Prepping for next year

AkReaper

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This was my first time hunting this year and it was awesome!!!!! Not lucky enough to knock anything down but it was a great time none the less.

I was looking into food for my next time out. I have a restricted diet because of food allergies and I can only have like 2 or 3 of the Mountain House meals. So I was thinking about making my own meals to take. The problem is the machine is about $4000 (the old lady likely won't go for that one).

What I was wondering, does anyone know of a business in Anchorage or the Valley that has a freeze dried machine or provides services so I can make my own meals?

Thanks in advance for any help.
 

akdd

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Buy a dehydrator for a couple hundred bucks and you can dry your own. There are a lot of info on the internet about how to do it. It is actually pretty easy and works well.
 

Vance in AK

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I dehydrate many of our meals for hunting trips. Most of the meals you make at home can be dehydrated & prepared quickly & easily (and very cheaply) in the field. A dehydrator is nice but I get by with the oven. A vacuum packer is nice but you can use freezer grade ziplock bags.
As akdd said, ton of info out there. There is also a book available I have (somewhere) & as I recall the name is "Freezer Bag Cooking" that is recipes & procedures for this very purpose.
 

AK Ray

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First go to http://www.backpackingchef.com/ and learn about the process of DIY dried food for camping. You can also google search the term "freezer bag cooking" and that will take you to several resources for recipes for DIY meals.

some guys just dehydrate their left overs and call that good enough. Others like me turn this into a fun cooking challenge. Disclaimer: I am a paleo eater so there is no off the shelf meal system that meets my needs. I am looking into Heather's stuff and she said she can meet up face to face in ANC to save shipping (depends on when she is in town). Looking forward to testing out her chili.

Buy an Excaliber 3526TB. Dehydrate your favorite vegetables. I prefer to pulp them in a food processor so that they rehydrate faster/easier. Vacbag and freeze for a year or two. Then make flavored dried meats. I prefer to use turkey or wild game for its low fat content as it will be less likely to go rancid sitting in a pack for 10 days.

Unless you plan on cooking the meals to rehydrate you will need a "just add boiling water" base. I use bulk "natural" mashed potatoes from costco (8 servings/bag), and Thai Kitchen thin rice noodles for my DIY meals. Since I do not pre soak the meat it stays a little crunchy, but the noodles hydrate in a few minutes in a zip lock with a cozy. The noodles are sharp as needles and I have found them to puncture 4mil vacbags when being moved around in the freezer. I only pack these a week or two before leaving for the hunt. I might try double bagging them in a ziploc next year since I know I will be pressed for time next July.

You will have to learn how to determine the amount of water to put back in to the food to rehydrate it. I weigh everything on a kitchen scale before hand and then after dehydration to find the approximate water content. If you are using mashed potatoes you will need to determine the amount of water for them, the powdered milk, butter buds, vegetation and meat. I have learned that you really can't add too much water to mashed potatoes and dried stuff as long as you are not being silly about it and pouring in the whole liter from the jet boil.

If you have it, you should get over the "how the food looks" issue that most off the shelf meals are trying to market towards. My only concern in the mountains is how it tastes. Grind everything up into a fine pulp, dry it out, then grind it again into a powder. This way most meals will not need to be cooked to be rehydrated. Just add boiling water and eat the hot tasty mush.

You will need to add fat back into the meals and the two best ways to do that are olive oil packets (buy in bulk off Amazon or steal from subway) or coconut oil in packets. Also bought in 10 pack boxes off Amazon. Sometimes they can be found at Natural Pantry in ANC, but not consistantly.

In the end DIY dried food will weigh a few pounds more than freeze dried food, but for those of us with food and health issues we will perform better.

This winter I am going to work on a red curry chicken and noodle meal.
 

Yukon Cornelius

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This was my first time hunting this year and it was awesome!!!!! Not lucky enough to knock anything down but it was a great time none the less.

I was looking into food for my next time out. I have a restricted diet because of food allergies and I can only have like 2 or 3 of the Mountain House meals. So I was thinking about making my own meals to take. The problem is the machine is about $4000 (the old lady likely won't go for that one).

What I was wondering, does anyone know of a business in Anchorage or the Valley that has a freeze dried machine or provides services so I can make my own meals?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Get a dehydrator. $150ish. I have dehydrated chili, spaghetti, chicken, moose, etc...Everything you want. The dehydrator even comes with directions on how to do it all.
 

AkReaper

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I am allergic to gluten and if I eat to much of it, its like a 2-3 day recovery period. No bueno in the hills if you know what I mean.
 

AkReaper

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I eat gluten free so there is no store bought meals for me either.

I have checked out the back packing chef site before. I did check out Heather's site and that stuff look delish!

The reason I was going for the freeze dried was the considerably longer shelf life. Create meals throughout the year that I could just grab and go. Hoping to not have to make all the meals a few days before with deydrating.
 

Yukon Cornelius

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I eat gluten free so there is no store bought meals for me either.

I have checked out the back packing chef site before. I did check out Heather's site and that stuff look delish!

The reason I was going for the freeze dried was the considerably longer shelf life. Create meals throughout the year that I could just grab and go. Hoping to not have to make all the meals a few days before with deydrating.
I'm eating some mushrooms I dehydrated a year ago. You should be able to dehydrate and freeze I believe.
 

AK Ray

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The reason I was going for the freeze dried was the considerably longer shelf life. Create meals throughout the year that I could just grab and go. Hoping to not have to make all the meals a few days before with deydrating.

I takes three to four weekends to make the parts and pieces for two (or more) weeks worth of meals. Then freeze them and they will be usable for two to three years depending your vac bags and your freezer. My spaghetti takes one day to dry the sauce and cook and dry the meat over night then a couple hours to separate it all out into meals and vacbag. One and a half days of time, which is really about four actual hands on hours and I have six meals.

Since you are gluten free then a mashed potatoe or sweet potatoe base along with rice noodles will be your easiest starting points. You can make all kinds of meals with those bases. There are some sweet potatoe or yam powders out there, some are dehydrated and some are freeze dried. All of them are costly. I have tried to make my own, but it does not rehydrate as well as I would like.

If you want freeze dried there is another option using Thrive foods. You can buy them in bulk cans at Natural Pantry in ANC or order on line through many sources. Everything that I have looked at from them for my own paleo meals has been labled as gluten free. I am considereding their meat products since dehydrated meat is not as easy to "cook" in a zip loc with boiling water. Just need to consider how much of a loan I need to take out to buy their stuff.
 

hodgeman

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I made some of my own meals this year since Mountain House disagrees with me in a big way if I eat more than a couple in a row.

I dehydrate and use a food saver/freeze/etc.... The freeze dried advantage is a 2 decade shelf life but that's usually not required to get through hunting season. As a bonus- the food tastes a bunch better too!
 

AkReaper

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Thanks everyone for the options and help. I will begin experimenting shortly and let everyone know.
 
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