One of the latest trends on the natural, organic dog food front is sweet potatoes. I don't know why, but most dogs seem to really love them. And like most things natural and organic, you can pay a pretty penny for store bought food or treats containing sweet potatoes.
Today's treat recipe is embarrassingly simple - it's really not even a recipe at all. Sweet Potato Chews are made from sweet potatoes. Period. Just sweet potatoes. I spent about $2.50 for two organic sweet potatoes ($1.69/lb at HyVee) and sliced up sixteen chews...that's less than $0.20 each! From a health standpoint, sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients as well as containing only 15-20 calories per chew and no preservatives!
To turn these raw sweet potato slices into yummy chews that your dog will love, all you need to do is bake them in a conventional oven at the lowest temperature possible for 6-8 hours. That's it! The only hard part is slicing the potatoes as consistently thick as possible without chopping off a finger. (I still have all ten digits, but clearly did not excel at the consistency!) And it can be a little tricky finding a 6-8 hour block of time that you're comfortable leaving your oven running, so if you decide that you enjoy making these, it might be smart to invest in a simple food dehydrator.
For those of you who like step-by-step instructions, here you go:
- Rinse and dry sweet potatoes. Do NOT peel.
- Cut off the ends and slice into approximately 1/4"-1/3" thick slices. You should get 7-9 slices per potato, depending on the shape. (If you want even thicker, chewier treats, go for 3/4" slices, but remember that dehydration will take about twice as long.)
- Place sweet potato slices on a cookie sheet, making sure that none are touching each other.
- Bake at your lowest oven setting for 6-8 hours until the slices are relatively moisture-free to the touch, but still somewhat pliable. (True confession: in my convection oven, it took just 4 hours at 200 degrees (my lowest temp setting)).
- Every 2-3 hours, turn the treats to improve consistency.
- Leave the treats in the turned off oven to cool overnight.
- Store in a sealed bag or container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. You can also freeze the chews for up to 4 months.
And there you have it - simple, easy and your dog will LOVE them! It doesn't get much better than that!!