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Expert techniques and advice for mastering the art of dehydrating food
How to syrup blanch fruit
Syrup blanching fruit is a common pre-treatment of certain fruits before dehydration. The added sugar helps to sweeten tart fruit and acts as a good preservative. Here is how to do it.
Using ascorbic acid as a sulfite alternative to prevent fruit browning
Treating fruit with an ascorbic acid (vitamin C) solution is an effective approach to reducing oxidation and spoilage in fresh fruit. This is commonly employed by caterers who need to deliver sliced fruit with a minimum of browning. It's also a good technique to keep your fruit from partially spoiling during the first few hours in the food dehydrator.
Pre-treating fruit with honey as a preservative before drying
Dipping fruit in honey before dehydrating it will extend the shelf-life of the dried fruit. It does add calories so you might not want to make it your go-to pre-treatment for dehydrating food. If you have a bland batch of fruit to dry, using honey can add a little life. Here's how we do it.
Pretreating fruits for drying with fruit juice dip as a sulfite alternative
Drying fruit is usually not enough to completely preserve it. Pieces of drying fruit are most vulnerable to spoilage when they're warm and moist in the food dehydrator. Pre-treating fruit with sulfites is a great way to cut down on spoilage, but for individuals with sulfite sensitivities, this is not an option. A popular alternative to sulfites is to use ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Rather than using crushed vitamin tablets, you can employ fruit juice that is high in vitamin C. Here are instructions.
Tips for re-hydrating dried foods in the backcountry
The first time I dehydrated my own meals for backpacking I was surprised at how poor the results were on the trail. I just threw it all on the old Whisperlite and blasted it on high for fifteen minutes. The chicken was rock hard and the noodles were so soft they were falling apart. This was all my fault as I had put no thought into the final step -- cooking it for supper after a long day on the trail. It turns out that rehydration of dried foods on the trail is an art in itself, especially so if you want to conserve fuel. Once you get the hang of it, it's actually quite easy, and the results can be excellent. Here are some tips on everything I've learned.
Food dehydrating 101
Everything you need to know to get started with drying your own food for backpacking.
How to steam blanch vegetables
Steam blanching is a critical step in dehydrating many types of vegetables and fruits. Here we cover the basics for learning to steam blanch on the stove and in the microwave.
Sulfuring and sulfite dips for preserving dried fruits
Sulfites are a class of powerful antioxidants that are found in most commercially dried fruits and wine. They are added to reduce oxidation and spoilage of dried fruits. It's pretty easy to treat food with sulfites. Let's go over the basic technique.
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