Dehydrating your own food will give you a variety of nutritious but also flavorful choices while reducing pack weight and food costs. Not to mention respecting bans on bottles and cans in backcountry parks.
If you are under the impression dried food is no tastier than chunks of driftwood, I implore you to think again. You can dehydrate everything from single ingredients, like fruits, to complete meals, such as chilli. You can pack for multiple people without weighing yourself down, and become a camp cook rockstar.
If you’re still not convinced, the fact that you can enjoy homemade sauces on the shoreline that didn’t break your back on the last portage should help waver your prejudice.
For all the pasta lovers out there, here’s an Alfredo recipe that’s about as easy as it gets. For those looking for a sweet and savory sauce over a bed of rice and vegetables, this sesame ginger teriyaki recipe should get your appetite rumbling.
If you don’t own a dehydrator, don’t be discouraged, you can also dehydrate food using a convection oven.
SESAME GINGER TERIYAKI SAUCE
(Makes 1 cup)
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons red pepper, chopped finely
1 tablespoon chives, chopped finely
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
. cup water
1. In a saucepan, heat oil at medium heat
2. Sauté garlic for 1 minute
3. Add remaining ingredients, except for cornstarch and water
4. Add cornstarch to water, stirring until it is dissolved
5. Add cornstarch water mix to saucepan
6. Simmer until thickened.
DEHYDRATING THE SAUCE:
1. Measure out the amount of sauce needed for the meal
2. Make note of this quantity (i.e. 1 cup)
3. Dehydrate the sauce following the directions of your dehydrator, spread thinly on drying sheets. It may take 6 hours or more depending on the sauce, your dehydrator, and humidity
4. Once it has dried completely, let it cool, then put the dried sauce into a plastic sandwich bag, seal it, and write the original quantity on
the bag (i.e. 1 cup)
5. Pack it with the rest of the ingredients for the meal, such as pasta, or dehydrated veggies.
RE-HYDRATING THE SAUCE AT CAMP:
1. Being careful, boil water, adding just enough to the sauce in the bag to make the quantity you started with (i.e. 1 cup)
2. Zip up the bag, and let it sit for approximately 10 minutes
3. Instead of a bag, use a bowl or a cup, with a lid to rehydrate faster
4. Add sauce to your meal
TIPS + TRICKS:
• When making sauces to dehydrate, lower fat content is best. Fat doesn’t dehydrate and will go rancid over time
• Freeze dehydrated foods until just before the trip to make them last even longer
• When rehydrating foods, less is more as you can always add water if you find the sauce is too thick
- Speed up the rehydration process by massaging the sauce in the bag, being careful not to burn your fingers or pop the bag