One of the things I’ve always enjoyed most about hiking is stopping for the snack and meal breaks. I don’t cope well with being hungry and always need to know where my next meal is coming from. I also enjoy my food and like to have a good variety. For these reasons I’ve dedicated a lot of effort into our meal prep. I wanted to prepare as many dehydrated meals as I could to supplement commercially available ones. This would give us variety, good nutrition and hopefully save a bit of money. Having never eaten a dehydrated meal (and still haven‘t) I’m flying a little blind. Also for efficiency of limited remaining time I’ve gone for dehydrating individual ingredients rather than cooking a full meal and dehydrating that. So I’m really hoping for the best when we test these results on trail.
I’ve focused on dehydrating veges and meat and using purchased carbs which are more readily available in dehydrated form.
Here are my dehydrated ingredients before assembling morrocan couscous meal. There’s tomato paste, peas, tumeric, red onion, leeks & celery, capsicum, carrots, ginger, spinach. I also added apricots almonds corriander seeds and cumin to the mix.
After putting what is hopefully good serving sized amounts into bags I vacuum seal it. With the air and water removed it does pack down very small and light. Perfect for lugging around in our pack.
Here’s my vacuum sealer in operation with a coconut curry concoction.
I’ve made a lot of beef jerky and it tastes amazing. It reminds me of pork crackling; crispy, salty and meaty (funnily enough). I’ve used eye fillet marinated in worchester sauce then seasoned with salt pepper onion garlic paprika. We’ll eat this as snacks as well as supplement to some of the vege meals I’ve made.
This is one whole eye fillet roll (less quite a few pieces I had to sample). I have to package this up real quick to prevent excessive sampling. I’ve done a few batches of this and hope to get some more done before leaving.
Other main meals I’ve done include this coconut curry. I’ve made my own curry mixture with dried spices and powdered coconut milk powder. It’s also got a little coconut flour as a thickener. I’ll be rehydrating with coconut oil which I’ll be carrying as my fat addition for meals where needed. I’ve sampled a little of this sauce rehydrated and it seems to work. There’s also some roasted beetroot and onion in this mix (Dehydrated of course).
Cottage pie; mince, beans, veges and with purchased instant mashed potato. I’ve added milk powder and salt to the potato and will add coconut oil when rehydrating.
I’ve also done a few packs of vege, and meat on its own that I’ll add to bought packs of pasta and sauce or noodles. I’ve dried a bit of hummus that I’ll add to things for flavouring or for snacks.
Pre purchased commercial meals. i hope they taste as good as they sound. Wild Alaskan salmon pesto - yum.
We can’t forget all important snacks. I’ve made a big range of bliss balls - well squares actually for efficiency in packing. A range of flavour combinations however they do all include chocolate! Again this will be to supplement other snacks purchased along the way.
Lunch will be ploughman style with supplies purchased fresh where we can. Cheese, crackers, tuna pouches etc. Also any spare dinners or jerky.
Breakfast will be porridge every day which I quite enjoy. I’ve portioned out oats with milk powder and packaged up our individual preferences in fruit and nuts to be added.
At home I have a green smoothie every day so wanted to keep this up on the trail. It includes spinach avocado banana ginger and tumeric. And does look very suspicious packaged up.
Altogether I should have enough to get us through to Christmas. We’ll be coming home for Christmas so will make round two then and improve on the shortcomings of this first lot. And no, we won’t be carrying it all with us. At the most we’ll probably have 5-6 days worth. The rest will be sent to us (thanks dad) along the way as needed. There are a range of shops, accommodation, and trail angels that are happy to receive and hold parcels for us to collect as we pass through.
Also I plan on buying meals as much as we can. For variety, to support providers, and to get my hot chip fix.
It’s been very hard to judge quantities and to know how hungry we’ll be. My guess is a lot! Hopefully I’ve done enough to prevent any hangry episodes.