In preparation to our trip to Big Bend National Park, the dehydrator was running at a near continuous clip. Since the last time we went backpacking, my diet has changed significantly with Whole30 and other changes that I have made. For example, I eat breakfast fairly late, and I more or less only eat two and a half meals a day. I wanted to have a Whole30 backpacking breakfast that would be refreshing boosts of energy. I approached this need using fruit leathers to make trail smoothies.
Preparing Fruit Leathers at Home: Sample Recipes for a Whole30 Backpacking Breakfast
Making fruit leather at home is easy. The gist is simply pureeing some fruit and then dehydrating it on a lined tray, but the variations are endless. Some people will cook their fruits first when using fresh fruit, but I didn’t.
Instead, I purchased a variety of frozen fruits and then let them thaw. Once thawed, I pureed them with a banana and then made two smoothies out of them. I didn’t add any liquids to the fruit before pureeing it. I purchased small bags of the simply organic fruits. These bags weighed 10 ounces and had about two servings of fruit per bag. More or less, each smoothie had half of a banana and an additional serving of fruit.
I made several flavors for my smoothies. I had a peach and banana smoothie (which was delicious), a strawberry banana smoothie, and a mango banana smoothie. Additionally, I pureed three bananas and added a tablespoon of cocoa powder. Yep, I was going to drink a chocolate banana smoothie in the backcountry. It was delicious too. Actually, they were all delicious.
Once the fruit was pureed, I poured it onto the lined tray of the dehydrator in two serving sizes (about half of each puree amount). I set the dehydrator to my fruit setting and let it alone until it was smooth and no longer tacky to the touch. I cooked mine about 10 hours.
Once the fruit was leathery, I tore each serving into small pieces and put it in a Ziploc bag. I added a tablespoon of instant coconut milk for some extra pizzazz on the trail. Then I recorded what was in the bag, sealed it up tight, and put it with the rest of my trail food.
Turning Fruit Leathers into Smoothies on the Trail
Making this Whole30 backpacking breakfast is easy. On the trail, add a cup of water to your Ziploc bag. Mix the the powder as well as you can into the water with your spork and by breaking up larger chunks of powder. You can also close your Ziploc bag and shake, shake, shake that sucker. (I found this strangely satisfying.)
Chances are if you’re using coconut milk powder (as I was) that it won’t mix as well as you’d like. The directions for the brand I used mentioned boiling the water, but I don’t exactly think that smoothies should be hot. I’m guessing that I’m not alone. I did the best I could and didn’t mind drinking the powder too much. The smoothies were still fresh and delicious, and I loved the taste of coconut milk on the trail. If the powder bothers you more than it bothers me, you could experiment with different brands of coconut milk, use dairy milk if your’e not on Whole30, or otherwise play around with your vegan options. For me, the added coconut flavor was worth the powder.
Seal the bag carefully. Double check the seal. Put the bag in your pot or somewhere it can be protected from pressure from your other equipment in your backpack. You want to drink your trail smoothie, not douse your equipment into a coconut fiesta that may attract wildlife.
After a couple of hours of hiking, you can check on your smoothie. Most of the leather should have rehydrated into the water, but you have still have a few places where the leather is more a little more like pulp. If you’re satisfied with the rehydration process, guzzle down your refreshing smoothie!
Pro tip: My pot/cup is the perfect size for rolling back the Ziploc over the edges so that the bag functions as a liner. Yep, I didn’t even get my pot dirty.
The December Food in Jars Mastery Challenge
I wanted to complete the December Food in Jars Mastery challenge in, well, December, but I rather failed writing about it even if I unintentionally completed it. I wasn’t sure what was meant by a fruit “paste.” Frankly, I was also a bit too busy to turn to google in the frantic whirring of the dehydrator and tying up all my loose ends. As it turns out, a fruit paste can actually be a fruit leather.
So, I have officially completed the Food in Jars Mastery Challenge for the last year, and I’m pretty proud of that. I love making my own food that I can cook with or devour on the trail.
The Whole30 Backpacking Breakfast on the Whole
I know that we’re supposed to eat our calories, not drink them, and that protein is an essential element of any Whole30 meal. So, you might be wondering what else I ate for my Whole30 backpacking breakfast. I ate jerky of some kind, like Wild Zora or Epic, and some trail mix with nuts, coconut flakes, seeds, and dried fruit. It was delicious, easy, filling, and I didn’t have to rinse out a pot! Eating breakfasts this way also helped us save some time in the morning tearing down camp. Better yet, I still had the energy I needed to haul my backpack and water around the desert. Victory!
What’s your favorite trail breakfast?