Tuesday, June 27, 2017

How to Make Quick-Cooking Rice

Last summer, Deus Ex Machina and Big Little Sister set out on a 100 mile journey to conquer the most difficult and dangerous part of the Appalachian Trail.  A third of the way into the adventure, they had to leave the trail, because the dog was showing signs of distress.

Undeterred, they have decided to set out on this journey again, this time with Big Little Sister's boyfriend, whose blog name is Eye-Tee (IT).

Having experienced it once, Deus Ex Machina and  Big Little Sister are being a lot more careful about the weight of their packs, and they've been enjoying the conversations they've been having with Eye-Tee.  Big Little Sister says she hears their words coming out of his mouth.

On a positive note, he's started listening to them more, and he's starting to adjust his plans.

The whole experience has me thinking a lot about my own preps.  While my goal is never to leave my house, because I have everything I could ever need right here, I know that being forced to evacuate is a possibility. 

It's so hot and dry in the US Southwest this year that huge wildfires are blazing in Arizona, Utah, and California.  Unrelated to each other, but horribly devastating.  A wildfire might force me out of my home.

Weather has wreaked havoc in other areas in the past.  Tornadoes, hurricanes, and flooding have all resulted in evacuations. 

It could happen, and that's why I think about these things.

Ideally, I would be able to pack up my car and head out (and come back, eventually), which means I wouldn't need to worry about things like the weight of what I was carrying ... or even about losing too much of what I left behind.

But what if I couldn't drive my car?  What if I had to head out on foot with only what I could carry on my back?

Through listening to Deus Ex Machina and Big Little Sister, I'm learning that those packing list recommendations for Bug Out Bags are often misguided.  For one thing, they are too heavy, and they recommend a lot of stuff that would be nice, but isn't really very necessary.

It's funny listening to Deus Ex Machina talking about which shoes to carry.  The pair of boots weighs two pounds, but the pair of hiking shoes weighs only a half of a pound.  Guess which pair is going.  What I've learned is that when one is carrying it on one's back, one is counting weight by the ounce - and every single one of them matter. 

Sometimes it's validating, for me.  A few years ago, on one of those survival forums, one of the recommendations for the TEOTWAWKI medicine bag was an anti-diarrheal.  I commented that taking an anti-diarrheal on the trail might not be such a good idea, especially if one didn't know what caused the diarrhea.  Diarrhea is a symptom - not a disease - and stopping it without knowing what caused it could be very dangerous.  The best thing to do would be to pound liquids and suffer through the loose bowels.  Drinking lots of fluids would help stave off dehydration, which is, really, why diarrhea is dangerous. 

Instead of using a diarrheal, I suggested just regular, old black tea, which also has anti-diarrheal properties, but it also does a lot more.  Plus, it would force one to boil the water - which may have been the reason for the diarrhea in the first place.  If one carries a loose leaf tea mixture that includes both black tea and mint, for instance, there are a whole bunch of health and medicinal benefits. 

Plus, dried herbs used to make tea weigh a lot less than diarrhea medication.  So, there's that.

The other people on the forum yelled at me, basically, telling me that I didn't know what I was talking about, and if they had to suffer with diarrhea in a powered-down scenario, they'd be clutching their bottles of Pepto with both hands. 

Personally, I'd rather save the weight for something more awesome than the pink stuff, and I'll just pack a big, baggy of herbal tea - which is delicious and soothing whether I'm sick or healthy. 

When I was planning food to pack in my BOB, one of the items I always added to my list was rice.  For all of the good having rice on the trail would be, uncooked rice is actually not a great choice.  Aside from the fact that it's pretty heavy and the weight to calorie ratio isn't that great (the recommendation for backpackers is to carry food that yields 100 calories per ounce), it takes a really long time to cook, and it requires dishes, which can also be heavy.

So, I started thinking about alternatives, and I decided that I still liked the idea of having rice, but that I just needed to modify it a little, and I figured out:

How to Make Homemade Quick-Cooking Rice

1.  Cook rice.
2.  Put cooked rice in dehydrator.
3.  Process until it is dry and crumbly.

To Use:

1.  Put rice into a container that has a lid or can be covered in some way.
2.  Add an equal amount of boiling water.
3.  Cover and let sit for ten minutes.

If one adds other dehydrated vegetables or meats, plus spices, it would be the same thing as those packages of dried food that cost a week's pay at the hiking store.  

But even if one isn't going to go hiking or bug out, ever, having cheap convenience foods is not a bad thing.  The homemade quick rice doesn't take up any more storage space than regular rice, but on those days when dinner is going to be late anyway, it's nice to have something super quick and easy to prepare.

What's better is that the first time I made quick rice, it was because we had a bunch of rice leftover after dinner one evening.  We were already dehydrating stuff.  So, I just added the rice to the dehydrator.  It was a no-waste solution and gave us an option for a super quick meal.





2 comments:

  1. YES! I have a family memeber who loves a certain brand of "converted" rice and beans...I decided that I was going to figure out how to make rice and beans that cooks in the 15-20 minutes that the store brand calls for.
    Long story short, I cooked it all, then dehydrated it, jarred it up, and voila! "instant" rice and beans. I bagged and sealed a good bit in seal a meal style bags, and stored them in my long term pantry...what I keep for SHTF days, bad storms, etc.
    SO convenient for those busy nights, or when we are all feeling under the weather and just want to eat and crawl into bed. That rice adds bulk to quick soups, stirfries, casseroles, etc. I now keep a couple of pounds of cooked, dehydrated rice on hand all the time in the kitchen, and additional in the pantry.

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  2. Great idea! I share a dehydrator with a friend so may try this. I am going to do some strawberries this week for winter muesli; the chipmunks are getting most of mine so will need to go picking!

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