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Food dehydration questions
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Author:  Wally Hull [ June 25th, 2001, 9:28 am ]
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I am attempting to dehydrate for an upcoming 5-day trip.

Initial experiments at several hours of re-hydration are profoundly disappointing:
 Cooked and drained 95% lean ground beef has turned into little BB’s.
 Cubes of ½” tender boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets can be used as mosaic pieces.
 Blanched golden kernels of frozen cut sweet corn resemble yellow boogers.
 Blanched, cut green beans could be used as fire tinder.

Evidently, I am over-drying. At what point is dry enough to prevent moisture resulting in mold? Do I want “pliable and leathery” or “dry and crisp”?

The $3 garage sale dehydrator has no temperature control or fan– only an electric heating element and vents at top and bottom. There are no instructions with this unit. I line the trays with wax paper, allowing free flow of air through a center 2” hole.

One last question – has anyone tried to dry eggs? I scramble, micro-waved and dried it. See chicken result, above.

Any observations are welcome to help save me from myself.

Thanks!

Author:  Richard [ June 25th, 2001, 9:34 am ]
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Don't get too discouraged. A lot of dehydrated food doesn't look too edible right after dehydration. Have you tried to rehydrate any of these items?

For example, your ground beef that looks like BB's sounds about right. I've heard it described as fine brown gravel, also. In spite of this, it will probably rehydrate just fine. Give it a try!

Same goes for the veggies. I fully dry beans and such until completely dry. They look shriveled and unapetizing when they're done, but they come back just fine.

You have to allow enough time for rehydration though - they don't come back in 5 minutes.

Author:  Wally Hull [ June 25th, 2001, 10:04 am ]
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Thanks, Richard, I appreciate your encouragement.

Previous experiments with corn and ground beef re-hydration were successful (considering what they have been through.)

The chicken and beans are causing me concern.

My intention is to put the meats in Hamburger Helper. The vegys are destined to be side dishes. However, I am not ruling out a one-pot-slop to hide the mistakes!

Thanks, again!

Author:  C. Potvin [ June 25th, 2001, 5:15 pm ]
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I think you have the right Idea going, I always think my Ground beef looks like Tasters Choice only paler. I use it in spaghetti sauce, to make shephers pie, etc. It should be fine in your hamburger helper, but you will need to change the recipe before you use it. I fry up the beef before dehydrating it, then I add it to the water before the noodles, and boil it and the noodles together to allow the beef to rehydrate, then add the spaghetti sauce on its own. You may need to be creative with the Hamburger helper in a way similar to this.

I have heard fron a number of people that rehydrating Chicken is akin to nailing Jello to a wall. But I think I did once hear of someone finding success with the canned flakes of chicken in a dehydrator (can't remember whether they dehydrated the flakes or just gave in and took the can with them)
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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: C. Potvin on 2001-06-25 18:18 ]</font>

Author:  Richard [ June 25th, 2001, 5:26 pm ]
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I gotta say, Chris - my experiment at dehydrating both flakes of chicken and tuna were dismal failures. The end result didn't much resemble food, and even after extended rehydration was still petrified.

Author:  Wally Hull [ June 26th, 2001, 3:28 pm ]
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I did not expect this many responses. Thanks to all for regarding my questions, offering encouragement and help.

RESULTS:
-Ground beef BB’s are palatable after several hours of re-hydration and mixed with the helper flavor du jour.
-Cubes of ½” chicken mosaic pieces remain “chewy and interesting”, at best.
-Sweet-yellow-corn-boogers retain the flavor of corn, but with high tooth impact.
-Cut green beans are excellent.

Author:  diplomat [ June 27th, 2001, 11:32 pm ]
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I have had similar results when dehydrating foods - ground beef looks like freeze dried coffee for example.

One tip I can give you when you're rehydrating is that the hotter the water, the better. For example, corn comes back almost perfectly when rehydrated for a few hours and then brought to a boil. I'd say that anything that CAN be boiled, SHOULD be boiled...

Give it a shot.

Cal White

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