Dehydrating123: How To Dehydrate Legumes For Backpacking Meals

What are legumes?

Legumes (you may also hear them called pulses) are plants that have pods with tidy rows of seeds inside. You know them better as peas, lentils and various types of beans.

Why legumes are good?

Legumes are cheap, tasty and good for you. They are low in fat and do not contain cholesterol. Beans and lentils are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. After meat and fish, they provide more protein per serving than other foods. As legumes also contain complex or “good” carbohydrates, they quickly can make us satisfying and keep us feeling full longer.

The only one drawback is that they take a long time to soak and cook. By cooking and dehydrating them at home, you can save your time and fuel on the trail. Dehydrated beans are lightweight, take up little space and can be rehydrated easily for a hot and nutritious backpacking meal.

How to dehydrate legumes for backpacking meals

Step 1. Soak legumes (pulses) in cold water for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Step 2. Drain them to remove the excess water.

Step 3. Put legumes in a pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil.

Step 4. Reduce heat to low and simmer until soft. The cooking time varies depending on sort of legumes from 45 minutes to 2.5 hours.

Step 5. Remove from the heat. Season to taste, cover and let sit for another 10-15 minutes.

Step 6. Drain water off and leave to cool.

Step 7. Spread cooked legumes on dehydrator trays covered with non-stick sheets or parchment paper.

Step 8. Dry at 130F/55C for 4-6 hours.

Step 9. Put dried pulses into vacuum-sealed containers, jars or zip lock bags. Store in a dry, dark place at room temperature.

Special Note:
Home cooked dried beans can stay hard and don’t rehydrate as quickly as canned beans. Canned beans split open when dried, but rehydrate better than home cooked beans.

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  1. Marion on September 10, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Hi, where can l get a suitable dehydrator for cooked legumes intended for commercial purposes? Any brand you would recommend?

    Another thing, after dehydration so it doesn’t need any presavatives right?

  2. alex on June 3, 2017 at 4:43 am

    Is there any way to dehydrate beans without a dehydrator?

    • Tanya Krezevska on June 4, 2017 at 10:23 am

      Hi Alex! You can try dehydrate beans also in the oven if it works in low temperatures (around 160F/70C degrees). Place the trays with pre-cooked beans inside the warmed oven, prop the door open for a few inches, and wait for about 12 hours.

  3. BP on December 10, 2016 at 10:24 am

    This is what I was looking for, thank you for posting the guide.
    I am not a hiker, so I am curious how you bring these lentils back to make a meal?

    • Tanya Krezevska on December 11, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      Thank you for the comment. It’s easy and comfortable to cook with dehydrated legumes even at home. You can add them to the soups or stews, or even just rehydrate in cold or hot water and put into salads…

  4. Lisa on November 2, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    How long will dehydrated legumes, spagetti sauce
    and pasta last if placed in closed unsealed mason jars in a cool dark place?

    • Tanya Krezevska on November 4, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      Hi Lisa! Dehydrated legumes and pasta can be stored even in jars up to 1 year. As for dehydrated spaghetti sauce, better to keep it in a vacuum-sealed bag or container in a freezer, especially if you are not planning to use it in 1 month period.

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