Author Topic: Food Dehydrators  (Read 9087 times)

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Offline WoodsWoman

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Food Dehydrators
« on: February 20, 2012, 08:56:28 PM »
I'm just curious to know how many here have one and either use it or would like to use it?

WW.
On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good.

Offline rogumpogum

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2012, 09:18:49 PM »
I have a basic Nesco variety dehydrator. It's... "okay." I want to get a nice Excalibur one with the drawers, as I love to make jerky and dried fruit. I want to get into making my own dehydrated backpacking meals ? la the Hungry Hammock Hanger (the man makes backpacking food look wonderful!):
"My common sense is tingling..."

Offline WoodsWoman

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2012, 09:33:48 PM »
shoot.. youtube is out for me.   

But yes.. I thought it would be fun to start doing up meals for bushcrafting in here. 

I've been drying onions, celery and gr. peppers.    I have plans on doing many more veggies and then putting 'soups' together for outdoor cooking.
 
Dried fruits for dessert 'packets'.

WW.
On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good.

Offline Moe M.

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2012, 07:53:54 AM »
 I also have a basic model,  it's round with a series of inserts that fit one on top of the other,  I haven't used it in years,  it's very loud when it's running,  maybe the newer models or more expensive one are better and quieter.

 I have made dried fruit and dried meats (jerky) in my oven at the lowest settings and it's done ok,  though I imagine that the cost of running the oven is more than that of a dehydrator.

 I tried several recipes for powdered eggs,  the couple of times that I've tried to buy them every one is always sold out,  for me eggs are a must have food,  so it would make sense to stock some in the reserve pantry,  and they'ed be great for bushwacking.
 But each time I tried they came out gritty and wouldn't reconstitute like the real factory processed stuff,  and they smelled like crap.

 If you have any tips on making powdered or dried eggs,  I'm listening.
 
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Offline Mr. Tettnanger

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2012, 08:04:34 AM »
I have one!

I am a beef jerky making fool with ours! I haven't made anything else. I should experiment with it more but cleaning it is a PIA!

Offline Wood Trekker

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2012, 01:37:41 PM »
I have the cheapest one I could find. It works fine. Here is some dehydrating I did: http://woodtrekker.blogspot.com/2012/01/cheap-lightweight-backpacking-food-part.html

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2012, 02:38:51 PM »
...
 I tried several recipes for powdered eggs,  the couple of times that I've tried to buy them every one is always sold out,  for me eggs are a must have food,  so it would make sense to stock some in the reserve pantry,  and they'ed be great for bushwacking.
 But each time I tried they came out gritty and wouldn't reconstitute like the real factory processed stuff,  and they smelled like crap.

 If you have any tips on making powdered or dried eggs,  I'm listening.

I have a "Press-Air-Izer" made by American Harvest years ago. It has a thermostat range of 80F degrees to 165F, so it's safe for both herbs and jerky. The air blows across the trays, rather than just up through them. We've used this unit constantly for about 18 years, and I have replaced the thermostat once on it about 5 years ago.

As for the eggs, I did a tutorial on drying eggs, and a critique of re-hydrating them in two separate threads on another website. If you missed it, or want it posted here, I'd be glad to do so.
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Offline Kep

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2012, 02:46:54 PM »
I have a simple 5 tray one that cost me $50.00, works a treat, ive saved food from the garden, beans, peppers, tomato's, apples, plums, ive also made meals specifically to dehydrate which are then placed into storage, we also tend to save any left overs from dinner, specifically, rice & pasta dishes, rather than keep 1/3 bag of egg pasta that will never get used, we will cook the whole lot up and then dehydrate the excess and place it in the food store.

All of the dehydrated meals we use when we go out and about on the trail, ive got some scrambled egg at the moment that is 8 months old, looks and smells fine, im waiting for it to get to a year before i rehydrate it and try it, i will know straight away if it has gone off.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2012, 05:30:43 PM »
Thinking about how some things "come back" from dehydrating reminded me of the chicken noodle soup my wife made a couple weeks ago.  When commenting on how good it was, I said, "I thought we were out of carrots."
She tells me, "Those are the ones you dehydrated." I could have sworn they were fresh!

We got a 10 pound bulk bag of carrots last fall, and I filled up 16 dehydrator trays with 1/4" rounds. Vacuum sealed them in Mason jars and forgot about them. She got into one jar to test them out, I guess.

BTW, mushrooms come back just as well as the carrots.  Green peppers, too!

Don't bother walking a mile in my shoes. That would be boring. Try spending 30 seconds in my head. That will freak you right out!!

Offline WoodsWoman

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2012, 07:05:23 PM »
I've had pretty good luck with everything coming back .. especially if cooked in a soup.   

The one jar of green beans was iffy on rehydrating.   Meaning they stayed kinda leathery and I know the problem was late season beans and they sat for two days with ends cut before I could dehydrate them. 

With some carrots.. the super small ones I chopped them up fine in a food processor and then dried them.   I used those up in muffins, breads, and meatloaf type burgers.   Oh and in the chili's. :)   

What meal mixes have you guys done in the past ?   What did you use for soup base flavor if you did use some?

WW.
On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2012, 07:29:10 PM »
I've had pretty good luck with everything coming back .. especially if cooked in a soup.   

The one jar of green beans was iffy on rehydrating.   Meaning they stayed kinda leathery and I know the problem was late season beans and they sat for two days with ends cut before I could dehydrate them. 
It's often preferable to partially cook certain foods before drying. Beans are one.
Anything hard, or semi-hard should be steamed or blanched for 2-5 minutes, drained and then dried. The blanching/steaming not only softens the food making re-hydrating work better, but also kills bacteria.

If you're just getting into drying food, this is the best book you could buy, IMO.

http://www.amazon.com/How-Dry-Foods-Deanna-Delong/dp/1557884978/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329877506&sr=8-1

Don't bother walking a mile in my shoes. That would be boring. Try spending 30 seconds in my head. That will freak you right out!!

Offline WoodsWoman

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2012, 08:49:30 PM »
Oh no.. I'm not new to this at all.  20 years off and on. :)    I have the other book...  green one.. darn I cant think of her name and I cant get the book with hubby sleepin.   Mary Bell?   She also has a jerky making book out too.

I have fun buying the 1.00 frozen veggie bags at Walmart and letting them thaw out.  Toss on the dehydrator sheets and dry them.  Quick and less messy.  :)

WW.
On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2012, 08:54:04 PM »
Cool! A lot more reliable than depending upon the freezer.
Don't bother walking a mile in my shoes. That would be boring. Try spending 30 seconds in my head. That will freak you right out!!

Offline WoodsWoman

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2012, 09:15:10 PM »
OP.. I know you folks do alot of Apples..   what kind of recipes do you use them in?  And do you do other fruits?

WW.
On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2012, 09:37:12 PM »
OP.. I know you folks do alot of Apples..   what kind of recipes do you use them in?  And do you do other fruits?

WW.
We mainly do apple rings. Peel, core and then slice the apples about 1/4" thick. I use a Borner V slicer for cutting. Saves an amazing amount of time. I drop the apples in water with about 1/2 cu lemon juice per 2 gal water to keep them from browning. The rings get 165 degrees for 2 hours, then 110 degrees until pliable, but not brittle.

I also do prunes by halving and pitting the Italian plums.

Oh, yeah...and pitted cherries.
Don't bother walking a mile in my shoes. That would be boring. Try spending 30 seconds in my head. That will freak you right out!!

Offline MATT CHAOS

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2012, 08:58:23 AM »
I haven't had a dehydrator in several years.  When I did have one, I made jerky, dried fruit and pretty much anything else that I thought I could get away with dehydrating.  I think I need to get one again. 
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Offline Dano

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2012, 12:44:35 PM »
I've got a really basic one but have not messed with it yet.  One meal I'd like to do is spaghetti and meat sauce.   It would be awesome to open a bag, add some water and cook it back when in the woods.  I LOVE spaghetti!!

I've done jerky in the oven but would like to try it in the dehydrator.

I get a kick out of hamburger being called "gravel"....pour out a cup of gravel, add a cup of water....LOL

Offline MATT CHAOS

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #17 on: February 29, 2012, 11:29:17 AM »
I was pricing them out the other day at Cabelas and the type that I had before is now $75.00.  That seams expensive to me.  Does anyone have any recommendations where I can get a decent for cheaper?
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #18 on: February 29, 2012, 11:40:45 AM »
I was pricing them out the other day at Cabelas and the type that I had before is now $75.00.  That seams expensive to me.  Does anyone have any recommendations where I can get a decent for cheaper?
With dehydrators, there doesn't seem to be such a thing as "cheap" and "good". Mine ran about $200 twenty years ago.  The two brands I would be looking at are American Harvest, and Garden Master. There are some others (e.g., Cabela's) that are larger and square, and I'm sure are great, but very pricey.
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Offline WoodsWoman

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #19 on: February 29, 2012, 11:49:47 AM »
Hi Matt,   I have an older style American Harvester,  the round one with the motor on the bottom.    I found this at the Walmart site.   If I purchase another it would be this one.   More room on the inside.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Nesco-American-Harvest-Square-Dehydrator-FD-80/10982699

Do try to find one with a temperture control.  Some things need heat while drying.  :)

I also have a 20.00 one with out heat control that I use for garlic and onions.. and I use it OUTSIDE.   Those two things stink up a house and trays something awful. 

WW.
On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #20 on: February 29, 2012, 11:56:48 AM »
I see by that link that most units will take up to 8 trays (sets of 4 bought separately). The old beast I have supposedly can handle 36 trays! Eek!!! My normal batch of apple rings, jerky, etc. is 8 trays, but having at least another 4 (total of 12) would make life easier.
Don't bother walking a mile in my shoes. That would be boring. Try spending 30 seconds in my head. That will freak you right out!!

Offline WoodsWoman

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #21 on: February 29, 2012, 12:04:34 PM »
OP.    I seen that too..  only four trays.   When I bought mine I picked up an extra set of trays.   I have 12 for mine.   I do have to manually rotate them to get even drying.  But shucks..that only takes a few mins.

36 trays.. hokey...   no messing around there.  :)

WW. 
On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good.

Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: Food Dehydrators
« Reply #22 on: February 29, 2012, 12:11:21 PM »
OP.    I seen that too..  only four trays.   When I bought mine I picked up an extra set of trays.   I have 12 for mine.   I do have to manually rotate them to get even drying.  But shucks..that only takes a few mins.

36 trays.. hokey...   no messing around there:)

WW.
Yeah, I got a real kick out of the picture of one fully loaded! I've never had to rotate the trays on mine, and I only run the fan about 1/3 of max with 8 trays.
Don't bother walking a mile in my shoes. That would be boring. Try spending 30 seconds in my head. That will freak you right out!!