Are you going camping for the first time this summer? If so, you'll want to keep in mind that summer camping does pose a few culinary challenges. For starters, you'll need to contend with issues related to packing the food. As a long-time camper, I happen to have a few food packing tips that you may find helpful. Here they are:
Prep What You Can
One of the best things that you can do for your family is to take care of as much culinary prep work as you can at home. For example, if you plan on serving barbecue chicken wings place the seasoned wings and marinade all inside one re-sealable plastic bag. Hamburger patties, campfire chili, summer salads and foil-packet meals may also be prepped at home and transported to the campsite in plastic containers.
Freeze Fresh Items
Speaking of advance preparation, you may also want to consider freezing some of your prepped meals and snacks. That way, the food will stay cooler longer. Examples of foods to consider freezing are grapes, strawberries, juices, tomato based sauces and Egg Beaters.
Repackage Bulky Items
Certain types of packaging can take up an exorbitant amount of space. Therefore, I would recommend that you break down items like breakfast cereals into individual or gallon size re-sealable bags to cut down on wasted space. Personally, I also like packing condiment packets instead of large jars of mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup and jelly. You can typically purchase a case of condiment packets from restaurant supply shops for less than $10.
Buy Freeze Dried Foods
In my opinion, freeze dried foods truly simplify summer campground cooking. They prepare easily, come with minimal packaging and do not require refrigeration. You can also choose from an array of items like freeze dried lasagna, beef stroganoff, yogurt bites, cheddar cheese and powdered milk. There are even companies that sell freeze dried ice cream. Freeze dried foods may be purchased through specialty retailers and military surplus stores. Prices vary greatly. Hence, I would recommend that you do your homework before making a purchase.
Use Blocks of Ice
When it comes to packing your family's cooler, you'll want to use solid blocks of ice because they tend to last longer. I'd suggest that you create your own ice packs using re-sealable plastic bags. That way, you can mold them to fit the inside of your cooler. Frozen juice bags, frozen water bottles, insulated food bags and a solar tarp will also help to keep your camping perishables cool.
Killeen Gonzalez enjoys summer sports and recreation with her family. She has also traveled extensively.
More from this contributor:
- Food & Cooking