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expanding my menu
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Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
expanding my menu on 01/07/2014 20:51:33 MST Print View

I'm moving away from freeze dried foods and making the huge jump to Pasta Sides (I know. Hold me back, right!). Can this stuff be cooked by adding boiling water and placing into a cozy or does it really have to be cooked over flame for 7 minutes? I ask as I am dreading the burnt crust that inevitably awaits me when cooking with titanium on a flame.

If it can be cooked in a cozy, I imagine I have to decrease the required water. Thoughts?


Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: expanding my menu on 01/07/2014 21:50:26 MST Print View

It can....but I you can do better ;-) It does tend to be watery unless you cut the water back. You could though bring the liquid to a boil in your pot, add the dry, return to a boil, then cover and take off the heat, shoved into a pot cozy. The Pasta Sides work better this way than if you FBC them.

PS: On the other hand, precooked and dehydrated pasta works great FBC style!

Nathan Wernette
(werne1nm) - M

Locale: Michigan
question on 03/04/2014 10:19:44 MST Print View

on our recent backpacking trip we brought both pasta sides and dehydrated food. Needless to say we stuck with they dehydrated food most of the trip.

Why pasta sides?

In our experience it was a hassle to clean up, wasted more fuel cooking them, and didn't taste as good.


robert van putten

Locale: Planet Bob
Bear Creek? on 03/04/2014 14:48:33 MST Print View

I can't stand freeze dried foods anymore. Last time I tried to subsist on Mountain House for five days I wound up with no energy at all by the end of the trip.

So my wife and I have been evolving our backpacking diet away from that stuff. We save plenty of money this way, have much more energy but yes, our food bag may be marginally heavier.

We've experimented with various couscous and couscous/polenta mixes with some success, and recently we discovered this stuff -

Bear creek make soup, rice and pasta mixes. The rice stuff seems to pack the most calories.
It was on sale at a local supermarket so we got a bunch. I mostly select 'em based upon cooking time and calorie amount.

Finally, we'd found a packaged food that came in sufficient quantity to satisfy two hungry hikers!

We start by drying some sort of meat over our wood stove. This is store bought chicken breasts but we also dry fish and venison -


The meat is broken up into small bits and bagged. Don't dry it too much! It wants to be like a soft jerky.

In camp, I throw the meat, Bear Creek mix and water in a pot and heat it over my trusty Trangia stove. I don't bother to bring it to a boil, just good and hot.

But what I do is take the food off the stove, put my smaller pot on with a quart of water and two tea bags in it, set that on the stove and put the food pot on top with the fry pan / lid on top of everything.

The tea also need not boil, just heat up to 180 degrees or so. Since the tea bags were added with the cold water the brew is strong and ready to drink.


That is Bear Creek creamy potato soup that I've added a bunch of home dried fish to.
The pot holds 1.75 liters, so that is a ton of food. I think I used the amount of water recommended, but as you can see the result is thick enough to stand a spoon up in.

Package says "Serves eight", but my wife and I ate the whole thing, just.

I know that most UL hikers would never consider taking a second pot much less a full Trangia setup, but I find stacking the pots to be a great way to finish cooking the meal while making a pot of tea or coffee.

stacked pots

So anyway, in direct response to your original question ( finally! ) I'd recoemd adding the rice/pasta/soup mix to the cold water, then heat it over the stove, then remove it and place it in the cozy.

My experience indicates that it will cook much faster this way.
Why waste the time it takes to boil the water when the food could be rehydrating/warming/cooking all the while? And the food need not be brought to a full boil.

- And if you have a second pot that fits under the first, you can even make a pot of tea with the food perched on top, sharing the warmth. You'll get piping hot food and tea at the same time!

Edited by Bawana on 03/04/2014 14:50:33 MST.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Bear Creek? on 03/04/2014 15:16:11 MST Print View

I guess you know that just about every kind of freeze-dried food is low in calories since fat doesn't freeze-dry very well.

I found out a long time ago that I could fix up most kinds of freeze-dried food by adding a dollop of fat, either butter, margarine, or olive oil. Also, just pouring boiling water over it might work, but then simmering it a bit helps.


Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Bear Creek? on 03/04/2014 15:40:20 MST Print View

Yep...ANY freeze-dried or dehydrated meal is helped by a good glug of olive oil, or a nut/seed butter or coconut oil. Makes the tummy a lot happier as well....

robert van putten

Locale: Planet Bob
simmering on 03/04/2014 15:48:56 MST Print View

Oh yes, adding stuff and actually cooking it a bit certainly does help dehydrated foods!
If we do use it at all these days we'll add cheese, bits of sausage, diced tomatoes and so forth, even peanut butter ( don't laugh!).

And since I've adopted an alcohol stove I've become a total convert to the add-the-food-to-the-cold-water-then-heat school of cooking, even with dehydrated stuff like Mountain House.
Then while it is heating we root through the food bag for this and that, cut stuff up and throw in while it is heating.

It almost tastes like real food then...

Back when I always used a white gas stove we'd blast water to a boil, pour it into the Mountain House bag and wait like everyone else. And I never did like packing out the messy bags!

Then I got an alcohol stove and there was no way in heck I was gonna wait ten minutes to boil the water, pour it into a bag, then wait another ten minutes! There had to be a better way, and there is. Now I have a pot of hot food in ten minutes total time, and with my "double boiler" method I get a quart of tea and 1-1/2 quarts of food in not much more time.

Nathan Wernette
(werne1nm) - M

Locale: Michigan
FBC on 03/04/2014 16:36:41 MST Print View

FBC is intriguing. I am admittedly new to backpacking in general (away from the supported trips like philmont) My wife and I went to pictured rocks for 5 days and mountain house treated us well. but we did supplement the trip with jerky and cheese. and some trail mix.

sorry to hijack the OP