Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pack fresh veggies as alternative to trail mix for hiking snack

Fresh vegetables make a great alternative to trail mix on a day hike.
Photo courtesy of Photoree.
Sometimes you just get tired of eating trail mix on a hike. Or maybe the kids are allergic to peanuts. Or quite likely they pick through it and eat only the chocolate bits.

A good alternative to trail mix, on cooler days at least, are fresh veggies. Besides filling you up, they’re packed with nutrition, often more so than the gorp that we fill with M&Ms and marshmallows.

When selecting vegetables for the trail, opt for those that will remain the freshest the longest. Generally, that will be carrots, celery and radishes. Bell peppers – whether the red, orange, yellow or green kind – come in a close second.

To improve the odds of them remaining fresh, always select the freshest ones when purchasing them at the supermarket or farmer’s market. No blemishes should appear on them either.

How you cut and pack the vegetables before the hike also can go a long way to helping them to retain their freshness. For example, carrots and celery will better retain their moisture and crispness if they aren’t peeled and if the cuts are large. For radishes and bell peppers, take the larger over the smaller ones. In the case of radishes, remove only the stems (tops) and tails (bottoms).

Resist the temptation to rinse radishes and peppers. Doing so removes a protective layer that otherwise would keep them fresh.

Placing the vegetables in a folded but unsealed plastic bag with a moist paper towel also helps them remain crisp.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.