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  1. #1

    Default Dehydrating is Pretty Easy

    I found the Cabela's 10-tray dehydrator on sale so I grabbed it and got the Backpacker's Gourmet book about dehydrating. So far I have made beef stroganoff, shepherd's pie, turkey sausage rigatoni, and spaghetti with meat sauce. Just put on thin layer on tray (I use a tray mat) and it takes 3-4 hours. All have been very good in my taste tests. I found that it can help to put in a tablespoon of sauce mix or gravy to the dehydrated meal before doing the vacuum sealing. It comes out to about $3-$4 per double serving meal, not including the cost of the dehydrator or electricity, not too bad.

    I have noticed that the particular dehydrator I have that the food drys faster towards the top and back, which makes sense logically since the heater/fan is in back of unit. I was wondering if this is common of all dehydrators or if some models have solved this by design?

  2. #2
    Registered User Sandy of PA's Avatar
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    I just rotate the trays once an hour on my Excaliber for even drying.

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    Registered User Suzzz's Avatar
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    A dehydrator is the next item on my wishlist and I was just thinking yesterday that I should check this weekend to see if there might be any on sale. I'm very eager to experiment during the winter months. Last winter I tried a few things in my oven with terrible results so I'm looking forward to making my own trail meals for the 2018 hiking season.

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    #1 thing to me is cooking, then dehydrating pasta
    It then rehydrates fine in freezer bag

    Can be done in oven

    This alone can greatly improve meals if you fbc

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    Registered User Suzzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    #1 thing to me is cooking, then dehydrating pasta
    It then rehydrates fine in freezer bag. Can be done in oven. This alone can greatly improve meals if you fbc
    I don't know if it had anything to do with it but my oven won't go any lower than 150F. I also have to admit that I gave up pretty quickly because I hate wasting food. Looking forward to making my own meals for fbc because I don't particularly like the store bought options.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy of PA View Post
    I just rotate the trays once an hour on my Excaliber for even drying.
    i have the Mr Coffee dehydrator ($5 at a church yard sale was worth the risk). I rotate the trays from top to bottom every hour.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerZ View Post
    i have the Mr Coffee dehydrator ($5 at a church yard sale was worth the risk). I rotate the trays from top to bottom every hour.
    haven't figured out how to make coffee with it yet.
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    Nesco makes some economical units, not as good as Excaliber, but a third of the price. Rotate trays, circular, top to bottom

    Some good recipes and advice: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...39C3EC3CB8226C

    His beef stroganoff is most excellent

  9. #9

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    With the initial cost, and power consumption, does it work out over time? When do you break even?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by AllDownhillFromHere View Post
    With the initial cost, and power consumption, does it work out over time? When do you break even?
    I believe through quick math, for me, it will be break-even after 25 meals. There is also the benefit of eating exactly what you want and better quality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AllDownhillFromHere View Post
    With the initial cost, and power consumption, does it work out over time? When do you break even?
    For simple food cost, home made is about 50% of MH at full retail. I don't know about power consumption.

    The good news is, the re-hydrated food taste the way I like it and I pretty much know what's in it. Certainly less sodium than the prepared stuff

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maineiac64 View Post
    There is also the benefit of eating exactly what you want and better quality.
    This......

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hosh View Post
    Nesco makes some economical units, not as good as Excaliber, but a third of the price. Rotate trays, circular, top to bottom

    Some good recipes and advice: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...39C3EC3CB8226C

    His beef stroganoff is most excellent
    +1 on the beef stroganoff especially with the dried sour dream.

    His beef chili mac and jambalaya recipes are good too.

    Now, if I could dehydrate beignets I'd be a real happy hiker.
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    Registered User Suzzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllDownhillFromHere View Post
    With the initial cost, and power consumption, does it work out over time? When do you break even?
    For me it's not about breaking even it's about eating food I like. That being said, I am curious about it. 25 meals (according to Maineiac64) seems very reasonable.

    For those of you who have prepared your own dehydrated meals, how is the taste once dehydrated compared to it's original form? Is there much difference?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerZ View Post
    +1 on the beef stroganoff especially with the dried sour dream.

    His beef chili mac and jambalaya recipes are good too.

    Now, if I could dehydrate beignets I'd be a real happy hiker.
    Perhaps heavy compression, rather than dehydration is in order.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzzz View Post
    For me it's not about breaking even it's about eating food I like. That being said, I am curious about it. 25 meals (according to Maineiac64) seems very reasonable.

    For those of you who have prepared your own dehydrated meals, how is the taste once dehydrated compared to it's original form? Is there much difference?
    I would say the taste is pretty close and overall a lot better than MH and a little better than packit gourmet. I bought my dehydrator on a whim since it was 50% off on a 5 hour sale. I have also been making jerkey which is about 50-60% of retail and very high quality. I really wish I would have got a dehydrator much sooner.

  17. #17
    Registered User kestral's Avatar
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    I love making jerkey with my dehydrator. My son and all his pals ask when is the next batch? I know what's in my food, and it generally is same price as the less expensive commercial stuff when bought on sale or bogo , but I use top quality meats and seasonings. I wonder sometimes about what is used in commercial foods to make them so cheep. I also make my pup liver treats. Buy calves liver, cube and sauté in butter, trace of sea salt, dehydrate. My dog and I fought over it last hike .

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