Welcome to a NEW YEAR! There are so many great things to look back on from this past year and so many wonderful things to look forward to in the coming year!
I’m back in NH and the reality of my next journey is hanging over my head. With the change of the year I will no longer be able to say “I am going next year,” a simple way of keeping this adventure at arms length. Don’t get me wrong I am VERY, VERY excited for this journey but I’m also terrified. I will be walking onto a trail in Georgia with a pack on my back and a dog by my side, with every intention of getting off the trail 2,189 miles later when we reach the summit of Mt. Katadin in Maine. But as every hiker who has attempted or completed the AT will tell you it is all about “Hike your own hike!” This journey is yours and your alone. No one can tell you what to expect from it or what your greatest challenge will be, we are all individuals and the trail will test us as such.
Now for anyone who knows me they will agree that I can be a wee bit difficult with a side of annoyance thrown in. I like to know what to expect. When I don’t know, I can be stubborn, cranky and down right miserable to be around. So how am I going to survive on a trail where I have no control over the weather, my health or the people surrounding me? I guess I’ll have to adapt, and quickly at that! Truthfully, there is something about being in nature which removes all the pressure. There are things I cannot change and therefore there is no reason to allow them to control my reactions – and yes I know this translates into day to day situations as well but somehow society makes it all muddled in my mind. BUT there are things I can have a sense of control over, maybe more of an influence, my meals are high up on my list. I want to eat good food, I don’t mean five star restaurant quality, although that would be nice, I want variation. When you talk to people who have hiked the AT they list items they’d be happy to never see again: peanut butter, Nutella, oatmeal, tortillas, Ramon, and tuna. It is hard to find GOOD easy to prepare food, something you can rehydrate in a single pan. So I am doing the only sensible thing – I’m dehydrating my own meals.
Dehydrating food is a learning curve, time consuming and when you are finished you have less than what you started with…
I have discovered that if you precook your food the time it takes to rehydrate it is greatly reduced. For example the black beans I cooked and dehydrated only took 3 minutes in boiling water, with 10 minutes to rest after to rehydrate. If I can have meals packaged up so all I need to do is put water on to boil, toss a food pack in and be good to go, life would be awesome!!! I have managed to dehydrate a large number of items, now I need to take them and create a meal or two and try them out.
I have dehydrated:
~ Garlic (made the entire apartment reek)
~ Kale (powder it for nutritional qualities)
~ Portabella Mushrooms
~ Sweet potatoes
~ Quinoa (cooked in veggie broth)
~ Honeydew Melon
~ Beef Jerky
There are some things which are not worth dehydrating yourself. I would never opt to dehydrate blueberries again!!! It is suggested to poke each berry a couple times so the skin will shrink with the rest of the berry and it allows the moisture to escape. I sat with a toothpick and poked EVERY berry 2-3 times. They came out looking beautiful!!! And I’ll be happy to go buy them at the store all shrunken. Pineapple and Mango are also worth buying already dried. The cost of buying them fresh and dehydrating them will most likely be more than what you pay for them already dried.
So here the journey begins, the preparation and hard work before our feet ever hit the trail!!!
**As I put together recipes I will be sure to post them for any other person who wants to take on the adventure of making their own dehydrated meals.**