From frying fish to brewing the perfect cup of coffee, these galley enhancements are worth their salt.
Everything is better on a boat. There is no better way to start the day than enjoying a freshly brewed cup of coffee from the cockpit as the sun turns the morning sky orange and pink and the smell of bacon wafts out of the galley. The same could be said for a nice dinner with family or close friends. Hamburgers, fish, spaghetti, sandwiches, whatever’s on the menu, it will always taste better when enjoyed on the boat.
Cooking on boats, however, can be challenging. While many yachts and cruisers may offer a galley that would make a professional chef green with envy, most boats are light on room and only feature the bare culinary necessities like a microwave/convection oven and maybe one or two burners on a compact countertop unit. Even if you do have a commercial-grade galley, you probably won’t have the energy to prepare a big meal at the end of a long day on the water, and you certainly won’t want to clean up the mess. Then there is the issue of storage and counter space. Fortunately for all onboard chefs, there are some great products out there to help you up your game in the galley. The following small appliances and other galley gadgets take up little room and make it possible to prepare a memorable meal (or beverage) without taking over the galley.
1. Electric Frying Pan
This device lets you cook an entire meal with one appliance so you don’t end up with a sink full of pots and pans. It does require electricity, so you will need a generator or shore power. For breakfast, you can cook up chopped potatoes, breakfast meats and eggs. They’re also great for a stir fry and steaks or chops. You can even crank up the heat and use them to fry fish. And because they’re portable, you can easily move them to the cockpit so you won’t stink up the salon as your fresh catch crisps up in hot oil. Most electric frying pans feature a nonstick casserole-size pan that cleans up easily and has a lid to keep food warm. You can find them online for $30 to $60.
2. Air Fryer
This ingenious appliance comes in a range of compact sizes that will easily fit in a cupboard or under a bunk. They are great for cooking things like chicken wings, French fries, fried chicken, fish and veggies. Air fryers crisp up food and cook it quickly without using oil. It’s a healthy option, and you can get really creative with them. You’ll find communities on social media full of devotees sharing all sorts of interesting recipes. If you travel with kids who like chicken fingers and such (what kid doesn’t?), this device is a game changer. You can find them online from $80 to $140.
3. Electric Teapot
Are you a “don’t talk to me till I finish my coffee” kind of person? Or maybe you enjoy some lemon zinger before heading off to bed? If so, you should really invest in an electric teapot for the boat. This handy device is no bigger than a typical kettle, but it’s self-contained and boils water in six or seven minutes. Electric teapots run $20 to $30.
4. French Press
If you like coffee, there’s no better way to make a cup than the French press. It doesn’t require any filters, and you won’t end up with a waste bin full of plastic K-cups. Opt for a stainless model so it won’t crack in transit. You can purchase a quality stainless French press for about the same cost as the electric kettle, which you’ll need to boil the water. They will be your superheroes of the morning.
5. Vacuum Sealer
Space is always an issue on board, especially in the freezer. With a vacuum sealer you can purchase things like steak and chicken in larger, more affordable packages and seal them in smaller bags so they won’t take over your freezer space on the boat. These sealers are also great if you do a lot of fishing. A fillet in a vacuum bag will last months longer in the freezer than a fillet in your typical Ziploc-style bag. You can even put some salt and spices in with the fillet to give them an added burst of flavor when they hit the heat. You can also vacuum seal valuable items and paperwork that you don’t want to get wet. The Food Saver is one of the more popular vacuum sealers for home owners, and they start around $80.
6. Crockpot/Instant Pot
I’ve probably used a crockpot more than any other appliance on the boat. Spend 15 minutes chopping up some onions and potatoes, mix them up with oil and spices and place them in the crockpot with a pork tenderloin or chicken quarters. Plug it in, set it on low and place the unit in a dry sink before you head out for a day of fishing or cruising. You’ll forget about it, until you enter the cabin at the end of the day and it smells divine. Dinner’s done—another one-pot meal with little clean up. The Instant Pot offers even more possibilities as it also cooks rice and acts as a pressure cooker. Sizes and prices range, but try to find one that fits in the sink for safe keeping when underway.
7. Beverage Chiller
If you don’t have an icemaker on the boat, you should really consider these handy beverage chillers. Shaped sort of like a Chinese soup spoon, the outside is made of stainless steel, and there’s a magic freezing gel on the inside. It’s shape and silicone tip are perfect for resting on the side of a glass. They’re reusable and don’t take up much space in the freezer. A set of two retails for $35 on Amazon.
No boat is complete without a quality blender. Frozen drinks and boats go together like peanut butter and jelly. Daiquiris, mudslides, margaritas or a fruit smoothie, whatever you’re into, you’ll need a blender to make it happen. If you don’t have a power source on your boat, you can even find gas-powered options. Yup, that’s a thing. There are hand-crank ones as well, but they don’t really get the job done. Whichever one you choose, stick with a plastic pitcher so it won’t break on you.
9. Panini Press
The panini press will take a boring ham-and-cheese sandwich to an entirely new level. Many of them come with a grill grate and a flat griddle, so you can use them for breakfast items like fried eggs or flapjacks. Again, they don’t take up much room, and you can get very creative with them. Think beyond the sandwich. Bring some tortillas to make veggie wraps and burritos to impress your guests. They start around $80.
10. Spice Mix
Space in the galley is always a premium. You probably don’t have room to carry all of the spices you use at home. There are plenty of spice mixes that put everything you need to make a tasty meal in one jar. Mrs. Dash offers several salt-free spice concoctions with varying degrees of heat. Everglades Seasoning is another popular one for all types of meat and poultry. For fish, it’s tough to beat Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic or Blackened Redfish Magic.