Photo: Karin Hildebrand Lau
Camping out for more than a night or two can bring the same challenges—ones my own family faced all the time, back when most people lived without air conditioning. When we’re hit with crazy humidity or rainy days, I’ve had to recall my mom’s old tricks for keeping the salt from clumping, brown sugar from turning into a rock, and much more, so we can enjoy great meals made over a crackling fire.
1. Hang your freshly washed dishes, utensils and cookware from a tree or hook inside a nylon mesh laundry bag to dry.
2. Take a cue from your local diner and put a few grains of rice in your salt shaker to keep the salt flowing instead of clumping together. Using a plastic shaker with a snap-down lid is also helpful to keep moisture out and salt inside where it belongs.
3. Turn empty Tic Tac boxes into spice holders! Store them in a gallon zip-top bag to keep out dampness.
4. Mix up your favorite pancake batter, pour into a clean old ketchup bottle, and bring along for instant flapjacks. Additions like blueberries or chocolate chips can be added right after you pour the batter into the skillet.
5. Keep a few milk jugs the weeks before you head out into the wilderness. Wash thoroughly, allow to dry, and refill with clean tap water at home. Freeze and place in your cooler to keep the contents cool but dry.
6. A slice of apple in the brown sugar jar or bag will keep it soft.
7. A damp piece of paper towel will soften your clumped cane sugar.
8. Put a small stick-on thermometer inside your cooler lid to ensure that the temperature inside is a safe 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
9. Save that used aluminum foil! Crumple it up and store in a zip-top bag to take along. Use it to scrub down the campfire grate, clean your cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, and to scrape bark off your marshmallow sticks.
10. Use an empty oatmeal container to hold a roll of paper towel. That way, if it gets super humid, the paper won’t get damp.
Use these old-school tricks and your entire outdoor experience will be way more enjoyable. Now you just need something to eat! How about these camping recipes?