So I have seen a few videos online of people cooking dried food in zip-lock bags using boiling water poured directly in the bag. I decided to try it and the food of course tasted like plastic (BPA's?) and I ended up throwing it in the fire. Am I not using the right bags or is this just a bad idea?
Others will have better answers, but the short answer is that you can't just use any old ziploc bag. Some outdoor stores have the food-grade ziplocs that Enertia and other food companies use; they're usually about 30 cents apiece.
The idea of cooking in and eating from the bag is a good one; I tried it exclusively for about a year, and have done so off and on lately. However, recently I've been swinging back to boiling water in my Jetboil, turning it off, dumping in the meal, and eating from the pot. It just seems to fit my style better: using the bag, I always seemed to be getting sauce on my hands from dipping down into it, because the bag tended to try to shut. That doesn't happen with a pot. For me, I'd rather clean the pot (easy, when there's no chance of burned-on food) than haul a wet, greasy, and maybe smelly piece of trash (the used bag) around with me.
But that's just me. Get the right kind of bags and give it another try - if you like eating from the bag, that's great!
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I use freezer bags which are specifically made for food storage and will stand hot water (since part of the preparation process for freezing vegetables is blanching them for a minute or two in boiling water, they go into the bag pretty hot). Note that your rehydration (not cooking) water cools down the instant you take it off the fire, so will be well under 212* F (even at sea level) when you pour it into the freezer bag. Of course at higher altitudes the boiling point of water is much lower than 212*F/100*C.
I have never tasted any plastic taste in my food and strongly suspect that you used bags that were not meant for food storage!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Like Glenn, I carry my food in plastic bags and dump it into the water in my pan (after I have extracted my tea/coffee water).
However, I have used the "rehydrate in the bag" system quite a bit. I have used the standard Ziplock brand (the heavy, original version) and don't ever remember tasting plastic.
Like Glenn, I eventually just felt it was easier eating out of my pot, and using a shorter spork. I use my tea bag and maybe a tablespoon full of water to wipe out the pan and I don't worry very much since the next time I use it it will be to boil water, which should pretty well sterilize it.
Edited by JPete (07/11/1308:37 PM) Edit Reason: spelling
Plastics leach when heated, I personally never trust and plastics with heat. Some plastics are better than others as some have stated, freezer bags are the excepted option for most. I'll stick with Ti!
The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.
I use the same cleanup method and same amount of water. Recently, I've been "making" my own meals, rather than using freeze-dried: some instant brown rice, a foil packet of salmon, tuna, or chicken, some lemon-pepper seasoning, and some parmesan cheese is typical. I do carry this in a Ziploc bag, rather than the bags from the outfitter store, since I won't be pouring hot water into it. I've never noticed any plastic taste to the food.
Yeah, I make my own as well, have done so for years. My pattern is very similar to that of Freezer Bag Cooking. My system is a starch (rice, powdered potatoes, cornmeal, couscous, Quinoa flakes, Ramen noodles, red lentils), something to bind (often Cup O Soup or a powdered sauce, or a white sauce made of powdered milk, butter buds and some flour or powdered cheese), and a protein such as yours, or hard sausage. Sometimes I use dried or freeze dried vegetables as well.
I have been using this for the last several years. I use Food Saver bags. No plastic taste. TrailCooking.com says Glad bags. Others do not work as well.
The usual supper consist of Idahoan Potatoes or Liptons, Just Vegetables and TVP. Breakfast is hot cereal (oatmeal, Cream of Wheat etc) with powdered milk and add on like dried fruit etc. Just add hot water and let set for a while. It advises to use a cozy but I have found that even without the cozy in the summer time by the time it has re hydrated it is still to hot to eat. Long handled spoons are available to keep your hands clean.
Loc: Washington State, King County
"I use Food Saver bags. No plastic taste. TrailCooking.com says Glad bags. Others do not work as well."
Ziplock brand quart-sized ziplocks work great for me.
I have read that using local store-brand ziplocks isn't a good idea, so never tried it. Not just for any potential plastic leeching, but just in general if you're pouring very hot water into food powder in the backcountry, you want to be confident that the bag is up to holding that all together without any sort of failure.
I actually use the long-handled Jetboil spoon. The problem isn't my fingers going into the bag - it's the stuff that gets on the lower part of the spoon's handle. No matter how careful I am, the spoon always works its way up into my hand, depositing the food there. Not the fault of the spoon - definitely operator error. But regardless of cause, the effect is the same: greasy hands. Also, crud tends to collect in the little cutouts and slots on the Jetboil spoon's handle over a few days, and isn't easy to clean. Yes, I could get a smooth metal spoon to solve that problem. But I like the collapsible storage (again, preference, not any inherent "better" design.) So, given my own idiosyncrasies, eating from the pot fits my style better. But, as I said, that's just me; I freely admit the advantages of cooking and eating in the bag, I just choose not to.
ry the vacuum seal type bags. because I have a dehydrator and a vacuum seal gadget I seal my bags with enough room to cut the top and add water a few times each. There is no detectable (to me) plastic taste. I have had failures from other type of plastic bags, the vacuum seal type are very strong. you can freeze them as well as put them into boiling water as you do with the foil type. This would not work well on a long trip but it does for up to 5-7 days.