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  • Why You Should Grind Grains Other Than Wheat . . .

    Why you should Grind Grains other than wheat

    You know the benefits of grinding your own wheat: whole grains are shelf stable for longer than flour is, so you can take advantage of sales and keep a bigger supply on hand. And when you grind your own wheat, you’re able to keep all the parts of the grain in the flour, including the protein- and nutrient-rich bran and germ, which are usually removed during commercial grinding. But did you know these same benefits extend to grains other than wheat, too?

    Recently, I’ve wanted to live a life that more regularly includes new-to-me grains like buckwheat (not actually a wheat, I’ve recently discovered). And rye. And spelt. Sometimes I want the ability to make cakes, pies, pancakes, porridge, rolls, cookies, anything wheat flour makes, with more protein and less gluten.

    Sometimes I want my food to taste nuttier, deeper, grassier, heartier, lighter, crispier, whatever-er, than wheat flour would make it. And I always want these things without spending exorbitant money or time. Non-wheat grains bring their own plusses to the table. Don’t miss out on them just because wheat is the first grain we think of when the topic of grain mills comes to mind.


    Our Top Four Reasons to Grind Non-Wheat Grains

    1. The Health Benefits will blow you away: Pearled Barley, for instance, is high in fiber and vitamins but low in fat, cholesterol, and calories. Likewise, according to the Whole Grains Council, whole oats (otherwise called oat groats)have been linked with all kinds of health bonuses, including the decreased likelihood of asthma, increased appetite control, improved immune system, decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes, and reduced blood pressure.

    2. A Great Remedy for Eliminating Menu Fatigue: Even better, when you grind your own grains, you get nutritional and taste diversity. Grind up some Emergency Essentials® Yellow Popcorn, and you get fresh, homemade corn meal—nutrient rich and begging to be made into creamy polenta or buttery corn bread with too much honey.

    3. Perfect for those with Dietary Restrictions: Swap out some or all of your wheat flour for freshly ground Emergency Essentials® Superpail Spelt flour, and you can make a moist, almost fudgy, three-layer satsuma cake that will make your gluten-sensitive guests feel like celebrating. (Note: Because spelt is a form of wheat, spelt is not gluten free, but it is sometimes easier for gluten-sensitive people to digest than traditional wheat.)

    4. They’ll Spice up your Weekly Dinners: Hankering for an international spin on bread with dinner? Non-wheat grains are key to the flatbreads from many countries, including Ethiopian injera and French socca (a chickpea flour flatbread).

    In sum, grinding your own non-wheat grains can put gluten-free/old school/exotic foods within your price range and bailiwick.



    To that end, here are some recipes the new you (and me!) can try. Imagine, fresh from your (and my!) grinder and kitchen—


    • Buckwheat crepes (try the Mark Bittman recipe, findable on any number of blogs; when I made them they had a sort of toasted nut flavor that made me think maybe they were better than regular crepes)
    • Teff porridge with apples and dates (recipe and sweet anecdote at http://www.pbs.org/food/kitchen-vignettes/teff-porridge/)




    For more grain recipes and inspiration, I’d recommend http://www.chefbrad.com/, http://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes.php, and http://wholegrainscouncil.org/recipes.


    A final note about grinders

    High-quality grinders, like the Nutrimill Grinder or the Wonder Mill Grinder , can turn bulk grains into flours with so little hassle, it’s ridiculous.

    But not all grinders are designed to grind all kinds of grains (some have trouble with oily grains--the Wondermill Junior comes with an extra head to grind oily grains), so be sure to check the instructions (or, in the case of the Wonder Mill Grinder, the website willitgrind.com) to see which grains can be ground in which machine.


    Now that I’ve spilled the grains (aka beans), you tell me—what’s your favorite recipe to make with ground grains other than wheat?









    “Spelt,” article available at http://extension.usu.edu/fsne/

    Interview with Lisa Keller, notes on file with the author

  • Preparedness Basics: How to Use a Dehydrator

    Preparedness Basics: How to Use a Dehydrator

    Whether you’re using it for food storage, snacks, or camping, using a dehydrator to dry your own food can be a great money saver—plus you know your food was fresh before it was dehydrated! There are a lot of different variables to consider when dehydrating fruits, veggies, and meats, so this is a basic how-to that will work as a jumping off point.

    What you need:

    • A dehydrator (like the Excalibur, L’Equip, or American Harvest)
    • Fruit/Veggies/Meat
    • Cutting board
    • Knife
    • Air-tight containers/freezer bags
    • Optional:
      • Provident Pantry Iodized Salt, Provident Pantry White Sugar, spices
      • Ascorbic acid or citrus juice
      • Pot with boiling water for blanching (a method of partially cooking fruits or vegetables in boiling water before dehydrating them. Blanching makes it easier to peel produce and helps to keep their colors vibrant and bright instead of turning gray in the dehydrator.)


    How to Prep Your Foods and Use Your Dehydrator:

    1. Collect your ingredients. If you’re using fruits or vegetables make sure they’re of good quality and not bruised or overripe as this will impact the quality of your dehydrated goods.

    2. Prepare ingredients. This will vary depending on what you are using, but this means cleaning, hulling, and slicing produce or cutting up meat. The important thing is to maintain consistency in the thickness of your slices/pieces to ensure drying at an even rate.

    •  Fruit: If desired, treat fruits prone to oxidation with citrus juice or ascorbic acid to help retain color throughout the process. You may also need to crack the skins of tough fruits (grapes, berries) to allow the moisture to evaporate.
    • Vegetables: For most vegetables, a short blanching in boiling water will help speed the drying process and help maintain color. Three to five minutes should be enough.

    3. Season. This step is optional, but if desired you can add salt, sugar, or spices.

    4. Load. Take all of your pieces and load onto the dehydrator trays without overlapping pieces.

    5. Go! Turn on your dehydrator immediately after loading. Consult your owner’s manual for recommended drying times and other specific instructions. Expect it to take anywhere from 6-12 hours.

    6. Check. As you get close to the end of drying time, you can check to see if your pieces are done! To check, remove a piece from the dehydrator and allow it to cool. Feel it with your fingers. If it feels dry to the touch, then it is probably done. An additional test can be done by cutting open pieces to see if there are any moisture beads. Another option is putting warm pieces into a plastic bag to see if condensation forms. If any moisture is present after trying one of these three tests, you need to dry them out more.

    7. Cool. Allow your pieces to cool for 30-60 minutes before packing (they should be completely cool to the touch).

    • Conditioning Dried Fruits: Because fruits retain a small amount of moisture, it is necessary to condition them before storage. Conditioning is a method of protecting the fruit from spoilage, especially from mold. Place loosely in a jar until about 2/3 full. Lightly cover. Shake once a day for 7-10 days. If condensation appears on the jar, the fruit needs to be returned to the dehydrator for further drying. Repeat conditioning process if more drying is necessary.

    8. Store. Place in air-tight containers or plastic freezer bags (remove all air) and store in a cool, dry place. When properly stored, dehydrated foods usually last about a year.


    To learn more tips about how to prepare your foods for a dehydrator, check out our blog post “ Preparedness Skills: Dehydrating Basics.”

    That’s it, a basic how-to for using a dehydrator. Isn’t it easy? Time to go make some tasty snacks!


    For all those with years of experience using a dehydrator, what other tips would you give beginners for dehydrating fruits, vegetables, and meats?

  • 6 Delicious Vegetarian-Style Recipes from Food Storage

    The Farmer’s Market Vegetable Combo gives you the flavors of ultra-fresh vegetables right in your food storage supply. These staple ingredients, along with others, are great for delicious side dishes or healthy, vegetarian-style meals. Check out what you can do with just a few vegetables.

    Food Storage Pasta Primavera

     This refreshing dish is great to eat for a light lunch or dinner

    This flavorful combination of crisp carrots, green peas, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, and more gives you a light and healthy lunch or dinner selection. Enjoy the refreshing flavor on a summer’s day outdoors or in the office.

    Fresh Farmer’s Salad

    This fresh vegetable salad gives you refreshing flavor using vegetables from the Farmer's Market Combo

    This fresh vegetable salad will brighten up your table using crisp broccoli, green beans, green peas, zucchini, and tomatoes tossed with a tangy oil and vinegar dressing.  This dish gives you a light meal great for lunchtime.

    For a variation, try making this salad into a Cobb Salad by adding Yoder’s Bacon.

    Hearty Strawberry Smoothie

     Try this delicious smoothie for a sweet, hearty way to start your morning

    For the lacto-ovo vegetarians (what most think of as basic vegetarians who avoid all meat but still eat eggs and dairy) out there, this sweet, addicting breakfast smoothie will give you the energy you need with fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grains to keep you going all day long. This smoothie combines the unique, hearty texture of oats to complement the sweet flavor of fruits, giving you a one-of-a-kind dish.

    Broccoli and Green Beans

     This broccoli and green bean dish is a fantastic side to eat with practically any meal

    Bring a mouthwatering flavor to your table with this simple, yet tasty, side dish. Savory garlic and red pepper flakes combine with fresh-tasting green vegetables to bring you a crisp, flavorful dish that’s great to eat at home or to share with friends and family at a picnic or barbeque.

    Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells

     Cheesy, saucey noodles stuffed with cottage cheese and vegetables give you a remarkable meal you won't forget.

    Make a flavorful gourmet meal for dinner tonight that’s sure to become a family favorite. Again, this is one is for lacto-ovo vegetarians who enjoy dairy. This meal can easily be made with or without meat. Spinach, an abundance of cheese, and a delicious tomato sauce will have you begging for more.

    For a variation, add Provident Pantry Freeze Dried Sausage Crumbles to the mix.

    Zucchini Corn Fritters

     This sweet and savory dish is a great way to welcome summer

    These fritters will have you rushing the table for the last one. The sweet, delicious flavor combined with fresh-tasting vegetables makes this a dish that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.

    Do you have any favorite vegetarian recipes you’d like to share?

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