Nutritious and Yummy Camping

Dehydrated food is all about flavour, weight and convenience!

Family camping - dehyrated foods

Dehydrated food is made by exposing food to heat. It works by removing water from the food, which inhibits the growth of microorganisms and hinders decay. Drying food using sun and wind to prevent spoilage has been practiced since ancient times. This process removes approximately 98% of the moisture in the food which leaves it much less likely to spoil. Some of the flavor will be lost when any food is dehydrated, but generally the results are more than acceptable. Dehydrated food has a different flavor just like fresh food, cooked food, and canned food. It varies from food to food and with the amount of desiccation. For example Apricots and Tomatoes have a more intense flavour when dried. It’s something to be aware of so that you can adjust the flavor with herbs, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, butter or whatever you prefer. Dehydrated food is much lighter and when packaged takes up considerably much less space than freeze dried foods. This is because water is the heaviest part of food, so when it is evaporated the weight of the food is dramatically reduced. Very important when camping or hiking and space is limited. It is also much easier and cheaper to do it yourself than freeze drying. Dehydrated food costs less then freeze dried food. Nothing comes close to the value of dehydrated food, not even store bought canned food.

The Differences.

DEHYDRATION: Heat is applied to the food, removing the moisture through evaporation. This is the preferred drying method for some foods, including onions, peppers and tomatoes. Dehydration is a lower cost method and results in a more compact product.

FREEZE DRYING: Food is rapidly frozen then placed in a strong vacuum. 90% of moisture in the food is removed as vapor through sublimation. Freeze drying uses low heat and causes little damage to taste or aroma. Products easily reconstitute and more closely resemble the taste and texture of the pre-dried food. The process is time consuming and requires large and expensive machinery.

DEHYDRATING FOOD SAVES YOU MONEY: If you’re in a hurry to get on the trail, you may happily pay the higher prices of pre-packaged meals, but if you can plan ahead, you’ll save money dehydrating your own meals.

MORE VEGETABLES: Pre-packaged backpacking meals are typically light on vegetables and heavy on starches. Backpackers need starches for energy, but more vegetables are beneficial. Slice or dice vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and carrots and put them directly into the food dehydrator. Some vegetables such as broccoli benefit from a couple minutes of steaming before dehydrating. With a small amount of home preparation you can include healthy portions of colorful, vitamin-rich vegetables in all of your camping or hiking meals.

KEEP OUT UNWANTED PRESERVATIVES: Manufacturers of dried meats and fruits use preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors. Flavored rice and noodle products from the grocery store often contain MSG, loads of salt and many other unwanted ingredients. Free yourself from chemically engineered food by dehydrating food from Mother Nature and you’ll feel well nourished and healthy on the trail.

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