Building campfires and getting the barbecue going are lots of fun, but we’d like a bit of relaxation too – just sitting back with a glass in hand and a chance to look at the stars. So, we’ve compiled some of our favourite camp cooking tricks to help take the work out of outdoor cooking.
For the born organiser
- Aluminium foil has lots of uses when camping. Make a ball of foil to use as a scourer for your barbecue grill. Sharpen scissors by folding the foil a few times and then cutting it with the scissors. For cooking, you can wrap up food for baking on the edge of the campfire. Foil bags, though, are perfect for barbecues and campfires – much cleaner and easier all round.
- Washing-up liquid – smear some liquid on the bottom of your pots and Cpans before you put them over the fire. You’ll find they clean up much more easily afterwards.
- Watertight bags – for leftovers, for picnic lunches and for wrapping up food before it goes into a coolbox to keep it damp-free. There are some good reusable ones available now so you won’t be adding to the plastic waste mound. See above!
- If you add too much salt to a recipe, add a peeled potato to the dish and finish cooking. The potato will absorb the excess salt.
- To cook hamburgers more evenly throughout, put a hole in the middle of your hamburger about the size of your finger, during grilling the hole will disappear but the center will be cooked the same as the edges.
Release the pressure!
Take a pressure cooker when camping. They may look like big beasts, but they use less gas and can cook a meal very quickly. Plus it’ll double as a mixing bowl. Stow bits and pieces inside it when travelling. I’d always choose a double, short-handled pot for camping because the sticky-out handle of the traditional Prestige ones is a bit of a pain to pack.
Have a look at our article on camp baking to find out how to use a pressure cooker for making bread and cakes!
- Instead of taking eggs in their box, crack them at home and put them into a wide-mouthed water bottle (like this BPA-free Nalgene one). It’ll avoid egg mess and you can shake the bottle and pour straight into a hot pan for scrambled eggs. Don’t shake and, with a bit of skill, you can pour them out yolk by yolk for fried eggs. If that sounds frightening, go for a Lock & Lock egg box (only for 12 or 18 eggs, though).
- When it’s time to change your home cooking pans, get the Tefal Ingenio ones. These are pans and frying pans with a handle that detaches. They have lids for when you’re cooking and plastic lids for storing. Use them in the oven without the handle, mix in them, store in them. Very versatile and pack inside each other with no sticky-out bits for easy camp packing. A choice of aluminium or stainless steel (sets too). Not cheap, so you might not want to buy them just for camping…or then again.
Keep your sandwiches neat and eco-friendly by ditching the clingfilm. Opt for reusable sandwich wrappers instead. They’re great because they double as a tablecloth for your lap and can even hold your sandwich together while you munch. We like the clingy beeswax wraps made in the Cotswolds even more.
- Make water carrying easy with your own supply. Have a look at our feature on the best bulk water carriers. These three here are our favourites.
Don’t forget your camping spice tin
Make yourself a neat camping box of herbs and spices and you’ll never have to rummage in your kitchen bag again. We all have our own essentials and favourites, so pick and mix to suit, but here’s what we always have:
- Curry powder
- Mixed herbs
- Chilli powder
- Chinese five spice
- Garam masala
- Whole spices – cardamom, star anise, cloves
- Smoked paprika
- Dried lime leaves
- Sesame seeds
We like aluminium tins best as these can be stacked neatly side-by-side in a box. Make sure the lids fit tightly to avoid spillages, We write the contents on ours with a chalk pen (so it can be washed off when contents change). Or go for ones with a window.
More lovely camping kitchen gear here. And if you’ve got a tip to share, please do leave a comment below.