Hiking, paddling, biking, and other outdoor activities burn many calories, hence the need for proper nutrition. A healthy diet for outdoor enthusiasts helps maintain their energy levels and ensure recovery from physical exertion, enabling them to enjoy the adventure.
One way to ensure proper dieting when outdoors is by consuming dehydrated foods. Food dehydration entails moisture removal from food through traditional processes like sun and air drying or modern technology through a dehydrator. Dehydrated foods maintain their nutrients just as fresh foods, and carrying them outdoors is convenient, given their storage efficiency and portability.
Here’s all you need to know about dehydrated foods for outdoor enthusiasts.
Benefits of Dehydrated Foods
The following are the benefits of dehydrated foods.
Lightweight And Portable
As stated earlier, dehydration removes moisture from food, making it light and compact. The significant weight reduction benefits backpackers as they will have less weight to carry but still receive the same nutritional value as consuming fresh foods. The compact nature of dehydrated foods saves space in your backpack, and you can carry as much as you need for your trip.
Long Shelf Life
Water removal reduces the chances of food rotting and the need for refrigeration. Removing up to 90% of water content from dehydrated foods also extends their durability. Dehydrated foods can typically last between 6 months to a year at room temperature.
The food dehydration process preserves 100% of all the nutrients, fiber, vitamins, and minerals such as potassium, selenium, and magnesium.
Top Dehydrated Food Options
The following are some outdoor food ideas to try on your next adventure.
Pre-packaged dehydrated meals
Prepackaged dehydrated meals for camping are convenient and easy to cook. These foods are also lightweight and tasty, and you will require only one pot to prepare.
To prepare pre-packaged dehydrated meals, follow the following procedure:
- Boil water
- Add the water to your meal pouch and stir
- Wait for 15 minutes for your food to rehydrate
Dried fruits are an excellent outdoor food option as a standalone snack or can be added to your cereal or oats to make fruit chips or fruit rolls. Dried fruits and berries are rich sources of antioxidants, fiber, natural sugars, vitamins, and minerals. Consuming dried fruits is an alternative to salty and fatty treats, guaranteeing good overall health.
If dehydrating at home, consider treating your apples and bananas with an acid-based fruit juice, such as lemon or pineapple, to prevent browning.
Bringing some vegetables when camping is advisable for extra nutrients and fiber. You can try options including snow peas, capsicum, sweet potato, grated carrot, and zucchini.
Jerky is an essential dehydrated camping food for its rich protein content. Proteins increase energy levels during outdoor activities, especially long hikes. You can add jerky to your vegetables or noodles. Upon arrival at your destination, you can rehydrate your jerky by putting it in a pot and bringing it to a boil or a slow simmer.
Roasted Nuts and Seeds
Although nuts and seeds are not dried food, you can drastically extend their shelf life through roasting to prevent mold and becoming stale. Some of the nuts to try include almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts. Mixes of roasted nuts and seeds are a top hiking food for energy supply. These foods contain healthy proteins and fats, and consuming a handful will take your hunger away. Nuts and seeds are also lightweight and easy to pack, hence an ideal snack before, during, and after a hike. The energy released by nuts is in slow bursts, ensuring energy supply over long periods for outdoor enthusiasts.
Proper Storage and Handling
The first step to properly storing and handling dry foods is to cool them completely, as warm food will sweat and encourage mold growth. Once cool, pack your food loosely in a glass jar for about 10 days, during which you will shake it loosely to separate the pieces. Shaking also enables the absorption of excess moisture by the pieces.
Once fully dry, pack your dehydrated food in a clean, dry, moisture-resistant container such as metal cans, glass jars, or plastic freezer bags. It is advisable to pack your dehydrated foods in small amounts as each time you reopen the container, you expose the food to moisture that can cause spoilage. Also, inspect your food every time you open it and discard it if there are signs of mold. You should store your dehydrated food away from direct sunlight. To prolong the storage, consider a cool, dry space.
Packing dehydrated foods such as dried fruits, vegetables, prepackaged foods, and jerky for your outdoor endeavor offers an easy and effective way to prolong your shelf life, maximize storage and enjoy your favorite foods. Other food options for your outdoor trip include roasted nuts and seeds for added nutrients and energy. With proper storage in airtight containers and cool temperatures, you will access quality and nutritious food throughout your camping trip for good health.