One of the joys of camping is the experience and thrill. Cooking outdoors is a whole new experience that provides campers an essence of the old traditional ways our ancestors prepared meals.
Although cooking outdoors may seem to be easy, in reality, it is difficult and tricky. It requires patience, creativity, and innovation, especially when you have no access to any appliances and electricity.
A vital technique to practice is to plan the meals you intend to cook ahead of time to ensure that you prepare all the necessary equipment and cookware needed for a successful cooking experience.
In addition, there are certain things you can do to make your cooking experience more hassle-free and convenient during your camping trip.
When planning to cook on your camping trips, it is crucial to have a specific area on your campsite designated as a kitchen. This area should be distant from your tent and belongings, especially since you will be cooking your meals with fire. Your kitchen must also be spacious because this will be used to store your cookware, portable appliances, and food.
Dining areas when camping can be simple and less fancy than the ones we have at home. It is enough to have a simple table with chairs to accommodate every member of the family.
If you only have access to chairs, you may improvise by sitting down on them and placing your plate on your lap. It is crucial to have a designated area for eating your meals to prevent ants and bugs in your tent.
Use portable chairs and tables
It is highly advisable to use portable equipment during camping, which can be multi-purpose and not just mainly for just cooking or dining. These portable tables and chairs will allow you to easily transport them from one place to the other, avoiding your campsite from getting too crowded.
Prepare your cooking utensils
Cooking utensils are the things you don’t want to forget when planning to cook on your camping journey.
One important thing to remember is to only bring utensils that you will be needing and ensure that these utensils can withstand high heat. Some of the most essential cooking utensils you should pack include long tongs, can openers, spatula, ladle, chopping board, and a sharp knife.
Prepare your cookware
Cooking wares, without a doubt, is the most essential thing you’d need to cook your meals. The most common wares you must bring along on your camping trip include a grill grate, kettle, skillet, and Dutch oven. These cooking wares will allow you to prepare your food using different cooking methods such as grilling, frying, poaching, boiling, etc.
Use cast iron for cooking meals
You must never forget your cast iron whenever you are cooking on a campfire, gas stove, or electric stove. This material is cheap, durable, naturally non-stick, and retains heat longer compared to other materials.
Cast irons ensure that your meals are evenly cooked. The only downside of this material is that they are heavy and take longer to heat up.
Get good food storage
During long camping trips, it is vital to store your food properly in reusable sealable bags, Tupperware, and coolers which would allow your meals to last longer. It is crucial to be mindful of both hot and cold temperatures to ensure that your perishable food doesn’t spoil.
What food should I prepare for camping?
Camping is an outdoor activity which would surely drain all your energy. With this, it is important to consume meals that provide your daily caloric needs and those that will give you the energy to take on physical activities during your trip.
Breakfast is an essential meal to have. This is considered the most important meal of the day to refuel your body with vitamins and minerals. Even though the body uses glucose for energy, your breakfast should not contain a large quantity of sugar and fat, but rather a simple, healthy, and nutritious meal which includes whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and fruits.
Whole grains can be found in meals such as cereals, waffles, and muffins. Lean protein can be found in foods such as eggs, nuts, and legumes. Fruit juices like apple or orange is also a great beverage choice.
To be considered a well-balanced meal, a healthy lunch must contain at least three basic food groups (vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, dairy, and calcium-rich foods). Consuming a healthy lunch can sustain and give you the energy to perform outdoor activities throughout the day.
Dinner is the last meal of the day. Naturally, it must also contain three or four of the components included in the basic food group. Remember, digestion works best during the day. Hence, it is advisable to eat a light meal during dinner and avoid eating late to steer away from health hazards such as increased sugar levels, heart diseases, obesity, and acidity.
Where can you set up your dining area for camping?
You can set up a dining area anywhere. However, a crucial factor you must consider is a location that is spacious, under a shade and has flat ground.
These factors ensure that you will be able to dine comfortably. For relaxation and peace of mind, you may place your dining area on a nearby river or lake if there are any.
Tips when preparing food for your camping
Cooking on camping trips may sometimes be frustrating, stressful, and time-consuming. The best way to ensure that you get the best cooking experience is to plan them ahead of time.
This will enable you to interact more with your family and friends and allow you to manage your time well. Here are some of the techniques and tips you may do in preparing food for your camping journey.
Let your kids help
An extra pair of helping hands will surely make you finish your task faster, especially when cooking. It is a great habit to let the kids prepare meals. This not just lessens the energy you exert to accomplish the task but also serves as a learning ground for them to learn.
Prepare easy to cook food
One technique to ensure that you save time and enjoy every moment of being in the wild is by preparing easy-to-cook foods. As the name implies, these foods do not require too much effort in preparing, allowing you to bond more with your family and friends.
Keep area clean
It is important to keep the area clean to ensure that no bacteria and germs are building up. Proper trash sanitation is a great habit to practice to prevent unwanted diseases.
Dry your cooking gear well before storing
Always allow your cooking ware to dry completely before storing them to prevent foodborne diseases.