The Ultimate Guide to Dehydrated Foods

Dehydrated foods have become a lifestyle as backpacking meals are the trend. People use to resist buying dehydrated foods from the store. Dehydrating has completely changed the way it was 10-15 years ago. Dehydrated foods have completely changed the new meal options and reduced the per meal price.

Through low heat and steady airflow, a lot of moisture has been removed from dehydrated foods.

It is one of the oldest methods of food preservation. There are several dehydration techniques like air dehydration, oven dehydration, and dehydration using a food dehydrator.

Learn more about dried cheese here!

Why dehydrated food are used for backpacking?

There are so many options available in-store for dehydrated foods. But not all of them suit your body type and taste. You can explore the menu by using your dehydrated vegetables and fruits. 

Everyone has a different taste and different nutrient requirements. You can make your meal less salty, gluten-free, or more protein according to your requirement. 

It costs relatively less as compared to the ones that are bought from stores. For some foodstuff, it becomes difficult to dehydrate. For example, meat and fish. Adding preservatives is necessary. 

What foods do not dehydrate well?

Some food should be avoided to dehydrate; for food safety and quality. Fats do not dehydrate properly as evaporation leaves some moisture that can spoil the food. Nut butter is again high in fats. However, peanut butter powders are made by removing fats from them. Dairy products are not safe for dehydration as there is a high chance of food poisoning. Eggs are also not recommended for dehydration. As salmonella thrives in the temperature range during dehydration. Store-bought condiments can be sometimes dangerous for food safety. Many ingredients contain oils, fats, eggs, or dairy or are loaded with sodium or preservatives. 

Dehydrating ingredients vs dehydrating meals

While dehydrating the full meals you should ensure that it contains very less fats to increase the shelf life of the product. While dehydrating the complete meal make sure that each ingredient can be dehydrated at the same temperature to avoid hardening of ingredients. You can also dehydrate batches of ingredients and assemble them in your meal later, or you can prepare and then dehydrate the whole meal.

How to dehydrate vegetables?

Dehydrated vegetables are important in backpacking meals. Some vegetables you can steam or blanch like carrots, corn, green beans, potatoes, etc. Soft vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, and onions don’t need to be blanched or steamed.

Vegetables should be dehydrated at 125F until they are hard and crisp. Depending upon the surrounding conditions and vegetables; the dehydration process can take up to 4-12 hrs.

How to Dehydrate fruit?

Dehydrated fruits are great for snacking. Whether it be breakfasts like oatmeal or quinoa porridge. Fruits can be cut into pieces or thin slices(apple, banana, strawberries, mango, kiwi). Also, they can be dried as a whole(raspberries, blueberries). 

Fruits should be dehydrated in a single layer at 135F. The dehydration process may vary depending upon the fruit. For example, apple slices can take up to 6 hours while cherries and blueberries can take up to multiple days. Once the dehydration is done, let the fruit cool and then condition before storing.

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