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A Boater's Guide to Food onBoard
Boat Articles, Guides, Commentary and archival articles & helpful information
Quality Ingredients Onboard
Everything you do include sophisticated menus, always use the best quality ingredients available to you, and still allow yourself to pinch hit when necessary.
Fresh and Fresh is best but on board it's not always practical. If you have access to fresh herbs, then use them. Likewise for fruits, vegetables, fish. If fresh is available, then buy it, but keep in mind you can still work wonders with canned crabmeat or frozen whole green beans.
For chicken broth, homemade is again best, but in the summer who is going to prepare it? Select the best brand available to you, there Is a difference! And when it comes to mayonnaise, do take the time to make a really good blender. It makes a world of difference on a sandwich or in a salad.
It helps to be organized at mealtimes for many reasons. Note that the less time the cover is off the icebox, the longer the cooling effect will be retained.
Give yourself as much ice surface as possible, to be sure to keep things that spoil quickly, such as fish and fresh meat , in direct contact with the ice.
Breads and pastries stay fresher in the icebox; they do not need to be in direct contact with the ice.
Cooked rice, potatoes and pasta do not keep well In an ice-box. If these are to be salad ingredients, it is best to make the salad ahead of time. It will keep very well. If that's not possible, take the raw ingredients and prepare your salad from scratch onboard.
Keep fresh vegetables away from direct contact with the ice, since they will freeze and wilt.
Food Packaging and Garbage onboard
Be careful about packing things in containers that are Just the right size. Note: it is not enough to have good tasting foods - you want the food to look appealing too.
There are many and many with very specific uses, such as pie and cake containers, coffee cans, celery, butter, and on and on. Obviously, there are many brands, but favorites tend to be Tupperware and Rubbermaid(http://www.rubbermaid.com/) for both their quality and variety of uses and sizes. There are all types, shapes and sizes of food containers available.
You can to repackage things into appropriate amounts for recipes, or in some cases in containers that are sturdier than the store packaging.
Choose a good container that protects the food from movement, from layering, from moisture build-up onboard. When prepare deviled eggs, for example, you can use a shallow square or rectangular container with a tight fitting lid, the exact size to accommodate the eggs.
It's worth arranging for generous packing space and then stowing away your crates, rather than trying to juggle or balance too many Items in too few carrying crates.
Line the bottom with a layer of absorbent paper towels. This both prevents the eggs from sliding around and absorbs excess moisture. As long as the eggs don't get turned upside down, it works beautifully. Tend to pack foods such as brownies with equal care. Again, a square or rectangular container lined this time with waxed paper. Use waxed paper between layers, too, as brownies tend to stick together and once they do, their aesthetic appeal is gone.
It pays to buy soda or beer in cans. They don't break and they are much lighter than bottles are, especially when empty. You can keep our beverages in a cooler in our sail locker, don't have to go below just to get a cold drink, plus it saves on the ice in the icebox which doesn't get opened as much.
At first, and perhaps most obvious, is the elimination of bones wherever possible - use boneless pork chops, boneless steaks, boneless chicken breasts. You may pay a bit of a premium for these, but it's well worth it in the end. Make every effort to prepare exact amounts of recipes so there are few leftovers and what there are can be re-used in a cold plate, sandwich or fresh salad.
If It is just the two of us sailing, don't make special plans for lunches for that reason just about anything leftover can be turned into a pleasing salad. Though the temptation may be strong to use paper plates and cups, don't. The garbage collects too rapidly and it is so much nicer to use dishes.
Food transportation & storage
Transporting provisions out to the boat can be another challenge unless you have the proper equipment. Take care here to handle your foods gently, as this is the one place carelessness takes its toll. Pack food systematically and sensibly.
There are wonderful canvas bags in a variety of sizes and collapsible crates, much like milk crates, but much better because once you have them on board, they fold up for convenient storage.