Food Dehydration

18 11 2014

Capt’n and I had talked for ages about dehydrating food for the boat. For us, there are many benefits to dehydrating food. Dehydrated food lasts a lot longer than fresh food, which is good for sailing long passage or if we are in remote areas with no access to stores. Dehydrated food takes up a lot less space than their hydrated counterpart. This is a big advantage since storage space is at a minimal on a boat. Dehydrated food is expensive. Who doesn’t love some dehydrated apples or pineapples? If you go to the store you will find that dehydrated foods are pretty costly, and they also may have sugar or preservatives added to the fruit. In the end, there may actually be very little “fruit” ingredient at all.

However, there is a problem with dehydrating food on the boat. Namely we don’t have a dehydrator. I have read about dehydrating food using an oven. I believe I would have to run the oven about 12 hours for each batch of food. We have a propane oven and the cost of having the oven on for 12 hours plus the heat the oven would bring in the boat made this option impossible. Luckily we were discussing our dehydrating idea to some people at church who own a dehydrator and graciously let us borrow it for two weeks.  So two weeks this summer I did nothing but buy food, prep food, dehydrate food, and package food. I was so thankful to use this dehydrator but also glad to return it. I didn’t realize dehydrating took so much work.

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The dehydrator we used was a Nesco Professional Food and Jerky Dehydrator (http://www.nesco.com/products/Dehydrators/Dehydrators/FD-75PR-5-Tray-Snackmaster-Pro-Food-Dehydrator/). This dehydrator is a circular style dehydrator that comes with five trays. Our friends bought additional trays and I think there were nine trays in total. Overall, I was pleased with this dehydrator. The dehydrator did its job, meaning the food became dehydrated. I did have to baby the dehydration process a little bit. The dehydrator fan is at the top of the dehydrator so naturally the food on the upper trays would dry out faster than the food on the lower trays. In addition, the food closer to the center would dry out faster than the food on the edge of the trays. So a few times during the dehydrating process I would rotate the trays and move the food around from the middle to edge of each tray.

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The dehydrator does take up a bit of space and space is another thing we don’t quite have a lot of on a boat. Capt’n rigged up an extension cord to the cockpit and I put the dehydrator in the cockpit for the two weeks of dehydration. If we didn’t have the dehydrator in the cockpit I don’t know if I could have dehydrated because I would not have counter/prep space in the galley.

Prepping the food was also a time consuming process. I say time consuming because when you have a three year old and a six month old anything that takes more than 10 minutes is time consuming. I would have to wash, core, peel, slice, cut pounds and pounds of fruit and vegetables to dehydrate. I would go to the produce store every other day to stock up on fresh produce. As for veggies, I also went the route of buying frozen vegetables to save time.

All in all we dehydrated the following fruit and vegetables (I forget the volume of each):

Watermelon

Cantaloupe

Apple

Pineapple

Strawberry

Corn

Pepper (Capsicum)

Broccoli

Bean

Pea

Spinach

Kale

Asparagus

Carrot

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After we dehydrated the fruit and veggies we vacuum sealed them to retain freshness.  We labeled the contents of each bag and the date that we vacuum sealed the dehydrated produce.

I am not an expert at dehydrating or rehydrating the food, so tried to cook meals using the dehydrated veggies. I made a stir fry using the dehydrated vegetables (and rice). I did not tell Capt’n that I used dehydrated veggies. After the meal I told him and he said that the veggies rehydrated nicely. I also used some of the veggies in soups.

As for the fruit, I have always loved dehydrated fruit so it was actually hard for me not to eat it all while I was dehydrating them. I love the way they apples and watermelon turned out.

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Although this project was a lot of work and wasn’t cheap, it was well worth the effort knowing we have a small stock of dehydrated produce for future sailing voyages.





Family Photo Shoot

12 05 2014

As all moms can vouch for, moms are never in any photos. Ever. We are usually the ones taking the photos of your kids play dates, parties, trips, etc… So I decided that it would be a great idea to have a family photo shoot taken at the beach. We had such a great time. Our friend Jordi Cabre is a professional photographer and divides is time between Nantucket, MA, and Satellite Beach, FL. Jordi is a professional, laid back, talented photographer. He even made Capt’n enjoy the photo shoot – and he does not like having his photo taken. There were so many great shots, it was hard for me to narrow them down to show you, but here you go. Jordi’s website is: www.jordicabre.com

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Sailing Antics

17 12 2013

Below are some fun photos of our time in Cocoa.

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Capt’n in Training absolutely loves fishing! He can be seen spending a good 20 minutes (which is a long time for a two year old) sitting on the side of the dock “fishing.” Capt’n attached a lure (minus hook) to the fishing line.

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Capt’n caught a trout and Capt’n in Training was fascinated by it. Capt’n cooked it up for dinner and we had so much left that we gave the rest to a sailing neighbor.

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Since we are in Cocoa for a while (with me being pregnant and all), we enrolled Capt’n in Training in school. He goes to school two mornings a week and loves every minute of it! This photo was taken on his first day of school. What a big boy!

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Florida was so hot this summer and fall, Capt’n in Training and I took daily trips to the local park’s water fountain.





Deja Vu

16 12 2013

One of the great things about cruising is coming across fellow cruisers again that you have met along the way. This has happened to us a few times and it is always lovely finding a familiar boat and then seeing an even more familiar face! This was especially true for us this past week. Over a year ago, when we were in North Carolina (Oriental to be exact) we met a french couple Dominique and Francine who were cruising from Montreal to Vancouver, via Caribbean and Panama Canal. We saw them again in Charleson, SC and again in St. Augustine, FL. Then they put their boat on the hard, did some work, and traveled to Montreal and France. We received an email from them a couple of weeks ago saying that they will be traveling down the east coast of Florida. Since we are in Cocoa, Florida, I quickly sent off an email asking them to stop by Cocoa so we could visit. Well last Monday morning I received a phone call from them saying that they would be in Cocoa by the early afternoon! What a pleasant surprise 🙂

We had a lovely week together, catching up, telling cruising stories, playing with Capt’n in Training, taking them shopping, going out to eat and just spending quality time together.

They also had some engine dramas so Capt’n spent two days fixing their engine. They were very happy with the results! Of course because Capt’n is a talented mechanic 🙂

Our French friends left Cocoa Saturday morning for West Palm Beach and then the Bahamas.

Their website is: domorochefort.com. I think you can also email them to be part of their email group for sailing updates.

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Dominique, Capt’n, and Capt’n in Training looking at pictures of some of Dominique’s paintings.

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Francine, Capt’n in Training, and 2IC

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Au Revoir!

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