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Cooking whole grain stuff in a freezer bag
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Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Cooking whole grain stuff in a freezer bag on 10/12/2011 09:48:01 MDT Print View

I like backpacking foods well enough, but don't love the effects they have on my GI tract over time (too much information, I know). Consequently, I've committed to introducing more real foods into my backpacking diet, and eating more like how I eat at home. (I'm an avid cook). I'd like to do so without augmenting my backpacking kitchen (a 550 ml pot)if possible. Couple of questions. Can I "cook" whole grain angel hair pasta in a freezer bag and cozy by pouring in boiling water and letting it sit?

What other whole grains have people found that lend themselves to FBC style cooking?

I have just ordered a cheapo nesco dehydrator (cheaper than a week's worth of backpacking food)so I can precook the grain products if needed, but would also like some suggestions for things that don't require this extra manipulation.


Dave Marcus
(Djrez4) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
I've tried on 10/12/2011 11:35:52 MDT Print View

I tried to cook some Tinkyada rice pasta in a bag. On the bag, there is an alternative "low-energy" cooking method suggested: boil in the pot for 1-2 minutes and then turn off the heat and let the pasta sit in the hot water for about 20 minutes. With that alternative available, I figured freezer bag cooking would work as well.

Thank goodness I tried it in my kitchen before taking it into the backcountry. I tried three times, lengthening the hot water soak each time, but could not get the pasta to cook all the way through. It also produced a very uneven cook, despite my mixing everything around thoroughly in the bag.

With your dehydrator, however, you should be able to pull it off if you cook the pasta completely and dehydrate it.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Cooking whole grain stuff in a freezer bag on 10/12/2011 12:12:32 MDT Print View

With grains, pasta and rice you are best off with precooking and drying at home - then yes, they will cook in the FBC method - I do this for the rices I prefer and also so I can have whole grain pasta.....

The issue behind whole grains is they are not processed. Cooking process them for you!

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
Cooking whole grain stuff in a freezer bag on 10/12/2011 14:41:23 MDT Print View

I'm also a whole grain lover, to the point that I will not eat white rice or white pasta ("empty" calorie sawdust, IMHO).

I agree with Sarah in that it's better to cook whole wheat pasta and whole grain rice at home and dehydrate. It still takes close to 15 minutes to rehydrate in the cozy.

I tried whole wheat angel hair pasta without previous dehydration and even after 20 minutes in the cozy it was somewhat crunchy--definitely more than al dente! I had the same problem with "Minute" brand brown rice. If you rehydrate in your pot, you could cook it for about a minute or two before putting the pot in the cozy--I would think that would work.

The one pasta that doesn't need this treatment is whole wheat cous-cous. Many people don't realize that cous-cous is a form of pasta, but almost instant. I've used it with spaghetti sauce and to replace macaroni in "mac and cheese." It takes only a few minutes in the cozy. While the flavor is as good as the original, please note that kids will definitely object to its substitution for the more traditional pasta forms in those two dishes!

With rice, I take brown rice (or better yet, the medley of brown/red/wild rice from Costco) and cook it in chicken or (usually) vegetable broth before dehydrating. So much more flavorful than the "Minute" variety!

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
sprouted quinoa on 10/12/2011 15:23:26 MDT Print View

i am going to try soaking sprouted quinoa while walking. if it works, no more stove.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
whole grains on 10/12/2011 15:27:27 MDT Print View

Thanks guys. That was what I needed. Guess I'll precook, toss with sauce, then dehydrate.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: whole grains on 10/12/2011 15:33:31 MDT Print View

You might get better results if you precook the grain, then dehydrate it. Then dehydrate the sauce separately. The reason is that they dehydrate at different rates. Carry the freezer bag with little dehydrated cooked grain, and it also has little pieces of sauce leather.


Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: sprouted quinoa on 10/12/2011 16:16:47 MDT Print View

Ike, you try this yet?
They sell it at Costco I might add. I tried the sprouted lentils and nooooo thanks, but hey everyone likes different things ;-)

Diane Pinkers
(dipink) - MLife

Locale: Western Washington
tru roots on 10/12/2011 17:19:16 MDT Print View

I've tried the sprouted lentil, adzuki and mung bean mix from Cosco. Can be edible, if sauced enough, not bad in lentil salads. Rehydrates rather gray, so a bit offputting to look at. I think cooked lentils dehydrated at home works a little better, tastes "brighter".

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: tru roots on 10/12/2011 21:28:25 MDT Print View

Exactly! I think my problem was I tried them plain - they had a weird flavor (even to Mrs. Natural here). But I bet in a lentil salad that would have been good....maybe even with couscous added.

Laurie Ann March
(Laurie_Ann) - F

Locale: Ontario, Canada
Re: Cooking whole grain stuff in a freezer bag on 10/13/2011 05:26:19 MDT Print View

You'll find the dehydrator is your friend. You can cook all sorts of things and dehydrate them. I tend, for the most part, to dry whole dishes and sauces if I can.

Quinoa, amaranth, spelt (wheat berries), kasha (buckwheat groats), rice, wild rice, pasta, and such all work well if cooked and dehydrated first and then simply rehydrated in a bag (I use a hard sided container) and cozy. Also, things like shredded russet potatoes, sweet potatoes and such dry and rehydrate beautifully. I will coarsely grate russet potatoes into a soup in place of rice just for a bit of flavor change - then dehydrate it to make it more instant on our trips. Legumes and beans (lentils, garbanzo/chickpeas, butterbeans, limas, etc.) dry very nicely too. I often like to combine them with rice in a dish to make a complete protein.

By cooking the whole meal at home (or drying your favorite leftover soup, stew, or chili) it makes it really easy at camp. Simply add water and wait a bit.

Edited by Laurie_Ann on 10/13/2011 05:28:47 MDT.