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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 5:28 am 
lord high faltbotmeister
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Location: Dumfries, SW Scotland
I'm not sure how long you need to boil, to kill all the nasty bugs. I remember, while working in a lab many years ago, coming across something called "heat-resistant staph" - that had to be boiled for an hour to reliably kill it. When domestic drinking water has a suspected contamination, the authorities usually say "boil 2 - 3 minutes before drinking." (A nuisance if you're using a kettle with auto switch-off.)

So maybe a search is needed on what is a "safe" boiling time to decontaminate food. As you say, difficult where water is scarce. Could you use sea water for the purpose, if you're going to drain it? Or would it leave the food too salty?

Mary

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:10 am 
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Location: Astoria, OR
Mary's comments jive with my recollections: to sterilize petri dishes and similar, you need to autoclave them for several minutes. An autoclave uses pressure, so it reaches a much higher temperature than the boiling point of water at sea level.

I guess a couple minutes of boiling would be enough.

Better not to let it sit overnight -- that's asking for trouble.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 2:21 pm 
maryinoxford wrote:
Could you use sea water for the purpose, if you're going to drain it? Or would it leave the food too salty?


I tried this. Adding very little sea water (1:5 may be) to fresh water when cooking. It left the food too salty. Canned meat is already salty. I'll have to find some smaller cans and will try making a dehydrated meat next time. Dry meat will require more water (=more weight in the boat), but cans contain some water anyway, plus metal weighs somethng, plus garbage disposal problem.


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