How to dehydrate vegetables and other ingredients?

This wilderness cooking book is based on dry incredients. With a complete set of dry incredients you can cook in the wilderness almost just like at home – maybe even better. Drying makes everything much lighter to carry and dry vegetables stay good for a very long time (years) if dried and stored correctly. Most of dry vegetables and other incredients can be found in large grocery stores and special health food shops – but some not. 

I became interested in dehydrating vegetables at home when I was not able to find tasty hiking meals that are suitable for special diets. There were only one or two alternatives in the stores – that’s not enough variety for a week! Would be also nice to use only biobynamic vegetables and avoid food additives.

This might sound tricky, but believe it, it’s easy and worth all your efforts! You can dry herbs, mushrooms, fruits, berries, vegetables, mashed soups, cheese, egg, fish and meat as well.

Most vegetables can be dehydrated in a conventional oven as follows: 

  1. Chop the fresh ingredients in equal size and place on a baking sheet on a wire rack.
  2. Keep the oven at  40-50 ° C degrees warm. Keep the oven door a bit open (eg, with a spoon), so that the moisture can go out. If the temperatue is too high, the structure of the food will change and they will not return when you soak them. So keep the temperature between 40-50*C degrees. If the moisture doesn’t get out, you will soon find some mould in your food.
  3. Keep the vegetable in the oven for about 24 hours, move them little from time to time. Some ingredients dry much faster. Dehydration time depends on the product, amount and the size of the fragments.
  4. Once the material is dry, you can complete the dehydration process by putting the rack with the vegetables on top of the fridge if there is a suitable space (where hot air moves around). It’s not good for the structure to keep them too long in the owen.
  5. Store dry ingredients in an airtight container and protected from the sun.

This dehydration method is suitable to frozen vegetables such as:

  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • cauliflower
  • corn
  • green beans
  • onion
  • peas
  • potatoes
  • spinach

…and some fresh vegetables that don’t need to be precooked:

  • asparagus
  • fennel
  • zucchini

These ingredients you should precook by steaming:

  • cabbage
  • fresh root vegetables
  • eggplant

How to dehydrate purees?

  1. Instead of baking paper, use aluminum foil paper. Fold the edges up. For tomato puree add a very little pit of vegetable oil in your hands and grease the foil paper. This way it will be easier to remove the tomato once it’s dry.
  2. Pour the puree on the foil paper until it’s 2-3 mm think.
  3. Dry it in the owen just like frozen vegetables above.
  4. Most dehydrated purees look like paper. You can peal if of the foil. If it’s streching, it’s not dry enough. Cut the “puree paper” into small pieces. You can use a blender to make it into a powder.
This method is suitable for
  • canned pea soup
  • home made pureed lentil soup (without milk products)
  • fruit puree
  • home made tomato sauce (without milk products)
  • tomato puree

How to dehydrate other ingredients?

  • Cheese: cut into small pieces and dry the same way as vegetables. Suitable cheese is for example coat cheese and feta. Once it’s totally dry, cheese is hard and oily. Dry cheese is only about half the weight, so you might consider carrying it fresh for the first few days use. Store dry cheese in the fridge.
  • Strawberries,  kiwi and cherry tomatoes: cut into thin slices and dry on a aluminum foil paper. Flip them over every 2-3 hours so that the sugar in them doesn’t stick to the foil. Dry fruit is hard but sticky at the end.
  • Egg: dehydrate eggs the same way as tomato puree. Oil is not needed because the yolks are fat. Break the structure of the egg by a whisker. Normal size oven plate fits about four eggs. Make sure the temperature is not too hot, so the egg stays raw. Store the dry egg powder in the refrigerator.
  • Fine grated carrots, mushrooms, red onion and herbs dehydrate well in few days without the oven, just on top of the fridge. The temperature should be max 30 Celsius degrees. Remember that raw carrot is still raw when you soak it.

Estimated weight of different ingredients

Ingredient Fresh Dry
Frozen peas 200 g 98 g
Canned pea soup 435 g 117 g
Frozen vegetables (carrot, parsnip, leek) 250 g 26 g
Chanterelle 250 g 25 g
Zucchini 500 g 29 g
Corn (frozen) 100 g 38 g
Potato slices (frozen) 400 g 87 g
Carrots (frozen) 200 g 19 g
Tomato puree 400 g 41 g
Goat Cheese 100 g 49 g


6 Responses to How to dehydrate vegetables and other ingredients?

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  3. Kate says:

    Good information, thanks. Any tips on dehydrating with a gas oven?

    • Piritta says:

      Unfortunately I’ve got no good experiences with a gas oven, we used to have one but changed it (now we have a gas stove and an electric oven).

  4. JeanU5 says:

    What would be the best way to dehydrate kale and lettuces, etc to make super greens powder for future smoothly use? Just in pieces or make a leather? I have never dehydrated anything before. Thank you!

    • Piritta says:

      Great idea to make super greens powder! Hiking smoothie sounds interesting to try out. Best way to dehydrate kale is to cut it in equal size pieces – then they all dehydrate at the same time, none too much, none too little. For outdoor meals I have precooked kale (by steaming) before dehydration, in order to make the cooking time outdoors is shorter. For a smoothie you can dehydrate raw kale. Carrot is also great for such purpose.

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