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  1. #1
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    Default Freezer bag cooking???

    i'm new to this and would like some info and personal experiences using this method of cooking.

    - what kinda freezer bags do you use?
    - can the bags melt or give off toxins?
    - what's the whole process consisit of? (i know probably a common sense question but i new to this so i want to be sure i cover every ground)

    i have used vacuum sealed bags before and they work great for cooking in but i don't have a vacuum sealer and the freezer bag method looks cheaper.

    thanks for taking the time to look.

  2. #2

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    1. Whatever's cheapest - lately ziploc brand.

    2. Never had a bag melt. Also never exposed one to flame. I don't believe they give off toxins, but people have argued both sides of this many, many times here.

    3. Boil water. Pour into freezer bag with food. Stir well. Stick in cozy for 10-20 minutes depending on what the meal consists of. Eat.

    Would also suggest you search this forum for "freezer bag cooking" or "fbc". Lots of information.

  3. #3
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    thanks for the heads, i'll search the forum.

  4. #4
    Registered User climber2377's Avatar
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    what types of meals have you had in the freezer bags?

  5. #5

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    Start with rice, pasta, &/or instant potatoes.
    Add dry sauce &/or gravy mix &/or cheese.
    Add dried or freeze dried veggies, and seasonings.
    Add foil pouch of meat or fish or chicken, or bacon bits.

    Most of my fbc meals follow the above 'formula'. Some have additional ingredients not covered in the above list.

  6. #6

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    This is a link to our site on a page we wrote on the basics of FBC:
    http://www.trailcooking.com/trail-co...ag-cooking-101

    (We are the ones behind www.freezerbagcooking.com) It should hopefully answer questions!
    Trail Cooking/FBC, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
    Trail Cooking

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by left turn View Post
    - what kinda freezer bags do you use?
    - can the bags melt or give off toxins?
    - what's the whole process consisit of? (i know probably a common sense question but i new to this so i want to be sure i cover every ground)
    Glad 1 quart size bags, color blue, 26 for $2 at Family Dollar.
    "Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need but not for every man's greed."
    - Mohandas Gandhi

  8. #8
    Bewilderedbeest
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    If you're worried about toxins, you can always just pour your food mix into the boiling water instead of the reverse. It also eliminates the chance of spilling boiling water on yourself. You can take it a step further and, if you're using all dry ingredients, pack them in paper bags that you can burn if you're using a cookfire or your camp has an open fire. It reduces the waste you need to pack out (thanks Ray!).

    There are lots of options, and if you're willing to dry the food yourself, it gets even better. You can dry and rehydrate almost anything. I'm personally very fond of a bowl of my homemade chili after a long day.

  9. #9
    NICE MARMOT!!! DAKS's Avatar
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    one more bit of advice i will add is that yer' gonna' want to use a spoon or spork with a really long handle.

  10. #10
    Registered User Fiddleback's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enoch02 View Post
    If you're worried about toxins, you can always just pour your food mix into the boiling water instead of the reverse. It also eliminates the chance of spilling boiling water on yourself. You can take it a step further and, if you're using all dry ingredients, pack them in paper bags that you can burn if you're using a cookfire or your camp has an open fire. It reduces the waste you need to pack out (thanks Ray!).

    There are lots of options, and if you're willing to dry the food yourself, it gets even better. You can dry and rehydrate almost anything. I'm personally very fond of a bowl of my homemade chili after a long day.
    On the other hand, there is no need to bring the water to a boil to reconstitute dehydrated food when FBC'ing. Hot water yes, boiling no. I've learned what to look for that tells me when the water is hot enough, e.g., vapor appears out the spout of my Primus kettle, a 'sound' indicating the bubbles on the side of the kettle (pre-boil) are starting to move, etc. A minute or so after those hints, the water is plenty hot for dehydrated food. In kitchen testing, that's about 185, probably cooler on the trail but I'll bet never hotter. Of course, as the water is poured into the baggie, it's cooler even still.

    Learning to use a stove set up (I use a soda can alky stove and the Primus tea kettle) like this will save fuel and maybe time (I imagine cooler water lengthens the reconstitution time but I've never compared...). It also keeps the water temp at or below what some baggie manufacturers have recommended...a possible benefit if one is concerned about toxins. However, I've always had the impression that the manufacturers' recommendation was from a burn safety and baggie melting point concern, not toxics.

    From testing and trail experience I know how much alky to put in the soda can stove to get my two cups of water to temp...light it up and when it burns out the water is ready. Kept in a cozzie while 'cooking', the meal is usually pipeing hot when ready.

    Temps, expectations and results should be adjusted for high elevations, i.e., near-boiling water won't be as hot. All my experience has been under 8000'.

    FB
    "All persons are born free and have certain inalienable rights. They include the right to a clean and healthful environment..."

    Article II, Section 3
    The Constitution of the State of Montana

  11. #11
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAKS View Post
    one more bit of advice i will add is that yer' gonna' want to use a spoon or spork with a really long handle.
    No sporks!! In my experience that's how you get little holes in the bottom of the freezer bag.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by left turn View Post
    i'm new to this and would like some info and personal experiences using this method of cooking.

    - what kinda freezer bags do you use?
    - can the bags melt or give off toxins?
    - what's the whole process consisit of? (i know probably a common sense question but i new to this so i want to be sure i cover every ground)

    i have used vacuum sealed bags before and they work great for cooking in but i don't have a vacuum sealer and the freezer bag method looks cheaper.

    thanks for taking the time to look.
    It's really easy. You can make of it anything that you want. But generally it consists of dried foods of some kind that you reconstitute in water, either hot or cold, utilizing a Ziploc or Glad, quart sized Freezerbag.

    Here's what you need and then an example of what you can cook in it.

    #1 - Get a long handled spoon to eat from such as a GSI Rehydrate (http://www.gsioutdoors.com/list.aspx?c=6&sc2=47)

    #2 - A "Cozy" of some kind. This allows your meal and water to stay hot while the food is reconstituting. It can be anything as simple as tucking it inside a beanie cap, or you can make something a little better on your own (http://www.longtrailhiking.info/end2...-bag-cozy.html)

    #3 - Here's an example of a "Trail Kitchen" - (http://www.longtrailhiking.info/end2...l-kitchen.html)

    #3 - If you have a dehydrator, how about some recipes? Here are some to get you started... (http://www.longtrailhiking.info/end2...6-recipes.html)

    #4 - Experiment with store bought foods, like Ramen Noodles, Instant Mashed potatoes, Lipton Sides, etc. Add some kind of meat like packaged chicken, tuna or salmon

    Honestly, freezer bag style cooking is not that hard to get into. You don't need a dehydrator at all if you are willing to be creative. Or, some things can be dried in a regular home oven, like Spaghetti Sauce as an example. The main thing is to experiment and have fun doing it.

    OH. No worries about Toxins. You're safe.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddleback View Post
    On the other hand, there is no need to bring the water to a boil to reconstitute dehydrated food when FBC'ing. Hot water yes, boiling no. I've learned what to look for that tells me when the water is hot enough, e.g., vapor appears out the spout of my Primus kettle, a 'sound' indicating the bubbles on the side of the kettle (pre-boil) are starting to move, etc. A minute or so after those hints, the water is plenty hot for dehydrated food. In kitchen testing, that's about 185, probably cooler on the trail but I'll bet never hotter. Of course, as the water is poured into the baggie, it's cooler even still.

    Learning to use a stove set up (I use a soda can alky stove and the Primus tea kettle) like this will save fuel and maybe time (I imagine cooler water lengthens the reconstitution time but I've never compared...). It also keeps the water temp at or below what some baggie manufacturers have recommended...a possible benefit if one is concerned about toxins. However, I've always had the impression that the manufacturers' recommendation was from a burn safety and baggie melting point concern, not toxics.

    From testing and trail experience I know how much alky to put in the soda can stove to get my two cups of water to temp...light it up and when it burns out the water is ready. Kept in a cozzie while 'cooking', the meal is usually pipeing hot when ready.

    Temps, expectations and results should be adjusted for high elevations, i.e., near-boiling water won't be as hot. All my experience has been under 8000'.

    FB
    Fiddleback is correct on the temp thing - we often test with lower water temps, and yes 185* works just fine. It can extend the period of rehydration by a few more minutes (especially at high altitude). 15 minutes though is fine for most meals when properly cozied. Often all I do is look for bubbles coming up in my pot and cut the heat, I rarely exceed 200*.
    Trail Cooking/FBC, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
    Trail Cooking

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarbar View Post
    Often all I do is look for bubbles coming up in my pot and cut the heat, I rarely exceed 200*.
    For the newer person --- this isn't necessarily true. Some stoves have a concentrated heat center (MSR Pocket Rocket) and literally within 60 seconds you could get "bubbles" but that doesn't mean the water is up to temp or ready. Make sure to experiment with your stove and a thermometer first.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by RollingStone View Post
    For the newer person --- this isn't necessarily true. Some stoves have a concentrated heat center (MSR Pocket Rocket) and literally within 60 seconds you could get "bubbles" but that doesn't mean the water is up to temp or ready. Make sure to experiment with your stove and a thermometer first.
    This isn't an issue with most FBC meals as one is heating less than 2 cups of water.

    Where that gets tricky is with a 2L pot of 6 to 8 cups of water. There the pot is much wider than the stove supports and the water is deeper.

    Over the years it goes from bubbles coming up to rapid boil in a matter of seconds - even for 3 to 4 cups water. The typical hikers pot is small and focused, made to fit on a small canister stove.

    And as well, my use of "bubbles coming up" refers to bubbles coming up - not air pockets on the bottom of the pot. There is a difference between #1 and 2. "Bubbles coming up" is right before a full boil.

    While thermometers do tell the full tale (and I use them for testing at home) I would never use one when hiking.
    Trail Cooking/FBC, Recipes, Gear and Beyond:
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarbar View Post
    This isn't an issue with most FBC meals as one is heating less than 2 cups of water.

    While thermometers do tell the full tale (and I use them for testing at home) I would never use one when hiking.

    I was not referring to "air pockets". With the Pocket Rocket those can appear almost immediately.

    I also did NOT advocate the use of a thermometer on the trail. My exact statement was.. "Make sure to experiment with your stove and a thermometer first" - A reasonable person would infer that to mean testing at home, not taking a thermometer with you to be certain of the temp of your water...

    Not all pots and or stoves behave the same, not are all people hiking at the same elevations, and you CANNOT rely on the appearance of "bubbles" to tell you when your water is hot enough. I will stand by my statement for those folks who are newer to hiking of which there are a number of on this board.

  17. #17
    Registered User Fiddleback's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollingStone View Post
    Not all pots and or stoves behave the same, not are all people hiking at the same elevations, and you CANNOT rely on the appearance of "bubbles" to tell you when your water is hot enough.
    Boiling, a type of phase transition, is the rapid vaporization of a liquid, which typically occurs when a liquid is heated to its boiling point, the temperature at which the vapor pressure of the liquid is equal to the pressure exerted on the liquid by the surrounding environmental pressure. Thus, a liquid may also boil when the pressure of the surrounding atmosphere is sufficiently reduced, such as the use of a vacuum pump or at high altitudes. Boiling occurs in three characteristic stages, which are nucleate, transition and film boiling. These stages generally take place from low to high surface temperatures, respectively.

    Somewhere in that opening wikipedia entry and what follows about boiling is the phase I was addressing when I mentioned bubbles on the side of the kettle. I refer to it as a pre-boil as opposed to the phase referred to by the more techical term of "roiling boil (or is that, 'rolling'?)." None the less,...

    As I posted above, "I've learned what to look for that tells me when the water is hot enough...learning to use a stove set-up...from testing and trail experience...' are particularly key starting points. I certainly don't take any piece of gear/system on the trail without trying it out/testing first. IMO, no one else should either and I heartily agree with RollingStone's admonition to test at home.

    The bottom line though is that the 212 commonly referenced as boiling is far more heat than necessary for reconstituting dehydrated food. Temps around 185 get the job done while reducing the amount of fuel burned, minimizing/eliminating melting baggie problems, and reducing the potential of toxicity should there be any.

    Unrelated Sidebar: Possibly of interest to RollingStone and others of Bozeman. REI is coming to your town this year. Meanwhile, the REI here in Missoula is moving to a larger facility this spring and we will no longer have the "smallest REI."

    FB
    "All persons are born free and have certain inalienable rights. They include the right to a clean and healthful environment..."

    Article II, Section 3
    The Constitution of the State of Montana

  18. #18

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    I concur with all of the above - I want to add: if your excessively lazy, like me, you don't have to be elaborate. Almost any Lipton mix or instant mashed potato mix with a foil packet of chicken added makes a fine freezer bag meal. Hot, tasty and energizing.

    - Duffy
    Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. -Kahlil Gibran

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddleback View Post



    As I posted above, "I've learned what to look for that tells me when the water is hot enough...learning to use a stove set-up...from testing and trail experience...' are particularly key starting points. I certainly don't take any piece of gear/system on the trail without trying it out/testing first. IMO, no one else should either and I heartily agree with RollingStone's admonition to test at home.

    The bottom line though is that the 212 commonly referenced as boiling is far more heat than necessary for reconstituting dehydrated food. Temps around 185 get the job done while reducing the amount of fuel burned, minimizing/eliminating melting baggie problems, and reducing the potential of toxicity should there be any.

    Unrelated Sidebar: Possibly of interest to RollingStone and others of Bozeman. REI is comming to your town this year. Meanwhile, the REI here in Missoula is moving to a larger facility this spring and we will no longer have the "smallest REI."

    FB
    Agree that you don't need a "boil" - Freezerbag Cozies made of the InsulBright Material tend to hold temps of around 160 even after 15 minutes.

    Fiddleback I am REALLY happy that REI is coming to Bozeman. Our current gear stores here aren't really customer friendly in many areas. They want the tourist dollars more than anything.

  20. #20

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    Favorite FB meal was instant 4 cheese potato, veggie soup mix, and a spam single. Packs alot of calories, and very tasty as far a fbc goes.

    Little by little, one travels far. - J.R.R. Tolkien

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