Dehydrated (or "dried," for the vulgar) food has had much of its natural moisture content removed, usually by placing it in a hot, dry area or device to encourage rapid evaporation. While many foods can be dehydrated, traditional favorites include pasta, Apfelschnitzel (dried apple slices), beef jerky (and the African original biltong, which I have never tried), prunes and raisins (both delicious). Seaweed is also often dehydrated, as are all kinds of fruit, vegetables and meat. And mushrooms, which don't seem to fit in any of those categories. I particularly like dried peaches, and once mailed some dried peaches to a lovely girl I know who was hiking in Utah. Some dehydrated food should be moistened before consumption, and some can simply be gnawed on plain; some, like beef and other jerkies, simply cannot be effectively softened. Because much of the weight of most food is really the weight of its internal moisture, dehydrated foods tend to be well-suited to camping -- lots of flavor in a lightweight package. To dehydrate your own foods is a fun project, and really not that hard. Small home dehydrators are not expensive, and can often be found (in the U.S., circa 2001 A.D.) for under $30, like mine was. I used mine to make a lot of dehydrated foods before all the lights went out and the world plunged into darkness because of the Y2K Bug. Better safe than sorry.

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