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Prepackaged vs Homemade
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David White
(davidw) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: Hi..... on 11/03/2005 06:21:04 MST Print View

Welcome Sarbar!!!

My sons and I have been using your website for probably almost as long as its been up. Its got a wonderful collection of recipes and ideas and I'd encourage everyone here to check it out.

I hope you continue to hang out in these forums. There's a lot of great people here with good thoughts and ideas. Your thoughtful contributions would certainly add a lot to the mix.

William Haigney

Locale: New England
Backpacking meals on 12/08/2005 13:29:04 MST Print View

Here's another idea we use with our Scout troop on the first night of a backpacking trip: Cook and freeze whatever meat you want to use and bring a purchased stew or soup starter (like Beef Stew Starter). Then all you need to do is dump the meat and stew/soup starter into a pot with the required water and cook for 15 minutes until the stew starter rehydrates (ignore the cooking times on the instructions that call for hours of cooking--it ain't necessary). If you wrap the frozen meat with newspaper it will stay frozen for a day even in warm weather. For subsequent nights, try making dehydrated ground beef by cooking the beef with whatever spice you like (I happen to like garlic and rosemary), then drain off all liquid, spread the cooked beef on a cookie sheet and bake at the lowest oven setting with the door open a crack till its dry (about 4-6 hrs). When done put the cooked beef on paper towels to cool an dabsorb any residual fat. Then store the dried beef in the freezer till your ready to go and it'll keep on the trail as long as you need. Then just add it to stew/soup starter. (Note: if you want, after you cook the beef and drain off the liquid, you can seperate the fat from the drained off liquid by throwing it in the freezer for a few minutes and skimming off the fat and then returning the liquid to the beef before drying. It adds to the flavor, but it also slowes the drying process).

William Haigney

Locale: New England
freezerbagcooking on 12/08/2005 13:49:25 MST Print View

wow--just went to this site. Amazing! This will be making the rounds at our Troop this afternoon! Thanks very much for this lead!!!!!!!!!

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: freezerbagcooking on 12/08/2005 16:46:18 MST Print View

Thanks William :-) If for one thing about my site, has that a lot of Scout Troops have used it-I have found out even Troops in England using the recipes-which is pretty dang cool in my book! The boys love it because it isn't hard.

John Garberson
(Montana) - F
More On Freezer Bag Cooking on 12/09/2005 07:37:32 MST Print View

In my own experience, I've found freezer bag cooking to have all the benefits of commercial freeze dried meals...primarily convenience and lightweight.

But the BIG benefit for me is taste and food preference. None of my backpacking freezer bag dinners are purpose made...instead they are dehydrated portions of dinner meals I cook at home -- and I like my cooking! :) The dehydrated meals taste better, have larger portions, and are far cheaper than, e.g., Mountain House. I doubt any of my trail dinner entrees cost more than a dollar.

I recommend Sarbar's site and the Backcountry Cooking forum where she is active. Sarbar is my High Priestess of FB cooking. :)

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Backpacking meals on 12/09/2005 08:00:56 MST Print View

I want to second William's suggestion about dehydrated cooked hamburger. Someone I met online called it "burger rocks" ... which will make perfect sense if you try to bite one of the dried pieces before rehydrating.

Home dehyraters work well for making burger rocks and other dried foods ... I used an oven until I ran the oven for a week straight during the hottest week of the summer in our then non air conditioned house ... a dehydrator came gift wrapped on my next birthday.

Dehydrated frozen corn/peas/greenbeans work well too, as does dehydrated fresh green pepper slices. I haven't tried other veggies. Tomato sauce, premade pasta sauce and diced tomatoes, home made soup and chili all dry very well. Make your own apple fruit rollups by drying applesauce (add cinnamon for that apple pie taste)

Some caveats if you are using an oven:
1) the borderline between drying and cooking is approx 150F. Most instructons for drying things suggest staying below 140F. Many (most?) newer ovens with digital thermostats can't be set below 170F
2) prop the oven door open about an inch with a stick or wooden spoon so as to let water vapor escape.

I'll have to try William's suggestion about separating the fat and adding the other liquid back in. The instructions I've been using say to remove the fat with boiling water ... but that does remove a lot of flavor too. You definitely want to get rid of the fat ... it turns rancid over time.

Edited by jcolten on 12/09/2005 08:06:51 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Hamburger on 12/09/2005 15:01:55 MST Print View

I store my dried hamburger in the freezer at home as a safeguard against it going rancid :-)

Bill McCartney
(Travellight) - F
Thanks for the recommendation Paul! on 01/12/2006 08:24:47 MST Print View

I just posted some background information about Travel Light-Eat Heavy if anyone wants to know more about it.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Homemade is better for sure on 04/22/2006 20:19:11 MDT Print View

I'm a big fan of homemade backpacking foods too. I'm the owner of and I do a ton of wilderness travel... it didn't take long before I got totally sick of pre-packaged foods. I now teach wilderness cooking classes (online) which is a lot of fun and have learned a ton since those first trips.

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 04/22/2006 20:21:06 MDT.