How to Cook & Eat Crawfish

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Crayfish are easy to catch and are a great source of protein!

It couldn’t be easier to cook up a tasty batch of crawfish.  You can pay a premium for them at a fish market, or just invest in a $25 crawfish trap and catch them yourself.

How to cook Crayfish:

Once you have a fresh batch, here’s the simplest way to prepare them:

  1. Place the crawfish in a large container and rinse them with fresh water until the water runs clear.

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    Wash the crayfish in clean water until the water’s clear

  2. Fill the container with water, and remove any crayfish that are floating.  (Their meat goes bad quickly when uncooked, which is why crawfish and lobster are cooked live.)
    ***Do not cook and eat any crawfish that were dead before you cooked them***
    Note:  as long as you’re cooking a fresh harvest, this won’t be an issue for you.  It really only matters when you’ve purchased crawfish that may not be as fresh, or have let your harvest sit a bit. (We keep ours on frozen “icees” in a cooler, and (so far) they’ve been fine for up to 36 hours.)
  3. Select a cooking pot that’s large enough to hold your harvest, with some room to spare.
  4. Place 4 or so inches of water in the bottom of the pot, add a little salt, and bring the pot to a rapid boil.
  5. Dump the crawfish quickly into the pot, reduce heat to a low boil, and cover the pot.
  6. Depending on how large the crawfish are, let the pot simmer for 8-15 minutes.  (overcooking them can make them tough and chewy though)
  7. Drain the water, and serve with melted butter.  Enjoy!

How to Eat Crawfish

How to eat crawfish, is a different matter.  It does require a bit of effort, and is messy… but worth it.  And, as long as you consider it entertainment and part of the fun, you’ll have a good experience!

  1. Have plenty of napkins available, and a bucket or bowl to place the scraps in.
  2. Select a cooked crayfish.
  3. Remove the tail by grasping the tail near where it joins the body.  Then just gently pull.  It’ll separate pretty easily.
  4. To get the meat out of the tail, just peel the shell off.  Dip the meat in butter and enjoy!  (if the “mustard” bothers you, you can always wipe that off)
  5. If large enough, you can also crack the shell and remove the meat from the claws.
  6. Toss the rest and the shell scraps into the bucket.
  7. Pick up another, and repeat!

If you have extra, you can refrigerate or freeze the cleaned meat.  Use the crayfish meat instead of shrimp or lobster in your favorite recipes.  Or, try some other crawfish recipe ideas that you might enjoy:

Crayfish Nutritional Value

There’s some good and some bad about eating crayfish.  The worst is that a single serving makes up 40% of the average daily recommended cholesterol allowance.

But on the positive side, they are surprisingly low on fat (1% of the average daily allowance).  They’re also a good source of protein (a 3 oz serving has 15g of protein).  The meat also contains potassium, calcium, vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, and a high amount of vitamin B12.

Liquid Sunshine: Simple Sun Tea Recipe

 

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Liquid Sunshine: Tracy’s Sun Tea Recipe

 

As silly as it sounds, homemade sun tea has long been one of our “comfort foods.”  If you’ve ever had an ice-cold glass of tea flavored with fresh mint and lemon on a hot sunny day, you’ll know exactly why.  You’ll be amazed with how easy it is to make (sun tea recipe below)!

With our transient lifestyle, one of our challenges has been keeping a sense of home.  Basically, that’s meant figuring out what simple things comfort us that fit into our mobile lifestyle.   Sun Tea is one of those staples that fuels us and comforts us year round.

We don’t generally drink much in the way of soda or canned/bottled drinks, for several reasons:

  • This is probably not a shocker to anyone, but bottled drinks are terrible for you!  They’re loaded with corn syrups (or sugar substitutes with are also unhealthy) and tons of artificial ingredients.  Also, if they come in plastic bottles, they likely have absorbed cancer causing toxins from the bottles.  If they come in cans, they likely have absorbed aluminum which has been attributed to Alzheimer’s.
  • Bottled drinks are ridiculously expensive!  Who has extra money these days?  I’ll bet most people spend at least 1/6th of their grocery bill on bottled drinks.
  • With our mobile life, bottled beverages are bulky and heavy (not a combination that’s good for traveling or living with very limited space).

Ice tea (especially sun tea) is our “go to” answer because:

  1. It’s tasty and incredibly refreshing.
  2. The supplies needed to make sun tea don’t take up much space.
  3. It’s very easy to make.  (Even habitually busy people can manage to fit making tea into their schedule!)
  4. Sun tea has some nutritional value.  (After all, isn’t that the reason we’re supposed to be eating and drinking things – to give our body fuel for sustenance and health? )

Here’s what you’ll need for Sun Tea (alternate instructions for making it on the stove top are included at the bottom).

  • 1 gallon glass jar and lid*
  • a little less than 1 gallon of clean, drinkable water
  • 5 tea bags (I prefer lipton, but use the brand you like best)
  • 1/2(+/-) cup of raw honey or unrefined sugar (or equivalent of any sugar substitute you prefer)
  • handful of fresh mint sprigs
  • 1/4 lemon

*You can buy jars with spouts, but I’m using gallon jar that hubby found. (It was being discarded from a restaurant we were working at.)

Instructions & Recipe for Making Sun Tea:

  1. Fill the jar with water, leaving a little space at the top
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  2. Place the tea bags in the jar
  3. Cover the jar
  4. Set the jar in a sunny spot (outside works best)
  5. Let the tea steep until as dark as you like it. (I usually let it sit for around 4 hours, but sometimes longer.  Different weather conditions will affect how quickly the tea will flavor the water.)  You can let it sit outside for the full day, if need be.  If it’s too strong, next time, cut back on the number of tea bags or else shorten the time it sits)

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    Let the jar sit in the sun until the tea is as dark as you like it.

  6. Remove the tea bags.
  7. Add the sweetener
  8. Add juice from 1/4 lemon
  9. Add the mint sprigs
  10. Set the sun tea in the fridge overnight (the mint needs time to flavor your tea).

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    Viola! Refreshing & Nourishing Iced Tea

  11. Enjoy chilled or over ice (and start your next batch)!

Note:  If the weather isn’t cooperating, you can still make tasty iced tea.  Just boil the water in a pot and toss the tea bags in.  Turn off the stop top, and let it steep until to the desired strength.  Then follow the rest of the sun tea recipe above.

Other suggestions:

  • in a pinch, you can use mint tea bags instead of fresh mint.  Just steep them with the black tea bags
  • try other flavors of tea (green tea, herbal teas, etc.) for a change of pace.

Nutritional information for this Sun Tea recipe:

How to Make Coffee While Boondocking

Good news my java-loving friends!  You do NOT have to give up your coffee for van camping, boondocking or gypsy living. (Living-simply doesn’t mean that you have to give up everything you love, but you may have to be a little creative about it.)

For making our coffee while van camping, we wanted something we could use on the propane campstove (instead of another gadget to carry around).

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Our two-burner propane campstove

First, we debated getting a stainless steel percolator style coffee pot.  Something like this (picture below):

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Percolator Style Coffee Pot for Van Camping

Benefits to this coffee pot: you can also use it to heat water for other uses and you don’t need coffee filters.

Making coffee with it is pretty simple:

  1. Add water to the coffee pot
  2. Add coffee to the filter container (the basket on the stem)
  3. Place the stem/container inside the coffee pot
  4. Place the lid securely on the pot
  5. Place the pot on the camp stove (or camp fire, or burner, or whatever you’re using).
  6. Once it starts to boil/percolate, turn the heat to the lowest setting that will still keep the coffee percolating.  Let it percolate 7-10 minutes, depending on how strong you like your coffee
  7. Remove coffee pot from heat and enjoy

On negative (which is ultimately why we decided against this method of making coffee), is that you do have to pay attention to the coffee a bit as it brews.  It is possible to burn or overcook the coffee.  Since we aren’t fully awake until after coffee, having to pay attention to it while it brews wasn’t an enjoyable option for us.

So instead, we decided to use a French press to make our van camping coffee.  It’s a bit simpler even than the coffee percolator, and you don’t risk burning the coffee.

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To make coffee with a french press:

  1. heat water (I use a tea kettle)
  2. place the desired amount of coffee in the bottom of the French press
  3. add the boiling water
  4. cover by adding the lid (but do not press the handle down yet)
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  5. let sit for the desired amount of time, depending on how strong you like your coffee(4 minutes is the generally recommended time)
  6. press the handle slowly down (this strains the coffee through the mesh filter and pushes the grounds to the bottom of the coffee pot)
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  7. enjoy

To clean it – just empty out the used grounds.

Note:  If you’re someone who prefers to have a fancy coffee mixed drink each morning, this probably won’t work for you.  Your best bet will be to find places to van camp or boondock near a coffee shop!

As for us – hubby drinks his coffee black.  I like mine mixed with cocoa, almond milk and raw honey (my version of a mocha).

I do have to say that there’s nothing quite as amazingly peaceful as waking up naturally (without an alarm clock) in your cozy van, then enjoying a cup of coffee in the quiet of nature.  I hope you get to experience that decadence yourself soon!

Fresh Trout Recipe

This has come to be our favorite recipe for preparing fresh trout.  It’s very simple, and so easy to do.  It only requires a few ingredients (key to camp cooking!).

 

Fresh trout for supper

 

You’ll need:

  • butter
  • dill leaves (dried or fresh)
  • pepper

Then simply heat up your skillet on a medium heat setting on your camp stove.  Put jut a little butter in the pan to keep the skin from sticking.  Place the trout in the pan.  Inside the cavity, place a few small pats of butter, and sprinkle the inside of the cavity with dill and pepper (to taste).  (I use a generous amount of dill.)

Cover the pan, and let cook for 10-15 minutes.  Gently flip the trout over to cook the other side.  Cook another 10 minutes (or until the meat is white and cooked through). Note:  how long it takes to cook can depend on a number of factors, like how big the fish are and even how cold it is outside (since you’re cooking in an uncontrolled environment).

Enjoy!

PS – did you know that trout that have been in nature for a while have pink meat?  It tastes much better (and is healthier) than the stockers.  The stocker fish have white meat (before cooking) due to their artificial diets.  Trout are one of nature’s healthy foods for getting your Omega oils!  And they actually contain all the essential minerals.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/543395-nutrition-data-facts-on-trout/