Food, fixes and notes from the casual coastal sailor.

accnick

Super Anarchist
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Thanks man, that means a lot.

14” Husky tool bags have worked well for tools and spare parts.
I use their somewhat cheaper counterparts from Harbor Freight. These are frequently on sale, and seem pretty rugged.
 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,999
3,283
Edgewater, MD
Thanks man, that means a lot.

14” Husky tool bags have worked well for tools and spare parts.
I've got my tools and parts stowed well. I'm thinking more along the lines of stowing provisions.

I can stow cans, jars and packets (such as rice and noodles) "loose" in curved lockers but I really prefer that they be in some kind of container as a hedge against dampness or if some sort of temporary water ingress happens. Last year, I used rectangular plastic bins with lids but they fit horribly and getting the lids off for access was a PITA.
 

Elegua

Generalissimo
I've got my tools and parts stowed well. I'm thinking more along the lines of stowing provisions.

I can stow cans, jars and packets (such as rice and noodles) "loose" in curved lockers but I really prefer that they be in some kind of container as a hedge against dampness or if some sort of temporary water ingress happens. Last year, I used rectangular plastic bins with lids but they fit horribly and getting the lids off for access was a PITA.
What I'm trying now is seal-a-meal bags for bulk and the food storage boxes I got are narrow enough to follow the shape of the hull and stack. If zip-locks offend you, there are silicone storage bags.
 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,999
3,283
Edgewater, MD
What I'm trying now is seal-a-meal bags for bulk and the food storage boxes I got are narrow enough to follow the shape of the hull and stack. If zip-locks offend you, there are silicone storage bags.
Oh yeah, I'm a big fan of the reusable, silicone storage bags. I have them at home.

@estarzinger is not a fan of gadgets onboard but a small seal-a-meal machine for long range cruising for preservation might be worth the space sacrifice. Some of them are roughly cylindrical in shape and can be stowed without too much hassle.

The tradeoff is that the silicone bags are reusable and the seal-a-meal are disposable plastics.
 

estarzinger

Super Anarchist
7,687
1,098
small seal-a-meal machine for long range cruising
We had some friends who used those to seal infrequently used steel tools (and spare parts). Did not know many who used them for food. Beth did a lot of pressure cooker canning - I was initially skeptical about the glass jars but we never broke one - she stowed them each covered with an old sock - we had dozens of the jars. She also used a ton of heavy duty zip locks and other sorts of reusable bags for dry food stuff,
 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,999
3,283
Edgewater, MD
We had some friends who used those to seal infrequently used steel tools (and spare parts). Did not know many who used them for food. Beth did a lot of pressure cooker canning - I was initially skeptical about the glass jars but we never broke one - she stowed them each covered with an old sock - we had dozens of the jars. She also used a ton of heavy duty zip locks and other sorts of reusable bags for dry food stuff,
We just started canning. May I just say that a jar of pickled asparagus pulled from the boat fridge on a hot summer day is a delight?
 

Kris Cringle

Super Anarchist
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Speaking of canning, my family gave me this cookbook on tinned fish due to my recent interest.

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It's been interesting. I've been collecting a few samples and stowing them onboard.


Some good points in the book: Tinned fish is often thought of as cheap food. In fact the products 'tinned' can often be the freshest fish available only from certain areas of the globe, and preserved at their freshest point.

For example, we can't get a freshly caught mediterranean anchovy at the fishmonger here. Many of these species are very fragile and don't hold up to freezing or refrigeration.

A caveat mentioned, that I've discovered as well, don't buy bargain tinned fish (that goes for local brands and global). Good fresh fish isn't cheap whether it's at the local fish monger or tinned elsewhere on the globe. A bargain price likely means the fish was substandard (cheap) to start with. You can't change that.

Much of the book describes various species and where they are fished, preservation methods; olive oil vs. vinegar(stay away from water). In many parts of the world tinned fish is highly revered. The recipes run from very simple prep (that sounds delicious) to more elaborate dishes.

At any rate, tinned fish and these recipes make total sense for the food preservation onboard a sailboat, far from home or not. Tinned fish is super healthy!
 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,999
3,283
Edgewater, MD
We were going to can crab meat this summer. The population has basically collapsed this year. Our traps were empty day after day so we pulled them. Commercial boats are coming way up into the little creeks (which they never do), scouring them for anything that crawls. The DNR has cut the season short and limited the daily haul of commercial crabbers but I have no idea how they'll enforce it.
 

Kris Cringle

Super Anarchist
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2,930
Anyone suffering in one of the hotspots today? This heatwave in the UK is worrisome to watch.

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Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,999
3,283
Edgewater, MD
Actually, the Chesapeake summer has been cooler than normal. I actually managed to have overlap between lettuce and tomatoes in the garden. The heat is finally filling in though.
 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
10,205
6,397
Canada
We canned meat mostly in a pressure cooker. Made jam and canned it when fruit was cheap. We did not put socks around the jars. They just sat in various lockers...It was often easier to find/buy veggies in many countries.

Buying a chicken in rural Indonesia was a laugh.

Girl selling chicken: Want it alive or dead? <Pantomime flapping wings or twisting neck motion and eyes closed>
Girl: Plucked? <hands plucking feathers>
Girl: Feet on? <point to her feet> uh no thanks

It all worked out and we got our cleaned, plucked chicken the next day.

We then asked her if she know where we could buy beef. She points to the neighbors cow... No we shake our head and resolve to eat chicken and tofu for the next while.
 

Ajax

Super Anarchist
14,999
3,283
Edgewater, MD
Zonker, when home canning, how do avoid the risk of botulism?
There are two main types of canning- high acid and low acid.

High acid canning basically means pickling things in a brine with seasonings. You boil the jars in an ordinary pot of water. The metal bands are reusable but the dome lids are NOT. The dome lids have a wax sealant around the rim. When the jars cool, they draw the lid down with a vacuum. If you poke the lid and the center doesn't "pop" then you should be safe from food borne illness. Brine and heat kill the bacteria. Generally this method is done with asparagus, cucumbers, etc.

Low acid canning requires a pressure cooker to kill any bacteria. Brine is not used. Time and pressure kill the bacteria. This method is often done with meat and seafood.

Home canned foods do still have a shelf life. The cooler and darker the storage area, the longer the food lasts but generally speaking, you're looking at several months, not years of shelf life. When you open a "can" (jar), the contents must be used or refrigerated like any modern preserved food. When finished, you dispose of the dome lid because like I said, they aren't reusable.

 

Elegua

Generalissimo
If you want to avoid botulism, you need to follow the USDA tested times, pressures, and recipes. Of course, they did build in a lot of safety margin, but who wants to go that way?


It all worked out and we got our cleaned, plucked chicken the next day.

For many years I've bought my chickens and fish that way from a wet market. Pork and beef products are usually slaughtered that am, so you want to do your shopping early. Chickens were a 5min wait for the lady to catch, kill, dunk in boiling water and then pluck with a machine that looked like a laundry spinner with rubber fingers. When you got home it was best to run over the chicken with a torch to remove any missed fine hairs.
 

JonathanW

New member
We are only “weekenders,” but I can a lot of stuff throughout the year. It is amazing to have easy stuff on the boat for meal prep. When fresh vegetables are in season here, I can stuff that we like, make pickles, relish (hot pepper and sweet cucumber varieties), etc. Later in the season, I’ll pick up tomatoes and can plain tomato sauce that can be used for lots of things. Out of season, I make and can things like sloppy joe starter, and other things that aren’t as dependent on fresh vegetables.

If you’re just getting started or looking for some ideas, this is a great book: New Ball Canning Book. Good introductory information and a good selection of tested recipes with appropriate safety guidelines.

I have not canned on the boat. I have a large boiling water canning pot at home, and an excellent older enormous All American pressure canner that I inherited from my mom. Replaced the pressure gauge and burst seal, and it is basically bulletproof. That thing is a tank and I love it. Both are huge and probably not boat-appropriate.

Editing to add: There has been a major shortage of quality lids for the past couple of years. I have taken to buying a box or two wherever I see them. I had to use some off-brand ones when I ran out last year, and had a much higher than normal failure rate on the seals. Get good lids. Get them early!
 




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