- Jan 31, 2020 at 6:23 pm #3629427
A couple of years ago, I got all excited about preparing interesting food for the trail. So I ordered a Harmony House backpacker kit, which was great. I’ve used up most of the veggies, tomato powder, etc. and that has all been wonderful. I didn’t care for a lot of the tvp “meat” except the fake beef. But I still have most of the legumes. I’m leery of trying to cook any on trail, because I don’t want to use up a half canister of gas trying to soften the things up. Do they really cook any more quickly than regular dried beans? What if I used a food processor to pulverize them and use them in soup or as a dip; would that work to rehydrate them better? I’ve used a split pea soup mix from the store, and pulverized black bean mix from the store, and those work really well. Seems like I could do the same with these different beans to make them rehydrate and cook quicker. I’ve got plenty of recipes, just wondering about the quality of these dehydrated ones.
Anyone tried it? Before I go to the effort of making a mess in the kitchen, I thought I’d ask the pros. I’ve got: chickpeas, split peas, navy beans, pinto beans, lentils, kidney beans, northern beans, red beans. I’d especially like to know if you used these at altitude with success.Jan 31, 2020 at 7:41 pm #3629433
to make them rehydrate and cook quicker
There are two limits to the speed of cooking:
* conversion of the original form of material into a digestible form – a process which requires heat and moisture
* diffusion of moisture from outside the outer shell into the interior of the lump
The conversion process takes very little time, but the diffusion process can be extremely slow. Compare the cooking time in a microwave with the cooking time in a conventional oven. With a microwave the energy goes straight into the core of the item, and cooking time depends on the power input from the microwave itself. For a conventional oven cooking speed is limited by the diffusion of heat into the object. Mind you, that is for instance how you get a crust on bread.
An example may help.
In Australia we used to be able (can still?) buy heat-dried chopped vegetables and sometimes dried meat. You might think that because they were chopped up they would cook fast, but they didn’t. Eating them before they were properly rehydrated meant that unrehydrated material got into the lower gut, where it actually fermented. This led to quite recognisable dehi farts. (How else can I put it?)
The reason for this was that even the small chopped bits of vegetables and meat were encased in a thin layer of dried protein which had come out during the drying process from inside the lump. This thin layer resisted the diffusion of moisture. The process could be accelerated with a pressure cooker, but one able to take the required pressure (to get a higher temperature and faster diffucion) was always very heavy.
Beans and lentils are often sold dried, so they have the same problems.
This led to the use of freeze-drying. When something is freeze-dried there is no migration of protein from the interior to the outer surface, so reasonable rehydration happens much faster. But the freeze-dry process has been a lot more complex and needed more complex equipment than just sticking stuff in a hot air drier.
I note that equipment described as ‘domestic freeze-driers’ is now commercially available for only a few K$. I do not know how well this new gear works.
So, to your question about pulverising the beans: you would be reducing the diffusion time very significantly, so the cooking process would be a lot faster. But there are a few downsides to this. Your food would miss out on the chewing, which mixes saliva with the food and starts the digestive process. Also, you would miss out on chewing solids and texture. A thought here is that for a few days of backpacking this would not matter in the slightest: just go for a large hamburger when you get out.
Bottom line: try it and see. And let us know?
CheersJan 31, 2020 at 8:37 pm #3629437
are your harmony house legumes cooked and dried?
I cook pinto beans. Include some spices like oregano and Sriracha. I smash them towards the end to break them up into small bits. Then dry them in the oven at lowest temp (170 F). Stir them occasionally. When they’re mostly dry I use the food processor to powder them. Finish drying. Add some olive oil.
Measure out individual portions of about 1.7 ounces. To each portion add 0.33 ounces each of dried tomato, pepper, and onion. I’ve dried those before but not worth the effort so I just get from packit gourmet.
I could get the dried beans from packit gourmet but I like my combination of spices.
To eat – boil 8 ounces of water. Add the portion of beans/veges. Wait 15 minutes. Eat.
I like all the vegetables for healthiness. Undried vegetables weigh too much to carry backpacking.
You could try anything along that line. It wouldn’t be that messy to pulverize them and then try at home – boil water, add beans, wait 15 minutes.
If your harmony house beans aren’t cooked and dried don’t take them backpacking, way too difficult to cook.Jan 31, 2020 at 9:20 pm #3629440Axel JMember
Cold soak. Add some water in the morning to any dehydrated cooked bean, by dinner time they should be fully rehydrated, just heat and eat, no pulverization needed.Feb 1, 2020 at 12:31 am #3629454David ThomasMember
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
Cold soak before. Heat to a simmer, put in a cozy. Reheat again in 15-20 minutes if needed. Put back in the cozy. Add water as need throughout.
Our go-to is dehydrated beans plus dehydrated diced/chopped tomatoes, onions, peppers, peas, etc plus coconut milk powder and a pinch of curry paste (red or yellow or green). Sprinkle cashews on top just before serving.
Beano pills (or Walmart’s knockoff) can be helpful for odor control in the tent).
You can, at literally the last minute, add Minute Rice for some variety in the grains and a complete protein.Feb 1, 2020 at 6:38 am #3629458Duane HallMember
@pkhLocale: Nova Scotia
I have always found beans and pulses easy to deal with. Cook them at home, dry them, and they will rehydrate very quickly in the field. They are a regular part of my backpacking menu.Feb 1, 2020 at 7:32 am #3629460
that’s a good idea to use cozy. that should keep them warmer so they rehydrate better. after you powder the beans though, they rehydrate pretty good, it’s the dried veges that are sometimes a bit chewy. I just eat it anyway
Once I put the dried food in the water I don’t like to put on backpacking stove, it’ll burn, too difficult to simmer. “your mileage may vary”Feb 1, 2020 at 7:59 am #3629463James MarcoMember
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Beans and rice make a complete protein complex for those that don’t know this. I just take pre-cooked beans (they take a while, about 12 hours of soaking and about 2 hours of cooking for a good baked bean) the spread them on a tray and dry them. In each meal packet (1 person) I take about 2.0oz of rice and about 2.0oz of beans mixed with 1.5oz of various seasonings/vegies (dried onions, dried peppers, dried corn, dried peas, etc-all precooked/dehydrated.) Total is around 6oz. I don’t really check the ingredients that close, but the total is always 6oz.
To rehydrate, I add about 8-16oz of water in my pot(depending on the rice/beans mostly) and boil it, just as it boils I add the packet of food, then I place it under my hat for about 45min. That way it finishes cooking the rice, veggies mostly. And, it has a chance to cool a bit so I can eat it. It makes roughly two bowels or a double serving.
Split pea soup, navy bean soup, chili, etc are my favorites. Each gets about an ounce of various dried meats, fish, chicken, beef, pork, bacon, etc., but this is optional with beans and rice. I also add a half ounce of olive oil or similar, too. Some of the mixes get a half ounce piece of cheese added. Lima beans with a small amount of rice and ghee make a nice meal. All are calorie dense at 130-140C or more per ounce after prep, with high protiens, good vitamin/minerals, and fair to high fats/oils and fat soluble vitamins. Kind-of poor roughage so it doesn’t hurt to grab a handful of dandelions/Queen Anne’s lace(wild carrots,) etc.
Using canned goods (always precooked) or making it from scratch are about the same both in cost and flavor wise. A simple paste can be made by putting the dried beans in a blender on high for a few seconds…mostly to chop up any lumps and skins.Feb 1, 2020 at 11:03 am #3629475
Thanks for all the tips, guys. It’s Saturday and minus 20 F, so I decided to go ahead and make a mess in the kitchen and postpone walking the dogs. I poured out 1 T of each of the 8 types of dehydrated legumes I have, all Harmony House dehy, and poured 4 T boiling water on each. I was not terribly methodical about containers so that could make a difference in reconstitution. But on trail I will use only my pot to prepare food; I’m just not interested in messing around with baggies, and cozies, and this and that. My food and water go in a pot and I cook and eat it. Or I boil water and dump something in and eat it. I also don’t eat out of plastic, because I just don’t like it, and use as little as possible. So this test is really about how I will cook beans in the field.
I left the bean containers soaking on my kitchen counter, which is chilly, sort of approximating a granite rock out there somewhere, where things cool down quickly. In the field I would have them in my pot, and throw my fleece over the top to keep it a little warmer. Checked the beans in 30 minutes after dousing with the boiling water (it was at a full boil when I poured it.) Five of the eight types of legumes were fully soft and edible, if also cold and utterly unappetizing without salt or spices. Thank goodness for salt and spices!
Good to eat were: lentils, pinto beans, red beans, northern beans, and navy beans.
Still too crunchy were: split peas, kidney beans, and chickpeas (garbanzos). I left these to cold soak another half hour, and still disgustingly crunchy. And I hate kidney beans anyway, so why am I even bothering?
I think I will use the edible ones in various soup concoctions this summer, and pulverize the split peas and chickpeas and test them again. The kidney beans are going away. Now I need a strong coffee to get that taste out of my mouth!Feb 1, 2020 at 12:29 pm #3629486Duane HallMember
@pkhLocale: Nova Scotia
Another way to simplify the business of dehydrating/reyhydrating beans is to buy packs of frozen beans of various types. These don’t take long to cook and dry at home, and they are quickly rehydrated.Feb 1, 2020 at 12:52 pm #3629492lisa rMember
My standard backpacking meal is beans and rice – boring but easy. I use Harmony House dehydrated black beans. All they require is to have boiling water dumped over them and then sit for 20 mins. I use the freezer bag method, so dump the hot water into my bag of beans and rice, let sit in a neoprene cozy for 20 mins, and it’s done. They have little to no flavor (or maybe more accurately, they taste a bit like cardboard), but with enough dried cheese and spices, it’s not bad and is a decent source of protein for a veggie meal.Feb 1, 2020 at 2:00 pm #3629503
It makes roughly two bowels or a double serving.
Um …. :)
Lots of good ideas, but trouble is, by the time we have stopped, camped, and I have brought water to the boil, my wife wants to eat NOW. Waiting 20 – 45 minutes would have us in the pitch dark.
CheersFeb 1, 2020 at 2:14 pm #3629505
Follow up test – all three legumes that didn’t hydrate well when whole, also didn’t hydrate when I had ground them up. Actually only two, I tossed the kidney beans. So the split peas and chickpeas. I didn’t make them into powder, just into smaller pieces. I then put boiling water over and an hour later, they’re all still hard, solid little pebbles. I’m not sure if those particular types just need a crap ton of cooking, or if mine were just too old. They were in sealed, never opened packages, but maybe still just too old.Feb 1, 2020 at 4:35 pm #3629520obx hikerMember
@obxcolaLocale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Anyone ever dry or freeze dry sofrito? Seems like that or some variation thereof might be a good veggie + seasoning base for beans and rice.Feb 3, 2020 at 11:58 am #3629708Sarah KirkconnellMember
@sarbarLocale: Homesteading On An Island In The PNW
I find the beans rehydrate quickly – no longer than the vegetables, as they are precooked and dried. Yes, you can crumble them up in a blender and make bean dips quickly!Feb 3, 2020 at 1:52 pm #3629723James MarcoMember
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Thanks, Sarah. I was going to suggest making sure they were fully cooked before dehydrating. I have never had a problem with any type of beans, ‘cept red lentils. They rehydrated into a paste. Simply boiling the water, then dumping in the ingredients (whatever beans, rice, barley, etc) and cozying them works fine. 4-5gm fuel per supper.Feb 3, 2020 at 2:21 pm #3629730
Can I suggest some alternatives?
Noodles, dried peas, Jahlsberg cheese (NOT processed stuff) and chopped MUSHROOMS! (plus some ‘instant’ mushroom soup)
You can get dried mushrooms, but lots of them come from China and Sue has her doubts. Instead we carry fresh mushrooms in a paper bag: they last for quite a few days and don’t weigh much more at all. They MUST be kept in a paper bag, NOT in a sealed container.
CheersFeb 3, 2020 at 3:19 pm #3629738
“Simply boiling the water, then dumping in the ingredients (whatever beans, rice, barley, etc) and cozying them works fine.”
great minds think alike : )
If you dump boiling water into a container, some of the heat goes to cooling down the container. You could even leave the stove on low for a few seconds while you’re dumping in the ingredients and stirring.
Sometimes I’ll put my sun hat over the pot to act as a cozy
I hate putting boiling water into a plastic container or bag. Even if they replaced the BPA with some other chemical, maybe we just don’t know the effect of that new chemical yet. Better to just leave boiling water in a metal pot.Feb 3, 2020 at 8:51 pm #3629762PedestrianMember
Getting back to the OP’s original question and ignoring all the hot air posts from the usual suspects…..
I’ll confirm what @sarbar posted above. I’ve tried several of the Harmony House dehydrated beans and they soften up pretty well given time and hot water to rehydrate. I haven’t ever tried cold soaking them so I don’t know if that works. I usually cook with untreated water from creeks or lakes so I always bring the water to a boil and then dump all the dehydrated vegetables, seasonings and beans and let it all “cook” for a few minutes. Then I get the pot off the stove and put in a cozy and let it sit for a good twenty minutes or more while I go pitch my shelter and get my sleep system ready.
The Harmony House beans and veggies are excellent as long as you know how to use them.Feb 3, 2020 at 9:31 pm #3629767
let it sit for a good twenty minutes or more while I go pitch my shelter
Works very well in a storm.
Here in Sydney, Oz, while we have had raging bushfires all around us, we have had >4″ rain in the last few weeks. Stuff happens.
CheersFeb 4, 2020 at 12:24 pm #3629827Sarah KirkconnellMember
@sarbarLocale: Homesteading On An Island In The PNW
On the mushrooms: You can dry at home so easily! I wipe down the caps, slice and dice, then dry at 135* and in a few hours they are dry :) I keep them small in size, so they rehydrate faster.Feb 4, 2020 at 1:21 pm #3629851
We tried to dry whole ones in the sun, but the core stayed ‘wet’. Since the dried ones are not much lighter than the raw ones, we did not bother going further.
Several hours at 135 F – useful to know. Thank you.
CheersFeb 10, 2020 at 6:23 am #3630675dirtbagMember
Great post. Thanks for this! I too have the same backpackers kit from HH. I really think its fantastic. I am in same situation as you.. looking for some new ideas with all the beans and figuring which rehydrate the best, and fastest. I am always searching for new meals that are easy and that i look forward to eating.. and that are healthy!!Feb 10, 2020 at 6:27 am #3630676dirtbagMember
If you pulverize the chick peas.. can you make hummus with it??Feb 10, 2020 at 3:18 pm #3630728Josh JMember
i’ve cooked beans in my instapot, dehydrated them and with in 10-15min of cold soaking they were perfectly fine to eat.
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