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Jar-based cozy cooling

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  • John Ladd
    Sorry for the cross-posting, but a question arose on the FB group about alternatives to freezer-bag cooking. I suggested using a small jar with a DIY cozy for
    Message 1 of 12 , Oct 29, 2013
      Sorry for the cross-posting, but a question arose on the FB group about alternatives to freezer-bag cooking. I suggested using a small jar with a DIY cozy for steeping things that required more than just-add-boiling-water-and-eat, or to avoid using separate bags for each dinner.

      Here's an example of a jar-based steeping system using a 8-oz PP (Polypropylene, aka Recycle 5) straight-sided jar, an extra (larger) cap for the base of the cozy, two layers of reflectix for insulation, Tyvek tape to hold it together (great stuff) and a [optional] stuff bag repurposed from an Esbit stove (that I tried but hated). 

      You form the cozy by wrapping the insulation around the jar and then securing with the tape. It's easier to form and use if you make it with a oversize cap to make a base, but it could be made without the base and that would save a little weight.

      Several reflectix circles hold heat from escaping at the top and bottom but are not shown in the picture. 

      Could do the same with a 12- 16- or 24-oz straight-sided PP jar from US Plastic or found in a store (Tucks pads from the drugstore come in PP jars and if you dry  out the pads in advance make nice toileting pads for use and pack-out on trail). 

      Tyvek tape around the jar makes a tab that facilitates pulling it out of the cozy.

      I find the 8-oz size sufficient as I only use it for the parts of dinner that require longer steeping (e.g., large-grain couscous, dried meats and dried veges) and return them to my pot after the initial steeping, to add the remaining water and quick-cook stuff like soup mix. But if you prefer something more one-pot, you could do something similar with a larger PP jar and use your pot only for boiling water.

      The small jar also allows you to save half or 1/3 of the meal after it finishes in the pot, and keep it quite hot for a long time.  I find I can eat most of my dinner before it gets cold, but often with a big meal, I have to force it down the last part before it gets too cold. But if I can set aside part of it in this small jar, my appetite has revived, it's still nice and hot, and I finish it happily.


      Inline image 1


      John Curran Ladd
      1616 Castro Street
      San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
      415-648-9279
    • victoriamaki
      Message 2 of 12 , Oct 29, 2013
        Hi John. I tried putting boiling water into a plastic peanut butter jar and watched it shrink down to nothing. Am I doing something wrong?
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "John Ladd" <johnladd@...>
        To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 4:48:01 PM GMT -06:00 US/Canada Central
        Subject: [John Muir Trail] Jar-based cozy cooling

         





        Sorry for the cross-posting, but a question arose on the FB group about alternatives to freezer-bag cooking. I suggested using a small jar with a DIY cozy for steeping things that required more than just-add-boiling-water-and-eat, or to avoid using separate bags for each dinner.


        Here's an example of a jar-based steeping system using a 8-oz PP (Polypropylene, aka Recycle 5) straight-sided jar, an extra (larger) cap for the base of the cozy, two layers of reflectix for insulation, Tyvek tape to hold it together (great stuff) and a [optional] stuff bag repurposed from an Esbit stove (that I tried but hated). 


        You form the cozy by wrapping the insulation around the jar and then securing with the tape. It's easier to form and use if you make it with a oversize cap to make a base, but it could be made without the base and that would save a little weight.


        Several reflectix circles hold heat from escaping at the top and bottom but are not shown in the picture. 


        Could do the same with a 12- 16- or 24-oz straight-sided PP jar from US Plastic or found in a store (Tucks pads from the drugstore come in PP jars and if you dry  out the pads in advance make nice toileting pads for use and pack-out on trail). 


        Tyvek tape around the jar makes a tab that facilitates pulling it out of the cozy.


        I find the 8-oz size sufficient as I only use it for the parts of dinner that require longer steeping (e.g., large-grain couscous, dried meats and dried veges) and return them to my pot after the initial steeping, to add the remaining water and quick-cook stuff like soup mix. But if you prefer something more one-pot, you could do something similar with a larger PP jar and use your pot only for boiling water.


        The small jar also allows you to save half or 1/3 of the meal after it finishes in the pot, and keep it quite hot for a long time.  I find I can eat most of my dinner before it gets cold, but often with a big meal, I have to force it down the last part before it gets too cold. But if I can set aside part of it in this small jar, my appetite has revived, it's still nice and hot, and I finish it happily.





        Inline image 1




        John Curran Ladd
        1616 Castro Street
        San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
        415-648-9279
      • John Ladd
        ... and watched it shrink down to nothing. Am I doing something wrong? Yes. I had the same problem several years ago so I did come research. Peanut butter
        Message 3 of 12 , Oct 29, 2013
          On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 3:56 PM,  <vmaki@...> wrote:
          > Hi John.  I tried putting boiling water into a plastic peanut butter jar and watched it shrink down to nothing.  Am I doing something wrong?

          Yes. I had the same problem several years ago so I did come research.

          Peanut butter jars are marked on the bottom Recycle 1, so they are made of PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) -- which just doesn't handle heat well. They can start to deform at as little as 158F according to info at the link below.

          PET/PETE jars are good if you worried about getting brittle in freezing conditions, but just can't handle heat. Other common jar materials will crack if exposed to freezing weather. 

          Recycle 3 (V or PVC) is not safe for food uses and is not particularly heat-tolerant.

          Recycle 4 (LDPE) and 6 (PS) have the same problem as 1 and 3 with heat and some also get brittle in the cold.

          But if you find a jar with the recycle code 5 on the bottom or purchase a PP jar -- both are Polypropylene --  it will work better. PP is at risk of getting brittle in the cold (below freezing), but it's not as bad as some plastics. But with heat well above boiling, PP jars are fine. 

          See this link for lots of info on plasticware characteristics

          http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/static/types-of-plastics-213.html

          One source of straight-sided Recycle 5 jars is Tucks Pads, found in drugstores. Other drugstore items seem to be packaged in #5 straight-sided jars. While they are safe for food I don't see them very often in grocery stores. Ketchup, syrup and yogurt apparently often come in number 5 jars, but usually not in very convenient shapes.

          HDPE jars (recycle 2) might be the perfect choice, since they are good for a large variety of temperatures, but I haven't seen them in as convenient shapes and sizes as the PP jars. Some butter and yogurt tubs apparently use HDPE, but they aren't as sturdy as the PP jars I've found. Some Nalgene wide-mouth jars are HDPE. 


          Inline image 1

          Link for above graphic if you can't see it


          More info here


          John Curran Ladd
          1616 Castro Street
          San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
          415-648-9279

        • karpanilove
          Hi, John, I m unable to view the image in your post. There s a box that is indicated as inline image 1 and then an image icon, but I can t access it by
          Message 4 of 12 , Oct 29, 2013

            Hi, John,


            I'm unable to view the image in your post.  There's a box that is indicated as "inline image 1" and then an image icon, but I can't access it by clicking on it or anything.  Can you shed some light here?


            Karpani 



            ---In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <johnladd@...> wrote:

            Sorry for the cross-posting, but a question arose on the FB group about alternatives to freezer-bag cooking. I suggested using a small jar with a DIY cozy for steeping things that required more than just-add-boiling-water-and-eat, or to avoid using separate bags for each dinner.

            Here's an example of a jar-based steeping system using a 8-oz PP (Polypropylene, aka Recycle 5) straight-sided jar, an extra (larger) cap for the base of the cozy, two layers of reflectix for insulation, Tyvek tape to hold it together (great stuff) and a [optional] stuff bag repurposed from an Esbit stove (that I tried but hated). 

            You form the cozy by wrapping the insulation around the jar and then securing with the tape. It's easier to form and use if you make it with a oversize cap to make a base, but it could be made without the base and that would save a little weight.

            Several reflectix circles hold heat from escaping at the top and bottom but are not shown in the picture. 

            Could do the same with a 12- 16- or 24-oz straight-sided PP jar from US Plastic or found in a store (Tucks pads from the drugstore come in PP jars and if you dry  out the pads in advance make nice toileting pads for use and pack-out on trail). 

            Tyvek tape around the jar makes a tab that facilitates pulling it out of the cozy.

            I find the 8-oz size sufficient as I only use it for the parts of dinner that require longer steeping (e.g., large-grain couscous, dried meats and dried veges) and return them to my pot after the initial steeping, to add the remaining water and quick-cook stuff like soup mix. But if you prefer something more one-pot, you could do something similar with a larger PP jar and use your pot only for boiling water.

            The small jar also allows you to save half or 1/3 of the meal after it finishes in the pot, and keep it quite hot for a long time.  I find I can eat most of my dinner before it gets cold, but often with a big meal, I have to force it down the last part before it gets too cold. But if I can set aside part of it in this small jar, my appetite has revived, it's still nice and hot, and I finish it happily.


            Inline image 1


            John Curran Ladd
            1616 Castro Street
            San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
            415-648-9279
          • donbushek
            I package my meals in freezer bags and re-constitute them in the cozied freezer bag mainly because it eliminates the need for any cleanup. Is there an
            Message 5 of 12 , Oct 30, 2013

              I package my meals in freezer bags and re-constitute them in the cozied freezer bag mainly because it eliminates the need for any cleanup.  Is there an advantage to re-hydrating meals in a dedicated jar vs in a freezer bag or directly in the pot?  I would imagine the meal will stay hot for the same amount of time in a cozy, whether using a jar, pot, or freezer bag.  Using a jar would require cleaning the jar after every meal, so why not simply re-constitute right in the pot? 


              Don



              ---In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

              On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 3:56 PM,  <vmaki@...> wrote:
              > Hi John.  I tried putting boiling water into a plastic peanut butter jar and watched it shrink down to nothing.  Am I doing something wrong?

              Yes. I had the same problem several years ago so I did come research.

              Peanut butter jars are marked on the bottom Recycle 1, so they are made of PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) -- which just doesn't handle heat well. They can start to deform at as little as 158F according to info at the link below.

              PET/PETE jars are good if you worried about getting brittle in freezing conditions, but just can't handle heat. Other common jar materials will crack if exposed to freezing weather. 

              Recycle 3 (V or PVC) is not safe for food uses and is not particularly heat-tolerant.

              Recycle 4 (LDPE) and 6 (PS) have the same problem as 1 and 3 with heat and some also get brittle in the cold.

              But if you find a jar with the recycle code 5 on the bottom or purchase a PP jar -- both are Polypropylene --  it will work better. PP is at risk of getting brittle in the cold (below freezing), but it's not as bad as some plastics. But with heat well above boiling, PP jars are fine. 

              See this link for lots of info on plasticware characteristics

              http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/static/types-of-plastics-213.html

              One source of straight-sided Recycle 5 jars is Tucks Pads, found in drugstores. Other drugstore items seem to be packaged in #5 straight-sided jars. While they are safe for food I don't see them very often in grocery stores. Ketchup, syrup and yogurt apparently often come in number 5 jars, but usually not in very convenient shapes.

              HDPE jars (recycle 2) might be the perfect choice, since they are good for a large variety of temperatures, but I haven't seen them in as convenient shapes and sizes as the PP jars. Some butter and yogurt tubs apparently use HDPE, but they aren't as sturdy as the PP jars I've found. Some Nalgene wide-mouth jars are HDPE. 


              Inline image 1

              Link for above graphic if you can't see it


              More info here


              John Curran Ladd
              1616 Castro Street
              San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
              415-648-9279

            • John Ladd
              ... like some see them, and others don t and I don t fully know why. (Some e-mail readers block pictures and that could also be it) Attached, I hope, for those
              Message 6 of 12 , Oct 30, 2013

              On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 10:12 PM, <blisshiker@...> wrote:
              Hi, John,

              I'm unable to view the image in your post.  There's a box that is indicated as "inline image 1" and then an image icon, but I can't access it by clicking on it or anything.  Can you shed some light here?


              Yahoo is sometimes quirky when it comes to photos in postings. It seems like some see them, and others don't and I don't fully know why. (Some e-mail readers block pictures and that could also be it)

              Attached, I hope, for those who anyone who could not see it in the original posting.

              Also, I hope, found in the photos area at 

            • Roleigh Martin
              Karpani, it might be that your settings for the group is to request plain text emails only. I know that Yahoo used to allow such to be chosen, not sure if
              Message 7 of 12 , Oct 30, 2013
                Karpani, it might be that your settings for the group is to request plain text emails only.  I know that Yahoo used to allow such to be chosen, not sure if that ability still exists.  I'd check your settings to be double sure.

                -------------------------------------------------
                Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
                _



                On Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 2:26 PM, John Ladd <johnladd@...> wrote:
                 
                [Attachment(s) from John Ladd included below]


                On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 10:12 PM, <blisshiker@...> wrote:
                Hi, John,

                I'm unable to view the image in your post.  There's a box that is indicated as "inline image 1" and then an image icon, but I can't access it by clicking on it or anything.  Can you shed some light here?


                Yahoo is sometimes quirky when it comes to photos in postings. It seems like some see them, and others don't and I don't fully know why. (Some e-mail readers block pictures and that could also be it)

                Attached, I hope, for those who anyone who could not see it in the original posting.

                Also, I hope, found in the photos area at 


              • John Ladd
                ... Don -- Cleanup is not hard with a jar. After finishing off the food, I just add some water (no soap needed), close the top and give it a vigorous shaking.
                Message 8 of 12 , Oct 30, 2013

                  On Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 8:43 AM, <moe@...> wrote:

                  I package my meals in freezer bags and re-constitute them in the cozied freezer bag mainly because it eliminates the need for any cleanup.  Is there an advantage to re-hydrating meals in a dedicated jar vs in a freezer bag or directly in the pot?  I would imagine the meal will stay hot for the same amount of time in a cozy, whether using a jar, pot, or freezer bag.  Using a jar would require cleaning the jar after every meal, so why not simply re-constitute right in the pot? 


                  Don -- 

                  Cleanup is not hard with a jar. After finishing off the food, I just add some water (no soap needed), close the top and give it a vigorous shaking. Sometimes, if I can't finish my dinner at night, I eat the remainder as part of breakfast. Even then I didn't use soap or a sponge -- on my entire most recent 20-day trip I used only shaking with water to clean the jar..

                  I don't pre-package each meal separately (e.g., the whole trip's oatmeal would go in one ziplock), but those who do might find freezer bag cooking more convenient. 

                  The main advantage steeping in  a jar -- as compared to an envelope-shaped cozy for a freezer bag -- is that in a jar, the ratio of surface area to volume is smaller, so there's less heat escape. I've never used the freezer bag method, so I can't make a direct comparison, but I'd guess it would be dramatic and more so that a pot-based cozy..

                  As to steeping in a pot/cozy, I do have comparative experience. I typically have a pot that is larger that the portion of the meal that requires steeping so there is a bunch of air in the pot, both allowing some heat loss into the air, and again increasing the surface area for heat escape. If you have a jar that closely matches the amount of food you want to steep (or keep warm for later eating), the insulation becomes quite a bit more efficient. I used to use a cozy around my entire JetBoil Pot (about 34 ounces in volume) and the improvement in heat retention using the 8-oz jar/cozy was pretty dramatic.  (E.g., on a subjective basis, I'd say that in 5 minutes food the Pot-cozy would cool off more than would food left in the jar-cozy for 20 minutes or more). I could steep for a while in the JetBoil, but nowhere near as long as in the jar. In the Pot-cozy method I'd heat and steep, reheat and resteep, for some things while I almost never need to re-steep with the jar-based cozy. And, of course, a cozy sized to a 8- 12- 02 16-oz jar will be quite a bit smaller and lighter than one sized to the 34-oz JetBoil pot.

                  I do re-constitute in the pot when I don't use the jar system and it works for me, though it's not as efficient in minimizing fuel use. But the pot is always harder to clean, probably because the heat of cooking makes food stick more. I can rarely clean a pot (if I've cooked stuff in it) by adding water and shaking. For the pot, I usually have to use a scraper.

                  John Curran Ladd
                  1616 Castro Street
                  San Francisco, CA  94114-3707
                  415-648-9279
                • longritchie
                  Hi Roleigh, I can t see that image either. I can live without it but it would be nice to see images like that. I don t read yahoo groups via email, I view it
                  Message 9 of 12 , Oct 30, 2013

                    Hi Roleigh,


                    I can't see that image either. I can live without it but it would be nice to see images like that.


                    I don't read yahoo groups via email, I view it on the web only. Also, I don't know how to get to my group settings since the yahoo change. I tried "Manage My Groups" but that wasn't it. Where do you go / what do you click to bring up the settings screen?




                    ---In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                    Karpani, it might be that your settings for the group is to request plain text emails only.  I know that Yahoo used to allow such to be chosen, not sure if that ability still exists.  I'd check your settings to be double sure.

                    -------------------------------------------------
                    Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
                    _



                    On Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 2:26 PM, John Ladd <johnladd@...> wrote:
                     
                    [Attachment(s) from John Ladd included below]

                    On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 10:12 PM, <blisshiker@...> wrote:
                    Hi, John,

                    I'm unable to view the image in your post.  There's a box that is indicated as "inline image 1" and then an image icon, but I can't access it by clicking on it or anything.  Can you shed some light here?


                    Yahoo is sometimes quirky when it comes to photos in postings. It seems like some see them, and others don't and I don't fully know why. (Some e-mail readers block pictures and that could also be it)

                    Attached, I hope, for those who anyone who could not see it in the original posting.

                    Also, I hope, found in the photos area at 


                  • Inga Aksamit
                    Re: reconstituting in freezer bags vs a jar, I was thinking I would use the jar to reconstitute my home-dehydrated meat. I enjoy my home prepared foods but
                    Message 10 of 12 , Oct 31, 2013
                      Re: reconstituting in freezer bags vs a jar, I was thinking I would use the jar to reconstitute my home-dehydrated meat. I enjoy my home prepared foods but noticed that the meat takes a little longer to rehydrate than commercial. I did try rehydrating the meat in a bag, then added other items but as John mentioned there was so much heat loss that I had to keep adding hot water. But if you have everything mixed together in the freezer bag that would probably work ok.  

                      Inga Aksamit
                      Mobile: 415-470-1812
                      Email: Iaksamit@...
                      Twitter.com/IngaAksamit
                      About Me: about.me/IngasAdventures
                    • Carolsteveyoung
                      Just a reminder that boiling hot water is not really as hot at altitude. Don t remember the formula, but due to drop in air pressure liquids boil at lower
                      Message 11 of 12 , Nov 2, 2013
                        Just a reminder that "boiling hot water" is not really as hot at altitude. Don't remember the formula, but due to drop in air pressure liquids boil at lower temps the higher you go, affecting both simmer and absorption times. 

                        I know most people are aware of this, but I frequently forget the tireder and hungrier I get. 

                        Steve Young
                        Geneva IL

                        On Oct 31, 2013, at 10:39 PM, Inga Aksamit <Iaksamit@...> wrote:

                         

                        Re: reconstituting in freezer bags vs a jar, I was thinking I would use the jar to reconstitute my home-dehydrated meat. I enjoy my home prepared foods but noticed that the meat takes a little longer to rehydrate than commercial. I did try rehydrating the meat in a bag, then added other items but as John mentioned there was so much heat loss that I had to keep adding hot water. But if you have everything mixed together in the freezer bag that would probably work ok.  

                        Inga Aksamit
                        Mobile: 415-470-1812
                        Email: Iaksamit@...
                        Twitter.com/IngaAksamit
                        About Me: about.me/IngasAdventures

                      • John Ladd
                        On Sat, Nov 2, 2013 at 9:58 AM, Carolsteveyoung ... Good point and worth noting here. There s a calculator at http://www.csgnetwork.com/h2oboilcalc.html E.g.,
                        Message 12 of 12 , Nov 2, 2013
                          On Sat, Nov 2, 2013 at 9:58 AM, Carolsteveyoung <carolsteveyoung@...> wrote:
                           

                          Just a reminder that "boiling hot water" is not really as hot at altitude. Don't remember the formula, but due to drop in air pressure liquids boil at lower temps the higher you go, affecting both simmer and absorption times. 


                          Good point and worth noting here.

                          There's a calculator at 


                          E.g., at 11k feet, boiling point is 192 F or 89 C

                          I knew the issue, but for one food I learned the impact just in time for one food on my September trip.

                          I had hoped to have McCann's steel-cut Irish Oatmeal for at least some breakfasts -- the kind that says it takes a 30 min simmer to cook. In experiments at my sea level home, I could do a single overnight steep in a tight cozy followed by a morning steep or two so I just needed to bring it to a bare simmer twice - three at most. (I was trying to make a 110 gram isobutane canister last for 22 meals)

                          Luckily, just as I left, I tried out it at altitude (8100 feet). At the lower temperature (197) it took just impossibly long to cook. Even 4 steeps was not enough. It just never thickened up enough. And most of my trail breakfasts would be well over the 8100 feet. 

                          So I substituted 5-minute polenta, which is my second favorite breakfast and cooks OK with one steep even at altitude. I had planned on it for most of my breakfasts anyway and I had brought some extra just in case, so it became my only breakfast food.

                          But the steel-cut oatmeal is the only thing I have a serious problem with. Pastas like large-grain couscous and tortellini seem to steep OK at up to 11k feet, as do all the other cereals I have tried over the years. Things may take a bit more time than at sea level, but it isn't too bad with a good cozy. 

                          But altitude is an argument for the most efficient cozy you can devise, especially if you are doing anything beyond re-constituting commercial freeze-dried foods.
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