I carry a lot of unrefrigerated produce and fruit and try to extend their life as long as possible
Yes, I think this is essential. It is simply a matter of regularly monitoring the condition of the produce, and of using the ones in the worst condition first. It is amazing how long many things last, if they are well selected. As a rough guide we use: Still Tasty
, which gives good basic storage information, though we always get much longer times than the site indicates.
I cook ahead and try to have a base in the fridge to keep me in the cockpit rather than in the galley. The idea is that it takes only a bit more heat to make a double portion than a single.
Before we leave port I prepare multiple meals of stews, soups, pilafs and so on. These we freeze in one-litre Lock and Lock containers to be pulled-out, thawed and reheated when the weather is too rough for cooking. When the weather and sea state are benign, I will often make double, triple or larger quantities at sea, some for now, some for the fridges and some to replenish the freezers. Some are a ready to heat meal, others are the base to which additional ingredients and creativity are added.
Sometimes it's the simple things that make me smile and my stomach growl. I grow a small selection of herbs and that always seems to take the edge off tinned food. I make my own bread and muffins. I never seem to get tired of baked beans and fresh warm corn bread. I look forward to opening a self canned jar of goodies.
We agree, it is the homemade comfort food that really satisfies, no matter how simple or how complex. For bread, we find the New York Times no-knead bread recipe
works wonderfully aboard to make creative artisan-style loaves.
Finally, I try not to run out of the goodies/treats, thereby being forced to shop in the next anchorage/port of call. I do confess to a strong "fresh" produce/fruit buying desire after going without for weeks. Economical provisioning ports are few and far between. As a frugal sailor, as much as I'd like a tomato and head of lettuce for that BLT, I'm not willing to pay $4 for either of them.
I consider provisioning to be an essential part of cruising, and a large part of this for us is trying to plan our stocking-up with a view ahead to our next ports, and what is available (or not) in them, both physically and economically. Like you, we will not pay excessive prices.