In preparing for my new life of room temperature food, I've been scouring various books and websites for some tips on food storage and here are eight things I'm going to try. I'll give you an update in a few months and let you know how it goes. Hopefully, we'll avoid food poisoning and the smell of rotting food.
1 - Eggs
This one will be easy. In addition to not commonly finding clothes dryers in Scotland and New Zealand, it is rare to find eggs that are refrigerated. While it kind of freaked me out at first to find them on the shelf next to the peanut butter, I'm completely used to it now. The big difference is that these days I put them in my fridge when I get home. Going forward, I'll be skipping that step. Instead, I'll become an egg turner. Pretty much everything you read about egg storage talks about turning your eggs over every few days so that the inside of the shell remains moist. This keeps air from entering the eggshell which causes them to spoil.
2 - Milk
Another easy one. I already use powdered milk at home for my coffee and cooking. I got tired of having to try to remember to buy cartons of milk and found mornings very challenging if I was out of milk for my coffee. So I switched to powered milk a few years ago and I never run out because it comes in a big bag. It is also much cheaper which is a plus.
3 - Lemons
We like to have gin and tonics in our cockpit when the sun is setting and they are much nicer with lemon. Last summer on the boat, we bought one of those plastic lemons with juice inside thinking that would last longer than fresh lemons. Which wasn't the brightest move. You wouldn't normally leave orange juice out of the fridge for a few days and expect it to be fine. Doesn't work for plastic lemons either. So we'll go back to fresh lemons except this time I'm going to wrap them in aluminum foil. Theoretically this should keep them fresh for several weeks.
4 - Meat
Despite my short-lived teenage vegetarian rebellion, I still like to eat meat. We aren't the biggest carnivores out there, but we do enjoy meat from time to time especially in tacos. Fresh meat is going to become a luxury for us and probably more something that we eat when we're on land. Instead of having beef or chicken on a regular basis, we'll rely on Skipper Scott's fishing prowess to catch us fresh snapper, as well as eating more vegetarian recipes. I am going to buy a few canned meat products to test out as well. We'll see how that goes. The thought of Spam doesn't seem too appealing (unless Monty Python are singing about it), but canned chicken might be okay.
5 - Cans
I've become a big fan of canned goods the past few months. Not only will we not have a fridge, we also won't have regular access to the big Kiwi grocery stores such as Countdown and New World. There are smaller grocery stores in other parts of the Hauraki Gulf in New Zealand, such as in Coromandel Town and on some of the islands, but the prices are higher and the selection smaller. So I'm planning on stocking up on a variety of canned goods so that we can whip up tasty meals wherever we are and not have to rely on a fridge to preserve things.
6 - Leftovers
One of the big things we use our fridge for is to store leftovers. We won't have that option on our sailboat. And although Skipper Scott seems happy to play Russian Roulette with his digestive system from time to time and eat things that have been left out overnight, I'm thinking we need to change how we cook instead. So we'll be looking to adapt recipes to just make two servings of things.
7 - Condiments & Other Jarred Goodies
I currently keep the usual condiments like ketchup, mustard and mayo in the fridge. They leave ketchup and mustard out on tables in restaurants all the time, so I'm sure it will be fine to keep ours out of a fridge too. I'm the only one that really eats mayo and I do so rarely so I think we'll just go without. I know there are lots of people out there who swear that you can keep it out of the fridge without a problem but the whole idea of that kind of scares me so I'll do without. I love jam and you can definitely keep that out of the fridge. After all, sugar is a natural preservative and jam sure has a lot of it in it. We also eat various other jarred goodies (such as jalapeños, capers, olives, sundried tomatoes etc.). I figure if they have oil or vinegar in them that should keep them preserved out of the fridge. Or at least that's the theory. Check back in a few months - hopefully there will be no tummy problems to report.
8 - Bread
We've only been able to keep a loaf of our favorite store bought bread (Vogel's) for a few days on the boat before it gets moldy. Since we won't be hitting the grocery store regularly, I'll be making our own bread. But in addition to not having a fridge, we don't have an oven either. So, I've been experimenting with various breads you can make in a skillet including scones, fry bread, naan etc. I'm also going to stock up on tortillas as they last a long time in the packaging that they come in.
So check back in a few months and see how we do living without a fridge. And if you have any other tips on storing food and eating well without a fridge, let us know.
|Mr. Ketchup - you're in, welcome aboard!
Mrs. Mayo - sorry, you didn't make the grade and you'll be staying on shore.