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Dehydrator / Vacuum Sealer?

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Dehydrator / Vacuum Sealer?

Postby InsaneBoost » Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:37 pm

Thinking about making my own food for when we begin our backpacking. It obviously looks like dehydration is the cheaper route compared to freeze dry, so was wondering for those who do their own cooking, what dehydrators do you use? Do you just use your oven?

What about the vacuum sealer? Any specific brands as well? I know there are cheap and expensive, just want a quality piece of equipment, not something that will burn out after a couple uses.

Also how long does your food last roughly? Couple months? Do you freeze it if you aren't using it or just leave it on a shelf?



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Re: Dehydrator / Vacuum Sealer?

Postby longri » Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:36 pm

If you spend even a little time searching you'll find a wealth of information on the web and in forums like these.

You can use an oven but it may not be as fast since the airflow is usually less. It will also be harder to control the temperature. I use an inexpensive dehydrator. It works okay. Dehydrating is about 2% preparation, 2% cleanup and 96% waiting.

I don't vacuum seal, just use ziplocks. I find that if I keep the food in the freezer until just before a trip it will be just fine for many months.

I'd love to have a lyophilizer.
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Re: Dehydrator / Vacuum Sealer?

Postby InsaneBoost » Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:38 pm

Well if I don't need a vacuum seal, that saves a good $20-60. Figured it was best to seal, but I guess what you say makes just as much sense too if you are using it within a month or so.
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Re: Dehydrator / Vacuum Sealer?

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:38 pm

if you have to use a bear can, the vac sealer is not your friend. It tends to make big bricks of food that don't go together well in the bear can, wasting a lot of space.


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Re: Dehydrator / Vacuum Sealer?

Postby freestone » Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:03 pm

I had a Harvest dehydrator, but it quit working so I use our kitchen convection oven now on a pizza pan with holes in the bottom. After dehydrating, I use small ziplocks, sucking all the air out just before making the final closure. Everything goes into freezer until the trip date. Anything not eaten is tossed.

I miss the dehydrator because of the stacking trays, but the quality of the final product from the oven is just as good, and maybe more economical if the oven is gas.
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Re: Dehydrator / Vacuum Sealer?

Postby Jimr » Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:36 pm

I've used a cheapo Ronco multi-tray dryer for 30 years. I also use the convection oven for things like drying spaghetti and fruit leathers. I put the over on it's lowest setting and stick a big wooden spoon in the door to keep it open a bit, then run a fan across the top to create air circulation. Never vacuum sealed anything.
What?!
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Re: Dehydrator / Vacuum Sealer?

Postby longri » Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:01 pm

I made a pot of coconut milk based spicy vegetarian thai curry for dinner last night. What we didn't eat I put into the dehydrator this morning. It's been about 10 hours now and some of the thai eggplant pieces are still a little soft. The solid plastic trays necessary for liquid foods interferes with the air flow and lengthens the process. After the curry dries (hopefully soon) I'm going to load up thin slices of mushroom, zucchini and yellow onion. Those are all pretty fast to dehydrate and clean up easily. Only the zucchini requires any prep beyond washing and slicing. I just nuke the slices for few minutes to deactivate the enzymes.
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Re: Dehydrator / Vacuum Sealer?

Postby InsaneBoost » Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:16 am

Thanks for the responses everyone.

Definitely thought the "brick" the sealer makes could be a little complicated for the bear can, so I guess I will erase that and just put them in regular bags to compact them easier.

Also looking at dehydrators now on Amazon, being they tend to have a lot of cheaper prices and fair amounts of reviews. Awesome to know you can actually do the liquid itself. I always figured for say spaghetti, you had to mix it all together, then dehydrate it. Will definitely give me endless possibilities really.
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Re: Dehydrator / Vacuum Sealer?

Postby longri » Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:58 am

Pay attention to the number of trays and inserts. Mine has four shelves and while that's often just enough for my occasional use there are times I wish I had a couple more. The fruit roll-up sheets are essential for liquid items like spaghetti sauce. I had to order a couple more of those sheets since one just wasn't enough.
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Re: Dehydrator / Vacuum Sealer?

Postby InsaneBoost » Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:53 pm

Will do thanks.
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Re: Dehydrator / Vacuum Sealer?

Postby TahoeJeff » Wed Aug 27, 2014 4:58 pm

I love my Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A! It has 5 trays and came with 2 solid sheets that sit on top of the trays for soups and other liquids and 2 mesh sheets for items smaller than the trays will support.
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Re: Dehydrator / Vacuum Sealer?

Postby InsaneBoost » Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:29 pm

Good to know because that's the exact one I was looking at.
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