Hiking and Camping with Food Safety in Mind
Camping and hiking are one of the best practices that revive the mind and enrich the soul and spirit. Not only this, but going for a camping trip is one of the best solutions to the break the daily routine and go outside to discover and enjoy the beauty of mother nature.
But, if you don’t keep in mind certain camping essentials like food safety, the situation may get reversed, and it would be mother nature who will enjoy you.
When food is not well saved, some foodborne diseases can turn into some serious unwanted souvenir. This is why in today’s article, we will share with you some food safety tips that can save your camping trip from turning into nightmarish visit to the hospital.
So, if you want to make sure that your camping trips will go as planned, you might want to finish this article till the very end.
And without any further ado, let’s get right into it:
1. Keep Your Cooking Tools Clean
We have been informed since childhood that protection is better than treatment. Not only this mantra is true as the sky is blue, but it is one of the core essentials of food safety.
Keeping your cooking tools like pans and knives clean is of great necessity. If they’re unclean or rusty, some serious digestive problems will come as a result since the food that will be prepared with them will get dirty as well.
Not only this, but even if you’re not cooking or preparing your food, storing certain fruits and vegetables within dirty plastic or metal boxes can result in getting the fruits and vegetables rot faster since the bacteria will infiltrate the food and multiply within it. This means that the longer the food is stored there, the faster it will develop a rot, and you will be obliged to throw it away unless you are used to eating rotten food.
To keep your cooking gadget clean, it is important to use certain detergents like soap for instance. And depending on which destination you are heading; clean water availability may vary from one place to another. If you’re camping on the beach, salty water is suitable for cleaning, but if you’re camping on the mountains, you need to check first the source of the stream to make sure whether it is clean or not. Bear in mind that certain water streams are filled with chemicals and this can lead to serious problems.
Also, if the weather is a bit windy, it is preferable to dry your pans and plates after cleaning them if you’re planning to use them again, otherwise dust particles may get attached to the wet surface, and you will be obliged to clean them over again.
2. Keep Your cooking Water Safe
Here’s a tip that might come in handy during a camping trip and that may even SAVE your life:
“You’re not in an adventure movie or a reality TV show, most of the water you find in streams and lakes is full with pathogens and bacteria, and you’ll end up with a severe diarrhea if you cook with it!”
Cooking water MUST be clean since most of the water will get inside the food that you will eat, and this means that no matter how clean your food is, if the water you’re cooking it with is unclean, the bacteria inside of it will get inside your food and cause serious digestive problems once you eat it.
Not only this, but certain campers prefer to take noodles with them. And in case you do not know, water consists around half of the noodle bowl, which means that you will be absorbing unclean water directly.
What is worse than a severe diarrhea is the possibility of getting kidney stones that are a huge pain to the point that it can get intolerable and even require a surgery to get them out of your kidneys.
So, to avoid the above-mentioned problems, just make sure to bring your cooking water with you, or simply boil the water that you think that it may contain bacteria for around 5 to 10 minutes while putting a couple of bleach drops in order to kill the bacteria inside of it.
Still, it would be better to bring your cooking water from home since you’re already assured that it is clean and this will save you the boiling time and gas.
3. Select Foods that Require Little or No Cooking
The title says pretty much everything concerning this section. When going for a camping trip, it is always a good decision to take food that require little to no cooking since the chances are that this food is already packed and sealed from the factory and abides with the international food safety standards.
Food that requires no cooking not only saves cooking time and gas, but it will keep you relaxed as a result since you will not have to worry about any food-related problems. Getting some chicken breasts or some canned tuna or alongside with a lettuce salad and bread can turn to be the perfect lunch since it is so easy to prepare, and it consume less plates and cooking time than the other meals, especially salads.
More importantly food that requires no cooking can easily be noticed if it starts to develop a rot or if it is not edible since its color will be different. But if you plan to cook a big heavy meal, there’s always the possibility that one or more ingredients may not be edible, but they will blend with the rest of the food during the cooking process, and can severely affect your health and well-being
4. Foods That Do Not Require Freezing
This tip for some people is probably way more important than the previous one, and the reason is pretty obvious. A lot of people tend to enjoy their summer holidays by camping on the beach with either their family or friends.
And since summer = high temperature, it is hard to keep food frozen for long periods of time. And when certain foods are exposed to heat, the bacteria within them starts growing in number, and this will make that food inedible.
One of the foods that should be kept cold as long as possible is red meat. Still, since coolers do not keep things cold above a couple of days, it is always advisable to either consume meat in the first day of the camping trip or avoid bringing it in the first place.
The same thing applies for dairy products like cheese, milk, and yogurt. This kind of products should be kept in constant cold temperature in order not to allow for the bacteria inside of it to develop and spoil the food.
On the other hand, you can bring foods that do not require freezing at all like vegetables, fruits, and even bags of chips. These types of foods can withstand a certain degree of high temperatures without spoiling if well preserved, and you won’t have to worry about keeping them cold as a result.
5. Do Your Research About the Camping Area
Sometimes, food can get affected by the air of a particular area. If you’re planning to camp in a place that is located few kilometers away from a chemical’s factory or a dumpster, there’s a high chance that that the insects within that place can contaminate your food through direct contact and can cause some dangerous digestive problems.
To avoid this kind of troubles, it is for the your and your family’s best interest to avoid camping in that particular area from the very beginning. Insect will get attracted to the smell of food no matter how hard you try to prevent the smell from going out, and if the insects were in direct contact with a dirty surface, there is always the possibility that they will transfer those viruses and germs to your food.
Also, if you’re still planning to camp in that area, make sure then to keep the food you’re planning to eat within well-sealed plastic bags, and always remember to put a lid on your pot whenever you’re cooking something. This way, you’ll prevent any insect from getting close to your food and you’ll rest assured that your food is well protected from any extraneous elements that may affect it.
6. Avoid Cross-Contamination
Bacteria that come from raw meat and chicken can spread to other edible materials and they kind of stick to almost everything from wet juices, to hands, and even tools.
Make sure to always wash your hands by using soap to prevent cross-contamination before and after dealing with food, and using utensils for uncooked and cooked meats, eggs, and seafood. And always cover your products while transferring from one place to another.
With that being said, we come to the end of today’s article. Always remember: food safety is not only related to the quality of food you bring in your camping trips, but it is also related to the ways you protect your food during your trip. Food safety in hiking and camping trips is very important since food is a decisive factor in whether the trip is worth repeating or not.
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