The art of freeze-drying food started long ago by a random act of mother nature. The Ancient Incas, living at high altitude in Peru, kept their crops in locations where the food would freeze, and the low air pressure vaporized any water within it.
During World War 2 there was a need for food and medical supplies that were durable and shelf stable, to send to troops overseas. It was from this need that modern freeze-drying was born. Today, we enjoy the benefits of that freeze-dry know-how with tasty, long lasting freeze-dried meals that are reliably delicious at the campground, on a mountain summit, or even in outer space.
Nowadays, if you’re car-camping and looking for an easy meal solution, freeze-dried meals are the way to go. Most only require a few cups of boiling water and are ready to eat within 8-10 minutes. They are delicious to eat as-is, but if you have the option to bring along (or forage!) some added extras, you can take your freeze-dried meal experience to the next level. We call these freeze-dried camping food concoctions: Mountain House Hacks. #MHHacks
How to Jazz up your Freeze Dried Campsite Food
With a little bit of creativity, you can take almost any freeze-dried meal, and add a pop of flavor with ingredients that you brought with you, or gathered yourself.
Pasta Primavera with Seasonal Mushrooms
Heat oil over medium heat. Add in 1/2 a chopped onion and 2-3 cloves of minced garlic. Stir in seasonal foraged mushrooms* (chanterelles, morels, etc.). Stir frequently as mushrooms release their water. Cook until water has been absorbed. Add to Mountain House Pasta Primavera. Salt and pepper to taste. Chili flakes for a kick.
*don't eat mushrooms you can't identify with 100% confidence please
Chicken Pot Pie with Chicken and Dumplings
Our Chicken and Dumplings is a time tested crowd favorite. Chunks of real chicken, peas, and carrots make this the perfect filling for a campfire chicken pot pie.
Add pie crust (or sandwich bread!) to both sides of a pie iron
Add three to four spoonfuls of Chicken and Dumplings between pie crust sides
Cook over campfire for 5-7 minutes on each side
Take off the fire, let cool, and enjoy!
Bonus Biscuits and Gravy
Our Biscuits and Gravy is already meaty and savory and all the greasy diner goodness (minus the grease, or diner). But it doesn't take much to put a little bonus in your b and g, which means bonus smiles. Boil 1.75 cups of water and add to Biscuits and Gravy Pouch (use 1.5 cups for thicker gravy). Let it stand a few minutes. Stir. And then make it bonus:
Crumble in a hardboiled egg (perfect if you're backpacking overnight!)
Add a fried egg and bacon (car camping or van-lifing perks!)
Freshen it up with greens! (bring fresh greens with you, or find fresh dandelion greens)
It's cheesy, but true. A little bit of cheddar makes everything beddar.
Ten Minute Tacos with Mexican Style Rice and Chicken
Doesn’t matter where you go, tacos are always a winner. This quick and easy taco recipe takes all the hassle out of making tacos–which means trail tacos will become your new go-to hiking lunch.
Let sit 8-9 minutes, stirring at 4 minutes if desired
Spoon contents onto tortillas
Top with your favorite taco toppings. Like: shredded cheese, pico de gallo, hot sauce, sour cream, avocado, cilantro, diced onions, sliced olives, fresh lime, the list goes on and on because tacos are amazing.
Inspired? Shared your #MHHacks with us! Tag @mtnhouse so we see how you're taking your freeze-dried food to the next level. Find more Mountain House hacks in our camping food recipes post here.