DIY dehydrated meals

Discussion in 'Kitchen' started by Shewie, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    I do quite a lot of minced based meals & never bother with the silicone sheets, I just 'dehydrate' in the cooking pot as much as I can then straight on the mesh trays once its cooled a bit.
    Tip: if recipe calls for adding stuff that doesn't really need a lot of cooking (e.g. frozen vegetables, tomato paste, etc) reduce the liquid in the pot as much as possible, then add these near the end, it will help thicken the mass up to make spreading on the mesh practical.
    Bopdude and Cranston like this.
  2. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    Stopping the flow of air around the food by placing on a solid sheet should be avoided as much as possible, it really impedes the drying. It's less of an issue with a rear fan, and affects drying times a lot more with a bottom fan.

    I made some 1mm hole stainless insect mesh sheets for my dehydrator and dry all the things that will drop through the larger mesh on those. Mince and dried fish, leathers, veg that shrinks down small like Sweetcorn, Peas and Carrots go on them too.

    To get lumps of meat to stay bigger and not break up, mixing the salt and breadcrumbs into the mince before cooking helps keep the bits together and also helps it rehydrate quicker as the bread and salt is better spread. This year, I've been cooking the mince in trays in the oven and then cutting after with a Pizza cutter...it really helps keep the meat size consistent and you can cut into strips to speed the drying up.
  3. Bopdude

    Bopdude Section Hiker

  4. Lempo

    Lempo Thru Hiker

    it's probably not food grade and can be harmful to your health?
  5. Bopdude

    Bopdude Section Hiker

    Good point maybe I should address the underlying problem, cheap dehydrator lol
    Lempo likes this.
  6. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Even with an Excalibur (rear fan) - with wet food I turn it over/break it up, part way thru' to get the whole lot properly dry.
  7. Padstowe

    Padstowe Thru Hiker

    With so much choice & knowing faff all & assuming loads have options I don't need, I thought it best to ask here before a take a plunge on a good model.
    Question, what should I be looking for in buying a good dehydrator?
  8. Michael_x

    Michael_x Ultralighter

    I know very little about these but...

    I bought one a while back to play with and learn. Went for one of the cheapest, even so had digital temp and timer.

    What I learnt:

    I don't use it much but it works.

    Wish I'd bought a model that one could get precut fitted silicone sheets set for. Cutting up baking paper sheet works but is a pain.
    Padstowe likes this.
  9. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    Go 2nd hand - they are simple items - a motorised fan and element with thermostat. As long as it works you shouldn't go too far wrong.

    I bought a 2nd hand Excalibur, which are expensive new, but I'm glad I did as it's much more flexible - drying clothing, raising bread dough etc….
    It's the old "buy cheap, buy twice". And it will always be saleable if you change your mind.
    Another plus is because it's a 'box' I can store things on top of it - so the size/space isn't such an issue - I have an upside down tray on top so maintain an air gap between it and whatever.
    Padstowe likes this.
  10. Tartanferret

    Tartanferret Thru Hiker

    I went mid-range price wise with a Stockli.
    A good feature is the model with stainless mesh trays, so you can put them in the dishwasher to get them clean.
    I bought a proper silicone mat for it but I found I prefer using the cheap silicone sheets and cutting to size.

    https://www.ukjuicers.com/stockli-dehydrator-stainless-steel-trays-timer
    Padstowe likes this.
  11. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    I'm happy with my Stockli, seems to do OK with 6 trays.
    Only trouble was with the internal thermal fuse 'blowing' & Stockli being unresponsive on the matter.
    Eventually worked out a successful fix which seems to have helped many others repair theirs with the same issue.
    Tartanferret and Padstowe like this.
  12. Padstowe

    Padstowe Thru Hiker

    I have been called a big mouth before, but I doubt it's that big, & I ain't trying to stick them in any other hole either! ;)
    Tartanferret likes this.
  13. Tartanferret

    Tartanferret Thru Hiker

    cheers for that fix, only cost around a quid to save my machine from landfill :thumbsup:
    Whiteburn likes this.
  14. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    Teepee and Tartanferret like this.
  15. Lempo

    Lempo Thru Hiker

  16. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    Shewie likes this.
  17. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    I've just upgraded from my trusty old Andrew james rectangular unit. It was starting to show it's age after what must have been a year running.
    The trays are cracking, the temp was slowly dropping and I'm getting bored of doing 'musical trays' to get all the food to dry.

    So far, this has been good over the last couple of weeks; it's had about 30kg put through it and food is drying at least twice as quickly.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07L4NHWYG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    The temp is 10c out (it runs too hot), so I'm drying all veg and beef at 45c setting and it's actually keeping a steady 55c on the trays.
    Plenty big enough to do Biltong and a massive loaf of bread, I'm hoping it keeps hot enough to do proper dehydrated eggs (which need over 74c aparently). It's supposed to run at 90c and it's got a massive heating element.

    No silicone sheets, but I won't miss them for my batch drying veg and meat.
    Bopdude and Lempo like this.
  18. Shewie

    Shewie Administrator Staff Member

    I did mate, even did a vid (god I sound so Manc) but Bob didn't show them
    Teepee likes this.
  19. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    Making up a batch each of dill pickles, cauliflower rice, konjack noodles and green powder mix
    Mole and Teepee like this.
  20. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    The redneck vacuum jar system has been working well since I swapped to it. (A pinhole to remove the air ,sealed with aluminium) These were all sealed 1 to 2 months ago and none have leaked.
    20200512_110625.jpg

    There is a lot of veg, meat, and fruit here. Just one of the red jars has 4 big Celery plants in it.
    Last edited: May 12, 2020
    FOX160, edh, Charles42 and 4 others like this.
  21. Lempo

    Lempo Thru Hiker

    Looks amazing, what's the system you're talking about?
    Teepee likes this.
  22. Teepee

    Teepee Thru Hiker

    Bulk vacuum storage in glass jars.

    My redneck vacuum system;
    It's a rubber tap adaptor, on some pvc tube, with a drilled plastic bottle cap inside, pushed onto the intake pipe on my vacuum sealer.

    You suck the air out of a supermarket glass jar through a pinhole in the tightened jar lid, and seal the hole with a small patch of Alu tape. The patch of tape seals the hole when you drag the rubber sealing cup sideways.
    To open, peel the tape off to release the vacuum.
    MartinK9, Balagan, Bopdude and 3 others like this.
  23. MartinK9

    MartinK9 Section Hiker

    Dehydrated Sauerkraut today. Use in salads etc. Can be used as a powdered vinegar/salt substitute.

    Stole the idea from this bloke:

    Tartanferret and Lempo like this.
  24. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    Last year I experimented with using bulk dry ingredients rather than dehydrating cooked meals.
    Much easier and quicker.
    Lots of mixing, rehydrating and tasting needed to get good results. I ended up with a pretty good curry. Sadly I've misplaced the recipe....
    Mostly coconut powder (750 cal/100g) almond, onion, tomato, amchoor powder and curry spices. Just a matter of measuring out dried/powdered ingreadiing and being dried they don't need special packaging etc.

    Anyhow looking at American Youtubers again I started looking for dehydrated cooked pinto beans, no luck as usual. Then I remembered looking up dried hummus. Mixed reviews, but worth trying I think.

    Rather than buying a premade product I've bought the ingredients, chickpea flour, sesame mainly, I have garlic powder. I prefer my hummus chunky, but it's worth a try, I keep a little bottle of olive oil in my food bag which I can add.
    Could be a cheap, light and easy way to make a lunchtime snack.
    I could easily live off good hummus so hope it works.
  25. dovidola

    dovidola Thru Hiker

    With you all the way @Enzo (apart from the garlic powder yuck), I've not bought a premade dehydrated hiking meal since a decade ago, when I concluded they were grossly overpriced muck (which usually contained garlic powder yuck). Of course products may have improved since then, but I'm content to use mainly supermarket ingredients to make up my own grub, which doesn't seem to weigh that much more than the niche product.

    Regarding the dried chick pea thing, aren't chick peas a pulse? As are lentils, which are ground (black lentils I think) to make urud flour, which they make poppadoms from? Just wondering if that flour, or even broken up bits of uncooked poppadom (dehydrated after all) might have an application?

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