Meats, Fish, Fruits and Veggies: Preparing, Drying and Packing before you set off with your backpack!


Backpacking is a nature lover’s sought after retreat, an opportunity to spend a certain amount of time in isolation with nature. And yet, as much as you love nature, you cannot live like animals and source your food while on the trail… This obvious side effect of civilization may have handicapped you in some ways, but it has also made available a variety of food options even while backpacking!

Now, when it comes to foods, the perishable ones are the most satisfying and healthy. But you could only take those along for the first day of the trek… otherwise, as the name suggests, they will perish! There are a number of things you can do instead, and before we go on to that, let’s take a look at your options…

Top 11 foods that can be carried while backpacking (some packaged and some prepared)

1. Gorp or Trail mix
2. Energy bars
3. Granola, preferably home made
4. Dried fruits
5. Beef Jerky
6. Certain fruits that can stay fresh for a few days (not dried)
7. Candy bars
8. Peanut butter
9. Hard cheeses
10. Tin of Tuna
11. Crackers!

And now that you have the basic list of foodstuff that most people would carry while backpacking, it is time you find out the second most important point…

How would you pack them?

  • So far as perishable foods go, it is best if you keep most of these for the first day of the hike. Most energy giving foods like bananas will perish beyond that. However, you may keep fruits like apple, which won’t perish, handy for the 2nd day as well… For everything else there’s drying, instruction for which you will find below.

  • Another option is packed or store-bought. Though these tend to be quite expensive and may not always taste as good as home-cooked foods, they will keep you going and give you a lot of sustenance. Alternately, there are a number of things that you could mix up at home and carry along instead of buying, like granola or gorp. For other options, check out our other inner pages.

  • And the last option is to prepare your foods beforehand.This is a good option that includes drying and dehydrating perishables at home, and also mixing together dried ingredients which need only be rehydrated while on the trail to make tasty yummy dishes.

When it comes to trail recipes, and how to mix and match or cook on the trail, you can check out our other inner pages. As for drying, here’s how…

How to dry perishable food?

Fruits

Here’s a list of the different fruits and vegetables that dehydrate well:

 Fruits  Vegetables
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Apricots
  • Pears
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Plums
  • Pineapples
  • Tomatoes
  • Beets
  • Beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Sweet corn
  • Peas
  • Garlic
  • Greens


The best option is to use a dehydrator. But even then, there are technicalities of how thick the pieces need to be, and how you should lay them out, temperatures and duration of dehydration. And nothing can be more helpful than a video. So check this out:



The dried fruits are fine as they are or in trail mixes. They even work well in trail oatmeal porridges. As for the vegetables, rehydrating a mix of those with boiling water can make lovely broths and stews that are nourishing and tasty!

That was about fruits and vegetables (which use the same process). But with meats and fish, the techniques are a little different. Beef is usually the chosen meat. And so far as fish go, if you love them, they too can be dehydrated.

Beef Jerky

This is the best way to get proteins while on a hike. And there are two ways to make it: in the oven and in a dehydrator. Here’s how you can do either:


Beef Jerky in the Oven:

Beef Jerky using a Dehydrator:

You can also dehydrate your own burger meat. Find the recipe here . And either of these can also make your soups and stews tastier!

Fish

Here’s how you can dehydrate fish:



With fish, leaner options like halibut, Pollock, trout are your best bet. However, salmon, crappie and other sea food like crabmeat, lobster, and shrimps etc. can also be dehydrated!

So far as drying of foods go, dehydrators do not cost a bomb, and besides most of these can also be adapted to oven recipes. And of course, dried foods keep for a very long time, so even if you do not use it all on the trail, you can use it later for quick recipes and yummy snacks!

So waste no more time, start planning and start preparing for the food you eat on your next hike!

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