DEHYDRATING 101

DEHYDRATING 101

Dehydrating Time

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. The dehydrator or oven you use also impacts the drying time. 

Truth be told, since results vary, it’s easiest to follow the general rule of thumb (see below), and to check on your food throughout the process. Consider food dehydrated when no moisture or juices excretes when squeezed. 

Dehydrator vs. Oven

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!

General Rule of Thumb:

Fruits

135°F

57°C

6 + hours

Veggies

135°F

57°C

6 + hours

Meat

160°F

57°C

6 + hours 

Cheese

135°F

57°C

10+ hours

Herbs

95°F

35°C

1-4 hours

Nuts & Seeds

105°F

41°C

12 + hours

HOW TO DEHYDRATE:

Fruits

The best part about dehydrated fruit is that they're not just good as additives to meals and snacks, they're great on their own! Their natural sugar content make them a sweet and healthy treat!

Dry @ 135°F

  • Rinse and slice fruit into approx. 1/4 inch thick slices
  • Arrange on dehydrating rack or sheet (avoid letting them touch!)

*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!)

Great Fruits for Dehydrating

  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Mangoes
  • Pineapple
  • Kiwi
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cranberries

Veggies

The best ingredients to add nutrients and flavour to your backcountry meals.

Great Veggies for Dehydrating

  • Garlic 
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Mushroom
  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Peppers
  • Jalapeños
  • Green Beans
  • Beets
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Olives
  • Potatoes

Dry @ 135°F

  • Rinse and either dice or slice veggies into approx. 1/4 inch thick pieces
  • Arrange on dehydrating rack or sheet (avoid letting them touch!)
  • Lightly steaming or baking root vegetables prior to dehydrating not only makes the rehydrating process quicker, but improves the efficiency of the dehydrating process. 
  • Dry @ 135°F for approx. 6 hours

Meat

You can do so much more than make jerky with your dehydrator! Learn how to dehydrate various cuts of meat, including ground meat, to create epic meals and snacks in the backcountry!

Dry @ 160°F

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 (water is a great alternative). Once fully cooked, arrange on dehydrating tray and dry for approx. 5 hours.

*It is a good idea to rinse your cooked meat with water to get rid of excess fats and oils before drying. It helps avoid the dry meat from going rancid*

Cheese

From a backcountry meal prep perspective, shredded cheese is the best option for dehydrating; it's a lot quicker to prep and rehydrates in meals more efficiently than cubed or thick cuts of cheese. Dehydrated cubed cheese, however, is awesome as a crunchy snack!

Dry @ 135°F

Cubed

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!)

Feta

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 10 hours

Shredded

Shred and sprinkle cheese around dehydrating tray or sheet and dry for approx 10 hours.

*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!) 

Herbs

The next time you find yourself with a bunch of fresh herbs left over, make good use of them by dehydrating them for future backcountry or homecooked meals!

Dry @ 95°F

  • Rinse and finely chop herbs
  • Arrange on dehydrating rack or sheet (avoid letting them touch!)
  • Dry @ 95°F for 1-4 hours

Great Herbs for Dehydrating

  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Dill
  •  Chives
  • Oregano
  • Thyme 
  • Cilantro

Nuts, Seeds & Grains

It's not exactly necessary to dehydrate nuts and seeds - they have a long shelf life without any preservatives or refrigeration. However, you may be interested in soaking and dehydrating nuts in order to gain the full nutritional value.(They have a natural enzyme in their raw state that is difficult for your body to digest)

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.

Grains

Blanching and dehydrating your grains calls for easier rehydration! (And more meal base options!)

Dehydrating rice is much easier than you might think! Simply cook your rice and spread it around your dehydrating tray or sheet. Dry @ 135°F​ for approx [ #]

Dehydrating pasta basically works the same as rice! Simply boil your pasta until cooked then dehydrate @ 135°F​ for [#]

%d bloggers like this: