The reason I made raw flaxseed crackers instead of just baking them in the oven (which takes less time) is because I wanted to preserve the enzymes and nutrients in the seeds that could otherwise be damaged by cooking them above 120 degrees F. Raw foodists debate the exact temperature at which something is no longer raw; some say it’s as low as 113, but the general idea is to “cook” the crackers at a low temperature for more health benefits.
Using a dehydrator is quite simple. In the case of these crackers, you only have to check on your food twice during the nine hours of dehydrating. I often let the dehydrator finish the job overnight.
A few tips before getting started:
–Given that food must remain under 120 degrees F to still be considered raw, you may be wondering why the recipe calls for crackers to be dehydrated at 145 degrees for the first hour. According to raw foodist and holistic health counselor Judita Wignall, drying seeds for an hour at 145 degrees will help water evaporate more efficiently (thereby preventing mold growth). The method has been “rigorously tested, and it is proven that the food’s temperature does not go over 118 degrees when the temperature is at 145 degrees if left for one hour or less.”
–You can use whole or ground flaxseeds for this recipe. I did 3/4 whole seeds and 1/4 ground seeds. I ground the seeds in a clean coffee bean grinder. Grinding the seeds helps release their full nutritional value, but the whole seeds provide such a good texture, so I like to have some of both. If you do use whole seeds, just be sure to chew really well!
–It’s generally recommended that you use ParaFlexx or Teflex dehydrator sheets on your dehydrator trays. I don’t’ have those yet, so I used parchment paper, which is kind of annoying to work with, but it gets the job done. If you use parchment paper, drying time may be a bit longer.
–The time frame for this recipe isn’t set in stone. After 9-ish hours, if your crackers don’t feel completely dry (make sure to feel the center of the spread), let them dry for another hour or so.
Raw Vegan Recipes: Italian Herb Flaxseed Crackers
- 2 cups raw flaxseeds (brown or golden)
- 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped
- 2 1/4 cup filtered water
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- black pepper to taste
1. Soak all of the ingredients in the water and tamari for an hour or until all of the water is absorbed. (The flaxseeds will create a gel-like coating around themselves, not unlike chia seed in chia pudding.) The mixture should cohere but still be fairly spreadable.
2. Dividing the mixture between two dehydrator trays lined with parchment paper or dehydrator sheets, spread the mixture until it forms a thin blanket over each tray. It’s good if the seeds overlap a bit since we don’t want the mixture to be too thin.
3. Dehydrate the mixture for one hour at 145 degrees F (see the recipe introduction for the theory behind this). After one hour is up, use a butter knife or a bash-and-chop to score lines on the cracker spread where you will eventually break the crackers into smaller, cracker-sized squares.
4. For eight hours, dehydrate the crackers at 110 degrees F. After about six hours, remove the trays and carefully flip the cracker spread (which should be mostly dried by now) in order to dry the back sides of the cracker spreads.
5. After your crackers are dry, break the crackers at the score lines you made and store them in an airtight container. To preserve the crunchiness, store in the fridge. When stored in the fridge, these crackers can last for several weeks–but they go pretty fast in my house, so expiration date is never an issue 😉
Photos: Mary Hood Luttrell