Warning: Super geek out backpacking post!
I’ve been on a whirlwind this last week. Researching, developing and testing my foods for backpacking this weekend. This is the second time I’ve done this for backpacking — the first time was for our Yosemite Half Dome trip back in 2015 where I made homemade spaghetti noodles, pesto sauce, bison chili, and rice for the dinners for four people. This year, it’ll just be me and one other friend. She will have the “honor” of reviewing / being my guinea pig for all the food this weekend! 😉
I did cheat a bit here — as some of it is filled with store bought foods. My main focus was on providing nutritious, filling dinners. For lunch, it was a hack together of store bought “food stuff” — see pretzels, triscuits, tuna, miso soup packets, and salami (center). I don’t stock these foods in my home, nor eat them…really, ever. But when backpacking, you kind of need foods that are fast, light, calorie dense, and convenient. So this was my compromise! :T
Here is my bear box total weight (minus 1# for toiletries inside and 2.52# for garcia bear canister weight), so about 4.58# of food, tea & packaging. Trail mix granola pictured sitting on top (as it will only fit after we eat some!).
I can’t even begin to tell you how much cooking and dehydrating time this took, considering that most foods in the dehydrator take a minimum of 8-10 hours (whether fruit or meat). I did this over the course of a minimum of 5-6 days of dehydrating…that’s 60+ hours of dehydrating. For prepping and cooking shephard’s pie and pork chili and rice, let’s say 3 hrs max for each dish (I made a lot, not pictured here), so another 6 hrs. For prepping all the fruit, let’s say 2 hrs (and this isn’t even all the fruit that I dehydrated…I have a couple more bags that are going elsewhere!). So maybe 68 hours? I did spend 15 hrs in the kitchen cooking one day, but that’s because I was making a bunch of food, some related to backpacking and others for eating…
Anyway, I’m pretty much done being crazy for awhile, but to show how OCD crazy I get, here’s a glimpse of my meals spreadsheet:
Some final notes…
Oatmeal bark – Can be eaten as strips or rehydrated into a “porridge.” Porridge is a more appealing word than “gruel,” yes? ;P
Beef Shepherd’s Pie – Mashed potatoes with no milk, butter / fat added (since fat does not dehydrate). On the trail, I’m planning to add olive oil to invoke some more flavor. I intend to put the mashed potatoes and beef filling in a pot with some water and bring it to a boil, then let it sit for a few minutes to rehydrate.
Pork Chili – I don’t know why I chose basmati rice… I really should have gone with brown for more “satiety,” but it was the first rice I pulled out of the pantry, so that’s what I did. Like the Shepherd’s Pie, I’m going put everything in a pot, add some water, bring it to a boil and let it reconstitute.
Fruit Strips – Just like when we were kids, okay, I’m sure adults still eat fruit strips these days… I had a bunch of fresh blueberries that I turned into fruit strips/leathers. My mom also has a pear tree and she decided to pick like 20 of them unripe, so I pureed that and added some lemon juice and sugar to make the pear fruit strips.
Chips – I had three white nectarines that just kept sitting in my fridge and I said I would eat them, but I did not! So I sliced them up and they are super delicious as chips! 🙂 I also had 3 beets that I had cooked and well, there’s only so much beet you can eat in a sitting, so I sliced and dehydrated them to make beet chips. They are quite surprising and delicious. I never thought they would taste like candy…but they do when they retain a bit of chewiness, like gummy bears! 😀
Trail Mix Granola – My standard granola mix with chocolate chips and cranberries added.