Rehydrate meals in your pot
Nov 14, 2023 at 7:05 pm #3793110dirtbagBPL Member
Freezer bag cooking is all I have ever done. Though I am always intrigued and envious of those who eat from their pot.. I am not envious of the cleaning chores after. How do you rehydrate freeze dried meals or any meals in the pot? What size pot do you use? Wondering if a Evernew 600ml UL pot would work for average meals from usual companies or even home made meals. Not looking to actually cook a meal, just rehydrate em. I’m assuming a pot cozie is mandatory here? Is cleaning the dang pot a legit chore? What if water is scarce? What if you made mac n cheese in there?? Honestly? How annoying can this be? I so want to eat my beef stroganoff from my pot and not from a plastic bag but I have concerns and questions.Nov 14, 2023 at 8:19 pm #3793112Roger CaffinBPL Member
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Well, we have never done any freezer bag cooking, so I know little about it. I always cook the whole meal in the pot. But I avoid cooking any oily or greasy meals (or frying), so washing up is dead simple and fast.
CheersNov 14, 2023 at 8:52 pm #3793115MJ HBPL Member
I think 600ml is too small for most packaged meals, but I’ve never tried. I only eat my morning oatmeal from the pot (Toaks 750 ml) and that never gives me any trouble cleaning. I kind of scrub the pot with the spoon, rinse it, and then make instant coffee in the same pot right after. I made a cozie using the (reflective bubble-wrap) bags that we used to get frozen food in when we used grocery delivery. I don’t think it’s mandatory except in the cold.Nov 14, 2023 at 9:26 pm #3793117
Personally I find it easier to neither cook nor cold soak but I realize I’m in the minority.
I like Skurka’s rationale for his cooking techniques for in the pot cooking: thinner/soupier meals are much easier to clean up after. You get most of it with your spoon and a water rinse. You can use some sand to scrub the pot.
I have used a polyethylene(?) jar to rehydrate using boiling water in the past. That solved the problem of dinner-flavored coffee the next morning and allowed one pot to boil water for a couple people. I liked that technique.
When I have cooked I used a 550ml pot and I don’t think that would be large enough unless you were planning on eating relatively small/compact meals. I’ve had good results making couscous/veggies/olive oil but that is such a space-efficient and easy to cook meal and I eat light on trail. I would think that the Evernew 900 would be a better choice for most people.Nov 14, 2023 at 9:48 pm #3793118Monte MastersonBPL Member
@septimiusLocale: Southern Indiana
I pack a .8 oz plastic bowl and cut as many 10″ X 10″ pieces of aluminum foil that I’ll need for each meal. I simply push the foil down into bowl lining it beforehand. Instant potatoes, stuffing, oatmeal or anything that doesn’t require substantial boiling time works well. Clean up is non existent because I just remove the foil and crush it as small as possible to pack out. I also bring a DIY Reflectix cover that goes around the bowl to keep contents from cooling too fast and to allow heat reaction to adequately take place. You’re not eating out of the pot but the bowl is worth the weight penalty in order to keep from having to do dreadful cleaning.
Making brown rice or anything that requires an 10 minute simmer time is of course a different story.Nov 14, 2023 at 10:34 pm #3793123Jon Fong / Flat Cat GearBPL Member
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
I cook meal in my pot, never just rehydrate. For a solo person, I recommend the MSR Titan as it is short and squatty, easy to get my big paws in there to clean it out. Titanium because you can do major cleaning with sand and grit first then a quick rinse. My 2 cents.Nov 15, 2023 at 7:41 am #3793130DAN-Y/FANCEE FEESTBPL Member
@zelph2Nov 15, 2023 at 9:33 am #3793131Terran TerranBPL Member
Sand.Nov 15, 2023 at 10:40 am #3793146Glen LBPL Member
@wyatt-carsonLocale: Southern Arizona
Whatever size mug that one usually has will work fine. The individual must decide that. 600 ml is about the size of a normal bowl or larger mug. I’m using the Toaks 650. Love the Titan kettle too for the next step up to 850 ml but any size pot that fits your fancy and people needs. You don’t have to pour the whole freeze dried food packet contents, just what you want. Fill with the needed amount of water and bring to a boil. Add freeze dried food, stir and cover mug with cozy to save on fuel. After eating add more water and make tea which cleans the mug. Wipe any excess with paper towel and star gaze. Done this for decades.Nov 15, 2023 at 12:35 pm #3793194
I did it for a while but didn’t like the hassle of dealing with the after smells that attract bears and mini bears. IME, sand/leaves and a water rinse or even a second boil doesn’t get sesame oil smells (or Indian spices or…) completely out of a pot. Soap was needed. I think you’re on the east coast with black bears and plenty of rodents? That’s an important consideration.
The other option is storing the pot in the Opsak/Ursack but I often don’t have room. I also found it a bit of a hassle having to carry an extra cup for tea because my food is soaking in a pot.
I went the other direction, from a pot/cup to hot soaking in a Wallaby that stores in the Opsack/Ursack. One boil for food+tea, and just throw a tea bag in the pot after pouring water into the Wallaby. Rinse pot with a bit of water, no oily or spicy residues to clean. So much easier.
Drawback of course is that the Wallaby can hold smell. I time my really smelly meals to later in the trip and often bring 2 or 3 bags (only 20g/ea). I eat a cold breakfast right out of a mid freezer bag so no yesterday’s smell issues there.
FWIW I found 800mL about perfect when I was using the pot to hot soakNov 15, 2023 at 1:53 pm #3793196Terran TerranBPL Member
I don’t think sans is necessarily considered environmental friendly anymore. It’s maybe best to keep it in the bag and pack it out.Nov 15, 2023 at 4:25 pm #3793205
Monte the foil is genius thank you.Nov 20, 2023 at 9:40 am #3793525
I just use my Windburner pot to either cook or rehydrate anything. I think it’s a 1 liter? I have used other pots in the past in the same way. Cleaning is a quick wipe out with a bit of paper towel, if needed, and then a swish with water. Since I’m only cooking and eating from it for myself, I don’t worry much about making it spic and span. The next meal or tea/coffee gets boiled anyway. Never gotten sick from it.
For rehydrating, I just measure the amount of water needed and add a cup for tea or soup, which goes in my bowl for drinking while the meal rehydrates; the meal just goes into the boiled water. That pot comes with a cozy and it’s sufficient. I have a homemade reflectix cozy for my other pot. Yes, if you rehydrate in the pot you need to keep it warm somehow. A fleece jacket tossed over works well, if you don’t mind the smell. The reflectix one is super easy to make.
For cooking I don’t do that much – soups mostly, or stews. Tends to be very liquid because the stoves I have do better at boiling or simmering than other types of cooking. I have a small fry pan and cannot remember the last time it went anywhere with me. I do always have a bit of foil, usually at the bottom of my bear canister. I can use that for heating bread or tortilla on a fire if the occasion arises.Nov 20, 2023 at 5:35 pm #3793576Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I never put hot water in plastic. It releases unhealthful chemicals.
900 ml evernew, thin soupy stuff. Just rinse out.
A long time ago I ate a mountain house cheesy meal, lasagna maybe. I had trouble getting it off the spoon it was so sticky. I lost interest in mountain house after thatNov 20, 2023 at 5:49 pm #3793578
If you’d all ask me….I’d be happy to give you ideas and methods. If you are “cooking” meals that just need boiling water (ie…they can be FBC or One Pot), cleanup is not hard. Bring paper towels, and wipe your pot immediately after eating. It’s that simple to remove sauces and oils.
This is why on my recipes on TrailCooking I nearly always write up both methods on how to “cook”. Don’t overthink it.
Making meals where you saute, then build in ingredients, yes, cleanup is far harder.
The other is using appropriate cookware. Don’t use Titanium pots. They are hard to clean. Use HAA or HAA non-stick. I don’t own any non-stick at home, but trail use it is appropriate.
As for freezer bags, they are polyethylene. That is food grade plastic. It is the same plastic used in Sous Vide bags and Food Vac bags. If you buy a latte to go, nearly always the cup has an inner liner of this. In fact, if you eat out at many fast casual places, the soups and pasta dishes come in these bags and are heated up in them. Polyethlene has no hardeners added.
If you consume commercial meals, most of the mylar bags are multi layer as well.
But also, plan your meals for the area you are visiting. If you are in Grizzly territory, then consider that bags ARE better there. Look it’s no different than new moms screeching over cloth and disposable diapers. Each one has a place and a time.Nov 20, 2023 at 6:08 pm #3793580
I don’t see how retaining gooey plastic bags full of cheese or whatever is better in grizzly country than a cleaned out pot. Store away from your camping area, done. I have used pots for cooking my meals for 30+ years in Alaska.Nov 20, 2023 at 6:46 pm #3793583
AK: I use a Wallaby bag which is aluminum lined to block air ingress or egress (they’re meant for storing food for years) and seals so its much better for scent management than an open pot. I wash it well away from camp and store it in the OPSak for double protection, it takes no room unlike a pot that rarely fits in the Ursack unless just out for a couple days.
YMMV, but IME it takes a lot of soap and water to get the strong smells of sesame oil completely out of a pot. Oil needs soap to cut it. I couldn’t imagine a trip without sesame noodles
I used to open air store my pot and had something big tear my camp up one night by the pot so was done with that. I guess storing well away from camp in the open is an option but I don’t want some brute wrecking my pot.
I get this is being anal, but the Wallaby is so easyNov 20, 2023 at 6:54 pm #3793584
I guess I figure bears can smell us when we’re cooking and eating just as well as they can smell the empty pot later on. They either mess with you or they don’t. Most of the time they don’t, esp if you don’t store smelly things in your tent. Thank goodness.Nov 20, 2023 at 7:36 pm #3793586dirtbagBPL Member
So I posted this pic in other thread about Bush Buddy Mini.. Here is the cozie I whipped up for the MSR Titan Kettle .85L . It works well for my meals and cleans easily. I will also make a cozie for the Evernew 900 pot.. And then pick my poison which one I will end up using.Nov 21, 2023 at 4:09 am #3793597
I couldn’t imagine a trip without sesame noodles
What’s your backcountry sesame noodle recipe? Ramen block plus peanut butter + sesame oil + soy sauce + sriracha?Nov 21, 2023 at 11:28 am #3793629
> What’s your backcountry sesame noodle recipe?
Hopefully this comes through OK. Dehydrated green pea flakes subbed for the mixed veg is nice too.
I use the ramen packets & spices listed. Korean red chili powder because I have it.
I premix 3:1 crunchy peanut butter and honey in a rubbermade take a long and throw it in after the hot soak so that it cooks faster.
The Nissin Kimchi ramen is also pretty interesting for other recipes. I like that brand, some reasonably authentic flavours, nothing like “Mr. Noodles”!Nov 21, 2023 at 12:39 pm #3793633
You can shove the used bags into your garbage, into your bear canister. That simple. Washing dishes does carry a risk – of leaving food behind for animals to smell and find.
YMMV of course.Nov 21, 2023 at 12:48 pm #3793634
I haven’t had peanut butter in 10 years on trips due to my youngest going anaphylactic on his first encounter with it. Good times I can tell you. He can’t eat any tree nut either.
I make a sesame noodle pot that is brothy. He can eat sesame and he can eat shrimp by the bucket. (Both being major allergens so we got fortunate)
That has 3 versions on the page, using freeze-dried in one and canned in the others.
But I agree that sesame oil has a very strong smell – and it loves plastic to sit on (so if you eat with a spork it is going to reek till you get like Dawn on it later). Sesame oil is something I love, but I have reigned it in when outdoor cooking. Unless it’s Pinoy Spam Fried Rice, then it comes out. But we save that for the RV trips where I can really clean after.Nov 22, 2023 at 6:38 pm #3793731Steve F.BPL Member
I frequently rehydrate in a 600 mL Evernew titanium pot. (It is slightly small; I may buy a 900 mL something or other eventually.) Plenty of good feedback above, but here are some things others maybe haven’t covered:
- Yes the cozy is mandatory if you are aiming for non-crunchy meals. Make one out of Reflectix and foil tape as others have mentioned. Mine is made with a base and a “lid”, so it doubles as a pot “stuff sack.” Total weight of mine is ~1.6 oz.
- Weight: foil pack pouches are rather heavy. If I count the weight of the pot cozy and a spatula (see below), I might not come out ahead compared to the weight of carrying the original foil pouches but on a longer trip I think I come close to breaking even. (I always bring a separate mug for hot drinks anyway because it makes me happy, so I don’t count that weight toward this calculation.)
- For cleanup, I always bring a miniature wood-handled silicone spatula. These are super cheap (mine was a Halloween clearance item), weigh less than 1 oz., and make cleanup even easier than using paper towels (IMO). Plus you get to lick more of your meal off the spatula. The spatula is also a good solution for dealing with oily food, as scraping up the oil with a spatula is much more effective than using a paper towel (again IMO).
- After scraping with the spatula, I’ll often warm up a tiny amount of water for rinsing. When just rehydrating, I never find that I need to scrub. (Cooking is a different matter; it is easy to burn food onto titanium when applying heat to more than just water…)
- If you do have something very oily and the spatula isn’t cutting it, Coleman sells dry sheets of camp soap that are cheap, have negligible weight, and are effective at removing oil residue.
- My experience with non-stick is that it seems to retain odor more than titanium. YMMV. With the techniques above, when just rehydrating I’ve never had a problem with odors on my pot. I figure everything smells somewhat like food anyway. I put the pot in my Ursack, but if there is no room, the pot just hangs from or sits underneath whatever tree my Ursack is tied to.*
- Finally, a tip for pasta: bring water to a boil, add your pasta, soak in the pot in the cozy for 8-12 minutes until mostly soft, then bring back to a boil for 30-60 seconds to finish. This saves a lot of fuel.
*While I suppose it is possible a bear could go after the pot and destroy it or move it far from camp, I think it is more likely the bear will go after the Ursack that the food smells are predominately coming from? (On the other hand, soft stuff like the spatula absolutely needs to go in the Ursack, or it will get chewed by small critters. Preferably also inside an odor-proof liner bag. This is the voice of experience speaking.)
I’ve attached a few pictures of my setup for reference.Nov 22, 2023 at 7:31 pm #3793733
Hi Steve, the Wallaby’s are 20g, not too bad but need a cozy too, +24g. In place of a spatula I used to use a 7g pot scraper to get up the oily stuff out of a pot, it doesn’t hold smells like silicone and saves a bit of weight. For pasta, I moved to Capellini, no need for a second boil but doesn’t give that big noodle comfort.
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