Freeze Dried Dinners

12:18 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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While out shopping yesterday I ran across "Mary Jane Farms" freeze dried meals.  While they seem to have fewer calories than Mountain House or Backpackers Pantry, the upside is they are in paper packages, not bulky foil, and they seem to be much thinner & more malleable for easier packing in the bear canister.

I tried one last night in the safety of home :) to see how it would be (and whether I'd have the intestinal issues I've experienced after eating MH meals in the past).  The latter seemed OK with this.  But the meal, "Pueblo Stew" tasted pretty much like wallpaper paste.  I added a bunch of spices, but then it just tasted like spicy wallpaper paste.  Even at home it wasn't appetizing and as I ate it I tried to picture myself getting it down on the trail.  Maybe later in the trip when I'm really hungry... :)

Or maybe I'll just stick with the original plan of making my own meals...  but figured a few pre-made meals would be handy along the trail because they're so simple, and provide some variety.

1:02 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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I have tried various prepackaged meals and I always come back to making my own. At least I know what goes in them

1:14 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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I like (ed) Enertia Foods, Coleman makes them now.  More like a serving to a serving and a half, much better for older, declining appetites portion wise.  I like their selection, gotta pick and choose. still  I've had a few Mary Jane Farms offerings, they are too $$$.  I repackage so my food will fit my bear canister.

Duane

5:09 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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im pretty easy when it comes to food. I can be a foodie at times, as I live near Portland, ME which is consistently one of the top 10 places in the country for a food scene. But I can also be really easy to please and don't mind eating freeze dried meals at all while hiking. They typically taste pretty good to me and I don't usually need to pack in a bear canister because I do most of my hiking in the winter when bears go night night.

5:23 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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mmmm, maybe you can freeze dry a Maine Lobster and some Steamers that I can stick in the bear can for my trip.  Now *that* would make for an awesome dinner along the trail! :)

7:15 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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bheiser1 said:

mmmm, maybe you can freeze dry a Maine Lobster and some Steamers that I can stick in the bear can for my trip.  Now *that* would make for an awesome dinner along the trail! :)

Too bad you can’t eat Mountain House; they have a pretty tasty lobster nuberg stew.  Psych! !¬)

Ed

7:27 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Hmmm, maybe that's worth trying at home to see how it goes :).  

10:54 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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nothing says trail side diarrhea like freeze dried steamers...mmmmm

11:01 p.m. on June 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Yikes!!!

9:06 p.m. on June 23, 2012 (EDT)
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Give Pack-It Gourmet a try.  Their meals tend to be a bit more complicated that most to prepare, but more than make up for it in taste.

1:31 a.m. on June 30, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for the tip steve! I've never heard of em before but I'll try anything once ") or maybe twice.......

2:26 p.m. on June 30, 2012 (EDT)
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Happy Hiker has a good curry dinner I tried yesterday..Pack it Gourmet is awesome..like the Austinous Tort soup and smoothies they have

 

 

 

1:26 p.m. on July 1, 2012 (EDT)
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Ye may also want to try Mountain House's Whole Grilled Chicken Breasts With Mashed Potatoes. Absolutely DELICIOUS! 

http://www.mtnhse.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=M&Product_Code=53170&Category_Code=MHDL

And yes, they actually ARE whole chicken breasts. They only take the normal 5 minutes to rehydrate, and when done they are as tender as you could possibly imagine... Actually, MORE tender than you can possibly imagine. I've tried DOZENS of different freeze dried meals and out of all of them, the MH Chicken Breasts W/ smashed taters is the best I've EVER had. I don't care how good a BBQ'r one is. I don't care how expensive a restaurant one goes to. You will be VERY hard pressed to find chicken better than what's in that MH pouch. I could HAPPILY live off of those for every lunch and supper on a month long hike. No, REALLY, they are THAT good. I challenge anyone to find a bad review of those chicken breasts. Almost every reviewer of them is almost as awestruck by them as I am. Anyhoo, now I have to plan a camping trip soon so I can justify ordering a couple dozen pouches of 'em.  ;-)

Cheers!

11:42 a.m. on July 3, 2012 (EDT)
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I buy easy to prepare meals that are made for microwave cooking. But I use my stove and Ziploc bags to repack all the meals and then re-use the Ziplocs till they wear out. The heavyduty freezer or so called Alligator bags last longest. And I use the ones like Hefty brand with the zipper on the top instead of just the two grooves as they work much better after many openings and closings.

You can prepare many food itmes your self at home then pack them yourself. Like beans but hate the cooking time? Precook them at home, then dry the cooked beans and then just add to boiling water and they are instantly done in camp. or make instant rice by precooking at home, drying them the rice is instant in camp. This can be done with any food practically.

Make soups and chili from scratch and write down the amounts of spices, vegys and such them repack the same amounts in Ziplocs and then prepare in camp. Or precook the recipes at home and dry then cook instantly in camp.

2:55 a.m. on July 4, 2012 (EDT)
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NOLS cookery is the best way to go! Just gotta upgrade to a fry-bake and your options are to the horizon and beyond!
I'd say, if its not as bulky but less calories, take one or two along as a just in case you're paddling up $***'s creek without a paddle

11:38 a.m. on July 4, 2012 (EDT)
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About 5 years ago I went thru the whole Mary Jane's Farm craze and ordered in bulk and ended up burned out in about a year.  Then I went on a Tasty Bite jag but these are heavy and not dehydrated unless you do it yourself at home.  Then I went on a Dr McDougall's black bean soup in burnable boxes but they come in at 18.3 oz each and taking 6 on a trip just ain't enough.  These can be dehydrated at home.


Now I'm on a Dehydration Fit and just finished drying the following foods for my next July trip---

**  Cantaloupe---not the best but edible.

**  Amy's organic canned items---tomato soup, refried beans, vegetarian chili, lentil soup, etc.  These dry very well.

**  cut up onions.

**  big jars of salsa just poured on the fruit leather sheet and dry in about 4 hours---peels off and ziplocked.

**  Frozen butternut squash from grocery and dried.

**  cream of mushroom soup.

**  carton of butternut squash soup.

**  canned black olives.

**  cold pasta salad.

**  fake meat tofu products like tofurkey and veggie ground beef, etc.

**  black bean soup.

Basically, anything canned can be dried. And btw, a pot cozy is mandatory for this style of cooking.

3:14 p.m. on July 4, 2012 (EDT)
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im pretty sure from looking at the menu MJ means marijuana,protein from nuts not meat.if you like nuts for protein buy it.probably VT.

7:51 a.m. on July 7, 2012 (EDT)
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New Ideas and Results---

I just used a blender to liquify cantaloupe and grapes (separately and did not add any water) and pour the results on my silicone sheet-covered trays to make fruit leather.  MUCH BETTER RESULTS than drying slices of cantaloupe or whole grapes.

5:14 p.m. on July 8, 2012 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

New Ideas and Results---

I just used a blender to liquify cantaloupe and grapes (separately and did not add any water) and pour the results on my silicone sheet-covered trays to make fruit leather.  MUCH BETTER RESULTS than drying slices of cantaloupe or whole grapes.

 Very interesting, I have found that the smaller you cut fruit & vegges up the better but I had not thought to run them through the blender.

Thank you for the heads up,

Mike G.

5:13 p.m. on July 11, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm in the make-it-and-dehydrate-it-yourself camp (pun intentional). Consider it one part occupational hazard because I've written two books on the subject and one part being a foodie and one part being OCD about wanting to have full control over flavor, sodium, nutrients and serving size.

I tend to make food for dinners at home and dry the leftovers and a lot of my favorites are things like sauces and stews where you rehydrate the whole dish in one go rather than assembling a bunch of dried ingredients. Things like chili dry exceptionally well. And... it saves leftovers from going bad in the deep, dark recesses of my fridge... lol. 

Another good reason I dehydrate is that it is much more economical. Imagine the year my husband and I had 80 bag nights.... it would have been quite expensive using pre-made commercial meals and the sodium... bleh. 

10:12 a.m. on July 18, 2012 (EDT)
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My husband and I have finally decided to stick with what we like best. We like Mary Janes Spicy Black Beans with a little bag of fritos. You can dress it up with nacho cheese in a packet and wrap the whole thing up with a tortilla if you want. We also like some of the Coleman and Enertia meals, but no all of them. We like the Chilli in both brands. Also like the mac and cheese varieties they have and the goulash. We've tried a lot of other stuff including making our own meals, and it just seems easier and less messy to go for the one bag approach. I do make dried fruit in the dehydrator for our own trail mixes and I also add bits of "ham jerky" sometimes to the mac and cheese mixes.

5:35 a.m. on July 19, 2012 (EDT)
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Ok, you D-I-Y dehydrators have me wondering, how well do oily foods like salmon, sautés, and stir fries dehydrate, and how long can I count on them retaining their fresh flavor?  Recent medical issues are compelling me to move away from comercially preped item out of dietary restrictions.

Ed 

12:53 p.m. on July 20, 2012 (EDT)
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Smoked Salmon ?

6:22 p.m. on July 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I looked forward to improved freeze-d this past 4th of July on a trip near Mt. Lassen.  It was better than the old stuff, but not by much.  I am going back to preparing meals.  A dehydrator is a good idea but can be worked around by finding commerically prepared thing like dried onion, tomatoes and other vegetables.

9:14 a.m. on July 21, 2012 (EDT)
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I've made salmon jerky but never tried to rehydrate it. I have dried and rehydrated tuna and that works well. Smells up the abode! Salmon is much fattier though. 

12:01 p.m. on July 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Smoked fish is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.  It needs no hydration.  I like to smoke trout and bring those.

July 25, 2014
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