What is dehydrated food?
Dehydrated food is the process of removing water from food in order to prevent bacteria, yeast and mold from spoiling it. This process slows down the action of enzymes, but does not inactivate them. Since bacteria and mold can only grow in the presence of moisture, drying is a great way to preserve food. Foods can be dried in several ways – air, sun, and sublimation (freeze-dried). Dried foods are perfect for camping since they are lightweight, take up little space and do not require refrigeration. We use both dehydrated (air) and freeze-dried ingredients.
Which of your food ingredients are freeze-dried?
All of our food ingredients are dehydrated (air dried at temperatures ranging from 115 - 130 degrees) with the exception of 3 products - organic apples, organic blueberries, and organic sweet corn. These three products are dried using freeze-drying or lyophilisation to produce a superior texture and flavor. The freeze-dried ingredients are contained in the following products (as of 2/15/2013) -
Freeze-Dried Apples - apple quinoa oatmeal, appalachia, curried apple couscous, high elevation rice cereal, waldorf slaw;
Freeze-Dried Blueberries - ChocoCocoChia;
Freeze-Dried Corn - blackened quinoa, cibola couscous, sunny sunflower salad, switchback soup & stuffer;
Where is your operation?
We operate a state licensed food facility located in Charlotte, NC. The operation is 100% vegetarian and is inspected and licensed by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
Does Outdoor Herbivore use any chemical additives or preservatives in any of its foods?
No. All products we sell contain only natural ingredients. We do not use or add chemical preservatives, synthetic flavors, or food coloring agents. Drying is our process of food preservation, either air drying or freeze drying, and nothing else. We never use GMO ingredients.
For cold-prep meals,
1) Tear open the packaging at tear notch and pour ingredients into a cup or bowl.
2) Measure the amount of water as directed on the package. Stir water into the ingredients.
3) Allow meal to hydrate for the amount of time stated on the package. Enjoy!
For hot-prep meals,
1) Boil water as directed in a pot of water.
2) Tear open the packaging at tear notch and pour ingredients into the pot of boiling water. Stir well.
3) Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid to retain heat.
4) Turn off the stove and allow the ingredients to hydrate in the pot of hot water. Use a pot cozy for faster hydration. Enjoy!
Note: Our packaging is not intended to be used as an eating vessel or for adding boiling water to, so please pour the meal ingredients into a separate container before adding boiling water.
How long will the food last?
Food should last 1 - 2 years when stored under proper conditions. Outdoor Herbivore's products do contain less processed wholegrain ingredients, such as brown rice, whole wheat flour and pastas, nuts and seeds. These substances have a limited shelf life of about 1 - 2 years. Please purchase only what food you plan to consume within that time frame.
How long can the food be stored?
Each product is stamped with a "Best Before" date. In general, most product shipped has a minimum 1 year shelf life. For highest quality, all food products should be consumed before this date. It is recommended that you seal the food product in a sealed bag (such as a freezer bag) and freeze, refrigerate, or store in a dark, cool location if you plan to store it longer. Once the food is prepared (for home or office use), cover and refrigerate the unused portion and eat within 3-4 days.
How should I store the food?
Store in a cool and dry place, such as a kitchen cabinet. Never store food long-term in a damp place, on the ground, near heat or moisture. Do not store food in an area that experiences high temperature fluctuations, such as a garage, attic, crawl space, car trunk.
Can you describe your packaging?
We use light weight, non-gusseted LDPE packaging for our products instead of stand-up poly-laminated foil or heavy plastic pouches. Our packaging is meant to save on weight and space -- more similiar to a freezer bag. Since it is a lighter variety of plastic and is smaller in size, it is not suited for adding boiling water and consuming from. We recommend purchasing your own reusable zip-top pouches or freezer bags for this purpose; however, we do not endorse this method of cooking. We encourage hikers to always use a metallic pot for cooking or hydrating food rather than plastic bags or pouches (even those marketed for boiling water).
How do you test cooking instructions for your products?
We test all products in the field using our preferred backpacking stoves, a 20 year old Coleman Peak 2 and an alcohol stove. Products are tested throughout the season in various climates. We test at elevations of 1,000 – 6,000 feet. Our instructed hydration times are based on an average time from these calculations.
Why is eating organic food so important?
Many factors of a highly industrialized lifestyle contribute to a diminished quality of health, incidence of disease, and digestive distress. Besides the prevalence of chemical toxins in our natural environment, any processed foods you eat is likely to contain a variety of pesticides, artificial flavoring and color agents, unnecessary additives, intentional fillers, preservatives, and other intentional modifications to condition the food for cheaper manufacturing, a longer shelf life, and altered taste. All of these non-natural substances function as just extra toxins for the body to remove. Organic farming practices prevent the use of unnatural chemical agents that destroy soil and crop vitality. For instance, conventional farming will spray chemical herbicides to kill weeds, while organic farming will use traditional crop rotation and mulch to control weed. Therefore, consuming organic food lessens your exposure to unnecessary toxins. Organic food is not only healthier for us, it is also beneficial to the environment.
Are all foods certified organic?
Approximately 75 to 80 percent are certified organic by USDA NOP certifiers or QIP. A few products such as spices and nuts, are not certified organic, even though they are grown and processed in the traditional manner and are the finest we can source. We are constantly looking to expand our organic ingredients, eventually to become completely organic. We feel organic farming practices are the most responsible way to nurture our land and body.
You have many ethnic dishes. Do any of these contain MSG? What about TVP?
There is no MSG contained in any of our products. We do not use hydrolyzed soy, texurized vegetable protein (TVP), or hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) either. HVP/TVP is a highly processed food which is high in sodium and glutamate. It is a low-quality protein and is frequently added to food products to enhance flavor or to provide a meat-like texture and taste. It is popular in many "vegetarian" entrées and backpacking meals. We are concerned about the consumption of this product and do not support it. We find that whole food plant ingredients offer superior nutrition and taste. Finally, we do not purchase food ingredients that come from China due to safety concerns. Please see our food model for more information on where products are sourced that are grown/processed outside of the United States.
Where do you Ship and How do you Ship?
We ship within the United States, including U.S. Territories and overseas U.S. Military Bases. Most shipments are made via USPS - Priority Mail. Large volume orders may be shipped more economically, such as UPS or FedEx. Please check our shipping page for detailed information.
What is the status of my order?
If you have created an account with us, you may check on the status of your order by clicking on the "My Account" button on the upper portion of the page. You will be asked to enter your email address and password to retrieve the status of your order. If you did not create an account with us, you are sent an email with your tracking number when your order ships.
What is your return policy?
Due to Federal Law, we cannot accept returns or reimbursements on purchased food items. If you are not satisfied with the quality of the product you purchased with Outdoor Herbivore, you may Contact Us and we will try to accommodate you in some manner.
How can I get my local store to carry Outdoor Herbivore food products?
We encourage you to speak with the store manager and request they carry our products. Please let them know you are looking for Outdoor Herbivore's food products. You can print this letter and bring it to the store manager. Once you've done that, please send us a quick note telling us the name of the store. We will follow up with them to get Outdoor Herbivore in the store where you shop. Thank you for helping us to provide healthy dried meals for you and others to enjoy!
How can I review Outdoor Herbivore products or see reviews from others?
We would love to hear from you! We are constantly trying to improve our products and would greatly appreciate any feedback you can provide, both good and bad. There are a few ways you can provide us feedback: