I've not found _any_ prepackaged MRE/freeze dried or reasonably priced meals that can compare to rolling your own.
I'm not opposed to opening a dehydrated package base to cut down on the cooking time (and fuel costs) and heat in the cabin
. I add my own seasonings and canned, fresh, or frozen protein to make the meal. I also enjoy vegetarian meals.
There are some very good canned meat providers that produce a great meal. You can get tuna, chicken, beef, pork, and other items at good prices.
I tend to prepare as follows:
- buy a good quantity of spices, hot sauces, flour, corn meal, and condiments (especially if it's been shown to be hard to find)
- buy good quantity of additives (olives, peppers, butter, cheese, UHT milk, low salt beef, chicken, and veggie stock, canned veggies, coconut milk for curry,...) that can be added to what I'm preparing
- I carry a good quantity of rice (vacuum packed in 1 lb bags), beans, pasta, and other items I can use for a base
- a selection of treats
- a selection of powdered drink mixes, teas, coffee (Crystal Light lemonaide, PG Tips teabags, powdered coffee creamer, hot chocolate w/wo marshmellows,...)
- personal items that have been shown to be hard to find (Crest toothpaste, favorite shampoo, dental floss,...)
- a selection of boatie generated recipes
- enough food for the passage
to a good provisioning point plus 50%
I have refrigeration
and a sorta freezer
but learned the hard way the cost of having a full freezer
and watching the system fail.
So I plan on having it fail again (and so far it's making a fool of me). That means efficient meal preparation, storage, and minimizing waste. I'm not in the adventurous food type, but have learned from others that are, how to buy local and eat well. I'm not a baker but learned to bake bread (and along the way, flatbread, and pizza dough) because it tastes better to me than the store bought, seems to cost less, and lasts longer. It also fills the boat with a great smell.
I carry a vacuum bagger, those green veggie bags that actually prolong the life of veggies, a variety of plastic reusable containers with lids, zip lock bags, plastic bins for potatoes, onions, and other produce that needs air to breathe and prevent rot
, plastic egg crates, and a pressure cooker. I've given thoughts to canning and have even taken a class on how to do it, but I'm not a fan of glass on board (a side effect of being clumsy). Canning can do wonders to prolong food life, save money
, and provide nice treats and memories down the track.
It seems to me that you don't need to carry as much as cruisers did decades ago. You need to carry a base of items and provision at well known and well stocked locations along the way, carry enough for 50% more cruising time between these provisioning locations, and be willing to trust the locals when they tell you what to buy and how to best prepare it.