Friday, August 28, 2009

Keeping it Fresh. Provisioning tips to share?

Cooking and eating well aboard a sail boat depends upon the ability to procure and store fresh ingredients. In the Bahamas, finding good quality fresh food is a big challenge. The inhabitants of these dry, rocky, limestone islands and visiting cruisers must wait for mail boats to bring fresh produce from the States.

In stark contrast, the volcanic islands of the Caribbean produce an abundance of gorgeous fruits and vegetables. Our previous posts include some examples of what we can find at the markets. Supermarkets in the French islands of the Caribbean offer some real treats, good cheap wine and of course the French bread is the best.

Romaine lettuce from the USA, purchased in Grenada

In the supermarkets here in Trinidad, American food producers dominate the shelves. What's nice is the fact we can also find a variety of foods from all over the world. We'll leave here at the end of hurricane season with a full stock of dry goods (pasta, sugar, coffee, etc.), canned goods (vegetables, meats, fruits, butter, etc.) and bottled delights (chutneys, sauces, olive oil, vinegars, etc.). And we shouldn't forget the bottles of duty free wine!!

Our freezer has been less than optimal so that's on the repair list while we are in Chaguaramas. The fridge side is just "ok". Boat refrigerators differ from land based refrigerators. Our refigerator uses holding plates that freeze and act like ice in a cooler. They require freezing down twice a day in the tropics. Storing fresh vegetables can be problematic as contact with the holding plates will burn and ruin fresh produce.

I've been unable to keep lettuce longer than a couple of days before ending up with a soggy brown mess in the bag. We've just discovered, thanks to Genna aboard Night Hawk, the best way to keep lettuce on a boat. Take a look at the picture above, of Romaine lettuce after three weeks storage!

Lettuce keeps exceptionally well when wrapped in paper towel and foil and stored in the refrigerator. Do you have any provisioning tips to share? Leave a comment.