Food Preparation for long trips

Submitted: Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 15:38
ThreadID: 110802 Views:4076 Replies:8 FollowUps:11
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Can anyone give me some tips with food preparation and dinner ideas when planning a long trip. We are planning a trip to Cape York this year and it will be our first long trip. We are taking 4 weeks.

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Reply By: AlbyNSW - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 15:53

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 15:53
Have a look at Cryovac machine. It allows you to pre prepare a variety of wet dishes that you only need to reheat when on the road, we even get take away Thai food and cryovac it before we leave.It is great for meat as well
Also with bread, if you use the lebanese style wrap bread it keeps a lot better than normal bread. Woolies also has a sealed pack of garlic/herb style bread that you can toast. We also use cruskits or Vita weats instead of bread for sandwiches
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Follow Up By: Les PK Ranger - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 16:42

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 16:42
Hi Alby, I have used mine to prepare certain foods for bushwalking trips, and alos use a Sunbeam food dehydrater to prepare lightweight cooked veggies and jerkies, but not generally for 4WDn.
Serious question, how do you put wet dishes through these vacuum sealing machines ??
I have one similar to this Food Vacuum Sealer Machine / Hygenic Cryovac Foodsaver
Or, are you using something more commercial like these
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Follow Up By: Les PK Ranger - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 16:43

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 16:43
Sorry last link was to this one a REAL cryovac machine : )
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 17:14

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 17:14
A vacuum pack machine is handy before leaving home, though I probably wouldn't take it with me on a 4 week trip. Before we leave home we make a number of stews, casseroles, pasta sauce etc. These we freeze in a suitable meal sized container (eg icecream container) and then then vacuum pack and store in the bottom of the car fridge that we run as a freezer. We also vacuum pack fresh meat - prefably red meat with no bone in it. We then freeze it and store in a large plastic container in the car fridge. The storage box is important as it minimises pressure and rubbing from whatever is packed on top of it while in the fridge. With those options and a few fresh veges (that you can get along the way) we have a variety of quick meals ready to eat after thawing slowly in the 3-way fridge.
J and V
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Follow Up By: Les PK Ranger - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 17:25

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 17:25
Cheers Val, of course FREEZING them first, doh !!
I'll have to try a couple of casseroles next reasonable length 4WD trip I do.

I generally get by with freezing meat and other such items and pack around the outer sides of my fridge . . . drinks and other items in the middle.
Run at -1c my fridge idles between -2c and 0c and it seems to keep the frozen things a fairly long time, and drinks / other perfectly chilled.

That said, I'll have to make some killer jerkies for a trip sometime to share around.
I marinade cooked 5 min steak or chicken strips in whatever I feel like taking . . . almost always involves a variety of chilli sauces / flakes :) . . . I dehydrate them and for longer trips (bushwalking), then I vacuum pack into nice size lots.

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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 17:39

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 17:39
Yes freeze first as Val said.
We don't take the machine with us as there no need to nor do we have power source to run it

We single portion ours into those seal-lock bags domestic Sunbeam style, use good quality bags as the cheapies seem to burst easliy.
We usually get our butcher to do the meat for us to save the hassle and he does it for free anyway.

It is an extremely easy setup when on the road, all you need is to boil a pot of water to heat your food in and use that hot water to do your dishes with when finished.
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Follow Up By: gbc - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 19:35

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 19:35
To vac pac liquids just leave a bit longer neck on the bag/roll. I do spag Bol mixes etc straight out of the pan and stinking hot. They lay nice and flat for freezing that way and take up less space. I also pre make brekky packs with the correct number of snags and bacon etc ready to go, and dinner packs with steak and rissoles etc - soft rissoles do go a bit flat though.
I also do a few packs of kfc chicken for the longer trips and freeze it. Nothing like that smell in the middle of nowhere to confuse the campers and the kids. My machine is just a breville fresh keeper.
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Follow Up By: OBJ - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 20:10

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 20:10
Fortunately, we have two fridges, one of which serves as a freezer. WE freeze meals, and remove them as needed and use them as cooler bricks in the cooler bag that carries the beer.

Meats and smoked salmon stuff is cryovac'd. Never had any problems doing this.

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Follow Up By: Leanne C2 - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 06:39

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 06:39
Thank you everyone. Some great ideas. We are lucky enough to run a 40L fridge and a smaller freezer. I'm starting to feel more comfortable about our food situation. I have managed to do up a spreadsheet of meal ideas and what ingredients are needed for those meals and once it's all on paper it feels more manageable.
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 14:58

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 14:58
Another thing worth considering is if you are travelling of rough or corrugated roads, it's worth getting the butcher (or yourself) to double bag the cryovac'd meat. Nothing worse than finding spoil and blood in the bottom of your fridge - keeps longer that way.
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Reply By: Kris and Kev - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 15:56

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 15:56
Depends a bit on your fridge set up. We now have two, one in our camper and one in the fourby. The camper fridge we use as a fridge/freezer so when we do a cook up on the road, say stew or Bolognese we can pack it for separate meals and cook as required. We then buy as we go and stock up just before a long stretch. With meat we get the butcher to cryovac it as this not only makes it last longer but it is easier to pack. We try to carry tin food a bit but watch the weight. We have baked our own bread when in areas where good bread is hard to get. Just carry those bread mixes and cook it in the camp oven. We found the camp oven is good to cook large amounts of good food just on the cook top rather than a fire. (We carry one of the portable canister tyre stoves and it is brilliant for the camp oven.) Kevin
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Follow Up By: 489 - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 17:28

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 17:28
we turn the fridge into a freezer and put a 15ltr cooler on the back seat of the twin cab. we take out our evening meal in the morning and 2 cans of drink. by the end of the day our drinks are cold and the cooler never turns on and this way even our uht milk that we opened (the little packs for tea and coffee ) stay cool. WE also noticed thta we have to place our frozen meal has to sit on the bulbar in the gamma oven to totally defrost. Even your cheese and cold meat we cryopac in 2day nibbles as cryo will keep your food for a longer period of time than just wrapped up in plastic and then frozen. for example sliced meat in a plastic bag will probably keep about a week or bit more where as the same meat cryo will keep much longer. just remember you cant cryo liquids unless you freeze it first
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Reply By: Maisie K - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 17:27

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 17:27
Hi Leanne, I agree with Kevin, we travelled to Cape York last year and found the I.G.A at Cook Town will do up vacume pack of meat free, Woolies at Weipa has a very good range of meat and veg, from memory the food supply from the ship from Cairns arrives on Tuesday, so you have to be quick to get the fresh veg, Bamaga has a meat and seafood outlet opened everyday except Sunday, supermarket at Bamaga & Seisa also reasonable supplies and prices. I take rice, pasta and vacume pk noodle, you can also vacume pack nuts and dried fruit, you can make a dozen bread rolls with one pk of bread mix, they freeze well. My one thing I would not be without is my Dream Pot, I have had it for years and have used it for yoghurt, boiled eggs ,sweet dishes and prepared meals before we leave in the morning. Hope this is of some help to you, also don't forget to pre book camps sites on line. Maisie K
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Reply By: RedCherokee - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 18:04

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 18:04
Another vote for cryoing meat and precooked meals. I portion and trim meat the way we like it before cryoing. We also have dual fridge freezer, but if I had only one would run it as freezer and transfer food to an esky daily. We run the freezer about -16 so the meat takes ages to thaw.

Other thing is to plan out all meals, taking into account anticipated activities including likely eating out opportunities. Assume you will have some bad days and have some very easy meals - bolognese can be reheated from frozen for example. I am a fan of drained canned potatoes halved and fried with a steak as a quick meal.Bamaga will have fresh fruit and veg and meat, but it may not be what you were counting on (or the price or quality may vary), so be prepared to be flexible.

You can eat out at Archer River, Musgrove etc, and they generally do good basic stuff like burgers, but watch for early closing hours. We typically end up eating out a little more than we plan on, especially for lunch.
AnswerID: 544575

Reply By: Member - peter g28 - Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 21:44

Monday, Jan 19, 2015 at 21:44
We use one of these systemsAirlock
It works pretty well, very portable and is reusable.
We bought it at a camping show and use it at home as well as for camping.
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 01:18

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 01:18
It's interesting for me to see how many people set their fridge to freeze as I never do! I also don't prepare any meals in advance - and I cook for a family of 4. I just cook pretty much as I do at home. Spur of the moment and opportune to suit the mood and circumstance. Food should be a pleasurable experience - both in the preparation - and the eating. I just couldn't bear to know what was for dinner the day before I ate it! It would also take out some of the fun of camp cooking. Our family feels the ideal dinner is one cooked over the open fire and what we would cook in those circumstances would be a totally different choice to one we'd cook on gas. What I do is plan a list of meals that I can cook based on my available ingredients (I keep a running inventory) and I write up the "menu" of possible meals in groups according to how the meal needs to be cooked. That way, the first decision when arriving at camp is how can we cook here? And the next decision is to refer to the list of menu options and pick one off the list.

Just to clarify - I rely on cryovac (not frozen) for meat, also cold cuts. I do this myself at home but I will also try to purchase meats from supermarkets along the way that come ready cryovaced (quite common). There are lots of small packets in cryovac of cold meats, smoked salmon, chicken etc. Our meals are pretty basic - raw muesli with plain yoghurt for breakfast, tin tuna on a wrap for lunch maybe some hard boiled eggs and salads made from fresh grated carrots, grated beetroots, that kind of thing, cold meats or fish with some spreads like philly cream cheese spread, some gerkins from the fridge etc, snacks of raw nuts and fruit during the day, maybe cruskits, vegemite, cheese, lots of fresh black coffee in the Jetboil plunger, sometimes instant miso soup, 2 minute noodles for the kids snacks etc, but always a fresh cooked meat/veg meal at night and a bit of chocolate for dessert. I do make casseroles, rissottos and soups etc too. I do pack a lot of tin things and pantry stables like tin chick peas, dry lentils, tin corn kernels, coconut milk, curry pastes, tin tomatoes etc and lots of hard, raw vegies that I keep in a dark, cool place individually wrapped in newspaper. Lots of sweet potatoes, oranges, zucchinis, avocados etc. At some point I usually transfer these to the fridge as the meat and dairy supply starts to deplete and more room becomes available.

I don't know how people cope with only a freezer - where do you put all the items that you need at 2-6 degrees like yoghurt, cheese, milk, relish spreads, and other things you've made that you'd like to chill like hard boiled eggs, left over meat from last nights meal etc? I don't have much space - we have a family of 4 and we don't take a trailer but I can fit everything I need in the one 40L Engel not set to freeze. We all have swags and our vehicle is packed to the eyeballs both inside and on the roof. We've coped up to now and my kids are 10 and 14.

Good luck with your trip planning. As you can see, we are all very different people and it stands to reason we will do things differently at camp to one another as we probably do at home. There is no one-size-fits-all solution but you've got lots of good responses and ideas here so I hope that helps you but you're welcome to ask any more questions if you need more info.
Michelle Martin
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Follow Up By: Member - Chargergirl76 - Wednesday, Jan 21, 2015 at 13:44

Wednesday, Jan 21, 2015 at 13:44
Agree, we only have a fridge, run as a fridge, not a freezer. I cryvac all meat before leaving home and it's fine in the fridge for weeks not frozen, especially red meat.

We do take our small cryvac machine with us on longer trips and buy meat and cryvac on the go. All of our meals are prepared from scratch each night, same as at home. In saying that, I enjoy cooking, but I can understand for people who don't necessarily enjoy it, they want it all easy and prepared beforehand!

Do keep in mind that Cape York isn't that remote as far as finding food along the way, as mentioned earlier Cooktown, Weipa and Bamaga are all good for stocking up on supplies if needed. (we took way more than we needed to!)
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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 14:12

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 14:12
Don't forget you can also prepare meals with minimal meat in them which extends your fridge supplies.
Bacon in cryovac lasts a long time refrigerated (so Carbonara or fried rice/nasi goreng with hard boiled eggs sounds good), Salamis do last at least a week under 30C without refrigeration, best if you go to a real deli and see which ones they have hanging without refrigeration. Cheddar cheese doesn't require refrigeration, it's sold off the shelf in supermarkets. In addition tinned tuna and salmon, (tuna mornay), and you can get UHT cream in 150mL packs.
Have to leave some room in the fridge for the daily ration of beer or wine!!

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Reply By: Member - Tony F8 - Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 18:19

Tuesday, Jan 20, 2015 at 18:19
It does not need to be complicated, you have a fridge and a freezer, so do what you do at home, frozen foods in the freezer and the other foods in the fridge. You will really only be a maximum of a week or less between shops.
Be careful not to put your potatoes in with your onions, not a good mix. Carry your potatoes and onoins in net bags, out of direct sunlight and they will keep for quiet sometime.
AnswerID: 544636

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