Eggs in the Backcountry

backpacking eggs and hashbrowns

I recently purchased a dehydrator, and have been getting more daring in my recipes. Most people I’ve spoken to mainly use their dehydrators for camping recipes like jerky and dried fruits and vegetables. I’ve been more into making powdered things so far. Sauces are nice to have in the freezer, ready to get tossed with pasta or rice for your next camping trip. But what I’ve been most impressed with it for so far is making powdered eggs.

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Eggs can be tricky both car camping and backpacking. They are perishable and fragile. However, they offer so much versatility to camping recipes that they are often worth the effort. They are an excellent source of protein for either a quick or a lavish camping breakfast, and can also be used to bind dishes like baked pastas, or coat things like french toast (recipe coming shortly).

Here are some tips for dealing with them in both contexts:

  • REI sells egg holders for carrying whole eggs, but they don’t hold very large ones. I like to use them for holding hard-boiled eggs.
  • Another great way to transport eggs is to crack them together into a jar. You can squash the jar into a cooler this way without worrying about breaking them, and just shake the jar when you’re ready to scramble them.
  • Backpacking is obviously the most difficult scenario to bring eggs into, unless they are dehydrated. You can buy them dehydrated, or try making your own.

backcountry-eggs-making

I did a lot of research before attempting my own powdered eggs, and none of it sounded good. Some people dehydrate eggs after already cooking them, and some try raw. Many people have difficulty grinding the eggs into a powder. They complained that the rehydrated texture was grainy, or that the egg clumped up in the food processor from not drying completely or evenly. I had issues with getting the amount of water correct upon rehydration, and they turned out too thick the first time. But since then, I’ve gotten them right. And they are impressive.

dehydrated-backpacking-eggs
rehydrated-backpacking-eggs

I’m including my method for making your own dehydrated powdered eggs here. The recipe I made with the powdered eggs on my last trip is pictured here. I just rehydrated hash browns, eggs, and dehydrated cheese, and scrambled them together in some oil.

backcountry-eggs-making2
Please let us know if you have any of your own great methods for dealing with eggs while camping.

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backpacking eggs and hashbrowns

Dehydrated Powdered Eggs

Yield

5 eggs

Prep Time / Cook Time

/

Activity Guide

Backpacking

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs

Tools

  • Food processor or blender
  • Medium bowl
  • Whisk
  • Dehydrator fitted with fruit leather tray insert
  • Zip top baggie
  • Freezer

Method

  1. Crack eggs into a bowl. 5 eggs is the amount that fits best onto 1 of my dehydrator trays. Customize to your dehydrator and egg needs, splitting across multiple trays if necessary.
  2. Whisk the eggs very well, until fully blended and a little foamy.
  3. Pour the eggs carefully into the fruit leather tray of the dehydrator, ensuring that the dehydrator is placed on a level surface.
  4. Dehydrate eggs for 8-10 hours at 140 degrees, until fully dried and flaky. *The egg flakes are oily, and should easily scrape away without sticking to the tray when fully dry. If they are still sticky, leave the sticky portion in for more time.
  5. Transfer dried egg flakes to a zip top baggie and place in freezer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  6. Remove eggs from freezer and blend in food processor or blender until completely powdered. If they stick to the sides, they are not dry enough. Put back into the dehydrator for more time.
  7. Store in zip top baggie in freezer until your camping trip.

To Rehydrate

  1. Add 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of cold water per egg directly into zip top baggie, so that you can dispose of it later without worrying about raw eggs contaminating your cookware.
  2. Let sit for about 5 minutes, or until the egg mixture looks like it did before you dehydrated it. When in doubt, add a little more water than you think.
  3. Use as you normally would in your favorite camping recipes.

15 thoughts on “Eggs in the Backcountry

  1. I don’t have a dehydrator, but am close to buying one (thanks to your posts!) The way I handle eggs is to scramble them at home with a little milk and Velveeta shreds and a couple pieces of chopped ham. Then I vacuum seal them with my Food Saver, then freeze it and boil the bag for breakfast. Makes a great “skillet scramble.” This works well for car camping (because there’s usually a cooler to keep them cold), and even backpacking, but they should be eaten the first morning when they’re still slightly frozen.

    1. Heather, I love this idea! To cook the frozen eggs, do you just plop the ‘slightly frozen’ block into a pan to cook? Or do you thaw it in the bag by boiling, then cook? Sorry if this is a silly question… Would be using a tiny camp stove/cup so trying to think out how I could use this method 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  2. Do a search for Backpacking Chef Glen. Its all about dehydrator recipes. I did his eggs by mixing with some polenta to help them rehydrate. Used these eggs in several recipes over a week long backpack and they worked great!

    1. @Jon, that’s an interesting tip. I’ll have to try that. We have seen Chef Glen’s website, and know that he’s an excellent resource for people backpacking. Thanks for the info!

    1. @Reney, usually I use large eggs. Every once in a while, I get backyard eggs from a friend that are smaller, so I can fit 6 of those on a tray.

  3. Eggs are a staple of my diet but I have not been able to get a satisfactory lightweight product for rehydrating. I can’t wait to try this. Your measurement for rehydrating is very specific and per egg. I use farm fresh chicken, duck, and goose eggs which are all different sizes. Do you have a measurement of water to add per weight or volume of powdered egg?

    Thanks and peace
    D. Soz

    1. @D.Soz I have not tried duck or goose eggs, so I’m not sure if it would translate exactly. If you buy powdered egg crystals (which usually include more egg whites), the measurement is 2 tablespoons of powder to 3 tablespoons of water. I’d love to hear how closely this matches up for duck and goose eggs, so please keep me in the loop! When in doubt, add a little extra water. Good luck!

  4. Thanks for your response. The goose or duck eggs are arbitrary. The point was size. Do you find that your method of dehydrating and freezing then pulverifying creates the same proportions as the powdered eggs you mentioned in your response?

    Thanks again!

    1. @D. Soz I didn’t know whether there was a different fat ratio from the different types of egg yolks that may affect the proportions. The method I use should be very similar to the pre-made crystals.

  5. HI again. Sorry for all the egg questions. I’m just so excited that I may have finally stumbled upon a satisfactory egg method. I was wondering about the freezing stage. Once the egg is dried to the point of flakyness in the dehydrator, the eggs powder up just fine in the food processor. Why do you recommend freezing first? In the dehydrator, whatever egg wasn’t fully dry yet just stuck to the fruit wrap tray so after flaking off the dry stuff and exposing the darker, slightly gooey remaining egg, I just put it back in the dehydrator for a bit. Now it’s al dry and pulverizes just fine in the food processor. Please let me know if the freezing stage is necessary to make rehydration work as it should on the trail.

    Thanks again for all your hard work and experimentation so that the rest of us can just easily look up your recipes and have success!

    Peace
    David

    1. @D. Soz, I remember reading a tip somewhere that suggested freezing the dehydrated eggs in order for them to get hard enough to powder fully, keeping them from being inconsistently ground. I’m not sure I have even tried it without freezing them. I will have to do another test, now that I realize this. Thanks for bringing it up! The best part of running a blog is questions and suggestions from readers, so I appreciate your thoughts!

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