Backcountry Food

The Splitter

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Feb 19, 2014
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35
The Velveeta Shells And cheese meals are awesome for the trail, just boil the pasta and add the cheese sludge out of the bag! I re package them from the cardboard box into zip lock bags. The instant oatmeal and grits are also awesome on the trail.


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WasatchWill

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Jul 23, 2013
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An older thread here but here are my thoughts and the current system I've adopted, especially in light of some concerns mentioned by others here about plastics and toxins.

FWIW, Ziploc brand bags are free of BPA and dioxins and it appears SC Johnson has done some good lengths of research and work to make sure their Ziploc products don't give cause for concern. At least I would like to take their word for it, lest they put themselves at risk for a big lawsuit. Here's some of their statements on the matter on their FAQ page. Their freezer bag boxes also state they are microwave safe. Since it doesn't take long for a microwave to bring food/liquid to a boiling temperature, I would assume that pouring boiling water into a Ziploc brand freezer bag would present virtually no health risk.

With that all said, I've adopted the Freezer Bag Cooking method (FBC) for many of my trips and trail meals. Several years ago, while browsing the web for some trail friendly recipes, I stumbled upon trailcooking.com. There I learned all about the FBC method and soon after purchased Sarah's first (and only) book at the time along with a cozy. More recently, I made some additional cozies for my family using some of the same Insul-Bright fabric for liners and cotton prints all found at Joanns. They are ultralight, can be stored flat, rolled, or stuffed into a container, and thus take up very little space in a pack.

An immediate benefit is that there are no dishes to wipe and rinse after cooking/eating since all you do is heat up some water and pour it in the bag much like a Mountain House meal pouch -- an even greater benefit when you end up having to make and eat your dinner in the dark. This method also presents the opportunity to make a better variety of meals yourself at home -- especially when you have a dehydrator.

A number of Sarah's recipes incorporate different types of freeze-dried fruits and veggies. I find that living in Utah also has another benefit here: Tons of food storage companies and competition. Even many grocery markets here have aisles full of various freeze dried canisters. Catch a sale, and you can stalk up on a variety of freeze dried ingredients for these DIY meals at a low cost that will go a long way.

For reasons stated above as well as for durability, Sarah encourages the use of true Ziploc brand freezer bags. Still, for those concerned about boiling water potentially leaching anything toxic from the bags, keep in mind that virtually all of these meals don't actually require fully boiling water to rehydrate and cook. You only need near boiling water, which further helps save fuel, or if needed, you can bring the water to a boil, turn off the heat and let it rest of a moment before pouring it into the bag. Some meals don't require heating water at all.

For those of you who prefer cooking in pots, Sarah also has a good section with tips on "One Pot Method" cooking and recipes. In fact, nearly all of the FBC recipes overlaps with the OPM receipes, only difference being that the rehydration takes place in the pot you boil your water in rather than in the bag you stored the food in.

And now I'm hungry. Lunch time!
 
Last edited:

andyjaggy

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Joined
Dec 2, 2013
Messages
937
Growing up backpacking with my dad we would always cook amazing food in the mountains. He had some grid like thing that he put into his pot that enabled him to cook cornbread a whole slew of crazy and delicious things. These days that has all changed, when we went together last year he simply boiled water and did the mountain house meals. I am still torn between convenience and simplicity versus wanting to cook amazing food. I love cooking at home, so part of me wants to translate that into some awesome camp food, but the lazy part of me feels it's just not worth the effort.
 

WasatchWill

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Jul 23, 2013
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Growing up backpacking with my dad we would always cook amazing food in the mountains. He had some grid like thing that he put into his pot that enabled him to cook cornbread a whole slew of crazy and delicious things.

Was it something like this ? I just found out about the bakepacker this morning when looking up alternative ways to cook fresh caught fish in the backcountry. Looks interesting. I'll bet my wife would love one.

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