More Home Made Treats

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Today’s session is about making healthy all natural treats.

With all the problems that are going on with treats and dog food made in China, it’s time to start making our own dog treats. I know what goes in them and how they were made. Today, we are going to make sweet potato treats and pumpkin treats. There are two kinds of sweet potato treats, chewy and crunchy. We will start with the pumpkin treats.

What you will need: a dehydrator, I like the Nesco American Harvest FD-61 Snackmaster Encore Dehydrator and Jerky Maker,

IMG_7797IMG_7798IMG_7796

it is a really nice machine that has a fan to circulate the hot air and speed drying time, and adjustable temperature too. A box of 5 pounds of sweet potato’s and a pumpkin or two. A deep baking pan and a large pot to boil water. A sharp knife or two and a mandolin slicer if you want and an ice cream scoop for the pumpkin.

This is really easy. You find a fresh pumpkin at the store and bring it home. Cut it in half. Clean out the seeds, then cut it into strips of a few inches wide. Prepare a deep baking pan by filling it with 2 inches of water. Now pre-heat the oven to 375. Put the slices into the pan and place the pan in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. This will soften the pumpkin and allow the soft flesh to be removed from the outer rind. After 20 minutes, test the pumpkin to see if the flesh is soft. Remove the pumpkin slices and place on a plate to cool. I use an ice cream scoop to separate the soft flesh from the rind. I pile the pumpkin in a bowl or on another plate. I take the pumpkin and I put it in my hand and I roll out the pumpkin like a “hot dog” and place it on the dehydrator tray. You could make “cookies” as well. What ever shape you would like.

IMG_7809The orange mis-shaped things are the pumpkin treats. I’m sorry that I don’t have photo’s of the pumpkin preparation, I prepared the pumpkin a few weeks prior to writing this.

Next are the sweet potato treats. Around Thanksgiving, most food stores sell the potato’s in 5 pound boxes really cheap.

IMG_7754Now,get a big pot and boil some water. Put about 3/4 of the pot full of water. Now take the sweet potato and get a sharp knife. Slice the potato like a salami, I like 3/16 to a 1/4 inch thick slices. Remember, these will shrink, so don’t worry about the thickness. I also take a few potato’s and slice them longways, like a filet. Again, make them about 1/4 thick. If you have a mechanical slicer like a mandolin slicer, you can use that too. I find they tend to slice too thin and make sweet potato chips.

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IMG_7779Now if you want to make chewy treats, dump some of the potato slices in the boiling water and let them stay for about 10 minutes or so. This is not a precise operation, so the time is not to critical.

IMG_7803You will see the potato become a brighter orange.

IMG_7806The top slice is raw and the bottom slice is boiled. As you remove the boiled slices from the water, put them directly on to the dehydrator trays.

IMG_7807IMG_7805The nice thing with this dehydrator is that you have to have a minimum of 4 trays in place to operate, but you can add trays up to 12. You don’t want the slices to over lap. When all the trays are filled, it’s time to set the temperature.

IMG_7810We will use the fruits and vegetables setting at 135 degrees.

IMG_7811We put the top on and plug it in and you can hear the fan start blowing and now we wait for 9 hours or so. Again, this is not an exact operation, so if you want them drier, keep it on longer.

After 9 hours, I lift the top and see how things are coming along. This batch of treats came out great. Now I have all the dogs at my feet patiently waiting for me to drop one or two. This is the first time that I made the pumpkin treats. Luckily, I have some more pumpkin frozen, so I can make more. My dogs really love the pumpkin treats.

I was able to make 4 sandwich baggies and two quart baggies worth of treats. Let us know how you made out with your treat making.

On a side note, you need a sharp knife. I have been using this knife sharpener for years, it works great and I highly recommend it. The Edge Maker Knife Sharpener

IMG_7785IMG_7787You just put the sharpener on the edge of the counter and then you just run the blade through the metal prongs, like your trying to slice through it.

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