As we head into Fall we are also heading back to routine. Many of us are ready to replace bbq’s and beer with healthier foods, and a raw foods diet is an excellent way to accomplish this. You may be prepared for this change; the question is, “Is your kitchen?”
The basics of a raw kitchen are the same as a regular kitchen. You will need measuring cups and spoons, a vegetable peeler, a whisk, a variety of knives, a pie plate, spatulas…I could easily meet my 500 word requirement just naming kitchen gadgets, so I will leave the rest of it up to your imagination!
That was the easy part, now comes the fun part! A top of the line raw kitchen (which is code for “price is no object”) will also include a high-speed blender, such as a vita-mix with it‘s amazing 2 horsepower motor. You will be able to make smoothies, soups, nut milks, salad dressings, pie fillings and cracker bases as well as grinding dried foods such as sun dried tomatoes into powders or flours.
You will also need a dehydrator, preferably an Excalibur. The most important consideration when buying a dehydrator for a raw foods diet is temperature control. Many lower end models will have only an on/off switch and your foods will be dried at temperatures that well exceed the recommended 105 degrees. Be sure to get teflex sheets as well so that wet ingredients won’t leak through the mesh screen. A dehydrator can be used to dry fruits and veggies, crackers, cookies and pizza crusts, as well as to thicken sauces, melt coconut oil or gently warm meals.
A food-processor is used for making pie crusts, pates, chunky sauces and grinding nuts/seeds. It is also an excellent tool for grating, shredding and slicing fruits and veggies. If you think you will be making large quantities of recipes, make sure to get an 11 or 14-cup model.
A juicer is also invaluable in a raw foods kitchen. A masticating juicer can be used to make juice (surprising, I know!), nut butters, ice cream and pates. Because it serves multiple functions I prefer a masticating juicer to a centrifugal one, but if you will be strictly making juice either will be fine.
A few inexpensive but equally handy tools include a nut milk bag, a spiralizer to make noodles, a microplaner for garlic, ginger and zesting, a coffee grinder for spices and flaxseeds, and a mandolin for perfect, equal slices.
This is basically a wish list for a raw foods chef, don’t worry if you can’t afford everything right away. Your existing blender and food processor will still take you a long way in the world of smoothies and dressings. If you don’t have a dehydrator find a friend who does and make crackers together! Don’t limit your raw experience to the equipment you do or do not have, be creative and adapt recipes if you need to. Only you can decide which of these tools has a place in your raw foods kitchen.
Lindsay McInnes is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Owner of Rawk On Café. She loves opening peoples minds to raw foods and creating desserts that you can feel good about eating.