Nov 5, 2007 at 8:49 am #1225702
@dufus934Locale: North Texas
I have been thinking a while about dehydrating my own food, and how to go about doing it. I have zero experience dehydrating food, and don't want to do it wrong for fear of getting spoiled food or something worse that I haven't thought about. Is there a site that can teach me these things, and also I would be interested in hearing any lessons people learned the hard way (so i can learn from other people's mistakes with out having to learn from my own inexperience). Thanks all!Nov 5, 2007 at 10:39 am #1407842
http://www.wildernesscooking.com could be of helpNov 5, 2007 at 10:42 am #1407843
the hard way…
oh I have a few of these…. lol.
if you dry tuna make sure you have the windows open – it's stinky
the fumes from habanero peppers can be really hard on the eyes and lungs (best to buy those dried from a spice shop or grocery store) – that said you can dry them if you are doing a dish where they appear as a minor ingredient
if the food sticks to the trays pop them in the freezer for 5 minutes… the food will pop right off
don't over-dry seafood – rubbery shrimp isn't very appealingNov 5, 2007 at 3:01 pm #1407879
You really, really get into it…many items are cheaper overall to buy predone.
If you haven't, go take a look at http://www.harmonyhousefoods.com at their dehydrated legumes, fruit and vegetables. The items they carry are fantastic. Considering you don't often need more than 1-2 Tbsp of each dried item per person, the 1 cup zip bags they sell last.
I dry items like pasta (for instant pasta) and some hard to find items, but nowdays I just buy the rest from said company.
I have a page on drying tips:
It covers the basics, and no, you don't need a dehydrator either. You can do it in a oven just as easily.Nov 15, 2010 at 11:16 pm #1664656
Freezing foods can decrease their nutritional value and unless it is treated with various chemicals, cannot be stored for a long time. In such a case, food dehydration has turned out to be a handy option when it comes to food preservation. Dehydrated food is a good option for camping and backpacking as dried food does not need refrigeration, is light in weight, does not need too much of space and is high in nutrition value.Nov 17, 2010 at 1:35 am #1665173
@pittsburghLocale: Bay Area
One book I have that I like is "Trail Food." Has some simple recipes, tips & techniques, even a plan to build your own dehydrator for cheap. Even has some more intense recipes that take more effort. Very lightweight as well, it'd never be confused with "War and Peace."Dec 23, 2010 at 5:51 pm #1677202
Paul VertreesBPL Member
@sawtoothLocale: Southern Colorado Rockies
One thing I do that makes it cost-effective is dehydrating things I already have in the frig and leftovers. I also dehydrate some staples such as my mexican rice, Patrick's Wild Casserole, venison medallions, etc. Those items almost always go in my pack, so I run them through my dehydrator on a regular basis. I also dehydrate pico de gallo, which is REALLY good on the trail.Dec 30, 2010 at 7:53 pm #1679152
Mark HudsonBPL Member
@vesteroidLocale: Eastern Sierras
I tried the lime salsa tuna recipe and tried dehydrating the tuna seperately.
I used tuna packed in water and spread it out and dried to to a gravel like consistency. I could never get it to rehydrate well.
i tried using cold water for all day, then tried a batch of boiling water in a freezer bag and cozy, then even tried simmering it in the pot… the last method worked best, but I still didnt get all the chewy chunks gone, and I dont think that will be fuel efficient on the trail.
I see you mention drying it above, any thoughts on what I did wrong.
also tried your tomato pork recipe and thats killer (I smoked my pork then mixed with that sauce I simmered for 6 hours :)Dec 31, 2010 at 5:45 am #1679202
Most likely it was over dried. Seafood dries very quickly and you have to watch it like a hawk. Seafood and chicken are two of the most difficult things to dry/rehydrate – shrimp being one of the hardest. Also, I rehydrate in a container – I find many things don't rehydrate as well in a ziplock/cozy. If you pour boiling water in a leakproof screw top container (I use a wide-mouth water bottle so it serves double duty and keeps things light) you'll create a bit of steam/pressure which will help the food take on the water much better. While simmering in a pot works – I don't like to do that because on a 10 day trip that can equate to a lot of extra fuel weight. I'd rather carry a container that is practical for other purposes too than carry the extra fuel.Dec 31, 2010 at 8:01 am #1679213
With tuna in foil pouches I wouldn't suggest drying it. It is just so easy to use it "fresh" :-) While it weighs more the convenience and taste/texture factors is worth it.Jan 1, 2011 at 8:58 am #1679446
Mark HudsonBPL Member
@vesteroidLocale: Eastern Sierras
So how do you know when its "done" I bet I did over dry it as that was my first attempt at drying anything.
Sarah, I had seriously considered that as well, but space is more of an issue with us than weight, as I have a family of three and somehow i get elected to carry all the food and for our big trip this year, I need it all to fit in a bear canister for possibly 6 days at a time.Jan 1, 2011 at 3:41 pm #1679549
Mark, have you considered buying freeze-dried meats instead? While not cheap they do work very well – and in cold lunches are great.
http://beprepared.com/category.asp_Q_c_E_989_A_Food+Storage+-+Meats_E_Jan 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm #1679563
I used to purchase freeze-dried meats in a #10 size can. Of course, once opened it won't stay good for a long time. So, I would open it right before the first trip of the summer season, parcel out a few ounces per meal into a Ziploc, and continue until the entire can was emptied that summer.
I could never quite get it right trying to dehydrate meat in my food dehydrator.
–B.G.–Jan 1, 2011 at 4:25 pm #1679566
Gary DunckelBPL Member
Nah, Bob, what you do is vacuum seal 1-cup portions when you first open the #10 can, then store them in a cool basement. I've had them stay good for 2+ years. I think it helps that I do that on a very cold and dry Colorado winter day, with zero humidity.Jan 1, 2011 at 4:52 pm #1679574
"then store them in a cool basement"
I have no basement at all. Nor do I have a vacuum sealer.
Thirty years ago I led a lot of group backpack trips, and I could use up an entire #10 can of something in a single trip. Strangely enough, I still have a few of those full cans.
The smaller #2-1/2 size cans of f.d. meat were much easier to deal with.
–B.G.–Jan 1, 2011 at 6:17 pm #1679589
Hiking MaltoBPL Member
You can also portion out the meat then throw oxygen scavengers in the bags to eliminate the oxygen.Jan 1, 2011 at 6:45 pm #1679598
I've never seen oxygen scavengers sold in small quantities.
–B.G.–Jan 1, 2011 at 10:37 pm #1679687
Packitgourmet carries them insmall amounts.Jan 1, 2011 at 10:51 pm #1679692
I'll take your word for it, but I could not find it on the web site. They had desiccant, but no oxygen scavenger packets.
I have used oxygen scavenger packets that I have fished out of commercial f.d. food. I don't think that they are good for anything.
–B.G.–Jan 2, 2011 at 8:04 am #1679763
The desiccant packets work great.Jan 2, 2011 at 8:14 am #1679765Jan 2, 2011 at 11:23 am #1679827
They must absorb a lot of oxygen for that price.
–B.G.–Jan 6, 2011 at 5:48 am #1680944
If I am not mistaken, WaltonFeeds.com also sells the desiccant packs.Jan 22, 2011 at 8:47 pm #1687239
@gabe_joyesLocale: Lander, WY
freezing food does not reduce a foods nutritional valueJan 22, 2011 at 9:10 pm #1687241
Yeah…I missed that comment back then. Good catch. Modern foods frozen are good choices – they are picked at their ripest and flash frozen. Much healthier than eating canned goods in most cases and often better than buying fresh (due to being picked at optimal times).
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