Through reading a number of books on cruising and provisioning as well as talking with other cruisers, I’ve learned a number of tips over the last few months that I thought might be helpful to others getting ready to sail, already sailing or anyone who wants to make their food last longer. I’ll try to post them as they come up, but here are a few…
Did you ever want to buy that huge 5 lb block of cheese at Costco but just not know how to keep it from going bad without stuffing your family of four full with cheese at every meal? First off, if you don’t open it, it’ll last as long as you need it to. But after you open it, wrap it in a cheese cloth (a paper towel works fine too) soaked in vinegar and put it in a plastic container. It also helps if you wipe down the inside of the container with vinegar. My cheeses are lasting at least three times longer now and I don’t have to cut any mold off or give them the sniff test. The vinegar doesn’t seem to affect the taste at all either.
Down here in Mexico, limes are super cheap and they have all kinds of uses. However, we never manage to use all of ours before they turn brown and/or get hard as a rock. Wrap them in tin foil. Yup. Tin foil. I did this on half my limes. The half I did not wrap went bad in a week. The half I wrapped are still in my galley (2 weeks later) bright green and juicy. If you put them in the fridge, they’ll last even longer. I just don’t have room in my itty bitty fridge for that. I’m not sure if this trick works on other citrus fruits as well. Stay tuned because I intend to try it.
This tip may not be so useful for those at home unless you have access to a local farm, but did you know that if you get eggs straight from the chicken, never refrigerated, you don’t have to refrigerate them either (maybe I’m the only one who didn’t know this, but remember I’m from Atlanta and we didn’t raise chickens)? The first time I saw poop on an egg down here I was a little grossed out. Now, I look for the poop and if it has a few feathers on it, even better… I know it’s fresh. If you’re not sure if one is rotten, put it in a glass of water and see if it floats. If it floats, it’s rotten.
The last one probably isn’t new to anyone, but I swear it’s the first time I’ve tried it. Good, fresh garlic is hard to come by down here (old, black, yucky garlic is not hard to come by), so when I find it, I buy it. I put this last batch in a clean jar and covered it with olive oil. Now my garlic not only lasts longer, I have garlic flavored oil for cooking.
I’m trying a recipe now for preserving lemons but the jury is still out… stay tuned.