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-   -   Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator? (https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f91/anyone-else-use-a-dehydrator-164993.html)

DinghyHoosier 22-04-2016 12:45

Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
I have a food dehydrator, and we use it for preserving veggies, fruits, and meat. It works well, and the preserved stuff lasts quite well. We just ran out of the Dried Tomatoes I made last summer (they ended up in a one pot dinner!)

I don't have one of the big fancy ones, just a small one with six stacking trays and a blower and T-stat heat coil. Runs on house hold current.

Saves bucks on things that would be bulky, heavy or expensive if bought processed at the supermarket.

redhead 22-04-2016 21:03

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
I used to use a dehydrator when I lived on land. I haven't figured out how to justify the electrical use here on the boat. Other than Dried veg for soups, what else do you dehydrate?

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DumnMad 23-04-2016 00:16

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Friends of ours used one every day when in port in preparations for 4 month voyages.

Visitor fees are high so might as well make the most of the power available,

sparrowhawk1 23-04-2016 06:53

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
I would suggest doing a search I know there's other threads on this. I have an Excalibur 9 tray that fits underneath my steps. I've had a lot of success with onions, mushrooms and bell peppers. I have about 20 amps Max solar panel production , two small wind generators, and a 1500 watt pure sine inverter. Because of the high humidity on a boat you have to run it may be 10 degrees hotter than you usually would. so I'll set it for 125į-135į during the day and then at night I'll turn it down to 95į to conserve electricity. it definitely takes a lot longer with this method and I would not attempt to do meat ( which requires much higher temperatures) or very wet fruits and vegetables unless I was traveling and running my motor for at least 6 hours a day or had access to shore power.

partingclouds 23-04-2016 08:21

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
The four tray model that dried a full five gallon bucket of apples is worth the cost of dock electrons. Last Fall it turned about 60 lbs. of apples from an abandoned orchard into about six lbs. of golden goodness. Kept in a lidded bucket, they are still nice and dry, and terribly delicious. The dehydrator was a garage sale find: $5. This year I will be drying a lot of other things, too. It just makes sense; foods get lighter and smaller this way. Perfect for onboard storage.

wrwakefield 23-04-2016 08:37

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
We used our dehydrator when we were land based- mainly prepping our own complete 'boil-in-bag' meals for 5 -6 weeks of continuous sea kayaking excursions each summer. It was handy for that. The meals were dried versions of what we normally cooked at home.

We didn't bring it with us to the boat as space and energy requirements outweigh the benefits for us. This is partly because where we are currently playing, commercially dried products are cheaper [including shipping] that buying fresh and drying yourself.

Therefore we are much more reliant on our Engle freezer on the boat for storing months worth of proteins, some harvested ourselves...

We did easily justify my well traveled, 30+ year old Biosta sprouter onboard... I love a mix of radish, mustard, and hull-less sunflower seed sprout salads...

Cheers!

Bill

Mike OReilly 23-04-2016 08:37

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
I've used a home made large box dehydrator for decades. Now that we're transitioning to full-timers I've stored up a bunch of dried food (probably 4 months worth). Sadly, our home made dryer won't fit on board, so I'm in the process of building a solar dryer (similar to the Sailing the Farm version), but I am still thinking of buying a smaller one from Excalibur Food Dehydrator | Buy Factory Direct & Save.

redhead 23-04-2016 09:52

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Sorry I phrased my previous question so badly. I guess what I want to know is: other than drying veg for soups etc, and fruit to munch on, what else can it be used for? Can you add the veg to salad and it tastes "normal"? How do you use the meat?

I realize I may be hijacking this thread (and I'm sorry for that):frown: and perhaps I should start a new thread about this. I want to be as independent as possible when we head north.

Cheechako 23-04-2016 10:02

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
My mother in law used to dry food with a home made one. It just had a light bulb in it. Man those dried tomatoes are tasty!

nautical62 23-04-2016 10:22

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
I've dehydrated foods for trips: Canoeing, kayaking, canoeing, etc.

Some things include:

Beef jerky or venison jerky
Dried Apples to snack on.
Drives mixed/assorted veggies for rice dishes, stews, etc.

More recently, I've started making veggie chips that I first bake or deep fry and then remove any remaining moisture by dehydrating them. I use beets, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, etc.

Kurtesio 23-04-2016 12:16

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Finally signed up and First post after many months of just watching the forum.:smitten:
I am an armchair sailor learning as much as I can before trading my mountain home for a watery one and as such very curious.
Dehydrators , smokers and sprouters all sound like a great way to make money go further , help extend range and safety of travel but don't you have troubles with customs?
The dried goods properly stored seem logical but how are you storing them? Vacuum bags?
And seeds for sprouting? as well as sprouts on board, do countries not get cranky about such things?
Thank You ..

Compass790 23-04-2016 16:22

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kurtesio (Post 2104672)
Finally signed up and First post after many months of just watching the forum.:smitten:
I am an armchair sailor learning as much as I can before trading my mountain home for a watery one and as such very curious.
Dehydrators , smokers and sprouters all sound like a great way to make money go further , help extend range and safety of travel but don't you have troubles with customs?
The dried goods properly stored seem logical but how are you storing them? Vacuum bags?
And seeds for sprouting? as well as sprouts on board, do countries not get cranky about such things?
Thank You ..

Customs would definitely get cranky here in New Zealand if you tried to enter with seeds or dried meat.

peter57 23-04-2016 17:14

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Compass790 (Post 2104811)
Customs would definitely get cranky here in New Zealand if you tried to enter with seeds or dried meat.


Can't one have a locked Cabinet secure box ect. for a customs seal to lock it up until you clear?

Compass790 23-04-2016 23:25

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by peter57 (Post 2104844)
Can't one have a locked Cabinet secure box ect. for a customs seal to lock it up until you clear?

Sorry dont know answer to that. You would have to contact MAF ( mininistry of agriculture & fisheries)

DinghyHoosier 24-04-2016 16:33

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by redhead (Post 2104546)
Sorry I phrased my previous question so badly. I guess what I want to know is: other than drying veg for soups etc, and fruit to munch on, what else can it be used for? Can you add the veg to salad and it tastes "normal"? How do you use the meat?

I realize I may be hijacking this thread (and I'm sorry for that):frown: and perhaps I should start a new thread about this. I want to be as independent as possible when we head north.


Seems like good questions to me! So I'm saying not a hijack!

Well, we've dried fruits, vegetables and meats.

I found that if I dry tomatoes very dry, I can pulverize them, either in a fo0od processor or by hand, and add them to soups, sauces etc. Or, I can dry diced toms and use them in about anything that gets some boiling water!

I make jerky of various types, and if you slice it very thin and "over dry" it, it can be powdered as used as a soup/stock base.

I make Hamburger Rocks---I put up a thread about them, and you can use those in about anything you use hamburger meat for other than patties.

I have found that trying to dry cucumbers works, if you like, tough, bitter inedible bits of horrible stuff.

If you have good, sweet watermelon, and dry it well, it's the best healthy candy substitute!

Drying cooked vegetables takes longer, but then they can be reconstituted.

We've dried our own herbs for use later.

Cheechako 24-04-2016 16:59

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Fish jerky is great.... as I've posted here before. Brine it over night. You can actually dry it in the sunshine on cookie racks out on deck in hot climes.

SailingAzura 05-11-2016 17:11

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Hi everyone. My husband is a member here and encouraged me to come in and chat with you all about food dehydration. I've written a couple books on it. Funny enough one of my first reviewers was a boater and I never thought anything of it until we bought a sailboat a few weeks ago.

Probably your best use for a dehydrator is to prepare foods for longer trips or for when you want to be out on the water rather than in port. Simple foods that you dry at home can be rehydrated with boiling water (or some can be cold water rehydrated) and then you are spending less time in the galley.

I'm not sure what the rules are for posting links and I would be happy to share some recipes. I'm also going to be creating a bunch of one pan (or pot) dishes as we start to delve more into a sailboating life.

Anyway... feel free to pick my brain.

Laurie Ann

GordMay 06-11-2016 04:52

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Laurie Ann.

Pete7 06-11-2016 05:03

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
LA, welcome to CF. The rules cover links etc:

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ork&page=rules

You are more than welcome to post recipes etc to stimulate a group discussion.

Regards

Peter

Mike OReilly 06-11-2016 10:19

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Cooking with dried food is pretty easy. Stews, soups, pastas, rice/vermicelli meals. The list is as endless as cooking in general. For canoe/kayak trips I assemble dried into meal packages, but while at home (on our boat) I just use our dried foods as I would any other food. Once itís reconstituted most foods can be used as per normal.

I would love to hear from anyone who has dried food while underway. Iíve built, but not yet used, a solar dehydrator (from Sailing the Farm plans). I think it will work, but Iím skeptical though that this will suffice for bulk drying.

Does anyone dry food while on their boat? My thought is to get one like this (4-Tray On/Off - Dehydrators - Shop) and use it while tied to a dock.

redhead 06-11-2016 10:56

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Mike - even though I'm tied to a dock I'm using my diesel stove as a dehydrator. I figure since it's on anyway and there's still a lot of fresh produce around, why not? I'm doing sun dried tomatoes right now and I've always got a batch of granola starting up. I don't have or plan to have an electric dehydrator since my stove (fondly named Esmerelda or "Esme" for short) serves almost all my wants. I'm always looking for new stuff to dry out though, even though we're tied to land because of the refit, I still try to be as independent as possible. Cruiser in training I guess...

UNCIVILIZED 06-11-2016 11:29

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
This may sound a little silly, but often times, kids who are picky eaters tend to love various sorts of dehydrated fruits, & other dehydrated treats. It may be due to the concentrated flavor, or something else. But if you have little ones that are a pain to feed, especially to get them to eat healthy things, then you might try bringing home some dehydrated fruits for them to try. And if they're a hit, then one of these units is worth looking into.

Jerky is popular too, probably for similar reasons. And you might try making (or buying) the sort which has a higher than optimal moisture content. Such as that which keeps for 2-4 months when properly packaged. As it's a lot easier to chew than the standard sort, & again, has that tasty concentrated flavor thing to it.

Mike OReilly 06-11-2016 15:59

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by redhead (Post 2251899)
Mike - even though I'm tied to a dock I'm using my diesel stove as a dehydrator. I figure since it's on anyway and there's still a lot of fresh produce around, why not? I'm doing sun dried tomatoes right now and I've always got a batch of granola starting up. I don't have or plan to have an electric dehydrator since my stove (fondly named Esmerelda or "Esme" for short) serves almost all my wants. I'm always looking for new stuff to dry out though, even though we're tied to land because of the refit, I still try to be as independent as possible. Cruiser in training I guess...

Iíve used an oven to dry stuff on land, but I donít think my propane oven would be an efficient way of drying on my boat. My oven is way too small, and I expect it would take more propane than itís worth. Sounds like it makes sense in your case though; as you say, if youíre running it anyway (for heat?), then why not.

In my ideal drying world Iíd have a large dehydrator that can handle large volumes, yet can still be disassembled and stored in a fairly small area. So far, I havenít found such a machine.

Hmmmm, perhaps I can fit a fan and heater in my solar dryer. Thereís a thought!

SailingAzura 08-11-2016 11:00

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Mike... all you need really is a fan and a lightbulb in a box. You could even make one out of foil lined cardboard that would fold down?

I tend to dry both full meals and ingredients. Our eventual goal is the Intercoastal down to the Atlantic and then south to the islands so when we do that I'll take many home-dehydrated meals then supplement with fresh foods as often as possible.

redhead... I love drying things like coleslaw and lentil salad and hummus. I love that you are using the heat that normally would be wasted too. Smart thinking.

CGirvan 08-11-2016 11:20

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Does anybody use a solar dehydrator on board? We are not planning on being in marinas often enough for a 120v unit to be worthwhile and I can't see propane or 12v being economical but we will be in the tropics. A foldable dehydrator that uses the power of the sun would be perfect, is there such a thing?
A quick google search showed plans for solar dehdrators but they all seemed to be large, heavy units for land based use, anybody make a marine unit?

Cheechako 08-11-2016 12:04

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CGirvan (Post 2253543)
Does anybody use a solar dehydrator on board? We are not planning on being in marinas often enough for a 120v unit to be worthwhile and I can't see propane or 12v being economical but we will be in the tropics. A foldable dehydrator that uses the power of the sun would be perfect, is there such a thing?
A quick google search showed plans for solar dehdrators but they all seemed to be large, heavy units for land based use, anybody make a marine unit?

You could probably make a folding one out of black plastic board or something like that.
In Baja I made fish jerky all the time out of just fish on a cookie rack on deck. A black box would get it done fast....

Mike OReilly 08-11-2016 12:32

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
1 Attachment(s)
Iíve built a collapsable dryer out of black sunbrella (similar to the one in Sailing the Farm). Iíve yet to use it, but Iím sure it will work out in the hot sun. My concern is that this is not going to be very controllable. From experience I know some foods can take longer than the 8 to 12 hours to dry. What do you do when the sun goes down?

As you suggest SA, I think I can simply insert a heat source (incandescent bulb, or other small coil heater) into the base to make it work. If I can get good sun then I can probably sustain this on batteries (solar charged during the day), but short term shore power might be the simplest way.

Cheechako 08-11-2016 12:35

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
I just brought my jerky inside and back out the next day.

Mike OReilly 08-11-2016 13:01

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cheechako (Post 2253602)
I just brought my jerky inside and back out the next day.

OK Ö I should just give it a try. Most veg/fruit dries faster than meats. Maybe Iím over-thinking this. Might be just fine in the full sun.

Cheechako 08-11-2016 13:06

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Yeah, IIRC it took a couple days with meats to be fully dry. Of course the meat is salted so not sure how that comes into the equation. I brought it in to avoid getting damp from night dew etc. I loved fish jerky, surprisingly more like beef jerky etc than I would have thought. Mostly Bonita tuna and Mahi. Although some Sierra Mackeral which is oilier.

SailingAzura 23-11-2016 09:32

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
I am so curious about how this sunbrella dehydrator setup works. I think I'm going to try one out too! Love the discussion.

Mike OReilly 23-11-2016 12:58

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by SailingAzura (Post 2263959)
I am so curious about how this sunbrella dehydrator setup works. I think I'm going to try one out too! Love the discussion.

Thatís great SA. Iíve got mine built, but havenít actually used it yet. Maybe we can swap stories once weíve both given it a try.

BTW, I see youíre just down the lake from my boat, which is currently in Belleville (although we arenít). Our plans are to try (once again) to head for Newfoundland this coming season. Weíll be around till about mid-June though, so maybe weíll cross wakes on L. Ontario before we leave.

SailingAzura 09-12-2016 15:05

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
It would be great to connect. We are planning to sail out Kingston way at some point in 2017.

Livia 09-12-2016 15:31

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CGirvan (Post 2253543)
Does anybody use a solar dehydrator on board? We are not planning on being in marinas often enough for a 120v unit to be worthwhile and I can't see propane or 12v being economical but we will be in the tropics. A foldable dehydrator that uses the power of the sun would be perfect, is there such a thing?
A quick google search showed plans for solar dehdrators but they all seemed to be large, heavy units for land based use, anybody make a marine unit?

Our friends built their own similar to Mike O'Reilly's description and also based on the book Sailing the Farm:

Sailing Adventures of David & Kathy: A little closer to 'Sailng the farm'. Building a solar fruit drier

chouliha 09-12-2016 15:47

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CGirvan (Post 2253543)
Does anybody use a solar dehydrator on board? We are not planning on being in marinas often enough for a 120v unit to be worthwhile and I can't see propane or 12v being economical but we will be in the tropics. A foldable dehydrator that uses the power of the sun would be perfect, is there such a thing?
A quick google search showed plans for solar dehdrators but they all seemed to be large, heavy units for land based use, anybody make a marine unit?

We have been using a solar dryer for decades while cruising. It folds up fairly flat, completely screened so no flies touch the food and covered for rain with vents. Temps can be regulated.

We used the drawing from "Sailing the Farm" which I think is now out of print. But I found a link and posted below. I have been meaning to take some pics of it and put it on our web site in "Other Good Stuff".

We have dried fish, bananas, papayas, etc with excellent results. The usual drying time is normally 2 days in the tropics if there is decent sun.

https://we.riseup.net/assets/268677/sailfarm.pdf Page 58-62

We did not make it as big due to storage considerations. Only use 4 shelves

IT WORKS and easy to build

Chuck
Jacaranda
Tahiti

CGirvan 09-12-2016 18:36

Re: Anyone Else Use a Dehydrator?
 
Thanks Livia and Chouhila
That's exactly the sort of info I was after. I'm inspired to try this out as well.


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