A healthier alternative to potato chips can be made from drying leftover vegetables such as kale, beets, or carrots. Vegetable chips could be the answer to your craving for something crunchy. By making vegetable chips at home you can control the amount of fat and sodium providing a healthier snack than those available at the market. Dehydrating left over vegetables can save money and eliminate food waste.
What vegetables are suitable for drying and making into vegetable chips?
The answer is simple; any vegetable can be dehydrated and made into a vegetable chip! Some of the most popular are root vegetables such as carrots, beets, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Root vegetables should be sliced thinly and dried overnight to make a crispy chip. If you are trying to get more greens into your diet try kale, peas, or green beans are healthy choices.
Dehydrating is a way to preserve food by removing moisture from the food. Without moisture, the bacteria that are involved in the breakdown or rotting of vegetables cannot grow. Bacteria love moist warm places with a natural food source such as sugars found in vegetables. Vegetable chips can be easily made at home giving your leftovers a longer shelf life.
Are vegetable chips healthier?
Vegetables are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Dehydrating vegetables causes a minimal loss of vitamins and minerals and extends the shelf life of your food.
Let’s take a look at a couple of nutritional panels and compare potato chips to vegetable chips. The recommended serving size for potato chips (15 chips) is half that of the veggie chips (38 chips).
Vegetable chips can be made in an oven set at a low temperature or by using a food dehydrator. Vegetables should be dried at 130ºF to 140ºF (55º to 60ºC). Using lower temperatures allows the vegetables to maintain vitamins A and C. Slice vegetable 1/8 inch or thinner in a single layer to allow even dehydration. The amount of time will vary depending on the type of vegetable you choose and how think you slice your vegetable chips. Start with 12 hours, remove the vegetable chips, allow to cool for 5 minutes, and check to see if the chips are still moist, sticky, or flexible. You do not want the vegetable chips to turn dark brown and become brittle.
Aside from making a great snack, dehydrated vegetable chips can be used in soups, on camping trips, ground into a flour, rehydrated and made into sauces, baked into muffins and much more.
How should vegetable chips be stored?
Vegetable chips can be stored in airtight containers. They should be kept in a cool dark place with limited exposure to humidity and air. Vegetable chips can be stored up to one year under proper conditions. Chips placed in a refrigerator, freezer, or vacuumed sealed can further extend the shelf life.
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Craving some kale chips? A recipe for Fool Proof Kale chips can be found here along with other vegetable chip recipes.
To learn more about the nutritional information in common food items take a look at my fitness pal.
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