The sea, as we know, makes you hungry and there is nothing more satisfying when you sail on a sailboat than cooking on board in complete freedom and preparing delicious recipes to share with the whole crew. On the boat you can cook everything, from freshly caught fish to grilled meat, not to mention first courses, side dishes and desserts and there are even those who prepare their own bread and pizza. It is only necessary to organize and optimize spaces and equipment that even on the largest boats are always more contained than in the kitchen at home.
Difference between cooking on a boat rather than somewhere else
The kitchen on board is not very different from the kitchen at home. The most significant difference is the size. In yacht kitchens, space is limited, as are gas supplies and refrigeration, so planning and organization is required. In a kitchen on an average sailboat, for example, the two burners on the stove or the microwave are considered luxury items. The sink is smaller than what you have at home, so often large pots and pans that will also act as a sink. In addition to the minimum space for both storage and preparation of ingredients, in the kitchen of a yacht you will have to deal with limited utensils. Cooking must be done on the water, while the kitchen moves with the boat is heeling, so you have to be firm on your feet. Most yachts still have a tilting gimbal that stays horizontal as the boat rocks.
Crockery, pots and stoves
The ideal is to carry only the minimum of kitchen equipment and the most common utensils, such as pots and dishes. Among the latter, the advice is to put away all dangerous tools if you are not using them, such as knives because a boat moves even when it is docked and any sharp object could accidentally fall or dart and injure someone. The non-slip mats or damp cloths are also very useful to prevent plates or cutting boards from slipping while you are preparing the dishes. Since preparation areas and countertops are usually very small, avoid bringing food that involves a lot of cutting or processing. For example, it is better to use lump sugar which is much neater than powdered sugar which can fall all over the place.
When cooking it is good to have at least one pan with a safety lid to cook unique dishes in case of bad weather. Pressure cookers are also an excellent investment for preparing food onboard a yacht as they significantly reduce cooking times. Also, make sure that all crew members know how to light the stove and check the gas supply safely. If it is a gas system, always close the respective cylinder valve when you are not using the stove or oven.
Galley: which foods to ship and in what quantity
The amount of food to take on the boat depends on the number of people on board for the cruise and on the approximate estimate of how much each person can eat in a day, which must be multiplied by the number of days of the holiday. The general rule for food on the boat is to always take a little extra food. This mainly refers to non-perishable food. As for fresh foods, buy them in quantities that you can use before they go bad, considering that you can also take them every other day or every time you stop in port. There are actually no restrictions on the food you can take on board, but it is important to follow, for example, the tastes of the crew, any diets or dietary restrictions. Don’t forget to take snacks and enough drinking water as well. This also includes alcoholic beverages, fruit juices and soft drinks.
How to organize the meals of the day
The ideal way to better organize the galley on board is to make a list of foods to be consumed based on the various meals of the day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and aperitifs. For breakfast, you usually buy milk, tea, fruit juices, coffee, cereals, eggs, ham, jams, butter, biscuits, rusks and bread. For lunch, you can have whatever you want, but if you’re going to keep it simple, buy foods that can be assembled quickly or served with light salads or sandwiches. This includes lettuce, various vegetables, canned tuna, pasta, cheese and some meat, such as chicken for example. Dinners usually require a little more planning. Everyone’s tastes and habits must be respected – whether they are vegetarians or not – and also the quantity of food that will be bought must be kept in mind.
The best foods on the boat are those that can last the longest, especially if you can’t go grocery shopping every day and must also have a short preparation period. The last thing you want during your sailing holidays is to spend hours cooking. We suggest you buy tomato sauce, ground beef, steak, vegetables, pasta, rice, and beans. Snacks are also essential to have on your sailing food list, especially if you bring children with you. Chips, bars, cookies, chocolate, and nuts will make them happy.
Drinks: on board consumption doubles
To drink in addition to water, consider a choice of wines or beer, also take fruit juices, scented teas and herbal teas that will help to drink the water from the tank if necessary. Particular attention should be given to water for drinking and cooking. The minimum quantity must be 2 liters per day per person multiplied by the days of the cruise plus 50 percent for unexpected events. If there is a desalination plant it is easier, but for drinking water it is better not to consider it because even the desalination plant can break and it is not easy to fix it in the middle of the sea.
Don’t forget sauces, spices and treats
Then, to rejuvenate the flavors, off to sauces such as mustard, mayonnaise, anchovy paste, ketchup, soy sauce, and wasabi which will be good for raw fish, and of course the spices, ginger, vanilla, aromatic herbs that you can blend with salt to keep them for a long time.
Finally, fresh foods: butter, cheese, some cold cuts, eggs, fruit, and vegetables. The amount of stuff that can be stowed onboard is never too much, but the important thing is to keep these foods well, especially during the hottest months. If the fridge works well and is large, butter, cheese and most of the cured meats go there, but there can also be bread which, closed in a double plastic bag, can be kept for about ten days, the tomatoes washed and closed in a plastic box, as well as carrots and short-lived vegetables: green beans, zucchini, lettuce.
Best preserving fruit and vegetables
Potatoes, garlic, onions, and pumpkins, stored in some net or ventilated drawer, can be kept for a long time; lemons also last a long time if they are wrapped one by one in the newspaper. Eggplants, oranges, and apples last much less, while the unripe bananas that you have loaded, when they ripen, do it all together and you have to learn to dry them, fry them or turn them into dessert. If there is no room in the fridge, eggs should be covered with a veil of petroleum jelly that seals the pores of the shell and makes them last a long time, if you have the foresight to turn them from time to time. Food that is not fresh must also be protected from humidity and animals. To do this, simply close the packages of pasta, flour, and rice in airtight plastic bags together with an alcohol pad. Here are some small tricks for stowing and storing food onboard ready to be stored and used.