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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 4:12 am 
Okay, I wrote earlier about my misfortunes with cans of corned beef. The product itself is terrible, 12 oz (340g) can is too big to consume it all at once, and there is extra weight of metal plus moral/ecological problems of empty can disposal in wilderness.

Today I tried a substitute - chinese freeze-dried pork. (I think it's freeze-dried, rather than heat-dried). Bought in chinese superstore T&T - huge like Safeway, and everything is chinese. Not to say that there are no chinese products in Safeway - there isn't a store in North America without them, but this is a different story. I couldn't find freeze-dried meat in normal "canadian" superstores. The jar says: Dried Pork Slice, 340g (12 oz). Some other jars said "Dried Pork Floss", I wondered why, but now I know. It's shredded into narrow strips, like meat fibers (or may be they are). 4 or 5 varietes, and chinese shoppers told me that the difference is mostly in company name and flavour.

The dosage: I divided 12 oz into 4 ziplock bags, and used one for lunch on a day-paddle. Calorie-wise and protein-wise it felt like okay (with a bowl of rice, of course). May be slightly less than 1/2 can of corned beef, but I can't take this crap anymore.

Preparation? I knew that had to reconstitute it in water, but wasn't sure how, and poured same amount of cold water into the bowl with this pork while rice was cooking - for about 15 minutes. Then added it to the pot with almost ready rice. First surprise: it doesn't require same amount of water, water to pork ratio 0.5:1 is okay. Second surprise: it is somewhat sweet. Will have to try other jars, but have a feeling they are all sweet. Ground pepper can fix this if needed. Meat strips were almost okay to chew right from the jar - not hard as a rock at all. They have softened more after 15 minutes of soaking, and then softened a bit more after 3-4 minutes of boiling (and this was good), but I wonder whether it should be boiled at all. It is already thermally processed (I think), and shredded to almost molecular level, - wouldn't more heat treatment destroy protein molecules? Or may be let it soak in hot water for 15 minutes, while rice is cooking?

I'm not going to eat this stuff at home, so it will have to be stored for a week or so (though chinese shoppers were definitely buying it for their homes). There is no storage instruction on the jar. May be I'm wrong, but have a gut feeling that keeping it on the shelf at room temperature (after opening the jar) is better than in humid environment of fridge.

They also have "Fish Sung" from local (Hong-kuver) factory - freeze-dried, and at that level of processing it is the same protein only with fish (salmon) flavour.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:31 am 
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Pork floss (aka pork sung or pork fu) isn't freeze dried- it's stewed until the collagen breaks down, and stirred until it's nothing but a mass of separated fibers and then oven dried.

You don't need to boil it- just add it directly to soups or stews, or eat it as-is. It's commonly eaten in rice porridge and used as a filling in buns, or just eaten as a snack. I usually have some on hand, but curiously enough never thought of using it as a camping food.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:33 am 
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Oh, and keep it outside the fridge. So long as it doesn't get wet it'll keep pretty much forever. And yes, I think just about every variety I've come across is sweetened to some degree.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 11:32 am 
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Wow, this stuff sounds like the perfect protein source for camping. What's it like nutritionally? There are a few Chinese markets near me which I browse occasionally for camping food, but since they cater mainly to chinese students, they don't even try to make their products intelligible. What should I be looking for if I'm looking for this stuff?

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 3:33 pm 
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nohoval_turrets wrote:
Wow, this stuff sounds like the perfect protein source for camping. What's it like nutritionally?
Very good question. If it is stewed until the collagen breaks down, rest assured that any nutrient with much heat sensitivity (e.g., vitamins) is gone, gone, gone.

Collagen is amongst the most durable of polypeptides; makes me wonder what's left in this stuff.

If it is marketed in the US, it has to have a nutrition label.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 4:20 pm 
nohoval_turrets wrote:
Wow, this stuff sounds like the perfect protein source for camping. What's it like nutritionally? There are a few Chinese markets near me which I browse occasionally for camping food, but since they cater mainly to chinese students, they don't even try to make their products intelligible. What should I be looking for if I'm looking for this stuff?

Well, in Vancouver chinese population is huge and well-established, - it's not just students. So they've built the factories to manufacture these products on spot. Probably cheaper than importing (the workers are getting very low wages). Most of products are imported, though. So my jar is a canadian product (Vancouver area), and has a nutrition facts label.

Amount per 6 tbsp (28g):
Calories 115
Fat 4g - don't remember, perhaps the same amount as in beef cans. We need fat too, anyway.
Saturated 1g
Trans 0g
Cholesterol 20 mg
Sodium 280 mg
Carbohydrate 11g - looks like a useful stuff?
Fibre 1g
Sugars 7g
Protein 9g - I think this is not bad too?
Vitamins 0g (I will check those corned beef cans - unlikely there was too much vitamins there either)
Calcium 0g
Iron: 4% of daily intake (I don'g get this - no grams of iron shown).

Ingredients (from the label): pork, sugar, split pea flour, soy souce, canola oil, monosodium glutaminate (what the heck is this, in plain language?), spices, salt (not much spices in this one, liars).

What to look for? I don't know... The price perhaps. Like I said, there were 4 or 5 varieties in our superstore. Some cost a little bit more - with added sea weed. Some cost more (without sea weed) because, as chinese people told me, these ones were imitaitons of Tailand products - more spicy, more crunchy, better (in their opinion) flavour.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 4:46 pm 
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Look for something like this:

Image

They all taste pretty similar.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 6:50 pm 
Yes, I had one of those bigger jars (12 oz), only with different label. Smaller will eventually cost more. The jar looks big, but mine was only 2/3 full - the one on the photo must be more than 12 oz. 3 oz (84g) in a ziplock (1/4 of my jar) is more-less enough for one good meal for one person. Rather - "more", than "less", I would say. Some people could do with less than 84g.

And here for comparison are nutrition facts of corned beef (should be close to those cans that I used earlier) http://www.calorie-count.com/calories/item/13347.html :

Serving Size 320 g
Amount Per Serving (divide it roughly by 10, to compare with 28g serving of Pork Floss):
Calories 803
Calories from Fat 547
Total Fat 60.7g
Saturated Fat 20.3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.1g
Monounsaturated Fat 29.5g
Cholesterol 314mg
Sodium 3629mg
Total Carbohydrates 1.5g
Protein 58.1g
Vitamin A 0 • Vitamin C 0
Calcium 3% • Iron 33% of daily intake *
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

As I can see, "real" meat (cooked beef), compared to Pork Floss per 28g has slightly more fat, no vitamins too, twice less protein (because it's diluted with water), slightly less calories (again, because it's diluted), very little carbohydrates (in Pork Floss they come with flour and soy sous, I think), more calcium (Pork Floss doesn't have it) and slightly more cholesterol.

From these numbers it looks like dried chinese stuff is better than canned cooked meat - may be it's not better, but at least isn't much worse...

I dont mean this Pork Floss to be the only protein and calories source in camping or expeditions. Though, on weekend trips it could be, - you can replenish the missing elements next day when you get home. On multiday trips I also carry dry shrimp (calcium, some protein and just to have something different from beef or pork), and a lot of dry fruits - mango, bananas, walnuts, raisins, cranberries (these are good in lieu of tea - soaked in hot or cold water and then consumed too after the "drink"). . Dry fruits contain surprisingly much vitamins, as I've found.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 4:35 pm 
PS: If somebody will want to try this dried pork and add too much water to it (before adding all this to the rice or whatever is your meal), - don't drain the excessive water. This "water" looks and tastes like a soup. There are carbohydrates, fat and sugars in there (I think not from meat, but from flour, canola oil, soy sous etc), so this isn't a waste.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 5:57 pm 
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Alex, it might be revealing to check out the nutrition sticker on some genuine freeze dried meat, in comparison to the corned beef, and the dried pork you are exploring. Freeze-drying avoids heating the meat excessively (the pork), or treating the meat with a heavy dose of preservatives (the corned beef). I don't know that this makes much difference in the nutritional analysis, but it might be worth knowing. If you find the dried pork you are considering is indistinguishable from the more expensive freeze-dried equivalent, it might be a real coup. :idea:

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 2:23 am 
Dave, I will stop by MEC and read labels on freeze-dried meats (kinda canadian REI - smaller, though). At $4 per 1 oz pack I already don't like it... Chineze "floss" is less than $1 per 1 oz (when bought in 12 oz jars).

Here is Facts sheet from Provident Pantry freeze-dried beef (about $2 per 1 oz, 1 lb jar, but we don't have it here):

Amount per serving (24g) - so it's less than 1 oz.

Calories 110
Calories from Fat 35

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4 g 6%
Saturated Fat 2 g 10%
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 45 mg 16%
Sodium 380 mg 16%
Total Carbohydrates 0 g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0 g 0%
Sugars 0 g
Protein 19 g 38%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0% Iron 10%

Twice more protein than in chinese "pork floss" - this is good, less fat (neither good nor bad - some fat is needed too), zero carbohydrates (neither good nor bad, I'm getting these with sugar, dried fruits and rice, mashed potatoes etc), and no vitamins again. Too bad there are no 1 lb jars here. What about the storage of freeze-dried beef at warm temps in ziplock, btw?

Anyway, corned beef cans compare poorly against chinese "pork floss", and freeze-dried beef is twice better source of protein than "floss" (looks like this is its only advantage), but in tiny 1 oz packs it's too costly.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 4:09 am 
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Alex wrote: What about the storage of freeze-dried beef at warm temps in ziplock, btw?

We used to strip all that bulky packaging from our FD food when I was a backpacker and repack the meals in ziploc bags, the night before embarking on the all-day drive to our trailhead. These were week-long trips, not usually into hot country, but temps in the day could get to 80F or so; cooler at night. Never had a problem with those meals in 15 years of hiking; I think the FD process kills bacteria so if you do not introduce any in repacking, they should be pretty safe. In any case, dry food is not a hospitable medium for bacterial growth.

Mountain House used to market #10 cans of various staples such as beans, peas, corn, etc., which were repacked en masse at a base camp at a climbing school where I worked three summers; these went on 8- or 12-day trips, similar conditions. No problems there, either. Same deal with dinners.

I think you may find a better, more economical source of FD protein, such as AlpineAire products: http://www.wildernessdining.com/aa52109.html I think this is down to $2/oz.

Ran across this thread on a canoeing site; may help, also: http://www.myccr.com/SectionForums/view ... p?p=214003

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 12:13 pm 
OK, My 2 cents:

Like Dave said, dried anything isn't a very hospitable environment for bacteria. Short of cracking a biology textbook or a how to on food drying (for citations), I'm reasonably assured these items have a relatively indefinite shelf life in proper storage, -repackaging included.

Meat drying and curing was a favourite method of winter food storage preparation the world over in ages before refrigeration. Native Americans used to create drying racks to smoke dry anything from fish to venison for the exact purpose of storing it over long winters. And this was in the age before airtight storage. We can still buy a similar product today in our supermarkets: Jerky, -or charqui as it's called in Latin America. In rural Latin America, the charqui is generally unpackaged by the vendor and simply doled out of a bulk open air container. It doesn't look as pretty as it does up here and I could never be enticed to try it.

Besides dried meat or fruit there are many other products we use daily that are dried. Maize/corn, wheat, oats, and rice will all keep for years without going bad but can become lethal if introduced to water and allowed to sit. According to our food safety classes in NCLA, leftover rice is one of the most common contributors for deadly food poisoning.

-Andreas


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 3:14 am 
krudave wrote:
I think you may find a better, more economical source of FD protein, such as AlpineAire products: http://www.wildernessdining.com/aa52109.html I think this is down to $2/oz.

It says weight 8 oz (and the photo shows 227 g, which is the same), so at $31 this is down to almost $4/oz (plus shipping). At the same time it says "16 servings" - may be they are suggesting half-ounce servings.

The one that I quoted nutrition facts from - Provident Pantry - is apparently over 1 lb for $36 (24 servings * 24 g): http://beprepared.com/product.asp?pn=FN%20B200 (click on Nutritional Info), which is less than $2/oz. Plus shipping again, plus canadian customs rip-off. Nah, I'd better stay with chinese floss... Will alternate it with beef jerky... This "floss" deserves some attention, I think. Doesn't taste too bad, and can be consumed as a snack too, like Mike noted earlier, right from ziplock. I don't even know why I'm calling that "floss" chinese, btw. The one that I've bought was made in Canada.

krudave wrote:
Ran across this thread on a canoeing site; may help, also: http://www.myccr.com/SectionForums/view ... p?p=214003

Yes, I saw this one too. I've bought my pork floss exactly in that T&T supermarket that the guy was asking about. It's a chain-store like Safeway, we have may be half a dozen of them in Hongcouver. Folks at that forum suggested some canadian source for FD beef - ripoff again, at CDN 4.50/oz. MEC store has FD beef at CDN 4.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:30 pm 
Just a follow-up after recent experience. If you use this Chinese "pork floss", don't add water to the bowl with floss BEFORE you start some slow cooking, lke rice etc. Because this floss is instantly ready, and so tasty, you will suffer and inevitably consume much of it before the rice is ready. With hot water (about 1 oz per 3 oz of the floss) it makes an instant hot meal in itself, like some porridge, getting quite soft after a few minutes. Can be used with cold water too, and, like Mike noted, it is edible straight from the ziplock if you wish.


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