The Queen of DehydratingPosted: May 10, 2012 | |
Over the last month or so I have been on a quest to stock our “cache” with dozens of homemade dehydrated meals for our upcoming summer backpacking and camping trips. I am getting so used to the bee-like hum of our dehydrator it feels a little quiet without it. I am on the fast track to being a dehydrating expert.
We dreamed up our great dehydrating plan at Christmas time when we were searching for gift ideas on an outdoor website. Why hadn’t we thought of this before? It made perfect sense for people like us. We have, since the beginning of our backpacking days, struggled to break out of the monotony of eating couscous and peanut butter every other meal while on the trail, and here, right on the computer screen was the answer. Our outdoor culinary world was about to change.
Until a month ago, the dehydrator had been sitting unused, waiting, like us, for the snow to melt. And melt it has, at least enough to start getting outside in our tent again. So I checked out a book, Backpack Gourmet: Good Hot Grub You Can Make at Home, Dehydrate, and Pack for Quick, Easy, and Healthy Eating on the Trail, and the journey began.
I am amazed at how easy it is. Cook a meal, preferable one that has all the major food groups covered. A one pot wonder. Spread it out over parchment paper or thin plastic trays you can buy to go with the machine. Plug in and wait. It takes time, but you don’t really need to do anything with it while you wait. If you are around, you can speed up the process by crumbling the food a little half way through, but other than that the machine does the work. Once it is completely dry, pour it into a bowl, crush it up a little more, and package. Dinner is done.
We even splurged for a food saver, to make our meals vacuum-packed, but you can also use high quality zip lock bags, which we sometimes still do. So far, we have 22 meals in the “cache” and two more humming in the dehydrator today. Keep it coming!
We have eaten two of our creations out in the woods so far: Sierra Spaghetti and Chickpea Brown Rice Soup. Both excellent. Sierra Spaghetti includes white beans and a touch of heat, adding protein and flavor. The soup is pureed, with a tomato base, and is nice and hearty. There is nothing like a tasty, hot meal while sitting in the shadow of the Alaska Range.
I am a dehydrating convert! It makes dinner fast, light, cheap, healthy, and yummy. No turning back now.
Ingredients: olive oil, onion, mushroom, garlic, spaghetti sauce, white beans, red pepper flakes, oregano, and whole wheat linguini