Author Topic: Dehydrating meat  (Read 492 times)

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Offline Tara

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Dehydrating meat
« on: April 09, 2017, 05:01:23 PM »
I have a small tub of chicken livers I got from the food pantry that we're not going to eat. It has been in the freezer for a while anyway and may be freezer burnt. I just got them out and put them in the fridge with the intent of dehydrating the for Buddy. They have to thaw, so it won't be until at least tomorrow.

I have a food dehydrator, one of the cylindrical ones with the multi layer racks that you can add as few or as many as you need.

I haven't dehydrated anything since I was a kid helping Grandma make bananas and strawberries.

How does one go about dehydrating chicken livers? What is the proper storage once they are dehydrated? How long will they last? What other meat (or even fruit, veggies, etc.) is good for dehydrating for dogs?
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Offline RaptorTurtle

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Re: Dehydrating meat
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2017, 06:36:13 PM »
I love my dehydrator and use it all the time! (homemade fruit jerky is da bomb!)

Biggest thing to remember is to cut everything into similarly sized pieces, the thinner they are the better they'll dry. Don't overload the racks, make sure there is plenty of empty space for air flow. If the livers thaw and don't look edible, don't use them. Pat dry the liver bits with a paper towel to save 20 minutes of drying time. Set your dehydrator on a higher temp and keep an eye on it, it'll probably take longer than you'd think it should.  Make absolutely sure there is no moisture left in the pieces when you package things up for storage or there will be mold. Be warned that it smells pretty gnarly to us humans but cats and dogs will do all kinds of contortions to get that stupid dehydrator off the counter.

Dehydrated stuff doesn't last as long as freeze dried stuff. You'll want to keep it in air tight containers at room temp for no longer than 2 weeks, the fridge for a month, or the freezer until the next time you clean out the freezer and realize you haven't made banana chips in a year and it's probably time to just throw those out... (just me?)


Offline Summertime.and.Azkaban

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Re: Dehydrating meat
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2017, 06:39:21 PM »
Your dehydrator should have instructions for dehydrating meat, there may be a specific setting etc that you need to put it on.

If you want to make training treats out of them you need to dice them before you dehydrate, but make the pieces bigger than what you actually want.

As for storage, I always go through stuff too quickly to worry about storing it more than a week in the fridge, so I just keep it in an airtight tub or bag. If you're making enough to last months you may need to put the finished product in the freezer. Google says dehydrated livers can last up to a week in an airtight bag in the fridge, and six months in the freezer.

Carrot coins, apples, sweet potato and turnips are all good for dogs. I've dehydrated raw spinach to add to dog food but it was a pain to dehydrate enough at once and it's not necessarily a good treat. I've also done green beans, sugar snap peas and squash but that's because my dad farms and we have a surplus of produce sometimes. The squash was a good one.

As for other meats, I like cheap cuts/scraps like chicken legs, livers and hearts. Whole legs are debatably safe, they sell them in the pet stores and I've never had a problem with splintering but my dogs are very thourough chewers and I watch closely. I'd skip them if bones make you uncomfortable. Sometimes if you live near a butcher you can get great stuff super cheap like pig snouts and feet. I know a few people who've done chitlins, or chitterlings, or whatever your region calls pig intestines, just be sure they're unsalted and uncured.

You can dehydrate normal muscle meats like pork chops, chicken breasts and beef but I never bothered. There's too many cheap options.
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Offline Tara

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Re: Dehydrating meat
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2017, 07:02:11 PM »
I had some blackberries and green beans in the freezer. I will also make a handful each of those, as well as a ripe plantain I have sitting on my counter. The food pantry really loads us up on produce that if isn't eaten or frozen within a day or two will be rotten.

I read things like sweet potatoes and squash are good choices, as well.

The dehydrator racks are in the dishwasher. They were slimy... Oh the final rinse cycle just started!

I've been meaning to get it out for a while and make something, but just now actually had the spoons to do so.
New Etsy shop for your animal related needs- new items to roll out in the future. (New items added 4/25)
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(Will use funds to maintain care of my SD)