I’ll admit I have been dehydrating food like crazy lately. I stumbled onto the idea one day while watching a You Tube video about dehydrating food for backpackers. It dawned on me that it was the perfect fit for cruisers who have limited storage space, and/or need to fly with provisions to their boat in another country and are concerned about the food weight.
I remembered I have an old dehydrator from about 15 years ago when Joe went through a beef jerky phase. So I pulled it out, cleaned it up and started dehydrating fruit and vegetables. I knew I needed another dehydrator, so I picked up an entry level one at Target to increase my dehydrating frenzy.
So what am I dehydrating? Most importantly…. why?
As for the why- fresh fruits and vegetables are hard to find out island in the Bahamas. Those you do find are expensive, or looking well past their prime. This is a great way to bring lightweight food to the boat and use in stews, soups and as snacks.
So I started by focusing on those items I know I will cook with. Corn, peas, green beans, kale, carrots, tomatoes, mushroom, okra, onion, garlic, apples, bananas, peaches to begin. You can also make your own minute brown or wild rice by precooking in my home rice cooker, then dehydrating that, too. This will cut down on cooking time.
Once your food is dehydrated, you then need to store it. One easy way is to place in canning jars and vacuum seal the lid on. As a temporary solution, I also used ziplock freezer bags, like I used for the kale. For travel back to the boat, I’m planning to use my Foodsaver to vacuum seal each item in a plastic bag, taking care to also add an oxygen absorber- which I bought on Amazon. This should nicely save the food to travel and stow once we are back on board.
So far, the tastiest foods are the dehydrated Honeycrisp apples and bananas. I am dehydrating more today to make up for the ones I snacked on. The tomatoes will be a nice addition to salads, soups and stews, too. I also made some tasty apple leather by dehydrating applesauce. Yum!
As you can see, dehydrating is easy. All you need is a dehydrator or oven. You may also dehydrate food outdoors or in a solar oven, but I don’t like the idea of bugs in my food, so I prefer to use my dehydrator indoors. The dehydrator you purchase will have a pamphlet list of foods that are commonly dehydrated, along with any extra steps you need to take, like blanching or soaking in lemon juice. Hope you will try dehydrating for your boat!
Update: Dehydrating for your boat has worked out well for me. If you are full time cruisers, then the power draw and space required to store dehydrators may not work out. Due to hugh humidity, it would also take longer to dehydrate food, too. Once you dehydrate, the process will change the texture, so I use any dehydrated vegetables in soups and stews. Fruit can be eaten in dehydrated form. You can also use canned applesauce to dehydrate fruit leathers.