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Vacuum Sealing
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Richard Loar
(loarrh) - F
Vacuum Sealing on 02/05/2010 22:11:48 MST Print View

For the past 3 or so years I have been using 3oz pre-cooked chicken packets for my freezer bag meals. Unfortunately, bumble Bee has dis-continued the 3oz packets, and I can not find anything other than 7oz packets.

What I am wondering, is it possible to use canned chicken and then use a vacuum sealer to make small packets? Any idea how long it would be safe to have the chicken in the bag once it is sealed?

And the last question, any recommendations for a good sealer?

Thanks

Edited by loarrh on 02/05/2010 22:13:03 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Vacuum Sealing on 02/06/2010 06:00:21 MST Print View

Don't. Your chances of bad things happening are very high.

The 3 ounce cans actually don't weigh that much - the cans are quite thin and crush easily with a heel. You can get those in 3 packs in many stores and have pop-tops for ease of use.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
can dry then vacuum seal on 02/06/2010 12:19:52 MST Print View

More work, but I've had good results with buying the larger cans of chicken on sale once a year and spreading the contents out on a food dryer. Then vacuum seal the results in small amounts and store those in the freezer. I do the same with hamburger. It's a bit of time & effort, but not too bad on a once-a-year basis to collect "real meat" fixin's for freezer bag meals for the next 12 months.

I'm tending now more to TVP (textured vegetable protein), however, to avoid doing the work!

Richard Loar
(loarrh) - F
Vacuum Sealing on 02/06/2010 16:40:24 MST Print View

Thanks Sarah. I thought that that would be the answer, but I was hoping. Thanks also for the tip on the cans, I have not seen these at the store, will check tomorrow.

Brian
I've tried dehydrating the canned chicken but have had poor results getting it to re-hydrate. What is your secret? Maybe I'm dehydrating too much?

Thank you both for your responses!

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
chicken on 02/06/2010 17:29:47 MST Print View

About once per season, I purchase a commercial package of freeze-dried chicken. I open the package, dole out a half or a third of it, then store the remainder in the refrigerator. The chicken pieces are carried in a ziploc bag for the trip until consumed.

F-D chicken is not going to spoil unless it gets wet. If you let air get to it for a long time, its flavor will fade, and then you won't want it.

The advantage of the F-D chicken is that it has no waste at all, and rehydration is simple.
--B.G.--

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: Vacuum Sealing on 02/06/2010 17:30:39 MST Print View

Did you look online for the Bumble Bee 4 oz chicken, I find plenty of places:

http://www.econsumeraffairs.com/bbs/ProductLocatorResults.htm?customer=bumblebee&zip=55436&radius=50&item=008660040301

http://www.econsumeraffairs.com/bbs/ProductLocator.htm

Richard Loar
(loarrh) - F
Bumble Bee Chicken on 02/06/2010 18:06:10 MST Print View

Hey Roleigh

I actually have several of the 4oz flavored chicken packets in my pantry from several years ago. This is what I used before I found the 3oz packages from Bumble Bee. While the flavored chicken was okay, I definitely prefer the plain chicken.

You guys have given me a lot of things to try. While I don't prefer cans, this does have possibility. Brian indicates that he was able to dehydrate chicken, so it appears as though I may have been dehydrating mine too much. And then there's Bob's suggestion of freeze dried chicken, which is also a good option.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Where do you buy Freeze-Dried Chicken? on 02/06/2010 18:11:47 MST Print View

Where do you buy Freeze-Dried Chicken?

What about Freeze-Dried Beef, Fish? How does it taste compared to pouch-contained equivalents?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
chicken on 02/06/2010 18:16:00 MST Print View

I'm not a big red meat eater, so I mostly stick to chicken, turkey, tuna, and salmon for my meat calories. Those might be F-D, foil packaged whole, or in other bizarre forms. I did a week-long trip one time and the only meat I had along was turkey sausage.

I have one 2-ounce foil block of Westland Bacon Bar. It's so old it has a date code on it, but it is written in Roman Numerals. I have to believe that it is 25 years old. I'm likely to carry that on a trip some day.
--B.G.--

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Where do you buy Freeze-Dried Chicken? on 02/06/2010 18:16:02 MST Print View

PackitGourmet has it (Campmor has some as well)

http://www.packitgourmet.com/Meat--Meat-Substitutes-c24.html

And Wilderness Dining

http://www.wildernessdining.com/meat.html

Edited by idester on 02/06/2010 18:18:03 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
reply to Roleigh on 02/06/2010 18:23:21 MST Print View

This is not the only source, but Campmor stocks several brands of most F-D food items, assuming that you want to buy it online. REI stores normally stock all that stuff also, but typically only one or two brands.

F-D food, especially F-D meat, got a bad reputation many years ago when it all had the flavor and texture of cardboard. Then the manufacturers cleaned up their act and perfected more of the F-D process and packaging, so now it is much better. Still, don't just splash some boiling water on it and expect to dig in. If possible, splash the boiling water on it, but simmer it for a while with the rest of the stew, and add a bit of oil (olive oil, margarine, hog fat, or whatever). The normal F-D process leaves virtually zero fat in the meat, so adding a little safe oil back in will help the flavor.
--B.G.--

Lori Pontious
(lori999) - M

Locale: Central Valley
Re: Vacuum Sealing on 02/06/2010 19:19:32 MST Print View

You can get 3 oz pouches of chicken at minimus.biz, I think. Also lots of small packets of many other things.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
minimus.biz on 02/06/2010 19:37:31 MST Print View

I've had my eye on that company for over a year now, and I can't figure out how they stay in business. They sell little individual-serving packages of everything, including sugar and salt, for pennies. Geez!
--B.G.--

Richard Loar
(loarrh) - F
Chicken at minimus.biz on 02/06/2010 20:04:29 MST Print View

"You can get 3 oz pouches of chicken at minimus.biz, I think. Also lots of small packets of many other things."

Not anymore. minimus.biz stocked the Bumble Bee Chicken, which has been dis-continued by Bumble Bee.

Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: Chicken at minimus.biz on 02/06/2010 22:36:02 MST Print View

I've gotten the "Sweet Sue" brand 3 oz chicken from Minimus before, but they don't have any now. They do have the 3 oz. tuna and salmon foil pouches. (just placed an order an hour ago!)

JR Redding
(GrinchMT) - F
Re: Chicken on 02/07/2010 08:46:26 MST Print View

We have a Smiths here in Bozeman where we can get 7 ounce packages for 2.99 (Kroger Brand) - They dehydrate well, but we find as with our ground beef/turkey that to get the chewiness out, they take about 20 minutes to rehydrate in the cozy.

We also can get 3 ounce cans pretty cheaply at WM and use a small P-51 can opener on the ones without a pull top. They do crush easily, but if you're on a multiday trip in the backcountry need to be careful of the sharp edges in your trash bag ;)

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
FD meat source on 02/07/2010 09:27:56 MST Print View

I'm a dehydrator-geek, but I find that chicken, ham, cubes of cooked sirloin are quite hard to rehydrate (bison burger works well though). So I've turned to FD for my chicken and beef. Mountain House makes good stuff, and I buy in bulk (#10 tins--the size of a big coffee tin) from a place called The Epicenter (theepicenter.com). I portion it out into 1.0 oz units and vacuum seal them. They will last at least a year if kept in the freezer. Each 1 oz. portion will rehydrate to a 3.0 oz serving. For a multi-day trip, I'll open 2-3 vacuum-sealed portions and transfer them to a quart freezer zip lock, and carry it that way. It won't spoil, and I can use only what I want for each meal. As mentioned, these meats have virtually no fat in them, so it's good to add a bit of oil ("hog fat?" whale blubber?) to the soup/stew/ramen/rice (though not necessary). The FD meats ARE a bit salty, which is used as a preservative. I also like MH's FD peas, corn, and beans. With veggies, meat, bouillon, and quick rice/pasta, you can score a fast and tasty freezer bag dinner.

I found a can of turkey Spam in the pantry this morning, and I'm taking advantage of a cold, dry day to see how that dehydrates. I'm pretty sure it will be stupid, but what the heck. Laurie, Sarah, and Dicentra, I know you're laughing at the Spam thing right now. But when you have a dehydrator, you're unstoppable... (I can always feed it to the racoons).

JR Redding
(GrinchMT) - F
Re:Chicken Dehydrating on 02/07/2010 11:47:30 MST Print View

The packages of shelf stable chicken should dehydrate easily. There isn't any fat in them. If you cut the cubes they come in, they will rehydrate nicely, but you have to give them time.

Good luck on the spam experiment. There is so much fat in it it would be interesting to see what it looks like when done. Hopefully not a moist gelatinous mess.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
rehydrading chicken on 02/07/2010 12:30:00 MST Print View

"I've tried dehydrating the canned chicken but have had poor results getting it to re-hydrate. What is your secret? Maybe I'm dehydrating too much?"

I think my only "secret" might be that I'm not very discerning ... :-)

I dehydrate to the point that it's very dry and brittle. Rehydration for me is just putting a couple oz of dried chicken along with some other food into a freezer bag and adding hot water, then waiting 10 minutes for it all to rehydrate. I don't recall any crunchy dry chicken pieces or anything like that.

To be clear, I'll add chicken to a chicken flavored ramen packet, or to a Knorr (formerly Lipton) ~chicken-flavored noodle meal of the like, plus some olive oil (a fancy trail chef I'm not).

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: rehydrading chicken on 02/07/2010 17:58:32 MST Print View

I shred canned chicken so it is small pieces - it rehydrates a lot better that way.

On those packs....I stock piled the 3 ounce pouches this summer as Ford loves them. Minimus was where I got them....sigh, I was bummed they had them no longer. Oh well. Good thing I still have a dozen or so bags!