Sunday, January 10, 2016

Super grains for making hiking/trail snacks

In the context of lightweight food that might be suitable to take on a long-distance hike, I was reading about hard tack recently, in an online backpacking forum, when I was reminded that five years ago I made my own kind of long-lasting basic "survival" food.

Sesame wheat crackers, easy to make
My daughter, Birdie, and I made our own sesame wheat crackers, using flour and water and salt and sesame seeds, with some baking powder added, I'm sure. Usually, hard tack is made with just flour and water and salt, and it is slow baked at a low temperature for a long time (like, 200 °F for four hours, or something like that). Anyway, that much wheat flour is not consistent with my low-carb diet at the moment and, honestly, doesn't sound that appealing on the palette. If we're taking sustenance with us on our 100-mile Pacific Crest Trail section hike in May, we want it to actually taste good, and be nutritious too, right?

So, I looked up some alternatives online that were still easy to make, but had more protein and other micro-nutrients, yet would still make a light, flavorful snack. The addition of amaranth and quinoa, both gluten-free pseudo grains with essential amino acids, seems to be the most popular idea for adding flavor and texture and nutrients. Other good things you can add to the mix include spelt, Kamut, chia seeds and teff. Look online for phrases like "fortified hard tack" and you'll find more details.

This site: has some info on the health benefits of "super grains". It also reminded me that the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture recently published their new, updated 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. ( ). Check out this link, from the same site:

So, when I get my supply of amaranth and quinoa, in a few days time, I will be doing some baking and I'll share the results here.

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