GUEST ENTRY - TRUE WORDS BY VALERIE

For 12 years, my work life was never stationary. I didn't own a house or apartment, I lived out of my backpack for ten out of the 12 months a year. It was the life I’d chosen. A life of the unknown, the restricted, the small things. I didn't know where I was gonna be in 6 months time. It could be in Europe, it could be in Antarctica? I chose to pack what would last, not what was fashionable. I chose a life at sea, I became a sailor, a tall ship sailor.

I spent weeks and months on a ship, restricted to small spaces and the same faces every. single. day. We ate the food we had, we learned, baked, worked, evolved and grew as a community together. Because we are stronger together. And we hear that a lot today with the current pandemic. What I want to share with you today, are some insights on food and nourishments which I have learned at sea.

Best before dates…. you know don't you? I shouldn't have to tell you, but I will anyways. This is a date required by law to be printed on the packaging. It doesn't mean that it goes off the day after. Most food is designed to last at least 2 weeks after this date. Let’s be frank here, have you ever seen salt go off? Or water? People! It has survived millions of years in rocks… it’s not gonna kill you. Just think about it.

To save salad/lettuce longer in the fridge, wrap them in a damp towel. Believe me. Lettuce easily lasted 14 days if not longer. Tomatoes wrapped in newspaper will last, we still had fresh tomatoes after 30 days! Fruit and veggies will last, as long as they have air to breathe. Try to store them so that they don't overlap too much, and if they do, make sure to rotate them every few days a bit so they don't go soggy. Potatoes, buy them with soil still on, store dark and don't wash them. They need to breathe too.

Garlic, Ginger and Herbs, portion them in ice cube trays and off into the freezer. Same goes for cheese, meats, butter, even milk - freeze them to conserve. Don’t forget to rotate your stocks, so if you buy new, place it in the back of the shelf. Eggs. Oh I love my eggs! And believe me, you smell a rotten egg! If you are scared that it might not last, turn them around every week. Towards the end of a 50 day trip we cracked every egg open to check for colour and smell before using it.

It’s really not hard to prolong food to last us for longer periods of time. Nowadays, if you don't have an ingredient that you needed for a recipe google for alternatives. Be creative. You don't have to be a 5 Star chef to quench your hunger. Think about where you shop - try to shop local with short delivery journeys.

I have seen beauty, I have seen sadness, I have seen animals and places that most people can only dream of. And I have seen a LOT OF TRASH, in the oceans and on land. Let’s keep this world clean, and clean it up one day at a time. Buy food without packaging.  Bring a bag while going for a walk and pick up trash along the way. Let our world heal itself. She is not the problem - we are.

Valerie

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