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Tried and true recipes and techniques for preserving foods with a dehydrator
Dehydrating bananas yourself gives you the option of a much healthier snack than conventionally dehydrated banana chips. Most commercially produced banana chips are deceptively unhealthy. Here's how I dehydrate my own organic banana chips for hiking snacks. This yields a product that is softer and chewier than conventional banana chips.
Quality pineapple that has been properly dehydrated stands out as one of the most delicious dried fruits available. It is like candy, chewy and loaded with sugar crystals. It makes a superb snack for hiking and is one of the healthier ways to tame a sweet tooth.
Apples dehydrate quickly and easily. Some varieties taste much better dehydrated than others. Slices are best pre-treated with a dip or a blanch before drying to prevent oxidation. They usually take 6-12 hours in most conventional food dehydrators.
If you live on the west coast and have the space, you should plant a fig tree. They can be prolific sources of fruit. Though it's important to only dry ripe and delicious figs, when done right, they make an excellent fruit for the trail. Here's my best advice for dehydrating figs the right way.
It's often a better deal to buy conventionally dehydrated apricots unless you are lucky enough to have a tree. Apricots are usually quite easy to dehydrate but should be pretreated to prevent spoilage while they're drying.
Blueberries can be a welcome addition to many backcountry breakfasts and snacks. When dried, they pack a lot of flavor for the weight. Here's my technique for drying blueberries, including a quick "check" to speed up dehydration and rehydration.
Dried cherries don't top my list of favorite fruit for backpacking, but they can be a welcome addition to granola and trail mix. If you have a tree or stumble upon a bonanza deal at the fruit stand, it's worthwhile to run a few trays through the dehydrator. Here's how I do it.
Dried kiwi fruit is an awesome ingredient in granola and trail mix. You probably haven't tried dried kiwi fruit because it's not often available in stores. They pack a lot of flavor and can offer some nice variety to the usual dried fruits for backpacking. In California their harvest season runs October through April, so don't wait until the hiking season to dry some.
If you're an instant oatmeal fan, you'll appreciate adding some dried peaches. Before dehydrating peaches, you'll need to provide some type of pretreatment. For a sweeter result, you can also dry canned peaches. Here's how I do it.
Dehydrated pears can be enjoyed plain as a simple snack, as sweet highlight ingredients in oatmeal or breads, and also make an interesting addition to savory dishes, pairing beautifully with hard Parmesan, blue, or Romano cheeses.
Dehydrated strawberries make an attractive addition to your backpacking pantry because they can be rehydrated much faster than other fruits.
Dehydrating plums is a great way to preserve some of your plum harvest. Follow these instructions for the best possible results.
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