Food For a Year

I hope you’re not expecting Sheakespearian prose on this subject, this article is a stream of thoughts that I don’t plan to going back to reorganize.

If the current pandemic situation has taught a lot of people a lot of hard lessons. One of those lessons may be that as a cruiser, you could find your self on lock down with limited access to goods. Or, as in the USA, it isn’t safe to go ashore to provision.

Every long passage always comes across the hurdle of provisioning. How do we feed a crew nutritiously, wholesomely, affordable, and healthily?

With a small fridge many boats, limited battery capacity limited fuel for charging to keep said fridge cold, the answer lies in dried goods.

Nothing I’m going to say here is new, nor a revelation.

Powdered milk can last forever, from it yoghurt and cheese can be made. I make up half litre often for baking or tea. No excess, means it doesn’t go off before it gets used.

Fruit and vegetables can be dried for long term storage, and can be dried on board in a homemade drier or on bought cheaply from Amazon. It isn’t uncommon when travelling abroad that food that is in season is quite cheap and sold in large quantities before it goes off. Why not negotiate for a bulk amount and dry it for you for the next many months.

Vikings almost lived of variations of oats and seeds and dried fruit for their passages.

As a free book on iBooks, is Capt. Cooks Voyage Logs. It’s a little dry, but also at times extremely insightful. Consider that he had lost almost no crew to scurvy or malnutrition.

Take a quick read of what 3rd world countries live off, they don’t have widespread refrigeration, and without daily shipments from abroad you’ll find they live of a fairly regular and basic diet. I’m talking about rice and beans and the million variations thereof.

Learn how to cook different beans, how to ‘curry’ them with a variety of spices, tempering the spices in oil. It beats eating the same meal for weeks on end.

Rice comes in hundreds of varieties. Black rice, cargo rice, whole grain, many different types of white rice, parboiled, american, basmati, blah, blah blah. With experimentation you’ll find they all have different flavours, yield different nutrition value and each has a place in a sailors’s diet.

The China Study, is a book about eastern diet and its health benefits over our more commonly experienced meat and sugar heavy western diet. Coincidentally an ‘eastern’ diet requires less refrigeration.

Food onboard needs to be preserved from vermin, I recommend heavy duty rubbermaid containers with tight fitting lids. Or home depot buckets with lids, and put the food inside used peanut butter containers, I like the kraft ones with green lids.

To protect from oxygenation of food which leads to premature spoiling, you can get these little oxygen absorbing sachets, they are little iron grains inside a pouch that oxidize and if enough are used the food in your container has no oxygen. It’ll last many many years longer than it would have otherwise.

During the covid panic shopping, yeast for baking was difficult to find, so I learned about bread starter, and growing starter for baking bread. It is DELICIOUS! But I quickly got tired of it taking 3 days to make a load of bread, so now I just use the starter for pancakes, but it’s nice to know that I can churn out loaves if needed.

Essentially as a sailor, so you can be truly independent of shore needs for a year if required, you need to learn old world cooking techniques and food preservation techniques.

How to pickle eggs, so they can last for up to 4 months in a cool or a sealed container in the bilge. You may not like pickled eggs, but thankfully you can season them with anything, a variety of recipes can be found online.

If you search a few of the bible thumpers’ web sites, some religions advocate storing months or a year of food in your home. These websites are a valuable source of information and you can even buy some decent storage products from them. The Church of Latter Day Saints has some worthwhile information regarding emergency preparation.

That’s all for now. I look forward your input.


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