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Dehydrator

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ScubaDave

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So I have had many conversations this past year about going out and doing a real deep woods type hunting trip maybe next year. So I have started to compile a list of things I would require to either go camping/kayak camping/backpack hunt and meals is obviously huge up there on the list of things you would require to live lol.

I looked at all the Mountain House stuff etc and as appeasing as they look. I feel I can do better. So I got onto that evil DIY website known as Pinterest. Found out you can make your own with a dehydrator!! However I do not believe we have the fruit snack tray that you require to dehydrate things such as chili, stew, scrambled eggs...

My question is; If you just use parchment paper or wax paper, will you be able to dehydrate these foods? Obviously things with more liquid like stews, probably need the fruit snack tray. Just looking for some input.

Also, how long do these meals last? If I dehydrate these suckers up and throw them in a ziplock I imagine they will last a bit. Can you throw them in the freezer and extend their shelf life?

Cheers!!
 
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ScubaDave

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Yeah dehydrated meals. There are a whole lot of recipes on Pinterest for it. All you do is obviously dehydrate them, then when you need to use them add water, throw them in your jetboil or whatever and poof good to go. Do up chilli, put in a ziplock, add water, boil and eat. At least that's what these guys are saying. So figured I would give it a go then give feedback for everyone here :Oh Yeah!:
 
F

Fear No Deer

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Interesting never heard of anyone attempting meals let us know how it works out for you, personally I like the jerky and fruit made from them.
 

philcott

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When I was a scout leader I used to make up a bunch of dehydrated meals. Stews, chili and spaghetti were my favourite ones. When you make them make them as thick as you can. We had a few plastic fruit trays that I used but I also used parchment. I found I liked to start on the fruit tray but as soon as I could I'd remove it and put it on a regular rack as it would dry out much faster with more air flow.

I also found if you had meat in the mix, which I always did, you can't just boil and eat. You need to re-hydrate the mix or the meat and harder stuff like carrots would be hard chewy chunks. I would use my 1 liter wide mouth nalgene bottle to do this. A few hours (or more) before wanting to eat I'd put water and my mix in the bottle and let it do it's thing while I was hiking or just while sitting around camp. This worked best for me.
 
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ScubaDave

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Excellent!! Thanks Phil! I did up a tomato last night, just about to attempt to rehydrate it..Never done it before so I guess we will se how it goes hahahaha I mean we used dehydrated onions at McDonalds on cheeseburgers etc, so it has to be about the same process right? Soak in water, drain, ta-da? LOL
 

philcott

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Pretty much.

It takes a lot longer to re-hydrate meat so if you make a stew or chili it can take 4 or more hours to rehydrate. That said, if you don't mind eating a crunchy chili then less time will do.
 
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ScubaDave

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lol good to know!! Man this makes camping solo and backpacking so much more feasible!! I had NO idea this was a thing. The meals that are out there for this...Just wow!!
 
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A wee planning ahead will get those meat filled meals ready to reheat on time.... Hydrate in the morning and they're ready for you late in the afternoon when you get back to camp - dragging the bruiser... small wink :victorious:
 

KTownKiller

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I dehydrate most of our food for backpacking. It's great! :kewl:

You don't need the fruit tray, first off. We just often use the fine, softer screens that you can park right on the regular, plastic trays.

I start with Pineapple, this time of year. They can be found for $3 each and it's peak season now.

Also apples and peaches are great later in summer. Drop 'em in a big ziplock and they'll keep in the freezer for over a year, or more.

Meals, like spaghetti, tuna casserole, goulash, and stroganoff are awesome meals to make. BUT, the meat must be ground or quite fine. I mean, breaking up any bigger chunks of tuna, and if you use stew meat, then make sure to pull it all apart. Any large chunks won't rehydrate well.

Any pastas can be taken up with you in their boxes and added to your dried sauces, like spaghetti.

Now for stoves. I've done a lot of research on this. So to make a long story short, these dehydrated meals NEED to be simmered, at a very low heat to avoid burning them and having sticking to the bottom of the pot. And there's only 2 stoves that can simmer low enough to do a good job. These are the old Coleman, single burners with dual control levers, and the newer MSR Dragonfly. Anything else will be a huge letdown.
 
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philcott

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/\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\

Very good info from KTown.

You have all winter to practice making stuff up and re-hydrating it. You will learn a lot by fall.

We also do pineapple around now and did up a bunch of our apples and tomatoes this past fall.

Spoiler Alert........ You need to put stuff you make into the freezer because if you leave dried fruit in a jar on the counter it will disappear by spring never mind next fall.
 
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ScubaDave

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HAHAHAHA Good point!! Im just rehydrating those tomatoes I did last night...A little gross looking but meh. Is there such a thing as dehydrating too long?
 

philcott

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You want to get the moisture out of them but not turn them to dust. Also, a re-hydrated tomato will never look like a freshly sliced one. You can cook with them but I wouldn't put one on a hamburger or in a salad.
 
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ScubaDave

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Also looks like I'll be saving up for an MSR DragonFly. Things are $160 at MEC. I was going to buy a Jetboil but this thing looks a little more versatile? Plus I didnt like the idea of only using my jetboil cup. At least with the MSR there are options for cookware.

- - - Updated - - -

Also, a re-hydrated tomato will never look like a freshly sliced one. You can cook with them but I wouldn't put one on a hamburger or in a salad.
Hahaha Cool. I've never really eaten let alone seen dehydrated food so this is quite the learning experience and it's only been like 12 hours hahaha. Im having fun doing it so far though!
 

KTownKiller

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With the meals, I really dry them good. But the fruit can easily be dried too much. You don't want them to get brittle.

With the fruit, I've learnt to take them out when there's the slightest bit of softness in the middle. And the apples should be like leather. But you often end up with some pieces that have gotten too dry and brittle. And hopefully some will almost be a little too moist. But if you just put them all into a ziplock together, and leave them sit a few days, the moisture will even out between them all. Then you can pop them in the freezer after that.

If you over dry an entire batch of fruit, just place a slice of fresh apple in with the dried ones in the bag. The fresh one will gently moisten the over dried ones.
 
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ScubaDave

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Frig, this is some good intel!! Fully appreciate it!! About to cut up a pineapple...Mostly because I have had the "candied" dehydrated version, huge in the middle east. Those and the strawberries. These are not going to make it past probably this time tomorrow night. Im not even ashamed lol

- - - Updated - - -

Im not doing the boiling in sugar water part, just the roll in sugar part however lol
 

KTownKiller

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Looks good! You can stack 'em in much tighter also. I do three pineapple at a time that way. :kewl: Never done the sugar thing, find them plenty sweet as they are.

Also found out that the sweetest pineapple will have the golden color on the outside, instead of all green.
 
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ScubaDave

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LOL I ate two entire slices before they even made it to the dehydrator. Almost done drying now had turned it off prematurely so had to spark it back up


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stevo911

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Also looks like I'll be saving up for an MSR DragonFly. Things are $160 at MEC. I was going to buy a Jetboil but this thing looks a little more versatile? Plus I didnt like the idea of only using my jetboil cup. At least with the MSR there are options for cookware.
You won't regret it, I love my dragonfly, the only downside to the thing IMO is how loud it is. (I have an MSR whisperlite as well, I just bring that one if all I'm doing is boiling water or high heat cooking)
 
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ScubaDave

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Never even thought of that!!

- - - Updated - - -

You won't regret it, I love my dragonfly, the only downside to the thing IMO is how loud it is. (I have an MSR whisperlite as well, I just bring that one if all I'm doing is boiling water or high heat cooking)
Im not thinking I will worry too much about the noise. Im not one to really worry about those things lol. After watching a few reviews on the Dragonfly I am convinced they are the better system as compared to a jetboil. Obviously if all you want to do is boil water and eat those Mountain House meals...Jetboil isn't a horrible system and is quite compact. But for week long trips maybe longer Im thinking its Dragonfly or bust!
 

KTownKiller

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Sounds like you know what you're doing now! :good on ya: The noise is no big deal. And you'll have it turned right down most times anyway.

And, since you listen so well, burn just white gas in your new Dragonfly that you'll get for Christmas. I bet you put a few hints out already? The other fuels just crud it up, it sounds like! And white gas burns the best at high elevations and cold temps.


Great! Now I'll have to try yogurt! :Oh Yeah!:
 
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ScubaDave

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I was thinking of using JP5 or J1 hahahahaha totally kidding, that stuff is expensive as hell and JP5 is dirty lol...So by white gas you mean stuff like Naptha eh? That stuff you get in 2L cans from CT?
 
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ScubaDave

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Haven't even touched it yet lol. Daughter had one tiny slice, loved it. Now its going into ziplock's...I may have to sample it however prior hahaha
 

KTownKiller

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Remember, if some pieces are a little too dry, just let them sit in the bag a few days at room temp. They won't go bad, if people can leave them alone. LOL

I'm impressed you have such control over your daughter! :rolleyes: I can hardly keep my ladies out of the stuff! And they wonder why I bring 3 at a time! :Doh!:
 

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We've dyhdrated a fair bit. One meal we found that worked pretty good is fajitas. Chicken chunks seasoned cooked then dried along with some onions and peppers seasoned and cooked lightly. Then throw into the dehydrator. Bring a pack of flour wraps and some grated cheese. You can easily eat like a king on the trail. Moisten the ingredients in a pot on your whisperlite throw in a wrap add cheese enjoy

dont forget fresh food can last on the trail. If packed properly and care and attention are used fresh food will last quite awhile. Definitely heavier to pack and more bulky but the joy of fresh food on the trail is worth it to me.

dont forget about the condiment packs. They don't have to be kept cool. Easy to pack. Burn the garbage from them easily and usually the little packs of mayo mustard ketchup relish is exactly what you need to use. And now your not carry an open bottle of ketchup or mayo that needs to be kept cold..........I get my mayo packs from mcD's 10c each
 
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ScubaDave

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That's also a brilliant idea! Simple things like eggs, I know you can crack and throw into one of those 510ml water bottles prior to leaving and it's good to go. Fruit like a few apples and oranges fresh. I know it doesn't all have to be dehydrated, but for the first few trips, getting used to packing that weight around I want as light as I can make it.
 
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ScubaDave

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At it again! Have about half a pound of cranberries drying up now. Quite easy to do. Bring a pot of water to boil. Throw in a tablespoon of sugar per 1 cup of berries, throw in berries and boil for 2 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon into a strainer and place on trays. 9 hours from now they are going to be delicious snacks!


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