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Oils and Fats

Have a favorite trail recipe or technique you'd like to share? Please do! We also like reviews of various trail food products out there. The Backcountry Food Topix forum is the place to discuss all things related to food and nourishment while in the Sierra wilderness (as well as favorite trail head eateries).
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Oils and Fats

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Jul 12, 2015 10:14 am

I take about 1 ounce of oils/fats per day, more if frying fish. My preference would be butter, but it is hard to handle (melts easily) in typical Sierra temperatures. Olive oil is healthy but I find its burn temperature is too low for fish. It is great to pour into an already cooked meal. Olive oil will turn solid at about 45F. We use "smart balance" at home and I have tried this, but realize that it contains lots of water so you do not get the caloric value for the weight. Most of the "margarine" sold now is like this- lots of water to reduce calories and easily spread. It melts with the least little heat. Last trip it also melted and made a mess. Regular vegetable oil works well for frying fish. This last trip I tried the butter-flavored Crisco (comes in cubes- found in baking section of stores). It does not have salt, so I took a little container of salt. It is 100% vegetable oil, and no water. It stayed firm, even when warm. Not the most healthy fat, but practical for backpacking. It works really well for frying fish.

What oils do you use? How to you pack it?



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Re: Oils and Fats

Postby BillyBobBurro » Sun Jul 12, 2015 12:09 pm

I eat back country fish so rarely that I use butter or don't have fish.

I just pack it in a small glass jar if it is a short hike. If it is a longer trip where weight is more of an issue then I have a small metal tin to put it in. Yes, it can melt during the day but as long as it gets used up in a few days that does not seem to be a big issue.
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Re: Oils and Fats

Postby maverick » Sun Jul 12, 2015 12:16 pm

Melt butter and skim off all milk solids, this raises smoke temp and shelf life, or just go buy some good qualiy Ghee from an Indian store.
Coconut oil is good too, but some people do not like its taste, it especially goes well with asian spiced meals, or mixed with clarified butter or Ghee.
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Re: Oils and Fats

Postby WarrenFork » Sun Jul 12, 2015 3:43 pm

I substitute grapeseed oil for olive oil in the backcountry. It has a high smoke point so it's great for frying fish. The flavor is light and basically neutral but there's a bit of nuttiness that lends a buttery note. It's also good for dressing found greens. Sometimes after breakfast on layover days I boil up spinach noodles with dried herbs, garlic granules, and onion flakes. Then I dress them with grapeseed oil, miso, and lemon juice from a restaurant packet and let them marinate in the pot all day while I'm out wandering. It's surprisingly fresh tasting, especially after several days out.

I've been carrying oil in a 7" or 8" narrow-necked rectangular plastic bottle that I brought back from Mexico. It originally held a local brand of organic vanilla but the flavor washed out. The cap seals tightly and it pours sparingly. It's the best oil container I've ever had.
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Re: Oils and Fats

Postby maverick » Sun Jul 12, 2015 5:15 pm

Grapeseed oil has a nice mild flavor and high smoke temp, but I do not use it as much because it is mostly consists of polyunsaturated fatty, as opposed to monounsaturated in olive oil.
Forgot to mention rice bran oil, it also has a high smoke temp, healthy, and we use it at work a lot.
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Re: Oils and Fats

Postby WarrenFork » Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:33 am

I confess that grapeseed oil is far from the worst of my crimes against healthy cooking in the backcountry...
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Re: Oils and Fats

Postby TahoeJeff » Mon Jul 13, 2015 11:17 am

Ghee X2
And it is being carried by quite a few "mainstream" markets these days.
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Re: Oils and Fats

Postby Eiprahs » Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:27 am

We carry cube butter in the type of plastic container that has a gasket in the lid. When it becomes clear the butter won't be needed for cooking fish, we add it to oatmeal, pasta, soups, etc.

We have carried liquid oils, but prefer butter.

Knock on wood, we've never had the butter melt by placing the plastic container in the center of a bear canister and then keeping the canister in the shade.
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Re: Oils and Fats

Postby alc101ma » Mon Aug 24, 2015 10:34 am

I bring a few ounces of canola in a plastic screw top with some plastic wrap. I use a lot of ghee at home and might try brining that next time in a small snap top tupperware type container. The flavor boost of the ghee would be really nice on the trout.

I'm not in the backcountry long enough for spoilage to be an issue, but ghee is shelf stable without refrigeration.
Hiking and camping in the Bay Area and up the Pacific coast. Backpacking in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Catching backcountry trout. I write articles, stories, guides, and how to's for exploring the outdoors. http://www.loveto.camp
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Re: Oils and Fats

Postby Scouter9 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:07 pm

We carry olive oil and ghee. The olive oil is added to freeze-dried meals for fat, flavor and texture (mmmm, in mashed potatoes!) and we do cook fish with it. The ghee is for fish and those mashed potatoes, again, ha ha!

It's nuts and Meadow Farms' cowboy jerky or landjager for our our other fats, for the most part. I hardly eat nuts outside the high country, now. Enough is enough...
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