Making Camping Spices Portable: A Simple Guide
Cooking during camping trips helps bring family and friends closer. Even on the go, you don’t need to forget the flavor of your home cooked meals. Adding spices to your cooking will let you still get that homey-comforting taste you’ve been craving for. But, the question remains: how do you carry your spices while camping?
Carrying your spices with you will definitely require a bit of planning and packing effort. To avoid spoiling the delicate flavor of your stews, curries, and chilis, here are some tips on how to properly pack spices for your camping trips.
Step 1: Opt for the Basics
Though it may be tempting to stock up on all kinds of flavorings, it is still best to make it simple. When going camping or even on long adventures, it’s important to travel light. It’s a cardinal rule that you should only bring the essentials, and condiments can be added anytime, anywhere. Consider what recipes you plan to prepare, and then decide which basic spices you will need. Some common dry staples you don’t want to forget include paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and chili powder.
Step 2: Protect Your Spices
Packaging your spices correctly is key when bringing them camping. This means airtight and waterproof containers. The best way to make sure your spices stay fresh is to store them in either reusable screw top canisters or sealed plastic containers. Opt for sizes that you can use easily without taking up too much space in your backpack. Whichever container type you pick, make sure you have labeled them clearly. You don’t want to make the same mistake my two-year-old daughter did when she accidentally grabbed garlic powder instead of flour.
Step 3: Pre-mix When Possible
Using pre-made spice mixes can help cut down the amount of individual spices you need to bring. You can also save on layers of airtight packaging if you pre-mix herbs and spices into one container. To do this, combine equal parts of ingredients based on what you plan to cook. For example, if you’re cooking a Mexican dish, you can mix together chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, sea salt, and oregano. This way, you can have all your ingredients in one jar — no more mess or forgotten components.
Step 4: Go for a Multi-Use Bottle
Oftentimes, it isn’t practical to bring every single container with you. This means you’ll need to invest in containers with multiple compartments. This way, not only are you limited to just one container, you’ll also eliminate the need to carry multiple spice jars when you hit the road. A great example is a pill container that has multiple sections for organizing your contents. If you need something bigger, you can look for containers with collapsible sections, which let you have additional dividers in a single bottle. These can hold a variety of spices or other smaller items such as herbs, garlic, and more.
Step 5: Make it Accessible
When camping and cooking, time is of the essence, so having easy access to your spices is key. To make sure you can effortlessly access your spices, you can store them in an easily accessible container such as a small zipper bag. This way, you can easily grab what you need without having to search through a jumble of items.
Step 6: Spice Storage Tips
Once you know what to pack, it is time to make sure that your spices are stored in a way that preserves the flavor and freshness of the ingredients. Here are some tips that you can follow that will help:
- Keep spices away from heat sources such as campfires, direct sunlight, and heat-conductive surfaces.
- Make sure your containers are well covered and sealed. Double check that the lids cannot accidentally be left open.
- Replace large containers with smaller sizes so that you can store more spices while preserving their shelf life.
- If you’re bringing loose individual spices, store them in airtight plastic bags.
- Avoid sticking your fingers into the spice containers as this can contaminate the content.
- Use separate utensils for each type of spice that you plan to use.
Step 7: Think Beyond Dried Spices
If you’re really a fan of flavor, you can bring more than just dry spices. Consider bringing ingredients or seasonings that will bring out more flavor from your cooking. Here are some ideas you can bring along with you:
- Miso paste
- Hot sauces
- Fermented foods like kimchi or natto
- Canned vegetables and fruits
- Flavorful condiments like chutneys or relishes
- Nuts, seeds, and dried fruits
It may seem like a lot of work to store spices for camping, but these tips will help you get the most flavor with the least amount of fuss. As I mentioned before, you don’t have to bring every spice you can. Focusing on the basics and Simple steps for packing will allow you to keep spices handy and flavorful. To help you make sure all your spices are securely stored, here is a helpful video:
With the right tools and tips, you will be able to bring all the flavor of your dishes with you – wherever you go. Wherever the campsite, the taste of a home-cooked meal will always come with you.