Learn the Art of Winter Cooking

Backpacker Magazine recently came out with a collection of articles to help backpackers “learn the art of winter cooking.” Although the articles were short, they had some great information that may just save your butt while winter camping.

Illustration by Supercorn

The first article, “Bring the Right Cooking Gear,” gives a few valuable tips about which type of stove to bring, how much fuel you might need, and the nutritional requirements for your body in the cold. Article two gives instructions on building a camp kitchen and even provides steps to dig out your own underground kitchen in the snow! Backpacker goes on to provide two quick passages about using your camp kitchen and different ways of melting snow which are good reads. In addition to a beneficial write-up of instructions to plan a healthy winter meal, they provide readers with two delectable recipes for “Pumpkin Spice Toddy and Wintermint” as well as the interestingly named “Molly’s Kickin’ Mac and Cheese.” These recipes and articles will make any backpacker a gourmet winter cook and truly teaches you the art of winter cooking.


LEARN THE ART OF WINTER COOKING by David Schmidt – Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010

For more information, check out Winter & Cold Weather Backpacking at Wild Backpacker.


Corn, Black Bean, and Tomato Salad

* 1 can (15 ounces) black beans
* 1 cup corn, canned (drained) or frozen (thawed)
* 1 large tomato, chopped (or 8-ounce can)
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
* 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
* Dipping crackers (optional)

At home: Rinse beans. In a large ziplock bag, combine beans, corn, tomato, and garlic. Add parsley, pepper, and chili powder and mix.

In camp: Serve cold with sliced pepper jack cheese and hardy dipping crackers.
Makes 4 servings

Recipe courtesy of Backpacker Magazine, December 2004

TVP: Textured Vegetable Protein

Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), also known as textured soy protein, is an excellent meat substitute that appears in many backpacking recipes because it is extremely lightweight, great meat supplement, quick to prepare, long shelf life, relatively low price, high in protein and fiber, and low in fat and sodium.
TVP, available as a powder or in the form of small chunks or flakes, is made from soy flour containing 50% soy protein. It needs to be rehydrated before using, at a weight ratio of 1:2 with water. However, TVP when made from soy concentrate contains 70% protein and can be rehydrated at a ratio of 1:3. It can be used as a meat replacement or supplement. The extrusion technology changes the structure of the soy protein, resulting in a texture similar to meat. It can replace ground beef, ground lamb, etc in most recipes, and in tuna fish salad to the extent of 30% or more. Using textured vegetable protein, one can make vegetarian or vegan versions of traditionally meat dishes. TVP also has a very mild flavor that readily absorbs the flavors of the foods it is mixed with.

When stored dry at room temperature TVP has a shelf life of more than a year, but after rehydration it should be used at once or stored for no more than three days in the refrigerator. It’s usually rehydrated with warm water, but a bit of vinegar or lemon juice can be added as a preservative.

Textured Vegetable Protein is available in bulk at natural food stores, large supermarkets, and online from Wilderness Dining.

For more information about TVP, please visit the TVP: Textured Vegetable Protein article on Wild Backpacker.

Wilderness Dining

It’s hard to find places to buy quality backpacking items and low prices, and if you do, if seems like it never carries the one item you want. However, when it comes to outdoor cooking, Wilderness Dining is one of the best places to buy supplies.
Wilderness Dining
Wilderness Dining carries a huge selection of backpacking and camping foods including cookware, filters, cookbooks, bear canisters, stoves, dehydrated and freeze-dried food items, and any meal or ingredient that you could want while in the outdoors (even seafood!). After exploring their online store, you can agree with what their home page testifies: “Great selection, great prices, great service!” It’s a fantastic backpacking store with easy payment options and easy searching, not to mention the cheap, flat-rate shipping! Wilderness Dining has been around for more than 8 years and is still running strong. It is a great resource for all your outdoor cooking needs, but find out for yourself. Check them out.