New dehydrator, what to make first?
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  1. #1
    Registered User low-1's Avatar
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    Default New dehydrator, what to make first?

    Well second, well, actually, I guess third

    Bought a new LEM 778 dehydrator online the other day, and it showed up yesterday.



    So I took out some ground moose meat and some ground caribou meat to thaw to make jerky, and in the mean time, I put a bag of frozen mixed veggies on to play with my "new toy".

    I've never made it with dehydrated veggies, but with fresh veggies, it's an awesome bush snack.

    Step one, shoot a grouse, or two or three. Cube up the meat and pan fry it, then add in some cream of mushroom soup and some frozen mixed veggies (peas, carrots, corn), and continue cooking until everything is thoroughly warmed. C'est magnifique!

    I've made this recipe with those instant cup-a-soup packages of cream of mushroom soup, and it's equally delicious, so now I'm going to try it with dehydrated veggies (either simmered long and slow, or rehydrating the veggies before hand). Light, easy to carry, won't spoil, and doesn't need a cooler. Just a chicken or two.







    So that was the first thing I did with it, later today I'll be putting in the moose and caribou jerky. I just use my simple, standard teriyaki recipe:

    For around 2 1/2 pounds of meat:

    1 cup soy sauce
    2/3 cup liquid honey (warmed so it mixes easily)
    1 1/2 tsp ginger
    1 tbsp minced garlic (or more. I usually use more)
    fresh ground black pepper to taste. Probably 1 tsp or so.

    I split that up between the two bowls, one for bou, one for moose. After it's done marinating, I'll put down some parchment paper and put on a fist-sized ball of ground meat. I don't have a jerky blaster (yet), so I put down a couple of standard pencils along the side (to use as spacers), put another sheet of parchment paper on top, then use the rolling pin to flatten it out. The pencils make sure it's an even thickness.

    Of course I'm gonna try fruit roll-ups, and a whole bunch of other recipes. This thing is gonna get a lot of use.

    What are some of your favorites?

  2. #2
    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    Congrats! I'm still experimenting with mine, too.

    You can use a homemade cream soup mix if you want to avoid so much sodium in the little cup-a-soup packets. It's probably cheaper, too.

    Shoot a grouse? Why not save some shot and just walk up to it and wring its neck? If they're as dumb as the ones here.
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  3. #3
    Registered User low-1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Deer View Post
    Congrats! I'm still experimenting with mine, too.

    You can use a homemade cream soup mix if you want to avoid so much sodium in the little cup-a-soup packets. It's probably cheaper, too.

    Shoot a grouse? Why not save some shot and just walk up to it and wring its neck? If they're as dumb as the ones here.
    Hmmm... I'll have to look for homemade cream soup recipes.

    Yeah, grouse are pretty dumb. As I understand it, the cree name for spruce grouse is roughly translated into the gentleman bird, because if a lost and hungry traveler was in need of a meal, the grouse would graciously give it's life.

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    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    We have ruffed grouse here. Not sure about spruce grouse. I love to hear them drum, and we do enjoy seeing them. They're pretty and comical too.

    This is the recipe I use. I leave out the bouillon because it's so salty. Basically then it's a white sauce mix, but it works just as well.

    Cream of Whatever Soup Mix
    2 C powdered milk
    3/4 C cornstarch
    1/4 C instant chicken bouillon granules
    2 t dried onion flakes
    1 t crushed dried thyme
    1 t basil - crushed dried
    1/2 t pepper

    To make 1 can soup, mix 1/3 C mix and 1 C water, bring to simmer, and whisk until thickened. To make similar consistency to undiluted canned cream soup, use 2/3 C to 1 C water. To make cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, etc, add the appropriate food item, diced fine. Use pre-cooked foods or simmer till cooked through.
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    Registered User sinopa27's Avatar
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    that is so cool!! I want a dehydrator. What made you choose this brand over others?

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    House - Start $127,944 Balance $105,032

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    Quote Originally Posted by sinopa27 View Post
    that is so cool!! I want a dehydrator. What made you choose this brand over others?
    Well, I don't take any decision about spending money lightly, so I did a lot of digging around first!

    First up, the small plastic one that I have works pretty good, and I've gotten lots of use out of it. It's one of those small plastic ones with the stackable trays, "salton" brand I think. It has a limited amount of space. To dry out ground beef, chili, or other small stuff, I normally use parchment paper (they do sell reusable tray liners, but I never got around picking any up). To get the parchment paper to fit, I have to hand cut it to an oval shape with a hole in the middle of airflow. It works, but it's just another thing you have to do. It also doesn't have a thermostat, so there's no temperature setting, and no timer, so I either have to use a plug in timer or just remember to turn it off. No big deal, but another thing. Also, by the design, the heater and fan is on the bottom of the old one, so the lower trays dry first, and I have to keep rotating them. Nothing drys at the same time, so I'm constantly sifting through the trays separating the dry stuff from the stuff that needs a bit more time.

    So what I wanted was something bigger. I also wanted a rectangular unit so I can just tear off sheets of parchment paper rather than cutting liners. I also wanted something that blows the hot air horizontally across, rather than from below, so that everything is more consistent. I found a few plans online to build some out of plywood (this one looks pretty good Building a Portable Electric Food Dehydrator) but I had gotten some money for our Ranger trips that I wanted to put back into outdoors-y type stuff. The stainless steel dehydrator is very very easy to keep clean and just a nicely built unit.

    So I was searching for a commercial style, large rectangular dehydrator. I found a few, but living where I do, I needed to find something with decent shipping costs. I found this LEM unit at Cabela's, but their shipping was over $100 to get here. There were a few others that I was looking at, some from "The Sausage Maker" (TSM), they have some nice units. I've borrowed a few other LEM products from friends before, meat grinders and sausage stuffers, so I was familiar with their quality. I started looking for product reviews, and no one really had anything bad to say about this one. I started looking around for a place that offered low shipping for this unit, and with the lowest price. Different places seem to sell this thing for vastly different prices. I found this one place, Canadian Treasure Seekers, that had a relatively low price, and free shipping within Canada.

    There are lots of cheaper rectangular dehydrators out there, and they likely work just as well. I do use our dehydrator quite a bit, so I wanted something built well that will last. After making up a few things in it now, I'm still very very very happy with it. It dries evenly, so I can set the timer and just let it go, without having to rotate or fiddle with anything. It seems to dry things quicker as well. Just having a few bites of jerky now, too. Pretty tasty... pretty tasty.

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    Looks like a lot of fun. Let us know what you make.

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    wow that is pretty cool.. we want one haven't got one yet think I am going to get it for hubby for Christmas maybe. he wants one bad to make his own jerky but I am looking to do onions, banannas, pineapples, veggies....

    have fun with your new frugal toy.....

    u can eat grouse? I am not a wilderness gal but more power to u... do love me some of that overpriced terraki beef jerky.

  10. #10
    Registered User low-1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oheoh's momma View Post
    wow that is pretty cool.. we want one haven't got one yet think I am going to get it for hubby for Christmas maybe. he wants one bad to make his own jerky but I am looking to do onions, banannas, pineapples, veggies....

    have fun with your new frugal toy.....

    u can eat grouse? I am not a wilderness gal but more power to u... do love me some of that overpriced terraki beef jerky.
    I've already worked my way through a lot of the moose jerky, so I have another (large) amount of moose meat thawing out. Marinate it tonight, dry it up tomorrow. Tonight, hopefully the mangos are ripe enough, and I have some kiwis and strawberries to dehydrate. I also asked my wife to pick up some apple sauce to make some fruit leather.

    You sure can eat grouse (really, you can eat just about anything). We have ruffies, sharptails and spruce grouse up here, as well as ptarmigan. Most people prefer ruffed grouse to the others, as it's a "white" meat, with a similar texture to pork. They also happen to be the least common up here. All the others are a dark red meat. Some people will tell you that spruce grouse taste like spruce needles or pinesol, but in my opinion, those people have never actually tried them, just making assumptions. I quite like it, as does my family. They are quite tasty in the fall, after they fill their little bellies with cranberries and blueberries.

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    forgot about fruit leather..... and love dried cranberries can get them at Thanksgiving for 99 cents grocery wanted 4 bucks for them I went to the dollar tree... made hubs oatmeal, cranberry,pecan, white choclate chip cookies for valentines day he is still asking for more....

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    Well, I have 6 full trays of strawberry fruit leather, 1 tray of sliced strawberries and 1 tray of sliced kiwis on the go. Strawberries are on sale, so I bought 5 lbs. The fruit leather is strawberries, apple sauce and honey. My little girl kept getting me to pour the blender concoction into a cup for her, she liked it a lot. I told her to wait until it was dried out, but she's already had 3 glasses full!

    Now to make up some more marinade for the moose meat!

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    Wow did those strawberry fruit leathers ever turn out well! Enjoying some for breakfast! More moose jerky tonight.

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    yummy,...to say this delicately your little girl will be going to the bathroom with out any problems...enjoy.the dehydrater

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    Default dehydrator

    I got a cheaper version of a dehydrator (mainly because I didn't know how much it would be used), but for now I'm happy with it. Of course, I used it mostly in the summer because of available produce and I've learned to take it outside into a covered area with electricity so that we don't hear the motor running. I've tried lots of fruits (dried apples are wonderful in steel cut oatmeal), jerky, dried onions, etc. but I really like it for herbs. For example, I buy celery that has the leafs on the bunch, save the leafs in a baggie until I have enough for at least one tray. I dry the leafs, crumble them and mix half with salt for my own celery salt. A couple of days ago I bought a bunch of chives at the grocery store for $1.99 for a recipe (my own weren't ready), dried the rest and filled a spice jar for considerable less than buying dried chives. While I was at it, dried a bunch of dill. I think the secret is to compare the cost of buying produce to dry (for example, fresh blueberries) and getting bulk at Costco to determine if it's worth the effort. Slicing fruit thin enough for easy drying is very time consuming and may not be worth it unless you get it free.

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