by Joyce Gauthier
The galley is arguably the most important space on a cruising boat. Good food keeps morale high and supplies energy for hard-working sailors. Creating a healthy, environmentally-conscious, and energy-saving galley can easily be achieved with a few carefully selected gadgets.
Long gone are the days where the NutriBullet was the only game in town. An online search results in endless options for blenders. Technology has provided us with small, portable, USB-charged blenders. The portable we use on our boat is the BlendJet 2, available at Target, Walmart, Kohl’s and Amazon for $49.99. The BlendJet 2 won’t drain your battery bank with one frozen margarita. Its versatility provides our crew with smoothies, shakes, sauces, and dressings — and we aren’t tied down by a cord, either. Happy hour on the beach just got more exciting.
• You get about ten blending cycles before needing to charge it, so you don’t have to have it plugged in while in use.
• Easy to clean. Put water in the blender and blend.
• Charges via USB.
• Small size for easy storage.
• Not as powerful as other small blenders like the NutriBullet.
• Small size means less capacity.
Who needs this:
If your boat doesn’t have enough power to run a NutriBullet or Magic Bullet, this is a great compromise. If you are looking for a simple way to make smoothies, protein shakes, and homemade dressings, this is the product for you.
Isn’t it annoying when a broccoli stalk washes up on the beach because someone tossed it overboard in the anchorage? Avoid being “that boater” by storing your food scraps until you are offshore or in a destination where there is trash. There are three options for storing food scraps on a boat. First, the most frugal option, is a recycled container on the galley counter (like the yogurt container we used for years). The container can store your food scraps until you can properly discard them. But after a few days, the smell of old food scraps can creep into your galley when using a container that was not designed to hold compost (after a while, we were afraid our yogurt container was powerful enough to start walking around on its own).
To avoid the smell, consider a compost bin. Amazon has an extensive selection within the $20 to $60 range. The plastic ones are least expensive and the bamboo or stainless steel models will run higher in price. Countertop compost bins have a seal that keeps smells inside the bin and out of the galley. They are also more aesthetically pleasing than an old yogurt container.
The third option is an electric composter. The advantage of the electric model is its efficiency in turning food scraps into soil. Untreated compost in a bin will turn scraps into soil that can be used for composting your kitchen garden, but it can take two weeks or longer. Lomi.com has a tabletop electric compost bin that turns food scraps into soil in under four hours. According to Lomi.com, the “Lomi uses between 0.6 to 1.0 kWh per cycle,” as much power as a dishwasher.
• Makes your garbage less smelly.
• Keeps organic materials from making their way to landfills.
• Takes up counter space.
• The electric version uses a fair amount of power.
• The electric version is priced at $349.
Who needs this:
Boaters who are environmentally conscious. Composters are also a responsible way to manage trash on a boat. If you sail in remote places, this is the gadget for you.
According to Forbes magazine, the SodaStream has been around since 1903. For decades it was a “toy for the upper class.” In the present day, it can be found at Amazon, Target, and Walmart starting at $99.99. The SodaStream is a device that adds carbonation to water. It takes up a lot less space than provisioning canned and/or bottled seltzers and sodas. One of the required CO2 cartridges can make about 60 liters of sparkling water. A variety of flavorings can be added to the carbonated water as well. I personally like to put fresh lemons and limes into my seltzer. The SodaStream is a fun way to create a diverse offering of drinks available onboard.
• Saves space.
• Environmentally friendly by decreasing the amount of bottled and canned beverages onboard.
• They are sturdy. Our SodaStream went flying across our boat during a sporty sail. The SodaStream was unscathed; our teak and holly floor was not so lucky.
• Less expensive over time than purchasing bottled and canned beverages.
• Makes you look cool and sophisticated, like a 1930s movie.
• The CO2 refill canisters are about $30 ($15 if you exchange an empty one).
• While it is compact, the SodaStream is tall, which can make storage tricky.
Money saving pro tip:
Keep an eye out at garage sales and thrift stores for SodaStreams. It can save you a boatload.
Who needs this:
Environmentally-conscious boaters who enjoy carbonated drinks. If you are looking for a fun way to increase your water intake without getting bored with still water, this is the gadget for you.
Good friends of mine, Babs and Tim Carryer, just bought a catamaran. After cruising on their monohull for a season, they made the jump to a Lagoon 380. With the extra space and power from their lithium-ion battery bank, they have a handful of single-use gadgets. A single-use gadget is an appliance that can only make one type of food. They use their rice cooker two to three times a week. Their popcorn maker enhances a happy hour or movie night a couple times a month. While I don’t have the space or power for such luxury, Babs has the space and power for many gadgets, even if they aren’t used often.
Whether you are looking for ways to save on power, create less waste, or shake up your culinary offerings, these gadgets have something to offer for any type of boater. Jump in and start experimenting with galley gadgets to see what works best for your cruising lifestyle.
Capt. Joyce Gauthier is a full-time liveaboard on a 1974 Camper Nicholson ketch, s/v Gavia. It was her desire to see the world that led her to sailing. Since moving onto a boat in 2017 she’s logged more than 20,000 nautical miles. She is a regular contributor to windandwellness.com, a blog about health and wellness for cruisers. Joyce loves creating original dishes in the galley, lounging on white sandy beaches with her husband, Matt, and her shih tzu, Loki.