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  • Food Review: Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn and Freeze-Dried Peach Slices

    I’m not a chef. At home, I am a short-order cook. In my family of seven, six of us have dietary restriction. Food allergies include milk products, tree nuts, wheat, corn, eggs, and soy, in varying degrees of severity. I also have an autistic son who, until last year, ate fewer than 10 foods. And my husband eats kosher – meaning, among other things, no pork products and no milk and meat products in the same meal (bacon cheeseburgers are out.)

    When I find a food that most family members like and can eat, it’s lovely.  We recently had the chance to try Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn with Butter and Salt (SKU: FN C101) and Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Peach Slices (SKU: FN P120).

    I’d definitely recommend both.

     

    Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn with Butter and Salt

    Corn ReviewI can’t stand canned corn. I only use it in recipes that mask the flavor. I’d expected the Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn with Butter and Salt to taste like canned corn.

    Guess what? It doesn’t.

    It’s better.

    Straight out of the container, it tastes like a cross between buttered popcorn, a tortilla chip and frozen corn. It’s a great snack. (Actually, between paragraphs I’ve been grabbing handfuls from the can.)

    We tried it as a side dish. My husband, who cooked that night, appreciated that it’s easy to reconstitute: just add warm tap water and wait five minutes. It doesn’t lose the butter and salt flavor in the process. Most of the family – among those who could eat it – loved it. My younger son, the picky, autistic one, finished his corn then wandered around the table trying to eat it off everyone else’s plates.  After he devoured three helpings of his own, we just gave him the serving dish. The only one who didn’t enjoy it was my eldest son, who likes corn plain with no condiments. Maybe we should try the Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Super Sweet Corn  (SKU: FN C100, $16.95) without butter and salt for him.

    “The corn was the best part of the meal,” my 9-year-old daughter said.

    It’s easy to cook with because 1 cup of dry corn equals 1 cup reconstituted. I adapted this recipe from the Taste of Home 2002 Annual Recipes cookbook (2001, Rieman Publications, LLC, Greendale, WI, page 262).

     

    Zesty Corn and Beans

    1 can (14 ½ oz) Mexican diced tomatoes, undrained

    2 cups Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Sweet Corn with Butter and Salt, reconstituted

    1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

    ¼ teaspoon dried oregano

    ½ teaspoon chili powder, or more if you prefer spicier food

    1 teaspoon Adobo® seasoning (optional)

     

    In a saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Or, combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for about 3 minutes. Serve over hot rice.

    Other uses: I didn’t try this, but this web site, momwithaprep.com, tells how to make cornmeal from freeze-dried corn. Try it and tell us how it turned out.

     

    Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Peach Slices

    Peaches ReviewI was planning to do with the Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Peach Slices what I did with the corn: describe its flavor straight from the can, describe its flavor reconstituted and provide a recipe. I didn’t count on my husband. By the time I was ready to try cooking with the peaches, he’d eaten most of the can. There weren’t enough left for a full recipe. I came out once in the middle of the night to find him watching a movie and eating a huge bowl of dried peach slices.

    “These things are addictive,” he said.

    When you first put the freeze-dried slices in your mouth, they don’t have a strong flavor, but wait a second and the peach comes out.

    When reconstituted, the peach slice is soft like a canned peach on the outside, but firmer like a fresh peach inside.

    These peaches are not as sweet as canned peaches, which are typically kept in syrup. Since my family prefers tarter foods, and I prefer no added sugar, that’s a benefit in our world. If you like sweeter peaches in your cooking, add a bit more sweetener than the recipe recommends.

    Also, the freeze-dried peaches are like breakfast cereal in that smaller pieces sink to the bottom. Unless you want a cupful of tiny peaches at the end of the can, mix them up beforehand.

    This recipe for Peach Crisp is taken from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (Golden Press, revised ed., 1986, page 124). I had to halve it because my husband ate so many of the dried peaches, I didn’t have enough left for the full recipe. This is the full recipe.

     

    Peach Crisp

    4 cups Emergency Essentials® Freeze-Dried Peach Slices, reconstituted

    2/3-¾ cup packed brown sugar

    ½ cup all-purpose flour

    ½ cup rolled oats

    1/3 cup margarine or butter, softened (I use slightly less)

    ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

    ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg

    Heat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange peaches in greased square pan, 8x8x2 inches. Mix remaining ingredients; sprinkle over apples.

    Bake until topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve warm and, if desired, with cream or ice cream.

     

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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?

    Everything.

    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?

     

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  • 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.

     

    Preparation

    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.

     

    Nutrition

    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.

     

    Taste

    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.

     

    Weight

    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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