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Been playing with a food dehydrator

Old 01-08-19, 01:29 PM
  #1  
TimothyH
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Been playing with a food dehydrator

It is a little bit tedious but the product is excellent once you get the hang of it.

Zucchini has a surprisingly intense flavor. Oranges are probably my favorite. I dried some chunks of lemon - super intense to the point of being almost inedible. Raisins are unlike any I've had.

Going to do some hot peppers and experiment with jerky.

I figure it has to be healthier than boxed and bagged snacks. Eating way too many calories is a definite risk.

Below was my first batch. I found out that blueberries are coated with wax and won't dry unless the wax is removed in boiling water first. Also discovered that most fruits and vegetables are better in chunks though it does take longer to dry that way.





This was part of my latest batch.




-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 01-08-19 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 01-09-19, 02:05 AM
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My grandparents had a larger dehydrator, about the size of a largish microwave oven. Handy for food when they were active gardeners. Handy for drying my fiber prints when I had a darkroom.

I don't have it anymore, too much stuff for an apartment, but I still do some dehydrating. A frost-free freezer can be used to freeze dry herbs, so I buy fresh herbs on blowout sales at the grocery store and dry 'em for later.

Also freeze dried a whole artichoke that way just for giggles -- I was curious to see if it worked and it did. Puzzles folks when they visit and pick it up. You'd think nobody's ever seen a dehydrated artichoke before.

And I'll dehydrate cherry and grape tomatoes after they get wrinkly -- I just put 'em in a sunny window. They'll keep longer and plump up nicely when tossed in the pot with pasta sauce or any cooked dish.
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Old 01-09-19, 04:50 AM
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Looks like your off to a good start. I've been wanting to get one of those too. Now you just need a slicer so you can get the really thin and consistent sizes. Good luck on the beef jerky. From what I hear its all about the spices.
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Old 01-09-19, 06:34 AM
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So awesome, I love pineapple.

Probably better that you make food yourself and eat it within days vs supermarket stuff designed to last weeks on the shelf plus weeks of shipping. Being handled by so many people along the supply chain.

How about some fruit leathers?
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Old 01-09-19, 11:17 AM
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That is cool. I'm really excited to try dried zucchini someday - never thought of that nor heard of it before!
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Old 01-09-19, 08:31 PM
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One has been in my wish list for some time now. I'm just afraid that when I finally get it. put on 10 pounds just from all the homemade trail mix I would cook up. I can't even buy dried bananas, pineapple, apples, etc. I know they're a weakness, so I try and keep them out of my kitchen. Love them though.
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Old 01-09-19, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by GrainBrain View Post
How about some fruit leathers?
It comes with trays to make fruit rollup type snacks. That's on my list to try.
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Old 01-10-19, 09:52 AM
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fun! thanks for sharing! met w a trainer at the gym & she was pushing all kinds of diet changes for me. side question ~ can you use it on cooked meat?
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Old 01-10-19, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
I'm just afraid that when I finally get it. put on 10 pounds just from all the homemade trail mix I would cook up.
Definitely a risk.

Ultimately I'd like to use it to make nutrient dense foods for bikepacking and am just playing with it now. The product is really tasty though and I've been eating a bunch of it.


Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
can you use it on cooked meat?
My understanding is that some meats should be cooked first as a safety precaution against salmonella and similar. I really don't know the general practice though, only what I've read. For example...

How to decide whether to precook meat when making dried beef jerky ? The Home Preserving Bible

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal...afety/ct_index

I'd like to try some fish.


-Tim-
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Old 01-14-19, 02:13 PM
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Uses a ton of electric, no?
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Old 01-14-19, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by zowie View Post
Uses a ton of electric, no?
At 600W average? A few bucks maybe.
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Old 01-15-19, 08:05 AM
  #12  
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Yes, 600 Watts so 5 Amps.

I rarely run a TV and have converted all my bulbs to LED. I'm not worried about it.

This is the latest batch. Tomatoes, starfruit, kiwi and thick orange chunks. The oranges are like candy and my daughter loves the kiwi.






-Tim-
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Old 01-15-19, 08:21 AM
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This might give a way to store a whole lot more water in the same volume typically taken up by a water bottle.
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Old 01-15-19, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
At 600W average? A few bucks maybe.
Just wondering if making meat jerky comes out cheaper DIY than the store. I've made it in the oven before.
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Old 01-15-19, 12:38 PM
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just remembered, I made pepperoni chips using a microwave oven several times, but not lately. I wonder of this thing would be able to make them as well
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Old 01-15-19, 01:21 PM
  #16  
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I've been making jerky in an Excalibur for years. Like all cooking, it's cheaper than buying beef jerky but much more time consuming. Here's my favorite recipe
1 eye-of-round roast (~8 pounds)
Jerky Marinade: 2 cups Worcestershire sauce
2 cups soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
16 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons ground dried red chile, New Mex -- or Ancho
4 teaspoons onion powder
couple of drops of liquid smoke
Place the meat in the freezer to make slicing it easier. After 30 to 40 minutes, remove the meat from the freezer and slice it as thin as you can with a good sharp knife. Trim the meat of all fat.

Combine the marinade ingredients. Place the meat in a plastic bag or shallow dish and pour the marinade over it. Marinate overnight. Dry out the meat in a food dehydrator
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Old 01-15-19, 07:19 PM
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This is great, but you can also ask your butcher to get you those much thinner and consistent slices. And speaking of chilies, you can dry those too. Then use various strengths of caliente to add to your spice mix. Just remove the seeds first.

Last edited by KraneXL; 01-15-19 at 08:35 PM. Reason: sp
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Old 01-15-19, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
I've been making jerky in an Excalibur for years. Like all cooking, it's cheaper than buying beef jerky but much more time consuming. Here's my favorite recipe
1 eye-of-round roast (~8 pounds)
Jerky Marinade: 2 cups Worcestershire sauce
2 cups soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
16 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons ground dried red chile, New Mex -- or Ancho
4 teaspoons onion powder
couple of drops of liquid smoke
Place the meat in the freezer to make slicing it easier. After 30 to 40 minutes, remove the meat from the freezer and slice it as thin as you can with a good sharp knife. Trim the meat of all fat.

Combine the marinade ingredients. Place the meat in a plastic bag or shallow dish and pour the marinade over it. Marinate overnight. Dry out the meat in a food dehydrator
Thank you for this. My mouth is watering right now.

How long did it take to dry in the Excalibur? How long does the product stay fresh?


-Tim-
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Old 01-16-19, 05:06 AM
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It’s a whole weekend project. Our local supermarket runs specials on a whole eye-of-round roast for $2/lb. every once in a while, so I usually get one and stick it in the freezer until I have a free weekend and put it in the fridge 3-4 days before I’m ready to cut the meat. Saturday, I cut up the meat and make the marinade. I’d guess that takes an hour or two. It’s fairly tedious work to trim the fat and cut all the slices. I’ve had the butcher slice the meat for me before, which saves a bit of time, but only works if I happen to have a free weekend at the same time the meat is on sale.

Sunday I put the meat in the dehydrator. The 9-tray Excalibur can hold about 5 lbs. of meat at the thickness I prefer, so I can’t get the whole 8 lb. roast in at the same time. After 2-3 hours or so I’ll start checking the meat, pulling off pieces when they are done, and moving pieces around so I can get the rest of the meat on. I would guess that whole process takes about 8 hours, maybe a little longer, so I can only do it on a Sunday when I don’t have anything else going on but a short bike ride in the morning. My wife cleans the trays for me. She says that takes a while too.

After the jerky cools I put it in snack-sized ziplock bags and put in in the fridge. I have an extra fridge in the basement, so it goes in the meat drawer of that fridge. It lasts a long time, 6 months maybe. It doesn't really go bad, it just gets less good. I’m sure I’ve eaten jerky that’s over a year old that I found left in the bottom of a backpack somewhere, but normally we go through it a lot faster than that. The whole process is pretty time consuming, so I probably only make it 2-3 times a year. I started with an inexpensive plastic dehydrator sort of like the one you have, but eventually all the trays broke, so my wife got me the Excalibur, which is awesome.
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Old 01-16-19, 06:21 AM
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Just to clarify, you're cutting the meat long-ways, with the grain? What thickness? Could you cut it cross-grain if you wanted to?
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Old 01-16-19, 07:06 AM
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I cut the meat with the grain into slices about 1/8" thick x 3/4" wide x 3 1/2" long. Of course every piece is different, and I don't measure anything. I just eyeball it based on what's worked for me in the past, and it doesn't really matter anyway. Thicker pieces are fine, they just take longer to dry, and pieces cut across the grain are fine too, they just crumble apart so they aren't as much fun to eat. Too thin is also not as much fun to eat since you don't have to really bite it off like a cowboy. Longer and wider pieces are fine, they just don't fit in my ziplock baggies as well. Fat gets pretty gross when it dries out, so you want to avoid that as much as possible. I've tried a lot of different cuts of meat and pretty much anything works. I like an eye-of-round roast the best because it's pretty lean. It's a good cut for getting fairly uniform pieces, and I can get it for two dollars a pound.
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Old 01-16-19, 07:16 AM
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Thanks. Eye of round is my favorite cut of beef as well, cheap, no gristle or fat, with almost no waste. What's not to like? I cook up eye of rounds in a Dutch Oven, and keep the roast in the fridge. Slices up real nice when cold and cooked, just like deli beef, and keeps for a week or longer.

I've never seen it for two dollars a pound, but I will keep my eyes open for sales.
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Old 01-17-19, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Definitely a risk.

Ultimately I'd like to use it to make nutrient dense foods for bikepacking and am just playing with it now. The product is really tasty though and I've been eating a bunch of it.




My understanding is that some meats should be cooked first as a safety precaution against salmonella and similar. I really don't know the general practice though, only what I've read. For example...

How to decide whether to precook meat when making dried beef jerky ? The Home Preserving Bible

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal...afety/ct_index

I'd like to try some fish.


-Tim-
​​​​​​This is very cool, and I was going to ask if you could use it for that. You're going to save a lot of money vs eating Mountain House bags, and eat much better. I'm with you about it being heavier to about highly processed foods.
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Old 01-18-19, 07:21 PM
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Beef jerky and dried fruits = perfect snack to use on a bike ride.
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Old 01-29-19, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
I've never seen it for two dollars a pound, but I will keep my eyes open for sales.
Eye of round on sale this weekend
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