Cabbage: Cabbage is the mariner’s lettuce. abhorred cabbage before I started sailing. Well, I liked the pickled varieties, sauerkraut or kimchee, that is. Still, coleslaw made my hair stand on end. When I heard that cabbage was the cruiser’s lettuce I was not excited. I think I would prefer a diet of hardtack to one of coleslaw.
But the more I experimented with cabbage, the more I liked it. Far more than simply the coleslaw I knew as a child, I have come to see it as an under-appreciated and extremely versatile vegetable. it is in some of my favorite Japanese dishes, featured widely in Korean cuisine, and many other dishes one wouldn’t necessarily think of it.
You can use it for salads, garnish, on sandwiches, or whatever you would use lettuce for. I find it a poor substitute for lettuce in salads but it is good to have greens even in on a long passage. And don’t limit yourself to using cabbage for lettuce… there are many creative things to be done with it. For example, it can be fermented and made kimchee or sauerkraut. Wrapped in newspaper and store in a cool place it can last for several months and refrigerated it can last up to 6-months.
Canned Butter: See Butter
Canned Fish: Though many people go into sailing with visions of catching fish every day it is good to carry some canned fish as well. Mackerel, is wonderful over white rice. Smoked oysters on crackers make a delicious afternoon snack.
Canned Tuna: Wonderful cruising food and a great source of protein. Store in any pantry and it will last for several years.
Canned Vegetables: When the fresh vegetables are gone, sailors turn to frozen, and finally to canned vegetables. They may not be as tasty or vitamin-rich as the fresh version, but canned vegetables can get you through a long passage. Canned vegetables should last around 2-5 years until opened. Never use a can that is bulging or looks like it has been tampered with.
Carrots: Cut the tops off of carrots and keep them refrigerated in a ziplock bag. Carrots become sweeter with cold storage but keep them away from apples because ethylene gas produced by apples (and many fruits) makes carrots taste bitter. Carrots can be stored up to 6 months but I have never had luck over 2.
Celery: Celery isn’t the best cruising food if you don’t have refrigeration but can last up to several months refrigerated. Store in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator. Left out can become limp and age rapidly.
Cherimoya /custard apple: A fruit to South and Central America with a green exterior and sweet creamy interior with black seeds. Mark Twain lauded the cherimoya as “the most delicious fruit known to man,” and it is well worth picking up a few at the local market. Store in fruit hammock out of the sun. Cherimoyas have a shelf-life of around 2-weeks (though may last up to a month if refrigerated) and can be found at many local markets in South or Central America and occasionally in the Caribbean.
Cheese: The harder the cheese the longer the shelf life. For cheddar and softer cheeses be sure to buy large blocks of cheese. Smaller chunks and shredded mold faster.
*Buy vacuum-packed cheese if available. The shelf-life of un-opened cheddar or Swiss have a shelf-life of up to 6 months and harder cheeses can last up to 9 months. If cheese gets some mold on it simply pare it off and use the remaining cheese.
*If you can’t find vacuum-packed cheese then wrap blocks in vinegar-soaked cheesecloth
Chicken: Because of the dangers of salmonella and diseases uncooked chicken can carry I prefer to use pre-cooked canned chicken chunks. The cans can be kept on the shelf, open them up and they are ready to use. Wonderful for stir-fries and any dish you would normally use chicken chunks in. They can be found in grocery stores in the States, Australia, and many countries around the world.
* Buying a whole cooked chicken at the store before a long passage provides easy go-to meals for the first few days at sea.
Chinese (Napa) Cabbage: Store in perforated plastic bag or in a cool area of the boat wrapped in newspaper. Chinese cabbage can stored up to 3-months in optimal conditions though I have only had it last 1-month unrefrigerated.
Chocolate: Chocolate is a staple on any boat. A wonderful morale booster and great for late-night watch snacks, a burst of energy, or just to keep something in your stomach. I am a strong advocate of having a chocolate “stash” on board. Baking chocolate isn’t a bad idea to have around either
Chocolate Passion Fruit Cake
Coconut Milk: Cans of coconut milk are wonderful to have around for stir-fries, desserts, drinks, or just to add richness to powdered skim milk.
* Note: coconut milk is not simply the juice from coconuts so it isn’t bad to have a few cans on board even if you are headed to the tropics or somewhere with lots of coconuts
Cookies: Fresh cookies are always the best but it isn’t bad to carry a few packages of boxed cookies. Even the most proficient baker can’t always be baking, especially in hot climates.
Corn: Ears of corn are delicious, but I am also a fan of canned frozen and dried corn. It is a vegetable (or grain) that translates well into any form. Buy dehydrated corn if available because it cuts down on space, weight, and cost. You can purchase dehydrated corn in some grocery stores and numerous websites online.
Corn meal is an interesting ingredient. In America, almost every grocery store in North and South America carries it. In parts of South America and the Caribbean you actually have to search for wheat flour (harina de trigo) because corn meal is the norm. But in Australia it is extremely difficult to find. I searched in grocery stores all along the Eastern Coast, from Brisbane to Darwin, and found one box of cornbread mix.
But be very careful. Most grocery stores I stopped in did carry corn flour. (which I mistakenly bought) Corn flour is actually what is known in the United States as corn starch. So if you are sailing to Australia and like corn bread try to bring a few bags of cornmeal along.
Cornstarch: Cornstarch is a fantastic thickener and after crewing on a Japanese boat I have really started to appreciate it. You don’t have to cook sauces down for ages to thicken them. But there is a trick to prevent corn starch from clumping (and sitting useless on the bottom of the pan.
- 1 T to 1 c liquid
- Called corn flour in Australia When cooking with it
- first mix it carefully into a ladle-full of liquid to be sure that it doesn’t clump.
Cous Cous: Some of the best cruising pasta, it is one of the most versatile and underrated of all pasta. Traditionally a North African dish, it can be served sweet as well as savory. Takes almost no time to cook and extremely water efficient. Store in plastic bug-proof container.
Crackers: It is good to have a few boxes of crackers around to snack on. Confused seas can make a crew so ill that munching on crackers is the only way that they can keep anything down. A more fun reason to keep a box in the pantry is that you can dress them up for appetizers at impromptu potlucks or dinner parties that always seem to happen when cruising.
On Course Cherry Blue Cheese Crackers
Cranberries: The longest-lasting of all the “berries,” fresh cranberries can last for months. Though homemade cranberry jelly is delicious, I prefer my cruising cranberries dried or in juice form. Some cruisers may have a lot of recipes for fresh cranberries, but I can’t justify storing a fruit with such limited uses. I prefer to keep a box of dried cranberries around. You can keep dried cranberries on the shelf in a plastic box for up to a year past their expiration date.
Cream Cheese: Nice to have around for spreads, adding to dishes for a creamy flavor, or mixing with spices.
Cucumbers: Buy cellophane wrapped if possible. Cucumbers have a shelf-life of around 2-weeks. Do not refrigerate more than a few days. Never freeze them or their texture and taste are changed.
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
Apples: The sweeter the apple the shorter the life. Try and buy granny smiths, Fuji, or other tart apples for cruising. Be sure to buy un-bruised fruit, which can last several months. Store in cool, dark, well-ventilated area. Never wrap in newspaper. After apples are cut, refrigerate but before cutting, apples should not be refrigerated.
To extend your food stores’ shelf life store apples should be stored separately from other produce because they give off large amounts of a gas called ethylene which promotes ripening. If you want an unripe piece of fruit to ripen quickly simply put it in a bag with an apple. Though Fuji and granny smith apples do not produce as much ethylene as other varieties.
Apricots: Apricots have a minimal shelf-life, at best 1-3 weeks with refrigeration. Though they are good treat in port they are not an ideal cruising fruit. Dried apricots on the other hand are absolutely delicious and make an excellent addition to your pantry.
Asian Pears: Store in cool dark well-ventilated area. Asian pears have high ethylene production, but not as high as apples. This means that the fruit be stored with other produce, but not a bad idea to keep separate as ethylene causes other produce to age rapidly. Asian pears can last months.
Asparagus: Cut ¼” off the bottom and tore upright in 1 inch of water in the refrigerator. Can last up to 3-weeks with refrigeration, though I have only had luck up to 2-weeks. At sea, wrap bottom in a wet towel or paper towel in a perforated plastic bag to extend the shelf-life to over a week. Keep away from apples and bananas because the ethylene gas they emit will age, and toughen the asparagus. You can also buy canned asparagus as well and some people are quite fond of it.
Avocados: Buy green and hard, because avocados don’t ripen on the tree they are always picked hard as rocks. Once they reach the grocery store they start ripening. Avocadoes can last up to a month in the fruit hammock. Be sure to keep them away from apples though. Transfer to the refrigerator for additional 4-days. They be frozen for up to 6-months. A little lemon juice helps prevent them from turning black.
Continuing the peach extravaganza, but muffins seemed like the natural thing to follow scones. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a muffin tin. I was lamenting that fact when Judy, one of the nicest people at the already effusively kind Detroit Yacht Club kindly offered to lend, and then donated her muffin tin. Sure I could have made a peach tea bread, but muffins are always just more fun.
I naturally told Judy that I would bring her and her husband some muffins in thanks. Like the best laid plans of mice and men this fell by the wayside when the muffins vanished almost as soon as I took them out of the oven.
These spicy muffins call to mind sipping apple cider on a brisk autumn day with bright blue skies and a stiff breeze. Quick and easy, they’re perfect for whipping up before a day-sail.
Peach Spice Mizzen Muffins
- 1 c sugar
- 2 eggs egg replacer (1 T replacer and ¼ c water)
- ¾ c vegetable oil
- 1 c milk
- 3 c. flour
- 1 t baking soda
- ½ t salt
- 1 T vanilla
- 1 T ginger
- 2 T cinnamon
- 1 T nutmeg
- 4 small ripe peaches (2 large)
- Cinnamon sugar for top
- preheat oven to 350◦
- grease muffin tin
- mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices)
- make a well in the middle and mix in remaining ingredients except peaches
- when thoroughly mixed gently stir in peaches
- Spoon batter into muffin tins
- bake for 30 minutes
- brush tops with butter and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar
It’s peach season and my favorite time of year. When I got to Eastern Market, Detroit’s extensive farmer’s market, and peaches overflowed the baskets I almost fell to my knees. Peaches are delicious, but sadly dreadful cruising food. While
Of course you can buy frozen peaches, or lower yourself to canned one but it’s not the same. Still, I wasn’t going to let peach season slip by without treating myself, and my boat to a peach extravaganza. Starting with Schooner Scones.
A a delightful treat at breakfast these scones are quick to be snapped up. If you like your scones a little sweeter, sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on top.
Ginger Peach Schooner Scones
- 3 c flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 ½ t Tablespoon baking powder
- ½ t baking soda
- ¾ c butter (cold)
- 1 cup milk
- 2 T lemon juice
- 1 t salt
- 2 T fresh ginger
- 2T ground ginger
- 1 t nutmeg
- 1 t cinnamon
- 2 T almond extract
- ½ cup candied ginger
- 3 peaches
- Preheat oven to 375◦ F
- Mix milk and lemon juice and set aside (or if you have buttermilk use that instead)
- Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
- Cut in cold butter until forms pea-sized crumbs
- Gently mix in milk and extracts with hands (do not kneed)
- Mix in spices
- Carefully stir in peaches
- Spoon large dollops of batter onto well-greased cookie sheet
Bake 15 minutes
Passion Fruit Jibing Jam
I first discovered passion fruit jam at a sushi party in Argentina and have been making it ever since. It’s simple, delicious, and a wonderful addition to meals both sweet and savory.
This bright-tasting jam will turn your head with its bold tart flavor, maybe even your direction of sail. I have seen passion fruit jam in grocery stores but never found one that can come close to the homemade. Unfortunately it does take quite a while to cook so preparation eats propane, but I think that it is worth it at least once and a while.
Passion Fruit Jibing Jam
- 2 16-oz pks frozen passion fruit pulp or pulp from 4 passion fruits
- 1 ½ c sugar
- 1 package pectin, or 3 T (2 pkgs if using passion fruit in Australia)
- Bring to roiling boil
- Slowly add Pectin stirring constantly
- Add sugar stirring constantly until fully dissolved
- Simmer for 30 minutes or until liquid thickens and is reduced by ½, stirring occasionally
- Pour into 2-3 jelly clean jelly jars
*If you want a sauce or soupier jam don’t boil as long
It is always fun to start your day off with a pretty breakfast. It can really set the mood. Light and colorful like pretty parachute sails this easy breakfast is always a hit. I love using seasonal berries but frozen berries work wonders for buoying spirits on long passages.
Parachute Berry Parfait
- ¾ c granola
- 1 c plain Greek yogurt
- ½ c raspberries
- ½ c blueberries
- ¼ c almonds
- Maple syrup
- Place a layer of granola at the bottom of a clear cup or bowl
- Spoon a dollop of yogurt on top and spread it over
- Layer berries on top of the yogurt
- Spoon yogurt, granola, and berries in whatever order you’d like
- Spread a final layer of yogurt on the top
- Garnish with a berry
- Drizzle pure maple syrup over the top
I adore having yogurt for breakfast. A great source of protein, it makes wonderful cruising food too. But I had almost never had it on long passages… it invariably disappeared in the first few days out of port. Recently I have seen more and more “yogurt makers” for sale. A yogurt maker for cruising… what a fantastic idea!
Then I met Margi at Detroit Yacht Club. “Making yogurt is easy. You don’t need a yogurt maker,” the cruiser advised me. She invited me over to watch her make a fresh batch. 24-hours later her yogurt was as stiff as the Chobani Greek yogurt starter she had used.
Sure it looked easy, but I was still nervous about making my own. But my new crewmate, Hiroshi was a scientist. A scientist who specialized in fermentation no less and he talked me through it. 24-hours later I had yogurt.
Ideally you should use a Styrofoam container to keep the heat in and incubate the yogurt but if you don’t have one hot climates, or keeping the yogurt in a warm environment works pretty well.
Styrofoam or plastic container
- 1 quart milk
- ¼ c “starter yogurt” *
- Bring the milk to a boil.
- Allow milk to cool to around body temperature
- Place starter yogurt in Styrofoam or tupperware container
- Pour a little of the warm milk into the Tupperware.
- Stir the dollop of starter yogurt into the milk
- Continue adding milk slowly and stirring.
- Put lid over container and allow to stand for 24-36 hours in warm area. In this time the milk will thicken and set into yogurt.
- Check yogurt consistency
- Place set yogurt in refrigerator
*use the last of your previous batch or any store-bought yogurt will do as long as it has “active cultures.” Whatever brand of yogurt you use your new batch will turn out similar to. In other words, if you use a Greek yogurt the batch will be firm.
Alternately you can use freeze-dried yogurt starter which I recommend sailing with a couple of packs if you are cruising. That way, if a batch doesn’t turn out and you don’t lose your ability to make yogurt.
** If using UHT (boxed) milk you don’t need to boil it first
***Contrary to popular belief Hiroshi assured me that it didn’t matter if the milk carton has been opened and used or not.
***The yogurt cultures grow better in a warm environment so making yogurt will be much easier in hotter climates.
At sea, eggs are a commodity. Of course you can extend their life with all sorts of tricks, but omelets are delicious. Why waste eggs in baked goods you don’t necessarily need them in? Always a hit, Boating bread is light, fluffy and doesn’t want for eggs one bit.
(okay, I admit it. I did use egg wash on top of the bread to make it look golden brown and pretty.)
This recipe makes enough dough for 2 loaves. Just before it’s time to put the dough in a bread pan, I divide it in half. I put half the dough in a pan and put the rest in a bowl covered with a damp towel (or paper towel) and pop it in the refrigerator. It will last about a week like this.
When you are finished with the first loaf and want fresh bread, pull the dough out of the refrigerator. It will have proofed in the refrigerator. Just punch it down, put it in a prepared bread pan, and let warm up and proof for about an hour. Then just pop it in the preheated oven.
- 2 packets yeast or 1 tablespoon (In my experience the salt air can affect the yeast’s growth. if cooking on land I suggest 1 packet or 2.5 teaspoons. )
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ c sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 c flour
- ¾ c warm water
- ¾ c milk
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 T egg replacer
- Mix 1 t sugar, warm water, and yeast. Set aside for 10 minutes
- Mix 3 cups flour, sugar, egg replacer, and salt
- Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in yeast mixture, milk, and oil
- Mix first with a spoon, then add remaining flour and kneed with your hands 5 minutes
- Place dough in oiled bowl and allow to proof about 45 minutes
- Punch down, divide in half, and place in oiled bread pans
- Preheat oven to 350◦ or medium
- Allow to rise another ½ hour
- Bake for about 30 minutes
It’s important to have something to snack on when you’re underway. Something small, fast, and portable. Cookies, or biscuits, are ideal. Sure you can buy store bought cookies, but where’s the fun in that? Besides, homemade cookies taste so much better. The only problem is that they don’t always seem to last more than a day.
Snickerdoodles one of the most underrated cookies. Everybody loves them, but they aren’t usually the cookie that comes to one’s mind first. Chocolate chip, peanut butter, but snickerdoodles
Besides being delicious and easy they are one of the best cookies for making at sea. They don’t require anything fancy like chocolate chips (which have the unfortunate tendency of melting in hot climates and can be difficult to find in many countries) or peanut butter. With egg replacer, you can save your precious supplies of eggs for omelets. And so snickerdoodles are the perfect sailing cookie.
* I like to use a little more flour than traditional snickerdoodles. This way the cookies that come out rounder. If you like a more traditional, flatter, cookie then just use 2 ½ cups flour rather than 3.
- 1 ½ c sugar
- 1 c shortening
- 2 eggs (I use egg replacer)
- 3 c flour
- 1 t baking soda
- ¼ t salt
- 1 T vanilla
- 1T ground cinnamon
- ½ c sugar
- Preheat oven to 375
- Mix cinnamon and ½ sugar in bowl and set aside
- Mix shortening, sugar eggs and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients until well mixed
- Form dough into balls and roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture
- Place balls on pan 2-3 inches apart and slightly flatten with hand
- Bake for 8-10 minutes