Summer is here, which means that it’s time to start planning your summer camping trip. Camping, along with other outdoor activities such as hiking and swimming, are quite popular with Americans across the country. These activities allow you to escape into the beauty of nature. Whether you plan on setting out for a few hours or a few days, it is important that you take measures to ensure that the food you bring is handled properly.
Managing Food Allergies
Camping with food allergies requires advanced planning. It is important to read food labels. While the top 8 allergens are listed in bold, or at the bottom of the label, but there may also be hidden ingredients. When you are preparing food at the campsite, prepare allergen-friendly food separately. If you, or your child, require special medication in the event of an allergic reaction, that medication should be kept easily accessible at all times. You should inform the other members of your camping party where to find it, and how to use it. You should also wear a medical ID bracelet. If you don’t want to wear your favorite, fashionable, medical ID bracelet on your camping excursion, we offer a variety of silicon, paracord and stainless steel medical IDs as well as adjustable write-on IDs that are excellent for temporary use.
Keeping Foods at Safe Temperatures
When food is in what is considered the “danger zone” (between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit), bacteria can multiply rather quickly. It is important that you keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold. When foods leave their safe zones, they are usually only good for about 2 hours, and should be discarded after this time to prevent illness.
Cold foods can be kept cold by packing them with ice packs. Water bottles can also be frozen and packed around foods that need to be kept chilled. However, without proper refrigeration, cold foods will typically not last past the first day. When you cook, make sure that you cook foods to the recommended internal temperatures. Bring a thermometer with you to check.
Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria from raw meats come into contact with foods that are not cooked to a safe temperature. They can be spread by your hands or by utensils. There are a few steps to prevent cross-contamination from happening. Double wrap all of your meat before transporting to avoid juices from dripping onto other foods. Wash your hands, both before and after handling different foods. And use different plates and utensils for raw and cooked meats.
Packing Foods That Can Handle Temperature Swings
For camping trips that are going to be longer than a night, you should pack foods that can handle temperature swings. You can still bring cold foods for the first day of your trip, but you will want to have non-perishable, shelf-stable foods for the following day(s). There are plenty of foods that you can choose from, including dried meats, dried fruits, nuts, powdered drinks, and other dehydrated foods. If you, or someone else on your trip, has a food allergy, you should pack any foods that can trigger an allergic reaction separately from other foods and label them clearly to ensure that everyone stays safe and has a good time.