By Di Westaway | Chief Adventure Chick and Founder of Coastrek
There's a few things you need to take with you when you're training for Coastrek (or hiking in general!). Shoes, definitely. A backpack, most likely. Water, probably a good idea. But this is something unexpected that you might not think to pack, but we'll guarantee you'll be glad you did.
Whether you’re strolling along the beautiful beaches or feeling frazzled as you realise you’ve overshot the trail by five kilometers, there’s nothing quite as revitalising as a crunchy, chocolatey, melt-in-your-mouth handfull of scroggin.
For the uninitiated, scroggin is an ancient bushwalking treat designed to delight and nourish you while you’re out hiking. It contains that delicious combination of sugar, salt, fat, crunch and melt-in-your-mouth-magic that tastes so damn good. It nourishes, fulfils, sustains, energises and might even save you when disaster strikes.
Traditional scroggin stands for Sultanas, Currants, Raisins, and Other Good Goodies including Nuts! Its also known as GORP (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts) or trail mix, which is now a commercially produced packet of dried fruit and (usually) unroasted nuts. But it doesn't have to follow these rules. You can skip the raisins, currents and sultanas. You can include chocolate (we do!) or yoghurt bites. You can make it nut heavy, or fruit heavy, or chocolate heavy. And if you’re making Scroggin for kids, don’t forget the jelly snakes.
Whatever you choose to include in your mix, the secret is in selecting the freshest nuts and dried fruits and roasting your nuts to perfection.
Simply select your favourite nuts, dried fruits and chocolate treats and get to work with about 40% nuts, 30% fruit and 30% chocolate.
Nutty: Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, almonds, cashews, shaved coconut.
Fruity: Medjool dates, caramelised ginger, dried peaches, dried apricots, dried nectarines, cranberries, sultanas, raisins, freeze-dried strawberries, dried mango, dried cherries and dried plums.
Choccie: Chocolate-coated coffee beans, chocolate ginger, chocolate roast macadamias and chocolate coated strawberries are winners. Or you can just include broken up bits of dark chocolate.
Nut Roasting tips: Place nuts on separate trays into a moderate (180 – 220 degrees C) oven and turn every 5 minutes until they’re golden brown. If you’re not sure they’re ready, pop a nut in the freezer for one minute and taste! It should be super crunchy. Most nuts take 10 – 20 minutes, depending on fat content and size. Brazil nuts take longer than macadamias and almonds.
Dried Fruit selection tips: The best dried fruits come from the bulk natural food stores because they’re usually fresher and less packaged than the supermarket packet ones.
Chocolate Selection Tips: If you’re hiking in the heat, choose sugar coated chocolate, like Smarties, Jaffas or M&Ms otherwise it will melt. For winter hiking, you can go wild with chocolate.
Remember, quality beats quantity so aim for 100g per person for Coastrek Event Day or a full-day hike.