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#148660 - 03/31/11 12:08 PM boiling water and food simultaneously?
thecook Offline


Registered: 10/03/08
Posts: 541
Loc: Minnesota
OK, I know that bringing water to boil will kill the bacteria and protozoa and do that for cooking water. But, it is faster and more fuel efficient when cooking real rice or whole grains to put them in the cold water rather than waiting until the water boils. If you add rice to untreated water and bring to a boil is this still sufficient to make the water safe? (I really hate dehydrated rice-it never makes me feel full and doesn't have the right texture.)
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If I wouldn't eat it at home, why would I want to eat it on the trail?

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#148661 - 03/31/11 12:34 PM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: thecook]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 829
Loc: Torrance, CA
I take no responsibility if this doesn't work out for you, but I would think by the time you have cooked rice, you will have killed most everything living in there.

The rice being in there is inconsequential. Your just looking for time and temperature. If you bring it up to the same temperature for the same amount of time you have had the same sterilizing effects.

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#148662 - 03/31/11 12:44 PM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: BZH]
james__12345 Offline
member

Registered: 10/06/10
Posts: 189
Loc: Tennessee
I know that turbidity can make chemical treatment take longer because the stuff in the water provides cracks for the bacteria to "hide" in and block them from being killed by the treatment. I would think the same concept could apply here, but I dont really know.

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#148663 - 03/31/11 12:51 PM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: thecook]
Glenn Offline
member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 2617
Loc: Ohio
I don't know the science behind this; all I can give you is my own anecdotal experience. I used to dip water from creeks, dump in the Knorr (Lipton) Side Dish ingredients, and boil the whole thing for whatever the instructions said to do. I never got sick from eating the food, though I eventually got sick OF eating the food. wink The big unknown: I don't know what, if anything, the water contained in the form of "nasties."

Is it safe? I can't say for sure. Does it work? It has for me.

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#148666 - 03/31/11 01:27 PM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: thecook]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Temps of 180*F will kill giardia cysts, so unless you're at an altitude where the boiling point is less than that, you should be fine.
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#148674 - 03/31/11 03:33 PM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: thecook]
ShadeDog Offline
member

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 40
Loc: Minnesota
A temp of 180-200 should kill everything, but what temp is the center of the (now water saturated) food you are boiling. Maybe it is below 180 even if your water is boiling at 212.
That could be a problem.

The water doesn't first boil then migrate through the food.
I guess you would have to boil the heck out of it to be sure the center temp is where you want it.

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#148681 - 03/31/11 04:53 PM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: thecook]
dkramalc Offline
member

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 1070
Loc: California
We generally soak our dehydrated food when we get to camp, then bring it all to a boil after whatever soaking period, ten minutes to an hour (in other words, as soon as we are starving and can't wait any longer). Have never had any problems with this method (in Sierra mtns).

As long as everything in there is brought up to boiling point, I think it should not matter. If the innards of the Giardia/bacteria/ whatevers are boiling, we assume that kills them.
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#148685 - 03/31/11 06:19 PM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: dkramalc]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
When I do one pot meals I soak my foods if needed (or not, it depends on the recipe) and then bring to a boil. Heck, I do that if I am boiling pasta as well, saves fuel - though you have to pay attention so it doesn't get over cooked.
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#148693 - 03/31/11 10:59 PM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: sarbar]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
I am lazy. I boil water than add the rice or pasta. Otherwise there is just too much stirring involved. Starting pasta in cold water also makes it pasty. I boil water, dump in rice, cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring, then put on a tight lid, turn off the stove and let it sit 5 minutes. Perfect for instant brown rice. I do not use a cozy, but if I were to go out in really cold weather I would. This post-boil "cooking" really saves fuel.

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#148694 - 03/31/11 11:28 PM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: wandering_daisy]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I can't figure out if I'm lazy or not. I cook the rice and/or pasta at home and dehydrate it, so I can just add hot water, instead of wash a pot while backpacking.
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#148703 - 04/01/11 12:34 AM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: ShadeDog]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
No worries--if the temperature remained low in the middle of the food, the food wouldn't cook--you'd have raw rice (think broken teeth and many $$$ of dental bills) in the middle!

Besides, the directions for cooking rice are that you give it a brief stir when the water comes to a boil (by which time giardia and bugs are dead, but the rice is still pretty solid), then turn the heat down to simmer.


Edited by OregonMouse (04/01/11 12:35 AM)
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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#148731 - 04/01/11 02:08 PM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: OregonMouse]
thecook Offline


Registered: 10/03/08
Posts: 541
Loc: Minnesota
Thanks to everyone for your replies.

There are at least a billion ways to cook rice wink but the way I've adapted for trail use is:

1/3 c rice and 1 c water (1:3 ratio). Soak rice at least 10 minutes. Bring to boil and boil for 4-8 minutes (1 oz of alcohol will do this for me). Insert into cozy. After 10 minutes drain any excess and let stand 5 more minutes. If there is any water it should be just a dribble. You may need to adjust the water based on the quality and freshness of your long grain rice.
_________________________
If I wouldn't eat it at home, why would I want to eat it on the trail?

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#148735 - 04/01/11 02:55 PM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: thecook]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I only cook rice at home. When making up my food for the summer (I'm doing this right now), I cook large batches of rice in chicken, vegetable or beef broth plus seasonings and dehydrate them. I'm a "Freezer Bag Cooking" (really rehydration, not cooking) fan; it takes about 15 minutes in the cozy after pouring on the boiling water. IMHO, the result is really yummy and no dishes to wash!


Edited by OregonMouse (04/01/11 02:56 PM)
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#148768 - 04/02/11 11:36 AM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: OregonMouse]
sarbar Offline
member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 1453
Loc: WA
I'd agree. The last time I cooked rice on the trail (raw rice) was my Sophomore year in college. I either use commercially done instant rice or cook and dry gourmet varieties at home!
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www.trailcooking.com

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#148772 - 04/02/11 02:12 PM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: lori]
CamperMom Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1186
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
Lori-

I don't consider the boil water and dump style lazy. I consider it efficient, fuel saving, and a savings of my precious recreation time. It may even be healthier. At home I do at least 90% of the food prep and all of the clean-up. I have all sorts of appliances and cutlery, refrigeration, and plenty of hot water and soap. I can easily wash my hands and utensils at home. Why not take advantage of those things, do my prep at home, and be able to kick back the little time I'm on the trail? It takes a lot less time and fuel to heat water and dump it of precooked and dehydrated food than to do all of the prep on the trail.

CamperMom

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#148779 - 04/02/11 06:19 PM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: CamperMom]
GDeadphans Offline
member

Registered: 12/26/08
Posts: 382
Loc: Maine/New Jersey
I do this as well, and dump meals in separate zip locks and include the instructions that came on the box if applicable. Really is great to not fuss with it.

I cook rice 1/2 cup to 1 cup water for white rice. I let it boil to the water runs dry then turn everything off and let it sit for about 10 minutes, the steam cooks the rice perfectly. Great for sushi rice too.
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#148787 - 04/02/11 07:54 PM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: GDeadphans]
CamperMom Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1186
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
I bump this up (or is it down?) another notch. Now, I may change the plan for a longer hike without access to my own self-resupplying. For years, I've put together little bags of cooked and dehydrated one-pot main dishes, to which I add hot water and eat from the bag after it has had time to sit and rehydrate. I have a little pot that is used to heat water and maybe as a cup for tea or coffee. It basically stays clean. I lick off my spoon, rinse, and sanitize it once a day in my hot water. Once in a while I will have a hot breakfast, but generally, I have one hot meal per day in summer and get by with half of an Esbit per day. Water does not need to actually boil, just get steaming hot. I might even get a fairly hot cup of tea with supper from that same Esbit half. The bags I've been using are washed and sanitized mylar snack bags. Super light, and more vapor reand puncture resistant than plastic bags. If I had a longer walk between supply points (usually mine or a partner's car) 3 or 4 days apart, I might need to plan differently.

CM

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#148790 - 04/02/11 10:04 PM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: CamperMom]
Kent W Offline
member

Registered: 10/15/09
Posts: 607
Loc: IL.
I do some freeze dried meals and some prepared at home. I agree CM I like to keep it simple when backpacking. Personally,itmakes things more enjoyable. I dont use freezer bags as much as my vacuume seeler bags. I think they are much sturdier.

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#148814 - 04/03/11 03:19 PM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: Kent W]
JollyRogers Offline
member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 26
Loc: Iowa
If you don't mind a little weight you can just boil the pouch the rice comes in. Already pre-cooked. You can use the water you boil to drink and it takes much less time to heat this than bringing water to a boil. So you save even more fuel and still no dishes.

Uncle Ben's Ready Rice

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#149294 - 04/16/11 10:52 AM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: JollyRogers]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By JollyRogers
If you don't mind a little weight you can just boil the pouch the rice comes in. Already pre-cooked. You can use the water you boil to drink and it takes much less time to heat this than bringing water to a boil. So you save even more fuel and still no dishes.

Uncle Ben's Ready Rice


Sure that works for any retort packaged stuff (like MRE's) trouble is most of us aren't interested in heavy food most of the time. or put it this way, carrying that much weight of water in the food to save carrying a little bit of fuel would be somewhat counterproductive.
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#149297 - 04/16/11 12:18 PM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: phat]
CamperMom Offline
member

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1186
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
Anything packaged for the military comes with the added bonus of near-bomb-proof packaging, so even the "container" is too heavy for most of us. UB Rice packaging will probably be a little lighter.

Before I invested in Esbit tablets, I used military surplus trioxane bars. I have a big stash purchased cheaply from Sportsman's Guide. If you have any, try unwrapping a couple at home and weighing the packaging. The same level of heavy-duty foil+ is used for MREs. I'm not going to repackage an MRE, but I am considering packaging a few trioxane bars into a mylar snack bag right before weekend trips. (Trioxane is toxic, so be sure to wash your hands after handling them and use only in the open for good ventilation.)

CamperMom

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#149611 - 04/26/11 04:02 AM Re: boiling water and food simultaneously? [Re: CamperMom]
JollyRogers Offline
member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 26
Loc: Iowa
Understood, just offering up the option.

On extended trips I travel much lighter but for just a weekender the added water weight isn't really an issue for me.

When traveling lighter I usually carry a small amount of extra virgin olive oil with me. About a teaspoon worth is good for 2 cups of water when making meals. I boil the water with the oil in it and then add my dry good once I have a rolling boil. I'll let it run until the stove goes out and keep it covered for another 5-10 minutes to let it continue to cook.

The oil soaks into the food nicely and doesn't really affect the taste, but it keeps noodles and rice from sticking to the pot and keeps your pasta from boiling over.

By getting a rolling boil before you add your food you ensure anything that might have been in the water is already dead and then you don't have to worry about heating the whole meal to 180+.

It makes a good substitute for things that recommend butter or margarine, is good for lubing various seals, freeing a stuck zipper, used as a lip balm, heck you can even use it to lube up for a shave or oil leather boots/gear.


Edited by JollyRogers (04/26/11 04:08 AM)

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