Skip to content

Getting Prepared (warning: this post is not for vegetarians)

October 27, 2017

It’s fall and the anchorages and boatyards are buzzing with activity. The hurricane season is slowly winding down and thoughts are directed to moving on. People are flying in from all over the world to ready their boats for another season. Those who stayed the summer south of the hurricane belt doing odd jobs on their boats, volunteering on hurricane relief, teaching children how to read or simply enjoying life in the tropics are turning thoughts to moving on.

For Sage that means getting prepared for a movement northwards travelling through islands devastated by the past season’s hurricanes and further northward to remote islands lacking in supplies or unaffordable and dubiously dated products . With the hull being painted below the waterline, worn parts being replaced, old awnings replaced with new our attention moves to canned goods.

For 20 years of sailing adventures we have always canned our own meat to get us through those areas that don’t have fresh supplies. We choose to can as we don’t have a freezer and besides that we have been many places where freezers on other boats have failed, and, like flies, other cruisers have been beneficiaries of others failed refrigeration. For us that doesn’t happen. I won’t say we haven’t had failed refrigeration but if we have we haven’t lost a season’s supplies.

For canning we need space, a good stove with oven, refrigeration and a store with a selection of meats (you guessed it we’re not vegetarian). Close to where Sage is moored we found the perfect spot. A rental unit ($55 Cdn) with all the necessary equipment 150 metres from Sage’s stern. So our work begins. We have to dig deep into the hidden corners of Sage’s lockers to find the pressure canner , jars, lids etc. We loaded all the supplies into amarina wheelbarrow and headed off to our new two night accommodation.

Connie carting over the supplies and as usual she’s keeping ‘left’

It’s the end result we are most interested in. It’s a long time coming as each batch takes 90 minutes to process. Each load takes either 5 pint jars or 10 1/2 pint jars and sometimes during the processing one of the jars breaks in the pressure canner

we manage to can 32 jars of meat which means 1 can per day for a month. We don’t use it like that but rather as a supplement to what is available locally. Throughout most of the Caribbean we should be able to use local products but once in the Bahamas our understanding is supplies are limited and expensive. We hope to be in deserted anchorages with crystal clear waters covered in conch. We’re a little tired of ‘lambi’ (conch) as it’s a feature in all the Caribbean islands so our cans of meat will be welcomed.


The End Result

Equipment needed:

1 pressure canner – must be capable of maintaining a pressure of 10-15 lb/ Preference is for a canner with a gauge


Glass jars with accompanying screw rings and disposable lids


Tool for lifting hot jars

Stove top with oven if possible

Lots of hot water

Meat – your choice. Remember the meat is gets well cooked so no need to buy expensive cuts

A bundle of towels for handling and drying equipment


2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2017 11:26

    This reminds me, I have to get going on my annual Antipasto show….usually it is November and we are down to 1 jar so it is getting to be time!

    I can in the big steamy pot, I have never tried a cooker-canner.

    Ciao for now,
    Annie B.

  2. Wayno permalink
    October 31, 2017 15:53

    Fair winds and following seas to you barnacles! Looking forward to further adventures….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: