We’ve all been there. We are full of good intentions. We then find a find a recipe that we want to make, only to discover that we should have soaked almonds for at least 8 hours beforehand and melted a small chocolate factory’s worth of cacao butter – all at under 42 degrees C. At this point we can feel our energy draining into our boots with the thought of all the soaking, waiting and grating …
Making raw food doesn’t have to be a chore. If you prepare the groundwork and have a few time saving tricks up your sleeve, then there are lots of dishes that you can make with some quick and straightforward preparation.
1) Buy deli containers with matching lids and store everything in them. If you have the same size containers, you will save time searching for lids.
2) Let the freezer be your friend. Freeze soaked nuts such as almonds and cashews pre-measured in cups in zip-lock bags. When you need a cup of soaked nuts for a recipe, simply run them under the warm tap in a strainer to defrost them.
3) Many raw food recipes call for Thai coconut meat. Seek out the frozen kind which you can often find in Asian supermarkets. It saves time in opening coconuts.
4) Keep almond pulp, left over from making almond milk, in the freezer. When you have enough you can dehydrate it for almond flour. Or you can use it wet to make a raw trifle.
5) Pre-make juices and juice shots and keep them in glass kilner (mason) jars in the freezer so they are ready to drink when defrosted. Freeze them with the lid off as the juice will expand when freezing. Then when frozen, screw the lid on the jar. In the morning if you are short of time, take a frozen juice to enjoy throughout the day.
6) Freeze liquids flat in ziplock bags in the freezer. It will take up less room and also take less time to defrost.
7) Premake date paste in bulk and keep it in the freezer. When you need it for a recipe, simply remove it a tablespoon at a time. Date paste never freezes solid so it is easy to scoop out.
8) Find your favourite smoothie recipe and pre-prepare smoothie packs so all you need to do is add almond milk and superfood. My friend Helen freezes chopped and measured bananas, grapes and figs in takeaway cartons for the Buzzed-Up Smoothie so it’s super quick to make them.
9) If you are sprouting buckwheat groats for porridge, sprout some extra. These can be dehydrated and when dry, used as cereal with almond milk for breakfast.
10) Grate all the ingredients for a fresh chai-spiced golden milk into your plant-milk and leave it to infuse in the fridge during the day or overnight. After 12 hours, the infusion should require nothing more than warming through and straining.
11) You can slice lots of mushrooms quickly and evenly using an egg slicer.
12) Save time on chopping tomatoes by finely grating them using the large holes on a grater.
13) Extend the lifespan of your herbs and greens by washing them and packing them in damp paper towels in a zip lock bag with the end open so they can breathe. They will be ready to use when you need them and last several days longer than in a plastic bag.
14) Pre-make 2 or 3 salad dressings and keep them in jam jars in the fridge. They should last for 3-5 days. When you need a quick bite to eat, you always have something that you can grab and go.
15) Place a damp cloth under a mixing bowl to hold it steady.
16) Peel and freeze bananas, avocados and other frozen fruit so you can always rustle up a quick ice cream when you need to.
17) Run your ice cream scoop under a hot tap for quick and easy ice cream consumption!
18) If your chocolate truffle mixture splits, don’t get separation anxiety. Add a tablespoon or two of water and blend the mixture together so it comes together in a glorious gloop.
19) Make yourself some treats for those in between moments and keep them in the freezer. Many raw desserts freeze well.
20) When making your raw dessert, if the mixture sticks to a spoon, simply wrap it in cling film or plastic wrap to manoeuvre the mixture.
21) Save time melting cacao butter. Place the whole bag of cacao butter in your food processor to chop it finely. Store grated and melt as required.
22) If you have melted too much cacao butter for your needs, pop it into a cold baking tin to solidify. Then break into thin shards and return it to the bag.
23) Have your mise en place ready. Prepare all your ingredients before you start a recipe so you can be assured that you have everything you need.
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