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Freezer bag cooking ... in mainstream media

11:09 p.m. on December 11, 2011 (EST)
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11:39 p.m. on December 11, 2011 (EST)
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We've visited this camp kitchen in the past. In emergencies maybe, but cooking in any plastic, long-term, scares the bejeesus out of me.  Bad news in the health department. I won't heat anything plastic in the microwave. I Mean really, they tell you not to leave your water bottle in the sun for a reason.

11:45 p.m. on December 11, 2011 (EST)
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I gotta say I do not buy the pre made meals from Mountain House, etc. With a lil thought I can do alot better in the grocery store for alot cheaper.

Also a food dehydrator is a great thing to have.

The Knorr's meals make their way into my pack quite often along with foil packs of chicken breast(cubed) and tuna.

10:43 a.m. on December 12, 2011 (EST)
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I aslo do not buy the premade stuff. I eat mostly pasta (Macaroni) and buy it in bulk and use bulk cheese cubed for Mac and Chs meals. I also eat a lot of top ramen and homemade instant rice dishes.

11:27 a.m. on December 12, 2011 (EST)
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If you can don't use Ziplocks as the temperature gets to them very quickly.

Use Sea-A-Meal Vacuum packaging, pre cook at home, vacuum seal at home  and heat up on the trail.  These bags are much more durable and heating up is a lot less time than cooking, especially when in plastic.

1:04 p.m. on December 12, 2011 (EST)
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I just use alligator freezer Ziplocs for carrying the food items and cook in my 1 quart pot. The freezer bags last longer and I re-use them over and over till they wear out. I wash them out if I put things like cheese in them, then turn them inside out to air dry. I use two sizes, the one quart and one gallon size bags. Things that have rough edges like dry macaroni I double bag to keep the pasta in the ziploc's.

One needs the pot anyway to heat the bag unless you use MRE heat packets.

2:49 p.m. on December 12, 2011 (EST)
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Be aware that not all plastic bags are suitable for bag cooking. Most of the usual ziploc and heat seal bags will give off various chemicals when heated to boiling temperature, BPA being merely the most notorious. Use only bags intended for use in cooking bag meals. There were a number of threads on this on Trailspace over the years.

4:53 p.m. on December 12, 2011 (EST)
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Have been curious about this BPA chemical ever since companies like Nalgene started redoing their bottles. How come the BPA wasn't noted as a poisonous chemical in the plastics before they made the bottles the first time around?

8:11 p.m. on December 12, 2011 (EST)
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Both The OGBO and f_klock commented that this topic has been discussed in the past.  Sorry for the bringing up an old topic ... I just thought the type of site where the article appeared was interesting and that it might be interesting reading for others.

12:09 a.m. on December 13, 2011 (EST)
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But always there is potential for new ideas.

9:13 a.m. on December 13, 2011 (EST)
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bheiser1 said:

Both The OGBO and f_klock commented that this topic has been discussed in the past.  Sorry for the bringing up an old topic ... I just thought the type of site where the article appeared was interesting and that it might be interesting reading for others.

 No worries. It's a good topic and it's been a while since it was discussed. Always good to get others' opinions and new ideas. Sometimes threads can be condensed, but often it's a bit difficult to find the original discussion, so new ones are not a problem. Thanks for your participation!

1:24 p.m. on December 13, 2011 (EST)
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Which bags?

I continue to review cooking/boiling/steaming bags at my local market.  During these holiday times of spring, summer, fall, winter), new versions of bags arise.

So many good options now that regular "freezer bags" types don't need to be used. So you should be able to find the correct bag for the type of cooking your doing, except over an open flame, frying, or direct heat source.

They have various sizes for the steaming, boil, etc.  You can find from small (1-person serving)-to-turkey (various turkey sized also even!).

1:27 p.m. on December 13, 2011 (EST)
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f_klock said:

it's a bit difficult to find the original discussion

 I actually posted on that thread that was mentioned. I was looking for it because I wanted to post a link to it last night but gave up...

Thats alot of digging. 

2:57 p.m. on December 14, 2011 (EST)
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Gary Said

Have been curious about this BPA chemical ever since companies like Nalgene started redoing their bottles. How come the BPA wasn't noted as a poisonous chemical in the plastics before they made the bottles the first time around?

A few answers:

1. This chemical isn't truly a "poison, in that it's toxic effects aren't acute in nature.  Even the most extreme anti-plastic folks out there will agree that the potentially hazardous effects of plasticizers aren't acute, they are more subtle and occur in the log term with consistent exposure.

2. The regulatory process with this one was a bit confounded.  For BPA, it was acknowledged that the chemical had hazards, but they were not considered relevant because some flawed studies "proved" that BPA's weren't soluble in water.

Though I drank from Lexan bottles for years, I now avoid them.  More heartbreaking: I now avoid canned beer, as I suspect the BPA in the liners is more soluble in alcohol than water.

2:48 p.m. on December 15, 2011 (EST)
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Bill S said:

Be aware that not all plastic bags are suitable for bag cooking. Most of the usual ziploc and heat seal bags will give off various chemicals when heated to boiling temperature, BPA being merely the most notorious. Use only bags intended for use in cooking bag meals. There were a number of threads on this on Trailspace over the years.

 Yes, I should have mentioned that there are bags made specifically for cooking, and that you can find them at your neighborhood market. The point was that some bags, which you might pick up because they seal, are ok, when in fact there are several reasons not to use them, such as the chemical release and that they melt when heated to boiling (or worse, when subjected to direct heat). Aluminum foil meals in the fire are pretty good, though.

3:09 p.m. on December 15, 2011 (EST)
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I prefer the aluminum foil bowl. Great way to cook stew and gat a nice smokey flavor. No good if no camp fire though. Bottle beer for me :)

2:23 p.m. on January 28, 2012 (EST)
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Okay Ive been wanting to try the FBM's.  Problem is I cant find the bags ment for boiling at my supermarket or wally world. I did find some crockpot liners that would probably work but they're huge. I did see some  microwave steamer bags, would these work? If not where are you all getting your safe to use bags?

2:25 p.m. on January 28, 2012 (EST)
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If you can afford get a Seal-A-Meal FoodSaver Vacuum packing machine.  Their bags work great.

3:00 p.m. on January 28, 2012 (EST)
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Not sure if I want to invest in the seal a meal just yet. Ive not tried the FBM's  yet so would hold off untill I decide if I like the system or not. Thanx for the idea tho.

9:41 p.m. on January 28, 2012 (EST)
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I do alot of FBC, i use ziploc freezer bags. Of all the bags out there, i find these the most economical to use IMO. Not to mention they are pretty durable as well. Not all freezer bags are created equal, do your research before using them. Some have chemicals, some leak when boiling water is poured in.

The ziploc freezer bags don't have BPA or some of the other commonly debated chemicals in the plastic. Here is a link that shows exactly whats in them and whats not.

http://www.whatsinsidescjohnson.com/en-us/products-by-brand/ziploc/ziploc-brand-freezer-bags.aspx

10:39 p.m. on January 28, 2012 (EST)
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Thanx for the info TheRambler. I didnt even think of looking at product websites for info. Ziploc's do look like a safe option.

I like some of the meals from Mountain House and Backpackers Pantry but looking at the Ingredients and Nutrition and the taste of most all that comes to mind is "WOW what a sack-o-garbage!"

Ive been experimenting with some meals ment for FBC but have yet to try them in the bag.

4:25 p.m. on February 27, 2012 (EST)
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Freezer Bag Cooking is a must for those of us that can't tolerate high sodium content found in most freeze-dried commercial meals.

Mary Jane Farms is the exception with much lower sodium content and more use of spices to get the correct flavoring.

About 90% of my backpacking meals are FBC. I love the great taste and smell of them compared to the usual freeze-dried fare.

Eric

11:17 p.m. on February 27, 2012 (EST)
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So far I like the FBC method. Ive only used it on my last two trips. The only real downside so far is oatmeal gets all over my fingers unless mixed kinda dry and thick. But I sure like the control over salt and other spices for the dinner menu.

I really like the warm bag in my hand during breakfast on those cold mornings.

4:18 p.m. on February 28, 2012 (EST)
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f_klock said:

We've visited this camp kitchen in the past. In emergencies maybe, but cooking in any plastic, long-term, scares the bejeesus out of me.  Bad news in the health department. I won't heat anything plastic in the microwave. I Mean really, they tell you not to leave your water bottle in the sun for a reason.

Word........................if you have any compunction about cooking in plastics that are not designed to be cooked in try this.  Take a piece of saran wrap, any type will work.  Take a microwave safe bowl and suspend the saran wrap over the bowl and turn on the Microwave.  What you will see is liquid plastic dripping of of the suspended plastic into the bowl.  Wolla, plastic soup..........I think not.  It is dangerous to cook with any plastics that are not designed to be used for that pourpose.  I do not believe (IMHO) that it is  safe to use any (approved or not) plastics to cook in for anything that is injested.  I will not use plastic bottles even for water.  Leave the water in for a few days and it still smells and tastes funky, like chemicals.  Stainless bottles are $.99-1.29 at my Goodwill store.  But what the heck, feel free to poison yourself for the convience of a zip lock bag. 

4:55 p.m. on February 28, 2012 (EST)
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Apeman, you are correct about plastic bottles. However, bear in mind that even if it is stainless steel, there are still potential hazards from chemicals. Depending on the alloy, and where it is made, you may find amounts of chromium(always), cadmium(rarely), nickel, and even lead in the metal.

8:54 p.m. on February 28, 2012 (EST)
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Erich said:

Apeman, you are correct about plastic bottles. However, bear in mind that even if it is stainless steel, there are still potential hazards from chemicals. Depending on the alloy, and where it is made, you may find amounts of chromium(always), cadmium(rarely), nickel, and even lead in the metal.

 

Most if not all of the high quality stainless steel bottles are generally crafted from culinary-grade stainless steel. So far as I've seen and researched, there appears to be little to worry about when using culinary-grade stainless steel. That's not to say that any of the cheaper stainless bottles may not be culinary-grade stainless steel and may leach the chemical's you mentioned. I'd much rather take my chances with culinary-grade stainless steel than any kind of plastic. If they could make a quality glass material that was light and did not break that would be the gig but until then it's quality stainless bottles for me.

12:20 a.m. on February 29, 2012 (EST)
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I think European plastic bottles are cadmium-free.

I think I read that an extra chemical "wash" is a requirement in Europe.

I choose food-grade stainless steel bottles that have no plastic lining, in case I want to boil water inside the stainless steel bottle by laying it in the coals of a fire. I haven't done that, but I might want to do so.

I select "freezer bags" that have two rows of zip-closures.

I am not as worried about it as I was. (I still don't buy canned food.)

The standard is "boil-in-a-bag" and "add-hot-water".

We are "add-hot-water" with "freezer bag cooking". The "freezer bags" are made to meet or exceed the "add-hot-water" standard.

I do have "boil-in-a-bag" plastic rolls for my Seal-a-Meal. I don't "boil-in-a-bag" on the trail or at home. However, I could use those bags, if I like.

PackIt Gourmet sells Cook-In-Bags http://www.packitgourmet.com/CookIn-Bags.html if you like.

If you visit their website, you will find other specialized products for backpacking you might also like.

11:40 a.m. on February 29, 2012 (EST)
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I also advocate for culinary grade stainless and while the actual standards may be high, in practice, they can be lax. I think that buying a European stainless bottle is safe, generally, but when it is made in China, sometimes quality takes a back seat to price point.

1:35 p.m. on February 29, 2012 (EST)
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agreed

6:30 p.m. on February 29, 2012 (EST)
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Connie- Thanks for that website. Just spent some time looking it over and I think a couple of the meals at least deserve a test. I will be ordering some and get back to you guys.

10:37 a.m. on March 2, 2012 (EST)
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I have "tested" some of their products. ;-)

Every one was not a disappointment, so far.

Don't overlook the ingredients for DIY.

Trail Cooking mentioned Nature's First Full Cream Powdered Milk.

I don't like powdered milk, but this one tastes good. It also mixes in well.

I look forward to hearing the prepared meals you like. If I placed an order for meals, I would want to order one of everything!

10:54 p.m. on March 7, 2012 (EST)
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what's for dinner

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