1 Zone / 16 Tray / 2.56m² Tray Areaview
- Chili of your choice
- If the chili you're using is runny, add a little cornstarch and cook until the liquid has thickened to the point that it will not run off the drying sheets. With a fork, mash any pieces of meat until they are the size of large grains of rice. Beans can be left whole or cut in half.
- Working with 1 cup of chili at a time, spread it in strips on drying sheets set in dehydrator trays. Dehydrate at 135°F (57°C) for a vegan chili (no meat, dairy, or oil) or 155°F (68°C) (if it contains meat) for 8 to 10 hours. For a meat-based chili, after 5 to 6 hours, when the top of the chili is dry, flip the drying sheet over onto the dehydrating trays and peel the drying sheet away. Because of the higher temperature used to dehydrate this, case hardening can occur and this will help prevent that from happening, allowing the chili to dry all the way through. Continue to dehydrate until dry and brittle.
- Crumble each of the leathers (they should measure to 1 cup) and store individually. If vacuum sealed with an oxygen absorber, a meat-based chili will keep up to 1 month in the pantry, 6 months in the refrigerator, or 1 year in the freezer; if kept in a ziptop plastic freezer bag, it will keep in the refrigerator for 1 month and be good for 5 days once removed from the refrigerator if kept cool and dry. A vegetarian chili will keep in a cool, dry place for 5 or more years in a vacuum-sealed bag with an oxygen absorber; if stored in a ziptop plastic freezer bag, it will keep for 1 month.