Friday 22 January 2021
Dehydrated food is great for tramping trips (saves weight and is less perishable) but the variety and cost in our local shops is not great, so although I don't like to accumulate many gadgets I bought a dehydrator over Christmas — a Biochef "Arizona" 6-tray unit. I've only used it a few times so far, but I'm very happy with it.
I've dehydrated sliced fruits: apples, pears, peaches, bananas and plums. Different people prefer different fruits but all of them have been well received. The pears are so sweet I feel guilty eating them. The unit can dehydrate at least 12 apples at a time, taking about 8 hours at 63C.
I've made beef and lamb jerky based on this recipe (using some Jack Daniels BBQ sauce I had around instead of "liquid smoke"). The unit can process about 2kg of meat in one run, taking about 6 hours at 70C with 6-7mm thick slices of meat. Longer dehydration times or smaller slices makes the jerky crunchy which is fine but not to everyone's taste. (The strips shown in the photo below are really too thin, because I bought a "stir fry" package from the supermarket with thinner strips than I expected, but they still taste good.)
I was surprised by how easy the process is. I thought it would take some practice to get good results but just about everything I've tried has turned out well.
There are a lot more experiments I want to do. In particular I want to investigate dehydrating vegetables for cooking meals while tramping. Fun!