Hey all, new member here. I've been lurking around the last week or so, and doing a lot of reading the last month. I'm interested in starting to get into hiking, and ultralight in particular. I'm very interested in ultralight food, and having recently purchased an AWESOME Excalibur dehydrator, plan on making a lot of my own trail food. The recurring theme I see in a lot of recipes is olive oil, which it sounds like most people carry in a small bottle. My question is: Has anyone ever tried using olive oil powder instead? (Do a google, it's made with tapioca maltodextrin & olive oil-you can make it at home) This seems like a much lighter, less messy alternative to carrying liquid oil. But I can't seem to find much information on how shelf stable it might be. Right now it's mostly used in artsy fartsy cooking for a wow factor, but it seems like ultralighters might be able to repurpose it. I'll likely be doing my own experiments, but I thought I'd ask here first. Thanks in advance!
I don't have any experience with it, but my thoughts are, if you add malto dextrin then the resulting product will have to be heavier per amount olive oil... ie your diluting your olive oil by making it.
This still might be a great idea if you can mix it into your freezer-bag meals at home and then don't have to worry about it on the trail. Making your life simpler.
One of the reasons some carry olive oil is as a multi use item. Obviously it adds taste and calories to food but can also be used as a fire starter (dip some cotton /wool/paper in it and light it) as a skin soother (if you burn yourself apply plenty of cold water then when the skin has cooled down, apply the oil) as a lubricant , can be used over bee stings , as ear wax softener (slightly warm,NOT HOT...) also with ear aches, as skin moisturizer, as a mild laxative. BTW, I am not a doctor... Franco
All good reasons to carry olive oil. Here's some other points to think about: Apparently, tapioca maltodextrin is incredibly light (I'm not certain, but I believe 1 lb of the powder comes in a 1 1/2 gallon size plastic ice cream-type tub). It also dissolves instantly on contact with an aqueous substance (therefore returning back to just olive oil). So with a teeny bit of water, you'd have your liquid olive oil again. Would be interesting to find out, from a sheer weight perspective, if the powdered version is the same as simple liquid olive oil. Maybe you'd be trading the worry of leaking bottles/oily messes for the worry of what happens if even the smallest amount of water gets into your powder.
Loc: San Diego CA
Look, if you want to to use 4 oz of olive oil in cooking, making Olive oil powder actually increases the weight of the olive oil slightly. Just think about it for a second; you are adding more weight to a defined weight. Nothing is "going away" or evaporating, it's just being absorbed by the maltodextrin. I suppose you could make that up in the container you put it in. But, really this is about creating different flavors more than a backpackable powder. Personally I have never had my liquid olive oil leak on me while backpacking and the container I carry it in is under 2oz no matter how much I bring in with me. That said, you can come up with some cool flavor combinations using the powder, but I wouldn't fry my trout in it.
Personally I prefer to carry the single serving packets of EVOO that one can find online (Minimus for example). It is the perfect amount for one meal. It stays fresh, doesn't leak, etc.
The thing about oil is that for its weight it provides a lot of calories making it worthwhile weight. It provides a fuller feeling to meals, keeps one warmer at night in cool weather and keeps stomachs feeling better - since dehydrated food can easily upset a stomach not used to it.
I don't see a conflict in hiking UL and carrying oil.
And yes...you can turn it into a powder but why? It still weighs the same (if not a tiny bit more) and the issue behind it being a powder is you cannot dress a cold salad with it (say a lentil and couscous salad). It becomes more limited IMO.
Freezer Bag Cooking, Trail Cooking, Recipes, Gear and Beyond: www.trailcooking.com