One of the things I enjoy most about camping is cooking in the great outdoors with my family. It’s one of the biggest reasons why I go camping in the first place. I’ve had my trusty camping barbecue for over five years, and it’s never failed me. Unfortunately, as I get older, I’ve had to start thinking about my health. Gone are the days when I could eat a weeks-worth of barbecue food without worrying about my cholesterol levels. I can’t help but feel guilty when I gorge myself on burgers and BBQ chicken 5 days in row, and it’s virtually impossible to come back from a camping trip these days without gaining weight. I’ve decided to take a new approach to my camping meal planning, and a big part of it is using my barbecue more responsibly. I’ve incorporated several types of food and ways of cooking that don’t involve my grill at all. These days I’m still able to enjoy a wide array of flavorful food without relying on my barbecue so much.
Frozen Soups and Stews
This is a handy trick that my best friend showed me. Before he goes on a camping trip, he prepares homemade soups and stews and then freezes them in Ziploc bags. He puts them in the cooler alongside other frozen items, and it helps to keep everything else cold in addition to the ice. When you are ready to eat, all you have to do is plop your frozen soup or stew into a pot, and you’re good to go. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
I used to think of dehydrated food as something you used as a last resort in emergency situations. In fact, I’ve had the same emergency kit for years, and it contains packs of dehydrated food (which I would be hesitant to heat in a real-life emergency). But these days, the world of dehydrated food has expanded, and some of the choices are actually quite tasty. While I would never use them solely for an entire trip, they do make great lunch options or quick snacks.
Fresh produce can only be kept for so long which is why I opt for canned fruits and vegetables. This way I can incorporate a bit of health into my camping recipes as well. If you’re looking for something a bit different, check out Asian canned items. There are some interesting vegetables that you might not include in your regular diet such as oyster mushrooms. But when used properly in the right recipe, they add a bit of flair to traditional dishes.
A Pressure Cooker
Whenever I go camping with my RV, or I have access to a generator, I’ll bring along my electric pressure cooker. This is the perfect way to prepare a hearty stew right on the spot. Sure I could use old-fashioned methods with a cast iron pot and a campfire, but who wants to cook for four hours? Using a handy device like this speeds up the process. and it can be used for more elaborate foods like pot roast, Curry, Chile, or gumbo – try making those dishes with a barbecue! Best of all, there are lots of affordable models like the ones found at tendercookers.com, and you can use them at home when your trip is over too.
One of my favorite foods of all time is smoked salmon. You can also find prepackaged lox with a mild flavor, and it’s ready to eat right away. This is something you can throw in a cooler and keep indefinitely before opening up the package. This type of salmon is extremely versatile and perfect for sandwiches or on top of a fresh salad. Snacktime is also a big part of my camping routine, and I love smoked foods like beef jerky as well. They are perfect when you need something to munch on, or a quick boost of energy right before a long hike.
As you can see, camping food does not have to be all about barbecue food. Get a bit of variation into your life!