FOLKS WHO EAT store-bought, freeze-dried meals don’t talk much about their camp dinners. But after learning how to dehydrate food, they can’t say enough about how much they enjoy their meals on the trail.
Scouts can make delicious backpacking food with a food dehydrator and, in the process, gain valuable food-preparedness skills that will be useful throughout their lives … all while having fun in the kitchen.
Why dehydrate food?
1. Lighten the Load
With a food dehydrator, Scouts can make healthy dried-fruit snacks and delicious homemade trail meals that are light to carry and well-preserved. A dehydrator removes up to 95% of the water from food. Five Gala apples weigh less than two ounces when dried.
2. Make Healthy and Hearty Meals
Most of the commercially available freeze-dried meals contain artificial additives, partially hydrogenated oil and excessive sodium. And one thing they’re usually light on is vegetables. Make your own dehydrated meals and take charge of what ingredients go into them and how large the portions should be. It’s also an even greater advantage for those Scouts or Scouters with food allergies or those who are vegetarian.
3. Save Money
A home-dried backpacking meal costs about $2 compared to about $7 and greater for freeze-dried meals. In addition to saving money on backpacking food, families can dry meat and vegetables to use in soups and stews at home. Dry your garden surplus or purchase vegetables in bulk when they are on sale. Foods can be stored safely for at least a year in jars with tight fitting lids or in vacuum-sealed bags.
Read more about making your own dehydrated backpacking meals:
Backpacking Chef Glenn McAllister is the author of the book, Recipes for Adventure: The Ultimate Guide to Dehydrating Food for the Trail and the companion workbook, The Backpacking Chef Menu Planning & Food Drying Workbook. Visit his website BackpackingChef.com and sign up for a free monthly newsletter, Trail Bytes.