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.