Monday, November 19, 2012

Meals in a Bucket.... Small boat solution to distance cruising

As a young person I was an avid camper.. I belonged to Boy Scouts and backpacked and took long bicycle trips.  In those days freeze dried meals were extremely expensive and out of reach to us boys.  We developed some ingenuity in making lightweight backpacking meals.  here are one  of the low tech things we did....
  • weigh out a 1 cup serving of corn flakes..  smash it into crumbs and measure again .. this is 1 breakfast by weight.  Substitute Sugar Frosted Flakes which are sugar coated corn flakes and no need to add sugar.  Pack in a sandwich bag.  (I still do this aboard)  they can also be used as a coating for meat.
As the years passed, more and more things became easier to find in grocery stores and lower in price.  I will list common freeze dried meals you can find in local supermarkets in the next post with recipes.

LAST YEAR in CostCo  i noticed MEALS IN A BUCKET and since I have seen many companies offering them online and major stores.

 This is a typical bucket

You can also buy a bucket of just Entrees or just Breakfasts  Figure on about 1 month of meals in a bucket with adult size satisfying servings.  You can survive on 1 cup of SURVIVAL  food per day (mostly water) but life will not be pleasant.  These buckets average around $90+ depending on contents.

I WILL SHOW YOU HOW TO PACK UP YOUR OWN and save a bundle!  

I make up my own buckets based on 2 hearty meals a day aboard (not Hobbit Size) and a midday lunch.  I add snacks and deserts too.. and manage to easily pack 2-3 weeks of meals in a bucket.  I find i am hungry all the time unless I consume about 1 lb of food (a pint is a pound the world around) at a meal.  My menu is typically a hot cereal for breakfast to which I have measured in dried fruit and nuts..  Evening is my Favorite meal and is a full Entree (meat, potato, side, bread and desert + beverage)  Lunch is frequently sandwiches of crackers and filling.  I get the saltines that are not individually stacked.  These are in large 4 cracker squares the size of a slice of bread. 2 of these large squares with filling (like tuna salad or pb&j)  is a cracker sandwich... and 2 cracker sandwiches and a hot beverage (I like Tea a lot) makes a nice lunch for me.

Doing my own packaging I am able to approximate the commercial bucket price with larger servings that suit me better.. and a selection of my favorite meals.  Last year I figured out my daily food cost was about $3.50/day more or less like this.

If you want to avoid the work of self packaging...  search online for 'meals in a bucket' to find hundreds of suppliers that sell them in various combinations.  if you want to know How I make my own packaged meals... keep reading.

BASIC PLAN  figure out what your 10 favorite meals are and duplicate that menu for as many weeks as you plan to be out and add at least a couple weeks safety margin.  I tend to carry 6 months of food.
I watched a couple videos on YouTube about survival meals which were based on Gifts in a Jar type recipes.  these are dry things you package in a mason jar and give away as gifts.  Here are the videos that inspired me...

365 MEALS

RECIPES FOR 365 MEALS
Gifts In A Jar  website recipes

A search will bring up dozens of sites How To make Gifts in a jar and recipes for them.  For my purposes aboard... most of mine are packaged in freezer bags or Mylar bags and some are vacuum packaged... 

I will show in another post,  how I made my cheapo 12v vacuum packager for around $10

I assemble my meals like this.  I measure up my individual meals in small pint zip lock freezer bags  Then I assemble one day of those meals and snacks in a larger 1 gallon freezer bag.  Then those large day-packs are assembled into a plastic bucket which holds about 24 man size meals.  To the bucket are added my favorites like Brownie mix and other snack items.

Brownie do not fall like a cake in baking... need only 1/4 cup oil and 1 or 2 eggs to make the batter.  the finished brownies will keep well in a zip lock bag for a couple weeks but you will eat them sooner... trust me!.  I have baked them in a round pan in a dutch oven over an Optimus pressure burner before I bought a Coleman folding Camp Oven.  It is a great item!

OKAY... I now have a plan to assemble my meals.  Here are a few typical ones

BREAKFAST (to a zip lock bag measure in)

3/4 cup dry rolled oats
1/4 cup dried fruit  ( I use Raisins, Apricots, Cherries, Bananas or Cranberries)
1 heaping tablespoon nuts (I like walnuts)
1/8 teaspoon (big pinch) salt

To prepare... I dump the baggie into a short wide mouth thermos
Add 1 Cup boiling water and cap quickly to save the heat.
Give it a swirl shake and wait about 20 min 

Top with 2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar.. remember brown sugar is measured packed so this is only 2 tbs and I eat on a plate without milk and instead a small pat of butter or drizzle of corn/olive oil.
4oz Juice... consider powdered juices like TANG.. there are other brands
I add piece of Toast and hot coffee!   VOILA.. a breakfast

  • HINT  I Lightly toast up a few entire loaves of bread and let the slices dry well on the table before i repackage them.  That toast will keep for weeks without molding!  I got the ides at the local supermarket where BIMBO brand sells already toasted bread in a loaf.  If you find it too rock hard (I sometimes do) I steam it a minute or two in my steamer to soften it a bit before eating.
LUNCH

Lunch is frequently sandwiches of crackers and filling.  I get the saltines that are not individually stacked.  These are in large 4 cracker squares the size of a slice of bread. 2 of these large squares with filling (like tuna salad or pb&j)  is a cracker sandwich... and 2 cracker sandwiches and a hot beverage (I like Tea a lot) makes a nice lunch for me.

4 large wafers of 4 individual crackers
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Hot tea. 

SUPPER (Hay I am old fashioned and we used to call midday meal dinner!  LOL)

1 Canned, Packaged or Freeze Dried Entree
    (consider one of those Hormel Complete meals from my previous post as one choice)
1/2 can vegetable side
1 piece bread
1 desert (brownie square, pudding cup, fruit)
Hot Tea

I Find I prefer Hot drinks aboard because I am often chilled anyway and the drink is also a comfort item.

NEXT POST.. I will list my own 10 favorite meals and other additions I pack with my food list and the recipes to do it.

No comments:

Post a Comment