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Camping, Hiking and Outdoor Activities Camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities within.

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  #1  
Old 05-17-2013, 12:55 PM
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Default Dehydrating experimentation I used for backpacking

So on a recent backpacking trip I decided to ditch my usual expensive pre-made freeze dried meals in favor of stuff I put together on the dehydrator. For an 8 day trip I ran my dehydrator around the clock for a couple weeks to prepare.

I started with some simple stuff like green beans, canned corn, etc, but then I wanted to come up with something more original.....

So I covered the trays with wax paper and started experimenting. I dehydrated a can of chili. Then I went on and dehydrated multiple jars of pasta sauce. The pasta sauce ends up as flakes you pull off of the wax paper, fits nicely in a zip lock freezer bag. I dehydrated condensed soups like minestrone and tomato. I even dehydrated cans of olives and canned chicken breast. And lastly I took a jar of salsa and dehydrated that, which turned out a lot like the pasta sauce.

To my surprise it was all a great success. Pasta sauce rehydrates well when you bring water to a boil and keep chopping/mixing it up. Within around 20 minutes I had pretty much stove top store bought quality sauce. I threw in some of the olives too, and cooked up some noodles separately, and you could hardly even tell I had dehydrated it. The salsa turned out great as well, I cooked it up just like the pasta sauce, and when done I took the small pot and set it in the snow to cool. When done I broke out the tortilla chips I had been hiding from everyone and we all kicked back with chips/salsa which we usually don't get 3 days away from civilization. Soups were good again too, everything pretty much ended up better than I expected. I had even taken pre-cut ham steaks, cut them up, and dehydrated them. They turned out great eating them cooked or even straight out of the bag like ham jerky.

Just wanted to let people know feel free to experiment when getting food together for a backpacking trip.
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Old 05-17-2013, 2:10 PM
j411701 j411701 is offline
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Sounds good, I got a batch of jerky going on now.
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Old 05-17-2013, 2:16 PM
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nice work. a guy I knew on Maui use to dehydrate bananas to the consistency of moist beef jerky.
it was so much sweeter than those store bought poker chips they call dehydrated bananas. in fact it ruined my taste for the store bought stuff.
if you get a chance try it and let me know how it turns out.
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Old 05-17-2013, 2:18 PM
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Oh. and he always cut them lengthwise, if that makes a difference.
I love the mountain house lasagna. who knew I could make my own.
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Old 05-17-2013, 3:05 PM
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I'm with ya stix.... Bought an Excalibur 9-tray last month and it's been running a lot. I've done banana chips, veggies, canned soup, but best of all was a spaghetti dinner my wife cooked.... We just had fajitas this week for dinner, wife says 'let's dehydrate this next time'.... It's great to have home cooked meal for trail food...!!! Shrimp fettuccine alfredo, a thick beef stew from a crock pot are on the upcoming menu also...... No more MRE's for me.... Also, i use parchment paper on the tray's, seems to work better..... Lot of info/recipes on youtube for backpackers.....

Last edited by D.carden; 05-17-2013 at 3:16 PM..
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Old 05-17-2013, 3:23 PM
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Keep bacteria in mind as you all experiment. Work in small enough amounts so that the foods dehydrate quickly. Avoid foods that you know will spoil easily if left out of the fridge. 100 bacteria cells can turn in to 100 million in just a few short hours at a nice warm temperature.

Having said that, one thing I like to add to a dehydrated stew is potatoes. They're so cheep at the grocery store. I find that if you pre cook them the end results are much better. Boil or bake whole just until they are cooked all the way through. Put them in the fridge over night or shock them in ice water until they are cold. Peel, cut in to approx 1/2"x1/2" cubes. Lightly salt and then in to the dehydrator.

For meats they work better in dishes if they are precooked. You can do beef, pork, or chicken. Just cook a pot roast as normal, cube the leftovers, dehydrate. Same with chicken and pork. They won't keep forever as the fats will eventually go rancid but if you're just planning for a trip they are fine.

Surprisingly you can dehydrate ground beef, too. Precook it though. If you learn to hand form corn tortillas from dry masa you can have a taco night. Just reconstitute the ground beef add a little of your dried salsa and cook the tortillas over the fire. Or just use it in other dishes, maybe a meat sauce with some noodles.

Green onions are great flavor additions and dry pretty quickly.

Whole beans dehydrate pretty well and save on cook/prep time. If you use canned, just drain them, rinse, and don't spread too thick on the racks. If you make them from scratch just follow your favorite recipe but strain off the juices so they dry quickly. I thought to preserve the flavor by drying beans with juice once. Soured and spoiled over night and stunck up the place pretty good.

Don't overlook minute rice. You can make your own with the dehydrator but it's hardly worth the effort. You can add it to alot of your creations to stretch them out or just add texture.

Last edited by spareparts; 05-17-2013 at 3:25 PM..
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Old 05-17-2013, 3:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D.carden View Post
I'm with ya stix.... Bought an Excalibur 9-tray last month and it's been running a lot. I've done banana chips, veggies, canned soup, but best of all was a spaghetti dinner my wife cooked.... We just had fajitas this week for dinner, wife says 'let's dehydrate this next time'.... It's great to have home cooked meal for trail food...!!! Shrimp fettuccine alfredo, a thick beef stew from a crock pot are on the upcoming menu also...... No more MRE's for me.... Also, i use parchment paper on the tray's, seems to work better..... Lot of info/recipes on youtube for backpackers.....
Oh I want to hear how the shrimp fettuccine alfredo turns out.
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Old 05-17-2013, 4:08 PM
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Good stuff!
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