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Dehydrating

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  • T
    Hey I just got a dehydrator and I ve started experimenting. Any tips? I m trying a ground turkey, sautéed Veggies, black beans and brown rice, some garlic,
    Message 1 of 16 , Jan 28, 2013
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      Hey I just got a dehydrator and I've started experimenting. Any tips? I'm trying a ground turkey, sautéed Veggies, black beans and brown rice, some garlic, cheese. Should I dry all the stuff separately then mix or just throw it in there? thanks, Tim
    • judithsmcguire
      As someone who dehyrdrated all my dinners for the AT, I would say diversity and small particles . Get the Recipe book, Backpack Gourmet. It has great tips
      Message 2 of 16 , Jan 28, 2013
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        As someone who dehyrdrated all my dinners for the AT, I would say "diversity" and "small particles". Get the Recipe book, Backpack Gourmet. It has great tips as well as recipes. The smaller you chop up the bits, the faster it will be to rehydrate. If you dry pasta, be sure to chop that up so it doesn't puncture the plastic bag you store it in. I make a lot of soups which taste great on the trail. Use parchment paper on the dryer trays. Scoop our a large serving on each tray (sometimes it's worthwhile to food process it first to get stuff chopped fine). I have a 5-ltray Excelsior dehydrator which fits one meal per tray. Then after drying put each tray into a plastic bag (or seal-a-meal), label with date, contents, weight, and how much water to add. Sometimes I re-food process dried food to make it even quicker to rehydrate. It's easier (but less flexible) to dehydrate whole dishes rather than mix and match ingredients on the trail. When on the trail, you can pour in unheated water early in the afternoon and by dinner everything is rehydrated. Make sure that you make enough different kinds of meals that you don't get sick of them. I moved from dinners to lunches and really love dehydrated lunch spreads now (black bean salsa!).

        Judy (Judo) McGuire

        --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "T" wrote:
        >
        > Hey I just got a dehydrator and I've started experimenting. Any tips? I'm trying a ground turkey, saut�ed Veggies, black beans and brown rice, some garlic, cheese. Should I dry all the stuff separately then mix or just throw it in there? thanks, Tim
        >
      • basecampbound
        I ve been dehydrating for a few years now, and while you will find lots of tips through google and youtube searches, here are a few to get you started: 1. You
        Message 3 of 16 , Jan 29, 2013
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          I've been dehydrating for a few years now, and while you will find lots of tips through google and youtube searches, here are a few to get you started:

          1. You will want to dehydrate foods separately, if possible, mostly because different foods require different dehydration times, and some foods, (like garlic) will give off some pretty powerful odors! I personally dehydrate onions in my garage to keep my husband from wanting to kill me!
          2. You will want to make sure that if you are frying up the ground turkey, (and this applies to hamburger too), that you will want to rinse off any oil before dehydrating. Oil and dehydrating just don't mix well, and will cause your food to spoil.
          3. Uniformity is key in dehydrating. Whether that is crumbling your ground turkey very small, or dicing veggies into small pieces. Try to keep the pieces as uniform as possible. This is key to even dehydration.
          4. Some foods, like chili, spaghetti and sauce, etc...can be completely prepared and then dehydrated. I do this all the time, but you will want to look for recipes online if you are just starting.
          5. For my taste buds, I like to go a little heavier on the spices when I am dehydrating. There seems to be a small flavor loss, but just a little. You will want to test out any recipes before using them on the trail.
          6. I persoanlly like to assemble my meals, then place them in vacuum sealed bags. You can buy vaccum sealers pretty cheap these days. Try Amazon for the best deals.
          7. I don't know which dehydrator you have, but for sauces, you will want to buy the trays that are used for leathers (with no holes). These are very inexpensive on Amazon and will save you a big mess.
          8. Every dehydrator is different, and I have found wide variations on the times listed for different foods. When you are first learning, you will want to make sure you are checking it often.

          Hope that helps!

          --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "T" wrote:
          >
          > Hey I just got a dehydrator and I've started experimenting. Any tips? I'm trying a ground turkey, sautéed Veggies, black beans and brown rice, some garlic, cheese. Should I dry all the stuff separately then mix or just throw it in there? thanks, Tim
          >
        • basecampbound
          One thing that might help..... When I was first starting out, I found the videos on YouTube to be really helpful. I found the recipes posted by this guy to be
          Message 4 of 16 , Jan 29, 2013
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            One thing that might help.....

            When I was first starting out, I found the videos on YouTube to be really helpful.

            I found the recipes posted by this guy to be really good -
            http://www.youtube.com/user/mrbabelfish5

            There are also lots of videos on technique, and handling special foods like blueberries, (poke a hole in each one with a toothpick).


            --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "T" wrote:
            >
            > Hey I just got a dehydrator and I've started experimenting. Any tips? I'm trying a ground turkey, sautéed Veggies, black beans and brown rice, some garlic, cheese. Should I dry all the stuff separately then mix or just throw it in there? thanks, Tim
            >
          • Spencer Goodwine
            I ve been dehydrating my hiking meals for a couple years now and dehydrated all dinners for myself and my fiance for the JMT. There are basically 2 camps in
            Message 5 of 16 , Jan 29, 2013
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              I've been dehydrating my hiking meals for a couple years now and dehydrated all dinners for myself and my fiance for the JMT. There are basically 2 camps in dehydrating - one says dehydrate ingredients separately and combine on trail, the other says cook a meal as you normally would and dehydrate all ingredients together. I fall into the latter as I found from previous trips that trying to combine ingredients on trail is time consuming, not fun (for me), and doesn't offer any taste benefit that I can tell. My meals on the jmt had ground beef (chili), chicken (spaghetti), eggs, cream (beef stroganoff), and other perishables that many people are afraid to dehydrate seperately. Not a single meal spoiled and all  tasted just like I cooked it at home. The only exception was the chicken was a little tough/chewy, but I didn't mind after hiking 13miles. The trick is to dehydrate your meal completely, so that it's almost brittle. At that point, it will keep. I did dehydrate fruits and some veggies (mainly peppers) seperately and added them as toppings to some meals. Just my 2 cents.
              On Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 2:22 AM, basecampbound <kjonmyway@...> wrote:
               

              One thing that might help.....

              When I was first starting out, I found the videos on YouTube to be really helpful.

              I found the recipes posted by this guy to be really good -
              http://www.youtube.com/user/mrbabelfish5

              There are also lots of videos on technique, and handling special foods like blueberries, (poke a hole in each one with a toothpick).



              --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "T" wrote:
              >
              > Hey I just got a dehydrator and I've started experimenting. Any tips? I'm trying a ground turkey, sautéed Veggies, black beans and brown rice, some garlic, cheese. Should I dry all the stuff separately then mix or just throw it in there? thanks, Tim
              >


            • beths_office
              I made (and LOVED) the chili and root veggie stew from the recipes on this site: http://www.backpackingchef.com/backpacking-recipes.html Used turkey instead of
              Message 6 of 16 , Jan 29, 2013
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                I made (and LOVED) the chili and root veggie stew from the recipes on this site: http://www.backpackingchef.com/backpacking-recipes.html Used turkey instead of beef for the chili, and made both a little spicier (red pepper was nice in the root veg stuff!).

                Had to eat my chili with a rock one time, but that's another story... from my 2012 trail journal, Marry Me, John Muir:

                http://jm3d.com/bam/2012/07/gonna-whittle-me-a-spoon/

                Have fun cooking and drying and packing!

                Happy Trails!
                Beth M

                --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "T" wrote:
                >
                > Hey I just got a dehydrator and I've started experimenting. Any tips? I'm trying a ground turkey, sautéed Veggies, black beans and brown rice, some garlic, cheese. Should I dry all the stuff separately then mix or just throw it in there? thanks, Tim
                >
              • joeganik
                I am also new to dehydrating. I am particularly interested in learning to make pemmican . It s a Native American power
                Message 7 of 16 , Jan 30, 2013
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                  I am also new to dehydrating. I am particularly interested in learning to make pemmican. It's a Native American power food made from tallow, jerky and fruit. The tallow would make this an especially energy dense and convenient trail food.  Does anyone have any experience making this? 

                  --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "T" wrote:
                  >
                  > Hey I just got a dehydrator and I've started experimenting. Any tips? I'm trying a ground turkey, sautéed Veggies, black beans and brown rice, some garlic, cheese. Should I dry all the stuff separately then mix or just throw it in there? thanks, Tim
                  >
                • TMB
                  A couple more suggestions for resources, the book Lipsmackin Backpackin has good recipes, website TrailCooking.com has tips and recipes. My approach is to
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jan 30, 2013
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                    A couple more suggestions for resources, the book "Lipsmackin Backpackin" has good recipes, website "TrailCooking.com has tips and recipes.

                    My approach is to use store bought carbs like instant potatoes, cous cous, instant rice, ramen noodles, beans etc as a base, and spend my time dehydrating the meat and vegetables needed for recipes. For my meat I generally buy canned chicken/beef/pork or tuna which are fat free and can be flaked small before dehydrating. I've also had good luck with the small cooked salad shrimp, and things like precooked meatball (turkey works better than beef). I second the post that said to stay away from any kind of greasy meats.

                    For vegetables the sky is the limit, but I usually focus on an onion/green pepper/carrot (shaved), celery, zucchini. Things like peas and corn seem to turn into ball bearings.

                    A suggestion for dehydrating any kind of sauce you can buy (spaghetti sauces, tomato sauce, or even those indian sauces) is to throw it in your freezer after dehydrating and then grind it in one of those cheap blade type coffee grinders. Turns it into powder.

                    --- In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, "T" wrote:
                    >
                    > Hey I just got a dehydrator and I've started experimenting. Any tips? I'm trying a ground turkey, saut�ed Veggies, black beans and brown rice, some garlic, cheese. Should I dry all the stuff separately then mix or just throw it in there? thanks, Tim
                    >
                  • mauertom
                    How many people who dehydrate also vacuum seal their meals? I vacuum sealed a lot of my meals last night and this morning, all had lost their seal. Since I
                    Message 9 of 16 , May 24, 2014
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                      How many people who dehydrate also vacuum seal their meals?  I vacuum sealed a lot of my meals last night and this morning, all had lost their seal.  Since I prepare meals as normal, and then dehydrate the whole thing my final product is very stiff and hard, so I'm sure it poked small holes in the bag while it was being sealed.  I tried to break up the pieces very small to reduce jagged edges, but still no luck.  Anyone else have this problem?  Any tricks/advice?  Or should I just ditch the whole vacuum seal process since my most of my meals will be eaten within 3-4 months of first being prepared/dehydrated?
                    • Peter Hirst
                      I dry and vac seal everything, with an Excalibur dryer and Food Saver. Have had very few losses of seal. The packs are very stiff, and will fail if handled
                      Message 10 of 16 , May 24, 2014
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                        I dry and vac seal everything, with an Excalibur dryer and Food Saver.  Have had very few losses of seal.  The packs are very stiff, and will fail if handled roughly or stuffed too hard.  So I keep them very loosely packed until final packing of the bear can, at which point (as late as possible before starting the hike, or at resup) I pin-prick each pack so they will all conform to each other.  At that point, the little bit of air required to loosen each pack wont matter over a week or two on the trail.

                        Part of your problem could be in trying to dry the whole prepared meal.  I cook components separately, then remix dry.:  sauces are always in powdered form:  I use a small food processor to pulverize dried sauces or liquid components.  If you dry a whole meal, say pasta and tomato sauce, in a single mass, you will have, as you notice lots of sharp points and edges, and  never get it to reconstitute unless you break it up.  Then you will just get homogenized whatever, without separate noodles, veggies, meat chunks etc.

                        DOn't abandon the vac pack:  lots of stuff will suck moisture right out of the air and go to work, even in dry storage


                        On May 24, 2014, at 7:07 AM, mauertom@... [johnmuirtrail] wrote:

                         

                        How many people who dehydrate also vacuum seal their meals?  I vacuum sealed a lot of my meals last night and this morning, all had lost their seal.  Since I prepare meals as normal, and then dehydrate the whole thing my final product is very stiff and hard, so I'm sure it poked small holes in the bag while it was being sealed.  I tried to break up the pieces very small to reduce jagged edges, but still no luck.  Anyone else have this problem?  Any tricks/advice?  Or should I just ditch the whole vacuum seal process since my most of my meals will be eaten within 3-4 months of first being prepared/dehydrated?


                      • Leslie Barker
                        I ve had good luck with my foodsaver. For pasta meals in particular I line the vacuum seal bag with a paper towel or parchment paper and also include
                        Message 11 of 16 , May 24, 2014
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                          I 've had good luck with my foodsaver. For pasta meals in particular I line the vacuum seal bag with a paper towel or parchment paper and also include Parmesan cheese packets compliments of your local pizza shop. If you like spice add a red pepper flake packet as well. Don't give up on the foodsaver yet.
                          Leslie

                          Typos brought to you by mobile device and my _at fingers.

                          > On May 24, 2014, at 7:07 AM, "mauertom@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                          >
                          > SG93IG1hbnkgcGVvcGxlIHdobyBkZWh5ZHJhdGUgYWxzbyB2YWN1dW0gc2VhbCB0aGVpciBt
                          > ZWFscz8gIEkgdmFjdXVtIHNlYWxlZCBhIGxvdCBvZiBteSBtZWFscyBsYXN0IG5pZ2h0IGFu
                          > ZCB0aGlzIG1vcm5pbmcsIGFsbCBoYWQgbG9zdCB0aGVpciBzZWFsLiAgU2luY2UgSSBwcmVw
                          > YXJlIG1lYWxzIGFzIG5vcm1hbCwgYW5kIHRoZW4gZGVoeWRyYXRlIHRoZSB3aG9sZSB0aGlu
                          > ZyBteSBmaW5hbCBwcm9kdWN0IGlzIHZlcnkgc3RpZm
                        • mauertom
                          Alright, for my future meals I might just do separate components to see how that works. I ll also try the parchment idea. Oddly enough, I tried some more today
                          Message 12 of 16 , May 24, 2014
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                            Alright, for my future meals I might just do separate components to see how that works. I'll also try the parchment idea. Oddly enough, I tried some more today and the pasta dishes held a seal (macaroni). It's the rice dishes that cause problems. Rice + sauce = crazy jagged.
                          • Inga Aksamit
                            I m vacuum packing also and have had about 20-30% lose their seal (I package components separately). I ve been throwing everything in the freezer until I need
                            Message 13 of 16 , May 25, 2014
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                              I'm vacuum packing also and have had about 20-30% lose their seal (I package components separately). I've been throwing everything in the freezer until I need to mail it. 

                              Inga Aksamit 
                              Mobile: 415-470-1812
                              Email: Iaksamit@...
                              Twitter.com/IngaAksamit
                            • judithsmcguire
                              There are two things I do to avoid puncturing the plastic. One is to wrap it all in a paper towels so none of the points on the food directly touches the
                              Message 14 of 16 , May 25, 2014
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                                There are two things I do to avoid puncturing the plastic.  One is to wrap it all in a paper towels so none of the points on the food directly touches the plastic.  The other is to really grind up the food finely (food process it for a few pulses).  This means the food also rehdrates faster, which is good, but it's kind of a mush.  I have to say that pasta has pretty much always punctured the plastic unless I break it up so small you don't know it's pasta.  But then again, on the trail, I didn't really care.  

                                I've also taken to just using freezer thickness ziplock bags.  For the 3 weeks (plus delays since drying) on the JMT, it's not likely to result in contamination of a totally dried meal.

                                Judo (Judy McGuire) 
                              • mauertom
                                For future reference for any other first time vacuum sealer users...I think I found the solution to why I was having a 100 percent fail rate. It wasn t
                                Message 15 of 16 , May 31, 2014
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                                  For future reference for any other first time vacuum sealer users...I think I found the solution to why I was having a 100 percent fail rate. It wasn't entirely because of popped bags, it was because when I went to make the final vacuum/seal, parts of the end of my bags were over-lapping, which created a crease in the seal, which made enough of a pin-point hole to allow the bag to lose its seal. Once I started laying the end of the bag flat over the sealing crevice (and not stuffed down into it) my bags stopped losing their seal. That's my theory at least. I don't know if the manufacturer stated this problem in the manual and I just didn't read it, but it was a big problem for me (I wasted nearly the entire roll the machine came with). Maybe this had already been pointed out somewhere on these boards, but I thought I would re-iterate it. All my lunches and dinners are now successfully dehydrated and sealed.
                                • jerome provensal
                                  Using cheap snack or 1-quart bag within the vacuum seal bag seems to work for me and it helps separate the ingredients. I cut of the zip-lock part to save
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Jun 1, 2014
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                                    Using cheap snack or 1-quart bag within the vacuum seal bag seems to work for me and it helps separate the ingredients. I cut of the zip-lock part to save weight. It's still more trash to carry

                                    Jérôme  Blog / FB / LinkedIn / IG / Tumblr /


                                    On Sat, May 31, 2014 at 1:22 PM, mauertom@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                     

                                    For future reference for any other first time vacuum sealer users...I think I found the solution to why I was having a 100 percent fail rate. It wasn't entirely because of popped bags, it was because when I went to make the final vacuum/seal, parts of the end of my bags were over-lapping, which created a crease in the seal, which made enough of a pin-point hole to allow the bag to lose its seal. Once I started laying the end of the bag flat over the sealing crevice (and not stuffed down into it) my bags stopped losing their seal. That's my theory at least. I don't know if the manufacturer stated this problem in the manual and I just didn't read it, but it was a big problem for me (I wasted nearly the entire roll the machine came with). Maybe this had already been pointed out somewhere on these boards, but I thought I would re-iterate it. All my lunches and dinners are now successfully dehydrated and sealed.


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