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"cooking" with a caldera cone alcohol stove setup...
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Rafi Harzahav
(rhz10) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
"cooking" with a caldera cone alcohol stove setup... on 08/14/2012 12:56:15 MDT Print View


I imagine that this has been asked before, but here goes:

I have an alcohol stove and a .5l pot that I love for boiling water. The stove does not simmer. I'd like to find something I can actually "cook" in the pot (i.e., add something to the already boiled water and wait). I'd consider using a cozy if that helped. I guess instant couscous would work (any brands recommended?). Can anything else be "cooked" in this fashion?



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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: "cooking" with a caldera cone alcohol stove setup... on 08/14/2012 13:24:29 MDT Print View

When I go out solo, I carry several small bags of food in my bear canister. One bag is instant rice. One is instant quinoa. One is couscous. One is dehydrated kidney beans. Sometimes one is bacon crumbles. Then there are other choices (dry onion flakes, spinach flakes, dehydrated tomato paste, dry parmesan cheese, potato flakes). A drop or two of olive oil always helps, as does a pinch or two of salt.

When in camp, I get my small cook pot boiling water, and then I mix contents of some of the food bags into my bowl. I have no fixed recipes or quantities. How long the boiling water sits over the food depends on the air temperature and how hungry I am.

I find couscous to be semi-instant, but not as instant as instant rice or instant quinoa. Couscous seems to work better when simmered.


Hobbes W
(Hobbesatronic) - F

Locale: SoCal
Cooking with a caldera cone alcohol stove on 08/14/2012 13:34:29 MDT Print View

"I'd like to find something I can actually "cook" in the pot (i.e., add something to the already boiled water and wait)."

You don't want to cook food in your pot - it's for boiling water. If you do cook in your pot, guess what? Yep, you have to clean it up afterwards - with soap & water.

What you do is bring along whatever food you want to eat, whether it be couscous, pasta, rice, etc, by storing each meal in individual freezer bags. For instance, tortellinis are around 110 cal/oz. If I want to eat 1,000 calories for dinner, I measure out 9 ounces per serving when packing.

Btw, calorie count is very important. Mountain House typically has less, sometimes much less, than 100 cal/oz. So not only are you paying more for a sodium bomb, but you're also carrying more weight per calorie. Also, another nifty trick is to bring along 1-2oz of oil. (Oil is pure fat and avg 250 cal oz.) In the search for high cal/low weight, some people even 'eat' the oil, but a better idea is to pour a little bit on your pasta, rice, etc to beef up the calories.

In order to keep the meal hot while it's sitting/cooking for 10-15 minutes, you simply buy a $1 bubble envelope that is large enough for your freezer bag ie quart and/or gallon size, to fit inside. It operates exactly as a cozy, except it's a little lighter, it doesn't have to be crafted for your pot, and it can be disposed of at the end of your hike.

Be aware that some people think using freezer bags somehow has a larger footprint than disposing of soapy water in the high country. They are wrong. Besides, in the scheme of things, freezer bags are about 1:1,000,000,000+ in order of magnitude compared to simply flying/driving to your chosen destination.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Add a simmer ring on 08/14/2012 13:39:20 MDT Print View

I borrowed the idea from Brasslite, but a small strip of aluminum foil wrapped around the air intakes on the 12/10 does allow some slower burning and lower heat output, sufficient for simmering on a 1L grease pot. It might work with a .5 iter pot, but I would guess there would still be too much heat. Try a small damper ring around the burner. This should weigh no more than a couple grams and *might* work, but you will still need a simmer ring to slow the oxygen intake/heat output. The stove will generally not go out, the alcohol is fairly forgiving of the amount of air it needs to burn. Note, it may singe the top of the stove. No problems there, though.

I think Rand, et al, are now making a device that does this, too.

Rafi Harzahav
(rhz10) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
where to buy on 08/14/2012 14:44:12 MDT Print View

Thanks for the responses.

Bob, when you refer to instant rice I assume you mean minute rice etc, which I've seen in the supermarket. Where do you buy dehydrated beans, potato flakes, instant quinoa etc?



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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: where to buy on 08/14/2012 14:51:20 MDT Print View

Yes, minute rice is instant. Potato flakes are instant. The stuff that you can buy instant is best gotten that way. The stuff that you cannot buy instant must be prepared at home.

I do not buy dehydrated beans or instant quinoa. I make them. That is what a food dehydrator is for.

Spinach has to be one of the easiest things in the world to prepare. Buy a package of frozen chopped spinach and throw it on the dehydrator until you have little green granules.


Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: where to buy on 08/15/2012 10:03:45 MDT Print View

Quinoa is easy to dry, although you can buy quinoa flakes (they look kind of like oatmeal) at most natural food stores. On beans - while drying them is easy you can buy them ready to go from - the lentils are quite nice.

On instant rice rarely do I side with brands but frankly I find Minute Rice to be better than store brands.

Jon Fong

cooking on 08/15/2012 10:42:32 MDT Print View

Why don't you just get a simmer ring from Trail Designs?

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: where to buy on 08/15/2012 12:41:07 MDT Print View

"Quinoa is easy to dry, although you can buy quinoa flakes"

I bought some of the quinoa flakes and then discovered that they have to be cooked. However, there is a good recipe on the package for quinoa cookies (no gluten).


Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: Re: where to buy on 08/15/2012 13:16:41 MDT Print View

The flakes can be used as instant if you let them sit insulated. Makes a nice breakfast cereal.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: "cooking" with a caldera cone alcohol stove setup... on 08/19/2012 16:38:46 MDT Print View

I use an alcohol stove and a caldera cone (and I've used the stove without the cone, too.) I don't use minute rice or other instant starches and cous-cous doesn't need to be cooked at all. Tepid water and letting it sit will hydrate cous-cous.

I have cooked long-cooking pasta with no simmering. What I do is

- Bring the water to a boil and drop in the pasta.
- Let the water return to a boil, then hopefully right at that moment I'm out of fuel. If not, I remove from heat after a minute or so.
- If there are other ingredients (cheese, veggies, powdered flavors, whatever), add those at the same time as the pasta.
- Put it in the pot cozy. A pot cozy can simply be wrapping the pot in extra socks and maybe piling a spare hat on top.
- Wait about 20 minutes and the long-cook pasta will be cooked. Wait longer and it'll be even better, not so hot and just a little bit better cooked. I've waited up to two hours (hiking onward with the pot in a ziploc bag, wrapped in extra socks and placed carefully upright in my pack--don't do this with soup).

I try to judge the exact amount of water needed for the end result so there's no draining. But if there's too much water, I dump the excess before putting it in the cozy, leaving enough water to cook the pasta but not leave it too soupy.

This cooking method works for just about anything but beans. Beans will not work. Red or yellow lentils might work, but not regular lentils or any other kind of non-pre-cooked beans.

Nothing I've tried requires a lot of time on the stove. The pot cozy actually does a better job of simmering than the stove. I sometimes employ a similar method at home now because it works so much better.

There is no problem with clean up. Lick the pot, rinse with water, scrub with back of spoon, drink the rinse water. Clean enough. 3000 miles of that and I've never been sick.