How to Dehydrate Food for Camping Meals

Dehydrating Without a Dehydrator

Get ready: What you need to start dehydrating

You don't need a lot of start dehydrating. The following items will allow you to dehydrate just about anything you can imagine.

Oven - set to the lowest temperature possible (usually 170 F)Baking sheetsParchment paper (NOT wax paper - I've made this mistake before)Depending on what you're dehydrating, you may need a cutting board & knife, spatula, can opener or large spoonPlastic bags (anyone got recommendations for reusable bags?)

Note: While I do all my dehydrating in the oven, this is an energy-intensive method. A proper dehydrator will consume less energy and dehydrate food faster.

How long should you dehydrate for?

A common misconception is that there is a standard cook time for dehydration. How thin the vegetables are cut, how low your oven goes, the water content of the specific food - all of these will influence the time it takes to dehydrate.

I have found most vegetables take between 5 and 7 hours to dehydrate, whereas fruit and sauces can take over 8 hours. For vegetables, I recommend you check on the food after 4 hours and then in one hour intervals until they are done.

For fruits and sauces, I recommend you check after 6 hours and then in one hour intervals until they are done.

Keep in mind: The food closest to the heat source will dehydrate faster (usually either the top of bottom of the oven). One hack is to rotate the top and bottom racks halfway through. But I never remember to do that and just end up checking periodically and taking out the trays as they finish.

Once you are more experienced with dehydrating food and know your oven well, you will be able to better predict how long to let the food cook. Anyways... back to the veggies.

Dehydrating vegetables

Vegetables are the lion's share of what I dehydrate. On my long canoe trips, fresh veggies last maybe a week, so anything after that has to be dehydrated. I find dehydrat...

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