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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have done a lot of reading on this site, other sites, and a local book stores. I feel confident to try it. I just hope that I can wait as long as possible to try cooking with it to see how well I did.

I will be starting small. Fruits, vegetables, and jerky (all of which I've done before). The challenge for me is to start dehydrating partially cooked meats for chili or sloppy joe etc.

I understand the basic principle but was just hoping that someone on this forum who has done this could offer me advice in the way, "DO NOT ....".

Just trying to avoid making mistakes and watch money and time go down the drain when I don't have all the much of either.

I thank you all once more! This board is awesome.
 

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The challenge for me is to start dehydrating partially cooked meats for chili or sloppy joe etc.
That sounds unsafe. Dehydrating is great for apple chips and vegetables, but I'd always use a pressure canner for meat. Beef jerky would be an exception, but that never lasts long enough around here to sit on the shelf.
 

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Two words ... hamburger rocks! :)

I don't mind the texture of pressure canned chicken, but, the texture of pressure canned hamburger makes me think of dogfood - so I cannot stomach it. So, I precook and rinse and dehydrate hamburger/ground turkey/ground sausage meat instead. Very compact, keeps a long time. I dry it till very crispy (important to keep it from molding) and then store it in mason jars.
 

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Fats will be the limiting factor in dried meat storage. Hence why hamburger rocks are rinsed and why long term dried jerky is cut from the leanest cuts of meat. Fattier cuts will last only as long as the fats themselves do.

For some good ideas and suggestions, check out backpacking sites. They have turned drying home cooked foods into an art form. But remember that their needs for storage and ours differs. A lot of their recipes are for foods that will be stable for a few weeks to a few months. Let common sense be your guide.
 

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With the meat, your probably going to be better off making your own jerky.

There are ways to store meat (especially pork) between layers of salt. But you want to test doing this before you "have" to use it.
 

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I make dehydrated ground round. I use it to make things like burritos or sloppy joes on the trail. I also dehydrate things with ground round in it- like spaghetti sauce.

Here's what I do...

I brown (cook about 3/4 of the way-NOT cook completely) the ground round, then I put the meat in a strainer and let the excess grease drain off into a bowl. Then, I start taking a bit out at a time and blot it in paper toweling. The fat is the enemy of longer term storage, so it's important to really get what you can out of the meat in advance.

I place two cups on each tray, making sure its broken up into small pieces, then dry at 145 degrees until completely dry. The dehydrator finishes cooking it completely. When finished, it gets vacuum sealed or frozen (or both).

I also dry the ground meat with seasoning already in it. Things like taco seasoning or sloppy joe mix would already be added before drying.

If I'm going to dehydrate something that has ground meat in it (like the afore mentioned sketti sauce), I still brown and blot as previously metioned before adding it to the chili, sketti sauce, stew, etc. that I'm cooking.

HTH :)
 

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I dehydrate fully prepped and cooked meat dishes like chili, lasagne, stroghanoff, Spaghetti sauce, etc. all the time. In fact... I have 100's of meals put away in this fashion, some dating back over 3 years. I do rotate, but put more away than I eat, hence the stock pile.

On the trail last week, I pulled out a bag of dehydrated deer chili (with onions, peppers, etc), 'cooked' it up and everyone thought it was excellent!!

There are a couple of tricks... but it's really quite simple... Cook your meat first - the leaner the better, but it's not that important. once cooked, drain off as much of the fat as you can, then transfer the meat onto paper towels, pat down, and stir very well. change paper towels as necessary. This is important, as you need to remove as much grease/oil/fat as possible. The leaner your cut, the easier this stage. the fatter your cut... the more you do here.

Then make your dish as you normally would, season it and simmer it until 'ready'. Let cool, and check the top of the pot again for any excess fat. blot off with paper towels. dehydrate as you normally would, and store as you normally would.

Amongst almost every fruit and veggie, I have also dehydrated fish, chicken and turkey. and cheese!!:eek:

turkey nuggets:



lasagne:



and some more:



turkey & broth: (used to make bullion)



lasagne: (almost done)



turkey (done):



fresh home made pasta and cheese:

[/quote]
 

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One suggestion for storing...

You may want to label a sort of 'key' for how much of something dehydrated will equate to when rehydrated. Something like, " 1/3 cup dried corn = 3/4 cup rehydrated" or whatever. To figure this out, just keep track of what you put in there, and what it measures when you take it out dried. The difference will also tell you how much water to add :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Two words ... hamburger rocks! :)

I don't mind the texture of pressure canned chicken, but, the texture of pressure canned hamburger makes me think of dogfood - so I cannot stomach it. So, I precook and rinse and dehydrate hamburger/ground turkey/ground sausage meat instead. Very compact, keeps a long time. I dry it till very crispy (important to keep it from molding) and then store it in mason jars.
I've had the canned version and that is what led me to dehydrating. I can't figure out the dangers if it is super lean and dry as gravel. Crack it open, add some sauce, bom pow! sloppy joes right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
With the meat, your probably going to be better off making your own jerky.

There are ways to store meat (especially pork) between layers of salt. But you want to test doing this before you "have" to use it.
I've been doing the jerky for years. My new found interest is using the stored meat to make meals with e.g. meatloaf, tacos, sloppy joes.

I do appreciate the input though. After scanning online and reading books I seem to learn much better when facts and opinions relate to exactly what I'm curious about.

Thanks Kev.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I make dehydrated ground round. I use it to make things like burritos or sloppy joes on the trail. I also dehydrate things with ground round in it- like spaghetti sauce.

Here's what I do...
Appreciate it. Gave me something to thinking about.
I have heard some people rinse their partially cooked ground, that is in the colander, with boiling water to rinse off all the fat. Is that necessary? I understand that fat doesn't aid in storage life but fat in meat, even a little, is just so tasty.
Should I just plan on eating tree bark?:D:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
One suggestion for storing...

You may want to label a sort of 'key' for how much of something dehydrated will equate to when rehydrated. Something like, " 1/3 cup dried corn = 3/4 cup rehydrated" or whatever. To figure this out, just keep track of what you put in there, and what it measures when you take it out dried. The difference will also tell you how much water to add :)
In all the books and sites I read, no one mentioned this. It's one of those brilliant things that once you hear, you feel like a fool for not knowing yourself :eek::
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
As the majority of threads on this forum state, pictures are everything. I never imagined dehydrating such meals. That's awesome! Thank you.
When you reconstitute Do you just add the amount of liquid (volume) taken out and add the same back in?
 

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To reconstitute, there are several ways, depending on the amount of time and resourses you have available, and want to expend.

As a rule, I have found it takes roughly 2/3 water to 1/3 dry. But unless I'm kicking back at camp, and have it simmering away by the campfire, I like to pre-reconstitute it before I need it.

making sense? didn't think so. lol:confused:

I'm out hiking or canoeing, and want to stop for a quick lunch, but don't want to take too much time...

or

same scenario, but I have a limited amount of camp fuel, and want the best bang for my buck....

So I'll put enough for a meal into an appropriate freezer ziplock bag, add 1/3 of the water in, close up the bag, and leave it for an hour or two while still on the trail. when we stop to eat, it's mostly softened up, and just needs to warm up and 'fluff' up a bit further, so maybe 5 minutes on the stove will do it. Or, I'll just boil the other 1/3 water, add it to the bag (careful) and close it up for 10-15 minutes while I'm doing something else. and it is done. sprinkle some dried cheese on top, give that 2 minutes and it is ooey gooey good.

I also dehydrate things like hearty soups and stews... they, of course will take more water, depending on how think you like your soup. but the 1/3-2/3 rule is pretty safe to start.

I don't have any pics but I have also done a decent job at dehydrating salsa. although the beans take a little longer to soak to reconstitute. then you just have to whip up some fresh tortillas over the fire, and you got a snack.

In lieu of the processed bullion...ie oxo cubes etal, I make my own as well, and can add flavour to foods without adding ANY salt. I make mushroom, veggie, chicken and meat (deer/moose blend). small chunks to start works best... those chunks of turkey were really hard on the grinder. typically, now I'll grind the meats first, then dry, then make the boullion... or I store the meat in its dry form and make bullion as needed.

Oh... and the 'other' way to reconstitute... I touched on earlier... is my favourite. at camp for the evening. pot simmering on the fire, go for a walkabout, find some fresh greens or meat to add... yum yum.
:thumb:

Since it is summer, and the garden is in full swing... this is my time to build up the stockpiles with everything that I don't can. If it is a good year, I should be able to add another 50 or so fully prepared meals, and a few hundred pounds of dried veggies and meats and fish to the stockroom.

I've been doing this for almost 20 years for backcountry canoe trips etc... but have only started stocking/prepping in the last few. So if there are any other questions, please feel free to ask... and I'll do my best to offer my perspective/experiences (not necessarily gospel) - lol
 

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When you reconstitute Do you just add the amount of liquid (volume) taken out and add the same back in?
MOST of the time. Sometimes you can lose a bit of water to steam (while rehydrating) if you add boiling water. I usually go with it though. I can always add a tad more later if I needed to.

Now, there are also those 'vague' dishes. For example, on the trail I make a veggie Ramen noodle dish. [I don't actually COOK this- I just add boiling water and let it sit] I add a little of this veggie and that veggie. A good rule of thumb for the vague stuff is to add enough water to cover the food, plus around an extra inch or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Last question (*the previous statement can't be held against me). Unless I have the most primitive dehydrator in the world, how do you go about dehydrating lasagna and similar meals. Cook it with less liquid making it thick to begin with? Perhaps using some cave-man style tray?
My dehydrator has the breathable trays and only one of the little shields that over a tray to make it possible for things to not run through the holes. So I just pour it on like a batter? If so, on the top of the stack, bottom, cycle from top to bottom, or separate?
 
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