If you are planning a longer camping trip, you might not want to compromise at meal times – and there is no need to! You don’t have to depend on canned or processed foods just because you’re away from home. Many campers have found that a Dutch oven can transform their camping experience, and if you haven’t tried it yet, it can allow you to enjoy home-style cooking even when you’re out in the great wide open, and sleeping underneath the stars.
The Versatility Of the Dutch Oven
There are many advantages to a Dutch oven, however, it is the versatility that provides the biggest benefit to the camper. You can roast, fry, bake bread, casserole and create desserts – and it can be used indoors when you’re at home, too. If you’re using it at home, you can cook meals on the stove top, use it for roasting, or even heat it over the fire for that camp fire feeling in the comfort of your own home.
Types Of Dutch Oven
There are two main types of Dutch ovens: aluminium and cast iron, and each as their own advantages/disadvantages. Aluminium Dutch ovens are lighter weight, easier to carry and less expensive. However, they can also melt on a fire if heated too much, and their light weight means they could be blown over by heavy winds
Cast Iron models are more expensive, especially if you are ordering online and paying shipping fees. They are also much heavier, but this makes them sturdier and less likely to tip over when cooking. Also, a cast iron Dutch oven can withstand higher levels of heat, and they’ll last a longt time if well maintained.
Seasoning Your Dutch Oven
Seasoning basically means baking a layer of oil on to the Dutch oven to act as a lacquer. You are advised you do this before using it, but is it really necessary? It depends. Seasoning can give a Dutch oven a much longer life and the general opinion is cast iron Dutch ovens should be seasoned. However, some brands will come pre-seasoned, and while aluminium Dutch ovens shouldn’t need seasoning, they should be washed prior to the first use. If seasoning is required, always follow the directions of the manufacturer.
Heating Your Dutch Oven
Wood and charcoal are the two most common fuels for heating your Dutch oven. However, regular campers usually suggest charcoal as it offers a better heat consistency and temperature control for cooking. Depending on the cooking method (frying, baking etc.), you’ll need to distribute the briquettes differently if you are going to get the food cooked right every time. Also, the number of briquettes you need will depend on the diameter of the Dutch oven. If you are not sure how, then there is a simple method to calculating the correct number.
Storing And Cooking Food
Whether you are taking the ingredients so you can cook from scratch, or preparing recipes ahead of your trip, when your meals are heated, they must be cooked to the right temperature; everything you cook should be heated evenly to ensure it is cooked through adequately. In addition, it is recommended that you have one cooler for your prepared meals or ingredients, and a separate one for snack foods and drinks. If you plan on hunting and then cooking the food you catch, follow all the usual guidelines to avoid cross contamination. Finally, don’t forget to take plenty of fresh water, as well as extra food supplies, just in case of emergencies.
Dutch Oven Recipes
What can you cook with your Dutch oven? You are only limited by your imagination! They’re perfect for everything from pizza, quiches and lasagne. However, you don’t have to miss out on your favorite desserts either. Cobblers can work particularly well, but cakes, bars and biscuits are an option, too. If you are looking for inspiration, there is a PDF available here.
If you love camping but dread mealtimes, you might find Dutch oven cooking is a good solution. It allows a greater diversity, and you can still enjoy the taste and feel of a home cooked meal, even though you are out in the wilderness somewhere! However, remember to follow the usual hygiene rules, and take extra care if you are cooking and preparing meat you’ve caught yourself.
Also, remember to take plenty of water, the usual camping essentials, and dress well so you’ll be ready for all weathers. Woop! Wear sell a range of alpaca activewear clothing, which has been designed for outdoors lovers. To find out more, to ask a question, or to view/purchase our clothing, visit the website today.