Low Waste Camping

Hello there! It’s me, Kristan. Writing again and turning to something that makes me feel productive or somehow helping out in the world. This post is titled Low Waste Camping, which, in essence, is true, but I was staying in a bare bones cabin. Is that true? It had a working refrigerator and a heater for nighttime in the high Sawtooth Mountains. I technically did do some camping the night after, with no heater, no electricity, no ice cubes but the ones with which I left the cabin. So I’ll continue on here and talk about my experiences with low waste camping. I have accomplished this same thing again, but with way fewer pictures because constantly taking photographs was taking me away from the scenery I traveled far to appreciate.

This is the cabin I stayed in, it is quite spacious and beautiful. All my belongings are seen on the porch. Basket with food, cooler, water jug, clothing in a suitcase, and some hiking shoes.

The most important aspect of any trip is THE FOOD. Maybe it isn’t to you, but it is to me as I cannot do much of anything if I do not have the fuel to go full force and hike or walk around anywhere without some delicious food. The smattering of food I brought along with me is depicted here, which I am certain you can figure out, I like my sourdough bread, nuts, harissa paste, peanut butter, honey, olive oil decanted into a smaller glass jar, and some veggies. It has been a while since I actually went on this trip, but I am hoping I had at least a few meals planned. Let’s find out!

Any person striving for less waste knows we must take the necessary tools with us. In the above case, I found it necessary to have a couple of tea towels and a washing up cloth (hand crocheted by me for bonus points). In the tiny adorable jar is Sal Suds, which I use to clean everything and gasp! it comes in a plastic container and I DON’T CARE because it is just that amazing and simplifies my life in numerous ways. Oh, and don’t forget a well-loved cast iron skillet that is easy to clean and if you don’t clean it all the way, well that is more flavor in your next meal. Side note: isn’t this stove top killer? Makes me want to cook all day and night.

Ooooh, we must talk about the essentials of hygiene now. I do not go anywhere without nail clippers. This was discussed on a recent trip to Mexico with my BFF and she said she would never think of bringing them, but oh how a hangnail can ruin my day if it cannot be taken care of immediately! I will just list the items you see here to be a bore: tp, sunscreen (made by ALL good if you care), body soap, shampoo bar, shea butter as a moisturizer, facial cleansing oil of some sort most likely jojoba mixed with frankincense, homemade bug spray (I copied the basic ingredients from some commercial company, the NEEM oil should not be left out of the recipe), more sunscreen, homemade deodorant (baking soda + EO lavender + EO clary sage), eyelash curler (for those selfies in the hot springs!), hair brush, David’s toothpaste, toothbrush, DIVA cup, and DIY hand sanitizer.

Some more essential tools: tea (I think it had all been gifted to me), tea strainer, bread knife, regular chopping knife, silverware set, micro planer?? Was that essential? Maybe I was fighting something and needed ginger + lemon hot water which I often make when I’m not feeling so hot.

I got super lucky and had a refrigerator so I bought beer and kept these few items in there. I felt quite like I was glamorous camping.

More food. Half and half is essential to my camping trip apparently. It is an essential when drinking coffee, so here it is. I also brought my homemade ginger beer, some eggs, and who can remember what else? Not me!

Here is a boring photo of none other than ice! But it’s a hot tip to refreeze your ice if you have access to a freezer so it can be reused upon leaving the place with said freezer! Amazing! Very low waste brilliance if you ask me! I will not take credit for this idea; I am certain I stole it from somewhere.

Simple way that I make coffee: a square of muslin atop a handmade ceramic pour over. Boil water and slowly pour over the coffee. Hehe

Oh, my first meal! Looks scrummy (as Mary Berry would say)! I had prepared a few things beforehand and this was one of those meals. Looks like asparagus, chickpeas, parsley, and orzo most likely sprinkled with lemon.

This cup served as my compost until I emptied a mason jar.

My washing up sink in the cabin.

Another meal of cooked lentils, sliced potatoes, fried onions, and eggs. Oh, beer as well.

What a sunny breakfast! Beautiful strawberries from a local grower, boiled eggs topped with harissa on homemade sourdough. Looks like I did use the microplaner to grate ginger and have with hot water and lemon.

These chocolate balls were keeping my spirits alive! I used the Klean Kanteen to keep coffee fresh. At this point in the trip, I was no longer staying at the cabin, and had visited about four natural hot springs. I was extremely relaxed and happy.

I cooked a real meal over a real fire and did it all by myself! The next picture shows how happy and proud I am for being such a firecracker.

I always bring a good book whenever I travel!

I did bring a candle and some matches and a lighter. More potatoes, lentils, onions, bread, and beer. Whooiee!

Purely private soak next to the Sawtooth Mountains nearing dusk. Bathing suits are essential to me, but may not be to you!

Considering I was by myself and didn’t have to worry about irritating anyone else, I stopped along the road numerous times to pick up trash.

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Sorted into recyclables and plain trash.

Here are a few 35mm film shots I took of the trip for your viewing pleasure. 🙂

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Peace and love,

Kristan

Fresh Tomato, Cucumber, Basil, & Orzo Salad

This salad couldn’t be simpler to make. Every time I make it, I am surprised at how much I love the flavor.

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First, slice up some tomatoes and cucumbers.

I used about 1 1/2 cups of each. I sliced, as well as cubed the cucumbers to have a variation in texture.

Toss in a couple tablespoons of fresh basil leaves.

Add in about 2 cups of cooked orzo.

Top with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

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That’s it! And it’s absolutely easy and fresh. I grew up eating cucumbers and love them fresh, but apparently not everyone does. Hopefully you do, and you maybe try this salad and tell me how good it was!

Peace and love,

Kristan

Fermented Refrigerator Pickles

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Do you love pickles? Are you on the fence about pickles? I always liked pickles, but wouldn’t necessarily choose to snack on them. Ever since I first made these perfect peck of pickled cucumbers, I look forward to having them again every year. Perhaps the “fermented” part of the title drew you here. These are left on the counter for a couple days to sour, and then need to be kept in the refrigerator. The water-bath canning method would kill off any bacteria, so those cannot really be fermented.

I think if you are hesitant to make your own pickles, you should start with these. They are incredibly delicious. I love them, and I end up even fishing out the garlic pieces to munch on those when the cucumbers are all gone.

Let’s talk about what you’ll more or less need to make this delicious fermented food.

You’ll want some dill. Fresh seems to be quite easy to find for me this time of year at every grocery store I’ve been to, so I have that, but if you only can find dried dill weed and dill seed, use those. It’ll be amazing.

Oh, and those are grape leaves pictured above. I came across a little city-owned garden with grapes because I live in Idaho’s wine country now and I “borrowed” some leaves for my pickling project. I’ve never used grape leaves before, but I have read multiple times that it can help with texture due to the tannins.

Also, I am using pickling cucumbers here, but honestly regular cucumbers would work fine and I’ve done that in the past. You could slice them up, or just pack in maybe 4 or 5 into a large jar.

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Pickling spice is super easy to toss together yourself if you keep pungent seeds on hand.

This is 1 tablespoon each of mustard seed, peppercorns, coriander, dill seeds and then about 4 crushed up bay leaves because that is all I had left. I didn’t have any allspice berries, but I had a really old bag of allspice and I just tossed about 1/2 tablespoon in there. I like spice, so I also added in 1/2 tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes.

You will most definitely want garlic. Even if you think you don’t like garlic, it’s what gives these pickles that special flavor edge that store bought can never quite attain. You’ll want at least 2 heads of garlic.

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Water, vinegar, and salt are the other ingredients (besides cucumbers!) you’ll want to have on hand.

Boil approximately a quart of water, then let that cool all the way down to room temperature, then add in 4 giant tablespoons of salt and 3/4 cup of white distilled vinegar.

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Ready? Let’s get started.

I just read that it’s possible to get soggy, mushy cucumbers from some enzyme left from the blossom end of the cucumber. So I chopped off that end. Usually I would just leave them whole, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt.

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Into a very clean jar place a lot of dill into the bottom. I use a combination of the leaves and the heads with seeds on them.

Then pack in the cucumbers. It actually does help to stack them nicely. I lay the jar on its side and place them in. I had a few extra so I decided to make an extra small jar.

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Now it’s time for the spices! The allspice powder is not so appealing, but I love seeing all the seeds floating once I add the brine. Add in a bunch of garlic cloves. Yum! I took this opportunity to use any of the garlic cloves that looked like they might not make it through the winter due to damage from being dug up violently… Not by me.

To the half gallon jar I added 1 heaping tablespoon of the pickling spice, and the pint jar I added 1/2 tablespoon. I know that math doesn’t equate, but it’s what I did. There is probably a good 1 1/2 heads of garlic in the half gallon jar and about 1/2 head in the pint jar.

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If you have any access to grape leaves, add one or two of those in now.

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Perhaps you have a spicy pepper lying around waiting to be used? Yeah, slice that and throw it in, too.

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Now top this lovely concoction off with MORE DILL! Again, heads as well as leaves work well. My dill was not so fresh, but it still smelled divine and will do the trick.

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Now pour your prepared brine into the jars. Mine happened to be the perfect amount (must be my lucky day!) but if you need to make more brine, just do it and be patient.

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I’m going to place linen on the tops of these and let them sit on the counter for three days, and then taste them by slicing off a chunk. Once they are super tasty, place normal lids on them, and keep in the refrigerator.

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I may have also “borrowed” a few roses as well as some grapes.

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I couldn’t resist this bi-colored rose!

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Wine grapes are actually not very nice to eat as they are like 50% seeds inside.

Peace and love,

Kristan