Alex spent yesterday packaging a variety of freeze-dried food for a two-week trip we’re making this summer. We’re base-camping in our tent-trailer, but we’ve decided to make the bulk of our meals from our own freeze-dried ingredients. Why?
- Not worry about meats spoiling.
- No need for bags or blocks of ice pack.
- No need to make a grocery-run from our campsite mid-trip.
And finally, space is always at a premium when camping in a tent-trailer. It is reduced even more when you are in bear country – we don’t store ANY food in the trailer when there is a possibility of attracting bears. Freeze dried food takes up much less weight and space than fresh, so we can pack a lot more from home.
We’ve been running the freeze dryer every weekend since we purchased it, so we have built up an impressive pantry for trips this summer. After freeze drying, Alex stored all of the food in vacuum-sealed canning jars. His pre-trip prep task was to portion it all out, re-pack it into Mylar bags, heat seal the bags and label them.
It was a smooth running operation until he discovered that our Food Saver vacuum sealer doesn’t get hot enough to seal thick, Mylar bags. Thankfully, I have a friend who also has a freeze dryer and the appropriate heat sealer. Janice totally saved the day by lending us her sealer. She also added a little spice to the deal, by giving us a sample of a new product she’s working on: Sea salt infused with her own dehydrated garlic, scapes, herbs and lemon zest.
As a quick aside, Janice is an Ontario garlic producer and grows her garlic at Chaussers Farm (https://chaussersfarm.ca/). Keep an eye on their website – they’ll be growing their product list soon. But if you are in the Niagara area, stop at the farm and check out their farm-gate store. They have a lot more than garlic going on!
After the sealing hiccup was resolved, Alex had a box full of packets ready to go and promising some pretty awesome meals and snacks for our trip. In addition to the freeze dried goodies, we will also be packing dehydrated sauces for pasta. So far, we have greater success dehydrating sauces than freeze drying, so we’re sticking with what we know works.
Wondering what’s on the menu from the freeze dried pantry?
- Shrimp (YES! REALLY!)
- Roast Ham
- Chicken Breasts
- Ontario Strawberries – picked in-season and freeze dried within days of picking.
- Cheddar cheese cubes
- Vanilla ice cream sandwiches
- Neapolitan ice cream sandwiches
I’ll take some pictures and video on-site as we’re preparing our meals to show you how everything worked out on our trip. We’re really excited to finally try all this food on an actual camping trip!