Thursday, January 28, 2010

Golden Gourmet - Yam Chew Recipe

Charlie loves Sam's Yams, and I love giving them to him every once in awhile. They're big leathery slabs of dehydrated yam that kind of take the place of rawhide... well, in my mind at least. Charlie says they don't last as long, but I think they're safer. Especially for a dog that polishes off a short rawhide retriever roll in half an hour.

The only thing I don't like about Sam's Yams is the price. $12-14USD for a bag of the big ones that nominally contains a pound, but doesn't seem to have all that many yam chews in it. So I've determined to make my own.

I'm no expert; I've only done this 4 or 5 times, but here is my current Charlie-approved recipe. It uses a food dehydrator, but if you're willing to set your oven on low and leave it on a long time, that should work fine too. My first couple of batches were done with an oven.

Step 1. Get a bunch of yams, a cutting board, and a sharp knife. I go for the really big yams because Charlie is a big dog and I want them to be like chews. If your dog is smaller, you might want to use smaller yams.

Step 2. Wash the yams and make sure the dog approves their quality. Note: make the dog give the yams back.

Note 2: make sure the dog stays back while you cut the yams.

Step 3. cut a smallish slice off one side of the yam. This creates a flat solid base, so the yam won't roll around as you slice it.

Step 4. Place the yam on the flat side you created and start slicing. I make slices between 1/2" - 3/4" (i.e. about 1.5 cm) thick. Note that the bigger and thicker the slices, the longer it will take to dehydrate them.
Be really careful during this step - yams are pretty hard & it takes some force to slice them. It helps if your knife is thin and sharp.

Step 5. Blanch the yams as follows. Arrange the slices on a microwave-safe plate.

Microwave on full power long enough so that the yams smell good and are a little soft. I think it would be ok to do less, but I zap them about 4 minutes on one side, then flip and do the same on the other side.

Remember: quality approval at every step!
Note: in future I plan to try using a fork at this stage to perforate the slices, as I think it would speed up the dehydration step.

Step 6. Place the yams on a dehydrator tray. (Alternatively you could put them on a cooling rack to put in the oven.)

Arrange the slices so there's good airspace between them.

Step 7. Set the dehydrator (or oven) to 140' F (I think that's 60' C) and dehydrate for 10-20 hrs. After 10 hrs, start checking the yams and remove slices as they become dry. (The dehydrator manual says you know they're dry enough when you rip a slice & don't see beads of moisture form). Some of these slices were ready after 10 hrs, some took a lot longer.

When they're done, they'll look leathery like this but still be pliable. The smaller end slices usually curl up.

Final Step: Test the product

Charlie's not what you'd call a picky eater, but he says they're GRRRRRRRRRRRRREAT!!


Kari in Alaska said...

we have wanted to try sams yams but dont like the price because our pups are huge chewers. We may have to try this!

♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

Now this post makes Mom wish she had a dehydrator - those look like great treats and one could make a lot for $12. Something to think about getting. Thanks.

Woos, Phantom and Thunder

Jan said...

Clever idea and good directions. I must try this.

Lorenza said...

Sure you had a great idea making them at home!
I will tell my mom about them!
Kisses and hugs

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! said...

They look furry yummy!

I might have to get my staff chef to prepare them fur me!

Well done snoopervising Charlie!


meemsnyc said...

Dear Charlie and mom,

That is such a good idea! We are going to have to try this recipe for our cousin Nikki, the golden retriever. We wonder if she will like yams.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I've made our crew "apple treats" before doing this, but never thought of using a yam--Great idea!!!

Sara Alves said...

what a great tip!
i´ll drooling already!
licks pu

How Sam Sees It said...

We are going to have to try this. Sam is so sensitive in his stomach - the retriever rolls can make him sick, even if we monitor how long he chews.

Thank you!


Golden Woofs! SUGAR said...

Woof! Woof! WOWY!!! What a machine you have there ... I had to wait for hours for mine. Check out my blog (recipes). What a delish treat!!! Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

Salinger The Pug said...


Mom is kicking herself for giving her food dehydrator to Goodwill a few years ago!!!!! We might have to try the oven method!

Thanks for the tip! These look fabulous!!!!


Moco said...

We did that once with sweet potatoes. The crazy old bat can't tell much difference. They were very good, dry or semi moist.

Dog Training Fort Collins said...

Looks so yummy! I will definitely try this one. Thank you for sharing this one.

Huskee and Hershey said...

Now our mom wishes that she's invested on a dehydrator!! (we say it's still not too late for her to go out and get one).

Thanks for sharing this with us.. our mom is pretty determined to try it out with our oven..

Cheryl, Indiana, Shingo and Molly said...

Those sure do look nummy! We'll have to beg Moms and Dad for one of those dryee things now!

Woofs and Kisses!

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