Ever since getting our Dometic Vacuum Sealer, we’ve been doing a heap of cryovac camping meals, and it makes life incredibly easy at the end of a long or tiring day.
If you aren’t familiar with vacuum sealing or the cryovac process, you put your food into a plastic film, and a machine sucks all of the air out, sealing it up tight. This dramatically increases the shelf life of your food, and allows for some pretty neat ways to prepare food when camping.
We vacuum pack anything from home made pasta sauce to marinated chicken thighs, sausages and steak and even spaghetti bog. We’re heading on a lap of Australia shortly, and intend on using it to bulk buy meat and portion it down into smaller sizes, but it will be interesting to see how much use it gets.
What do we often cryovac?
Spaghetti Bolognaise sauce
Our kids love Spaghetti Bog, and Sarah will often cook up a batch of spaghetti bog sauce with mince and all, and then we’ll cryovac it and have it ready. If you are really good, you can cook the pasta and pre-warm the sauce in the same saucepan (still in its vacuum sealing) and then drain the water, add the sauce to the pasta and you only have one pot to clean!
We love Butter Chicken, and having the chicken and sauce already made and cooked and then sealed up means you have to cook some rice, warm the sauce up and you are good to go.
One of our most common meals is mash potato (or fried potato chunks) with a side of corn and some meat. We love getting chicken, cutting it into small chunks and then putting it into a vacuum sealed bag with some marinade. By the time you eat it the taste has gone right through it, and its super quick and tasty.
Cransky sausage pasta sauce
Much like spaghetti bolognaise, we often make other pasta sauces and have them pre-cooked, and ready to warm up with some freshly cooked pasta. Sarah does a mean cransky sausage pasta sauce which the kids and I love (and Sarah says she’s over eating past!).
Potato and leak soup
Yep, you can vacuum seal soup too, as long as you do it manually, or you freeze it first. It can be very messy otherwise, but there’s nothing better than having enough soup ready to warm up when you get to camp after a big day, especially if you can pick up some fresh bread (or make some).
We usually pour enough soup into a container and freeze it, and then vacuum seal it a day or two later if we want the container back. Of course, you can do this with any type of soup that you enjoy.
We love Broccolini (by we, I mean just Sarah and I – the kids hate it) cooked on the Weber or over the fire in our Camp Braai. However, it doesn’t keep very long in the fridge (actually its better than many vegetables, but still not great), and we often end up with it charred on the outside and still crunchy in the middle.
The perfect solution is this – blanch it in boiling water, let it dry, then vacuum seal it into portion sizes. When we need a side, we grab this out and put it on the fire or Weber, and you end up with it perfectly well cooked.
Portion sized meats
We use our cryovac machine considerably to save money on meat, and make it last longer. We’ll go and buy a big pack of sausages, and split it into small portions of 4 that the kids will eat. We do the same for chops, steak and anything else that you can buy in bulk at a cheaper price.
On our recent 3 week trip to the Pilbara Sarah bought almost all of our meat at a Butcher, and we portioned it up and put it in the freezer, ready to go. Getting it out of the normal packaging is hugely appreciated; it can no longer leak, you don’t have to worry about dealing with excess food when you pull enough out for a meal and you don’t have to dispose of huge packages that take up lots of room.
Camping made easy
Anything you can do to make your travelling and camping easier is worth doing. For us, this works really well; using time when its freely available so you can save it when you have two kids hanging off you, waiting for dinner! It helps us to eat healthier food, stress less and enjoy camping more, and that’s a big winner.