Because my acid dyeing has been exceedingly frustrating today, I figured I needed to build a little success into my otherwise pitifully depressing day...and no matter how hard you try, it's pretty darned difficult to stay angry with a fire in the fireplace and a pot of terrific soup ready and waiting for dinner. The same holds true when camping -- a good soup can turn an otherwise damp or disappointing day into a comforting, cozy evening.
So here we go, with 30 Soups in 30 Days, for every type of outing or adventure...even if your campfire is your fireplace and the only nature nearby is your houseplant on the kitchen windowsill:
1. Vacuum sealing is pure magic. If you haven't already read my posts on the value of vacuum sealing, take a few minutes to go back and do it. I know many people who shy away from cooking soup while camping because of the mess -- but if the soup is made at home and then vacuum sealed, all you have to do is fill up your stock pot with water, throw in the still-sealed vacuum bag, and let it boil for about 15 minutes. Carefully remove the bag, cut off the corner, and pour -- no mess, no problem.
2. Prepared soups, even vegan soups, should be kept in a cooler, and all soups containing meat or dairy absolutely MUST be kept refrigerated. Since the vacuum sealer removed most of the oxygen from the bag (I'd like to think it removes 100% of the oxygen, but I know better), your food will stay much fresher and safer than it otherwise might be -- but the bacteria and nasties that can cause food-borne illness were already present in the meat when you sealed it, so you must keep that food at a safe temperature. I know people who believe that vacuum sealing at home is equal to industrial cryo-packing and heat sealing that allows some otherwise-perishable food to be kept at room temperature. This is definitely not true. Food that lives between 40-140 degrees F for two hours or more should not be consumed, ever -- but especially when you're in the woods, sometimes miles away from a) a bathroom where you can lay on the floor and moan for a few days, since that's where you'll end up, and more importantly, b) a place where you can receive medical attention if it becomes necessary. Food-borne illness + camping = SUCK.
3. There's nothing wrong with vacuum sealing your soup and then freezing it to keep it colder longer. Plus, frozen soup packages can help other things in your cooler to stay fresher longer as well. Just keep an eye on your temperatures, regardless.
4. Even if cleanup isn't a problem for you, it's still a great idea to do as much prep work at home as possible. Cut the vegetables, pre-saute the onions, whatever -- the more you do at home, the more time you'll have to enjoy the outdoors later.
Every day in November, visit us for a new camping-approved soup, starting with tomorrow's recipe for
Sweet potato and sausage soup with barley and kale.