lurker here..i just bought a

Avatar for strut526
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
lurker here..i just bought a
11
Thu, 05-22-2003 - 1:25pm
food dehydrator...would like to make some jerky..i tried it yesterday, and wasn't happy with the results...any one recommend a site i can go to to find out more about using this machine? i wasn't real crazy about the way fruit dries. i did like and use the strawberries..the bananas were another story...LOL! Kim

  

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2003
Thu, 05-22-2003 - 5:51pm
Hi Kim! I don't have a food dehydrator, though my oven says I can use it for dehydrating foods, but I have to buy special racks first. I did look on the internet for some info for you, and here are a couple of sites for you to check out. I hope they are helpful for you!

Here is a site for basic info, mostly for fruits and veggies: http://www.organicgardening.com/library/canning_drying.html

And here is a site that has recipes, including several for jerky. They do suggest particular brand dehydrators, but hopefully you can try one of these recipes. http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/food_dehydrator_recipes.html

I suggest whatever brand dehydrator you are using might have a cookbook, a website, etc or even an 800 phone number with more info and recipes as well. Though if you weren't happy with the recipes/instructions that came with your dehydrator, maybe the other sites will be more helpful.

If I can be of more help, you can find me at the Cooking With THe Seasons / BBQ Cooking board. We've made jerky at our house using a charcoal smoker. We marinated it in teriyaki sauce, and it was great. Good Luck!

Joyce

Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2000
Fri, 05-23-2003 - 1:03am
Hi Kim. What type of a dehydrator did you get? I've had a Harvest Maid American Harvest food dehydrater. I love it. I have never made jerkey though. Just dried stuff, made some fruit leather, dried tomatoes, and fruit. Here is a couple links that I've found. I hope I didn't repeat myself. I know Joyce left you some links, and I hope these are different. Linda T.

http://www.ag.uiuc.edu/~vista/html_pubs/DRYING/dryfood.html

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OA/pubs/jerky.htm

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Avatar for strut526
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 05-24-2003 - 4:30pm
you guys are great! i got the "deni" brand. I went to Gander Mountain,and picked it up cheap. I did buy some of the spices/cures, i did get a info packet with it, but it was general info. I want someone to tell me"kim,go by a round steak(or whatever meat) and cut it 1/2 in...season/cure it..and dry it.." the book says..for muscle meats...do this. (ignorance on this one!) it also said that pork should be cooked first. so does that mean...cook a pork roast in the ove..then slice it up,dry it..?I was hoping to use turkey/chicken, but poultry and pork are so iffy to work with...i will check out the sites you both provided,DH just went to the local race track(he's in the pits)so i have the evening to myself...wanted to try some cuts of meat...just wasn't sure what to buy...Thanks again...sorry i didn't get back to you sooner..I forgot what site i posed this Question on! LOL! Antoni kenwa...do i know you from another board? crockpot? are you in Ak? or am i really losing it?! Kim

  

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Sun, 05-25-2003 - 11:47am
From one who makes about 100 pounds of Jerky a year, about one fourth from venison, the rest from beef, and as well, have dried chicken, pork, and even salmon.....

Here goes a (FEW) ideas for you Kim!

(1) Beef doesn't even have to be sliced....you can do it with low fat content ground beef, by following the recipe into about 5 pounds at a time, allow to set in your refrigerator overnight, lay out plastic wrap on your table, make 1/2 pound sized hamburgers, place onto the wrap, place another length of wrap on top of that, get out your rolling pin, and roll flat to about 1/4 inch slowly. Use a knife to cut about 1/2 more width than you wish the jerky to be, (if you want your final jerky strips to be one inch wide, make the slices around an inch and a half wide) as it will shrink as it dehydrates, and then place on your dehydrator racks, and go nuts as it does its magic....you'll go nuts from the wonderful smells.

(2) Slicing any meats: No more than 1/4 inch thick slices from one end toward the other, making sure you get rid of any fats along the way, and the meat should be no thicker as an entire piece than an inch and a half. You could purchase a roast, and have your butcher cut it 1 and a half inch slices for you....lie those down, and slice them 1/4 inch thick, place into your mixture as directed, allow to marinate overnight, and dehydrate the next day. The marinating time may be increased on both beef and pork by another 4 hours for more flavor....as well, to heat it up as jerky, you may add additional chili powder and cummin....be careful with these, as the heat rises very rapidly from these spices.

(3) Shhhhhhhh I pre-cook all my meats......once ready for the dehydrator, I place the meats on a rack in my oven, on a piece of aluminum foil with holes poked in that, and a catch pan on the oven rack below that....OR, I do the pre cooking on my grill outside (this will add additional flavors from grilling as well. Cook until done and tender, just as if you were going to eat the strips of meat as (well done), then get them into your dehydrator while still quite warm....the reason for this is because the dehydrator doesn't raise the temperature within the meats quickly enough to make sure you don't get any bugs from them, or into them that can make you REALLLLLLLLY sick.

(4) Chicken breasts cut in strips about 1/4 inch thick, and placed into the mixture as purchased, along with a teaspoon of lemon, and a tablespoon of honey.....This can't be matched.....but, again, starting out with fresh chicken, covered bowl for marinating in, and cooked the next morning, then allowed to dehydrate.

(5) Fish....make sure it's been filleted for bones all out, cut into strips up to 2 inches wide....fish are very oily....marinate, then cook (over cooked) ((you will actually want to over cook the fish this time to the point that they become a bit tough so that it holds together well enough to make jerky from)) Once again, add one tablespoon of lemon juice and one teaspoon of (smoke flavoring, liquid type works best here) available at your grocery store usually in the same isle as you would find teriaki sauce, bbq sauce, and such in....for some reason, most stores don't consider liquid smoke as a spice) You can always ask someone at the store where the liquid smoke is located.

(6) Once you are out of the flavoring packets that came with your dehydrator, you can make your own (if you can find "curing salt" Usually a farmer's type feed store is where I end up going for mine. To that, I also add two tablespoons of yellow vinegar, 1/4 cup of worcestershire sauce, garlic, herbs, black pepper, some(not to much now)red pepper seeds, chili powder, and cumin.....these are all added to taste, but the next paragraph will be my recipe for a 10 pound ammount of (any meat) jerky of these ingredients.

(7) 1 cup of "curing salt" 1/4 cup of yellow vinegar 3/4 cup of worcestershire sauce 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke 1/4 cup of garlic powder one tablespoon of red pepper seed (whole) one tablespoon of black pepper one half teaspoon each of chili powder and cumin. (again, depending on the tastes of those eating the jerky, you can (heat it up) with more pepper, you can add additional garlic powder, as well, more chili powder and cumin......just remember though....heat in, makes for heat coming out the other end the next day from those enjoying the jerky LOL!

(8) For pork and chicken, you can eliminate the yellow vinegar, and replace that with an equal amount of either lemon or lime juice. For fish, don't use the vinegar, and if you choose, to....drop the amount of lemon juice to just one tablespoon per 10 pounds...you will also realy lower the amount of dry seasonings for chicken and fish..if not, all you'll be making is hot no other flavor can be found meat...OK????

The salt is the biggest thing to get right....it's what will assure that your meats don't spoil, as curing salt is NOT just plain salt, it isn't even the same as canning salt....The remaining ingredients can be played with in ammounts to taste....and please remember that the recipe I gave you is for (10) pounds of meat....if more meat, more salt...if less meat, less salt....believe me, if you put in 1/2 cup of curing salt into 5 pounds of meat.....not to many people will eat more than one VERY salty bite..OK?

I had to make a 20 pound batch of beef jerky this past March due to company, and thankfully the weather was decent enough to pre cook the meat outdoors on my grill. I rolled the burger type meat after it had marinated between two sheets of plastic wrap, and carefully scored that into 1 and a half wide strips, then on a cool rack...My grill has two, so I could trade out one to allow it to cool while some meat was cooking on the other rack....when you use ground beef, and roll it out, it will peel slowly off the plastic, but will stick to any other type of material. I did the pre-cook, then when I removed the sheets of scored meats, bent at the score lines, broke them off, and placed them into racks in my dehydrator...the entire 20 pounds was cooked and dried in one long day......about 10 hours total...cooking and dehydrating time combined. Don't worry, it didn't even last one week. Sometimes I think I need to get three more dehydrators, and work on up to 100 pounds of ground meat jerky at a time....it can be frozen once dehydrated......I can't keep up with the requests from family, friends, and neighbors for my jerky, either beef or venison.....yes, I grind the venison....the ground meats are a LOT easier to chew, than that made from sliced meats. Those with false teeth can even enjoy the ground meat jerky.

Any more questions on making jerkys, just ask.....my neighbors don't ask how to do it, just when are you going to be making more....LOL

As for drying fruits.....please make sure you use the sugar syrup method that is recommended per type before you dehydrate....no one likes flavorless or discolored dried fruit. (Adding a bit of (allum) to the sugar syrup will also help hold both color and flavor to the fruit. (one more thing about fruits) Don't even start cutting them until after you have the sugar syrup ready...each slice gets immediately placed into the syrup as it' cut to hold flavor and especially the wonderful color.

One last item.....you can make your own pot-pouri now with your dehydrator too...the directions should be included in the book that came with it.

Mitch

 
Community Leader
Registered: 02-27-1999
Mon, 05-26-2003 - 2:02pm
wow, mitch, I'm impressed! My daughter's dehydrator is always busy, her hubby makes deer jerky and she makes fruit roll ups...I have sent her an SOS to this question and I'm sure she will have some info as soon as she gets the e-mail when she gets home from her trip to St. Louis today.

k-roni

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 7:42am
I blush because you reminded me of what my DW sais about the dinner chores around here...."you do the cooking, and will never have to worry about the cleaning up afterward or the dishes because your cooking is so much better than mine"...

Now, to put things in order here....I do enjoy some of the things she does with meals as much as or even more than what I do with the same foods, but it seems that I'm the one doing the cooking unless my body won't let me walk around to get it done. I do love to cook, and do in fact clean bowls, pans, and utensils as I mess them up in the process of the cooking process itself. Since I do a LOT of grilling, I also do a lot of marinades for the different meats. Yesterday my dsd who's out on her own now told her mother that she used one of the marinades I showed her to get steaks readied for her bf and his family, and got rave reviews on her first shot....good for her...maybe she did learn something from me in the 4.5 years I tried to teach her somethings.

I was kind of forced into cooking as a teenager when what I could throw together for a meal from (nothing in the pantry) of any one item would make enough of a meal or part of it for a family of 6....5 children and my step father....when my mother was hospitalized, fighting cancer. Since then, with all my rave reviews, I've come to recognize what goes with other items to bring out flavor, and what things can actually be mixed together, and still taste like something worth putting into your mouth. Most of my recipes, due to all the additions actually look appetizing too....different colors on one plate, make the eyes sense something good is about to happen in one's mouth.

Mitch

 
Avatar for ntaylor908
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 8:44pm
Strut,

My mom (kroni) asked me to answer your question, since DH and I are pros at dehydrating. But we only do two things: deer jerky and fruit rolls (fruit leather). We have an American Harvest dehydrater that was a gift. I bought special trays to do fruit rolls. See this web site for the trays (just as an example--you would have to buy ones that fit your dehydrator):

http://www.nesco.com/products/product.phtml?category=200&subcat=200&id=29

Fruit rolls are my absolute favorite snack. It's so easy: 1 qt of strawberries + 2 cups of applesauce makes around 3 full rolls and I can snack on it for days (if friends and family don't snack too--it goes fast!). I usually dehydrate overnight (because DH doesn't like to hear the dehydrator running in the kitchen while he's watching TV). :-) About 8 to 9 hours makes them perfect.

Deer jerky is DH's favorite. He bought a "jerky gun" from a company called LEM Products. He had gotten a catalog from them and saw this and knew he had to have it. It came with a packet of original seasoning and he bought some additional seasonings from the same company. Our favorites are Hot, Original, and Snack stick. He also likes Hickory and Mesquite. I'm not sure what other flavors he has. Here is a web address for that company:

http://www2.mailordercentral.com/lemproducts/prodinfo.asp?number=555&variation=&aitem=22&mitem=33

This is absolutely essential for jerky making--we tried it with whole meat (not ground) and it was just too tough. Making it with the ground venison with the seasonings is PERFECT! DH usually dehydrates the meat for around 4 hours, then he puts it in the oven at 170 for about an hour, "just to be safe" he says.

I hope this helps you! Enjoy dehydrating!

Nicki

Nicki
Community Leader
Registered: 02-27-1999
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 11:00pm
Thank you, Nicki!

I have to tell you guys, Nicki got a dehydrator for Christmas and I doubt there has ever been an issue of finding a place to put it away, LOL, it's always in use! Nicki came into my shipping center today to send strawberry fruit roll ups to her friend in Branson, Missouri.

I remember in the 70's there was a craze making fruit roll ups apple chips and jerky in the oven on warm. That's when the dehydrators first started appearing. I'm such a jerky and slim jim addict, I thought about trying that. But to make it energy efficient (alas, I am still a hippie) you have to do a HUGE amount of meat at once. Sure would solve that issue of where to store the dehyrator, though!

Jerky was the staple meat that got cowboys from east to west, native Americans through the winter, and sailors across seas. They did jerky on rocks in the hot sun. I have been searching the internet (another of my silly quests) for "what's in a slim jim" and those guys are not talking! LOL, makes you wonder, we figured at work it's snouts, ears, lips, privates... I have everyone hunting with me now!! And everyone but me is afraid of slim jims until we find out! I will likely die of eating slim jims. Been eating them so long now, I don't care if it IS snouts and ears and lips and privates! SIL's deer jerky is great though.

k-roni

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Thu, 05-29-2003 - 11:06am
Hi Nicki! Thanks for posting to Strut! I don't have a dehydrator but my BIL does so I might see what he prepares in it.

Come visit us here more often!

Smiles,

Donna :-)



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Thu, 05-29-2003 - 11:10am
LOL Roni - I must have missed the fruit roll up craze of the 70's because I don't remember it at all! And a big LOL at the contents of a Slim Jim - besides tasting like a big chunk of grease I'm sure it's filled with, what I call, lips and *!@#$# - LOL! Same thing with hot dogs - yuck!

So why is jerky so expensive? I really like it but jeesh it's pricey!

Smiles,

Donna :-)



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