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Old 08-02-2020, 12:11 AM   #1
OntarioSkiBum
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Dehydrating Chili Alternate Fat Source

I cooked up a batch of turkey chili tonight. With the very low fat content in the strained and rinsed turkey, it tasted like it was missing something compared to my normal beef chili.

I opted to try out a Mexican "mole" style chili where I added some 85% cocoa dark chocolate and some sour cream. I will serve it with crushed peanuts on top.

My thinking is chocolate is shelf safe for a long time and sour cream is commonly dehydrated, so they can be used for extra fat.

I want to dehydrate it tomorrow in the oven. Will the finished product be safe to keep in a backpack? I know they say fatty meats don't keep, but my thought is the cocoa and dairy fats will be okay.

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:34 AM   #2
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Unlike what some say to do, I do not "wash" or rinse in hot water my cooked ground meat before dehydrating. After cooking and draining (not always necessary if you buy the leanest), I spread it on paper towels on a metal baking sheet. Cover with more paper towels, then with my hands I press down hard with another metal cookie sheet. Remove the top layer of paper towels, repeat the press if necessary. Then dehydrate. I find the small remaining amount of fat does not cause any problem. Package and store in the freezer until ready to use. I have never had any spoilage or rancidiity problems, not with plain meat dry "nuggets" nor with meat containing foods (or anything else) even when when at ambient temperatures while traveling for a week on the road to the Yukon, then another week or more before rehydrating and consuming the meal. Leftover meals have gone home again for later use.
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Old 08-02-2020, 10:18 AM   #3
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Like Wldrns, I have not had issues with dehydrated meals which contain fats. I regularly use cheese, milk and eggs even adding olive oil in recipes which get dehydrated with no issues. YMMV.
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:40 PM   #4
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Ok, thanks. I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:15 PM   #5
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Eggs by themselves even when cooked do not home dehydrate very well or safely. But if used such as in a casserole with recipes that absorb eggs, then they are fine. And yes, like DuctTape, I occasionally use a little olive oil as necessary when cooking some foods to add to a larger ingredient recipe.
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:17 PM   #6
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This is my first go at the whole dehydrating thing. One take away I have already is I should have reduced the chili a lot more on the stove. Its taking a long time to dry up... And still has a long way to go.
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Old 08-03-2020, 12:20 PM   #7
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Took 16 hours to dehydrate!!!! Lessons learned:

-My oven's keep warm feature didn't do anything, even though it kept it at about 160. Switching it to the lowest possible convection cook setting of 175 got it going right away.

- I should have put it in two pans from the get go. One pan was too slow.

- I need to cook down the chili a lot more before I try to dehydrate.

I think it I didn't everything above, it might have taken only 6 hours instead of 16.
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Old 08-03-2020, 12:36 PM   #8
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air movement is key for dehydrating. even more important than the low heat.

If dehydrating is something you really like, I recommend a dedicated dehydrator. I haveva NESCO Pro. The exact model has been discontinued, but the new ones are basically the same. I paid something like $50.
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Old 08-03-2020, 01:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuctTape View Post
air movement is key for dehydrating. even more important than the low heat.

If dehydrating is something you really like, I recommend a dedicated dehydrator. I haveva NESCO Pro. The exact model has been discontinued, but the new ones are basically the same. I paid something like $50.
I have the same one and also like it a lot
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Old 08-03-2020, 04:15 PM   #10
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Don't even think about buying a cheapo Wallyworld dehydrator that has no fan and/or a heater with no adjustable thermostat. Investment in a 1000 Watt Nesco will pay you easily back in short order.
Just starting out, I highly recommend "Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook" to give you all the basics. There are others too, too many to be useful, but one or two do stand out when you are ready to move on.
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Old 08-03-2020, 08:54 PM   #11
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OSB,

You should also do a trial run rehydration at home with a small portion of your chili. Better to figure out your rehydration technique at home...I use a homemade coozyand it makes a difference. You'll need to figure out how much water you need for a given amount of dried whatever.
Sounds like you're on your way to never gonna buy another prepackaged dried meal!!
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Old 08-24-2020, 10:50 PM   #12
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Hey guys, I forgot to send an update. The chili turned out great! A large ziplock 2/3 full was enough to feed 4 with plenty leftover.

We ate it with some naan bread in Algonquin park. I wish I had more!
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Old 08-27-2020, 04:33 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Wldrns View Post
Don't even think about buying a cheapo Wallyworld dehydrator that has no fan and/or a heater with no adjustable thermostat. Investment in a 1000 Watt Nesco will pay you easily back in short order.
Just starting out, I highly recommend "Mary Bell's Complete Dehydrator Cookbook" to give you all the basics. There are others too, too many to be useful, but one or two do stand out when you are ready to move on.
In researching my options, I just read an article that some ovens have a built in dehydrator. At my wife's insistence, I paid way too much for a slide-in gas convection range a few years back. But, but I never noticed a dehydrate feature.

So, for the first time in 3 years, I pulled out my owners manual, and option 1 in the "healthy cook" feature (go figure I've never used this ) is the dehydrate feature.

I turned it on and I can set the temperature to whatever I want. The convection fan blows hard in this mode.

Has anyone ever tried this out on their ovens?
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Old 08-27-2020, 04:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OntarioSkiBum View Post
In researching my options, I just read an article that some ovens have a built in dehydrator. At my wife's insistence, I paid way too much for a slide-in gas convection range a few years back. But, but I never noticed a dehydrate feature.

So, for the first time in 3 years, I pulled out my owners manual, and option 1 in the "healthy cook" feature (go figure I've never used this ) is the dehydrate feature.

I turned it on and I can set the temperature to whatever I want. The convection fan blows hard in this mode.

Has anyone ever tried this out on their ovens?
Totally awesome. The more you can increase airflow "under" the food the better. A "screen" atop a cookie sheet would be great. Obviously this would be for non-liquids. Once a food is semi-dry, putting it on the screen would be beneficial.
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Old 08-27-2020, 06:49 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by DuctTape View Post
Totally awesome. The more you can increase airflow "under" the food the better. A "screen" atop a cookie sheet would be great. Obviously this would be for non-liquids. Once a food is semi-dry, putting it on the screen would be beneficial.
My plan is to buy some metal cookie cooling racks and put them on cookie trays. I'll probably give some jerky a go on my next attempt.
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