For as long as I’ve been backpacking, Mountain House freeze dried meals have been my go-to choice of food.
They’re lightweight, easy to make and available everywhere from Big 5 to REI. Most importantly, they’re a lot tastier than expected.
Each time I pour boiling water into the pouch, exhausted at the end of a 12-mile day of hiking, I never expect the powdery assortment of ingredients to transform itself into anything worthy of Wolfgang Puck.
Yet almost without fail, I always end up thinking, or uttering, these words: “Wow, that’s actually pretty good.”
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But earlier this summer, if only for one trip, I decided to try something different.
The good folks at Salem Summit Company in Salem convinced me to test out Alpine Aire, a slick-looking brand of freeze-dried food they sell from a company based in Minnesota.
What caught my attention about Alpine Aire were the interesting meals — wild quinoa pilaf with hemp seeds, honey lime chicken, southwestern beef nachos — along with the nutrition facts.
Freeze-dried food has notoriously high levels of sodium, but the Alpine Aire meals had less than Mountain House — in some cases a lot less.