Most of these tips aren’t for people who live on a boat. These are mostly tips for people trying to plan how to pack the fridge for a week-long outing. There are several ways that people plan meals. Some people like to have the meals completely planned out. I like to bring lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and then I’ll just figure out what I can make with what I happen to have on hand. I typically plan one meal for the first day and after that we expect to catch enough fish for our dinners.
1. Put your eggs into ziplock bags and then put them into a container that fits the eggs you want to take. I like to use 2 eggs per person per breakfast. So I will fill each bag with how many eggs I’ll want for breakfast. Then I can just grab the bag out and it’s easy to make scrambled eggs.
2. I look for small containers that fit the door of my fridge and I will keep refilling them. Keep your eyes open for small bottles that fit. For instance I found that small peanut butter containers are a good size. I safe the container and use them for my jalapeños. Like travel shampoo I also buy some products in small sizes and then keep refilling from my house fridge.
3. Because I bring lots of fresh fruits and vegetables I will try to identify some items that don’t need to be kept as cold as others and put them into a collapsible cooler. I will either try to use some of them early in the week, or I will move them into the fridge as I use other foods and more space is available.
4. I like to put items in ziplock bags instead of hard containers because then they only use the space of the actual food. You might want to have several sizes of hard containers to make sure that fluids don’t leak. As the food item goes down, put the ziplock into a smaller container. This works well for storing any leftovers. You can put several different bags into one hard container, but the hard container will help to make sure that too much weight doesn’t cause a bag to pop open.
5. If you like drinking bottled water on the boat, freeze the bottles and you can put them into the collapsible cooler and then drink the water as it melts. Freezing water in cleaned out milk bottles is a good way to take ice on the boat. When it melts, it won’t make all your food wet, and you can drink the water if you run out of fresh water.
6. Use square or rectangular containers instead of round containers. You’ll have less wasted space.
7. I like to use old water bottles for bringing a small amount of milk. We really don’t drink much milk, but I like to put some in my scrambled eggs or for the egg wash when breading fish. You can buy a gallon of milk and then split it out into several smaller bottles and freeze it. Whole milk will tend to have a little ring of fat when defrosted, but shake it and it will mix back in. Powdered milk is also a good item to keep on board if you just use milk for cooking.
8. As I said I like to have at least one planned meal. Typically I will bring at least one pre made meal typically some kind of casserole. You can freeze these meals in ziplock bags and then heat them in the microwave or on the stove. I have some square casserole dishes and I will bring the casserole frozen. Sometimes because it’s frozen and I’m going to eat it that night I won’t put it in the fridge at all. I just let it defrost all day. Be careful sure to make sure that your food doesn’t get to warm and spoil (this might not work in all climates).
9. As with all refrigerators you want to keep them closed as much as possible. Try to grab out everything you need at one time and put everything back in at the same time. When you’re running on 12 volt your fridge won’t keep up if you open the door too much.
10. Newer fridges do well with being frost-free, ours doesn’t. I clean the frost out of the freezer fairly often. Boats are often in a humid climate so ice can build up, and it takes up space that could better utilized with food. Fridges also function better when the ice is removed. Same thing for keeping the coils dust free.
Hope this makes your boating full of joy. Have a Joy Sea Life.