For the next adventure, I have begun the process of dehydrating fruits and veggies for snacks as part of meal prepping. (I dehydrate spaghetti for backpacking or camping, and you can read it there.) I broke it down by nutrition facts. And based on the amount of calorie I need each day, I concentrated on the key nutrients such as potassium and sodium.

DEHYDRATING FRUITS

When I freshly came off the long road trip that I took two weeks ago, there were a few improvements that I wanted to make immediately for the next upcoming backpacking trip. And one of them was dehydrating snacks, specifically, more of dehydrated bananas. I found that they were really good while hiking for long hours each day.

NOTE: If you’d like to see how I dehydrate spaghetti for dinner, take a read of Dehydrating Spaghetti for Backpacking.

POTASSIUM AND SODIUM

So, my main item for dehydrating fruits has been bananas along with apples. But, also, while planning meals and snacks for the upcoming backpacking trip, I realized that I need more potassium. In addition, the intake level of sodium needed to be increased, so that was definitely something that I had to consider.

At least, I am taking Rapid Rehydra8 salt pills with me, so the missing amount of sodium will be compensated. While each capsule has 200mg of sodium, it also provides 99mg of potassium (along with other nutrients, like magnesium). It is not bad.

POTASSIUM, POTASSIUM, POTASSIUM

I did some Googling and learned that sweet potato (yam is the best) is the second best to achieve the goal.

Banana is really great for potassium intake as well (422mg for a medium size banana (118g)). And I am glad that I had that going already. Believe or not, fruits (and veggies) are one of the best sources for potassium, although, of course, some veggies are way better than others.

1 cup (about 133g) of sweet potato provides 448mg of potassium as well as 73mg of sodium. So, having dehydrated sweet potato combined with dehydrated bananas will definitely provide the amount of potassium that my body needs.

NOTE: Also, 1 cup (240g) of coconut milk contains 631mg of potassium (and 36mg of sodium). This is definitely another source that I am considering, besides sweet potatoes and bananas. I am thinking that I’d have cereal with coconut milk in the morning for breakfast. Basically it would cover quite a bit of potassium intake by itself. All I need is 1/2 cup (50g, or 1.76 oz) of coconut milk powder plus 3/4 cup (190ml) of water. It alone provides 552 calories as well. 

CALORIES AND POTASSIUM

For the record, this is all based on the amount of calories that I’d expect to take in each day. It is about 2,450 calories a day. Each day would involve roughly 6 and 11 miles of hiking distance with different amounts of elevation gain and loss. (Gross elevation gain of 3,000 ft on average, and gross elevation loss of 2,700 ft on average.)

Generally, it is understood that based on an intake of 2,500 calories (give or take), one needs 4,700mg of potassium. And the earlier calculation of mine showed that I only had 1/3 of that amount for potassium intake (before considering other sources), so I definitely needed more.

Since the weight of bananas and sweet potatoes will be an issue for multiple days of backpacking, dehydrating them was a no brainer for me.

DEHYDRATING FRUITS AND VEGETABLES 

And this is how I did it.

DEHYDRATING FRUITS STEP 1

The first order of business is prepping. Peel off the skins and wash them (not bananas)!

NOTE: I didn’t peel off apple skin because it also has nutrition (vitamins and minerals). (But it is up to you to keep the banana peels in. Read about all the nutrients it has here, here and here.)

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Bananas are ready to be sliced
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Sweet potatoes are ready to be sliced and some are already sliced up

DEHYDRATING FRUITS STEP 2

Slice them up as evenly as I was able to and laid them all down on the trays. My goal was to make almost 10 days worth of both bananas and sweet potatoes. So, I ended up dehydrating two separate times, even though I have 7 trays.

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Sliced sweet potatoes are placed on the tray
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Sliced apples are placed on the tray
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Sliced bananas are placed on the tray

DEHYDRATING FRUITS STEP 3

After hours and hours of dehydrating them, it was done and it was time to wrap them up. Literally.

NOTE: How long it takes all depends on how many trays you use, how much and what kind of fruits and veggies you put on the trays. Make sure that they don’t bend when you break them to see if they’re indeed done.

I use a Nesco Gardenmaster. Please, read the other blog post for more detailed information about selecting a dehydrator.

NOTE: FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System is what I use. I also talked about vacuum sealers in the other blog post.

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Vacuum sealed dehydrated sweet potato slices
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Vacuum sealed dehydrated apple and banana slices
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Vacuum sealed dehydrated apple slices

As you can see, it isn’t hard. It just demands patience. Some prepping is involved, and long hours of dehydrating your desired fruits and/or veggies is the most toughest part. Of course, you always have an option of buying dehydrated or freeze-dried fruits and/or veggies.

When you vacuum seal them, please, make sure to label them, especially with a date. After a while you keep them in the freezer, it’d be likely that you will not remember when it was dehydrated.

What is your favorite fruits or veggies to dehydrate? Have you ever dehydrated sweet potatoes? What works and doesn’t work for you in terms of dehydrating?

Thanks for reading.

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