Trail Bytes - New Name of Newsletter

As you can see from the new cover at the top, I have changed the name of the newsletter from Recipes for Adventure to Trail Bytes. I poached the previous name to use for my upcoming e-book. There is no need to re-subscribe.

Each Trail Bytes cover will feature a new photo. This month it is yours truly hiking up Säntis, a prominent mountain in Northeastern Switzerland with a view of six countries. In future issues I will feature photos submitted by folks like yourself. If you visit the Free Newsletter page, I have placed a form at the bottom for you to upload up to four photos with a little story if you want. I have uploaded several of my own photos to test the system and it is very easy to use. Photo file sizes have to be less than 1 MB.

Click here to view photos already uploaded or to upload one of your own.

Recipes for Adventure – New e-Book Coming Soon!

Soon you will be able to print my recipes and dehydrating techniques without all that cutting, pasting, and wasting of your color ink. Recipes for Adventure, the e-book, will be optimized for viewing on your computer and for printing. Color photos will appear on the left-hand pages with the black and white text on the corresponding right-hand pages. It will be easy to print only the black and white even-numbered pages.

Another feature of Recipes for Adventure will be new “large” serving sizes alongside the original serving sizes from the website recipes. The new serving sizes have 40% - 50% more food. My backpacking meals always include a side of vegetables and a dessert, so the original serving sizes have worked well for me and are very efficient on fuel usage. However, there are times when I could eat more! Backpackers burn a lot of calories, so having two sizes already calculated will make it easy for you to match the serving size to your needs.

Click here to see the cover and a few sample recipes. You can also enter your email address there if you want me to send you an email as soon as the book is ready. I have completed 100 pages so far.

Root Bark Stew

One of the first recipes I posted on the website was Rock ‘n Root Stew. That was before I figured out how to make bark. In the original recipe, I said to drain off the liquid before dehydrating. But, why waste all that tasty broth that has picked up nutrients from the roots? I have revised the recipe, blending a portion of the roots with the broth to make bark. The bark becomes the ingredient to make the meal saucy and can also be served as a side of mashed roots. Dried root bark also tastes great as a snack, like sweet potato bark, only spicy instead of sweet.

Click here to view the revised Root Bark Stew Recipe.

From the Mail Bag

I received this question but was unable to reply directly because the person’s email address was not correct.

Question: Have you ever dehydrated homemade bacon before and is it possible even though the shelf life is short? The reason I ask is I am trying to avoid AGEs (Advance Glycation End-products). They are now linking things like barbequing and high heat cooking to AGEs in food and to cancer. They suggest low and slow cooking methods like stewing. I bought a dehydrator to make jerky and wanted to know if I can have bacon without it getting browned and dehydrating seemed like a way to go. Pan frying bacon is about the worst for AGEs. I could even freeze it after I dry it to keep it longer and just thaw when I need to use it.

Answer: A dehydrator is only going to go up to 145 or 155 degrees. The folks at Excalibur Dehydrators say not to dehydrate pork except for cured ham. From Preserve It Naturally: “…pork should never be dehydrated under any circumstances. The Trichinella parasite and other harmful bacteria prevalent in pork are not destroyed by the dehydrating temperatures.” I agree. Do not dry uncooked bacon.

I have, of course, dried cooked bacon. I broke it into small pieces after cooking and dried it at 145 degrees. I had to blot off grease a few times while it dried. Dried cooked bacon will remain a little greasy. If the bacon was smoked or has artificial smoke flavor, the smoke flavor will intensify in the dried bacon. Because of the fat content, dried cooked bacon may not keep long outside of the freezer and so I do not recommend it for use in backpacking meals. I find that dried deli ham, which is low in fat and precooked, makes a perfectly acceptable replacement for any recipe where bacon would be considered.

Additional comments about baking bacon have been added at the bottom of the newsletter.

New Recipe

Cheesy Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce

Submitted by Lance “CreakyKnees” Dolo

Update from Switzerland

January ushered in a cold spell with temperatures ranging between 0 and 19 F for three weeks straight. The Lake of Pfäffikon froze for the first time in five years and twenty thousand people came out in one weekend to walk or skate on it. Today we are enjoying sunshine and mild temperatures.

Wishing you the best in your hiking and food dehydrating adventures,

Chef Glenn & Dominique

Comments About This Issue of Trail Bytes:

If you have comments, suggestions, or questions about the topics in this issue, please visit my contact form and enter them there.

From Alexandra:

I wanted to add a comment to the answer you made to the person asking about dehydrating bacon. One way to cook bacon without the frying pan is to lay it on a grill tray on a baking sheet, and cook it in the oven until crispy. Set to bake at 325°. It usually takes around 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it, because it can still burn if you aren't paying attention. It is less likely to get the burnt or browned bits that the person seems to be concerned about. I'm not sure how it'd work for home made bacon, but it actually makes standard store-issue bacon SO much better than the frying pan, in my opinion. It's evenly crispy and cooked, without any of those odd soggy bits, and cooks flat. The fat that drips off of it is also not full of grit and burnt bits, so it's good for cooking with.

Chef Glenn:

Thanks Alexandra! I baked some bacon this morning following your instructions and it turned out great. I laid the bacon on the rack and put a pan under it. I only cooked four slices, so it was done in fifteen minutes. As you said, the grease was clear.