View Full Version : A Common Sense Tip for Beginners in Dehydrating

09-03-2013, 00:51
The boyfriend and I have been dehydrating food for our upcoming AT thru-hike this February.
Mainly we're doing protein-rich meals with anti-inflammatory and thermogenic spices (both reducing inflammation and regulating body temperature).
Two variations have been a spicy black bean and kale soup, as well as a curry lentil soup with quinoa (with added turmeric--an anti-inflammatory and amazing spice!).

The first time, the soup was made thick and chunky, trying to err on the side of a satisfying consistency and texture. When we tested it in the field, OBVIOUSLY it took longer to rehydrate because it was thicker. So for those of you just starting with dehydrating, I wanted to share what is pretty common sense, but you may not think of it until you test it out yourself; so hopefully this will save you the trouble and let you cut to the chase:

Simply take the food you are about to dehydrate, and run it through a food processor. It need not be entirely puréed (though this, of course, would rehydrate the quickest), but even a cut run across the blades will save minutes of cooking as well as save fuel and get you out on the trail or in bed quicker.

Buon appetito!

09-03-2013, 00:57
You said you're focusing on protein rich meals. Have you put your meal plan into a spreadsheet to see how much protein you'll be eating? I've found that it's very easy to get a large amount of protein when eating thru hiker quantities of food without trying.

09-03-2013, 00:58
I'll keep your tip in mind. I need to get some trays for my dehydrator....

09-03-2013, 01:28
You said you're focusing on protein rich meals. Have you put your meal plan into a spreadsheet to see how much protein you'll be eating? I've found that it's very easy to get a large amount of protein when eating thru hiker quantities of food without trying.

I have not yet done that, but that's a great idea. I eat mostly a vegan diet (though will eat meat and dairy when I feel like it), so getting enough protein is important.
Quinoa is immensely protein-rich and rehydrates quickly. Not to mention is contains twice as much fiber as most grains, and is nutrient-rich (calcium, vitamin B2, manganese, iron).

Hemp protein is also another addition. It requires very little (about 1 tsp) added into water, juice, or cereal (hot or cold). It is a complete protein, and is high in fats (essential fatty acids, omega-3 and -6).

Sure, these foods are initially pricier than your average fast food, but with careful planning and money management, you will come out on top in many ways. A thru-hiker doesn't need to eat Snickers and pizza all the time.

09-03-2013, 01:36
Almost forgot to add Chia seeds.
These tasty morsels create the best breakfast porridge. Just add a little bit of water for them to soak up (takes only 2-3 minutes per 2-3 Tbsp). Mix in some GORP or any sort for added carbohydrates, protein, and flavor! Powdered milk is also a great addition for creaminess, fat, and calcium. It cleans up very nicely as well.
You can also just eat the Chia seeds plain or sprinkle them over other meals for a quick burst of sustaining protein.

09-03-2013, 04:11
I can totally understand why you'd have to supplement protein at home, but other than dairy, I'd bet most of us are on a vegan diet while on the trail. Check out your macros in a spreadsheet. The results may save you lots of money and a couple pounds off your back.

I find that quinoa takes a long time to cook, but I haven't tried soaking it before cooking it. That could save a lot of time. I may give that a shot tomorrow if I still have some quinoa in the pantry.

09-03-2013, 10:12
Pay attention to your potassium intake also.


09-03-2013, 11:04
Warning! If you powder dried food in the processor then seal it using a food saver, you can create a hard lump of food that will never re-hydrate. This happened to me before. It helps to mix the food with pasta or something so it doesn't clump up.

09-03-2013, 19:59
Check out Bablefish5 at Hungry Hammock hanger for lots of great DIY meals http://www.hungryhammockhanger.com/

09-03-2013, 21:03
Do you dehydrate in individual ingredients? Or, do you make the soup and then dehydrate the finished product? I'm certainly new to the dehydrating process and also vegan. So, I'm experimenting with making my own dinners. So far, I've only been able to figure out how to dehydrate the ingredients and combine them for re-hydration later.


09-03-2013, 21:17
you might also want to think about carbs and calories in your diet planning. You can pretty much dehydrate anything except for fat. Like you said. the smaller you cut things up the quicker it is to rehy. I dont like the food processor idea though. As far as burning fuel. I think the common practice is to bring water to boil ... pour into cantaner or bag... wait 10-20mins for rehy. I do not put food on the stove and try to rehy...that would be burning too much fuel.

09-04-2013, 00:28
I'd like to share a link for anyone new to dehydrating. This website has excellent tips, as well as many recipes including vegan and vegetarian options.


I started out making whole meals in food saver bags. To make the meal, I would dehydrate tomato leather, vegetables and combine with 1/2 cup pasta and some powdered cheddar and Parmesan cheese. Experiment! But this is a lot of work. Its fine for a few days supply, but if you are planning a thru I recommend another strategy. To save time and allow for more variety, just dehydrate the fixins like veggies or hamburger. Then add it to the meals you buy at the grocery store. A Pasta Sides dinner improves so much with a handful of dried veggies!!

Also, I highly recommend Cabot's powdered cheddar. It is so delicious and really improves any dehydrated meal.

09-12-2013, 20:21
Check out Bablefish5's site the Hungry Hammock Hanger.... http://www.hungryhammockhanger.com/. Lots of excellent meals you can make and dehydrate and best of all, they taste good.

09-12-2013, 22:14
You get a lot of variation in size using the S-blade on a dehydrator. You may still end up with hard to rehydrate chunks if you are not going the route of a puree. Drop a whole onion in the processor next time and pulse chop it to see the size differences. For soup this is probably not an issue. Some foods rehydrate easier than others and this determines the largest size one might want in the recipe. I aim for uniformity of the basic food ingredient when prepping the food. The more uniform the size, the less chance of a few chunky large pieces that don't hydrate and make for a lumpy dinner. I have a slicer blade on the food processor that I use for prep. Control of the piece size is maintained by fully filling the feeder chute as food is sliced. This keeps the food from slanting and those slicing long. Or I use a knife if necessary for smaller cubes of food. Err on the side of caution and keep prep size small at first until you figure out what can be kept larger. Smaller prep sizes will also decrease dehydration time as well.

Beans are a good thing to run through the S-blade though. Some beans kept whole don't hydrate as well in my experience. Chick peas and kidney beans for instance. I've switched to using canned beans as well as they are softer to begin with, vs. using beans prepped in a pressure cooker.
I've always wanted to get one of those restaurant dicers. They have variable size dicer inserts that fit the mechanism. Like the kind that make homemade french fries.