I first started experimenting with using a Food Drier when a dramatic change in my regular diet suddenly made my favorite commercially produced hiking food seem unpalatably salty / sweet.
Looking for an alternative I started drying my left-over home cooked meals, and it wasn’t long before i was hooked.
It was soon clear Drying my own food was a great move;
- While the food mostly doesn’t retain its former good looks, on reconstitution it smells and tastes just as good (*2)
- My overall per meal food weight for a trip dropped significantly. (i.e.: 350gm main meal to 40-60gm dried meal.)
- Reconstituting is faster than Freeze dry, and often requires less water. (*3)
- Most can be edible in an emergency by soaking in cold water, Some I have come to like in the dried form. (humus)
- Making your own is ultimately cheaper and generates less rubbish.
My Ezi Dri Snackmaker FD500 came with;
- The plastic base drier unit that includes a mains powered heating element, airflow fan and a thermal cut off.
- 5 Plastic Drying trays, (I brought another 10 from the Ezi Dri Shop)
- 2 Spacer Trays (A rim only that keep to normal trays separated for larger food items.)
- 5 Solid sheets (Placed on the Drying trays for when the meal has a liquid content)
- 5 Mesh trays(Placed on the Drying trays for small food items that can fall through the drying tray.
- A basic drying techniques / recipe book
The Snackmaker has a basic push on button (green) with three preset temperature controls buttons and indicator lights;
- Herbs: Low 35°C
- Fruit and Vegetables: Med 50°C
- Meals: High 60°C
Once you have prepared the food for drying, stacked the trays and put the lid on its a simple matter of switching it on and selecting the preset temperature.
The instruction manual gives an indication of the different times required for different food types, but these are just minimum time, going over the time doesn’t hard the food once dried.
This Drier is fitted with individual Fan and Element thermal cutoff switches, which will turn both off if the unit overheats preventing an unintended “house BBQ.”
While technically a disadvantage of using a Food Drier is all this drying is made possible by a fan and element combination consuming 500 watts of electricity and hour.
However, this disadvantage quickly becomes an advantage when you realise you can dry 1 – 30 servings (*4) using the Snackmaker with an average drying time of 12- 24 hours for approximately $1.62 / 12 hours.(*5)
(*1) Having done a little research on the brand and knowing that that all the driers were compatible with the same trays, as well has having a factory shop which made it easier to get extra trays.
(*2) Particularly evident when making dinner was fast process often pulling questions and looks of envy from other hikers spooning freeze dry into their mouths…
(*3) Some meals / food needs exactly the wet / dry water weight to reconstitute, while others are just as happy with the difference or boiling down in a little more water.
(*4) Depending on your serving size. I can usually get two meal servings per tray (2-300gm wet) The Snackmaker is shipped with 5 trays but can be expanded to a maximum of 15 trays.
(*5) Our current KwH price is 0.27 cents(2020)