Dehydrating food

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Dehydrating food

Postby Joe » Wed 28 Mar, 2007 9:04 pm

What sort of dehydrater do you use? Might have to look into getting one.
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Postby Son of a Beach » Wed 28 Mar, 2007 9:21 pm

taswaterfalls.com wrote:What sort of dehydrater do you use? Might have to look into getting one.


Ours is just a fairly cheap no-name brand, cast-off from somebody else, so I can't comment on its cost or comparison to others. It has no temperature control (always blows hot air). Has about 6 round trays that stack on top of the base unit. there are a lot of brands that produce these things, and they all look very similar.

It's not this brand, but same kind of thing as this:

Image

EDIT Dead image, try this link. http://www.tohealth.com.au/food_dryers.html#ULTRA
Last edited by Son of a Beach on Mon 29 Oct, 2007 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Joe » Thu 05 Apr, 2007 9:35 pm

Talked to my grandmother today about food dehydrator and she has one which she will lend me. Have got some apples that are done in it and they are awesome. For the lentil dahl do you just spread it out over the solid tray style platters? Would a stew work on these trays if it was cut finely enough?
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Postby sarah » Sat 05 May, 2007 5:55 pm

I have to say that one of my favourites is Bannock (the damper type bread) for breakfast. It's quite time consuming though, so we only have it on a short day etc (and it uses some metho, and can get things messy when mixing it). Oh, and we've had it with dinner on a short day too, and that was one of my most memorable bushwalking meals! It was raining and we had this delicious tomato pasta with bannock that had reconstituted bacon, cheese and garlic mixed through. It sure was good! The recipe is in 'lightweight gourmet' (i think that's what it's called), but if anyone wants it just sing out and i'll print it.

We've had some ok experiences with meat, but i will admit that again you have to be patient (not good if you're hungry, tired, cold and short on metho) you need to boil it or soak for a while and it has to be fine like mince or something. I haven't had success with chicken though. Has anyone successfully dried cheese? Apparently you can but it beats me how. It just melts!
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Postby Lynda Moir » Wed 03 Oct, 2007 6:08 pm

Tas Waterfalls asked about dehydrating stews.

I have just got into dehydrating meals and am really enthusiastic about the results. I use any recipe I love e.g. beef bolognese or chicken and mushroom casserole. The secret (as told to me by someone far more experienced than I) is to mince the meat and chop/slice all vegetables finely. After making the recipe as normal and dehydrating as per the machine's instructions, I then bag the dehydrated meals up into zip-lock bags (I put in a double serve) and store in the freezer (this extends the storage life) until my next walk. I usually have a couple of choices for a walk - but you can get as carried away as you like.

You need to check that the dehydrator you use is suitable for this. It should tell you in the information booklet with it. I would recommend choosing a brand that does this - you'll get fantastic results.

On arrival at camp I add boiling water (not too much - if in doubt, less is better or it can be a runny mess) - you can always add more later. When it's time for dinner just bring to the boil and you will have a meal as great as the one at home. Actually better!

All this info is courtesy of LK - who told me how!

We like to have cous cous with our meals but you can use potato flakes/noodles/rice.

Enjoy!
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Postby corvus » Sun 07 Oct, 2007 8:08 pm

I have been using a Dehydrator for around 15 years and through trial and error honed my skills to be able to produce very acceptable meals.
I concur with others that all meat needs to be minced and veg cut up small
however I now only make Jerky as I have concluded that home dehydrated meals are not as economical as I first thought .
The time and effort to produce the meal plus the energy required to dehydrate and rehydrate plus their weight just does not stand up( in my opinion) to the freeze dried add only boiling water meals from the NZ maker. Yes I know they are expensive (I only buy mine when there is a Sale on ) however we have found them in the main to be very acceptable with only a spoon/fork to wash up at the end again saving energy and reducing the dreaded greenhouse gas.
Our only "cooked meal" is breakfast and despite my Scottish birth its not Porridge, its 2min noodles and cupa soup which again only really requires boiling water and the bowls can be cleaned up with cold water again saving energy and the need to carry milk powder or excess sugar for cerals and we only drink black tea and coffee which depending on the length of the trip can be bags or loose leaves and grounds (dont drink the last 5 mils) my bushwalking partner for the last 17 years has been my son who has gone through the whole gammot of my ideas and as an adult agrees that "we must leave space/weight" for a glass of Red or two at the end of a pleasant walk in our wonderful Island.
As a substitute for tasadams sustagen we have used Glucodin tablets to see us through or up and over a big hill and they weigh next to zero and can be taken on the run :D
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Postby Son of a Beach » Mon 08 Oct, 2007 6:53 am

I've had problems dehydrating/rehydrating meat, and wonder if anyone can help me out.

I often make jerky/biltong (two different recipes), and they always work out very nicely.

However, the one time I've tried to do cooked meat it was bolgnaise (using minced beef), and it was a disaster. It seemed to dehydrate OK, but when attempting to rehydrate it, no amount of boiling water seemed to penetrate it, and it stayed a bit crunchy and tasted disgusting. So we ended up tossing it out, and eating spaghetti on it's own (rather ordinary).

The dehydrator we were given does not have a temperature control, and I'm wondering if it might have been too hot and somehow burnt the meat (it did have a very slightly burnt taste)? Anyone got any ideas for what I might have done wrong?

I met some people at Lady Lake Hut on Friday who'd dehydrated their own casseroles, and assured me that so long as the meat was cut up very fine, it is not problem at all. So I'm confused as to why it failed so miserably with my bolognaise. I'd really like to get this right, eventually.
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Postby frank_in_oz » Fri 30 Nov, 2007 12:11 pm

We have been using the Fowlers Vacola dryer for a while and reckon it is excellent. On our recent trip to the "Walls" we bought a couple of take away curries and dried them. The trick is to make sure the meat is cut up quite small. There is a post on our blog about how I did it if anyone is interested.
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Postby Son of a Beach » Fri 30 Nov, 2007 12:29 pm

Nice one! Here's a link pinched from frank_in_oz' blog, which has some of the best dehydrating advice I've seen: Loads of Dehydrating Information.
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Postby corvus » Fri 30 Nov, 2007 4:15 pm

A personal observation regarding DIY meal dehydration ,with practise you can produce really nice meals however they do tend to consume a lot of fuel to re constitute they are ok if you arrive at your campsite early and can soak them for an hour or two but RS in winter when you get there and want to eat ASAP ,some ingredients recon well (dont try tuna slices) and all meat needs to be done to a tee both in preperation and cooking or you will get crunchy munchy.
Now having done the shopping prepared the meal washed up dehydrated
bagged the meal then washed the dehydrator stored the meal in the fridge/freezer
do a costing on time and energy used :shock:
The add boiling water meals are not so expensive now (and coming from a Scot ) that should get you thinking.
Jerky is an other matter and nothing beats home made !! :)

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Postby Son of a Beach » Fri 30 Nov, 2007 5:38 pm

I like to dehydrate individual ingredients, and so far I stick to the ones that I know rehydrate virtually instantly, such as slices of tomato and sliced mushrooms. For the tomato, I do completely dried slices to use in cooking, and also slices sprinkled with basil and oregano, then semi-dried for use on crackers with cheese for lunches.

Some fully cooked meals also rehydrate almost instantly, such as the lentil curry (Daal) that I sometimes cook.

I've avoided meat meals so far partly because of my lack of success with my only attempt (apart from jerky) and also because of the time required to reconstitute.
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Postby corvus » Fri 30 Nov, 2007 6:01 pm

SOB does your Dahl reconsitute as Dahl or thick Lentil Soup?? never had any sucess with Lentils
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Re: Tucker

Postby Son of a Beach » Fri 30 Nov, 2007 6:05 pm

corvus wrote:SOB does your Dahl reconsitute as Dahl or thick Lentil Soup?? never had any sucess with Lentils
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It rehydrates much as it was before dehydration, but in my case, it's pretty much like thick lentil goo to start with anyhow (ie, not much in the way of recognisable lentils). But not like soup as such... more like mashed potato consistency... but a little saucier, and more lumpy (I think the lumps are more from the onion than from the lentils).
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Postby corvus » Fri 30 Nov, 2007 6:13 pm

I guessed so just like mine the only food that I have Dehyd and comes up the same is rice so go the BAGS
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Re: Tucker

Postby frank_in_oz » Thu 06 Dec, 2007 9:56 am

corvus wrote:A personal observation regarding DIY meal dehydration ,with practise you can produce really nice meals however they do tend to consume a lot of fuel to re constitute they are ok if you arrive at your campsite early and can soak them for an hour or two but RS in winter when you get there and want to eat ASAP ,some ingredients recon well (dont try tuna slices) and all meat needs to be done to a tee both in preperation and cooking or you will get crunchy munchy.

I tend to agree, in part, with the buying rather than drying. We tend to mix them up a bit depending on how long we will be out , time of year we are going (things will keep longer in winter obviously) and how late we expect to be into camp. I can usually dry 2-3 meals in one go, so it usually involves a full day when I know I will be around home. Agree with cleaning the dryer, it is a pain.

As regards rehydrating, we have found that as soon as we get set up, we have a cuppa, and immediately add the remaining boiling water to our dehyd food. Stir it occassionally and it seems to rehydrate OK. (especially if the meat is cut up REAL small) We then heat it gently to finish it off. Seems to work ok.

We use this simple receipe a lot instead of buying prepackaged meals and love it . Fast and easy to prepare, reasonably light

Tuna Casserole
- One packet of "Alfredo" per person (single serve)
- One sachel of tuna per person
- 1-3 hard boiled eggs
- Dehyd packet peas and corn ( keeps some left overs from other meals)

Cook Alfredo as per instructions (we don't worry about adding marg) either adding peas and corn at the start or cook them seperately. Add tuna and eggs at the end and warm through. Yum. Simple but filling and pretty tasty.
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Re: Dehydrating Food

Postby Son of a Beach » Thu 06 Dec, 2007 10:06 am

I sometimes do a similar thing adding extras to those Continental pasta and sauce packets. I've added the tuna packets too, and that works well. I haven't tried adding eggs though... will have to make a mental note.

I've added surprise peas/corn/carrots, which are good.

My favourite is to add home dried mushrooms and tomatoes. Both rehydrate almost instantly, and add a bit of real flavour to the packet meals.

For next week's walk, I've dehydrated: Mushrooms, tomatoes (fully dried for cooking, semi-dried & herbed for sandwiches), carrots, broccoli and biltong (jerky).
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Re: Dehydrating Food

Postby Jaxter » Thu 06 Dec, 2007 2:45 pm

I just bought a dehydrator yesterday and did my first batch of veggies last night (mushies, capsicum, zuchinni, sweet potato) and thin lemon slices (to put in tea). Previously I've dried capsicum in the oven and found it really concentrates the flavour - its great for adding to meals or nibbling with lunch.

Next I'll take a deep breath and try some mince (I'm a bit daunted by the comments here) and chickpeas.

Has anyone tried cooking rice and then dehydrating it? Does it actually rehydrate quicker than cooking it in camp? I'm just wondering whether there is a weight savings to be made either in the weight of the rice (I doubt it) or in fuel. I think I may be overly enthusiastic about my new toy...
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Re: Dehydrating Food

Postby Penguin » Thu 06 Dec, 2007 3:54 pm

Jaxter

Where did you buy the dehydrator and which one did you buy?

Are there any shops on the NW coast that sell dehydrators?
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Re: Dehydrating Food

Postby tasadam » Thu 06 Dec, 2007 4:48 pm

Penguin wrote:Jaxter

Where did you buy the dehydrator and which one did you buy?

Are there any shops on the NW coast that sell dehydrators?

I think I saw one in the window at Wholesome House in Deloraine.
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Re: Dehydrating Food

Postby corvus » Thu 06 Dec, 2007 6:46 pm

I think you can get them at Gunns ,Harvey Normans ,Harris Skarfe ,Kmart I aso believe they are avilable from all "whole food shops" mine is a Fowlers Vacola brand which is excellent and has dried kilos over the past 15 years and is still used for my jerky each season
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Re: Dehydrating Food

Postby corvus » Thu 06 Dec, 2007 6:51 pm

Has anyone tried cooking rice and then dehydrating it? Does it actually rehydrate quicker than cooking it in camp? I'm just wondering whether there is a weight savings to be made either in the weight of the rice (I doubt it) or in fuel. I think I may be overly enthusiastic about my new toy...

Rice does work and it saves fuel
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Re: Dehydrating Food

Postby Penguin » Thu 06 Dec, 2007 9:19 pm

corvus wrote:I think you can get them at Gunns ,Harvey Normans ,Harris Skarfe ,Kmart I aso believe they are avilable from all "whole food shops" mine is a Fowlers Vacola brand which is excellent and has dried kilos over the past 15 years and is still used for my jerky each season
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Corvus - which brands do they stock? I have only used a friend of mine's that looked like the one in the photo posted by SON of a Beach. Do they all look like that?
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Re: Dehydrating Food

Postby Jaxter » Fri 07 Dec, 2007 9:16 am

Where did you buy the dehydrator and which one did you buy?

Are there any shops on the NW coast that sell dehydrators?


I bought mine at Harvey Norman in Hobart - its an Ezi-dry Classic ($149). They also had the Ezidry Ultra which has different temperature settings, but i think it was around $400. I don't know about the NW coast - you could always try ebay.

K&D Mitre 10 has the Fowler's model for $149 as well.
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Re: Dehydrating Food

Postby Penguin » Fri 07 Dec, 2007 11:12 am

Thanks - I will have a look this weekend
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Re: Dehydrating Food

Postby Penguin » Sun 09 Dec, 2007 7:32 pm

Went to Harvo, only a Sunbeam example - did not seem well designed. Will keep looking.
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Re: Dehydrating Food

Postby corvus » Sun 09 Dec, 2007 8:39 pm

You only need a heat regulator and a selection of inserts to go with your drying trays dont get sucked into a really expensive model as they are ,imo not worth it and also imo you will get over the dehy thing after a while (except jerky)
which is a must for us beefeaters.
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Re: Dehydrating Food

Postby Penguin » Mon 10 Dec, 2007 3:39 pm

I have been using a friends dehydrator. Corvus,bBeing vego is the driver, as there is a limited amount of prepared food. Will let you know if I find one around here.
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Re: Dehydrating Food

Postby corvus » Mon 10 Dec, 2007 10:33 pm

Did you check out Stubbs in Penguin or do they only sell Hardwear now.
Being a Vego does limit your choice of boil in the bag just add water meals but Back Country do have a selection of Vegitarian meals I believe.
I guess you are aware of the Massel brand of products if not I can recomend them for adding flavour to your dehy vegies
and you will know about TVP available from the supermarket and Whole food Stores.
Dehydating vegies is as you may well know an easy task however fresh is not always best I have found that frozen vegies zapped in the microwave to defrost and blanch give good results when rehydrating (its all trial and error)check this site for menu ideas cant think of the link but it is there.
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Re: Dehydrating Food

Postby Cinvala » Tue 11 Dec, 2007 9:41 am

Hi all,
My first post.
Have you tried dehydrating bananas?
I like to dry them whole, (I don't like hard chips) until they become firm & chewy.
They are a great snack whilst walking, for breakfast, or "smoko". There is no need to rehydrate them, they are sweet and filling, require no special packaging, ( I just put them in a glad lok bag), keep well and full of energy.
I think that they are a perfect walking food.
BTW I have a dehydrator similar to the one in the photo, I brought it a while ago from Campbells Electrical in Burnie, next to KFC.
It works really well, has a couple of different temp settings, it also came with a couple of trays to make fruit roll ups.
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Re: Dehydrating Food

Postby sarge » Tue 11 Dec, 2007 1:42 pm

I do the same with apples (no whole though - cut in pieces), they turn out lovely and chewy if you soak them in pinapple juice before putting them in the dehydrater.
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