As a Trail Chef and gourmet backpacker, I can’t imagine my pasta, pizza or risotto without cheese and always put some packets into my backpack when I’m going on a short or long hiking trip. However, not all types of cheese are suitable for backpacking.
What types of cheese are best for backpacking trips?
Fresh and soft cheeses like Mozzarella, Ricotta, or Chevre best left at home because they have higher moisture content and tend to spoil faster, especially in hot weather.
You should also avoid taking blue cheeses (Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Stilton) and so-called washed-rind family cheeses (Taleggio, Pont l’Evêque, Livarot Munster, Stinking Bishop, Camembert) unless you want your pack to smell like dirty socks.
Semi-firm and firm cheeses like Parmesan, Dry Monterey Jack, or Pecorino Romano are good choices for warm-weather outings. Low moisture aged hard cheeses concentrate their flavor and have an extended shelf life. They usually last a couple of weeks without refrigeration. To keep cheese fresh longer, just wrap it in vinegar-soaked cheesecloth and put it in a zip lock bag.
Freeze-dried cheese does not require refrigeration and can be stored for years, which makes it an ideal companion for on-the-go trips. It is not a suspicious looking powder like you find in Macaroni & Cheese boxes; it’s 100% natural cheese that has been freeze dried. It’s full of flavor, tasty and melts like fresh cheese.
What can you do with freeze-dried cheese?
You can sprinkle it on your favorite foods or use it in recipes that call for grated cheese. It works well in pasta dishes, soups, sauces, stews and one-pot backpacking meals. It makes a great snack too!
How to use freeze-dried cheese
- Rehydrate and then use as if it is regular grated cheese.
Simply put the cheese you want to hydrate into a zip lock bag or bowl. Start to add water slowly while stirring gently. Drizzle the water right over the cheese until it basically won’t accept any more. You don’t want your cheese to be soggy.
- Grind freeze-dried cheese in a coffee grinder or run through a food processor to make homemade cheese powder. This form is more preferable for outdoor cooking – it doesn’t require any rehydration and melts so quickly!
Recipes with freeze-dried cheese:
Where to buy freeze-dried cheese