Dehydrating Vegetables

Basic Vegetables:

Dry at 135°.
Time will depend on how small cut and type of vegetable. Expect 3-12 hours. Using frozen vegetables will take less time than fresh. You are looking for hard when done. Moisture can cause mold, so let sit in a freezer bag for a couple hours after drying to see if moisture shows, if so, dry for longer.
Frozen vegetables are excellent to use, as they are blanched for you, and give you a “precooked” vegetable. This will mean that they come back to life faster when rehydrating, and don’t need any extra cooking in camp. You do not need to defrost either. If large pieces, do cut in small pieces.

Root Vegetables:

Dry at 135°
How would you like to have “instant” mashed sweet potatoes and yams on the trail? With a little prep you can!
Peel, cut up and steam your favorite variety (2 lbs will give you enough for 4 servings). When done, drain and mash. Flavor how you like, but leave the butter or oil out. Maple syrup is very good to add, along with black pepper. Spread on lined trays in 1/2 cup servings. When dry, powder up, and package in quart freezer bags. Each bag will have one serving. Rehydrate by slowly adding hot water till you reach the perfect state.

Mushrooms:

Dry at 135°
Pop the cap off the stem, toss the stems. If you have a egg slicer, use it to slice, then cross cut the caps. This gives you a smaller, and uniform drying surface. Dry for 4-10 hours, depending on humidity. 8 ounces of prepped mushrooms will give a shy 1 ounce when dry ( about 2/3 of a cup). The heat while drying does cook them just enough that you can use them in freezer bag cooking with no extra cooking needed.

Instant Hash Browns:

Instant hash browns are handy to have in your hiking food cupboard. They are great added to chowders, thick soups, mashed potatoes and sprinkled into many meals, used like any other vegetable. Not only do they taste good, potatoes are a great source of potassium.

While you can buy “instant” hash browns at many grocery stores, they can be hard to find or full of fillers that many of us would rather not pay for. To make up a batch will only take a few minutes time. Go to the grocery store and buy a large bag of frozen shredded hash browns. Look for ones without added fats. They will also be very low in sodium. In this case I bought a 30 ounce bag.

Spread the frozen hash browns on two mesh lined trays – the shreds will get small when dry and fall through, so be sure to use liners. If you don’t have any you can also line your trays with parchment paper.

Dry at 135° till dry and crispy. Expect 4-8 hours on average, depending on humidity. Once dry, turn off the dehydrator and let cool then pack up into a tightly sealed bag or container.

When dry the large bag of 30 ounces now weighed in at 6 ounces. Not bad for a couple minutes work!

Your “instant” hash browns are smaller and thinner than commercial versions and perfect for FBC meals. Try adding 1-2 Tablespoons in your next chowder to test them out!

Green Beans:

Take fresh green beans, wash and sort, tossing any shriveled or limp ones. Cut off the tips on both ends, then slice into bite size pieces.

Bring a large pot of water to boil, preferably a pasta or stock pot with a pasta insert. If you have an insert, use it. Add the beans to the pot and blanch for 6 minutes.

While they are blanching, fill your sink with ice and cold water. If using an insert pull up and drain into the pot, quickly submerge in the sink. If not using an insert drain into a colander, then submerge the colander into the ice bath.

Once cooled, take out and shake off. Spread the beans on mesh lined trays. Dehydrate at 135° for 10-14 hours, until completely dry. Let cool down before packing into glass container for storage.

Check a couple of hours after packing and then over the first days to make sure you have no condensation in the jar. If so, they were not dried long enough.

Store in a cool spot, in a dark area (a pantry with doors for example).

To use, soak in boiling or very hot water for 15 to 30 minutes, 1:1 ratio, then use as you wish in meals. You only need 1-2 Tablespoons dried for a meal, a little goes a long way.

Two pounds of beans trimmed and dehydrated brought me 3.4 ounces of dried beans. Break that down to per pound and it is amazing – 16 ounces=1.7 ounces.

Celery:

We love using dried celery and celery leaves in recipes – for both trail and home cooking. While one can buy it commercially, it is very easy to do at home. It is what we would consider perfect for dehydrator newbies looking for a project. 🙂

The average stalk is usually about 1 Tbsp dried. Just remember to keep your dices small for faster hydration

Artichokes:

Take one can of water packed artichokes and drain well. We used our mini food chopper to quickly dice them up. Then spread one can on each tray. You will have from a 14-ounce can about 1 1/4 cups drained and diced artichokes.
Dry at 135° for about 4 to 6 hours, or until fully dry. This will leave you with about 3/4 cup of dried artichokes to use as you like.

Capers:

While capers carry well on shorter trips due to their being brined in a salty solution for long term and more light weight packing dehydrate them. Make sure you only buy brined and not oil packed. Drain, rinse and drain and then spread out on mesh lined trays.

Dry at 135° for 4 to 8 hours, the average being about 6 hours. 1/4 cup will reduce to about 1 Tablespoon. Pre-weight of 1 1/2 ounces reduced to 0.3 ounce dried. For best rehydration results use a 2:1 ratio of water to dry capers.

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