Dehydrating backpack food

Litehiker

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Sep 15, 2012
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Mojave Desert, Nevada
Anyone dehydrate food for backpacking?

Mainly my little round dehydrator is used for making spaghetti sauce "leather".
->I use 1 cup of Prego or Newman's sauce on a plastic sheet
->After it's dehydrated I peel the leather off the sheet, fold it into a quart freezer bag and freeze it.
->When frozen I crumble the leather into small flakes for much faster rehydration. I store in a fridge but not for more than a month. Easily keeps on the trail for over a week in the summer.

In camp I add dried mushrooms or, in cooler weather, crumbled, lightly salted and partially dehydrated hamburger.

Now I want to begin dehydrating fish and chicken. Anyone have any tips?

Eric B.
 

Mike 338

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Feb 4, 2012
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Boise, ID
I've done a fair amount. Works great. I find it easier to do complete meals. The advantage to this is you can season it exactly the way you like it. Chili is probably one of my favorites. I start off with a base of my favorite chili (Cattle Drive) and add black beans and a bunch of spices. I put hamburger in it but it's much better is you cook off some chunks of steak (cooked low and slow in a pot for a very long time for tenderness). I make a gigantic pot and spread it out thin and start dehydrating. Don't skimp on time. It takes a full day or so and I typically turn it over once. I put them in Food Saver bags and freeze them but they'll pack better if you transfer them out of the Food Saver bag and into a Freezer bag for use in the field before you leave.

The thing about dehydrated food is that you need to plan a meal in advance. I basically rehydrate (dinner) my meals before I hang them in a tree for the next day. Rehydrating takes about 10 hours but more is fine/better if it's cool outside. I usually do something store bought/easy for breakfast and the same for lunches.

Guys who backpack hunt will rehydrate in the morning and just deal with the extra weight in their pack but you could just buy one freeze-dried meal and eat that the first night.

Lean meats like shell fish/shrimp, chicken, lean beef or lean hamburger work great.
 

Litehiker

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Mojave Desert, Nevada
Thanks Mike. I'm going to try several things from just drying meats alone to mixing them with meals like your chili.

And thanks for the tip on Cattle Drive chili.Gotta get some today.

Eric B.
 

Elkeater

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Dec 3, 2017
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898
so I dehydrate a lot of fruits and such but one of my favorite things is dehydrated ground elk. I take a 1/4 cup of bread crumbs per pound of meat. mix it well with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder then Brown it in a skillet, through it on wax paper in the dehydrator and bingo if got meat to mix in. I like to buy the $1 rice sides at the grocery store. the fajita rice is good when you add 1/4 of a pound worth of dehydrated meat as it' cooking. with the bread crumbs the meat rehydrates to a normal consistency in about 5-6 minutes
 

Country Bumpkin

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Sep 22, 2015
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Boise, ID
I don’t do it, but my FIL has been experimenting with it and I’m the benefactor since I’m the only backpack hunter. He has done all sorts of soups, chili and pastas. All have been really good thus far and if you just add boiling hot water like you would a mountain house, they soften up in 10 minutes. Very tasty
 

Beardeddeer91

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May 14, 2018
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Alabama
I have been experimenting quite a bit with it lately. I find my stomach also appreciates it much more than freeze dried foods like mountain house. A great resource I’ve found is the backpacking chef website (https://www.backpackingchef.com/)which has a ton of recipes and useful info on dehydrating meals.
 
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