After a long day hike, what you really want is a good sumptuous meal to end off your day. At the same time, weight of your backpack matters. You are not going to have the luxury of bringing the whole kitchen and all kinds of food ingredients to achieve a hearty meal. This is why many adventure-seekers on multi-day expedition always opt to bring dehydrated food with them whilst camping outdoors, as dehydration process can considerably reduce the weight of the original meal. (In our case, we cooked some Thai curry rice and before dehydration process, the weight was 2.2kg grams. After dehydration, the curry rice weighed 700 grams, almost 1.5kg of water lost!)
Step 1: Plan your Menu and Quantity
Planning your menu and quantity is definitely the most important part of the process. You need to know what kind of food is ideal for dehydration and is easy to rehydrate. From the multiple times of dehydrated food preparation, we realise that vegetables such as cabbages, lettuce, tomatoes, onions still taste good after rehydration. Meat such as beef can be dehydrated too, but in the process of rehydration, it is highly recommended to let it sit in hot water and cook over slow fire for a longer time for the meat to be soft.
Step 2: Cook your Meals
This is the fun part. To cook your own meals! There are a lot of recipes available that would make perfect dehydrated food. Our top choices are Spaghetti bolognaise, Thai curry rice, Fried noodles, Mashed potatoes with chili con beans. Make sure the food is cooked thoroughly before you dehydrate them.
Step 3: Dehydrate your Meals
We used a food dehydrator to dehydrate all our camping food. Different dehydrators will work differently and will take different amount of time to dehydrate different food. You may refer to the guide with your food dehydrator as a reference. In our case, to dehydrate 2.2kg of Thai curry rice, the dehydration process took a total of 8 hours. Some food took lesser time than others, depending on the water content in the food as well. We usually check the food to make sure it is crisp and dry before we conclude the food has been fully dehydrated.
Step 4: Pack and Vacuum Seal
We vacuum seal all our food to ensure freshness and make sure it is compact for carrying when we are on our adventures.
- If you are slicing food ingredients, do attempt to slice them in similar sizes so that they will dry at the same speed
- Our dehydrator fan is at the top of the tray. We noticed that the tray closest to the fan dries the fastest. Hence, for the food to dry evenly, we rotate the orders of the tray stacked so that they can dry evenly
Step 5: Rehydrate and Eat!
After all this hard work in preparing your food, the process of rehydration is easy. Add in hot water to your food, let it sit for approximately an hour. Cook the food over slow heat and keep stirring. A warm and yummy meal is ready to eat!
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