May 17, 2010
Your food storage pantry will not be complete without sugar, salt, and fats!
We have a few more items to discuss on our journey through the basics of food storage. We have already learned about grains, legumes, garden seeds, and milk. The last three of the 7 basics are sugar, salt, and fat. Without these three vital ingredients, many of our food storage recipes would suffer from a serious lack of flavor and texture!
Salt is a staple in every kitchen. It is in virtually every recipe as salt influences the flavor of food. It enhances the natural flavors of grains, vegetables, and even fruits! It can deepen the flavor of desserts, and give extra oomph to a bland starch. If you have ever tasted a loaf of bread or other baked item where the salt was omitted, I’m sure you’ll agree it that the finished product left much to be desired! Salt has also been used for centuries as a preservative. In addition to being an integral part of most recipes, it is also a household staple in many other ways. Salt can be used as a cleaning abrasive, and when mixed with water it makes a brine which can be used to clean out foul smelling food containers and help make that greasy and stinky garbage disposal fresh again. Salt mixed into a paste can be used as toothpaste and as a scrub for the skin. When mixed with water as a mild solution, it can be a mouth gargle and eye wash. Salt is helpful in the laundry too, as it can freshen clothing and can be used to help remove persperation stains. I recently read in a magazine that sprinkling salt will keep ants out of the kitchen! Who knew that salt was such a versatile item? Also, make sure some of the salt you store is iodized because it provides a much needed micronutrient , iodine. Salt is a mineral so if properly stored it should last indefinitely.
Storing sugar and honey will provide you with another recipe staple. Like salt, sugar enhances and develops the flavor of many of the basic foods that you will be storing. One of my favorite breakfast cereals is six grain rolled cereal, but without a pinch of salt and a healthy tablespoon of sugar, it wouldn’t appeal to me very much! Sugar is a simple carbohydrate and provides energy for the body. Honey is a wonderful storage item because it is a concentrated sugar, so you can use less than a refined sugar. Be aware that honey is not recommended for children under the age of 1 by most Pediatricians. Honey is a great addition to cereals, breads, and a drizzle on many of the basics makes them much more appealing. Don’t forget that along with white sugar and honey, you can also store brown sugar, which has a deeper flavor as it is a combination of white sugar and molasses. Like salt, sugar if properly stored should last indefinitely.
Living in a world were fats are considered the bad guys of the food world, it seems that storing oil or other fats isn’t very important. Well, in the context of food storage, fats are very important! Did you know that Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble, which means that they need fat to be digested, absorbed and used within the body? Fats are sources of essential fatty acids, another important dietary requirement. Though low fat diets are preferred, eliminating fat completely from the diet would be harmful to the body. In regards to food storage, fat is extremely important. It helps add flavor to foods, aids in the cooking process, and is an effective energy source. You can choose to store fats in oil form and shortening is also a good food storage item. Butter, margarine, and shortening powders are also available. Be mindful that liquid fats purchased at your local grocery store will need to be rotated every few years. Dehydrated products can be stored longer, especially if they are kept cool and dry. Despite the fact that many of us are diet conscious these days, please don’t neglect this important food storage item!
As you can see, our basic pantry would simply be incomplete, and quite frankly, loose much of it’s palatability without the addition of these three essentials. So, please add them to your list because sugar, salt, and fats will go a long way in making everything taste better!