Jul 8, 2008 at 11:46 am #1230061
One of the best-kept secrets in Sarah's Freezerbagcooking book is her statement that ramen can be hydrated in cold water. I just tried it. It worked! It saves on fuel, if that's important, although it will require using filtered water, since it won't get boiled.
Break up the noodles before putting them into the freezerbag to avoid puncturing the bag and causing little leaks. Don't ask how I know that.
I pinched the noodles occasionally to make sure they were all getting soft, then I drained them and tossed in the sauce packet (not the yucky seasoning packet that comes with the ramen) and 1/2 C of boiling water. I might try hydrating the sauce and then adding the noodles to it next time.Jul 8, 2008 at 1:02 pm #1442015
It's been done for years if not decades by hikers, college students, etc.Jul 8, 2008 at 1:26 pm #1442022
I'm not surprised that I'm one of the last to find this out!Jul 8, 2008 at 1:43 pm #1442025
I have Sarah's FBC book and was somewhat intrigued by the many uses for ramen. Since I'm 20 years out of college I think I can stomach it again.
I'm planning for 7 nights of food in a 630 cubic inch Garcia Backpacker's Cache bear can. Dense foods are required; I presumed that ramen blocks would take up too much space. Does the volume go down much when you break it up?
Thanks.Jul 8, 2008 at 1:50 pm #1442027
.Jul 8, 2008 at 3:28 pm #1442047
Yup. Angel hair pasta is very dense. It does require cooking though- Water boils at 192F at 10,000 feet. I don't think it would work freezer bag style at that altitude. I'll give it a shot tonight with some 190F water. Good news is that the pot cleans up pretty well as long as you don't add sauce to the pot.
Otherwise my dinner carbs will come from bulgur wheat, instant polenta, and couscous. All pack great into the bear can and don't require boiling. I need to mail my resupply in two weeks so I better get crackin'.Jul 8, 2008 at 3:32 pm #1442050Jul 9, 2008 at 6:31 pm #1442252
@dsmontgomeryLocale: one snowball away from big trouble
You just made my mouth water, Sarah. You should write a book on backpacking gourmet or something… :)Jul 10, 2008 at 9:06 pm #1442437
@beemancronLocale: Southwest US
Use a coffee grinder or food processor to break up the ramen into small pieces. You will be surprised how much more volume dense dehydrated food can become. eg. dehydrated fish, chicken, zucchini etc.Jul 11, 2008 at 5:41 am #1442465
@tippymcstaggerLocale: North Texas
In college I discovered ramen doesn't even need to be hydrated. (May even taste better.) It crunches more like breakfast cereal than like dry pasta. Just watch the crumbs.Jul 11, 2008 at 6:56 am #1442470
I met a man on the PCT last summer who all he ate for dinner nightly was ramen, dry and crunched up. It did it for him. Not that I could do it ;-)
Actually though…dry ramen with seasoning is the ultimate white trash snack instead of crackers.Jul 11, 2008 at 9:51 am #1442496
@ltleelimLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
I've never tried dry ramen, but my parents used to own a Chinese take-out restaurant and one day I discovered, much to my surprise, that my coworkers used to snack on something similar.
The cooks used to make pan-fried noodle squares, which were later used for chow mein. Cooked noodles were placed in a even layer on the griddle and browned a little. Then it was cut into squares, flipped over, and browned on the other side. The result sort of looked like ramen blocks, but the pan-fried noodles weren't dehydrated.
Anyway, one of my coworkers said they were hungry one afternoon. My dad sliced up some BBQ pork and put it between two pan-fried noodle squares to make little sandwiches. I had never even heard of anyone eating the noodle squares this way before. It was actually pretty good, although it was very crunchy.
I guess you could do something similar with ramen, but most ramen blocks are probably too thick for making a sandwich. Besides, I don't know where you'd get fresh BBQ pork on the trail. :)
By the way, Italians (and other noodle lovers) think that breaking long pasta is a sin. I was shocked when a friend broke up my ramen over a pot of boiling water on a backpacking trip last year. Oh the horror!Jul 12, 2008 at 8:23 pm #1442686
I had never thought to crush the ramen…….awesome volume reduction…….reduces it in it's pack by 50%, and it doesn't slop stock all over you when you eat it from the floppy noodles either.Jul 13, 2008 at 8:42 am #1442719
@back2basicsLocale: Southeast USA
"I have Sarah's FBC book and was somewhat intrigued by the many uses for ramen. Since I'm 20 years out of college I think I can stomach it again."
Ha! It only took me 16 years to get past that obstacle. I've found that ramen is a great base to add some creativity for meals that need to be quick and/or low volume.
The addition of olive oil and parmesan (also gleaned from Sarah) has been great for a quick boost of energy for an afternoon hike uphill.Jul 13, 2008 at 9:01 am #1442721
It took me years to eat it again after college. ;-) Did we all overdose on it?
I think what helped me like it again was having imported versions and realizing I could use it as a base – not just as a soup.Jul 16, 2008 at 3:53 pm #1443225
Where I live in Portland, there are some great Asian grocery stores and I've found that I can put together my own ramen dinners with much better quality pastas and soup bases than the pre-packaged ones, albeit not as cheap. Plus, they have a great selection of dried mushrooms and onions that go well in the soup. If you've ever had Vietamese Pho', you can even get that type of dried soup base which is actually pretty good and much better than the base that comes with ramen packs. I also throw in some dehyrated veggies of my own. The pasta selection at the Asian grocers are quite impressive and include rice pastas.Jul 18, 2008 at 4:32 pm #1443496
I just ate a bunch on my last trip. Not too long ago I discovered that Nissin's "Oriental" flavor is vegan.
I dehydrate some of the following on my own and add it in:
shitake mushroom chunks
shredded spinach and a strip of nori (seaweed).
Breaking it up? Blasphemy! Eating any noodle in tiny pieces is just wrong, even if it is just 20 cent ramen.
By the way, having your own dehydrator is great…I've just gotten into it and have found so many things to do-hummus, refried beans…whether supplementing existing foods (like ramen) or creating entire dishes from scratch, it's good stuff. SO MUCH better than the store bought junk if you have the time.Jul 18, 2008 at 5:16 pm #1443500
@cuzzettjLocale: NorCal - South Bay
I found the Fungus Among Us gormet mushroom maker. They have the following soups that you can use small amounts with your ramen or other noodles and the flavor is to die for!!! I love it. I usually cut one pack down into about 8 meals worth of ramen. This stuff is strong and Vegan.
Here are the flavors:
Spicy Shiitake & Vegetable Organic Dried Soup Mix
Moroccan Porcini & Green Lentil Organic Dried Soup Mix
Smoked Oyster Mushroom Chowder Organic Dried Soup Mix
They are $15 for a three pack on line. I have paid more in the health food stores. Again, I absolutely love them. The cook time is a little long if you make the whole 4 serving pack. But I found it great even with a shorter cook time, or rehydrating them for a few hours in cold water to soften them up. I have used a wide mouth bottle for this operation before cooking.Jul 18, 2008 at 5:21 pm #1443501
@cuzzettjLocale: NorCal - South Bay
Sarah – From what I have seen you could write a book with all of your ideas. The pictures help too. Maybe BPL should hire you for a column or we should have a recipe page with a rating system just like with equipment!!! I like that idea. Then we could have light weight food recipes for the backcountry and a rating system. Too cool!!!
Thank you!Jul 18, 2008 at 7:40 pm #1443515
Alright, people. As original poster of this thread I hearby request a ban on all future discussion of mushrooms. Bleah. Besides, I broke my arm 3 weeks ago so I should qualify for indulgence based on pitifulness alone! But, all seriousness aside, it's been interesting to learn others' ideas on such a simple ingredient.
Jason – did you know Sarah has written a book and is writing another? You can rate the recipes all as "good" (except for the ones with fungus in them, of course), or if your personal preferences are different, just tweak the recipes with different amounts or different ingredients until you like them. The beauty of her book and recipes on her website is they are great launching points for your own personal touch.Jul 19, 2008 at 9:07 pm #1443607
I met Sarah today at the Trailsfest and finally was able to give her the long-promised quart jug of dehydrated mushrooms that came with my harmonyhousefoods veggies. They've gone to a good home.Jul 19, 2008 at 10:15 pm #1443615
Lol…and did they ever go to a good home ;-) One jug to me, one jug to Ldyblade. She says thank you!
Kathleen, it was good to meet you finally!
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