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Benen Huntley
(benen) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
My dehydration experiences on 07/13/2011 05:29:13 MDT Print View

Hi everyone!
I have had a dehydrator for a little while now and thought id share my experiences so far with you all.
I have used it a few times now for dehydrating fruit and once, this week, I attempted a couple of meals.

Ill start with fruit: I've now dried apple wedges, banana slices, kiwi fruit slices, sweet potato chips and cherry tomato halves. Over all I was very happy with them all. The apple, banana and kiwi were all amazing, really great tasting snack food. The tomatoes are good but very rich in flavour so I can only eat a few at a time. The sweet potato I sliced very very thinly (raw) and then lightly oiled (olive) and salted them. They turned out super crunchy and tasted great!

As far as meals go, I've tried two so far with 50% success. I tried a chicken and mushroom risotto and a dahl.
The risotto I simply spread out a small serve, shredded the chicken with a fork and cut the mushrooms a bit smaller i dehydrated and added hot water to rehydrate. The chicken was chewy and the sticky rice was terrible. The peas and mushrooms worked well. at least that's one plus that I can apply to another meal in the future.
The dahl (thick lentil soup for those who don't know. Despite the sound of it, can be extremely delicious) consisted of lentils, tomatoes, pumpkin, onion and a few other ingredients for flavour. I also cooked a serve of white rice.
I spread out a serve of dahl on a tray and the rice on another and dehydrated. Once complete, the dahl was a brittle plate that I broke up and blended into a fine powder, then combined with the rice.
Rehydrated, I could not taste a flavour difference between the freshly cooked meal. I was amazed. The only thing I would do different next time would be to keep the rice separate, rehydrate that first, and then add the powder as the rice was a little chewy. A definite winner that I will use regularly.
Another option that I have considered is to make the dahl with more water and thicken with chick pea flour (24% protein) for a nutrient boost.
If anyone is interested, I will post the recipe here for you to try.

I'd like to see more discussion on dehydrating meals as the forum seems very quiet in that regard even though it's a great way to save weight and enjoy good food!!

Thanks for reading

Benen

Edited by benen on 07/13/2011 05:39:18 MDT.

John Jensen
(JohnJ) - F

Locale: Orange County, CA
My dehydration experiences on 07/13/2011 05:42:44 MDT Print View

Lol, I saw "My dehydration experiences" and thought this might be from someone else who sometimes gets post-hike migraines. (not to hijack!)

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Mince on 07/13/2011 06:20:26 MDT Print View

Hi Benen,

My secret tip for dehydrating is "Mince". Really, unless you're making jerky, it's the only way to successfully dehydrate/rehydrate meat. Chicken also works really well this way, and can be cooked up in a curry or a sauce and then rehydrated. Anything larger just turns to boot leather, even with 4-5hours of soaking.

The exception to this seems to be tinned tuna, which works great. Go with large tins of brine or spring water tuna, and portion up when dry.

I'm not sure I'd worry about dehydrating the dahl, since it cooks so quick anyway, but rice can be convenient to cook first and then dehydrate, especially brown. I tend to not do white, as I find it's not that hard to start it at the beginning of cooking, and then just cozy it up for 15 minutes, and give it another hit just before serving. If you're on an open fire, 3-4 coals under a pot will keep it simmering nicely. A bit of coconut milk powder with it is good in a curry too.

Don't forget couscous either. I tend to steer away from flavoured meals, but I have found the Ainsley Harriot ones are pretty good. Add some dried shitake mushrooms and surprise peas, and you're set. Maybe some tuna if you want o increase protein.

We also dried tubs of Coles dips for our last trip. Never tried it before, but they were great. We did beetroot/mint ( fantastic!) houmos and salsa. I also tried my wife's suggestion of yoghurt. I was really skeptical, but it dried to a leather that was great to chew on as is. Really chewy though, and only sort of rehydrated okay.

Benen Huntley
(benen) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: on 07/13/2011 07:39:21 MDT Print View

Thanks for the tips. I have been meaning to try spaghetti bolognaise again. The first time I tried it I left Ig in too long and the meat went black so I just threw it away. We only hike with a little alcohol stove so I don't want to be cooking dahl, or bringing pumpkin, tomatoes and onions to cut up for it either! We're planning a two week hike for June next year so food weight will be a huge part of our packs.
Yogurt sounds interesting! I will definitely be trying tinned tuna though.

Thanks again

Benen

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Alcohol? on 07/13/2011 08:07:52 MDT Print View

Hey Benen,

Bolognese is always the kids favorite. Even if it looks overdone, it's worth trying before you toss it out. You might be surprised. I like to use roo in mine, since it's pretty lean.

You're not taking your alcohol stove on the big trip though, are you? The fuel weight starts to get a bit excessive after about 3-4 days. Gas is much more weight efficient.

Sorry, I missed your ingredient list on the dahl. Definitely better to dehydrate that one. Seriously though, watch out for anything with onions in it. Those things can be vicious when dehydrated. The farts have driven me from my own sleeping bag, let alone a shared tent. It sounds funny now, but at 11pm in sub zero temps, when you have to shake your sleeping bag out, it's not pretty!!!

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: My dehydration experiences on 07/13/2011 09:14:37 MDT Print View

Lentils work SO well it seems like cheating :-D

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: My dehydration experiences on 07/13/2011 10:35:18 MDT Print View

I buy canned garbanzo beans and dehydrate them. When I arrive in camp, I let them simmer for a minute or two in water with a dab of olive oil, then add them into whatever other dish I prepare.

If it is too warm to cook, then you can just eat the dehydrated beans the way they are.

On garbanzo beans, note that if you dehydrate them until they are mostly dry, they will grow mold over time. You have to get them 100% dry.

--B.G.--

Benen Huntley
(benen) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: on 07/13/2011 17:16:57 MDT Print View

Couscous is definitely something I will try. My wife has just discovered that she likes it and is supposed to be bringing home the recipe of what she tried (friend from work)
Is it still worth cooking the whole meal and then dehydrating it?
I did plan on taking the alcohol stove. I've read that over longer trips it works out heavier but with a 17gram stove it would surely take more than a few days to become comparable with gas? I thought that over the two weeks the difference would only be slight due to the weight of the stove and gas canisters? Something I'll have to calculate over the next year before we go I guess.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
rooos on 07/13/2011 18:40:41 MDT Print View

you need to try rooos ...

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: rooos on 07/13/2011 19:08:28 MDT Print View

"you need to try rooos ..."

Are you talking about roo jerky, or fresh?

--B.G.--

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: on 07/13/2011 20:37:03 MDT Print View

Couscous is so easy to prepare that I don't make it till meal time. It will rehydrate with cold water even.

Benen Huntley
(benen) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Re: on 07/13/2011 22:55:49 MDT Print View

Thanks Sarah. I'm really looking forward to giving it a go.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Rice on 07/14/2011 10:31:08 MDT Print View

For Rice I just by Minute Rice. Yes it is heavily processed but it is so easy to prepare. It has a little more volume then uncooked rice but I have been quite happy with its freezer bag performance.

For Canister vs Alcohol on longer trips it works out roughly the same and you have to calculate for your particular circumstance. Generally I have found that your peak weight with alcohol will be higher but your total ounce-days of wieght will be lower. It really starts to depend on your alcohol and canister stove efficiency.

For convenience a Canister cannot be beat.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: My dehydration experiences on 07/14/2011 10:37:59 MDT Print View

I love drying foods. I tend to lean, as many here know, to drying whole meals and sauces. I find that saves a lot of time at camp.

One thing I dry that you don't see very often in recipes is shredded pork. While, like chicken, it can take a bit of time to rehydrate (I use boiling water and sit the food in a cozy for about 25 - 30 minutes - sometimes a wee bit longer and then simply do a quick reheat if necessary which will depend on the cozy).

Here is a recipe for a pork dish we have often on wilderness trips... what I like about it is that we have it for supper at home and I dry the leftovers. Simply add it to couscous or rice or serve with flatbread if you don't want to fiddle with the tortillas. Here's the link...

Chipotle Pork with Toasted Tortillas

edited to add...

Speaking of lentils... I know I've posted this one several times before... but this trail salad makes a great no-cook lunch or even supper.

Citrus Lentil Salad

I also love Minestrone... this one is a different version (no pasta) but you can add tubetti noodles or other small pasta if you like.

Minestrone

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 07/14/2011 10:44:33 MDT.

Benen Huntley
(benen) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Lamb stew on 07/19/2011 04:12:17 MDT Print View

I just tried a lamb stew in the slow cooker and am very happy with the results! Everything was chopped to about the size of the kidney beans and chick peas after it cooked and it all came back very well after a few minutes of soaking. The taste was different but that was expected. I still really enjoyed it though. If meals Lee coming out this way I could easily live off of them for a couple of weeks on a trip. It will take my wife a little longer to get over the thought that I'm just adding water to dry, crunchy bits of food though. I'm sure she will enjoy it more after a trip or two on it.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Lamb stew on 07/19/2011 11:23:43 MDT Print View

Yeah, once she realizes she doesn't have to cook or clean she will come around quickly ;-)