Mar 16, 2010 at 8:06 pm #1256572
I'm talking fresh food: not dehydrated, salty, processed, 10 year shelf-life science food…
This was my lunch on day 2 of a recent Joshua Tree trip; stuffed grape leaves, falafel, valbreso cheese, tomato, lettuce, pita bread…brought some pickles on the side. I was king of the desert that day….
I've been trying to make the shift to carrying fresh, real (unprocessed) food when backpacking. I've been successful up to two night/three day trips, weather permitting. I'm finding that most stuff does OK if left in the cool dark of a pack. If there's water around, I'll chill my food until I go to bed and put it back in the water when I wake up for as long as I can before heading out. Whole foods I've found that work great: avocado, zucchini, potatoes (I love reds), tomatoes, fruit, onions, most non-leafy veggies…the list goes on.
I know this is a break from anything remotely "UL", but it's what I've started to do and I like it. Weight is irrelevant. I can go a long time on bars and nuts (yeah, I know bars are pretty processed), but I'm pretty turned off by eating dried food day in and day out. Now there are obvious limitations to the length of trips I can do without my fresh food spoiling (I suppose "fresh" starts to lose its meaning quickly here…).
Any tips anyone would like to share on fresh foods that carry well or tips for keeping them from spoiling faster?
I'm planning some longer trips soon and would like to see how far I can take the fresh food approach.
…I'm currently vegan so animal-based foods are out.
Thanks.Mar 16, 2010 at 8:29 pm #1587316
Have you tried home fermented foods? Not very light as they are wet by design but they pack a lot of nutrition and you only need to eat a small amount. When the weather warms up Ill try some home made sauerkraut and dill pickles in a zip lock. I have jars all over the place full of fermented veggies and dairy. Of coarse they are sides to my meat dishes.
look here for more info:
can't recommend the book enough!
As a vegan I would recommend coconut oil and lots of it! I bring a screw top plastic jar of it and eat it straight when energy is low, last forever.
You might try kale chips- kale pieces coated with Olive oil, baked and salted to taste. Also fried sweet potato or parsnip chips.
As someone more on the carnivore side of things, I use eggs, fish/meat jerkys, sardines, smoked bacon, and often grab a roast beef sub on the way to the trail head for dinner that first night.
never again will I eat another cliff/power/trail/granola bar. unless its free in a hiker box and Im starving.Mar 16, 2010 at 8:39 pm #1587319
Sandorkraut sounds like quite an interesting character, thanks for the link Brian.
Funny, I ate a bunch of sauerkraut tonight (though not homemade).
Haven't played with coconut oil either, I'll look into it.
Half my family is Armenian- I'm no stranger to all manner of Middle-Eastern pickled things thanks to them. At any given time they've got a few 5 gallon buckets in the pantry with something pickling away…Mar 16, 2010 at 9:00 pm #1587325
Sarah KirkconnellBPL Member
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Pickles are processed (had to rib ya!) though they are a natural processed food. Most of what you described can be shelf stable without being heavily processed – simple canning even at home allows stuffed grape leaves. Falfalel can be made from home dried blend – very easy again.
Bars don't have to be processed either to be shelf stable – if you make them yourself.
As for dehydrating vegetables and fruits…you can do it without heat and have it be raw. For most trips the more delicate produce gets 1-2 days, hardier such as potatoes, carrots, other root items you can get a week or more if you carry them gently. Bruising and heat are your enemies with all.Mar 16, 2010 at 9:04 pm #1587329
You are fresh food …
Oh sorry, you're vegan. Pity :-)
CheersMar 16, 2010 at 9:29 pm #1587337
"Canning" is very different from fermenting. fermentation uses wild good bacteria to break down the food and make it more digestible and nutritious. Not to mention flavorful as long as you like sour tangy tastes.
It also has the advantage of being able to to be eaten without cooking or re-hydrating. The disadvantage is its in a brine and so heavier. But thats the price you sometimes have to pay for a better meal. Kind of like how some people carry heavier pads or sleeping bags because its worth it to them.
I still haven't tried it but I don't see why it shouldn't work perfectly well. I imagine that as long as the food is moist in the zipp lock it will remain safe for a few days at least. It may be possible to have just enough brine to cover it( keep it out of oxygen) and it will be good for months.Mar 16, 2010 at 9:37 pm #1587343
I think my original point is lost somewhere…
I'm really talking fruits and veggies here.
I remember reading about Jardine carrying carrots, corn cobs, potatoes, etc. But there was never any mention about how long they lasted or tips for maximizing how long they last.
Roger, you've lost me.Mar 16, 2010 at 9:45 pm #1587348
Try Green bags :
They seemed to work for me for leafy greens in the fridge. They have mixed reviews. I still have some left. Something else to try in the future.Mar 17, 2010 at 2:11 am #1587402
> Roger, you've lost me.
I was being really flippant! Add five smileys to the post.
CheersMar 17, 2010 at 4:15 am #1587406
vegan and organic i assume? Should be interesting read:
might save you some dough, or at least thats the point.
BTW what are the brown things in your burrito?Mar 17, 2010 at 7:53 am #1587456
Sarah KirkconnellBPL Member
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Brown things would be falfalel.
To carry fresh fruit and veggies see above – not hard but as I said earlier: heat is the killer. In cooler weather they will last longer. Realistically you can do it easier if you have frequent town stops for reloading. Even potatoes will start wilting after a week.
Nutritionally though there is NOT a huge difference between dried and fresh! (That is as long as when you rehydrate the veggies you don't pour off any extra water) You lose some Vitamin C but you still get everything else.
To carry your food fresh you will need to think out insulation – you have to make a chill chest in your pack, a root cellar. One doesn't need refrigeration after all, but coolness is a major factor. That is how people used to store crisp veggies in summer in say Oklahoma.
One trick is to dip your veggies in ice cold water every day (a stream) to recharge them.Mar 17, 2010 at 12:13 pm #1587559
The lighter you can get your gear, the more fresh food you can carry! Eat up!Mar 17, 2010 at 1:45 pm #1587590
I mentioned keeping my food in the cool dark of my pack as well as chilling it in water in my first post. I have successfully used foil bubble wrap for this- basically, a small insulated food sack.
****Please! I'm not trying to start a debate on whether or not fresh vs. dried or organic food or vegan food is better…Eat however you like and follow whatever studies you believe! I have my reasons and they are sufficient enough for me. I'll be happy to take a discussion on that over to Chaff if anyone feels like fighting…but I'm trying to be straightforward here.
Maybe I was wrong for simply saying "vegan": the mere word seems to start arguments these days…
Again, just looking for some simple tips on fresh foods that carry well or for techniques that I might have overlooked to keep fresh food fresh for as long as possible…that's all. Thanks!Mar 17, 2010 at 2:04 pm #1587597
Add five smileys and I'm still completely lost!Mar 17, 2010 at 2:31 pm #1587608
I would try growing sprouts on trail and supplementing with wild edibles where possible.
This website is kind of interesting:
http://www.rawfamily.com/news/RFNews_06_08_1.htmMar 17, 2010 at 2:35 pm #1587611
peppers – all kinds
cabbage – several kinds
salad – spinach, lettuces etc (carefully)
tofu in shelf stable packaging
cheesesMar 17, 2010 at 3:07 pm #1587623
Sprouting looks like fun…The concept of growing a small amount of your own food while walking is pretty cool. I don't know how much volume can really be achieved, but again, I love the idea.
Thanks Dicentra- I've carried much of what you mention out to 3 days with fine results. I've never carried peppers, asparagus, or broccoli, but love them. I guess I just have to see how far they'll go and remain edible.
Never carried it, but I'm guessing that cabbage would do better whole (I suppose most veggies do). I made the mistake of carrying a bunch of homegrown sliced japanese eggplant into the Sierra with me once- It started getting funky within the span of one hot day. But a whole eggplant lasted for 3 days on another trip…
I certainly agree with your post above; going UL is a great way to get to be creative in other areas- like fresh food and art supplies. Less gear weight isn't necessarily an end in itself.Mar 17, 2010 at 3:30 pm #1587629
The larger pieces something is in, the longer it will last in your pack… More surface area (in general) means faster rotting etc.
whole cabbage vs shreds for example.
Same goes for cheese.
And add eggs to my original list! And kale, and chard.
I've had spinach last for 4 days (we ate it all by then or it would have lasted a day or 2 more).Mar 17, 2010 at 3:33 pm #1587631
Nia SchmaldBPL Member
I carried cucumber, peppers and romaine on a thru hike, trying to get some real food and loved it. After the third day it started looking somewhat unedible, but would rarely last that long before I ate it. This was largely on the cut portions though. If the skin is intact it would last longer.
Olives and capers are also very nice for a punch of flavor and will last well over a week.Mar 17, 2010 at 4:36 pm #1587642
> Add five smileys and I'm still completely lost!
Ah well, you have to allow for a distorted Australian sense of humour. Very distorted.
To any one else you are fresh food …
Read 'Survival' by John Wyndham, in his collection called 'The Seeds of Time', published by Penguin, 1959.
CheersMar 17, 2010 at 4:44 pm #1587644
Laurie Ann MarchMember
@laurie_annLocale: Ontario, Canada
We grow sprouts on the trail all the time. Granted I use a Nalgene water bottle but you could sub a lighter weight container. Other than that all you need is a small piece of cheesecloth or netting and an elastic and some sprouting seeds.
Here is a photo of my broccoli sprouts on the 3rd day… the photo was taken from the top lip of the Nalgene…
and from the side on the previous day…
I can post full instructions if anyone is interested.Mar 17, 2010 at 5:13 pm #1587655
Sweet mother of sprouts, looks good.
Roger, I think I might finally have it!
Doesn't being vegan increase my desirability to carnivores (or cannibals)…sorta like being a grass-fed cow? I suppose it produces better marbling in people too…Mar 17, 2010 at 7:48 pm #1587713
> Doesn't being vegan increase my desirability to carnivores
Dunno – ask the skeleton?
CheersMar 17, 2010 at 7:51 pm #1587714
"I can post full instructions if anyone is interested."
Yes please! :-)
Thanks!Mar 18, 2010 at 11:28 am #1587910
4 am thoughts… LOL
How about fresh fennel?
Slice it super thin (in camp) and toss it with some lemon juice and parmesan cheese for a nice salad. Yum!
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