Camp rice is just homemade instant rice. A lot of people, my wife included, grew up on instant rice as a kid. In fact she tells me that she didn’t know there was any other kind of rice – just Minute Rice or Uncle Ben’s (both instant rice). And I believe her. If you know my wife at all, you’ll know that her culinary skills are….somewhat lacking. And she’s come a long way from when we first met 21 years ago. Back when we were newly weds her staple meal was microwaved instant rice, smothered in margarine, mixed with ground beef (also microwaved) and frozen corn niblets. Yum.
If I were cooking at home, I’d never entertain using instant rice, especially store-bought. It’s expensive, the texture is mushy, the flavour is bland, and it’s over processed. Also, we try not to eat too much rice in general. While it may be a fairly benign grain from a paleo perspective, it doesn’t really have any nutritional benefits, either. But a nice pot of jasmine rice goes perfectly with a stirfry from time to time.
Where instant rice really shines is in the backcountry. The dehydrating process shrinks the rice down so that a serving takes up very little space and weighs almost nothing. It rehydrates quickly and easily and is a great way to bulk up a hiker’s meal. While you could just buy a box of Minute Rice and divide it into portions for your next through trip, I recommend making it yourself. It’s way cheaper and you have complete control over how it is processed.
- 1 cup long grain rice
- In a medium pot bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
- Stir in long grain rice, stir occasionally so rice does not stick and continue to boil until starchy film begins to form on top of water. Pour water out slowly so you don't lose any rice. Replace water with hot water from tap and place back on the boil. Repeat 2 more times.
- Once rice is cooked to your liking, drain in metal strainer and allow to cool.
Place 1 cup of the cooled rice on the fruit roll-up tray on your Excalibur. Set the thermostat to the meat setting and allow to run for 4-6hours, or overnight. Transfer mixture to zip-lock bags or vacuum sealed bags.
Each 1 cup of cooled rice makes about ⅓ cup of camp rice.