Dehydrating/Rehydrating Various Meats

12:10 p.m. on November 1, 2012 (EDT)
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My husband is a private contractor in Afghanistan and has access to a microwave and toaster oven. He and the other guys with him have started cooking but the meats they use have been limited to canned tuna or chicken. I would like to try my hand at dehydrating some lean ground beef and turkey to send to them to use. Any suggestions or thoughts on this would be appreciated. Also, if I vacuum seal it how long will it last? It usually takes 10 days for him to even receive packages from home but I'm seeing that there is a possibility it would last for a year, is that correct?

5:12 p.m. on November 1, 2012 (EDT)
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I cook ground beef then dehydrate it all the time. Ive found that its is better cooked tan raw when its dehydrated. I get the leanest beef I can find then cook it well so it is in smaller pieces,drain it well then dry it. I cold soak it for a couple of hrs before I cook then it is cooked about the normal amount of time. If you add it to a pasta dish it will be done when the pasta is finished. If he cooks a soup or casserole it shouldnt need pre hydrating. If you weigh the meat before and after drying you can get a good idea how much water to add. I dont like dryed poultry as much but I have never tried it ground. My complaint has been the stringy texture it gets when dryed, that should be eliminated by it being ground. He should like that way better than canned meat.

5:28 p.m. on November 1, 2012 (EDT)
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All of the recipes I have seen for dehydrating hamburger and the way I prepare mine is to rinse with hot water after cooking and draining. If not the grease can become rancid. Once hehydrated I keep hamburger for up to a year in the freezer. Most things I have read say that it has a fairly short shelf life if not frozen but I have eaten dehydrated hamburger left in my bearcan over most of the summer and it was fine, your experience may differ. Here is a link to a site that you might be interested in.

12:27 p.m. on November 2, 2012 (EDT)
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1,469 forum posts

Jerky ?????

2:17 p.m. on November 2, 2012 (EDT)
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I think you get a better finished meal if you use meat cooked before drying. When I use jerky in a meal it increases the cook time as I cook it longer trying to get the jerky to become tender. Pre-cooked,dryed ground beef is quicker and rehydrates to closer pre-dehydrated condition better. I hope that makes sense, because it hard to describe what im talking about. If you buy freeze-dried beef or chicken from a commercial source, say pack-it gourmet it seems to be much better than the same meat just dehydrated. I like their beef chunks a lot, but it way more expensive than drying ground beef. I agree completely about the rinsing if you need a longer shelf life. Ive rinsed and not rinsed, I buy the leanest I can find then only drain it, blot it with paper towels then dry it. Ive found I notice the difference in taste when I rinse it, dont taste as rich and filling. I have never had a problem with it going rancid. I usually make it every three or four months, whenever I need more. I also keep it in the freezer until I need it then a couple of weeks in a pack. You should have no issues sending it overseas, I do recommend vaccum sealing for a definitely sealed finished product. You could also use a dessicant or oxygen absorber if you are going to have big temp swings. They are available on-line, I think pack-it gourmet has them as well.

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