Drying your own food for the mountains

header food drying


Granada, Spain, - 5 December 2007

"Remember those camping trips laden with packaged meals which were either expensive and heavy or lightweight but extremely boring? Well now we have the answer to the constant problem of balancing weight with content. Dry your own food! Drying your own food before embarking on a backpacking trip or expedition means you eat good, wholesome food, prepared by yourself, that's lightweight and low cost.

Spanish Highs mountain guides based in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Spain, believe they've struck gold. After a particularly uninteresting culinary experience in Patagonia in 2006, they started looking for solutions to their food problem. Lead guide Richard Hartley explains, "We existed on dried pasta, soya and powdered soup for a week. It kept us alive but was hardly very exciting. Sure, we could have taken commercially available dried products, but from my experience, these taste like cardboard and cost the earth!"

The solution was to be found at their home in Lanjaron in Andalucia, Spain. They started experimenting with the age old process of "drying" food to preserve it. They cut the food up small to aid the drying process, prepared their normal homemade recipes and placed these on outside drying trays. Of course, in Andalucia there's a lot of sun but as Richard says, this can still be done by people from northern Europe. There are many cheap, commercially available dehydrators available and the process is open to everyone. Spanish Highs now produce such tasty delights as "Moroccan Stew", "Vegetable Curry", "Pasta Arrabiata", " Bulghar Wheat Chilli" and their own dried fruit packages.

Have a go. Dry and prepare your own camp food. It's good, cheap and wholesome. You know what's gone into the meal and it will ensure you look forward to the next one. Above all it's a satisfying and rewarding way of preserving food. Perfect for the mountains.

Spanish Highs mountain guides provide walking, trekking, climbing, mountaineering and ski touring holidays in the Sierra Nevada, Spain. They also run expeditions to Patagonia and the high Andes of South America."

Recommended Reading

Trail Food by Alan S Kesselheim(Ragged Mountain Press ISBN: 0-07-034436-1)
Backpack Gourmet by Linda Frederick Yaffe(Stackpole Books ISBN:978-0-8117-2634-4)