Trekking food

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randywadley
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 12 6:45am 
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I have been dehydrating meals and fruit for our treks but would welcome meal ideas from others. What works most successfully for you? It doesn't necessarily have to be DIY dehydrating. I will be catering / cooking for a group of 4 for a little over 2 weeks on the northern section of the trail in September and apart from one food drop we will be carrying all our meals.
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David M
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 12 12:40pm 
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Our favourite is Pasta.100 grams each,quick to cook in the billy. Mix in a sauce (that you can buy in 200 gram plastic bags at the supermarket) while the pasta is hot and you are set.
For variety add 100 grams of dehydrated peas to the pasta when it is half cooked and the peas will be done when the pasta is ready.
Another alternative is add tuna or salmon that you can buy in small packs.
If you cook up a bigger batch you can keep some in a plastic bag for next day.
I just realised your walk will be over by now but maybe you can tell us how the food went.
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randywadley
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 12 3:23pm 
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Hi David - many thanks for your suggestion ! I'll give this a try on our trek - we don't leave until 26th September. It will certainly eliminate the long-winded task of making my spag bog at home (complete with the cooked spaghetti), dehydrating and vacuum sealing. For 4 people for over 2 weeks that's a lot of pre cooking !

If you or any other reader is interested in DIY deydrating for treks, I'd be so very happy to share my ideas and recipes. I've compiled a 'recipe' book (too grand a name though!) titled "Eat Well on Trek" of tips, meals and desserts which have succeeded over the years. I'd be pleased to email this to any one - about 10 chapters but for seasoned long distance trekkers probably the recipe sections would be enough.

Thanks again Dave. Any clues for lunches? Breakfasts : we always stay with our rolled oats or museli in a sandwich size zip lock bag to which has also been pre-added sugar and powdered milk from home. We add water (hot or cold) and eat from the bag (no washing up!).

Have you "walked the Walk" (the Heysen) yet?

Many thanks Dave,
Bonny (Atherton, NQ)
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David M
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 12 10:29am 
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Hi Bonny,
We have walked 800 kms of the Heysen in 7 years. Slow progress but it is too good to rush!
We started as a threesome but Rob moved to Melb so it is now John and myself since the 500 k mark. We are currently close to Quorn and being in the Flinders Ranges the sections are getting longer and more difficult to access.
Our last section was Horrocks Pass to Woolshed Flat. (We are travelling North) Now that we need to camp out and carry all our gear we are becoming obsessed about weight and only carrying things that have two uses.
Our breakfasts are much the same as yours. Lunch is flat bread and tuna/salmon pouches. Carrots travel well and dont weigh too much.
Last trip we stayed out a night longer than planned and had to ration our food but still managed to have plenty to eat. It is surprising how we tend to eat less on the trail even though we are walking for around 6 hours.
I would be interested in your dehydrated recipes. I guess the trick with those foods is to not have to carry too much water to reconstitute the food otherwise it is kind of self defeating.
Kind regards
D
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jez
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 12 2:52pm 
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David M wrote:
...dehydrated recipes. I guess the trick with those foods is to not have to carry too much water to reconstitute the food otherwise it is kind of self defeating.


The weight benefit of dehydrated food is found over multi-day treks, on a 2-day hike there is no real difference. This is because yes you need to carry a little more water on the day, or start rehydrating your food at lunch time and carry that relatively heavy meal - but you have the other super light meals for your last 6-7 days for which you are not carrying water, moisture or much weight for.
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randywadley
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 12 4:34pm 
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David and Jeremy - may I reply to you together? (Sorry Dave - I was very much aware of your kind reply but just haven't had the time to address and thank you for it).

I disagree with you both entirely re both the amount of water required plus the time required to rehydrate dehydrated food. I have been dehydrating and rehydrating now for nearly 10 years for all our treks - and there have been many. (My trekking partners include my twin Shirley and my sister Sue -both on the Forum - both are contributors to my little book "Eating Well on Trek".

The clue for the meat is to ONLY USE MINCE- turkey, chicken, beef, pork; fish must be thoroughly flaked after cooking before dehydrating. Any cubes or slices of meat, fish or chicken sadly ressemble cardboard when rehydrated. All vegetables and fruits (exception avocado) dehydrate and reconstitute simply and perfectly ! (So does yoghurt - though I tend to use it more as chews as texture for accompaniment to a dessert or just as something healthy whilst walking). Pestos dehydrated are superb not reconstituted (though that is easy and fantastic) on crackers with Laughing Cow cheese for lunch.

Amount of water to use when rehydrating: barely cover the food - just to the first joint of your index finger. One heckofalot less water than is required to cook rice or pasta from scratch ! Hot water is best but cold will do. If possible, if you have a fire going, sit the pot in the heat with the lid on. The longer it can rehydrate of course, the better. BUT - I always have less than one and a half hours before my 4 sisters are demanding a feed - and that is certainly enough time. The first task for me on arrival at our camp site is to start the rehydrating. By the time the tents are up, we've comprehensively "stuffed around" and had our bird baths, dinner is ready (including the luxury of a dessert).

I would love to share my ideas with you and anyone reading this. My booklet is on disk and I'd be so delighted to send it to anyone! I simply am so passionate - firstly about long distance trekking and then the catering and cooking for those walking with me. My email address: randywadley@skymesh.com.au . Please email me with your postal address if you'd like a copy. Absolutely NO REMUNERATION is required- I am just driven by enthusiasm, the wish to share ideas with other like-minded trekkers and the desire to learn what works for you all out there.

So many thanks Dave and Jeremy for your responses.

Bonny
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jez
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 12 5:19pm 
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Hi Bonny, I agree not much water is needed for rehydrating. Despite all the hikes I do I have never dehydrated, although I've benefited from friends doing it for me. I'm about to dive into though, so I'd love a copy of your book. If you want to email it, you can email it to me (or if the file is large, use a service like kicksend.com). I'd be very interested to read it! Thanks!

Jeremy
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RodHassles
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 12 8:59pm 
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G/Day all
I love the dehydrated food as I can carry extra meals with out the weight. I usually take 1/2 dozen eggs also as I like maybe an fried egg for breakfast or may be boiled egg sandwich for lunch with lots of pepper, as a a treat.
I have just found some dried powdered egg in a can 150g and equivelent to 1 doz eggs so will do some experimentation. Should be good in the Golden Syrup dumpling mix, also dampers and scrambled eggs with added dehydrated mushroom, tomato, capsicum, and a sprinkle of dried mince beef. ( must try soon)
I had a dehydrated can of SPC tinned spaghetti on the last trip and was supprised how nice that was on Trangier burnt toast for breakfast after the porridge and dried fruit.
I don,t usually take pitta bread but stuff 1/2 loaf of ordinary bread in a container (compressed) and that lasts 4 days.
I agree with david m re the not eating as much, as I lost weight and did not feel as hungry on the last stint.(320 km Melrose to Parachilna)
I did start off a tad over weight tho.
Rodhassles
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David M
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 12 10:03am 
Post subject: Trekking Food
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Hi All,
Thanks for the info. I get it now regardig dehydrating not requiring a huge amount of water!
The eggs sound good and compressing the bread in a container sounds like a good idea.
I had a look at Warren Bonython's food list in his book" Walking The Flinders Ranges" and see that he used dehydrated vegetables,butter,omelette mix and soup powder. His food ration was around 1kg per day so even though he carried enormous pack weight his 7 day food supply weighed 15lb.
I would like to dehydrate some food and would like a copy of your book Bonny. I will send you an e/mail. Thanks for the great ideas.
Regards
David
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randywadley
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 12 12:56pm 
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Thanks Rod and Dave ! Dave - a copy of the disk will be on its way ASAP - likewise yours Jeremy.

Rod - eggs! Yep - I've tried the powdered (dehydrated) ones and as you will find out, they are less than average on their own as scrambled eggs! I like your idea of adding some dehydrated capsicum, garlic, tomato, mushrooms etc - I know from experience that it elevates it to a delicious dish (too good just for breakfast!). What do you use to toast your bread on the Trangia - a stick? (I will try a replacement gauze that we sell for the gas toasters (the whole toaster would take up too much space) - it just might work! Thanks for that!

Dehydrated mince: Rod -unless you use your own dehydrated (and therefore seasoned and flavoured) mince, be aware that the commercially dehydrated mince (as in Back Country Beef Supplement) contains NO additions whatsoever in the form of taste. So - take some salt, maybe some powdered garlic, onion flakes, curry flakes and a satchel of tomato & pizza paste. But with that comment I am far from diminishing the value of this commercial product; at under $9 it is superb and it is obvious that only premium mince is used. (I often use it at home to plump out beef rissoles - far cheaper than buying the fresh stuff!).

I like your idea of dehydrating a commercially canned meal - as in your spaghetti! Way to go! Think I'll try my favourite sandwich filling - Heinz Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce!

Many thanks to you all,
Bonny
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randywadley
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 12 6:08am 
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Thanks to you Rod I have now trialed dehydrated baked beans in tomato sauce. Perfect! The 'real deal' ! So absolutely LIGHT when dried. I dried them on a greased plastic tray for about 6 hours, turning them over mid way. The first go at rehydration I put too much water in the saucepan (cold water, left to hydrate over night as in camp). The problem was that I had not finely broken up the shards of the mixture before barely covering it with water - the result, as the pieces stuck up a bit in the pan, a little bit too dilute. The 2nd trial: I corrected that with barely 2 tablespoons of water - just enough to cover the finely broken up shards spread evenly over the base of the saucepan. I was extremely satisfied with that but just had to try another version! As dehydration/rehydration in general dilutes the final flavour, I added half a satchel (for 2 servings of baked beans) of Pizza Paste to the reconstituted mixture as I was heating it up for breakfast. Perfect! (2 of those tomato sauce satchels one gets at take-aways would have been equally as good).

Toast! Thanks again Rod! Whoopee! I use gas hiking burners and the solution for toast on trek has been staring me in the face for years! A fold up lightweight toaster! Ideal for a Trangia too. I timed it for one slice (both sides) of toast - 22 seconds. So - negligible gas used! As is usual for all HP (high pressure) appliances (i.e. appliances not using a regulator - these are called Low Pressure ones), for maximum efficiency turn the gas up to high then cut it back half a turn. Fold up toasters - under $10. I'm now trying to source those little satchels of butter/tomato sauce/marmalade etc that one finds at breakfast at resorts. Has anyone a clue on where to buy these if one is not in the hospitality industry?

I'll carry my flat little toaster at the base of my pack and hang the baker's shop from a carabineer off the back of my pack. (Aren't carabineers the greatest thing for trekkers?!).

I'm all fired up now to look at other options for rehydrated breakfasts on toast!

Bonny
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randywadley
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 12 6:29am 
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PS - how about: rehydrated Mushrooms in Butter Sauce or rehydrated canned asparagus - both on toast ?

Any more suggestions?

Bonny
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RodHassles
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 12 6:47am 
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Good to hear that the beans worked and that the pizza sauce addition makes a better meal.
When dehydrating soft mixes I use silicon cake baking thingos, as it is really easy to get the dried food out by upending and flexing the tray to release any thing that is a bit difficult to release.
I also use scales before and after to determine the amount of water required to rehydrate (you can get it to the last gram)
I like the foldup toaster idea and will try. I use the fry pan and make a sort of French toast using olive oil.
Im off to the camping shop this morning so good timing to get the toaster.
I have dehydrated several canned varieties but not mushrooms or asparagus, but the best is still your home cooked meal like mum makes, as you can put in your own ingredients to taste, it has less salt etc and cheap as I usually dry the leftovers.
On the last trip the beast meal was Judy's spag bog sauce with penne.
Rod
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randywadley
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 12 7:23am 
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Heh Rod - how obvious! You beauty! I refer of course to your weighing of the food prior to and after dehydration to determine the amount of water to add!

Thank you !

Bonny
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randywadley
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 12 6:22am 
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My sister Sue (also on the Forum) uncovered this interesting web site:http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=8609. (How much weight in food do you carry on trek?" ) Well worth a look. I agree with what appears to be the general consensus: given the constraints of weight and SPACE (the latter often overlooked), one takes what is necessary (from daily 'non-trek' usage) to provide the energy and comfort required. I limit our daily main meal (including a dessert) for 4 people to 850g max. Works well and so far not one of my sisters has complained! Note - this weight does NOT include breakfasts and lunches as we each carry our own.

The clue - most definitely - unless one is trekking alone of course - is for one person to cater and cook for the group's nightly meal.

For those of you who don't have a dehydrator - check out this Tasmanian company:http://www.strivefood.com.au/.

Sue's third bit of web research was reassuring: she confirmed that it is perfectly legal to take dehydrated food in to any state in Australia.

Cheers,
Bonny
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