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  • The Relationship Between Water Storage and Just-Add-Water Meals

    If there’s an emergency situation going on around you (hurricane, power outage, soccer practice, etc.), taking the time to create good, wholesome meals can be a daunting task. Fortunately, just-add-water meals are here to save you.


    Just-Add-Water Meals

    ChickenTeri - just-add-water Chicken Teriyaki with Rice

    Just-add-water meals are dehydrated of freeze-dried meals that are already prepared – all you need to do is add water and voila! You’ve got yourself a delicious, home-cooked meal in minutes.  That right there is reason enough to have these types of meals on hand.

    There are also many different varieties, including Chicken Teriyaki with Rice, Pasta Primavera, Creamy Potato Soup, and many more options. Having these on hand will not only make it easy to prepare good meals, but you can also add variety to your daily diet. Eating the same thing day after day can get tiring very quickly, making it hard to even want to eat. Having a wide variety of entrées will keep your meals fresh and exciting for a long time.


    Water for Your Meals

    One of the main reasons we store water is so we can remain hydrated. After all, we need water to stay healthy, strong, and to be able to function properly. Similarly, without food, our bodies will likewise be weak. But what does water have to do with food?


    Water is an essential part in preparing delicious emergency meals. Think about it, how much of your emergency food consists of dehydrated of freeze-dried entrées and pre-cooked meals? Chances are you have at least some food that fits that category. So how do you plan on preparing it in an emergency?

    That’s where water comes into play.

    Water storage is more than just for drinking (although that right there is also vital). Without water, cooking, baking, and preparing your dehydrated and freeze-dried meals will be quite difficult indeed. So how can you make sure you have enough water to prepare your food as well as stay hydrated and sanitary?

    You store it.


    Storing Water

    Storing water is an important part of any emergency preparedness plan. After all, it’s recommended that a household’s water storage should consist of at least one gallon of water per day per person. This only covers hydration and light sanitation, however. So, if you plan on rehydrating your food, you will want to store more water than that.

    Each can of just-add-water meals will tell you how much water you’ll need for each serving, as well as how many servings are inside the can. This will help you gauge how much extra water you’ll need to store.


    How to Store Water

    Guy_Standing_By_Water_Barrels - Just-add-waterThere are a few ways that will work for storing water. One of the most effective is through water barrels and reserves. Depending on the room you have, you could go with a smaller 15-gallon water barrel, or so much as a 320-gallon water reserve. Of course, there are other sizes in between if 15-gallons is too small but 320-gallons is too much.

    Another method is through pop (or soda, depending on where you’re from) bottles. Make sure you wash them out thoroughly before adding water. Plastic jugs or cardboard cartons that contained milk or fruit juice are not recommended for storing water, due to the nature of the plastic and cardboard holding on to milk protein and fruit sugars. No matter how hard you scrub or clean, these substances can’t be adequately removed, giving bacteria an easier time to grow when water is stored in them.

    Now that you have water, let’s talk for a moment about how to rehydrate (or reconstitute) your just-add-water meals.


    Reconstituting Dehydrated Food

    If you’re an avid eater of dehydrated food (beef jerky, anyone?), then you might be interested to know that it doesn’t all have to be eaten that way. However, the process of rehydrating dehydrated food differs depending on the food in question.

    Some foods, such as sauces or dips, just need cold water to be added until your food reaches its desired consistency. Other food, however, takes longer and needs more than just cold water. Meat is an example of such foods. When reconstituting meat, you will need to add your meat to boiling water and let cook for an extended period of time. Depending on the thickness and type of meat, for example, it could take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.


    Reconstituting Freeze-Dried Food

    Water_poured_in_5  Just-add-waterFreeze-dried food is much easier to reconstitute, and once rehydrated, it will revert back to its original shape, texture, and taste – just like it was the day it was freeze-dried. To revert your freeze-dried food back to its original design, all you need to do is place it in hot water and wait up to 10 minutes. It doesn’t need to be boiled, and again, it reverts back to how it was before it was freeze-dried.


    Water storage must not be forgotten when stocking up on emergency food, especially if that food consists of dehydrated or freeze-dried entrées. Be conscious of the types of food you’re storing and secure enough water to be able to prepare those foods, while still having enough for hydration and sanitation.


    How do you store water to use with your emergency food?


    Blog Image - just-add-water

  • 5 Differences Between Dehydrated and Freeze-Dried Food

    When it comes to storing food long term, the age-old question keeps coming up: freeze-dried or dehydrated?

    Both can work as part of your emergency food storage, but there are key differences between the two that could make one better than the other for your particular circumstances. Check out these differences and then choose the option that’s best for you.


    Shelf Life

    IMG_4120 - Dehydrated and Freeze-driedMoisture content plays a huge impact on shelf life. The more moisture, the less amount of time it will last. With that in mind, it’s time to compare the moisture content of dehydrated and freeze-dried food.

    Dehydrated food can lose quite a bit of moisture–up to 95 percent! However, do-it-yourself home dehydrators may only remove 70% or a food’s water, leaving it with a shelf life of only one year on average. However, most top end dehydrated food will still maintain a shelf life of even longer, up to 15 years or more.

    Freeze-dried food, on the other hand, is much more suitable for long-term storage. Getting rid of 98-99 percent of moisture gives freeze-dried food a much lengthier shelf life. Our freeze-dried food has a shelf life of 25 years or more.

    While both dehydrated and freeze-dried foods can have long shelf lives, freeze-dried food is definitely superior when it comes to long-term storage. In both cases, however, cooler temperatures will help lengthen their shelf life. We recommend storing your food in temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.



    Water_poured_in_5 - Dehydrated and Freeze-driedFreeze-dried meals prepare easily. Since everything is pre-cooked, all you need to do is add water, wait a few minutes, and your food is ready for eating! Best of all, it tastes just like it did the day it was created (which might very well have been 25 years ago).

    Dehydrated food is a touch different in the way it’s prepared. Instead of letting your food soak for a few minutes, it needs to be cook—boiled, even—in order to rehydrate enough to become the food it used to be. This can take upwards to 20 minutes, depending on the food. While it’s not a huge issue, it can make a big difference if you’re in a hurry.



    According to a food science professor at UC-Davis, freeze-dried food maintains most of its nutrients throughout the process, and once rehydrated, is very similar in nutritional value to its fresh counterpart. This is in contrast to dehydrated food which, although much of the nutrients remain, only around 50% - 60% of the original nutrients are left over. In freeze-dried food, there is about 97% of retained nutrients. In this area, freeze-dried food comes out on top.



    Lasagna_image - Dehydrated and Freeze-dried Lasagna with Meat Sauce, previously freeze-dried

    Flavor is important in your food. If it doesn’t taste good, why would you even want to eat it? Fortunately, both freeze-dried and dehydrated foods taste great, but there is a difference in the way it’s prepared that makes one taste better than the other.

    According to the Wild Backpacker, the taste of freeze-dried food is essentially held in the food, as the process involves very little heat. This keeps in the flavor, retains original texture, and secures the natural scents. This is why many believe freeze-dried food tastes better than dehydrated food, which uses heat to lose moisture, thus forfeiting flavor, original texture, and smell.



    If your food intends to stay in your pantry or with your emergency food storage until used, then weight won’t really be an issue. However, dehydrated and freeze-dried food are delicious treats and meals to take on camping trips, hikes, and even in your bug-out bag, which in turn makes weight play a crucial role.

    Dehydrated food is heavier than freeze-dried food, so if you are planning on taking one of these types of foods with you on a hike, freeze-dried food is your best option in terms of being lightweight. If you’re planning on getting a meal out of your food, you’ll want to make sure you either bring enough water or have access to it so you can rehydrate your meals. Many freeze-dried foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and even meats, can be snacked on without rehydrating them, making them a nice, lightweight option for snacking.


    There are pros and cons to both dehydrated and freeze-dried food, so in the end it all boils down to what you’re looking for in a food, and how you intend to use it. When it comes to long-term storage and nutrients, however, freeze-dried food reigns supreme. So when you’re looking to invest in an emergency food storage, freeze-dried may very well be the way to go.

    Check out our freeze-dried food here!


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  • Thanksgiving Made Easy

    In my family, my mom’s usually the one caught up in the kitchen all of Thanksgiving Day making the holiday memorable. And we all know that cooking Thanksgiving dinner takes a lot of hard work. With so much needed preparation, and so little time to pull it all together, we, here at Emergency Essentials, want to help with your holiday feast.

    The Thanksgiving Dinner Combo, only $126.04, gives you all of the delicious flavors of Thanksgiving, but with less work and less stress; making your cooking time shorter, and giving you more time to spend with family and friends.  Succulent, tender turkey, fluffy mashed potatoes, crunchy green beans, and a sweet, decadent raspberry crumble—all memories of holidays at home—are included in this new combo.

    Here’s What We Did

    Freeze Dried White Turkey

    Thanksgiving Dinner Combo:White Turkey

    A dish that usually takes all day to cook, took me less than 10 minutes—of course, it wasn’t a whole turkey needing to roast.  The freeze dried white turkey is precut into pieces to make your job simpler. This dish tastes great on its own or even in a turkey casserole. Simply follow the instructions on the can to reconstitute and voila!—you have your main dish for Thanksgiving dinner.

    Spice It Up:

    I added Provident Pantry Iodized Salt and Provident Pantry Black Pepper to my turkey to give it a little more flavor--you’ll also want to add the chicken gravy that comes in the combo so don’t worry too much about the turkey flavoring yet.


    Instant Mashed Potatoes

    Thanksgiving Dinner Combo: Mashed Potatoes

    These are the easiest mashed potatoes I've ever made. Simply follow the instructions on the can, adding the right quantity of potatoes for your guests to boiling water.

    When the water begins to boil, pour your instant mashed potatoes into the water, immediately stirring them together. It will foam a bit and then turn into fluffy mashed potatoes. Personally, I’m not a potato type of girl—I can’t ever eat potatoes plain. If you’re like me, or would just like to add a little flavorful kick to your potatoes, try spicing it up some.

    Spice It Up:

    I sprinkled on some Provident Pantry Ground Black Pepper and Provident Pantry Garlic Powder to give my potatoes a flavorful taste. Add as much flavoring as you and your family would like, taste testing it every once in a while to make sure you have your desired blend of seasonings (Hey, there’s always an excuse to taste test . . .)


    Chicken Gravy Mix

    Turkey and mashed potatoes are just not the same without gravy. Simply add water to the gravy powder, mix, and you’ve instantly made traditional gravy that adds moisture, flavor, and overall satisfaction to the two most crucial dishes of your Thanksgiving dinner.


    Freeze Dried Green Beans

    Thanksgiving Dinner Combo: Green Beans

    Simply reconstitute your beans, and enjoy the familiar taste of this fresh, crunchy vegetable.  These green beans are great to use as a side all by themselves, or to create a fun, tasty dish. These green beans will make a great addition to your Thanksgiving meal and to your table throughout the year as well.

    Spice It Up:   

    My family’s favorite way to spice up green beans is to add some Provident Pantry Freeze Dried Mushroom Slices.

    While my green beans reconstituted, I sautéed the reconstituted mushroom slices and Provident Pantry Minced Garlic over medium heat. After sautéing them for 3-4 minutes, I added my green beans. I sautéed them for another 2-3 minutes until the mushrooms turned golden brown.

    This dish is unique and flavorful, giving your dinner a tasty surprise. (Be careful, even a little too much garlic can be overwhelming.)


    Corn Muffin Mix

    Thanksgiving Dinner Combo:Corn Bread

    Provident Pantry Corn Muffin Mix is great for making individual muffins for every member of the family. I love this food storage item because you can choose exactly how much you want to make.

    I made half of a batch (6 muffins) which was eaten up immediately! Simply follow the instructions on the can for a delicious, fresh out of the oven side dish. After 20 minutes, my batch came out golden brown on the outside, soft and delicious on the inside.

    Spice It Up:

    To mix it up a little, try adding Provident Pantry Freeze Dried Red or Green Diced Peppers before baking for a spicy taste. You could also add butter and honey afterwards for something a little more sweet.


    Raspberry Crumble

    Thanksgiving Dinner Combo: Raspberry Crumble

    After dinner is all cleaned up, who wants to spend even more time cooking over a hot stove for dessert? This decadent dessert is created by simply adding boiling water and letting it sit for a few minutes.

    Spice It Up:

    To make a complete, beautiful dessert, add some vanilla ice cream to the side. Mmm!


    This is what I did to make a complete Thanksgiving dinner using the Thanksgiving Dinner Combo, but you can also supplement other side dishes to go along with the combo to give you the perfect Thanksgiving for your loved ones.

    For a more complete meal, try adding sweet potatoes, veggies, or rolls.

    So however you celebrate the season, enjoy this time with your family, friends, and loved ones.

    Happy Thanksgiving!


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