Sep 30, 2009 at 10:29 am #1239773
I actually initially was considering pressure canning to preserve garden and farmer's market stuf throughout the winter. However, it occured to me I might get by using a food dehydrator. The extra benefit of this being I can use it for my camping/hiking food as well.
So, I know little about this. Suggestions on a good book/site to get started? Opinions on dehyration for preserving fall harvest for winter use?
Also, opinions on this dehydrator?
Thanks!Sep 30, 2009 at 11:30 am #1531798
Easy to do, simple and fun ;-) If you need a good reference, go get some Mary Bell books out of the library.
The Snackmaster is a great starter one as well. Hard working and not pricey.
Having a large store of dried items is quite handy for both hiking and at home :-)Sep 30, 2009 at 11:42 am #1531803
Thank you, I just ordered the dehydrator and reserved "Food Drying with an Attitude" and "Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook" for pickup at my local library!Sep 30, 2009 at 11:52 am #1531807
Chris… you might also want to read this article that I wrote. It has a lot of useful information and some recipes to get you started.Sep 30, 2009 at 12:34 pm #1531833
… I'll probably end up drying seperate ingredients for basic preservation and meals/snacks for trips. After reading those recipes, I am now offically hungry. :)Sep 30, 2009 at 8:46 pm #1531996
With regards to preserving the nutricious value of food, which is the preferred method? I suspect it would be dehydration, but I'm looking for confirmation here.
Also, does dehyration result in a significant reduction of nutricious value, or it just a slight reduction in comparison with "wet" food? Finally, how long are dehydrated foods good for in terms of storage/safe consumption?
I'm more interested in this subject in a general sense as opposed to its application in ultralight backpacking…Oct 1, 2009 at 5:57 am #1532059
With regards to preserving the nutricious value of food, which is the preferred method?
This article on the differences between freeze-dried and dehydrated food may help.
In regards to backpacking, it might help you decide which type is the best fit for you.Oct 1, 2009 at 7:33 am #1532087
but, this site has a USDA comparison chart that is interesting.Oct 1, 2009 at 8:27 am #1532103
Just wanted to point out something about your chart that could be misleading to some. Dehydrated spinach does not take that long to rehydrate… less than 10 minutes with cold water and almost instant with hot. There are lots of dehyrated foods that are close to instant with cold water. Hummus for example will rehydrate in cold water in less than 10 minutes… where your chart indicates a cold water rehydration range of 1 to 2 hours in cold water. Salsa will rehydrate in under 30 minutes in cold water too.Oct 1, 2009 at 8:33 am #1532110
In response to your question "Finally, how long are dehydrated foods good for in terms of storage/safe consumption".
If you put the dried foods in the freezer you are looking at an optimal shelf life of 6 months to 1 year depending on the product. For meat products I tend to err on the 6 month side of things and for vegetarian dishes I've actually gone past the 1 year mark.
Now if we are talking about taste somethings are only optimal for a short period of time. Take sweet potatoes which have a shelf-life, when dehydrated, of about 3 months before there is significant flavor loss.Oct 1, 2009 at 8:50 am #1532121
I just discovered I ordered the Nesco FD 75 PR 700 watt model instead. Hopefully, it is decent.Oct 1, 2009 at 10:37 am #1532144
The time needed for rehdyrating depends on a couple things:
Size of food – the smaller you go, the less the time. Diced items will come back the fastest.
Altitude – this plays big when using heat to bring items back. For every couple thousand feet gain you will notice a lag in time needed. When above 10 or 11K, do plan in extra sit time.
Powdered items come back to life nearly instantly, though altitude and water at just above freezing can make an item take longer.
As for storage of dried items, when one is storing the components such as dried cooked beans, pasta, rice and vegetables you don't need to use a freezer. Tightly sealed they can be stored for a year with no issues in your cupboards. Just keep in a cool place out of direct sunlight for best results.
When dealing with dried items containing animal products, dairy, meat or fat the freezer is your best choice for storing in after drying. These items run a higher risk of spoiling on the shelf – especially with fat, it goes rancid.Oct 1, 2009 at 11:20 am #1532156
Let's say I'd like to eat a spinach and feta cheese omlette as breakfast a week into a long hike. Is it possible to do this with home dehydrated ingredients?Oct 1, 2009 at 11:59 am #1532167
Chris… I've done many trips and written 2 full cookbooks with the FD 75PR. It has been and still is a great unit! Actually there is a reader review on it somewhere around here.Oct 1, 2009 at 12:05 pm #1532171
"Let's say I'd like to eat a spinach and feta cheese omlette as breakfast a week into a long hike. Is it possible to do this with home dehydrated ingredients?
The answer is – Yes! Most definitely… first off you buy powdered scrambled egg mix from somewhere like WaltonFeed.com. Dry your spinach and feta. With boiling water the feta will come back in 5 minutes and the spinach right away. Cool water will require about 20 mins with the feta or more depending on the size of the pieces.
I do a breakfast fritatta-like thing that works beautifully. When I get back from my trip I'll try and remember to post it.Oct 1, 2009 at 12:39 pm #1532186
The greek in me is glad to hear I can have my spinach and feta long into a trip. :-)
The Nesco arrives tomorrow. Just in time for a Saturday morning farmer's market trip and some weekend expirimentation.
Thanks all for the advice. Gotta love reducing pack weight and eating better to boot!Oct 1, 2009 at 1:41 pm #1532209
The Ova brand eggs that Packit Gourmet carry are well worth every penny for making egg dishes. They cook easily and taste as close to fresh as I have found over the years.Oct 3, 2009 at 8:28 am #1532643
Ditto everything Sarah said.
Her and I both have pages on our site that deal with dehydrating food. I'm continueing to add to mine as I photograph and take notes. Sarah's is a great overview on how to dry.
Have fun and experiment with it. Just avoid things high in oil/fat (like bacon etc) or sugar (Orange juice concentrate does not work). Things containing a lot of HFCS will also not dry well.Oct 4, 2009 at 7:36 pm #1532976
@cambamLocale: Research Triangle
Hey guys, I became a dehydrating convert after reading Laurie March's "A Fork in the Trail". I started with the Hungarian Goulash on pg.125, and was totally wowed. Great recipe and also very easy to dehyrdate. It's a good confidence builder because it's an extremely filling and flavorful dish, and it gives good results after rehydrating which are consistent. The black bean dip on pg.86 is darn easy and ridiculously tasty as well.
And one meal which I've converted a few Mountain House eating buddies with is the South Sister Stroganoff by Beth Murdock found in Tim and Christine Connor's "Lipsmackin' Vegetarian Backpackin'" on pg.113. It's a great vegetarian dish that beats the traditional MH and Lipton's stroganoff meal by a mile.Oct 5, 2009 at 1:39 pm #1533198
Thanks Cam… glad you liked the Hungarian Goulash.
I was lucky in that Bryan (hubby) had done some work in Hungary and one of the men he was training gave him sweet and hot Hungarian paprika that the man's Grandma had dried and ground herself. It was amazing to use that after knowing the amount of hard work went into making the spice. I'm kind of sentimental that way. Most of my recipes have some sort of sappy story to go with them… lol.
Cam you can also turn the Goulash into a soup by adding a bit more liquid/stock and some veggies.
That bean dip is one of my favorites too. One recipe you might want to try is the Quinoa and Spinach Soup – it's a complete protein and my meatarian husband just adores that recipe.
Thanks again for the kind words.
Edited to add a PS…
PS Cam, could you please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – I have something I'd like to ask you and I wasn't able to pm you using the system here. ThanksOct 5, 2009 at 2:13 pm #1533211
Teresa found some great links and sent them to me:
Both are excellent free resources to read up.Oct 10, 2009 at 9:06 am #1535030
I got my dehydrator and have now dried pineapple, blueberries, strawberries, bananas and cantaloupe. Easy and tasty as snacks. I'm storing them in zip-locks and then in air tight containers in my basement.
Today, I'm moving to doing green/red peppers and tomatoes (doing slices and leather/roll-ups.
Once I get a good stash of basic ingredients stored and farmer's market season ends, I'll try yogurt leather and more complete recipes. With any luck, I'll have a few tested recipes ready for a December Grand Canyon trip.
Thanks again for the advice and the links!Oct 10, 2009 at 7:52 pm #1535185
Apples (if you like them…) are also very easy, and cheap, to do. I coat them with caster sugar and cinnamon.
Occasionally at the market here I get a few kilos of grapes ( as individual "grape" not still attached) for very little. They take a long time to dry but I use them for curry, protein bars and as gorp.
I find fruit leather easier to do in the oven (gas, very low and many hours)
FrancoOct 11, 2009 at 7:26 am #1535262
I picked up a peck of braeburn's real cheap from a local farmer this morning. I was not sure how to dry them (was planning just doing raw slices). Your sugar and cinnamon idea sounds like a better idea. Thanks!
It's going to take a while to dry all the stuff I bought yesterday. So far, I've done red and green peppers. It's amazing how much weight and space this will save.Oct 11, 2009 at 12:17 pm #1535344
To keep them from browning excessively, treat the apples with a mixture of lemon or lime juice and water or Fruit Fresh (which is basically a citric acid powder that you mix with water). Then sprinkle with cinnamon and whatever else you desire.
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