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Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Boat Galley: Sealing Bags

The Boat Galley shares a great storage tip for cruisers to keep food fresh on the boat...

Tips From The Boat Galley
By Carolyn Shearlock, author of The Boat Galley, with over 350 FREE articles to get the most out of your boat kitchen with galley tips, insights & equipment recommendations. A few recipes, too - plus an active Facebook community to ask questions and share tips with other readers! The Boat Galley Cookbook, written with Jan Irons, is now available at Amazon and other retailers.


Hate stale chips and cookies? Do you end up putting everything in airtight plastic canisters?  A friend recently told me of an easier way to keep them fresh!

Today's Boat Galley Topic: Sealing Bags
(article continues after photo...)

Sealing bags


Sealing bags takes on a little greater importance when you're on a boat. Ashore, a chip clip or a clothespin is usually sufficient to keep chips, crackers, cereal or whatever fresh. In the typical humidity aboard a boat, stronger measures are needed to keep them from going stale.

Lots of times, the bags themselves are pretty airtight - it's just that it's hard to really seal them up well. For years, I coped by rolling the open top down, using a clip and then sticking the whole thing inside a 2-gallon Ziploc. And if I didn't have any big Ziplocs, I'd have to divide things up or see if I had a Lock & Lock that was empty and the right size... or whatever.

Bruce Balan, who we met in the Sea of Cortez aboard his tri Migration (he and his now-wife Alene are currently cruising in the South Pacific - read their blog here) recently told me about a much better way to do it: the bag sealers shown in the photo at the top of this article. They really do make an airtight seal!

Each seal has two parts - a tube and a 3/4 tube that snaps over the tube. Place the tube on one side of the bag, fold the bag over it, then snap the other half over it.

I bought some over 5 months ago to test and they are working great. I've never had one pop off and whatever is in the bag has stayed fresh. The only thing to note is that the bag you're sealing has to be airtight itself - paper bags and even waxed paper bags will still let air in, and using a seal that is shorter than the width of the bag will also let air in. Since I made the cardinal mistake of not measuring how wide my bags are before choosing the size of seals (I know - I always say to measure everything!), I discovered that if I pleated the bag, it would fit and I could still get a good airtight seal.

If one is too long and the ends get in the way, you can cut the tubes to size - you probably want about 1/2" overhang on both ends (1" longer total) so that you don't have to line things up perfectly every time you seal up a bag.

Some TBG readers have reported finding them in grocery stores and one even found a package in a dollar store, but no such luck for me. I got mine on Amazon:
No, they're not going to totally replace Ziplocs for storing things... and for longer term storage, you'll probably want to overwrap the bag something came in with a plastic bag. But for keeping many items fresh for a week or 10 days, they work really well.

About the Author

Carolyn Shearlock is author of The Boat Galley, with over 350 FREE articles to get the most out of your boat kitchen with galley tips, insights & equipment recommendations. A few recipes, too - plus an active Facebook community to ask questions and share tips with other readers! The print edition of The Boat Galley Cookbook, written with Jan Irons, is now available from Amazon and other retailers - electronic editions are coming but slightly delayed.


Photo by Carolyn Shearlock.

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