Sunday, May 16, 2010

Backcountry Vegan - Tools & Gear

You do not need to have a commercial kitchen - but it does help to at the least have a good knife and a good dehydrator.

Prep tools:
  • Kansui Dojo Chef's knife - I swear by this knife! It's quite affordable and it holds an excellent edge for a long time - it's a great all purpose vegetable/fruit knife.  Go get one!
  • Breville 800BLXL Blender - this blender has been one of my favorite acquisitions.  I see all kinds of love lavished on the Vitamix - but so far, this blender has met all my needs.
  • Cuisinart 9 cup Food Processor - bought used on E-bay, it has character but may need to be replaced in a few years.
  • Williams-Sonoma Professional Multi-chopper - my friend Matt first introduced me to this gadget - then he got me one for my birthday last year.  It has been very helpful at cutting up large quantities of fruit or veg in uniform pieces - great for tagines and for dehydrating.
  • Excalibur 9 Tray Food Dehydrator - after building a monster of a solar dehydrator - I finally threw in the towel and got the Excalibur.  I haven't looked back - it works like a dream and doesn't consume much power.  The solar dehydrator is good for storing persimmons to ripen and for drying off chanterelles after I clean them.
I cannot overstress indispensability of a good dehydrator!  This will make all the difference in your prep for trail food - you'll find yourself buying entire flats of strawberries and graciously accepting over-the-fence donations of leggy zucchini from your neighbors.  It costs much less to dehydrate your own veggies than to purchase packets of dried or "freeze dried" anything.

Cookset for the Trail
Although I didn't have a problem carrying the Pocket Rocket on most flights, one TSA employee decided to make a case of it - emptying my ENTIRE backpack and threatening to confiscate the stove which is clearly permitted based on TSA's own guidelines (he sounded really disappointed when his manager told him on the phone that it was permitted).

I'm curious to experiment with alcohol burning stoves made with pepsi cans - they weigh a lot less than carrying MSR fuel and it's pretty easy to make one in case it gets confiscated in travel, and it burns a lot hotter/cheaper fuel.

Of all the gear I brought on the trail - the most dearly missed was a larger wooden spoon or spatula, even some bamboo tongs would have been nice.  I didn't use the knife very much - possibly could have skipped that acquisition.

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