We all love the convenience of box mixes. It’s a simple way of having all the ingredients you need to make a cake, biscuits or whatever. Whether you’re a weekend cruiser, on charter or hopping down the coast, they’re wonderful to have on hand.
But it’s not so wonderful to open up a package and discover that moisture has turned the contents into a rock-hard glob or a moldy mess, or perhaps bugs have gotten in.
When we began cruising, I assumed that food that was packaged in foil or plastic was fine as it was, and didn’t really even think about the fact that some brands of box mixes are packaged in pouches that aren’t even intended to be airtight (Jiffy is one, using waxed paper pouches inside their boxes). Boy was I wrong!
While I’ve talked before about storing box mixes in the context of getting rid of the cardboard box, I have to thank Ben Smith of Buckeye Sailboat for reminding me of the other consideration in storing box mixes — keeping the air out!
Even if you’re just going out for a few days, it’s a good idea to take box mixes out of their cardboard boxes and slip them into either Ziploc bags or put several together into one airtight plastic container. Either cut the directions from the box and slip them into the bag, or do what I did in the photo at the top of this article and use a permanent marker to write it on the mix package. Add a bay leaf or two if it’s going to be stored for more than just a couple of days to keep weevils and other bugs at bay.
I learned to do this even with foil pouches and box mixes that were in plastic bags. Both are generally thin enough that moisture in the air will sort of “seep through” over time. You may never notice it in a house with air conditioning, but it happens in the humidity of living “outdoors” — and if you’re in a tropical area with high humidity, you’ll be amazed at just how quickly it happens!
In addition to box mixes, I found that I had to store foil spice pouches (taco seasoning, etc.) and drink mix pouches in airtight plastic bags.