- May 7, 2019 at 10:05 am #3591917
I can start, but my knowledge is very limited, which I why I am asking. I prefer reasonably lightweight foods if possible.
1. The tiny couscous grains can be soaked in a ziploc bag and turn out great! This is the only grain I know of that turns out so well…its almost like it was cooked. Are there others?
2. The easiest most satisfying meal I know how to make is couscous with Asian “Pork Floss” and baby cucumbers. Its just pour water, setup camp, then eat. Pork floss sounds gross but its amazing! Pork Floss Baby Cucumbers are NOT light but I have to have something fresh and they have lasted perfectly well for a week…I store it next to my hydro-bladder which gets very cold at night and stays cold in my bag during the day…like a mini fridge.
3. Mountain House Spaghetti and Mountain House Beef Stroganoff is fine (by my standards) with just soaking for about 15 minutes. I will say that eating Mountain House foods of any kind somehow leaves me feeling strange…I prefer my simple couscous meals to be honest. The Mountain House meals really get hard to eat more than once or twice a weak.
4. Mashed Potato packets work great…just add water…but gravy requires cooking, it won’t “gel” without heat.
5. Most “thick” soups I tried need cooking to gel…sadly…May 7, 2019 at 12:42 pm #3591927James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
No-cook foods generally require no heat but they require a lot of preparation. For example, you cannot simply mix water and macaroni products. The proteins require cooking. There is nothing preventing you from pre-cooking and dehydrating, though…a lot of prep. Beans are very difficult. Again, they require pre-cooking before dehydrating. Lentils, rice, too. Again, the starches are bound up with proteins that need to be chemically changed (by heat or “cooking”) before we can comfortably digest them. Most grains and flour products are about the same. Sure, dried bread (as in stuffing) keeps well, but it has already been cooked. Want to guess what happens with sauces and gravy mixes? The proteins in the gluten get sticky when cooked. Yes, it is perfectly possible to use low temp gel in the sauces, stews, etc. I don’t think the overall texture is the same, though.
Humans in general can eat many things. No, you don’t need to cook anything. But digestion is aided a LOT by the breakdown of various foods beforehand. And, the food requires a lot of chewing in it’s raw state. In some cases, the majority of nutrients are lost, because cooking softens the food. Dehydrating often destroys a lot of nutrients, too. You end up not getting the most out of your food when hiking.
Humans found out that cooking was a big aid to digestion and nutritional value thousands of years ago. While I have tried no-cook on fast pack trips (a single overnight making miles,) I found I missed a hot meal at the end of a long day. It takes the edge off a 24mile day. Breakfast was NOT the same with cold coffee, cocoa was just a lumpy mess, and the oatmeal was simply raw. Not a good start for a comfortable hike.
Back in the early 70’s, I decided that no-cook was not what I wanted to do after several multi day trips with my brother. We had plenty to eat, but, sandwiches, cold coffee on a cold morning, etc made these trips uncomfortable as far as food went. Though a single overnight (or even on a longer trip) once in a while it is fine. My solution was simply to set up a light, versatile cook kit and say the hell with the weight. Stove, Pot/lid, cup, spoon, and windscreen come up to about 10oz, total. Not SUL but well within the “Rule of Ones” for UL travel. (Rule of Ones states everything in your pack for each task must weigh less than 1 pound average. My tarp is a bit over, my quilt is a bit over, my cook kit is a bit less…average is three pounds, for an example. I know, I ignored the fuel canister…)
But, things I can cook gave me a range of foods that is not achievable otherwise. Fritters, stews, soups, rice, macaroni, fried foods, boiled foods, and coffee, cocoa, and oatmeal, cream of wheat, are all tasty treats. Dried spaghetti sauce and spaghetti is a nice change from Mountain House stuff. Even fried garlic/olive oil/red pepper (done in my cup after boiling the spaghetti) makes good aglio et olio. But, you have to have a stove or cooking fire.
That has been my take on foods. There are a lot of good stove-less recipes out there. Try https://pmags.com/going-stoveless-cold-food-for-thought for more.May 7, 2019 at 3:13 pm #3591944MattBPL Member
@mhrLocale: San Juan Mtns.
You describe what I consider to be complex backcountry meals. I prefer to keep it simple:
Peanut butter and hot sauce on a tortilla; mustard and cheese on a tortilla; cold-soaked refried beans with cheese and hot sauce on a tortilla; yes, please, to mashed potatoes!; cold-soaked oatmeal; poptarts with peanut butter; tons of nuts.
Never went to bed without a smile on my face. (Your smileage may vary.)May 7, 2019 at 4:01 pm #3591948
It requires more volume, but not more weight to bring bread, hard cheese and salami for the first few days and then crackers (Triscuits, Wheat Thins), more cheese and salami for later days.
Or, more commonly, I’ll prepare warps at home for the first day or two or three. Especially in the cool temperatures up here, medium cheeses, cold cuts, and cut vegetables last longer than many people realize, especially if you let them cool down at night and wrap them in your sleeping bag to keep them cool during the day.May 7, 2019 at 7:14 pm #3591961Richard RenoBPL Member
@scubahhhLocale: White Mountains, mostly.
Dehydrated black or pinto beans mixed with water and left to set for a while, then topped with Fritos. Delish! Maybe toss in a little sour cream, olive or coconut oil, hot sauce or something for variety.May 7, 2019 at 9:00 pm #3591968
Hey Matt, I once ordered an entire box of dehydrated refried beans but they all had this burnt taste. What kind or brand did you use?May 7, 2019 at 10:06 pm #3591970
I’ve had good luck on numerous backpacking and overseas trips with Harmony House dehydrated beans through Amazon:
although I always cooked them on a stove, sometimes with and sometimes without pre-soaking (which definitely reduced the prep time). The taste was great. Usually I’d add powdered dry coconut milk, curry paste, dried onions, dried minced carrots and peppers, etc. I’m not sure how they’d be with no cooking.May 7, 2019 at 10:12 pm #3591971
My favorite and most weight/space-efficient no-cook meal is tabouli.
Any grocery store has the prepared mix. Add dehydrated diced tomatoes if you’re out more than a day and HERE’S THE TRICK: add the olive oil to the cracked wheat in advance. Then you don’t need a separate container and it can’t spill. Just mix in cold water 30 minutes before lunch/dinner.
If you really like it, then you can buy the wheat, dried parsley, etc in bulk and make your own.May 8, 2019 at 12:30 am #3591977
Hey Matt, what brand of dehydrated refined beans did you use?May 8, 2019 at 2:24 pm #3592027MattBPL Member
@mhrLocale: San Juan Mtns.
I used Fantastic Foods refried beans in the past. Now, I just get it in bulk at the natural foods store. Both tasted equally awesome to me!May 8, 2019 at 3:06 pm #3592042PaulWBPL Member
@peweg8Locale: Western Colorado
Also check out Santa Fe instant refried beans. I like the southwest style and the price is reasonable on Amazon. I’m not a cold-soaker, mainly due to cleanup, but I frequently go stoveless and I mostly follow what David mentions in his first post, with the addition of olive oil potato chips and mayo packets.May 9, 2019 at 10:35 pm #3592225
Couscous is pasta, not a grain. And is precooked, why it rehydrates so well with cool water.
Lentils precooked and dried work great with cold prep.
But….most people doing cold prep keep it brutally simple. I can give a few recipes that are not boring however ;-)May 9, 2019 at 10:36 pm #3592226May 10, 2019 at 3:30 pm #3592312Bill SegravesBPL Member
I go cookless about half the time when I’m solo. In addition to the many good suggestions above:
Powdered hummus is great with crackers.
Crushed tortilla chips (my favorite are TJ’s blue corn), with or without grated parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. (The cheese is also good mixed in or sprinkled on top of beans or cookless mashed potatoes, of which my favorite, especially when cookless, is bacon chedar chipotle).
Nido, if you want the fat calories, or non-fat milk, if you don’t, is a great protein (and calorie for full fat) source, and can be consumed by itself, mixed into mashed potatoes, or poured over cereal.
For breakfast, and for snacks, and for just about any time when I’m hungry, granola.
Someone already mentioned nut butter, but I thought I’d just add that I find the powdered peanut butter particularly convenient for backpacking. It’s a lot less messy than regular peanut butter. It’s also a lot lower in fat, so if I want the fat, I just eat more nuts instead of nut butter.
Happy trails to all,
BillMay 10, 2019 at 5:54 pm #3592325Dave HeissBPL Member
@daveheissLocale: Pacific Northwest
Sometimes a big cookie and a protein shake is all you need. I like this recipe for quick no cook breakfasts, or any meal really. I size them a little larger than customary, but that’s just me.May 10, 2019 at 8:44 pm #3592345Ken LarsonBPL Member
@kenlarsonLocale: Western Michigan
9 cookies/1,464 cal
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup Splenda
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla
Beat the above ingredients together with mixer until well blended.
5 cups flour
7 cups thick rolled oats
Beat until well mixed.
Add: 1-1/4 cups of each of the following:
Chopped dried apricots
Raw sunflower seeds
The 6 Ingredients italicized above place in a food processor and blend/chop well till paste consistency.
Mix all together……this is hard because the dough gets quite stiff…..I put rubber gloves on and kneaded it in a large bowl.
Make into balls, a little larger than golf ball size. I put 9 on a large cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Press each ball to flatten (about 1/2 inch thick). I use a glass or dish that has a flat bottom which I rub a little butter on which stops it from sticking to the cookie. I also dip the buttered end of the glass in sugar each time I press a cookie flat. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Enjoy healthful eating.May 10, 2019 at 10:15 pm #3592351
Anyone try cold soaking Stuffing? I can eat that for days lol. I also have dehydrated chicken…add some Jam and it might be a poor mans thanksgiving diner hehe. Not sure if that would work though.May 22, 2019 at 7:07 pm #3594126Diane “Piper” SoiniBPL Member
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara
Grocery Outlet sells Ahi tuna chunks that are pretty cheap, but you can use Trader Joe’s Ahi tuna steaks or frozen tuna steaks from wherever. Just rinse and cut them up into reasonable-sized chunks and dehydrate them raw. It won’t smell up your house if you use frozen tuna. Dehydrated raw, it will come out sort of like fish jerky.
If you cook your own rice, every time you do, make extra and then shove the extra into the dehydrator. Store in the freezer. Eventually you’ll have lots for a trip.
- Dehydrated tuna chunks
- Dehydrated cooked rice
Cold soak, and then add mayo and mustard. Simple, tastes good, fills you up. You can substitute some other kind of dehydrated meat like the canned chicken you’d use for chicken salad, or possibly dehydrated ham, which I’ve never tried.Jun 14, 2019 at 11:54 pm #3597894Paul McLaughlinBPL Member
My approach to non-cook backpacking food is to eliminate recipes. Everything I bring to eat is just grab and eat, out of bag or packet. No mixing or preparation of any kind in the field. Simplicity is the main reason I go without cooking, with eliminating cooking and eating gear a secondary benefit. The only recipe involved is my recipe for homemade whole wheat crackers which I make at home and bring with me:
Whole Wheat Crackers
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 tbsp wheat germ (raw not toasted)
1 tsp salt
¼ cup oil
Slightly less than ½ cup water
Mix all dry ingredients
Whisk oil and water together and then add to dry stuff and mix
Knead until smooth
Roll out to 1/8” thick , place on an ungreased baking sheet and cut into 1 ¼” to 1 ½” squares ( I use a pizza cutter)
Sprinkle on a litte bit of coarse salt and very lightly roll it in (I use the rolling pin with no pressure, just the weight of the roller)
Bake at 350 for about 22 minutes. Edges should be just barely darkening, and crisp, while the middle should have just a tiny bit of give still
Cool mostly before sealing them up in a bag or container
I wanted something simple and rugged enough to survive in a backpack without turning to crumbs in a couple days.Jun 15, 2019 at 12:42 am #3597904Chris HBPL Member
@chrishLocale: Somewhere on the Virginia A.T.
Phong, yessiree on the cold stuffing. The cornbread one from Pepperidge Farm. Oh my that’s good cold. And when you get tired of it plain…yea, pump it with a few strawberry jelly packets from Hardee’s, honey, or Nutella.
Cornbread is good too. But kinda eats up volume. Short trips though, yea baby!Dec 8, 2019 at 12:09 pm #3622037Josh JBPL Member
I don’t see how dehydrating destroys nutrients in food when it’s just very low temp for an extended time removing water or am I missing something?Dec 8, 2019 at 6:49 pm #3622059
Josh, you are not missing anything. Low temp drying is fine. You might lose some Vit C but that is about it.
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