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Backcountry Kitchen The Backcountry Kitchen forum is for the discussion of food and cooking gear related topics for backpacking trips (e.g. menus, recipes, stoves, fuel...).


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  #11  
Old 07-21-2008, 09:50 PM
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badfishgood badfishgood is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reality
Now, there are some alternatives. For example, bags such as those that commercially-dehydrated backpacking meals are packaged in.

Are these bags not available for purchase? Someone has to supply them to the Mountain Houses of the world.
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  #12  
Old 07-21-2008, 10:01 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badfishgood
Are these bags not available for purchase? Someone has to supply them to the Mountain Houses of the world.
I've re-used some without any degradation issues. And know of others who do the same.

There's another PBF thread that this issue was raised in that may be of some interest: Dried Food Bags Source Needed.

Companies generally have bags made according to their specs - from commercial bag manufacturers. There are several materials to choose from too.

Reality
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  #13  
Old 07-22-2008, 08:50 AM
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tracyn tracyn is offline
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I'm a cancer survivor so cooking in plastic bags isn't something I'm interested in doing because of the health concerns. With that said . . .

I use plastic bags to package and organize food for trip but I don't cook in them.

I use a small cook pot to boil water, then pour water and food into a mug and put mug into homemade cozy to finish cooking. If in the mood for more hot food will make second mug of food. It's not a big deal to wash a mug, mug lid, and spork. And since the zip locks only have dry food in them, it's easy to save them and rinse out at home to reuse again.

I also find that by making smaller portions in batches, I don't have the messy leftovers of cooked food to deal with if I'm not as hungry as I as predicted I would be or if what I made isn't agreeing with my stomach. Have that problem with chili that I sometimes dehydrate or new recipes.

Last edited by tracyn : 07-22-2008 at 08:54 AM.
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  #14  
Old 07-22-2008, 02:40 PM
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Grannyhiker Grannyhiker is offline
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Note that the concerns stated in the cited articles are for boiling or microwaving the freezer bag. With freezer bag cooking, you bring your water to boiling and then add the hot water to the bag. The bag itself is not boiled or cooked. By the time you turn off the stove, remove the pot from the stove, measure the water, pour it into the freezer bag and then stir the food, the hot water is below the 195*F danger point that is talked about, even at sea level. At high altitudes, water boils at a much lower temperature--195*F at 9,000 feet, where I'll be in a couple of weeks, Lord willing (have to add that caveat at my age).
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  #15  
Old 07-22-2008, 05:55 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grannyhiker
Note that the concerns stated in the cited articles are for boiling or microwaving the freezer bag. With freezer bag cooking, you bring your water to boiling and then add the hot water to the bag.

First of all, it's good to know that you are not pouring boiling water (just off the stove) directly into a baggie. You've made some good points.

Actually, the companies have stressed not to put boiling (or "very hot") water into the bags -- primarily because the plastics are not designed for these hot temperatures and secondarily due to the safety concerns (e.g burns). They consider pouring boiling water into their bags a no-no just like they do submerging them into boiling water.

Certainly one can allow the water to cool to lessen the potential of leaching plastics/chemicals into the food. However, it also makes good sense to simply use something that is designed for hot water rather than a freezer bag (clearly not the designed purpose).

I know there's a book with regards to this topic (and largely where many people get the term "freezer" bag cooking) that repeatedly states throughout the book to "Add 1 cup of boiling water" to the plastic bag.

If one really thinks about it, pouring boiling (hot) water into a plastic baggie isn't a good idea. They can visually withstand quite a bit, but that's not the issue at all. Besides, this is something that younger people (children at certain ages) would like to participate in -- certainly upper scouting ages. We all have our own standards, but this isn't the way that I, personally, care to teach safe and effective cooking (outdoor skills).

Many haven't even considered these aspects, and that is quite understandable. I've received many emails and PMs regarding this topic recently and in the past -- and a growing number have begun to (or always have been) use (using) something more appropriate (as also demonstrated in this thread). Certainly some will seek to defend (and/or share their opinion regarding) their use of freezer bags and that methodology. And that's understandable too.

Many of us are constantly learning better ways to do things. And I find this admirable.

Cook-in-the-bag cooking has been around for decades, and it's not likely that people are dropping like flies from doing so -- even those using freezer bags. But it makes good, smart sense to use something more appropriate for pouring hot water into and teaching younger (et al) folks to do the same -- especially when there are even more benefits of doing so.

We're all entitled to our opinion (which everyone here appreciates), and I am all for people making their own decisions to use whatever they want.

The advice that I would give to those who wish to use freezer bags for this type of cooking is to be careful (when pouring/handling) and to use a lower water temperature. [Which is already observed by many of those who practice this form of cooking - despite contrary instruction.]

I feel strongly about recommending that everyone avoid pouring "boiling" water into a freezer bag -- no matter who says what in a book, lecture, or post. Fortunately, every single person that I've talked to regarding this matter has ignored information that advocates the use of boiling water (in any manner) in a freezer bag. So, I feel that most people are smart enough to at least avoid that -- which [IMO] is probably the most important thing regarding this topic.

My main goal is safety and overall efficiency regarding this subject. I'm constantly demonstrating outdoor skills to others (including scouts), and it's important that it be safe and proper instruction (insomuch as it is possbile).

Reality
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  #16  
Old 07-23-2008, 03:55 AM
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Laurie Laurie is offline
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I really appreciate this discussion because being an author I bear a lot of ethical responsibility here. That said, there is also the personal side. While I would love the uber-laziness (yes I said laziness - it's one little pot) of not having to clean up a pot I really just can't justify all those bags going into recycling and/or landfill. I know in some municipalities they can't be recycled. I reuse as much as a can but adding boiling water can soften the bag and make it unsuitable for reuse.

SC Johnson aka Ziploc is one of our home-town manufacturers. I've spoken to both them and to Glad. I also spoke with Health Canada, Food Sciences at the University of Guelph and others. For a long time the US FDA stood behind BPA yet Britain, most of Europe and Canada flagged them.

This is all about personal choice and I think the point to take out of this thread is that if you are concerned about leaching then you can do what tracyn does—use the recipes but not the bags.

Last edited by Laurie : 07-23-2008 at 04:01 AM.
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  #17  
Old 01-14-2013, 03:34 AM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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One thing I've liked about the foodsaver bags is that at least some of them are PCB free, so they're ideal for FBC cooking. Seal the meal (with a little extra tail to accomodate water and folding over) and you have a healthy FBC meal.

I was told by Sea-To-Summit that mylar doesn't have that same property. Of course, if you're just sealing hydration powder, it doesn't have to deal with heat. But have you used it for more - i.e. cooking in mylar? If it's really OK, that would be a substantial weight savings in food packing.

Last edited by GGervin : 01-14-2013 at 03:37 AM.
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  #18  
Old 01-14-2013, 04:33 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Mylar is a registered trademark of Dupont/Teijin, and it has been used generically to refer to this type of polyester film. It is normally clear, but is also available laminated to a hyper-thin aluminum foil (producing an enhanced barrier,...).

Because it is manufactured in several types (finishes, thicknesses), there exists a corresponding variety of applications and uses. One of which is indeed for "cooking in mylar." In fact, Dupont makes mylar that is specifically for cooking in -- e.g. "Mylar Cook."

Reality

P.S. Some may be interested in a related thread: Dehydrated Meal Cooking.
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  #19  
Old 05-29-2013, 08:52 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Other food-safe bag options to consider are the Sous Vide Zip Pouches.

They are stable at cooking temperatures, and they're "third-party tested and verified to be free of Bisphenol-A (BPA), lead and phthalates and are compliant with EU directive 2002/72/EC. They have been certified by FDA, LFGB, FDA/A REACH, LMBG and PAHS."

Reality
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  #20  
Old 05-30-2013, 06:48 PM
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Grandpa Grandpa is offline
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Those intrigue me. They also come in a non zip version for less than half the cost per bag, if you're willing to buy a hundred of them. If cooking in a cozy, having a zip closure might not be an issue. I personally have a hard time getting a good seal on a freezer bag in a cozy once I've dumped hot water into it.

Last edited by Grandpa : 05-30-2013 at 06:53 PM.
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