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Highest calorie per ounce Freeze dried meal?
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christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
Highest calorie per ounce Freeze dried meal? on 04/25/2012 19:04:06 MDT Print View

Alright this should be fun. Which specific instant freeze dried meal (mountain house, etc) packs the most calories per ounce?

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Any on 04/25/2012 20:08:30 MDT Print View

that you dump enough olive oil into will be the highest. But you can accomplish the same thing much cheaper by using hamburger or chicken helper and freeze dried ground beef (and Nido on the recipes that need milk.)

Edited by gg-man on 04/25/2012 20:09:13 MDT.

Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
mh on 04/25/2012 22:38:21 MDT Print View

in terms of mountain house im 90% sure the mac and cheese has the most at about 950 total.. (the 'two' serving version)

Jeremy and Angela
(requiem) - F - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: mh on 04/26/2012 00:02:28 MDT Print View

My method was to just eyeball the "cals from fat"/"total cals" numbers to find the best ratio off their nutritional info page. Mac and cheese is up there at about 137 cal/oz, but it seems to be just edged out by breakfasts. The breakfast skillet, eggs and ham, and eggs and bacon all come in around 140-142 cals/oz.

The highest MH meal overall looks to be the ground beef at 180 cal/oz. (I don't know if it comes in a pouch; you might have to buy the can and bag it yourself.)

christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
Any brand on 04/26/2012 00:21:34 MDT Print View

By instant meal I mean any brand. I used to live off Mary James farms, but after a side by side comparison to mountain house, I switched to MH pretty quick.
I've tried a few backpackers pantry meals and hated them (salmon pasta, and some veg lasagna one).
I have yet to try those Alpine air ones.

And yes I'm also starting to experiment with freezer bag cooking as well thanks to some tips from helpful hikers from this board.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Highest calorie per ounce Freeze dried meal? on 04/26/2012 00:31:23 MDT Print View

Christopher, I think I agree with Greg. If you simply want to get high calories, then dump some olive oil into anything before you eat it. I would suggest to buy the brands and types of freeze-dried meals that you like best (for flavor or anything else) and then augment it with the olive oil or any other healthy fat.

--B.G.--

christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
Agreed on 04/26/2012 01:05:59 MDT Print View

Totally. I even already got some little olive oil packets from minimus that are perfect for the job. :)

Andrew Skurka mentioned bringing coconut oil since its solid at room temperature... I'm curious to see how that tastes and how to package that for the trail.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Agreed on 04/26/2012 01:09:24 MDT Print View

"I even already got some little olive oil packets from minimus that are perfect for the job."

The little packets are OK for a short trip, but you are kind of forced to use exactly the quantity in one packet for one meal. For a longer trip, I use a small plastic bottle of the stuff. It is easier to vary the quantity for use.

Coconut oil is more of a saturated fat.

--B.G.--

christopher smead
(hamsterfish) - MLife

Locale: hamsterfish
Which container? on 04/26/2012 01:13:26 MDT Print View

For some reason stuff always leaks for me at altitude. What container are you using for the olive oil?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Which container? on 04/26/2012 01:34:59 MDT Print View

A couple of years ago, a buddy packed a small bottle of olive oil in with his food into the bear canister that he carried. He can't cook anything without olive oil. The problem was that he left a big air bubble in the bottle where he packed it at sea level. Then he opened it when he got to 10,000' elevation. Guess what! The air bubble expanded against the reduced air pressure, so the olive oil leaked out and coated the inside and then outside of the bear canister. Not recommended.

There are some good plastic bottles with really hard caps, and you can seal them on tightly. If you start from home with no air bubble, then the only pressure effects will be as you go up and down between camps and as you use the olive oil. To be on the safe side, I pack my plastic bottle inside a ziploc bag.

--B.G.--

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Highest calorie per ounce Freeze dried meal? on 04/26/2012 09:18:03 MDT Print View

Calories are not everything. If you are going to eat commercial meals, Mary Janes are at least good for you - due to the fiber and less junk added. MH is the equivalent of eating Wonder Bread - and has all the flavor of it as well.

As for coconut oil, which is all the rage these days, buy it carefully. Only buy raw or virgin and preferably buy coconut butter than oil - it has all the product in it. The taste is great, no doubt about that. If you like coconut you will love it.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: Highest calorie per ounce Freeze dried meal? on 04/26/2012 09:24:23 MDT Print View

This is what I use btw:
http://www.artisanafoods.com/products/coconut-butter

Also, while coconut oil is saturated fat there are 2 camps to whether or not it is bad fat. The consensus is it isn't bad when raw/virgin but what you need to fear is highly processed (the days of movie theater popcorn ring a bell?)

They also make packets as well of their products:
http://www.artisanafoods.com/raw-organic-coconut-butter-single-serving

David Drake
(DavidDrake) - F - M

Locale: North Idaho
Re: Re: Highest calorie per ounce Freeze dried meal? on 04/26/2012 11:21:50 MDT Print View

I also like MaryJane's stuff, (even if the FarmGirl persona thing is a little cheesy) mostly because it tastes great. MaryJane's Farm is located in the same town I am, so our local food co-op carries some of her stuff in bulk--cheaper than the pre-packed meals. Not very calorie-dense (about 100 Cal/oz or so for most, IIRC), but easy to bump up with all the tricks mentioned above. I esp. like adding crushed fritos to MaryJane's kettle chili.

In fact, I'm off to the co-op now to get some for the weekend.

(And thanks for the coconut butter tips, Sarah. I'll look for some while I'm there.)

Edited by DavidDrake on 04/26/2012 11:22:38 MDT.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - M

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Re: Re: Highest calorie per ounce Freeze dried meal? on 04/26/2012 11:28:42 MDT Print View

The MH Breakfast Skillets are definitely up there for high cal/oz. They also seem to pack a lot of protein. They taste pretty good to me and certainly help clear up any on-trail constipation one may have.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Highest calorie per ounce Freeze dried meal? on 04/26/2012 12:49:53 MDT Print View

David, hope your co-op carries it! It is really, really tasty! The texture is "different" but if you are used to whole foods you will love it :-)

Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
evoo on 04/26/2012 13:53:11 MDT Print View

"A couple of years ago, a buddy packed a small bottle of olive oil in with his food into the bear canister that he carried. He can't cook anything without olive oil. The problem was that he left a big air bubble in the bottle where he packed it at sea level. Then he opened it when he got to 10,000' elevation. Guess what! The air bubble expanded against the reduced air pressure, so the olive oil leaked out and coated the inside and then outside of the bear canister. Not recommended."

yup my friend had the same thing happen to her on the jmt 2 years ago. we had stopped early and below 9k' so we made a fire and boiled a LOT of water to clean it out. i think we had just resupplied too so it was a good 8oz or so. bout .5" on the botoom

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: evoo on 04/26/2012 14:03:44 MDT Print View

Although olive oil is good stuff, it is so slimey! Once it gets on cups and bowls, it is messy to get off unless you use soap. Even then it is sometimes a chore.

I made a meal out of instant rice, olive oil, and dehydrated flakes of spinach. I was still picking oily green things out of my bowl for the next three or four days.

--B.G.--

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: evoo on 04/26/2012 14:08:43 MDT Print View

Paper towels will wipe it right off. That is why I carry a small bag of them on all trips. Multi-purpose and work even better as TP as well.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: evoo on 04/26/2012 18:07:59 MDT Print View

"Although olive oil is good stuff, it is so slimey! Once it gets on cups and bowls, it is messy to get off unless you use soap. Even then it is sometimes a chore."

That is why I drink it straight out of a container. Neat, no ice, no lime. Ahhhhhh.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Which container? on 04/26/2012 18:25:43 MDT Print View

"For some reason stuff always leaks for me at altitude. What container are you using for the olive oil?"

I use a small, lightweight nalgene type bottle with a screw top. I carry it wrapped in a small OP Aloksak, secured with a rubber band, in one of my pack's side pockets or kangaroo pouch, always straight up. It is a good idea to loosen the cap occasionally when ascending to high altitude, to avoid the problem Bob mentions.


An easier alternative is to use coconut oil, which is usually solid or semi solid at mountain temperatures and, therfore, less likely to spill. The downside is that it has a much more pronounced odor.