Jul 23, 2009 at 1:39 pm #1238000
Do you simmer/cook or just freezer bag-it? Is the trend going towards freezer bag cooking?
If you simmmer/cook, what stove do you use? If you had an alcohol stove that simmered well and functioned well in cold weather would you simmer/cook meals rather than freezer bag-it.
Or maybe you choose to do both?
Those of you that simmer/cook, what length of time do you normally simmer (maximum)Jul 23, 2009 at 3:37 pm #1516016
If one chooses to 'one pot' a meal (and not do it in bags) one doesn't have to simmer :-) You can just bring your water to a boil, add in dry items and cover tightly off the stove for 10 to 15 minutes. In cold weather a pot cozy is a good thing for retaining heat.
Even things like Lipton/Knorr or mac and cheese only need to brought to a boil, then cozied in a pot to finish "cooking" :-)Jul 23, 2009 at 3:54 pm #1516022
What Sarah said.
I bring my water to a boil, stir in Lipton/Knorr, get water back to a boil, turn off stove, apply lid, and leave sit on stove inside windscreen. 10 or 15 minutes later it's ready to eat; I pull the lid off and let it sit a while to cool.
The only thing I simmer is my oatmeal in the morning. I can't stand instant oatmeal and instead cook regular rolled oats. Maybe 5 minutes of actual cooking before cozy?Jul 23, 2009 at 4:12 pm #1516026
Neither… I Nalgene it. I got sick and tired of leaking freezer bags. Same principle but not as light. Then again there are 3 of us so using a wide-mouth Nalgene (non-BPA sort) for rehydrating works wonderfully.Jul 23, 2009 at 4:34 pm #1516035
Tad EnglundBPL Member
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
>The only thing I simmer is my oatmeal in the morning. I can't stand instant oatmeal and instead cook regular rolled oats. Maybe 5 minutes of actual cooking before cozy?<
Brad, I hate instant oatmeal also- I think I got this idea from Sarah's book- use regular oats but run the dry oats through the food processor a few zaps to make them the consistency of instant. You can just add boiled water to the freezer bag and I let in sit for about 10 minutes (same time as your method), I knead (stir) the mixture to get a good mix then just let it sit- no washing the pot!
I hate washing pots while hiking so I now only do freezer bag stuff.Jul 23, 2009 at 4:40 pm #1516036
Got one of those ziploc containers with a screw on lid and taped reflectix on the lid, sides and bottom. Kept two cups of water warm all night (forgot to go back in 20 mins and check it :) ) so I'm optimistic it will make a good rehydrating and eating container. For packing, I'm going to use it for any squishables, like a couple of eggs (whole) or little bottles of things I don't want smashed, or just pack a couple of meals in it. I may add some of that teflon/plumbers tape on the threads so it doesn't leak if I need to shake up some protein powder or something. It's lighter than my 32 oz Nalgene, and shorter.Jul 23, 2009 at 6:14 pm #1516055
Sarah & Brad, can you cook regular "box" mac & cheese this way, or do you have to dehydrate the pasta first? I don't have a dehydrator… Also, is a freezer bag in a cozy just as effective as a pot in a cozy, when cooking mac/cheese and liption/knorr type dinners? I'm guessing you may loose too much heat when transfering from the hot cooking pot to the bag?Jul 23, 2009 at 7:24 pm #1516073
I have a couple friends who do Lipton/Knorr rice ones in the bag with no issue.
On the mac and cheese…yeah, precooking is a better idea. But! You don't need a dehydrator, you can use your oven to dry the pasta :-) Just under cook the pasta by 2-3 minutes – it will finish cooking in the cozy.
On the heat issue, for a great review see here (by one of our members here as well!)
Overall I don't notice much a difference between an insulated pot and the cozy – it just depends on what one likes to use. I use my cozies even for commercial items (like Backpackers Pantry and Packit Gourmet, as they really need the extra insulation in cold temps.)Jul 23, 2009 at 7:26 pm #1516075
Lori, Those bowls work well. If it leaks on the lid threads you can always add teflon "plumbers" tape (what you use on faucets), it will stop leaks.Jul 23, 2009 at 8:22 pm #1516089
I use a freezer bag to cook 99.9% of all my meals that require "cooking" in the backcountry. I cook knorr rice meals all the time. That's what you call backpacking on the cheap, which is just my style sometimes. A note for the rice meals: have a good cozy, and make sure you add enough water. In general I add a 1/2cup of dehydrated turkey to the rice meal and add 2 cups of water and let it sit for 15 minutes and in a good cozy it will rehydrate very well.Jul 24, 2009 at 7:02 am #1516146
I hear talk all the time about stoves having to simmer to be a good stove. (I'm a stovie and a freezerbagger)
Just the other day I put on a pot of regular rice in my kitchen just to see how rice cooks. I used 1 cup rice and 2 cups water in a pot brought to a boilstirred twice around, shut the heat of, covered, let sit for 30 min covered with hand towel as a cozy, and the rice was fully cooked.
Is it maccaroni, spaghetti of the regular type that needs simmering? The cooking of fish, those of you that cook fish, how and what is used?
The only difference in regular oatmeal and quick oats is the size of the oat. Instant oatmeal is an oat flake that has been cut into small pieces to aide in water absorbtion. Regular oatmeal does not need to be simmered, just soaked longer in a ziplock/pot.
Canister stove users are the ones I hear talk simmering. Those of you that have alcohol stoves with adjustable flames are the stoves simmering well enough for your needs. Is the need for simmering over rated?Jul 24, 2009 at 7:50 am #1516160
With alcohol stoves it's real easy to carry a simmer stove and a boiling stove.
I have a wick stove that will burn high or low… I've simmered for twenty minutes, long enough to steam bake corn muffins, on less than an ounce of fuel. It's not really important to me to simmer a lot – not many things in my menu that require it.
I cook and dehydrate pasta – you can just add hot water then. Gnocchi requires a couple of minutes boil time and can be done over a hotter flame. For fish I build a small fire and put foil in the coals. I'm thinking of taking a windscreen made of flashing (more sturdy than foil) and some small rods to make a stove based cooker for high altitude regions where you can't build a fire to cook fish.Jul 24, 2009 at 8:25 am #1516168
Dan… really the only time you need a stove with a good simmer is if you are baking with a product like the Outback Oven Ultralight. To bake a pizza the stove is on simmer for 10 to 15 minutes depending how thick my crust is.
For the rest of my backcountry meals an alcohol stove would suffice as all I do is boil water (and sometimes cook rice or pasta which I take off the stove and cozy as soon as it reaches a boil).Jul 24, 2009 at 9:23 am #1516189
Tad, thanks for the tip… but since what I hate about instant is the consistency, I'd be right back to what I'm trying to avoid! If I were a patient, plan-ahead kind of guy I guess I could try to let my oats soak a while, maybe leave them in the pot overnight and hope the various rodentia and other critters leave it alone. Or just wait a long time for breakfast… but keeping over heat for a while then letting it sit seems to work for me. I like using a pot because then I don't have a soggy, dirty bag to pack and carry.
I don't think I've ever cooked something like Kraft mac n' cheese in the woods. I guess I could see where an extra minute or two of boiling before cozy-fying could help? Seems like macaroni noodles are a little thicker than the Knorr stuff. Actually, come to think of it, I think I did grab a last-minute mac n'cheese last year… fuzzy recollection. I generally avoid them because I don't want to waste water or fuel to heat water that I'd have to pour off. And runny, thin-sauced mac n' cheese is gross.
Just some more thoughts…Jul 24, 2009 at 9:34 am #1516192
"Seems like macaroni noodles are a little thicker than the Knorr stuff. Actually, come to think of it, I think I did grab a last-minute mac n'cheese last year… fuzzy recollection. I generally avoid them because I don't want to waste water or fuel to heat water that I'd have to pour off. And runny, thin-sauced mac n' cheese is gross."
This is precisely what you avoid by cooking the pasta at home, then dehydrating it. Then it's a "just add water and put in a cozy" meal.Jul 24, 2009 at 9:56 am #1516202
Just watch the cooking time carefully when doing the cook-at-home, dehydrate and rehydrate thing with pasta. It doesn't take much for a beautiful al dente pasta to go over into mush territory when you are rehydrating.Jul 24, 2009 at 6:16 pm #1516331
While I undercook the pasta I precook and dehydrate for trail use, I am first to admit that if it does get mushy I could care less when hungry ;-)Jul 24, 2009 at 7:15 pm #1516343
I feel about pasta similarly to how Brad feels with the oatmeal consistency. It takes close to the same amount of fuel for me to bring the pot to a boil and add the regular pasta and set it in a cozy as it does to rehydrate pasta that I've cooked at home and dried…. and the consistency is much more palatable. There's nothing more unappealing than trying to choke down something that you cannot stand the texture or taste of especially on the trail where you can't just make something else.Jul 24, 2009 at 8:31 pm #1516353
Pasta that is uncooked needs an actual cooking, not just bring to a boil and cozy. Mac and cheese boxes contain partially precooked pasta (the texture shows it well that it is dehydrated), which does leave the mac doable by the boil and cozy method.
Then again, when one has done the miles and the elevation, being picky isn't often at the highest level. If it tastes good, texture can be overlooked.Jul 27, 2009 at 10:02 am #1516781
And who I'm trying to impress… My Kendall Katwalk Chicken and Dumplings takes simmer time, but is basicly FBC otherwise.
If I'm just going solo? FBC all the way. Boil water and dump. Dinner in 5 minutes!
I've never had freezerbags leak on me… I use new ones for trail meals. And brand name bags.Aug 6, 2009 at 1:55 pm #1519189
Some may find these results interesting.
The end of the testing resulted in 2 cups of large pasta being thouroughly cooked by boiling till the flame went out on the stove. 1 ounce of denatured alcohol was used in a StarLyte stove (available here on BPL) Starting water temp was 70 degrees.
I have intentions of further testing this style of cooking. My initial interests in this thread were in simmering. I have not had the time to do any yet. I just poped in here to let you see what I've done so far. I appreciate everyones input so far and will comment on you input as soon as I slow down. From here down has been copied from my site:
3 cups water, 3 cups rotini pasta and 1 ounce of denatured. I used the StarLyte stove and a windscreen to concentrate the heat. I was able to watch the stove through the holes in the windscreen to know when flame out occured. I started with 70 degree water. The temp in my camper was 68. As soon as the stove went out I opened the pot and checked for complete cooking of the pasta and it was complete. Just the right texture. The pasta is placed in the pot with the cold water and cooked till fuel is expired. I think this experiment turned out very interesting. 3 cups of pasta fully cooked in 3 cups of water with 1 ounce of fuel. I measured the left over water to be at 1 cup. So 3 cups of rotini absorbed 2 cups of water. We wind up with 5 cups of edible mass abd 1 cup of drinkable warm water that has some nutrients in it. The variations are endless on the seasonings and the addition of product to be added to the pasta.
1st test was 2 cups water and 1 cup large pasta
2nd test was 2 cups water and 2 cups large pasta
For more detailed information on what others are saying to the same questions as presented in this thread read here:Aug 6, 2009 at 3:40 pm #1519220
1 cup left over water is about the right amount for a pack of Knorr or similar dry pasta sauces to be added in.
On the water temp when you started – 70*? I am thinking a better test might be water that is 40* or so? (Or whatever is closer to the actual temp of creek water in your area that is!) When I test recipes and stoves here I chill my fuel and water to reflect how cold it gets in the mts :-) That way I don't get any unplanned "surprises" when out and about.Aug 6, 2009 at 6:30 pm #1519247
70 is a starting temp that Sgt Rock rock always used in his testing so I kinda latched onto that number. Chilling the water to 40 is new territory for me but will be on my list of new things to try. When I retrieve water from a cold creek it goes into my 2 litre bladder and warmes up to ambient air within time. Wish it would stay at 40 in these hot days of summer;)Aug 6, 2009 at 9:03 pm #1519265
Heh! Yeah, sadly out here (is that sad? Maybe not!) the water is always chilly it seems. We had our heat wave for the year, going hiking tomorrow – I think the high at 5K is supposed to be 52*. Brrrrr!
But yes, you are right about the water heating up – if you leave it in the warm air :-)Aug 6, 2009 at 9:49 pm #1519278
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
I simmer/cook it. Though my next few trips will be freezer bagged with cold water and long rehydration times.
I'd say that the trend is not leaning towards increased freezer bagging. I say that based on my impression of backpacking internet lala-land as well as seeing other warm blooded backpackers. I think that freezer bag was actually more popular a few years ago when ultralight backpacking was new and trendy.
Nowadays I don't freezer bag it often for many reasons. Paramount among them: to reduce the amount of plastic I leave future generations, to limit my personal exposure to plastics and because I don't find cleaning pots to be a big deal. A notable thing: a while ago someone actually got a comment from the ziplock johnson and johnson company. From the horses mouth came the comment that freezer bags were unhealthy to cook in.
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