Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Simply Food - Dairy without a fridge?

So I met up with a lot of people through the RTR who ask me many questions about food. I've been lovingly dubbed the "fire godess" as well as the Coffee Queen at these annual events.

Questions kept coming up this year about how I manage to live without a refrigerator or cooler. One particular person who is not new to camping was frustrated with coolers and ice and anxious to get an expensive solar system and 12Volt refrigerator. When I asked why they were so anxious about getting this system before their budget could handle that large a purchase. They expressed that they had to have a certain breakfast every day or they don't feel right. I asked about their breakfast choices and made some suggestions. I was a bit surprised that they didn't know 1. what is available and 2. How to store basic food with out refridgeration.  Now keep in mind that I do understand that there can be pleasure from having things that are familiar to us as well as having both hot and cold food or drinks at times.  I like to point people over to Carolyn's blog for wonderful detailed information.

I'm going to share some basic and simple information today about dairy products. Keep in mind that my diet has changed over time and so most likely will yours. I don't use much dairy anymore though I have tried most of these things myself.

My friend has been used to drinking glasses of milk and eating cereal. Perhaps like them you may not be aware of ways to have just that glasses of your favorite kind of milk ir cereals with milk and without a refridgerator!

Milk comes in many forms:
Tetra Paks are long shelf life and can be found in both quart and individual size packages.
Canned - yup like evaporated, or sweetened condensed. Canned coconut milk or cream is becoming more popular as well. Did you know that you can buy canned Goats Milk even in Wal-Mart?
Individual size servings can be bought at fast food and grocery stores in their refrigerator (if you are traveling you can simply let stores keep it cold)
Powder - before you get all "yuk pooy" on me. Check this out there is powered skim milk and whole milk. Nido is a popular brand with both boaters and in Central America. Powdered Goat's milk and coconut milk are now available too. Of course there are Powdered chocolate and flavored milks as well. And powdered coffee creamer.
Individual serving size cups like for coffee creamers.
Okay so perhaps you want very COLD Milk. I'd think about how much simpler it is to clean up and to store cold or icy water than milk. Then I suggest that you try one of the powders to see how it works for you. I tried the Goats Milk and think it is very rich and more like cream. I would use it for some special treat but I don't keep it on hand. Another suggestion is to find some other people who want to try these out and split the cost of s first package.  Okay so that is not for you another way to have the COLD Milk is to buy a small amount that will last only two or three days and wrap it well in newspaper and place inside a cardboard box. Don't open your package until you are ready to use it then take out only what you need and immediately rewrap the remaining portion. This will help but isn't a long term solution - you may be on a savings plan to have a refrigerator in your RV/Van/vehicle!  Last resort is to keep a cooler yes ice is pricey although if you take a gallon Ziploc bag or a small container into a truck stop or gas station mini mart they often will let you fill it for free.

Other dairy items:
Cheese - hard cheeses keep longer than soft ones.You can always do like hikers and trappers and wrap a block of cheese in an outer leaf of cabbage to keep it moist. This works well for Swiss and other hard cheeses. Parmesan cheese travels very well either as a block or powdered in a can.
Butter - only needs to be cold if it has no salt. Buy salted butter.or better yet buy Clarified Butter otherwise known as Ghee!
Yogurt - doesn't spoil as quickly as other dairy products. Although pasturised dairy has a shorter shelf life. I would not worry much about buying and keeping a couple small plain yogurts  without refrigeration.
Sour Cream - can be made from evaporated milk and a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar. See for a recipe.
Ice Cream - unless you like freeze dried ice cream save ice cream for a treat when you are in town or at a restraunt.

I hope this is helpful