How long food keeps

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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justjim
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Re: How long food keeps

Post by justjim » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:33 am

Great topic. As usual, while some "nanny rules" are probably over-protective, they should be considered. So, I'm sitting here in Tahoe with many feet of snow around. Kinda over skiing and ready to try out some new gear but all I can do for now is think about it. I'm thinking about stretching at least one trip out to maybe 12 days and food storage is always an issue. I think that taking care of your major staples is all you need to worry about and care in where you park your canister is a very important consideration.

Cheese: Love Parmesan but even a pretty dry block probably won't go 12 days. I like the shavings off a block on everything for dinner but for over 6 days, I tend to use pre-grated. It doesn't require refrigeration at home so theoretically it could go a long time. Realistically, I think 12 days in a ziploc inside a can might be a stretch. My planned solution is to carry 4-6 days worth in a baggie or even in the whole block form. Then, carry another 4-6 days worth in the original sealed container and don't open the inner seal until I need it.

Salami: Love the stuff chopped up in potatoes or on cous-cous and also a bit for lunch. I don't know enough about the stuff so I'm pretty leery of salami past 3 days or so. For longer terms, I use the real bacon bits, tuna in a pouch or tuna/salmon steaks in a pouch. Haven't tried pepperoni sticks.

Margarine: I have replaced Marg or real butter with EVOO. I have to admit the flavor is not as good but within reason it can probably go a long while. I think there is some value in clarified butter but have not tried it.

Peanut Butter: I have sometimes used PB for lunches with tortillas or somesuch. I have also made up "moose goo" with PB + Raisins + finely grated jerky all chopped up in a blender and formed into bars. This is highly concentrated and tasted good but I'm really unsure about how long it would/should go. I used it on an 8 day'r a few years back but there was some snow available to bury the can during the late afternoons and overnight and I suspect that may have retarded spoilage to a degree.

I know for sure that 12 days won't fit into my BV but 10 might work. This could turn into a risky 2-3 days at the start or just use 2 cans and cache the empty one after 3 days or so.

JJ








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Re: How long food keeps

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:57 pm

Regarding preservatives vs natural - what is worse; taking natural and loosing half of it (or getting sick if you eat spoiled food) or taking "overprocessed" versions and having enough calories for the entire trip? When backpacking, enough calories trumps missing a few trace minerals or putting traces of "chemicals" in your body. Personally, I forego the purity while backpacking to assure that I do not starve the last half of the trip. Being a purist on my backpack trips just limits the variety too much for my tastes. Unless you are honestly allergic to preservatives, a little bit in moderation is not going to be that big a deal. I also think if you are worried about preservatives, you should not drink wine, use Permethian on your clothing, use DEET, or aluminum cookware, sit next to a campfire, put food in a plastic bag, and a hundred other things that can potentially put traces of chemicals in your body.

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maverick
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Re: How long food keeps

Post by maverick » Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:11 pm

WD wrote "Being a purist on my backpack trips just limits the variety too much
for my tastes. Unless you are honestly allergic to preservatives, a little bit in
moderation is not going to be that big a deal."

There a lot of things you can come up with a little ingenuity, but I, really do not
eat to much for taste, but for sustenance, so EVO, Parm Cheese, and some spice
can liven up most anything.
It is true that a little bit in moderation is acceptable, but to many folks I see do
not eat these foods in moderation, but are part of there every day diets, that's why
obesity is such an issue, as are heart attacks, high blood pressure, and strokes.
With kids in our school having more and more food allergies I get to read ingredient
labels even more often than I used to when purchasing from my food suppliers.
I have adopted protocols in which we offer cold cuts, soups, dressings that are
made in house, no processed, additive, sodium laden food here, so to control what
these teenagers put into there bodies.

"and a hundred other things that can potentially put traces of chemicals in your body."

True, but again, control some of things that you put in your body some of the time.
If your salt intake is under 2000 mg a day, than indulging in some high sodium
freeze dried dinners for several nights is not going to hurt, but if your intake of
sodium is all ready way past the FDA recommended levels on a daily basis, which it
is for most americans (approx 1000 mg over or more), than adding even more is not
the greatest idea.
All these processed foods really add up the sodium/fat/sugar counts, and I understand
that a lot of folks do not have the time or the experience to cook, and these
supermarket, and fast foods are convenient, and fast, but at what costs to our
personal health in the long run?
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Re: How long food keeps

Post by rlown » Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:15 pm

justjim wrote: Salami: Love the stuff chopped up in potatoes or on cous-cous and also a bit for lunch. I don't know enough about the stuff so I'm pretty leery of salami past 3 days or so. For longer terms, I use the real bacon bits, tuna in a pouch or tuna/salmon steaks in a pouch. Haven't tried pepperoni sticks.
JJ
I switched away from Gallo? dry salami years ago. The fat content makes it rot faster on a hot trip. Switched to hickory farms summer sausage, and they last well for at least 8 days. The pouch stuff seems to be the way to go these days.

Pepperoni sticks in single wrap form are one of my faves. Can't carry enough of them.

Mav, as for teens, um, that's up to the parents, and most aren't doing a really great job at teaching them to cook or eat healthy. Seems if a parent just took a kid to a store, bought good stuff to make a meal and then helped show their kid how to cook it and serve it and see it eaten by the family, that'd go a long way to better health and an interest in cooking..

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Re: How long food keeps

Post by sirlight » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:39 am

justjim wrote:I have also made up "moose goo" with PB + Raisins + finely grated jerky all chopped up in a blender and formed into bars.
I would be careful about doing this, it might be a botulism risk. I am no expert in food safety, but my experience with home canning suggests that this might not be safe. One of the things you never want to do is have low acid things (like beef) in an oxygen free environment. Peanut butter surrounding shredded jerky might create that environment. Then again all the salt in jerky might prevent it. Just some "food" for thought.

When I bring cheese such as cheddar, it is usually in vacuum packed single serving size sticks. I have gone 4 days with these stuffed in the middle of my backpack. Recently, I found some Hormel brand salami and pepperoni in shelf stable 3 ounce packages. It is thinly sliced and goes good on tortillas with mustard. Here in San Diego, I have found it at Wal-Mart and some of the local dollar stores.

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Re: How long food keeps

Post by justjim » Thu Apr 14, 2011 10:24 am

Individually, I think each of the ingredients of the basic "moose goo" recipe are commonly thought of as stable enough w/out refrig. However the combo as I used it might in fact not be a great idea. I used the "pem-goo" variant (PB+Jerky+Raisins+Soy Milk powder+honey) of moose goo a few times but eventually bailed on it. The fact that I got away with it is by no means a recommendation that it is safe.

I like the suggestions on summer sausage and salami/pepperoni variants and will try some out in short term situations. I have yet to see packaged salami on a store shelf outside of the cold case but admit that I haven't really looked. Heck it may have been there for the taking all along. I suspect however that the last five-six days or so of a twelve day trip would still depend largely upon foil packed tuna/salmon, bacon bits and dried grated cheese.

And of course nice fissshes.

JJ

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Re: How long food keeps

Post by sirlight » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:28 am

This is the stuff salami I am talking about:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Hormel-San-Re ... z/10290932" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I have seen this just sitting out on the shelf for sale, not in the deli case.

Funny, Gallo salami I have only seen in the deli case. Still, it says right on the package refrigerate AFTER opening. I actually called Gallo and they told me even if unopened, after it has been cold you should keep it that way. That was unexpected, and I suspect they were just playing it safe. If it is still sealed, how could it go bad just by cooling and then returning to room temperature?

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Re: How long food keeps

Post by rlown » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:35 am

sirlight wrote: Funny, Gallo salami I have only seen in the deli case. Still, it says right on the package refrigerate AFTER opening. I actually called Gallo and they told me even if unopened, after it has been cold you should keep it that way. That was unexpected, and I suspect they were just playing it safe. If it is still sealed, how could it go bad just by cooling and then returning to room temperature?
Yeah, I'm guessing it's the fat content. I shied away from it as it's already covered in mold, and I didn't like having that in my can. Once you cut that, and even the summer sausage, you have to keep it cool. I just prefer summer sausage. Instead of taking one big 1 lb'er on extended trips, I take two or three smaller summer sausages that are sealed. That way Its not exposed for so long.

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Re: How long food keeps

Post by fishmonger » Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:57 am

twinkies keep forever :D

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Re: How long food keeps

Post by ERIC » Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:52 pm

fishmonger wrote:twinkies keep forever :D
Funny! :D Maybe not forever, but I did truly believe the lore that they lasted a really long time - until a friend sent me this link to prove me wrong: http://www.snopes.com/food/ingredient/twinkies.asp" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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