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Thread: Freezer bag cooking for backpacking? page

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    urbansix's Avatar
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    Freezer bag cooking for backpacking?

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    I have done a lot of backpacking (alot for me = 2 or three overnighters or multi-nighters / year) with my son (age 10) and do most of my cooking based on the freezer bag techniques on www.trailcooking.com . Of course it was mostly carb based - oatmeal for breakfast, peanut butter & honey tortillas for lunch, a pasta dish for dinner. Spam singles. Jerky, dried fruit, gorp - the standard hiker stuff.

    Now I'm starting PB, and have a 3-day hiking trip coming up on Labor day. I'd like to try a Primal version of this. Pre-cooked & dehydrated pasta with sauce is so easy, as is instant oatmeal. I'm at a loss of what might be good for dehydrating if you take away the grains. Just meat and just veggies, sounds doable, but also sounds like it could be hit or miss in terms of being palatable when rehydrated. I don't have tons of time to experiment between now and then either.

    Any campers/hikers on here? Anyone have any experience with this?

    Is Spam primal ?
    Last edited by urbansix; 08-26-2010 at 05:35 PM.

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    MamaGrok's Avatar
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    Jerky. Of all sorts.
    Pemmican.
    You can dehydrate practically anything.

    I'd do a little research on the foods taken on early sea explorations (before they got into hardtack), native American hunting expeditions, etc. Swiss Family Robinson lists quite a few, including dried/powdered broth, although they include a lot of white flour/sugar by then, too. And be sure to share what you find with us! I'd love to get our family into some overnight hiking where we can't bring a cooler of steak with us!
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    You can make fruit leather, which would be a nice treat to have on hand. We have powdered eggs and powdered butter (not exactly Primal, but handy as heck for camping!)

    Dehydrated veggies could be reconstituted to make a decent soup.

    What about the old-school cold cured or salt-cured meats, that don't require refrigeration? Again, maybe not something you'd want in your daily staple bag, but for one meal out of a camping excursion, it might be a viable alternative. Probably higher up on the Primal scale than Spam (but I'd take Spam, too!) :-)
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    Amazingly enough, Spam is listed on the Weston Price Foundation shopping guide as a good choice!

    Tbow reminds me of some of the other things in Swiss Family Robinson, like herring that is layered in salt to keep indefinitely (nothing else needed), and curing meats with sodium nitrate (much maligned; I seriously doubt it's all that harmful if it was used for centuries to preserve meat) alone.
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    Since I've had success with dehydrated ground beef for spaghetti sauces, I think I'll try some picadillo (minus the rice, just the meat filling w/ raisins & peppers) as well as some beanless chili. Still need to figure out what veggies rehydrate well without turning to mush when rehydrated. Steamed broccoli? My wife makes a mean faux mashed potatoes using cauliflower, half/half and white pepper in a blender. That might dry out OK.

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    I had a great time eating two experiments in Primal FBC. I find it's all in the sauces.

    First I dehydrated ground beef, which is quite simple. Simply brown well, breaking into very small bits, then lay out in the dehydrator until dried. I was also going to dry canned chicken, but ran out of time, so I relied on Tyson foil-packed breast meat - not primal, but close.

    The sauces I made were really the key - that's where the flavor and satiety come in, imho. One sauce I made using dehydrated whole milk (I found on ebay) and Kraft grated parmesan cheese, creating a very tasty creamy parmesan sauce. It worked very well on both the beef and the chicken. The second sauce was made with dehydrated coconut milk and curry powder. Damn, but that one was delish!

    These four meal combos got me thru a week-long hike thru the Olympic mountains. Dinners were prepared at the end of the day and were very satisfying - a totally different experience from a week of eating pemmican and fruit leather and such.

    When I do these FBC recipes again - and I will! - I will be adding dehydrated veggies like zucchini and broccoli, maybe even some mushrooms.

    I would be very interested in trying the cauliflower mash as a dehydrated side dish, or maybe just mixed in with the powdered sauce mix and meat for a big gloppy bowlful of deliciousness.

    Vegetables that might rehydrate well... broccoli, mushrooms, roots veggies like carrots and parsnips, cabbage, cauliflower, kale...

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    I tried de/rehydrating the cauliflower puree - it looks disgusting dried, and even more so reconstituted. But it tastes fine if you close your eyes.

    This weekend I made up a few batches of fruit leather (just plain ol applesauce - works great!) and a batch of beef jerky. I couldn't bear to spend a lot on the meat for "just jerky", so I ended up buying a giant chunk of undoubtedly grain fed shoulder in order to get the per-pound price down. Ended up with a LOT of jerky haha. Should last me a while. Also had a hard time finding a marinade that did not list HFCS as the main ingredient. I used to love Jamaican Jerk (made from HFCS as a storebought marinade ), but this time threw something together from soy sauce and plain steak sauce. As a result the jerky doesn't taste like much - just "meat flavored".

    I have not yet found (or looked for) a more organic source for produce or meat in my area, just supermarket variety at this point.
    Last edited by urbansix; 08-30-2010 at 03:42 AM.

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    LOVING this thread!
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    Quote Originally Posted by urbansix View Post
    Just meat and just veggies, sounds doable, but also sounds like it could be hit or miss in terms of being palatable when rehydrated.
    As MamaGrok says there's jerked meat (aka biltong) and there's pemmican. Those don't require rehydrating. You just eat them "as is".

    I haven't tried making pemmican yet and mean to, but I don't think it would be particularly quick or easy to do well. Pemmican is a complete food, since it has the fat as well. (It was, however, made from very lean meat, because that can be dried well - down to one-sixth of its starting weight - and then pounded down to powder, before the fat is added.) So people who were using jerky instead (which took less trouble to make and did for short journeys) took fat as well, and dipped the pieces of meat in the fat as they ate. That kind of foodstuff is probably not as dry as the meat that was used in making pemmican, but it will keep for a few days at any rate.

    Anything with a high fat content is a good bet from the weight point of view - because, of course, such foods are highly calorific for what they weigh. I remember Chris Bonnington's saying he used to like to take salami when climbing, because of that.

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    Allright - leaving on hike tomorrow with
    - Jerky, lots of jerky
    - fruiit leather
    - dried peaches
    - trail mix heavy on the almonds, & with some jerky bits
    - 1.5 c of Picadillo per person per dinner
    - 1c. veggies (squash, zuccini, onions, stewed tomatoes) per

    not 100% set on breakfast and lunch, did not have a chance to dehydrate some eggs & bacon as planned. But plan to pack some peanut butter & honey, and pick up some whole dried figs at the market (inspired by another thread). Oh yes, Spam, of course. That's lunch.
    Last edited by urbansix; 09-02-2010 at 04:23 AM.

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