Taking the "perish" out of perishables

Steve Hinton
Posted September 6 2016

As a cruising live aboard I am seeking advice from the community- tips and advice on the best ways to extend the fridge/freezer life of perishables such as fruit, vegies and meat.



MV Moondarra

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Jack and Jude
Deckee Pro  Posted September 17 2016
Hi Steve,

On board Banyandah, we preserve meat and fish in bottling jars that are sometimes called Mason Jars. It's a excellent way to carry these perishables, which also allows us to NOT run a freezer.

If we catch a fish too large for more than a few meals – out comes the

pressure cooker to preserve the rest in bottling jars. Meat and chicken can also

be preserved in bottling jars.

Entire meals can be stored for at least a year in your cupboard. We brown the meat, then cook it in a sauce which is often a simple light gravy with a few veggies like carrots and onion added. Make up several meals at the same time then fill your sterilized Mason jar to about 1 cm of the top, make sure the rim is clean before screwing down the lids, and then cook in a pressure cooker for about 40 minutes.

Our pressure cooker will take three tall Mason jars at a time.

A vacuum bag machine is very handy to store many dried foods in see through packets. And of course the hints on veggie / fruit storage given by Jackie and Noel will dramatically extend a great diet when far away from a store.

These and other great tips found in Jude's Practical Boat Tips available in paperback or electronic, downloaded immediately from JackandJude.com
1 person found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jack and Jude
Jackie & Noel Parry
Posted September 13 2016
Hi Steve,

We lived on board our first boat without a fridge for almost nine years.

Our second boat, Pyewacket, had a fridge, but I rarely kept fruit and veges in there we just didnt need to. I did keep carrots in there though, in a plastic bag, they kept for ages. To be honest I found the fridge more of a burden, but it did help with meats, admittedly.

You can tin/can meat in jars. We never did this, but many friends did. Other than that maybe try vacuum packing the meat however, when we spoke with a butcher they said it doesn't help as much as people think. However, we've never tested this theory. Perhaps someone reading this, who has done it can set the record straight.

Dried meats are a great way to go, they last for weeks and are flavoursome (so you don't use much). Other than that, enjoy a meat free diet, depending on where you are going, it won't be for long. On board Mariah, (no fridge), we were far healthier being at sea with no meat (except some supermarket purchased meat products).

Here's just a few tips from our book Cruisers' AA (Accumulated Acumen) - from part of the Galley Section.

Long-life fruit and vegetables like pumpkin, cabbage, onions, garlic, potatoes, oranges and lemons are good to stock up on. Store in well ventilated areas; nets are great for this.

Small baskets within the nets help with ventilation and therefore longevity. Ensure they are not near a window, or make sure the window has a curtain to shade the items.

Purchase fresh foods that are not bruised and damaged.

Stowing fruit and vegetables: Some fruits and vegetables emit a natural gas called ethylene (listed below). This helps them ripen. Generally, fruits emit more ethylene than vegetables. To avoid your fruits and vegetables ripening too quickly, stow them separately where possible.

Ethylene emitting fruits: bananas, tomatoes, avocados, peaches, pears, nectarines, cantaloupes, honeydews, lemons, kiwi fruit, mangoes, apricots, plums and pawpaw.

Ethylene emitting vegetables: carrots, apples, broccoli, potatoes, green beans, salad greens, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant (aubergine) and asparagus.

Refrigeration: If you purchase fruit or vegetables that have been refrigerated in the shop, then their longevity will rely on continued refrigeration on board. Not all fruit and vegetables need to go in the fridge. Just try to buy fresh stuff (local markets are the best) that has just been picked and remains unrefrigerated prior to purchase.

Stowing location: Secure baskets, bowls and other storage containers to ensure the produce does not move around too much. Good ventilation and dark, cool places are best.

Test various spaces on board to find the best place. One day Noel had put some tomatoes where the onions and potatoes were kept (cool, dark cupboard under the cooker). I did not know about them and he forgot about them, yet they were quite happy there for a couple of weeks.

Potatoes and onions: The cupboard where we store our potatoes and onions is very dark and cool. Unwashed potatoes and onions with their skin on last longest. Check them daily and remove (or use) any soft produce to avoid tainting the remainder. There is nothing worse than the smell of a rotting potato or onion! We know cruisers who will not store potatoes with onions. We have never had any trouble storing these items together, and indeed, when really fresh we have had both potatoes and onions (together) lasting for months. (Perhaps potatoes don't emit that much ethylene?).

Potatoes: If you buy potatoes that have not been washed and keep them in a dark cool place that is well ventilated, they can last for many weeks. The dirt helps them stay fresh. (Caution: when entering a new country; places like Australia will not want to see mud on your boat from another country.)

Apples: Friends wrap their apples in newspaper for longevity. (We've not tested this).

Lettuce, green beans and carrots: Wrap fairly tightly in a plastic bag and keep in the fridge. Cabbage, we store in a cool, dark spot – peel do not slice.

Tomatoes: If we have a good supply of tomatoes at sea, we store them in the boxes they come in (like large egg cartons without a lid), in a cool dark area. This means they are secure, separated and unable to roll and therefore bruise. We buy red and green tomatoes, and try to keep them separate. This works well for limes and lemons too.
1 person found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jackie & Noel Parry
Posted October 8 2017
Steve, in addition to the great suggestions already shared, Carolyn from the Boat Galley has a free No Refrigeration e-book (see carolyn@theboatgalley.com)
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