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Directions for dehydration
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Kyle Purcell
(dufus934) - F

Locale: North Texas
Directions for dehydration on 11/05/2007 09:52:59 MST Print View

Just wondering if there are any NO-NO's to dehydrating. Are there any foods that don't dehydrate well? I'm also a huge meat eater (please don't hate me vegitarians!) and want to be able to take that on the trail without having to drop 6-8 bucks on mountain house or the like. Are there any meats that don't dehydrate and translate to the trail very well? Thanks so much; look forward to hearing ideas!

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: Directions for dehydration on 11/05/2007 11:39:03 MST Print View

ah a fellow meatarian (I used to be a vegetarian - long story)

meat should be dried at 155ºF or above

sour cream and and cottage cheese don't dry well unless they are a secondary ingredient in a complete meal (say beef stroganoff)

keep your meat pieces small

if you dry sausage or ground beef you should fry it then rinse it and continue the frying followed by rinsing until you have eliminated much of the fat

eggs do not dehydrate well

I like to dehydrate leftover stews, chilis and sauces - works really well

if you have other questions please let me know - I've written a book (being published by Wilderness Press) on this subject so I am well aquainted with dehydration. you'll probably get some neat answers and ideas from other members of BPL too.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Directions for dehydration on 11/05/2007 11:59:59 MST Print View

My reading has informed me NOT to dehydrate eggs, milk or pork. Why I do not know but I have had no problem making numerous delicious meals without those ingredients so I've researched it no further.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
food dehydration on 11/05/2007 12:04:20 MST Print View

I've done many pork dishes without issue - I do fully cook the pork first. I've also dried dishes where milk was a minor ingredient.

Eggs - well that just didn't work out (aside from the risk of bacteria). Like you Sam, I don't often use eggs in cooking dinners so it isn't a big deal and you can buy really good powdered and scrambled egg mix from if one must have eggs.

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 11/05/2007 12:06:47 MST.

Abdulaziz Al-Arfaj
(aalarfaj) - MLife

Locale: Northern MN
can you Recommend a good dehydrator? on 11/05/2007 14:38:01 MST Print View

I have been looking around for dehydrator for a while now but am a little scared to pull the trigger and buy one without any input. I have seen many that are cheap and look as thou they will not last, and would rather buy something that will last but doesn't break the bank. Any recommendations?

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: can you Recommend a good dehydrator? on 11/05/2007 16:29:14 MST Print View

Hi Abdulaziz,

I highly recommend the Nesco American Harvest FD 75PR - you can read my review on it here...

edited to add... I've been running this unit for almost 2 years now. I just finished a 312 page cookbook using that unit as my primary dehydration source. Each recipe was tested 3 times (keep in mind not all my recipes use a dehydrator though).

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 11/05/2007 16:31:52 MST.

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Dehydrator on 11/05/2007 16:52:41 MST Print View

Laurie - does your new book focus on how to dehydrate food, or does it contain recipes using dehydrated food that you happen to have dehydrated yourself? Right now my favorite dehydrator is They do such a good job that I'd rather just buy their stuff than incinerate perfectly good food myself.

Edited by rosierabbit on 11/05/2007 16:53:13 MST.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: Dehydrator on 11/05/2007 17:58:32 MST Print View

Hi Kathleen,

It contains a combination but for the most part recipes that are cooked at home and then dried. That way, while out on the trail, you basically just rehydrate, heat and eat. It makes it so simple at camp.

I'm Canadian and for the most part it isn't cost-effective for me to buy Harmony House and such because of the shipping costs although I have heard great things about their products.

edited to add: I forgot to mention that there is a lot of information on drying techniques and other food related considerations. Some of the recipes (there are over 200) are centered around foods you dehydrate yourself.

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 11/05/2007 18:01:28 MST.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
FD-75PR thumbs up on 11/05/2007 19:23:59 MST Print View

It took me a while to find a good bargain, but I ordered a Nesco American Harvest FD-75PR 700-Watt Food Dehydrator in April 2007 from cost for about $55 with free shipping. Later added 7 more trays.

I'm still learning and eventually want to make all my trail meals for nutritional value and just plain coolness. I've mastered pasta and black beans. Sarah's book and website has been helpful (

Laurie - I want to buy your book. How do I get it?

Damien Tougas
(dtougas) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Gaspé Peninsula
Excalibur on 11/05/2007 19:45:49 MST Print View

If you are looking for a serious, bomb-proof dehydrator then nothing beats Excalibur ( These things are fully serviceable as well which means that if a component dies on you, you can order just the part that failed and fix it yourself. Another great feature they have is the fact that the heater/fan blows from the side instead of the bottom which allows for more even drying. We just bought the 5-tray model after borrowing our friends 9-tray version for the summer and we love it.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Directions for Dehydration on 11/06/2007 01:47:37 MST Print View

I love Sarah's book, but for dehydrating for the outdoors I find that "Trail Food: Drying and Cooking Food for Backpacking and Paddling" by Alan S. Kesselheim to be the best. Does a good job at telling you how to get started with dehydrating and giving various recipes.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
dehydration and books on 11/06/2007 07:03:30 MST Print View

Hi George,

Hopefully I don't get in trouble for posting this here... the book isn't being released until January 15th but is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for pre-order (I think Amazon has the better price). The title is A Fork in the Trail and the publisher is Wilderness Press. It should come up in a search on

Thanks for asking about it.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: Excalibur on 11/06/2007 07:08:12 MST Print View


I've heard good things about Excalibur and borrowed a friends to try. It was a cost thing for me... that said the 9 tray version looks like a great model.

You bring up a good point about the fan setup. I usually recommmend a top or side fan. The Nesco FD 75PR blows from the top and works very well. I'm not a big fan (bad pun) of the bottom fan models although my old FD 50 is still going strong.

Jan Stiff
( - F
recommendations on a dehydrator on 11/26/2007 20:38:15 MST Print View

Someone asked for comments on what dehydrator to buy. I have had 10 years of good service from a RONCO dehydrator that I bought for $5-$10 new back then. It is just now beginning to wear out. It might also be a choice, although I have no idea what they cost nowadays.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
update for George on 12/21/2007 09:49:29 MST Print View

George - just wanted to let you know that A Fork in the Trail is now available for purchase (no longer pre-order) at

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: update for George on 12/21/2007 12:03:50 MST Print View

In stock and I just ordered...

Fork in the Trail: Mouthwatering Meals and Delectable Delights for the Backcountry

What a title! I got hungry while I was ordering.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
thanks on 12/26/2007 21:31:15 MST Print View

awww thanks George - I hope you like it

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Excalibur on 12/27/2007 17:56:06 MST Print View

Hi Laurie,
I will second Damien's recommendation. They are bombproof,
efficient, and durable. I've been using the 5 tray model for 9 years now to dry tomatoes, plums, peppers, apples, and pears from my garden, and it is still humming along. Pretty cost effective, I'd say.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
dehydrator on 12/28/2007 08:50:45 MST Print View

thanks Tom... but really hard to justify to my darling hubby when the Nesco models I have work perfectly fine... he'd have a fit... lol.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
A Fork in the Trail on 12/28/2007 13:43:40 MST Print View

Just received 'A Fork in the Trail' today.

I really like the easy to follow format and the comprehensive how-to tips. Perfect for my needs and I'm sure many here at BPL.

There are many great looking recipes and pictures. Will try something after I make up my mind.

It's going to be a best seller for sure!