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Tin Cans as cook pots ?
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John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Tin Cans as cook pots ? on 11/14/2011 11:44:22 MST Print View

I have a few questions regarding the use of a 19 fluid ounce sized Progresso brand soup can as a cook pot on the trail.

I understand that it will eventually rust. Due to the rust issue this would be an almost every trip MYOG project. ;-)

I can almost see this as a benefit to hikers that use wood burning "stoves". Don't bother with scouring the bottom of a sooted up pot, replace it when it becomes really cruddy.

The thought is to take off the top with a side cutting can opener so as to leave a rounded edge and salvage the top as a cook pot lid.

Has anyone out there thought about or done this?

Would there be any safety or toxicity issues due to heating water to boiling in a "tin can" pot? I did see a warning about not using any galvanized can due to the possibility of heavy metal poisoning.

I was researching this subject on the internet and there was some mention of hydrogen being a by product of hot water and tin! Boom?

I found this reference on the web at Zen Stoves;

Link to Zen Stoves

Scroll down a little past halfway to the "French Market" coffee can.

I also found this reference at Cabelas;

Link to Cabelas

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Party On,

Newton

William Zila
(Ultralightwillinn.m) - MLife

Locale: Albuquerque
find a hobo and ask on 11/14/2011 11:48:03 MST Print View

find a hobo cooking with one and ask if he has experienced heavy metal poisoning or a hydrogen explosion all jokes aside i am very interested in your findings

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Back in the day... on 11/14/2011 11:51:22 MST Print View

We certainly did it back i the day, even made "hobo stoves" from #10 cans.

These days, I'm not sure it would be my first choice: I seem to recall hearing that current manufacturers use a plastic coating inside tin cans to prevent oxidation (rusting) and preserve food taste. I'd want to be sure I wasn't cooking plastic into my food before I used today's tin cans.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Tin Cans as cook pots ? on 11/14/2011 11:54:35 MST Print View

"Would there be any safety or toxicity issues due to heating water to boiling in a "tin can" pot"?

You'll get a big dose of BPA from the lining...being that heat intensifies the leaching. How much though no one knows...and no one knows for certain what that would mean short or long term.

Edited by rustyb on 11/14/2011 11:56:26 MST.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Back in the day... on 11/14/2011 11:56:51 MST Print View

Stephen,

"I'd want to be sure I wasn't cooking plastic into my food before I used today's tin cans."

I have that same concern about today's beer / drink can pots.

Party On,

Newton

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Tin Cans as cook pots ? on 11/14/2011 12:04:32 MST Print View

Rusty,

"You'll get a big dose of BPA from the lining...being that heat intensifies the leaching."

So the trick would be to find an unlined can for this project.

So does anyone know what cans are unlined these days?

Party On,

Newton

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: Tin Cans as cook pots ? on 11/14/2011 12:12:45 MST Print View

Ha, ha...simply burn them out. This is by far the easiest compared to scrubbing with some sort of solvent. I am betting the fumes are less, too.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: simply burn them out on 11/14/2011 12:22:17 MST Print View

James,

So I first make a wood burning stove out of my cook pot and then turn it back into a cook pot. ;-)

I got it!

Starting with an unlined can would be nicer though. Coffee can?

Party On,

Newton

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Re: Tin Cans as cook pots ? on 11/14/2011 12:51:25 MST Print View

Newton,

Here's a list of BPA free cans: http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/7-companies-you-can-trust-to-use-bpa-free-cans.html

However, though those cans won't leach BPA, what will they leach....particularly with heat? I believe every modern can containing a food product has a liner...and who knows what it is made from? Things like this are often slow to be discovered (about 1987 for BPA leaching) and even slower to reach the knowledge of consumers so they may make a choice.

I would not use any used food/beverage can for heating/cooking food in....cause I don't know what I'm going to be ingesting or how it might effect me now or later....and neither does anyone else.

Edited by rustyb on 11/14/2011 12:54:37 MST.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Tin Cans as cook pots ? on 11/14/2011 13:07:00 MST Print View

"I would not use any used food/beverage can for heating/cooking food in....cause I don't know what I'm going to be ingesting or how it might effect me now or later....and neither does anyone else."

That is one of the mysteries of life. Isn't it great?

--B.G.--

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: list of BPA free cans on 11/14/2011 13:16:22 MST Print View

Rusty,

Thanks for the info.

"I would not use any used food/beverage can for heating/cooking food in....cause I don't know what I'm going to be ingesting or how it might effect me now or later....and neither does anyone else."

"I have that same concern about today's beer / drink can pots." ;-?

This may partially answer your concerns from above. See the link below.

http://www.edenfoods.com/store/product_details.php?products_id=103208

Read starting at "Eden" just left of center on the page even with the bottom of the can pictured on the right of the page.

FWIW I do own an unlined Ti pot.

I wonder if my ramen noodles would taste like pine nuts if cooked in a c-enamel lined pot? ;-)

Party On,

Newton

Dave Marcus
(Djrez4) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Re: Re: Tin Cans as cook pots ? on 11/14/2011 13:18:41 MST Print View

I know Eden Organics uses enamel-lined cans. They don't have #10 cans, but they do sell 28oz cans.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Isn't it great? on 11/14/2011 13:19:34 MST Print View

Bob,

I was wondering if you were going to chime in on this one. ;-)

Party On,

Newton

Here There
(cowexnihilo) - MLife
Can Pots on 11/14/2011 13:29:35 MST Print View

I used to do this quite a bit as a kid, and in recent years I've used can pots a few times on impromptu overnight or weekend trips when I was visiting friends and didn't have my gear with me. (It's amazing that between walmart and thrift stores you can outfit yourself for less than $20.)

If you heat the empty can over a fire or other heat source for a while you will see most of the inside and outside coating burn off, and if you want you can scour the rest off with sandpaper.

So far I haven't grown any extra arms or developed any weird health issues, but check back in a couple more decades in case they're slow to develop.

Jonathan Kreusch
(Awakeru) - F
Re: Tin Cans as cook pots ? on 11/14/2011 13:44:31 MST Print View

can pots work great!!!! they are light but they do rust if you don't immediately tend to them after cooking. These are MJB 320z coffee cans. 3.80z and $5.00

pot 1
pot 2pot 3

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Can Pots on 11/14/2011 13:51:35 MST Print View

"So far I haven't grown any extra arms or developed any weird health issues, but check back in a couple more decades in case they're slow to develop".

Haha...:-)...but, if you were to develop an extra appendage or other oddity or health issue however minor, with everyday toxins being ubiquitous, you wouldn't know which one or combination to attribute it to. Ah, the price we pay for fun and convenience......

Newton,

That's good to know about Eden can linings. However, given what a lining must do, I'm willing to bet their concoction consists of far more ingredients than implied. Again, we don't know exactly what is in it. If I **had** to choose a used can to cook in though, I'd grab the Eden;-).

Bob,

True, true....but when it comes to ingestion, I try as hard as I can to keep mysteries to a minimum.

James Winstead
(James_W)

Locale: CA
Tin Can Lining on 11/14/2011 13:59:34 MST Print View

I'm no chemistry expert, but...

I just made my first catfood can stove a few weeks back. On the first burn, there was a visible film that burned and peeled off the inside of the can. I put the empty stove inverted just over my kitchen stove to burn out the entire can completely.

This only actually happened where it was in direct contact with flame. I don't know exactly what kind of temperatures are reached inside the boiling vessel so maybe this isn't an issue, but seeing gunk flake off something that contained food was a little disconcerting.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Can Pots on 11/14/2011 17:26:08 MST Print View

I'm with you Rusty B

Call me a paranoid conspiracy theorist

BPA in can linings may be unsafe. Especially when you heat it. A normal can is heated once at a somewhat low temperature to kill bacteria right after it's sealed. As a cook pot, you heat it hotter, and many times so it could be much worse.

BPA mimics Estrogen and can have subtle effects like cancer, obesity, and especially for pregnancy or child development.

On the other hand, if you use it a few times a year camping and you're not pregnant, maybe it's not significant.

Other countries are reducing BPA usage.

And whatever they replace it with may be just as bad.

And if you burn or sand off the lining, there may still be residue that is harmful.

Maybe you're better off using an unlined cooking pot.

Here There
(cowexnihilo) - MLife
Re: Re: Can Pots on 11/14/2011 17:33:28 MST Print View

I wouldn't advocate can pots for regular use, though with some attention to detail on removing any lining they would probably be pretty safe--but why risk it? One good titanium pot will last many lifetimes with even a little care.

For once in a while use though I think they're probably a fine option, and I'll continue to use them for impromptu trips when my ti pots aren't available.

James Nomura
(Lockon) - F
2 cents on 11/14/2011 17:48:53 MST Print View

Personally I would look for better choices before going with tin cans for cooking. Tin cans are better used as wood burning stoves or windscreens than cook pots IMO.

I know some choose to cook canned items in their original cans over stoves but I've always wondered how safe that really is. As someone stated earlier, some cans are lined with something to prevent corrosion and I'm almost certain most canned foods (containing salt) would need something lined on the insides of the container in order to make them last. I could be overstating the theoretical health risks as the lining may not be toxic even when heated.