By Reeva Ripley, Bulk and Frozen Buyer, Store Keeper Team Leader, Co-op Owner
As we enter that magical part of the year when the Michigan days are longer and temperatures warm, many of us plan camping trips to explore the wonders which nature offers in abundance. To assure maximum joy from your outdoor venture, having your lodging and destination planned is important, but being prepared to transport and cook food is essential. So I’ve put together some helpful packing tips, easy snack and meal ideas, and the best ways to cook foods with a campfire.
When preparing for an upcoming camping trip, begin by creating a list of foods you would like to take and meal ideas for each day. Perishable items, such as meat, can be frozen, helping to keep the food fresh and the cooler cold. Look to GreenTree’s frozen aisle to find a selection of locally sourced, organic, or pasture raised brats, beef or bison patties, and various other cuts of meat.
Dry goods should be placed in airtight containers or seal-able storage bags to prevent moisture and insects from ruining the food. GreenTree carries a variety of oats, such as rolled and steel cut, which can be cooked quickly in a pot over an open fire, or combined with yogurt and fruit the night before creating a delicious and nutritious way to start a day of exploring. We also have many kinds of granola, with something to suite everyone’s taste. For snacking, our bulk aisle has sweet trail mixes such as Seventh Heaven or more savory flavors like Zen mix. Dried fruits and vegetables are also much lighter than their fresh counterparts, making them a great solution for backpacking. And don’t forget your favorite coffee roast to percolate over your morning fire!
When cooking with a camp fire having the right equipment makes all the difference; tin foil, a cooking grate, pots and pans (preferably cast iron), and some toasting forks or tongs should fulfill your outdoor cooking needs. Tin foil is useful for making vegetable pouches to place directly in the coals (adding an ice cube will prevent sticking), for baking, or to cook fish on the grate over the fire. Grates can be placed over the flames and coals, great for grilling or boiling. Dutch ovens can be placed in the flames or coals to bake and cook foods. Preparing small spice and herb packets for your meals will reduce stress and the amount of things you have to pack. A campfire classic, such as beans, can be a no-fuss meal which will use up bacon grease and any leftover vegetables. Stop by the bulk aisle for pinto, great northern, or navy beans to prepare a tasty and filling camping meal.
More ideas on packing and cooking food for you next camping trip can be found at http://eartheasy.com/play_campfire_cooking.htm and http://www.lovetheoutdoors.com/camping/camp_cooking_tips.htm