How to Store Meat Safely While Camping
There’s nothing quite like the experience of spending time outdoors, surrounded by nature and the beauty of the wilderness. And a crucial piece of advice regardless of a short camping trip or a longer stay, is knowing how to store and properly handle food, especially meat. As a camper and a father of three, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks, which I am more than happy to share with you, making sure your camping experience is nothing short of memorable.
Prepping Your Meat Before Leaving Home
The only way to make sure your meat is kept properly refrigerated while camping is to pre-prep it before leaving home. Think about what you will cook and how many meals you’ll need then set about preparing them the night before. Wrap the meat in tinfoil or clingfilm and store in the refrigerator. Always freeze any leftovers for using on your next camping trip, or reheat it for dinner when you get home.
Packing for Camping Safely
Before loading up the car with the food and camping supplies, always make sure to store the meat in a cooler and line it with ice packs. If you don’t have large enough ice packs, use water bottles since they freeze quickly and take up a lot of space in a cooler. When packing the meat in the cooler, try to keep the raw meat separate from any cooked or prepared food by using separate plastic bags.
Be sure to stash the cooler near the top of any supplies you’re bringing with, this way the cooler stays chilled prevent any temperature risks. Additionally, if car space is too much of an issue, invest in a small camping refrigerator specifically made to fit standard coolers.
Keeping Food Safe at the Campsite
Keeping your campsite safe and organised is the key to preventing food borne illnesses. So, follow the key rules of the camp, keep the food stored in a safe manner and know the rules about when food can be stored outdoors (if this is allowed). I tend to bring a single-burner camp stove and a portable cookbox, and I use these exclusively for my camping meals.
When packing the food, make sure to make use of any camping kitchen supplies you may have. Investing in a high-quality cooler is a great way to make sure the food stays cold and prevents it from spoiling or getting contaminated. And, don’t forget to bring extra ice packs just in case. This will also ensure that you’ll have enough ice to keep the cooler at an acceptable temperature.
Storing Meat After Cooking
After you’ve finished cooking your meals, store the leftovers in airtight food storage containers. Keep them in the cooler, or if you’re at a campground, put them in a refrigerator if one is available. For the refrigerated leftovers, consume them within two hours, and for the cold kept leftovers, consume them within four hours.
On the other hand, during warm weather or if you are planning to leave hot food for a longer period of time, it is a good idea to keep the food in the cooler for an extended time. To do this, wrap the food in tinfoil or bags and make sure to keep the containers of food in an ice chest or cooler. This way you can keep perishable food from spoiling.
Cooked Meat Storage Tips
When storing your meats, always make sure to follow these basic guidelines:
– Refrigerate cooked meats quickly and keep them in the coldest part of the refrigerator (usually the back) so they stay fresh.
– Store cooked meats for no longer than 4 days in the refrigerator if you plan on consuming them later.
– Wrap the meat in aluminum foil or place it in a food storage container before refrigerating it.
– If freezing cooked meat, wrap it in heavy duty aluminum foil or store in an airtight freezer bag.
– Avoid refreezing meat that has been frozen, as it can diminish flavor and texture.
– When reheating cooked meats, make sure the internal temperature is 165°F for the food to be safe for consumption.
That just about covers the basics of storing meat properly while camping. If you follow these simple tips and use proper food storage techniques, you’ll have a safe and enjoyable camping experience. Additionally, don’t forget to observe general food safety rules, like washing hands with soap and water before and after handling any food, regularly removing food waste, and never leaving food out uncovered outside the cooler.