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  1. #1
    Backing Back into Backpacking
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    Default Quinoa vs Couscous

    I do a lot of freezerbag cooking with couscous. I've seen boxes of Quinoa next to the couscous in the grocery store. I have hear that it is some sort of "super food" but comparing the labels the Quinoa doesn't seem to be that much better for you. How does it compare to couscous? Would it work in "freezerbag" cooking style?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashman View Post
    I do a lot of freezerbag cooking with couscous. I've seen boxes of Quinoa next to the couscous in the grocery store. I have hear that it is some sort of "super food" but comparing the labels the Quinoa doesn't seem to be that much better for you. How does it compare to couscous? Would it work in "freezerbag" cooking style?
    Quinoa is a "complete protein" plus has fiber and other advantages of whole grains. It also has calcium and iron per the cookbook 365 Delicious Ways to Cook Rice, Beans, and Grains by Andrea Chesman. I use this book frequently for grain, soup, chili, and other meals.

    But quinoa takes longer to cook - you need to simmer at least 10 minutes (the book says 12) so on backpacking trip, you burn more fuel than couscous. Despite that, I still bring quinoa on backpack trips - usually one meal for every 4 I'm on the trail.

    As you know, couscous takes virtually no time to cook, hence less fuel.

    Of course, what I said above re cooking time only considers the grain itself. If you're cooking something else for flavor e.g. dried veggies, bullion cubes, etc, then you're still boiling the water longer than just pure couscous. If cooking quinoa, you can put the added ingredients in the water at the outset so it cooks while the grain is simmering as opposed to pre-cooking it for the couscous. So the realistic time difference cooking the 2 grains is more likely 5 minutes unless again, you're eating the grains without flavoring.

    Re. stoves, I understand most alcohol stoves only burn for about 10 minutes which means they only boil for what - 4-5 minutes? If my understanding is correct, I don't see how you could cook quinoa with alcohol.

  3. #3
    Registered User dpnoll's Avatar
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    Default quinoa vs coucous

    I used quinoa in a couple of recipes this summer to try it out. I cooked and dehydrated it and then there was no problem with FBC. I like the flavor better than coucous.

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    Registered User moytoy's Avatar
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    I don't don't know about cooking it freezer bag style but Quinoa is high in protein compared to Couscous. Try it and see how it works.
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    Registered User garbanz's Avatar
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    Quinoa and ground flaxseed are tops in the type of food energy and nutrition needed while backpacking. You can order quinoa flakes online and they rehydrate quickly with hot water in a cozy (like couscous for fbc). Other grains such as barley are also available in flakes at organic heath food stores in the bulk bins. Most such items need to be paired with something tasty to make them more palatable. I use granulated garlic, dried onion flakes, cheese powder, vanilla whey protein isolate, cinnamon, hot pepper, dried bell peppers, brown gravy packets, pesto mix, tomato powder and various spices.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by garbanz View Post
    Quinoa and ground flaxseed are tops in the type of food energy and nutrition needed while backpacking. You can order quinoa flakes online and they rehydrate quickly with hot water in a cozy (like couscous for fbc). Other grains such as barley are also available in flakes at organic heath food stores in the bulk bins. Most such items need to be paired with something tasty to make them more palatable. I use granulated garlic, dried onion flakes, cheese powder, vanilla whey protein isolate, cinnamon, hot pepper, dried bell peppers, brown gravy packets, pesto mix, tomato powder and various spices.
    Good info. I'm going to look into those quinoa flakes, starting by asking at my local food co-op which is a large and excellent health food store.

    2 points:

    1. Once opened, flaxmeal is supposed to be refrigerated or it supposedly goes rancid after some period of time. Personally, I haven't had that problem even when I included it in maildrops where it sat for a while. It might lose some of its nutritional worth.

    2. A few years ago, I bought barley flakes at a health food store but they took longer to cook than oats - not just longer than instant oats but even longer than thick rolled oats. Are there some kind of "instant" barley flakes?

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    Registered User RevLee's Avatar
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    Quinoa works great for FBC if you cook it first, then dehydrate it. I use a rice cooker to prepare a large batch that fills the dehydrator.
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    Registered User garbanz's Avatar
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    I packed ground flaxseed in a ziplock and it didnt go rancid during the 2 weeks I did the LT. For the AT Im vacuum packaging all maildrops. This should extend their shelflife and nutrition.
    I was adding a spoonful of regular not instant barley flakes to a dried fbc veggie stew to beef it up. Whether the barley got 100% cooked or not didnt affect the overall meal a whole lot. Just like when I add dried deer burger--- it comes out a bit chewy and breaks up the couscous/pasta/rice soft texture.




    Quote Originally Posted by Cookerhiker View Post
    Good info. I'm going to look into those quinoa flakes, starting by asking at my local food co-op which is a large and excellent health food store.

    2 points:

    1. Once opened, flaxmeal is supposed to be refrigerated or it supposedly goes rancid after some period of time. Personally, I haven't had that problem even when I included it in maildrops where it sat for a while. It might lose some of its nutritional worth.

    2. A few years ago, I bought barley flakes at a health food store but they took longer to cook than oats - not just longer than instant oats but even longer than thick rolled oats. Are there some kind of "instant" barley flakes?

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    Default from The Christian Science Monitor

    Yep, quinoa is called a "super food." Looks good for the trail instead of the "junk food" and empty calories many hikers opt for (myself included). I plan to give it a try.

    Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”)


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  10. #10

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    I have noticed that of recently flaxseed meal is being labeled as not needing refrigeration after opening. I have a huge bag from Costco that is good for a year after opening, stored in the pantry.
    As for Quinoa...if you precook and dehydrate it, it works great in FBC meals!
    http://www.trailcooking.com/dehydrating101/pasta-grains
    Scroll down for Quinoa.
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    Registered User TheChop's Avatar
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    Quinoa is the greatest of all grains. It is the Batman of grains. The Michael Jordan or Muhammad Ali of grains.

    I wish they sold instant quinoa in grocery stores. That would be the nuts.
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheChop View Post

    I wish they sold instant quinoa in grocery stores. That would be the nuts.
    It is sold but it is more a cereal than a pure grain. It comes in bags just like oatmeal and grits - you can swap it BTW for either of them in recipes! Otherwise known as Quinoa Flakes!
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  13. #13
    Registered User TheChop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarbar View Post
    It is sold but it is more a cereal than a pure grain. It comes in bags just like oatmeal and grits - you can swap it BTW for either of them in recipes! Otherwise known as Quinoa Flakes!
    Part of what I love about quinoa is the texture. I'm not sure if flakes would have the same effect but I've got to say it sounds a lot better than instant potatoes. I'm having to think about what I'm going to do in regard to resupply at grocery stores as I've only ever done the mail drop of dehydrated food.
    No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by sarbar View Post
    I have noticed that of recently flaxseed meal is being labeled as not needing refrigeration after opening. I have a huge bag from Costco that is good for a year after opening, stored in the pantry.
    .....
    Really? That makes things easier. Some kind of a change in processing?

  15. #15

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    The flakes are not as good. They don't taste nutty and sweet like regular quinoa. I don't like them. I'd suggest buying some of each and doing a taste-test before you commit.

    Also, quinoa and cous-cous aren't anything like each other. Cous-cous is like pasta and quinoa is a whole grain. To me it almost tastes like a cross between a bean and a grain. The flavor is good but it could get on my nerves after a while.
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  16. #16

    Default good tip

    Quote Originally Posted by dpnoll View Post
    I used quinoa in a couple of recipes this summer to try it out. I cooked and dehydrated it and then there was no problem with FBC. I like the flavor better than coucous.
    I'll be trying dehydration on my next trip. I carried a few portions with me last summer. Liked it cause you can make it taste like whatever you want. I observed that raw, it is a fuel hog. I also recall seeing a 2 lb bag of quinoa in the hiker box at Calf Mtn and wondering why, till I had prepared a few meals.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cookerhiker View Post
    Really? That makes things easier. Some kind of a change in processing?
    I need to find out why! Whatever it is, yay, cause if it is in the frig I forget about it ;-)
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  18. #18
    walkin' in 2k12 humunuku's Avatar
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    Default

    I love quinoa, but if i eat it for dinner...i'm very hungry the next morning. Couscous seems to digest slower or something (for me).

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    I love barley in my meals & was delighted to find, Quaker's quick barley which cooks in 10 mins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sarbar View Post
    I have noticed that of recently flaxseed meal is being labeled as not needing refrigeration after opening. I have a huge bag from Costco that is good for a year after opening...
    The main reason flaxseed meal is said to go rancid quickly is due to the abundance of healthy--but quick to degrade--omega 3 fatty acids. If they are claiming their product is shelf stable, chances are the healthy oils have been removed. In any case, I'd be a little suspicious.

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