Have you ever had the desire to go on an epic hiking trip? How about a backpacking adventure? Whether you are planning on spending time in nature or just want to get away for a while, it is important that you know how to dehydrate food. We’ll share some of our best tips and tricks so that your next journey out into the wilderness will be more enjoyable than anything else.
What is Dehydrating food?
Dehydrating food is a process that can be done at home with little to no cost. By removing the water from foods, you are able to preserve them for longer periods of time and prevent premature spoilage. How long they will last depends on how much moisture there is left in the food once it’s been dehydrated but most dried foods are good for at least a year.
Why Dehydrate Food for the Trail
One of the biggest benefits of dehydrating food is that it reduces the weight and size so you can easily fit more into your backpack without weighing yourself down or taking up too much space.
Not only is it easier to transport dehydrated food, but the nourishment you get from dried fruit and beef jerky will keep you energized on even the longest hikes.
How to dehydrate food
There are two primary ways to dehydrate food: using an electric machine, which is the most common method, or by using your oven. If you plan on dehydrating food for any significant length of time then we recommend that you invest in an electric model.
If you are preparing some dried snacks to take with you while hiking or backpacking then it’s okay to use the oven but keep a close eye on things because they will burn quickly.
How to dehydrate food with an oven
– Place your oven on the lowest setting that it has.
– Spread out all of your ingredients evenly around a large, flat pan or cookie sheet so they are not touching anyone another and there is room for airflow between them.
– Leave the door open slightly while the dehydrating process is taking place and check on things every once in a while.
– How long it takes to dry food using this method will depend greatly on how much moisture there is left in the ingredients when they are removed from the oven but you can expect most foods to take at least four hours, if not longer.
When your food is finished dehydrating, you should see some browning around the edges and it will be nice and crispy.
How to dehydrate food with an electric machine
– Make sure that your machine has a fan so there will be good airflow during the process.
– We recommend setting your temperature between 90°F (32°C) and 100°F (38°C) degrees.
– How long it takes to dry food using an electric dehydrator also depends on how moist your ingredients are but you can expect most foods to take at least six hours, if not longer.
The great thing about using a machine is that there will be no browning or burning and you can leave the machine running overnight.
Some Pros of Dehydrating Food
Dehydrating food is a great way to prepare for an adventure because it reduces the weight and size of your backpack.
Fruits Taste Sweeter
Dehydration causes sugars in fruits to taste sweeter, even though they aren’t. Fruits are the simplest food group, to begin with when learning how to use a dehydrator since they contain more moisture than other foods, so they dehydrate quickly. Apples, apricots, peaches, pears, berries, and cherries are all great choices. When you get more comfortable with the process, try some vegetables and meats too.
Healthy and Convenient Snacks
You may produce healthful and nutritious munchies like beef jerky and dried fruits for your own trail mix. All you have to do when going camping or to the movies is grab a bag of homemade goodies and put it in your bag. Dehydrated meals endure well in storage. When you’re hungry, bring some with you in the car or on a hike.
Prevents Premature Spoilage
Another great benefit to dehydration is that you can prevent your fruit from going bad before its time. How long they last will depend on how much moisture there still is in the product when you remove it from the machine but, in general, most fruits will last around six months.
Vegetables and meats can also be preserved by dehydration so you don’t have to worry about them going bad before they are eaten. How long these foods will keep for is pretty much up to how well dry they were when removed from the dehydrator or oven because they contain more moisture than fruits do.
Some Cons of Dehydrating Food
There are some drawbacks, however, including the time it takes to dehydrate ingredients, as well as having multiple machines or ovens if you plan on doing this for any length of time.
Dehydration Processing Time
You must put in the effort to dehydrate foods. You can’t stop once you’ve begun. Fresh foods are “alive” and “active.” Enzymes respond to air and other elements. Vegetables should be blanched, cooled, and dried immediately after being brought into the house from the garden. Fruits should be allowed to ripen fully. When placed in a dehydrator, they will rot if you don’t remove the enzymes quickly. If not blanched properly before drying, vegetables are likely to darken when dried or lose nutritional value.
Vitamins A and C are reduced
Food dehydrators have a disadvantage in that they reduce the vitamin A and C content of fruits and vegetables. This is a consequence of the drying and dehydration procedure, which can’t be prevented. There are methods for recapturing this vitamin A and C loss, such as exposing the fruit to sulphur before drying. If this is an issue for you, consult your doctor about what vitamins to take while dehydrating food.
When you learn how to dehydrate meat, vegetables, fruits and other products then you will be able to save money because it is less expensive than buying the same types of foods at a grocery store or farmer’s market. Additionally, learning How To Dehydrate Food for the Trail can save you a lot of time because it is an easy way to prepare for your next trip.
Adjusting to Taste and Appearance
You’ll need to devote time to dehydrating meals. You can’t put your food down after you’ve started. Keep in mind that fresh foods have “life” and are “active.” Enzymes respond to air as well as other stimuli. Vegetables should be blanched, cooled, and dried as soon as possible from the garden. Fruits should be allowed to ripen fully. When placed in a dehydrator, they will rot if you don’t remove the enzymes quickly. If not blanched properly before drying, vegetables are likely to darken when dried or lose nutritional value.
Dehydration processing time can be discouraging, but the upside is that dehydrated foods are good for six months.
As you learn How To Dehydrate Food for the Trail, keep in mind how to make your own trail mix and beef jerky at home with healthy ingredients. The result will save you money because it’s less expensive than buying the same types of foods at a grocery store or farmer’s market. It will also save you time by preparing your ingredients before heading out on the trail for an extended period of time.