Savory meal bar recipes?

Posted by: Lucky Man

Savory meal bar recipes? - 12/01/14 10:57 AM

Does anyone have recipes for savory - NOT sweet - meal-replacement bars that won't go bad on the trail? Most energy bars are full of sugar and dried fruits, and after a couple of days I can't stand them. I'm looking for something like a homemade version of Journey Bars, which are awfully expensive. I'm looking for ingredients such as cheese, zucchini, potatoes, dried tomatoes, onions, corn chips, pepperoni, milk powder, nuts etc.
I have a book, "Simple Foods for the Pack," that has several recipes for savory journey cakes. They were tasty but started going bad after a few days; I need something that will keep.
Also, how do you keep homemade jerky from getting moldy? I made delicious beef jerky in my dehydrator for the CT this past summer, but by the time I got to Lake City there was fungus among us.
I'd appreciate any help.
Posted by: BZH

Re: Savory meal bar recipes? - 12/01/14 12:08 PM

I've never made anything like this, but my first thought to your request was pemmican. Of course, most recipes include dried fruit, so I'm not sure how savory it is.

In terms of decreasing mold you can change your recipe or change your storage technique. More salt, more sugar, and less moisture will result in your jerky lasting longer. There are probably some other preservatives you could add, but not adding those is the whole point of home-made.

In terms of storage, many people vacuum seal and then store their stuff in the freezer until they leave for their trip for maximum storage life. Oxygen absorbing packets in the vacuum seal packs can help extend life even more. Oxygen is your enemy.
Posted by: finallyME

Re: Savory meal bar recipes? - 12/01/14 02:10 PM

I have been experimenting with pemmican. I made a traditional recipe, and it was a little too bland for me. So, I am adding spices to try and get something I like. Pemmican is 50% fat and 50% meat. Supposedly it stores forever. I don't really believe that....yet. With my first batch I made about 2 years ago I put a bunch of the rendered fat in a jar and left it open and put it on a shelf. It still hasn't gone bad...no mold, not rancid...nothing.
Posted by: Lucky Man

Re: Savory meal bar recipes? - 12/01/14 02:26 PM

Thanks, I've been thinking of getting one of those vacuum sealers. They're surprisingly expensive but might be worth the cost because homemade jerky is so much tastier than any commercial jerky I've tried. When I've put my dehydrated vegetables and meats in the freezer in ordinary ziplock bags, sometimes they keep okay but sometimes they form ice crystals that cause spoilage after the bags are taken out to room temperature. Foods in ziplocks seem to keep better in the fridge than the freezer.

I've tried those commercial pemmican bars and hope never to again: imagine eating dry mud mixed with sugar. And yes, they contain dried fruit. I had dried fruit in all my resupply boxes along the CT, and that should be enough for a lifetime. All I wanted was Fritos, hummus and other savories. I'm planning four long hikes next year and might go stoveless on the JMT, so some tasty meal bars would be a great addition to summer sausage, cheese blocks, nuts, rehydrated beans etc.
Posted by: Lucky Man

Re: Savory meal bar recipes? - 12/01/14 02:31 PM

finallyME: could you please post your pemmican recipe? That sounds more like authentic pemmican and would have to taste better than those sweetened dirt bricks sold in stores as pemmican.
Posted by: finallyME

Re: Savory meal bar recipes? - 12/01/14 04:19 PM

Here are the online versions:
pemmican
pemmican 2
pemmican 3

And here you can just buy it
pemmican store

I don't have my own recipe yet.

I wouldn't expect them to taste better than what you previously had. Straight pemmican has less flavor and is not sweet at all.
Posted by: Lucky Man

Re: Savory meal bar recipes? - 12/01/14 06:08 PM

Thank you. It's very humid where I live and I don't have any venison so method 1 is out, but I might be able to try the method in article 2 on beef. I'll add smoked paprika, cumin or other spices.

The so-called pemmican bar I had previously, found in the power bar section, wasn't pemmican at all - it was mostly flour, dried fruit and sweeteners and contained no meat (or flavor).
Posted by: 4evrplan

Re: Savory meal bar recipes? - 12/04/14 12:05 PM

Originally Posted By Lucky Man
When I've put my dehydrated vegetables and meats in the freezer in ordinary ziplock bags, sometimes they keep okay but sometimes they form ice crystals that cause spoilage after the bags are taken out to room temperature.


I suspect one or both of two things is happening. 1) Your food isn't completely dehydrated and/or 2) there is humid air in the Ziploc when you put it into the freezer. Make sure that you've run your dehydrator long enough and that you've squeezed as much air as possible out of the bags. I like to use a straw to suck air out of the bag as I'm closing it. Just make sure you don't mix up which end you've put in your mouth, and be careful not to blow air. Saliva will make the food spoil.
Posted by: Lucky Man

Re: Savory meal bar recipes? - 12/18/14 12:53 PM

Thanks, I'll try that trick with the straw.
Posted by: CamperMom

Re: Savory meal bar recipes? - 12/18/14 01:13 PM

Some of the dehydrator info I've seen includes placing the dehydrated food into a closed glass jar for 24 hours or so before sealing and putting it away. After letting the food sit in a jar, which supposedly allows for some redistribution of moisture, check to see if there is any condensation in the jar. If so, dehydrate some more. Another source says to weigh the food before and after drying, and gives a chart for how dry foods should be. I think green beans were supposed to give up close to 90% of their weight. Have I done this? NO!