OAUSA Net - September 12, 2019 - Food Preparation and Preservation While Camping

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OAUSA Net - September 12, 2019 - Food Preparation and Preservation While Camping

#1

Post by DaveK » Tue Sep 10, 2019 12:23 pm

Food Preparation and Preservation While Camping

It's no secret that, like most people, we really enjoy great meals, and that includes when camping. With no disrespect to hot dogs, MREs and freeze dried food, when we are at home, we normally don't live it up by sitting around a well appointed dining room table, complete with candle light, so we can crack open an MRE with a good bottle of wine.

Look at it like this: If you enjoy a very well prepared meal at home, then there is absolutely no reason why you cannot have the same at camp, with the added benefit of being surrounded by some terrific scenery. We've been perfecting this approach for quite a few years, and it all starts with the right equipment, skills, and knowledge. And, by the way, when this is done properly, it isn't necessary to break the bank or carry an enormous amount of stuff. The key, of course, is having the right gear and the right knowledge.

There are a lot of components to a fantastic camping experience, and having really good food is clearly one of them. So, for this net, we want to discuss some well tested tips, tricks and gear that make it possible to have really great meals, while at camp. Our gear and techniques are well tested, but you may have some too, and we need to hear about them. Post up folks, cause we want to learn too!!!

ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: While is not the subject of this net, it needs to be mentioned that all of the things that we mention both on the air and in the posts below, require you to take the necessary sanitary measures when you prepare and cook your meals. Nuff said!


The results of great meals, in great surroundings!!!

Dinner on the Rim (Large).jpg
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Breakfast on the Rim (Large).jpg
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Re: OAUSA Net - September 12, 2019 - Food Preparation and Preservation While Camping

#2

Post by Voodoo Blue 57 » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:53 pm

Food Preparation:

Prepare ahead of time.

Camp Prep/Cooking


Preservation:

ARB Fridg.
Phil

"Never lost always exploring"

"National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst"
Wallace Stegner

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Re: OAUSA Net - September 12, 2019 - Food Preparation and Preservation While Camping

#3

Post by lrsrngr » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:43 pm

KK6CTT for the online checkin, please.

Life without an ARB Freeze/Fridge:

Rotomolded coolers from companies like Pelican and Grizzly have filled the niche above consumer based coolers where you get that professional, consumer based, cooler that is built “bear tough” and certified as such.  Many of the current prosumer coolers are “bear certified” which means they can be used in areas were bears are an issue and the park requires “bear certified” food storage containers.  I mentioned both Pelican and Grizzly because these are the two coolers I personally own.  In the Pelican model, the 65 quart and the 35 quart.  In the Grizzly, the 20 quart size.  That “other company,” probably most famous for their line of coolers and beverage containers, holds a position I do not support so it was pure luck that I did not buy their brand when I was looking for my cooler before the controversial SHTF with the NRA.
 
The Good:

Tough as nails.  Quality hinges, latches, drain plugs, overall design and resilient construction.  What you would expect from Pelican products while the same appears to hold true for the Grizzly line.  Both companies claim “made in America” and if there was one thing I have learned here at OAUSA, we like to see and recommend made in USA products!  Four days of solid ice retention performance with five or more days running into the caution zone; plan your trip and ice needs accordingly.  With the box prechilled and all items being in good shape on day four, what you need to add in ice is no where near the ice needs you originally started out with so your ice resupply does not have to be as big once you are out on the road.  Replacement parts are covered by the Pelican guarantee which is why they do it right from the start and seldom do you need to approach Pelican for warranty of replacement parts (excellent customer service).  Grizzly has a similar warranty but I have not needed to flex it and I do not know anyone who has but it seemed like a good company from the reviews I read prior to purchase.

The Bad:

Older, original (Pelican specific) models, being built like a tank, actually weigh as much and are just as bulky.  Pelican has done some modifications to their original design to reduce the weight and bulk of their coolers.  This second generations is leaner and appears to be a step in the right direction (no personal experience concerning the cooling qualities of the newer line for comparison).  The outside dimensions of the coolers, because of their bulkiness will play tricks with your mind.  You think that by the size of the outside it should be able to provide room for two families worth of food; wrong!  Inside dimensions are much smaller than they appear from the outside.  Going big and having that one large ice chest to meet all needs was my original intent, but I soon found it was inconvenient to carry the big chest for circumstances where I needed only a 35 or 20 quart ice chest.  Now you can see why I have three different sizes; each out of necessity; yeah, necessity; that’s what I told my wife!  Trays to keep food out of the ice bed are expensive from Pelican specifically.  With the 65 quart cooler, for just one basket, it was something like $30 and we found that Sam’s Club had stainless steel “steam” pans that fit in just like the baskets would at less than $15 each.  We essentially added two trays for less than the cost of one Pelican wire basket (recommend this work around).  Basket prices from Pelican have come down but still more expensive than the Sam’s Club solution.

Quick Tips:

o  Block ice over cubed ice or a combination of the two
o  Block ice will last longer
o  If you repurpose an empty Arizona Ice Tea jug, for example, for freezing water in, the ice will last a long time and in a pinch the water can be used for camp chores or to drink as a last resort.
o  Freeze all your perishables like steak and chicken after being marinated so they will also add to the ambient temperature of your cooler not take away.
o  Items that become dangerous, like chicken or pork products, should be eaten first and cook right.
o  Proper cleaning of your preparation surfaces needs to be a sanitation priority; do not become a gastrointestinal casualty because you became too laxed with your sanitation and hygiene standards.
o  Much like Dave’s Wishy-Washy, our solution was a one-gallon sprayer that we use clean water in and wash hands and dishes with (never used for chemicals).

I will be at a local radio club meeting tonight so I won't be able to discuss my post until later in the net.
Last edited by lrsrngr on Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: OAUSA Net - September 12, 2019 - Food Preparation and Preservation While Camping

#4

Post by DaveK » Thu Sep 12, 2019 2:02 pm

FOOD PREPARATION

Preparation of your food is not only an important part of your trip plans but, when done properly, will contribute to the safe preservation of your food. While this becomes more important as the trip length increases, it does apply to shorter trip as well.

We have learned many of the following recommendations the hard way, and to a lesser extent, from others. The whole point of this piece is to suggest ways to keep food from spoiling or being lost altogether, and to keep it as fresh as possible, while at the same time doing everything to keep food in the smallest possible package. The longer the trip, the more attention must be paid to compacting your food items.

So, preparation of food should include the following:
  • re-packaging
  • vacuum sealing
  • heavy duty zip locs
  • replacing glass bottles with Nalgene containers
  • pre trip food prep (such as cutting and slicing food items so as to fit into more compact containers - saves time too)
  • food protection
  • pre-cooking
  • freezing
Nalgene.jpg
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Chicken Package.jpg
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Vac Sealer.jpg
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Egg container-2.jpg
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Egg container-1.jpg
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Here is an item that very few campers will think about - heavy duty zip lock bags. Yes, they are available and in a wide range of "thicknesses" that will suit every camper, or so I say. They are a little more expensive, but given the extra measure of protection they offer, it will be worth it.

NOTE: these are not the heavy duty "freezer bags" that you will find at your favorite food store.

The natural question some will be ask is, "why do this when I can get regular ZipLoc bags?" Consider this scenario: You are 100+ miles from the nearest store, and you find that your ZipLoc bag, that was holding your dinner, is now punctured with the contents spread all over the bottom of your cooler. Knowing that the food item is now contaminated, would you have been wise to go for that extra measure of protection???????.

Your research here will get you to the bags that will be right for you, but here is a start. Keep in mind that the following example, is just that - an example. Other companies make bags, some of which are stronger. So, the Royal Bag Company (https://www.royalbag.com/6-Mil-Clear-Re ... ategory/82) offers heavy duty zip locks and says this about them:

Our clear, heavy duty zip lock bags are set at 6 Mil to provide a strong layer of protection for items with rough or sharp edges. These strong, heavy duty plastic bags are made of virgin polyethylene and meet all USDA and FDA requirements.
The smooth, easy-open and close zippers make these bags a great choice of storage for many types of items, including food. With over 50 sizes readily in stock, you are sure to find the perfect bag to suit your storage and organizational needs.

Heavy Duty
FDA and USDA approved - Safe for food
Easy open and close zipper
Sizes range as small as 2 inches, up to 30 inches
Can't find the size you're looking for? We can custom make your bag!
Here is an example of one of their bags. The picture is small, but the message is clear - they are HD. This particular bag is holding dry wall screws, all of which come with sharp points.

Heavy Duty Zip Lock Bag.jpg
Heavy Duty Zip Lock Bag.jpg (13.03 KiB) Viewed 320 times
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Re: OAUSA Net - September 12, 2019 - Food Preparation and Preservation While Camping

#5

Post by toms » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:11 pm

Tip for long term trips with a cooler

Start with an extreme cooler.

1. Split food into two groups – 1st half and second half of trip
a. Each half goes in its own cooler

2. Pre-chill coolers for several days
a. Ice it down let set
b. Pour out and discard

3. Freeze anything that can be frozen in advance
a. Meat
b. Water bottles

4. Chill all beverages in advance

5. Load coolers
a. block of ice - you can make your own blocks if you plan in advance.
b. put all frozen and chilled item in
c. Fill cracks with cube ice

6. Put a strap around second half cooler- not to be opened until second half of the trip

7. Don’t drain the water until you have too.
See you on the Trail!
TomS
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Re: OAUSA Net - September 12, 2019 - Food Preparation and Preservation While Camping

#6

Post by toms » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:23 pm

Grocery Shopping

1. Purchase items that do not refrigeration until opened in small containers. Buy two or more to meet your required volume. At most you only need to keep one small partially used container in the cooler or fridge. For example: salsa, salad dressing

2. Buy individual bottles of the kind of orange juice that does not need to be refrigerated instead of a gallon container. Refrigerate only the number need for the next meal.

3. Purchase canned items in place of fresh when they can be substituted. A can of evaporated milk for cooking in place of a bottle of fresh milk.

4. Purchase temperature stable candies and cookies. Buy red licorice instead of mini Hersey chocolate bars.

Repackage

Repackage most of the food items to save space and to increase storage life.

Meat product come in space robbing trays. Transfer them to zip lock freezer bags, double bag them to prevent leaks and freeze them. Trim fat, skin, etc. off at home. Saves both space and trash.

Even items like a block of cheese, cream cheese, & cold cuts should be placed in a zip lock freezer bag. If you are using an ice chest, it keeps them dry. If you only use part of a block of cheese, you already have it in a container for storage.

Apples, potatoes and onions can be stored in their original bags under sleeping bags, blankets, sleeping pads, and tents. The material about them will keep them insulated so they will last the trip.

Romaine lettuce can be trimmed top and bottom to fit in a one-gallon zip lock bag for a lot less space and left-over trash.

Freezer type Zip lock bags can be purchased in one gallon, Quarts and pint sizes. In fact, you can get two-gallon versions as well. The purchase of pint size and two-gallon size may require a trip to Target or Walmart. The standard Freezer Ziplock bags are 2.7 mils. I usually double bag anyway so I get a fairly thick protection. If all goes well, I re-use the outer bag for garbage while I am cooking.
The pint size is a very useful size.

Pre-Cooking
Meets like hamburger that will go into Lasagna or spaghetti, etc. can have their shelf life extended by browning them at home and freezing them.

On the Trail

Restock drinks in the morning. Let the overnight temperature put as much chill as into them as possible. If you have a fridge, the extra drain on the battery is off set by the days driving.
See you on the Trail!
TomS
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Badlands Off-Road
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Re: OAUSA Net - September 12, 2019 - Food Preparation and Preservation While Camping

#7

Post by DaveK » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:25 pm

GENERAL SUGGESTIONS

1. Consider purchasing dry seasonings in plastic containers. We understand that some recipes call for fresh ingredients, and when that is the case, you will need to take measures suggested elsewhere in these posts. To the extent that glass is your only option, Nalgene can come to the rescue, again.

Naglene 2 oz. container

Small Naglene.jpg
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2. When your recipes allow for it, canned ingredients offer a lot of protection. Again, if your recipe calls for fresh ingredients, you will need to take other precautions for preservation.

Canned Foods.jpg
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3. Special care is usually required for produce and fruits. Even so, certain things, like lettuce, celery, and mushrooms, will not last as long as other food items. The first solution is to prepares your meals at the start of your trip that call for these items. The second solution is to keep them at the top of the cooler where they will not get crushed. Next, make dang sure that they don't get too cold (freezing or close.)

Beyond that, keeping these items in a separate container, (paper bags) will can help prolong peak freshness. With lettuce, when room permits, buy a whole head and discard the outer parts that may have suffered. Space and time do not permit a lengthy discussion here, so check out these websites for more tips:
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Re: OAUSA Net - September 12, 2019 - Food Preparation and Preservation While Camping

#8

Post by DaveK » Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:26 pm

COOLERS - ICE AND 12 VOLT

For our purposes there are only two kinds of coolers - ice and 12 volt. I am intentionally excluding thermoelectric coolers as they are not well suited to our type of travels.

ICE COOLERS

There are two recent trends in coolers that deserve to be mentioned:
  • 1. Ability to keep ice for much longer periods of time (1-2 weeks, in some cases)
  • 2. Bear proof construction.
These two kind of go hand in hand. When you build a cooler that is able to preserve ice for much longer trips, it usually means that the units are more robust and sturdy. The bear proof (or resistant) models are obviously much more, but the product line-up for outdoor activities has never been better when it comes to gear that will help preserve your food.

One of the very nice qualities of these newer coolers is that they can really take a beating without the dings and dents of years past. I have lost more coolers than I can count to rough conditions and normal trip abuse. It is also a great opportunity for campers to have a nice range of these coolers from the several manufacturers that are in the market.

These new coolers do come with a couple of things to consider:
  • 1. They are bigger in external dimensions than coolers of equal internal size. So, a 45 quart normal cooler will be smaller externally than a 45 quart bear proof or long term cooler.
  • 2. They will be more expensive. When it comes to preserving your food, however, it is worth the extra cost.
This is an area where you will be served by doing your research. Here are a couple of examples of the market:

ENGEL https://www.engelcoolers.com/rotomoldedcoolers.html
NOTEWORTHY: 10 year limited warranty. Imported.
From the Engle website:

Engel.jpg
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GRIZZLY COOLERS http://www.grizzlycoolers.com/coolers/
Noteworthy: Lifetime warranty. Made in USA.
From the Grizzly website:

Grizzly.png
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Cordova https://cordovaoutdoors.com/
Noteworthy: Lifetime warranty.. Made in the USA. Official cooler of the NRA
From the Cordova website:

Cordova Coolers.jpg
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PELICAN http://www.pelican.com/us/en/products/coolers/
Noteworthy: Limited Lifetime. Made in the USA.
From the Pelican website:

Pelican.jpg
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12 VOLT COOLERS

As the name implies, these units are virtually the same as the refrigerator in your house, except they are designed to be transported in a vehicle, boat or trailer. These coolers are equipped with temperature controls which allow the units to maintain a fixed temperature from below freezing to the 40s. On a hot day, If you are looking for some hero status, pull some ice cream bars out of your fridge/freeze and pass them around camp. For longer trips, especially where ice will not last, these coolers are an ideal choice.

Just as with the rugged coolers, the fridge/freezer units come with some considerations. The most significant will be cost. The second is the external size of the units. Since they are meant to keep the contents cold by using the power from your vehicle battery, the insulation must be significant in order to place as little drain on your battery as possible. Necessarily, this will mean that the external size is, and should be, larger in order to accommodate the necessary insulation to accomplish this objective. With the right set-up, a refrigerator/freezer can be one of the most important pieces of equipment that you carry, especially for longer term trips. But, make no mistake about it, these units are equally valuable for any short term trip as well, especially if you take into account that your food will no longer get water damaged by melted ice and that there is no risk of ruining out of ice in the middle of a hot trip.

The market has a lot of manufacturers and you need to do your research. Here are some examples, with DTK's comments:

Fridge Freeze http://fridgefreeze.com/
Noteworthy: Made in the USA
From the Fridge Freeze website:

Fridge Freeze 47 Quart Refrigerator.jpg
Fridge Freeze 47 Quart Refrigerator.jpg (236.73 KiB) Viewed 298 times

National Luna Refrigerator https://www.equipt1.com/collections/nat ... ompartment
Noteworthy: Made in South Africa
From the Equipt1 website:

National Luna.jpg
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ARB Refrigerator http://store.arbusa.com/Fridge-Freezer-C48.aspx
Noteworthy: Made in China
From the ARB website:

ARB.jpg
ARB.jpg (169.63 KiB) Viewed 298 times

Engle https://www.engelcoolers.com/12volt-fri ... ezers.html
Noteworthy: Made in China

Engel Fridge.jpg
Engel Fridge.jpg (29.33 KiB) Viewed 298 times

IMPORTANT NOTE

Some manucacturers make dual zone frig units - freezer and regular frig. Such refrigerators are quite large and will ddraw more power than a conventional unit (just a fridge.) A very simple means exists to turn your single zone fridge into a dual zone and it will not change the size of the unit. Included with my fridge is a 1/4 inch 2-section plastic sheet, which when placed over the stuff you want to keep frozen, will keep it so and the rest of the items above the sheet will be kept a regular refrigerator temps. Cheap, simple, and effective.

12 V freezer refrigerator separator.jpg
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Re: OAUSA Net - September 12, 2019 - Food Preparation and Preservation While Camping

#9

Post by Voodoo Blue 57 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:54 pm

Early checkin please.
Phil

"Never lost always exploring"

"National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst"
Wallace Stegner

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Re: OAUSA Net - September 12, 2019 - Food Preparation and Preservation While Camping

#10

Post by KAP » Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:54 pm

Dave, Tom and the Net
Please check us in.
Kevin KK6DGL
John KM6FXI
Jack KK6WXQ

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