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Author Topic: The winter kitchen  (Read 3764 times)

Offline Rob

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The winter kitchen
« on: January 08, 2009, 08:30:52 am »
There is no category for this (hint hint) but I have a few questions that all relate to cold camping.

Because things cool off so quickly I imagine you need to cook differently in the winter tha  you would normally in the warmer weather.

Is cooking over a fire a must?
If so do you bring a grill?
There are no rocks to build a proper base for your grill so do you use green wood?

I have a full set of cast iron cookware, is it worth the weight to bring these?

Washing dishes seems like it could be an excersize in futility. I can't imagine ever getting the dishes dry when the temperature is -30C

Boil in the bag or instant freeze dried meals seem like they may be way easier but I try to avoid these. They are not good for you and rarely satisfy my hunger after a day on the trail or paddling.

Bringing fresh ingredients is all of a sudden possible with out the fear of spoiling, what kinds of foods do you bring? Canned foods will freeze, does this affect their taste? Does it cause them to spoil?

So there are a few question I would like to know.

Colder is better

Offline scoutergriz

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Re: The winter kitchen
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2009, 09:05:44 am »
 you can cook just about anything you would use in other seasons. I quite often use my stove in the winter (flip your toboggan over and you have an instant table), the trick is to be able to simmer. If you try to cook frozen food on  a stove, you have to simmer and stir to keep it from burning, and to keep your food warm after cooking, just put your pots on a piece of foam and cover with a sweater.
 As for cooking over a fire, it's up to you if you want to use a grill or not- I use an old  3lb coffee can with a piece of snare wire suspended over it for hot water (scoop out a cup, throw in a couple handfuls of snow to melt) and toss it in the recycling when I get home. Build your fire over green logs for a small one, for a big fire- dig down where you see a large (3-4' across ) mound in the snow, it'll usually be a rock. If you build a large fire on green logs it'll eventually sink out of sight or melt enough snow to extinguish itself.
 For cooking I use the same stuff as summer, canned food gets open at home and baggied- cans can burst, and if you take fresh foods, take stuff that'll freeze okay. Tomatoes turn into an unholy mess when they freeze( think run over by a car) :-[ >:(

Offline dks

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Re: The winter kitchen
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2009, 09:30:20 am »
With regard to fresh foods I have a question. I've read that you can bring fresh eggs on winter trips and even though they freeze, they can be cooked by peeling the frozen egg and placing them in a pan.  Supposedy they defrost and eventually cook like a fried egg. Has anyone tried this? How about boiling a frozen egg, does this work?

Offline mario

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Re: The winter kitchen
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2009, 10:24:25 am »
This is my basic setup:




Green branches for uprights and cross-piece. Same for pot hooks. Meat is skewered on green sticks and planted in the ground around the fire to roast slowly.

Cast iron is WAAAAY to heavy. I use a period brass kettle.

Winter rations usually consist of dried peas, dry-cured slab bacon, whole-grain bread or pilot bread (think large thick cracker) and perhaps some game (venison, squirrel, etc).


Mario

Offline Umiujaq

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Re: The winter kitchen
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2009, 03:30:31 pm »
Quote
Boil in the bag or instant freeze dried meals seem like they may be way easier but I try to avoid these. They are not good for you and rarely satisfy my hunger after a day on the trail or paddling.

Same for me, I really don't like commercial freeze dried, taste bad, don't satisfy my hunger and they are expensive.

90% of what I eat is dehydrated food, but it is home made dehydrated food (or better yet mother made  ;D....her dehydrated paella is excellent !!). You can easily do that in you oven, or buy a small dehydrator. But it takes a lot of time. My girlfriend also tried to dehydrate soup.....took 2-3 days, but from 2 liters she got 300g of soup powder. Spaghetti sauce work well too. And I also make a lot of pemmican for my winter trips.


 

Offline Georgi

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Re: The winter kitchen
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2009, 10:20:29 pm »
How do you like them Eggs!?

Nobody was hurt in the eating of these frozen whole eggs....Brian and Lynda brought them in and survived to tell about it, so frozen eggs maybe not the best looking meal to begin with turned out some excellent scrambled in the end.

As said before, bring up to temperature then cook , do so slowly, do not 'CRANK' the stove.




we use those break-free eggs now, they thaw out in the water your making anyway and they serve well for Egh McSids or scrambled and btw, they can be frozen before you begin your trip.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2009, 10:27:04 pm by Georgi »
IN ICE WE TRUST ,In Snow we must, go camp in frozen Country. With axe and Saw for Timber is Law, to make our homes more comfy
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Georgi

Offline Georgi

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Re: The winter kitchen
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2009, 10:45:08 pm »
Cold camping  or over a campfire .

Meat Shish-Kabobs work well over a campfire although we brought in a grill and no not Cast iron.
We've done reflector Bannock with no problems, even cinnamon rolls and a quick make brownie mix.

I've brought in Sausages which went well,
Spam in the can didn't break the can. Nice and quick to fry.

I did Pb and J Bagels for quick lunch and kept the snacks to things like pepperettes, cheese, Gorp.

Don't forget hot dogs, KD, porridge are all easy-peasy as well to make.

If you bring your Coleman Suitcase with you:

With the Easy Bake Oven added

I've Baked whole frozen Chickens for Dinner, even Spicey marinated chicken thighs go well and another camper made Meatloaf with that combo. The thighs seems to be the best at taken a kicken and still taste like chicken, will most likely do something like that this year out on the grill.

For one of the events waiting by the tracks to be picked up I grilled Taters over a green wood built fire over snow, even just last year I made a fruit fry with ice cream just on a pan at the tracks..



I don't mind a dried food as a spare meal but its also nice to have a little something something you like while your out there.

I don't see why you can't have some of the boil in the bag meals we have while cold- camping. To name a few would be.  Beef Bourguignon , White Chilli, Hunter Chicken Stew, even Spaghetti Sauce. All can be made at home, vacuum sealed and brought in for a heat and serve meal while your making water for the cup of Java or just to drink.


Mario, my buddy has a set of Camp Irons he had passed onto him from family who used them to cook over their fire when they were younger and able to. They work quite nicely. Same setup you show.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2009, 10:51:57 pm by Georgi »
IN ICE WE TRUST ,In Snow we must, go camp in frozen Country. With axe and Saw for Timber is Law, to make our homes more comfy
;)



Georgi

Offline Fels

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Re: The winter kitchen
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2009, 12:42:43 am »

Washing dishes seems like it could be an excersize in futility. I can't imagine ever getting the dishes dry when the temperature is -30C


My friends and I usually cold camp and maybe its silly to wash dishes, but we do sometimes when we really make a mess of a pot.  The only way we have found its tolerable is by bringing along a couple latex dishwashing gloves.


Offline HOOP

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Re: The winter kitchen
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2009, 03:36:15 am »
Hi Rob,

Have a look in my TR's for the cold camping trips, and you will see the use of our Coghlans legged grill on open fires.  It will fit on a sled. 


For open fire cooking in deep snow, you dig down to the ground and there you go - the grill is self supporting.  You can level it here and there with logs if there is uneven ground.  Yes you burn into the ground, so pick a thick bush site where no one would go in the summer (as usual).

Cast iron?   Noooooooooo!      :)
Yes will cook very well, but lightness is paramount when hauling sled.   When hauling sled, every pound of weight saving is worth it.  Closest I have come to a heart attack is hauling a sled while breaking trail in deep cold snow, where the glide of the sled is like a concrete slab on coarse sandpaper.   Stainless steel or coated aluminum pots with bail handles.

Its too bad bail handled SS pot sets are so hard to come by these days.   If you can find one, buy them, in big nesting sizes too for winter - you need lots of water.  Rig some bail handles with drilling and riveting if need be on a handle-less set.  Reaching into a roaring fire with useless, stupid pot grippers to grab a handless pot is, well, sad.    Hauling water from a water hole and hauling it back with pot grippers is also a sad state of affairs. 

I do want to evolve into a tripod and hanging grill setup for winter cooking on open fires one day.  I will have to find very light poles, and chain rig for hanging it.   I have a custom made, lightweight large Purcell grill for hanging.   

Meals:  Obviously a personal choice, but all my dinners are the same as summer canoe tripping meals:  dehydrated single pot meals.  No commercial freeze dried for this guy.  Home made all the way.   No boil in bag either (cooked polyethylene leaches estrogenic chemicals - bad   :-[).

Breakfasts are granola and dried fruit in hot water, instant oatmeal and same dried fruit.  toasted bagels and marg.  You can thaw honey for the bagels by popping a nalgene briefly into hot water, or put the next day's thaw-ables in the bottom of your sleeping bag.

Lunches for me are snacking food so that there are no long stops on the trail.  For base camp lunches, its hard to beat smokies roasted on a stick in the fire or in the woodstove.

In bigger groups where you can spread the weight across sleds, some do very well with the double burner white gas Coleman, like Georgi is using there.   Then you can cook in ease, and tend to the fire for warmth.   

Washing up:   yes we do wash dishes at the coldest of temps.   Its fine on your hands since the water is so hot, no problem at all.     Hot water stays hot long enough to do the washing, rinsing, and tea towel drying.   We carry a plastic wash basin, and its normal washing.  The Campsuds will freeze solid, but pop it into a pot of boiled water, and it will thaw quickly for pouring.  It is essential to hold back a pot of hot water for rinsing.   Then dry the hot dishes with the tea towel as they are rinsed.   The pots and pans don't need drying of course.   

We use plastic forks and spoons, which are easy to handle when washing, and don't freeze to your lips or hands when eating! 

We always have pots of water on the fire or woodstove.  There is a never ending demand for hot water for drinking and washing.  All part of the fun.   

If you decide not to wash dishes, then you can snow rinse them, and have frozen left over film under your next meal, which is fine.   But I would reccomend always keeping a big clean food-free pot for clean water, since the hot drink demand is constant.

Different styles and weight equations, depending on how many sleds you have, and what the hauling conditions are.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2009, 08:03:06 am by HOOP »
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Offline Rick

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Re: The winter kitchen
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2009, 10:05:37 am »
I will often use a fire box when cold camping. It contains the fire, thereby reducing the wood used / chopped. It can be be placed directly on compacted snow with a couple of logs underneath. It is complete with a grill. Certainly not as much heat as a larger open fire, but none the less it does give off a surprising amount of warmth for a small fire.
This one I made. It is about 10" wide * 10" high * 15" long and weighs 3lb 6.4oz (pictured here with a 2l MSR pot). It knocks down flat for transport.