If you go camping, especially in a completely remote area, there will not be a lot of food options available to you. There will be no restaurants or fast food joints. You will have to cook your meals yourself, but even that can be a challenge in this situation.
But what happens if you do not have any stove available to you or cannot get any food around? Then, there is only one option you should consider. Before your next camping trip, you have to get yourself some vacuum-sealed meals. Believe me; they are a real life-saver!
This guide will tell you more about the benefits of vacuum-sealing food for camping trips. I will also go over a short and easy guide for preparing these meals. By the time you reach the end of the guide, you will be sold on the idea. So, let’s get right into the article!
What is a Vacuum Sealed Meal?
If you are a newfound outdoor enthusiast, you might not have heard of vacuum-sealed meals so far. You might be wondering what type of meals these are and how you can prepare them. You might even be thinking if they are worth the trouble.
Let me tell you – learning how to prepare vacuum-sealed meals is a must if you are planning on taking many camping trips. Instead of carrying a bulk of food and worrying if it will go bad, you can prepare these meals and save yourself the trouble. All you need to do is get some good sealable bags and a vacuum sealer!
You can put any or all the food you want in the bag. You can even make your favorite meals that you never thought you could have while camping. Your amazing meal will be all done and ready for you with this method. You will only need to heat it up during the trip and then eat it!
So, a vacuum-sealed meal is the type of meal you prepare at home and then store in a vacuum-sealed container or bag. It is the perfect food for camping, and I recommend that you try making it before your next trip.
How to Prepare Vacuum Sealed Meals for Camping?
Preparing vacuum-sealed food for camping is something easy that everyone can do. It does not take that much time – it is almost like preparing your regular lunch. The only difference is that you do not get to eat the food right away!
There are a few easy steps that you should follow to prepare these meals. So, if you want to learn the steps and try to vacuum-seal your meals, you need to read this upcoming guide. Ensure that you get your desired ingredients, some ziplock bags, and a vacuum sealer!
Step 1 – Pick out the meals
Depending on what you like to eat on your camping trips, you can decide which ingredients you want to cook. It can be anything from chicken to steak, pasta, rice, fruits, or vegetables. The options are endless, so you will have to pick and choose your favorite ingredients.
Step 2 – Prepare the meal at home
At least one day before the trip, I recommend preparing the meals. Some people like to vacuum raw ingredients and cook on the trip. That is also a good option if you know that you will have cooking supplies and a stove available to you.
If you do not want to waste time cooking during the trip, you can prepare the meals at home. I like to do this, and I always do it one day before the actual trip. That gives me enough time to have everything ready for the trip.
Make a good selection of what you want to eat for lunch and dinner, get something lighter for breakfast, and cook everything. Once everything is all done, let it cool down.
Step 3 – Prepare the bags
I already mentioned that you would need some bags to store the food in. You can use ziplock bags or other types of bags that are sealable and made from polyethylene. Even if you have a regular plastic bag, the bag can be suitable for the vacuum sealer.
When you have the bags already, you can start putting all food items in them. Do not overfill them – put the right amount for one meal. That way, you will be able to open the bag and eat everything in it without worrying about resealing it.
Step 4 – Vacuum seal the meals
This is the most important part of the guide. For this part, you will need a vacuum sealer. It does not need to be anything fancy, and you can get any vacuum sealer from Amazon or some other shop and use it for this purpose.
When you have the bags prepared, you should close them shut, leaving only a small opening on them. From that opening, using the vacuum seal, you should remove all air from them. When you see that there is no more air in them, you should know that you can move on to the next step!
Step 5 – Freeze the meals
It would help if you placed the vacuum-sealed bags in the freezer overnight. You can leave them for as long as needed, taking them out before you set off on your trip. If it is possible, take a smaller portable fridge with you to keep the meals as cold as possible while you are camping.
It would be best to go to your camping site in a car. That way, you can place a mini freezer in the car and leave the meals there while camping.
If you plan to leave the freezer in the open – think again! Some bears or other wild animals may think that you have prepared dinner for them, and they may visit you! So, be careful with the food and where you keep it at all times.
Why Are Vacuum Sealers So Good?
Vacuum sealing food is one of the best options that you can try out before going on any kind of trip. This does not only go for camping trips but for all kinds of trips where you do not have a cooker or cooking supplies. Instead of having to take some with you, you can precook your food and store it in vacuum-sealed bags.
Another reason why vacuum sealers are so good is that they extend the shelf life of food. If you seal foods the right way, they will stay fresh for at least a couple of days. If stored in the freezer, they can even last for a couple of months!
By preparing vacuum-sealed food, you can ensure that your loved ones have a healthy meal during your trip. You will not have to rely on store-bought food or fast food.
Aside from your cooked meals, you can also put fresh vegetables, fruit, or nuts in the bags. So, you will not only have a full meal, but you will also have some snacks for after the meal or during your trips around the camping site.
Vacuum sealers can seal food to take less space in your bags. You can also use the sealer to store other things like clothes, toilet paper, or wet wipes. God knows you cannot go on a trip without some toilet paper, so make sure you vacuum seal and store it before leaving your home!
How Long Does Cooked Food Last In a Vacuum-Sealed Bag?
Of course, you cannot expect cooked food to last that long, especially if you leave it outside the freezer and fridge. The longevity of it is connected to how you store the food after cooking it.
For example, cooked food left at room temperature will only be good for about 24 hours. If you leave the same food in the fridge, it will last a couple of days. If you put the same food in a freezer, it can last for many months or even years.
Since we are talking about food for camping, I want to give you a helpful tip. I recommend that you prepare and have the meals freeze ahead of time. Take them out of the freezer only when you need to eat them.
If you do not have a freezer available during the trip, try putting the bags in some cold water to keep them from going bad. In the best-case scenario, the food in the vacuum-sealed bag will last a couple of days. If you have it for longer, you should throw it away without trying it since there is a good chance it will be bad.
Will food go bad if vacuum sealed?
Unfortunately, not all food can stay good for long. Even if it is vacuum-sealed, certain types of food go in a short amount of time. What I recommend is that you learn which food items last the longest and prepare meals using them.
You should look into this topic in great detail since I would hate for you to prepare a meal and have it go bad before you get to eat it. Some foods grow bacteria on them when left in a vacuum-sealed bag. I will mention some of them in one of the later sections, so make sure to stay tuned for that!
What Foods Can Be Vacuum Sealed
When thinking about the food you can take on a camping trip, and you may think you have limited options. After all, you cannot take your boiling pot and cook your favorite meals on your trip. You might not even have good water pressure to rinse the ingredients, let alone cook them!
But it turns out that you do not need a camping pot after all. If you decide to go with the vacuum-sealed meals, you will solve your problem immediately. The only thing to worry about will be what foods you can vacuum seal.
Well, you have a lot of options. You can vacuum seal all types of meat, but it would be better to cook it beforehand. Then, you can prepare some pasta and vacuum seal it. You can even go as far as preparing soup as an appetizer!
All kinds of sauces and gravies are also suitable for vacuum sealing. You can put some spices, sugar, coffee grounds or coffee beans, some rice or flour in separate bags. You can even pack some nuts or trail mix and have them during your trips.
But most of all, I recommend that you take fresh fruit and vegetables. They are so healthy and can give you a lot of energy during the trip. You can choose to pack them whole, cut them up, or even cook them and have them as a side dish with your meat.
As you can see, there are a lot of options to consider. Some of them will only take a few minutes to prepare but will save you a lot of effort during the trip. These foods can last at least a couple of days when placed in vacuum-sealed plastic bags so that you can pack them all for your next trip!
What Foods Should Not Be Vacuum Sealed
As there are a lot of foods that you can vacuum seal, there are a few that you should never vacuum seal. The reason for this is simple – some foods develop bacteria and even fungi when left in the absence of oxygen. After all, the whole vacuum sealing process is based on removing the oxygen from the bags.
While there are a few things that we can mention here, the list is not as long as the previous one. I would like to point out that you should not vacuum seal your meal right after you cook it, or it may go bad. So, vacuum-sealing hot food is a no-no!
Then, cut back on the raw mushroom and the onion. If you want to add them to some of the meals, I recommend you leave them out for now. You can cook food with them after you return home from the trip!
Another important thing is that you do not vacuum seal the following vegetables: turnip, radish, broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage. These things can go bad fast, even in sealed bags, so I do not recommend going through the trouble of sealing them in the first place!
How To Vacuum Sealing Food Without A Vacuum Sealer?
After reading all about the vacuum sealer and the longevity of sealed food, I bet that you are planning on getting a sealer as soon as possible. But what happens if the sealer does not arrive in time for your next trip. Is there any other way to seal food that does not involve a vacuum sealer?
You are lucky as there is another method that I can talk to you about. For this method, you will still need those plastic bags. Also, you will need a larger container with water that you will use for the sealing.
Remember the guide I gave to you above? Well, you can repeat steps one, two, and three for this method as well. So, you pick the ingredients, cook them, leave them to cool down, and then store them in the bags.
After doing all this, you should get that water container. Before putting the bags in the water, you should close them and leave a small 1-inch opening on them. Do not put the entire bag in the water – make sure that the opening stays above water at all times!
After placing the bags in the water, you will see that the water pressure removes the air from the bag. At the moment you see that happening, close the opening on the bag and make sure it is sealed shut. When you take the bag out of the water, it will look like it was sealed with a vacuum sealer!
After doing this, you should freeze the food and keep it that way until your trip. That is it!
Well, that is everything you should know before preparing vacuum-sealed meals for camping trips. Remember to follow the steps I gave you in the guide above if you want your food to stay good for days!
Let me know in the comments below if you are planning on trying these methods out or if you have already tried them. I would love to know more about your experiences with meal prep for camping trips, so do not hesitate to share your stories with me!