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Old 08-22-2011, 12:15 AM   #1
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Dehydrated foods

There does not seem to be any threads regarding "dehydrated foods ". Most dehydrators are used for "beef jerky" however the same appliances can dehydrate soups, chilies, fruits, veggies, etc.
It would make sense to prepare for a long trip by cooking meals ahead of time in such a way as to simply add hot water when ready to eat. There is a ton of " freeze-dried" foods in every camping store in the world and yet there is not much information available among these threads. What are the pros
and cons ( for those of you who use food dehydrators) ?
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Old 08-22-2011, 07:19 AM   #2
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IMO freeze dried food is more for backpacking as they are relatively light to carry. I do not use them for car camping as we always cooked over an open fire using a dutch oven or just wrapping ribs etc in tinfoil and placing them on the coals. Now with the TT with a micro and three burner we can carry even more supplies for cooking. However it remains to be seen if I will use the burner or the stove as old habits are hard to break. a
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:06 AM   #3
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We have a dehydrator that we use for making our own dried fruit & veggies to snack on.

What we found worked best for us on long trips was to make some meals ahead of time and then not dehydrate but vacuum seal the big items (ie steaks, chicken) and then freeze or fridge them...keeps for quite a while, easy to re-heat and no cooking (other than microwave warming if that) upon arrival.

BTW, we use a dehydrated dog food which makes it much easier to transport their food.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:11 AM   #4
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I thought a while about carrying some dehydrated water. Just add some water and it is ready to drink. Unfortunately, when I opened it, I sneezed and blew my whole supply away.
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:44 AM   #5
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I thought a while about carrying some dehydrated water. Just add some water and it is ready to drink. Unfortunately, when I opened it, I sneezed and blew my whole supply away.
You have discovered the disadvantage of dehydrated water. Next time, just fill your fresh tank with compressed water. It will expand in the tank as you use it, eliminating the need for a water pump.
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:02 AM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback. When I get my AS I want to go BDing for weeks on endand so want to research as much as I can now. I love grilling salmon, ribs, steak. But I also like those quick 'just add water' meals at the end of
a long 'just barely made it back to camp' days. Quick. Easy. ( By the way, how do they"freeze-dry" food?). And then there is beef jerky. Anyone out there like beef jerky?So this thread was just to see if anybody had taken a DH to the max with dinners, soups. etc. like the stuff you can get with IMO food.
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Old 08-24-2011, 01:10 AM   #7
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I love using my dehydrator - I make beef jerky in it, dehydrate veg to use in soups, dry my own garden herbs at the end of the season to use all winter, stuff like that. I see no reason not to make your own soup mixes and things like that. There is a great book called 'How To Dry Foods' By Deanna DeLong, which is considered a great jumping off point.

You might enjoy doing some canning as well. Stuff like fish is going to pressure can better than it dehydrates, and you can also pressure can your own soups and stews, even poultry, and have it ready to go. It's a bit heavier to pack around, but it's good food, and cheaper and healthier than the junk in the supermarket.

I took classes from our local extension office to learn to can and dry foods, and learn how to answer people's safety questions about doing it. If you have any questions I can usually point you to good reference materials to make sure you're doing it safely
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Old 08-24-2011, 05:55 AM   #8
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I have always been intrigued by dehydrators, but have never bought one. I picked up a copy of "Putting Food By" a year or so ago, which tells you how to can, dry, etc., almost anything. Maybe one day.

We carry dehydrated, diced potatoes, which can be added by the handful to small pots of soup to round them out. They weigh nothing, rehydrate quickly and last forever.

We found these at E&S Sales, the bulk food store in the Amish/Mennonite community of Shipshewanna, Indiana. They have dehydrated vegetables of all kinds, dried fruits, etc., at very cheap prices.

They have an enormous and indescribable variety of other items in bulk---good flours, coarse wheat and rye flour, cereal, oatmeal, nuts, spices, etc. If one were stocking up for remote living off the land without refrigeration, this would be the place to go.

They also have cheeses, butter, etc. All good Amish products, very, very inexpensive. Worth a trip a couple of times a year for us.

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Old 08-24-2011, 05:55 AM   #9
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My food plan is centered around canning. I got a pressure canner (you can can pretty much anything with a pressure canner) and started experimenting last summer. I canned a case of pint jars of chicken chilli and a case of pint jars of chicken noodle soup. Ate at them throughout the year.

This summer so far I just did a case of stewed fresh tomatoes that I got from the farmers market (40lbs).

Aside from the actual canning process, it is awesomely convenient. You can can and cook up fully prepared meals (I like pint jars for one meal) and shelf them and forget them until you are hungry. You do not need electricity.

Some Mormons have a thing about having a years supply of canned food on hand at all times. One lady said on a video that a year supply of canned food for one person will fit underneath a twin bed. Google Mormon canning.

I grew up in the country and have a couple of brothers still there now. I asked why they dont can (Instead of packing the freezers with everything). He said nobody does that any more. Too lazy.

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Old 08-24-2011, 06:15 AM   #10
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IMO freeze dried food is more for backpacking as they are relatively light to carry. I do not use them for car camping as we always cooked over an open fire using a dutch oven or just wrapping ribs etc in tinfoil and placing them on the coals. Now with the TT with a micro and three burner we can carry even more supplies for cooking. However it remains to be seen if I will use the burner or the stove as old habits are hard to break. a
I've been backpacking for years (Philmont, AT, Glacier, Allegheny National Forest, etc.) and I've found that even the very best freeze-dried / dehydrated food falls into the category of fuel and definitely NOT a 'dining experience'. A little effort ahead of time to prepare and then freeze - or can as mentioned elsewhere in this thread - is well rewarded by food that can actually be enjoyed, not just consumed. If you're gonna hit the trail for a week or so, the weight considerations demand freeze dried food, but if you are streaming - I'd recommend against them and go for frozen, home-canned or even home-made meals.

Enjoy!
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:46 AM   #11
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Having been backpackers since the 70's, we have seen the entire development of freeze dried and dehydrated foods. If you think they aren't very good now...

But we never camp without some MH's, BPP's and/or MRE's on hand. When camping in a trailer or at a static campground type deal, the pursuit of local ingredients or beverages is part of the exploring fun, so we only have them in case of emergency, although, just for fun we had a MH chicken fajita wrap last weekend... wasn't bad. wasn't great, but was quick and easy.. But generally, we cook. If it were not for indoor plumbing and A/C, the only other reason in my mind to have a TT is so I can carry three different cooking methods and plenty of ingredients with out getting a hernia.
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Old 08-24-2011, 08:10 AM   #12
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I picked up this cookbook somewhere, which uses fresh, dried and dehydrated items for simple, one-dish meals. Always looking for those with our tiny galley in our tiny RV.

Cooking the One Burner Way - B. Tilton & M. Gray

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Old 08-24-2011, 02:28 PM   #13
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(By the way, how do they"freeze-dry" food?).
Just to answer your question, they freeze it and then pull a vacuum on it so that the ice crystals resulting from freezing evaporate without going through the liquid phase. This results in a minimal (but not zero) change in flavor and texture of the reconstituted product.

See Freeze-drying - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for more details than you probably want to know.
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Old 08-24-2011, 02:54 PM   #14
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I used to haul freeze dried stuff when backpacking a lot, but not so much when trailering. Weight isn't so much of an issue, and I like good food. So I cook at home a lot and then vacuum pack and freeze a lot of stuff that goes along in the trailer's freezer.

But I'm with Dakota'sDad on this one ... I always have a few meals onboard in case I want to stop longer some place than I originally planned, or should break down far from a grocery store, etc.

And some things like potatoes and rice do dry and travel well and form a part of a lot of my meals. And the supermaket shelves today contain a lot of dried, easy to cook, one-pan combination things ... Zatarain's Red Bean and Rice or Jambalaya, for example, is terrific tasting and with a salad, grilled steak and a glass of nice red wine or a chilled beer, makes for a swell dinner. Oh, this is making me hungry, and it's not dinner time yet!
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