Eat well in the woods – not as hard as we think

By Doug Williams
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Eat well in the woods – not as hard as we think

Doug Williams
 
 
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Just because you are heading out into the woods, does not mean that you have to eat only energy bars or peanut butter sandwiches. Or worse still, unidentifiable slop!

If you like to eat well at home, you can do so in the woods also. It is possible to prepare delicious food over a campfire. You will, however, need to do some planning before you leave.

Find lightweight ingredients. Be choosy about the packaging. For example, tinned food is heavy to carry. There are many ingredients available in throw-away sachets specifically for traveling. You can be adventurous and inventive, and you could easily prepare pancakes or bread dough from a premix pack.

Be creative

Get creative with your planning to turn out some adventurous outdoor meals
Get creative with your planning to turn out some adventurous outdoor meals

Pasta, rice, dried onions, dried mushrooms and tomato paste in sachets are all easy to prepare and make your meals tasty. Getting a hot cooked meal after a hard day hiking is a treat and you can bet food never tastes better!

Cutting equipment

If you intend to do some fishing or hunting make sure that you have the right equipment with which to gut and clean your food. A small cutting board would be useful. Learn about the plants you will find along the way as fresh additions to the pot are always welcome. If you get to know what plants can be safely foraged, you can cook fish over the fire wrapped in leaves and search for berries or leaves with which you can make tea.

Utensils

You won’t have a whole kitchen on standby so choose wisely what utensils you will carry
You won’t have a whole kitchen on standby so choose wisely what utensils you will carry

When you are planning your menu and getting the ingredients together, you will also need to gather together some utensils. Again, be circumspect. You do not need the kitchen sink. A good multi-purpose knife is a great piece of kit to have. So is a pan of some kind and something to bake in, plus, as mentioned above, a light-weight chopping board. Get the lightest ones you can find. The size and type will depend on how many people you are cooking for and what the menu will be. Have a glove to hold the pan. A portable grate will be needed if you plan to cook meat or fish over the coals.

Spices

Pack some condiments and spices. You will be able to find small sachets of salt, pepper, ketchup, and mustard at a fast food outlet. Save some next time you visit one of these. You may want to be more adventurous, so bring other spices in small paper envelopes which can be burned when they are empty.

Campfire

Having ensured that campfires are allowed in the area, collect some wood and start building your fire. Prepare everything before you start to cook. Fires have only one setting and that is HOT, so you need to watch the food carefully. As the fire burns to coals you can bake if you have planned to do this.

Campfire with potatoes. Author: Chenspec CC BY-SA 3.0
Campfire with potatoes. Author: Chenspec CC BY-SA 3.0

Cooking takes a bit of time and effort but be creative and innovative, and there is no reason why you cannot be a campfire gourmet.

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