I have been planning for overnight camps, which I will need to make when I continue walking into the wilderness along the Derwent River. On many occasions, the highway, byways and back roads will be far distant from the River making it necessary to pack shelter and supplies for one and two overnight stops. I know I won’t be able to carry much weight and so all things feather light are being researched and sought.
As part of my preparation, recently I purchased an Ezidri food drier.
Over time I have sliced spring onions, carrots, beetroot, capsicum, garlic, leaves of silver beet and mushrooms, and reduced them to tiny dry twigs and flakes. In addition, I have dried pulled slivers of precooked chicken legs and turkey mince. During the process four bananas were sliced and dried. Can you identify all the shrivelled remains in the glass jars above?
Yesterday I experimented with reconstituting some of these foods and making a meal – albeit on my kitchen stove top.
Firstly, I added a small portion of all the vegetables plus a small quantity of the turkey mince into a small zip lock bag. Then I sprinkled a little cayenne pepper, ground a few fresh back pepper corns and sea salt crystals, and added a small teaspoon of chicken flavoured powdered stock into the zip lock bag. After closing the bag I shook it to mix the ingredients. Into my billy I poured these dry contents and then added a 600ml bottle of cold water.
I was curious to learn how long it would take for the meat and vegetables to swell and soften. After 15 minutes I could see that full reconstitution had not occurred. However, I was bored with waiting and I imagined that in the bush I would be ravenously hungry. For the sake of the home experiment, I decanted the ingredients into a normal saucepan and cooked the meal on my kitchen stove top for 10 minutes.
I am delighted to say this was one of the best tasting meals I have had in a long time. The liquid was gloriously coloured by the beetroot and despite many of the vegetables not being fully reconstituted, all the food was soft and full of original flavour.
When still in the zip top bag before cooking, I weighed the meal: only 100grams. This low weight is very encouraging. My next experiment will be to cook a meal using the dried chicken. I can only imagine that should be equally successful. But more research required.