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Cooking Hints and Tips

If cooking on a wood fire, wait for the flames to burn down. The coals are where the heat comes from. Also the flames will blacken the bottom and sides of the pot making clean up more difficult.

Use liquid soap on the bottom and side of your pots and pans before putting on the fire. This will reduce the amount of scouring you will need to do when cleaning up.

When using a propane or gas stove you have a variety of heat settings, wide open is not the best way to cook.

Just because what you are cooking is black on the outside it does not mean that it is cooked all the way through. Check the insides before serving.

If you continually have burnt on the out side and raw on the inside food. Lower the cooking temperature so the food will cook more evenly.

Get copies of your favorite recipes at home (or here) and suggest them for camping trips!  When you use a recipe, you are less likely to forget things.

Follow the recipe and box directions to prepare food.

Do as much preparation as possible at home. Dice your onions, green peppers, etc. at home and store them in plastic bags. Place in the cooler before leaving.

If you are making something with hamburger (and other items), you might be able to freeze it at home first.  This gives you more "cooling power" in your ice chest.

To cut down on grease in camp food, fry meats in a fine dusting of salt in the skillet instead of fat or shortening.

Vegetables such as celery carrots, radishes, cabbage, and lettuce will keep fresh longer if wrapped in foil and several layers of brown paper bag.

A little vinegar will remove onion and fish odor from a skillet and/or your hands.

Scrambled eggs go further if a little milk is added.

A little dab of butter in oatmeal while its cooking will make pot easier to clean.

Pancakes are less likely to stick if you add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to each 1.5 cups of batter.

Bullion cubes can be substituted for meat stocks when making camp soup, stews, and gravies.

Drop a small pat of butter or one tablespoon of oil in your spaghetti water to prevent it from boiling over.

Sprinkle a few drops of water on sliced bacon to keep it from shriveling in the pan.

To keep salt shaker from spilling while traveling, Screw a piece of plastic wrap under the lid.

Place bread in a shoe box to keep it from being smashed.

Rice in the salt shaker will absorb moisture and keep salt from lumping up.

By using lids whenever possible, you will greatly reduce the cooking time required for many foods.

Lightly grease a cast-iron griddle before making first pancakes. Then rub a raw peeled potato between batches. This will produce golden brown flapjacks that will not stick.

To tenderize tough cuts of meat, as for stew, add a little vinegar to the water in which the meat is being boiled.

Cheese cut in small strips or narrow slices will keep well in a covered glass jar.

A can or bottle can be used as a rolling pin.

Eggs can be removed from the shell, whole, and stored in a jar with lid. They won't break and can still be poured out one at a time.

Do not spray non-stick coatings for pans on a hot skillet / pan or near coals or flames. The spray can ignite causing the can to explode.

Vegetables can be warmed directly in their own can, but you must first open the lid part way to vent off steam. Otherwise, the can might explode.

A small soft drink bottle can be used as a potato masher.

Adding a pinch or two of salt to water when boiling a cracked egg will prevent the whites from running out, or wrap the eggs tightly in aluminum foil.

A pinch of flour sprinkled on fat while frying will stop the spattering.

Removing a single strip of bacon from a package is difficult. Roll the packaged tightly. The slices will come off easily.

Don't salt meats while (or before) they are broiled. Salt starts the juices running and you'll loose flavor.

Biscuits, breads and corn cakes which are dried out can be freshened by placing in a brown paper bag after sprinkling lightly with water. Place the bag near the heat or in a reflector oven for a few minutes.

If your stew or gravy is too salty, cut pieces of raw potato and add to the mix. Remove after a few minutes. The potato will absorb the salt.

To check if an egg is fresh place it in water, if it sinks it is fresh if it floats it is bad.

Lining your cooking equipment with foil will save cleanup.

Wipe dishes and pans with a paper towel, to get the grease off before cleaning.

A whisk broom or a 4 inch paint brush can be used to sweep out your tent before striking.

A substitute for maple syrup can be made by heating brown sugar in a little water.

Deepen a shallow pan with heavy duty aluminum foil.

Use plastic bags for mixing foods.

Use a clean stick as a stirring spoon.

A maple syrup substitute can be made by heating brown sugar and a little water while stirring constantly.

Enjoy scrambled eggs but don't get stuck with a hard-to-clean pan. Rinse it out with cold water first and leave a very thin layer of water at the bottom before adding egg.

Take the backache out of washing messy pans by always filling used pans with cold water straight away.

Keep water boiled over a wood fire free of that smoky taste by throwing a clean sliver of wood into the water while your boiling it.

To test the griddle temperature before cooking, let a drop of water fall onto the surface. If the water simply lies there and bubbles, the griddle is too cool. If the drop pops and jumps, it's time to cook. If it splatters and disappears, the griddle is too hot and should be raised a bit from the heat source.

The Hand Thermometer enables you to try on your campfire, recipes which specify a cooking temperature. Of course, the secret of any campfire cooking is to try and maintain steadily glowing coals, but once you have your fire in this state, you can gauge its approximate temperature by using your hand.

Hold your bare hand over the coals and count off second ("1 and 2 and 3..."). Your temperature guide id the number of second you can hold your hand over the fire.

-If you have to remove your hand between four and five seconds, you have a low heat (about 300 degrees F)

-If you have to remove your hand between three and four seconds, you have a medium heat (about 350 degrees F)

-If you have to remove your hand before you can count to three seconds, you have a high heat (about 400 degrees F)

You need even heat for griddle cooking, so use the griddle only over coals or on a stove. It won't work successfully over a campfire.

You can keep your dinner meat cold by wrapping it in foil and burying it in the ground.

When you've finished cooking, set your cook pot off to one side. Perhaps if you give them their own plate, the bees, wasps, flies and other pests will stay away from yours.

Avoid "burnt offerings from a Dutch oven by placing the baking pan 4 to 5 cm above the bottom of the oven.

If you're having a problem cleaning a pan, rub the area with salt.

To re-freshen a pack of marshmallows place them in a brown paper bag and place in a warm oven for a few minutes.

If you burn the inside of a cook pot, shake cream of tarter into the pot, fill with water and bring to a boil. Boil for a few minutes, pour out water, and wipe clean.

Cover the ice in a picnic cooler with foil to help it last longer. Keep the water in your canteen cooler by wrapping the canteen in foil.

Use foil ring dividers for frying eggs. Put rings in the greased pan and drop eggs into each ring.

Toast sandwiches by wrapping them in a foil envelope and placing them on the embers or a hot plate for a few seconds.

Because foil-wrapped foods tend to scorch where they are in direct contact with the coals, use a double wrapping of heavy duty foil and turn food frequently during cooking.

To make a sprinkler top for vinegar or oil bottle, shape a piece of foil over the bottle opening, secure with a rubber band, and punch small holes in the foil.

Save clean-up time by lining casserole, baking and frying pan with heavy duty foil before cooking in them.

When it is time for washing up, a crumpled ball of foil makes an excellent scouring pad for pots and pans.

To keep marshmallows from burning dip them in water before holding them over the flame.

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