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What should we bring to eat?

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With the growing interest in backpacking and canoe camping, the freeze-dried food industry has invested a great deal of money in creating gourmet and easy to make dishes. Although the freeze-dried food will hit the spot out on the trail, choosing to bring along fresh foods and spices will add extra zest to campfire cooking. Potatoes, carrots, onions, cauliflower and cabbage are just a few of the vegetables that will hold up well for the first few days of any trip. Oranges, apples and melon make great snacks and breakfast side dishes.

When selecting produce, try to choose items that are not yet at their peak ripeness. Keep in mind that the pack will create a warmer environment that will cause produce to ripen more quickly. Also, produce will receive more “abuse” from being shifted around during portaging. Avoid soft fruits such as; peaches, plums and nectarines for this reason.

Fresh meats can be taken in for the first several days of a trip. Avoid lunchmeats with milk by products as these will spoil quickly. Meat products should be frozen solid the morning your trip begins. Hamburger works well for your first night out. Thick steaks thaw during the first and second days of travel and provide a savory second night meal. Smoked meats, such as ham or bacon, can be used for any number of days or meals.

Fresh eggs can also be packed in. Special packing containers are available to cradle the eggs and prevent breakage. Do not use eggs that have cracked during travel.

Cheeses can safely be taken in and used to supplement entrees, sandwiches or with crackers. Spreadable cheeses also work nicely provided they do not require refrigeration.