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Re: [at-l] Potable Aqua Label

My general drying strategy in the past has been to dry and package all winter
for use in the summer. With the Scouts doing the work, we have done this for
years. The trick is - don't seal in ziplocks!  Even using the freezer-style
ziplocks, air will get in and bring moisture with it, spoiling all your hard
work. I've had ice buildup inside freezer bags in the freezer that caused dried
shredded beef to become unusable in less than 4 months of storage.

I use a combination of baby bottle liners (holds 1 cup or less) and seal-a-meal
bags (anything more than 1 cup) with my vacuum sealer to hold in freshness, then
package together in ziplocks the interesting little bags that make up a meal.

For example, this morning I've been making up shepards pie dinners. Here's
what's going into the ziplocks:

  1 cup instant potatoes - in baby bottle liner
  1/2 cup dried shredded beef - in baby bottle liner
  1/3 cup dried corn - in baby bottle liner
  1 package instant beef gravy in original pacakge
  Assorted spices - sealed into the top of the corn baby bottle liner since
    there is plenty of room left over with only 1/3 cup loaded
  Instant pudding mix with dried milk already added - in vacuum bag, and in
  it's own small ziplock.

This makes a passable, instant "Shepards Pie" with pudding for dessert.  The
ziplock keeps the meal together as a single dinner in the dinner box, and the
vacuum sealed bags keep everything from going bad. My mail drops can be made up
of 5 Dinners, 6 Lunches and 6 Breakfasts by my kids with only a little guidance
from Mom ("Gee dear, maybe Daddy would like something other than Shepards pie
for dinner this whole week..."). The pudding is mixed in it's own ziplock so
there is no pudding to be dug out of the little corners of my cooking pot. Eat
it right from the bag - spoon is optional.

I seal a day's supply of GORP into it's own bag and this goes into a "lunch"
ziplock. These lunch bags contain everything I'll eat between breakfast and
dinner, with the intent that anything opened gets eaten that day.  I carry no
ziplocks of GORP or jerky that are supposed to last a week. Once it's been
opened, it's eaten that day. My lunch ziplock comes out of the food bag at
breakfast and rides in an external pocket on my pack for easy access through the day.

My methods sound anal to many people, but I find that I accomplish three things
with this method.  1) I can really package things in advance and they will still
be good when the time comes to use them, 2) it's really easy to put together
meals from the prepackaged components, 3) there is very little smell in my food
bag.  I used to always freeze dried meats but after finding a couple of dinners
in a Scout Kitchen that were marked 1996 (in early 1998) and eating them without
ill effect, I've stopped that practice for the "less than a year" variety of
food packaging.

Your mileage may vary :).


MNagel630@aol.com wrote:
> Last winter I prepackaged all my breakfast food and gorp in zip lock bags.
> They appear to be airtight but there apparently is some air leakage through
> the plastic itself or the zip lock.  Anyhow, from sitting around so long, the
> gorp and cereals were stale by the time I started eating them.  After a few
> weeks I told my wife not to send anymore gorp.  (Stale peanuts aren't
> appetizing even when you're hungry).  The cereal was edible.  The dinners I
> dehydrated were stored in the freezer until mailed so that turned out alright.
> If I would do it over again, I would have the cereals and gorp prepared just
> before mailing to try to ensure freshness.
> ...Pitts. Rooster.
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