|Just Add Water And Stir|
So you want to go camping or hiking and don't want to lug along forty or more pounds of tin cans, jars, frozen foods, vegetables, ice and coolers. Well, then why not go back to the basics, as Scouters went camping seventy or eighty years ago.......
FRUITS - Dried apples, dates, raisins, bananas, apricots, papaya, figs, currants, and any type or nuts or seeds.
CEREALS - Oatmeal, cream of wheat, cracked wheat, bran, trail mix, granola bars (homemade - less fat), peanut butter and coconut bars.
BREADS - Muffins, tea biscuits, breads, pancakes (all made from scratch, no eggs needed), crackers, rice cakes, snackin' cakes.
DRINKS - Juices, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, powdered milk, herbal teas.
SOUPS - Bouillion cubes or prepared packages, macaroni, dried vegetables. Use prepared packages (Cup of Soup, Knorr), Knorr sauces - tomato, etc.
STAPLES - Rice (quick cooking), pasta (macaroni, spaghetti), instant masked potatoes, scalloped potatoes, beans, grated cheese.
MEATS - Cooked dried meats (round steak, roast, etc.).
SPICES - Salt, pepper, seasoning salt, garlic, onion powder, celery salt, or an all-purpose mix.
OR - As a last resort, use the many different brands of prepared freeze-dried foods. These can be expensive, but simple, they come ina wide variety of meals, but are not as fun to prepare. Most are not as tasty as you would expect a meal to be, and only require the most rudimentary of skills (boiling water).
If the menu is well thought out, your boys will thoroughly enjoy preparing and eating meals. Some meals will take quite a while to prepare, but if it tastes good and the boys enjoy doing it, why not take them back to the basics?
Commercial processors market hundreds of dehydrated and freeze-dried foods, though you can dehydrate your own meat, fruits, and vegatables in an oven at home. Here's how.
To make beef jerky, slice a pound of lean beef into strips about 1/4 inch wide, cutting with the grain. Season the strips with a little salt and pepper, then drape them over the bars of a rack in the oven. Place a cookie sheet underneath to catch any drippings, and leave the oven door open just a crack to let moisture escape. Turn the oven's temperature control to its lowest setting - around 120 degrees and let the meat dry for about 8 hours until it is shrivelled, chewy, and delicious. Seal the jerky in plastic bags and you've got a great addition to your backcountry larder.
You can dehydrate vegetables and fruit in much the same way. Begin with fresh, ripe produce. Wash it well, remove cores and stems, and slice it thinly. Next, break down natural enzymes that could speed deterioration by briefly steaming the fruits and vegetables in a colander or vegetable steamer placed in a large pot containing 1/2 inch of water. Cover the pot, put it on a burner, and bring the water to a boil. In a few minutes the produce should be limp and ready for oven drying.
To prevent slices of fruits and vegetables from falling through an oven rack, tightly stretch cheesecloth or a tea towel over the rack and secure it with safety pins. Spread the slices on the cloth, then set the oven at its lowest temperature and leave the door ajar, just as you did for making jerky. In 8 hours, sample a few slices. When they are dry but not brittle, pack them in plastic bags. During a trek you can eat them as they are, add them to dishes you are cooking, or soak them a few hours in water to restore their original sizes and shapes.
|Beef Hamburger||8 - 12 min||Beef 1" cubes||20 - 30 min|
|Chicken pieces||20 - 30 min||Wieners||5 - 10 min|
|Lamb chops||20 - 30 min||Pork chips||30 - 35 min|
|Fish (whole)||15 - 20 min||Carrot sticks||15 - 20 min|
|Corn (cob)||6 - 10 min||Potatoes (whole)||45 - 60 min|
|Potatoes (sliced)||10 - 15 min||Apple (whole)||20 - 30 min|
|Banana (in skin)||8 - 10 min||Pineapple (whole)||30 - 40 min|
|Biscuits||6 - 10 min|
|Just Add Water