
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
Chop the kale into semi-fine strips or buy ready chopped kale and put it in a large bowl.
Put all the other ingredients into your blender jar and blend until smooth. If you do not have a high speed blender, you might want to add a little more water to get it to smooth consistency.
Pour it over the kale and blend together using your clean hands. Divide it onto four dehydrator trays with a non-stick sheet and put in the dehydrator on 115F. After 6-8 hours turn the kale over and continue to dehydrate until crispy. Enjoy every bite of these delicious, healthy and guilt-free crisps.
Spaghetti with tomato and basil. (For 4 persons). (Spiral slicer required)
- 2 big sweet potatoes
- 200 gr. cherry tomatoes
- 30 gr. fresh basil
- ½ cup pine nuts
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
Wash the sweet potatoes well and chop the ends off. Put it through the spiral slicer and then into a bowl. Next pour over half of the olive oil and half of the salt and, using your clean fingers, massage it into the spaghetti-like sweet potatoes. Chop up the tomatoes and basil and put in a separate bowl with the pine nuts and the rest of the olive oil and salt. Mix it well together with a spoon and pour it over the ‘spaghetti’.