Rice and beer can pots - is it possible?
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David Patterson
(davidp80) - F
Rice and beer can pots - is it possible? on 03/29/2006 17:39:02 MST Print View

Hows it going guys,

I love rice for its simplicity, nutritional value, packability, low cost and low weight. But, since I've started using a beer can for my primary solo cooking pot, I havent found a way to reincorporate rice into my trail menu. I have a homemade aluminum cozy that works well for most everything else....but doesnt really work well for cooking rice (the rice is almost always half cooked and floating in lots of milky white water, ughhh....). Any insight would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance,

-Dave:)

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Rice and beer can pots - is it possible? on 03/29/2006 17:47:28 MST Print View

One way is to make your own Minute Rice by cooking any rice up at home, then drying it. Then you can have any long-cook rice that will make up just fine in a Zloc and a cozy.

Note that some other fast-cook rices now available. Long grain and wild mixes for example.

Edited by vickrhines on 03/29/2006 17:48:32 MST.

David Patterson
(davidp80) - F
Re: Rice and beer can pots - is it possible? on 03/29/2006 18:57:15 MST Print View

Vick,

Would a standard dehydrator due the trick? Once dried, would the weight per cup be exactly what it was before cooking? In thinking about it, the volume would definitely be different between precooked and cooked+dried rice, but I was hoping the weight would be the same (in that all of the water was removed). Thanks,

-Dave:)

Edited by davidp80 on 03/29/2006 18:59:56 MST.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Rice and beer can pots - is it possible? on 03/29/2006 19:19:13 MST Print View

An ancient trick among soldiers and long-distance travelers in Japan was to, in the morning before setting out, fill a tube of bamboo with the measured amount of uncooked rice that they would eat, pour cold water over this, and let the rice soak all day. When evening came the rice would be swelled up and mostly soft. With a little added water the rice could then be cooked in the bamboo tube within about ten minutes and be ready for dinner. This way you can eat whole grain rice, not the awful instant stuff.

Parboiled rice is the favored rice for hiking in Japan today.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: Rice and beer can pots - is it possible? on 03/29/2006 20:17:57 MST Print View

1. Yep, the weight would be about the same. A standard home dehydrator or even an oven used right will do it.

2. Miguel has a good idea. I've used it successfully for rice. Pasta does not take longer than 20 minutes and needs some oil to keep from turning into paste. Steel cut oats and some grain mixes don't soften up enough overnight. The ambient temperature may have something to do with that. So try it at home with the rice you plan to use before taking it on the road.

David Patterson
(davidp80) - F
Re: Rice and beer can pots - is it possible? on 03/29/2006 22:03:28 MST Print View

Miguel - That is an interesting idea. I think I'll give both methods a try, and see which I prefer. My only gripe with the soaking method is that I'd have to carry an extra, sealable container filled with extra water throughout the day. If it comes down to it, I guess I could use a Platypus Lil Nipper. Thanks again,

-Dave

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: Re: Rice and beer can pots - is it possible? on 03/29/2006 23:48:27 MST Print View

Miguel, didn't know that about "the ancient trick". Thanks for sharing. Appreciate it.
--------------------------------------------


Regarding that
>>"Lil Nipper"
To hold water, or rice for coming days - ok.

Obviously, you wouldn't soak the rice in water inside of the Lil Nipper - might be tough getting it all out. Just want to be clear here in case a silent "Newbie" is hovering about reading this very interesting Thread. An O.P. Ziplock might be good as long as it doesn't open unexpectedly. Haven't had any problems with all of the GORP/dry food I carry in it, or for short-term rehydrating/cooking of oatmeal in a cozy at dinner time. Anyone have any ideas about it staying closed all day with water and rice in one?

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Rice and beer can pots - is it possible? on 03/30/2006 03:14:34 MST Print View

"the rice is almost always half cooked and floating in lots of milky white water, ughhh"

Read your post again and remembered... in Asia people always wash the rice out thoroughly before cooking to get rid of the starch... the "milky white water". Depending on how "gooey" you want the rice, the more you wash it the less gooey.

I'm not at all sure how useful this trivia might be... but in many tropical countries where you can find big leaves people cook their meals in the leaves. The water inside the leaves prevents the leaves, as long as the water doesn't evaporate, from burning. You can make temporary pots out of leaves (or paper and other such things), fill them with water, place them on a flame, and boil the water within.

Might this have an application with what you are trying to do?

If you are stealth camping or avoiding the established camps and therefore carrying the extra water you need for cooking along the trail, wouldn't that water be used for the rice anyway? And wouldn't the rice be carried in a plastic bag? What if you carried the rice in a plastic bag filled with water inside your pot?

Just throwing out ideas. I carry specially made parboiled rice packets sold here in Japan. The packets themselves act like pots. All I do is pour boiling water into them, wait twenty minutes, and then pour my curry sauce or madras lentils over that. I buy the two-person packets so that there is enough for lunch the next day. Probably the same things as Ziploc boil-in-a-bag.

Another thing you could do is make rice balls ("onigiri" or "musubi" here in Japan) the night before and carry them for lunch the next day. You can fill them with all sorts of things, like sandwiches. You must use the stickier Japanese-style rice (pearl rice?) so that the grains stick together. If you want brown rice in there, make sure about half of the rice mix is white rice, because brown rice doesn't stick well, or if it does it a brown mush.

And for energy needs, you might want to think of getting, if you can find them, rice cakes or "omanju". They usually have sweet bean paste (azuki or aduki) inside. Both the rice and bean paste pack a lot of energy and have a low glycemic index, meaning that the energy burns for a long time. Manju and sweet beans are a staple of many Japanese mountain walkers snacking along the trail.

Just a few ideas... (^J^)/"

Edited by butuki on 03/30/2006 03:34:45 MST.

David Patterson
(davidp80) - F
Re: Rice and beer can pots - is it possible? on 03/30/2006 08:30:45 MST Print View

Miguel,

Thanks for throwing out so many ideas. Unfortunately, not many of them are suitable for the application I have in mind - thru hiking. I have some rice soaking in cold water as we speak (10 a.m.) and will be curious to see how it looks and tastes around 7 or 8 oclock tonight. You're right, I would be carrying all of my rice in a ziploc bag, and wouldnt neccessarily need an extra water container. I'm not really sure what was going through my head when I mentioned packing an extra Lil Nipper, which would be unnccessary....it was late I guess :)
I'm also not sure if I like the the idea of carrying my soaking rice in a non-hardsided container throughout the day. Most likely, especially when carrying large amounts of food, my pack is going to be packed full and very tightly, and...I just wouldnt want to risk spilling rice water and rice all over my gear. Granted I would be carrying it in one of the outside pockets in my pack, but...Ehh, I dont know, maybe it could work. I think I'd feel more comfortable double or triple bagging it though. Thanks for all of your help, and I hope to see some positive results this evening,

-Dave:)

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
The problem.... on 03/30/2006 08:55:27 MST Print View

The problem with carrying uncooked rice is simple-it uses up a lot of fuel. And time. And cleanup.
You can dry your own, with or without a dehydrator...and it would be worth it-your fuel consumption would go down sharply, your time out cooking, etc. You can precook jasmine, basamti, regular, brown, wild, etc-and never be bored.
Just dry till basically brittle (135* on a dehydrator)

paul johnson
(pj) - F

Locale: LazyBoy in my Den - miss the forest
Re: The problem.... on 03/30/2006 09:12:26 MST Print View

Sarbar, Did you see Miguel's first post on the subject of rice in this thread? If not, take a moment to read it. It addresses the issue of cooking.

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: Rice and beer can pots - is it possible? on 03/30/2006 09:20:01 MST Print View

---- not sure if I like the the idea of carrying my soaking rice in a non-hardsided container ----

To reiterate, instant rice is instant. No soaking, no hassel. Quick cook brown rice is quick. It will cook with boil and set. The trouble with thruhiking is you have to go with what you can find locally and local eating habits are sometimes strange. That's why it's good to have lots of tricks up your sleeve.

The usual way to carry food you are soaking is to 1) put it in your cooking pot in a zloc bag or 2) put it in an outside pocket in a zloc.

MSR and others used to make pots with clamp-on lids especially for pre-soaking whild on the trail. Of course, they were stainless steel and very sturdy and weighed a ton, but the idea has been around a long time.

Another trick - for very hard to cook stuff - is to pour boiling water over it and cozy it the night before. Add enough water to keep it covered in the morning, soak the rest of the day, cook up in the evening. This is works with dry beans.

Edited by vickrhines on 03/30/2006 09:25:37 MST.

David Patterson
(davidp80) - F
Re: Rice and beer can pots - is it possible? on 03/30/2006 10:21:15 MST Print View

Sarbar - Thank you. I do intend to try dehydrating cooked rice once I get a chance to borrow my parents dehydrator. Considering all that has been mentioned thus far, I think this would be my preferred method of choice (although the soaking method does sound promising as well).

Vick - Perhaps I'm wrong, as I've never purchased instant rice, but isnt its 'instantness' due to the rice package being part rice and part water? I think I've seen some of the instant varieties you're referring to, and I remember that one or two servings usually amounts to a pound or more.

I was also wondering whether the starchy water I used to soak the rice throughout the day (if I decide to use Miguel's method) could be used for boiling and finishing the job in the event that the rice wasnt fully cooked at the end of the day. My only concern is that the starch would somehow contribute to the corosion of the inside of the beer can. Thanks again,

-Dave:)

Edited by davidp80 on 03/30/2006 10:24:53 MST.

David Patterson
(davidp80) - F
Re: Rice and beer can pots - is it possible? on 03/30/2006 17:39:58 MST Print View

Well, its now 7:45 PM and it seems as if my rice soaking experiment was a failure. It soaked for aproximately 10 hours in cold tap water inside two ziplock bags. The rice is still fairly hard and hasn't increased much in size. This seems strange, considering that a few of you mentioned having success with this method. I'm going to try boiling the excess water and cozying it for 20 minutes to see how its texture improves (I'm going to try boiling the starch water. Hopefully there won't be aluminum flakes floating around in it when I'm done!).
-Dave:)

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: Rice and beer can pots - is it possible? on 03/30/2006 17:42:28 MST Print View

Dvaid, instant rice is actually a dry product-there is shelf stable rice out now, but it is heavy of course-since it is cooked and sealed.
For the most part, instant rice has come far from back a few years ago. I can find decent instant brown, wild and premium white rice now.
Just look in the rice section in your store... if you do buy instant rice, buy brand name-it is one time where it is worth paying more. Buy Minute Rice-and don't buy the fancy boil-in-the-bag style. Instant rice can be made in a cup, pot, freezer bag,etc. All you do is add boiling water, stir and let sit for 5-15 minutes (depending on type). It is cheap and light.

PS: the weight of bought instant rice is very light-on average you would eat 1 cups worth and it weighs just a blip. If I was at home, I'd go get my scale and weigh it for you ;-)

Edited by sarbar on 03/30/2006 17:43:47 MST.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Rice and beer can pots - is it possible? on 03/30/2006 18:03:51 MST Print View

David, the rice is not supposed to swell. It will just absorb water and still remain fairly hard (if it swelled it would turn to mush). This also means that not a lot of water is needed, just enough to cover the rice. But the cooking time should decrease significantly. Normal rice takes approximately 20 minutes to cook. This soaked rice should take about ten minutes or so to boil. (parboiled rice takes about 20 minutes to soak in hot water).

That's two times you've mentioned starch corroding the aluminum sides. Is that true? I would think beer and soda like Coca Cola, with its corrosive contents, would have a much more significant effect on aluminum cans.

David Patterson
(davidp80) - F
Re: Rice and beer can pots - is it possible? on 03/30/2006 19:01:25 MST Print View

Thanks Sarbar. I think I'm going to make a trip to the grocery store tomorrow and see what I can find to experiment with.

After cozying the soaked rice tonight with the extra water (after it was boiled), I didnt have much more success than what I would have had I not soaked the rice at all, which is a bit suprising.
Miguel - The starch did not seem to have an effect on the inner lining of the beer can, although the water (only about 3/4 cup) did boil over (which has never happened before, even with more than twice as much liquid).

At this point, I think I'm going to search for some kind of instant variety, or begin experimenting with dehydrating. I dont know....if the soaking method doesnt work as well as what I would have liked (not that it didnt work as you intended it to Miguel) at home, its sure not to on the trail. I'm also not a big fan of having a large number of wet, used ziplocks in my pack (I cozy my trail food in a cut off platypus bottle rather than a ziplock). Thanks for all of your help,

-Dave:)

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: Re: Rice and beer can pots - is it possible? on 03/30/2006 20:43:12 MST Print View

Instant Rice:
Minute Rice and several other brands are DRIED precooked rice. You can get brown and mixed brown and wild as well as white. You have seen the boil-in-bag rice which does contain water. That's not what we're talking about here.

If you go to Sabar's method of cooking in the freezer bag, you won't have to worry about corrosion in the beer can. Besides all that, cooking in a beer can is a really bad idea because the can is hard to clean thoroughly and the possibility (probability?) of gastrointestinal distress is very real.

If you pre-soak rice, pour the water off and replace it with boiling water. In a freezer bag. In a cozy. The whole issue goes away.

Your unsatisfactory results may be from the type of rice you are using. There is a wide variation in cooking times. If you stick with Minute Rice, you will find it is very uniform - within the rice type. So the white Minute Rice always cooks the same and the brown always cooks like the brown, but not like the white.

AT information: If you plan a long section or a thruhike, you will find Minute Rice in all the little redneck stores.

Edited by vickrhines on 03/30/2006 20:49:06 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
A helper on 03/30/2006 21:59:55 MST Print View

http://www.kraftfoods.com/MinuteRice/ProductsPage.htm
:-) This will show you what to look for!
Sarah

David Patterson
(davidp80) - F
Re: Rice and beer can pots - is it possible? on 03/30/2006 22:18:45 MST Print View

Vick - I've always been curious about the gastrointestinal distress you are describing thats associated with leftover food and/or water in a cooking or eating container. I dont plan on cooking in my beer can pot, but do I need to be worried about the condensation that forms on the inside of my aluminum cozy or on the underside of my aluminum pot lid, not cleaning my eating bowl thorougly and/or not drying it fully after use? I guess I kind of assumed that the potential for problems only existed if meat of some sort was involved (which I wont be eating any of). I guess bacteria can grow just about anywhere though, and definitely on anything consumable? I guess I should think about drying everything that has been wet (the inside of the pot, pot lid, and cozy), and cleaning and drying anything that has come in contact with food (spork and bowl).

Sarbar - haha, thank you. You didnt have to go to all of that trouble, but I'm sure you've saved me a couple oinutes of roaming time tomorrow at the store. I'll let you know how it all works out. Thanks again,

-Dave:)