People asked me, what will you eat? Five months eating a diet that long distance hikers write about in blogs hasn’t excited me too much. I do know many long-distance hikers have eaten well and enjoyed a varied diet. That’s what I’m after, healthy food, so my research began.
I learnt that very few hikers decided on options other than the store-bought dehydrated meals that vary in portion sizes and nutrition. A couscous or noodle meal with tuna pockets combination also may not keep you full and happy for long. Some have mentioned they have dehydrated meals for themselves but not many. TA being a five-month hike is a long time to prepare ahead and/or organise in advance. Another factor is the weight, any food uneaten or left over has to be carried out along with all packaging, so portion size and selection is important.
I liked the idea of a varied diet and good nutrition while walking and so early in the year I set out to trial and test options. There are so many recipes on-line, I chose some dug out an old dehydrator that I know my brother used successfully for over 10 years and gave it a go.
Food preparation is a science I now fully respect. The length of time in the dehydrator, preparing before dehydrating, storing the dried ingredients, oxidisation during storage, dampness after drying etc there are so many variables to understand. Storage meant vacuum packing ingredients once fully dehydrated to repack later into meals.
Initially I tried recipes that bloggers said they enjoyed and wondered how well their recipe really worked for them. For me they didn’t store well or the meal was unpleasant to eat out on the track. I then stumbled upon Chef Glen who had successfully completed thru-hikes in USA developing his recipes and methods and makes them available on-line.
I emailed Chef Glen who responded with a sample recipe template, I bought his on-line recipe book and the test kitchen was underway!
Dehydrating stews and one pot meals really didn’t go well in my old dehydrator due to my inexperience and working out ideal temperatures. So, I tested dehydrating ingredients to compile later into meals. I now had the method so worked through Glen’s recipes and got cracking. His portion sizes worked well for me too.
What fun! Fortunately, my last job was in a café and test kitchen Saturday with Nicki was the thing. It’s all about the recipe working consistently and confidence in storage. Hah I had the method, understood portion sizes, tested healthy recipes across the food groups and could successfully store delicious meals.
Along the research path I knew the next stage was to set out my itinerary and decide what evening meals would suit the endurance of each section. It was when I was sorting out my itinerary that I decided to walk the entire walk to Bluff.
155 days, 31 recipes, repeat 5 times, perfect numbers. Lunch – fresh for as long as it lasts. Breakfast, snacks and evening meal packed in resupply boxes to be couriered to me. A logistical challenge. And then add Glen’s desserts!
So much fun! I encourage others who have the time to try it too.
I’ll report in my blogs along the way how well my optimism lasts.
A combination of dehydrated ingredients, prepared and packed.
More inspiration https://www.trail.recipes/