Trail Grub: 10 Quick Prep Tips
We’ve all had to put together trail grub before, (some more than others), or at least feed ourselves. Obviously the length of time out and the caloric requirements will directly affect menu planning. What you feel like hefting around, and/ or packing out also come into play. When planning for foods to take on your backpacking trips, keep the following tips in mind:
1. For quick, trouble-free meals, pack slices of hard salami, tins of tuna, kippered snacks or smoked baby clams. And don’t forget crackers, cheese, peanut butter, dried fruit and granola for easy-to-fix, no-cook-or-cleanup, eat-as-you-go foods.
2. Take advantage of goods that are already individually packaged. This works especially well with snacks like: energy bars, poptarts, fruit juices, bananas, and oranges.
3. Many types of meat and fish come in cans. Their variety can greatly expand your trail menu. They tend to have extra water weight, but add a nice flare to camp fare.
4. Yogurt will hold up for about 48 hours on the trail. And hard cheeses last very nicely-they just continue to age. Pre-boiled eggs hold up nicely for 3-4 days, (hard boiled).
5. Wrap individual portions of baked goods in plastic food wrap if necessary. Then, to protect the food from being crushed, place it in a plastic container. Keep at the top of your pack.
6. Wrap whole loaves of bread in heavy food wrap, place each one in self-sealing plastic bag; then carry the bread in a plastic container. Bread sliced prior to packing usually reduces to crumbs! Black breads, old world Italian, pumpernickel or dense whole wheat breads work best on the trail. Make them at home, pack them to take along.
7. Bagels are a bomb-proof bread for the trail; the variety of flavors available allows for a diversity of uses. You can usually count on them to last up to 4-6 days if stored reasonably dry, (fresh). From the grocers freezer, (not fresh) you might get a week or even a bit more. Hmmmm…
8. In hot, humid weather, moist muffins, chewy bars and breads will quickly mold, so select other take-along foods for those conditions.
9. When packing for an on-the-trail recipe, package the recipe ingredients individually in self-sealing plastic bags. Then place all those bags in a larger self-seating bag which contains the recipe directions. Combine and minimize plastic where ever possible.
10. When dry ingredients such as spices, vegetables or fruits will be added all at once to the trailside dish, combine them into one packet ahead of time, in a commonly shared bag. Pre-portioning entire meals, or sub components saves time and effort, and can prove quite useful when trying to cook in less than ideal conditions…backcountry, or anywhere…
Upside-down Fruit Pudding!?!
Here’s one popular with my buddies…. Sort of an upside down fruit pudding…
Can double as a dessert or hot breakfast – but is quite rich, so don’t make too much unless you have a big gang (or want leftovers for brekkie). Good cool weather fare….
Scale up or down as desired…
A few handfuls dried fruit – apricots, apples, berries, raisins, dates… whatever you like. Add warm water just to cover and let soak/stew during dinner to plump them up a bit. I add some cinnamon and cloves to this… or if you’re adventurous, a film can worth of bourbon or rum makes it extra special.
Now take some “just add water” type muffin (oatmeal, blueberry, apple cinnamon) or cake or cookie mix in a zip lock, and add water to make a thick paste-like batter. Squeeze it on top of the fruit, like dumplings, and press it down into the fruit liquid.
Cover the pot, and crank the heat up to a simmer… in 5-10 minutes, the batter will plump up….
Voila… hot fruit pudding/upside-down cake! Simple, filling and smells damn good while cooking….
Big thanks go out to Martha in Montreal, [firstname.lastname@example.org ]. This is a great recipe! It packs well, and we found the film canister idea to be the icing on the cake! Bravo!