Friday, March 23, 2007

Spice Things Up

I'm into cooking good food, and I don't see any reason for that to stop just because I happen to be in the middle of the woods. But one of the things that I have found a bit of a pain is bringing along a small quantity of spices for a backpacking trip.

The last thing I want to do is load up my backpack with a bunch of heavy, glass spice bottles. So what I sometimes do is pre-measure the herbs and spices for a specific meal and take them in a tiny plastic baggie. But that doesn't allow me to adjust the seasoning at all.

What I really wanted was a way to bring along a selection of herbs and spices in a lightweight, spill-free container. And here's my solution--a multi-compartment pill box!

Pill boxes have small, separate compartments so you can bring along a variety of spices and keep them separate. I had to do a bit of looking around to find ones that seal well on the top. Since pills are quite large, sometimes the makers of plastic pill boxes don't care if their lids leave gaps, but for spice that would mean they'll leak out.

There are two basic configurations for the boxes, so depending on how many spices you want to take you can buy the box that suits your needs.

The most common ones have seven compartments, one for each day of the week. For most people, this is enough for a good, basic spice kit. My suggestions (although everyone has their own favourites) for a seven-spice kit would be: salt, pepper, curry powder, ginger, basil, oregano & garlic powder.

You can also find boxes with four compartments, like the one pictured. They are for medications taken several times per day. In fact, mine came as a set of seven, four-compartment boxes. The whole thing cost me a whopping $2. And you thought camping gear was expensive!

Using several small boxes, I can tailor my spice requirements to the meals I am planning for any given trip rather than taking a basic set of seasonings.

Of course, if you're really hardcore you could pick up a 28-section pill box which is for multiple doses for a whole week. That would give you a full palette of spices to choose from at any time! A bit bulky, but it still wouldn't weigh much.

So that's my advice on spicing up your camping meals. It's all about keeping things light and easy. And since most pill boxes have little flip-up lids I suggest carrying them inside a plastic bag so that they don't accidentally get opened up in your pack and coat everything you own in cayenne pepper!

No comments: