Alternatives to Freeze Dried Meal Packs

I did a lot of tramping in my youth, short and some very long trips. Coming back into it now kids are at school, I've been surprised how much everyone seems to be relying on Back Country Cuisine packaged meals. I never went that way in the 80's, think we were too poor/stingy. Old habits die hard, I find it hard to shell out for something in a package that costs more than $60 per kilo. We used to be able to buy kilo bags of cheese powder for about the same price as milk powder, also kilo bags of freeze dried mince at what I recall was a reasonable price. In North America we could get big bags of cheap instant refried bean mix that took care of most of the protein needs. Staple meals were therefore pasta and cheese powder with a maggi soup and a few surprise beans, or mince curry plus rice or refried bean mix plus rice. None of this stuff seems available here/any more. BCC dried mince comes in small packets at at least $60 per kilo, parmesan cheese powder is at least the same price per kilo. What are people who aren't going the BCC route taking now days? I'm looking for recipes / ideas that are cheap, don't require huge amounts of time fiddling around with a dehydrator before a trip, but are light and keep indefinitely for a long trip while taking little time/fuel to prepare on the trip.
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I think it was our host, Matthew who put me on to dehydrated refried beans. I bought mine from Aji's in Opawa Rd, Waltham. I chuck them in to bulk up dehy mince.
1 deleted post from Nepalplanettreks
dehy refried beans. Nachos might be my next menu
Thanks, Honora. I'd been looking for dehydrated refried beans when I started this thread, had another look and found them available here: http://www.mexifoods.co.nz/shop/santiago-refried-beans-vegetarian-style-835gm Yes, good to bulk out deny mince or on their own with oil and lots of spices. Take flour and make tortillas / chapattis to go with them on a longer trip. Just need to find a source of (cheaper than parmessan) cheese powder. Might try buying a packet of grated tasty cheese and spreading it out in a cardboard box in the airing cupboard, forgetting it for a few weeks and see if it dries to something useable. That suggestion for pork scratchings might be worth pursuing. Buy a couple of pork roasts, cut off the skin, dice the rest for sweet and sour pork and put it in the freezer, cut up the skin and put it in the oven till its crisp and dry, a bit of salt on it and it should keep through a longer trip. Thickening up dehy mince with lentil flour (just put red lentils in the blender) also works well. Experiments with dehydrating mince myself seem to have been successful: Cook mince down, rinse the fat out in a sieve with lots of boiling water then continue to cook till it's dry, leave it in the wok on top of the woodturner with lowish heat overnight till it's completely dry. 1 kg went down to about 250 g.
I tried dehydrating grated cheese in the dehydrater. It was my only dehydrating fail - a helluva mess to clean up with cheese embedded in the trays. I know if you leave stuff long enough in the fridge, it dries up and shrivels eventually!
My dinner matrix: Choose at least one item from each heading. Gives you hundreds of different combinations. Obviously some combos work better together than others. Starch: Pasta (spaghetti, macaroni, orzo, risoni) Rice Noodles (ramen, 2-min, egg, rice) Couscous Corn chips Potato chips Instant mashed potato Protein: Bacon Salami Sausage (spicy types my fav) Precooked chicken Precooked mince Nuts (cashew, almonds, peanuts) Eggs (either precooked, or raw whole eggs stored in air/water tight plastic jar/bottle - good for 2-3 days) Cheese (cheddar, parmesan etc) Veges: dehydrated (surprise) fresh (pre-chopped, good for 2-3 days if in ziplock bag) Fats (good dose added for extra calories): Butter Olive oil Coconut cream powder Whole milk powder Sauce/Flavours: Maggi sauce packets (lots of different flavours) Curry paste or powder (any one of a hundred indian/asian mixes) Satay UHT Cream based sauce Tomato paste based sauce Tagine spice mix Soy, ginger, garlic, sesame, brown sugar Mixed herbs Chilli!!! Standard cooking method: Cold soak any dehy veges Bring minimum amount water up to boil, add starch and fresh veges. Take billy off stove and wrap in sleeping bag, leave until starch almost cooked. Add protein, sauce/flavour, fats and reheat. Eat.
I've collated my tramping recipes on my blog at http://waitakathlete.blogspot.co.nz/p/tramping-recipes.html Generally we dehydrate our own mince dishes, but for last minute packing something like macaroni cheese (with instant cheese sauce & dried peas) or couscous & a foil pack of tuna works well.
Excellent ideas, Briar. Going to try dehydrating raw eggs as I get a lot from the lady next door. I grated my cheese on to baking paper and then dried it at the lowest heat. It worked.
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Forum Food
Started by Ian_H
On 12 November 2015
Replies 16
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