Bananas: Buy green if you can find them. Bananas can last several weeks un-refrigerated, but they will all ripen at the same time. They have medium ethylene production so can be stored with other produce contrary to myths, but they are extremely susceptible to ethylene so should be stored away from apples. Frozen bananas can last for months. The riper the banana the sweeter. The blackest mushiest banana makes the best banana bread.
- Bowline banana bread
Bay Leaves: Fantastic cruising spice. More than just a great spice for Italian food but also are a natural pest control and wonderful way to keep bugs out of your pantry.
Beans: Dried or canned beans make a wonderful cruising food. A great source of protein, they make a wonderful supplement to your diet. Canned beans are easier to use, but dried beans take up less space than canned, add less weight to the boat, and are less expensive. In other words, ideal dried beans are ideal for cruising.
You have to plan your meals ahead a little as dried beans must be soaked 24-hours before cooking. For every 1-cup of beans use 3 cups of water. Adding a pinch of baking soda helps soften the beans. After soaking beans rinse them.
Dried beans have a shelf-life of 2-3 years but can last up to 10-years vacuum packed. Drying does not remove any nutritional value. Store in dark place in air-tight insect-proof container, pantry shelves work well.
Types of beans I like to cruise with:
- Black Beans
- Black-eyed “peas”
- Garbanzo beans (chick peas)
- Kidney Beans
- Lentils (do not need soaking)
- Lima Beans
- Split “Peas” (do not need soaking)
Beets: Beets are delicious. Their sweet, rich flavor makes a fantastic salads or part of a salad. They are excellent, roasted on their own and of course the traditional Russian borscht soup. But though beautiful and a wonderful root vegetable to have around be extremely careful of the wily beet. It has a mind of its own and will stain everything around it brilliant hues of pink. Plastic bowls, wooden spoons… even your countertop isn’t safe!
When preparing beets on a boat (or really anywhere) make sure to clean surfaces immediately. Wooden spoons’ porous surfaces never will regain their original shade but you can keep your white counter top gleaming.
Remove beet tops leaving about an inch. Store in a cool dark place with other root veggies. If kept in cool environment beets can last months. If warm or the tops are left on then they last about 2 weeks. Don’t throw the tops away, beet greens make a tasty leafy green.
Bell Peppers: Peppers last 1-2 weeks refrigerated or at room temperature. Greenlast the longest. Keep in food hammock out of sunlight. Do not refrigerate. Once they start to wilt or go off you can roast them. Roasted peppers are delicious and make a wonderful appetizer.
Berries: A harbor luxury. Can be taking cruising frozen. With the exception of blueberries, cranberries and strawberries, even under optimal conditions fresh berries have less than a week shelf-life.
Parachute Berry Parfait
Biscuits: See cookies
Blueberries: Blueberries are an exception to the berry rule and can last over 2-weeks. Be sure to keep them refrigerated though. A versatile fruit, freezing blueberries doesn’t damage them one bit. If you have a freezer, frozen fruit can be a delicious treat on a hot day, or you can even use frozen blueberries as ice cubes. Dried blueberries also make a lovely addition to oatmeal, granola, yogurt, or whatever your heart desires.
Bok Choy: Refrigerate or wrap in newspaper and store in cool area. Can last up to 3 weeks refrigerated. Be sure not to store with apples or other fruits because bok choy is quite extremely sensitive to ethylene gas.
Bottled Water: See water
Broccoli: Store broccoli (unwashed) in refrigerator in perforated plastic bag. Be sure to buy the entire broccoli rather than just the crowns. Not only does this extend the shelf life but the stem is good in stir-fries. Fresh broccoli can last several weeks. When it turns yellow it is just blooming. The yellow flowers are not fine to eat. Some people don’t like the taste and others are leery of the appearance. Still, blooming can be used in stir-fry or soup.
Butter: Everything tastes better with butter. It is wonderful for baking, cooking or just as spread. Even better, canned butter that you can store on the shelf is available. Unfortunately it is still difficult to find in the United States, however it is readily available in New Zealand, Europe, and many tropical islands, sailors may have to order this item from camping supply stores in the United States.You can also freeze butter for up to a year if you have the freezer space.
Butternut Squash: A type of winter squash. See winter squash