Author Topic: Producing my own trekking food  (Read 957 times)

Linea_Norway

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Producing my own trekking food
« on: April 20, 2019, 04:01:12 AM »
Today I started production of a new batch for this summer's hiking trips. I have made my own trekking food before twice, with varying results. Sometimes very good, othertimes not so good. So now I want to use these experiences to male this batch good again.

My goal is to have bags with double portions (me and DH) to which we can add boiling water, wait for 15 minutes, and eat it. We have selfmade a "cosy" for the cooking pan, in which we can keep the food warm. We can also take the pan out and put on the stove if the food gets too cold.

From my previous experiences:
- no egg plant. It will become bitter, with or without the skin.
- no meat frying in the drying machine. I will do like the first time: precook in frying pan on very low heat. Then dry on low temperature.
- all vegetables need precooking, or steaming.
- chunks of vegetable don't become soft. So carrots need to be grated instead of chopped.

My plan is to make the following dishes:
- reindeer stew
- chicken curry, with turkey instead of chicken
- pasta with tomatosaus
- kale with mashed potatoes and minced meat
- fu yong hai with omelet
- broccoli/kale with spices, to go with self caught fish (to be caught on trip)
- cod stew (fish to be caught on trip)
- nasi ramas with turkey
- minced meat with some nice spices (to be defined)

For basic material, I just use what is available of very short cooked rice, pasta or couscous.
Also for brown sauce, I buy a sachet of commercial sauce. But tomato sauce, I made myself.

For meats, I have bought reindeer meat in thin slices, turkey bread topping in thin slices and minced meat with 5% fat.

Currently I have steamed broccoli in tiny pieces in the drying machine, on sheets. On another sheet, the green parts of spring union, which I got for free by putting the white parts of a bunch of spring union in a glass of water. I also have steamed chilipepper in the dryer.
Two racks of steamed mushrooms are standing in the sun to dry, because I want the rest of the veggies in the machine to dry sooner, without the wet mushrooms.
I have steamed lots of red pepper and a few squash, as well as very finely cut kale. After this, I will do the carrots and the turkey slices, after that the minced meat.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2019, 12:35:56 AM by Linea_Norway »

AMandM

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Re: Producing my own trekking food
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2019, 08:52:21 AM »
My husband is starting to plan a backpacking trip for this summer, so I'm very interested in this topic and would love more details.

I'm guessing, based on the German "dampfen," that damping food means steaming it.

Is your basic procedure to steam all the ingredients separately, then dry them, then put them into bags with spices?
Do you dry the tomato sauce, too? How does that work?

Thanks!

Linea_Norway

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Re: Producing my own trekking food
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2019, 12:34:11 AM »
My husband is starting to plan a backpacking trip for this summer, so I'm very interested in this topic and would love more details.

I'm guessing, based on the German "dampfen," that damping food means steaming it.

Is your basic procedure to steam all the ingredients separately, then dry them, then put them into bags with spices?
Do you dry the tomato sauce, too? How does that work?

Thanks!

Yes,I meant steaming.
I only steam the vegetables. The meat is put in a frying pan without oil and mostly treated to get warm/cooked and get some water out. The rice, pasta or other basic materials are added like they are. I use 3 minute cooking rice and pasta.

Yes, I steam and dry all ingredients seperately in bigger quantities. When all is done, I make the bags and take from the ingridients what I need. Then I add the spices that fit with the dish. Apart from the tomato sauce where I add the flavours before I dry them.
The risk of adding flavours with being able to taste the dish, is that the dish doesn't have enough flavour. That is why we allways bring a bag of taco spices, or when we can take more weight, a jar with grinder of mixed spices. We also bring extra salt. When you hike, you sweat more and loose more salt. Good to have some extra in case the dish wasn't salt enough.
As a flavour instead of salt, I often add stock powder to the bags.

For tomato sauce, I use one can of diced tomatoes and a smaller jar of tomato puree. Put it in a wok. I add the flavours and dried herbs to the sauce until it tastes well. Then I reduce the sauce until it is about half the size and I don't see much wetness. You need to stirr well, because it has a tendency to stick. When it feels solud enough, I put it in the food dryer. I use a standard try with a sheet of anti stick baking material on top. That works with both anti stick baking paper or with anti stick sheets.
The sauce goes over several trays and is smeared out as thinly as possible. Then just drying like the other ingredients. When it is dry, it hangs together. I tear it into small pieces and add to the bags.

AMandM

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Re: Producing my own trekking food
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2019, 09:39:40 AM »
Thank you so much, Linda. That is very helpful. I have a food dehydrator ($5 at a garage sale!) already. I think I will make a few trial packets as a surprise for my husband. It's the sort of project he'd be enthusiastic about in principle but would find overwhelming in practice.

bacchi

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Re: Producing my own trekking food
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2019, 09:47:34 AM »
I've always used the cheap dried mix for tomato sauce with some self-dehydrated mushrooms and garlic and onions. I also dehydrate apple slices (and fresh apples last a while, too, if they're packed well).

But your menu sounds a lot more varied and delicious than what I eat most of the time (rice&beans and cous-cous with nuts).

stoaX

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Re: Producing my own trekking food
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2019, 02:28:22 PM »
My plan is to make the following dishes:
- reindeer stew
- chicken curry, with turkey instead of chicken
- pasta with tomatosaus
- kale with mashed potatoes and minced meat
- fu yong hai with omelet
- broccoli/kale with spices, to go with self caught fish (to be caught on trip)
- cod stew (fish to be caught on trip)
- nasi ramas with turkey
- minced meat with some nice spices (to be defined)



Wow!  My meals and snacks on the trail are so lame compared to this.  I gotta up my game!  Thanks for sharing.

El_Viajero

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Re: Producing my own trekking food
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2019, 07:58:33 AM »
Personally (and I'm a very avid backpacker who does long trips), I try to keep it simple with food. My general opinion on backpacking food is that prepping for a trip and managing your gear in the backcountry is a challenge in and of itself. Therefore, make the food part as easy as possible. If you're putting in some good miles, you won't care how fancypants your food is at the end of the day. You'll just be happy for whatever it is you've got.

First of all, two words: Harmony House

They sell dehydrated everything in large quantities. It sounds like you're more ambitious with the prep work, though, so a dehydrator may be the way to go.

A Cliff bar or two in the morning is way easier than preparing food and it gets me on the trail sooner so that I can cover more ground. If I do choose to cook in the morning, which is nice during the cold season, straight up instant oatmeal with a little brown sugar, nuts, and raisins is easy and yummy. Put some powdered milk in there for creaminess.

Like coffee? Instant coffee is easy and requires no additional (heavy) machinery. It ain't Italian espresso, but hey we're in the woods, not Milan. After your outing, "real" coffee will taste just that much better.

For lunch, make your own favorite GORP combo. Eat it on the go or at little breaks.

For dinner, instant polenta (grits), couscous, angel hair pasta, etc. along with some nuts + savory seasonings and dehydrated veggies from Harmony House is the way to go.

Also: the above recommendations are super duper lightweight.

Goldielocks

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Re: Producing my own trekking food
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2019, 05:52:06 PM »
I have been dehydryating my backpacking food for a couple of years now.
I like to dehydrate a stewed chicken (with herbs and salt), and use the shredded meat to make a variety of dinners. I mix up dry seasonings  / plan starches in the week before the trip. 

Chicken for dinner 2 out of 3 days.   
The only casserole that works for me is backpacking chili, dehydrated after cooking as chili.   
Ground beef is a bit nicer in casserole form, rather than dried straight. 
I also make Jerky and dried fruits, and pre cook / dehydrate  my pasta and rice.

I was using my oven, but recently picked up a round (basic) dehydrator at the thrift store for $10.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Producing my own trekking food
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2019, 12:59:11 AM »
I have been dehydryating my backpacking food for a couple of years now.
I like to dehydrate a stewed chicken (with herbs and salt), and use the shredded meat to make a variety of dinners. I mix up dry seasonings  / plan starches in the week before the trip. 

Chicken for dinner 2 out of 3 days.   
The only casserole that works for me is backpacking chili, dehydrated after cooking as chili.   
Ground beef is a bit nicer in casserole form, rather than dried straight. 
I also make Jerky and dried fruits, and pre cook / dehydrate  my pasta and rice.

I was using my oven, but recently picked up a round (basic) dehydrator at the thrift store for $10.

@Goldielocks
How exactly do you do that chicken? You stew the whole chicken in the oven with some fluid until it is done? Or in a stew bag? And how small pieces do you cut it in?

I have tried cutting chicken breasts in extremely small bits and frying them to that they were done (not raw) and dried these. I thought they were a bit clumpy. I have stopped using that sort of meat, because my method didn't work.
What I've done now is using slices of chicken or turkey bread topping and drying those. But they don't get so very tender either after rehydrating. I would love to hear a better method.

AMandM

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Re: Producing my own trekking food
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2019, 07:06:20 AM »
I've got a pouch of past with sausage and tomato sauce and a pouch of veggies and pork with rice, ready for DH's little trip next week. It was a surprise for him and he was thrilled, so thank you again, Linea!

How do you know how much water to put in? Do you just eyeball it or is there a rule of thumb of some kind?

As an aside, I feel like I should confess to being an idiot. I have believed for ages that your username was Linda_Norway. I only just noticed it is actually Linea.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Producing my own trekking food
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2019, 07:22:00 AM »
I've got a pouch of past with sausage and tomato sauce and a pouch of veggies and pork with rice, ready for DH's little trip next week. It was a surprise for him and he was thrilled, so thank you again, Linea!

How do you know how much water to put in? Do you just eyeball it or is there a rule of thumb of some kind?

As an aside, I feel like I should confess to being an idiot. I have believed for ages that your username was Linda_Norway. I only just noticed it is actually Linea.

We eyeball the amount of water. Rether start with too little then too much. In the last case, you just get soup.

I changed my user name, to be a little more anonymous. Changed just one letter.

Goldielocks

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Re: Producing my own trekking food
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2019, 11:45:32 AM »
I have been dehydryating my backpacking food for a couple of years now.
I like to dehydrate a stewed chicken (with herbs and salt), and use the shredded meat to make a variety of dinners. I mix up dry seasonings  / plan starches in the week before the trip. 

Chicken for dinner 2 out of 3 days.   
The only casserole that works for me is backpacking chili, dehydrated after cooking as chili.   
Ground beef is a bit nicer in casserole form, rather than dried straight. 
I also make Jerky and dried fruits, and pre cook / dehydrate  my pasta and rice.

I was using my oven, but recently picked up a round (basic) dehydrator at the thrift store for $10.

@Goldielocks
How exactly do you do that chicken? You stew the whole chicken in the oven with some fluid until it is done? Or in a stew bag? And how small pieces do you cut it in?

I have tried cutting chicken breasts in extremely small bits and frying them to that they were done (not raw) and dried these. I thought they were a bit clumpy. I have stopped using that sort of meat, because my method didn't work.
What I've done now is using slices of chicken or turkey bread topping and drying those. But they don't get so very tender either after rehydrating. I would love to hear a better method.
Ah!
I actually use a crockpot, lot heat (200'F?), no added moisture (because the crockpot)..6+ hours approx.   I add in seasoning - salt, garlic, lemon juice.  I start with a whole chicken because that is easy, cheaper, and breast meat dries out.
It cooks and gets quite wet / mushy... DH does not like it that way to eat, normally.    I can then shred it with two forks.
The shredded meat is spread out on the drying racks until crunchy.  It tastes good dry or reconstituted.
The salt helps it taste great when dry, so use a little more salt than you normally would.

If you don't have a crockpot, the bag in a closed roast pan, very low heat for 4-8 hours would work.

Another one is to make mashed potatoes and spread it on the trays, like you would applesauce... Sweet yams and white potatoes both work well, and this "bark" is easy to reconstitute at camp, or the sweet potatoe / yam ones taste great as bark for a snack.

AMandM

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Re: Producing my own trekking food
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2019, 09:08:37 PM »
DH just came back from his trip. The food I made was overall a success. His comments:
-spaghetti sauce was wonderful, but pasta came out gummy. Maybe he should have cooked the pasta first, then added the sauce.
-veggies & pork were under-seasoned.  In fact when I made them I only seasoned the pork, so next time I will add seasonings to the veg as well.

It was more work than his usual trail food but also more tasty, so probably worth doing in the future. Thanks again for the idea and instructions!

Linea_Norway

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Re: Producing my own trekking food
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2019, 10:45:30 PM »
DH just came back from his trip. The food I made was overall a success. His comments:
-spaghetti sauce was wonderful, but pasta came out gummy. Maybe he should have cooked the pasta first, then added the sauce.
-veggies & pork were under-seasoned.  In fact when I made them I only seasoned the pork, so next time I will add seasonings to the veg as well.

It was more work than his usual trail food but also more tasty, so probably worth doing in the future. Thanks again for the idea and instructions!

I use 3 minute cooking pasta, which turns out well. We put the food in a pan inside a self made insultion thing (called a cosy). We stir it well and then put on the lid and close the insulation. Then we leave it for 10-15 minutes, stirring maybe only once. Then we put it on the stove and warm it up a little more, carefully and stirring, because it could burn onto the bottom of the pan.

Seasoning is difficult if you don't taste the dish at preparation. So bring a sat het of additional seasoning in the trip. Just some general varied mixture. On trips where you sweat, eating enough salt is also imprtant. So an additional pot of salt, or the small satches from work, are good to bring along.