Many folks will be heading out next week to celebrate the July 4th holiday. The tradition for my family has become a yearly pilgrimage to the campgrounds of Old Orchard
Beach in Maine. Whether camping in a tent or a trailer, one does not have to suffer a fate of endless peanut butter sandwiches and with a little pre-trip effort camp food can be fabulous!
Here are some basic tips to spruce up your campfire meals:
* Portion meats into zip-top bags or tightly sealed water proof containers enough for one family meal, remember to label them with permanent marker.
* Pack meats such as beef, chicken, sausage or shrimp into quart sized zip top bags, add in flavorful marinades and/or seasonings, then freeze for a minimum of 24 hours at home before packing into coolers.
* The frozen meats will slowly thaw to refrigerator temperature over a few days, this will extend the quality of the meats. Replenish coolers with fresh ice daily.
* Be sure to pack a probe thermometer to be certain the food in your cooler or camper stays below 41 degrees! This can be done by opening packages and inserting directly into the piece of meat or by placing the thermometer between two packages, wait at least 20 seconds for an accurate reading.
* Pack firm slightly under-ripe fresh fruits such as peaches, bananas, or frozen berries in crush proof containers. Bring along some aluminum foil to create pouches for the sliced fruit, butter, and a little brown sugar. Place pouches on hot coals or on a cooler section of a grill until fruit is soft and the brown sugar makes a glaze, approximately 5-10 minutes.
* Bring some corn on the cob with the husks intact, remove the silks from each cob, carefully peeling back the husk to do so and replacing them. Roast the corn in the husk on a grill away from direct flame or near hot coals. Roast until the kernels are tender.
* Use foil pouches for small whole potatoes, drizzle lightly with olive oil or a pat of butter. Pack your favorite dried herbs blend in a waterproof container and sprinkle over the potatoes. Roast on indirect heat or on hot coals.
* Fresh vegetables such as asparagus, halved onions, halved sweet peppers can be oiled and placed directly over a direct heat source. Smaller vegetable like mushrooms, sliced zucchini, and cherry tomatoes can be roasted in a foil pouch or on a skewer.
* Pre-portion healthy snacks such nuts, raisins and dried cranberries and granola in snack size zip-top bags for taking on hikes or walks on the beach.
Remember to eat as much fresh food as possible to help support the physical activities during your vacation and keep plenty of drinking water on hand!