Bought one of those dehydrators at Walmart that sell for around $40. Great for drying extra fruit in the summer. Apples, plums, etc. The problem with vegetables is that some are blanched or par boiled before drying and I haven't figured that out yet. We found tomatoes dry very easy, if you get a variety that is intended for drying. Romas are ok, but there are better varieties for drying.
Mrs. tried drying zuchini, but it was tough as leather and took for ever to cook soft.
Some dried foods like potatos or fruits like Pineapple, raisins, craisins, are already cheap to buy already dried at the grocery store. We tried drying blueberries, they weren't that good. Probably would be better as a fruit leather.
We have brined and dried our own jerky and dried beef. It is ok, takes some experimenting.
Been reading about making dried hard sausages that will keep for a week or more without refrigeration. Haven't tried making any yet
In past centuries, ground meat and vegetables would be baked into a hard tack type biscuit. In cold climates, baked into a heavy muffin type bread, so the food had meat protein, vegetable, carbs and even sweetener, (usually molasses) baked right in. Sort of an energy bar all in one. Travelers could munch on the bread and only needed to heat up water for tea or coffee, instead of trying to cook beans or parched corn for an hour in a boiler.
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