We’re not gourmet chefs here on Dazzler but we do have a few tips that could make cooking on board a bit easier. We can also offer you some cool entertaining tricks we use to spice up evening sundowners or dinners with friends.
Tip #1 Don’t Leave Port Without A Vacuum Sealer
Even on land I loved my vacuum sealer but on the boat….I wouldn’t be without one. If you have a freezer (another thing we couldn’t live without) vacuum sealing your meat and other meals means you don’t have to worry about freezer burn. And, if you pre-package individual meals you can just drop them in a pot of boiling water on the stove and voila….a hot meal on passage without the worry of spilled sauces or noodles etc… I’m not sure about you but I’d much rather clean up fresh water spilled in my galley than spaghetti sauce.
I use my vacuum sealer for a lot of other things as well….pasta that comes in boxes will last a while but it lasts even long if you vacuum seal it. By getting rid of the box you create more room on board and there is less waste when you do eat it.
TIP #2 Premixed Biscuit or Granola Mix
I love to use the vacuum sealer! It’s an amazing device for keeping food fresh and there’s many uses on a boat. You can use it to store parts, clothes and other items. That said, for this tip I would like to share this. I make homemade granola bars and we usually buy the ingredients in bulk. When I get them back to the boat, I divide them up and actually create pre-made dry mixes with all of the ingredients including the granola, oats, fruit, nuts and spices. By doing this I have a great “mix” that only requires me to add the wet ingredients when it’s time to make more. This makes it easy to make granola bars underway. I spend less time in the galley (A HUGE PLUS) and less time measuring and cleaning (AN EVEN BIGGER PLUS).
Tip #3 Pressure Cookers ROCK!
When I came on board Dazzler Dan had purchased a new Fagor pressure cooker. I’d never used one and quite frankly was a bit nervous. After all, I’d heard horror stories from years ago when they would explode. That’s the last thing I wanted on board Dazzler. The thing is, we spent the first summer on the Sea of Cortez and it was hot, hot, hot. The last thing you want to do is spend hours in a galley over a hot stove. A pressure cooker allows you to cook things much more quickly and so I studied their manual and recipe guide and started out slowly with things like soup and spaghetti sauce. Before I knew it I was cooking chicken, roasts, meatloaf and more. If you plan on living on your boat, do yourself a favor and buy a pressure cooker. It saves on gas and makes amazing meals. Oh yes, a bonus to cooking in one of these great devices is that after eating your meal you can bring the contents of the cooker back up to pressure and leave them on the stove overnight. This saves room in our tiny refrigerators so we don’t have to store the leftovers there. No, they are not cheap, a good one will run a few hundred dollars but I promise, you’ll be happy you bought one.
Tip #3 Protecting Your Eggs
If you’re coming from the USA you’re probably used to eggs being refrigerated. Newsflash, unless eggs have previously been refrigerated, there’s no need to refrigerate them. As you cruise the islands you’ll find that most places do not refrigerate their eggs. That’s good news for those of us who have small, boat sized refrigerators!
Do yourself a favor and pick up a couple of these plastic egg storage containers. You want the ones that snap shut just in case they go flying through your galley on a passage. After all, who wants to clean up raw egg while you’re bouncing from side to side in the open sea? And, the thing is we’ve found most open markets in the islands don’t provide a container when you buy eggs so taking these to market will ensure they make it back to your boat in one piece.
Eggs that are not pasteurized and refrigerated not only taste better but seem to last longer too. But how do you know if the eggs you’ve had sitting on the galley counter are still good? Well, all you need to do is drop them in a cup of water. If it sinks it is good! If it floats or starts tilting toward the top it’s bad. That’s because when an egg ages, the small air pocket inside it grows larger as water is released and replaced by air. We’ve found our non refrigerated eggs last a month to six weeks. That’s off course, if we haven’t eaten them before then.
Tip #4 Storing Plastic Waste Underway
There’s not doubt that dealing with trash on a long passage can be a big issue. Depending upon where you are in the ocean tossing bottles or cans without labels overboard is legal. Throwing plastics overboard is NEVER legal. We’ve found the best way to deal with plastic waste on board is to bring along a large, plastic water bottle (the kind you would use for a water cooler). You’d be absolutely amazed at how much plastic you can stuff in one of these things. We took one 5 gallon plastic jug with us when we left Mexico to cross the Pacific and three months later we were still stuffing plastic in it! And, if we can’t find large water jugs we use milk jugs, small water bottles, whatever we have available. The point is that this is a great way to store your plastic waste. (NOTE: We are not legal advisors and do not advocate tossing any garbage into the oceans. For more information on Maritime Law regarding the legalities of trash disposal at sea you should refer to the International Maritime Organization.)