Dehydrating for the BackcoutrySep 22, 2019
I’ve always hated going to the outdoor retail store, standing in front of the dehydrated meal, trying to decide which one I wanted to take on my adventure. I found myself uninspired by the offerings…..
Chicken teriyaki, beef stroganoff, or chili mac…... None of those sounded great. Plus, what if I haul that meal into the backcountry and hate it? It’s not like you can go make yourself something different because, well, you’re are in the backcountry. I feel like a lot of those meals have a weird texture and after taste too. Add a lot of sodium, lack of nutrients, and my enthusiasm for these is about a 1 out of 10.
Purchasing a food dehydrator has been a huge benefit!
Now I make extra of a meal one night and throw the leftovers on the dehydrator to use that weekend for a backcountry adventure. I don’t have to worry about whether it will taste good (I already know that if I’m eating the non-dehydrated version for a meal) and I’m in control of the seasoning and nutrients. To rehydrate, add as much fluid as was removed during the dehydration process. So that can be tricky to figure out. If you want to be precise, weigh the food before you dehydrate it. After it’s dehydrated, weigh it again. Whatever the difference is how much water you need to add to rehydrate your meal. Or you can do like I do and just guess and continue to add more water until you reach the desired consistency :)
I ended up purchasing the Presto Food Dehydrator with the Fruit Rolls Sheets. The Fruit Rolls Sheets are great for making your own fruit roll-ups but also necessary when dehydrating foods that are more liquid-based. This dehydrator works pretty well for my purposes. I find the timer and temperature setting to be a little finicky to adjust and it is a little loud. But I love that the trays can collapse/stack to make storage easier. There are a lot of different options out there but this one worked for my needs and is budget-friendly as well.
What should I dehydrate?
One of my favorites is soup! This is perfect for our annual backcountry, winter hut trips. This is nothing better than a hearty, warm soup on a winter day in the high country! I also like to dehydrate hummus, fruit, jerky, and quinoa bowls. My friend did mention that ground meat rehydrated faster than chunks of meat. I have used shredded chicken in my soups and have not had any problem with that as well. As I’m typing this, I’m thinking of more foods to try out - salsa, eggs, mac and cheese sauce, spaghetti sauce. There are so many possibilities!
Want a few recipes? Check out my eBook - Off the Grid Provisions Volume 2 - A Backpacking Recipe Guide.