Spice Mama is a professional chef and takes much care in the many
Gourmet Freeze Dried Meals she creates. Below are what goes into some of the freeze dried meals available to our lucky monthly meal plan subscribers.
We use ground buffalo raised and processed in Delta Junction, Alaska by Delta Meats and Sausage. We season the ground buffalo with the mouth watering Alaska Spice Shop's Tundra Taco spice blend. We use organic black beans, organic short grain brown rice and cook both of these in organic home made roasted chicken bone broth we make using Alaska Spice Shop's Poultry Geist Seasoning. We make fresh pico de gallo using organic tomatoes, jalapenos, red onion, cilantro and lime. We finish the pico de gallo with a chunky sea salt that makes the whole meal pop with flavor.
Making Tundra Tex Mex is a several day affair.
We start by soaking organic black beans in water with a pinch of baking powder to remove the snappers. We drain and rinse the beans several times over two days adding more baking soda to the fresh water each time. This insures people enjoy Tundra Tex Mex without any gassy after effects.
While the beans are soaking, we season an organic chicken with the Alaska Spice Shop Poultry Geist dry rub for 24 hours in the refrigerator. Then we roast the chicken on a bed of yellow onions in a ceramic roasting stock pot. We let the chicken cool, then remove all the meat. We return the bones and skin back to the roasting pan with the onions and they go back into the oven for another half hour. Once the bones and skin are further roasted, we fill the roasting stock pot with water filtered through our reverse osmosis system, add in several fresh onions, the top part of a whole stalk of celery, a couple tablespoons of whole black peppercorns, a handful of whole thai chilis, and two tablespoons of the Alaska Spice Shop’s Shrimp and Dungy boil spice blend. We want this bone broth to have a little kick to it. The bone broth simmers on low for at least 8 hours. We let the bone broth cool in the fridge before straining out all of the ingredients. Once we strain out all the parts, we are left with a deliciously complex bone broth that has just a little bit of heat. The broth goes back into the fridge to allow the fat to coagulate on the top where we skim it off before using it.
We cook the organic short grain brown rice in the chicken bone broth made above using our ceramic rice cooker.
We also cook the soaked blacked beans in the chicken bone broth. We use a pressure cooker to infuse the bone broth flavor and heat into the black beans.
Once we have the beans and rice made, then we prepare the ground bison. We start by seasoning the skillet with the Tundra Taco spice blend. Heating the spice blend this way brings out more complexity in the flavoring. Once the pan and the spices are hot, we add in the ground bison and cook it to well done.
Then we mix in the cooked black beans and rice. We finish it off with organic salsa.
We put the whole mixture into the refrigerator to cool down before it heads into the freeze dryer.
While the buffalo, beans, rice and salsa are cooling, we make our fresh pico de gallo. We fine chop organic tomatoes, red onions, jalapenos and fresh cilantro. We mix these all together then squeeze in the juice from a lime and salt using a coarse ground sea salt.
We fill four trays for the freeze dryer with the buffalo, beans, rice and salsa mix. Then we put the fresh pico de gallo on the top of the mix. This ensures when it gets packaged for later consumption, the pico de gallo retains that just made fresh taste.
The State of Alaska has approved our freeze drying process and our packaging.
Freeze drying is only part of ensuring our gourmet on the go meals stay as fresh as the day we made them for a very long time. How we package these meals makes sure when you rehydrate, it's as fresh as the day we made it.
The freeze drying process takes over 50 hours. In that time all the water is extracted out of the meal. The freeze dryer has sensors to ensure any water is removed from the food. However, exposure to oxygen significantly decreases the quality of freeze dried food over time. For this reason we package the freeze dried meal as soon as it’s complete with the freeze drying process.
We package each meal in a one person serving with an oxygen absorbing packet. When you get your packaged meals, you will notice it looks as if we shrink-wrapped it. Shrink wrapping where we mechanically suck out all the air would actually be a very harsh process for the delicate dry nature of your freeze dried meal. A food safe oxygen absorbing packet exchanges nothing with the freeze dried food, but absorbs any excess oxygen in the packaging. When you open the package and break the seal, you get a meal that is just as fresh as the day we made it, ready to be rehydrated and enjoyed.
Enjoying Tundra Tex Mex is as easy as boiling a cup of water. You can take this to work, bring it with you for a quick meal on a business trip in the hotel, put it in a thermos for an on the go adventure, prepare it while you're camping, out fishing, or on the snow mobile. Or you can make it for a quick incredible lunch or dinner at home.
We like to make this by heating a cup of water in the microwave for a minute or two, then putting the package contents (without the oxygen absorber packet) into a thermos. You can then enjoy it anywhere from 15 minutes up to a couple hours later.
We’ve also made this on the stove by just tossing it into boiling water and then letting it simmer for ten minutes to make sure all the ingredients are sufficiently rehydrated.
You can even just put the boiling water right in the bag and seal it back up. Make sure you keep the bag warm for 15 minutes (stuffing it into a glove or keeping it close to you in a pocket will work).
We’re confident you’re going to love Tundra Tex Mex as much as we loved creating it.