Home dehydrating of tramping meals
Who has a home dehydrator, who is using it and how? bernieq mentions creating cooked meals and then dehydrating them, also dehydrating ingredients like veggies. I tend to 'semi-dehydrate' a cooked meal or two for a 2 - 4 day trip, bag and put it in the freezer, figure it will last for those first three days, go to homemade dehy meals with bought dry ingredients - freeze dried mince, dried veggies and mushrooms from the supermarket, soup packets, curry block, herbs, coconut powder... from then on. I've dehydrated mince myself successfully, but after counting yield / cost starting from fresh mince it wasn't worth the trouble. @bernieq (and anyone else): Do those dehydrated meals you make last for say day 10 or 12 of a 14 day trip? I'd hate to get to that point on a trip and pull out a liplike (ziplock - spell check is funny!) bag and find it full of green fur.
How I prepare dehydrated meals: dehydrate whatever I want (I don't do chicken). Separate into decent sized portions. Wrap each portion in aluminium foil. Vacuum seal the whole thing. I then stick all the meals in the freezer until I go bush. They last longer than I have ever needed them to; months. And in my pack they last weeks. Oh, before freezing them I write the date and what meal it is (can't see because it's wrapped in foil) on each one. I tend to do massive amounts in one weekend, rather than pissing around doing one trip at a time.
Anything I can buy dehydrated I buy - mince and rice (BC), peas and potatoe (suprmarket), mushrooms, tomatoes and onions (Davis Trading). One thing I haven't been able to find in the supermarket of late is dried cocnut milk but luckily still available in sachets in the local Davis Trading. I do dry other veges at home to give a better range of taste and texture on longer trips. Tend to do a big batch and store in the freezer until all used up.
I found coconut milk powder at Countdown the other day. It was 'Stir it Up' organic coconut milk powder which is packaged in NZ. Also one time I bought a big block of dried coconut powder from an Asian supermarket. It lasted a long time but I had to crumble it up for use. I always imagine that stuff is wierd and unhealthy - full of hydrogenated fats etc. but what the hell... I made a pancake mix for my weeklong trip to Stewart Island from various GF flours, a commercial self-raising GF flour and dehydrated egg white powder. It worked! I had nothing sweet to add so I used that Japanese kewpie doll mayo and bonito flakes. Absolutely delicious for 3 days of breakfast. Also I tried out the quinoa falafel mix and made 12 little patties. It is very nice and to my mind better than the chickpeas falafel mix as that stuff has too much fibre and can catch up with you. I flavoured it with home dehy tomatoes, a packet of soup mix and the liquor from the previous night's dehy mushrooms.
Dehidrator was my dream. I tried to use oven for this aim, my elder brother saw me suffering and dreaming and bought me a dehidrator. To say "I was happy" was to say nothing. But I haven't used it a single time since that.
That coconut milk if its sold as organic will not have hydrogenated fats. These are made by bubbling hydrogen through the hot oil which causes the fat molecules to join together forming an analogue of animal fat but at the same time some molecules join the wrong way forming trans fats. This process would not be allowed under an organic certification. Even the regular dried coconut milk I have here has no hydroginated oils or trans fats however it does have hydrolyzed protein whatever that is
@geeves: thanks for that reassuring information.
Can't remember where I picked this up from. Hydrolyzed proteins are created by breaking food down into amino acids. Usually this is accomplished by boiling the food in hydrochloric acid and then neutralizing the solution with sodium hydroxide. As yucky as this sounds, these foods (if you can call them that) are considered safe by the FDA. Why are these added to our food? Because it makes them taste better. (Well, that’s the theory anyway.) The key question is: Are they safe for food allergies? What’s left after the hydrolyzing process is the protein, but it’s usually the protein that causes food allergies. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) could be made from wheat, soy, corn, or other vegetables. The good news is that the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act really helps us out here – at least for the top eight food allergies. If the HVP is made from wheat or soy, then it must be clearly called out on the label. If you have a corn allergy, then you need to do further research on a product that contains HVP, before you can declare it safe. If a product contains hydrolyzed whey protein, then “milk” must be clearly called out on the label (either with a “contains milk” statement, or by placing the word “milk” in parentheses after the ingredient), and those with milk allergies need to avoid it. Hydrolyzed wheat protein and hydrolyzed soy protein don’t require a “contains” statement, but need to be avoided by those with wheat and soy allergies, respectively. You may have heard that HVP is a way to disguise MSG (monosodium glutamate) in processed foods. They aren’t the same thing, but HVP and MSG are both flavor enhancers, and HVP does contain high levels of glutamate (hence the connection). If glutamate causes problems for you, then you should avoid all HVP.
OK in my hand I have a packet of Kara Brand coconut cream powder. This was purchased from an aisian supplies store and the ingrediants etc are written in at least 3 languages but it has Aus/NZ nutrition info printed directly on the pack so it was intended to be exported to here. The ingredients are coconut extract 80% hydrolyzed starch dairy milk protein tricalcium phosphate (e341) Now items in bold and no allergy info Unfortuanatly it also has an expiry date of last February
Thanks, geeves. I guess the hydrolyzed starch is probably cornstarch (derived from corn) then. It qualifies as frankenfood by the sounds of it.
I actually wish I hadn't looked this up. I am having a terrible time getting my head around the fact that we are boiling stuff in hydrochloric acid and then neutralising it with caustic soda to make an edible substance that is claimed to be healthy. It just doesn't add up in my books. Tricalcium phosphate (sometimes abbreviated TCP) is a calcium salt of phosphoric acid with the chemical formula Ca3(PO4)2. It is also known as tribasic calcium phosphate and bone phosphate of lime (BPL). It is a white solid of low solubility. Tricalcium phosphate is not irritating and toxic doses by ingestion would have to be more than 2 g/kg. So I would have to eat 200g to get a toxic dose. I am not comfortable with words like toxic no matter what the quantity where food is concerned. Food is becoming more a chemical engineering process, and it doesn't sound too healthy. Wonder if I could turn my rhubarb leaves into something supposedly healthy by the hydrogenation process. Having read these things one begins to feel as if life is rapidly becoming a game of russian roulette where food is concerned.
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