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Old 19-08-2010, 07:19   #1
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Storing Food

You see it over and over again. In books about cruising, websites, even some posts on message boards. All these tips about removing labels from cans, removing food from any paper or cardboard and storing in plastic instead, vacuum sealing, etc. , etc. I know there's a lot more than that, but I can't think of any right now.

Well, I haven't done any real cruising yet, but I have lived aboard for a little over a year, and I've followed very little of that advice, yet, I don't seem to notice anything going bad, not any faster than on dry land anyway. And I've had some items on board for months.

So, how much this stuff is really necessary?
Or how long and far from civilization do you really need to be going before some of those techniques do become a good idea?
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Old 19-08-2010, 08:09   #2
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grunzster- for us, moisture is the big issue, as well as protecting food from critters should one (or more) aboard get aboard. Cardboard sucks up the moisture, and in pretty short order.... the macaroni and cheese is getting stale. The other issues are space (we're amazed at how much room is wasted in the packaging.... we don't have room to store the extra 'air'); and garbage management. So pretty much everything, other than canned goods, gets repackaged.

We found that used 'ocean spray' juice containers work well for things like rice, oatmeal, sugar, and such. 'Lock n Lock' makes the best airtight containers for things like flour (in which we need to 'scoop out', instead of pour). Things like the 'extra' flour and coffee beans get vacuum sealed. Most everything else is sealed in Zip-Lock bags, and sometimes double bagged. If it came in a cardboard container, we cut out the cooking instructions and the front label and put those in the bag. Our canned goods also get zip-locked bagged to control moisture.

Most all the meat in the freezer is vacuum packed.

Some pictures and narrative on what has worked aboard our boat is here: Home
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Old 19-08-2010, 08:39   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailabel View Post
grunzster- for us, moisture is the big issue, as well as protecting food from critters should one (or more) aboard get aboard. Cardboard sucks up the moisture, and in pretty short order.... the macaroni and cheese is getting stale. The other issues are space (we're amazed at how much room is wasted in the packaging.... we don't have room to store the extra 'air'); and garbage management. So pretty much everything, other than canned goods, gets repackaged.

We found that used 'ocean spray' juice containers work well for things like rice, oatmeal, sugar, and such. 'Lock n Lock' makes the best airtight containers for things like flour (in which we need to 'scoop out', instead of pour). Things like the 'extra' flour and coffee beans get vacuum sealed. Most everything else is sealed in Zip-Lock bags, and sometimes double bagged. If it came in a cardboard container, we cut out the cooking instructions and the front label and put those in the bag. Our canned goods also get zip-locked bagged to control moisture.
My approach is much like Sailabel. I store almost everything in either Lock-n-Lock or vacuum seal bags. I work hard to keep cardboard and paper packaging off the boat; cockroaches give me the heeby jeebies and I'm more than willing to go the extra mile to reduce the risk of a problem. Exceptions are Kleenex in the original cardboard (purchased in bulk in the Midatlantic, not in the islands), and matzo (I guess I could vacuum seal it).

I don't bother taking labels off cans. I might if I stored cans in the bilge where loose labels could clog a bilge pump inlet. I worry a bit about the glue holding the labels on as a food source for roaches but not enough to peel off the labels and scrub off all the glue.

I save a few Styrofoam egg crates so that if I have to buy eggs in cardboard I can move the eggs to the synthetic storage.
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Old 19-08-2010, 09:03   #4
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Originally Posted by grunzster View Post
. All these tips about removing labels from cans, removing food from any paper or cardboard and storing in plastic instead, vacuum sealing, etc. , etc.
As Saleable says there are different types of boats / storage areas.

We are lucky that we have large internal dry areas and we have found pests like cockroaches have not been able to infest (Our boat is not quite 'Organic' we use more pesticides than Agent Orange in Vietnam).

Lock and Lock boxes are by far the best. Sensational. (They are expensive so tell family members they make great Christmas presents! )

Of course we leave can wrappers on! Who wants Baked Beans for desert?

If buying a case of some product we leave it in the original packaging (after spraying it!) 36 cans of butter takes up virtually no room and is easily stackable whilst in its orignal carboard carton. Simnilar with beer etc.

Pasta etc can produce weivels so we seperate the packets up and put them in Lock&Lock boxes. Then one bug won't destroy the rest.

Vacumme sealing cost $1 per bacg so its too expensive for us.

For flour thats in paper bags we put them inside a shopping plastic bag too with the top ties open.

If you notice a can rusting on the bottom turn them all over and eat them faster!


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Old 19-08-2010, 11:52   #5
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Absolutely NO CORRUGATED CARDBOARD EVER on my boats. The little spaces in the corrugations are perfectly sized for roach eggs.... and getting rid of roaches is a major PITA.

As far as removing boxes and whatnot, it depends. I generally will keep at least the directions, if it's a package meal I've never made before.

But most staples go into rectangular Nalgene labware bottles. They are waterproof, inert, easy to clean, store very well and come in different sizes.


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Old 19-08-2010, 22:11   #6
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Yup - Lock and Lock, Vacuum Sealer and Baggies. I don't take labels off cans either. I do take pasta, pancake mix, etc out of carboard both for the roach factor and cardboard gets wet and contents are ruined. I use 3m removable labels on the L&L containers and put the number of min the pasta, rice, etc needs to cook. Cake and muffin mixes I take out of the cardboard and write directions with a marker on the bag. Also as someone said, rotate the cans and use the rusted ones first.
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Old 19-08-2010, 22:39   #7
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i use many ziplock baggies--the freezer kind--for everything. dont have vacuum sealer. i do reuse plastic jars and bottles for other stuffies and food items. i use gear nets for stowage of goods and my cabinetry--my boat has many cabinets and storage places. i donot use freezer--donot have one. i do have a fridge when the engine runs, and i usually dont use it.

i whole-heartedly believe in bug spray. even with a kat. roaches love borax and seem to thrive on it. that and candle wax..go figger.. so i spray em.

i usually sail with my kat on board so i dont usually have to worry about incoming critters--he kills most everything he sees.....is a goood kitty. i store his dry food in double ziplock bags inside a large coffee can.
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Old 20-08-2010, 02:09   #8
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G'day, mates. We always get rid of the packing as soon as we can, especially when there are garbage facilities at hand. We label the top of the cans (no beans for dessert on this boat, thanks) with a marker and put the expiration dates on the bagged food. Once had a crew member you thought they would be "smart" and put the contents of the can in FRENCH with the marker. Cheers.
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Old 20-08-2010, 03:15   #9
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For two of our main galley lockers we measured out the space, and bought Oxo containers to fit with a bit of room to spare. We keep the dry goods that we frequently use in there. They have a lot of different shapes:

Amazon.com: Oxo Good Grips POP Storage Containers: Kitchen &…

My wife did a blog entry on one of our friends who has a really nice storage setup as well:

Rebel Heart - Sailing, cruising, liveaboard blog and website - Charlotte's Blog - A Tale of TwoCupboards
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Old 20-08-2010, 08:06   #10
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Grunzster- when we were looking for airtight containers, we failed to 'be cheap' and to do it right the first time. After all, why should I spend $XX for a 'lock n lock' container, when I could buy a container for half that cost at Target or WalMart?? In the end, we ended up throwing out food and buying the expensive containers eventually. The key is to get something that is truely 'airtight'... not just watertight. 'Snap lock' and others didn't work.... they're now assigned to keeping cookies and other quickly used items. I don't have any experience with Nalgene lab bottles or with the Oxo containers; but know that Lock n Lock will stand up to the rigors of boat life.

You'll find that once you leave for longer distance cruising, that you'll store a lot more staples aboard. Having a decent system aboard is essential. Like Rebel Heart suggested... measure you storage compartments, figure out what goes where, and buy (or order) containers while you're still at the dock. It's a whole lot easier that way.

Fair winds....
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Old 20-08-2010, 13:17   #11
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Plastic versus glass. If you've ever had a rat on board, you know they can eat through plastic and foil containers. I once found that a rat (or maybe squirrels) had eaten an entire plastic waste basket. Roaches eat through lighter packaging such as plastic bags. You may find droppings or a neat, oval hole.
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Old 20-08-2010, 13:59   #12
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i have neither rats nor roaches in or near my boat for long with the spray from hell i use after and during trips to strange places. i spray the dock, lines, boat--and make bubba stay inside until is safe. bubba daboatkat does his genetic job oif killing anything that moves. he doesnt kill the spray killed stuff nor mess with it , as kats are smart.

i do this routinely now as one of the boats i sailed with others and belonging to the other-had "waterbugs"--LOL--red roaches. they died immediately after spraying, after the borax didnt work and after the natural stuff didnt work--i picked up the awesomest killer poison spray that works. i will never sail without it. is findable in homeless despot--i mean, home depot...btw--roaches love candle wax and can thrive long times while using it as a staple in their diet..
i will use some containers of glass--only those in which home canning is done. plastic is adequate in this day and age on board. we are not sailing tallships over 6 months at a time in the rugged ocean with no engines. civilization is within a couple of months from our boats. kat stomachs and feets pierced with glass shards sisnt my idea of a fun cruise, should one by chance break. as i am not able to open containers-my hands are messed up--plastic is the only container i can open solo--so home canned foods in my boat will be kept to non-essential items.

boatcats are awesome hiunters and killers.
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Old 20-08-2010, 14:19   #13
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Hi Janet... checked out your blog... nice. A question regarding plastic vs. glass: I know that the 'softer' and more pliable plastics can be victim to mice or other critters gnawing on them. But I don't know about the 'harder' and more rigid plastics, such as used by Lock n Lock and other products. Do you have any experience with them and gnawing animals? I agree that I want containers that are airtight, but will also resist 'critters'.

Mice and rats are a real problem. Hadn't really thought about them and our pantry... my main concerns are the wiring, hoses, and cushions. Any evidence of 'critters' means all out warfare on our boat. We stock everything from rat traps, sticky boards, sprays, roach traps, borax, etc. So far, no problems....

Steve
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Old 20-08-2010, 14:32   #14
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In the Caribbean (or at least the leewards) they've got the best insect spray I've ever seen: BOP. That stuff kills most everything!
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Old 20-08-2010, 15:21   #15
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Thank God I have never seen a mouse or a rat on our boat! We did think we saw mouse droppings once but never did see a critter. I assure you Lock and Lock will protect you. We have only seen about 5 cockroaches ever, and when we see one or two we spray and never see another. However, I have heard horror stories!

I wish I had posted a picture of my panrty with all the L&L containers, but I am on land now for another few weeks.....
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