What Stays Good in a Cache?

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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rlown
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Re: What Stays Good in a Cache?

Post by rlown » Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:04 am

I guess i should be more specific in my posts. When i said, I sleep with my extra food, i meant we tend to put it somewhat close to us (maybe 10' away), and then put our pots/pans, anything that will make noise if touched, so as to be alerted if it is touched. I completely agree that food is not a pillow. And if a bear does come and get's any food, it belongs to the bear at that point.

I have hung extra food in trees in YNP as well as a last resort, when there were tall enough trees around the places we chose to camp.

I like the idea of taking a spare container, but on extended trips, I'm already pushing my pack weight and strap capacity.

Sorry if i wasn't clear before,

Russ








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Haiwee
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Re: What Stays Good in a Cache?

Post by Haiwee » Wed Jan 14, 2009 8:03 am

For our last JMT trip, we mailed our cache to Vermillion about a week before we left. By the time our trip was over, our last dinner had been out of the refrigerator for three weeks and was fine. Here's what we did for meals:

Breakfasts: Instant oatmeal or instant Cream of Wheat, maybe with some dried fruit. Shelf life: forever.

Lunches: Homemade Power Bars, vacuum-sealed, along with either salami or summer sausage, crackers and cheese. As has been mentioned, sausages and salami have an indefinite shelf life and wax-covered cheeses (I like smoked Gouda) keep well.

Dinners: We dehydrated our own food and stored it in vacuum-sealed bags. Home-made dehydrated food tastes better and is far cheaper than freeze-dried. The vacuum-sealed dehydrated hamburger we ate with our spaghetti the last night showed no signs of going rancid. You can dehydrate cooked pasta, too. To rehydrate, just put it in boiling water, take it off the stove, and let it sit in a cozy for three or four minutes. Saves on fuel.

We also ate lots of couscous with dried veggies as well as instant rice (keeps forever). Dehydrated hamburger, refried beans and chunky salsa make a great burrito mix. You can safely dehydrate almost anything -- use your imagination. Before drying, cook meats completely and squeeze as much fat out with paper towels as possible (some people rinse their hamburger, but I personally think this is unnecessary overkill). If you want your vegetables to look pretty, blanch them in boiling water for a couple of minutes before drying.

IMO, the vacuum sealing is the key. This completely removes the oxygen that fosters mold and spoiling. My vacuum sealer is the best gift my ex-wife ever gave me. One caveat: don't vacuum seal fruit leathers, like the dried tomato paste that forms the base for our spaghetti sauce. The vacuum sealing process renders it a solid rock of dried tomato that takes forever to rehydrate. Instead, I've learned fruit leathers will keep fine for several weeks in a zip-lock bag.
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mokelumnekid
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Re: What Stays Good in a Cache?

Post by mokelumnekid » Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:19 pm

Haiwee:

What vacuum seal device/technology do you use?

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The Other Tom
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Re: What Stays Good in a Cache?

Post by The Other Tom » Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:11 am

I wonder if filling the cache bucket with liquid nitrogen, letting it boil off so that the bucket was filled with nitrogen, and then sealing would work. If you could pull it off, it should be an oxygen free, or at least low oxygen, enviroment.

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BSquared
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Re: What Stays Good in a Cache?

Post by BSquared » Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:51 am

Liquid nitrogen would freeze everything, but there's no reason you couldn't just use gaseous N2 from a bottle. Probably more work than it's worth, though. Not to mention that it's mostly just us science geeks who just happen to have N2 bottles lying about ;)

-B2

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Re: What Stays Good in a Cache?

Post by Haiwee » Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:35 pm

mokelumnekid wrote:Haiwee:

What vacuum seal device/technology do you use?
I use a Rival Seal-A-Meal. It's five or six years old now. I was noticing on their website they have a newer version that allows you to more precisely control the vacuum action to seal soft goods like cookies -- might work well for the fruit leathers my unit turns into rocks.
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Re: What Stays Good in a Cache?

Post by freestone » Sat Jan 31, 2009 7:43 am

I use the cash strapped soloist's vacuum sealer. Put your food in a zip lock bag, then zip the bag shut, leaving a small opening before completing the seal. gently squeeze out all the air, then place your lips over the small opening and suck out all the remaining air in the bag. Quickly make the final seal. Small pebble shaped grains, dried ground beef, oatmeal, dried refried beans and Guerro flour tortillas fill my bearikade. Before I pack the tortillas, I cut the tortilla down to the same roundness as my frying pan then I zip lock the cuttings for my lunches. I like my food "on fire" so I bring packets of chile shake. This year I am going to experiment with popcorn and dried, slow cooked shredded roast beef. As for liquids, don't forget to leave room in the container for expansion. I had a big mess in my pack with Laura Scutters non hydrogenated peanut butter onetime because of this. I was a walking olfactory bulls-eye for bears! Now, if I take peanut butter, its hydrogenated and in single serving packets.
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Kris
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Re: What Stays Good in a Cache?

Post by Kris » Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:46 pm

Pancakes anyone? Great to add your gorp to, and will easily last 8-10 days in your cache. I've had a box in my cupboard for months....
~We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started... and know the place for the first time.

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Re: What Stays Good in a Cache?

Post by fishmonger » Fri May 22, 2009 9:46 am

BSquared wrote: We had to throw a bunch of stuff out at the Ranch, so we were nearly starving for the last several days of the trip. -B2
interesting - at MTR last July we threw out half our stuff because the "leftover buckets" other hikers had left behind were so much better than anything we had in our bucket :D We replaced $0.99 Knorr entrees with organic big dollar freeze dried food, stocked up on fancy Cliff bars and other goodies we didn't feel like spending big dollars on. I even scored a pack of free lithium AA batteries! We didn't have enough room in the bear canister to grab everything we wanted to bring... Shredded beef in a pouch with flour tortillas was our first meal that day, fresh and yummy.

I've never had anything go bad in a cache, but I also never packed anything perishable. Armour dried beef was probably the most likely thing to go bad, but that stuff has so much salt in it, it'll probably last two years.

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Re: What Stays Good in a Cache?

Post by JWreno » Fri Feb 05, 2010 3:52 pm

We home dried fruit and jerky and added nuts and bars. We picked up our cache
within a few weeks of leaving it. I used Bishop postoffice and Red's Meadows resort
so I hand delivered the packages on the way down to Horseshoe Meadows.

I don't think I would have had any problems if it sat around for a month
before eating it.
Jeff

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