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  1. #1
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    Default Al cookpot usage

    What foods/drinks would you NOT prepare in an uncoated aluminum cookpot? Specifically I have a 1.5 qt Mainstays grease dispenser, that comes with a handy strainer and separate lid.

    Speaking of dispensing, before answering, let's dispense with the debunked aluminum / Alzheimer's thing.

    That said, there are good reasons to avoid aluminum for some things, like highly acidic foods, because it can corrode / pit. I had a nice pair of aluminum loaf pans, and because I forgot this when making a meatloaf that had salsa in the recipe, one of them is now pitted. And having a metallic flavor imparted to your food/drink brings no joy.

    So, among common backpacking recipes, meals, and drinks, what should be avoided in such a pot? Specifically I am wondering about (and/or most likely to prepare):

    - Ramen (for the sake of this question assume the entire flavor packet is used, even if that's not always the case]
    - Skurka's recipes
    - instant potatoes (Idahoan)
    - Kraft Mac & Cheese
    - cowboy coffee
    - any other common backpacking or camping food/drink made in a pot (assume I will cook / heat / rehydrate in the pot itself, not a plastic freezer bag)

    I have some other pots - 2 stainless (24 oz and 18 oz respectively) and a smaller IMUSA aluminum pot (the 10cm one, I think 22 oz. And I think it's uncoated / un-anodized too). All these are measured to the brim; in practice one usually should only fill 2/3 full or so, to allow stirring, bubbling, or adding of ingredients.

    I guess I'm especially curious about the mac & cheese, because with that one, you boil the noodles in a lot more water than you end up with in your bowl. Most of the others, the water you add all ends up in the meal. So for the Kraft, you do need a bigger pot than those other ones I mention above, unless you only make half a recipe or something like that. That's why I'm especially curious about the 1.5 qt Al grease pot. Otherwise I wouldn't mind just bringing the 24 oz stainless one, even at the cost of a few ounces. Stainless is just so easy to get 100% clean, but I don't have one sufficiently large for a full box of mac & cheese. It's barely adequate for a packet of Maruchan ramen, actually.

    I understand salty foods and broths aren't great for Al pots either - but can it be adequately mitigated through quickly cleaning it after use? If not I would think Ramen isn't good for them ... but it's such a common meal I'm guessing most folks don't worry about pitting or think that a metallic flavor is imparted. Again, talking un-coated, un-anodized.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Registered User One Half's Avatar
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    I would not cook anything in aluminum - coated or not
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  3. #3
    Registered User russb's Avatar
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    Acid + Time + Temperature. The stronger, longer or higher the worse the outcome. I would have no concern with any of the food options mentioned. I don't think most backpacking type meals will have a significant impact due to the style of "cooking".

  4. #4
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    Thanks, russb, succinctly put and probably right. I guess based on my experience at home I'm just going to make a point of avoiding salsa and things that are made from the same main ingredients. And keep an eye on how the interior of the pot feels or cleans up. When weight d/n matter much, I'll just favor stainless, if my SS pots are large enough. Time for some home kitchen testing ... kind of like backyard tent/tarp/hammock testing.

  5. #5

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    Either end of the pH scale can be corrosive. I recall one definition of 'corrosive' was anything within 2 pH units of either extreme, so acidic (0-2) or basic (12-14; sometimes called alkaline).

    As evidence, consider the 'acid bomb' that kids used to make to blow up mailboxes. It was typically made with drain opener and aluminum foil. Commercial drain openers are often acids, but most drain openers sold in the grocery store are strong bases, often potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide. Either drain opener will work. I am not suggesting anyone go out and test this as it is illegal and also not very nice. In my career as a crime lab analyst (now retired) I analyzed several of these and even testified in court about one once.

    Anodized aluminum is less reactive. Essentially it has had the surface reacted already, so no further reaction is as likely. Strong corrosives can break through however, or of the pot gets scratched it will expose metal for reacting.


    In my opinion, which isn't costing you anything so that might be what it's worth, aluminum will break down eventually if used for cooking as cooking involves heat and chemicals (foods) of varying pH. Even boiling water, a theoretically neutral substance, will cause eventual breakdown as it isn't usually pure. Unless you are sticking to distilled or deionized water.

    Short term, not much break down. Long term, there will be break down and you will ingest aluminum. We can all decide for ourselves whether this is good or bad and why.

  6. #6
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    I like the taste of food cooked in aluminum pots. I've been eating aluminum cooked food since I was a little tyke. I'm 79 years young and fit as a fiddle

  7. #7

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    Dr Bredesen's book "The end of alzheimer's" blames the disease on the "insults of modern life". He lists 36 possible causes, and 3 different types of alzheimer's. I don't recall him spending much time on aluminum, although one of this types is due to exposure to toxic substances. There may be more info since his book came out in 2017.
    Personally I use a steel billy pot, regardless of the weight.

  8. #8
    Registered User One Half's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    Dr Bredesen's book "The end of alzheimer's" blames the disease on the "insults of modern life". He lists 36 possible causes, and 3 different types of alzheimer's. I don't recall him spending much time on aluminum, although one of this types is due to exposure to toxic substances. There may be more info since his book came out in 2017.
    Personally I use a steel billy pot, regardless of the weight.
    I have heard several times now Alzheimer's referred to as Type 3 Diabetes. Too much sugar/glucose in your blood stream prevents proper oxygenation of your organs, including your brain, and you start slowly suffocating the organs and they start to die/fail very slowly over time. = Dementia/Alzheimers
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  9. #9
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    Quick update - to complement my 0.7L, 10cm IMUSA pot, I acquired it's larger brother, the 1.25 qt / 12 cm pot. Great price at a certain florida-based online retailer, though with shipping it was merely "good" price in the end.

    As delighted I am when "new gear day" comes along, there were 3 minor things I found disappointing about this particular pot:

    1) It definitely has more flex / feels flimsier than the smaller one. I am not sure it's any thinner though - could it not be a simple physics/material science thing, whereby to make something larger in diameter but equally rigid it would have to be thicker? i.e., that for the same wall thickness, a bigger diameter pot will feel like it has more give/flex?

    2) The handle wiggles a bit in/out on the lower rivet, which also had some sharp edges that I had to file down.

    3) The pot I received does NOT hold 1.25 qts, which is 40 oz. Instead, 34 oz of water fills it to the brim.

    I imagine it's still the superior pot (among the two) for adding stuff to 2 cups of boiling water, since it gives you headroom for simmering and stirring. But another option is to use the smaller one, boil 12-14 oz, add stuff, do your simmering and stirring, then add 2-4 oz of clean, not-hot water at the end. Your food would be more ready to eat temperature-wise and your spill risk is lower.

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