Favorite Freeze Dried Dinners..

Posted by: rabbitearscarver

Favorite Freeze Dried Dinners.. - 07/28/15 11:30 AM

Or just your fave brand of freeze dried food?
Thanks!
Dave
Posted by: bluefish

Re: Favorite Freeze Dried Dinners.. - 07/28/15 04:50 PM

Smaller companies like Packit Gourmet and Hawk Vittles work for us. Mountain Outhouse and Backdoor Pantry have made me sick. Just our taste, I'm sure some of their stuff is fine, but not to my wife and I.
Some of the dried mash potatoes are good when mixed with some olive oil and summer sausage. The Putanesca Pasta from Packit Gourmet is our all time favorite. We now copy it with our home dehydrator.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Favorite Freeze Dried Dinners.. - 07/28/15 06:20 PM

I make up my own meals, using part home dehydrated food and part freeze dried ingredients. I generally buy the freeze-dried portions (some meat and some veggies) from Packit Gourmet or Just Tomatoes. For a long trip, I buy freeze dried fruit, usually from Just Tomatoes, because it's lighter than dehydrated. For a trip of a few days, though, I use the bulk organic dehydrated fruit from Fred Meyer (Kroger subsidiary). It doesn't have sulfites, which I can't stand.

A good website for backpacking meals, some of which use supermarket ingredients, is trailcooking.com.
Posted by: aimless

Re: Favorite Freeze Dried Dinners.. - 08/05/15 12:04 PM

I know that for some people the convenience of buying prepackaged freeze-dried meals is worth the money and loss of portion control that comes with that choice. For myself, I have always assembled my own meals, largely from supermarket ingredients supplemented by a few freeze-dried items.

Various pastas or other starchy bases, like instant rice, couscous or instant mashed potatoes, are easy to find. You can find dried onion or garlic flakes in any supermarket, usually shelved with the spices. Sun-dried tomatoes are also widely available now. For freeze-dried vegetables I use Just Tomatoes brand (hint: they sell more than tomatoes) and PackIt Gourmet. TVP granules can be purchased from Bob's Red Mill. The key for making a pleasing meal seems to be the amount of salt, herbs or spices you add.

OM's suggestion of trailcooking.com is worth your time to check out. It gives you tested recipes for home-assembled meals that you can work from.

As for the commercial all-in-one freeze dried meals, I think individual taste will play a large role in what seems edible and it will come down to trial and error. I'll let others who've gone through that lengthy process speak up about their favorites.
Posted by: CamperMom

Re: Favorite Freeze Dried Dinners.. - 08/08/15 10:11 AM

Some backpackers I met make a quick trip to a grocery store for ramen/rice/etc., and instant bean-based soup cups. They use the soups as the sauce for the noodles or rice. Somewhat high sodium but light and reasonably cheap.
Posted by: Danny303

Re: Favorite Freeze Dried Dinners.. - 08/20/15 02:14 PM

Good info guys, but I have a serious question. If you prepare your own freeze dried meals, what sort of bag do you store them in so you can just add boiling water? I'm assuming a normal zip-lock is not sufficient?
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: Favorite Freeze Dried Dinners.. - 08/20/15 03:09 PM

Zippered freezer bags, one for each portion. They are designed to take hot water, since frozen food is blanched before freezing. Note that by the time you take your water off the stove or fire and pour it into the freezer bag, it's below boiling. Freezer bags are not, however, designed to be immersed in boiling water, and that shouldn't be necessary. There are other types of bags designed for boil-in-bag situations.

Of course you can rehydrate your food in your cooking pot, if you don't mind washing the pot afterwards. (Unless you put the pot back on the fire, the food won't stick to it to any great degree.) If you're traveling solo, you can eat ouf ot the pot, a bit less messy than trying to eat out of a freezer bag. I prefer to eat out of the freezer bag and use the rest of the hot water in the pot for tea, which I drink from the pot. YMMV, here!

Note that freeze-drying, unlike dehydrating, is not something you can do at home--it requires specialized equipment.
Posted by: aimless

Re: Favorite Freeze Dried Dinners.. - 08/20/15 03:14 PM

Personally, I use ordinary ziplocs to store the food, then I use the pot that I heat water in to cook the meals in. Washing the pot and spoon is no big chore.

Others use freezer bags, which are heavier duty, pour in the boiling water and place the bag in a pot cozy to stay hot as the food reconstitutes. This method is explained at trailcooking.com.
Posted by: CamperMom

Re: Favorite Freeze Dried Dinners.. - 08/20/15 03:40 PM

My go-to bags for single-serve meals are well-washed and thoroughly dried mylar snack bags, as from chips, popcorn, etc. Reseal the bottom for safety before adding the dehydrated food, partially seal, remove air with a straw, complete the seal. An ordinary clothes iron on a fairly low heat will serve to seal these. These bags are more vapor and puncture-resistant than most plastic bags. Also, if necessary, they can be placed into a pot of hot water if more cooking time is required.