I do a lot of backpacking, and I usually buy freeze dried meals, like these ones.

This year I would like to make my own dried meals. I know how to dehydrate my main ingredients, but I'm not sure how to make a good soup base.

Does anyone have some tips on how to make good mix bases? Or dried meals in general?

  • If you google "dried soup mix recipe" you will find a myriad recipes and articles.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 18:21

3 Answers 3


A large bottle of caramelized onions and toasted garlic mix is essential in any situation.

And a bottle of powdered Parmesan, adulterated with broken blue cheese bits.

I have been thinking of the possibility of dried green peas, because adding unfrozen green peas (those I get from the frozen veg dept at the supermart) to my soup would sweeten up my soup. I would like to know if drying up the peas would be possible, and that dried green peas would not be a disaster to my broth.

I have a slow cooker. I use it to make spice mixes. I mix into the pot a combination of

  • cumin powder, various types
  • broken up anise
  • coriander seeds
  • cardamom
  • cloves
  • celery seeds
  • fanugreek seeds
  • tamarind

I don't think you should mix all of them together, but you should make different combinations of them. I put in sufficient water for each mixture and slow-cook them for a few hours. And they sit in bottles unrefrigerated on my shelf for a few months without getting spoiled.

Then, I have bottles of mint chutney to supplement my soup base above. Mint should not be cooked. Mint is topped onto your food or soup together with the parmesan/blue cheese, when it's being served. Cooking would destroy the scent and flavour of mint.

But then, this is my preference due to my upbringing.


In many countries you can buy real stock concentrate gels in little pouches or packs

Brands like Continental, Knorr, and often "private label" from local famous chef's

I can't vouch for a specific brands flavour, but in general they add a lot of flavour for very little weight (30 to 40 grams, 1 ounce in old money)

Add that to some lentils, split peas, or dried vegetables and it should make a tasty and high calorie meal

Pack some vacuum sealed bacon fat or other fats for a bit more zing and calories if you need

In total: 120 g of lentils etc, 30 g stock, 30 g fat or dried meat makes a tasty meal for two, and about same weight as your average dehydrated meal. And you can pack your own, and leave out most of the the fancy foil packaging

Some lentils and split peas take more than 15t minutes cook time, so you either need a wood fire or an insulated cook pot

  • I wonder how well pre-cooking the beans and then dehydrating them would work? I imagine it would "cook" much more quickly as the second time it really only has to re-hydrate.
    – Brian
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 17:22
  • The creator of the video linked in What are 'quick cook' beans? claims that this works well...
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented Mar 23, 2014 at 18:22
  • You can usually buy par cooked beans and rice. Often labeled "instant"
    – TFD
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 11:38

Just get some bouillon powder or cubes (usually comes in chicken, vegetable, beef and pork) and then add whatever spices you want.

http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=393351 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001J8V54M/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_3DXltb0TD4K09Q09

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