12 Handy Galley Gadgets
These tools will make your life as an onboard cook easier. And don't forget to share your favorites in our forum.
Everyone knows what you need in a good kitchen. It starts with a great set of sharp knives and a means to keep them sharpened, good pots and pans, a solid cutting board, and the right bowls and utensils to whisk, flip, and mix. On a boat, you need all these things, too, though often in smaller supply. And you usually have to do without some of the power-eating electric appliances to which you may be accustomed in your land-based kitchen. Over time, the boat galley can become as efficient and well equipped as any house kitchen.
Here are some ideas on things that have made the galley aboard Astarte, our Moody 422, more user-friendly. They aren’t expensive, so if you know someone just getting into a boat or heading off to fulfill a cruising dream, put together a gift basket of these handy items for the galley slave.
1. Silicone Cookware
When the inventor came up with this synthetic rubber, perhaps storage aboard a boat wasn’t the primary goal, but it sure is useful. We carry silicone muffin and bread pans, baking pans, veggie steamers, measuring cups, and even a Bundt-cake pan on board, and we use them all. In the past, the metal cookware would rust in no time in the damp, salt-air environment. And stacking the metal was more space consuming.
Silicone material doesn’t rust, takes up less room, and doesn’t rattle. In fact, it can be used as rattle buffers in your lockers. I use my round and square silicone cake pans under glass casserole dishes to keep them from breaking and rattling. The breads, muffins, and cakes cook well and come out of the containers quite easily. The cookie sheet is too flimsy to use, and sometimes you do have to negotiate getting a cake pan to the oven without tipping it, but the cookware is well worth those small issues.
2. A Pressure Cooker
Get over a fear of the pressure cooker. The new ones have safety features to prevent explosions. Keep them clean and follow instructions and you’ll find them very handy aboard. They can make cheaper cuts of meat more tender, cook beans and meals in less time to save cooking fuel, and keep your galley cooler in hot climates because of shorter cooking times. And a pressure cooker is a heavy pan that seals well when you’re cooking on rocking seas.
3. A Plastic Egg Container
Saving old, sturdy egg cartons is a good idea; we also keep a Tupperware-type container for eggs we refrigerate. This container has a hard plastic bottom shaped to hold the eggs in place and a softer plastic lid. It stands up in a perfect place in the refrigerator (with its soft plastic against the wall) and takes little room but keeps the eggs from breaking.
4. A Whistling Teakettle
A heavy-duty, stainless-steel teakettle is a must-have in the galley. A squat, large-bottomed one is best because it won’t tip over while on the stove. Because you’re on a boat and something always seems to come up, a whistle is handy to remind you that you’ve got water boiling.
5. Hanging Baskets and Mesh Hammocks
Storage is always a challenge on a boat. This is especially true for such tender goods as tomatoes, breads, and fruit. A hanging tiered basket or mesh hammock can serve the purpose and takes up little counter space. You can easily see if fruit and veggies are getting too ripe. Find a home for this hanging storage where it won’t bang against the sides or hull to dent your precious fresh fruits and veggies. We tie down a hanging tiered basket to the sink faucets to keep it from swinging about too wildly.