Well, we are wrapping up our school year over here and that could only mean one thing!!! Time to start preparing to dehydrate and pack meals and snacks for the upcoming hiking trip to Philmont, New Mexico. As mentioned in a previous hiking post, this is a pretty big undertaking for anyone much less someone on the SCD. This trip is a 14 day primative hiking trip in the mountains of New Mexico. All food must be carried in backpacks and there is no cooking or refrigeration. Sounds impossible but it can be done quite easily! This post will be the first of several I post throughout the next few weeks as I work to get us ready for this trip.
In order to prepare to dehydrate and pack foods for hiking, camping, or just a vacation trip, you need to have some very important tools on hand. Of course, the first item you will need is a good reliable dehydrator. I completely recommend one with a temprature gague. I borrowed one without temprature contol when I was just trying things out and I didn't care for the results. Having the temp gague allows you to choose the perfect setting for more delicate things like fruit so they don't become too leathery. Also, I would make sure to have at least 3 to 4 trays. The dehydrator I use is the Nesco dehydrator that I ordered from Amazon.com.
Next a Food Saver, Seal A Meal, or simiar type vacuum sealer. Make sure to get a reliable one. I did try to use the hand held Reynolds Vacuum Sealer but it didn't give me the seal that I needed for such a long trip. If you are doing a day trip or something less extensive you might find this works for you. However, I am just not willing to take the chance that the food would not stay sealed.
To go with the vacuum sealer, you will need a combination of pleated vacuum seal steamable bags and also unpleated bags. Make sure you get the steamable or a type you can boil. You will need these so that you can safely add boiling water to your dehydrated meal. The bags for the granola and baked items I usually bought the freezer or just plain.
Next, you will need food grade desiccant packs. These are so nifty and you can order them very cheap from Packit Gourmet .This is a really neat site for camping gear for cook outs and such. However, don't get too tempted by the freeze dried and pre packaged foods they offer. I spoke with a representative and much of them would not be considered legal. For instance, they also sell honey and organic nutbutters but they have added sugar. However, they do sell tobasco and olive oil packets that are handy.
Now let the fun begin!! Once you have all the tools you need you are ready to begin planning what types of meals you would like to bring with you. You might be surprised at the amount of choices you have! I promise to share my menu along with recipes soon!