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Once A Month Cooking Whether you cook for a month or just double your dinners, this is the place to share ideas.

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Old 11-05-2002, 05:45 AM
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Question Cooking ahead for hunting camp

My hubby and my nephews are planning a 3 day hunting trek. I want to send food(spaghetti, enchiladas, sloppy joes) in large freezer ziplock bags that they can just throw into a boiling pot water to heat. Will this be okay as long as the food is kept on ice until ready to use? I swear I have eaten leftovers that were in my fridge longer than that Any thoughts or better suggestions on this?
Thanks...KayCee
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Old 11-06-2002, 04:52 PM
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I wouldn't see why it wouldnt work, my Dad and Brothers take in a BIG pot of baked beans to the hunt camp and they just have all their stuff...meat , milk, butter etc...... on ice. They eat better in the hunt camp than at home....LOL
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Old 11-06-2002, 04:52 PM
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The food should be OK as long as it has not gotten above 40 degrees. You could freeze them and they would stay cold longer. Is it cold in Montana? What will they be hunting? I always worry about my menfolk when they have to fend for themselves.
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Old 11-06-2002, 07:31 PM
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This is good news..i guess I could freeze it all first. My only concern now is making enough. Both nephews weigh in over 200 lbs, and one is still growing. Uggh! They will definately eat better at hunting camp this year
I am in Montana, and it has finally gotten a bit chilly around here. Definately up where they will be hunting. Going after Elk, and hubby thinks there is a phantom deer running around those parts that he is going to bring home I also worry, but he has been hunting the same area since he was 14 so he knows his way around pretty well.
Thanks for the reassurance..I would have just kicked myself if everyone came home with food poisoning
KayCee
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Old 11-09-2002, 01:15 PM
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Hi in Montana - May I ask where? I'm near Bigfork at the North end of Flathead Lake. (for others who read this - I'm about 40 minutes south of Glacier National Park).
Anyway, to the camping topic - I pack lots of food for my hunting/camping family and this seems to work best - They like instant oatmeal - add raisins, hot Tang, cocoa and coffee for breakfast (all they have to do is boil water over a campfire and they can be on the trail quickly in the mornings). Occasionally they will do bacon or sausage (packed frozen) and pancakes for breakfast. If they carry syrup, its best transferred to another plastic container with a screw-type lid as the pop up pour lids for syrup WILL pop up bouncing around on a trail and spill the contents. Lunches on the trail are sandwiches (made and frozen before the trip - put into sandwich bags, then into one big bread sack), string cheese, apples, dried fruit and nuts, granola bars, etc, as they are always too far from camp in the middle of the day. Suppers vary. I make big pots of chili, spaghetti, chicken and noodle casseroles, stew in small chunks, mexican rice casserole, almost anything in 1 pot, and dehydrate the fully-cooked meals in my dehydrator. My dehydrator has smooth racks that can be set over the plastic "grid" racks. I can pour pureed fruit for fruit "roll ups" on them, as well as any casserole food. When dry, I dump the racks of food into a BIG steel mixing bowl and crumble the food. It then fits nicely into gallon zip bags and takes little space when they hike or pack our horses into the camp/hunting sites. To use, they boil water and add about as much dried food as water and stir and cook until reconstituted. One of my boys, too exhausted one night after hiking 20 miles in snow to dig in a snow cave and camp at a mountain base in Glacier Park in January (he climbs the mountain and skis down in the middle of winter) said he ate a bag of dried chili right out of the bag and it still was good!
Before I had a dehydrator (mine is American Harvest - sold at WalMart and Shopko near here - and I purchased extra racks - have 12 now) I used to dry food in my oven. Put plastic wrap on large cookie sheets and sheet cake pans, scotch tape the edges so they wouldn't shrink in, and spray them with non stick cooking spray. Pour the food out in a thin, even layer. The oven heat should be set on "warm" or just until the oven light comes on when the knob is turned. Leave the oven door ajar a little - prop with a wooden spoon if it won't stay open a crack (necessary for the moisture to escape). As edges dry if the center is still moist, crack off the dry food and continue drying the rest. Peel it off the plastic wrap into bowl and pack as above.
If they will be near the pickup, any food can be brought along frozen and will keep in a cooler for several days - I've even brought along frozen hash browns for camping breakfasts. Last weekend my hubby packed in 4 miles to a camp site - no cooler - with frozen elk steaks (I added marinade to the zipper bag in which the meat was packed) that they heated the next day and they were fine. He also wrapped baking potatoes in foil and threw them on hot campfire coals to bake - said they were delicious. Don't pack sour cream if it will freeze - separates when thawed. Butter or margarine is fine though frozen in plastic tubs.
As an evening treat, nothing beats Jiffy-pop popcorn over a campfire - shake constantly as it WILL burn easily otherwise. We bought an inexpensive collapseable/pack-easy rack on which to cook over a campfire. Old refridgerator shelves propped on rocks will work too, to set a coffee pot, a kettle, or for the popcorn - not so for burgers (fall through the grid).
Another meal can be chopped veggies (carrots, potatoes, onions, etc) and uncooked burger crumbled or cubes of round steak all piled into double foil packets. Season and wrap foil edges up tightly. These cook well right in the hot coals, but take longer than the pre-cooked food. Lift out with tongs or tree branch sticks, open and eat out of the foil.
I hope they have a great trip - camping/hunting are a way of life around here!
Jan
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Last edited by jmohler; 11-09-2002 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 11-09-2002, 05:27 PM
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if you want to have the food boil in bag, regualr baggies won't work, you must have the kind of bags that can take the boiling...if you are just planning to have them dump it in a pot them regualr baggies are fine...even freeze the stuff first and it will help stay cold in the cooler. I do that when I go camping.
Ruth
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Old 11-09-2002, 08:02 PM
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I haven't spent much time in the glacier area. My inlaws live in Kalispell and Troy, so that is about as far as I have been up that way. I live just north of Yellowstone park in Emigrant. Beautiful country full of Elk. The boys are lucky enough to have a hunting camp set up complete with stoves(cooking/ woodburning) and dry goods already there. So there is a lot of stuff I don't have to pack. Plus they will only be gone 3 days max. Although, I am going to try your oven drying method. Thanks for the tip
Take Care...KayCee
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Old 11-10-2002, 11:00 AM
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I always freeze the prepared food and send it packed in dry ice, that way it will keep for several days with no risk. The trick is to have the food frozen and then put the dry ice on TOP of the food. (cold goes down) and line the ice chest with newspaper and fill all unused space with crushed paper. That keeps the gasses released by the dry ice contained closer to the food. I used 10# for a 5 day trip, but we are in the SW.
Do not go into the chest unless it is necessary (which releases the gas), have other cold foods in a different chest, and maybe have the first meal or two in the regular ice chest. If some is unused it should still be ok to use after they return if it is a short trip. If thawed I just reheat it and sometimes I have refrozen it if I couldn't use it fast enough. I have never used boilable bags, just freeze in mayo jars, peanut butter jars, plastic tubs etc that are disposible. Just don't fill to the top, leave some space for expansion. Good luck!
Cactusland
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Old 11-10-2002, 11:00 AM
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I always freeze the prepared food and send it packed in dry ice, that way it will keep for several days with no risk. The trick is to have the food frozen and then put the dry ice on TOP of the food. (cold goes down) and line the ice chest with newspaper and fill all unused space with crushed paper. That keeps the gasses released by the dry ice contained closer to the food. I used 10# for a 5 day trip, but we are in the SW.
Do not go into the chest unless it is necessary (which releases the gas), have other cold foods in a different chest, and maybe have the first meal or two in the regular ice chest. If some is unused it should still be ok to use after they return if it is a short trip. If thawed I just reheat it and sometimes I have refrozen it if I couldn't use it fast enough. I have never used boilable bags, just freeze in mayo jars, peanut butter jars, plastic tubs etc that are disposible. Just don't fill to the top, leave some space for expansion. Good luck!
Cactusland
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Old 11-10-2002, 02:48 PM
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Kaycee,
I started a note - somehow lost it, so here goes again.
I may know your inlaws, as we work and attend church in Kalispell, and have been in the valley (Whitefish 6 mo., Kalispell 10 years, and now Bigfork 18 years) for over 28 years. I'm curious who they are! I'm a nurse and teach childbirth prep classes.
My hubby has hunted the area around Dillon - loves the wide open spaces, unlike the thick woods and "buck brush" in which he usually hunts up here. My sister's hubby hunts near Yellowstone if they get the special late season tag - goes to a camp where a guide leads them to the elk.
Sorry this is off-track for the rest of you - should have a note about camp food!
DH does have a wood stove for heat in his wall tent, but does some of his "hunting-camp" cooking over an outside campfire. He likes EASY, so thats why most of his meals are the "boil water and dump dried food into the water" type meals - says it leaves more time for the hunt! Plus, packing cans or frozen foods gets too heavy and takes too much space if they hunt an area where they have to pack in with horses or frame back packs. When my son goes into Glacier Park for winter skiing, weight is of the essence - he's carrying 75 pounds of gear and food on his back, including skis anchored on his big frame back pack and snowshoes on his feet.
For your future reference, I have a book called "Home Food Dehydrating" - economical do-it-yourself methods for preserving, storing and cooking. Maybe something like that is available to borrow from a library near you. Call your nearest county extension office - usually at the county seat for drying recipes as well. About half of this little book is about how to store and prepare the dried foods. From the book - for oven drying, electric oven door should be open 2 inches, gas door open 8 inches. Temp should be about 145 degrees, and preheat the oven. I dried lots of fruit leather - pureed fruit in season with a little honey added using the oven method years ago "pre-dehydrator days". Its less sweet and healthier (in my opinion) than sugary fruit leather from the grocery store and makes a great snack for the kids or to take along hunting. Plastic wrap needs to be anchored at edges so it won't roll down on the pureed fruit - I used tape, but clothes pins may work as well. Most cake pans are too deep for even drying, so use sheet cake pans or cookie sheets. Dry until fruit is dry, but still a little bit "tacky". Some suggest inverting it onto another piece of wrap and continuing to dry the other side - I've never done that. When dry, unroll and reroll in plastic. Store in tightly covered container - I use zipper bags and squeeze out as much air as possible before closing. It doesn't last long here, soI don't know about it getting too old. Let me know if you'd like a few recipes for fruit leather (apple-chokecherry, banana-pineapple, peach-plum, strawberry-rhubarb my kids' favorite, etc.).
One other thing if you ever dry chili or casseroles for camping - after dried, I blot up grease if I see any - eg, chili, with paper towels before crumbling and packing.
Sounds like freezing will be the "way to go" for this trip for DH and nephews. I hope they have a great time doing the "Guy Thing"! I have a T-shirt that says "We interrupt this marriage for the hunting season" - how true at this house!
Jan
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