If there is one thing I absolutely love about hiking and camping, it’s getting stuck into a nice, hot meal after a day’s worth of hiking.
It’s even better when you’ve made it yourself and have gone to that extra trouble to dehydrate it.
In this article, I’m going to give you a recipe for a Chilli Con Carne and explain why I think dehydrating your food can enhance the overall camping experience.
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 500 gm of beef mince
- 450 gm of kidney beans (can get away with 400 gm)
- 1 packet of Old El Paso Chilli mix
- 450 gm can of tomatoes
- Finely chop the onion and garlic. Brown in a pan with some olive oil.
- Add all of the mince and brown.
- Add Old El Paso Chilli mix
- Add tomatoes and the drained kidney beans.
- Stir repeatedly.
- Dehydrate it for 8-10 hours.
Using The Dehydrator
Once you have cooked it all up and are happy with the result, spoon the mixture into the top tray covered with a circled shaped piece of baking paper with a smaller circle cut out from the middle.
It’s important to use baking paper so the mixture doesn’t stick to the plastic trays.
Switch it on and let it run for 8-10 hours. Once it’s finished, it should turn your Chilli Con Carne into dry rocks that are a little greasy.
Pack it into a Ziploc bag and freeze it for later use or pack straight into your backpack for your trip.
Rehydrating Your Meal
Once you’re at your campsite, the rehydrating process can occur through a number of ways and all are relatively easy. I find that the below two options work best.
- Place the bag into a pot, and then pour enough boiling water into the bag to cover the food.
- Pour the food into a pot, cover it with boiling water and then let it sit for awhile.
Serve with some rice, pita bread or eat it on its own.
Why Use a Dehydrator?
I believe dehydrated meals enhance the hiking and camping experience for a few reasons. Because you are drawing the moisture out of the food, you are reducing the weight you are carrying in your pack.
By no means will this be a significant drop in weight, but every gram helps contribute to a more efficient and comfortable hike.
Furthermore, I absolutely love the whole experience of preparing, cooking, dehydrating and then rehydrating the meal.
Where Can I Get a Dehydrator?
If you don’t have one, check out eBay or places like Gumtree and Kogan for them. Be warned – they can get pretty expensive, so if you can grab yourself a relatively cheap one then go for it.
The Nesco and the Excalibur are two popular choices but are fairly expensive. Mine is healthy Choice and appears to be a no-name brand compared to the others.