Galley Tips

Tips & Tricks for the Ship's Galley

Uses for Coffee filters ...
  • Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the  microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.
  • Filter broken cork from wine.  If you break the cork when opening a wine  bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter. 
  • Protect a nested skillets.  Place a coffee filter in the  skillet to absorb moisture, prevent scratches and rust. 
  • Recycle frying oil.  After frying, strain oil through a sieve  lined with a coffee filter.
  • Hold tacos.  Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods. 
  • Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken  fingers, etc on them..  It soaks out all the grease. 
  • Use them to strain soup stock and to tie fresh herbs in to put in soups and stews.
  • Use as a disposable "snack bowl" for popcorn, chips, etc.
  • Use them to sprout seeds.  Simply dampen the coffee filter, place seeds inside, fold it and place it into a plastic baggie until they sprout. 
Keeping cheese fresh ...

After you open any cheese, wrap it in wax paper before returning it to a plastic wrapper/Ziploc bag.  I read this tip in bon appétit last month and gave it a try with some Provolone.  Where my cheese usually lasts about a week before it gets some mold or becomes "smelly", it is still in the fridge and still fresh after a month.

Cleaning your veggies ...

Sanitize your veggies. 

1)  Fill one spray bottle with white or apple cider vinegar and another with 3% hydrogen peroxide (the same strength commonly available in drugstores).  Spray produce with the vinegar first. Its acidity kills the majority of organisms. Then spray with peroxide, which is a strong oxidizer that helps eliminate Listeria. Rinse well with water.

2)  In Guatemala we soaked the veggies in bleach water and then rinsed & dried well before storing. 

Drinking Water ...

We have never had a problem finding drinking water in the Western Caribbean, but here's what the Red Cross suggests if you need to:

Boil it vigorously for at least five minutes, or...

Add four drops of chlorine bleach to one quart of water, then let the mixture stand for at least 30 minutes prior to use, or

Add five drops of 2% iodine solution to one quart of water. It should stand for at least a half-hour before consumption, or...

Buy water-purification tablets from a marine, drug or sporting- goods store. Add one tablet to a quart container filled with water. Cap the container. After three minutes, shake thoroughly. Tighten the cap and allow the water to disinfect for 10 minutes. Follow the manufacturer's directions, however, for maximum effectiveness.

Eggs ...

1)  Is it Rotten?  You can tell if an egg has spoiled by placing it in a cup of fresh water.  If it floats at the top of the wataer it's gone bad, if it sinks, it's still good.  You should still break each egg into a separate bowl, rather than directly into the mixing bowl, just to be safe.

2)  When you leave the US, eggs are sold loose.  Keep any good Styrofoam cartons you can for storage when you re-provision or you can purchase a plastic egg carrier.  I found mine in the camping section at WalMart.  Eggs that have never been refrigerated will stay fresh for about 2 months if you turn the eggs over every other day.  Once eggs have been refrigerated, they must remain refrigerated. 

3)  Dropping an egg leaves a mess that is difficult to clean up.  If you sprinkle the egg with salt and leave it for a few minutes you will find that the egg can be easily mopped up with a paper towel.

4)  The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg:  Place eggs in the bottom of pot.  Cover with warm water & bring to a boil on high.  Once water has boiled, immediately remove from heat.  Cover the pot and allow eggs to sit for about 15 minutes.  Remove eggs from pot and allow to fully cool. Do not run under water or place in refrigerator. They must cool at room temperature.  After eggs have cooled, you will have the perfect hard boiled eggs that peel easily

Make veggies last longer

1)  Cilantro:  will last up to two weeks - keep roots on if possible.  Wash and dry well.  Wrap tightly in a paper towel, then in cellophane wrap, keep refrigerated.  This will work for mint also.

2)  Limes:  Wash and dry well.  Wrap each individual lime in tin foil.

3)  Celery:  Wash & dry well, then wrap tightly in tin foil and then keep it in the fridge.  Re-crisp celery by standing it upright in a pitcher of cold, salted water.

Removing Fish Odors

To remove fish or onion odors from hands, wipe them with vinegar. Pour vinegar into the hot skillet after cooking fish or onions and simmer briefly.

Old tube socks

Old socks are great for protecting bottles & jars.  Cut them off just above the heel, sew together & you've got a long tube that fits wine & liquor bottles perfectly.

Shopping in Foreign Ports
  • Keep or purchase egg containers.  A lot of stores in the Western Caribbean sell eggs individually with no container.
  • Shop where the locals shop.  You will find the prices much better & the food much more interesting.
Splash-Free Pouring

To avoid messy splashes when transferring things like tomato sauce or soup from a pot to a storage container, place the backside of a large wooden or metal spoon under the pouring stream to deflect the liquid into the container.

Finding the beginning of a roll of plastic wrap

Hold a clean toothbrush or veggie brush against the plastic wrap and rotate the roll, rubbing the bristle along the surface of the plastic until the hidden edge loosens and the plastic can be unwrapped.

Storage
  • Zip-lock type storage bags are a must.  You can double bag flour, sugar, etc.  They make storing your staples a lot easier than big plastic containers.  When storing items like cornbread mix, cake mixes, etc. you can cut the instructions from the box and slip it down inside between the two bags.
Stoves & Ovens
  • Anyone who has a canister type non pressurized alcohol boat stove like the Origo knows that alcohol is getting costly these days.  I don't know how many times I've left my stove open to cool it off before I could put that round rubber gasket on the canister, then forgot about it completely.   A lot of alcohol probably evaporated before I was able to cover it.   I made a notched stick that holds my stove open while it cools and what I do now is after shutting off the flame, I take a damp rag and cool off the canister while flipping the rag over till it's cool to the touch.   When the canister is cool, I insert the gasket and place a stainless steel weight on it.   This stops any evaporation immediately and the stick allows the upper part of the stove to cool down.  From:  Joe Alves Jr., s/v Trinkka


Submit your favorite tip to tami@saltysailors.com.

 

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