Tag Archive: dehydrating


cottage cheeseConventional ‘food wisdom’ (ie the food police known as the USDA and FDA) ‘says’ you can’t dehydrate cottage cheese. Well, yes you CAN!!
Cottage Cheese…alright, that either makes you cringe or makes you happy. It is a versatile ‘cheese’ that can be eaten on its own or used/substituted in great recipes. But here is the GREAT question…did you know you can dehydrate it for long term storage? Yes, you read that correctly, you can SAFELY dehydrate it. No need for the expensive ‘freeze dried’ #10 can stuff that once opened will stick together within a week. Do it YOURSELF! I did and so can you and here is how:

Taken indirectly from the pages of Food Storage: Preserving Meat, Dairy, and Eggs by Susan Gregersen and David Armstrong

Get your cottage cheese from the local store. Any type will do but the no fat works best for fast dehydration. Fat included cottage cheese takes longer to dry and you will have to turn it over to complete the drying process. Non-fat dries rather quickly.

Spread on fruit leather sheets as thinly as possible. Mine is spread to about ¼ inch thick. Put the dehydrator on 125 and walk away for about 8 to 12 hrs before checking. You may need to turn it. I did not have to do so since I used no fat cottage cheese.

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When dry (and time will depend upon your dehydrator and weather conditions) allow to sit and cool for about an hour.

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Vacuum seal or put into jars with O2 absorbers. Will last AT LEAST one year if not longer depending upon storage conditions.

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To rehydrate: pour about twice as much boiling water (by volume) to dehydrated cottage cheese and let it sit. Stir every two or three minutes for about 15 minutes. Trick is the longer you let it ‘sit’ re-hydrating the more like ‘real’ or ‘fresh’ cottage cheese it will be. It can be eaten this way or used in cooking.

I have not at this point in time dehydrated this but I have eaten it (chewed) dehydrated and I will tell you…YUM!

So go ahead and give it a try, it might be a treat on the trail or something good for future use. It will store well and is very cost effective.

survivingshtfmom

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chicken
Protein is an invaluable source of long term energy in a survival situation or in any situation in which we are called upon to exert more energy than usual (camping, running, etc.) and/or a time when you can’t really cook or want to keep it simple during and emergency…prepackaged dehydrated food is great if you can find it cheaply, but knowing how to properly dehydrate protein NOW, yourself, before something happens is something to learn how to do and after the initial expense of buying a good dehydrator you will wind up saving yourself tons of money, not mention YOU get to control what goes in your food.

Previously I had dehydrated chicken breasts using one of those smaller, cheaper food dehydrators and honestly, after rehydrating and trying to eat it on the go, I thought that perhaps there could be a better, more flavorful way of doing this.

I wound up buying last year an excellent Excalibur Food dehydrator at a good discount from ebay simply because I was becoming frustrated with the limited amount drying space I had with my old round one. It wasn’t very efficient at drying, the middle ring took forever to dry, with the bottom and top ones drying very quickly and uneven drying on all rings so I was constantly moving the food I was drying around and the large slots meant a lot of food fell through as it was drying…nope…I bit the bullet and bought a good, solid Excalibur and I highly recommend that if you are serious about drying foods for storage or use during camping that you get one…well worth the money!

So here we go again on how to dehydrate chicken, while the first article I wrote on dehydrating chicken is a great and simple start to doing so, I have tweaked my technique and have learned a few tips to add to dehydrating your chicken to make your chicken turn out so much more better.

What you will need:
Dehydrator
Chicken (whatever you can lay your hands on cheaply)
Large pot for boiling your chicken
Powdered Seasonings for infusing flavor into the chicken

One thing I have learned since last writing about dehydrating chicken is that DARK MEAT is the best when dehydrating chicken. When you go to rehydrate or eat it like jerky, it rehydrates much more readily which can be important if you are carrying it with you to eat on the run.

I also like to use thigh or leg meat verses the breast…again, just easier to rehydrate. But use what you have, white meat, thigh, breast, leg, whatever, the process drying is the same. My only note on chicken breast is that it rehydrates more slowly and is tougher after rehydrating (not to mention it COSTS more money unless you can get a real deal on it). And don’t forget you can use bone in or bone out.

So, I found on clearance boneless chicken thighs (mostly dark meat) at the local market…spent maybe $2 for the package. If you are using chicken with bones in it, you will just need to spend the time taking the meat off the bone before putting in the dehydrator.

In one large pot I put 12 cups of water, seasonings to taste (I like to use garlic and onion powder with a touch of salt) and put about 1/3 of cup of each into the water. Then in goes the chicken.

At this point I bring the water, seasonings and chicken to a roiling boil and allow it boil itself until done. You will have to gauge for yourself when it is done cooking as boiling/cooking time will depend upon what you are using. To speed up the process of cooking and if you are using chicken breasts, I have found that by cutting up the breast into chunks FIRST (raw) and then cooking saves time and you don’t over cook the thinner chicken.

When the chicken is done cooking you will then need to do one of two things at this point…if you are using chicken that has a bone in it, you will need to get the meat of the bone place the meat on a plate covered with a couple layers of towels.
If you are using boneless meat you may just place the meat on a plate covered with a couple layers of towels.
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FYI: That water you just added spices to and boiled your chicken in? Excellent stock/soup base…don’t throw it away! Extend your money! Can it, freeze it, etc. IF you find yourself without power you have ‘instant’ soup base to rehydrate your chicken in!

Next, you will want to take two more towels, lay them over your meat and press the ‘juice’ out of the meat…this helps to speed up the drying time and keeps the meat from becoming too tough from ‘over dehydrating’ which can easily be done since everything you dehydrate is from the outside in and meat likes to retain its moisture! It wouldn’t to ‘burn’ (over cook so to speak) your meat!

Then allow to cool to room temperature, to speed this up you may place in the refrigerator. I am not sure WHY this helps, but by accident and then by design I have found that this really helps with retaining texture, taste and helps prevent the meat from being tough after rehydration (even with chicken breasts).

After your chicken meat cools off you will need to pull or cut into bite size pieces or whatever size you want. I just like bite size because its faster to dry and easier to rehydrate in your mouth if you want to eat it like that and if using in soups or casseroles you require less water/time to rehydrate (which is important especially if using with noodles or dehydrated veggies which rehydrate faster).

Very lightly spray your trays with an oil (not a lot, just a very, very light coat). This will prevent sticking which is very important if you are using one of the dehydrators that cheaper ones with the big slots. Not so important with an Excalibur as the screen is flexible, but I still spray, makes clean up easier!

Now you are ready to put your chicken pieces on the drying racks…
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At this point, close up your dehydrator…if you have one that allows you to set a temperature on it, you will use 155 degrees temperature setting, if not, just turn it on.
Leave the dehydrator be for at least 3 hours before opening and checking on the chicken. After 3 hours I found mine almost done. You may or may not have the same experience. But if not almost done at this point (and there are many factors that control this) close back up and check again in a couple of hours.

For those with the smaller, cheap dehydrators you may find yourself having to move trays and chicken around to get more even drying. If I am dehydrating A LOT of meat in my Excalibur I wind up moving the racks around once, the top one and bottom one go into the middle and the middle racks go on the top/bottom. But with only 2 racks in I did not have to do this.

IF almost done, shut it down and allow to cool again. I left mine overnight.
The point being is that you will want to shut the dehydrator off when the meat is almost completely dry and allow to cool off.

After cooling off, restart your dehydrator to finish dehydrating. Be careful at this point to check about every half hour so you do not over dehydrate and potentially burn your chicken.

You will know its completely dehydrated when it is no ‘spongy’. I like to ‘sample’ a piece. It will be ‘dry’ and crunchy but easy to chew. Don’t worry if it’s ‘hard’ that happens, but the more you dehydrate meat the better you will get at gauging when its ‘perfect’.

Allow to cool again before packaging by the method you want to do so. If you will be using within the week, ziplock baggies are great…anything longer than a week and you will want to vacuum seal the chicken some how, in a jar or a food saver, though the old timers never did this! For long term storage you will want to remove all the oxygen for best results and longest shelf life. Will store this way for AT LEAST a year, depending upon storage conditions.

Dehydrated properly, chicken (or any meat) is a great way to save money on food storage, make ‘fast food’ meals with little to no mess (one pot! Ever tried cooking after a hurricane? The less ‘pots’ the better!) or it’s a cheap way to make your own camping/bug out food.

My end result:
About 4 cups of protein and weighs in at just over 2 ounces.

To use:
Pretty simple, you can either just munch on it using your own spit to rehydrate it or you can add to water, soups, and so much more! Put together with veggies and noodles in water for a fast meal. Takes about 15 minutes in boiling water to completely rehydrate and heat depending upon the size you make the ‘bites’.

Dehydrating Tomatoes!

Dehydrating Tomatoes

This is the year that I decided to become ambitious in my gardening, well, new raised beds were built, great soil mix put in, plants carefully selected (will say that after a disastrous year previously with heirlooms I went half with hybrids and half heirlooms) and put into the ground. But that is another story for another time. Last year was extremely hot and dry, bad crops…this year we were blessed with too much rain and cooler temps. My mother had mixed results with her tomotoes but she planted about 12 of them and its just her eating them, so she has some for dehydrating. Me, I only planted 4 and they took off great, then the rain came and came some more…got one good round of smaller tomatos which took forever to ripen and now the plants look like drowned cats…seriously, but that story and some ideas are for another post. I only mention this because I broke down and went to the store looking for some decent deals on tomatoes for dehydrating for use this winter. Got lucky and found different ones for between .99 and 1.39 a pound (yes, that much even though I live in the heart of tomato country the rain has caused massive crop failure of a lot of plants). So biting the bullet I purchased about 11 lbs of tomatoes, average cost of about 1.05 a pound.

In years past I have thinly sliced my tomatoes and then placed them on racks (I had an old round dehydrator that was labor intensive and not very good) stacked 5 high and plugged in to let it work. It was constant checking, moving tomato slices or chunks around, they stuck, broke…lets just say it was a nightmare and not fun at all. Some burned, some fell to pieces…arghh…what is the point in dehydrating if you have to do so much work and still wind up with something that is not good? Cheap is not necessarily the best way to go…so last summer at the end of the summer I broke down and purchased an Excalibur Food Dehydrator. Did my research on which one to get as some are really fancy and large and others are very plain jane. I settled on one with temperature control (mostly due to the fact that the little cheap round dehydrators dry at one temp causing more work than I wanted to put in) and 5 racks. More research into this I also purchased some solid drying sheets and while not the ones that Excalibur makes (thin silicone that supposedly lasts for ever but apparently don’t and are hard to clean, etc.) but an off brand that is much cheaper…harder to wash without crimping the sheet, but cheap…Made all sorts of things last fall including fruit roll ups that lasted about two seconds in my house. I was very happy with the purchase and Excalibur lives up to its reputation, so if you can, do get one, and no, Excalibur is NOT paying me, I just like it for its ease of use, clean up and the fact that I can easily control the temperature with ease. Cut, place and walk away basically…

This year I decided to try something different with the tomatoes on the advice of my mother who has dehydrated for years…first off, to prevent your tomatoes from sticking (and they will!) lightly spray or coat your racks with olive oil or something other oil that will not go rancid in a high temperature setting for a short period of time…olive oil is your best bet. And YES, I know ‘they say’ not to use ‘fats’ when dehydrating because they go rancid or someother goobly gook…I will put it this way to you, I know quite a few people who have dehydrated in my family and NO ONE HAS HAD AN ISSUE with using oil on their sheets or trays to date and my family has been dehydrating and preserving for generations. My own ‘need’ to ‘follow the rules’ resulted in a lot of wasted time, effort and energy, so, BREAK THE RULES!!!

Get your tomatoes ready by thoroughly cleaning them and then slicing THICK…about ½ inch thick. Now what size or shape you choose to finish cutting them up…sliced, diced…your choice, I chose to ‘dice’ them in about 1 inch chunks or so since my primary purpose will be adding to soups and such later on. Dehydrated sliced tomatoes would be best suited to casseroles, pizza or eaten like ‘tomato candy’ (dried tomatoes are VERY SWEET).

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11 lbs of tomatoes took up every inch of the 5 racks I have available to me once diced up in 1 inch by ½ inch cubes/pieces. I layer one rack and then put it in the dehydrator (not running at this point). Keep doing this until you have filled your racks. By the way, I suggest NOT cutting everything up but cutting as you fill the racks, this way you do not have produce leftover that is cut up and no place to put it to dry.

With all 5 FULL (and again, I am breaking the rules, ‘they say’ NOT to allow things to touch, make sure you have enough space around your material that you are drying to allow ‘proper air flow’…ugh…time for the real world please!) and yes, they are close or touching…I put the door onto the dehydrator, set the temperature dial to 125 degrees (which is what is recommended for veggies and yes, I have found this to be ‘right’ otherwise they will ‘burn’) and walk away for the next 12 hours. Did not open the door or check on things until I woke up the next morning and this is what I found….

At this point I did switch the racks around taking the top and bottom racks to the middle rack area and the middle racks to the top/bottom. This does help with the dehydrating process especially if your dehydrator is full like mine was. Put the door back on and walked away again until after dinner (about another 12 hours) and found this…

NOW they are really starting to dry and I simply took my fingers and moved them around flipping them in a general way (not all were flipped…this not an exact science). Walked away until I was ready for bead and came back to the dehydrator. At this point, drying was well on its way and I took two racks out, put them on the counter top and added the remaining racks of the tomatoes still in the dehydrator to the two on the counter top leaving me only TWO racks to put back in, one near the top and one near the bottom. Yes, I combined the racks! With the tomatoes half dried and much smaller than originally started with you can do this and it really helps with finishing up the drying. Racks back in and off to bed I went.

Next morning I was pleased to find that my thickly diced tomatoes were done!

Nice and sweet, ready to cool off. Now that is important to make note of…allow your freshly dehydrated items to thoroughly cool off BEFORE packing, if not, you will wind up with condensation and the resulting mold and spoilage due to moisture!

With 11 lbs of tomatoes I wound up with less than half a quart zip lock baggie of dried diced tomatoes, ready to be sealed up and used at a later date.

It seemed to take a really long time (36 hrs) to dry these tomatoes, but keep in mind times for dehydrating will vary depending up the fruit/veggie used, thickness and humidity in the air (very humid in my house right now with all the rain). So, if you are thinking checking only every 12 is a long time, then check every 4 or 6 if you wish until you get comfortable with the process and learn to trust the process. But keep in the mind, the more you open the dehydrator, the longer it will take.

Enjoy trying out making your own dehydrated tomatoes this year!

One thing that I am always on the look out for is a GREAT deal…after all, what mom who is preparing for SHTF wouldn’t be? Its more important than ever to stretch the dollar, make the most of what you have and get ready for ever increasing self-reliance. So, lo and behold, I found strawberries (organic) at the local grocery store today. On sale by the pound, many on the point of being overripe (but those are the BEST aren’t they?) and I just couldn’t help myself. Had to buy what I could reasonably manage to eat and dry in the next few days. My family loves to eat them enough that I put in about 100 bare root strawberry plants this year, but being small they only produced a handful of small (but sweet) berries this year. Made a mistake though, didn’t get everbearing plants so right now the plants are growing but no fruit for the rest of the summer…oh well, next year unless I can find some everbearing plants on eBay in a couple of weeks. Last years plants were eatten by my greenie Pitbull (the same one who over the past couple of weeks has somehow managed to get 1/2 of my very small peach crop inspite of the fence)…trial and error..yes, pitbulls like to eat plants…especially tasty ones.

Making do for now with my great deal at the store and will be drying them tonight and tomorrow to go with my growing collection of dehydrated foods. Dehydrated strawberries are a great addition to cereal and wheat berries btw. You can also rehydrate them and add to bread or blend into a smoothie at a later date..and the great thing about this is that I saved $$ Am playing around with making my own sorbet too perhaps instead of feeding my children the stuff from the store. A bit of time invested would be well worth the cost savings and knowing that the food is good.

Now for the BEST part strawberries are an excellent source of healing and help for your and your families’ body…check it out:

Eye Care: The primary reasons for almost all the problems of eyes are free radicals and deficiency of certain nutrients. With the growing age and lack of these protective nutrients, the harmful oxidants or free radicals cast heavy damage on our eyes, such as drying up of eyes, degeneration of optical nerves, Macular degeneration, vision defects and make them prone to infections too. The anti oxidants such as vitamin-C, Flavonoids, Phenolic Phytochemicals and Elagic Acid, present in strawberries can help avoid this situation to a great extent. One more factor is ocular pressure, i.e. the pressure of the eyes. Any disturbance in it is also harmful for the eyes. Here too, strawberries are helpful as they contain potassium, which help maintain right pressure.

Arthritis and Gout: The degeneration of muscles and tissues, drying up of the fluid which help mobility of the joints and accumulation of toxic substances and acids (such as uric acid) in the body are some of the ill effects of free radicals present in our body, which are primarily responsible for Arthritis and Gout. Strawberries, with their team of anti oxidants and detoxifiers, can effectively help push away such health hazards forever

Cancer: Vitamin-C, Folate and Anthocyanin, Quercetin and Kaempferol (few of the many Flavonoids in strawberries which possess excellent anti oxidant and anti carcinogenic properties) together form an excellent team to fight cancer and tumors. A daily intake of strawberries is seen to have remarkably brought down the growth of cancerous cells.

Brain Function: It is a very common observation that old people tend to lose their memory and control over their activities, limbs etc. This is because of aging of their brain and the nervous system. Actually, the free radicals, the agents very much responsible for aging, have a very adverse effect on these systems. Due to them, the brain tissues start degenerating and the nerves get weaker. Strawberries can help you out. The vitamin-C and the phytochemicals in them neutralize the effect of these oxidants and also rejuvenate the system. One more thing, strawberries are rich in iodine too, which is very helpful for proper functioning of the brain and nervous system.

High Blood Pressure: Strawberries are very good in potassium and magnesium content, both of which are very effective in lowering high blood pressure caused by sodium.

Heart Diseases: High fiber, Folate, no fats and high anti oxidants such as vitamin-C and those phytochemicals (Flavonoids) together form an ideal cardiac health pack, as they effectively reduce cholesterol. Some of the members of the vitamin-B family present in strawberries also strengthen the cardiac muscles and help better functioning of the heart.

Other Benefits: Folate is known to protect from birth-defects. Vitamin-C effectively prevents from infections and cold. The phytonutrients also have anti inflammatory properties

the above is taken from: http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-strawberry.html

So the next time that you are in the store and see a fruit or veggie that your family loves to eat at an awesome price, why not go ahead and pick it up? Break out your dehydrator, trusty mason jars and 02 packets and save yourself a buck or two down the road and still enjoy the fruit and veggies? Actually, in my house they are munched down on by themselves dried…much better than candy (sweeter) and no mess, no fuss. And be sure to get organic strawberries to avoid high levels of pesticides that can be found in much of the ‘regular’ strawberries.

Simple way to dehydrate:

Just chunk them up (I like to make them about 1/3 of an inch in size so they don’t fall through the screen plate) and then spread evenly around the tray and let it go until nice and crunchy!

Here’s to happy eatting the fruit of summer…strawberries…and helping the health of my family on the cheap.

Just for added thought…here is the nutritional value of strawberries…

One cup of whole strawberries contains 0.96 grams of protein, 46 calories and 2.9 grams of dietary fiber.

Potassium – 220 mg
Phosphorus – 35 mg
Magnesium – 19 mg
Calcium – 23 mg
Sodium – 1 mg
Iron – 0.59 mg
Selenium 0.6 mcg
Manganese – 0.556 mg
Copper – 0.069 mg
Zinc – 0.2 mg

Vitamin A – 17 IU
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – 0.035 mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – 0.032 mg
Niacin – 0.556 mg
Folate – 35 mcg
Pantothenic Acid – 0.18 mg
Vitamin B6 – 0.068 mg
Vitamin C – 84.7 mg
Vitamin E – 0.42 mg
Vitamin K – 3.2 mcg

Dehydrating Chicken Adventure

Feeling chatty today 🙂 been thinking about food storage alot lately, most especially after my latest trip to the grocery store. Found chicken breast on sale for half-price for the holiday weekend earlier this week so I bought every bit I could with the money I could spend. This was a good thing, but I wound up with over 20 pounds of the stuff and with no more room in either freezer but I had a brilliant idea (yeah, you know the kind, the kind that gets you in so deep that you can only go forward). Dehydrate it! Now, mind you, the dehydrator I have isn’t a fancy one (no temperature control or timer) and I haven’t used it in years…let alone ever used it to dehydrate chicken, but what the heck, I have been reading all over the place about dehydrating meat (and doing it myself is surely cheaper than buying it canned or freeze dried!) and thought perhaps I could do it myself..oh boy…dehydrating 20 lbs of chicken turned into a 4 day odessey of cooking, pressing, cooling, chopping and then watching the bits and pieces of chicken shrink up into tiny pieces over the course of a few hours. My family was looking at me like I was growing heads or had spots all over my face asking such questions like: What are you doing with all that chicken? (I could just hear the groans inside their heads as they saw visions of eatting chicken for the rest of their life) What’s in the pot? Um mom, why are you pressing that chicken in between towels? Then the final questions: are you done yet? what are you going to do with THAT? (referring  to the shriveled up, corn kernal looking things that now sit in 3 quart sized mason jars). Anyway, I digress from my purpose of telling you about dehydrating chicken…it actually turned out to be super easy to do (next on my list is eggs, maybe this weekend, after doing strawberries).

I first embolden myself and reaquainted myself with the process of dehydrating by dehydrating quite a bit of zucchini that my next door neighbor gave me and then tried rehydrating a few pieces just see that it would do so (never mind theory okay? I have to sometimes see it to believe it, just me). And first thing is this…I noticed this SMELL coming from the dehydrator…you know, that smell you smell when you turn on the hair dryer or space heater that you haven’t used in a LONG LONG TIME? yeah, that smell…and then I realized that I would have to play switch the trays around to keep it all drying at about the same rate, and then noticed that the food was sticking to the tray, and I forgot to make sure I had clean mason jars before it got done…you get the idea…but it worked out…growing pains I suppose you could say…next, I did some research trying to find WRITTEN instructions on how to dehydrate chicken online to no avail…sigh…YouTube had some videos on it, but they were long and boring…just TELL ME and let me get on with it okay? but I hung in there, thinking that maybe, just maybe there was some sort of ‘secret’ to dehydrating chicken that I just needed to know…nope…just the basics…keep it clean, cook it well, dry it well and then store it well…and try not to eat it at the sametime you are working with it (have to test the product don’t you?).

Below are the written steps to dehydrating chicken breasts that I was searching for (and if my internet search querry is correct…so are a million others)…I use chicken breasts, not bone-in chicken and that is what the directions are for…I suppose you could use bone-in chicken if you feel like taking the meat off the bones after cooking, but I haven’t done it that way myself…adapt if you must.

and one note: if you don’t want to get sick make sure you wash your hands well everytime before and after handling the chicken…don’t handle the chicken and then touch a spoon or pot or jar or anything like that…safe food handling practices are a must!

You will need:

Chicken, pot, water, seasoning, mason jar(s), oxygen absorbers, dehydrator, knife, towels, baggie, refrigerator.

1. Remove all the fat (if there is any) and skin from the chicken. Fats do not dehydrate nor store long-term very well.

2.Cook your chicken and cook it well…your choice on how you do this, but the idea is that you cook it well until its DONE…err on the side of caution and over cook it if you must. Personally I prefer to just boil it, that way I can add seasoning of my choice while its cooking and it gets in there really well…bonus to this way of cooking it is that you get a really nice broth that can be frozen for future use as a soup base or for replacing water in a receipe if you want more flavor.

3. Let the chicken and broth cool off completely.

4. Get towels (I use bath towels that have been re-purposed for kitchen use) and lay them out on the counter or table top double thickness at least.

5. Put the cooked chicken on the towels. Place another towel over the chicken and then press the HECK out of the chicken. Object being when doing this is to get excess juice out. Shorter drying time.

6. Personally I prefer at this point to stick the chicken into a zip lock baggie and refrigerate over night…makes it easier to cut it up into small pieces…warm chicken is hard to cut up easily.

7. The following day get your dehydrator out. Now, first time I dehydrated I didn’t have the mesh screens to go over the tray. Second time around I did. It will work either way, it is just a bit messier if you don’t have the screens for the trays. Make sure the dehydrator is clean and ready to use.

8. Cut the chicken up into small pieces. I tried a bit of experimenting at this point with different trays, big pieces, small pieces, tiny pieces…the tiny pieces got so small they fell through the cracks, small pieces and big pieces did okay, but use your judgement as to how big of pieces you chop it up into. This will depend upon your drier size since the racks (at least on mine) sit one on top of the other I found the best size for me were pieces about 1 inch long or so no thicker than 1/4 inch. Just chop it!

9. Spread the chopped up chicken around the tray evenly in one layer. Do this for each rack. I found I was able to get about 9 pounds or so onto 5 trays (that is my drier, its one of those round ones with plastic trays that stack up). But I had extra chicken that I just put back into the refrigerator to do later on.

10) Stack it up and turn it on! Now, with my dehydrator I have no temperture control so for me its just turning it on and watching it. If you have a dehydrator with temp control, it is my understanding that you want the temp set at at least 120 degrees for meat, but somehow I don’t think mine got that hot.

11) Walk away and let it go. For me, I had to switch trays around (bottom tray going to the top) every couple of hours to keep things dehydrating somewhat evenly. It took about 10 hours to completely dehydrate the chicken. You want it CRUNCHY and ‘brown’ looking with no softness to it whatsoever. That is moisture and that is NOT good when storing long-term.

*At this point, make sure you have your mason jar (or another glass jar) clean and ready. Also, make sure you have one 200-300 cc oxygen absorber ready for when you need it.*

13) When it is ‘done’ turn off the dehydrator and let the chicken cool off again. Heat will cause condensation which you don’t want in the jar.

14) Once completely cool, you can now fill up the mason jar…fill the jar until you have about 1 inch from the top. Now place one 200-300 cc O2 absorber on top and tightly screw the lid/top on.  Set the jar aside and check to make sure that it has made a seal about an hour later…you check this by pushing on the top…as long as it doesn’t move you are good to go, if it does move, your O2 absorber was probably bad and you need a new one. Repeat.

All done! Now you have your dehydrated chicken that will store for several years and can be used in soups, stir frys and such.

Wasn’t that simple?