Who says that planning a paddling trip means leaving your fresh fruits and vegetables behind? My buddy Eric, a passionate kayaking guide in Massachusetts, says so. Just as Dominic, another chum from B.C., who loves to leave on long canoe-camping weekends with wife Kathie and the kids. But they usually bring along only canned food and peanut butter candy bars because they’re afraid they might spoil any other type of edibles. That makes for a boring menu! It’s no wonder my friends never leave for more than a weekend expedition…
Carrying fresh foods has more to do with careful and imaginative menu planning than with a limited supply of produce that can be brought along. Especially at this time of the year, when there’s so much to choose from: fresh cucumber, snap peas, radishes, bell peppers, berries, and so on. So to prove my friends wrong, I came up with a five day planner in which salads would be the only meals on board. Not that I believe you might dream of a diet made exclusively of spinach or Greek salad; rather, I take this as a fun challenge to give you some inspiration and a sample of how filling, simple, different and interesting a salad can be. And, just like pastas or soups, they are another good example of what a meal in a bowl can be…
Rule of thumb for packing produce
All soft skin produce must be packed separately in air tight-non collapsible containers, such as yogurt or margarine containers. Root vegetables and citrus fruits will keep well in a small bucket. Dry bags are too soft and also prone to condensation, so it’s better to use them for dry goods instead.
When you pack produce without using a cooler, place the containers directly on the bottom of your kayak or canoe, so that they can benefit from the much cooler temperature of the water. Add a layer of soft insulation (towels, dry bags filled with clothes, sleeping bags, etc.) Make sure that no excessive weight bruises your precious cargo.
How long does it keep?
Here is a list which explains how long fruits and vegetables will keep during a paddling trip with proper packing techniques. This list does not consider the use of a cooler filled with frozen items or icepacks, which would add one more “shelf day” to all these ingredients. For instance, lettuce in a cooler would keep 48 hours in total instead of 24. This list is your starting point for good meal planning.
- To be eaten the same day (with no cooler) or within 24 hours (with a cooler): leaf lettuce, fresh spinach, fresh herbs such as leaf parsley or coriander, corn, bean sprouts, bananas, kiwis
- To eat within 48 hours (without a cooler) or 72 hours (with a cooler): cucumber, baby tomatoes, mushrooms, green onions, radishes, snap peas, avocados, eggplants, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, pears, peaches, grapes
- To consume within 72 hours (with no cooler) or 4 days (with a cooler): celery, broccoli, summer squash (zucchinis), cauliflower, green or yellow waxed beans, bell peppers, artichokes, rhubarb, plums, honey melon or watermelon, nectarines
- To consume within 1 week (with no cooler) or 8-10 days (with a cooler): cabbage, potatoes, onions, fennel, fresh ginger, apples, leeks, oranges, grapefruits, lemons
- Can be kept for 2 weeks or more: carrots, parsnips, turnips, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes, beets, winter squash, dry shallots, garlic
Meal planner: a week of salads*
-Recipes marked with a * are available at the end of the text
Day one Lunch: Asian sprouts and spinach salad with peaches and almonds* Dinner: camper’s Caesar Salad*
Day two Lunch: Greek salad* Dinner: Southwestern Bean salad*
Day three Lunch: Waldorf chicken salad* Dinner: Mediterranean ratatouille with chick peas*
Day Four Lunch: tuna and honeydew melon salad* Dinner: potato and leek salad with bacon*
Day five Lunch: Far East slaw * Dinner: cracked wheat (bulgur) and shrimp salad *
|Asian sprouts and spinach salad with peaches and almonds
(2 portions)||Campers’ Caesar salad
|Greek salad (2 Portions)||Southwestern Bean Salad (2 Portions)|
|Waldorf chicken salad (2 portions)||Mediterranean ratatouille with chick peas
|Tuna and honeydew melon salad
(2 portions)||Potato and leek salad with bacon (2 portions)|
|Far East slaw (4 portions)||Cracked wheat (bulgur) and shrimp salad