Why We Can Meat
Before sailing, we preserve a lot of meat. Meat is often expensive out of the country, plus we have limited freezer space, and we often go a month or more without a grocery store. Canning beef and pork makes for easy meals, and it’s SO EASY with a pressure cooker.
How we can it
Check out these meat canning instructions from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
How we eat it
We can a lot of beef. It’s great with instant mashed potatoes, or mixed with cream of mushroom soup and poured over noodles like stroganoff. Check out meals we’ve made with canned beef.
We almost always shred this, heat it with barbeque sauce, and then eat it on a bun or bread (if we have them). Otherwise, it’s great to eat with a fork. This year we also tried a carnitas recipe, which we think will be good inside tortillas, which keep quite a while without refrigeration. Check out meals we’ve made with canned pork.
Chicken (store-bought), and here’s why:
Clark has canned chicken in the past but has since discovered that canned chicken is inexpensive at Costco, and tastes just as good as home-canned chicken. You can also find fairly decent quality chicken everywhere in the Bahamas and Central America. Beef and pork are harder to find, which is why we can them at home. Check out meals we’ve made with canned chicken.
Other Canned Items
We also can dehydrated vegetables by using a vacuum food sealer attachment to suck all the air out of the containers and keep them dry. This trip, we will bring dehydrated broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms (luckily, we live down the road from a mushroom factory and can get them VERY cheaply). Check out food we’ve made with dehydrated broccoli, and food we’ve made with dehydrated mushrooms
It’s T-minus 60 days before we head out for our next trip. As we are writing this, we are in the car driving from Central Florida to the west coast of Florida to work on the boat – we go at least once a week now to prep Temptress for the journey.
No cars. No grid power. No cheap groceries. No office. Limited utilities. It sounds like a horror movie to some people, but we have been planning for months to make sure we can thrive in these conditions.
THINGS WE ARE TALKING ABOUT
Where are we going?
We will plan our route to avoid hurricanes (i.e., get south of “the line” Granada, ABCs – Caracau, Bonaire, and Panama before July). Our options include the following:
- Stay in Georgetown very short time, then…
- Stay for a moderate amount of time, then…
- Stay though June, then either…
- Cut between Haiti and Cuba, go directly to Colombia
- Head up the U.S. East Coast
Included in this discussion has been a crime survey. Clark has been checking CSSN. Turks & Caicos is okay, but too much water and mud. Venezuela is right out due to the political situation. There is lots of violence and crime. Chesapeake may be a nice place to summer, similar to George Town, Bahamas in the spring. We will need to make some decision soon so we can pack the right kinds of clothing and supplies.
Preparing for Life Without Grocery Stores
We have been purchasing and preparing foods for the trip. This includes:
- Meal Planning. Emily has created a spreadsheet with a “sample month” of food needs, including meals that can be made when we have access to fresh produce and groceries, and other meals that can be done with just shelf-stable, frozen and pantry ingredients. We then extrapolated that over 6, 12 and 24 months to generate a food list.
- Grocery shopping. Emily has created a spreadsheet comparing prices per unit of shelf-stable foods, paper goods and cleaning supplies from 10 different sources.
- Stocking the boat and weight distribution. Our boat is currently aft-heavy. We need to stock the boat so that heavy bulk food items (cans, liquids, flour and sugar) go in the forward cabin, and lighter items (paper goods, snack foods, etc.) go in the aft part of the boat.
- Food preservation. We have pressure canned up more than 20 jars of beef and pork, and started dehydrating vegetables. We will dehydrate apples, strawberries, mushrooms, carrots and broccoli. All of these rehydrated in boiling water surprisingly well.
Boat Repairs & Renovations
We’ve got a long list of thing to complete. Some may happen before we set sail, and others will be things to do on the trip.
- Cabinetry in sauna room
- Lots of varnishing
- Wood rot, leaks
- Pillows and upholstery
- Autopilot and instruments
- Fixing the starboard diesel tank. It had been empty for a while, so we recently put in a bit of water to ensure it wasn’t leaking. It’s not, so we will begin using it again. That gives us 37 additional gallons of fuel.
- GPS equipment
- Downloaded Google Map Satellite images, cruising guides, charts.
Life Without Grid Power: Solar Power & Batteries
When Clark lived in Central America, they scraped by with just 320 watts and a store bought wind generator. Last trip we had 500 watts and the B.A.W.G. (the big-a$$ wind generator). Solar panels have come down in price in recent years, and are now less than $1 per watt. So we’ve recently acquired 320 more watts of hard solar panels. So this trip we will truly be rich with power, 800 watts of solar plus the B.A.W.G. for George Town. Here’s more info about our solar equipment. We probably have more than we need, but we can always sell or trade panels later.
- Cell Phone and Wifi. 4GCommunity should work until we leave Florida, as should Republic Wireless. Neither of these requires ongoing contracts. The word among other cruisers is that T-Mobile hotspot will give us free, unlimited 4G for 6 months out of the country. A linear amplifier halfway up the mast (about 30 feet) helps us extend our cell phone (and wireless internet) range.
- Business Communications. Emily has a Google Voice number for her company, and when she is not reachable, they will forward to her business partner. Google Drive, which may prove difficult when we have limited connectivity but ensures business partners have access to information when needed. Most other work can be done offline and then uploaded or emailed. She has switched from paper checking to PayPal and electronic payments.