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Food Storage

  • Freeze-Dried Food as a Mainstream Meal Option

    Last week stank. One daughter had her tonsils removed Monday. All of the rest of my family – including me – were suffering through nasty colds. And my husband’s been out of town. I could barely leave the house.

    To feed my family, I relied on food storage, especially products like freeze-dried beef stew and freeze-dried vegetables that were fast and easy to cook.

    This TV news story, from a Houston ABC affiliate, said freeze-dried food isn’t just for natural disasters or astronauts anymore.  It’s also showing up in everyday cooking, as people discover that freeze-dried foods are convenient and save money.

    Preparing a freeze-dried meal takes less time than going out to a restaurant or ordering something in. It also costs less than a restaurant meal – even a fast-food one.

    beef-stroganoff Mainstream Beef Stroganoff

    It’s fast. Add boiling water to a freeze-dried meal pouch, stir a couple of times, and 10 minutes later, dinner’s ready. As more people have discovered freeze-dried foods, the variety of food available has increased too.

    "Basically, anything that you would normally cook can be freeze dried," Alissa Rumsey, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told ABC 13.

    Or, if you’re Misty Marsh from the ABC 13 news story, combine ingredients from separate cans of freeze-dried meat and vegetables to make a quick soup.

    Freeze-dried ingredients are already washed and cut, so you don’t have to do it yourself. I’ve tossed reconstituted freeze-dried hash browns into a recipe that called for potatoes. I’ve done the same for freeze-dried corn.

    Like other prepared foods, freeze-dried food is more expensive than canned or fresh food. However, it can still reduce your food budget, not just your dining-out budget.

    American families throw away about a quarter of the food and drinks they buy, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. That costs a family of four an estimated $1,365 to $2,275 annually.

    The NRDC attributes much of this loss to factors like poor planning, spoiling and waste from past sell-buy dates.

    Freeze-dried food can help with all these issues.

    chicken-teriyaki Mainstream Chicken Teriyaki

    You should be rotating food storage anyway. So, plan meals using food storage items, then replace them as they get used up. This will help reduce the hit to the wallet from food waste. It will also allow you to spread out food storage shopping throughout the year, so you can buy items when they’re on sale, instead of when you run out.

    Have you ever lost a zucchini or bunch of spinach in the refrigerator? And discovered it three weeks later, a soggy, mildewed blob?

    Freeze-dried vegetables and fruit last longer, so they’re less likely to spoil than fresh ones. If you’re keeping more of the food you buy, because it doesn’t spoil, you’re saving money.

    Freeze-dried food has a much longer shelf life than canned or frozen food – 25 years and more, if left unopened. I recently cleaned out my food storage and removed some really out-of-date cans. (2013, anyone?) What a waste of food and money. I could have bought freeze-dried food that would still be good.

    Freeze-dried foods take some practice. The first time I tried tossing reconstituted freeze-dried hash browns into a casserole, they came out soggy. I learned if I fry them just a bit before I toss them in, they hold together more like fresh potatoes. Also, different brands have slightly different flavors. So experiment. In the long run, you’ll save time and money.

     

    Blog Image

  • Transform Your Food Storage Staples Into Gourmet Goodness (Plus Recipes)

    Whipped topping from beans. Tortillas and egg roll wrappers from flour. Yogurt and “Hamburger Helping Mix” from powdered milk.

    I love to stock food storage staples this time of year. Thanks to the holidays, and holiday bakers, stores everywhere have sales on beans, flour, milk and other baking staples.

    These staples are incredibly versatile, and they’ve saved me hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the years. The internet is awash in do-it-yourself recipes to turn these basic ingredients into other pantry items, meals, and mixes. Some of my favorite sites are allrecipes.com, food.com, budget101.com and the Utah State University extension service.

     

    black-beans-large-can Food Storage StaplesBeans

    Beans are undergoing a renaissance in the food substitution world. They add protein and fiber, and replace some of the fat. I’ve found recipes for black beans in brownies, and I recently ran across this recipe for making whipped topping out of bean liquid. Seriously.

    To grow some quick veggies, try sprouting dry beans.

    I’ve enjoyed this recipe for black bean veggie burgers that uses food storage ingredients, adapted from a recipe at allrecipes.com.

     

    Homemade Black Bean Veggie Burgers

    Ingredients

    1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained, rinsed and dried

    1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces, or equivalent dried green bell peppers

    1 1/2 tablespoons dried minced onion

    ¾ teaspoon garlic powder

    1 egg

    1 tablespoon chili powder

    1 tablespoon cumin

    1 teaspoon hot sauce

    ¾ cup rolled oats

    Directions

    If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and spray cooking spray on a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), put aluminum foil on a cookie sheet, and spray foil with cooking spray. Put waxed paper on a cookie sheet and spray it with cooking spray.

    In a food processor, mix together bell peppers, dried minced onion and garlic powder. Add rolled oats and process.

    In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce. Add to mix in food processor and process.  Add black beans and puree. The mixture should be sticky and hold together.

    Divide mixture into four to five patties on the waxed paper cookie sheet. Freeze for at least a half hour.

    Put the frozen patties on foil if grilling, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on foil-lined baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.

     

    Flour

    wheat-grinder-and-wheat Food Storage StaplesFlour’s not just for bread and desserts. (Though, offhand, I can’t think of a better use for it.)

    I’ve made homemade biscuit mix for biscuits, pancakes, waffles and anything else that calls for store-bought biscuit mix. I don’t buy boxes of brownie mix. My favorite homemade brownie mix recipe is in the Make-A-Mix cookbook, but many others are online.

    For healthier recipes, substitute whole wheat flour for part of the white flour. You can even grind your own.

    I’ve made noodles, egg roll wrappers, and my favorite, tortillas.

    You know the frozen rolls that you thaw and cook? They’re surprisingly easy to make.

     

    Homemade Frozen Rolls

    Ingredients

    Ingredients for any bread or roll recipe

    Directions

    Spray a large baking dish and enough plastic wrap to cover it with cooking spray.

    Follow the directions for your bread or roll recipe through the first rising. Make sure you don’t let it over-rise. Punch down the dough, then divide it into balls – larger for larger rolls, small for smaller ones.

    Put the balls into the baking dish, cover with greased plastic wrap and freeze. When they’re frozen, remove and store in a plastic bag in the freezer.

    To use, thaw on a baking dish covered with greased plastic wrap or on the defrost setting in the microwave, then bake or cook them just like frozen rolls. I use them for rolls, pizzas, flatbread, calzones, etc.

     

    Powdered milk

    fortified-dry-milk-superpail Food Storage StaplesI grew up drinking powdered milk. I loathe the stuff with an unmitigated passion. However, I keep it around because it’s quite useful in cooking. The Utah State University extension service has a pamphlet that teaches, among other things, how to substitute dry milk for regular milk in recipes.

    I also use it to make evaporated milk, and even crock pot yogurt.

    It’s useful in mixes, too. I make and keep a jar of this “Hamburger Helping Mix” for quick meals.

    The main disadvantage to storing and using pantry staples is time: making food from scratch takes longer.  If you can find the time to make mixes beforehand, though, and get kids involved, it doesn’t take that much longer. And the versatility and cost savings of the staples make them well worth buying.

     

     

    Freeze-Dried Food Image Food Storage Staples

    Freeze-Dried Vegetable Chef Combo Giveaway

  • People are Stockpiling Food (and Not Just Because of the Elections)

    stockpiling for elections

    During election years, it’s common for people to amp up their preparedness, and the 2016 presidential election has been no different. People from around the country began stockpiling food before Election Day even rolled around. According to NBC News, sales were up 300% for one preparedness company. This was most likely due to fears of a Clinton victory on November 8, according to the vice president at Blue Chip Group Inc.

    But a Trump win didn’t relinquish the need to prepare. On the contrary, we saw a spike in sales of year supplies the very day after the election. Combos, kits, and water storage are also selling With a new president taking office in January, the future is again uncertain. Fortunately, being prepared is a practical way to counter those feelings of uncertainty.

    Many people saw the ugly politicking of the 2016 presidential election and decided it was about time they started building up their emergency prep. But one man from Cincinnati was well ahead of the game. Dan O’Hara has been stocking up on food, water, and gear for years, and even has an underground storage room where he keeps it all. He has freeze-dried food, garden seeds, and even his own freeze dryer. The reason? To help sustain his family for an extended period of time in case of emergency.

    And a new president is only one of the many reasons to prepare.

    Natural disasters, economic crisis, job loss, civil unrest, and even injury can make it difficult to acquire the necessary food and gear to see you through the hard times. O’Hara is even prepared for a nuclear disaster. But is he just a crazy prepper?

    Prepper, yes; crazy, no.

    variety-year-supply stockpiling An example of our Variety Year Supply.

    O’Hara says he and other everyday people prepare so that when something bad does happen, they won’t have to rely on others for help. Self-sufficiency is an important aspect of preparing. With preparedness comes a sense of hope and comfort, both during times of crisis and times of calm. During an emergency, waiting for help could potentially take days or even weeks. Having the food, water, and gear necessary to get through anything – not just the apocalypse – is a big boon for anyone.

    While the recent elections have sown the seed of fear and uncertainty throughout the nation, this is the perfect time to start preparing with emergency food. If you’ve already started, then use this moment in history to build it up to last you even longer. You never know what crisis may enter your life, so the more prep you have, the better off you’ll be.

    But don’t just work on your prep because of the elections. Work on your prep because it is insurance for a safe and comfortable future, regardless of emergency that strikes the nation, your community, or even your personal life.

     

    election_buy_supply_blog1 stockpiling

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