The secret of dehydrated camping food is preparation and storage. You can virtually store any kind of comestibles for weeks or months without a refrigerator, while also saving space.
Dried food is longer lasting because bacteria won’t have a chance to grow where there’s a lack of moisture. This doesn’t mean, however, that you have to sacrifice nutrients and flavor. Using simple process and tools, like a food dehydrator, will allow you to take your camping cuisine to another level.
Dehydrated meals that work perfectly for camping
Backpacking food is specifically designed to pack as much vitality into as little volume as possible. Dried fruits, veggies and meats are prime examples of this. Fruits, for example, can be dried into a delicious powder that can be mixed with water for a tasty dose of hydration.
You have a lot more options with camping food. You can create a pancake batter, complete with eggs, milk a flour, like we’ve done at Home Dehydrator Pro. All you do is add water, and you’re ready to cook virtually any flavor of pancakes for your family to enjoy.
A dehydrator machine can also be used to prepare chili, spaghetti and other backpacking meals. They are complete with sauces, meats and veggies, and best of all, dozens of meals can be stored in a single freezer bag or vacuum-sealed container.
Recipes for your meal prep backpack
Dehydrated food camping is an eclectic art. We’ve included a couple of basic recipes in this article, and we’ll show you how to cook chicken stew, as well as mac and cheese, from scratch.
- 1 cup macaroni noodles
- Porcini mushrooms
- Cheddar Cheese
- 1 tsp. flour
Cook the macaroni noodles, then dry them in a food dehydrator machine. Dehydrate the mushrooms, thyme (1/2 tbsp.), milk (1 tbsp.) and cheese (3 tbsp.). Peruse our articles for tutorials on how to desiccate and store each of these ingredients safely and effectively.
When you’re at camp and ready to cook, place the entire dried recipe, minus the milk, cheese, flour and ghee, in a pot. Reconstitute it with warm water, mixing it and letting it sit for about 5 minutes. Boil the mixture, reduce heat to low, and then add in the remaining ingredients once ready.
- 2.2 lbs. chicken meat
- 5 whole tomatoes
- 2 onions
- 2 red and green peppers
- Chicken bouillon
- 2 cups cooked rice
- 1 cup seasoning herbs
- Olive oil
First, cook the rice and set it aside. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, then add the chicken, letting it cook thoroughly before adding the sliced onions. Transfer to a stewing pot, and add the sliced peppers, diced tomatoes and prepared chicken stock.
Boil the stew, then reduce heat and add a dash of salt. Simmer while covered for about 20 minutes before adding in the rice and fresh herbs, then stir and let it cool for about an hour.
The art of backpacking food
A food dryer dehydrator is an extremely versatile tool for planning camping trips. Using the chicken stew recipe above, we’ll show you how easy it is to take the entire pot of stew, and turn it into backpacking meals.
Most models should come with non-stick, solid, dehydrating trays. Pour the entire pot onto those sheets ¼” high on each tray, after setting the dehydrator machine to 145 degrees F. Dry until the moisture has been thoroughly reduced, then let the recipe cool for 30 minutes.
We use a vacuum sealer in our operations. They’re inexpensive, easy to use, and are the best bet to protect your food from oxidation, which is important for keeping it fresh on week-long trips, or longer.
When you’re ready to eat, simply take enough portions (about 1 cup of dried stew per person) and add water. Boil, then simmer until thoroughly reconstituted and warm, and it’s ready to serve!
A backpacking food dehydrator is an essential component for effective camping meals!