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Old 05-07-2022, 08:03 AM   #1
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Food storage while cruising tips.

In a few weeks I start long distance cruising and want to know what tricks you guys use to keep food onboard. I have heard pull paper labels off canned goods and mark them with indelible marker. I know zip locks to keep bugs and moisture out. What else should I know to keep things dry and bug free? Thanks. It is time to starts shopping and packing.
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Old 05-07-2022, 08:55 AM   #2
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Honestly, other than sealing anything that's open and not in the fridge with a ziploc or other method, we pretty much just put things in the cabinets like we do at home.

How much you need to worry will depend on your storage locations, whether you have (and occasionally use) A/C or if your boat is perpetually damp inside, etc.
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Old 05-07-2022, 10:20 AM   #3
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No paper or cardboard. We’d sit on the dock and put everything into Tupperware or equivalent before putting it on the boat in the tropics cockroach eggs maybe in the packaging while on the grocery shelves. Don’t bring it on your boat.
Same with fruit and veggies. Would wash them and dry them in the cockpit. No bugs or dirt.
If in a slip would spray Boop an insecticide on all our lines. Only dead or dying bugs made it on our boat. Respray after rainstorms.
Good screening on all hatches. Rarely used AC. Not necessary while on anchor. But good screening is.
Buy fresh eggs. They don’t need refrigeration. Freeze bread and baked goods unless in active use.
Eat local. You’re either a tourist or a cruiser. One of the pleasures of cruising is immersing in local culture. Caribbean fruits are amazing. Given not distorted for long range shipping favors are great. A juli mango bought locally is like the difference between the wooden tomatoes in the supermarket and a heirloom.
Forget beef. Caribbean beef sucks except the hamburger in tubes bought in French islands. But the goat, lamb, duck pork and chicken is quite good. Ate more lamb and learned to like goat.
We used more freezer than frig. Even on current boat converted ice maker to a freezer. If you have the amps and space put in more freezer space.
We had separate “storm” stores. Two groups. Foods very easy to prep for when it’s bumpy and foods not dependent upon refrigeration. Found wearing the bibs of your foulies a good idea when cooking in seas. Often would decide to stay in some remote location for weeks so no access to to a grocery.
Get a watermaker. Opens up using mountaineering, freeze dried and dehydrated foods. Some cruisers dehydrate stuff themselves on their boats. Most food you buy is mostly water so that saves a huge amount of space.
Buy a really good pressure cooker. Saves propane, easy cleaning, fast.
Boric acid. In a few inconspicuous spaces mixed boric acid with a starch or sugar. Worked better than any store bought trap at less than a tenth of the cost.
Important to keep a totally bug free boat. Easier to keep them out than get rid of them.
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Old 05-07-2022, 10:30 AM   #4
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I like Hippo's post. We remove all cardboard boxes and mark the sack it came in, or as stated zip locks. We also cut the instructions off the box and put them in the sack with the food.

Once underway, no paper plates etc. You would be surprised how much room they take up.
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Old 05-07-2022, 10:36 AM   #5
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No paper or cardboard. We’d sit on the dock and put everything into Tupperware or equivalent before putting it on the boat in the tropics cockroach eggs maybe in the packaging while on the grocery shelves. Don’t bring it on your boat.
Same with fruit and veggies. Would wash them and dry them in the cockpit. No bugs or dirt.
If in a slip would spray Boop an insecticide on all our lines. Only dead or dying bugs made it on our boat. Respray after rainstorms.
Good screening on all hatches. Rarely used AC. Not necessary while on anchor. But good screening is.
Buy fresh eggs. They don’t need refrigeration. Freeze bread and baked goods unless in active use.
Eat local. You’re either a tourist or a cruiser. One of the pleasures of cruising is immersing in local culture. Caribbean fruits are amazing. Given not distorted for long range shipping favors are great. A juli mango bought locally is like the difference between the wooden tomatoes in the supermarket and a heirloom.
Forget beef. Caribbean beef sucks except the hamburger in tubes bought in French islands. But the goat, lamb, duck pork and chicken is quite good. Ate more lamb and learned to like goat.
We had separate “storm” stores. Two groups. Foods very easy to prep for when it’s bumpy and foods not dependent upon refrigeration. Found wearing the bibs of your foulies a good idea when cooking in seas. Often would decide to stay in some remote location for weeks so no access to to a grocery.
Get a watermaker. Opens up using mountaineering, freeze dried and dehydrated foods. Some cruisers dehydrate stuff themselves on their boats. Most food you buy is mostly water so that saves a huge amount of space.
Buy a really good pressure cooker. Saves propane, easy cleaning, fast.


Good stuff Lee.
One thing I would add. My wife makes up dozens of prepared meals for two that we freeze. For long passages we move meals first to the fridge to defrost, then microwave them when needed to eat. Pretty much never cook on long passages. Easier, safer and hardly any dishes to wash after. And we eat well.
Next, I would plan on buying everything that will store for long periods before you leave. Canned goods, sealed packages, grains, etc. pack the freezer with protein. Plan on buying only fresh vegetables, eggs, etc locally, if you can find any. Learn to make bread aboard, although bread made locally will usually be available and better than store bought. No preservatives so eat or freeze.
If you will be gone for six months, bring six months of paper products, etc. Depending on the country visited, all these things will cost double or triple what you would pay in the states. Stock up on your favorite snacks. Either you won’t find them while traveling or they will be vary expensive. Peanut M&Ms come to mind.
Disregard all this if you will be visiting French islands. Prices same as in France and selection and quality as good as it gets. Boat boys will deliver fresh pastry to your boat every morning. Very civilized.
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Old 05-07-2022, 07:51 PM   #6
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This first cruise is the Great Loop. I plan to anchor quite a bit as a matter of choice. Going solo means I can bring enough food to last a few weeks or more. So far I have only gone on one night trips with my wife which is why I have no long term storage experience. I know I will figure it out as I go but it doesn't hurt to check with the pros.
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Old 05-07-2022, 08:14 PM   #7
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This first cruise is the Great Loop. I plan to anchor quite a bit as a matter of choice. Going solo means I can bring enough food to last a few weeks or more. So far I have only gone on one night trips with my wife which is why I have no long term storage experience. I know I will figure it out as I go but it doesn't hurt to check with the pros.
On the loop, just take what you usually use at home. You will have ample opportunity to replenish with similar and get rid of packaging. Packaging is mainly problematic wrt freezer & fridge space, so we often repackage meats etc for the freezer in 1 meal sizes. Microwaveable rice etc is a great staple. If you can get locally raised eggs that haven’t been washed, they don’t need refrigeration.

Enjoy the loop- lots of grocery stores within walking distance along the way.
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Old 05-07-2022, 09:22 PM   #8
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We take things out of the boxes to help keep the insect problem down as well as keep the amount of trash aboard down. It makes a huge difference in how much trash you are carrying on the boat.
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Old 05-08-2022, 12:11 AM   #9
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Vacuum bagging machine is helpful for us - we break down larger sizes of coffee and meats into serving sized portions. We do not have a ton of freezer or fridge space so use it wisely. We find highly seasoned incredients really help stretch the supplies. An Italian or smoked sausage added to lentils. Parmagianno or sharp cheddar instead of mild cheese. When we find chicken breasts on sale, we'll buy a few pounds and poach it in seasoned liquid, then cube into bite-size pieces and freeze individually on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, they can be placed in a Ziploc and they won't freeze into a block so you can grab a handful for a salad or something.

Root vegetables last the longest. Of the lettuces, romaine last longest in the fridge and it's also pretty compact. But we usually buy a couple heads of cabbage which will keep in the bilge for a couple weeks. Shredded, it makes a great salad or topping for tacos, soup, or a sandwich. Potatoes and onions seem to keep best when individually wrapped in a paper towel and stowed in the cooler power of the bilge.

In the fridge, we find plastic storage boxes of shoe box size work well to organize stuff. Cold cuts for sandwiches, cheese, veggies. Etc.

Many condiments including ketchup, mustard, andbsoy sauce require no refrigeration.

Bread is difficult and bulky to store. We too make bread and pizza. English muffins are surprisingly easy to make and are better than store bought. They are very versatile too and serve well as burger buns too.

Hope these help.

Peter
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Old 05-08-2022, 01:18 PM   #10
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Fo passage the only way to go is to cook everything possible and package individual generous potions and vacuum bag. We go as far as to stack them in the freezer so if it’s to be eaten first it’s is last in. Exception is the starch. So that’s labeled as to what with what. Rice with a particular chicken disk, pasta with he meatballs and sausage etc.
Wife labels everything. On passage eating is a big deal. We try have at least one meal we all sit together but often people eat at different times.
Also make up a snack draw. Nuts chocolate, chips etc. we ask crew well before leaving what foods they like and dislike as well as favorite snacks and food allergies.
As captain try to discretely make sure everyone is eating sufficiently and staying hydrated. Also that they poop and sleep. Keep them healthy and happy and you’ll have a safe pleasant passage. Some people biorhythms are put off by the watch schedule and lack of diurnal activity/work . Have had to give folks a “day off” from watch because of lack of sleep or some other biorhythm issue.
If the boats in motion we run a totally dry boat. ETOH screws up sleep and hydration. Don’t want intoxicated people on watch either. One exception was a crew who started into DTs. Took him off watch and let him drink his usual daily intake. . 2 years later his wife emailed me to thank me. Apparently that event caused him to get help. I had kept the incident to myself but apparently he realized and faced up to the issue independently.
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Old 05-08-2022, 01:49 PM   #11
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You can buy bags that are treated and keep fresh veggies and fruit for a long time. We use those even now at home.
If you get fresh eggs that have never been refrigerated, they will last weeks on the counter.
When we did the all summer cruises, we stored canned goods in plastic milk crates, sometimes stacking them on top of each other. The can tops were marked with the contents, and the types were mixed so we used up one complete crate first, then swapped them out. And they were inventoried and checked off when used.

ONE THING TO NOTE:
Be careful where you store your canned goods. IF they are too close to the autopilot compass, things can get crazy. Took me a few days to figure that one out LOL

Enjoy!
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Old 05-08-2022, 02:09 PM   #12
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On the loop you shouldn't need many weeks of food storage. For casual cruising we liike to bring some homemade soups, chili, etc that can be but in ziploc bags and frozen (in single portions in your case). They take up very little room and act like ice packs till they defrost. As backup and in case re-supply gets delayed, I always carry some pasta and jars of sauce because they both last a long time and are always there when needed. For condiments, I like to buy single use packs that you don't need to refrigerate when opened. Canned goods like tuna can make for an easy lunch underway especially if prepared in advance. Same with egg salad if you prefer. A bag of potato rolls stays fresh for a couple weeks and makes for easy sandwiches underway.
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Old 05-08-2022, 02:32 PM   #13
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I apparently come from a different recreational background than many. Multi-week trips with only what fits in my backpack or kayak and a wife that also enjoyed it. No need for refrigeration or electrical gadgets. I tend to find virtue in simplicity. Others, having different experiences, might think that my preparations sound really complex. Just normal boating for me.

I do a lot of home canning. Make a big pot of chili and can the leftovers (2 quarts). Roast a chicken and can the leftovers. A half pint of canned roasted chicken is 5 tacos worth. Same with meatballs, clam chowder, etc. My cooking through the winter easily provides a summer's worth of ship's grub. I used to can in metal tins, but the price of cans went up so now everything is in Mason jars. Storage is a little more complex than tin cans, but nothing too complicated. Since the jars are washed and saved, there is no garbage.

Vacuum bagging. I also do lots of this. Serving sizes of pasta, mashed potatoes, dried mushrooms, coffee, whatever. Once bagged they are indestructible. A milkcrate full of bagged meals is probably enough for 2 people for 30 days. Buy the vacuum rolls otherwise the premade bags cost a fortune and aren't usually the right size. After bagging, nip a little into the top edge with scissors so that you can easily tear it open later without a knife or scissors. Also, save the vacuum bag and use it over. No garbage except for the little opening strip (which I leave connected until using the bag again). They last a ridiculously long time. I just had a dinner a few days ago that I bagged for a trip in 2017.

We have a little freezer in our fridge, but I don't mess with frozen food on board. The freezer stores blue ice packs and sometimes bottled waters. That allows us to turn off the fridge at night.
Quiet and saves electricity. Having to sniff test everything out of the freezer just isn't worth the effort, IMHO.

I agree with the mention of cabbage. Lasts a long time and works for salads, cole slaw, tacos, etc. Squash is another good keeper and cooks up really fast in a pressure cooker. Like with rice, bring to pressure and set it aside. By the time the rest of the meal is ready, it is cooked. I've also had little pots of cilantro and basil grown on board. Makes for a nice treat.

A couple of my favorite things. Instant frijoles and crispy tortillas (huevos rancheros for breakfast, tostadas for lunch and homemade (canned) tamales con frijoles for dinner). Powdered whole milk with muesli for breakfast. Make your own muesli using ingredients from the bulk section of the grocery store. Dried cherries, dried blueberries, hazel nuts, whatever my decadent heart desires. You can even mix in a little pre-made muesli if you like sugary breakfast cereal. I add the powdered whole milk right to the vacuum bag serving. Just add water and go. Amazingly good for being so simple and no need to sniff the milk carton every morning.

I could go on and on. I have a dirt home, but enjoy my boating experience as being different (i.e., no need for a dirt boat). Not for everybody, but I like it.
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Old 05-08-2022, 04:18 PM   #14
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Geez, I feel stupid.

I am on a 4,000 mile cruise and simply went to the grocery store.

Put everything onboard and cast off the dock lines.

In a couple days I'll go to another grocery store in a small town in Alaska and provision up a bit.
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Old 05-08-2022, 06:02 PM   #15
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If you like fresh eggs cartons are terrible as far as space efficiency.
When we camped we often took a half dozen eggs broken into a plastic container like a parmesan cheese shaker. Half dozen size doesn't take up much room and just use a second when you pick up a dozen. We now do it often when cruising.
If you aren't into fried eggs and scrambled OK don't be careful and beat or shake them up. Many grocery stores sell eggs in a pint container that store and work well.
Pre cooked bacon either cooked up or better bought packaged doesn't need refrigeration until opened and stores compactly in a sandwich zip loc.

We always keep what the admiral calls " hurricane" food. Dry, canned or packaged foods that doesn't need refrigeration and can be mixed w/ noodles, (boxed) mashed potatoes, or a salad to add interest & protein. Things like packaged tuna, chicken, chipped beef, corned beef.

Smoked meats keep amazingly well but take up some fridge space. Sausage, kielbasa, salmon, etc make great meals & snacks. Cartons of milk that store at room temp till openned.

Lots of opportunities if you cruise the grocery with a different mindset.
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Old 05-08-2022, 06:52 PM   #16
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Geez, I feel stupid.

I am on a 4,000 mile cruise and simply went to the grocery store.

Put everything onboard and cast off the dock lines.

In a couple days I'll go to another grocery store in a small town in Alaska and provision up a bit.
I've got the same thoughts. No need to go crazy if you're shopping in places without much bug risk, etc. and not needing to provision for long periods where you need every just bit of space.
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Old 05-08-2022, 07:17 PM   #17
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Geez, I feel stupid.

I am on a 4,000 mile cruise and simply went to the grocery store.

Put everything onboard and cast off the dock lines.

In a couple days I'll go to another grocery store in a small town in Alaska and provision up a bit.
Even along Oregon and northern California, you may find yourself a distance from a grocery. But let's chat when you get south of San Diego......

Peter

PS - good to see you underway.
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Old 05-08-2022, 07:30 PM   #18
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For those that are visual here are a few suggestions I used for a cruising course we did.

While not compact if you want lettuce for salad - Romaine in a sealed container keeps for a couple weeks very well.
Don't forget some popcorn for snacks
Mac n cheese can be a side or main dish w/ some imagination and addns.
A bag of meatballs are very flexible - snacks w/ cocktail's, sandwiches, w/ pasts, etc
Attached Thumbnails
Bacon.jpg   milks.jpg   Eggs 1.jpg   Lettuce.jpg   Rice 1.jpeg  

Smoked Meat 1.jpg  
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Old 05-08-2022, 08:07 PM   #19
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We buy in bulk, 12mths worth, order online and have it delivered to a boat ramp at high tide
Run tender up on ramp to back of truck and fill her up.
Back to boat and all goes into plastic crates in storage room - there is a system
Fresh veg every few weeks - frozen veg can extend it to several months
Back in to next boat ramp north for a top up when required.

Everything stays in origal packing,
Wine in bottles stay in boxes
See the very occasional cockroach, not sure if they are fly ins or breeders but we do a strategic bug spray every now and again so they are usually dead.
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Old 05-09-2022, 04:29 AM   #20
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I never cruise for many weeks away from supplies so I don't need to go to some of the great lengths being suggested. But I always keep some "hurricane food" on board for unexpected circumstances. However, I want to share this for those who do go for weeks or months between re-supply. I recently started buying this romaine at the grocery store and it seems to lasts much longer than regular romaine. The heads are smaller and tighter, maybe that's why. Wonder if anyone else has tried these. I kind of found them by accident but they last for a month or more at home.
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