Antelope Valley Press - AV Living (Antelope Valley)

How to be a campsite cook


Nature enthusiast­s often cherish the time they get to spend around a campfire. Whether you’re telling scary stories, having a few drinks after a long hike or just relaxing and gazing up at a starry sky, time spent around a campfire is a unique experience that can make for an ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

There’s much campers can do around a campfire, and that includes cooking. Campfire cooking may not require campers to learn advanced techniques practiced by their favorite celebrity chefs. However, there are a few tricks campers can try as they attempt to create a well-balanced, nutritious and delicious campfire meal.

• Create a menu and gather ingredient­s ahead of time. No one wants to take a spice rack with them into the woods. But that doesn’t mean campfire cooking has to lack seasoning and other special touches that are easy to add when cooking at home. Make meal planning part of your pre-trip preparatio­n. Measure out ingredient­s ahead of time and store spices and other items in their own sealed and labeled ziplock bags.

• Pack some fresh ingredient­s as well. Fresh ingredient­s like garlic cloves can be brought along without taking up much space. Vegetable lovers can chop their greens the night before their trip and store individual servings in their own labeled ziplock bags to ensure fireside meals are as nutritious as they are delicious.

• Bring some small tools along. Small cooking tools that won’t take up much space can be brought along to up the flavor factor even more. For example, a garlic press is about the size of a screwdrive­r and can be used to peel, crush and mince fresh cloves. The garlic can then be added to the pan in which you’re sauteing some fresh vegetables for some instant, easily created flavor. Another small and handy tool to take along is a portable digital food thermomete­r. This can ensure meats and poultry are cooked to perfection, helping campers enjoy foods that don’t dry out over the flame.

• Don’t forget foil. It’s easily overlooked, but aluminum foil is a useful commodity for a campfire cook. Campfire cooking surfaces may not be large enough to prepare every camper’s food all at once, forcing cooks to cook courses or sides one at a time. Aluminum foil can keep cooked foods hot while the rest of the meal is still over the flame. Foil also can be used as a way to cook foods like vegetables over a flame without causing them to wither or dry out.

Campfire cooking can be taken to a more flavorful level with a few simple tricks.

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