do you dehydrate your own trail meals? | High Sierra Topix  

do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Have a favorite trail recipe or technique you'd like to share? Please do! We also like reviews of various trail food products out there. The Backcountry Food Topix forum is the place to discuss all things related to food and nourishment while in the Sierra wilderness (as well as favorite trail head eateries).
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby gary c. » Mon May 09, 2016 7:51 pm

I started out making gravel for my burritos and still use it for that. I have even rolled it up in a tortilla with mustard and ketchup for kind of a back country burger. It can be a little chewy because of some small pieces of gristle depending on the grind.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray



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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby robow8 » Wed May 18, 2016 6:47 pm

longri wrote:How about fish? Does anyone have success rehydrating dried fish or seafood?


I dehydrated some shrimp with okay results. I'm going to play around some more with it. Rehydrated, it was a bit chewy, but that may be because the meal needed a little more water.

I bought a bag of cooked, medium shrimp from Costco. Thawed some, then cut them into 4 pieces each. Dehydrated 6 hours @140. Check for doneness by cutting a piece to make sure there was no moisture.

Cajun Rice with shrimp and beans. (I stole this from MountainHouse)
2/3 cup Minute Rice
1/4 cup dried shrimp
1/4 cup Costco bacon bits
1/4 cup dried black beans
1T dried bell peppers
1T dried celery
2t dried onion
1/2 t garlic powder
1T Cajun spice
1T tomato powder
2T olive oil

Put everything but the oil in a quart freezer bag. Add 14 ounces boiling water. Seal and put in cozy for 15 minutes. Add oil and stir. If more heat needed, Tobasco works well!
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby longri » Thu May 19, 2016 8:07 am

robow8 wrote:
longri wrote:How about fish? Does anyone have success rehydrating dried fish or seafood?


I dehydrated some shrimp with okay results. I'm going to play around some more with it. Rehydrated, it was a bit chewy, but that may be because the meal needed a little more water.

Thanks. I'd forgotten about shrimp. I've had the same result as you. The amount of water and time doesn't seem to matter but the pieces are small enough that the chewiness isn't too off putting in some contexts. I usually include them in a wild rice meal I dehydrate. Since the wild rice is supposed to be chewy the shrimp texture isn't that distracting. That meal is a lot better with fresh shrimp.

What I'd really love is to be able to rehydrate salmon. I have a big bag of really good salmon I broke into tiny pieces and dehydrated that tastes wonderful straight out of the bag. But it will not rehydrate into anything beyond soggy jerky bits.
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby Asolthane » Thu May 19, 2016 5:12 pm

fishmonger wrote:Wow , thanks for all the feedback. Didn't expect that much response.

Zip lock bags it is then. I will probably still vacuum seal those meals that go into resupply buckets we need to send out weeks in advance, but then we can repack at the time we pick up.

I will have to try some of the bark recipes I found online, especially the pumpkin pie bark, which sounds like a yummie snack
http://www.backpackingchef.com/pumpkin-pie-bark.html

lots of great ideas on that web site, although some of it looks a little too complicated to assemble. I like one-bag meals :)

I'm really not sure what the point of ziplock bags is. I bring a titanium pot big enough to cook my meal if solo or to cook 2 portions if I'm with a partner. Maybe the pot weighs an extra oz since its slightly bigger. This way I can add things in two stages if necessary.

Downsides of a bag:
- possibility of chemicals leeching
- hard to scoop out all of the food. Messy on your hands, and wet food inside bag means carrying it out.
- chance of bag breaking while cooking/eating
- bag is hot to touch

I dehydrate all veggie components of meals, but buy bulk freeze dried chicken or beef online. Dehydrated meat = jerkey. It won't rehydrate well.

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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby fishmonger » Sat May 21, 2016 8:33 am

The point of zip lock bags is: put the food into them for transport. I don't cook in them. Re-read the post, it is all about storage and transport, not cooking. I have never cooked anything in a zip lock bag. Ick.
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby TahoeJeff » Sat May 21, 2016 10:51 am

You guys don't know what you are missing:

http://www.trailcooking.com/trail-cooki ... oking-101/
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby Asolthane » Sat May 21, 2016 3:29 pm

fishmonger wrote:The point of zip lock bags is: put the food into them for transport. I don't cook in them. Re-read the post, it is all about storage and transport, not cooking. I have never cooked anything in a zip lock bag. Ick.


Yes, but many many people suggested cooking in the bag in post after post. I was responding to the thread, not only your original question.

As far as storage and transport, what else would you put dehydrated meals in other than a ziplock bag? Why would that be a food safety concern?
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby AlmostThere » Sat May 21, 2016 4:20 pm

I don't cook in them. I pour hot water in and rehydrate the food, and eat out of them. And then I don't have to do dishes in the wilderness, spreading bits of food around for the little critters to find.

To each his own. We all have our ICK factor.
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby fishmonger » Sat May 21, 2016 6:43 pm

Asolthane wrote:
fishmonger wrote:The point of zip lock bags is: put the food into them for transport. I don't cook in them. Re-read the post, it is all about storage and transport, not cooking. I have never cooked anything in a zip lock bag. Ick.


Yes, but many many people suggested cooking in the bag in post after post. I was responding to the thread, not only your original question.

As far as storage and transport, what else would you put dehydrated meals in other than a ziplock bag? Why would that be a food safety concern?


I usually pack my food in vacum sealed bags to make them last longer. I am cooking and drying right now for two trips this year. Food has to last at least through mid October. I will repack at pickup time into zip locks, as they are better for stuffing bear cans, but they don't seal out oxygen or moisture as well.

I also insist on a minimal amount of culture in the mountains, and that is to eat out of a solid vessel with a proper titanium spork =;
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby Asolthane » Sat May 21, 2016 6:44 pm

fishmonger wrote:
Asolthane wrote:
fishmonger wrote:The point of zip lock bags is: put the food into them for transport. I don't cook in them. Re-read the post, it is all about storage and transport, not cooking. I have never cooked anything in a zip lock bag. Ick.


Yes, but many many people suggested cooking in the bag in post after post. I was responding to the thread, not only your original question.

As far as storage and transport, what else would you put dehydrated meals in other than a ziplock bag? Why would that be a food safety concern?


I usually pack my food in vacum sealed bags to make them last longer. I am cooking and drying right now for two trips this year. Food has to last at least through mid October. I will repack at pickup time into zip locks, as they are better for stuffing bear cans, but they don't seal out oxygen or moisture as well.

I also insist on a minimal amount of culture in the mountains, and that is to eat out of a solid vessel with a proper titanium spork =;

Ah. I have mine in the freezer.

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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby fishmonger » Sat May 28, 2016 8:26 am

Some more progress to report. Recall my rock-hard pork from my first meat drying experiment? I took those pieces and pounded them in a stone masher, breaking up the hard pieces into fiber strands. Tested in a bowl of ramen and it worked like a charm. 4 pounds of pork saved, now to be used with ramen and mashed potato meals.

Next I tried my luck with chicken again. I bought canned chicken at Costco - 6 can pack for a net 75 oz of white meat, 98% fat free, drained and rinsed it, cut into small pieces, put in pot with chicken stock and boiled it for about half an hour to remove more fat, then rinsed it in a strainer with hot water and washed it a few more times in a pot of hot water. The result dried up perfectly, no fat on the Teflon sheets, and it showed how much water they manage to sell you as meat in those cans. Once dried only about 1/6th of the original weight remains, so my 75 ounces of chicken are little over 12 ounces dry. It rehydrates quickly, but due to my process, there aren't any bigger pieces left for proper meat texture. It's finely shredded chicken now.

Another meal that needed some testing was spaghetti with a red sauce. We used to buy this freeze dried, but never really liked it. So I took a lesson from backcountrychef.com and made spaghetti sauce "leather," drying two cans of Newman's Own sauce. Spread on 4 dryer rack liners, this took a while to dry, but when done, it peeled right off the sheet and folded like a piece of really thick leather. I tested rehydrating and put 1/2 of a can into a bowl, broke it up into quarter-sized pieces and added just 1/4 cup of water to start the process while the water for the noodles was heating. Finished the 5 min spaghetti, and added another 1/2 cup of water to the already mostly dissolved thick sauce. I screwed up the math on the water with that half cup (thinking I had a full can of sauce), so it was suddenly really runny. To fix that I put in a lot of dry mushrooms, some beef gravel and dry onions. After a few minutes that seemed to get it all to the proper consistency, mixed in the noodles and had a great bowl of spaghetti, although still al little too much water. Next time no more than 1/2 cup total for half a can of that sauce. I will also chop up that sauce leather into tiny pieces before the hike, so that it packs better and rehydrates even faster, but even without the chopping, there really no problems with rehydrating the sauce. Spahgetti for two with meat sauce for about $2.50 per meal (mostly due to the meat cost) and much tastier with lower salt than the freeze dried stuff.

A few more simple meals we enjoy were tested - Idahoan Roasted Garlic mashed potatoes, added in some of the crushed-up pork bits, home-dried red peppers, some green and white dried onions. Beats our old version with the cut-up Landjaeger sausage, although for the ultimate version, we'll probably add that, too.

Right now I'm drying red and yellow bell peppers as well as some broccoli to see how that works out as an added ingredient for soups. The last batch of bell peppers I dried has almost been used up in home cooking, that's how good this tastes. Better than fresh peppers, because the flavor is more concentrated, as it never rehydrates back to the original levels of water content.

2 weeks before I have to mail a resupply bucket to the Muir Trail Ranch. We already have a pile of ProBars, Builder's bars, Luna and Lara bars. Next I will have to source some beef jerky (buy from local farm - cannot do this any cheaper and their stuff is awesome). Dried sausage and other more perishable foods will be bought at the last moment.
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Re: do you dehydrate your own trail meals?

Postby robow8 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:53 pm

I dehydrated some watermelon the other day. It is really good.
I also made and dehydrated the carrot pineapple salad from Backpacker's website. I haven't rehydrated any yet to see how it turns out, but it should be okay.
http://www.backpacker.com/skills/beginn ... -salads/2/
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