Careful provisioning is an important part of the preparation for any trip. Running out of food isn’t much fun, and forgetting the coffee can really spoil the tempers on board, no matter how wonderful the cruising.
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Here’s a few tips and products that we have found invaluable:
--When provisioning for a cruise, many cooks take on a new culinary personality. Let the rule be to bring on board, as closely as possible, the items you use in normal cooking ashore.
Tins are good to keep for emergencies of course, but the rule of thumb is: Whatever you are used to eating at home from a tin, you will probably use on the boat - maybe tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, sardines etc. However, tins are heavy bulky things and they have to be cared for so as not to rust. Wherever possible, use dried foods instead, which are lighter, smaller, and pack more easily. Examples are: dried fruit instead of tinned, dried peas and beans instead of tinned. We have found that fresh vegetables are available almost everywhere and much healthier and tastier than anything from a tin.
--Wash all fruit and vegetables in a very very mild solution of bleach. Then put them to dry in the sun – they NEVER seem to go mouldy after that.
--Use red onions instead of shallots which don’t last even in the fridge
--Vegetables that keep the longest are green cabbage, chinese lettuce, red cabbage, and of course, potatoes and onions. Keep potatoes in a dark place to prevent sprouting
--Rewashing lettuces with fresh water every day and replacing them in plastic bag or container keeps them fresh for weeks.
--Wrap citrus (after the washing process, see VEGETABLES above) in alfoil. I’ve had oranges last six months after this treatment - and be still a pleasure to eat!
FLOUR, RICE, PASTA ETC:
--Cryovac everything in sight. We obtained a cryovac machine, and the muesli is still going strong after 3 years.
--If you don’t have a cryovac machine, the next best thing to keep weevils out is bay leaves – just a few in the top of every container does the trick. Basic items such as flour, oats, rice, and pasta can be bought in bulk. I’ve successfully stored and used these up to one year after purchase. I froze them for 24 hours before packing them on our boat, and packed them into HTH (chlorine) containers, well-washed, of course
--Ezy-yo is a yoghurt starter, available in most big supermarkets in Australia, which makes wonderful yoghurt if you can’t get a fresh yoghurt as a starter. The resulting yoghurt will then make about three or four good batches, before you have to use the Ezy-yo again.
MEAT SUBSTITUTE (don't tell - they won't know)
--Vegemince makes a good substitute for mince, especially if you don’t have a deep freeze for keeping meat. It takes a little more herbs and onions and tomato paste to bring a bolognaise sauce to the great taste you’re familiar with.
--Keep a supply of poppy, sesame, and sunflower or any other seeds on hand. Add these to bread and fritter mixtures, salads, toppings, and use them as garnishes.
--Mung beans do NOT last as well as alfalfa. Alfalfa seeds, which last for many months and will still sprout, grow into the most wonderful salads, fresh, green and much tastier than other greens. We keep a 'garden' going whenever we're away from supplies even for a short period.
FISH FISH FISH:
--Too much fish? Dry some and make 'fishtong.'(I think this is originally South African). The secret is to use red-fleshed fish such as tuna, skipjack, or bonito. We rig a line and use clothespegs to attach the fish, putting a newspaper underneath to catch any drips. It’s ready for savouring in two to three days (recipe follows).
Fresh fish fillets
Powdered coriander, to taste
Coarse salt, to cover fillets
Barbecue spice, to taste
Layer fillets in coarse salt, coriander, and barbecue spice. Sprinkle with lemon juice and leave for two hours. Hang on a line outside in the sun and leave to cure for two to three days. Cut into pieces to serve.
Print the table and keep it on the boat:
US Milk Butter Sugar Grains Flours
1 240 ml 200g 190g 150g 140g
3/4 180 ml 150g 143g 113g 105g
2/3 160 ml 133g 125g 100g 93g
1/2 120 ml 100g 95g 75g 70g
1/3 80 ml 67g 63g 50g 47g
1/4 60 ml 50g 48g 38g 35g
1/8 30 ml 25g 24g 19g 18g
1/4 teaspoon 1 ml
1/2 teaspoon 2 ml
1 teaspoon 5 ml
3 teaspoons 1 tablespoon 1/2 fluid ounce 15 ml
2 tablespoons 1/8 cup 1 fluid ounce 30 ml
4 tablespoons 1/4 cup 2 fluid ounces 60 ml
5 1/3 tablespoons 1/3 cup 3 fluid ounces 80 ml
8 tablespoons 1/2 cup 4 fluid ounces 120 ml
10 2/3 tablespoons 2/3 cup 5 fluid ounces 160 ml
12 tablespoons 3/4 cup 6 fluid ounces 180 ml
16 tablespoons 1 cup 8 fluid ounces 240 ml
1 pint 2 cups 16 fluid ounces 480 ml
1 quart 4 cups 32 fluid ounces 960 ml
a a 33 fluid ounces 1000 ml
.039 inch 1 centimeter - -
1 inch 2.5 centimeters - -
6 inches 1/2 foot 15 centimetres -
12 inches 1 foot 30 centimeters -
36 inches 3 feet 1 yard 90 centimetres
39 inches 100 centimeters 1 metre
5282 feet 1 mile 1.6 kilometres
.621 mile 1 kilometre
.035 ounce - 1 gram
1 ounce 1/16 pound 30 grams
4 ounces 1/4 pound 120 grams
8 ounces 1/2 pound 240 grams
12 ounces 3/4 pound 360 grams
16 ounces 1 pound 480 grams
2.2 pounds 1 kilogram
FURTHER WORTHWHILE ADVICE:
Patrick Brown has been a chef on charter yachts in Alaska, fishing lodges in Patagonia, in the jungles of Costa Rica and river-rafting in Mexico. He lists HERE
his do’s and don’ts for provisioning a boat, with lots of handy hints