Homemade Dehydrated Meals?

Mthuntr

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In the Sagebrush of SW Montana
I bought one of those large 10 tray "pro grade" dehydrators and have experimented with new jerky recipes and different fruit. So far I've done Corned Beef Jerky (the cheap stuff is too tough but interesting flavor), apples with a bit of honey & cinnamon (amazing and didn't last more than a few hrs), papaya (meh in flavor), & bananas (gross texture). I think snack wise I have an handful of winners to do bulk batches.

I keep hearing about guys making their own meals by dehydrating beef stew, taco meat, etc.

Anyone make their own dehydrated meals? Recipes to share? Tricks?
 

Nameless Range

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I'm a big fan of dehydrated spaghetti.

Make up some sauce with meat and vegetables and cook it down until it is quite thick - thick enough to pour onto the dehydrator racks. Then dehydrate the heck out of it. It turns into what are essentially chips.

Mix the chips with hot water and they rehydrate back into sauce quickly. Noodles are light and pack easily and only require boiling water to cook, and ground parmesan has such a low moisture content that it doesn't need to be refrigerated either, so bring that too.

There's nothing like a tasty and filling plate of spaghetti, loaded with carbs and protein, complete with parmesan, in a backpacking camp.

Don't forget the toilet paper.
 

katqanna

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Jan 20, 2013
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Bozeman, MT
Anyone make their own dehydrated meals? Recipes to share? Tricks?

With fruits that brown quickly when exposed to air, I use a diluted lemon juice bath and dip them in that first, like the bananas or apples.

I like some stews/soups when it is cold camping, so a trick with the potatoes is to blanch them first so they dont blacken/gray. I also use pontiacs because I like creamier potatoes. Cut them however you want to use them before blanching and dehydrating.

Same with any other components for your dehydrated meals, prepare them in the form you will use, try to make them as uniform in size as possible (drying). Some vegetables I will grate them. Smaller helps with the rehydration and cooking time, so you might want to think about how hungry you will be and how much time you want to expend before you eat kind of thing.

One of the tricks with meats is the fats and oils. Exposed to air, fats and oils will go rancid. So for general jerky I always go lean. But for camping meals I want the fats, partly for energy source and taste. Since I typically brown in oils/fats/butters my stew meats before stewing, any dehydrated meats that are prepared with fats/oils I will then freeze in baggies to prevent them going rancid. One of the ways older cultures dealt with preserving the meat fats with pemmican (pemmican is originally a Cree word for rendered fat) - high energy food, was with antioxidant fruits like chokecherries to prevent the oxidation of the fats. I dont like chokecherries in my stew though.

When you dehydrate a meal, lets say I have made cajun beans and rice with sausage, it is best to separate out the different components on the trays. So the rice are on a separate tray, the beans on one and the sausage on another, because they have different densities and dry at different at different times, the red beans and sausage will take longer than your rice. Then once everything is dry, you can mix them back together in a package for storage. Or on your sausage, just take dried stick sausage with you, cut it up and add it to the rest while cooking. The sausage flavor is not as permeated into the rice but I find people are so hungry at campouts that they are not going to quibble over flavor saturation as much as the foodie cook would.

Another thing to consider is how long you plan on being out and getting the biggest nutrient/energy bang for you weight/space. If you are out 1 or 2 days, you are probably not going to die in a short time out unless there is a seriously bad storm that hits, but if you are out longer, you might want to make sure that what you are packing is higher in certain things that your body is requiring. Like dehydrated bananas or plantain chips for potassium. Quinoa as your grain which is very high in protein. Ancient Roman soldiers made a campaign snack they kept in their bags for long marches of sesame seeds (high in calcium and protein), honey and flour. I make mine, focusing on sugars and electrolyte minerals with mashed dates (calcium, phosphorus), sesame seeds, almond flour (high magnesium), Himalayan salt (variety of minerals with sodium) and cocoa powder (potassium, magnesium).
 

JLS

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I dehydrate all of my meals for hunting. I do soups, spaghetti, stews, etc. I dehydrate them and store them in quart freezer bags. The key is to chop things up small. Use parchment (NOT WAX) paper on the trays. The food will come off in flakes or chips like Nameless said.

It's super easy.
 

Gunner46

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Dec 6, 2003
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Frigid Ohio
I like pineapple and papaya. ( Yeah, a lemon juice wash first is a huge +) Lean meat (venison) sliced thin and spiced on the warmer side with Texas Pete, liquid smoke, garlic powder.

I mix it with various nuts, seeds, toasted raw oatmeal, thick shaved coconut, and M&M's.

Make a lot, it goes fast and works the jaws.
 

LopeHunter

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May 31, 2007
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MO-->CA-->NW-->AZ&NW
There's never a shortage of quality TP in my camp. Life is too short to wipe with the local vegetation.

I'll have to give spaghetti a try. I guess the best part is if it doesn't taste good I'm only out a couple bucks.

Wet wipes > toilet paper. More elapsed days since last shower makes this more valid.
 

JLS

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Forgot to add, when I do soups I usually throw a half cup of minute rice in after everything is dehydrated. Taco soup with rice, black bean and sweet potato soup with rice, gumbo with rice, it's all good.

Also, I mix my spaghetti noodles in with the sauce and dehydrate it all at once. I don't usually take a pot with me, just a cup to boil water.

Note: These do take longer to rehydrate than Mountain House or other freeze dried foods. Usually 20-25 minutes is best, so if you're in a hurry to eat these aren't the way to go. I found last year that it worked best to boil water immediately, add to the food, and while it was rehydrating I would pack my lunch for the next day, get all of my gear ready/cleaned, look at maps, etc. Eat dinner, take a shot of bourbon and hit the sack.
 

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