I promised Jeanne at Organic Lifestyle Magazine some camping recipes since she’s all awesome and stuff.
Camping trash is way more retched than trash at home because
1. it can attract animals like bears, skunks, and rodents… two thumbs down to that at 3am
2. it’s HEAVY and you have to CARRY it (possibly up hill)
3. if it leaks, it stains
4. outdoor hygiene is super important, especially for families. Long trips can mean holding on to moldy or bacteria laden items. Decomp is best in the compost, not your back pack.
So what’s the solution? REDUCE! Our favorite R! Many of us get so focused on Recycling… There are more Rs
The primary way to achieve a less trashy campsite is to REDUCE packaging of your camping food.
Make 1-pot-1-bag meals. Pre-chop your veggies and meats. I use 1 gallon zip-seal freezer bags and store a complete meal inside it.
Camp Fire Curry Bag: diced chicken/tofu, diced veggies, coconut milk, curry powder. Then freeze the bag. It will thaw out while you hike! Dump the entire contents of the bag into your camping wok and have an amazing and easy 1 pot meal. The can the coconut milk came in is at home in the recycle bin. The packaging from the protein source is too! The veggie peels and stems are in your home compost. You only have the plastic bag to carry around.
Get your food on site. Catch fish! Toting around your protein source can create a lot of weight and a lot of trash to keep things sealed and free of contaminates. Gather berries, mushrooms, or other produce from the area. Make sure you positively identify the plants before eating them. I never pack coffee or tea when I camp in the Appalachians. I dig Wild Ginger root for tea. No packaging.
Don’t buy the preservative-packed crap! Camping supply stores love to sell you pouches of freeze-dried salt-filled expensive plastic wrapped crap. So expensive! And spending money is NOT green. Make your own trail mix from the bulk bins at the co-op and pack in reusable containers. Have a dehydrator? Make your own jerky, dried fruits and veggies, kale chips, and more.
Cowboy Vegetable Beef Stew: in our trusty 1-gallon freezer bag combine 1 serving of diced jerky and 1 serving of diced dried veggies per person with a blend of bay leaves, thyme, pepper, and bouillon. Boil over your camp fire with an equal amount of water. This a a very light way to carry in soup– no cans! And this requires no refrigeration.