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  1. #1

    Default Dehydrated vs freeze dried

    Which is lighter?

    Which tastes better?

    Which is cheaper?

    opinions.....
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    Registered User Tuckahoe's Avatar
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    As far as taste goes, I really like the dehydrated meals prepared by Hawk Vittles -- http://www.hawkvittles.com/. A retired chef and it shows in the meals that he offers.
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    Registered User Bags4266's Avatar
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    I would guess freezed dried is lighter. But we can't do that. Dehydrated on the other hand is the way I go. You can make and dehy. almost everything and its to your liking. It reduces weight saves a ton of money compared to freeze dried. And you don't need to resupply at major grocery stores 5 m off the trail if you have someone to assist you when going distance. I can go a week with resupplying and not be to heavy (around 25 lbs) using dehy. foods.

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    Freeze drying is a longer and more expensive process than the heat type dehydration.
    The benefit is longer shelf life and at least theoretically, better taste/structure, lower re-hydration times (can be done with cold water) and better preservation of the original minerals and vitamins.
    For example some instant coffee is available freeze dried (Nescafe Gold) , more expensive but generally better tasting than the usual air dried variety.
    here is a quick description of how instant coffee is made :
    http://coffeetea.about.com/cs/kindso...tantcoffee.htm

    Of course a very well prepared air dried meal will taste better than a poorly made freeze dried...
    Franco
    I am currently reading a series of books from a local how to guru . One of the articles was on instant coffee...

    http://www.drkarl.com/home/

    BTW, theoretically both systems remove 98% of the moisture, so the weight is the same.

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    In terms of cost --- What's your time worth? How often would you use a dehydrator, and possibly a vacuum sealer? The more you use it/them, the lower the cost on a sort of "per-use basis".

    In terms of tasting better, it depends on which brand of freeze dried stuff you buy and of course your own personal, well, taste. Dehydrating depends very much on the recipes you put together with the dehydrated ingredients.

    In terms of weight, don't forget the packaging (bulk too). I use the freezer bag cooking method, and in general what I package a meal in is lighter and less bulky than the more expensive off-the-shelf freeze dried backpacking dinners.

    I hate to have to say "it depends ..." so often, but it all really does depend on various factors that only you can evaluate in your particular situation.
    Gadget
    PCT: 2008 NOBO, AT: 2010 NOBO, CDT: 2011 SOBO, PNT: 2014+2016

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    I think the healthiest and cheapest and best tasting food for backpacking is stuff that is already dry, at least when you buy it, like oats, nuts, seeds, raisins, currants, paprika, herbs and spices, etc. Next would be stuff you can dehydrate yourself. I do blueberries and jerky, using the convection oven. I only dehydrate during the heating season, so the heat isn't wasted. I might try sun drying. Good way to go on fruits and vegetables in summer maybe, and herbs. Pretty humid climate here, but it can be done. I haven't much interested in pre-packaged backpacking meals as to me it is rather like having someone do my hiking for me, but that's just me.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by PennyPincher View Post
    Which is lighter?

    Which tastes better?

    Which is cheaper?

    opinions.....
    Dehydrating your foods would most likely be cheaper, however freezedried foods from what I understand retain their overall taste and nutritional value better:http://www.mountainhouse.com/frzdry.cfm

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    Registered User Bags4266's Avatar
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    I can dehyrate 4-5 meals loaded with ground meat pasta or coucous, beans or whatever and spice it up any different way I disire for the price of one freeze dried meal. $6 x 5 days of hiking= $30 compared to $6.00 . This addes up quickly if thru hiking or doing a long section.

  9. #9

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    I was looking at this site www.honeyvillegrain.com and wondering if doing a thru, and maybe not much experience with dehydrating a wide variety of foods, if this would be a good cost and time alternative. I wouldn't buy the small individual meals as that would be way too expensive. Does anyone have experience with this line? How did it taste? After all, regardless of price, if something tastes terrible, it's not worth it at any price.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  10. #10
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

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    Registered User Fiddleback's Avatar
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    IMO...

    Home-prepared dehydrated meals are the way to go if you don't mind the time cost. The time spent is actually pretty minimal but it's usually more than the time spent buying a packaged meal. On the other hand, if one reserves portions of a family's evening meal and dehydrates that for the trail then prep time is greatly minimized...sort of a 'dual-use' savings.

    Monetary cost is generally much lower with home prepared meals simply because groceries are virtually always cheaper than the packaged backpacking food. While there is a cost to the dehydration process itself (electricity/gas, dehydrator, etc.) that too can be insignificant. My electricity cost is about 8 an hour. I haven't spent anything on a dehydrator as I've found my oven works well enough.

    Freshness? If that's really a concern when comparing freeze dried and home-prepared dehydrated -- home-prepared meals win hands down.

    Quality? That depends on the food you dehydrate and the salt, preservatives, and other chemicals you add to it. As for me, I don't. Given the stuff I do dehydrate and the stuff I don't add, my meals are healthier and more nutritious, too.

    Taste? Of course my meals taste better!

    Convenience? I concede to commercial freeze dried.

    Not all my meals are 100% home dehydrated. In fact, usually just the evening meal is dehydrated and it often includes ingredients like Ramen or instant rice. But it's been a very, very long time since I've used any of the freeze dried stuff.

    FB
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  12. #12

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    A lot of regular grocery store food is just dehydrated stuff. I realized that once I bought a whole bunch of Just Fruits/Veggies/Tomatoes, which are bulk freeze dried fruits and veggies. I realized that this is all the same exact stuff they put in cereals and other packaged foods. All kinds of packaged meals use freeze dried veggies and fruit, pulverized freeze dried tomatoes for tomato sauce, freeze dried cheese powder for nacho cheese flavor etc.

    So now if I want mac and cheese, I buy bulk macaroni and a packet of Knorr Alfredo Cheese or Four Cheese sauce. Add a little real cheese and it's far superior to the meager offering in a box of Kraft, although it does cost more than Kraft. It costs less than a pre-packaged backpacker-specific offering and tastes great.

    Anyway, the Just Fruits allow you to add some really concentrated flavors to your meals. I do have my doubts that it adds much nutritional value. I think dehydrated is probably more nutritious just because you can eat a lot more of it. The flavor is not so intense.

    So anyway, your questions:
    Which is lighter? Freeze dried

    Which tastes better? Freeze dried is more concentrated flavor but it usually has a sort of styrofoam quality that makes it difficult to eat without adding water. Many dehydrated items (dried fruit, jerky) can be eaten as is. However, some dehydrated items do not rehydrate as easily as their freeze dried alternative.

    Which is cheaper? To just add flavor, I think the freeze-dried is cheaper because you can use a very little amount. But you can make dehydrated stuff yourself. It all depends on how much you are willing to do yourself. I like to make up my own meals and use a combo of dehydrated and freeze-dried depending on which ingredient is better which way.
    Some knew me as Piper, others as just Diane.
    I hiked the PCT: Mexico to Mt. Shasta, 2008. Santa Barbara to Canada, 2009.

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    Which is lighter? Freeze dried

    No

    That is the impression that some have but not a fact.
    The idea , with both methods, is to remove as much water as possible. In practice that is 96 to 98%
    Home dried food can have 100% of the original water content ( when you don't switch the dryer on...) to about 2% .
    Commercially 98% is the standard.
    See here :
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeze-drying
    and
    http://wildbackpacker.com/food/articles/freezedryingdehydration.html
    and
    http://www.foodforest.com.au/dehydrationOfFood.htm
    Franco

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    Registered User orangebug's Avatar
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    I'd question the weight benefit of freeze dried given the packaging implicit with it. If you can plan ahead and buy produce when in season/cheap, you can do extremely well with a dehydrator. Occasionally, you will find them cheap at BigLots and the like. I've had a BigLots one about 10 years - little more than plastic grids with a hairdryer. I enjoy drying peaches and other fruit every year, even when not used on the trail.

    You frequently can go to Farmer's Markets and buy culls (ones to be discarded) for very cheap. Most are only bruised. It is simple to cut out any truly bad spots. The house smells great while the dryer is busy.

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    You frequently can go to Farmer's Markets and buy culls (ones to be discarded) for very cheap. Most are only bruised. It is simple to cut out any truly bad spots. The house smells great while the dryer is busy.

    Yes. I do that since the local market is less than two miles away. (I walk there...)
    Sunday afternoon is the best time here. They are closed on Mon and Tue.
    Apart from some bruising or "need to be used fast" they also sell the non picture perfect fruit and veggies. The ones with odd shapes, slightly bigger or smaller...
    Mostly I buy at 1/3rd of the local supermarket price.
    That is a win-win situation. You get a bargain, the farmer still gets something for food that could/would be thrown away .
    As with all groceries, the trick in saving is not to go out with a shopping list but to buy what is on special and cook accordingly.
    I do that with long lasting food too (oil,pasta,rice,coffee ,tinned food) as well as cleaning stuff .
    (not always possible...)
    Franco

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    I mostly use backpackers pantry which is dry food (not freeze dry) and costs 60 - 75 % of freeze dry but has much shorter use dates

  17. #17

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    I know I read here at Whiteblaze in a previous thread someone mentioned Enertia Trail Foods as a good source of which I believe is dehydrated backpacking foods:http://trailfoods.com/

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    The other issue with freeze dried foods - aside from the 'Styrofoam' texture that someone mentioned, is that freeze dried stuff will crumble into powder when crushed. Dehydrated wont. Freeze dried does not rehydrate back to it's original texture, dehydrated does.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by HeartFire View Post
    Freeze dried does not rehydrate back to it's original texture, dehydrated does.
    That's not what this says:http://www.mountainhouse.com/frzdry.cfm

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    As a consumer I take what the manufactures website says at face value. They have an interest in selling you their product.

    I have never personally expereinced a crushed powder meal, I could see where it could happen.

    My point is....if you enjoy store bought continue, if you like home made continue, bored try the other. There clearly is no superior and we all win because we get fed something other than ramen.

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