View Full Version : dehydrator experiments

2007-04-05, 19:06
a couple of questions:
- I have read from several sources about dehydrating eggs. Can anyone here tell me how exactly you go about doing that?

- does pork dehydrate very well? specifically I was wondering about bacon strips?
How feasable is bacon and eggs to both dehydrate and reconstitute?
Its my all time favourite meal, so I was really trying to incorporate somehow into a backpacking meal plan.

I only have a ronco 5 tray dehydrator without fan.

- conducting an experiment making pudding leather. Umm... this is either going to be brilliance, or garbage. All came about from a seemingly innocent comment about how the skin on the top of stove-top pudding is the best part of pudding. will see if I can make an 'all skin' dehydrated pudding leather.

Frolicking Dino
2007-04-05, 19:44
I've dehydrated bacon in small pieces and used it in pasta dishes and grits. The trick it sponging off the excess oil with a paper towel every couple of hours.

I can't imagine that eggs are going to dehydrate and rehydrate to be anything like real eggs. but I have never tried it. Let us know how it goes.

2007-04-05, 20:44

I have the book "Trail Food" by Alan S. Kesselheim. This is what he has to say:

"High fat content in meat and dairy products make them the trickiest of the food groups to dry and store. The general rule is to handle them as little as possible, dry them quickly, and use them up before before prolonged storage permits them to go rancid."

[a couple of parargraphs on jerky, fish, etc. ] "Avoid uncooked pork products, because even high-temperature drying won't completely assure the destruction of trichinella parasites." [I assume cook the pork first, then dry]

"Eggs are the main dairy product worth the trouble of drying. Again, high fat content is a concern, so minimize the time handling and processing. Break the desired number of raw eggs in a bowl (I do eight on a tray) and beat them together. Add spices if you like before pouring them onto the tray insert. Set at fairly high heat (140 degrees) until the surface is dry and crumbly to the touch."

On his drying times charts, he shows all meats as drying 8-15 hours at 140-145 degrees, raw eggs as 12-20 hours at same temp.

Be interesting to hear how it goes. I too love bacon and eggs and I miss them when backpacking. Bacon I'm not too afraid of, worst it could taste like is bacon bits. It's how the eggs taste after being rehydrated that I'm afraid of! I guess only one way to find out... :albertein

2007-04-06, 00:21
Warning Warning Warning
Botulism poisoning can kill you, and raw eggs kept at 140F to 150F is the perfect place to grow the bacteria until it has released enough toxins in the food to kill you (anything over 4 hours is considered too long).
People die from this every year (usually from homemade mayonaise).
Even if you don't get botullism poisoning, salmonella is very common in store bought eggs.

Cook the eggs first, then dehydrate them.
I crack them into boiling water (poach), fish them out, dice them up, and then dehydrate.
After dehydrating run them through a food processor or blender to make egg powder.
Mix 1 to 1 with water and use like a scrambled egg.

I used to dehydrate bacon, but in the end decided it wasn't worth the bother.
You end up with bacon bits anyway, and if you keep them long they either go bad or lose their flavor.
I use soy bacon bits now, and I don't ever have to worry about them going bad or losing flavor over time.
I get it from the bulk bins at my local grocery store (cheaper than bacon too).
The only downfall with soy bits is they don't keep their flavor if cooked for a long time. but they work fine mixed with eggs or as a topping on potatoes, or anything else.

If you decide not to do the eggs this is the best place I've ever found for buying whole egg powder.

2007-04-06, 18:15
Following the instructions for dehydrating eggs as explained in the book "Trail Food" by Alan S. Kesselheim.

Note please Dropkick's warning about Salmonella.

Equipment: Deni Food dehydrator model #7100.
6lb kitchen scale
6 raw eggs
seasonings to taste
various kitchen prep utensils as needed

Started with 4 raw eggs. With shells weighed about 5.5 oz.
cracked raw eggs into a bowl, beat well, added seasonings according to my tastes which for me is a little salt and pepper and Lowry's Garlic salt.

Poured on a fruit leather tray that came with my dehydrator. Thought I had some room left on the tray so I cracked two more eggs (2 oz), beat, and added to the tray. Overfilled tray. Wound up spilling raw egg all over the place when I tried to add my tray to the dehydrator. I believe I ended up with 4 raw eggs still in the tray but obviously my measurements after this point are just guesses.

Put tray on dehydrator and dried for 12 hours. There is no temp setting on this model dehydrator, just an on/off switch

When dried the egg was crumbly and flaked off the tray easily. Color was a dark yellow, almost an orange-yellow. I used a teflon spatula and scraped the dried egg into a plastic bag. Yield: 2oz of dried egg.

Added 3-1/2 oz of warm water to plastic bag to bring weight back up to my original (now est) weight of 5-1/2 oz. Let rehydrate for about 15 minutes. Product now looks like the consistency of a lumpy porridge. OK I'll be honest, it looked like vomit. Also looked like maybe I added too much water.

Emptied bag of vom... er... eggs into a small frypan. Being the mix was so liquid I did not add oil. Placed over medium low heat.

In 2-3 minutes the "bottom" is done and I flipped it with the spatula omelette style. I am pleasantly surprised that the rehydrated egg after cooking is a brighter yellow, now looking like a true omelette or scrambled eggs. The aroma is consistent with cooking eggs. Another minute and it's done. Looks good, smells good. The extra water seemed to have no effect on the final product, it either got absorbed as it heated or steamed off.

There are few rehydrated foods that taste as good as the fresh product. Eggs are not one of them. With that being said, while they didn't taste great they didn't taste bad either. A little rubbery, some chewy lumps, but they tasted similar to eggs. Some bacon bits and hot sauce would have spruced up this dish nicely. Cooked omelette style with toppings like pepperoni, dried tomatoes, cheese, etc. etc. would make this an excellent backpacking breakfast IMHO. Certainly would beat oatmeal for days on end!


Safety. While I _could_ make the argument that drying raw eggs has been done for years by an experienced backpacker and author, apparently with no ill effects, Dropkick's method seems safer - just cook 'em first. Will that affect the taste? Dunno. I'll make that test my next experiment. As for this test, if I get sick or die i'll let everyone know.

Blending the dried egg into a powder would make it rehydrate better and you won't have the slightly chewy lumps I experienced in my final dish

My top drying capacity without purchasing additional equipment would be 8 eggs per 13 hours. Dropkick's link takes one to a source of whole powdered eggs, 2.25 pounds at $11.75. that's 170 dried eggs per can at just under $0.07 per egg cost, and no prepwork needed other than maybe to bag individual meal or trip size quantities as needed. Assuming the taste is the same this sounds like a deal to me!

Oh and that link is http://store.honeyvillegrain.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=241.

2007-04-07, 00:18
My big worry is botulism.
Salmonella I can recover from.

People die from botulism poisoning every year, and the main source of this is raw eggs that have been left at room temperature for over 4 hours (usually in mayonaise - potato/macaroni/tuna/etc. salad).

140F to 150F is actually a better growing temperature for the bacteria than room temperature, so it won't be safe in less than 4 hours.

Botullism bacteria doesn't actually kill you, it's the poison it leaves behind as a byproduct of it's growth.
Once the poison is in the food you can't make it safe by cooking, you have to kill the bacteria before they produce the poison.

You might dry eggs from raw and not have any problems, but to me the risk isn't worth it.

My bonifides: I cooked professionally for several years, delt with many health inspectors, and took classes in sanitation, food safety, and microbiology.

2007-04-07, 05:39
Hey Dropkick,
What about raw eggs straight from the fridge raw into a protien drink? I do this sometimes and never had a problem. Am I just lucky?

Frolicking Dino
2007-04-07, 05:49
Botulism rarely kills healthy adults in developed nations these days due to the invention of the mechanical respirator. However, it is not something to take lightly - especially when you are miles and miles out in the woods.

Botulism is a toxic byproduct so it takes time to develop. While a raw egg coming straight from the fridge in a protein drink may give you salmonella, it won't give you botulism.

I got salmonella recently from the iguana (ig's and many birds carry the disease without being affected themselves).... no fun, but not a huge deal either.

2007-04-07, 09:17
I use my Ronco dehydrator all the time for drying various foods, but there are some things that just aren't worth the effort, usually because an acceptable product is already out there at a reasonable price. IMHO, powdered eggs is one of those things.

And yes, Bear, you and I and Rocky have just been lucky! Raw eggs are a high-risk food. I use pasteurized eggs if I'm making a shake.

2007-04-07, 14:11
thanks for the info guys. good to know. You probablly saved me from serious illness. I did not know any of these things. I think I will start with powdered whole eggs and see what they are like.

2007-04-07, 23:30
Dropkick, have you purchased any other products from Honeyville Grain? Looks like they have some good stuff.

2007-04-09, 00:45
Looks like Frolicking Dino answered your question for me (and she did a good job).

I've tried their banana chips and their unflavored TVP. I liked both.