View Full Version : dehydration basics

11-23-2004, 17:06
am planning on buying a dehydrator to start prepping meals - after the food is dehydrated - how do you package/store it?

11-23-2004, 17:13
I bought one of those foodsaver vacuum sealer things from Walmart. Not only does it store it well, gets the air out for better stuffing in my backpack but the bags are also safe to put boiling water in.

Rain Man
11-23-2004, 18:02
However you prepare it, storage in the freezer should help keep it longer till you are ready to take it hiking or mail it. Freezing also kills some bad bugs.
Rain Man


SGT Rock
11-23-2004, 18:29
Rosaleen has a neat trick she used to make vacuum packs of stuff to send me in Iraq. Since foil wrap is less air permeable, and all those snack chips and such that are individual sized are pretty much those, she re-used those snack bags and had a technique to seal them using a straw and an iron.

11-23-2004, 18:33
okay, so you can' t just put dehydrated food into a ziploc baggie - it must somehow be airtight? needing really basic info here - completely new to the process - as denzel washington would say - explain it to me like i was two
thanks everyone

SGT Rock
11-23-2004, 18:38
Well you could put it into a zip lock and freeze it, but after you take it out of the freezer I wouldn't expect most stuff to last more than a week or so. When I make big batches of Jerky I just put it in the freezer wrapped airtight and only get it out right before I hike.

Rosaleen would take the empty bags and clean them up good. Then after she added the food to the bag, she would cut it off just a little longer than she needed and iron the bag shut up to a small straw. I think she then sucked the air out manually and Ironed the package the rest of the way shut while maintaining suction. Every package she sent to me in Iraq like that was just fine.

11-23-2004, 23:15
Dehydrated food will last many months in the freezer in a ziplock, much longer in a vacuum sealed bag in the freezer. I typically get 4-5 meals out of each batch I make. I will ziplock one or two and vacuum seal the rest. If you use ziplocks, make sure they are freezer bags, else they will freezer burn. I plan on 4 oz dehydrated food for each dinner, doesn't really matter what the recipe is. That will feed my 185 lbs.

If you do get a vacuum sealer, a tip someone mentioned is to put a paper towel in the bag and surround the food with the paper towel. This will prevent pointy foods from poking the bag. I have had seals break from sharp food.

11-24-2004, 10:53
A buddy of mine says he can buy dehydraded foods almost as cheap as doing it himself. I think he has been getting some of the stuff from a giant wholesale club. I have only purchased dehydraded fruits and some trail-mix type stuff. Has anyone compared the cost?

11-24-2004, 11:52
Here's a rough guide for cost, but without any hard numbers. If I cook dinner at home, I typically get four to five servings from a meal that I cook for me and my wife. I can take the same meal, chop it up much smaller in prep, dehydrate it, and still have about 4-5 servings. Most meals at home range from about $5-8/dinner for the two of us.

Haven't priced the big bulk canisters of dehydrated. I know they do bring the price down. The problem is the variety. If you are the kind of person not bothered by the same old Liptons and dehydrated meals, this could be an easier option than making your own. But I know I can make many of my favorite meals into dehydrated ones at my everyday grocery store cost, and I enjoy cooking anyway.

SGT Rock
11-24-2004, 12:08
I can make jerky a lot cheaper. I haven't compared the price for fruit, but I have seen large price gaps in fruit based on tha brand name.

11-24-2004, 20:42
The food I dehydrate for the trail are portions of meals I prepare at home (chile, spagetti, mac&etc, rice&etc, soups...). When compared to store bought freeze dried backpack meals two things stand out; first, my dehydrated meals taste much, much better and, second, my dehydrated meals are much, much cheaper. I would expect everyone to have the same results. It's pretty easy, basic stuff -- I spread the food on a cookie sheet and pop it in the oven.


06-18-2006, 19:54
Check out www.nesco.com :sun

06-19-2006, 00:06
A buddy of mine says he can buy dehydraded foods almost as cheap as doing it himself. I think he has been getting some of the stuff from a giant wholesale club. I have only purchased dehydraded fruits and some trail-mix type stuff. Has anyone compared the cost?

I agree with Fiddleback (above) in that the food i dehydrate tastes much better. You should try those store bought ones. I like to grow my own veggies (so they have some taste) or pick or buy fruit when it is really ripe and full of fructose and has lots of taste. It makes a big difference later as dehydrating food tends to take some of the taste away and if your food had no taste to begin with, you can be certain its' not going to be any better after dehydrating.
Also, i like to do black beans and lots of spice (hot peppers) which make excellent burritos on the trail and they junk you can buy has no spice and is very bland.
DOing it yourself gives you what you want.

Time To Fly 97
06-20-2006, 14:24
I have deydrated food that has lasted over 2 years and been fine. This includes Indian dishes with chicken and steak. You just need to make sure they are completely dehydrated before you store them. I store mine in freezer ziplocks in Tupperware container.

Time To Fly 97
06-20-2006, 14:33
This is what I do:

Make the dish like normal. I especially like spicy meals for hiking like Indian or Spanish. Let it cool. Take a quick guestimate on how many meals it will cover. Put it into the dehydrator for 8-10 hours making sure you spread everything out well on the trays (no clumping so everything dries properly). When completed it should not be gooey in any places - everything should almost crumble like crackers. Divide the crumbs and shtuff into the number of meals you planned on (each in its own ziplock bag). Squeeze the air out of the ziplocks and store in a big tupperware dish - alo with the air pressed out.

When you hike, bring an extra to trade. : )

Frolicking Dinosaurs
06-20-2006, 14:49
I buy some of my dehydrated foods (mix veggies, hummus, refried beans) at a food coop where I can get them nearly as cheaply as I can make them. The rest I do myself and store in ziplocks with all air removed and in the freezer. My homemade meals taste much better than any freeze-dried meal I've tasted. Taste, variety and knowing what we're eating is why I dehydrate my own.

06-24-2006, 06:45
Another good dehydrator website can be found at www.dehydrators.co.uk (http://www.dehydrators.co.uk)

it is the site for the "Dehydrators Online" magazine for dehydrator users."

Lots of good stuff to be found here. :sun