This blog has been a long time coming. We started dehydrating food for this trip at the end of December, basically testing out our dehydrator and testing our skills. Since I (Christy) am a meat germophobe, we stuck to dehydrating a lot of vegetables, and made a little bit of venison jerky (which we ate before we even moved).
When you tally up the hours spent chopping, partially cooking, tray-loading and dehydrating vegetables, we spent an ungodly amount of time prepping our future food. We dehydrated carrots, onions, peppers, corn, peas, and frozen mixed veggies. We also dehydrated homemade enchilada sauce and homemade marinara and then used a food processor to turn the dehydrated sheets of sauce (kind of like a tomato fruit roll-up) into a powder. Again, a pretty time-intensive process. At the last minute, we saw a blog post on AppalachianTrials.com about how the writer dehydrated sriracha to take on the trail. Naturally, we needed to dehydrate sriracha too, although we made little dots instead of sheets. Each dot (nickel-sized) is like a single serving of sriracha!
Our dinners consist of 4 main components:
- Carbohydrate base
Carbohydrate bases we used include couscous (the food so nice, they named it twice), angel hair pasta, instant rice and mashed potato flakes. To this, we added either freeze dried chicken (made by Mountain House) or TVP (textured vegetable protein, made by Bob’s Red Mill. It is a soy-based protein). Then we added some veggies and a sauce powder and/or a lot of seasonings.
We did all of the individual meal packaging in one marathon day. This resulted in 86 individual dinner portions and 56 breakfast portions (43 days of dinner food and 28 days of breakfast food since there are 2 of us). We then packaged each ‘day of food’ into a grocery bag. One ‘day of food’ includes 2 breakfasts, 2 dinners and a bunch of snacks (snacks- Cliff bars, protein bars, snack-sized bags of nuts, and a variety of granola bars). We also anticipate having quite a few days where we won’t want to cook food for breakfast and will rely on eating a lot of snacks instead. These bags are mixed into the bunch and are packaged accordingly.
The food will be mailed to us on the trail via general delivery to post offices or to outfitters along the trail by Preston (Jimi’s dad). Of all people I know, he is the one who most enjoys going to the post office, and we are very lucky and thankful to have him as our home base (and I don’t think he’ll steal the girl scout cookies!).
In addition to the daily food bags, we will be supplementing with food purchased in town. I’m pretty sure we will always leave town with peanut butter, tortillas and cheese. Other items TBD. We will be seeing a lot of other thru-hikers, and will most likely get more food ideas from them.