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   BWCA Food and Recipes
      Freezer bag meal prep     

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walleyevision
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01/26/2016 10:49AM
So I'm thinking about getting a dehydrator and making some freezer bag meals. My question is do you just put your dehydrated ingredients in a ziplock and squeeze the air out, or do I need to buy a vacuum sealer? Also, how long can these meals safely last in my freezer?
 
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unshavenman
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01/26/2016 11:45AM
Personally I put my dehydrated meal in an UNSEALED ziplock bag, roll it up, wrap a half sheet of paper towel around the bag to prevent punctures, then vacuum seal. After that it goes in the freezer. I'll serve up meals from more than a year ago and they're just fine.
You can pick up a vacuum sealer cheap from eBay.
 
OBX2Kayak
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01/26/2016 04:19PM
I simply place my dehydrated food in zip-locks and store them in the freezer; have not died from food that is several years old. I do throw it out after five years just on principle.
 
01/26/2016 05:27PM
I started out vacuum sealing everything, but have since moved away from that and just put food into a Ziplock and put into freezer until I'm ready to head out.

One thing if you are going to vacuum seal, make sure to get some paper towel in as the "gravel" from hamburger and noodles can and do puncture the bags. By vacuum sealing, it can also make foods stick together and takes longer to hydrate. Pizza sauce, powdered eggs, and the like.

I'm thinking about giving these a try this year. Cook - in - Bags
 
OldFingers57
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01/26/2016 06:17PM
My wife and I usually just put our FBC meals in Ziploc freezer bags and place them in the freezer. We do occasionally vac seal some things. We keep the food up in the freezer for about 1-2 years.
 
01/26/2016 08:18PM
Everything goes into ziploc freezer bags and then stored in the pantry. I've never stored them in the freezer. I've pulled meals out that have been stored that way for 18 months and they're still fine. As long as you keep them sealed so they can't draw moisture, you should be fine. The only exception would be if you're dehydrating hamburger and there's still fat on it. Then you run the risk of a meal going rancid.
 
01/26/2016 08:52PM
quote KevinL: " I'm thinking about giving these a try this year. Cook - in - Bags "

I have used them and they are considerably more "robust" than freezer bags - about 5-mil I think. I found the small ones a little small and the medium size better.
 
01/26/2016 08:57PM
quote boonie: "quote KevinL: " I'm thinking about giving these a try this year. Cook - in - Bags "


I have used them and they are considerably more "robust" than freezer bags - about 5-mil I think. I found the small ones a little small and the medium size better."


Thanks Boonie, I'm going to order some and give them a try.
 
CityFisher74
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02/10/2016 12:22PM
So it appears that these bags are not reusable, is that correct? I have never done freeze dried meals before because I usually go to BWCA for a long weekend, but this year I am doing a full week for the first time ever and am struggling to think of meals on days 4-8.
 
inspector13
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02/10/2016 12:58PM
quote CityFisher74: "So it appears that these bags are not reusable, is that correct?"
Which bags? None will be reusable if you vacuum seal them. If you are considering the ones in the link, they have to say that if they haven’t been tested for multiple use.

 
02/10/2016 04:34PM
quote CityFisher74: "So it appears that these bags are not reusable, is that correct? I have never done freeze dried meals before because I usually go to BWCA for a long weekend, but this year I am doing a full week for the first time ever and am struggling to think of meals on days 4-8."

I struggled a little bit to go beyond a few days at first too. Then it kind of dawned on me that I wasn't thinking much beyond tomato sauce and pasta. Just think about what you normally eat, break it down and go from there. An example is beef stroganoff. I'll brown & dehydrate hamburger for the beef part. Then I'll make the sauce per the recipe and hold out the dairy components. Add in instant rice (or cook & dehydrate egg noodles) after the fact with a portion of the dehydrated hamburger and powdered dairy.

The key here is that you can't dehydrate fats like oil or sour cream, so you have to find ways to add them in on the trail or just go without. If you include them and try to dehydrate, you run the very real risk of your meal spoiling.

Another easy solution is in the 2 weeks before your trip, make extra of whatever meals you're eating and dehydrate the leftovers.

Lots of meal ideas in this thread.

I personally will do everything I can to avoid a freeze dried meal now that I've gotten fairly adequate at making my own dehydrated meals.

Shepherds pie is another easy one. I tried it at home after reading about in the thread I linked to above. Dehydrated hamburger or ground turkey, dehydrated mixed veggies (I like corn, peas, onions and carrots), a pack of instant gravy and a packet of instant cheddar mashed potatoes. Combine the meat and veggies ahead of the trip in a freezer bag. Add water to get them rehydrating. When they're done, pour off any excess water into your mug so you know how much is there. Add the gravy packet to the rehydrated veggies. Use that water in the mug and any additional you need to get the right amount for the gravy packet you've added to the bag. If you've still got water left over, use it in your mashed (which you're making separately in it's own pouch) and put them on top. You can do it all in the freezer bag and eat it out of that or pour it into a pot/bowl and eat it out of that.

You'll be thinking about this one day and the light bulb will just go off. At least that was my experience anyway.

 
muddyfeet
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03/04/2016 07:02PM
I just put meals in freezer bags and freeze. They won't compress a whole lot more and you risk puncturing the bag if you draw a vacuum on it. I'll use the vacuum sealer for repackaging individual servings of things like beefsticks and cheese.

Here is a thread to add your Freezer bag recipes.

 
HammerII
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03/04/2016 11:10PM
why not mix a bit of what you make with what you can find right on the store shelf?








 
03/05/2016 09:36AM
Reusable bags vs sealed bags?????????
I went with ziplocks and twist tie bags for many years. Finally bought a sealer and bag supply. After experiments and use the sealer does not get a lot of use anymore.
I tend to pack for trips longer than 2 or 3 days by using the NOLS pantry system. Separate ingredients combined at camp to make main courses, just like cooking at home. One time use sealed bags did not work well.

I have very good results with "dehydrated ingredients in a ziplock and squeeze the air out", even gone to the point of using a straw to suck out air (poor man's vac-sealer).

The Vacuum sealer I have gets regular use yet. More for home than camping ( beer cooler cooking). Backpacking meals for overnite to 3 days, toilet paper, emergency supplies, still get vac-sealed.

Storage life depends more on your methods and limits, but I'm comfortable with 6 mounths of ziplock frozen, dried beef/pork sausage stored results.

butthead

 
muddyfeet
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03/05/2016 11:03AM
quote butthead: "Reusable bags vs sealed bags?????????



I have very good results with "dehydrated ingredients in a ziplock and squeeze the air out", even gone to the point of using a straw to suck out air (poor man's vac-sealer).


The Vacuum sealer I have gets regular use yet. More for home than camping ( beer cooler cooking). Backpacking meals for overnite to 3 days, toilet paper, emergency supplies, still get vac-sealed.


"


Yep, our sealer is mostly used for sous vide cooking also. Mmmmm!

I disagree on the TP, though. Not sure how you could get better function than TP in a re sealable ziplock. Toss the hand sanitizer right in there with it.
 
03/05/2016 11:54AM
TP strictly for small packing, pull core and vacuum seal with ziplock for use. I reserve 1/3 rolls specifically for packing.

butthead
 
03/05/2016 06:07PM
quote butthead: "TP strictly for small packing, pull core and vacuum seal with ziplock for use. I reserve 1/3 rolls specifically for packing.


butthead
"


+1 Full roll.
 
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