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Food Dehydrators: The Topic


Gabe Q
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11 minutes ago, kayb said:

On the cherry tomatoes...try drizzling with oil and then salting.

 

Squash chips are good, too. And I love dried apples and peaches.


Today is zucchini slices marinated in Marmite and a fruit vinegar.  
 

Also sliced white onions that were soaked in pepperoncini juice are in a couple trays. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Did two quarts of yogurt in the dehydrator and it did a great job.   I had a bit of some existing homemade yogurt in the fridge, so I heated a combo of some partial containers of 2% milk  and half and half.   The 2% was ultra-pasteurized, so  I added about a 1/2 cup of Nido powdered milk to the mix.   Cooled it down, stirred in the leftover yogurt and set it 105F overnight in the excalibur.  The final product was very nicely thick (no visible liquid) and quite tangy.  That's how I like it.  I had been doing yogurt SV and didn't get the result I liked.  Dehydrator FTW on yogurt.  Next up:  sour cream.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Lemon slices soaked in stevia then dehydrated to a crisp.  You can eat them as is or stick them in tea or cocktails.

 

I have a friend in Ohio who has got the seasonal blues, I'm sending the whole jar to them.  At least it looks like sunshine.

Screen Shot 2022-02-20 at 3.33.17 PM.png

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Still in the honeymoon period with the Excalibur.   Lemon slices are the major capacity, grapefruit slices are coming on soon.

 

I used the dehydrated eggplant, zucchini, onions and canned tomatoes to make a ratatouille-style veg stew in the IP.   It worked well and I like the texture of the reconstituted vegs.   So I know I can make a decent dish using the Excalibur stuff.

 

I've used it to proof dough.

 

The weirdest thing I did so far was dehydrate pickle brine ( with the dill, garlic, grape leaves and spices) at the bottom of Grillo's pickles back into a seasoned salt.  I just dumped it in a non-reactive pan and put it in the bottom of the Excal while doing other items.  I plan to use it on our cold oil beef tallow french fries we've started making recently.   Chefsteps had a technique for turning normal kosher salt into flaked salt using SV, that's where I got the "I wonder what would happen" thought of experimenting with brine in the Excal.

 

 

 

 

IMG_0731.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

So, I've been dehydrating all week in anticipation of a camping trip with my hiking crew.  Although we're canoe-camping and bringing the Colemans instead of the backpacking stoves, we can take the weight of regular food (frozen or whatever); I'm using the opportunity to try out some backcountry meals.  Plus, since there are FOURTEEN PEOPLE on this trip (spouses and ALL the children), I kinda signed up for more of a deal than I really paid attention to.  

 

My people.  It has been a disaster.  First, I spent days and days and days poring over various cookbooks in a perseverative fashion:  what seems tasty?  how many calories per gram?  will the littlest among us eat anything that's been anywhere NEAR garlic?  Will any kids eat dehydrated caldo verde, which looks like, you know, vomit.  

 

Honestly, I spent way too long on the gorps -- my favorite gorp at the moment is currently cashews; dried vanilla'd strawberries (done last spring); dried candied rhubarb (same); candied ginger bits (when backpacking I can get a touch nauseous); and dark chocloate m&ms.  Do kids eat that???

 

Sigh.  I finally settled on the actual meal last Sunday.  And got to cooking, and dehydrating.  

 

I came up with chicken-stock-yummy chicken and rice for the kids (what kid isn't gonna eat that).  But.  But.  In real life, I like shorter grained rice with chicken-n-rice, because it's soupy-er.  Well.  I messed up the rice, people.  It was done, basically 8 minutes from done:

IMG_3648.thumb.JPG.67651dfd24a75b8d9efe9591060bfe37.JPG

 

and I got on a work call and FORGOT ABOUT IT.  

 

When I came back up for air, I had very chicken-y rice-mush.   Which I dried to dry anyway:

 

IMG_3654.thumb.JPG.0dfe59e0b29a839e7cbd5bd0c1db3964.JPG

 

But -- it had gotten a little more humid or something, and took like 19 hours to actually dry.  And I am not confident at all that it is going to rehydrate into anything that resembles actual rice.  In fact -- not all of it really did dry, even at that 19 hour point.  But on those 19 hours . . . .  listen.  Some of those hours, like ten of 'em, were needed for the caldo verde.  

 

I am now running out for boil-in-a-bag rice.

 

So back to the giant cauldron of beany-potato-y-kale stew, sigh.  I specifically grated the potatoes (a texture I do not enjoy in soup), for the superior dehydration/rehydration potential of the thin shreds. 

 

Well. 

 

I had pivot to freezing.  Because as of last night, it's straight-up raining.  Meaning, maybe it would take a hundred hours to functionally dehydrate?  Sigh.  Anyway.  So, I am freezing the caldo verde (I had already dehydrated the sausage and have it separated out -- I did get the meat aspects cooked and defatted and dried last weekend.  Like some kind of actual grown-up.  Also, one of the kids is currently vegetarian, I love the boy and he needs what he needs).  

 

The plan is for the caldo verde is going to go from the freezer into the Yeti; but I am actually not sure it's going to be rock-solid frozen by the time I have to pack the Yeti to make the plane. It can go back into a freezer for another 24 hours or so after I land and before I head into the wilderness but . . . this is not how they tell you to do it.

 

I did make a quite nice-tasting but basic tomato sauce to have over egg noodles one night.  I used all the tomato paste that was in my refrigerator -- a move I'd kinda forgotten about, fried tomato paste.  I made this in lieu of something which was requested from a prior trip, which I don't really remember but did involve dehydrated tomato slices and smoked trout and my homemade noodles and some kind of bean.  BUT I COULD NOT FIND ANY NON-WHOLE SMOKE TROUT!!  This is no doubt due to the fact that I had about 90 minutes to shop for it, and could not go to different places, and the one place I. hit only had whole smoked trouts.  Which I can't cope with, fish garbage in the backcountry. 

 

Anyway.  A marinara-type thing.  Which one of the kids doesn't eat, she's just going to have noodles I think.  Sigh.  I've got a full day in an actual town -- Jacksonville -- to solve that problem before we hit the swamp.

 

One thing which is actually totally dehydrated is a cole-slaw concept.  The theory is, you half-rehydrate it, and it's still crunchy.  Crunch is hard to come by int eh backcountry.  We shall see.

 

Sigh.  I think everybody here reflexively addresses volume issues, seeing as how most of you are professionals/pro-adjacent, and therefore would not waste crucial non-working days struggling to imagine what 14 people's worth of four nights of dinner is going to weigh.  .  But beyond that -- people, start your drying early.  And check the damn weather.  If it's raining outside, triple the time.    

 

I do think this dehydrator is going to make for more fun backcountry eating.  But, shoot.  I'm still carrying a VERY LARGE DUFFLE BAG of whole food.  

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14 hours ago, SLB said:

So, I've been dehydrating all week in anticipation of a camping trip with my hiking crew.  Although we're canoe-camping and bringing the Colemans instead of the backpacking stoves, we can take the weight of regular food (frozen or whatever); I'm using the opportunity to try out some backcountry meals.  Plus, since there are FOURTEEN PEOPLE on this trip (spouses and ALL the children), I kinda signed up for more of a deal than I really paid attention to.  

 

My people.  It has been a disaster.  First, I spent days and days and days poring over various cookbooks in a perseverative fashion:  what seems tasty?  how many calories per gram?  will the littlest among us eat anything that's been anywhere NEAR garlic?  Will any kids eat dehydrated caldo verde, which looks like, you know, vomit.  

 

Honestly, I spent way too long on the gorps -- my favorite gorp at the moment is currently cashews; dried vanilla'd strawberries (done last spring); dried candied rhubarb (same); candied ginger bits (when backpacking I can get a touch nauseous); and dark chocloate m&ms.  Do kids eat that???

 

Sigh.  I finally settled on the actual meal last Sunday.  And got to cooking, and dehydrating.  

 

I came up with chicken-stock-yummy chicken and rice for the kids (what kid isn't gonna eat that).  But.  But.  In real life, I like shorter grained rice with chicken-n-rice, because it's soupy-er.  Well.  I messed up the rice, people.  It was done, basically 8 minutes from done:

IMG_3648.thumb.JPG.67651dfd24a75b8d9efe9591060bfe37.JPG

 

and I got on a work call and FORGOT ABOUT IT.  

 

When I came back up for air, I had very chicken-y rice-mush.   Which I dried to dry anyway:

 

IMG_3654.thumb.JPG.0dfe59e0b29a839e7cbd5bd0c1db3964.JPG

 

But -- it had gotten a little more humid or something, and took like 19 hours to actually dry.  And I am not confident at all that it is going to rehydrate into anything that resembles actual rice.  In fact -- not all of it really did dry, even at that 19 hour point.  But on those 19 hours . . . .  listen.  Some of those hours, like ten of 'em, were needed for the caldo verde.  

 

I am now running out for boil-in-a-bag rice.

 

So back to the giant cauldron of beany-potato-y-kale stew, sigh.  I specifically grated the potatoes (a texture I do not enjoy in soup), for the superior dehydration/rehydration potential of the thin shreds. 

 

Well. 

 

I had pivot to freezing.  Because as of last night, it's straight-up raining.  Meaning, maybe it would take a hundred hours to functionally dehydrate?  Sigh.  Anyway.  So, I am freezing the caldo verde (I had already dehydrated the sausage and have it separated out -- I did get the meat aspects cooked and defatted and dried last weekend.  Like some kind of actual grown-up.  Also, one of the kids is currently vegetarian, I love the boy and he needs what he needs).  

 

The plan is for the caldo verde is going to go from the freezer into the Yeti; but I am actually not sure it's going to be rock-solid frozen by the time I have to pack the Yeti to make the plane. It can go back into a freezer for another 24 hours or so after I land and before I head into the wilderness but . . . this is not how they tell you to do it.

 

I did make a quite nice-tasting but basic tomato sauce to have over egg noodles one night.  I used all the tomato paste that was in my refrigerator -- a move I'd kinda forgotten about, fried tomato paste.  I made this in lieu of something which was requested from a prior trip, which I don't really remember but did involve dehydrated tomato slices and smoked trout and my homemade noodles and some kind of bean.  BUT I COULD NOT FIND ANY NON-WHOLE SMOKE TROUT!!  This is no doubt due to the fact that I had about 90 minutes to shop for it, and could not go to different places, and the one place I. hit only had whole smoked trouts.  Which I can't cope with, fish garbage in the backcountry. 

 

Anyway.  A marinara-type thing.  Which one of the kids doesn't eat, she's just going to have noodles I think.  Sigh.  I've got a full day in an actual town -- Jacksonville -- to solve that problem before we hit the swamp.

 

One thing which is actually totally dehydrated is a cole-slaw concept.  The theory is, you half-rehydrate it, and it's still crunchy.  Crunch is hard to come by int eh backcountry.  We shall see.

 

Sigh.  I think everybody here reflexively addresses volume issues, seeing as how most of you are professionals/pro-adjacent, and therefore would not waste crucial non-working days struggling to imagine what 14 people's worth of four nights of dinner is going to weigh.  .  But beyond that -- people, start your drying early.  And check the damn weather.  If it's raining outside, triple the time.    

 

I do think this dehydrator is going to make for more fun backcountry eating.  But, shoot.  I'm still carrying a VERY LARGE DUFFLE BAG of whole food.  

Wow.  You've done a LOT.  I'm exhausted just reading it.  I'd have to sleep for a month--no way I could hike lol.

 

I think the kids will love that gorp.  

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@SLB, for next time,

Backcountry Eats: Making Great Dehydrated Meals for Backcountry Adventures, Kevin Ride

Dirty Gourmet: Food for Your Outdoor Adventures, Emily Nelson, Mai-Yan Kwan, Aimee Trudeau

 

I found these books fascinating!

 

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We won't be in the wilderness, so there might be picky eaters.

 

Can I successfully rehydrate tomato slices for use in a salad-like dish?

(There are only commercial tasteless tomatoes in the stores right now).

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@TdeV, I actually have both of those books, I agree that they're pretty good.  But mostly I came away from them more comfortable adapting my own regular food (which tends toward high-calorie anyway).  

 

Everything turned out fine!  Even that sticky messy mass of rice!!  It was actually delicious, and the six-year old scarfed it down like a champion.  Boiled sausage is not the most delicious thing ever, but I fixed it with salt and red pepper flakes, and the truth is that the texture was quite nice in the soup.  

 

The slaw concept worked out really well, it added a fresh note which was great by day 3.  

 

And no one died or even felt sick!  The half-dehydrated half slow-thaw frozen seemed to work out fine, even though we just did not have the fuel for the 10 minute boil that I was trying to push.

 

And, finally.  It was too much food.  I'm not sure why I was so terrified that it wouldn't be enough food.  It was, like, twice as much food.  I kept thinking, you children are not eating enough . . . .

 

@palo, I was in FL for a day and an excellent seafood meal.  And to pick up other goodies:  in fact, the first camp-night's dinner was actually ribs from Jenkins, I called ahead and ordered three slabs and a bunch of non-mayo-type sides. 

 

The main thing we were doing, after pre-gaming on ribs and ribs-sides at Stephen C. Foster State Park, was several days of canoe camping in Okefenokee (GA).  

 

Thanks for the support, guys.  I was freaking out, when the dehydration theory went south due to weather, I was quite anxious that I was gonna kill people, either through food poisoning or else through homicidal rage from having to portage three coolers full of food that was supposed to been dehydrated.  

Edited by SLB (log)
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1 hour ago, TdeV said:

Can I successfully rehydrate tomato slices for use in a salad-like dish?

 

Maybe you could mince or blend them after rehydration into the dressing?  I don't think the slices will come back nice for eating otherwise raw. 

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I would think they would be closer to a sun dried tomato (the original dehydrator) and perfect for a dressing.

 

Sounds like an experiment would be worth a shot.  Let us know how it goes.

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I dehydrate lots of cherry tomatoes every summer. Freeze them, once dehydrated to the “barely damp” stage, and bag them up in half-cup portions. I use them in quiches, blend up for sauces, and eat them out of hand — tomato candy! 
 

on the dehydrator topic, I plan to buy a new one before garden season. I looked on Amazon, and saw that Cosori and Magic Mill and several other “off-brands” undercut Excalibur’s price by $200 or better. Anybody have any reviews on the other brands?

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Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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i just made a pasta salad with my dehydrated cherry tomatoes.  I put a handful of tomatoes in my spice grinder and minced/powdered them and stirred them into the salad along with the dressing along with the other ingredients.  I'm using the dehydrated tomatoes more like a spice.  It's darn good and you get a real depth of umami and sweetness.

I buy the large packs of cherry tomatoes at Costco; use some as fresh and when they are getting close to overripe/wrinkly I slice them and dehydrate.

 

I just packed some in oil to mimic the jarred oil-packed sundried too.

 

Still dehydrating lemons and other citrus slices.  People really seem to like those for drinks (and some snack on them).  Easy homemade food gift.

 

@kayb  You could try an Amazon Renewed Excalibur for a better price on an Excalibur.

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On 2/20/2022 at 4:36 PM, lemniscate said:

Lemon slices soaked in stevia then dehydrated to a crisp.  You can eat them as is or stick them in tea or cocktails.

 

I have a friend in Ohio who has got the seasonal blues, I'm sending the whole jar to them.  At least it looks like sunshine.

Screen Shot 2022-02-20 at 3.33.17 PM.png

 

How long did you soak the lemon slices? Google finds many stevia products, do you have brands to recommend?

I just bought some Meyer lemons and want to do this. ☺️

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1 hour ago, TdeV said:

 

How long did you soak the lemon slices? Google finds many stevia products, do you have brands to recommend?

I just bought some Meyer lemons and want to do this. ☺️

I sliced then put a single layer down in a large cambro, then sprinkled with stevia powder.  Next layer over that, same sprinkling, repeat, until all slices layered.   I might have done an overnight in the fridge, I can't quite remember.  A few hours anyway.  I have a small bottle of stevia from Trader Joe's.  I find Stevia  overwhelming so take care, you need much, much, much less than you think.

 

 

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  • 3 months later...

Does anyone have advice for dehydrating blueberries? My guidebooks say to put the blueberries in boiling water for 60 seconds, then dehydrate. However, I've found that I end up with a LOT of blueberry juice on the silpat and racks.

 

Seems like a horrible waste. Ideas?

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