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Ultralight food or Misery in a pouch?
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pasta is made from raw flour. until you cook it that is what you will have: rehydrated raw flour.”
“yep - i've tried it once without thinking it thru. You gotta cook the pasta, you can get it wet and 'soft' by just soaking it, but it tastes like complete crap and is kinda goopy and gross.
cook it at home, dehyrdate - just bring a spare ziplock to rehydrate in, coz that stuff is sharp!”
“Yeah, I do find the dehyrated food to really massacre the zip lock bags, even the heavy duty freezer bags, especially when crammed into a bear can.
I wish they sold some reusable, foil bags that could better take the sharp points of dehydrated food.”
“Angel hair pasta cooks in about 4 minutes. That is fast enough for me. You can keep your used pasta. I'll take the brand new stuff.
Pasta is not made from flour. Its made from semolina, which is a part of the wheat kernel but not the whole thing.
To keep dehydrated foods for a long time, if they can oxidize they have to be stored without oxygen. Dried fruits can be good for a LONG time, because they don't oxidize. Vegetables oxidize much sooner and develop a smell like old hay after a while. Homemade dried vegetables are usually dried without blanching, so the enzymes are still active and make the vegetables oxidize sooner. I used to be a food scientist at a food plant where we dried 100 tons of apples a day, plus many other fruits and vegetables.”
“Yup, my old veggies not only tasted wrong, they smelled like old hay. LOL, now I know why!
Ok Idaho Bob, how do I successfully dehydrate bananas? I have tried it several times and always end up with a black gooey mess.”
“Soak your bananas for 5 minutes in a bowl of fresh lemon juice.”
“If you do try the cooking pasta in a Nalgene it is easier to use the thinner pasta. You can pour boiling water right into a Lipton noodle package and cook it as long as it's the thin noodles.”
“Thanks Tango. So do the bananas come out kind of soft like dehydrated apples, or crunchy?”
“CD, the "dried" bananas you buy are made by frying in coconut oil. They can also be dried in a vacuum process.
If you can take a dried food and it snaps when you bend it, it is less than 4% moisture. Its hard to get foods to that low of a moisture without a vacuum. If dried apples are moist out of the bag, they are likely 23% moisture and have a good amount of sulphur in them to keep the color and prevent mold. Apples have so much sugar and acid in them that when they are dried they are pretty impervious to spoiling by bacteria due to the high concentrations of sugar and acids, and the low availability of water.
Apples with low sulphur have to be drier. The leathery apples you find in organic apples in health food stores are more like 12% moisture, which is needed to give them shelf life. They are leathery and crack when bent, but do not snap.
So when you dry bananas, drying them by conventional means (airflow and heat) about the driest you can get them is 10-12% moisture. That is leathery, and they crack when bent but they don't snap. Bananas have a lot of starch in them, but no acid, so they really should be very dry for shelf life.
Dipping or spraying with lemon juice or ascorbic acid, or sulpher, adds an antioxidant to the fruit, which keeps the color and adds to shelf life. What I like best for drying apples is to dip or float them in a bucket with a solution containing sulphur. If you do it yourself you can have far less sulpher than the dried apples you get in a bag. If you get too much, a lot of it blows off in the drier, and if you leave the bag open even more will dissipate. Its been used for centuries, and is totally harmless.
What I use to make the solution is sodium metabisulphate: sold to winemakers to add to wine when the right acidity and alcohol content is reached. They add this stuff to kill the yeast basically.
If you prefer to not use sulpher, that is ok, but the fruit has to be at the leathery stage to have a long shelf life.
Its hard to replicate the crunchy texture of commercially fried bananas by drying them.”
“Wow, that's great information Idaho Bob. I appreciate your response.
So does ripeness affect the shelf life of dried fruit? I have had pretty good success drying apples, pears, pineapple and other fruit, but not bananas. I am wondering if I would have better success if the bananas were not so ripe.”
“Do you dry those bananas in a hammock?”
“Is this a trick question?”
“Yup, something like that.”
“well, it tricked me!
Nope, I read it very sloooowly and I am not gettin' it.”
“Is that from scrubs? The Todd and his banana hammock? (Speedo)”
“I don't really care for the commercial fried ones, too hard. I have dehydrated some before, a little soft and leathery is better.”
“I don't like my banana hammocks hard either. There's too much chaffing involved. Leather is good.”
“and the thread degradation begins....lol”
“I should have seen that coming. :(”
“threads always disenegrate....you have to sort through to get to the good stuff!!!”
“its more like wading through them div”
“Ripeness of fruit: Fruits and vegetables don't get any better in the drying process, so if you would not eat it fresh, don't bother drying it. But fruit that is pretty ripe has a lot of sugar in it, and that makes it tastier in the dried form, almost like candy.
Super ripe peaches, nectarines, grapes, cherries, those are great dried. Super ripe apples have a lot of sugar, but also have softer tissue. So they don't rehydrate well - they mush out - but are good for snacks and tasty because of the extra sugar.
If apples ripen a long time on the tree, into cold weather, they develop water core, which is areas that become translucent from extra sugar, and the apple gets a little mushy. Sweet but not good "mouth feel", too soft. If overripe, you can make leather out of them too!”
“For bananas, being overripe might make them mush out before they can dry. High air flow would speed up the drying, and I would get ripe ones but not overripe.”
so "instant rice"... a common ingredient in backpacking meals... that's just cooked rice that has been dehydrated.
it's no different from cooking pasta and dehydrating it.
when you rehydrate instant mashed potatoes... another backpacking staple... those aren't dehydrated raw potatoes. they are cooked potatoes that have been dehydrated.”
dehydrated watermelon is good. super sweet and like fruit leather, but it takes a looooong time to get all that water out.”
“OK, now I get it Yogi. But if angel hair pasta cooks in 4 minutes, why bother to dry cooked pasta?”
“Adding boiling water to uncooked pasta is NOT the same as dehydrated. LOL!”
“But I thought really good bananas were supposed to hang free”
“i like bananas because they have no bones”
“i prefer to only carry the fuel i need. if i can save fuel by pre-cooking food at home and dehydrating it then this is what i do. on long trips i generally only carry esbit tablets so i try to get as much out of the water i boil as possible.
one way to look at it is this...
it takes a certain amount of energy to cook your food. you can pack all of this energy in stove fuel... or you can use some of this energy to pre-cook your food prior to the trip and lessen the amount required on the trail.
it matters not. it's all a matter of style. i still haven't figured out the JMT thru hikers that try to pack calories in the form of raw vegetable oil.
i tried no-cook one year in the grand canyon and saved 100% of the stove+fuel. great idea but i was gagging for a hot meal most of the week and could hardly choke down the food i packed. hot food is more appetizing than no-cook cold food so you are more likely to eat it. at least for me this is the case.
prosecutor is the one who got me cooking really good on the trail. In the grand canyon two years ago i was eating like a king... crab cakes, salmon pasta, thai curried chicken, brownies, cake, "stream pudding". OMG did I eat well that year!
last edited: 3/05/09 2:15:00 PM”
“cow patty is also a magnificent chef on the trail... chocolate fondu, pineapple upside down cake... amazing! there are many more i am sure but she and prosecutor are the only ones that have actually fed me... pros gave me hot cider with rum once in trade for some crummy packaged coco mix! birch cooked this salmon once that was to die for... he traded some of the pineapple upside down cake cow patty made for a whole filleted fish which he cooked over the fire. i wolfed down 1/2 that fish i think. amazing! then there are the camp cooks... captain jack and his jalapeno poppers... windigrl and her, well, everything (mac and cheese!). all great food and good times.”
“I used a lot of Prosecutor's recipes last summer, and they were a big hit.”
“That Cow Patty can cook! Once she brought an apple pie to snowshoeing.
Yep, that salmon was some of the best I've ever eaten.”
“Speaking of misery in a bag, what is the oldest backpacking food you have ever eaten? I have come across some food about 6 years old in my gear closet, dehydrated and sealed. No expiration date on it. I think I've ate Enertia that was a couple years old...but nothing more than that. Tempted to cook it up at home and try one.”
“I've had enertia that's five years old. I store it in the freezer though.
I once found an unopened keg can of labatts in the gear closet (kayaking trip leftovers). It was 6 and it was horrible. Who knew old beer could be so bad?! I still have one...it's a wings collectible can. Anyone want it?”
i ate an mre once that was really old... but it was in my closet. the color was a little off but it tasted like an mre.”
“yogi that's why they have cute, tiny bottle of Tabasco”
“6 year old beer? Ugh. 6 weeks old is too old!”
“I just went through my dehydrated food stash and threw away everything out of date. Some of it was out of date 3 years ago!
On this summer's trip out of 17 trail meals we used three dehydrated products. The rest were things off the shelf in the grocery store (oatmeal, tuna, pasta-sides, mashed potatoes, etc.).
Our main "bread" is tortillas. They last for days, are bomb proof, and can be used so many ways.
New invention: Spam wrap. We were going to make spam quesadillas for dinner one night but didn't feel like cooking. Wrapped sliced spam and cheese in a tortilla and made wraps...hit the spot!
Best meal this trip: Tacos! Shredded beef in a foil pack cooked with McCormick taco seasoning. Add cheese and taco sauce.”
Snow Peak 600 with Dixie model D9550 plastic lid
MAN! I've got to find those lids! That's the best gear idea I have seen for a while.
“Dixie D9550 Lids fit 20/24 Ounce Paper Cups........now I only need to get 999 more people to share an order with me, or else go somewhere and buy a cup of coffee.”
“Nice idea. I will be on the lookout for them.”
“I'm working on food for next weekend's trip and it's looking good. I have beans and rice w/mushrooms, peppers and TVP one night and then the first night will be fresh ribeyes with mushroom risotto. Lunches will be powdered peanutbutter on flat bread with ramans.
“On our last backpacking trip we sampled an assortment of Mountain House meals and they were all very good. The most popular by far was the teriyaki chicken and rice.”
“I've tried a few pre-made rice dishes from Trader Joe's as of late. The thai pilaf was really good and the four cheese rice wasn;t bad either. These are not ultralight by any means, but they are all ready to roll. Just throw them in a pot of boiling water. Other notables from Trader Joe's that have seen field use are the freeze dried fruits that are excellent in granola, bloatmeal or any other grain brekkie dish. Particular standouts were the blueberries and strawberries. They aren't cheap but they are VERY light...”
“MH Pasta Primivera is really good.”
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