April 8, 2014 / Comments (2)

Freezer Bag Cooking: Chili

When it comes to eating on the trail, there are a thousand ways to do it. You could go minimalist and pack only no-cook meals, stock up on Mountain House pouches, or you could be stuck doing dishes. Another option is called freezer bag cooking (FBC) where you dehydrate your own food and cook them in freezer bags. You simply measure out the water you’ll need, bring it to almost a boil, pour it in the bag, and let it rehydrate.

I was meeting up with a few gals that will also be doing the JMT this summer and we brought some meals to try out. Not having made a FBC meal before, I don’t have everything you might need like a cozy for efficiently re-hydrating your meal.

I have a Nesco Dehydrator and decided to try out making a vegetarian chili. I cut out parchment paper to size (I cut it a little smaller to leave some space for air around the perimeter) and cut a hole in the center. I read some people use a non-stick spray, but I didn’t and I had no issues.

I poured on the chili and spread it out so it was even. I used put one serving on the tray. I set the dehydrator to 135 degrees and came back seven hours later.

I gave it another 30 minutes as the corn was not 100% dry. I was able to lift off most of it in small sections and then I crumbled it in the bag. The parchment paper was completely free of food and can be reused.

I then put the contents in a freezer bag, broke up the pieces, and then labeled the bag. I just wrote that it was veggie chili, one serving, and to add one cup of water. It looks like cereal (with corn…) if you look quickly!

We all tried the chili and it was a winner. It rehydrated well and had a nice kick to it. I’ll definitely be making it for the trail!

I did notice the beans got a little mashed in the process, but it tasted really good. I was a little uncertain about how the FBC would turn out, but I love that I can have a say in the ingredients and nutritional value of the food I will be eating on the trail.
After our get together, I stopped at Trader Joe’s and got a couple meals I’m going to try out. I got a Vegetable Biryani meal which is great and Japanese style fried rice with veggies that was highly recommended. I will also be trying some spaghetti and veggies and quinoa. I love my veggies and will most likely crave them on the trail.

I am planning on doing mostly oatmeal or granola in the morning. Ann gave me some powdered milk to try out so I will be doing that soon! I love mixing in fruits and nuts into my granola so I will get creative for the trail.

Lunch will consist of no cook snacks as I will be eating throughout the day. I will add a post of my various lunch options I plan on packing.

Last modified: November 28, 2014

2 Responses to :
Freezer Bag Cooking: Chili

  1. Doug Kerr says:

    I’ve just started doing this is myself. There are two areas I’m willing to deal with a few extra ounces in order to enjoy my trip into the backcountry. Food and sleeping gear. I like to eat well and while the commercial dehydrated food is lightweight I’m always wondering just what they put in those things. They aren’t exactly cheap either. I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with different meals. My favorite so far has been to brown and season equal amounts of hamburger and sausage, rinse it off under really got water to remove all grease then finely chopped onion, pepper garlic and a can of diced tomatoes and some paste, you may need to add a bit of water, bring it to a boil and let it simmer for an hour, let it cool and spoon it out on to the parchment and dehydrate. When I’m done I run it through the food processor and turn it into powder. It rehydrates well and packs up small. I put it into sealed food saver bags according to how many I’ll be feeding. I use this over pasta, rice, quinoa etc. Speaking of quinoa, I’ve been experimenting with flavoring this for breakfast using a little powdered milk cinnamon, raisins and nuts. Nice morning mix to break up the oatmeal thing.

  2. Daner says:

    I love this product! http://www.amazon.com/Harmony-Valley-Classic-Hummus-4-2-Ounce/dp/B00650ISK8/ref=sr_1_1?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1396989436&sr=1-1&keywords=harmony+valley+hummus
    I eat it for my lunches on a tortilla. Mix it with a little water and olive oil (we carried in a small bottle to add to dinners and hummus – great weight to fat ratio). Also, I’m a vegetarian, and the fake ground meat products dried REALLY well in the dehydrator. Added it to chili and pretty much anything else for extra protein. Trader Joe’s sells a good (but messy) veggie chorizo.

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