September 3, 2008

Camping with Fruits and Veggies in Tow

Now back home from an extended (and delightful) camping vacation in the great and grand National Parks out west, I'm pleased to note that one can still tank up on those 5+ servings of fruits and vegetables even when food selection is narrowed down to what fits in the cooler and the dry box. As they say, where there's a will, there's a way!

A few discoveries along the trail:

- Fruits that have the staying power to last a few days and not dent, brown or mold are apples, cherries and blueberries (in their container). Plus, they're not a mess to peel or clean up. They're wash and serve. Bananas last a couple of days, but require a bit more care and special handling.

- Dry fruit is a winner! It's portable, compact and has staying power with no cooling space necessary. Dried fruit, from simple raisins to mixed dried fruit combinations can be mixed with nuts for a quick snack along the trail, mixed into yogurt, oatmeal or dry cereal. Yes, also enjoyed just out of the bag.

- Vegetable victors are the ever-ready baby carrots and cherry tomatoes. These items pack well for lunches. Add in cucumber slices and celery sticks to dip into salad dressing for dinner. Onions travel well to be chopped into one pot or pan dinners. And potatoes hang in there for days to use from breakfast hash browns to the centerpiece of a dinner casserole.

- Vegetables by the can travel well and don't need cooler space. From green beans, corn, peas, black beans and mixed vegetables; our stash of canned vegetables found their way into noodle, pasta and potato centered one pot meals.

But I must admit, I was happy to come home to my store bought box of field greens and ripe red tomatoes, long green cucumbers and basil from our garden. Ah, a few more weeks of growth left on the summer garden.