Thursday, January 8, 2015

How to Get Your Veggies on Backpacking and Paddling Adventures

For some hikers and paddlers, veggies are not a consideration. They burn mega-calories on long distance hikes and paddles. They require calorie dense foods, high in fats, proteins, and sugars, for fueling extreme adventures. But some of us have other nutritional objectives, or even concerns about keeping the plumbing moving. This can be especially important when camping with kids.

My favorite way to get vegetables in the back country without adding the heaviness and bulk of fresh produce to the backpack is to dehydrate veggies at home. Dehydrated vegetables may be used as sides or added to main dishes. Peas, green beans, corn, sautéed onions / bell peppers / mushrooms, high protein beans, spinach, and most other vegetables may be dehydrated. This should be done following your food dehydrator manufacturer’s instructions.

I vacuum seal our veggies in FoodSaver bags for storage and lightweight packing. In camp, we presoak dehydrated vegetables in water to reduce cook time. Reduced cook time means reduced fuel consumption.

Winter is a great time to cook extra veggies when preparing meals, and dehydrate them for later use. But what’s out there for those who do not want to dehydrate their own food? Freeze dried vegetables are the next best thing, but they are expensive. Finding dehydrated mainstream grocery store vegetables for the pack can be challenging if you do not wish to buy expensive freeze dried foods. Read on for 7 suggestions for grocery store veggies for the pack.





1. Falafil mix resides in the international aisle or the organic section of most grocery stores. Just add water. Cook in a bit of oil, and serve with pita bread. Bonus - falafil provides protein!

2. Dry minced onion, bell pepper, and garlic can be added to various trail dishes.

3. Dry beans and rice meals.

4. Dry veggie soup mixes.

5. Sun dried tomatoes (although from a botanical definition this is a fruit).

6. Freeze dried veggie snacks and veggie chips, available in the organic and produce sections.

7. Instant mashed potatoes and dehydrated Hungry Jack Cheesy Hashbrowns provide great ways to get your spuds.

A good grocery item is freeze dried or dehydrated such that it is lightweight and relatively compact for carrying. I'd love to expand my low cost, light weight backpacking menu. If you have a great idea for mainstream grocery store veggie items, please comment below.

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