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Jack and Barb
Begins: Apr 17, 2011
Date: Fri, Dec 24th, 2010
Start: Encinitas, CA
End: Encinitas, CA
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As background, we have never tried to make our own dehydrated dinners. We have made beef jerkey and dried fruits with success but have never taken on a challenge like beef stew. In the past, when we backpacked we relied upon the Mountain House variety of tasty meals.
The first homemade dinner recipe we have tried was found on the internet. It is Rachel and Scott's "Big Bear Beef Stew". Here is what we did.
1. In a slow-cooker at home, we cooked up all the ingredients for about 10 hours. They were as follows:
2 lbs. stewing meat, cut fine, 1 cup celery, diced, 1/2 cup flour, 2 large onions, diced, 2 tsp salt, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 tsp pepper, 1- 28 oz can diced tomatoes, 3 Tblspns shortening, 3 bay leaves, 6 carrots, 1/3 cup water,
2. The beef, flour, salt and pepper was browned in a skillet first (with shortening)
3. Everything was then dumped into the crock pot. The kitchen smelled great and the stew, right out of the pot, was fantastic!
4. We then measured out 2 cups of stew (which weighed, net 1 pound) and poured it onto a "fruit leather" tray in our dehydrator (see images above). We used 5 dehydrator trays with about 2 cups in each (it made 5 hearty servings).
5. Each 16 ounces of stew dehydrated down to about 3.8 ounces and, according to our estimate (1 serving) will supply about 350 calories. (92 cal/oz). Note, here we are using the fact that each portion has 6 oz of beef at 58 calories per ounce, most of the calories in this stew. In each portion, we will get about 6 oz of beef, a tomato, 1/5 cup celerey, almost 1/2 an onion and one carrot. Once rehydrated, we will add it to 2 portions of dehydrated mashed potatoes (add another 220 calories, for a meal total of 570 cal.)
6. So, how well does it rehydrate and how does it taste? As a test, we made up 1/2 of a trail portion. We rehydrated 1.8 oz of stew in 3/4 cup of warm water for 30 minutes. 3/4 cup of water was a bit too much and the stew was a bit watery and we think maybe an hour would be better for rehydration time.
7. Next, we mixed our stew with dehydrated potatoes (filler). The package says 4 servings per container, we say 2 "trail" servings per container. So, we opened up a pouch of Idahoan "Loaded Baked" dehydrated potatoes and cooked up one serving (according to the package, 1/4 cup will be 1/2 serving on the trail).
8. The Verdict: Well, it was somewhat of a disappointment. It tasted ok but the stew was still a bit crunchy and nowhere near as tasty as it was in the crock pot. So, we will try again, maybe with some brown minute rice and this time rehydrate the stew for an hour or so. We are not the types who can wait an hour for dinner to rehydrate and having a meal slosh around in your pack all day rehydrating doesn't sound like fun. At this point, this item likely will not be on our menu. Stay tuned!
Cost for this meal (assuming a "trail portion") about 2.70 USD per serving, makes 4-5, with two pkgs. of potatoes.
Jack And Barb Take On The PCT
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