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#122524 - 10/17/09 10:05 AM Best Kind of Dehydrated Food?
Bradwick Offline
member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 16
Loc: Bayville, ny.
I'm looking for advice on the best kind of dehydrated foods to bring backpacking. What brands and flavors? What about making your own? Price, weight, and flavor to be considered.
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#122529 - 10/17/09 12:04 PM Re: Best Kind of Dehydrated Food? [Re: Bradwick]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

1) - Make and/or put together from grocery store ingredients - go to http://www.trailcooking.com - run by a member here and is a very good source for this. I tend to to the "put it together from grocery store ingredients - since I don't own a dehydrator.

2) - Buy good stuff. My personal favorite brands are the Natural High, Mountain House, and Mary Jane's Farm stuff - but it depends on what it is. if it sounds too good to be true (like dehydrated no-cook pizza and burgers) it is.. if you're trying to use a lightweight approach with little to no cooking be sure to read the directions - I take only stuff I can make by adding boiling water to it.

On a related note, I personally detest backpackers pantry brand, but maybe that's just me.

As realisticly they aren't that expensive compared to eating out, I suggest you put a kettle in your office and try a few for lunch before going out. You'll figure out what you like and go with food you know you'll enjoy rather than finding out you don't like something when it's your only dinner. Not the end of the world for sure, but it's nice to *enjoy* your food on the trail rather than just getting by.
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#122534 - 10/17/09 04:14 PM Re: Best Kind of Dehydrated Food? [Re: phat]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
And realize that for most folks a "2 serving" bag serves 1.....

I'd agree with phat on the brands. Also check out www.packitgourmet.com for their tasty meals (and online grocery store for every ingredient you could want!)
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#122536 - 10/17/09 06:58 PM Re: Best Kind of Dehydrated Food? [Re: sarbar]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6401
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I personally detest commercial freeze-dried dinners (many of them are mostly preservatives and all have too much sodium), so I dry my own. I also prefer whole-grain foods (rice, pasta, cous-cous, etc.) which is another reason for doing my own. Brown rice cooked in well-seasoned chicken and/or vegetable broth and then dehydrated is really good! Add some TVP for protein and you're all set.

A lot of one-dish meals you like at home work really well when dehydrated and reconstituted. Just be sure to dehydrate only one serving and test the results at home first. I well remember (and have mentioned before) the chicken casserole with peas I took out without first testing. I boiled and boiled the thing until everything was the consistency of glue--except for the peas, which were still like buckshot. To avoid this situation, it's a good idea to buy freeze-dried veggies (I use the "Just Tomatoes" brand) and add them to the dish after dehydrating. Spinach is an exception that works fine in a home dehydrator.

While it's always barely possible that something you really like at home may not taste good on the trail, I've never craved anything that I disliked at home. That's why taste-testing before your trip is so important, whether a commercial freeze-dried meal, one out of supermarket ingredients or your own home-cooking.

By using Sarbar's freezer bag cooking method as detailed on her website (hooray for Sarbar!), there is no dishwashing--just lick off and rinse your spoon. The dirty freezer bag that remains is great for sealing up your garbage (especially packing out your used TP).
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#122538 - 10/17/09 08:11 PM Re: Best Kind of Dehydrated Food? [Re: Bradwick]
Knaight Offline
member

Registered: 03/31/09
Posts: 50
Loc: Massachusetts
You can buy all natural, flavored cous cous for pretty cheap. The boxes I buy claim to be four servings, but I'll eat the whole box for dinner on the trail. To me, cous cous is the perfect trail dinner. It's full of nutrients that you need for backpacking, is extremely fast and easy to cook, and hits the spot oh so well when you're settling into camp for the night.

I pack each serving in a freezer bag, throw in 1/4 cup almonds, and bring along one ounce of hot sauce for the trip. All I have to do to prepare it is boil a cup of water, pour it in the bag, and let it sit for a couple minutes. No dishes!

My standard breakfast is granola, dried berries, almonds, and evaporated milk in a smaller ziploc bag. Pour in some cold water and it's ready to eat. Again, no dishes. I like to get going as quick as possible, so I only take the time to boil water for coffee. So far, we've been happy enough with instant coffee. The Starbucks brand is actually pretty good, and it's extremely lightweight.

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#122553 - 10/18/09 12:06 PM Re: Best Kind of Dehydrated Food? [Re: Bradwick]
Fiddleback Offline
member

Registered: 06/22/04
Posts: 478
Loc: Northern Rockies
Nearly all my trail dinners are dehydrated for FBC. While My Lady and I did some of our breakfasts FBC-style in the 80's, it took the wise and wonderful Sarbar to inspire me to do that for the evening trail meal. thanks

I like to reserve portions of regular at-home meals for dehydrating. Spagetti, chile, thick soups, rice-hamburger-vegie mixes, etc., all make great FBC meals. It's convenient, cheap, healthy, and good tasting.

FB
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#122556 - 10/18/09 01:16 PM Re: Best Kind of Dehydrated Food? [Re: Fiddleback]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
PSSSTTTTT! For everyone who asked us for the last 3 years if the next book is coming - lets just that is all I am doing right now - editing. Told Kirk the next book needs to be here before the next kid shows up grin Thanksgiving weekend is the 4th anniversary of the first book's first edition smile 5th anniversary for the website!
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Freezer Bag Cooking, Trail Cooking, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
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#122563 - 10/18/09 04:41 PM Re: Best Kind of Dehydrated Food? [Re: sarbar]
sabre11004 Offline
member

Registered: 05/05/07
Posts: 513
Loc: Tennessee
I agree with OregonMouse. I do not really like all that store bought freeze dried back packing food because of all the preservatives that are in so that it can have a eternal shelf life. I dehydrate all my meals myself and I try to do it maybe a week or so before we go so that it will still be fresh when we rehydrate it. Besides I can get a much better variety than you can get with these store bought dehydrated meals. With all the spicing that you can add yourself, you can certainly make stuff that tastes better that the store bought variety. I also have a length of silnylon that my wife has sewn "pockets" into. The vacuum sealed individual packs just slip down into these sleeves and rolls up into a tube that fits in the top of my pack..sabre11004. thanks
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#122573 - 10/18/09 09:44 PM Re: Best Kind of Dehydrated Food? [Re: sabre11004]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By sabre11004
I agree with OregonMouse. I do not really like all that store bought freeze dried back packing food because of all the preservatives that are in so that it can have a eternal shelf life.


Have you *looked* before saying that? the Natural High and the Mary Jane's farm stuff is *not* "full of preservatives". Some other ones are, but really, you don't need a lot of preservatives with dry food. Most of the store bought ones *are* quite high in sodium - if that's a problem for you be sure to read the label.

If you are concerned about preservatives and goo *read the label* as opposed to taking generalizations as gospel.

Now, having a preference for home dehydrated stuff so you know what is going in it I have no problem with. just base that decision on fact and/or personal preference rather than a generalization that's not true.

I too like my home put together stuff better. Unfortunately I'm at a stage of my life where a day taken off doing work, or doing honey-do's at home to spend extra time making my food is a day I could be on the trail - so most of the time I buy - or assemble easily - rather than make my own from scratch.

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Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
Browse my pictures


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#122599 - 10/19/09 09:32 AM Re: Best Kind of Dehydrated Food? [Re: phat]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
phat, the shelf life of MJ meals are also considerably lower than most. MJ Meals are the only meals out there that are organic that I'd recommend to people.

BTW, I caught Alpine Aire in a set of lies on what they claimed on their website versus what the bags said. And I complained. They changed the info on the website. They had slipped in a few minor preservatives, fake flavorings, etc they said were not used!
_________________________
Freezer Bag Cooking, Trail Cooking, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
www.trailcooking.com

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#123038 - 10/28/09 08:14 PM Re: Best Kind of Dehydrated Food? [Re: Bradwick]
acronym Offline
member

Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 30
Loc: Boston - MA
since you've asked for brands and flavors, I've thought about going on an overnighter just so I can have a Mary Janes bare burrito. (no, that's not an euphemism)

maybe this weekend....

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