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Last Visit: 12/22/2014 09:23PM
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ripple  
distinguished member(987)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
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12/30/2010 06:38PM
 
Almost anything you would make for a family meal can be dehydrated- really it is SOOO easy and SOOO much cheaper than any of the premade stuff you can buy. After many years of camping and hiking- I have determined that carrying lots of ingredients to make spectacular meals in the woods is:
- a pain in the neck, literally and figuratively, because they WEIGH A LOT

Dehydrated meals make life easier in so many ways:
1) Dehydrated food packs so much more efficiently, especially in the bear vault.
2) With the dehydrated food vacuum packed in individual servings, then carried in the bear vault, there is NO food odor which makes you more bear resistant.
3) After a long day of paddling and portaging- it is time to eat dinner NO ONE wants to wait for a good meal- dehydrated meals are super quick to heat and eat.
4) Cleaning up tons of pots and utensils from trying to create a great meal from scratch- ruins a good time relaxing after eating- dehydrated meals make clean up very easy.
5) Provisioning food for the trip takes lots of time and effort, but pulling premade meals out of storage and packing them is EASY!

If you spend any amount of time in the woods it is very worth investing in a good dehydrator. This is what I bought years ago-
Excalibur Food Dehydrator

The basic format is to make your meal, keep the ingredients small, spread the meal out on the dehydrator trays, dry it out for as many hours as it takes to make it completely dry. You often have to turn the food over and break it up slightly to make it dry completely. Put the dried food in zip lock bags. Use the snack sized zip lock bag for 1 portion or my husband can eat a sandwich sized portion. I like the vacuum sealer next- the bags get REALLY small and all the air is gone. Getting all the air out is important to keeping the food from contamination. Then just to bullet proof the whole thing- I put everything in the deep freezer. Dating and identifying the package helps in knowing what you have.

When you are in the woods- to make the meal you can do a couple of things- either boil or soak the dehydrated food to rehydrate. Either way- for soups add enough water to have all of the dried food very well covered and then a good inch above the dried food in the pot. If it is a stew or a pasta dish- just keep the dried food barely covered.

It takes a good amount of time to rehydrate if the water is cold- faster if the water is warm. If the water is cold it and it is cold outside- it can take hours to really rehydrate well. If the water is warm or boiling it still can take up to 90 min to fully rehydrate meats. I have found that this wastes a lot of fuel and is a frustrating wait when everyone is hungry. I think it is the reason most people who have tried to dehydrate give up- because the food stays crunchy!

The best technique we have developed is to choose our meal in the morning,have the food out and ready to go and at the top of the pack when we head out in the morning, finally somewhere around lunch we put the dehydrated food in this
add water and leave it in the pack for the rest of the day. When it's time to make dinner- the stuff barely needs heating and is well hydrated. Then you can eat out of the jar- keeping less to clean up too.


Ripple in still water....
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Amok  
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12/30/2010 07:23PM
 
Thanks Ripple. I'm one of those guys who likes the taste of 'real food' but hasn't tried much of dehydrated anything yet. what i have tried has been McYUcky! totally dried, crusty, hard meat or rubbery meat ... not appetizing at all. and I like BEEF.


so... i may try this and see what happens. seems easy enough! and it would lighten my pack quite a bit, i'm the guy who wants to bring ComPLEATS with me. hahahaa. at 10-12 oz. or more per person, it gets heavy! fast!


Trust, but verify. The Lord will provide !!!!
ripple  
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12/30/2010 07:41PM
 
quote Amok: "Thanks Ripple. I'm one of those guys who likes the taste of 'real food' but hasn't tried much of dehydrated anything yet. what i have tried has been McYUcky! totally dried, crusty, hard meat or rubbery meat ... not appetizing at all. and I like BEEF.



so... i may try this and see what happens. seems easy enough! and it would lighten my pack quite a bit, i'm the guy who wants to bring ComPLEATS with me. hahahaa. at 10-12 oz. or more per person, it gets heavy! fast!"



My husband really likes meat in the woods too. Try the Beef Stew recipe that I posted in the main meals- this is one of his favorites.


Ripple in still water....
nojobro  
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01/04/2011 08:56AM
 
Thanks, Ripple...can't wait to have the space at home to get a really good dehydrator! Hopefully we'll be moving in the next year or so...
ripple  
distinguished member(987)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
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01/04/2011 09:22AM
 
quote nojobro: "Thanks, Ripple...can't wait to have the space at home to get a really good dehydrator! Hopefully we'll be moving in the next year or so..."


I know- my "kitchen gadget" disease has really created a storage issue for us too!


The dehydrator I have does really take up a lot of room- kind of a big cumbersome box! But I keep it in a big garbage bag inside the original box in the garage- then drag it out when I have cooked big meals. It winds up sitting in the dining room for the couple of days that it takes to complete the project


Ripple in still water....
ripple  
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01/06/2011 04:24PM
 
I think I have unloaded my entire recipe file of main meals now!


Most of the recipes are pretty easy- though some just take time.


Unfortunately having raised a family of 5 children- the recipes are all large volumes! I don't yet know how to cook for less than an army.


All of the meals are family favorites- kid and picky eater approved. The main trick to any of the dehydrating is going to be keeping the pieces small and the meats all cooked until they are practically falling apart.


Rehydrating is really just allowing the food to absorb the liquid- which can really take longer than you think. Try the trick of putting it in the twist top container and you won't have crunchy food.

If anyone is really interested- I can do a photo shoot and post the next time I do my dehydrating.

Feel free to email any questions!


Ripple in still water....
gutmon  
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01/06/2011 05:56PM
 
thanks ripple, great stuff!
ripple  
distinguished member(987)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
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01/11/2011 07:42PM
 
Make some food... Chili is great




Spread the food thinly onto the dehydrator sheets




Put it in the dehydrator over night




Dehydrated Chili!!






Snack sized zip lock= about 1 serving




Suck out the air in the Food Saver...





Label, date, put in the freezer... Take to the BWCA!!!!



Ripple in still water....
Pikehunter  
senior member (86)senior membersenior member
Photo Journal
01/11/2011 08:56PM
 
Ripple
I just bought the Excaliber 3900
I dried some fruit last weekend.
It works soooo much better than the old round dehydrator I had.
Jerky this coming weekend or some massive amounts of hashbrown potatoes - not sure which yet.


Our food pack will be tremendously lighter this year.


Pikehunter
still searching for the 50 incher.
Savage Voyageur  
distinguished member(9003)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
Photo Journal Current Donor Gear Reviews
01/11/2011 09:10PM
 
quote Pikehunter: "Ripple
I just bought the Excaliber 3900
I dried some fruit last weekend.
It works soooo much better than the old round dehydrator I had.
Jerky this coming weekend or some massive amounts of hashbrown potatoes - not sure which yet.



Our food pack will be tremendously lighter this year.



Pikehunter
still searching for the 50 incher."





My back will thank you in June for lightening the load. Oh wait we don't have the food pack do we, the new guys do, haha


"So many lakes, so little time."
nojobro  
distinguished member(6659)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
2 trip report(s) Photo Journal Past Donor
01/12/2011 08:52AM
 
Ripple, where did you get those jars?


Do you rehydrate with cold water? Frankly I worry about letting it sit in water all day; I'm be concered about bacterial growth. Apparently that has not been a problem for you. ;-)


Nola
ripple  
distinguished member(987)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
1 trip report(s) Photo Journal Past Donor Gear Reviews
01/12/2011 12:02PM
 
quote nojobro: "Ripple, where did you get those jars?



Do you rehydrate with cold water? Frankly I worry about letting it sit in water all day; I'm be concered about bacterial growth. Apparently that has not been a problem for you. ;-)



Nola "



I get the jars at my grocery store (Jewel here in Illinois) but I have seen them at Target, Walmart etc... They are made by ZipLock.

We use cold water and have let it sit for up to 4 hours in the pack. Never had a problem in 5 years of dehydrating, rehydrating- all weather etc...

Because the hot cooked through food- is dehydrated at 145 degrees, vacuum sealed, and then put in the deep freezer- the bacteria level is pretty low to begin with.

When the dehydrated food is opened, it is instantly sealed in the jar with filtered water- not open to the air- again the bacteria level is likely to be low. The pack temps, depending on the time of year, are likely to be relatively cool. It also helps that it is dark.

Finally, when you go to eat the food, it is heated all the way through- boiled for nearly the 10 min necessary to make it sterile really.

The evidence on food safety is that this is pretty likely to keep bacteria levels way down. I think it is a pretty safe process and I'm kind of a food freak. Though I also believe we have stomach acids for a reason!

This link had lots of info regarding dehydration and the lack of bacteria.
How to Dehydrate Food

This link had good info about rehydrating-
Rehydration Chart

Finally- I liked this link regarding food safety in the woods. It confirms that you probably don't want to leave the food in the container for longer than 2 hours if you were then going to eat the food without the final cooking part of the process.
Food Safety in the Woods


Ripple in still water....
ripple  
distinguished member(987)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
1 trip report(s) Photo Journal Past Donor Gear Reviews
01/12/2011 01:15PM
 
quote Pikehunter: "Ripple
I just bought the Excaliber 3900
I dried some fruit last weekend.
It works soooo much better than the old round dehydrator I had.
Jerky this coming weekend or some massive amounts of hashbrown potatoes - not sure which yet.



Our food pack will be tremendously lighter this year.



Pikehunter
still searching for the 50 incher."

I would have loved the timer part of the dehydrator that yours has!! But my dehydrator is 5 years old and has no signs of dying- so I will just have to live without the sexy extras...

Try dehydrating a main meal you like and you will REALLY love the dehydrator!
So easy to do, light weight in the pack, and very yummy in the woods- so many wins!


Ripple in still water....
inspector13  
distinguished member(2801)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
1 trip report(s) Photo Journal Current Donor
01/12/2011 05:05PM
 

Thanks ripple! As a frozen lunchtime meal preparer and one who dehydrates veggies, I really appreciate these posts. I will have to try the whole meal dehydrating when I get a better system. In the mean time I am going to try your version of shepherd’s pie. My version has French cut beans as a layer. We’ll see if the coworkers come drooling around my cube at lunch time. : )


deepwood  
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Photo Journal Past Donor Gear Reviews
01/12/2011 05:28PM
 
maybe a stupid question, but is it possible to over-dehydrate your food if its left in at that temp for to long?


If at first you don't succeed, you're obiviously not Chuck Norris!
ripple  
distinguished member(987)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
1 trip report(s) Photo Journal Past Donor Gear Reviews
01/12/2011 06:02PM
 
quote deepwood: "maybe a stupid question, but is it possible to over-dehydrate your food if its left in at that temp for to long?"


The only bad experience I have had is with anything tomato based- spagetti, chili etc...
If I leave it too long it has a funny burned taste when I rehydrate.


Ripple in still water....
Pikehunter  
senior member (86)senior membersenior member
Photo Journal
01/13/2011 02:39AM
 
quote ripple: "quote Pikehunter: "Ripple
I just bought the Excaliber 3900
I dried some fruit last weekend.
It works soooo much better than the old round dehydrator I had.
Jerky this coming weekend or some massive amounts of hashbrown potatoes - not sure which yet.




Our food pack will be tremendously lighter this year.




Pikehunter
still searching for the 50 incher."

I would have loved the timer part of the dehydrator that yours has!! But my dehydrator is 5 years old and has no signs of dying- so I will just have to live without the sexy extras...


Try dehydrating a main meal you like and you will REALLY love the dehydrator!
So easy to do, light weight in the pack, and very yummy in the woods- so many wins!"



I did not get the one with the timer. I am using the timer my wife uses for her Christmas lights and just plug the machine into that.
ripple  
distinguished member(987)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
1 trip report(s) Photo Journal Past Donor Gear Reviews
01/18/2011 08:31AM
 
quote Pikehunter: "quote ripple: "quote Pikehunter: "Ripple
I just bought the Excaliber 3900
I dried some fruit last weekend.
It works soooo much better than the old round dehydrator I had.
Jerky this coming weekend or some massive amounts of hashbrown potatoes - not sure which yet.





Our food pack will be tremendously lighter this year.





Pikehunter
still searching for the 50 incher."

I would have loved the timer part of the dehydrator that yours has!! But my dehydrator is 5 years old and has no signs of dying- so I will just have to live without the sexy extras...



Try dehydrating a main meal you like and you will REALLY love the dehydrator!
So easy to do, light weight in the pack, and very yummy in the woods- so many wins!"




I did not get the one with the timer. I am using the timer my wife uses for her Christmas lights and just plug the machine into that.
"



Brilliant! I will do the same.


Ripple in still water....
Pikehunter  
senior member (86)senior membersenior member
Photo Journal
01/30/2011 02:13PM
 
Have been playing with my Excaliber few weekends. Have done various fruits , veggies, made beef jerky last weekend and yesterday some hashbrowns.
This thing works so well!
Next week I am thinking about beef stew and chili.


Pikehunter
ripple  
distinguished member(987)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
1 trip report(s) Photo Journal Past Donor Gear Reviews
02/01/2011 08:47PM
 
quote Pikehunter: "Have been playing with my Excaliber few weekends. Have done various fruits , veggies, made beef jerky last weekend and yesterday some hashbrowns.
This thing works so well!
Next week I am thinking about beef stew and chili.



Pikehunter"

Careful- it becomes an obsession! Every time I cook I think "This would probably be even yummier in the woods..."


Ripple in still water....
ripple  
distinguished member(987)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
1 trip report(s) Photo Journal Past Donor Gear Reviews
02/14/2011 05:31PM
 
BooYAH!!
Why you want to dehydrate!!!
DIY Meal Vs. Commercial Freeze Dried Meal


Ripple in still water....
Brooklynn07  
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
1 trip report(s) Photo Journal
03/23/2011 01:52PM
 
I am sitting here thinking about how you would rehydrate a meal for six people with out the boiling water. Any ideas? What container would you use? Haul it with you all day? Or hang with food? We have been trying to come up with new food ideas, and yours sounds great, just trying to make it work for six.


Thanks for your help!
Brooklynn07  
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
1 trip report(s) Photo Journal
03/23/2011 05:10PM
 
Still thinking!! LOL I was looking up the freezer bag cooking. Does anyone have experience using those? Can you make any meal you want and just add boiling water to the bag? Is it the same amount of water as ripple has posted before? I am trying to cut down on the amount of time we spend cooking, while still having meals that everyone likes.


Thanks so much for any help!
bobbwca  
distinguished member(756)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
1 trip report(s) Photo Journal Current Donor
03/24/2011 02:32AM
 
I gotta try dehydrating my girlfriends sausage gravy, make some biscuits in the reflector oven. That would be great for a late breakfast!


Bob
Pikehunter  
senior member (86)senior membersenior member
Photo Journal
03/24/2011 03:33AM
 
I'm thinking of the sausage gravy also.
My reflector oven makes awsome biscuits.
billconner  
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3 trip report(s) Photo Journal Past Donor
03/24/2011 07:15AM
 
I apologize if this has been answered but you prepare dehydrated meal, vac seal, and store in freezer. How long will the meal last in a pack? Obviously will defrost in a few days at most but will it still be safe in a couple of weeks? More? And if you bring it out after three weeks can you refreeze for next year or should you toss it?


ripple  
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03/24/2011 10:35AM
 
First the question about volume meals...
We are usually a group of 4-6. I have solved the dehydrating volume issue by packaging all the meals in individual serving volumes. Before we go on the trip I have 50-60 small packs of food, labeled and on the dining room table for everyone to paw through and decide what they think they want to eat on the trip.


Then when we are in the woods- Everyone is responsible for their own meal and can choose what they want to eat each day... lots of ease and less drama for the meal choices- you know "Ed hates Swedish meatballs, but it is Anna's favorite meal EVER" The food packs everyone choses get packed into the bear vaults.


Again the way we often have done this is- at lunch the dinner decisions are made- each person puts the dehydrated food of their choice into their own Ziploc container that I showed earlier in the thread, uses the water filter pump to pump their clean water for the rehydrating process, adds the correct amount of water to the food choice (more for soup, less for stew) and carries the food in the jar for the afternoon. When we are at our site ready to eat dinner, a fire is made or the stove is heated up (really the fire on the BWCA grates works best for a lot of people)Heating the rehydrated food is done with each person dumping their now rehydrated food into their titanium mug, then setting it on the fire or on the MSR stove. The heating process is very quick and does not require tons of fuel like boiling water for all the food would. Clean up now is the Ziploc jar, the titanium mug and the spork- each person does their own clean up. The plastic bag is packed out flat and clean because it was only dried food in it- less stinky garbage in the pack!


Freezer bag thoughts...
The set up I described is similar and can be adapted to the freezer bag cooking idea- if you seal the food in the FoodSaver bag with enough room to add the hot water. Just make the bag bigger when you do the final seal. You would not want to use boiling water- but warm water. Know ahead of time that it will take quite awhile to rehydrate- sometimes and an hour or more if the food is chunky.


Sausage gravy advice...
The sausage gravy would likely work perfectly. My suggestion would be to make the gravy very thick before putting on the wax paper over the dehydrator tray. Crumble the dried gravy very small and it should rehydrate nicely.
This is the Bob Evans Receipe I have made before (pretty yummy, but I would love to see another one posted) I have never tried to dehydrate
1 pound Bob Evans® Original Recipe Sausage Roll
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Salt and black pepper to taste
8 prepared biscuits
Directions
Crumble and cook sausage in large skillet over medium heat until browned. Stir in flour until dissolved. Gradually stir in milk. Cook gravy until thick and bubbly. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot over biscuits. Refrigerate leftovers.

Pack time...
When you cook the food originally- you have completely boiled, baked etc, then dehydrated at 145 degrees. You then seal out the air with the Foodsaver- at this point you have already made the food able to last months, likely over a year, per the websites I posted. I put everything in the deep freezer just because I am a little OCD about food. It allows the food to last, with absolute certainty and safety, over a year. So for our dehydration process I cook like crazy in the winter and use the food through our camping season spring-fall of the coming year.


Once you pull the food out of the freezer- if the bag is still intact and sealed completely- you are able to keep everything relatively bacteria free for months. Remember it is DRIED and vacuum sealed- NO moisture- so it doesn't "defrost". If we go home with un-opened food and it is still sealed, I put it back in the freezer for the next trip. I tend to throw away whatever food is past the 1 year mark- likely overkill but like I said I am alittle OCD when it comes to food. Plus since I cook a lot- the next batch of chili or Jumbalaya will replenish the supply quickly.

Finally the use of the reflector oven with your dehydrated food-
If you make the baked ziti receipe I posted, dehydrate- rehydrate, put in a pot with string cheese on top and bake until gooey and crispy- people might hurt each other to eat it! This goes for tons of stuff- the shepards pie with crusty potatoes on top, gooey/crispy mac and cheese, I could go on and on...

We are going to try out this new toy for this year.. Bemco Backpacker Oven


Ripple in still water....
ripple  
distinguished member(987)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
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03/24/2011 11:10AM
 
Dehydrated Food Safety per the experts


"How safe to eat is dried food?
In comparison with foods preserved by other methods, like canning, it is quite safe. Botulism is feared in canning because the bacteria that cause it thrive in a liquid environment. Botulism could only occur with a dried food that had been rehydrated, then left unattended long enough for bacteria to grow.
Mold may form on dried food if it was not dehydrated long enough or if the container it was stored in had moisture in it. If you see or smell mold, all the food in that container must be discarded.
Remember that the organisms that cause food spoilage, mold, yeast, bacteria-are always present in the air, water, and soil. It is important to observe sanitary precautions at all stages of the drying process.
As to the safety of drying meats, the latest word from food-science researchers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison is that microorganisms are effectively killed when the internal temperature of meat reaches 145°F for 45 minutes; or 167°F for 20 minutes; or 200°F for 15 minutes. This means that the internal temperature of the meat must remain steady for the designated amount of time, which is not the same as putting meat in a 200°F oven for 15 minutes. If your food dehydrator does not reach a temperature of 145°F or if its temperature control is inaccurate, then transfer the food to a preheated 200°F oven for a minimum of 20 minutes to eliminate safety concerns.
You can also store dried food in the freezer, another form of ensuring its safety."


Here is a list of some great websites and info!
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service- Food Dehydration Options
Post-Harvest handling of dehydrated chiles
Drying Foods (Guide E-322)
Drying Food at Home (CFS-146)
Drying Food (Circular 1227)
Preserving Food: Drying Fruits and Vegetables
Drying Fruits How to Dry Foods at Home
New Dehydrating Recommendations


Ripple in still water....
Brooklynn07  
senior member (52)senior membersenior member
1 trip report(s) Photo Journal
03/24/2011 06:33PM
 
Would one of those blue with white specs. mugs work instead? Haven't ever used a titanium mug before. Do they cook faster? Sounds like a good idea! Thanks so much might just make cooking easier!
Savage Voyageur  
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03/24/2011 06:53PM
 
quote Brooklynn07: "Would one of those blue with white specs. mugs work instead? Haven't ever used a titanium mug before. Do they cook faster? Sounds like a good idea! Thanks so much might just make cooking easier!"



I use a Titanium mug and spork. Very lite and strong. For boil and dump meals they just cannot be beat. Very poor heat dissipation, but it cools quickly so you can use it for coffee.


"So many lakes, so little time."
Brooklynn07  
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03/24/2011 08:58PM
 
Also Ripple you mentioned a snack size bag, but a sandwich for your husband. Does the amount of food in a sandwich bag fit in a mug? Do you know about how much food that is? I know I am asking a lot of questions, hope I am not bugging anyone to much :).
ripple  
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03/25/2011 08:29AM
 
quote Brooklynn07: "Also Ripple you mentioned a snack size bag, but a sandwich for your husband. Does the amount of food in a sandwich bag fit in a mug? Do you know about how much food that is? I know I am asking a lot of questions, hope I am not bugging anyone to much :)."
Brooklynn07- Questions are what this forum is great for!


The snack sized bags fit in the mug perfectly. My husband, the big eater, his sandwich bag portion doesn't quite fit so he just warms part of the meal- then refills the mug from the Ziploc container when he eats everything from the mug. I think any fireproof mug would work- we just have the titianium mugs and spork- Like Savage Voyager said they are super light weight and easy to clean up. The uneven heating isn't as big a deal in the little mugs- but bigger pots I do notice it more. The biggest drawback to the titanium is how pricey they are- I gave all the kids a mug and spork at Christmas and I had to search like crazy to get the price down to near $50, but most places it would have been a near $100 combo!@


Ripple in still water....
ripple  
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04/13/2011 01:56PM
 
I thought I would bump this with the request for dehydrating ideas from the forum. I have maxed out my recipes for dehydrating and need some more ideas..


If you could have your favorite meal or ingredient dehydrated for your next trip- what would it be?





Ripple in still water....
ripple  
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06/03/2011 12:22PM
 
Bumped for Jeff from chat who had dehydrating thoughts!


Ripple in still water....
billconner  
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3 trip report(s) Photo Journal Past Donor
06/03/2011 03:17PM
 
quote ripple: "Bumped for Jeff from chat who had dehydrating thoughts!"


So where is the recipe and what exactly do dehydrating thoughts taste like? Chicken probably.
serenityseeker  
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Photo Journal Gear Reviews
06/03/2011 06:35PM
 
Erin,


I dehydrated black bean soup with ham and homemade stuffing with jimmy dean sausage for our trip. it was yummy.
ripple  
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06/03/2011 09:24PM
 
RECIPE!!


Ripple in still water....
canoepaddle  
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06/13/2011 09:36PM
 
This whole thread got me thinking of new things I can bring to BWCA. With that in mind, I found several items that worked out great. Sam's has canned chicken, 5 14 oz cans for around $10.00. I added two of these to a box of Macaroni Grill fettuccine Alfredo that they sell at Sam's Club. After making it, I dehydrated it. It rehydrated great and tasted great. More than enough for 4 large guys. It will be on my menu going forward.


canoepaddle
Chicagored  
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06/20/2011 01:25PM
 
I just finished my first solo BWCA trip and will be filing a trip report shortly. I just wanted to take an opportunity to thank and praise the Ripples. They were handing out samples of their dehydrated meals at the Chicago area wing night. I took the Shepards Pie and the Jumbalaya. Both meals were extremely lightweight, and I treated each as a single portion since I was hungry. Each time, I put the meal in a pot with about 10 oz. of warm water and let it sit for a little more than an hour, before I put it on the stove to warm up. The Shepards Pie was great, although I added some pepper per my personal taste. The Jumbalaya was perfect. I could not have had better at home. I have a dehydrator that I've only used to make venison jerky in the past. Now I feel I have to expand my horizons.


Pura Vida
ripple  
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06/22/2011 12:04PM
 
SO sweet Mitchell!! Thank you for your appreciation- I am glad to have fed you on part of your solo! Looking forward to your trip report!


Ripple in still water....
FrogWood  
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06/23/2011 12:16AM
 
I have had the pleasure of eating several of Ripple's meals in the BW this past week and loved it! Her method totally change our meal prep: saved time; saved effort and the food was amazing! We will never go back to shlupping in all the ingrediants and acting like the galloping gourmet again. All ya gotta do is remember to add meal and water to ziplock container a few hours before eating, what could be easier! Thanks again Ripple!
ripple  
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06/23/2011 03:33PM
 
Blush.... I like feeding people. I'm glad to have helped!


Ripple in still water....
OBX2Kayak  
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06/23/2011 09:26PM
 
quote Brooklynn07: "I am sitting here thinking about how you would rehydrate a meal for six people with out the boiling water. Any ideas? What container would you use? Haul it with you all day? Or hang with food? We have been trying to come up with new food ideas, and yours sounds great, just trying to make it work for six."


Brook -- I found freezer bag cooking while prepping for a twelve day trip with eight people a few years back.


Everything was packed in single serving bags. Most evenings we just boiled one large pot of water, added it to each bag, wait fifteen minutes and eat. Some days we added cold water in the morning and dinner was ready immediately after we set camp.


These days I only use FBC, even for one night solos. Its just so easy.


"I go because it irons out the wrinkles in my soul" -- Sigurd Olson
fitgers1  
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06/28/2011 10:55PM
 
Ripple, Thanks for all of this outstanding information. I have been wanting to try dehydrating camp food for a long time but the people I go with usually want to bring frozen stuff and lots of grocery store bought bags of stuff - Knorrs noodles and the like, good stuff, but still store bought - and about 8 pounds of candy bars! I will be making future trips with my girlfriend and she loves to cook and is a great cook. We have already talked about dehydrating and she is looking forward to doing it. I currently own a smaller round w/a few trays and have only used it for making venison jerky but it takes like 24 hours. I think we will try it for the camp food. I may have missed it in the thread but how long does it take to dehydrate different foods? I might have to go shopping for a new one. Where is a good place to get one? Cabella's? Fleet Farm? Specialty stores?
I'm sure my girlfriend (who will be making her first trip in Aug) will ask you a few questions when she comes up with a screen name for the board.
Thanks again!


“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson...and...“Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading".
ripple  
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06/30/2011 09:02AM
 
You will find that if you take the time to make a really good meal, leave it in your dehydrator (usually overnight) you have an amazing meal for the next BWCA trip. It really gets addictive! Try the link I posted for Excaliber- the brand I have used.


Ripple in still water....
fitgers1  
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06/30/2011 05:34PM
 
Thanks! I did get your e-mail with the link as well.


“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson...and...“Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading".
ripple  
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08/26/2011 04:51PM
 
My 24yo- very experienced light weight back packer- son just came back from a 10 day hike through the Cascades and reports the food I sent was so light weight and tasty- he will never go back to the eating Ramen Noodles for a week!


Ripple in still water....
boonie  
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08/26/2011 05:09PM
 
quote ripple: "My 24yo- very experienced light weight back packer- son just came back from a 10 day hike through the Cascades and reports the food I sent was so light weight and tasty- he will never go back to the eating Ramen Noodles for a week!"


No doubt, ripple - I won't eat ramen noodles for a day :). I'm sure your food is much better - could you whip me up a supply for my Sept trip?
ripple  
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09/05/2011 04:33PM
 
quote boonie: "quote ripple: "My 24yo- very experienced light weight back packer- son just came back from a 10 day hike through the Cascades and reports the food I sent was so light weight and tasty- he will never go back to the eating Ramen Noodles for a week!"


No doubt, ripple - I won't eat ramen noodles for a day :). I'm sure your food is much better - could you whip me up a supply for my Sept trip?"

I am donating a week supply of dinners for 2 for the Fall Wing Night Raffle! Support BWCA.com!!!


Ripple in still water....
boonie  
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09/06/2011 09:09PM
 
quote ripple: "quote boonie: "quote ripple: "My 24yo- very experienced light weight back packer- son just came back from a 10 day hike through the Cascades and reports the food I sent was so light weight and tasty- he will never go back to the eating Ramen Noodles for a week!"



No doubt, ripple - I won't eat ramen noodles for a day :). I'm sure your food is much better - could you whip me up a supply for my Sept trip?"

I am donating a week supply of dinners for 2 for the Fall Wing Night Raffle! Support BWCA.com!!!"



Thanks, I wish I could make wing night, but it's too far from WV :). Unfortunately, I'll just miss everyone, as I'll be driving home just before that from my trip.
luft  
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09/06/2011 11:09PM
 
quote ripple: "quote boonie: "quote ripple: "My 24yo- very experienced light weight back packer- son just came back from a 10 day hike through the Cascades and reports the food I sent was so light weight and tasty- he will never go back to the eating Ramen Noodles for a week!"



No doubt, ripple - I won't eat ramen noodles for a day :). I'm sure your food is much better - could you whip me up a supply for my Sept trip?"

I am donating a week supply of dinners for 2 for the Fall Wing Night Raffle! Support BWCA.com!!!"



That is a wonderful donation Ripple! So many people have talked about how fantastic your meals are!
billconner  
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09/11/2011 01:48PM
 
Just had Ripple's Ziti last Wednesday night on Quetico Lake, given out at the Chicago spring wing night. Wonderful! I do need to learn to read though because I had Jambalaya on my written list. I've got to work on this "craft" over the winter.
billconner  
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09/16/2011 04:52PM
 
If this has been covered I apologize but how do you protion this? Is it as simple as dividng food into portion sizes or multiple there of and keeping separate on dehydrator trays?
ripple  
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09/16/2011 08:32PM
 
quote BillConner01: "If this has been covered I apologize but how do you protion this? Is it as simple as dividng food into portion sizes or multiple there of and keeping separate on dehydrator trays? "
When I spread the food onto the dehydrator tray- I have an idea of the size of the portion that fits on it. I scoop a serving bowl into the pot of what ever I have made then use it to spread on to the dehydrator try. Now that I have done so very many servings- I know that my trays each hold 2 "average" size portions.


Ripple in still water....
ripple  
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09/16/2011 08:46PM
 
quote BillConner01: "Just had Ripple's Ziti last Wednesday night on Quetico Lake, given out at the Chicago spring wing night. Wonderful! I do need to learn to read though because I had Jambalaya on my written list. I've got to work on this "craft" over the winter."
Dang Bill you're gonna make me blush some more!!! The Baked Ziti is really good in the oven with extra cheese on top too!


Ripple in still water....
campcook184  
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10/20/2011 09:01AM
 
Ripple, thanks for the ideas to try dehydrating different things. 3 things from our trip this year that stood out were the dehydrated baked beans, dehydrated beef (canned) and noodles, and the sausage gravy. The bear actually got the sausage gravy, but we had trialed it before we went and it was YUMMY..


I can explain this to you, but I cant understand it for you.....
strom2127  
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12/12/2011 12:10PM
 
wow, I guess I need to visit the camp recipe forum more often. Such great info in here. So here is my question. I've been thinking of doing breakfast burritos. How well would dehydrating cheesy scrambled eggs work. I'd imagine I would dehydrate the hamburger seperately, but was thinking I could melt the cheese on the scrambled eggs before dehydrating that. How about red and green peppers? Could I mix that in with the eggs too before dehydrating, or should I do those seperately? Also, how much water do I need to use to rehydrate? Just enough to barely cover the servings, or more? Thank you for doing this thread Ripple. Such good information in here.


"Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more."
ripple  
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12/12/2011 12:49PM
 
@strom2127- glad to be of help! I have not tried eggs in the dehydrator. First we bring fresh eggs for eating purposes- but mainly because they are one of those things that just isn't worth doing in general. The food safety aspect is significant- hard to do raw eggs safely. Finally cooked eggs- then dehydrated are just icky no matter how you do them!


My best suggestion for doing a breakfast burrito is how we make my husband's favorite breakfast skillet. I saute up all the yummy stuff he would like with his eggs- peppers (red/green) onions, a baked potato diced up etc... then dehydrate them. When you are in the woods- add water to slightly cover them- then add to your fresh eggs you have scrambled- for my husband's skillet I make eggs over easy. Roll up with cheese in your burrito. You have save some weight with the dehydrated veggies, they will last as long as you need them to before hydration, they are all ready chopped so you have little work to do- best yet they are scent free in your pack.


Good luck!


Ripple in still water....
billconner  
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12/12/2011 01:04PM
 
I am doubtful if dehydrating cooked eggs would be healthy or appetizing. Suggest dehydrating peppers and meat separately; using powered eggs - like Adventure Egg which are pretty good - and cheese packed separately. I find cheese will keep find but if in doubt, bring a block of cheddar or other hard cheese and a small grater.


Sounds good. We do quesadillas with dehydrated peppers and onions, fresh cheese, and foil packed chicken. I plan to try dehydrating the roasted chicken in the grocery store deli department in place of foil pack.


And fresh eggs are nice and not to hard to carry and can't be beat for flavor in the woods.


strom2127  
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12/12/2011 01:32PM
 
You bring fresh eggs? Don't they need to stay refridgerated? Last year we brough egg beaters and froze them before we went in, but by the third day when we finished them I was a little nervous. No one got sick, but I thought it might be a bit sketchy. I've never tried powdered eggs. How are they?


"Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more."
strom2127  
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12/12/2011 01:37PM
 
also,
thank you for the tips on how to help make the idea work. very invaluable.


"Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more."
ripple  
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12/12/2011 01:47PM
 
Powdered eggs=blech! IMO- but I haven't met too many that like them! There are some powdered versions- some people find tolerable but I don't know much about them. Bill recommended one that I haven't heard of- that might be worth a try if you are not into carrying the weight of real eggs.


Yes fresh eggs will last quite awhile without being refridgerated- the trick is to get real fresh eggs and do not wash them. The shell is naturally bacteriostatic (protected from infection). Unbroken eggs are sterile inside as well. We routinely bring fresh eggs in a cheap plastic protective container- Coleman Egg Carrier . We bring enough for 1-2 days worth of breakfasts.
This link is pretty helpful-
Info About Fresh Eggs


Ripple in still water....
strom2127  
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12/12/2011 01:59PM
 
good to know. thank you again.


"Once more unto the breach dear friends, once more."
billconner  
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12/12/2011 06:23PM
 
Eggs last. As fresh as possible - try farm stands or farmer markets. Also small or medium - thicker shells. I know Ripple likes the plastic carriers but I like the cardboard cartons and just a wrap of bubble wrap. For me, one or two always broke in the yellow plastic containers, none in the carton with bubble wrap and a rubber band. (Want the yellow containers? They're free.) I just keep on top of food pack. Two dozen don't usually last two weeks for two people but I'm sure they'd be fine. Somewhere in one of my trip reports you'll find the deviled eggs we made one day - about a week into trip.


The adventure eggs are pretty amazing for powdered eggs - especially for baking or mixed with onions and peppers. Consider using summer sausage cut up as a very stable meat.
giddyup  
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12/18/2011 08:54PM
 
Ripple, you've got me really curious about this whole dehydrating thing....can you tell me is the color, texture, consistency, and taste of the food the same after you rehydrate it as it was before you dehydrated it?


I'm assuming after you do the 2 hour water soak then you could finish rehydrating it in a microwave if you have access to one.


Seems to me you could pay for the dehydrator pretty quickly using it on road trips instead of eating out. And you have the benefit of your own home cooking.


Also, you mentioned eggs don't dehydrate well. What other things are better left alone?
keth0601  
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12/19/2011 04:44PM
 
Just out of curiousity, how do you determine how much water to add back to the food to rehydrate it? Do you weight the food before and after dehydrating to see how much weight it lost in water and then add that much back in when you rehydrate it? I would think that it would not take in ALL of the water that it had before dehydrating as the cell structure would not be capable of reclaiming all of it. Is there a general ratio for water to food by weight?


"Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit."
ripple  
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12/21/2011 10:08AM
 
@giddyup- the food is remarkably like what ever you began with. The only draw back I have found to the consistancy is that the big chunky food like beef stew- has to be more of a shreaded version to keep the food evenly dehydrated.


@keth0601- wow I have not gone as far as weighing before to make sure of the rehydration need! Probably would be a very exact way of making it work- but all I do is add enough water to cover the food- then add more if it seems too dry or cook longer if I added too much water.


Ripple in still water....
billconner  
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12/21/2011 12:26PM
 
I was waiting for Ripple's reply but I find that things with cream or cheese sauce, the sauce seems to break down a little. Still tastes fine, just can get a little granular texture to it.
ripple  
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12/21/2011 03:38PM
 
quote BillConner01: "I was waiting for Ripple's reply but I find that things with cream or cheese sauce, the sauce seems to break down a little. Still tastes fine, just can get a little granular texture to it."
I have made lots of things with this type of sauce- tuna or turkey tetrazzini is a cream sauce, my daughters favorite cheesy potato bake is a cheese and cream sauce- all have turned out well probably because the sauce is all tossed around in noodles and potatos rather than soup consistancy. We make a potato leek soup that is essentially a very thin mashed potato consitancy- it also does well.


Though I think that any dairy does add an element of food safety that I worry more about- the fat content makes it harder to completely get rid of moisture so this is one of the meals that I dehydrate- keep in the freezer and use early in the trip.


Ripple in still water....
trashbag  
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12/28/2011 12:16PM
 
you mention putting food in ziplock bag then vacuum seal. wouldnt air be trapped in the ziplock?


trashbag
ripple  
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12/30/2011 11:47AM
 
quote trashbag: "you mention putting food in ziplock bag then vacuum seal. wouldnt air be trapped in the ziplock?"
The zip lock is kept open- not sealed


Ripple in still water....
trashbag  
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12/30/2011 01:39PM
 
quote ripple: "quote trashbag: "you mention putting food in ziplock bag then vacuum seal. wouldnt air be trapped in the ziplock?"
The zip lock is kept open- not sealed"



so the ziplock is used to keep food from getting sucked into sealer? i have used regular sandwich bags before. is there another reason for ziplock bags?


like the gd reference


trashbag
ripple  
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12/30/2011 04:26PM
 
quote trashbag: "quote ripple: "quote trashbag: "you mention putting food in ziplock bag then vacuum seal. wouldnt air be trapped in the ziplock?"
The zip lock is kept open- not sealed"

so the ziplock is used to keep food from getting sucked into sealer? i have used regular sandwich bags before. is there another reason for ziplock bags?
like the gd reference"

Exactly- the little fine crumbles tend to prevent the seal in the vacuum bags. I put the dehydrated food into the bag- then slide it into the sealer bag in with the opening at the bottom. I think any secondary bag would work- zip lock is mainly stated in my description to give a reference for the volumes I tend to seal as a serving size.

Lots of us old hippies here!


Ripple in still water....
JJ396  
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01/13/2012 04:34PM
 
Thanks for the great info. I am just getting back into camping and find this site to be a great resource. I have eaten the commercial dried foods and they all seem very salty. You have inspired me to try making my own stuff to take along next summer. THANKS!
Brooklynn07  
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01/14/2012 09:42PM
 
Here goes with the questions again!! Another year more trips to plan! So I am wondering why in your recipes you say to dehydrate the noodles and the sauce separately? Last year we make chicken Alfredo mixed it all then dehydrated it. It worked ok, so I was wondering if it is just for some recipes, or if you have had problems in the past. Thanks so much for all the help, it has saved me alot of trouble!
ripple  
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01/17/2012 05:40PM
 
quote Brooklynn07: "Here goes with the questions again!! Another year more trips to plan! So I am wondering why in your recipes you say to dehydrate the noodles and the sauce separately? Last year we make chicken Alfredo mixed it all then dehydrated it. It worked ok, so I was wondering if it is just for some recipes, or if you have had problems in the past. Thanks so much for all the help, it has saved me alot of trouble!"
I have an aversion to gooey noodles- by dehydrating the noodles separately they tend to stay firmer in my experience.


Ripple in still water....
shsylvester  
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01/18/2012 09:40PM
 
Ripple,
Just picked up a foodsaver and I'm starting to lay up for a long summer trip. My first two dishes, Beef Stew and Hamburger have enough jagged edges that they end up puncturing the foodsaver bag on suction. I see in your pics that you have your chili in snack bags before vacuuming and sealing. Do you find that helps to avoid the problem I'm having?
ripple  
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01/19/2012 05:41PM
 
quote shsylvester: "Ripple,
Just picked up a foodsaver and I'm starting to lay up for a long summer trip. My first two dishes, Beef Stew and Hamburger have enough jagged edges that they end up puncturing the foodsaver bag on suction. I see in your pics that you have your chili in snack bags before vacuuming and sealing. Do you find that helps to avoid the problem I'm having? "

It puts a dent in the puncture rate- but it is still an issue for me too. When I finish sealing a batch of food I leave the packets on the counter for a day or so to find the ones that "unseal". I then re seal. Some things are bigger problems- like pastas. For these I actually put the food into a smaller food saver bag- open on one end- then put inside another that is used for sealing. It is likely over kill- but again the best way to prevent any bacteria growth is in the preventing air and moisture from getting to the food.


Ripple in still water....
KevinL  
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01/19/2012 06:43PM
 
I put a piece of paper towel in and it helps and then have one for cleanup.


KevinL
shsylvester  
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01/19/2012 06:55PM
 
quote KevinL: "I put a piece of paper towel in and it helps and then have one for cleanup. "


Yep, I just stumbled across that idea last night. Put stew in a baggie, wrapped 1/3 paper towel around, popped in vacuum bag and sealed. Worked well.
ripple  
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01/20/2012 10:39AM
 
quote shsylvester: "quote KevinL: "I put a piece of paper towel in and it helps and then have one for cleanup. "
Yep, I just stumbled across that idea last night. Put stew in a baggie, wrapped 1/3 paper towel around, popped in vacuum bag and sealed. Worked well."

Absolutely brilliant! I will try the same with my next round of dehydrating!


Ripple in still water....
ripple  
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05/01/2012 10:34AM
 
Bump for Deb who will likely join the dehydrating obsession!


Ripple in still water....
SIRT  
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07/14/2012 06:55PM
 
Wow Thanks for all the info Ripple. I will be using my dehydrator for the upcoming September trip. I'm thinking seafood chowder,beef stroganoff,spaghetti , gumbo! My mind is racing with ideas. Again, thanks for detailing the process.



Travis
ripple  
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08/20/2012 11:54AM
 
All of those are great meals I have had good luck with making! Let me know if you need any help!


Ripple in still water....
Goby  
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08/20/2012 12:12PM
 
Moderator, can this thread be thumbtacked on top? Seems to be awfully popular.


Tight Lines
ripple  
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08/20/2012 12:52PM
 
quote Goby: "Moderator, can this thread be thumbtacked on top? Seems to be awfully popular."
I think the Jello Mold thread should go up as a thumbtack too.


Ripple in still water....
nojobro  
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08/21/2012 07:55PM
 
I'm drying spaghetti with sauce in my Excalibur right now! So excited!
fitgers1  
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11/19/2012 01:43PM
 
Bump it up. There are some listening point questions about dehydrating and dehydrators.


“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson...and...“Peace is that brief glorious moment in history when everybody stands around reloading".
billconner  
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01/12/2013 09:03AM
 
BUMP for sleepnbag


"control-f" and then "ripple"
forestmaven  
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02/25/2013 10:06AM
 
Bump.
Bronco  
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03/06/2013 10:15PM
 
Ripple..... thanks for all your posts Last fall i let my wife read the whole meal plan you laid out. I got a large dehydrator for Christmas and I have to say it has been fun stock piling our rations for next summers trip. Again thanks for your insperation
goaljohnbill  
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03/08/2013 10:27AM
 
quote Bronco: "Ripple..... thanks for all your posts ... thanks for your insperation"


Concur, also for the bumps that brought it back to the top to be noticed by late arrivals. Sure seems like it would be a good sticky though I just saved the link to it.


I do the big batches, feed the fam, and put up what is left. We have only had our dehydrator a couple of weeks and have already put up servings of chili, spagetti, and the fantastic Guiness beef stew from the main meals thread. Thinking a curry is next maybe Balti Beef or Rogan Josh Lamb. Cant wait to use them this summer! Thanks again


Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. -- Albert Einstein
ripple  
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04/21/2013 10:06PM
 
Hi Bronco
It has been awhile since I posted- but love to hear that the thread was helpful! This is my "stocking" season. I love cooking huge batches of everything and dehydrating for the coming season of outdoors fun


This year my daughter begged to "borrow" the dehydrator for her college outdoors club trips. I couldn't get her to bring it home again- so I had to give up and buy another Excaliber!


Have a great year of eating well out there!


Ripple in still water....
billconner  
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08/31/2013 02:03PM
 
bump - this should be a sticky
okinaw55  
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08/31/2013 11:22PM
 
Yes it should be a sticky! I've been wondering if the Nesco 600watt would be good enough. This is what I'm referring to. Seems pretty cheap and we'd love to carry in some good food.
billconner  
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09/01/2013 07:06AM
 
quote okinaw55: "Yes it should be a sticky! I've been wondering if the Nesco 600watt would be good enough. This is what I'm referring to. Seems pretty cheap and we'd love to carry in some good food. "



That's what I use. Albeit I only crank it up for a few weeks a year just for tripping but worked fine. I line trays with parchment paper for almost everything. Nothing sticks and easy clean.
mirth  
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09/03/2013 10:35AM
 
I also have an FD-75 and have been satisfied so far.


Its on sale right now, btw, at Amazon for $60 with free shipping.
billconner  
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09/03/2013 11:37AM
 
ditto - FD75-PR - all I need and more for small groups once or twice a year
ripple  
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12/04/2013 01:30PM
 
bump for the recent email questions-


Ripple in still water....
giddyup  
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12/04/2013 07:09PM
 
I saw dehydrated whole morel mushrooms tonight in the produce section of our local Meijers grocery store. $12.99 for 0.5 ounces. HALF an ounce. Tiny little package. I was amazed.
billconner  
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03/06/2014 07:35AM
 
Bump
Twins87  
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04/03/2014 07:48PM
 
Another bump. My dehydrator just arrived. Now what do I do with it?! ;-)


Cabin fever plus reading all the dehydrating threads led to my purchase. But I have no idea what to do now... Any suggestions for what I should try first? I'm ready to jump in head first this weekend. Oh if only I didn't have to work tomorrow....
goaljohnbill  
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04/03/2014 07:52PM
 
quote Twins87: "Another bump. My dehydrator just arrived. Now what do I do with it?! ;-)



Cabin fever plus reading all the dehydrating threads led to my purchase. But I have no idea what to do now... Any suggestions for what I should try first? I'm ready to jump in head first this weekend. Oh if only I didn't have to work tomorrow...."



If you only have screen trays do some fruit; halved strawberries, sliced peaches (from frozen is less work), pineapple chunks (precut), sliced apples, banana chips (my favorites are peach slices and pinapple).


If you have solid screens (or the willingness to cut parchment) dry some applesauce to make leather. Spread it 1/4 to 1/2 an inch thick >1" from the edge and dry it until it is solid it will peel up cleanly and whole (at least 6-8 hours).


Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. -- Albert Einstein
OldFingers57  
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04/03/2014 08:21PM
 
Granny Smith apple slices dipped in diluted lemon juice and then sprinkled with cinnamon. Strawberry slices. Frozen veggies like broccoli, caulif.lower, green, yellow and red peppers, Mixed veggies,


"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there someday.” ~A.A. Milne
billconner  
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04/04/2014 06:33AM
 
Who do you talk to around here to get this thread pinned? This and perhaps the JMO thread need to be kept on tap.
Jess  
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04/04/2014 11:12AM
 
We dehydrate a lot of what we eat at home. Stew, soups, pasta sauce, chili mac, stroganoff,potatoes, taco meat. We just make sure to use ground lean meat and rinse the meat after browning. Check out http://www.hungryhammockhanger.com/ for some recipes & ideas.
NotLight  
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04/04/2014 09:33PM
 
quote Twins87: "Another bump. My dehydrator just arrived. Now what do I do with it?! ;-)


Cabin fever plus reading all the dehydrating threads led to my purchase. But I have no idea what to do now... Any suggestions for what I should try first? I'm ready to jump in head first this weekend. Oh if only I didn't have to work tomorrow...."


The manual that came with my Nesco dehydrator was pretty helpful for learning the basics (link).

You might start with something really really simple to dehydrate, to get a feel for how different foods with different outer skins and different thicknesses dehydrate and rehydrate. Then, move on to more advanced stuff. I think the easiest things to start with, as has been suggested, might be a bag of frozen mixed corn-peas-carrots, some apple slices, a can of chili beans (drained/rinsed), or frozen/thawed strawberries. Run some stuff like this, maybe don't worry about the blanching, etc. that is recommended for certain foods, and just see what happens.

Then I would try a simple liquid like apple sauce or tomato puree, to see how liquids dehydrate, and how thin you might want to spread them. (it's counter-intuitive, but I can get tomato sauce to dry better if it starts out with more water in it vs less, because the water makes the solids spread out thinner). Then maybe try drying some different types of cooked noodles. At that point I think you'll have the hang of it. From there, you can start looking up recipes or different types of dehydrated snacks on the web - and with that bit of practice under your belt, you'll know if those recipes are something you are interested in. And, you'll have had enough practice with the dehydrator to not put a lot of effort into something and then mess up drying it.

I don't trust myself enough to dry any meat or dairy, so I mostly dry vegetables and tomato puree and add them into whatever rice, instant potato, noodle, etc. I've used the foil pack chicken, tuna, salmon too, but I think I want to try freeze dried chicken this year. Some simple things I've made by just combining single dried ingredients together - chicken noodle soup with dried peas, corn, etc.; add dried broccoli to the Bear Creek cheddar potato soup mix; chili bean and minute rice burritos; pizza (dried tomato pureed and peppers plus purchased parmesan cheese and purchased pepperoni packet); spinach/chickpea curry; Buckwheat Tabouli (dried diced tomato, cucumber, green onion), apple chip granola. But better cooks can do much more, or you can combine things into a one pot type of dish like chili or mac and cheese, etc, and dehydrate all at once to make things more convenient.

My personal favorite is just a ton of finely chopped/slightly pureed blanched spinach, or spinach or kale cut into quarter sized pieces, blanched, and dried. Just carry a big Ziploc bag of it, and add it to stuff. You can pack a lot of green nutrition into an amazingly small package. Plus the greens will rehydrate really fast. It's kind of a strong flavor, but I really like the red kale flakes mixed in with some couscous.



Twins87  
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04/05/2014 09:17PM
 
Well I've got strawberries, apples, kiwi and canned peaches going tonight. Hoping they turn out!
ripple  
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04/07/2014 05:53PM
 
quote Twins87: "Well I've got strawberries, apples, kiwi and canned peaches going tonight. Hoping they turn out!"
How did it go? These will pack nicely in a Gorp!


Ripple in still water....
Twins87  
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04/07/2014 07:14PM
 
quote ripple: "quote Twins87: "Well I've got strawberries, apples, kiwi and canned peaches going tonight. Hoping they turn out!"
How did it go? These will pack nicely in a Gorp! "



Overall not bad ... Kiwi was a little tart and maybe too chewy. Peaches weren't chewy enough . Apples overdone too I think. My teenage son loves them so he's eating them by the handful. Ill do more soon and play with length and pliability.


I really want to try main meals... Chili... Pasta... Soup...Etc but don't know how long to do them so I'm not sure when to start... Overnight and check in morning?


I'm hoping to bring several full meals on our trip this summer. 8 days for the two of us and I love bringing fresh food but want to cut down on the heavy big food pack.
NotLight  
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04/07/2014 09:21PM
 
quote Twins87:


I really want to try main meals... Chili... Pasta... Soup...Etc but don't know how long to do them so I'm not sure when to start... Overnight and check in morning?


"



If you look at ripple's post at the top of the thread she can do the chili overnight (at 145 degrees because it has meat in it).


I'd say experiment - take a can of soup from the cupboard and run it overnight (135 degrees if no meat and I think 145 with meat). See what happens.




Ripple, if you use beef or chicken, how thin are you cutting the pieces? Your recipes say 1/2" thick?





goaljohnbill  
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04/08/2014 08:59AM
 
quote Twins87: "
Overall not bad ... Kiwi was a little tart and maybe too chewy. Peaches weren't chewy enough . Apples overdone too I think. My teenage son loves them so he's eating them by the handful. Ill do more soon and play with length and pliability."



Those textures are up to you. my wife like her banana chips to not be crunchy while I prefer it. They never last long enough at our house to worry about how they will keep!



quote Twins87: "
I really want to try main meals... Chili... Pasta... Soup...Etc but don't know how long to do them so I'm not sure when to start... Overnight and check in morning?"



It is dependant upon how thick the pieces are and how thick you spread it. I am certain that I leave my main meals on longer than I need to. Other than extra electricty use I cant think of a reason to worry about it. I read somewhere that there is some nutrient degradation from the application of heat. I have no idea how much occurs and how extra drying affects that. We dont go out long enough to worry about actual nutrient content so I dont worry about that. Ive dried some stuff for 2+ days before for various reasons (forgot, schedule problems etc). I havnt noticed negative taste affects from long drys.





Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. -- Albert Einstein
Bronco  
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04/08/2014 09:21AM
 
Twins... as a main course I would start with a chicken and rice style of dish. 1st boil up a whole chickin remove from pot and debone and shred meanwhile add a wild rice blend to the stock with onions carrots peppers and any other veggies you like when rice is done return chichen to pot stew and season to taste reduce by 1/3... eat your fill then dry the rest. I used freezer paper in my dryer spread a layer 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick dry for 12 hours or so then flip the product over on a clean sheet of paper and dry another 12 hrs or so.


Also any rice cooked in good stock makes a great snack are side dish.


I have found you need to reduce your meal a lot to compensate for the added H2O when you bring it back to life for eating.


My kids keep these meals in their school lockers for days that lunch is bad.


Bump to goaljohnbill I agree with the you can't over dry
ripple  
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04/08/2014 09:38AM
 
quote Twins87: "quote ripple: "quote Twins87: "Well I've got strawberries, apples, kiwi and canned peaches going tonight. Hoping they turn out!"
How did it go? These will pack nicely in a Gorp! "




Overall not bad ... Kiwi was a little tart and maybe too chewy. Peaches weren't chewy enough . Apples overdone too I think. My teenage son loves them so he's eating them by the handful. Ill do more soon and play with length and pliability.



I really want to try main meals... Chili... Pasta... Soup...Etc but don't know how long to do them so I'm not sure when to start... Overnight and check in morning?



I'm hoping to bring several full meals on our trip this summer. 8 days for the two of us and I love bringing fresh food but want to cut down on the heavy big food pack."

I do overnight and check in the morning for most of the full meals I do. Again- I like noodles done separately from sauces so they don't get gooey. Most everything I make I put in after dinner is done- then turn and break up just before bed. Sometimes it is still wet underneath if I made too thick a layer- then it still will need more time in the morning.


Ripple in still water....
ripple  
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04/08/2014 09:41AM
 
quote NotLight: "quote Twins87:

I really want to try main meals... Chili... Pasta... Soup...Etc but don't know how long to do them so I'm not sure when to start... Overnight and check in morning?


If you look at ripple's post at the top of the thread she can do the chili overnight (at 145 degrees because it has meat in it).

I'd say experiment - take a can of soup from the cupboard and run it overnight (135 degrees if no meat and I think 145 with meat). See what happens.

Ripple, if you use beef or chicken, how thin are you cutting the pieces? Your recipes say 1/2" thick? "
"



Most of the meat gets "shreaded" when it is cooked for ever and then spread out on the tray. It is the most anoying thing about dehydrating because I really love my big chunky meats in chili and beef stew.

To be able to safely get all the moisture out though- shreading the meats in all of these whole meals is essential.



Ripple in still water....
goaljohnbill  
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04/08/2014 09:47AM
 
quote Bronco: "
I have found you need to reduce your meal a lot to compensate for the added H2O when you bring it back to life for eating. "



For portioning I use a regular size cereal type bowl and fill it to just full then dump that onto the tray. when it drys I vacuum pack the entire tray together. For all in one (meal by itself) foods like spagetti, strog, chili etc that is one serving/person. For somthing that goes on a tortilla and may have condiments (or other added foods) I have filled the bowl just a little fuller and figured on it being 2 servings. This worked pretty good last year. I will say my normal group are bigger guys and good eaters so you may have to test it.


Since it was a long dull winter I weighed each vacuum pack individually (40ish right now) this year to get an idea what bear vaults were going to weigh with 4 people worth of food in them. So I know this method makes the "servings" pretty consistently sized for a given type of food.




quote Bronco: "
Bump to goaljohnbill I agree with the you can't over dry "



nice to know im not the only one with that approach


Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. -- Albert Einstein
goaljohnbill  
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04/08/2014 10:12AM
 
quote ripple: "


Most of the meat gets "shreaded" when it is cooked for ever and then spread out on the tray.
"



Relatedly I have been using this for all of my "non ground" dehydrator meal meats after I found it at walmart this winter.


Canned roast


It is hunks of various types of roast with nothing added. It shreds easily and tastes fantastic right out of the can. The unopened can is also shelf stable for 5 years according to their data sheet. I use the beef in your guiness stew recipe and my stroganoff and chili. I put the pork with bbq sauce for bbq loose meat sandwiches. I plan on making a turkkey and gravy for ala king/potatoes with it at some point.


Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. -- Albert Einstein
Twins87  
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04/08/2014 10:31AM
 
Love all the advice and info on what you all are doing... please keep it coming! esp on timing and portions. We have a couple of 8 day trips planned for this summer (one with 7 people)and I'd like to eat fresh the first couple of days and then switch to all dehydrated to make the food pack(s) manageable.


Question about meat... I don't eat beef so all of our meat dishes at home are chicken or turkey, with occasional pork thrown in for variety.


I am guessing that ground meats are better in something like chili? We regularly make a black bean chicken chili in the crock pot and freeze the leftovers for lunches. But the next batch I make is going to be dehydrated instead. I usually cut up chicken breast in to chunks about 1" square. But I could make it with either ground chicken or turkey if that would be a better consistency for dehydrating.


For rice, if we do rice and beans (for chicken soft tacos) would it work better to dehydrate the rice and beans separately or just cook them up, mix together and dehydrate?
Bronco  
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04/08/2014 10:33AM
 
I learned alot from this blog www.backpackingchef.com his bark recipes are awesome the sweet patato and maple is great anytime any where I love it in my oats with some dry fruit. This was a huge hit last summer. I packaged quick oats with bark, fruit, dried milk and some sugar.


Also from walmart go to the southern /soul food section and buy a couple cans of hoppin johns and dry them great side dish that holds its flavor


And of course Ripples Jumbalaya is a must try
Bronco  
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04/08/2014 10:47AM
 
Beans are wierd lots of starch. I suggest you play around and find what you like.

Last winter I cooked a camp meal once a week for our evening meal. this gives you a since of how it will taste... sadly without the camp fire and BWCA view. I even mailed meals to my kids that where out of town and we tweaked the meals to taste over the phone


We then used Ripples pick your own meal plan and it worked out well. Plus the fish we ate I think we all gained a few pounds in a week last summer and all was happy.
NotLight  
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04/08/2014 11:54AM
 
quote goaljohnbill:
"
For portioning I use a regular size cereal type bowl and fill it to just full then dump that onto the tray. when it drys I vacuum pack the entire tray together. For all in one (meal by itself) foods like spagetti, strog, chili etc that is one serving/person. For somthing that goes on a tortilla and may have condiments (or other added foods) I have filled the bowl just a little fuller and figured on it being 2 servings. This worked pretty good last year. I will say my normal group are bigger guys and good eaters so you may have to test it.
"


This is a great idea.

The worst thing to deal with on a trip is extra uncooked food. I always underplan the portions for cooked food, and then have extra beef jerky, powerbars, etc for people who are still hungry. I suppose, the other alternative is 2/3rd's sized portions if individually packed, and then pack extra portions.
goaljohnbill  
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04/08/2014 12:09PM
 
quote NotLight: " then have extra beef jerky, powerbars, etc for people who are still hungry. I suppose, the other alternative is 2/3rd's sized portions if individually packed, and then pack extra portions.
"



I am obviously in charge of food for our group of 4 but I told people they were entirely responsible for their own snacks so they should have some stuff of that sort if they needed it... as long as they dont eat all they brought the 1st day lol. I was going to pack some small baggies of fry breads if people were still hungry we could cook that. I will also have mashed potato flakes along (mostly for thickening over watered stew or stroganoff) if someone were desperate they could whip some of those up also. I know everyone other than me plans on eating some fish as often as possible also.


I use ripples 1/2 day soak method so extra portions prepared after the fact seem like they may be a little problematic. As of yet Ive never rehydrated only in a pot over heat, its all been soaked 2+ hours 1st.


Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. -- Albert Einstein
NotLight  
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04/08/2014 12:55PM
 
quote Twins87: "For rice, if we do rice and beans (for chicken soft tacos) would it work better to dehydrate the rice and beans separately or just cook them up, mix together and dehydrate? "

For tortillas, (vs, say chili) I would cook and dehydrate the beans separately. Otherwise, the beans kind of invade everything.

Rehydrating depends:

- I think the best (and most complicated) method is to use 2 pots and one frying pan in camp. In one pot, cook plain rice or minute rice with some lime crystals and dried parsley flakes. In the second pot, rehydrate the beans. In the frying pan, cook the rehydrated chicken and peppers in some olive oil, and bring along a small fresh onion and cut up some larger pieces to cook along with the chicken and peppers.

- Simpler method would be to cook/rehydrate the beans and rice together; or, the beans separate and the chicken, peppers, and rice together.

- Simplest is to just dump everything in one pot and rehydrate together, or rehydrate everything together in a freezer bag.
openwide  
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04/08/2014 02:21PM
 
This may be a stupid question but how do I know how much water to add to rehydrate you food?
Bronco  
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04/08/2014 02:26PM
 
I start by just covering the dried food, close to a 50/50 split. IMO if you add to much water it decreases the flavor. I would urge you to start with less rather then more it will shorten your cook time
goaljohnbill  
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04/08/2014 02:26PM
 
quote openwide: "This may be a stupid question but how do I know how much water to add to rehydrate you food?"


If you use the soak method outlined at the begining of the thread, enough to complety cover everything is fine 95% of the time. Test it if you are concerned. I learned that our mexican breakfast hash needs extra water. When I tested it at home i added water 3-4 times and it kept sponging it up. It had obrien potatoes in it I assume they were absorbing the water.

If you over water a bit just let the food cook longer to reduce it.


Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. -- Albert Einstein
Twins87  
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04/21/2014 11:06AM
 
Update on my dehydrating adventures...


Yogurt bites and applesauce fruit leather are vacuum sealed and ready for trips. Going to experiment more with flavors/brand of yogurt. So far we like the Yoplait strawberry the best.


Has anyone tried flavored applesauces? Hubby doesn't like the plain stuff as much but I think he'd love some of the flavored options.


Crockpot turkey chili, two varieties of canned beans (black and chili) are finishing up today while I am at work and we will vacuum seal tonight.


Next up? Maybe some fruit... i bought a bunch this weekend and this time around would get it quickly sealed and hidden from the 18 year old ;-)


Also going to do some rice, pasta and some veggies (fresh & frozen)


I have some extra cooked up ground turkey that I may do separately. Thinking it could be added to spaghetti for the meat lovers in our crew. Then of course I would need to dehydrate some spaghetti sauce.


I can feel the obsession growing already and I've only used it three times since it arrived! So far a mix of homemade food and store bought. Once I feel more comfortable with it, I will definitely add in more homemade food.
goaljohnbill  
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04/21/2014 11:21AM
 
quote Twins87: "Has anyone tried flavored applesauces? Hubby doesn't like the plain stuff as much but I think he'd love some of the flavored options. "



Yes, well mostly not the flavored ones themselves though. I food process other fruits and mix them with the applesauce at different ratios. Strawberries, other berry blends, cherries, bananas, peaches, etc. Im lazy so they are all frozen and all I have to do is thaw, dump, grind and mix. I really like cinnamon applesauce with peaches


Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. -- Albert Einstein
OldFingers57  
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04/21/2014 11:42AM
 
quote goaljohnbill: "quote Twins87: "Has anyone tried flavored applesauces? Hubby doesn't like the plain stuff as much but I think he'd love some of the flavored options. "




Yes, well mostly not the flavored ones themselves though. I food process other fruits and mix them with the applesauce at different ratios. Strawberries, other berry blends, cherries, bananas, peaches, etc. Im lazy so they are all frozen and all I have to do is thaw, dump, grind and mix. I really like cinnamon applesauce with peaches"



I used to just add jello to applesauce to make different flavors of fruit leather.


"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there someday.” ~A.A. Milne
ripple  
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04/21/2014 06:10PM
 
quote Twins87: "Update on my dehydrating adventures...



Yogurt bites and applesauce fruit leather are vacuum sealed and ready for trips. Going to experiment more with flavors/brand of yogurt. So far we like the Yoplait strawberry the best.



Has anyone tried flavored applesauces? Hubby doesn't like the plain stuff as much but I think he'd love some of the flavored options.



Crockpot turkey chili, two varieties of canned beans (black and chili) are finishing up today while I am at work and we will vacuum seal tonight.



Next up? Maybe some fruit... i bought a bunch this weekend and this time around would get it quickly sealed and hidden from the 18 year old ;-)



Also going to do some rice, pasta and some veggies (fresh & frozen)



I have some extra cooked up ground turkey that I may do separately. Thinking it could be added to spaghetti for the meat lovers in our crew. Then of course I would need to dehydrate some spaghetti sauce.



I can feel the obsession growing already and I've only used it three times since it arrived! So far a mix of homemade food and store bought. Once I feel more comfortable with it, I will definitely add in more homemade food. "



WOW!! You really do have the bug!!



Ripple in still water....
Bronco  
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04/22/2014 07:51AM
 
Yogurt bites and applesauce fruit leather are vacuum sealed and ready for trips. Going to experiment more with flavors/brand of yogurt. So far we like the Yoplait strawberry the best.


Please tell us more about the yogurt bites.
Twins87  
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04/22/2014 10:15AM
 
quote Bronco: "Yogurt bites and applesauce fruit leather are vacuum sealed and ready for trips. Going to experiment more with flavors/brand of yogurt. So far we like the Yoplait strawberry the best.



Please tell us more about the yogurt bites."



We dried three different brands/flavors - Gaymont Lime & Peach and Yoplait Strawberry. All the premixed kinds of yogurt. Dried until pliable and chewy but not sticky to the touch. Roll them up like fruit leather, cut in to 1/2" pieces and then dry another hour to seal up the ends where you cut. They end up really tasty... chewy and concentrated flavor, almost like taffy.


I got the idea from the manual that came with my Excalibur. When I read that they end up taffy-like, I jumped on it. We like them. We sealed them up quickly so we wouldn't eat them all. I preferred the texture and flavor of the Yoplait strawberry best. We are going to try vanilla next.


We packaged six together. We'll see what we think of that portion size.





Bronco  
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Photo Journal
04/22/2014 11:33AM
 
Thanks Twins,
Help me here I've never dried a dairy product. They look and sound awesome. How will you store these do they need refrigeration?
Twins87  
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Photo Journal Current Donor
04/22/2014 11:49AM
 
quote Bronco: "Thanks Twins,
Help me here I've never dried a dairy product. They look and sound awesome. How will you store these do they need refrigeration? "



I am vacuum sealing them and putting them in the freezer, same thing I am doing with all of the foods I am dehydrating. I have no idea how long they will last since I'm brand new to all of this. Our first trip will be in late June/Early July so we'll be bringing them along then.


We tend to push the envelope with fresh food and have never been burned so I am just presuming we'll be fine with these as well. if it is unseasonably warm, I will plan to eat them in the first half of our 8 day trip. But we bring eggs, cheese and breakfast meats along in the middle of summer. Eat them up early in the trip and we've always been fine. I'll just put the yogurt bites in the same location as the other fresh food. Which starts out packed next to our first night frozen meat (pork chops or chicken)


I'll definitely post results later this summer.
housty9  
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Photo Journal Current Donor
12/21/2014 02:12PM
 
I know this has been asked all ready but how long will Hamburger last in the bush with out a cooler, if kept out of the sun and in a back pack.


Life is short enjoy it
billconner  
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3 trip report(s) Photo Journal Past Donor
12/21/2014 06:33PM
 
quote housty9: "I know this has been asked all ready but how long will Hamburger last in the bush with out a cooler, if kept out of the sun and in a back pack. "


I wouldn't worry for at least two to three weeks. Kind of feel if its really dry, probably months.
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