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8/24/2015 10:05 am  #1

Dehydrated meals


We just got a dehydrator and I feel like our campsite cooking options have just opened up exponentially. 

Any tips on rehydrating food on the trail? I've dehydrated chili for an upcoming trip and the recipe says to let it soak for 5 mins to rehydrate and then cook it. 5 mins doesn't feel like it will be enough time. We were thinking of bringing a dedicated wide mouth bottle to put the chili in and let is soak for a few hours before dinner while we're on the trail (or setting up camp). Is that necessary? A good idea or bad?

Any other tips?


8/24/2015 10:36 am  #2

Re: Dehydrated meals

I would have said to soak it for about half an hour, but that's optional. If you're cooking on a stove, then presoaking saves fuel. If you are cooking on the fire, then you can add the water and put it right on the fire to start heating up. The warm/hot water will rehydrate the chili faster. 

Letting the chili soak for an hour or two is fine. Just keep in mind that you dehydrated it to preserve it in the first place, so you wouldn't want to let it soak all day - especially not on a hot day. 


8/24/2015 5:21 pm  #3

Re: Dehydrated meals

Question I have is after you dehydrate how much liquid do you add? Do you always go by weight or just guess.  I got a dehydrator and did a few items. but normally just added what looked good. Ithas always turned out good but just wonerdeing?


8/24/2015 6:16 pm  #4

Re: Dehydrated meals

When dehydrating portion it out and measure the volume before and after dehydrating. The difference is the amount to of water removed and how much to add at camp. Mark the amount on the package.
As for times, if travelling I will add the water in a screw top container and let it roll around the bottom of the canoe from the last put in to site. By dinner time it is ready to go. To speed up the process when at camp add boiling water and let soak, reheating as needed. Remember it is easier to add more water than to boil it off.


8/24/2015 10:28 pm  #5

Re: Dehydrated meals

Rehydrating meat:
You are usually using lean meat, or draining the fat before rehydration. Because of that, I add a tablespoon of clarified butter for every 250cc of rehydrated meat (pulled pork or ground beef). The way I rehydrate is as follows:
1) Add water to barely cover the meat (best done at lunch for the dinner meal).
2) Heat a tablespoon of clarified butter (oil will work, but butter is better) to a skillet
3) Add the meat, and fry together. If you think meat isn't rehydrated sufficiently, this is the time to add more water, and bring to a boil. Add only small amounts of water: you can always add more, but it takes a long time to boil off if you add too much. 

Frying of rehydrated meat adds a nice texture (especially for pulled pork), and it also allows you to rehydrate well (by adding water if needed).

Clarified butter is the key to success. Make your own. I actually have a DIY video of making clarified butter, I just have to edit. Bottom line is 1 lb butter, over low heat, keep scooping the foam until there is no more foam. 

Rehydrating vegetables - don't add too much water - these are really susceptible to over-rehydration. 

Rehydrating pasta sauces - I find I often don't add enough water. I find the key here is remembering how much you started with. 

Pulled pork recipe:
- In a solid cast-iron, oven-safe pot with lid (preferable a nice dutch oven)
- 3Lb cubed pork loin roast (not shoulder, you need something lower in fat). Brown in a pot. Remove from heat.

- Saute a sliced onion and 3 cloves sliced garlic in the same pot, deglazing with water to get the burned pork flavour.

- Add back the pork cubes, cover with 500mL chicken broth, add 1Tb liquid smoke

- Place in oven for 3-4 hours at 325F

- Remove, pull apart with forks

- dehydrate for about 8-10 hours at 165F (I generally do it overnight)

-anyone hungry??

- done!!! (actually this one needed to cook for another 5 minutes to get the liquid off. Remember the clarified butter!!!!!!!




8/25/2015 5:08 am  #6

Re: Dehydrated meals

That looks good.  I also made pulled pork but a spicey version that we use on tortilas.  When I rehydrate I use a freezer ziploc bag and add boiling water then wrap it up in something to retain the heat longer.  For the water I just guessed and it was always good.  I guess to do it properly I should get a scale and weigh everything before I place it in the dehydrator then weigh it afterwards when I bag it.


8/25/2015 5:09 am  #7

Re: Dehydrated meals

Which MSR stove you using there?  I have the dragon fly stove that I realy like.


8/25/2015 5:52 am  #8

Re: Dehydrated meals

Hey Russ, 

I have two cooking set-ups, depending on the number of people in the group:
1) Solo up to 3 people: Fire and Trangia. For fire, I use Emberlit stick stove and a grill. Emberlit doubles as a windscreen for Trangia (I use the Trangia if raining/in a hurry). The fire feels so right. Alcohol stoves are silent and pretty light (especially when used as back-up). The problem is heat output, and I find they really don't work well for large groups where you need to heat a lot of water/fry lots of stuff. Pots: Fry-bake with lid (about 1.5L) and 900mL Toaks titanium pot that doubles as a (very large) mug for me (with Reflectix pot cosy). . 

2) 4 or more people: Fire (I pack a small grill) and MSR Dragonfly. 4.5L billy pot (Trangia aluminum billy pot), 12" frying pan and 1.5L Fry-bake pot/lid for baking. Dragonfly is a beast, but it uses fuel and it sounds like a jet engine. But for a large group, it gets the job done. Even for a large group, I still prefer a fire for cooking, as long as it's feasible.If not solo, I bring an 8" MSR frying pan (I fry in the fry-bake if solo and use the 900cc pot for meals). 

Billy pot over fire:
Fry-bake (baking marble cake) over coals.


Last edited by Marko_Mrko (8/25/2015 5:53 am)


8/25/2015 6:02 am  #9

Re: Dehydrated meals

PS. Sorry for hijacking the thread. Here's a recipe for pasta sauce: 
1) Saute 1 onion and a pound of sliced mushrooms with two cloves of garllic until very soft. 
2) Add pre-made pasta sauce (like Prego or PC Organics or something like that), simmer for 30 minutes and add salt to taste (pasta sauce should be salty). 
3) Pure the entire mix using an immersion blender. This ensures even dehydration. 
4) Dehydrate (about 8 hours on 165 should do it)

5) Completely separately, dehydrate ground beef.

6) In the field, separately rehydrate the pasta sauce and the ground beef (about 200cc of the beef with 1 sheet of the pasta sauce)
7) Once rehydrated, add 1Tb clarified butter and saute the beef.
8) Add rehydrated pasta sauce to the frying pan, add water as needed. 

Serves 5 or so.


8/25/2015 9:21 am  #10

Re: Dehydrated meals

Marko_Mrko - That was the best type of hijacking!

Chili is the first on the dehydrated menu but I've got Chicken Pot Pie planned for a trip over labour day. I'll be saving your recipes for future trips too!

     Thread Starter

8/25/2015 9:57 am  #11

Re: Dehydrated meals

Marko_Mrko wrote:

3) Pure the entire mix using an immersion blender. This ensures even dehydration. 

I've never tried dehydration before but have been wanting to. In this recipe, wouldn't the blender obliterate the mushrooms? I would think mushrooms are something that would dehydrate well. Could one dehydrate those separately and then add them to the sauce after? 

Could the same not be done with onion and peppers as well?


8/25/2015 10:27 am  #12

Re: Dehydrated meals

I think you made me want to do some dehydrating this weekend.  I have a up coming backpacking trip to the rockies.


8/26/2015 11:53 am  #13

Re: Dehydrated meals

@ Algonquin tripper:
The blender does obliterate the onions and mushrooms, but you do have a nice taste, as well as increased consistency and the fibre from the shrooms and onion. Rehydrated ground beef adds the texture variation in the sauce. Worth it in my opinion. 

@Russ S: Nice! Where are you going (my brother fishes in Fernie, we have a plan for a week-long float down the Flathead River from Canada to Montana next June. 

Another idea:

Shepherd’s Pie Directions

  • Dehydrated ground beef (1 cup)
  • Dehydrated corn kernels (1 cup)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 packs mashed potatoes (I prefer Betty Crocker)
  • Milk powder (for mashed potatoes)
  • Clarified butter (for mashed potatoes)
  • Shepherd's Pie Spice mix (Club House is good)

In the field

  • Start rehydrating at lunch
  • Make mashed potatoes with milk powder and butter as per directions, set aside
  • Saute diced onion in clarified butter (about 1.5Tb) in a 2-3L pot
  • Add the beef and corn, then add the spice mix with water as per directions on packet
  • Cover with mashed potatos, cook for another 5-10 min.
  • Enjoy the awesomeness 

I've considered using dehydrated onions instead of a whole onion, but haven't tried (I love the taste and they keep well, but it would be nice to lower the weight). Has anyone used dehydrated onions? 




8/26/2015 12:04 pm  #14

Re: Dehydrated meals

Man I gotta get myself a dehydrator!  Great stuff guys!


8/26/2015 1:34 pm  #15

Re: Dehydrated meals

Marko has mad camp cooking skills! 

What do you guys think of dehydrating premade pulled pork. something like Lou's Pulled Pork. 

Too much fat to dehydrate?


8/26/2015 3:26 pm  #16

Re: Dehydrated meals

@MartinG :D

My worry would be the fat. That's the reason I use pork loin roast, not shoulder for dehydrating.

For ground pork, I use extra lean ground beef and I don't wash out the fat. I've stored it for a year, with no problems.

Speaking of storage, I do the following:
- dark basement
- in Ziploc bags, inside airtight container (MAXX scoop kitty litter containers work well).  


Last edited by Marko_Mrko (8/26/2015 3:44 pm)


8/27/2015 5:16 am  #17

Re: Dehydrated meals

My son is working in Grand Junction Co.  We are planning on heading down near Silverton Co. In the Weminuche wilderness to the high alpine lakes. Maybe a 4-5 day backpacking trip.  I'm doing my preplanning now.  But have also been looking at a new pack to shed a few more pounds.  I'm considering the ULA Circuit pack which weighs in at 41 oz


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