Think You Can’t Pack Fresh Vegetables on the Trail? Think Again.
Think carrot sticks are just for school lunches? Then you clearly haven't enjoyed the crunch of fresh veggies on the trail—a luxurious, healthy backwoods snack.
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Look, we love dehydrated veggies too. But there’s no dehydrating or freeze-drying process known to humankind that can replicate the pure pleasure of biting into a crisp bell pepper or celery stick. We may enjoy the first day or two of Hostess snack cakes, but after that, we could eat a whole salad for dessert instead. Pack these hearty vegetables on your next trip, and enjoy them for days. —The Editors
What to Bring
The best veggies to pack are carrots, celery, and radishes.Even a bell pepper or Anaheim chile stands up to several days on the trail. Choose the crispest, freshest versions available. Wash hands well and use a well-sanitized prep area (this helps prevent introducing bacteria that potentially inhibit long-term freshness).
Scrub gently by hand (don’t peel them). Cut carrots in half, width-wise, then cut each half into quarters. Larger cuts are best for helping retain moisture. Pack in sandwich baggies lined with a folded, moistened (damp, not soaked) paper towel. Loosely fold top of bag to close. A damp paper towel helps maintain moisture and crispness of veggies, while keeping the bag slightly open allows veggies to breathe and stay fresher up to five days.
Rinse celery. Cut sticks into 4-5″ lengths. Same as the carrots, pack in sandwich baggies lined with a folded, moistened (damp, not soaked) paper towel. Loosely fold top of bag to close.
Choose the bigger radishes of the bunch, as they’ll keep longest (use the little ones at home). Don’t wash them, as this removes the veggies’ protective cuticle. Trim off the tops and bottoms, as the stems will rot and the tails sap moisture. Again, pack in sandwich baggies lined with a folded, moistened (damp, not soaked) paper towel. Loosely fold top of bag to close
Choose unblemished, heavy crisp looking peppers. Don’t wash them, as this removes the veggies’ protective cuticle. Wrap the peppers whole in a paper towel (see below), then loosely in a paper lunch sack. Keep peppers inside a cook pot until the day you want to cut them up for a snack.
Originally published 2014; Last updated April 2023