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We gave these edible favorites to friends and family this year in hopes that the gift will last well past the holidays. They’re a good way to give a personal gift to someone for a housewarming, as a thank-you or for a birthday. Print some nice labels and tags for an individual touch.

Include recipe cards for friends and relatives who also like to cook and the gift will last even longer.

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As the fruits snuggle against each other in the vacuum-sealed bag, they begin to take on each others’ flavors and create one delicious fruit bar. On a long hike, this is a sweet, delicious, vitamin-filled treat.

Mangoes, bananas, cherries and blueberries pack a lot of flavor. Use whatever your favorite fruits are.

  • 7 mangoes, peeled and julienned
  • 7 bananas, peeled and cut into 1/2″ discs
  • 2 lbs. cherries, halved and pitted
  • 1 quart blueberries, blanched to break the skin

To blanch the blueberries, place one cup at a time into a wire sieve and dunk into boiling water until the skins break, about 30 seconds. Remove from the water and drain.

To dry the fruit, place the pieces in a single layer on a dehydrator. Dehydrate until they’re mostly dry but still a little gummy.

Divide the fruit evenly among 12 food-saver bags and vacuum seal until eaten.

Bet you can’t eat just one! Take these nuts on the road, to a party, give them as a gift, or grab a handful before your favorite show starts. Be careful, they’re addictive!

Give a delicious gift to the holiday host or hostess.

  • 1 lb. pecan halves
  • 3 Tbs. melted butter
  • 4 Tbs. raw honey
  • 1 tsp. chopped thyme
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine all ingredients and spread in a single layer on lined baking sheet. Bake, stirring frequently until browned, about 15-20 min.

Toss into a large bowl to cool, mixing a few times while cooling. Store in an air-tight container.

Adapted from friend Katie Talik

Meals for two people for eight days. Three meals and two snacks per person, per day.

Eating good food on the trail is important to us, and a good portion of our pack space goes to food. Here are tips on how to pull together an entire week worth of primal hiking food that is delicious, nutritious and light-weight. Click on the following links and have fun planning a tasty trip:

  • Sample menu for one week, including links to recipes and shopping resources
  • Document for planning your menu and shopping list
  • Tips for preparing, packing, and enjoying your meals

Determine your serving sizes based on your appetite, caloric requirements and level of activity for each day. A 4-oz. serving of beef jerky is satisfying for me, but might be too much or too little for you. Test a meal during a day hike in your area to see how it works for you.

Day one: Leave home, travel to destination

Breakfast
Pre-made bacon and cheese clafouti
Coffee

Lunch (in transit)
3 hard-boiled eggs
Carrots and broccoli with baba ganoush
Nuts
Fresh fruit
Unsweetened iced tea

Dinner
Frozen sausages or steaks, cooked over the campfire (pack frozen in the morning, they will be nearly thawed by the time dinner arrives)
Sweet potato (peeled, diced, sprinkled with cinnamon and a honey packet, wrapped in foil and cooked on coals)
Water, tea, or hot cocoa

Day two

Breakfast
Quinoa noatmeal with dried fruit
Cofffee and tea

Lunch
Beef jerky
Jalapeno hunter’s sausage
4 oz. hunk of Parmesan or other hard, aged cheese (vacuum-sealed it will keep in a pack)
Dried fruit

Dinner
Dehydrated chili
Strawberry-kiwi protein drink
Dark chocolate

Day three

Breakfast
Hiker’s scramble with taco meat
Coffee and water

Lunch
Beef jerky
Dried fruit (mangoes, cherries, blueberries and bananas)
Trail mix
Rosemary-almond crackers with chocolate-almond butter

Dinner
Fresh-caught lake trout, coated with island creole seasoning and fried in coconut oil

OR

Dehydrated taco meat
Beef jerky (half portion)
Dark chocolate

Snacks
Trail mix
LARABAR

Day four

Breakfast
Quinoa noatmeal with dried fruit
Cofffee and tea

Lunch
Beef jerky
Jalapeno hunter’s sausage
4 oz. hunk of Parmesan or other hard, aged cheese (vacuum-sealed it will keep in a pack)
Nuts

Dinner
Dehydrated chili
Dried fruit (mangoes, cherries, blueberries and bananas)
Dark chocolate

Snacks
Trail mix
LARABAR
Beef jerky

Day five

Breakfast
Hiker’s scramble with dried ham
Beef jerky
Coffee and tea

Lunch
Beef jerky
Dried fruit (mangoes, cherries, blueberries and bananas)
Trail mix
Rosemary-almond crackers with honey-almond butter

Dinner
Dehydrated taco meat
Strawberry-kiwi protein drink
Dark chocolate

Snacks
Trail mix
LARABAR

Day six

Breakfast
Hiker’s scramble with taco meat
Coffee and water

Lunch
Beef jerky
Dried fruit (mangoes, cherries, blueberries and bananas)
Trail mix
Rosemary-almond crackers with chocolate-almond butter

Dinner
Dehydrated taco meat
Beef jerky (half portion)
Dark chocolate

Snacks
Trail mix
LARABAR

Day seven

Breakfast
Quinoa noatmeal with dried fruit
Cofffee and tea

Lunch
Tuna fish with mustard and relish packets
Dried fruit (mangoes, cherries, blueberries and bananas)
Nuts

Dinner
Dehydrated chili
Strawberry-kiwi protein drink
Dark chocolate

Snacks
Trail mix
LARABAR

Day eight: leave destination for home

Breakfast
Hiker’s scramble with dried chili
Coffee and water

Lunch
Tuna fish with mustard and relish packets
Dried fruit (mangoes, cherries, blueberries and bananas)
Nuts

Dinner (on way home)
Big hamburger on fresh greens, fish with vegetables, eggs over easy with bacon, steak and salad… whatever sounds good to you!

This recipe makes one three-egg scramble. Mix and match the meat and veggies for variety in the morning.

Vacuum-seal the cheese in one bag, the powdered eggs in another. Put the onions, peppers and meat in a third.

Cut an opening in the egg and meat bags. Add 1 cup water to the meat and veggie bag; let sit until the meat softens, about 10 minutes. There should be some extra water, it will cook off. Add 9 Tbs. of water (a little over 1/2 cup) to the eggs; mash gently to mix. Heat your skillet or pan and add the veggie-meat mixture, cook until the water evaporates and the veggies start to brown. Add the eggs and cook thoroughly, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and cut in hunks of cheese.

  • You need a dehydrator and a vacuum-sealer (such as the Food Saver) for the best results. Ask around, you can probably borrow from someone you know if you don’t have your own.
  • Plan to pack up your food packs two days before you depart. That way as you’re going through, you have time to get anything you might have forgotten.
  • Mark down each day’s menu on a sticky note and lay the notes in a line along a table. Put each item next to the sticky note when it’s ready and cross it off the note. Only start to vacuum seal the bags when every thing is accounted for on every day’s list.
  • Seal all your lunch items for one day in one vacuum-sealed bag; same for the day’s dinner. Then place those two bags into one large vacuum bag, then toss in your snacks and breakfast on top. Seal the large bag. When you open it in the morning, you will have easy access to your breakfast, you can stash your snacks in your pockets or easy-access areas of your pack, and then put lunch and dinner at the top of the main compartment of your pack. Use the large bag for the day’s trash.
  • Plan to eat lunches that don’t need utensils or cooking gear, so you don’t have to deal with that on the trail.
  • It’s easy to build up an appetite on the trails or in the water. But if you aren’t hungry, don’t eat. Keep a bag in your pack for extra, uneaten food. If you end up getting stuck somewhere an extra day, you’ll have something to get you through that day.
  • Test, test, test! It’s difficult to control heat levels when you’re camping on a fire, coals, or a camping stove. Make extra food and test new recipes before you go; especially test dehydrated foods. See how much water they need (good to know if you’re in an area where you need to filter water); time how long it takes to re-hydrate; find out how foods cook on your camping stove.
  • Dehydrated meats don’t always fully come back to life. Thin strips of ham are tasty, but will be a little tough in your egg scramble. Ground beef will feel a little tough in the bag, even after 20 minutes, but will soften a little more while it’s heating. The smaller the chunks, the better the results.

Chili is very customizable. Feel free to bend the recipe to your tastes. At the end you will find instructions for modifying the recipe for the dehydrator should you want to take some on a hiking, camping or backpacking trip.

  • 3 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil or butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 green pepper, diced small
  • 28 oz. stock (omit to dehydrate)*
  • 3 Tbs. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 9 Tbs. chili powder, divided
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce (6 oz. tomato paste to dehydrate)*
  • 4 poblano peppers, diced small
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce
  • Juice of one lime (omit to dehydrate)*
  • Salt to taste

Brown the meat in the oil or butter. Add onion and green pepper; add enough broth to cover it. Bring to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes.

Add 1 Tbs. cumin and the oregano. Lower the heat and add the garlic, half the chili powder, tomato sauce, poblano peppers, and the rest of the broth. Simmer at least one hour on low, stirring often.

Add the remaining chili powder and cumin. Simmer another 30 minutes. Add the hot sauce and lime juice; salt to taste. Simmer until the chili is reduced to the desired thickness.

*Directions if you intend to dehydrate chili

Smaller chunks make for better re-hydration. If you add too much water when re-hydrating, just cook it a little longer and some of the water will evaporate.

Brown meat in the oil or butter, being sure to break it into the smallest chunks possible. Smaller chunks make for better re-hydration. Add the onion and green pepper, omit broth. Cook until the vegetables being to soften.

Add 1 Tbs. cumin and the oregano. Lower the heat. Add garlic, half of the chili powder, poblano peppers and a 6-ounce can of tomato paste, not sauce. Cook on low for 20 minutes, stirring often.

Add remaining chili powder, cumin, hot sauce, salt to taste. The chili should be very thick, but still have enough moisture to be able to absorb the spices. If you need to add liquid, use some tomato sauce and add it slowly. The more moisture in the chili, the longer it takes to dehydrate. Cook for another 30 minutes, until all the flavors are incorporated.

If you have trays for your dehydrator that hold liquid, spread a thin layer (no thicker than 1/4″) on each tray. If you have a grate, you can cut parchment paper to put on top of the grate. As long as your chili is thick, it won’t soak through. Dehydration times vary by model, but once the sheets of chili are pretty dry, you can break them up into small pieces and redistribute. That will speed up the final drying time.

Depending on your tray size, you can get 1 to 1.5 servings from each tray. Measure dried chili into vacuum-sealer bags for optimal storage. Re-hydrate with about a 1:1 ratio of water to dried chili in the plastic bag and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes, agitating it now and then to help mix it up. It’s better to add a little too much water than not enough; you can always cook off the excess water. Cook over a fire or your camp stove, stirring often.

Eight days worth of food for Isle Royale, vacuum sealed and ready to go.

Tomorrow morning we head out on a 16-day hiking/canoeing/camping trip. When we are on Isle Royale and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore for ten days we won’t be able to keep anything chilled, so it’s been a fun challenge to pack a lightweight, primal, delicious hiking menu. When we return we will have full daily menus, photos and reviews of the food we ate, plus recipes for the dehydrated meals we prepared. See you in September!

You can take the pre-mixed dry ingredients in your pack and mix with hot water at your campsite.

  • 2 Tbs. cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbs. organic powdered dry milk
  • 1 Tbs. stevia powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup hot water

Mix the dry ingredients and keep in a plastic bag or container in your pack. Heat one cup of water to a simmer. Combine in a heat-proof drinking vessel.