I have a slight addiction to my vacuum sealer. This started last year sometime, but really took off this summer when I started talking to a friend who is a rafter. They often go on week long rafting trips, so he was interested in ways to use cooler space and raft space more efficiently. I have never been known to pack light for any occasion. My theory is you should always be prepared for anything. You know, hurricane, tornado, drought, you name it, I’m ready for it! When I go camping, my cooking supplies usually take up a good portion of our totes. After talking to our friend I decided to make it my personal challenge to pack lighter. I tested out this theory when Kyle and I went away for our anniversary. We were staying at a friends’ cabin and Kyle didn’t want to turn on the propane, so I was cooking on our coleman stove with no hot water. I didn’t want to spend the weekend doing dishes, so I started rooting around in the freezer. I came up with a vacuum sealed package of chili. I had heard you could make an omelette in a ziploc bag, so thought shoot, I could do that in a vacuum seal bag. I cracked some eggs, stirred them up, added some grated cheese and cooked sausage and sealed it up. (I tried this again later with pre-cooked bacon instead of sausage and froze it first so I could vacuum it also. Both ways worked fine.) I managed to cook dinner and breakfast using a pot and some boiling water. I just dropped the bag of chili in and let it cook til it was hot. I did the same thing with the eggs, just cooking them until they were done. I was hooked!
We went on a camping trip later this summer and feasted on sloppy joes, green beans, squash, breakfast burritos, mini chicken pot pies, all vacuum sealed and cooked in boiling water. I got our numerous cooking and food totes down to one tote. I also took individual packets of coffee, lemonade, mayonnaise, mustard, ranch dressing and coffee creamer that I had made. I figured why take the entire bottle of creamer when I only needed two cups of coffee worth, or take a huge jar of mayonnaise for two sandwiches. Kyle thinks I’m nuts, but when he has to pack less stuff, he doesn’t complain!
The single serving vacuum sealed entrees work great when Kyle and I are working late and need a quick dinner, or when his cousins come over, starving. I also sent a bunch of meals to elk camp this year. Who wants to cook after spending all day hunting? Not me!
I took my sealing to a level that really made Kyle worry when I went to visit him at elk camp. Remember I said I’m not a light packer? Well, I didn’t want to take too much with me, so I started thinking about toiletry items that I only needed a little of. I really didn’t need the entire bottle of face lotion, just a couple dabs. Same with shampoo, conditioner, and hair goo. So I got busy sealing and made individual packets. I was able to fit all my toiletries in my toiletry bag without bringing along another bag full of hair products!
I’ve been busy vacuum sealing these past couple weeks, but I’ll write more about that later…