I’m not particularily discerning when it comes to food, be it in the wilderness or at the office. A friend of freeze dried trail foods, however, I am not. If I want a food that is ready to eat after adding boiling water, I go to noodles. However, it takes only a few hours of preparation at home and I can have my favorite trail food as easily as I can cook a pot of noodles. My favorite food is, of course, bacon and mashed potatoes. Or rather, dehydrated bacon and instant powder mashed potatoes.
The key to having this recipe succeed is to find a good brand of mashed potato powder. Offbrand is generally ok, but if you find a really good brand, stick to it.
In Finland, we have Mummon muusi (Grandma’s mashed potatoes) that comes in a bacon flavor. Instead of being just silly, the combination of dehydrated bacon and bacon flavor mashed potatoes is actually quite good.
Dehydrating the bacon
Start by frying the bacon crisp. Do not add oil or butter, the idea is to get as much fat out as possible.
After the bacon is ready, lift the bacon onto a bed of paper towels and try to get as much of the fat out as possible. You can gently press the bacon with other paper towels. If the towels get soaked, switch them.
Once you have gotten most of the fat out of the bacon, lift the bacon onto baking tray covered by parchment paper. Put the tray into oven heated to 50-60°C (120-140 °F) and leave the oven door open a bit (use e.g. a spoon to keep it open).
Depending on the thickness of the slabs of bacon, dry in the oven for 3 to 6 hours. Repeat the paper towel processing to get out rest of the fat. Your bacon is now ready for the trip.
Rehydration, longevity and use
In my experience, dehyrated bacon will keep just fine for a week. If it’s below freezing, I would not worry about it going bad at all.
As I said, I’m not particularily discerning. That goes to rehydration as well. Especially with bacon where the point is to have it a bit cruncy, I just mix the dehydrated bacon to the mashed potatoes either when it is ready, or as I start mixing the water.