When I started studying raw food, considering the investments I wanted to make to equip myself with raw food kitchen equipment, I started a real investigation. I questioned all the chefs and influencers that I followed and searched the web. The goal: to find what would allow me to realize all the wonders of raw food with the greatest precision.
Manufacturers, in view of the growing success of living food, are constantly innovating to adapt. Shapes, options and even materials are evolving to satisfy customers who are increasingly demanding in terms of cost, energy and efficiency.
If you wish to take the step towards a healthier diet for you and your family, I strongly advise you to invest in high-performance equipment that will stand the test of time.
This is what will also bring you a lot of joy when it comes to cooking. What a joy to treat yourself to a perfect smoothie in a few seconds, a deliciously crispy cracker coming out of the dehydrator, a green juice whose extractor has restored you to the last drop of all the leaves and pressed vegetables…
Yes, joy is an integral part of this lively and colorful food! Might as well enjoy it and cultivate it every day with excellent tools!
I therefore provide you with what represents for me the basic equipment of the raw kitchen, as well as the accessories that will allow you to enrich all your culinary creations.
I specify that I do not receive any commission, I just share with you my knowledge, in the most transparent way possible. So you are then free to make your own comparisons.
The 4 bigs
1. The blender
The first essential to raw food kitchen equipment! It is this one that will allow you to get creams, ice creams, pâtés, smoothies, sauces, mousses… To be selected with care.
For my part, having studied at my beginnings through a Californian cooking school, the recommended blenders were those of the Blendtec brand.
Solid and robust blenders, proven to be the best for the intensive use in raw restaurants. So I equipped myself very early with this brand and I am still faithful to it.
After all, it’s easier to stick to a single brand. It’s more practical if you want to match different sized jars later on. The bases of the blenders are not compatible from one brand to another.
The “plus” of Blendtec: its small jars in which you can make smaller preparations of half a liter. The “Twister jar“, a lid combined with two spatulas that go down the sides of the jar, allows you to stir the preparation while mixing.
This makes it possible to easily make harder doughs such as nut butters, oilseed pastes, frozen texture grinding, all in a few seconds, while preserving the machine’s motor.
It is the superstar and historic brand of living food! In France in any case. I have often used it in restaurants. It’s true that these are high-performance, easy-to-use machines that allow you to adjust the power according to what is being mixed. They are robust and last over time.
The Vitamix plus: the tamper stick. It is inserted from the top of the blender and the preparation can easily be stirred without reaching the blades. This is very practical and saves a lot of time for thicker preparations such as iced smoothies, cracker or cheese mixes and large chunks in general.
Bio Chef sous vide healthy life
Although I haven’t tested it yet, I mention it here because it has the particularity of blending the ingredients under vacuum. This further reduces oxidation and preserves precious nutrients for preparations to be consumed directly such as smoothies or raw soups.
In addition, its tamper stick has an integrated thermometer, very practical when mixing something thick that can heat up quickly. Or control the temperature of raw soups that you want to bring to 40°C (118°F) in winter. Very clever!
The other brands
More and more blenders are reaching the market due to the boom in sales (Ninja, Nutribullet, Cecotec, Kenwood, Magimix…), and it can become complicated to make a choice. In order to reach the best possible choice, I advise you to study the following criteria:
– The warranty: it is for example 7 years on the Vitamix and Omniblend.
– The power: the Blendtec are 1540W. For a sufficiently powerful blender do not take it below 1000W if you want a satisfactory result.
– The sound level: it is to be taken into consideration because on the decibel side it is not quite the purr of your cat! If you or those around you are sensitive to noise, consider buying a machine with a sound enclosure. This will still reduce decibels. It’s a little more expensive, but it still preserves hearing. I’ve met people in the kitchen whose hearing is impaired because of the volume of sound these machines make. In some restaurants where the blenders didn’t have sound boxes, we used noise-cancelling headphones left near the machines. They were gladly used by the entire staff!
– The volume: this is equipment that you want to be able to use at any time, so it will be on your counter. Take into account its size and the space it will occupy as well as its jars.
– The jar capacity: I recommend two sizes: one of half a liter or two cups and a larger one of at least 2 liters (8 cups). The smaller capacity is very practical for everyday use but can quickly become insufficient if you want to make nut milks or sorbets for the whole family for example.
– The material: some are made of glass or steel. If they are made of plastic, make sure that they do not contain bisphenol or phthalates.
– Options : some models have an integrated heating element that allows you to heat the preparation (Magimix).
– Maintenance: glass jars are quite heavy to handle and may therefore be demotivating.
2. The dehydrator
What a great tool this dehydrator is! One of my favorite machines! Definitely a must to your raw food kitchen equipment! You can do so much with it! We play with textures, colors, shapes, tastes, we have fun revisiting traditional dishes… It’s an “optional” to eat raw on a daily basis, but becomes essential if we want to go towards raw gastronomy! It is in any case my opinion. 😉
Circular or rectangular?
– Circular models
They have a blower that starts at the bottom of the device and goes up along the removable trays. The heat and hygrometry is therefore not evenly distributed throughout the machine.
They are less powerful and therefore more economical in terms of energy and still allow for the production of dried fruit or activated seeds. They are also very affordable. I advise you to browse on resale sites, you can easily find them as low as 30$ which have has little use to their owners. This is a good approach if you want to try dehydration without having to invest immediately.
– Rectangular models:
The blower starts from the bottom of the unit, so the heat is much more homogeneous. The trays make it easy to make spreadable preparations such as crackers, pizza, pie bottoms. They have trays, topped by mesh that supports the ingredients, and non-stick sheets (Teflex or NutriFlex). The surface of the trays allows more preparations to be dried compared to the circular model.
The downside is that the trays are large and therefore less easy to clean at home. However, the trays and the mesh are dishwasher-safe. Teflex can be cleaned by hand. A cloth with vinegar works very well too.
Does it use more or less electricity than an oven?
This is a point that raises a lot of questions. When you dehydrate for 24 to 48 hours you have the right to ask yourself the question!
To clarify this point, I have calculated that my Excalibur 600 watt dehydrator running at full power for 24 hours once a week costs:
- 0.6 x 0.1765 € per kWh (average in France in 2019 according to Eurostat(1)) x 24 = 2.54 € / week.
Note that full power is reached at 63°C. If I adjust it to 40°C the resistance works alternately, which reduces the bill. But it is very difficult to calculate without more technical information.
If we compare it to the use of an oven: on average 2500w and a full power use of 4 hours per week, it costs :
- 2 x 0,1765 x 4 = 1,41€ / week
Again it depends on the thermostat, but here you have an indication to allow you to compare.
It is therefore a significantly higher budget and a personal choice to make.
In addition, other parameters are to be taken into consideration, the lesser use of hotplates and other microwaves when you switch to raw food for example.
On the environmental side, I consider that by eating 100% live and local plant food, I have a minimal carbon footprint even compared to a conventional vegan diet (see my article about veganism). So I have no qualms about possibly using a surplus of electricity for this reason.
And beyond these energy considerations, isn’t it said that health has no price? And it is always possible to adapt our lifestyle to our budget, by filling our dehydrator well for each use, which allows us to build up our reserves for a certain period of time.
My experience with Excalibur
Funny name for a dehydrator… In any case a machine very much used in raw restaurants because it is very functional.
The models have several sizes depending on the number of trays. The nine-tray model allows a large number of preparations to be carried out at the same time, thus making it possible to make the most of the energy used.
Available in various colors and materials. For my part, I have swapped the austere (and less messy) black used in restaurants for white, which is more pleasing to the eye (I find!).
Excalibur now offers dehydrators made of materials avoiding plastic. Recent models offer steel trays and transparent glass to monitor the evolution of dehydration without having to open the door.
The timer: I find that the timer is actually counterproductive. It was not uncommon for my team to forget to reassemble the timers in the evening and the next morning the preparations were not ready. It is indeed not an oven. Unless it is for a very delicate preparation (rather rare), dehydrated preparations are not to be watched at the ready minute.
So I prefer the absence of a timer limited to 24 hours that you have to wind up like a clock. Nevertheless, some models offer timers up to 99h (Dejelin).
The other models
I know less about the other models, except Sedona also used in restaurants, quite equivalent to the Excalibur, just a bit smaller but with a digital temperature display therefore more accurate than the Excalibur. On all models the doors are transparent.
Overall the checklist of points to be taken into account is the following:
– Warranty: at least 2 years.
– The size: Consider the drying surface to optimize your use. Excalibur trays are 12×12 in.. For intermediate models you can choose Dejelin or Steba (12 x 14,50 in. per tray). To be studied according to the space you can allocate to it in the kitchen. Beware of the depth of the dehydrator, you may be surprised!
– The capacity
– The sound level: it is a noise that you will probably hear for a whole day! So make sure you can handle it, or give it space in a separate room might be best.
– The power: it generally revolves around 500w.
– The type of heat: it’s usually a resistance but the Counter Intelligence IR D5 dehydrator is equipped with infrared lamps, yes, like some saunas! It is a healthy heat, having the same light frequency as the sun. That said, the “solar” mode produces a heat of 70°C. But it also has a classic resistance for a lower temperature.
Other smart options
the Dejelin can keep the ingredients dry at 20°C after the set drying time if you are not around, to avoid re-dehydrating the food at your return. Both the Dejelin and the Sedona have a warmer drying option for the first two hours and then go to about 40°C (118°F) automatically. This speeds up the drying time without compromising the raw quality of the food.
Some models of dual fan dehydrators allow you to limit drying to a single fan for energy savings and less noise (BioChef Savana).
I don’t want to invest in a dehydrator yet
You have the option of using your oven! Here’s how: place your preparations in the oven and set the thermostat to minimum, usually 50°C, fan on, leaving the oven door slightly ajar. This will keep the temperature inside around 40°C. You can test with a thermometer to check. So see, even an oven can be part of the raw food kitchen equipment!
3. A juice extractor
Here it is, the precious one to all raw foodies!
If you have at least once had the opportunity to taste a freshly extracted juice from one of these machines you will understand why.
It is an incomparable delight, a nectar full of life, full of vitamins and minerals. These juices are true jewels of living food.
Vertical or horizontal?
All extractors have one or two screws to extract the maximum amount of juice. The pulp residues are practically dry! This is a guarantee of yield because most nutrients will be found in the juice.
In the vertical one the fruits and vegetables are passed through from the top. It is faster than the horizontal but also longer to clean.
In the horizontal there can be one or two screws. It is generally longer to use but very quick to clean. I prefer this one because I find it more compact and aesthetic than the vertical one.
In specialized restaurants we use very large extractors, of course very expensive, which allow a much higher output while preserving the extraction quality of small extractors. This is why a juice bought in this type of restaurant costs significantly more than pasteurized juice bought in an organic store. But at least you get your money’s worth!
4. The food processor
This one you probably already have in your kitchen. So I won’t dwell on it. I will simply tell you that in living food it is mostly used with the S-blade, you know, chopper type. It’s just used to mix ingredients where you want to keep a certain texture, controlling the size of the grains.
This is how you can make parsnip or celeriac “rice”, or cauliflower “couscous”, hazelnut or almond activated pralines, very useful to have as part of your raw food kitchen equipment.
The next 11 small essentials of raw food kitchen equipment
1. The mandolin
For me a real must. It is what will make it possible to bring much variety in your preparations. Indeed, you can decide on the fineness of the slices, use combs of different sizes to realize, juliennes, or ultra fine matches. In all seasons it is the essential tool to make the most beautiful salads, and all the most aesthetic dishes of the living gastronomy. The ones most used in the catering industry are the Benriner mandolins. They are sturdy Japanese mandolins including 3 combs of different sizes.
Tip: buy a protective glove. Mandolins are very sharp. I required all my staff to use these gloves every time they were using them. No question of having to deal with “supermans” and then risk having to treat the sores. They’re also much more convenient than the pushers that come with most mandolins because you continue to apply constant pressure all the way to the end of the sliced ingredient.
2. The set of measuring spoons and measuring cups
You may have noticed that I offer my recipes in spoon and cup measures 😉 It is true that I find it much faster to take a cup from a hazelnut box than to take the box and pour the quantity on a scale. So definitely on my list of the essential raw food kitchen equipment.
This is in any case what is used in the catering industry, where the need for speed is essential. So I’m encouraging you to become real chefs, who cook quickly and efficiently 😉 It’s essential when we choose slow food, but we still want time for all our other activities, don’t you think?
3. A chef’s knife
This one is a very good investment that will serve you all the time! At least a blade of about twenty centimeters (8 in.), not too big either to keep control and cutting speed. Many excellent brands are on the market, don’t hesitate to treat yourself to an expensive one if you can! It will bring even more value to your cooking. It is a must as a raw food kitchen equipment.
4. A pairing knife
Ideal for cutting smaller ingredients. To choose quality, we cut a lot in live gastronomy, it becomes a real pleasure with good knives perfectly sharpened.
5. Stainless steel circles of different sizes
With them you can realise beautiful dressings.
6. Sprouting equipment
There are different kinds of sprouting equipment. For everyday use, I like glass jars with a perforated lid that can be turned upside down. This allows the water to drain off after rinsing the seeds.
7. Milk bags
Very convenient for the realization mainly of nut milk. You can also use the mini organic cotton bags that you can find in the fruit and vegetable section of organic grocery stores. I always bring one with me on my travels, so I can make sprouting seeds even in the depths of Asia!
8. Soft spatulas
It’s a must to not lose any drop of your precious preparations! Choose quality because some really have a plastic taste that can stay in the mix if you have used it significantly! I love the Blendtec spatula which allows you to recover as much as possible of what remains at the bottom of the blender jars, with its finer tip and slightly curved shape.
Be careful not to use it when the blender is on! (Yes it happened to me once, I only had a handle left in my hand and an awful tasting mix! 😀 )
Great to get beautiful spaghetti in a few seconds!
10. Glass jars and bottles
Great for the conservation of all foodstuffs, 2-to-3-liter jars with rubber circles for fermentation.
11. Food boxes
That’s very useful to have enough of them as your raw food kitchen equipment. Choose them from 1 to 4 liters or more, to have your supplies of seeds and oilseeds at hand.
You have all the tools at hand, if I may say! If you have any questions about a particular item, ask me in the comments.