Extreme Cooking Tips And Advice: Keep Culinary Hygiene Using Fire

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Pablo Edronkin

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In long range treks and expeditions as well as during any sort of survival situation it is important to keep infections and health problems at bay because under such peculiar circumstances they can be rather more troublesome than in the course of normal city life; fortunately, a rational use of fire could help a lot to keep a certain level of hygiene.

During such activities, especially if their duration is considerable, the component of our kit will certainly be in contact with the ground, dust, plants and so on. Indeed, places like public transit areas within cities and towns are not exactly clean even if they look like that, but while in the moddle of the wilderness it is unlikely that you will find the same sort of dirt than in cities, you should assume that the risk of infection does exist there as well, and there are many cases to prove it. Nature is beautiful, but who said that it is clean? Microorganisms abound.


Whenever you cook outdoors, your kit will touch the ground, plants, etc.
Whenever you cook outdoors, your kit will touch the ground, plants, etc.

In some regions of the world it is not recommended to consume tap water without filtering and purifying it first, even if the local government says that it is safe to use it as it comes out of the tubing system, So, there is even more reason th do the utmost to keep your cooking and lunch kit as clean as possible despite the circumstances.

The first rule of this is to avoid direct contact between food and unprotected surfaces of the local environment, such as the soil, plants, etc. ad minimise the exposure of your rations because direct contact of your rations with the dust, air, etc. of your camping spot may in effect, be totally unhygienic. Then, keep everything inside bags or cans in such a way that small animals will not get access to it; they will not only eat your rations but also leave the remains contaminated: Remember the case of the Hanta virus, transmitted by wild rats and originated in Hantaan, China. Now it has reached the United States and even Argentina and Chile.


This is the way to disinfect a metal object over a fire; notice that the jar will be used to take water in and out from the other recipient.
This is the way to disinfect a metal object over a fire; notice that the jar will be used to take water in and out from the other recipient.

The second rule for hygienic control while cooking outdoors is to disinfect everything used to carry food or water into your body using fire; this includes mugs, jars, canteens, spoons, knifes and so on, and can be done easily and cheaply: Just place for a moment every single item - i.e. the spoon that you will use to eat - directly over a flame and move it so that every bit of it gete exposed. Do it quickly and you may even be able to sterilise by fire wood and plastic components that your tool may have. You can also boil those things in water for at least five minutes; if you can do both things, much the better, especially if you boil everything before starting to cook and pass over the flames your devices just before actually starting to enjoy the meal.

The person that will be in the best position to assure this kitchen hygiene of sorts will be the one in charge of cooking simply because as the time for each meal approaches, everything and anything related to food and eating will be left around the fire or oven used. However, individual members of any expedition should carry sterilisation as a habit within their minds too.


And here you see the same jar used to boil some water that has been taken from the big recipient; if not properly disinfected, the jar would probably have contaminated the fresh water in the other vessel by now.
And here you see the same jar used to boil some water that has been taken from the big recipient; if not properly disinfected, the jar would probably have contaminated the fresh water in the other vessel by now.



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