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When the going gets weird
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Im going to buy a dehydrator for preserving food, and making light weight MREs.

Ive never used one before, but Id like to use it for fruit, veggies, and making jerky. Has anyone used these? Any recommendations?
 

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I got one for xmas 2 years ago it is great it does take time and an understanding spouse as depending on what you are dehydrating it will have a smell to it . of course the fruit stuff makes the house smell nice on the fruit slice it thin or it won't work right and the meat you can make your own marinades but they make Good jerky packets . You have to slice the meat real thin and cut off the fat it can go rancid over time and save up because it can be spendy wait till there is a chuck roast sale throw it in the freezer then thaw it out and do a few batches . mine is a nesco look for the ones you can expand with more trays wally world has the trays the dehydrators and the jerky mixes too sometimes they move the stuff around so you have to hunt for it also I think you can get the stuff online have fun I love mine : )
 

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When the going gets weird
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Discussion Starter #3
thanks for the tips. Im going to check out wally world tomorrow, this sounds like something Ill get a lot of use out of.
 

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i bought one 2 weeks ago. made 2 batches of jerky and have my second batch of fruits dehydrating as we speak. BEST purchase I made. The RONCO one sucked and I returned it the next day after reading the manual and seeing that it didnt have a fan and that it took almost 2 days to make jerky.

I ended up buying the NESCO 700 watt dehydrator which has a built in fan so you really dont need to rotate your trays every 2-4 hours. So far this baby rocks something fierce. Best jerky I've ever tasted (it even comes with a cookbook and some sample jerky spices). it makes jerky between 6-10 hours (depends on the thickness and fat content of the meat).
 

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I have a dehydrator that I bought at Wally-World 16 years ago. Still works and Still use it to dry fruits and vegies for winter eating.

Cantalope chips are great.
 

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I have been using one for 20 years.

Use lean meats only. Fat goes rancid. Beef, deer, elk or goat works well. Sprinkle a little salt on to speed the process and add flavor.

No rabbit or pork due to parisites.

any fruit or veggie works well. I just used up the last of my dried tomatoes from last years garden.
 

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I have an Excalibur dehydrator with square trays.
it has fine and coarse screen options,works great.
I like using burger to make jerky (venison,beef)
I also dehydrate different meals for backpacking....
 

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Mom of 2 Soldiers
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I also have an excalibur and I LOVE IT. I am on another board (frugalvillage.com) and there is a group of us who have watched these videos from dehydrate2store there are 13 of them...and I am happy to say, she is of like mind.

I havent turned mine off! if you watch those you will be inspired beyond your wildest dreams.

I also have 2 books by Mary T Bell that I recommend:

the complete dehydrator book
food drying with attitude
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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I have been dehydrating in my oven for 15 years now. I really don't see why there is a need to buy a newfangled gadget when you can just lay the food out on a tray, put it in the oven on it's lowest setting for 3-4 hours and ur done.

I have dehydrated veggies that lasted 10 years before o re hydrated them and made them for dinner. It worked out really well, and they still tasted pretty good (never as good as fresh from the garden though)
 

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Im going to buy a dehydrator for preserving food, and making light weight MREs.

Ive never used one before, but Id like to use it for fruit, veggies, and making jerky. Has anyone used these? Any recommendations?
They are awesome!

I bought one a few years ago(can't remember the brand) to make deer jerky from the 150 lbs of ground meat I had.

I haven't done fruit yet, but when doing meat, I ran it in the dehydrator for ~10hours and then put the meat on a cookie sheet and baked @ 190* for about 20 minutes to finish it off-I don't think the dehydrator got the meat hot enough with all of the racks filled and I didn't want to take a chance on a batch of bad jerky.

http://www.cabelas.com/prod-1/0023015516261a.shtml

Your best friend if you want to use ground meat for jerky!
I've used venison and beef both so far. The biggest thing is to use lean meat. I had a couple pounds of venison that had beef fat added and even though it tasted great, there was an excess of grease.

I do 4-5lbs at a time, and that's about max for fitting on the racks-I think it has 5 racks total, and the more food in it, the longer it takes-which is why my average time was 10 hours for jerky. :thumb:
 

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Happiness is 2 at low 8
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I just got a dehydrator & was wondering how long the finished product will last without refrigeration? The material I've been looking at says about a week for dried veggies unless refrigerated or frozen...

What say you?

How do you package the finished product (assuming no refrigerator or freezer)? Ziplocks? FoodSaver vacuum packaging? Mason jars? ???

Thanks,

Allan - at the moment I have 2 trays of onion and 2 trays of tomatoes going...first attempt.
 

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I have 5 small dehydrators (Ronco equivalent) and have been using them for the last 14 years, with the oldest being 25 years old. I recently found fruit roll up trays for them at wal mart!
Follow an instruction book, or look it up on the internet. There are a lot of good sources out there.
To store my dried products in, I have used Tupperware, glass jars, baggies and food saver bags. I have never had anything properly dried last less than a year, and I have never frozen any of it.
 

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Leave Me Alone
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We use ours on a regular basis to make jerky, and apple chips, pineapple rings, etc.

Try this sometime on a camp out. Works good for a BOB too, if you rotate it out occassionally. Dry out some beef and various veggies, like tomato slices, celery, carrots, etc. Put plenty of this in a ziplock bag, along with one or two beef boullion cubes. When you get ready to prepare lunch, dump your beef and veggies into a canteen cup along with the boullion and add water. Bring to a boil and simmer for a little while until meat and veggies are re-hydrated and tender. The Boullion makes a broth. You now have a beef and veggie soup/ stew. Season to your taste. Pretty tasty for an easy meal in a ziplock.
 

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"Through a glass, darkly"
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I just got a dehydrator & was wondering how long the finished product will last without refrigeration? The material I've been looking at says about a week for dried veggies unless refrigerated or frozen...
What say you?
How do you package the finished product (assuming no refrigerator or freezer)? Ziplocks? FoodSaver vacuum packaging? Mason jars? ???Thanks,

Allan - at the moment I have 2 trays of onion and 2 trays of tomatoes going...first attempt.
I have kept mushrooms and herbs in Food Saver sealed bags for up to 5 years. I've used the Food Saver to vacuum seal mason jars for dried peppers, prunes, sage, rosemary and a few others. All have maintained quality for up to 5 years, but by then they get eaten and replaced with newer harvests.
 

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"Through a glass, darkly"
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1,948 Posts
Im going to buy a dehydrator for preserving food, and making light weight MREs.

Ive never used one before, but Id like to use it for fruit, veggies, and making jerky. Has anyone used these? Any recommendations?
So what did you end up buying?
 
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