Monday, 28 March 2011

Backpacking / hiking dehydrated food

Just a quick update from the last post.

After packing the backpack with the trusty Trangia spirit cooker, my spork, fuel and DRIED meat and veg, along with normal wildcamping gear we set off to the Derbyshire Peak District.

After a long days trek, the temperature dropping and the light fading, it's time to eat. Very often this can be quite an effort especially when you are tired and weary.

Just boiling a quick packet soup or dried noodles is not a problem but cooking a real trekkers hearty meal takes a lot more work. Normally!

So, I filled a Trangia saucepan with water, tipped in some dehydrated chicken, a bit if dried beef and a good quantity of my dehydrated vegetables. Then stirred in a spoonful of powered chicken stock and waited a couple of mins until it came to the boil.

Once at the boil bring the flame down on the Trangia with the restriction ring and tip in the noodles from a cheap instant noodle pack. I also added the flavour pack too.

That's it, leave to gently simmer for a couple of mins. Dish up into two/three big hiker sized bowls, spork to the ready and get stuck in.

We were very surprised how tasty this was and of course packed with protein and goodness from the vegetables. The noodles filling it out very nicely too.

This was the first trial using our own dehydrated foods and well impressed we were too. But this is just the start and now we know how good the resulting re-hydrated food is, it will only get better.

But of course the main reason for doing it in the first place, IT IS VERY LIGHT !!!

So all in all we are very impressed with the dehydrator and really looking forward to our next backpacking / wildcamping trip and trying out new recipes.

If you have any good dried food recipes please feel free to lets us all know :)

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The dehydrated food backpacker/hiker.

As any backpacker/hiker will tell you the most important consideration when preparing your pack for a long hike is weight, every ounce/kg counts. Like most backpackers we love are food so cutting back on flavour and goodness is not an option.

Carrying a bag of fresh vegetables, fruit and meat is obviously not the way to go for a nice manageable pack. We would probably be better off with a trailer or 4*4 off road-er. We have taken fresh meat to eat with flavoured noodles, this is normally eaten on the first or second night of hike to make sure it is still fresh and edible. And of course it is not the lightest food source in the world.

As you can see in previous posts we have made the leap to dehydrating food. There are some great sources of information on the internet for food dehydration, mainly from the USA where dehydrating seems to be the norm. We have also had some great advise in direct mail from other foody hikers where eating is as much a part of hiking as the walk itself.

With the new dehydrator I have now got a small selection of meat, vegetables and fruit all ready for the next hike. The very first amazing thing that I noticed is how light it all is. Even in the plastic boxes for long term storage the weight is very negligible. However for the hikes we will re pack into very light weight seal-able plastic bags.

The plan.
At the end of a long days hike, tent is pitched, bed laid, sun is just setting now its time to eat. Tip some water into the pan of the Trangia to bring to the boil. Add some powdered stock, (can be any type,curry, chilly, coq au van ) what ever you fancy, even just a stock cube. Add some dehydrated vegetables and meat, better to add this straight away to give it time to re-hydrate. When reaching boiling point add some packet flavoured noddles. Wait a couple of minutes for the noodles to cook, et viola, dinner.

We are out next weekend in the peak district UK, 3-4 days wild camping and dehydrated eating, fingers crossed, we'll let you know!

Bon appetite.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Wild camping vegetables ....

So .... I dried my first batch of veg and fruit.

Well, actually I also added a tray of runny chicken curry, probably not the best idea I ever had. Looking back on it all was not lost, I have put it down as a good lesson.

The veg and fruit dried great so I quickly stored them in a zip seal plastic bag for using in a hiking hotpot. The curry ended up as a couple of dozen small pieces of leather in the middle of the drier.  A little more learning to do there.

I use the dried fruit on my cereal in the mornings and pretty good it is too. The most amazing thing about the whole operation, and I suppose it is the whole point. The weight of the dried fruit is incredibly light, which will make it great for hiking.

Any way since the efforts I have dried more cooked root veg of which I plan to use in some onepot meals while out wild camping on these still chilly nights. I figure some dried meat, chicken more than likely. With some dried stock powder, or curry powder and just a touch of flour to thicken things up if nescessary.

Cant wait to give it a try. Of course a sensible person would try it before we go hiking, but oh no not me. I'll let you know how good it is ...... or not! lol

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Dried food for backpacking & Wild Camping

If you read the previous post you will have known that I had just ordered the Stockli Dehydrator with Stainless Steel Trays & Timer

The online order process was simple and the next day the delevery man knocked on the door. So I was impressed with the speed of delevery too, and everything arrived as odered :)

Now that I have my dehydrator I need to put it to the test.  I have gone straight for a full blown attack. One tray full of chopped apple, another tray with very wet Kiwi fruit and the next tray with a very runny curry. The curry is too wet to put on the plastic mats supplied so erm ..... I have left it on a plate.

I know ... idiot, but hey you have to try. So I believe I am pushing it to and posibly beyond its limits. We'll see!

I'm going to leave it run for a few hour (7-8) and see what we have in the morning.

I'll let you know, good or bad .....

Monday, 28 February 2011

Stockli Dehydrator with Stainless Steel Trays & Timer

Well .... I have now ordered a dehydrator.

I have gone for the Stockli Dehydrator with Stainless Steel Trays & Timer.

Not sure why, for lots of reasons, I'm not even 100% sure that I need one. However it seems a good idea at the moment.

I have ordered it from this morning at about 11.30am. The site was very easy to use and the purchase was easy.

I instantly received automatic confirmation of my order and within a few minutes I also received information that my order has been sent for despatch.

I'll let you when we get delivery and how we get on making meals for our wild camping exploits. CANT WAIT.

If you have any tips or advise please leave a comment or get in touch :)

visit for more information on wild camping.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Not Just chicken .... oh no!

How about top nosh while out wild camping

Pan fried chicken breast in cider with leek and asparagus risotto. 

Using the fry pan of the Trangia cooker fry a couple of slices of bacon. When cooked remove from the pan. Place two chicken breasts into the pan.

While the chicken is frying tip the contents of the Ainsley Harriet Risotto into a pan, then add the required amount of water.

When the chicken is cooked through and nicely browned on both sides tip in a couple of good glugs of cider. Very little seasoning is needed due to the salt from the cooking of the bacon.

Remove the frying pan from the heat and replace with the pan containing the risotto. while the risotto is coming to the boil place the frying pan on top of the risotto pan. This keeps the chicken and cider cooking.

Keep your eye on the risotto as it thickens and stir from occasionally.

Tip a little of the cider sauce into the risotto as it cooks and thickens. When the risotto is cooked we are ready to serve with the rest of the cider to wash it down.

Bon appetite

Wild camping nosh at it's best.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Dehydrate or not dehydrate? That is the question!

 When you spend a lot of time trekking, backpacking, wild camping or generally spending most of your spare time wondering around the great outdoors and wilderness of the world. You know the two main concerns are water and food.

Clean, fresh water is really the very most important as you know, as we cannot survive for more than a couple of days without it. And in hot steamy climates this is even more of a concern, and should be top of your check list.

Which brings me to food.
When you eat on a trek you can take food that serves its purpose as a source of fuel and re-stocks our energy and vitamin levels. There are even some pills that you can take that will achieve most of this. BUT, they either don't taste at all, or really taste rubbish.

There are some very good ready made dried meals that are very easy to prepare and are tasty too. So this has to be considered. However, when I'm out in the wilds, and wild camping, it's a must to eat at least 3 good meals a day.

If I am paying £3-£4 for each meal it makes me shudder a little, so I refuse too.

Dehydrating our own?
This got me thinking about purchasing my own dehydrating machine. It seems that the main advantages will be:-
  • Pre make my own very tasty meals and dry them.
  • After the initial cost I have got to save money, maybe? What do you think?
I've been looking at the Nesco American Harvest FD-1020 it seems to do what it says on the tin. However there does seem to me a very wide choice so more research is needed.

My main concern is WATER.If you dehydrate, then you have to rehydrate. As we mentioned at the beginning water is/can be a very rare resource. So with no water to rehydrate we have no food either.
Mmm I need to think about this ….. watch this space!!!!

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