Best Foods for No-Fridge-Living

Best Foods for No-Fridge-Living

We don’t have refrigeration aboard Absolute.  When we leave port we will have a cold cooler for about 2-3 days.  Then the ice melts and we have dry and preserved food left.  Refrigeration would be a great luxury addition for longer cruises, but during the ten days at sea I didn’t miss the refrigerated foods I’m used to at home too much.  We managed to prepare at least one easy meal not requiring refrigeration each day.  Here are the foods that don’t need refrigeration and that best helped keep our tummies and hearts happy.  Please feel free to add your own discoveries or ideas in a comment below!

– Fruit cups – Smaller than a can of fruit, these made great midnight snacks.  You can buy them in water instead of syrup which is great for quenching thirst.

– Taro pancakes – Just add water.  And delicious.  They are not actually made of taro, but with wheat flour and some dehydrated poi, but it’s a tastier, unique alternative to Bisquick.


– Maple flavored agave syrup – Real maple syrups have to be refrigerated.  Agave syrup stays in the pantry for months and is delicious on pancakes or in teas.


– Angel hair – For a quick spaghetti dinner angel hair is the way to go while under way.  Our one burner stove is not gimbaled so we have to hold the pot in place while the waves toss us around.  Cutting down on cooking time is a top priority.   I love linguine but don’t want to hold that steaming pot down below for 11-12 minutes.  Angel hair wins coming in at 3-6 minutes!


– Dried fruit – Most fruit only lasts a few days on the hot boat, out in the elements.  Before we left we dehydrated a trees worth of bananas, two dozen apples, and a bucket of mangoes.  These satisfied our longing for non-preserved fruits.  Dehydrated bananas were way better than banana chips.  The come out like sweet gummies without adding any sugar or other ingredients.  Thanks to Deanna and family for letting us borrow their spare dehydrator!


– Oranges – These will keep at least a week if not two on our boat.  Fight scurvy and get your vitamin C to keep from getting sick despite lack of sleep and stress on the body.

– “Little Milks” – Individually boxed milk can be used for cereal in the morning and is usually enough for two bowls of cereal.  I wouldn’t use these on land or if there was ice or refrigeration to prevent cardboard and plastic waste, but they are definitely handy without refrigeration.  Make sure it is a UHT milk that isn’t refrigerated in the grocery store.  Individually boxed juices are also a good idea.

– Ramen – Not something I would ever eat on land but its easy to make and all the salt replenishes the salt you lose from sweating.  You can adjust the amount of salt you add to how you feel. Drinking salty savory soup beats drinking salt water (which you can actually do if you mix it with fresh water and will quench your thirst when you are lacking salts and can’t seem to get enough water to make you feel satisfied).

– Candied ginger – Good for seasickness and upset stomachs.  And scrumptious!


– Salted pretzels and crackers – Good for seasickness when you don’t feel like eating anything and keeping your salts in check.

– Fresh fish – Catch fish along the way.  Eat sashimi the day you catch it.  Cook it on the grill, fried, stir-fried, or poached for dinner that night and the next day.  Make ceviche.  Preserve the rest by salting and drying or making pickled fish.  Eat ceviche for a few days and make sandwiches with the pickled and dried stuff later.

– Coconuts- Green coconut water is great for re-hydrating and replenishing your electrolytes.  Even if the coconuts sit on deck in the sun all day, they will still taste cool when you open them up.  You can also carve out the meat and eat it fresh or dry it by tying it up on strings on the shrouds.  Make sure you throw any extra coconuts overboard before entering a new country though.  they easily transport pests (like the African Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle).  We forgot and ours had to be taken away to be burned with other potentially dangerous agricultural waste.


– Salmon – Smoked or canned.  Both will keep forever and are perfect for making a nicer dinner out on the sea.

– Eggs – Local/non-CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) eggs are best.  If they are free range or from a small facility the eggs don’t need to refrigerated because they have such a small chance of exposure to salmonella.  I’ve heard that you can make eggs last longer by flipping them over every other day.  We make sure to keep eggs in an egg carton or plastic egg carton container AND a ziplock bag in case one breaks.


– Potato flakes – Easy and delicious.  Combine with your fresh fish for a ‘fancy’ celebration dinner underway. You can also mix salmon, eggs, and potato flakes into a dough and fry patties in oil for salmon cakes if you are feeling ambitious.  Thank you, Antares, for this recipe!

Share your on foods or recipes…