Dehydrating123: How To Dehydrate Fish and Seafood for Backpacking Meals

Fish and seafood make a delightful and nutritious addition to your backpacking meals. It offers a rich source of vitamins, minerals and, yes, protein. However, not all fish is created equal when it comes to the dehydration process. Cod, halibut, bass and sole are some of the types of lean fish to choose from. Fatty or oily fish spoil rapidly. Dehydrating these types of fish is inadvisable:

  • Catfish (5.2% fat)
  • Lake Trout (11% fat)
  • Mackerel (9.9% fat)
  • Mullet (6.0% fat)
  • Rainbow Trout (6.8% fat)
  • Salmon (9.3% fat)
  • Whitefish (7.2% fat)

Shrimp, lobster, and crab are low in fat and can be dried, however, they must be precooked before drying.

How To Dehydrate Fish and Seafood

Always use only the leanest fish – not frozen – but fresh to ensure you get the highest possible quality jerk.

  • Skin and bone your fish
  • Cut into 1/4 inch (6mm) thick slices or strips
  • Allow to marinate for up to 12 hours in refrigerator
  • Rinse and place on dehydrator trays in a single layer
  • Dehydration of seafood should take nearly 12 hours at a 145F/63C temperature. When done, the fish jerky should be a little brittle or dry-leathery.
  • Place into zip lock bags, glass jars or vacuum-sealed containers. It’ll need to be stored in a dark area at room temperature for no more than two months. Or, you can increase the shelf-life by freezing it.

You can dehydrate pouched, canned or pre-cooked frozen seafood. After all, tuna in water, shrimp, mussels and imitation crabmeat are tasty foods that can easily be rehydrated while on the trail.

Want to know more? Join our Online Class

Food Dehydrating Course

everything you need to know to get started with drying your own food for the trail

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  1. Jon S H on July 19, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    Can I dehydrate fish with no marinade so my dog can eat it ?

  2. mallory on June 30, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    so no need to cook the fish fillets before dehydrating?

    • Tanya Krezevska on June 30, 2020 at 12:52 pm

      Depends on source of the fish. In order to prevent bacteria growing, better to cook it first.

  3. Anonymous on October 16, 2019 at 2:38 am

    What’s in the marinade for fish?
    The instructions say marinate in refrigerator fir 12 hours.

    • Tanya Krezevska on October 21, 2019 at 4:16 pm

      You can use your favorite marinade (for example: curry powder,fish seasoning, salt, lemon juice). Just try to avoid add oil or another kind of fat.

  4. Dani on August 5, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    Hi Tanya. Do you have tips on rehydrating the fish while you are on the trail? Curious, this will be my first time trying to dehyrdrate seafood, I’ve generally stuck with veggies, fruits, and grains. Thanks for this great resource, I’ve already shared with many friends.

    • Tanya Krezevska on August 6, 2019 at 9:24 am

      Hi Dani! The rehydration process for fish and seafood is the same as for veggies or grains.

  5. Alli DiPiazza on November 14, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    This is great Tanya! Thanks! Did a lot of home dehydrating when I was much younger – esp. since I went canoe-camping, backpacking, hiking, fishing, etc. on regular basis. Also- a great way to preserve home-garden products, esp. if using a vacuum-sealer.

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