Dried foods have been on the human menu since the first desert nomad gnawed a sun-dried date and found it delicious. Many ancient foods, such as raisins and couscous, are still favorites. Other dry foods, such as freeze-dried ice cream, are space-age new and are important for ultralight campers and backpackers.
For RVers and tent campers, many dehydrated foods are still lightweight and shelf-stable. Most are high in fiber and nutrient rich, too. Some are ready to eat, while others require long soaking or cook times.
Consider some of the important details of cooking with dehydrated foods:
- Unlike dried beans, split peas and lentils cook quickly without soaking. Consider your time, fuel and water requirements before planning a menu and packing.
- Freeze-dry main dishes are expensive and portion sizes are small. Try them first before stocking up.
- Remember the three rules of dehydrated foods: Read labels (check for allergies, sodium levels and preservatives), always keep them cool and dry and pay attention to use-by dates
Give these recipes a dry run on your next camp-out.
Slow Cooker Raisin Pudding
Dehydrated food: Raisins
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup raisins
2 cups water
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
Serves 6 to 8
Combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a slow cooker liner bag.* In a bowl whisk the egg, milk and vanilla well. Dump the dry ingredients into the bowl, mix well and fold in the raisins. Arrange an empty liner bag in the slow cooker and fill it with this batter.
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil with a cup of brown sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir in a pat of butter, pour sugar mixture over the batter and do not stir. Cook this on low for 3 hours. When it's finished, this is a sweet, sticky pudding that's delicious both alone and with cream.
*This can be cooked in a Dutch oven, just watch closely for temperature changes in the coals, which will dictate cooking time.