Unless you are Al Brown, chances are you are often left baffled when it comes to deciding on what food to take along on your next camping trip. Apart from creative camp food ideas, proper storage is also of paramount importance. Improper food storage can result in your entire food rations for the trip wrecking the inside of your vehicle before you even reach your destination. It can also significantly contribute towards New Zealand's grave food wastage problem which is currently estimated to be in the region of $2 billion per year.
Despite great innovations made with regards to camping gear, seeking ideal camping food remains somewhat of a mystery to even the most fervent of campers. Luckily there are some really ingenious people in the world that have formulated a range of camping food hacks so innovative that even the biggest klutz can find his way around a makeshift camping kitchen. By following these guidelines, and experimenting on your own, you will soon be hailed the New Zealand camping king.
Bottle your eggs
Transporting eggs from the grocery store to your home is hazardous enough so imagine all that can go wrong if you try and cart a tray or two along on your next camping trip. There is a simple and practical solution that will prevent you from getting egg over all your camping gear and the inside of your car: bottles. Break your eggs into a plastic water bottle (or reuse an old, rinsed soda bottle), give it a good shake and seal. All you have to do when you get to your campsite is fire up your camping stove, pour your liquid eggs in the pan and you have almost instant omelettes or scrambled eggs for breakfast. If you want to save even more time you can even season your liquid eggs beforehand, as long as you make sure everyone in the family like the same amount of salt or chilli flakes in their breakfast.
Put your seasoning in drinking straws
No one likes bland food but packing the entire contents of your spice drawer is not always a viable option, especially when you are already worried about space. The solution to your spice dilemma is so simple that you may want to kick yourself for not thinking of it earlier. Seal one end of a plastic drinking straw with a lighter, pour a small amount of seasoning into it and seal the other end. You can even write on the straw with a marker if you are worried that you won’t be able to identify the contents later on. All you have to do is snip the tip off and season your favourite camping meal. You'll be spoiled for choice as far as food flavourings are concerned as you will be able to take countless herbs and spices with you without taking up much space at all.
Make tacos in a bag
Everyone loves Mexican food, even in New Zealand, with tacos being a firm favourite amongst young and old. If you have ever wondered why your favourite pack of Doritos is always only half-full when you buy it the answer is about to become obvious –to make tacos in a bag of course. This innovative take on the Mexican classic is not only easy to make but also leaves you with no dishes to wash. You simply toss the empty packet in the bin when you are done. To make this sumptuous dish you need a few bags of Doritos (or any other corn chips). Crush the chips and then open up the packet and fill it with your favourite taco ingredients such as chopped lettuce and tomato, chicken strips or spicy mince, sour cream, chopped chillies and, of course, grated cheese. Fold the bag closed at the top, give it a good shake to mix, open up and enjoy. All your taco fillings can be prepared at home and brought along in plastic containers or Ziploc bags – just make sure you have enough as your family and friends may end up demanding seconds.
Reinvent the S’more
S’mores have been a campfire treat of many generations and are bound to remain one for even more generations to come. Although it remains perfectly acceptable to layer a graham cracker with chocolate squares and toasted marshmallow and put another one on top, there are a number of exciting hacks to jack up your favorite sweet snack. Next time you go camping, why not make ditch the traditional and make a banana boat s’more instead. Simply cut a slit in each banana and open the skin up slightly. Next you need to scoop out a few small chunks of banana to make space for the filling. Stuff 3 to 4 mini-marshmallows (or a large one cut in quarters) into the scooped out sections and put a small square of chocolate next to each. Sprinkle with a crushed cracker of your choice and a few caramel chips. Wrap the banana tightly in foil and place directly on the coals until the chocolate is melted. Young and old are bound to fall enough with this oozing chocolatey feast
Make toasted sandwiches like a pro
Whether camping or at home, the trusted toasted sandwich has been a staple to millions of hungry New Zealanders. Unfortunately, making a simple toasted sandwich over an open fire can be daunting. Tin foil is terrific for cooking while camping but it is not ideal when it comes to toasting sandwiches. It is a common occurence for the outside of the bread to be burnt to a crisp while the cheese inside is still far from melted. To eliminate this pesky problem all you have to do is pack your favorite cast-iron griddle pan, a can of non-stick spray and the fillings of your choice. Prepare your sandwich as you normally would, spray your pan with non-stick spray and pop it directly onto the coals. Proceed to put your sandwich in the pan and toast just like you normally would at home. Your toasted sandwiches will be perfect every single time.
The point of camping food hacks such as these is not to turn you into the next great NZ chef but rather to slowly ease you into a creative and comfortable camp-cooking routine. Regardless of your own camp-food preferences, you are bound to come across a couple of hacks that will make your next camping trip a lot more enjoyable, at least as far as the cuisine is concerned. Not everyone was born to cook but with some research and a bit of practice, you will soon be able to impress your friends and family with your remarkable fire-side cooking skills.