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Cooking

 

Cooking

When it comes to food while you camp, basically anything goes. It's a time where you should try to be as creative as possible. If you have spices use them. If you have left over's dump them in the pot. Picking it out, preserving it, traveling with it, and of course consuming it. Food is a large part of your trip so you want to have everything taken care of before you leave.

The Best foods to take - and not to take

When going on a back country trip, no matter if it is a short or long amount of time, you don't want to take foods that will spoil. Meat products tend to be a quick spoiler. It can't last very long in a pack before it starts to go bad and smell even worse. I personally would try to get your protein elsewhere if possible. Peanut butter, nuts, and beans are great substitutes. But if your really partial to meat and must take it along it should be eaten within the first couple of days. Another great substitute for all you meat lovers would be to bring Beef Jerky along. Not my personal choice but, it does come highly recommended. Besides it takes no preparation. Another no-no would be taking fruits. They spoil quickly and are much to heavy and bulky. But wait, there is a way for you to have your fruits (and veggies as well.) If you dehydrate all your fruits and vegetables they stay fresh are light to pack and by dehydration you don't lose many nutrients. Probably the best foods to take while your camping would be lots of carbohydrates. Noodles, macaroni and cheese,rice, you get the basic idea. Carbohydrates keep your energy level up and your metabolism in action. Soup, any kind, tends to make a great meal. As long as it comes in a bag and not a can your set to go. Sandwiches are great for a quick lunch but if you've ever been camping you know that bread doesn't last very long without losing its consistency. I find that pita bread not only doesn't fall apart but it packs a lot easier as well. When picking out your food you must remember that your carrying it in with you and your carrying it out with you.

Packing and Preparation of foods

When planning a trip you should not only plan your travel schedule but your food schedule as well. It's one less thing you have to worry about later. You should get all the foods your going to take for your trip and divide them into meals. If the food is all ready packed separately you'll know you have enough food for each meal and again it's one less thing to worry about. When packing the food your going to want to take it out of the individual boxes or bags that it came in. By doing this your eliminating excess room that was taken up by the air in the bags. After you group the meals together in plastic bags suck the excess air out again eliminating unwanted bulk. The easiest way to know what food is where is by labeling it for each meal. This is not necessary but sometimes helpful. Remember that packing extra food is not a bad thing. You'd rather have too much then not enough. The easiest foods to cook are the "just add hot water" foods. Like soups, Ramen noodles, macaroni and so on. To keep food fresh it must be packed well, this also eliminates the chance of your food supply getting wet. Also remember that in preserving your food you must preserve the supply no binging. But most importantly you must tie your food up in the night. No, this is not only if your in bear country. Speaking from experience raccoons and other such animals know how to chew through a bag and they will. Before you go to bed each night just quickly tie your food back up in the plastic bags, stick it in a few bags and tie it up somewhere. This somewhere should be above ground level (tent level as well.) If you tie up your food you'll sleep peaceful and wake up to a great breakfast.

A days worth of suggestions

If you still don't exactly know what to take for your meals here are a few suggestions.

Breakfast - Oatmeal is always a great favorite. But don't forget to bring along brown sugar and cinnamon. Cereal is also quick and easy. Yes, it's easy to do with powdered milk. Which doesn't really taste half bad. But if you have a little time and want a hot breakfast I highly suggest you try chocolate chip pancakes. Everyone has had them before but there's just something about camping and chocolate pancakes. They were meant to be together.

Lunch - For lunch I personally like to stick on the cold side. It's just faster and easier when your on the go. A few suggestions are peanut butter and jelly, tuna fish -which is occurred to carry but sometimes worth it-,cheese sandwiches. All the basics and all on pita. You can bring along chips or granola bars something for that extra craving. Things like chips are sometimes smashed when packed so you must be aware of this and pack carefully. If you've got time to spare and want a hot lunch grilled cheese and soup is a great treat.

Snacks - When your constantly on the go it's hard to not get hungry in between meals. You should always keep some snacks close in your pack, they should be easy and accessible. The best snacks are things that will give you a quick energy boost. Since it's hard to grab a banana in the middle of the trail pick things like granola bars, fruit roll-ups, trail mix -Gorp, (which can basically be whatever you through in it)my favorite trail mix is a combination of raisins, m&m's, peanuts, and dehydrated fruit.

Dinner - For dinner there are so many different options. But, i'll just give you a few suggestions. There's an all ready mixed in (cooked together) noodles and sauce. Yes the sauce is dehydrated but I swear it's worth the shot. If you decide to take along meat there's a hundred different ways you can make great chicken stir-fry. Just don't forget your seasonings. Macaroni and cheese is always a possibility, along with soup. If you buy a whole punch of different soups and through them all together in a plastic bag you can have a great mystery meal. Unfortunately it's not always good, but most of the time. Of course, you need to bring along smor's ingredients for at least one meal. In case you don't know(which means you've been living in a dark cave)smor's are made up of roasted (or charred) marshmallow's in between a chocolate bar which is in between two graham crackers. A perfect way to end a day.

A few essential items to bring

  • More than anything else remember water has become your most important food group. Always have water with you and plenty of it.
  • Bring lots of spices and seasonings. When camping these could make a world of difference. Salt, pepper, garlic, Mrs. Dash, cinnamon, oregano, anything that you think might add a little kick to your food.
  • DooDee, yes doodee. This is a great treat that no camper should go with out. It's just dry brownie mix. You add water later and you have instant brownie mix -but be careful not to add to much.
  • Instant coffee, tea, and sugar -for those people that aren't great in the morning.
  • Sometimes water gets a little bland so bring along some Dominade, Tang, Or Kool-aid for your enjoyment. Sugar can be good.
  • Always bring along excess peanut butter and jelly, it never seems to go to waste.
  • One more thing to remember is that while your hiking don't deny yourself food due to fat content. Backpacking is a high endurance, and highly physical activity. When shopping before your trip if your contemplating over a regular item or the fat free version, go regular. We will have no fat free on this trip. I promise you'll work it off.

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