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Dehydrating experts - need your help!
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Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Dehydrating experts - need your help! on 12/18/2013 18:16:44 MST Print View

So I made this soup and it's fabulous, would make a great hot soup for the trail in cold weather. Can I just make it, then put it in the dehydrator for a bunch of hours, and then add water to reconstitute? Would that work/would it retain the flavor/etc?

Contents of soup: yellow split peas, onion, carrots, celery, pureed tomato, wakame flakes, bay leaf, vegetable stock/broth, sacha inchi (a nut/seed), water.

How do I do this?

Edited by idester on 12/18/2013 18:18:48 MST.

Leigh Baker

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
re: Dehydrating experts on 12/18/2013 18:40:01 MST Print View

There are others here much more experience than I, but I don't see any reason given the ingredients you listed, that you couldn't dehydrate it and reconstitute as you mentioned. You didn't mention if you were talking freezer bag cooking, but if so, I personally find with things like split pea or lentil soups, I will pulse the soup in a blender before I put it in the dehydrator for more even drying. This takes the aesthetics down a notch, but I don't care about that, it tastes the same and all ends up in the same place:-). And/or after I've dehydrated the soups I might run them thru a spice grinder before packaging so they rehydrate quickly and evenly. BTW the soup sounds great!


Locale: Western Michigan
How to Dehydrate Soup on 12/18/2013 19:08:21 MST Print View

1. Prepare your soup. If you are using a canned soup, open the can. If you are making soup from scratch, prepare and cook your soup as normal, with the exception of the amount of water used. A puree consistency is preferred to an overly watery consistency.

2. Using solid tray liners or plastic wrap, drop the soup onto the tray in small circles no more than 3 inches in diameter. Keep the droplets thin, no thicker than 1/4 inch.

3. Load the trays into the dehydrator and set the temperature for 145 degrees Fahrenheit; leave them until dry. Drying time will depend on many factors, including the consistency of the soup and thickness of the soup loaded into the trays.

4. Once dry, carefully remove the dehydrated soup and place immediately into an air-tight glass container or a vacuum-sealed plastic bag.

5. When ready to eat, place soup in a bowl and add boiling water to rehydrate. Heat the soup, and add more water as needed until satisfied with the consistency.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: How to Dehydrate Soup on 12/18/2013 19:23:39 MST Print View

We measure out a meal-sized portion per sheet. We also know then, what amount of water that "portion" will require in camp. It takes a little experience to know how many cups of "wet" are going to reconstitute into the quantity you want while camping. Definitely expect to do a couple of "test runs" at home.

Depending on how stiff/brittle/sharp the dehydrated soup is, we put it in a blender and "buzz" it once or twice to 1) keep from puncturing the ziplock, and 2) shorten the re-hydration time. Just don't over do it. It's nice to have chunks and recognizable bits.

Be sure to label the finished bag with What It Is, and how much water it takes. It all tends to look the same. Plus, when we do a hearty soup for dinner we often double the batch and dehydrate half of it. So sometimes there is quite a time gap between prep and consumption.

Edited by greg23 on 12/18/2013 19:33:39 MST.

Ken Miller

Locale: Colorado
Might want to give it a flip on 12/19/2013 09:40:31 MST Print View

When using solid trays, it helps to flip the food over with a spatula at about the half way point. This will help shorten the drying time and give a better consistency.

Since your recipe is non-meat then 145 degrees is a good temperature. With added meat you will want to use 165 degrees.

Make sure you let everything cool off completely before putting in Mason jars or FoodSaver bags.

I don't worry about portion sizes until packaging. You can use MH as a guide, but generally 4 to 5 oz's is good for male adults, 3 to 4 oz's for female adults, a bit less for children.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Dehydrating experts - need your help! on 12/19/2013 10:01:37 MST Print View

Thanks for the replies all. I'll try it this weekend.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
soup on 12/19/2013 16:26:09 MST Print View

I'd add my two cents but the advice you've received is spot on!! Enjoy!

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Dehydrating experts - need your help! on 12/21/2013 07:08:47 MST Print View

Doug. My half cent is the flavor decreases. Especially with spices.
Bring a spice bag along.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Dehydrating experts - need your help! on 12/21/2013 07:51:28 MST Print View

Thanks Tim. Maybe I'll make a half batch with double the spice and see how that works!

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Dehydrating experts - follow on question on 12/22/2013 15:56:59 MST Print View

Can you over-dehydrate? What happens if you do?

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Re: Dehydrating experts - follow on question on 12/22/2013 16:05:58 MST Print View

You can, but with a good dryer it's pretty hard to do, due to low (140°) temperatures.

With something like a split pea soup or a chili, it's almost impossible.

We've forgotten things in the dryer - it's in the garage - and dried them for an extra 8 hours. No big deal.

The only consequence is ending with with a longer re-hydration time. 20 minutes instead of 15 for chili. Soups are usually instantaneous, no matter what you do, unless you are leaving really big chunks intact.

Of course, if you were dehydrating in an oven at 350° and literally baking it to a cinder...

Edited by greg23 on 12/22/2013 16:14:58 MST.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Dehydrating experts - need your help! on 12/22/2013 19:07:19 MST Print View

Thanks all. Dehydrated a batch of veggie chili today, turned out great. I'll have to play with the rehydration a bit - I didn't add quite enough water, but it still rehydrated fine and tasted great!

Appreciate all the help.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Dehydrating tip on 12/22/2013 19:22:45 MST Print View

DougIdeMonster, make sure you have some Tabasco sauce with you on the trail. Then everything will taste OK, no matter what it might taste like without it.

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
you can burn, you can't really over-dehydrate on 02/16/2014 17:57:19 MST Print View

When you dry your soup, your kitchen will be filled with a nice smell of the soup you are drying. That smell is the volatile flavors that have left the soup and are now in the air of your kitchen. When dehydrating apple juice into apple concentrate, that flavor is captured and added back into the concentrate. With your soup its gone. So yes, the soup will have less flavor after drying. How much, and will it be noticable? I don't know, give it a try.

I can't think of a way to overdry something. But you sure can burn things. With commercially dried apples, we started the air temperature at 170, but the fruit was a lot cooler than that because of evaporative cooling. As water evaporated off the fruit, it cools the fruit. Over the 4 hour drying cycle, the temperature is gradually decreased, ending at about 120. If you over dry apples, they are stiffer and crisper, which is not a bad thing. When they are drier, they have a longer shelf life, and are more resistant to molds, yeast and bacteria, because there is that much less water available to support the life of the microbes, and the sugars and acids are that much more concentrated. For drying organic apples, you need them to be stiff and hard, which is about 15% moisture, to make them shelf stable without sulphur or other preservatives.

Vegetables have to be pretty dry, like 4% moisture, so bacteria can't grow. Its pretty darn tough to get them lower than about 4%, because about that much water is tied up chemically, and just won't leave the food very easily.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
dehydrating on 03/12/2014 10:21:45 MDT Print View

I usually up the spice a little in recipes just because the taste wanes a bit... of course there are exceptions to that rule... like turmeric for some reason.

Tipi Walter
(TipiWalter) - F
Drying on 03/12/2014 12:24:06 MDT Print View

This thread is right up my alley as I've been going nuts with my 5 tray dehydrator for several years. The secret with soups OF COURSE is having as many fruit leather (silicone) sheets as you have trays.

I have prepared a full spaghetti meal at home (cooked pasta with the sauce mixed in) and dried the whole wad to fit into a one gallon ziploc bag. This provides dinners for around 9 days on the trail.

Spaghetti on the trail.

Soup 1
Butternut squash soup (store bought canned) dried.

Soup 2
Soup ready to be ziplocked for a trip.

Point is, anything you like in a can (within reason) can be dried at home for future backpacking trips. I have dried canned refried beans, chilis, cream of mushroom soup (gets oily), tomato soups in all variations, etc. I use alot of Imagine soups---


Edited by TipiWalter on 03/12/2014 12:32:08 MDT.