Nov 5, 2007 at 8:52 am #1225703
@dufus934Locale: North Texas
Just wondering if there are any NO-NO's to dehydrating. Are there any foods that don't dehydrate well? I'm also a huge meat eater (please don't hate me vegitarians!) and want to be able to take that on the trail without having to drop 6-8 bucks on mountain house or the like. Are there any meats that don't dehydrate and translate to the trail very well? Thanks so much; look forward to hearing ideas!Nov 5, 2007 at 10:39 am #1407841
ah a fellow meatarian (I used to be a vegetarian – long story)
meat should be dried at 155ºF or above
sour cream and and cottage cheese don't dry well unless they are a secondary ingredient in a complete meal (say beef stroganoff)
keep your meat pieces small
if you dry sausage or ground beef you should fry it then rinse it and continue the frying followed by rinsing until you have eliminated much of the fat
eggs do not dehydrate well
I like to dehydrate leftover stews, chilis and sauces – works really well
if you have other questions please let me know – I've written a book (being published by Wilderness Press) on this subject so I am well aquainted with dehydration. you'll probably get some neat answers and ideas from other members of BPL too.Nov 5, 2007 at 10:59 am #1407845
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
My reading has informed me NOT to dehydrate eggs, milk or pork. Why I do not know but I have had no problem making numerous delicious meals without those ingredients so I've researched it no further.Nov 5, 2007 at 11:04 am #1407846
I've done many pork dishes without issue – I do fully cook the pork first. I've also dried dishes where milk was a minor ingredient.
Eggs – well that just didn't work out (aside from the risk of bacteria). Like you Sam, I don't often use eggs in cooking dinners so it isn't a big deal and you can buy really good powdered and scrambled egg mix from WaltonFeed.com if one must have eggs.Nov 5, 2007 at 1:38 pm #1407866
@aalarfajLocale: Northern MN
I have been looking around for dehydrator for a while now but am a little scared to pull the trigger and buy one without any input. I have seen many that are cheap and look as thou they will not last, and would rather buy something that will last but doesn't break the bank. Any recommendations?Nov 5, 2007 at 3:29 pm #1407891
I highly recommend the Nesco American Harvest FD 75PR – you can read my review on it here…
edited to add… I've been running this unit for almost 2 years now. I just finished a 312 page cookbook using that unit as my primary dehydration source. Each recipe was tested 3 times (keep in mind not all my recipes use a dehydrator though).Nov 5, 2007 at 3:52 pm #1407897
@rosierabbitLocale: Pacific Northwest
Laurie – does your new book focus on how to dehydrate food, or does it contain recipes using dehydrated food that you happen to have dehydrated yourself? Right now my favorite dehydrator is Harmonyhouse.com. They do such a good job that I'd rather just buy their stuff than incinerate perfectly good food myself.Nov 5, 2007 at 4:58 pm #1407907
It contains a combination but for the most part recipes that are cooked at home and then dried. That way, while out on the trail, you basically just rehydrate, heat and eat. It makes it so simple at camp.
I'm Canadian and for the most part it isn't cost-effective for me to buy Harmony House and such because of the shipping costs although I have heard great things about their products.
edited to add: I forgot to mention that there is a lot of information on drying techniques and other food related considerations. Some of the recipes (there are over 200) are centered around foods you dehydrate yourself.Nov 5, 2007 at 6:23 pm #1407914
It took me a while to find a good bargain, but I ordered a Nesco American Harvest FD-75PR 700-Watt Food Dehydrator in April 2007 from amazon.com cost for about $55 with free shipping. Later added 7 more trays.
I'm still learning and eventually want to make all my trail meals for nutritional value and just plain coolness. I've mastered pasta and black beans. Sarah's book and website has been helpful (FreezerBagCooking.com)
Laurie – I want to buy your book. How do I get it?Nov 5, 2007 at 6:45 pm #1407917
@dtougasLocale: Gaspé Peninsula
If you are looking for a serious, bomb-proof dehydrator then nothing beats Excalibur (http://www.excaliburdehydrator.com/). These things are fully serviceable as well which means that if a component dies on you, you can order just the part that failed and fix it yourself. Another great feature they have is the fact that the heater/fan blows from the side instead of the bottom which allows for more even drying. We just bought the 5-tray model after borrowing our friends 9-tray version for the summer and we love it.Nov 6, 2007 at 12:47 am #1407949
@butukiLocale: Kanto Plain, Japan
I love Sarah's book, but for dehydrating for the outdoors I find that "Trail Food: Drying and Cooking Food for Backpacking and Paddling" by Alan S. Kesselheim to be the best. Does a good job at telling you how to get started with dehydrating and giving various recipes.Nov 6, 2007 at 6:03 am #1407960
Hopefully I don't get in trouble for posting this here… the book isn't being released until January 15th but is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for pre-order (I think Amazon has the better price). The title is A Fork in the Trail and the publisher is Wilderness Press. It should come up in a search on Amazon.com.
Thanks for asking about it.Nov 6, 2007 at 6:08 am #1407962
I've heard good things about Excalibur and borrowed a friends to try. It was a cost thing for me… that said the 9 tray version looks like a great model.
You bring up a good point about the fan setup. I usually recommmend a top or side fan. The Nesco FD 75PR blows from the top and works very well. I'm not a big fan (bad pun) of the bottom fan models although my old FD 50 is still going strong.Nov 26, 2007 at 7:38 pm #1410280
Someone asked for comments on what dehydrator to buy. I have had 10 years of good service from a RONCO dehydrator that I bought for $5-$10 new back then. It is just now beginning to wear out. It might also be a choice, although I have no idea what they cost nowadays.Dec 21, 2007 at 8:49 am #1413379
George – just wanted to let you know that A Fork in the Trail is now available for purchase (no longer pre-order) at Amazon.com.Dec 21, 2007 at 11:03 am #1413392
In stock and I just ordered…
Fork in the Trail: Mouthwatering Meals and Delectable Delights for the Backcountry
What a title! I got hungry while I was ordering.Dec 26, 2007 at 8:31 pm #1413794
awww thanks George – I hope you like itDec 27, 2007 at 4:56 pm #1413894
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
I will second Damien's recommendation. They are bombproof,
efficient, and durable. I've been using the 5 tray model for 9 years now to dry tomatoes, plums, peppers, apples, and pears from my garden, and it is still humming along. Pretty cost effective, I'd say.Dec 28, 2007 at 7:50 am #1413936
thanks Tom… but really hard to justify to my darling hubby when the Nesco models I have work perfectly fine… he'd have a fit… lol.Dec 28, 2007 at 12:43 pm #1413959
Just received 'A Fork in the Trail' today.
I really like the easy to follow format and the comprehensive how-to tips. Perfect for my needs and I'm sure many here at BPL.
There are many great looking recipes and pictures. Will try something after I make up my mind.
It's going to be a best seller for sure!Dec 29, 2007 at 4:37 am #1414011
thanks George – Wilderness Press was incredible to work with – it was difficult for me as I am a graphic designer by day and knowing that I had to step back to let someone else have full control over the layout was a tough one for me. I practically cried when I saw how lovely it turned out though!
I hope you like it. My husband said to tell you that even though he is a meatatarian the Quinoa and Spinach Soup is one of his favorite soups of all time.Jan 12, 2008 at 3:03 pm #1415858
Any tips for dehydrating vegetarian/bean chili? I have about 6 cups of leftovers in the fridge. I assume it is similar to dehydrating tomato-based pasta sauces but I don't expect it to be quite as leathery when I'm done.
ThanksJan 12, 2008 at 6:01 pm #1415874
it will be kind of chunky because of the beans – but beans rehydrate beautifully – just dump it on lined dehydrator trays and dry for about 7 – 10 hours (give or take).
ps – where in Ontario are you? I'm in Brantford.Jan 13, 2008 at 12:48 pm #1415931
Thanks Laurie. I've just set the Chili at 135F and will check it in 7 hrs :)
In a rather strange coincidence, I just checked your site and realized that I actually ordered your book through Amazon before Christmas not realizing (1) it wouldn't be available until the beginning of February and (2) that you were 'just down the river' in Brantford. My wife and I are in Waterloo but have family in Stoney Creek, Barrie & Rosseau.
RandallJan 14, 2008 at 8:21 am #1416038
I am originally from Guelph and just moved here very recently. We'll have to get together some day for a hike or something.
PS Hope you like the book.
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