Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hamster Tested, Mommy Approved

We're always on the lookout for new, lightweight trail snacks. Dry granola bars get old after a while, and our taste buds love to try new things. So, while out picking up some emergency cat-bomb-box-grit, we spotted individual sized bags of Brothers-All-Natural Crisps.

These real fruit, freeze-dried snacks contain no additives or preservatives, are 100% all natural fruit, and are offered in a 1/2 cup serving bag. We picked up Pineapple (weighing in at .53 oz) and Apple Cinnamon (.35 oz) for 78 cents per package. The package itself is a little large for the product, in my opinion. It's about the size of my hand, which also happens to be about the space available in my day pack. I was able to fold them down to about half the size, but I'm afraid the brittleness of the fruit crisps may not hold up to actual packing the product in the wilderness. I can imagine opening it up to find only fruit dust.

To really test them though, we enlisted the help of a specialist of sorts. If there's one little creature that knows no dried fruit boundaries, it's Ms. Coo. She really is a picky little hamster though, and if she doesn't eat it, stuff it, or beg for more, then it's not worthy of being eaten by humans.

When we first woke her up, she was a little surprised by the fancy little packages. It was obvious, even with her sense of smell, that no aroma was seeping from the contents. She ignored them initially. I like this. Means the bears (ahhhh!) can't smell my pineapples a mile away.

Once opened though she gave us that glorious hamster glare - the one where she says, "For me?! Really?!"

Tim pulled a pineapple piece out and we didn't even have to wait for her response. She immediately began chowing down. After a few bites, she stuffed the whole thing in her cheek for later.

Tim and I taste tested one, and loved them! The texture and flavor of the pineapple is amazingly... well, like pineapple. It's not chewy, sticky, or gummy. It's dry, but moistens up when it hits your tongue. Like M&M's, it melts in your mouth!

So the pineapple passed the Q test. Now it was time to try out the apple.

Apple happens to be one of Q's favorite fruits. When we opened the bag of apple and tossed it down for her, she immediately went nuts trying to get in the bag!

She pulled out a few pieces, stuffed a couple immediately, then nibbled on a third. This was a definite pass. In our opinion, the flavor was just as good as the pineapple, but the texture was a little lacking. It was kind of like chewing on air. I think I could handle this though, as the flavor definitely outweighs any light-as-air texture problem.

The bags are not resealable, and leaving the remainder in the open air left them a little chewy after about an hour. Plus, as with most freeze-dried products, once you get to the bottom, it's nothing but tiny crumbs.

But for as cheap as they are, as tasty, and as lightweight, I think we might have to give these little guys a go on the trail. We'll let you know how it goes. So far though, Ms. Coo has definitely given them her seal of approval!

"Give me more you silly bag!" ~Q

Disclaimer: Robin and Tim bought "Brother's All Natural Crisps" to test and review here on Appalachia & Beyond. The opinions expressed above are their independent thoughts and experiences.