Provisioning - Tips for that Longer Cruise

'Bleach mildly the fruit and vegetables to prevent moulding' .
Careful provisioning is an important part of the preparation for any trip. Running out of food isn't much fun, and forgetting the coffee can really spoil the tempers on board, no matter how wonderful the cruising. If you enjoy your food, and intend to stay away for longer than usual, there is much good information you just shouldn't be without.

Here's a few tips and products that we have found invaluable:

Use them as little as possible. Tins are good to keep for emergencies of course, but the rule of thumb is: Whatever you are used to eating at home from a tin, you will probably use on the boat - maybe tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, sardines etc. However, tins are heavy bulky things and they have to be cared for so as not to rust. Wherever possible, use dried foods instead, which are lighter, smaller, and pack more easily. Examples are: dried fruit instead of tinned, dried peas and beans instead of tinned. We have found that fresh vegetables are available almost everywhere and much healthier and tastier than anything from a tin.

--Wash all fruit and vegetables in a very very mild solution of bleach. Then put them to dry in the sun - they NEVER seem to go mouldy after that.

--Use red onions instead of shallots which don't last even in the fridge

--Vegetables that keep the longest are green cabbage, chinese lettuce, red cabbage, and of course, potatoes and onions. Keep potatoes in a dark place to prevent sprouting

--Rewashing lettuces with fresh water every day and replacing them in plastic bag or container keeps them fresh for weeks.

--Wrap citrus (after the washing process, see VEGETABLES above) in alfoil. I've had oranges last six months after this treatment - and be still a pleasure to eat!

--Vacuum pack everything in sight. We obtained a vacuum pack machine, and the muesli is still going strong after 3 years.

--If you don't have a vacuum pack machine (available online, for instance, from West Marine), the next best thing to keep weevils out is bay leaves - just a few in the top of every container does the trick. Basic items such as flour, oats, rice, and pasta can be kept clear of small black hungries. I've successfully stored and used these up to one year after purchase. I used to freeze them for 24 hours before packing them on our boat - that ensures there are none there when you start.

EasiYo - .. .
--Use yoghurt starter, available in supermarkets, which makes wonderful yoghurt if you can't get a fresh yoghurt as a starter. The resulting yoghurt will then make about three or four good batches, before you have to use the starter again - keeps space in your refrigerator, and it's always fresh. If you can't find it in your local supermarket, Google EasiYo and purchase it online. To make life even easier, you can purchase the foolproof EasiYo Yoghurt maker, which removes the guess work from the process.

MEAT SUBSTITUTE (don't tell - they won't know)
--'Vegemince' or your local equivalent brand (soy based meat substitute) makes a good substitute for mince, especially if you don't have a deep freeze for keeping meat. It takes a little more herbs and onions and tomato paste to bring a bolognaise sauce to the great taste you're familiar with, but it's easy stowage, and always on hand.

--Keep a supply of poppy, sesame, and sunflower or any other seeds on hand. Add these to bread and fritter mixtures, salads, toppings, and use them as garnishes.

--Mung beans do NOT last as well as alfalfa. Alfalfa seeds, which last for many months and will still sprout, grow into the most wonderful salads, fresh, green and much tastier than other greens. We keep a 'garden' going whenever we're away from supplies even for a short period.

--Too much fish? Not enough spacce in the deep freeze or don't have one? Dry some and make 'fishtong.'(I think this is originally South African). The secret is to use red-fleshed fish such as tuna, skipjack, or bonito. We rig a line and use clothespegs to attach the fish, putting a newspaper underneath to catch any drips. It's ready for savouring in two to three days (recipe follows).

Fresh fish fillets
Powdered coriander, to taste
Coarse salt, to cover fillets
Barbecue spice, to taste
Lemon juice

Layer fillets in coarse salt, coriander, and barbecue spice. Sprinkle with lemon juice and leave for two hours. Hang on a line outside in the sun and leave to cure for two to three days. Cut into pieces to serve. It's mouth-watering!

by Nancy Knudsen

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