THE COOKING AT SEA SERIES

stowage...







 

There are four enemies of food storage: light, heat, oxygen, and moisture.  There is only one enemy when it comes to stowage - not enough!

Disasters happen, even to the most organized and careful of people.  Ocean sailing is an adventure sport, and as such you need to minimize risk.  The same goes for your stowage.  Tstowageake time to plan your , assess all risks to your provisions and manage your provisions on passage.

WARM STORAGE

warm
                              storage provisioning for an ocean passage
                              crossing sailing the atlantic

Now we get to the interesting bit, yes, it is more than possible to run a warm storage galley on even the longest of ocean passages, in fact, it is easier than fridges and freezers, remember there is no supermarket in the middle of the ocean.  You now have time on your hands to really hone those culinary skills - in fact it gives you something to do on a long passage - so eat like royalty!

First you need to have an understanding of how long your passage will take, then add 50% extra on top.  This allows for all contingencies, and unless you are leaving the boat immediately upon reaching port, any extra provisions will be consumed in the normal course of events.

So, what to provision with?  Start by understanding what you normally eat, and what the rest of your crew normally eats.  If you live on a diet of baked beans, then read no further, just pop on down to your local supermarket.  However, most of us eat a fairly varied diet.  This will normally include, meats, fish, cheese, different pastas, eggs, bread, cake, crisps etc...  There is no reason to suppose that this diet should stop.

Cured meat products, such as Iberico ham, cured sausages etc...  are a must for any meat eater with a warm storage galley.  They can be sliced, diced, minced...  just about anything.  Added to stew, casseroles, chilli, lentils, sandwiches, salads (we'll get onto salad substitutes in a minute).  One pot stews are as simple as it gets, yet provide a fantastic, tasty and nourishing meal.

Fruits (soft fruits excluded) and vegetables DO NOT need to be chilled, they should, even in a boat with refrigeration, be warm storage.

Hard cheeses come to no harm in a warm storage galley, varieties such as cheddar can be wrapped in parchment paper, and should any mold occur, simply cut it off, the rest of the cheese will be fine.


REMEMBER:


  • Try to keep food in sealed bags or containers. (This does not apply to fruits and vegetables.)
  • Don't store food or drinks near cleaning products or other chemicals (battery acid does not make a good vinaigrette).
  • Only re-use plastic water bottles if they’re not damaged and you can clean them.
  • Vegetables are not the united nations, store onions, potatoes etc... separately. (more on vegetables)


Overview

The purpose of food storage is to get us through any passage well fed, and to keep us healthy for whatever is thrown at us.

Below are many tips for storing food, but what do you really want to store?  What length of time do you intend to keep your warm storage items, and how do you get to eat fresh food everyday on a long passage without the use of a fridge or freezer.

The Good News
In some respects, the challenges you will face are nothing compared to the benefits. No more worrying about how much power the fridge takes, or what is lurking in the back of it.  With a little thought and knowledge there is no reason why you can't run a warm storage galley in hot and humid climates.

You need to keep food as fresh as possible for as long as possible.   Thinking a little ahead, knowing what you have onboard and using it in a timely manner is mainly all that is needed to succeed. If you look outside and it's snowing, perhaps skip to another page altogether.



Safe food storage

Storing dry food, tins, jars and drinks

Many types of food don't need to be kept in the fridge to keep them safe to eat, for example dry foods such as rice, pasta and flour, many types of drinks, tinned foods, and unopened jars. But it's still important to take care how you store them.  Most fruits and vegetables can be kept for long periods of time without refrigeration.

MILK

passage planning ocean crossing
                            provisioning sailing the atlantic

If you like milk, try using dried milk, only making up what you need for the day.  Keep in a vented, lidded jar (an old honey pot is perfect for this).  Unlike with a lot of foods it it pretty obvious when milk has turned.   Of course the obvious solution is UHT milk, but if you are short handed, the opened container of milk might go off before you have managed to finish it.   If you are thinking of using raw milk, maybe think again.  If your milk is getting close to its use-by date, you can add it to rice, a sprinkle of cinnamon and some sugar and bake in the oven to make rice pudding for dessert.

EGGS
provisioning for an ocean passage
                            crossing sailing the atlantic

Eggs can still be used a few days after their use-by date, you just need to check their freshness; place the egg into a glass of water and if the egg stays flat at the bottom, it's fresh, if it floats it's ready for the bin.  Rubbing vaseline over the shell will increase an egg's shelf life, this seals the egg, very much in the same way as 'blanching' them in water for no more than 20 seconds.  An alternative is chucking them into an anchorage, and retrieving the ones which have sunk, once reaching the surface you explain to your neighbor that you have just 'caught' some sea eggs - now watch them all dive in to try and find some of these mythical delights for themselves!  

Add extra eggs to a cake mix or if you catch them just before they go off, boil them until hard, leave to cool and then peel the shell off. Mash in a bowl with some mayonnaise or salad cream and season with pepper and you've made yourself an egg mayonnaise sandwich filler!

Un-refrigerated eggs will last between 3-5 weeks out of the fridge.  Turn once a week to help stop the yolk from sticking to the shell.  If in doubt crack the egg into a bowl or cup before using.

Egg Storage Chart

Product

Refrigerator

Freezer

Raw eggs in shell

3 to 5 weeks

Do not freeze. Instead, beat yolks and whites together; then freeze.

Raw egg whites

2 to 4 days

12 months

Raw egg yolks

2 to 4 days

Yolks do not freeze well.

Raw egg accidentally frozen in shell

Use immediately after thawing.

Keep frozen; then
refrigerate to thaw.

Hard-cooked eggs

1 week

Do not freeze.

Egg substitutes, liquid
Unopened

10 days

12 months

Egg substitutes, liquid
Opened

3 days

Do not freeze.

Egg substitutes, frozen
Unopened

After thawing, 7 days or refer to “Use-By” date.

12 months

Egg substitutes, frozen
Opened

After thawing, 3 days or refer to “Use-By” date.

Do not freeze.

Casseroles with eggs

3 to 4 days

After baking, 2 to 3 months.

Eggnog
Commercial

3 to 5 days

6 months

Eggnog
Homemade

2 to 4 days

Do not freeze.

Pies
Pumpkin or pecan

3 to 4 days

After baking, 1 to 2 months.

Pies
Custard and chiffon

3 to 4 days

Do not freeze.

Quiche with filling

3 to 4 days

After baking, 1 to 2 months.



CHEESES

provisioning for an ocean
                              passage crossing sailing the atlantic

If you've got half a block of cheese left over, grate your cheese into a zip lock bag, makes life easier when wanting to sprinkle it on meals.  The harder the cheese the longer it will last.  Wrap cheese in kitchen paper or grease proof paper and keep in a cool place.  Alternatively, cut cheese into cubes and place in a jar of good quality oil, you can also add spices and garlic to taste.

BUTTER
passage provisioning sailing the
                            atlantic butter

It is a myth that butter will simply melt in tropical climates.  Buy tinned butter, found in most supermarket chilled cabinets.  once opened keep in the tin with the lid on in a dark place.  It will go soft, but on the whole will survive even the tropics.

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
fruit and veg provisioning for an
                            ocean passage crossing sailing the atlantic

It is more than possible to keep many vegetables fresh for months, a little knowledge does go a long way here.  Triage your vegetables on a daily basis, using up those that are ripe or ripening. Once you have triaged your fruits and vegetables, put them in a day box, and use them.  A bakers tray is perfect for this job, and on a lot of boats will sit under the companion way steps.  Attach it with some bungey cord to stop it from moving. Ensure that your fruit and vegetables don't bounce around or roll, this will damage them. 

Use the coolest darkest part of the boat you can find.  Bilges are a good idea if kept dry, and it is possible to buy dry netting to keep perishables from touching the floor of the bilge, but keep in mind that should you utilize the bilge, any ingress of salt or fresh water will spoil your supplies. 

Keep different items separate, ie: don't store carrots with onions, or apples with potatoes (however, adding one apple to a store of potatoes will help stop them from budding0, fresh supplies are not the united nations.  Always keep bananas separate from everything else, they will ripen anything around them.  Kitchen paper or news paper is good for wrapping more delicate items such as apples, or for preventing things like courgettes from having bruised, nicked skins.

Many people use netting like hammocks, for short passages this is ok, however for longer passages, this allows bruising and premature ripening of supplies.  Bakers trays that allow air flow are an ideal solution.  Line them with news or kitchen paper before placing items in them.  If storing more than one type of item in each tray, separate them with either news or kitchen paper.  Try not to store acidic or strongly flavored/scented items such as onions with root vegetables or fruit.  Potatoes and carrots can go in the same tray, as long as they are separated.

The length of time that fresh supplies will keep is dependent upon a few factors; how ripe they were when purchased, if previously chilled (most supermarkets chill their fruit and vegetables), how they are handled, and where they are stored.  Buy unripened vegetables and fruit, visit vegetable markets opposed to supermarkets where ever possible, decline any item that is bruised or ripe.  Ensure that any plastic wrapping is removed as soon as possible, it only takes a couple of days for a bag of potatoes to go off, and it is not a pleasant smell! 

Items such as carrots that have previously been chilled will go limp and sometimes black on the skin, this does not mean that they have to be thrown away, simply peel them and cook in the normal way, they will look and taste just the same, no point in wasting what you have paid for.

Cabbage will keep for months, just follow one simple rule, do not cut through the cabbage, instead, peel off the leaves.  It might be necessary to cut the base of the cabbage to allow you to do this, but that should be the only cut.  Once peeled it can be prepared as desired. 

How long will fruits and vegetables last?  Knowing how long certain products keep will help you determine just what you provision with. 

FRUITS & VEGETABLES STORAGE TIME GUIDE

Print a free PDF of this table here pdf guide sailing the atlantic

PRODUCT
WARM
STORAGE
COLD
STORAGE
REMARKS
Vegetables


This list will give you a good starting point for other similar products.




Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes
3 Months +
n/a

Cabbage
3 months +
n/a
Do not cut cabbage, peel off the leaves
Onions
4 Months +
n/a
Do not store with other products
Garlic
4 Months +
n/a
Do not store with other products
Beets
2 Months
n/a
Even when soft will boil/steam ok
Carrots
2 Months
n/a
If limp and or black, simply peel as normal and cook
Cauliflower
2 months
n/a
cut away any black bits on florets, cook as normal
Lettuce
3 Days
1 Week
Do not place in bag or box out of fridge
Corn on the cob
1-2 Weeks
n/a
'Old' corn will become dry and tough, also losing color
Peppers
1 Month +
n/a
Still cook well when skin is crinkled
Zucchini
1 Month
n/a
Try to ensure that the skin does not get nicked or bruised
Cucumber
1 week
1 week
Use Zucchini as a substitute
Tomatoes
2 months
n/a
Chilling tomatoes destroys their natural sugars.  Buy green.
Spinach
1 Week
1-2 Weeks
Spinach does not keep well
Pumpkin/Marrow
3 Months

Buy small enough for single use




Fruits







Apples
6 Months
n/a
Wrap in newspaper, keep dry and out of light
Pears
6 Months
n/a
As above, buy unripe
Bananas
2-4 Weeks
n/a
Keep bananas away from everything else
Grapes
1-2 Weeks
1-3 Weeks
Grapes might get wrinkled
Figs
1 Month
n/a
Buy unripe, wrap individually
Papaya/Guava & Mango
1-2 Weeks
1 Week
buy unripe, protect from accidental damage
Lemons & Limes
3 Months
n/a
Thin skinned varieties normally last longer
Kiwi
1-2 Weeks
1-2 Weeks
Not great seafarers!
Melon
2 Weeks
1 Week
Once cut refrigerate
Oranges
3 Months
n/a
Thin skinned varieties normally last longer
Peaches & Nectarines
2 Months
n/a
Bruise easily, store with care
Pineapples
2 Months
1 Week
If cut refrigerate








Other products







Ginger
6 Months
6 Months
Buy young succulent roots
Eggs
3-5 Weeks
3-5 Weeks
Buy un-refrigerated, turn once a week
*Butter (tinned)
1-2 Weeks
6 Months+
*Buy tinned butter.  Keep covered once opened

* Tinned butter will normally not melt even in the tropics.  Keep the lid on the tin and away from light.  Tinned butter can be found in the chilled cabinets in most supermarkets, in either 250 or 500gram weights.


Separate for Safety

Keep fruits and vegetables that will be eaten raw separate from other foods such as raw meat, poultry or seafood — and from galley utensils used for those products. Take these steps to avoid cross-contamination:

  • Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops with soap and hot water between the preparation of raw meat, poultry and seafood products and the preparation of produce that will not be cooked.

  • Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables before preparing and/or eating. Produce that looks rotten should be discarded.

  • Wash all produce thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting or cooking. This includes produce grown conventionally or organically, or purchased from a grocery store or farmer's market. Washing fruits and vegetables with soap or detergent or using commercial produce washes is not recommended.

  • Even if you plan to peel the produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable. 

  • To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the with the potatoes.

Q&A's Fresh Produce

What is "organic produce"?
Organic produce is grown without using most conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.

What is ethylene gas - and how does it affect produce?
Some fruits and vegetables - like bananas - naturally produce ethylene gas when they ripen. Oftentimes, such fruits and vegetables are harvested in the unripened state to preserve firmness and for long shelf life; they are later exposed to ethylene gas to induce ripening.

What does the "use-by" date mean on a package of fresh produce?
"Best-If-Used-By- (or Before)" date is the last date recommended for peak quality as determined by the manufacturer of the product.

Why are wax coatings used on fruits and vegetables?
Many vegetables and fruits make their own natural waxy coating. After harvest, fresh produce may be washed to clean off dirt and soil - but such washing also removes the natural wax. Therefore, waxes are applied to some produce to replace the natural waxes that are lost.

Wax coatings help retain moisture to maintain quality from farm to table including:

  • when produce is shipped from farm to market

  • while it is in the stores and restaurants

Waxes also help inhibit mold growth, protect produce from bruising, prevent other physical damage and disease, and enhance appearance.

How are waxes applied?
Waxes are used only in tiny amounts to provide a microscopic coating surrounding the entire product. Each piece of waxed produce has only a drop or two of wax.


MEATS
passage
                          provisioning yacht sailing boat ocean
                          crossing

For those who enjoy nothing more than a good piece of steak, running a warm storage galley might be a bit of a stretch.  There are some very important factors to remember when attempting to store meat, read about meat colors here.  Taking sufficient meat for a couple of days, in a cool box is acceptable, trying to keep it any longer without proper refrigeration could cause serious illness.  Cured meat products are another matter.  Chorizo, or other types of spiced cured sausages make great stews, casseroles and fantastic salads or sandwiches.  They can also be chopped finely and turned into sauces for spaghetti, or used in a chilli con carne.  Serano or Iberico ham is expensive, but worth every cent.  Don't buy the pre-packaged sliced stuff.  Try to go for lumps that you can slice yourself.  Keep in a cool dry place, covered with a clean tea towel.



FISH
ocean passage provisioning planning
                          crossing atlantic in a yacht

Fish does not keep. Fresh fish should not smell, be slimy or strangely colored (unless smoked!).  If your fish has any of these problems, throw it away immediately, it's not worth the risk.  There is however some good news.  Marinating your fish in either lemon or lime juice can keep it 'fresh' overnight.  Alternatively buy citric acid in powder form, and make up a small amount, as and when needed.  The fish can then be rinsed in fresh water and cooked.  Of course there is nothing nicer than fresh sushi, or simply carve thin slices of freshly caught tuna, squeeze lime over it and enjoy.  Be aware that in the tropics there is ciguatera. Read more on ciguatera here.



DRIED FOODS

provisioning for an ocean passage
                          crossing atlantic in a yacht

By far one of the easiest foods to keep on board.  If possible keep all your dried foods in containers, either in or out of the packet.  Don't open too many packets at once.  Should you have an infestation of little critters it is best to only lose one packet not your whole store.  Keep an eye on eat by dates, especially with dried beans, as once they go over the 6 month mark, you might find that they will almost refuse to cook.  This is not only frustrating for the cook, and those expecting their dinner, but will also consume a huge amount of gas. 

Dried foods such as flour should not have a musty smell, if any of your dried foods smell strange, then throw it out.  Any dried foods that have become damp should also be discarded.  Paper used outside the plastic bags provides a nesting place for bugs or spiders.  Store only one kind of food in each individual package to avoid mixing flavors and possible cross-contamination should molds or spoilage occur.  Another method for storing dried products is to place dried food in a food-quality, plastic bag, then put it in an airtight  container. 

Discard moldy food. Don’t take chances on botulism or a debilitating sickness over a few cents or dollars. Don’t feed moldy foods to pets, either!  The problem of a few bugs in dried foods may be solved by spreading the infested dried food on a cookie pan, placing in a 300 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.  Bugs and eggs die, and the food is edible again.  Placing a bayleaf in your dried food products will help to keep bugs away.



TINS AND BOTTLES
provisioning for an ocean passage
                          crossing the atlantic


Everyone should keep a storage of tins and bottles (hard tack 'emergency' provisions).  Not only do they make great emergency pre-cooked food, but have long shelf lives, thus can be left on board a boat that is being stored for months at a time.  Tins of beans, which come in all varieties these days make a great addition to any galley.  The same goes for bottles, however only store unopened ones, with some condiments, check the use by date.

Don't store food in an opened tin can, or re-use empty cans to cook or store food. When a can has been opened and the food is open to the air, the tin from the can might transfer more quickly to the can's contents.

This advice doesn't apply to foods sold in cans that have resealable lids, such as golden syrup and cocoa, because these types of food don’t react with the can.

Canners can be a great advantage, always read the manufacturers instructions, but the possibilities are endless.  However if you’ve never canned food before, it’s critical that you get a good book on canning and preserving and use the recipes there, at least in the beginning.  It’s not difficult, but there are some things you need to know as you go through the process to keep the food safe to eat.


REMEMBER:

  • Try to keep food in sealed bags or containers.
    Don't store food or drinks near cleaning products or other chemicals (battery acid does not make a good vinaigrette).
    Only re-use plastic water bottles if they’re not damaged and you can clean them.



Cold Storage

FREEZERS

provisioning for an ocean passge crossing
                      sailing the atlantic

Houses tend to come with large fridges and freezers, tardis like cupboards and a supermarket around the corner.  If running a fridge/freezer on passage, then it is likely to be a very small cousin to the one in the house.  Frivolities have to be excluded and freezer space allocated to good quality provisions.  Take time to sit back and think about what you really need in the freezer, there is a lot that can become warm storage with just a little thought and knowledge.  SAFE FOOD STORAGE

Below is a table of some items that either do or do not need to be frozen.

FREEZE
NO NEED TO FREEZE
Chicken
Bread
Red Meat
Vegetables
Fish
Fruits

Pasta

Cakes

Cream (UHT)


When it comes to freezing meat and fish, unless you are cooking for a large crew, separate your meats and fish into portions.  Not only will this utilize freezer space, thus making a more tightly packed and therefore energy efficient freezer, but will allow you to take out what you need on a daily basis. 

Ensure that all products are tightly packed and sealed.  Water evaporates and you will end up with a clogged up freezer that will need de-frosting, this also makes your freezer energy inefficient. 

Check your freezer's temperature, you cannot freeze and re-freeze without first cooking products that have thawed, you risk salmonella, this is not something that you want happening on passage.

Never taste food to determine its safety! You can’t rely on appearance or odor to determine whether food is safe.

Always discard any items in the freezer that have come into contact with raw meat juices.
If in doubt - throw it out - better safe than sorry!

Don't store fish near other products in the freezer, try to store like items with like items.  This will also make finding what you are looking for much easier, especially when the boat is rolling.

Have a long term/emergency plan, either in your head or written down.  Should you lose power to your freezer for one reason or another, what can you do with all the food?  Are you relying on frozen items as a large part of your provisioning needs?  If so, you could be in trouble. 

Frozen food really can mean that you can cook on board a lot of the same things you cook on land, but when it all goes wrong you will need good quality proteins as back up in your warm storage.

FRIDGES

passage planning ocean provisioning
                      sailing the atlantic

How efficient is your fridge?  Though there are may different types, they basically fall into two categories - Engine driven, and Electrical. 

An engine driven fridge is quite efficient, it cools your fridge by creating cold plates, think of the blue ice blocks that are used in cold boxes.  In simple terms an engine driven fridge 'stores cold'

Electrical fridges (unless you have installed a 110/220 volt appliance), come in either 12 or 24 volts. 

What ever type of fridge you run, good insulation is the key.  The more insulation you have the better, especially in the tropics. 

Is your food safe in the fridge when you have no power? It should be safe as long as power is out no more than 4 hours. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers) that have been above 40 °F for over 2 hours.

Fridge space should be allotted to items that need to be chilled.  Many products found in fridges can become warm storage, check what the packaging says.  Like freezers, space is at a premium.  Items such as shop bought mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, mustard etc... are all warm storage.  Having said that use any opened jars/bottles of condiments as soon as possible. 

Milk should be kept in the fridge, as should any left-overs.  Eggs do not need to be chilled, when purchasing eggs, don't buy them if they are stored in the supermarket's chilled cabinets.  Try vegetable markets as they will normally have a stall selling non-chilled eggs. SAFE FOOD STORAGE

CHILL
WARM STORAGE
Left-overs
Mayonnaise (bought)
Milk
Ketchup
Meat
Mustard
*Fish (1 day only)
Hard Cheese
Soft cheese
Bread
Soft Fruits
Eggs

Vegetables

Hard Fruits

Butter

Oils

Pickles

Coffee
*Fish will perish quickly, eat in 1 day or freeze immediately.


FOIL OR FILM?

Cling film

Cling film is useful for protecting food but, like many things, it needs to be used correctly.

Not every type of cling film is suitable for using with all foods. Check the description on the box to see what foods it can be used with.

Don't use cling film if it could melt into the food, such as in the oven or on pots and pans on the hob.  You can use cling film in the microwave (in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions), but make sure the cling film doesn't touch the food.  Only let cling film touch high-fat foods when the description on the box says the cling film is suitable for this. High-fat foods include some types of cheese, raw meats with a layer of fat, fried meats, pies and pastries, and cakes with butter icing or chocolate coatings.

Kitchen foil

Kitchen foil, which is made from aluminum, can be useful for wrapping and covering foods. But it's best not to use foil or containers made from aluminum to store foods that are highly acidic, such as:

  • tomatoes

  • rhubarb

  • cabbage

  • many types of soft fruit

This is because aluminum can affect the taste of these sorts of food, especially if they are stored in aluminum containers for a long time.


The Bad News

Now for the downside of your chosen domicile. As said at the beginning there are four enemies of food storage: light, heat, oxygen, and moisture. So your job is to reduce these risks as much as possible, wherever possible. 

The easiest one to deal with is light.  Eliminate the light issue all together. Make sure your food storage areas are not out in the open (netting hung from the back of the boat is ok for day to day fruit etc... but not for any longer).  Avoid putting your food near a lamp or window, and throw a blanket over it if that is not possible.

Seal It
You can eliminate two threats in one by dehydrating your food, and then vacuum sealing it. The dehydration obviously takes care of most of the moisture, and the vacuum sucks all the air out of it. Invest in a good food grade system to process your food this way. Saving a little to buy a cheap vacuum sealer will hurt you in the long run if the quality is poor, since your food will be more likely to spoil and you would have lost your investment in the food.

This works best for fruits and vegetables. You can vacuum seal beans, rice, and just about any other food too, though there may be better solutions for those types of foods. The downside of this method is that food does lose some of its nutritional value from dehydration, so you will not want to use this method exclusively.

TIPS FOR DRYING OUT FOOD

Freezer zip-lock bags are excellent for packaging dried foods.  Force excess air from bags as they are sealed.  Procure heavy-duty, food-grade, storage-quality, sealable plastic bags.  Store dried food products in a cool, dry location out of direct sunlight. Use a craft paper inside larger plastic bags to shield dried foods from sunlight.

Can It
Traditional canning in mason jars is probably one of the best known food preservation techniques, and one that has been used successfully for a very long time. Pressure canners allow you to can a wider variety of food than traditional water bath canning, since it seals the food at a higher temperature. Of course, this has the same problem as dehydration, since some of the vitamins are destroyed through the process.

There is another option for canning goods that does not have this problem, though it takes a little more forethought and planning. This method works especially well for grains and beans which you don’t want to cook ahead of time, and can preserve food for up to 30 years. You may want to use glass jars that you have saved from foods you eat every day.  Once you have your containers, you will also need O2 absorbers.

Put the food in the jar, add O2 absorbers, and seal airtight.

Freeze It
The most obvious way to get rid of heat is to freeze your food stores. You will not need to remove the air, though it may still be helpful to vacuum seal food in order to prevent freezer burn. Light and moisture are non-issues as well.  Vacuum sealing food also saves on space, which may be at a premium.  Freezers should be used for high value/protein foods, as fruit and vegetables will keep for long periods.

Despite all its benefits, freezing foods has several major drawbacks. First and foremost, power, if you have more amps than you know what to do with, and a reliable freezer, then go for it.  If not, then knowing about warm storage is the way to go.  Imagine if your freezer breaks down mid passage, do you really want to have to survive on rice and toothpaste?!

Of all the elements that damage food, heat tends to be the least of the evils. So as long as you are able to minimize oxygen, moisture, and light affecting your food storage, even in higher heat, you should be able to successfully store food for 3-5 years at least.

That being said, there are lots of things that you can do to keep your food cool even in a hot climate.

Find the coolest part of the boat.  This could be the bilge, but be aware, should your bilge fill with water (either fresh or salt), then anything that isn't canned or tinned will be spoiled.

Ensure good air circulation and put in fans to cool the air of the space, computer fans are cheap and power efficient.
Keep any lights off in the area unless they are absolutely needed.

No matter where you sail, it is important to store food, and to store it in a way that you won’t lose your investment through mold, rot, botulism, or oxidation. Even if you start small with one glass jar and a few oxygen absorbers, or by purchasing a few extra canned goods, start somewhere so you will be that much closer to being ready no matter what the future holds!


Safe Food Storage

COLD STORAGE


Food that goes in the fridge

Some food needs to be kept in the fridge to help stop bacteria from growing on it, such as food with a 'use by' date, cooked food and ready-to-eat food such as desserts and cooked meats.

How cold is your fridge?

You need to make sure your fridge is cold enough otherwise food poisoning bacteria will still be able to grow. Your fridge should be between 0ºC and 5ºC.  If your fridge is not equipped with a thermometer then think about buying one.

REMEMBER:

Keep the fridge door closed as much as possible.
Wait for food to cool down before you put it in the fridge.

When the label says 'keep refrigerated', make sure you do keep the food in the fridge. If the food isn't labelled with any storage instructions and it's a type of food that goes off quickly, you should put it in the fridge and eat it within two days.
Some jars and bottles need to be kept in the fridge once they’ve been opened.
If you have made some food (such as a sandwich or a cold dish) and you're not going to eat it straight away, keep it in the fridge until you're ready to eat it.
If you're having a party or making a buffet, leave the food in the fridge until people are ready to eat. Generally, you shouldn't leave food out of the fridge for more than four hours
Cool leftovers as quickly as possible (ideally within one to two hours) and then store them in the fridge. Eat any leftovers within two days, except for cooked rice, which you should eat within one day to help avoid food poisoning.

Storing meat

It's especially important to store meat safely to stop bacteria from spreading and to avoid food poisoning. You should:


Store raw meat and poultry in clean, sealed containers on the bottom shelf of the fridge, so they can't touch or drip onto other food.
When you have cooked meat and you're not going to eat it straight away, cool it as quickly as possible and then put it in the fridge or freezer. Remember to keep cooked meat separate from raw meat.

Keeping food in the freezer

The freezer can be a great tool.  If you have the power to run one, then why not.  If you don't have the room for both a fridge and a freezer, then making ice, and placing into a cool box to create a day fridge is a good idea.

You can keep food safely in the freezer for years, in theory, as long as it has stayed frozen the whole time. However, the taste and texture of food changes if it’s frozen for too long, so you might well find that it’s not very nice to eat.

For safety, it's OK to freeze most raw or cooked foods providing you do the following things:

Freeze it before the 'use by' date.
Follow any freezing or thawing instructions on the label.

When frozen meat and fish (and some other foods) thaw, lots of liquid can come out of them. If you’re defrosting raw meat or fish, this liquid will spread bacteria to any food, plates or surfaces that it touches. Keep the meat and fish in a sealed container at the bottom of the fridge, so that it can't touch or drip onto other foods.Always clean plates, utensils, surfaces and hands thoroughly, after they have touched raw or thawing meat, to stop bacteria from spreading.

If you defrost raw meat or fish and then cook it thoroughly, you can freeze it again, but remember never reheat foods more than once.

Ultimate Passage Meal


Now for the salad that was promised earlier - fresh coleslaw and finely sliced courgette.

This fish dish should be considered the ultimate warm storage, deep ocean meal. 

SEARED FISH, NEW POTATOES & FRESH COLESLAW

INGREDIENTS

ONE FRESHLY CAUGHT FISH (whatever type you've landed)
NEW POTATOES
CABBAGE
ONION
CARROTS
APPLE
GARLIC
JAR MAYONNAISE
ASPARAGUS (if you've still got some)
COURGETTE (thinly sliced - mimics cucumber)

Apart from the fish, all the other ingredients are most certainly warm storage.

PREPARATION

COLESLAW
Remove a few cabbage leaves, do not cut into your cabbage.  Roll tightly into a cigar shape and slice very thinly.  Shake them out and place in a large bowl.  Using a cheese grater (large grating holes) - grate apple, carrot and onion onto the cabbage, add salt, pepper and garlic to taste.  Spoon over sufficient mayonnaise and mix together.  As the apple is immediately covered in mayonnaise it will not oxidise and go brown - put to one side (don't make your coleslaw too early on as it will weep and start to oxidize and go limp).

Steam or boil your new potatoes, best method here is a pressure cooker, fresh asparagus can be placed ontop of the potatoes and will gently steam.

(If you are working with only one ring, cook the potatoes until slightly al dente, leave the lid on and put to one side, the remaining heat will finish the cooking for you.)

CRISPY SKINNED FISH

1. Dry Out
Starting with parched skin is the key to a pro result—try to cook wet fish and it’s going to steam, stick, rip, and generally be a huge, frustrating mess.
2. Start Smoking
Get a large stainless-steel skillet ripping hot over high heat (2 minutes should do it), then pour in 1 Tbsp. oil and add a big pinch of salt. Once the oil is smoking, take the skillet off the heat and use a handful of paper towels to wipe oil and salt around and out of the pan (be extra careful—you might want to use tongs to hold the towels).

3. Give ’Em Some Skin

Put your now-seasoned skillet back over high heat. Add another 1 Tbsp. oil to the pan and hit both sides of each fillet with a decent amount of salt. Once the oil is shimmering, carefully lay a fillet skin side down in the pan.

4. Be Firm
Use a fish spatula to apply firm, even pressure to the fillet until it relaxes and lies flat. Repeat with remaining fillet, then keep at it! Periodically press down each fillet and cook until flesh is nearly opaque and cooked through, with just a small raw area on top.

5. Flip and Rest
Slide your fish spatula under each fillet and—using your other hand as a guide—turn it away from you (watch that oil). Remove the pan from heat. At this point you’re just letting the raw side kiss the skillet to finish cooking, about 1 minute.

If you've got steaks and not fillets, then be a bit more gentle, but you've got the idea.

Serve the fish with the freshly made coleslaw and thinly sliced courgette.   Throw a bit of butter over the new potatoes and add a slice of lemon or lime, what could be better.

FISH WITH CREAM SAUCE

For a slight variation, cook the fish, potatoes and one type of vegetable (carrot is great with this).  When the fish is cooked, transfer to plates and quickly deglaze your pan with a little white wine.  (buy small cartons (33ml), of wine - great for cooking with).  Now throw in a small carton of UHT cream, and a small amount of dried parsley (if you happen to have a parsley plant then use fresh).  Turn off the heat and stir.  Serve immediately.  This is a guaranteed winner.

FISH WITH BUTTER AND LEMON DRIZZLE

Cook the fish and vegetables as above.  Take the fish out of pan and turn off the heat, pour in a small amount of olive oil, and put in a small amount of butter.  Squeeze half a lemon or lime (or use bottled or pre-made lemon juice) into the pan and stir, drizzle over the dish and serve.  This is great on a hot sunny day.


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