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Welcome Fall with Homemade Sweet Potato Chew Treats

Friday, August 23, 2013 by

You notice back-to-school sales at every store. You can no longer lie outside and tan until 9 pm every day. Your morning commute is being slowed down by a barrage of yellow buses. The temperature no longer hits triple digits every day of the week.

austin forecast

Only one 100° day in a week? That’s practically winter, by Austin standards.

It’s happening. Summer is nearing its end, and the return of fall is nigh.

It seems only yesterday we were sharing recipes for frozen cat treats, doggie ice cream, and pup-sicles and debating whether or not you should shave your pet for summer. But, alas, nothing gold can stay.

Hey, wait…Fall’s not so bad! Fall means farmer’s markets with dog-friendly produce such as apples and sweet potatoes. Also…we technically still have a month of summer. (You can keep making ice cream.)

fall equinox 2013

Okay, I was being dramatic. We still have a month of summer.

But if you’re in the market for a natural, chewy dog treat with a more autumnal taste, look no further than these homemade dried sweet potato treats. These treats are made of a single, whole-food and are completely natural and grain-free (good if your dog has allergies or you’re just into that kind of thing). Additionally, the treats are dried out so well that they should take a while to chew, meaning that they will keep your dog busy and provide him with chewing stimulation that he might otherwise seek in your closet.

dog ate louboutin

A dog with refined tastes, via dogshaming.tumblr.com

The following recipe is based on this post at 17 Apart and the number of treats yielded depends on the size and number of sweet potatoes used. If you have a food dehydrator, this recipe should be a lot quicker, but these treats can be made via a slow dehydration process in a standard oven (the process used in the following instructions).

Supplies:

sweet potatoes at farmer's market

Sweet potatoes at farmer’s market via Natalie Maynor’s flickr

Large sweet potatoes

The bigger the better! Use as many as you think you will have room for in your oven. This is a long process and you probably don’t want to commit to making a few batches in a row.

Mandoline or sharp knife

Cutting Board

Baking sheets

Again, you’ll probably want to make all of the treats in one go, so make sure you have multiple baking sheets available, rather than just trying to do one batch at a time using the same single baking sheet.

Nonstick spray

Or other fat of your choosing, used to grease the baking sheets

Oven

Or a food dehydrator, if you happen to have one of those. These directions are for a conventional oven.

Step 1: Preheat the Oven

Preheat your oven to the lowest possible setting.

Step 2: Cut the Potatoes

No need to peel the potatoes before slicing. Slice off one tip of each sweet potato so that the potatoes balance more easily while slicing. Cut thick lengthwise slices of the sweet potatoes using the knife or mandoline. You want the slices to be about 1/3” thick, as they will lose almost all of their moisture in the oven and reduce in size. The thicker you cut the potatoes, the “meatier” the finished treats will be.

Step 3: Prepare Slices for Baking

Grease the baking sheets with nonstick spray or other fat of your choosing. Place the slices flat on the sheet. The slices can touch, but shouldn’t overlap. Use as many baking sheets as necessary to accommodate the potato slices.

sweet potatoes before baking

Sweet potatoes before baking via 17 Apart

Step 4: Bake!

Put the baking sheets on the top racks of the oven and leave them there until the slices have reached desired doneness. You’ll leave them in for less time if you want softer, chewier treats and for a longer amount of time for drier, tougher treats. You can expect the dehydrating process to take about 8 hours.

For best results, turn the oven off when the treats are almost fully dry to the touch and leave the treats in the oven for a few more hours (or overnight).

Step 5: Enjoy!

Voila! You now have homemade, all-natural treats that will provide a challenge to your dog. Be sure to supervise your dog when eating tough treats, as fragments can break off and pose a choking hazard.

sweet potatoes after baking

Finished treats via 17 Apart

Would you make these treats for your dog? Do you have any treat recipes of your own? Share in the comments below!