In terms of home food dehydration the benefits are,
- It is a hell of a lot cheaper than buying pre-packaged food
- The taste of the food was a lot nicer than the pre-packaged stuff
- you can get better diet balance on longer hikes helping with fatigue
- There isn't any nasties (such as sulphates, colourants and the like) to contend with.
The only down sides
- you have to have time to cook and dehydrate the food, so its not something that you can do the morning you set off...
- you have to come up with recipes or forever be stuck eating the same thing over and over again!
So how did it go?
I found dehydrating the food really easy. My food dehydrator is an older model Sunbeam healthy food dehydrator which is really basic. It has an on/off switch and about 5 trays for dehydration. Eventually I want to upgrade to the newer model that has different heat settings, but for now this seems to do the job well enough.
The first thing I did was to puree the onion to allow it to cook and dehydrate fast. While I sautéed the onions over low heat, I mixed the mince (500g) and about 2 to 3 heaped tablespoons of the rice crumbs in a bowl and combined it with a wooden spoon. Once these were well combined, I mixed together the onion and mince mixture and cooked it for a few minutes over low heat.
Once the rice and minced were done, I started to lay out thin layers onto the dehydrator trays. I used up about 3 of the five trays. I then left the dehydrator to do its thing for about 6hrs, changing the order of the trays every three hours or so to make sure it all dehydrated evenly.
Rehydrating on the trail
To rehydrate 2 portions of the food, put about 500ml of water to boil (basically enough to cover the food). Once it is boiling add the portions from the bags to the pan and let it come to the boil again. Add the gravy powder (I used about a tablespoon) and allow it to soak (I did this over a very low flame) for about 10min or until the meat is fully rehydrated and soft.
Put the contents into bowls and enjoy!