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Provisioning – Aug

­­Frozen Treats on the Boat

When guests show up at my boat or house for dinner, many thoughtfully arrive with a bottle of wine or some beer. One evening my friend Carl came over for dinner on my boat, with a brown paper bag in tow. But instead of pulling a bottle of wine out of the bag, he pulled out something far more precious to me: a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. I was delighted by his brilliant surprise, especially when I realized that it was the first time I had ever eaten ice cream on my boat.

Most people, kids and adults alike, love ice cream and other frozen desserts. Sadly, for those of us who spend a lot of time on boats, ice cream is usually an occasional treat from an ice-cream shop or at a friend’s house when on land. While provisioning, we may look longingly at the supermarket coolers filled with enticing frozen treats, but we must forego the temptation to toss these goodies in our cart. Even if it makes the journey to the boat without melting, ice cream is unlikely to maintain its consistency in a boat freezer. In my experience, it’s rare to find a standard marine freezer that comes anywhere close to matching the cooling ability of a typical kitchen freezer. On older boats or on boats where battery power must be conserved, the freezer may run intermittently… not good conditions for maintaining the integrity of frozen desserts. Unless you have an exceptional boat freezer, and one which operates almost continuously, frozen desserts—whether store-bought or homemade—can be impossible to stock on a boat.

I certainly recognize that the practicalities of life on a boat may require changes and sacrifices, and giving up frozen desserts seemed reasonable. However, a visit from my sister Liz changed my thinking on this topic. She suggested that I could be on a boat and have a cool dessert. I just needed to think beyond ice cream.

Her solution to the frozen dessert quandary was the Italian dessert known as granita (or the French granité), a refreshing, icy dessert made primarily of fruit juice, water and sugar. Think of it as a grown-up Sno-Cone. During the freezing process, the mixture is stirred occasionally, producing a slightly granular texture, hence the name. Granita doesn’t need to fully freeze, and it can be served with a slightly slushy consistency, so it’s ideal for boats with their notoriously “warm” freezers. And unlike ice cream, sorbet or sherbet, an ice cream maker is not necessary for this easy dessert. It’s a wonderfully light and refreshing way to top off a summer meal and a cool way to satisfy my sweet tooth on a steamy summer night.

Citrus Granita with Mango-Mint “Salad”

¼ C sugar
¼ C boiling water
1 C freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
¼ C lime juice
1 Tbl grenadine
¾ C finely diced ripe mango
2 tsp finely chopped mint

In a medium bowl, combine boiling water and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add fruit juices and grenadine to sugar mixture. Pour all liquid into a shallow baking dish (e.g. an 11” x 7” dish). Place in freezer and freeze for about 4 hours or longer, scraping mixture with a fork every hour or two.


Combine mango and mint in a small bowl. Divide granita among four bowls and top with mango-mint salad. Garnish with mint sprigs if desired. Serves four.

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