Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Boil In Bag Cooking

I first learned about this magical way of cooking two years ago while camping on an island in the Columbia River. A very nice pair of gentlemen with a charter kayak trip brought us some leftover lasagna that they cooked right there on the beach in a pot of boiling water. I was intrigued!

But when my friend Kate actually did it in real life on a camping trip last month I decided I had to give it a try. And I knew that Creation Fest NW was the perfect place to try it! With all five of us working, concerts and speakers all day long, three extra teens tagging along; it was just the place for cooking hot and hearty food with only boiling water.

I have to warn you that it is a whole lot of work ahead of time but it all pays off when you are relaxing and enjoying your meal.

First make out your menu. Our options included chicken curry, rice, pulled pork, chili, pancakes (yes, pancakes), sausages, corn on the cob (packed raw), bacon, hot dogs, baked beans, chicken pesto alfredo, meatball and marinara pasta, taco meat, refried beans.

Then cook all the dishes making sure you undercook things such as vegetables and pastas.

After the food is cooked, chill it thoroughly. Then place it in ziplock freezer bags, making sure that the food is no more than 2 inches thick.

Freeze until solid. Remove from bags, place into vacuum seal bags and seal. Do not remove all the air in the bag when sealing rice in the bags.

boiling bag 01boiling bag 02boiling bag 03Refreeze the food in the vacuum-seal bags until needed.

All you need to do when it comes time to eat is boil a large pot of water. Be sure to allow enough water to cover the bags of food. I used my canning pot.

After the water boils, drop in the bags and cover with a lid. Return to a boil and boil 10-25 minutes, or until heated through. Frozen or bulky foods take longer to heat than others.

Halfway through cooking time, flip bags upside down with a pair of tongs. (I forgot to bring tongs, so I know just how necessary they are!)

When the food is done, remove bags from tongs. I placed them in a second empty pot and cut the tops off each bag. Throw in a serving spoon and your done!

boiling bag 04boiling bag 05Boiled pancakes taste better than you’d expect!

After eating I used a bit of the hot cooking water to wash up the serving utensils! Couldn’t have been any easier!

Just a note: Someone asked if I had any tips after doing this for an entire week. Yup, I do. Don't cook potatoes or carrots ahead of time. I think after 25 minutes of boiling they'll be just fine.

Raw corn on the cob only needs to boil about 10 minutes, same for baked beans.

Don't pack too much into a bag at once.

Don't forget tongs! It's really hard to get those puppies out with your fingers! Ouch!!!

Buy Rival brand bags. They are a much better bargain!

Bring scissors to open the bags with after they are done. Cut the tops off pretty close to the level of the food to make serving easier and less messy.

Be creative! You might be surprised at what you can boil in a bag???

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