Dehydrating for Backpacking
So, I have some fresh pineapple I want to dehydrate. I don’t have a dehydrator though. In my search to find how to do this in the oven, which seems like a waste of a lot of energy, I found the “Backpacking Chef“. His site has a ton of information about how to bring real meals backpacking with you. I got too distracted by this site and never found how to dehydrate the pineapple.
The one recipe that really interested me was something called “Bark”. In short, it’s dehydrated potatoes (or corn, beans, pumpkin pie), and you can make different flavors. Sure you can buy dehydrated potatoes already, but with these recipes you actually know what’s in them. Imagine that! Recipe for Bark is below compliments of the Backpacking Chef. Although, it still requires you to have a dehydrator!
Here’s why you want to bring Bark with you backpacking:
- When you cook and re-hydrate Bark with other vegetables and meat, your backpacking meal turns into a thick
stew with flavorful sauciness.
- Because you make Bark from starchy foods high in complex carbohydrates, your hearty meal will power you up the next mountain with calories to spare.
- Bark makes a great backpacking food because it weighs in at a couple of ounces per serving dry. Ten pounds of potatoes barks down to just eleven ounces.
- If you run out of fuel or water, you can munch on Bark dry. Bark will reconstitute right in your mouth. Pumpkin Pie Bark goes in like a chip and down like pie!
How to Make Potato Bark:
- 2 ½ lbs potatoes
- 16 ounces fat free vegetable, beef, or chicken broth
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Optional: Garlic Powder to taste
Peel and boil 2 ½ pounds of potatoes until soft. Drain.
Mash potatoes with 16 ounces of fat free vegetable, beef, or chicken broth. Because fats and dairy products don’t dehydrate well and can spoil, do not add any milk or butter. Add salt, if desired, but you’ll get some sodium from the broth.
Run the mashed potatoes through a blender or mixer until creamy and lump-free.
Cover dehydrator trays with non-stick sheets or parchment paper. I use Paraflexx® sheets which you can purchase directly from Excalibur Dehydrators. They clean-up easily and are reusable.
Pour a six inch puddle of potatoes onto the covered tray and spread thinly (about an eighth inch) with a spatula. 2 ½ pounds of mashed potatoes will take up five 15 x 15 trays.
Dehydrate at 135° for approximately eight hours until potatoes form a brittle sheet.
If you have an Excalibur Dehydrator, use the “flip-trick” as follows to thoroughly dry the underside of the potato sheet: After about five hours of drying, place a dehydrator tray on top of the potato sheet and flip the two trays over so that the moister bottom side is facing up.
The dried sheet of potatoes will easily snap into Bark or crush down for tighter packing.
Yield: 2 ½ pounds of potatoes will dehydrate down to 5 ½ ounces and fill two cups when crushed.