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.
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.
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