Underrated Dehydrating

For the West Coast Trail hike, there was quite a bit of preparation required for meal planning. One of which was dehydrating foods. For the 8 dinner meals, I had dehydrated a variety of foods including vegetables and pulses. One reason is to decrease water weight, the other was to decrease the cooking time required on the trek. Checkout a how to dehydrate foods without needing any fancy gadgets – just your good ol’ oven.

Dehydrated Kale

A great way to add fibre and flavour to the meal without adding weight. I don’t know about you, but after seven days, I think I’d miss my greens! Unlike broccoli or cabbage, kale leaves are much more malleable, take up minimal space and are easy to manipulate for meal preparation. You can add to pasta or rice recipes (see: Mexican-Spiced Rice and Beans and Spanish-Style Rice and Beans or Tandoori Lentil Rice for Recipe for recipes) to add an extra serving of vegetables.

Makes 2 servings.
Preparation Time: 5 minutes.
Cook Time: 4 to 8 hours.
Equipment: Oven, baking tray

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of kale

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Method

  1. Strip the leaves away from the leaf stalks and remove tough midribs.
  2. Wash the leaves and dry well in a salad spinner or by gently rolling in paper towel.
  3. Place evenly on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or non-stick sheets, trying not to overlap too much.
  4. Dry the leaves at 125 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-4 hours until crispy dry OR at 110 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 hours (overnight).
  5. Let cool and place in an airtight container for storage. Store in a dry, dark place at room temperature until ready for use.

Dehydrated Mushrooms

Flavour-packed mushrooms are a great way to spice things up on the trail or for storing foods at home. Dehydration methods have been around for a long time as a way of preserving foods. In fact, most of the times Shiitake mushrooms are only seen in the dehydrated form. In my household, dried mushrooms were rinsed and rehydrated in boiling water for 20 minutes, and the remaining liquid was used for soup stocks and sauces whilst the the mushroom flesh was thrown into the rest of the dish. Try a risotto or a cream of mushroom soup.

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Makes 2 servings.
Preparation Time: 5 minutes.
Cook Time: 4 to 8 hours.
Equipment: Oven, Baking Tray, Cutting Board, Knife.

Ingredients

  • 227g mushroom, white

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Method

  1. Thinly (1/4 inch) slice mushrooms.
  2. Place evenly on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or non-stick sheets, trying not to overlap too much.
  3. Bake at 110 degrees Fahrenheit for 6-8 hours until crispy dry.
  4. Let cool and place in an airtight container for storage. Store in a dry, dark place at room temperature until ready for use.

Dehydrated Lentils and Beans

Why legumes? They’re an extremely affordable protein source, have great shelf-life and are good sources of fibre. They’re often known as “complex carbohydrates”, meaning they can keep us feeling full for longer.  Sounds like a perfect mix for a hiking trip if you ask me. However, they generally take a long time to cook and often requiring soaking before hand. By cooking and dehydrating them at home, you can save time and fuel on the trail. I chose chose to go with canned pulses, cutting down even more of the time and preparation work. If you were to prepare lentils and beans from raw/dry form, cook as you would usually and then follow these steps below.

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Makes 2 (1/3 cup lentils or 1/2 cup beans) servings .
Preparation Time: 5 minutes.
Cook Time: 4 to 8 hours.
Equipment: Oven, Baking Tray

Ingredients

  • 1 can of pulses of your choice (i.e. lentils, black beans, kidney beans)

Method

  1. Open can, rinse in a colander and drain water off.
  2. Place evenly on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or non-stick sheets, trying not to overlap too much.
  3. Bake at 130 degrees Fahrenheit for 4-8 hours until crispy dry (lentils about 4-6 hours, beans being larger in size require about 6-8 hours).
  4. Let cool and place in an airtight container for storage. Store in a dry, dark place at room temperature until ready for use.

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