View topic - First time dehydrating and rehydrating today...questions

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PostPosted: March 11th, 2013, 4:40 pm 
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Joined: August 18th, 2011, 4:37 pm
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Location: Shelburne, Ontario
Yesterday I dehydrated some chicken, carrots, and potato. Today I threw it all in a pot to rehydrate it (along with a bullion cube, and 1/8tsp salt/pepper) and see what it was like.

So I got some water boiling and dropped it all in.

The chicken rehydrated in about 10min, but it was kind of chewy/tough. Is this normal? I used breast. I let it boil to 35min, but it didn't get any more moist than it was after 10min.

The carrots rehydrated very nicely but took about 25min. The potato after 35min was rehydrated, but chewier than I thought it should be.

How do I improve the texture of my mix? I thought maybe to grate both the potato and carrot prior to dehydrating-is this a good idea?

Thoughts? Overall it was definitely good camp food...but it would be much improved with better mouth feel/texture.

Matt


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PostPosted: March 11th, 2013, 5:12 pm 
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Location: Edmonton area
Were the potatos and carrots cooked before you dehydrated them? If not, there is your problem.

I make quite a bit of my own bush food, and I generally cook all the ingredients separately, cut them up small, dehydrate then mix them together with spices, and bag them as meals or vacuum seal them first then bag them. All I ever have to do is boil water, pour it into the bag, put the bag in a cozy, wait 10 mins max and they are good to go.

If you are just dehydrating raw veggies, then yes, for sure I could see why they are still chewy after rehydrating for 25 mins, because basically it would be cooking, but not much.

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PostPosted: March 11th, 2013, 5:16 pm 
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Keep in mind that you can buy dehydrated vegetable flakes in th ebulk food store. Not as trustworthy as starting with whole carrots etc, but good enough to mix with pasta, meat etc when cooking on the trail.
That stuff is done when cooked for 10 or 15 minutes.

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PostPosted: March 11th, 2013, 6:00 pm 
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Joined: March 23rd, 2006, 11:21 pm
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Location: Burns Lake, BC
Try cooking the meal first, then dehydrating it.
We find this works much better for us.
Our meals include spaghetti, lasagne, fried rice, chinese noodle casserole, soups, other casseroles, etc...
Grating will of course help in rehydrating.
Put boiling water into the ziploc meal, put everything in a cozy, fold up in a sleeping bag and leave it for an hour.
Piping hot, just like out of your kitchen, and one spoon to lick for dishes. Gotta love it!

Good luck.


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PostPosted: March 11th, 2013, 7:29 pm 
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Joined: August 18th, 2011, 4:37 pm
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Location: Shelburne, Ontario
thanks for the tips! I was using raw veggies, yes. I did blanche them prior to dehydrating, but they definitely weren't cooked. I've got another batch dehydrating now-I used my food processor to slice the pieces thinner so we'll see how that goes.

I'll check the local bulk barn about those veggie flakes!

I think maybe my meat got too dry??? It was cooked prior to dehydrating, but it came out pretty brittle. Could that be causing the chewiness/toughness?

Matt


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PostPosted: March 11th, 2013, 9:24 pm 
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awesomeame wrote:
I think maybe my meat got too dry??? It was cooked prior to dehydrating, but it came out pretty brittle. Could that be causing the chewiness/toughness?

Matt
Whole pieces of meat are "tough" to dehydrate and bring back to edibility. If you want jerky, then make jerky. Otherwise either shred it or grind it before drying. I have never had good results with chicken chunks unless shredded or ground.

Casseroles are designed for dehydrating. Almost any kind you like at home turns out well. Item components should be of similar consistent size and relatively small, with any meat item shredded or ground.

I never boil anything other than plain water to rehydrate. Just pour boiling water over the food and insulate in some kind of cozy. Use doubled freezer grade bags and you will never have to wash a pot. Rule of thumb is 20 minutes. Peek and stir very quickly at 10 minutes to be sure there is still water available. You will develop a feel for how much water to add to various dishes. Most items are completely rehydrated and still hot in 20 minutes. Some take much less time, very few take a little longer.


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PostPosted: March 12th, 2013, 11:55 pm 
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I don't imagine there is such a thing as "too dry" when it comes to dehydrating meats (which is different than cured jerky). I've never had any luck with cubed (diced) chicken, though admittedly I gave up on it early in my dehydrating life 15 years or so ago and haven't looked back since. I think I've made some meals with a shredded (pulled) chicken that turned out well. Mostly though I use beef or pork for dehydrating.

Almost always it's a casserole or prepared dish and I dehydrate the whole shebang. I often make a meal at home extra large, slicing my veggies thinner than I would normally bother, then dehydrate some of the leftovers. It doesn't get any easier than that.

Nessmuk, thanks for the freezer bag tip - that would be a real boon in the winter when everything is harder, including the dishwater.

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PostPosted: April 11th, 2013, 9:35 pm 
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Location: Thunder bay, Ontario Canada
I'm really interested in stating to dehydrate for canoeing trips . If I cook a meat loaf at home and when it's cold slice it really thin, can I put it in the dehydrator? I love chicken but doesn't sound like that works too well when dehydrating ... Darn ! And if I make vegetarian chili at home do I spread it on the trays and dehydrate ? I'm nervous about doing this, but really want to give it a try. Just want to make sure I know what I'm doing ! Thanks for the help
Debbie


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PostPosted: April 12th, 2013, 5:49 am 
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Debbie wrote:
I'm really interested in stating to dehydrate for canoeing trips . If I cook a meat loaf at home and when it's cold slice it really thin, can I put it in the dehydrator? I love chicken but doesn't sound like that works too well when dehydrating ... Darn ! And if I make vegetarian chili at home do I spread it on the trays and dehydrate ? I'm nervous about doing this, but really want to give it a try. Just want to make sure I know what I'm doing ! Thanks for the help
Debbie
I'm sure your meatloaf will crumble into meatloaf crumbs. But it will be good nonetheless. You might better crumble it before dehydrating, it will dry easier that way. When ready to eat, rehydrate in hot water - pour boiling water on it and keep it covered in a cozy for about 20 minutes. Mix with a prepared packet of mashed potatoes. Maybe add some rehydrated cooked veggies too. Shepherds pie - Yum.

Chicken in any dish should be first either ground or shredded before drying to rehydrate properly.

Chili is great for dehydrating. Spread it thin and let it dry completely. To rehydrate, cover (plus an inch) with boiling water (double freezer bags will work), and put in an insulating cozy for 20 minutes. Quickly peek at 10 minutes to be sure there is still some liquid water, add more if needed, stir, and cozy for another 10.

Try anything of a casserole nature, or pastas/spaghetti, any dish that has relatively small and uniform components.

If you are just beginning, I highly recommend that you get two books - Google or go to Amazon to find them:
- "Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook"
-- offers general advise and procedures for dehydrating food

- "Backpack Gourmet: Good Hot Grub You Can Make at Home, Dehydrate, and Pack for Quick, Easy, and Healthy Eating on the Trail", by Linda Yaffe
-- a collection of recipes you probably have never thought of, geared toward camping and has occasionally been offered on kindle for free


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PostPosted: April 12th, 2013, 7:22 am 
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you might like this how to dehydrate chicken tutorial.

http://www.myccr.com/phpbbforum/viewtop ... en#p356382


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PostPosted: April 12th, 2013, 7:32 am 
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Hi folks,

To the OP and others having trouble with chicken: Maybe use the search function, because over the past decade there have been hundreds of posts on this topic, and others in dehydrating. Chicken is really easy once you know the secret: as others have mentioned it needs to be precooked and flaked or shredded or ground into small bits. Pressure cooking is the best, and that is where canned flaked chicken comes in, because it was pressure cooked.

A quick and easy method that works for dehydrating chicken and turkey every time, is to reflake the canned flaked chicken or turkey. No muss, little fuss. It pops out of the can like a hockey puck. Just take a spoon and cut it it up into bits as small as you have patience for. Its already been shredded and the fibers are broken up.

I spread on the plastic liquid trays, since the bits are small and will fall through the slatted trays. I dehydrate for 24 hours. Works perfect. Rehydrates perfect in a one pot meal in about 15 minutes of simmering.

The only downside for me is that canned chicken or turkey is very salty. I don't add any salt to my food, and this dilutes it, and the flavour is really good. I can add seasonings with salt based on taste and how much I am craving salt that day.

In canoe tripping I am by water (obviously), and don't have a problem washing a pot.

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PostPosted: April 12th, 2013, 7:35 am 
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Debbie wrote:
....And if I make vegetarian chili at home do I spread it on the trays and dehydrate ? ...

I do the same, cook a large pot full, and in order to shorten the drying time, I pour the whole pot into a colander and let it sit for a while so that much of the liquid is strained out. I save that liquid and use it as a soup at home, but the solids go onto the drying racks.

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PostPosted: April 12th, 2013, 9:15 am 
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I find that vegetarian recipes are very flavorful on their own (because they have to be). Adding meat in any form just makes them even better. :D


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PostPosted: April 12th, 2013, 1:08 pm 
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Joined: October 9th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Thunder bay, Ontario Canada
Thanks for all the great ideas. Just have to do abit more reach int what brand of dehydrator .
When you have dehydrated fruit d u just eat t as is or pour water over it?
When adding it to your oatmeal de it hydrate?
Thanks for the book suggestions .


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PostPosted: April 12th, 2013, 1:42 pm 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
I dehydrate strawberries as is for oatmeal. I have found blueberries hard to do and frankly dried blueberries are easy to buy. Strawberries if sliced, rehydrate very quickly.

You can mix applesauce with canned (drained) fruit. Makes a nice leather after dehydrating.

Wal Mart carries a decent dehydrator. You do want 750 watts and a temp control. Unless you are dehydrating for a survival basement the more basic Nescos will do fine for the occasional use we give them.

Dried pineapple I eat as is. I don't care for the sweetened dried pineapple in the supermarket. You can also get dried mangoes in the market, which are much easier than wrassling with(peeling) and dehydrating fresh mangoes and having pulp all over.

Oranges don't dehydrate well.


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