Dehydrators operate at temperatures between 95F-155F, by keeping the temperature low below 115F it will help ensure the preservation of the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that are in your food. The average cost of electricity used by the machine is about 4 – 5¢ an hour so you can run the dehydrator affordable 24 hours a day and it is very easy to clean.
Use yours to make simple but tasty foods such as:
- granola and granola bars
- vegetable/flax based breads, wraps and crackers
- nut loaf and pate
- raw vegan cookies or scones
- fruit leather
- everyone’s favorite…apple and banana chips
Foods fully dried and crispy will normally last almost indefinitely. When I do my dried tomatoes I slice them thin and dry until they are crisp. Once moisture content is low bacteria and mould will not grow on them. It is important to dry, and then let cool for 10-20 minutes, before sealing in an airtight container.
Some great ideas of where and how to use your dried healthy foods are:
- For individuals who like to go camping or hiking regularly
- For making your own rubs for meats or favourite spice combinations to have ready to use, or
- For giving a special gift basket to a friend…Birthdays and Christmas are just around the corner!
Whatever you decide to do, incorporating dehydrated foods into your life will provide many benefits to a healthier life. Now you can take great tasting healthy foods camping and hiking with you; it is a great way to add variety to your backpacking menu, save money, and eat a healthy diet. Putting those benefits aside, I have found this type of preserving of raw food helps with backpack volume reduction resulting in less weight and expended energy getting the food to camp!
Some manufacturers of dried meats and fruits douse their products with preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors. So why not prepare your own, my dehydrator has provided me with everything from simple recipes to full meals, which I found very helpful when starting out. The best part about having it all ready to go is you spend less time prepping food while camping. I have provided a quick check list of suggestions for preparing items before leaving home:
- Put just the needed ingredients for one meal at a time into plastic bags then all you have to do is add the liquid. Make sure to label them for example dried pasta, rice, trail mix ‘of course you made this with your favorite nuts and fruits’ and you can package these individually to put in your pockets during the day for quick pick-me-up snacks.
- Keep all dry ingredients you need for one recipe in its own plastic bag (like all the spices to make a soup or a spaghetti sauce)
- Here is a small list of essential dried items to keep in small containers to bring pizzazz to any meal.
- Freshly dried herbs
- Red or orange peppers
Note: remember to soak the onions and tomatoes for an hour or so before using to plump them back up!
Remove all packaging and repackage with cooking directions if necessary this will remove the bulk and let you carry more food.
Preparing raw foods ahead of time takes the guesswork out of camp cooking, and it will make backpacking food a lot more fun for the entire group. Use your imagination, carry a few extra tools, and you can enjoy some great recipes.