Everybody enjoys a good camping trip. This gives you the perfect opportunity to unwind a busy work schedule and unplug from the modern world for a while. Give yourself some time to get in touch with your natural roots. It is also an excellent time to bond with family, children, friends and loved ones. You won’t find a much better opportunity to teach your children the basics of food preparation and cooking safety.
In this setting they will be very enthusiastic about learning these things since camping is not something they get to do every day. Unlike in the kitchen at home, where they barely paying attention as their parents move around and cook every day, their attention will be focused on you and everything you do by the camp fire. There are lots of different camp fire cooking techniques to choose from.
You do not have to necessarily choose one cooking method over another. Just remember that the same foods can often be cooked in a variety of ways. Some of the common campfire cooking methods are flame grilling over the fire with long skewers, barbecuing on a grate over the fire, and using a cast iron skillet or dutch oven over the fire. Here are some unique and fun tips you can use to cook when you are camping. See the list below and see what works for you:
- Have water for cleaning and cooking. You of course need to have water to drink while you are camping, but don’t forget to also have some extra water available to cook with or to rinse dishes. This is only needed if you are doing primitive camping where water is not readily available.
- Cook over the coals. You can cook your food by placing it directly over the coals. This can be done by using extra long wood or metal skewers or a grill basket. Some foods taste a lot better when cooked this way because of the smokey flavor the camp fire adds.
- Cook using parchment paper. You might think that paper would always burn when used over a fire. But did you know that it is possible to cook a variety of things with this cooking technique? Just wet the outside of the paper and place it near the coals and it will not burn. Just be aware this may take some trial and error to get it right. Test it out with a small amount of food at first before cooking your whole meal and have an alternative available just in case.
- Cook using leaf wraps. The idea behind this cooking method is similar to that of the parchment paper. The moisture of what’s cooking inside the pocket prevents the outside from getting burned to the point that it catches fire. Try using a large piece of cabbage or lettuce leaves. It is very effective and will leave your meat and vegetables moist and flavorful too. Always make sure that the leaves that you are using are not toxic.
- Cook using a rock. You can even cook food on a flat rock surface while camping. If your camp fire pit is surrounded by rocks, the heat from the camp fire gets absorbed by the rocks, creating a makeshift hot plate. With it you can boil water in a pot, cook eggs in a pan. You can even set your meats that are wrapped in parchment paper or leaves directly on the rocks.
- Cook food inside other foods. This is a camp fire cooking tip that a lot of people overlook. Stuff your vegetables inside the fish you’re going to grill. Thinly slice your chicken breasts and wrap them around some pieces of sausage and other vegetables. This makes the cooking process a lot easier since you are cooking everything at once. It also infuses more flavor into your dish.
- Use empty metal coffee cans. Yes, coffee cans. Sounds odd? You may use an empty coffee can to cook your food or warm up some water. This will serve as your improvised pot. Just be sure that it is not lined with plastic since the BPA in plastics have been shown to be unhealthy when consumed.
- Be Careful Choosing Metals. Cast iron pots, pans, and grates are best but plain iron or steel can also work. Just be careful not to use anything galvanized with zinc. Zinc atomizes under high heat and is poisonous when ingested or inhaled.
Camp fire cooking offers so many possibilities. You can really use your imagination to go in so many different directions with your meals. Use a dutch oven for your stew, cook scrambled eggs in a skillet, or roast hotdogs over the fire. But the most important thing about camping is spending your time enjoying your camping trip with family and friends and not worrying about what to eat or drink. So plan ahead and enjoy!