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By Carolyn Shearlock, author of The Boat Galley, with over 350 FREE articles to get the most out of your boat kitchen with galley tips, insights & equipment recommendations. A few recipes, too – plus an active Facebook community to ask questions and share tips with other readers! The print edition of The Boat Galley Cookbook, written with Jan Irons.

The Boat Galley

Apr 07 2013

You’ll find lots of articles in boating magazines, books and websites talking about different grades of stainless in boat parts.

Did you ever think about those various grades and how they apply in the galley?

Read more: Stainless In The Galley
Mar 30 2013

By Carolyn Shearlock, author of The Boat Galley, with almost 500 FREE articles to get the most out of your boat kitchen with galley tips, insights & equipment recommendations. A few recipes, too – plus an active Facebook community to ask questions and share tips with other readers!

It's not pretty.  It's not part of the dream.  But it’s a part of every boat. It's garbage. And there’s no convenient garbage disposer.


So, what do you do with garbage on a boat?  I'm talking about short trips, charters and coastal cruising.  Ocean passages, where you may be at sea or a month or more, will require some different techniques.

You've probably already noticed the two main problems with garbage:  it can stink, and it attracts bugs (and worse).  In a warm climate, both happen very quickly.

Luckily, putting your garbage in an airtight container solves both problems.  I usually have a wide-mouth jar that's trash itself and I just put the garbage in it and keep the lid on tight. Peanut butter, mayonnaise and jelly jars are all great candidates.  You can also use margarine and yogurt tubs, but the lids can be a little more prone to pop off.

If I don't have a suitable jar or tub, I use an old Ziploc bag or perhaps an old bread wrapper.  The big thing is to make sure it doesn't have any holes in it and that you can seal it up tightly.  Sometimes with a Ziploc, "crud" will get into the zipper ridges and prevent the bag from staying sealed.

If the container isn't airtight or comes open, the smell will probably be your first clue.  Swarming bugs around it are another sure sign.  Take care of the problem immediately -- no matter how bad it smells -- as it emphatically will not get better by itself.  You do not want a stinky garbage mess to suddenly turn into a stinky garbage mess with a bug infestation.  If you've had a problem, it can help to give a squirt of bug spray in the trash can after you've cleaned up any spill.

We always disposed of the "garbage jars" with the rest of our trash when we got to a town or anchorage with some sort of trash service.

Some people suggest throwing garbage overboard on the grounds the sea life will eat it or that it's biodegradable.  I don't like to do that.

All you have to do is walk the beach anywhere that garbage is thrown in the water to see the result.  Okay, you don't see as much food as plastic, but a lot of that garbage does end up on shore or on the ocean bottom just offshore.  Fruit peels, especially oranges, are usually prevalent.  I remember snorkeling beautiful reefs in the BVI and finding banana peels.  YUCK!

That said, we do tend to throw fish bones and guts overboard, and anything else that once came from the sea (shrimp shells, clam shells, and so on) – those are natural food and homes for other sea creatures.

Feb 25 2013

Breakfast without  toast?  No way!  But most boats don't really have the electrical power for a toaster...  Let alone using that much presicous storage space on a single - purpose item.


Good news: you don't have to give up toast, even if you did give up the toaster!

Today's Topic:  Toast without a Toaster 

All of these methods produce good results if you pay constant attention to the toast.  Unlike using a toaster, you just can't pop the toast in and do other stuff while waiting for it to be ready.  The key to good toast (golden and crunchy on the outside and still soft and moist on the inside)  is high heat, and that means the bread can go from white to burnt in just seconds.

Method 1 - Skillet:


I use this method on occasion, but I don't like it as well as making "grilled bread" as it can blacken the pan.  However it is the simplest!

          1.  Heat skillet over high heat. Skillet must be hot before you put the bread in it.

          2.  Place bread in skillet without oil.

          3.  Turn bread over when bottom is golden.

          4.  When second side is toasted, remove and serve.


Method 2 - Grilled Bread:

My favorite method of making breakfast toast, this is also a great way to make garlic toast to accompany a meal.  Just sprinkle the butter with a little garlic powder, or mix finely minced garlic or garlic paste into butter.  Other good flavorings are cinnamon, onion or dill.

          1.  Heat skillet over medium - high heat.

          2. Lightly butter one side of a slice of bread, like you do for a grilled cheese sandwich.  When the skillet is hot, put bread in the pan, buttered side down.

          3.  While the first side is cooking, lightly butter the second side.

          4.  Flip with a spatula when the first side is golden

          5.  When second side is also golden, remove from the pan and serve.


Method 3 - Camping Toaster:

When I was a little girl, I was fascinated by the way my grandma made toast on this weird little gizmo that stood on her stove.  She didn't call it a "camping toaster" -- it was just her toaster.  ( She also had a tendency to forget about the toast, and I was equally fascinated to watch her scrape the burnt bits into the sink with a knife)

As shown in the photo, these toasters are still made by Coleman and some other companies and work just as well over a gas stove as the camping stove.  You can find them at Wal-mart and campinig stores for $5 to $10.  Be sure to get one that folds for storage.

You can make up to four pieces of toast at a time, leaning bread against the support, and then flipping it when the first side is done.


Method 4 - Broiler

If you're lucky enough to have a broiler, this method works well:

          1.  Move oven  rack to to position.  Preheat broiler until it is red hot.

          2.  Slide the rack out, place bread slices on it, then slide it back in.

          3.  Keep the oven door cracked and watch for the bread to become golden -- the exact time will depend on the heat of your broiler, distance to the rack and moisture in the bread.  It generally takes somewhere between 30 and 60


          4.  Slide the rack out, quickly flip the bread and slide it back in.  ( Don't try to reach into the oven to flip the bread -- it's too easy to burn yourself!)

          5.  Watch for the second side to turn golden.  It will take less time than the first side did. 

          6.  Remove and serve

Just remember, no matter what technique you choose, you have to watch the toast constantly!


Feb 08 2013

How do you have enough milk for a week if you've only got a tiny refrigerator?  or if you just have a cooler?  In the US. campers will typically turn to powdered milk or evaporated milk...  but there's a much better product available.


Boxed Milk 

If you're going to be away from grocery stores for more than a few days, boxed milk can be a lifesaver!  It's widely available in developing countries where there's less refrigeration, but you can get it many stores in the US-- if you know what to look for!

I took this photo a couple of days ago at my local Walmart Supercenter and I've bought boxed milk at other Walmarts across the county when we've taken some extended camping trips.  It's typically in the baking aisle, of all places.  I've also seen it in various other chain groceries and even once in a convience store along the ICW.

So what's so great about boxed milk?  Well, you'll notice that it's on regular shelves.  It doesn't have to be refrigerated until you open it. Unopened, it's good at least three months -- and I've used some that was over 6 months old with no problems.

Use it just as you would regular milk -- which is what it is except that it's been ultapasteurized and packaged in a Tetra Pak, which totally prevents air getting to it.

Back in the days before my husband  Dave developed his milk allergy, I used boxed milk 100% of the time on the boat.  We used it on our morning cereal and in cooking.  Dave occasionally drank a glass with a sandwich.  Some people say they notice a slight difference in the taste when drinking it:  Dave didn't.  and I never noticed any difference in cooking or on my cereal. 

You can store the boxes just about anywhere -- we had some shallow lockers behind settees that were just perfect for stacking these in.  They fit into lots of other small spaces -- just make sure to rememver where you've stashed them all.

Here in the US, almost all boxed milk I've found has been the Parmalat brand, available in 2% and whole milk.  The tops shown in the photo above are the most common.  You flip the plastic back and pull a foil tab off to open the box, then flip the plastic top back to close it -- it sort of clicks into place.  On a boat, thought that little plastic flip top can easily jostly open in the refrigerator or cooler.  If you're going to be in fairly protected conditions, you can just put a piece of duct tape over the top.  I usually transferred the milk to an old clean juic bottle with a screw top.

Before opening a new box, be sure to shake it up well in case any of the milk solids have settled and then just use as you would any other milk!

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