Choosing the right dutch oven is very important. There are several different styles and brands out there, as well as different materials. Cast Iron and aluminum are the two main types of dutch ovens. They both cook well, but cast iron will retain and distribute heat better than it's aluminum cousin. Cast Iron also gives the food that great smoky dutch oven flavor we all love, where aluminum sometimes gives food a chalky flavor. The advantage of aluminum is its weight. Aluminum will weigh about 1/3 less than cast iron. Most people use cast iron ovens.
When you are looking to buy a dutch oven, look closely at the following items:
1. For outdoor cooking over charcoal briquettes only buy dutch ovens with legs. The ovens with flat bottoms are much more difficult to use. Legs lift the bottom of the oven up to accomodate hot coals. Flat bottom ovens have to be supported with bricks. Make sure the legs are not bent, cracked or broken.
2. Check the fit of the lid. It should fit flush around the entire oven with no large gaps. The lid should also have a lip that comes up above the top of the oven. This allows you to put coals on top without having them fall into the food. An oven with a rounded lid makes adding top heat very difficult.
3. Check the thickness of the metal, especially around the rim. If the oven walls are thinner or thicker in some areas than in others it will produce hot or cold spots during cooking.
4. Make sure the lid has a loop handle that is not cracked and is well attached.
5. Check the wire handle. It should be easy to move and strong enough to carry a heavy pot full of stew easily. I have an oven with handle problems. The handle actually comes off the oven--it makes it very difficult to move a hot oven full of food.
You also need to consider the size of oven you will need. They are avaliable in many sizes, 10", 12" and 14" are the most common. There are also standard and deep size ovens. If you are only buying one oven to get started, get a 12". It will hold just about anything you need. You can always add other sizes to your collection later.
A quick and easy way to organize those spices for your next adventure.
What you will need:
You can go to your local $1 Store and pick up all these items.
The first step was to use the labels to cover up the days of the week. Purchase labels that are the same width of the compartments and then you will have to trim them to fit.
When it's done… they look like this.
Choose your favorite spices, label them and your ready for your next adventure.
Photo Credit : Miss Tweedle
What's the difference between Freeze-Dried and Dehydrated Food?
A lot of people use the terms dehydrated and freeze-dried like they are the same thing. However, there are some major differences between dehydrated and freeze-dried food storage.
The Dehydration Process
With any type of food preservation, moisture needs to be removed from the food. The most common way to do this is by dehydrating.
Dehydrating has been a food preservation practice for thousands of years, dating back to at least 12,000 BC. The Romans and Middle Easterners would dry fruits and vegetables in “still houses” which would use a fire to dry out and smoke foods.
Modern day dehydration isn’t that complex. Machines, like a SnackMaster Dehydrator, circulate hot and dry air across the food. This removes much of the water. The moist air is then dried so that water continues to be removed. The temperatures are high enough to remove water but not high enough to cook the food. Dehydrated food is usually withered and harder.
The Freeze-Drying Process
The freeze-drying process is a relatively modern preservation process. Freeze-drying isn’t something you can do at home without high-tech machinery.
Some reports show that freeze drying originated with the Inca Empire. However, reliable sources of freeze-drying were created during World War II as a way to preserve blood plasma, medicine and later, food for the troops.
Freeze Drying is a fairly simple process too. The food is placed on large racks inside of a vacuum chamber. The temperature is lowered to below freezing and then raised rapidly to above boiling. The process is so fast that it removes the moisture from the food without destroying the structure.
The Main Differences
Moisture Content. The main objective with food preservation is to remove the moisture so that the food doesn’t decompose, grow mold, etc. Dehydration removes about 90-95 percent of the moisture content while freeze drying removes about 98-99 percent. Foods that you dehydrate at your home will typically have a 10 percent moisture content level while foods that are dehydrated professionally will have a lower moisture content – which increases the shelf life.
Shelf Life. The moisture removal has a direct impact on the shelf life. Most dehydrated products like dried fruits, vegetables, powders and TVP; have a shelf life of about 15-20 years. However, dehydrated items like honey, salt, sugar, hard wheats and oats have a 30-year shelf life – sometimes longer. Freeze-dried foods will have a longer average shelf life. Freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, just-add-water meals and real meats will have a 25-30-year shelf life. Ideally, all of your food storage would be stored at a temperature of 60 degrees or lower.
Nutritional Content. According to research by the American Institute for Cancer Research, freeze-dried foods retain the vast majority of the vitamins and minerals found in the original food. However, when compared to fresh fruits and vegetables, freeze-dried foods did lack in some vitamins – like Vitamin C – which break down very rapidly.
Dehydration doesn’t change the fiber or iron content of food. However, dehydration can break down vitamins and minerals during the preservation process and retain less of their nutritional value when compared to freeze-dried food. Dehydration tends to result in the loss of Vitamins A and C, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.
Appearance & Composition. One of the main differences between dehydrated and freeze-dried food is how they look. Most people are familiar with banana chips (dehydrated) but not necessarily freeze-dried bananas (which become soft when you place them in your mouth). Weight is another difference. Freeze-dried foods are going to weigh a lot less than dehydrated foods. This makes them easier to haul or store.
Cooking. Dehydrated foods will require cooking. Many times, they will also require some type of seasoning. This means that you’ll need to spend time boiling the product in hot water and letting it cook. The preparation time for dehydrated products can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 4 hours depending. However, with freeze-dried foods, you just need to add water. Adding either hot water or cold water will get the job done depending on what you’re eating. Freeze-dried foods will usually be ready to eat in less than 5 minutes.
Hungry Hikers Food is made primarily with Freeze Dried Food. We believe that it maintains the integrity and nutritional structor of the food. And we just think it taste a whole lot better.
Your Hungry Hiker Crew
Would you like to camp, but dont know what to pack or where to start? Have you tried camping, but not enjoyed the experience? Its not too late to plan a camping trip this year and start preparing for next!
We camp with our children nearly every summer. We love to camp, but we are also drawn to the affordability of a camping holiday. After a few rough trips and 11 years of trial and error, Im super happy with my camping kitchen. Its very thorough, yet doesnt take up too much space. Weve camped with up to six people and Ive prepared countless yummy meals with the items in the list here, so I wanted to share my tips on how to pack the perfect camping kitchen!
How to Pack the Perfect Kitchen Supply List
Skillet I prefer cast-iron as it does well on a stove or over the campfire.
Stockpot or Sauce Pan with Lid (4 litres)
Coffee Pot and/or Kettle and/or French Press
Large Serving/Cooking Spoons
Roasting Sticks most areas do not allow you to cut your own
Kitchen Knife(s) with Covers
Wine Bottle Opener
Measuring/Mixing Bowl (8 cup)
Measuring Cup (1 cup)
Salt & Pepper Shakers with Lids
Large Water Jug with Spigot (20 litres)
Dishes (Plates, Soup Bowls, Mugs)
Cutlery (Knives, Forks, Spoons)
Dish Cloths one per two days
Dish Towels one per day
Zipper Storage Sandwich Baggies for packing lunches and snacks for outings
Plastic Food Storage Containers for leftovers
Camping Stove Fire bans often prevent cooking over an open fire; its also tricky to cook well over a fire.
Fuel for the Camping Stove
Matches and/or BBQ Lighter
Bin(s) or Drawers for storing your kitchen (I use a 3-drawer system)
Tips for Your Camping Kitchen
-Its possible to camp with a less equipped kitchen, but plan your meals and work through them in your head to ensure you have the equipment you will need to prepare them.
-Its handy to have your camping kitchen always packed and ready to go – you dont have to have a separate set of everything just for camping, but its convenient.
-Garage sales and second-hand stores are great places to pick up many of the above items, or ask parents and grandparents if they have extras of anything theyd like to get rid of.
-If youre not sure if camping is your thing, ask to borrow the bigger ticket items from friends so you can give it a try before you invest a lot of money.
-Wipe down the table, wash the dishes and put everything away before leaving the campsite, or going to bed otherwise youll attract insects and unwelcome critters.
-Go to www.hungryhikers.com and purchase some amazing meals. Perfect for when you first arrive and setting up. Easy and delicious.
-Plan all your meals in advance, write down all the ingredients you will need to prepare the meals and make a detailed packing list. Take your meal plan with you so you dont forget.
Have fun and don't forget your Hungry Hikers Meals!
This article is not sponsored. Any resources listed are for informational purposes only and are not intended as a review.