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Food Dehydrators
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John Rowling II
(jrowling) - F

Locale: Great Lakes Area
Food Dehydrators on 12/16/2006 15:52:24 MST Print View

I've spent a lot of time on getting my base pack weight down. Now, for the fuel. I've only done the Mountain House, freeze dried, commercial products. I would like to get a dehydration unit. Any suggestions? What are your thoughts on the commercial products -vs- noncommercial nutritional content/weight. Sorry, should have make this 2 questions. However, fire away.
John

Edited by jrowling on 12/16/2006 15:54:32 MST.

b d
(bdavis) - F

Locale: Mt. Lassen - Shasta, N. Cal.
Re: Food Dehydrators on 12/16/2006 16:25:11 MST Print View

I use a basic, low cost dehydrator (like $70 US or so), a review of it is posted and Laurie added comments and insights at the Reader Reviews, Foods - Energy Bars, etc.:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/reviews/display_reviews.html?forum_thread_id=5098

I can't speak highly enough of the fun I have had trying out dehydrating stuff. Some of it didn't work, and I didn't really read all the stuff on the Internet or in books about it. But it works and I have not killed myself with food poisoning after some 15 years of using it.

Favorites are dried beef jerky and dried tomato. Because they are expensive and you can make them yourself. Also, made dried ground beef after cooking it in a frying pan and it reconstited great.

Also, there are a lot of lower priced bulk dried food, either dehydrated, freeze dried or both, retailers on the Internet.

Here are some food ingredient sources that Laurie posted:

I don't have any sources for MRE's but here are the places I use for ingredients to make quick meals.

www.waltonfeed.com

www.justtomatoes.com

www.mec.ca (they have things like smoked wild salmon in small packages)

www.kingarthurflour.com

www.sprouting.com (okay not quick but lightweight and yummy on the trail)

www.adventurefoods.com

www.gourmethouse.com

www.survivalpro.com

www.bauly.com (they have freeze-dried meatballs!!)

And here is an old post of mine on the same topic:

FAst intro to freeze dried/dehydrated food and descriptions of common vegetable, how they reconstitute, weights before and after rehydration, cooking times, etc -- stuff seems pricey compared to the below bulk dealer:

http://waltonfeed.com/self/deh-veg.html#intro

Check out Survival Acres.

This site is blowing my mind with the bulk freeze dried food products available ... it is like a whole grocery store of already freeze dried bulk food -- of all kinds:

http://survivalacres.com/cgi-bin/quikstore.cgi?template=menu&search=yes&keywords=Corn

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Food Dehydrators on 12/16/2006 16:40:45 MST Print View

I use a 500 watt Nesco American Harvester dehydrator with 6 trays in it. Read the reviews as the one I have is pretty similar.

If you want an efficient and fast dehydrator, get one with a fan. The fan is what does most of the work in dehydrating. Yes you can dehydrate in the sun or in the oven but it will take twice as long because of a lack of air circulation.

John Rowling II
(jrowling) - F

Locale: Great Lakes Area
Dehydrators. on 12/16/2006 17:19:48 MST Print View

Boy... did I come to the right forum. Thanks for the info! John

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: Dehydrators. on 12/16/2006 18:10:33 MST Print View

John,

If you want a brilliant dehydrator go for the Nesco FD 75PR or their outdoors line, Open Country. Both are 700 watt models and are absolutely wonderful.

If you have any questions about dehydrators or dehydrating at all - I will do what I can to help. I should also mention that I don't work for Nesco and that both the Ronco and Mr. Coffee dehydrators I had a few years back were crap.

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 12/16/2006 18:14:21 MST.

John Rowling II
(jrowling) - F

Locale: Great Lakes Area
Re: Re: Dehydrators. on 12/17/2006 04:51:33 MST Print View

Laurie and Sam, you both mentioned a particular model. I would like to get one that could do both jerky and veggies/fruit. Here is NESCO link. Which one would you guys buy.

http://www.nesco.com/products/?category=300&subcat=100#100

John

Edited by jrowling on 12/17/2006 04:53:33 MST.

John Rowling II
(jrowling) - F

Locale: Great Lakes Area
Back again! on 12/17/2006 05:11:27 MST Print View

I had a chance to follow BD's link and do some exploring. I see you guys bring alot of experience, talent and knowledge to the table. I'm very excited about dehydrating and look forward to your recommendations.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: Back again! on 12/17/2006 05:45:39 MST Print View

John,

Nesco does sell the model I reviewed and highly recommend (FD 75PR) but not on their site for some reason. I'm sure if you called them they could do a phone order or direct you to a retailer. The FD 75PR (to my knowledge) only came out middle of this year. I know I was the first to get a bulk shipment in Canada (I ordered about 40 of them and will be doing so again in March - you couldn't move in our house for dehydrators - lol). Anyway you can buy the model online (Canadian source) at www.LondonDrugs.ca if that helps.

Anyway make sure that whatever model you do get is at least 500 watts (although I'd go for the full 700 watts myself). Also be sure that you can expand whatever model you buy to at least 8 trays and never run your dehydrator with less than 4 trays - even if 3 of them are empty. That way you get the proper air flow.

I should also say that the model I had reviewed has been running almost non-stop since it arrived here last spring. The only time it wasn't running was when we were on vacation or out testing recipes in the backwoods. These past few weeks it has been running about 20 hours a day. Because of my career it gets 20 times the use that the average person would give it.

You will be able to do both fruit and jerky in a food dehydrator. You can even do both in a dehydrator that doesn't have a temp control. I did it that way for years even in my oven. But just don't stop at fruit and jerky. You can dry dips, spreads, veggies, full casseroles, stews, chilli, fillings for wraps, coleslaw, sauces and all sorts of other wonderful things with your dehydrator... even some types of cheese. Once you get going with it you'll be drying all sorts of things, saving money and having really delicious meals out there.

A proper dehydrator saves hassles, time and money for sure. The FD 75PR is about $89.00 Canadian and worth every cent. There are 3 in our backpacking/paddling family and we probably saved that on the first 9 day trip of the year.

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 12/17/2006 05:55:32 MST.

Mike Lancaster
(mountainmanmike) - F

Locale: Central California
Dehydrator on 05/11/2007 20:53:09 MDT Print View

This might sound goofy, but I a big Food Network fan and I saw a great episode of Good Eats which features making jerky.

Previously I had tossed the meat in the freezer for a couple of hours to get it to firm up, slice it very thin, marinate it overnight, then place on a roasting rack at the lowest setting my oven goes to, proping the door slightly ajar and letting it bake for about 12 hours. This works very well, but with summer upon us, my kitchen does not need the additional heat, nor do I need the added energy bill.

Alton Brown, the host of Good Eats uses pleated paper air filters, just like the ones you use for your air intake system for your home heating/air conditioning system. Simply prepare the meat as above and place in the folds of the paper filter, stacking as many as five filters with the outside one empty. Then bungie cord the stack of filters to the outward portion of a box style fan and crank the sucker up. Cool dry air seems to work the best for dehydration as opposed to hot air. Just be sure to use the set of filters for the one purpose and you are in.

I am planning to experiment with vegetables for the 67 miles trip up Mt. Whitney this summer.

I hope this tip is helpful,

Mountainman Mike

Coin Page
(Page0018) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern USA
Re: Dehydrator on 05/13/2007 10:45:24 MDT Print View

I'm very happy with my Excalibur 10 tray model, but its pricey. I don't think you really need the timer - I want the dehydrator to run until I get back to it, so the food (fruits especially) don't start reabsorbing water before I get a chance to bag them. Very sturdy and easy to clean. The 10 tray model is worth the extra cost, for doing production runs of fruits in season. (I give away peaches dried in summer as winter holiday gifts.) Good luck!

James Pitts
(jjpitts) - F

Locale: Midwest US
Re: Dehydrator on 05/13/2007 10:54:06 MDT Print View

I L-O-V-E LOVE my dehydrator. It's not fancy (I got it at WalMart) but it changed the way I eat in the backcountry. As far as veggies go I take the lazy route. I go to the grocery store and purchase frozen veggies. I put these on the tray still frozen and they dry out really well. No slicing, etc. Very convenient and the results are excellent. I make a beef-stew and a Thai curried chicken that use carrots and the carrots I dehydrated taste soooo good. They don't rehydrate to original size but remain tender and very, very tasty.

Another favorite of mine is spaghatti with ground meat.

I cook the pasta and then dehydrate it (generally bowties). Then I just add hot water to rehydrate it (no boiling). The pasta re hydrates perfectly. It's shocking.

I fry up the ground meat and rinse it in a strainer. Then I dehydrate it until it comes out like BBs. I toss this in with the pasta to rehydrate and it turns out GREAT.

The I take a jar of my favorite pasta sauce and dump it on the "fruit leather" tray. It dehydrates down to a "fruit leather" of pasta sauce. I generally have to flip it to get the bottom totally dry. Then I break this up, freeze it, and then "crunch" it up into a fine powder. Sometimes I'll put this in a blender to get it into a powder. After the pasta and meat have re hydrated I jump the sauce powder into the bag (using the same water), add some additional water to get the consistency I want, and chow down.

I add red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese... single serving quantities I poach from Pizza Hut... :)

Very yummy!

Edited by jjpitts on 05/13/2007 10:55:06 MDT.