Today’s recipe comes to you from the dog house. (And it’s not so much a recipe as sticking sweet potatoes in a dehydrator.) Like many dehydrated fruit and vegetable “chips,” dehydrated sweet potatoes make for great snacking. With dehydrating (ideally at food temperatures below 140ºF), all of the nutrients in a food item are preserved long term; this means your tuber doesn’t lose any vitamins and minerals while it shrivels up, unlike during the boiling process. And they can be stored for up to a year! But did you know sweet potatoes are a healthy—and coveted—easy-to-whip-up homemade treat for your precious canine, too?
If you don’t have access to a dehydrator, fear not! Proper dehydrating is merely a combination of temperature, low humidity and air flow. This means your oven, toaster oven or even the sun can work wonders! For those new to the dehydrating method, the University of Georgia’s College of Agriculture was kind enough to put together a cheat sheet: check it out.
Working at Marathon Veterinary Hospital for a year-and-a-half, I quickly noticed pet dieting was a hot commodity. There are some obese animals out there. Because when Fido is cute, doesn’t he deserve a Pupperoni stick?
Hill’s Metabolic Diet is the leader in the pet food industry for getting your canine’s (feline’s, too) physique back on track. (It is a prescription food, though, so you’ll need your veterinarian’s approval if you think Tubby could benefit from a switch in dog food.) They offer packages of healthy, scrumptious food combinations like Duck & Pea or, wait for it… Rabbit & Sweet Potato.
Sweet potatoes are good sources of complex carbs and dietary fiber. Additionally, they are loaded with beta-carotene which, on average, contains about 50% of the daily required Vitamin A. Talk about a boost for the immune system! And oh hey, they’re gluten-free, too.
Give yourself and your pup a healthy treat and avoid all the preservatives. These dehydrated, chewy morsels are flavorful just the way they are. Skin on, slice them thinly (1/4”) along the width. Set your dehydrator to 125ºF for 4+ hours. (You may have to adjust the time based on your desired crunch factor as well as your region’s level of humidity. I made these in the Bahamas, where I can currently quench my thirst with the amount of water vapor in the air.) In an oven, press the setting for “warm” and dial the temperature as low as it will go, maximum of 140ºF. Unless you have a convection oven, you’ll have to prop open the oven door to create an air current. Check the orange nuggets periodically. Dehydrating in an oven takes longer than a standard dehydrator.
As a last little disclaimer, I’m going to make the point that if you’re looking to improve your pet’s health, daily walks are important, because for crying out loud, we all know dieting isn’t the only answer to weight loss. But dehydrated sweet potato treats are a great start!