Although a dehydrator typically works better (and is more energy efficient) than an oven, using your stove or convection oven is definitely doable.
Simply heat your oven accordingly to the food type below: we have provided the proper temperatures for you!
(Learned these rules of thumb thanks to the Open Country dehydrator we use!
How long you need to “dry out” the food you’re dehydrating varies substantially. Typically, the more water content, the longer it takes. Some fruits, for example, easily take over 30 hours to complete. Meat, such as chicken, only takes about 8. Thicker cuts, for obvious reasons, also extend the required time.
To make things easier, and to give you an idea of what you might be getting yourself into, we have supplied the standard how to’s on how to dehydrate meat, fruits, vegetables and other foods.
Check out some of our backcountry meal ideas and recipes – many of which include dehydrated ingredients.
6 + hours
6 + hours
6 + hours
12 + hours
*For fruits with tougher skins, such as blueberries and cranberries, you’ll want to poke them open with a knife or blanch them before drying them out.
(To blanch = pour boiling hot water over fruit and let sit for 10 minutes. Skin should break open!)
For jerky: Cut raw meat into 1/4 inch thick slices. Marinate. Arrange on dehydrating tray and dehydrate for 6-10 hours.
For ground meat: Ground meat must be cooked before dehydrating. Cook meat in frying pan using minimal oil. Once fully cooked, arrange on dehydrating tray and dry for approx. 5 hours
Cut cheese into approx 2cm x 2cm cubes. Spread out on dehydrating tray or sheet and dry for approx 36 hours (This is why shredded cheese is so much better!)
Crumble the feta on a paper or cloth towel. Use the towel to lightly eliminate excess moisture. Sprinkle feta around tray/sheet and dry for approx 12 hours
Shred and sprinkle cheese around dehydrating tray or sheet. *Try to spread out as much as possible to avoid over lapping*
(Although not required, for best results, I recommend shaking the shredded cheese in a bag with some flour prior to drying as this helps avoid the strands of cheese from clumping and drying together (sorry gluten-free people!)
Nuts & Seeds
Besides gaining more nutritional value, you can dehydrate nuts to make nut powder! (Which is a great protein and flavour additive to many meals!
Place 2 cups of raw nuts in a large jar or bowl with 1/2 tablespoon of salt. Add enough water to cover all nuts. Let soak for a minimum of 7 hours.
After soaking, drain out all of the water. (Feel free to rinse and/or remove the skins at this point – but it absolutely is not necessary!)
Finally, spread nuts around dehydrating tray or sheet. Dry @105°F for approx 24 hours. (Yes, a full day… the nuts should be free of moisture once they’re done!)
Dehydrating your nuts before blending them into a powder is much more effective than blending raw nuts. Why? The dehydrating process takes out moisture from the nuts that would normally gummy up the powder. So, first follow the instructions above on dehydrating nuts, then place in a blender and pulse until only a powder is left.
Blanching and dehydrating your grains calls for easier rehydration! (And more meal base options!)