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  1. #1

    Default What can be dehydrated

    A few years ago there was a couple thru-hiking the At that I read about that had dehydrated all their meals and had them planned out in their mail drops. And the story went that other hikers at the same shelters at the end of the day drooled over the smell of that food cooking! I would love to have their, or anyone else who has done this, imputs on how to and what foods can be dehydrated successfully. And do you have to vacuum pack the foods after dehydrating to make their shelf life longer?
    I do own a dehydrater although I am told it can be done in the oven.
    Thanks for anyone's expertise.

  2. #2

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    Find posts by Sarbar (and her link) in the food forum & you'll see plenty.

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    Registered User russb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailangelmary View Post
    A few years ago there was a couple thru-hiking the At that I read about that had dehydrated all their meals and had them planned out in their mail drops. And the story went that other hikers at the same shelters at the end of the day drooled over the smell of that food cooking! I would love to have their, or anyone else who has done this, imputs on how to and what foods can be dehydrated successfully. And do you have to vacuum pack the foods after dehydrating to make their shelf life longer?
    I do own a dehydrater although I am told it can be done in the oven.
    Thanks for anyone's expertise.
    You definitely want to read this: Backpacker Gourmet by Linda Yaffe
    http://www.amazon.com/Backpack-Gourm...7734139&sr=1-1

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by trailangelmary View Post
    imputs on how to and what foods can be dehydrated successfully. And do you have to vacuum pack the foods after dehydrating to make their shelf life longer?.

    I have some bookmarks on my computer. Here's one called Dryit. Here's another from U. Georgia. And, as mentioned, Sarbar has some good basic info and lots of recipes. Have fun!

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    Registered User Doctari's Avatar
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    The book: GORP GLOP & GLUE STEW. Nearly everything there can be dried.

    I have dried almost everything, except peanutbutter, & I try to avoid drying other stuff with alot of oil in it.

    When drying tomatoes or anything with tomatoes in it, avoid over drying. If you over dry tomatoes they will taste burned. You don't have to burn them, they will taste burned just by being over dried. I "think" this can be avoided by drying tomatoes VERY VERY SLOWLY, but have yet to try it.
    Curse you Perry the Platypus!

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    I've dried just about everything ...but my favorite is ground beef. Find some really lean ground beef/sirloin and brown it in a frypan using A1 or your favorite steak sauce. Once browned you take it out of the frypan and let it sit on a few layers of paper towel and then place it right on the dryer tray. I generally dry meat for a long time (approx 6 hours) at high temps.

    Yield is a tad disappointing ...in otherwords what you end up with doesn't match up very well to what you started with. But the treat comes when you add some of the dried beef to a meal on the trail. It rehydrates well and adds great flavor to a trail meal.

    'Slogger
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    Excellent advice so far, and I'll throw in a couple more: Lip Smackin' Backpackin' by Tim and Christine Conners. It (like Sarbar's website and book) have a lot of good recipes and info about drying food. Then there's a website I almost never see mentioned in this regard, even though it's excellent for those who need info on the dehydration process: the Univ. of Illinois Urbana-Champaign School of Agriculture website "Drying Food". It has all the basics and is a perfect beginner's primer.
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    I dehydrate a lot of stuff. Matter of fact it's sort of become a joke in my house. But, when I cook soups, stews, chili, dried beans, spaghetti sauce and some other things I always cook a bit extra and dehydrate the leftovers. Some homemade chili over some noodles, yum.

    The fresh fruit that you dehydrate is so very much better than what you buy in stores. There is no comparison. Same with fresh vegetables.

    I don't dehydrate things with high fat content cause that will tend to go rancid.

    I sometimes vacuum seal things, but always store my dehydrated foods in the freezer, just to extend the shelf life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctari View Post
    When drying tomatoes or anything with tomatoes in it, avoid over drying. If you over dry tomatoes they will taste burned. You don't have to burn them, they will taste burned just by being over dried. I "think" this can be avoided by drying tomatoes VERY VERY SLOWLY, but have yet to try it.
    I have seen the same "burned taste" thing, but only with cooked tomatoes. However, I don't see that when drying fresh tomatoes. I can dry them to dust and make tomato powder out of them (which is great in soups and stews). It seems that tomato sauces and things like that are best dried to leathers, then you just break off pieces and add to water.
    If you don't make waves, it means you ain't paddling

  10. #10

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    Two things to avoid: anything with corn syrup in it (why? It takes longer to dry it, hence you can get a burnt flavor) and heavy amounts of fat (it can go rancid in storage) Everything else for the most part dries nicely.
    Tips beyond that? Stir your food every 30 minutes to an hour while drying it to keep the food moving and drying evenly. Store meals with meat, dairy or fat in the freezer till trail time to keep fresh. Try to use up your dried items with those items in 6 months. Everything else is good for a year or so for best flavor/freshness.

    The Dry It book is a great start, as are Mary Bell's drying books.

    For drying fully prepared meals you don't need recipes persay - just dry portions of your dinners! A good way is serve up a portion-size you would eat at home then dry that portion on one tray - then you know exactly how much to take!
    Trail Cooking/FBC, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
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    Has/does anyone or has anyone, tried to dehydrate eggplant? I have tried nurmerous recipes for eggplant parmesan but can't seem to get any flavor out of it and until I get it to taste edible after cooking it fresh, no dehydrating it here...any recipe for one, anyone?
    Do one thing everyday...that makes you happy...

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    Quote Originally Posted by envirodiver View Post
    I have seen the same "burned taste" thing, but only with cooked tomatoes. However, I don't see that when drying fresh tomatoes. I can dry them to dust and make tomato powder out of them (which is great in soups and stews). It seems that tomato sauces and things like that are best dried to leathers, then you just break off pieces and add to water.
    OH!
    Yes, you are right!
    I never put it together.
    Wow, how did I miss that?!?!?!

    Cooked tomatoes = dont over dry.
    Uncooked tomatoes = "Have at it!!!"
    Curse you Perry the Platypus!

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    Registered User Doctari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boarstone View Post
    Has/does anyone or has anyone, tried to dehydrate eggplant? I have tried nurmerous recipes for eggplant parmesan but can't seem to get any flavor out of it and until I get it to taste edible after cooking it fresh, no dehydrating it here...any recipe for one, anyone?
    I think I don't understand the question. Do you want to dry raw eggplant mane parmesan on the trail? If so, I would blanch the eggplant slices before drying. Maybe add a bit of salt to the water.

    OR: make your favorite Eggplant parmesan recipe, dole it into your trailside cook pot (to measure it) then "glop" it into the dryer. Dry & toss into a ziplock (I double ziplock, just because).
    Curse you Perry the Platypus!

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doctari View Post
    I think I don't understand the question. Do you want to dry raw eggplant mane parmesan on the trail? If so, I would blanch the eggplant slices before drying. Maybe add a bit of salt to the water.

    OR: make your favorite Eggplant parmesan recipe, dole it into your trailside cook pot (to measure it) then "glop" it into the dryer. Dry & toss into a ziplock (I double ziplock, just because).
    Doctari's suggestions sound good to me, but I would make and dehydrate some ratatouille (sp?), then rehydrate "cook" in camp and sprinkle with parmesan. I'm not gourmand enough in camp to rehydrate, bread, cook, sauce, and cook some more. I like eggplant, but they can remain much more bland than the other components of dishes they are used in. I season eggplant slices before breading; they could probably be allowed to "marinate" and get even more flavor inside. Cooking a finished dish that you like and then dehydrating will also enable flavors to infuse into the eggplant.

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    Registered User boarstone's Avatar
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    thanks for the info on the eggplant thing...I can't get a decent recipe to start with. This is a new veggy for me to be working with. Like most I'm watching my diet at home to keep weight in check, so I thought maybe if I experiment now at home w/a recipe for the eggplant, get it to where I can get some decent taste from it and go from there. Most ones I come across require to bread and bake before assembly in pan w/the red sauce, is this step necessary? and can I just layer the eggplant w/o the bake first step? Just lay in pan raw and cook/bake as directed? Maybe chunk the eggplant instead? cassarole style?...
    Do one thing everyday...that makes you happy...

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    My wife dehydrated allmost all my food for my thru hike in 05.. She got most of the recipes from "The backpackers gormuet" I particularly liked the freshly dehydrated fruit like pinapple. I particularly liked the African black bean soup and some of the pasta dishes.. Also I enjoyed the homemade beef jerky that she made...

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    Default eggplant...

    Quote Originally Posted by hopefulhiker View Post
    My wife dehydrated allmost all my food for my thru hike in 05.. She got most of the recipes from "The backpackers gormuet" I particularly liked the freshly dehydrated fruit like pinapple. I particularly liked the African black bean soup and some of the pasta dishes.. Also I enjoyed the homemade beef jerky that she made...
    Hey thanks for the heads-up on the backpackers gormuet book...I'll give that a try..
    Do one thing everyday...that makes you happy...

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by boarstone View Post
    and can I just layer the eggplant w/o the bake first step? Just lay in pan raw and cook/bake as directed? Maybe chunk the eggplant instead? cassarole style?...
    This sounds like a good approach... I think I would chop the eggplant and do this on top of the stove instead of trying to bake it. It would dehydrate and re- hydrate better in small chunks, too. Add olive oil, bread crumbs, cheese, whatever, in camp. Maybe google an eggplant ratatouille recipe. You can find eggplants in Maine, this time of year?

    There's good info at the top of this thread, and some helpful links were referenced.

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    Registered User boarstone's Avatar
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    Default Eggplants

    Quote Originally Posted by budforester View Post
    This sounds like a good approach... I think I would chop the eggplant and do this on top of the stove instead of trying to bake it. It would dehydrate and re- hydrate better in small chunks, too. Add olive oil, bread crumbs, cheese, whatever, in camp. Maybe google an eggplant ratatouille recipe. You can find eggplants in Maine, this time of year?

    There's good info at the top of this thread, and some helpful links were referenced.
    LOL,,,yeah..we are still connected to the veggie world up here, I was surprised to find them in my local grocery store though, I usually have to travel 40 miles to get good/fresh veggies...
    Do one thing everyday...that makes you happy...

  20. #20

    Default Eggplant

    Has/does anyone or has anyone, tried to dehydrate eggplant? I have tried nurmerous recipes for eggplant parmesan but can't seem to get any flavor out of it and until I get it to taste edible after cooking it fresh, no dehydrating it here...any recipe for one, anyone?
    Tonight on Food Network ...Egplant Parmesan Throwdown

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