I haven’t talked about food for a while so I thought I’d review a couple of meals from my latest hike. Last summer I went on a drying and baking binge and I’ve had an assortment of foods hanging around in the freezer that hadn’t been sampled for quite a while. As I was packing for my trip into Redfield Canyon last weekend, I decided to throw a few into the pack to see how they have faired.
First in line was the spaghetti sauce. I dried a couple of jars of store bought sauce in August 2009, mixed it with some spices, dried mushrooms, and dried hamburger in a vacuum bag. After sealing, I tossed it in the freezer where it has sat for the last 10 months. The sauce leather was really dry and brittle so I wasn’t sure how well it would reconstitute especially since all I had with me was my Super Cat stove which is not a great choice for extended cooking. I needn’t have worried. I poured the water directly into the vacuum bag and let it sit. Within ten minutes it was ready to eat, so I mixed in some ramen noodles and had at it. All in all, a satisfying trail meal at a fraction of the price of a prepackaged, freeze dried meal.
A couple of notes. Ramen noodles are preferred over spaghetti noodles because they cook much faster. That means less fuel weight to carry. Don’t throw out that flavor packet either. You can use it to spice up your instant rice or couscous. Also, if you package your own food use an oversized bag. This lets you prepare it and eat it right in the bag which means less dishes to clean. In the desert especially, you don’t want to waste extra water on cleaning.
Another success was the “Zippy Herbed Crackers” from “The Well-Fed Backpacker” by June Fleming. I’ll post the recipe later, but these tough crackers are made with oatmeal, wheat flour and germ, sesame seeds, spices, eggs, honey, and oil. They are packed with nutrition and are great with pretty much any meat or cheese you choose to bring. They are also great nibblers during the hike.
Of course not every recipe works out. This trip’s failure was my dried salad of cabbage, carrots, and peppers. Even after soaking it was like eating dried hay. Couldn’t finish it. The peppers were actually quite nice, but the rest just didn’t work for me. I still have a couple of packets left so next time I’ll try soaking them longer and mixing in a packet of italian dressing.
So that’s it. Now let me hear about your favorite trail recipes!
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About the Author: Tucson, AZ Realtor & Investor. My true passions however are hiking and whisky (although generally not at the same time). If you have a question about any of these just drop me a line!