Monday, July 18, 2011

Tips to get you started dehydrating!!

Hello everyone.  Sorry it is been so long since I have posted.  When I started, I promised myself I would not let too much time pass before I post something new.  However, things happen I suppose and there have been quite a few road blocks.  But I think I have finally overcome them and hope to post more often.

Now that we have stocked our kitchen with the tools needed to begin dehydrating there are a few things, if done in advance, will make your dehydrating project more successful and smooth.  One thing I forgot to mention in the post, Getting ready to dehydrate, is that I highly recommend using a Muffin Top Pan   for your baked goods.  They make a sturdier cake and it is easier to seal them in a bag.  I tried sending a regurlar muffin on past camping trips and it just didn't work. You can find them at So you will need to order one of these fantasitc little pans!!

Make sure to have everything you need in your kitchen so once you get started you don't have to run to the store to get something you for got.  You will need to order your food grade desiccant packs from Packit Gourmet a few weeks before you start to make sure you will get them in in time.  I suggest ordering a pack more than you think you need to make sure you don't run short.  These give me much security so I use them in everything.  Also, you will need to get your Seal - A- Meal bags.  Or what ever vacuum seal material you use.  I count how many meals I will make and get a few more bags just incase one develops a hole.  You will need to get the freeze and steam kind with pleats for your meals.  For your baked goods and snacks, you can use the roll and determine the size of bag as you need.   You will also need a black sharpie to label the bags always leaving a note on how much water to add and a reminder to remove the desiccant packet.

You will also need a roll of freezer paper and scissors.  You will use this to line your dehydrator trays.  I find this to be better than using the trays because the paper is more flexable and allows you to bend it to release the dehydrated sauces.  You will want to cut the paper in the shape of your tray and place it in the tray with the shiny side up.  Placing your food to dry on the other side allows the sauces to seep into the paper.

Ok, so now you are ready to plan your meals.  I always incorporate Jacob into this part of the process.  He will be the one eating it so I want to know his thoughts on what he would like to eat each day.  You can find our first menu on the SCDiet page . Just scroll down to find SCD Melanie's Menu for Jacob's hike.  I did send some new items on this last hike so I will post that menu soon.

Now to start making your meals.  The whole idea behind dehydrating to preserve your meals is to get the moisture out of your food before packaging it.  This will help your meals last longer.  I have been told they can last up to 6 months if dried and vacuumed sealed with a desiccant package. However, I haven't tested this time out.  But my meals have lasted just fine for 3 weeks at least.  With this in mind you need to purchase the most lean meat you can find.  You will need to have a roast or something cut down for your jerkey and there will be little scraps of fat left on the meat.  I just use kitchen scissors and trim it.

Also, before dehyderating your meals with sauce, you will want to cook them as long as you can on a low heat to thicken up the sauces.  This will lessen drying time and will prevent the sauce from just running all over your tray.  I have found that the best meals to dehydrate are ones with a sauce.  They seem to reconstitute better.  The first trip, I sent chicken fajitis and Jacob said it was basically jerky.  Never did reconstitute well.

Also if you wish to add fruit or vegetables to your muffins before you bake them, you will have to dehydrate them before adding them to the muffin.  Sounds like it wouldn't be good but it is like adding a raisin and it will prevent your muffin from molding because of the moisture in the fruit.  On Jacob's first campout, I didn't dehydrate the fruit and he had no muffins to eat.  Tough lesson learned.

So if you keep these things in mind and prepare well in advance your dehydrating project can be a pleasent one.  Planning is key.  So take your time doing so.  And you will end up with one very happy camper!!! Or hiker!!!


  1. Good blog, Melanie! I know that many people on the SCD want to continue their active lifestyle, so you're really giving them a hand with your directions.

  2. I have an 11 yo SCD son who looks forward to being able to go to Philmont in the future. Thanks for all the great info!

    Did you dehydrate the muffins?

    How did you dehydrate the Lasagna?


  3. Hey Natalie
    I am so excited that your son has the chance to go to Philmont. My boys have been twice now and say it has been the highlite of their lives. They ae working on us to go again. When you are making muffins to send you only dehydrate the fruit you want to include in your recipe. Like if you are sending blueberry muffins you would dehydrate the berries. The best way I have found to keep muffins fresh for the whole trip is to bake them in a muffin top pan and vacuum seal them. You can see the muffin top pan under the post in A Few Of My Favorite things. THe flat round cake like muffin seals well and keep fine the whole time. You just want to make sure you are making a drier muffin. To much moisture and they will spoil. I do plan to get back to posting and will make a post on Philmont muffins. For the Lasagna you just make the Lasagna recipe and measure out a cup or so on a lined tray. The trick is to chop it up very small and blot the whole time you are dehydrating. After it is set, pick it up off the tray wipe the tray and flip it to get both sides really dry. You want it to be sort of the consistancy of a potato chip. It is actualy tasty like that. Then let it cool completely and vacuum seal. I prepare the meals the week ahead of Philmont and the muffins the day before they leave. I think I will write a Post on prepareing for Philmont because there is so much helpful info. But I would suggest you start playing with this now while he is camping so that you can be familar with the process before he goes.

  4. Hey Robin

    Thank you so much for you encouragement on my post. I don;t think I mentioned to you that Jacob took your Taco soup this year!! It dehydrated perfectly and he said was the best meal out there!!

  5. Could you post a link to the taco soup recipe? We have dehydrated beef stew and that was a HUGE hit.

    I made zucchini lasagna for the first time last night. Going to try dehydrating a serving today.


  6. Hey Natalie
    So glad dehydrating is going so well for you and that the stew was a hit. It is so exciting to find new ways to use the diet and still be able to live normal lives. Let me know how the zucchini lasagna does in the dehydrator. I have not tried that yet. The Taco Soup is a recipe from the I Want To Thrive Magazine from Nomorecrohns. You can find it in the September/October issue. If you do not have the magazines yet I urge you to get them some of our most favorite recipes come from them. Keep me posted on your progress!!

  7. I am confused. I am attempting the lasagna dehydrating based on your previous response????

  8. Hey Natalie I'm sorry. I just meant that I hadn't dehydrated lasagna with any veggis in it yet. I have dehydrated it with out them. Jacob just didn't want me to include them at the time. I think it would do just fine. The trick with the lasagna as well as the cannelloni is to chop it up in to small pieces and spread as thin as you can on the tray. The zucchini should dehydrate as well as the veggis in the stew.

  9. We made the lasagna and it was a huge hit! Dehydrated some but haven't tried rehydrating yet, I'll let you know how it comes out. Now I have another question.... red beans and cauliflower rice..... I noticed you show it on your menu as being ate on a "cook" night. Can you give me a little more details on that one. Specifically on the cauliflower rice. We eat cauliower rice all the time, just curious as to the dehydrating process. Thanks!

    And by the way I am starting a blog, not much there yet, but I'm working on it.

  10. So glad you liked the lasagna. The rehydration should work perfectly. This is the first meal we actully dehydrated and I was amazed at how perfectly it came back. I just couldn't imagine how with all that cheese. Then that opened up other ideas. So glad it is going well. The rice works perfectly in the dehydrator. Just put it on the tray and turn it on. Be sure to check it. Well there is a night at Philmont where they eat from the Chuck wagon. The first time this was a beef stew... this time, unfortunately for my husband and my younger son, it was another dehydrated meal. So I have Jacob pick out his favorite meal that night to eat. Also there were nights the first time where he had a dehydrated omlet (will cover this in a post at some point it was purchased but legal) and there were nights where that capability was possible but my husband said it was too messy and too difficult so they didn't do that the second trip. Please give me the post to your blog I would love to check it out. At some point I am going to figure out how to put them on my home page. Good luck and keep me posted.