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Old 15-03-2012, 05:50   #1
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Do You Dry Food While Underway?

How many people use this method of food preservation and stocking while underway?

Dehydrating food is a tried and trusted way of preserving veggies, fruits and meats for long durations. I've been drying our own foods for 20 years now, mostly for extended canoe/kayak trips, but have now started to do the same on our sailing trips. Done correctly, dried food retains most of its nutritional value, is extremely easy to store, and will last for years. It tastes almost as good as fresh if reconstituted correctly, and best of all, you can easily carry many months, or even years worth of supplies without the need for refrigeration.

Following the idea that you restock at inexpensive locations, I'm thinking that we could hang out at a marina (something we'll avoid most of the time), restock at inexpensive local markets, and then dry the whole lot. It would require access to shore power or propane supplies, but would save big bucks over time if done correctly.

BTW, I understand that dried food requires good water supplies.
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Old 15-03-2012, 06:23   #2
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Re: Do you dry food while underway?

Are you using a mini-dehydrator machine or air-drying? Whenever I go to the Chinese supermarket I alway buy a big tub of dried onions. Partly beacuse it means I always have some to hand and partly (mainly!) because I cry like a baby when I chop onions, even spring onions!

I have tried makign sun-dried tomatoes in the oven, but they just never seem as nice as the commerical ones.
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Old 15-03-2012, 06:34   #3
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Re: Do you dry food while underway?

We have spent the last 6 years in the Tropics where the climate mitigates against drying foods. Too humid, just get nasty moulds!
I think it's a great idea in more sympathetic regions.

We did dry tomatoes when in Portugal and they were delicious. Made them on bbq racks on the deck. Took around a week as I recall, bringing them in at night to avoid the dew.
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Old 15-03-2012, 06:41   #4
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Re: Do you dry food while underway?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyEmma View Post
I have tried makign sun-dried tomatoes in the oven, but they just never seem as nice as the commerical ones.
Sorry for the thread drift, but a quick note about sun-dried tomatoes. The closest I found to commercial sun-dried tomatoes is from a cookbook "A Year in My Kitchen" by Skye Gyngell: Slow Roasted Tomatoes.

Intro to the recipe:
Quote:
These lend flavour and sweetness to many recipes and I have endless uses for them. Softer and less chewy than sun-dried tomatoes, they work really well with vegetables, fish and red meat, and with cheeses, especially fresh goat's cheeses and ricotta. Warm from the oven, they are delicious with scrambled eggs on toast. They also form the basis of my tomato and chili jam. I suggest you use plum tomatoes, as they have good flavour and a pretty shape when semi-dried in this way. It is most important that they are tipe and in good condition. These slow roasted tomatoes keep well for several days, or you can store them for longer in sterilised jars, kept covered with a layer of extra virgin olive oil.
Ingredients:
Quote:
6 plum tomatoes
10g caster sugar
10g sea salt
10g freshly ground black pepper
Preparation:
Quote:
Turn you oven on to its lowest possible setting - probably 100C. Halve the toatoes lengthways and lay them, cut side up, in a single layer on a large baking tray. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, salt and pepper, then sprinkle all over the cut surface of the tomatoes. Roast, undisturbed, in the oven for 3-4 hours until they shrivel up - their pointy ends turning up like Turkish slippers. Remove and set aside until ready to use. Slow-roasting intensifies the flavour, giving tomatoes a deliciously sweet, earthy taste.
I find them much tastier than regular sun-dried tomatoes. Of cours,e you can vary the amount of salt/sugar as you like.
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Old 15-03-2012, 06:47   #5
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pirate Re: Do you dry food while underway?

I've always heard about "drying fish in the rigging". Really possible? I can't imagine how one would/could slice it thin enough and have it stay together. As Annk notes above re tropical humidity, mould seems the most likely result.
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Old 15-03-2012, 06:53   #6
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Re: Do you dry food while underway?

Quote:
Originally Posted by annk View Post
We have spent the last 6 years in the Tropics where the climate mitigates against drying foods. Too humid, just get nasty moulds!
I think it's a great idea in more sympathetic regions.
Thanks for this Annk, this is interesting to me. You're right, controlling humidity is absolutely key to drying foods. We dry using a home-built enclosed box. We use a heating element at the base to maintain airflow. and medium temperature. This allows us to manage the humidity inside the drying space.

I haven't tried our system in the tropics. Do you think an enclosed drying system would solve the humidity challenges?
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Old 15-03-2012, 07:01   #7
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Re: Do you dry food while underway?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyEmma View Post
Are you using a mini-dehydrator machine or air-drying? ... I have tried makign sun-dried tomatoes in the oven, but they just never seem as nice as the commerical ones.
Our current dryer is basically a large (3' square, 12 trays) plywood box with an electric heating element to maintain low heat, airflow and humidity. We've been able to create those chewy "sun dried" tomatoes by partially drying thick slices. Usually we aim for something drier though -- keeps better, and stores easier.

I love dried onions. Quick and easy to do. Great seasoning for just about any meal.
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Old 15-03-2012, 08:03   #8
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Re: Do you dry food while underway?

a cheap and effective way to dry meat that i have used.
take a cardboard box aprox 3x2x2 ft.
punch dowels through it to hang the meat from near the top.
hang a normal 100 watt filament light bulb inside.
hang marinated meat strips from the dowel rods .
takes about a week depending on how dry you like your biltong/jerky
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Old 15-03-2012, 09:03   #9
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Re: Do you dry food while underway?

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Originally Posted by atoll View Post
a cheap and effective way to dry meat that i have used.
take a cardboard box aprox 3x2x2 ft.
punch dowels through it to hang the meat from near the top.
hang a normal 100 watt filament light bulb inside.
hang marinated meat strips from the dowel rods .
takes about a week depending on how dry you like your biltong/jerky
Our box is basically the same thing Atoll, and we have made all sorts of jerkies and dried meat staples.

The key with dehydration is to maintain air flow and keep things dry. I can see where tropical climates would be more challenging, but it should be possible if you use a contained drying box. Seems to me this could be a great way to stock up for long periods a very cheap prices.
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Old 15-03-2012, 09:31   #10
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Re: Do you dry food while underway?

Quote:
Originally Posted by annk View Post
We have spent the last 6 years in the Tropics where the climate mitigates against drying foods. Too humid, just get nasty moulds!...
Yes, to dry here in the tropics you need a proper food dehydrator. Plenty of good, small, inexpensive units available.
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Old 15-03-2012, 10:17   #11
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Re: Do you dry food while underway?

Things that I have had no problem with drying in Wyoming have been a real problem in Texas. Hell in Guatemala our mainsail mildewed for the first time ever and that's not even a food product.
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Old 15-03-2012, 11:04   #12
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Re: Do you dry food while underway?

link to how to build a biltong box that works even in humid conditions.

How To Make Real South African Biltong
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Old 15-03-2012, 11:21   #13
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I use an Excalibur dehydrator, the small one, a seal a meal bag sealer and my blender.
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Old 15-03-2012, 11:22   #14
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Re: Do you dry food while underway?

I made fish jerky a lot when in the Sea of Cortetz. Just brine overnight as you would for smoking and then leave in the sun for a couple of days. Great jerky
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Old 15-03-2012, 11:32   #15
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Re: Do you dry food while underway?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tgzzzz View Post
I've always heard about "drying fish in the rigging". Really possible? I can't imagine how one would/could slice it thin enough and have it stay together. As Annk notes above re tropical humidity, mould seems the most likely result.
The local fishermen here salt their fish which eliminates the mold/etc issues. Also, salted fish keeps a very long time.
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