Camp Chef Makeover: The Foiled Foodie

Prevent fresh food spoilage on the trail with these tips.

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Diagnosis Spoiled food, spoiled trip “I’ve had bad luck with food rotting on summer trips,” Joe says, “so I eat mostly out of pouches, which doesn’t provide a culinary incentive for my wife to backpack with me. I’d love to include fresh food that doesn’t spoil or melt.” 

Makeover by Elizabeth Marglin, food and health writer.

Philosophy “Cooking for someone is a form of love, so it deserves the extra prep time.”

Meal Rx Get out of the oatmeal rut with a pesto omelet—a little gourmet flair will win anyone’s heart. Plus, we give Joe seven ways to keep food crisp.

The Recipe: Pepper and Pesto Omelet


4 raw eggs (or use powdered)

2 teaspoons pesto mix from package

1/2 green pepper (or dehydrated)

1/2 onion

6 ounces instant hash browns

2 tablespoons oil

At home Pack whole eggs safely in a hard tub.

In camp Chop and sauté onion and pepper. For pesto, add 1 tablespoon oil and amount of water specified by package instructions. Cook omelet, then mix in veggies and pesto. Fry hash browns and place eggs on top. (Courtesy of Backcountry Cooking; $17;

Fresh Foods That Last Longer

» Chocolate Semisweet (it lacks meltable milk solids) and carob resist melting. Store in the center of your pack.

» Cheese Waxed or hard cheeses (cheddar, Colby, and Swiss) can last a week (several days longer than soft ones).

» Raw whole eggs They keep for about a week, especially if you freeze them.

» Fruit Apples and oranges stay good for a week-plus. For soft fruit, like pears, buy them hard and let ripen on the trail.

» Veggies Storing them in paper bags stalls spoilage for up to a week. Carrots, potatoes, and onions keep three weeks.

» Butter It lasts a week, or use ghee or margarine for a three-week lifespan.

» Meats Hard salami, jerky, and smoked meats stay good for weeks.

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