Do you love camping out in nature, but feel like your wilderness meals aren’t living up to the standard you want? If so, you’re not alone. Making delicious and interesting meals out in the wilderness can be difficult, and it’s a big adjustment from cooking in the comfort of your own home. While cooking outdoors, you’re subject to the weather, changing temperatures, dirtier prep spaces, and a general lack of resources to make your meal. This is perhaps why many wilderness goers opt for the simple Mac & Cheese, instant oatmeal, or instant ramen meals. These can definitely do the trick, but here are some simple ways to make your wilderness meals even better.
Bring a Spice Kit
If there’s one thing that’s most integral to planning outdoor meals, it’s a spice kit. Everything needs flavor! Adding some spice to your outdoor meals can make mediocre meals good and good meals amazing. Some essentials include:
• Garlic powder
• Chili powder
• Curry powder
• Roasted red pepper seasoning
• Brown sugar
Making a breakfast bar can be a great way of sprucing up any breakfast, especially meals like oatmeal or cereal. Breakfast bars will include classics like brown sugar, cinnamon, coconut shavings, chocolate chips, and milk powder. However, one of the best additions to any breakfast bar is dried fruit. These can include fruits like dried apples, peaches, pears, berries, and mangos. Most of these dried fruits can be bought at a grocery store, but to garner even better results, try dehydrating them yourself.
Unless you have a dehydrator, using a conventional oven is the easiest way to dehydrate your own food. Not only does dehydrating greatly improve the lifespan of your product, but it also reduces the weight and size of the food. This makes it easy to pack an abundance of ingredients into a small volume of space. When dehydrating food in an oven, it is important to keep the temperature as low as possible. By doing so, you can cook your food for a long period of time, removing the moisture, without burning the ingredient. The more moisture the food contains, the longer it will need to stay in the oven. Here are some oven instructions for a few different foods:
• Fruit cooks around 8-12 hours at 160°F
• Veggies cook around 6-8 hours at 160°F
• Yogurt & applesauce cooks around 6 hours at 160°F
• Beans cook around 4-6 hour at 160°F
Keep in mind that these times are all rough estimates and can fluctuate based on the power of your oven and how much moisture your batch of ingredients have. Be sure to check on the dehydrating process occasionally so as to not over or undercook them.
Eating freshly baked bread when out camping is one of the best luxuries you can get. To make bread in the wilderness, you will be baking it in a fire. To do this, you will need a few pieces of equipment. A Dutch Oven is the best receptacle for baking bread. It distributes heat very evenly which gives each section of the bread a nice color and crust. If you don’t have a Dutch Oven, a pan or wide and shallow pot with a tight lid will work. The ingredients you’ll need are oil/butter, flour, yeast, and brown sugar. Follow these steps for successfully baked bread:
1. Start a fire. It doesn’t have to be a huge fire but needs to be hot.
2. Into a small bowl filled halfway with lukewarm water, sprinkle in 2-3 pinches of yeast. Then add 1 pinch of brown sugar, cover, and let sit for 10-20 minutes, or until yeast starts to create bubbles.
3. In a large bowl or pot, pour in about 4 cups of flour. Once your yeast mixture is ready, add it to the flour and mix until it is less sticky and has turned into a ball.
4. Grease up the Dutch Oven or pan with oil/butter, make sure all surfaces are fully greased to prevent sticking. Place dough into the Dutch Oven and press it down and to the edges of the pan. Cover with the lid.
5. By this point, your fire should be hot and embers should have developed. To bake your bread evenly, you want to cover the receptacle in heat. With a long stick, dig out a space in your fire to put your Dutch Oven in. Once it’s placed in, cover with embers on the sides, then with tongs, cover the lid in embers as well.
6. Depending on the temperature of your fire, the cook time should take around 8-10 minutes. Make sure to check on it periodically. When the bread is done baking, take it out of the fire, remove from the Dutch Oven and let it cool on a cutting board or plate.
That’s it! You have amazing freshly baked bread. It is always important to practice caution around fires, and use proper safety gear.