Forum Index » Food, Hydration, and Nutrition » Simmer/cook or Freezer Bag-it


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Dan Yeruski
(zelph) - MLife

Locale: www.bplite.com
Simmer/cook or Freezer Bag-it on 07/23/2009 14:39:33 MDT Print View

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)

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Simmer/cook or Freezer Bag-it on 07/23/2009 16:37:03 MDT Print View

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" :-)

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: Simmer/cook or Freezer Bag-it on 07/23/2009 16:54:46 MDT Print View

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?

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
neither on 07/23/2009 17:12:50 MDT Print View

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.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
I hate instant oatmeal on 07/23/2009 17:34:47 MDT Print View

>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.

Lori Pontious
(lori999) - M

Locale: Central Valley
just made a bowl on 07/23/2009 17:40:08 MDT Print View

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.

Mark Seeley
(mseeley) - F

Locale: Arizona
One Pot on 07/23/2009 19:14:25 MDT Print View

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?

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: One Pot on 07/23/2009 20:24:01 MDT Print View

Mark,
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!)
http://rooinater.blogspot.com/2009/07/fbc-sul-cozy-review.html

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.)

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: just made a bowl on 07/23/2009 20:26:04 MDT Print View

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.

Jared Cook
(rooinater) - F

Locale: Northwet
Re: Re: just made a bowl on 07/23/2009 21:22:06 MDT Print View

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.

Dan Yeruski
(zelph) - MLife

Locale: www.bplite.com
who is simmering/stirring the pot on 07/24/2009 08:02:33 MDT Print View

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?

Lori Pontious
(lori999) - M

Locale: Central Valley
simmer/boil on 07/24/2009 08:50:50 MDT Print View

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.

Edited by lori999 on 07/24/2009 08:54:27 MDT.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
simmering on 07/24/2009 09:25:28 MDT Print View

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).

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 07/24/2009 09:26:54 MDT.

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: I hate instant oatmeal on 07/24/2009 10:23:32 MDT Print View

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...

Lori Pontious
(lori999) - M

Locale: Central Valley
pasta on 07/24/2009 10:34:31 MDT Print View

"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.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
pasta on 07/24/2009 10:56:37 MDT Print View

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.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: pasta on 07/24/2009 19:16:51 MDT Print View

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 ;-)

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
consistency on 07/24/2009 20:15:07 MDT Print View

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.

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 07/24/2009 20:15:48 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: consistency on 07/24/2009 21:31:02 MDT Print View

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.

Dicentra OPW
(dicentra) - F

Locale: PNW
Depends on the trip and the menu on 07/27/2009 11:02:30 MDT Print View

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.