Friday, May 30, 2014

Keeping Fresh Food Longer

New Bern, NC

[You may ask why there aren't more posts in this blog about things of Libby's interests and purveiew.  The fact is, that I tried several times to get Libby to write blog posts.  It never stuck.  Prolific blogging is driven only by the love of writing.  All else is secondary.]

I don't think I ever blogged before about provisioning.  One reason is that our diet on the boat differs little from what we would eat while land bound.   A second reason is that we don't do trans-oceanic passages that require 4-8 weeks without access to a store. We have no experience with that kind of provisioning.

But we have learned to live with very limited refrigeration.  Here are a few tips.

Adequate refrigerated space is a must.  A space big enough for one six pack is insufficient.   You can use ice, or refrigeration, but the volume must be adequate.  We actaully have excess volume, perhaps 7.5 cubic feet (I'm not sure exctly. I never measured.)

We found a significant improvement using "green bags" to store veggies. Debbie Myers is one brand of such bags. We also use the meat bags, bread bags, and cheese bags. All of them allow us to store stuff significantly longer without refrigeration, or longer still with refrigeration.

Highly processed breads last a very long time. Wonder bread will last much longer than fresh bakery bread. Thomas' Bagels will last months compared to one day for fresh bagels. Hostess Twinkies are reputed to last longer than the pyramids :-) In other words, less-healthy is correlated with lasts-longer.

Specific to potatoes, there is a old trick of storing individual potatoes in socks. That prevents them from sprouting. Ditto for apples. A bad apple in a sock is less likely to spoil neighboring apples in the bin.
Onions and tomatoes: we buy the smallest ones that we can find so that we don't have to store sliced leftovers.

Some articles say that coating eggs such as in wax makes them last a long time without refrigeration. We never tried that one.

Ultra-pasteurized milk (such as organic milk) lasts much longer after opening. In addition, Parmalat milk can be stored for months without refrigeration before opening.

We also use our pressure cooker as an autoclave. Leftovers that won't fit in the refrigerator, we put in the pressure cooker. Then add a little water, seal the top and heat it fully. Leave the top on. The interior should be sterile and suitable to keep the food until the next meal. I'm sure that food safety experts say that practice is unsafe, but we take the chance sometimes when the refrigerator is full.
Look for books and articles on "provisioning."

Fair WInds

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