In the beginning of 2015 I bought the book Fjällmat, by Eric Tornblad. I couldn’t find freeze-dried food that tasted good. Real Turmat was supposed to be the best, but I thought they tasted the same as every other brand. That, and the fact that the bags are very expensive made me buy the book from Eric and I really haven’t regretted it.
There are different chapters. Food that you only add boiling water (and fat) to, food that takes 5 min, 15 min, 30 min, desserts, breakfasts etc. I basically only use the first chapter, the one where you add boiling water. My favorites are West-African stew and Mint-couscous. The West-African stew is also the favorite food of both my wife and my daughter. I e-mailed Eric and asked if he by any chance planned to write a book with only freezer-bag recipes since those recipes are the ones I mainly use.
I’ve had a vacuum-sealer for a long time, but up until now I’ve always used my oven to dry the food. However, a few days ago I found a really cheep food-dehydrator for only 200SEK (about 20€). Of course the cheep price comes with less functions. You only have an on-off switch, and you can’t set the temperature manually. It’s on a steady 70ºC. A little to warm to dry meat, but I do it anyway. I switch positions on the trays quite often. The dehydrator comes with five trays and the heater and fan is in the bottom.
The dehydrator has been going for the last few days. I’ve dehydrated feta-cheese, smoked gammon and tuna. I’ve prepared 16 bags of food this week for upcoming hikes. I had 14 bags left from earlier, but I needed to refill my stock. With these recipes you only add boiling water and fat (oil or ghee) to the bag and let it sit for 5 minutes. Basically like you would with store-bought freeze-dried food.
The negative side of making your own food like this is that it is a time-consuming process. But I like it. I think that the preparations and planning before a trip is part of the fun. You also get a better control of what you put in your food, it’s cheaper and you can adapt the size of the portions to how much you eat. It also tastes better.
If you can read Swedish I recommend the book Fjällmat. If you don’t speak Swedish I can’t really recommend any specific book, but I do recommend everybody to try and make your own hiking-food instead of buying the freeze-dried food-bags. In the beginning you don’t need a food-dehydrator, just a regular oven, and you don’t need a vacuum-sealer, just a ziplock-bag that can take boiling water. Buy the other stuff later if you find out that you like making your own hiking-food.