SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – April 1999

Pass The Powdered Beans

When it comes to punching up a bland menu,there's a whole world of flakes, granules, and sprinkles waiting to be tried.

by: Dorcas Miller

PAGE 1 2

I have a friend who, while heading out the door for northern Canada, told me he planned to eat Ramen noodles for dinner-every dinner, for two months. No slight against Ramen noodles, but for 60 days straight? I remember thinking how boring his "menu" was and how it didn't have to be. For example, simply adding half a cup of rehydrated mixed vegetables and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese to Ramen noodles-or rice or spaghetti-makes a world of difference. All it takes is a quick trip to the local food store or a few minutes with a mail-order catalog to find backpackable ingredients that will add new life to traditional backwoods staples or vary your menu with new entrees.

Granted, these ultralight, good-tasting ingredients can cost more than plain ol' noodles, but anything you can do to keep your palate happy and the nutrients coming is worth the extra expense.

"Some people think nothing of putting money into the best equipment for outdoor adventures," says Jean Spangenberg, product development specialist at Adventure Foods in Whittier, North Carolina. "But when it comes to paying for the necessary fuel to keep their most important piece of equipment (their bodies) going, they balk." A change in attitude is in order, she adds.

If you're a smart shopper, you won't overpay for quality fixings. Read on to find the ingredients you want, then contact the companies and ask for their catalogs. That way, you can comparison shop and get the best price. Be sure to figure in shipping when comparing cost of mail order vs. your local store. You can also save money by buying in bulk, then setting up a food co-op with your backpacking buddies.

Sources for the ingredients are abbreviated and in parentheses.

Beans and lentils, freeze-dried: Legumes are a great protein source and add hearty flavor to soups and stews. Dehydrated bean flakes and powdered beans (HFS/S; PFO for organic) are fine for burritos, spreads, and soup thickeners, but if you like to see beans in your bowl, opt for freeze-dried. Options for freeze-dried include kidney, black, pinto, and white beans, plus lentils (AA/AF/BP).

Butter powder: Real butter powder (TBC) tastes better than butter-flavored sprinkles (S). Add to hot cereal, pancakes, soups, and stews. Rehydrated butter powder doesn't spread or taste like the real thing on bagels.

Cheese powder: Add to eggs and one-pot meals (AA/CAS/S/TBC). Try blue cheese powder in macaroni and cheese for a distinctive taste (TBC).

Coconut cream powder: Combine this unique ingredient (AFS) with rice, onion, cilantro, ginger, garlic, and shrimp for a Thai-flavored dinner, or team with fruit and rice for an amazing rice pudding. Powdered coconut (TBC) can be substituted, but because it has less fat, it lacks the same richness.

Eggs, whole powdered: Use in place of fresh eggs when baking, or scramble with herbs or salsa for a breakfast with bite (AA/AF/TBC).

Fruit, dehydrated: Great as a snack and cooked in pancakes or cobblers. Apples, apricots, bananas, cranberries, dates, figs, mangos, peaches, pineapple, prunes, and raisins are widely available (CC/HFS/JT/M/S; WA sells organic varieties). Also consider sweet or sour cherries and blueberries (CC/JT/M/TBC/WA), bananas, guava, nectarines, and strawberries (WA has some organic items). Add variety with raspberries and persimmons (JT/M), jackfruit, kiwi, passion fruit, and star fruit (M).

Fruit, freeze-dried: Cook blueberries and pineapple (AA), peaches and strawberries (AA/BP) in cobblers, pancakes, or hot cereal. They also make a fine snack by themselves.

Ginger, candied: Adds zing to gorp (S/TBC/WA; HFS may sell in bulk, which is less expensive).

Grains, quick-cooking: Quinoa, quick-cooking barley, and instant rice are readily available (S) as the center of any meal. Add lemon juice, oregano, and dried cranberries to leftovers for a tangy cold lunch. If you're not a white rice fan, try freeze-dried (AA) or dehydrated brown rice (AF) in soups and other one-pot meals. Add veggies, seasoning, and a little meat to wild rice (AA/GWR) for a distinctive and delicious entree.

Maple syrup granules: Add water, and presto-maple syrup (above right) to top pancakes or add to bland oatmeal (AF/BP/HF).

Meat (beef, chicken, and turkey), freeze-dried: Expensive but extremely lightweight, these add protein to one-pot meals. Throw a handful of chunks in a pot with rice to create stuffing for a burrito (AA/AF/BP/R).

Meat (chicken, sausage, bacon), dehydrated: Dehydrated chicken and sausage (CC) require longer rehydration time than freeze-dried meats. Bacon bits (S) are a lightweight way to add meaty flavor to eggs and soups.

Pasta, quick-cooking: Just add boiling water and let stand for 10 minutes. It's the fastest pasta around (AA).

Salsa, dehydrated: Use on burritos, eggs, and anything else that needs spicing up (HFS/PFO).

Shortening, powdered: Expensive but ideal when you don't want to mess with a leaky bottle of oil. Sprinkle into a frying pan-it melts to oil as it heats up-or use in baking, where 1/2 teaspoon of powder equals 1 teaspoon of oil or shortening (HF).

Shrimp, cooked freeze-dried: Pricy but so good. Rehydrate in water, and then cook with rice or other grain (AA).

Sour cream powder: Stir a teaspoon of powder into hot cereal, pancakes, and biscuits. To make a garnish for Mexican food or one-pot meals, just add water (AA/TBC).

Tomato powder: Indispensable for making spaghetti sauce even your Italian aunt would be proud of. Add herbs like basil, oregano, and garlic plus dehydrated veggies like onions, green peppers, and thinly sliced mushrooms to water. Stir in tomato powder and let simmer until the veggies are rehydrated (AA/AF/TBC).

Tuna, freeze-dried: Canned tuna is a staple for backpackers, but to go really light, try freeze-dried (AA).

Vegetables, dehydrated: Add veggies and seasonings to beef or chicken broth for a warm soup. Try cabbage, carrots, celery, mushrooms, onions, sweet peppers, and tomatoes (AF/CC/HFS/JT/S/TBC; AA has greatest selection).

Vegetables, freeze-dried: Peas and corn (AA/AF/BP/JT/MH/R; M has only corn) and green beans (BP/MH/R) rehydrate in about 10 minutes. Asparagus and broccoli are better as soup add-ins than as side dishes (AA/AF).


PAGE 1 2

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Jamie in Colorado
Apr 19, 2011

We have started a new company that sells fully cooked and dehydrated pinto and black beans. They are quickly prepared with boiling water and let set for a few minutes. Check us out at www.readybeans.com!

Sarah
Apr 23, 2010

This article in google books has the list of resources.

http://books.google.com/books?id=294DAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA44&lpg=PA44&dq=pfo+dried+organic+beans&source=bl&ots=dFlLc4ABV3&sig=07MzqPoj95KV71lGwi7zJYhMIEg&hl=en&ei=Dv3RS9TFO4ucsgOOsLyTCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CCcQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=pfo%20dried%20organic%20beans&f=false

Anne in Colorado
Aug 11, 2009

AA -- Alpine Aire
AF -- Adventure Foods
BP -- Backpacker's Pantry
MH -- Mountain House

I don't recognize the rest, but I know Cache Lake, PackIt Gourmet, and Savory Spice Shop carry some of these items.

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Burger King moving headquarters to Canada
Posted On: Aug 27, 2014
Submitted By: star
Pacific Northwest
Alaska
Posted On: Aug 27, 2014
Submitted By: NicholasBell

Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

>
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions