Hi, Pelagic and Zaida,
Get a copy of The Care and Feeding of the Offshore Crew
, by Lyn Pardey
I'll take a stab at this, although we only cruised for one year without refrigeration.
1....Any tips and tricks on how to prep and store perishables that can survive without refrigeration?
Everything that is not canned or dried or pickled is perishable.
1) eggs If unwashed, but turned weekly in their 2-1/2 doz. crates, used the last at the end of 3 months. (That is not a typo, I meant three.) By that time, we were using them only in baking, but lost
only one to spoilage. You can hard boil then pickle eggs, we've used them as spicy snacks on passage
, a very digestible, high protein snack. Pickled and spiced, we've used them up to a month after opening. We usually let them set a week before opening them, two weeks is okay.. Don't remember any spoiling. If you get a good vacuum with them, I would think they would last quite a long time comparable to anything home canned, if everything is boiling when you put it together, and the vacuum is good, it is a sterile, acid environment
. However, I am not a canning expert, and Jim and i've survived with our regime. For washed eggs, I don't know. Never had them. In fact, I haven't refrigerated eggs since 1986!
2) Brown onions (Spanish onions). Keep them in net bags, in a locker near the waterline, as cool as is possible from nature. Don't know how long. 20 kilos of onions lasted us about 8 weeks. Use them in salads, and in cooking
. Garlic will keep the whole time too, but both need to have been dried properly, and sometimes, you'll have spoilage if not.
3) Cabbages . What worked best is to wrap them in newspaper, loosely, and place stem up in cardboard boxes. Use outer leaves if okay, or peel dried out ones off and discard. If they start to smell funny
, find the culprit and toss.
4) Carrots. Well, you won't be using them for carrot sticks, but they are fine cooked, if they were limp, to start. Lightly steamed, use them with raw cabbage in a vinaigrette, add to curries, stews, and other vegetables. Very useful, and Vit. A.
5) Potatoes and sweet potatoes. Leave dirty, have in a cool, dark, place. Can be satisfactorily canned, work
then in potato salad, if you can get celery (ha!) or cucumber for crunch. We used celery seeds, just for the flavor. Last 2 months, might eke out a little longer, don't know.
6) Fruits: on our boat
they are a room temperature deal. Pink Lady apples keep about 2 months un refrig. in Oz; Oranges, 6 weeks or so; grapefruits longer than oranges--and the large Marquesan pamplemousse, the light green grapefruits, have a very thick skin, and i don't know how long they keep. If you take some from the Marquesas
to the Tuamotus, the Tuamotans will greatly appreciate them, and oranges. Marquesan oranges are orange size, but green on the outside and orange inside, like Ranjipur limes. The only fruits we make space for in the fridge are raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries. All the others last even shorter times, but are relegated to a fruit basked woven in Vanuatu
Pawpaws, may be used as fruit or as a salad crunchy when green. We made a lot of green pawpaw salads, with whatever other green crunchy things we could add.
...What MUST be refrigerated?
Not mayonnaise, if you use it. Mayo's in the 33 yr. bin, with the eggies.
What must be refrigerated is lettuce or bok choy. Chard, or silverbeet, up to 5 days, stems in fresh water
, change water
every day, and cut fresh bottom. Celery, up to 2 months. Cucumbers, once opened, or eat it all. I don't know how long cukes will keep, always managed to disappear fresh crunchy items. So called scallions or fresh green onions, only 2 weeks. Snow peas, up to 3 weeks. Sugar snap peas, up to 3 weeks.
Red, white, and fish
meat. Beef, pork, lamb, and chicken, vacuum bagged, in coldest part of fridge, 3 months. Get boneless cuts, or bone them yourselves. Our fridge is only small, so bone that chook, and make a rolled roast out of it. Do not freeze, as there is a risk of the juices crystallizing and piercing the vacuum, and then it spoils. Fish
, treat it as at home. If you catch a really big one, put it down in the fridge, in freezer
bags, and work
your way through it. Fresh fish can be pickled, too, but I have only ever used it up in 2 weeks, so I don't really know how it will keep.
Now, if Zaida is interested, all the meats, including fish, can be home canned. it will be a lot of work, but the flavours will exceed all but the very best French canned goods, imo. Try and get hold of the Canadian or US govt guides to home canning. The very best canned chicken I had was aboard a Canadian boat, and she used it in a stir fry, lovely intense flavours! You can try some freeze dried foods (like for backpacking), for emergency
rations. It is a wonderful thing to boil water, and there is dinner after steaming for a few minutes, when you are cold, wet, and tired. There are also retort packaged foods in boil-in bags, which you can place on top of the rice when it is cooking
and they'll heat up and be ready to go.
Staples, a variety of flours for home baked breads. Yeast in foil packets, I prefer to the less expensive large packages of yeast. Old yeast requires coddling to get to work, and it stays fresher in the packets. Make your own experiment
, you'll see. I have learned how to fix bread that didn't rise, and to work with old yeast. The secret to it is that not all the yeasts die, so you "prove" the yeast, and if there are only a few bubbles, it needs a pinch of sugar, and some time, at 85 F. or ~30 d. C., and they will eventually multiply enough so that they will rise a loaf. I usually double the amount, then. Rice and Pasta keep well if you keep weevils out of them Basically, this means air tight containers. You can kill bugs with dry ice; bay leaves do not work. Air tight containers means that infestations are at least contained. Flour can be frozen for a week or so, and if you have a freezer
, you can do this. It's good. I used to use the method at home. Then store in air tight container and it will be fine for a long time. I bought some flour from a barrel outdoors in the Solomons. Of course it had bugs in it. I sieved them out, depriving us of that protein--just not liking the idea, but really, once baked for 45 min., they wouldn't hurt you. We have used tinned "cabin bisquits", and found them satisfactory bread substitutes. We have used Danish tinned bacon, and enjoyed it.
I think the real trick is finding recipes
where you can make food
you'd otherwise never eat, like tinned corned beef: I have a recipe for a roll using it that is acceptable at the supper table. One key thought is to bring all your favorite herbs with you. You can grow them underway, not easy, but doable (even the Hiscocks grew lettuces.) Lettuces and herbs are prone to acquiring infestations from insects that fly out to the boat. And Agriculture will want your dirt when you enter a new country, so be prepared to wash living plants very carefully if you've a hope of getting them through agricultural inspections, and some will confiscate no matter what you do. Everyone is different.
Some frieze dried or just plain dried foods are your real friends, green beans, peas, chili beans (as a meal). Especially if you do not have a water shortage aboard. Your onions not only add vit. C if they are raw, but a lot of food benefits from having some added, unless of course, you are one of the unfortunates whose digestive system can't handle raw onion or garlic. I have used dried fruit satisfactorily in cakes and breads.
We met one boat about the size of yours (a 60 footer), that had a fruit and veg cooler in the starboard v-berth. That whole fridge was kept cold but above freezing, and they had quite the cornucopia stored there, all in accessible, good air circulation bins. If you're considering adding supplemental refrigeration, that is one thing to consider.
Please feel free to ask questions, but people have written books
, and I really can't cover the subject fully in a single
post here. A whole lot depends on what are must have foods for you guys, and which do not matter and how you generally like to eat.