Is there any way to dehydrate/rehydrate full meals that contain both meat and vegetables?
I make a sort of stew that I eat at home, and like it well enough that I could probably eat it four or five nights in a row, but when I tried drying it, it was rubbery when rehydrated. It's just beef (stew meat), potatoes, carrots, onion and celery, not thickened or anything, so it's just meat & vegetables in a thin broth. Plain, but good.
The meat, potatoes, and carrots are in bite-size chunks, so maybe too big? Would it work to only partially dehydrate it?
I've had good luck with canned chili, and a pinto bean dish consisting of beans, ground beef, bacon, onion, garlic, and spices (chili powder, sage, cumin, oregano). I'll post the recipe if anyone is interested.
I just tried it, but no luck. I cut up the potatoes and carrots into 1/2" or less pieces and sort of shredded the meat. Dried for 5-1/2 hours at 135 degrees. Still pretty bad, although the meat was better than before. Back to the drawing board.
Some people have ok luck rehydrating using freezer bag/cozy. I have not. To rehydrate: I put the meal in my pot, add water to about 1/2 inch over, bring to a boil, cover and then put pot into cozy for 15-20 minutes.
I keep going back to Freeze dried. Your ingredients are pretty simple to assemble from purchased freeze dried sources. Dehydrating should result in a more broken down product. If it is still rubbery, it probably needs to be cooked more prior to dehydrating. If you like chunks of things buy the freeze dried version. Freeze dried stuff looks expensive, but you often get quite a bit in the package. If you really like and are willing to a eat a lot of it, the freeze dried version can be cost competitive.