Camp kitchen maintenance can prevent food-borne illness and extend the useful lifetime of all your cookware and utensils. This gives you the opportunity to rotate stock and replace missing or damaged items. Sanitize your camp kitchen storage container and all of your cookware after every camping trip once you are home. This ensures that it is fully stocked and ready to use when you take your next trip. Food-borne illness is life-threatening, especially outdoors, because medical care is rarely close enough to your campground.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Things You'll Need:
- Chuck box/portable camp kitchen
Master chuck box supply list
3 percent bleach solution
Distilled white vinegar
Dish drying rack
Bamboo or wooden scraper
USDA Food Safety Fact Sheet
- Chuck box/portable camp kitchen
- Master chuck box supply list
- Mild detergent
- 3 percent bleach solution
- Sea salt
- Distilled white vinegar
- Soft cloths
- Dish drying rack
- Olive oil
- Paper towels
- Bamboo or wooden scraper
- USDA Food Safety Fact Sheet
Remove all items from your camp kitchen storage bin or chuck box as soon as possible after you return home. Wipe box and lid inside and out with a 3 percent bleach solution. Allow everything to air dry.
Check the items you took from the box against your master chuck box list. Replace any items used during your most recent camping trip. Discard any items that have passed their expiration date.
Separate your cookware from the dishes, tableware and utensils. Soak all utensils, tableware and dishes, except stainless steel or items with wooden handles, in a 3 percent bleach solution for 10 minutes to sanitize them. Wash all utensils, dishes and tableware in hot water with a mild, non-acidic detergent. Do not wash any cast iron cookware with soap or bleach. This will destroy the finish acquired through seasoning.
Wash wooden-handled items in mild detergent, rinse and stand in a rack to dry. Use a soft cloth with 1/2 tsp. olive oil to wipe each blade. This provides a protective coating that will resist spotting and pitting. Wrap each knife in a piece of cotton flannel or slide it into a cardboard sleeve for safe storage.
Scrape each item of cast iron cookware with a bamboo or wooden scraper to remove any food residue. Rub well with dry sea salt to remove any remaining food. Wipe the pan with a paper towel to brush away all of the salt. Rinse with distilled white vinegar, followed by water. Wipe dry with a paper towel.
Heat each pan, one at a time on high, to ensure that it is completely dry. Allow to cool to room temperature. Wipe each pan with a paper towel dipped in lard or olive oil. Place pans upside down on your oven rack so that they are not touching each other. Heat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. This will re-season your pans and restore the protective coating that prevents them from pitting and rusting.
Return all items to your chuck box, taking care to nest everything to use the least amount of space. Place a check mark on your master chuck box supply list as items are returned. Add any items to your chuck box that you recall needing on your previous outing. Make an entry on your master list for each item as it is packed. Replace the lid and store your chuck box in your camper or on a shelf in your garage.
Jane Smith has provided educational support, served people with multiple challenges, managed up to nine employees and 86 independent contractors at a time, rescued animals, designed and repaired household items and completed a three-year metalworking apprenticeship. Smith's book, "Giving Him the Blues," was published in 2008. Smith received a Bachelor of Science in education from Kent State University in 1995.