There’s something undeniably magical about the allure of the wild, about the rhythmic crunch of leaves under sturdy hiking boots and the sylvan serenity that graces the path. As an experienced hiker, I can attest to the fact that the journey’s flavor is not just metaphorical, but quite literal too!

The taste of fresh food, while you’re conquering rocky trails or setting up camp under a blanket of stars, can be incredibly satisfying. But the challenges of outdoor living often limit our culinary choices, steering us toward dehydrated or preserved foods. Well, it’s time to turn the tables with a secret ingredient that keeps the ‘fresh-like’ crunch alive in your trail meals – the humble dried cabbage!

Unraveling the Secret of Dried Cabbage for Hiking

Dehydrated foods are trail essentials due to their lightweight properties and long shelf life, but they often miss out on offering that fresh-food delight. However, dried cabbage, with its firm crunch and refreshing taste, is a glorious exception. Ideal for hiking, this humble vegetable is like a slice of freshness you can pack along!

Prepping the Cabbage: From Kitchen to the Trail


Getting your cabbage ready for drying is a fairly simple task that doesn’t require any fancy tools. Here’s your step-by-step guide:

  1. Start by quartering your cabbage so that each section includes a part of the core.
  2. Remove the core by slicing diagonally along the intersection of the leaves and the core. Discard the core, as it’s not part of the drying process.
  3. Slice each core-less cabbage quarter into strips approximately a quarter-inch wide. Rinse these strips in a container of water to ensure they’re clean.
  4. Once all the cabbage is sliced and rinsed, let the strips drip dry on a towel before moving to the drying process.

Transforming Fresh Cabbage into Hiking-Ready Crunch

A food dehydrator does the job perfectly for transforming your fresh cabbage into crispy, trail-ready munchies. The thin leaves will be ready within an hour or so, and the thicker ones take only a bit longer.

To achieve the perfect crunch, place the shredded leaves loosely on the dehydrator trays. Aim for a thickness of not more than half an inch. Once they’re done, let the dried shreds cool off in a thin layer while you dry the rest of the batch.

After cooling, store your dried cabbage in an airtight container, ensuring moisture stays out. This is key to keeping the cabbage safe from mold and ready for your hiking adventures.

Cooking with Dried Cabbage on the Trail

Dried cabbage is incredibly versatile and can be easily prepared on the trail. For your hiking trip, pack a handful of it into a sealed bag along with any other ingredients you might fancy. Don’t worry about crushing some leaves as you press the air out of the bag – it won’t compromise the taste or texture.

The beauty of dried cabbage is that it rehydrates effortlessly, making it perfect for recipes you whip up on your alcohol stove. To rehydrate, simply add water to the bag containing the dried cabbage. If you’re using warm water, a soaking time of ten minutes will suffice, while cool water requires at least an hour. Afterward, drain any unabsorbed water. Remember, this drained water will contain some water-soluble nutrients from the cabbage, and it can be used in other culinary applications on your trail menu.

Now, let’s get creative with your rehydrated cabbage! One idea is to make a trail version of coleslaw, using your dried cabbage, dried shredded carrot, and single-serving mayo packets. Or perhaps you’d like a crunchy beef wrap with beef gravy, cheese, and your dried cabbage on a tortilla. With a dash of imagination, the potential applications of dried cabbage on your hiking trip are virtually endless.

So there you have it, fellow hikers! Step up your outdoor culinary game with dried cabbage. Lightweight, packed with nutrients, and offering that desired ‘fresh-like’ crunch, this vegetable is truly a hiker’s delight. Remember, the essence of hiking isn’t just about the path we tread, but also the meals that nourish our journey. Happy hiking and bon appétit!