First time I saw the true utility of food dehydrators: A friend of mine spent weeks drying fruits and veggies from his garden and yard in preparation for a months-long trip to Mongolia where his wife was studying cattle ranching practices by Mongolian natives. Later, after his return, he said all the sheep mutton he ate nearly killed him, and the dehydrated fruits and veggies might have saved his life.
But that’s an extreme example. Plenty of folks use dehydrated foods on camping, fishing and hunting trips, and for years I’ve dehydrated fruits–and some veggies–from my own garden and trees on property. Every summer I dehydrate dozens of mangoes to eat all year round, and also commonly dried in Florida are figs, tomatoes, green beans, pineapple and other fruits. Of course making jerky is easy and good, too, especially if you’ve got some fresh game to spice up for the drier.
Here’s a dehydrator that came across the email at my office: The Excalibur 5-Tray. Check out the recipes down below if you’ve got a dehydrator.
The Excalibur is a good choice for active families who love the outdoors and want the convenience of countertop use. This dehydrator contains 5 large polycarbonate trays with 8 square feet of tray area. The unit boasts a built in on/off switch, a convenient removable door, a timer and an adjustable thermostat, allowing temperatures from 85º to 145º F. With 35 years of manufacturing excellence, the Excalibur Food Dehydrator sets the industry standard for design, quality, and dependability.
Here’s a link to the Excalibur Dehydrator, 5-tray model:
Great for small families, small gardens or specialty gardens. The 26 hour timer will automatically shut off the Dehydrator for you when it reaches the time you set.
Contains 5 LARGE trays with 8 square feet of tray area. Perfect for families with small gardens and a few fruit trees.
Built-in on/off switch. 5″ fan, 440 watts. Adjustable thermostat and 26 hour timer.
Unit Dimensions 8-1/2″H x 17″W x 19″D
Shipping Weight: 16 lbs.
Available in case color Black or Appliance White. White unit additional $10.00.
All units come with a Black door and black trays.
Please find the delicious recipes below, courtesy of Excalibur. For additional information, recipes and images, please visit www.drying123.com.
Camper’s Favorite Chili
· 1 ¼ C. canned pinto beans
· 2 C. tomato sauce—homemade or commercial
· 12 Oz. dried pasta (such as elbow macaroni)
· 3 Whole jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
· 5 Oz. ground beef (optional)
· ½ onion minced
· Seasoning as desired
Brown ground beef and cook pasta until done. Combine all ingredients in large saucepan and heat to boiling. Season to taste. Spread on Paraflexx® covered dehydrator try and dehydrate at 155°F/68°C until dry approximately 5 hours. To rehydrate, cover with water, boil stirring occasionally and serve. Serves 4
One Pot Spaghetti
Combine in 1 gallon freezer-weight zip lock bag:
· 1 C. dried mushroom pieces and/or slices
· ¼ dried diced green bell pepper
· 3 T. dried onions
· 1 envelope dried spaghetti sauce (8 oz.)
· ½ tsp. garlic powder
· ½ tsp salt
· 3 C. thin spaghetti noodles
Boil 4 cups water in medium pot. Add mix. Cook stirring frequently, about 5 mins. If noodles stick add a little water. Remove from heat, cover, let stand 5 min. or until noodles are tender. Serves 2-3
Camp Scrambled Eggs
· 3 eggs
· 1 T. water
· ¼ tsp. black pepper
· 1/8 tsp. salt
Place all ingredients in bowl and beat very lightly until just blended. Add any of the following variations or implement any of your favorite ingredients:
· 6 fresh mushrooms sliced
· ¾ C. any variety grated cheese
· 3 sprigs parsley minced
· ¼ C. onions chopped
· 1 tsp. any dried herbs
· 1 C. tomato sauce
· 1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, fresh or canned, seeded and minced
Blend together egg mixture and any of the variations. Place in skillet with 1 T. olive oil. Scramble until done. Place on Paraflexx® sheet and dehydrate at 155°F/68°C until dry. Approximately 5 hours. To rehydrate, cover with boiling water, stir occasionally and serve. If there is an excess of liquid pour it out.
· 3 to 4 lbs lean beef (cut into strips)
· ½ cup tomato sauce base or catsup
· ¼ cup soy sauce
· ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
· 1 tsp onion powder or 2 tsp onion flakes
· 1 tsp garlic powder
· ½ tsp cracked powder
· ½ tsp hickory smoke flavoring or salt
Blend all ingredients and soak meat strips in mixture. Keep refrigerated 6 to 12 hours, stirring and turning meat occasionally in marinade. Once meat is marinated to desired strength, drain off marinade and dry.
· 1 lb. lean meat cut 3/16” thick
· 1 tsp. salt
· 1 tsp. ground ginger
· 1 T. brown sugar
· ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
· 1 crushed garlic clove
· ¼ C. pineapple juice
· ¼ C. soy sauce
In small glass bowl combine all ingredients except meat. Stir to mix well. Place meat 3-4 layers deep, spooning sauce over all layers. Cover tightly in refrigerator for 6-12 hours stirring occasionally. Take meat out of marinade and place on dehydrator trays. Dry at 155°F/68°C for 5-6 hours or until completely dry. Makes about ½ pound jerky.
· 1 cup apples, chopped
· ½ cup cranberries
· Honey or sugar to taste
Puree apples in blender with a small amount of water. Add cranberries and sweetener if desired. Pour on Paraflexx®, kitchen parchment paper, or plastic wrap covered dehydrator trays and dry at 135°F/57°C until leathery.
· 3 C. rolled oats, barley or wheat
· 2 ½ C. powdered milk
· ½ package citrus flavored gelatin (approx. 8 oz)
· 1 C. sugar
· 2 T. honey
· 3 T. water
Place rolled oats, powdered milk, and sugar in bowl. Add water to honey and bring to a boil; dissolve gelatin in honey and water mixture. Add dry ingredients. After mixing well add water a teaspoon at a time until barely most enough to be molded. Shape into bars. Dehydrate at 155°F/68°C until hard.
Nonnie’s Great Granola
· 4 cups rolled oats
· ½ cup wheat germ
· 1 cup brown sugar or ½ cup honey
· 2 cups coconut
· 1 cup sesame seeds
· 1 cup almonds and walnuts, chopped
· ½ cup wheat or soy flour
· 1 tsp vanilla
· 1 tsp cinnamon
· 1 cup oil
· 1 tsp salt
After dehydrating the above ingredients add:
· 1 cup raisins
· ½ cup dates
· ½ cup dried pineapple
· ½ cup dried apples
(or any combination of dried fruits)
Mix the first group of ingredients together in a large bowl and spread onto Paraflexx®, kitchen parchment paper, or plastic wrap. Dehydrate at 155°F/68°C (approximately 3 hours) until crunchy. Add the second group of ingredients. Serve with milk or plain yogurt.