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Sailboat Reboot
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"When in the course of human events ..." it is time to deep clean the boat in preparation for a long offshore passage...

I find myself with a large quantity of spices that have been purchased over the last two years by various crew on my boat. Some are caked from moisture absorption. My cooking skill consists of energy bars and/or opening a can of beans. The question: Is there any point in hanging on to all these spices (perhaps 20 different kinds) knowing that at a minimum it will be six months or more before anyone (not me) as the occasion to use them?

Thanks in advance...

Fair winds and following seas :)
 

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Administrator
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... The question: Is there any point in hanging on to all these spices (perhaps 20 different kinds) knowing that at a minimum it will be six months or more before anyone (not me) as the occasion to use them?

Thanks in advance...

Fair winds and following seas :)
If it was me, they'd be thrown away. Probably way before now.

For you, throw away any that have moisture inside the containers. Then throw away any that no longer smell like the spice they are supposed to be. Keep the rest if you want.

I generally don't buy more of any spice that I won't use within six months. Freezing them drags it out a bit longer. But I like food and cooking.
 

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Deep Blue Crush
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First, you don't use them when you cook so lose them.
Second, their current potency depends how well the spices were prepared and stored. So in many cases after few years they might be useless or even worse, gives a dish a bad taste.
Third, in reality one doesn't need a lot is spices for good dishes.

Personally at home I only have few :
Himalaya pink salt that I ground when I need it.
Pepper black and other variations all together that I ground when I need.
Good quality organic Cayenne pepper which I actually use in teas and juices as much as I use in food.
Ground Curcuma which I also use in both cooking and teas if I don't have the fresh available.
Ground Ginger again using in both cooking and teas if I don't have the fresh available. The fresh variation also stays well in a cooler for months in a plastic bag.

So you end up with 5 things that could cover you for a lot. And also the last three are also with great health benefits and fit perfectly with cold or hot temperatures. As long as they are not old/expired and poorly stored.

If you would end up fishing I would certainly add dry thyme to the list. Thyme goes well with so many things. All simple straight forward cooking.

Hope this helps.
 

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When I was in college I had numerous friends who said they didn't know how to cook. I asked them if they liked to eat. I can only hope when they grew up they either learned or married someone who could.

Learn. A good meal should be a highlight after a long shift.
 

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DON'T Trash them!!!!!!!!!!

You may begin to cook properly!!!!!

Check the ingredients and if any have salt in them and they are open they will probably be stuffed. Also check the Use By/ Best Before date. I tend to chuck the old ones, but pure spices can normally last years... remember they used to be sailed half way around the world from the spice islands...

But proper cooking on board is good fun, and what else is there to do anyway? Play with the white floppy things?
 

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S/V Calypso
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Not to hijack this thread, but as long as we are on the subject, how would you folks out in cuber-sail land keep the spices from absorbing so much water? Tupperware? Vacuum sealing? Perhaps armed with this knowledge, the spices will be viable in the future to inspire svzephyr44 to start cooking.

-Chris
 

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I don't live aboard, but I buy my spices from Penzey's and keep them on the boat for the season in the glass jars that Penzey's sells. Seems to do OK. Some don't like glass on boats, but, well, I'm ok with it. After all, the rum and wine are in glass bottles and I manage to keep them from getting broken. Only glass wine glasses that I've broken have not been on the boat.
 

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S/V Calypso
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After all, the rum and wine are in glass bottles and I manage to keep them from getting broken.
Wow, you buy the fancy stuff! Rum comes in plastic bottles, and wine in boxes!

-Chris
 

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Wow, you buy the fancy stuff! Rum comes in plastic bottles, and wine in boxes!

-Chris
I tried rum in a box. It didn't end well.

And recently I worked with a young programmer who told us in a meeting how she and her college room mates used to remove the bladder from the box and toss it around the room. Whatever interest was left flew out the window.
 
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S/V Calypso
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I tried rum in a box. It didn't end well.

And recently I worked with a young programmer who told us in a meeting how she and her college room mates used to remove the bladder from the box and toss it around the room. Whatever interest was left flew out the window.
We always remove the bladder from the box before putting it in a cooler. When I say always, I mean ever since we had to fish out the bits of cardboard that fell apart in the cooler. :D
 
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Daniel - Norsea 27
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I tried rum in a box. It didn't end well.

And recently I worked with a young programmer who told us in a meeting how she and her college room mates used to remove the bladder from the box and toss it around the room. Whatever interest was left flew out the window.
Yeah, I've seen rub in boxes too down in Colombia. Some of the boxes were small like the size of a children's juice box.

The spices is a good topic. One thought I've had myself is if I were to use a lot of a certain spice, I'd get a bunch of the smaller kinds. that way, a large container doesn't go bad so quickly. Just pack them in a way that they don't move around too much, and I'm sure they'd last.
 

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General rule of thumb....... dry spices, other than salt, are good for approx 6 months. After that, they decline at different rates. Yours sound fully disposable.
 
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Wow, you buy the fancy stuff! Rum comes in plastic bottles, and wine in boxes!

-Chris
Blame SVAuspicious. He set my bar for eating and drinking on board and I haven't lowered it. No reason we can't eat on the boat the same way we eat at home.

Except, no Cheetos or chips on his boat. Teak decks. I don't have to go there until we get Next Boat. :)

I do love licking off the layers of Cheetos goo on my fingers.
 

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S/V Calypso
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So far, due to the limited preparation space on our little 22, we have done a lot of prep at home. That is about to change in a couple of weeks on our week long trip.

When camping or going to a rental condo, we have a plastic water tight box that has enough room for 8 or 10 of the small metal canisters (magnetic) that we use to hold our spices. We'll grab that and load it up with our favorites. Since it doesn't have to live on the boat, it should be about perfect.

In terms of libations I plan to transfer the contents of a bottle of Knob Creek and whatever Rum we buy into a plastic bottles. I to have a bit of an aversion to glass on the boat.

Beer will be in cans as I learned the hard way that bottle tops fit perfectly down the cockpit drain hole!

-Chris
 

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...

Beer will be in cans as I learned the hard way that bottle tops fit perfectly down the cockpit drain hole!

-Chris
You can also flatten them when empty to save space.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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We just did a big clean of the spice shelf aboard. There was some pretty old stuff in there.

We're building the supply back up. *grin*

Blame SVAuspicious. He set my bar for eating and drinking on board and I haven't lowered it. No reason we can't eat on the boat the same way we eat at home.
Last night was unfortunately thin flounder from an unfortunate shopping mistake I made. I made rolls around tiny diced onion and tomato with basil and oregano inside and a mustard-Sirachi glaze outside and baked it. It came out pretty well and didn't heat up the boat too much. Janet is off on business for a few days so I'm going to try and make as big a dent in the too-thin flounder as I can -- fish tacos for dinner tonight.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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In terms of libations I plan to transfer the contents of a bottle of Knob Creek and whatever Rum we buy into a plastic bottles. I to have a bit of an aversion to glass on the boat.
I'm pretty careful with storage. Still, I think we've broken one piece of glass in the last eight years. Plastic and metal have worn through and made messes (beer and soda cans especially).
 

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A few years ago, there was a not so scientific study done by a boating magazine that indicated that a Pringles can keeps chips freshest in a marine environment. If the small canisters of spices were bought and keept in an empty Pringles can, perhaps that would help a bit.

Happy sailing and fair winds!
 
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