Dry Foods at Home

by Richard & Kathy Melton

Sample Recipes

Here's where dried foods really become fun! Once you have the ingredients, just use your imagination. The authors like to backpack, but they don't care for the expensive and limited variety of foods available especially for backpackers. Canned foods take up too much space and are too heavy to be practical for a backpacking trip of a week or more. Check out one of their favorite recipes for dinner on the trail!

A couple of notes first. 1) Soaking (rehydrating) the foods before cooking plumps them and reduces the cooking time considerably. When backpacking, Richard and Kathy usually put the dried dinner veggies and such in a clear plastic container with a water-tight lid. They add enough water to cover the veggies and check several times during the day to make sure there is plenty of water. By dinner time, the veggies are plump and ready to cook. 2) Don't add salt until the dried foods are fully cooked. Salt keeps the foods from absorbing water as quickly as they should. 3) A little goes a long way. Once you see the difference between a fresh pea, a dried pea and a dehydrated pea, you will understand how a small amount of dried food can plump to a much larger size!

Fish Chowder:

This is a surprisingly hearty meal and oh so good!

Soak lemon, potato, dill and carrot until plump. Use soaking water as part of the cooking water. Add more if necessary to keep foods covered while soaking and cooking. Bring water to a boil and add all ingredients except salt, pepper and cornstarch. Cover and simmer until veggies are tender. After veggies are done, stir in cornstarch. Stir and cook until the liquid thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste. Crushed crackers or croutons sprinkled over the chowder are a nice touch. This recipe feeds 2 hungry hikers!

Peaches and Cream:

Desserts are a real treat on the trail, and one that is as easy as this and soooooo very tasty is extra welcomed after a hard day's hike.

Don't want to presoak? No problem. Put the peaches in enough water to cover them and bring the water to a boil. Cover tightly and set aside while you cook the rest of the dinner. By the time dinner is finished, the peaches will be plump and aromatic. Stir enough cool water into the coffee creamer to thicken it to a cream consistency (add water slowly while stirring). Serve the peaches in small bowls and pour the "cream" over them. Delicious!

You can make the same meals at home, and they will taste just as yummy!