Dehydrating 101: The Benefits of Drying Your Own Backcountry Meals
Are you curious about dehydrating and how it works? Tired of eating the same meals such as oatmeal for breakfast every morning during your adventures? Here are some benefits to dehydrating your own snacks and meals.
Whether you’re planning a trip to go backpacking, climbing, or just out for a day hike, some of the challenges of prepping for these adventures lie in what you will be cooking. Some of the main concerns for backcountry cooking lie in the variety of meals, getting enough protein and calories to keep your body fueled for your whole trip, and how easy the meals are to plan, prepare, and cook.
Why Dehydrate Your Food?
Dehydrating OR “food drying” is the act of preserving foods by removing the moisture and liquid. Here are the top 5 reasons why removing the liquid from foods will help you in more ways than you know!
#1 : SAVE WEIGHT
- By eliminating the moisture in foods you are cutting out most of the food weight, creating lighter backpacks, and more room and weight for your camera gear!
#2 : STORAGE & A HAPPY ENVIRONMENT
- Create more space to effectively store your meals and snacks. Instead of carrying heavy apples, make your own dehydrated apple chips in bulk! Throw the apple chips in portioned containers to store in your pantry or cupboard, and grab a handful before each adventure for an easy and already made snack.
- Help keep our environment happy by packaging your own meals that can be easily stored in re-usable containers!
#3 : A SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED SHELF-LIFE
- Dehydrating helps preserve foods – raw or cooked! Keep cooked chicken for months in your pantry that rehydrates perfectly! Dehydrate bulk items, such as beans, vegetables, or fruit leathers that keep well in your pantry or fridge for longer than they would have if fresh! Sometimes 10X the normal shelf life!
#4 : SAVE THE BANK
- Buy your favorite items in bulk when they go on sale, and have a dehydrating session to preserve your treats for later! This is a genius way to help you save money to buy more treats for Fido! Plus we all know the downfalls of being a starving artists – now you can focus on saving up for your next piece of filmmaking equipment or that new outdoor jacket!
#5 : REDUCE FUEL CONSUMPTION
Reduce the amount of fuel needed while on your trips. The process of dehydrated foods, starts by taking fresh or are already cooked foods, and simply removing the water from them. Leaving dried and already fully cooked meals such as soups, stews, meats, eggs etc ready to be soaked in water and served cold or heated up. There is no need to light the stove and “cook” anything. The stove you bring for your dehydrated meals is solely for heating your food to a desired palatable temperature. Just imagine the amount of time and fuel saved, that could be used to set up your night time-lapse or that night star-lapse!
One important component of RE-hydrating food is time. It will take some time during your adventure to soak your food. The soaking of your food is actually the process of reabsorbing water, the water that was removed during the dehydrating process. There are many different hassle free options for rehydrating your meals, it may just take a few practices and some patience. If you plan accordingly, and get used to a new way of preparing in the field, you’ll be eating a home cooked meal full of flavor and incredible texture in no time! The reward and benefits definitely outweigh the time needed to soak this food in the backcountry.