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Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
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seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.
I am a Freelance Journalist and Photographer based in Bunbury, Western Australia. My published work specialises in Western Australian travel articles and stories about inspiring everyday people. My passion is photography, writing, travel, wildflower and food photography.
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Sunday, 8 September 2013

Dehydrating food for camping saves space and weight

I told a friend the other day that I was dehydrating food in preparation for a camping trip and she wanted to know what it was all about. 


 I was first introduced to dehydrated food when I went walking on the Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia with a two friends a few years ago.  Berndard walked the whole track (nearly 1,000kms in total), and knew just about everything that one would want to know about dehydrating food. When you are walking for a week at a time and carrying all your food with you, you need to keep weight to a minimum.  Here is a great blog site that Bernard told me about (although I notice it hasn't been added to lately) - Dehydrated bushwalking food



 Dehydrating food for a hiking or camping trip is great for both space saving and weight saving and extends the life of the food in comparison the taking fresh food.The drying process only minimally affects its nutritional value. 

Check out some facts at -  Greensmoothie - dehydrating facts - who says:
 Drying food only minimally affects its nutritional value. Most research has been on foods that were commercially dried. When you dry foods at home under gentle conditions (correct temperature and a reasonable drying period) you produce a high-quality nutrient-rich food.
Compared with canning, freezing and baking, all of which involve extreme temperatures, food drying is the least damaging form of food preservation. 

Dehydrated potatoes
 We always taking fresh fruit and vegetables with us, but I also dry vegetables such as carrots, corn and potatoes to use when the fresh variety run out.  You can also dry fresh fruit in season, like apples, apricots etc or make fruit leathers. From my experience the fruit leathers require no sugar and are naturally sweet and delicious. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of them here.

Follow the recommendations of the manufacturer of your dehydrator for preparation. For these carrots I peel, slice thinly, then steam for 5 minutes, rinse under cold water, and then lay out the circles on the trays as you can see here.  The processing of the dehydrating usually takes all day (depending on what you are dehydrating), so start first thing in the morning to be completed by early evening.


 I also dry mince and make a few meals like curry, spaghetti bolognaise and chilli con carne and dry them as well. But these I keep in the freezer as they contain meat and I want to be sure they are not going to spoil.  Here I am dehydrating Chilli Con Carne. Can you believe that is 400 grams of meat, plus vegetables in each of those two small zip lock bags?



Lay out your cooked meal or vegetables, pop on the lid of the dehydrator, and turn it on to the recommended temperature. An important tip here is to either put the dehydrator in the shed or in the laundry with the door through to the house closed and the outside door and window open, otherwise the smell of the drying will invade your house!

It is also not a good idea to mix flavours in the same drying batch - for instance I wouldn't dry mince on one tray and apple slices on another.  But carrots, corn and potatoes can happily be dried together in the same batch. 


 
 When you are on your camping trip, the morning you want to use one of the dehydrated meals or dried mince, just take out the packet, put it in a box with a sealable lid and cover with water. At this point also add any dried vegetables you intend using. By the end of the day the food will be re-hydrated and ready to reheat or cook into what ever meal you are making. Easy! 




I have just read on the Dehydrated bushwalking food  site that when they get to their campsite they boil some water, empty their snaplock bag of food into the pot, add the boiling water, stir, pop on the lid and leave for half to one hour. Then boil the rehdryrated ingredients, add a packet sauce mix, and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Add rice, pasta, cous cous or noodles, and simmer for another 5 minutes. Easy! 




Another camp food my son always asks for is fish rolls.  They are made from a tin of fish, grated carrot, potato, onion, and a curry sauce mixture, rolled into pastry and cooked in the oven. They can be eaten hot or cold. For camping trips I freeze and take out on the day how many we need. They are a delicious on the road lunch time food.



Just remember to take them out of the freezer in time to thaw out by lunch time, or you will be trying to defrost them on the dashboard! Is this what they call dashboard dining?


There are quite a few sites on the net about dehydrating food. As well as the ones I have already mentioned  are a couple that might be of interest -
Back packing chef
The Camp Gal

And my previous post about camp food - 
Camp food - touring the Western Australian northern wheatbelt

Thanks for stopping by. 

I am linking up to Mosaic Monday, Travel Photos Monday, Our World Tuesday, Tuesday Around the World, Travel Photo Thursday, What's It Wednesday, and Oh the Places I've Been. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Mosaic Monday
Travel Photo Mondays
Our World Tuesday
Tuesday Around the World  
What's It Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday
 Oh The Places I've Been

19 comments:

  1. Your photos are just glorious. xxx Rae

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  2. Great post and info on dehydrating. I am sure it is a great way to have some yummy food while camping. Thanks for sharing, Jill! Have a happy week!

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  3. Sounds an Interesting tour! nice information about dehydrating food. and food seems delicious in the pictures...nice post, Indeed. but, I just found a glorious place which is very interested and famous for their history and culture. I hope that you will know about it through my new post..

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  4. Great tips about dehydrating food. And I'll be checking out those websites for more.

    I dehydrate food for hiking and boating, too. It's a great way to have nutritious meals without packing heavy things along, or things needing refrigeration. Those carrots look so beautiful in the first photo. Very artistic shot.

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  5. wow you are a pro at these, great ideas and thanks for sharing them.

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  6. I have dehydrated apples and strawberries, but never thought to do carrots. Next year for sure.
    And...such a great idea on the fish rolls. Perfect for an outing.

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  7. I noticed that all three of you had walking sticks. Is that common?

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    1. Hi Ruth, yes when hiking like this carrying 15kg or so on your back walking poles make it much easier, especially for stability and over rough ground. I also use them we are bush walking or gorge walking as they make me feel a lot steadier on my feet - don't want to fall on a rocky track!

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  8. You are definitely 'the real thing' as far as camping goes! Dehydrating your food requires a lot of forethought and dedication, but it must be really worthwhile. This is a very interesting post.

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  9. What great ideas! We do not camp, but we travel and so often we are at a loss as to what we want to eat...we do not care so much for fast foods, and we often will get cheese and fruit. this is a great idea though! I have see the gadgets that do this, and thought...I wonder. I adore turkey done this way, and fruits, as well as sun dried tomatoes, but I just never gave any other idea a thought. Thanks Jill~

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  10. Very interesting Jill, I am impressed how organised you are.

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  11. That's a great idea to reduce the weight of the backpack. Need to keep it in my mind next time I go camping.

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  12. thank you for all dear readers and blog friends. Sorry I haven't gone to your blogs the last couple of weeks - we are "out bush" camping!

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  13. Wonderful post! Your pics are gorgeous Jill and make the food look so appetising. What some great ideas for camping food too ... now if only I could get myself as organised!

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  14. I love these images! I just dehydrated lavender and McIntosh apples (not at the same time.) :-) I hadn't thought of dehydrating carrots, but I think I will now. They're in the garden waiting for me. That image of the carrots is just stunning!

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  15. That is a cool tip to stay healthy and travel light. Great pics.

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  16. wow you are a pro at these, great ideas and thanks for sharing them.

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  17. Just read this post again and thought Wow. A year later! The pics are still amazing and the content is everlasting. I still need to get drying though ;)

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