Trail Food with the Goatman
Installment #1: Dehydrated Fruits/Veggies
I like to eat food. When I go out for a hike and a ramble, burning up calories in the hills, climbing and sweating, I like to eat food even more and lots of it. And so the familiar catch-22 of backpacking presents itself: to have the energy to carry enough food so that you have the energy to carry enough food. What you need is high calorie food that packs well and doesn’t weigh a ton. That’s the easy part.
Unfortunately, calories are not everything. Replenishing vitamins, minerals, and proteins becomes a challenge, especially on multi-day treks with few or no resupplies. Yes, you can eat Ramen noodles, candy bars, instant potatoes and bland (or worse, overly sugared) oatmeal for every meal and survive perfectly well. I have done my share of hiking on just sugar and carbs and I’ve done my share of feeling drained and grumpy by the end of the day, hollering curses at the beautiful sunset wishing it were a steak and a salad instead of a boiling mass of hydrogen gracing my eyes from the depths of space.
I learned a lot on the Appalachian Trail. One of the most important lessons, looking back, was to listen to my body. After all, we are, in some sense, a big bag of chemicals. Hiking is a great way to empty that bag and it’s important to replace what has been lost. Ten years ago, I would have never said the following, but here goes: vegetables are amazing, even more so when you’re looking to accomplish feats of endurance and strength with a smile on your face, day after day.
Enter the hikers’ best friend: dehydrated fruits and vegetables. Here at RRT, we have started carrying Just Tomatoes dehydrated foods. Don’t let the name fool you. They certainly make dehydrated tomatoes, but that is only the beginning. Below is a list of products that we are now carrying:
Just Veggies (a blend of corn, peas, carrots, bell peppers and tomatoes)
Just Hot Veggies (a blend of jalapeno peppers, corn, peas, carrots, bell peppers and tomatoes)
Just Fruit Munchies (a blend of apples, grapes, blueberries, cherries, mangoes, pineapple and raspberries)
Just Cherries (take a look at the benefits of sour cherries in regards to physical exertion and see what you find!)
You would be surprised what a difference it makes in your hike when you throw a handful of berries and/or bananas in your oatmeal in the morning or rehydrate a serving of veggies in the same water as your noodles at night. Or you can do what I do, which is to eat them straight out of the bag throughout the day, crunch and all. Peanut butter wraps a bit dull without jelly? Rehydrate some berries, smash them up, and there you are, instant fruit spread. Experimenting is half the fun.
So eat your veggies, friends, even on the summit or in the wilderness, on the river or under the earth. No excuses now!
As a bonus, here’s a quick and easy recipe for oat bars:
|1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup flour
1 cup Just Fruit Munchies (or pick your favorite)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 large eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
|Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. In a food processor, blend oats, flour, Just Fruit Munchies and almonds until all of the ingredients are finely chopped. In a bowl, mix syrup, eggs and applesauce; add to oat mixture and combine until well blended. Pour into baking pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes; remove from oven and let cool. Cut into 20 squares.|