Freeze-dried and dehydrated foods are ideal backpacking foods to include in your backpacker’s pantry. These foods are prepared in this way to increase their shelf life. Between freeze-dried and dehydrated foods, freeze-dried foods have a longer shelf life as almost all the moisture is removed from the food. Dehydrated foods have a bit of moisture; giving it a maximum shelf life of one year. Also, you can opt to purchase or to make dehydrated foods at home.
When it comes to preparing food, freeze-dried meals are much easier to prepare. All you have to do is add boiling water to your food mixture, let it settle for a few minutes and lastly, serve. On the other hand, dehydrated foods take a while longer to be prepared; at least 20 minutes. They need to be soaked in water for a few minutes to be rehydrated and cooked. This makes a huge difference especially if you are in a hurry. However, it also means that you may have to pack extra in terms of cooking items to prepare the food.
When it comes to nutritional value, freeze-dried foods top dehydrated foods. This is because almost all the nutrients are retained upon the freeze-drying process. This is in contrast to the dehydration process where 50% of the nutrients are left after dehydration. As for freeze-dried foods, all you have to do is add water and not much goes into preparation.
In the end, your backpacker’s food pantry depends on what you want in your food, the purpose of your trip, and what is most essential to your backpacking experience. Here are some of the most popular freeze-dried and dehydrated foods in the market.
Freeze-dried fruits are at the top of the list of things to add to your backpacker’s pantry list. The fruits are frozen and placed in an empty container under minimum pressure. Through this process, the fruits quickly dry up—faster than the old ways of drying. This type of drying is suitable for berry fruits such as strawberry, blueberries, and raspberries. These are easy to carry and ensures that your fruits do not contaminate the rest of the items you have packed.
Fruit crisps are dried fruits packaged and consumed as a snack. Any fruit can be made into fruit crisps. One popular brand that makes fruit crisps is Brother All Natural. This brand packages the fruits in a 40-gram pack. The fruits are 100% natural and you can choose from different fruit flavors like apples, bananas, and grapes.
Dried Soup Mix
These are dried foods to which you’ll just add boiling water to make it soup. They are easy to prepare and what’s great about them is that they keep you hydrated.
All ingredients are dried, thus giving them a longer shelf life. Most dried soup ingredients include rice, wheat, and noodles. Among the three ingredients, rice takes the longest to soften, therefore the boiling takes longer. These soups are mixed with protein and if you are vegetarian, you have the option of using vegetables to substitute the meat.
Noodles & Dried Beef
This is definitely a backpacker’s pantry list essential. The noodles and dried beef recipe is bought as a packed meal. The beef is frozen and then dried. The other ingredients are then added. Other ingredients include mushrooms and noodles with sour cream to add to the flavor. This is a fast meal to prepare. All you need is to pour boiling water on top of the mixture to make a delicious meal. They come in packs of 147 grams and the packs are easy to carry. Also, they can be eaten while on the road.
Rice & Chicken
This is sold as a pack of freeze-dried chicken with rice and all you have to do is add water. These packs are perfect for backpackers on intense excursions, for they would need carbohydrates and protein for the trip. The combination is sold in 187-gram packs. They are easy and convenient to carry—being able to fit in light packing bags.
Freeze-Dried Beef Stroganoff
These are beef stroganoff packed in packets that don’t expand on high altitude when mountain climbing. They are prepared by adding hot water to the packet that the food is packed in. With this food, you do not have to use pots and pans. All you need is hot water. Once you mix the packet ingredients and hot water, let it settle for about 10 minutes and your meal will be ready. These packs are also light and easy to pack. The ingredients include beef, sour cream, dry milk, noodles, and spices.
Freeze-Dried Scrambled Eggs
A popular breakfast meal for backpackers are packets of freeze-dried scrambled eggs. These packets contain a mixture of eggs, beans, cheese, milk, pepper, and butter. They are prepared by first adding boiling water before letting the mixture settle, and then mixing it up before consumption. However, it is best to let it settle for another 10 minutes after mixing it for better texture and balanced taste. This is an ideal breakfast option for you while out backpacking or camping.
New to the backpacker’s pantry list, the cheesecake mix makes sure that even though you’re away from the comforts of your home kitchen, you can still enjoy dessert while out on your backpacking trip. This is easy to prepare. It’s a meal that contains a cheesecake mix that has sugar, coconut, soybean oil, cream cheese, dry milk, and corn starch. To prepare, mix all the contents in the packet with hot water inside the packed pouch and let it settle for a few minutes. You can serve it afterwards.
You can also enjoy a full healthy breakfast smoothie mix while out camping. One of the smoothies you can try out is the chocolate-banana-flavored smoothie. It contains freeze-dried banana and chocolate flavoring, with coconut juice powder mixed to create a healthy meal. All you need to do is smoothly add water to the mixture and you have your smoothie ready.
This is a blend of vegetables and is prepared by mixing the food in the packet with hot water before serving. The ingredients include rice noodles, tomatoes, sugar, vegetarian soup, and dry roasted peanuts. This meal is ideal for lunch or dinner.
Freeze-dried vegetables are another meal option for those who do not take meat. They contain a mixture of peas, corn, and broccoli. They are best for lunches and dinners and easy to prepare while traveling. You can ground them into powder or add to your favorite recipe too.
Cinnamon & Apple Crisp
This is another dessert option that you can pack for your next trip. At the end of the day, you need something to enjoy after a long day of hiking. This is a combination of freeze-dried diced apple, raisins, vanilla, and almond granola and honey. It is easy to prepare for all you have to do is add boiling water to fill the pouch and let it settle. If you would like the ingredients to have some sweet taste, the packet also include a sweetener in a separate packet.
Bare burrito is a mixture of rice, beans, corn, and cheese. The mixture can be eaten just as it is or you can mix it with boiling water. Stir the mixture and let it settle for a few minutes before serving. It is ideal for vegetarian backpackers who want to enjoy a full meal on-the-go. You can serve it as one of your 3 main meals of the day.
Trail Mix Snacks
This is a mixture of various snacks into one wholesome treat. Every trip needs snacks to energize you on-the-go. If you are looking for the ideal snack, then this is for you. They are conveniently packed with lots of nutrients. It is one of the best freeze-dried and dehydrated foods to add to your food packing list.
Also, a healthy snack. A trail mix consists of a mixture of peanuts, chocolates, dried almonds, and raisins. They are one of the favorite easy foods for all backpackers around the world. You can also opt to do it yourself by buying the ingredients separately and then mixing them in a bag. The blend is a mixture of sweet and sour that satisfies and gives you energy as you go about your adventure.
In choosing your freeze-dried and dehydrated meals, choose nutritious meals that are filling and easy to pack. Take into account the amount of time it takes to prepare and its nutritional value. You want to travel light but at the same time, you also want to consume healthy and nutritious meals.
Also, for health-conscious people, the market now has several prepared foods that does not have artificial flavors, additives, and preservatives. Whenever possible, read the label to see if the food is all-natural and meets your nutritional needs. Freeze-dried and dehydrated foods have certainly made it easier to pack and have made finding food for camping, hiking, and backpacking easier. So what are you waiting for? Add freeze-dried and dehydrated foods to your backpacker’s pantry.