Dehydrating meat

Often it can be difficult to purchase fresh meat when on an extended paddle trip.The alternative is tinned meats, frozen meat and commercial products. The availability of ready made boil in the bag products is now good, however these are expensive, and are heavy to carry. By dehydrating your own you can prepare a wide range of good quality meals. Over time I now find that minced beef is good to dry, the preparation is quick and easy, and it is easy to make up a tasty dinner like spaghetti bolognaise.

Minced beef after drying loses 75% of its weight, when stored in closed plastic bags will keep for 3 months, and when vacuum packed for nine months

Here’s a few photos of the process

This a commercially available “Stockli” food dryer, after cooking the mince (Cook only enough to turn the pink meat brown ) You need to get rid of all the fat. Most can be spooned out of the pan immediately after cooking, next fill the pan with boiling water, the fat left will now float on top of the water.. scoop this away. You may need to do this 2 or 3 times depending on the fat content of the meat

Remember, the fat will reduce the effectiveness of drying and will quickly turn rancid.

The dried meat takes on the appearance of coffee granules after about 6 hours and will be hard and crunchy, and once packed can be stored in a freezer for up to two years (do not re freeze )

Many vegetables lend themselves well to drying, and are worth experimenting with.
Importantly, dry meat at a temperature of 70° this is necessary to kill bacteria in the meat.

The meat needs as little as 15 minutes to rehydrate in water, but longer times will improve the texture. Using warm water produces quicker results. After rehydrating add a little olive oil to take the dry texture away and then cook as you would usually do with fresh mince

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