Monthly Archives: August 2010

  • Just Beat It

    By Angie Sullivan

    The fragile egg doesn’t need to be left off your preparedness list! If you choose to store dehydrated or freeze dried egg products, then you can still beat it!

    If you have never learned about dehydrated or freeze dried eggs, then you are in for a surprise. As far as ease and versatility, they can’t be “beat”! But, first of all, you must familiarize yourself with the different types of canned egg products:

    Whole Eggs are just that, 100% whole eggs solids. These are perfect for baking and can be used in any recipe requiring eggs. You can still whip up your famous pancake mix, cake mix, or cookie dough recipe using whole dehydrated eggs. It’s as simple as adding 2 tablespoons of dried eggs to equal one fresh egg. Then, when you add the wet ingredients, just add the equal amounts water to reconstitute. It’s just that easy!

    Scrambled Egg Mix is a combination of three dehydrated ingredients: eggs, non-fat milk, and vegetable oil. You simply add water and scramble. Imagine adding some freeze dried mushrooms, onions, and peppers to create a tasty and nutritious omelet. Bet you didn’t imagine eating that in an emergency!

    You can also purchase Dehydrated Egg Whites, which can be used just like regular egg whites once reconstituted. Yes, your favorite lemon meringue pie can be accomplished with dried egg products! I’ve got your wheels turning now-don’t I?

    Freeze-Dried Eggs have already been cooked, so they are simple as can be; you just add hot water and voila! Could it get any easier than that? Don’t hesitate to use these for family camping trips and maybe even those crazy hectic mornings!

    You can keep making all those wonderful recipes that call for fresh eggs by simply substituting dried eggs products. With the array of products available, you are sure to find just the right eggs for your family’s needs. So, consider opening up a can of freeze dried or dehydrated eggs, you’ll find they are easy, versatile, tasty, and just plain hard to” beat”! (Or should we say, easy to beat?!)

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Passport to Preparedness, angie sullivan

  • The Joy of Soy

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    Beef Tacos

    Would you be interested in a meat substitute that not only was cost effective, but also healthy and tasted great? The answer is a product made from soybeans called Textured Vegetable Protein!

    Obviously, the long name may sound intimidating, but Textured Vegetable Protein is simply a meat substitute made from the soybean. Chances are you’ve already heard about this amazing bean and even recognize how many health foods are beginning to incorporate it into their products. But, you might not know that for many years this healthy bean has been used to make amazing meat substitutes. The soybean is first ground into flour which is then formed into any texture or size needed and flavored to make imitation bacon bits, ground beef, ham and even sausage and chicken!

    Sounds too good to be true? Well, chances are you have already tried Textured Vegetable Protein at one time or another. Most “bacon bits” used on salads and potatoes are made of this meat substitute and many convenience and fast foods use it as a meat extender. It is more economical than meat; in fact, even the cheapest cuts of meat may be more expensive than the average serving of Textured Vegetable Protein. It is significantly lower in fat than red meat and is a healthier fat as it is vegetable based. It is also lower in cholesterol, has fewer calories and provides your family with protein, fiber, vitamins and calcium!

    Now that you know a little more about this fascinating product it’s time to know why Textured Vegetable Protein is suited for food storage. First of all, Textured Vegetable Protein has a long shelf life. It is canned with an oxygen absorber and when properly stored can last over 5 years and after opening, if kept covered and cool, will remain on your shelf for up to 6 months. It only needs refrigeration after it is rehydrated, which makes it incredibly convenient for even everyday meals!

    Don’t want the mess and bother that comes with cooking real meat? Textured Vegetable Protein is easy to prepare. Simply simmer the dehydrated product in water for ten minutes and it is ready to go! There is no need to worry that your food storage budget will prevent you from making your family their favorite meat dishes. Not only can you use Textured Vegetable Protein as a meat substitute, it can also be used as a meat extender. Do you have only two pounds of ground beef and need three? Supplement with Textured Vegetable Protein! You don’t have to sacrifice taste for budget when you incorporate it into your food storage pantry. If you aren't exactly sure how you would use this meat substitute, consider these ideas. Sausage and Ham Textured Vegetable Protein is delicious in quiche and casseroles. Add it to gravy over biscuits or use it as a topping on pizza or in your scrambled eggs. Taco Textured Vegetable Protein can be used for all your Mexican meals like burritos, tacos, and Nachos. Lasagna, Chili, and Spaghetti will be simple to make with the Beef Textured Vegetable Protein. Use the Chicken Textured Vegetable Protein to make all your delicious casseroles, sandwiches and soups.

    Don’t waste another minute worrying about how to incorporate meat into your food storage menu. The answer is simple, Textured Vegetable Protein is economical, healthy and simple to prepare. It is a meat substitute that will help you see the joy of soy!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: TVP, soy, angie sullivan, vegetarian, food storage

  • I Think I Can

    By Angie Sullivan

    Want to enjoy that summer bounty long after the season ends? You CAN!

    Last week we discussed using a food dehydrator to help you store some of the bounty of harvest time. This week, our preparedness journey will take us to the land of canning. I know, many of you are going to stop reading right here. Perhaps you believe that canning is only for your mother’s generation, or that it is way too hard to accomplish. Well, if you have the right tools, canning can be fun and provide you with some delicious food storage from your own kitchen!

    There are a few guidelines you need to know. There are different types of home canning. These include Hot Water Bath, Steam Canning, and Pressure Canning. Hot Water Bath and Steam Canning are wonderful methods for foods that are high in acid, mainly fruit. Both Hot Water Bath and Steam Canning are not recommended for vegetables or meat. Pressure Canning which is the safest method, is to be used for vegetables and meats, as they require a much higher temperature to be safely preserved.

    If you own your own trees, or if you have access to a source of low priced fruits, then home canning can be a cost effective form of preserving with a few hints and recommendations. The initial investment in cans and a canner may seem prohibitive, but you will be able to reuse the canner, cans, and rims for years to come if properly sanitized. The lids must be purchased new with each round of canning as the seal will be bad once the lid is opened.

    You have a few different choices when it comes to preparing your produce. You can slice, dice, or puree your fruit. If you’d like to puree your fruit, you might want to consider a food strainer or a food processor to help make your job a little easier. You can choose whether to seal the food in water or in sugar syrup. You can even choose whether to pack in light, medium, or heavy syrup. Each fruit requires different times. Your canner will come with a list of preparation instructions and boil times for the produce you are using. Be sure you follow the instructions included with your canner to insure you get the proper seal for your produce.

    With the right tools, a little time and effort, you can reap the huge benefits of canning and feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment as you gaze at a shelf full of produce you prepared. Not to mention that fact that you no longer will be saying “I think I CAN” for you can replace that with a new mantra: “I KNOW I CAN!”

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Passport to Preparedness, angie sullivan

  • Dry DIY

    Did you know that you can dehydrate some of your own foods at home? Get ready for this Dry DIY (do-it-yourself)!

     

    Our preparedness journey has helped us discover many different food storage options. With harvest season on the horizon, it’s time to think about preserving some of your own foods. Today we’ll help you find the right tools to dry some of your bounty; be it home grown, a gift from the neighbors, or even purchased from the farmer’s market!

     

    Drying is one of the oldest methods of food preservation. In short, it is simply removing moisture from foods while exposing it to heat and moving air. There are three primary ways to dry food. Sun drying, oven-drying, and using a food dehydrator.

     

    Sun drying is ideal for fruits such as apricots, peaches, grapes, and figs. It requires several dry hot days in a row (85 degrees or higher). Simply spread thin pieces of fruit in shallow pan and cover with cheesecloth to keep the bugs out.

     

    Oven drying food is similar to sun drying; it just uses the oven instead of the sun. Set the temperature between 130-150 degrees depending on your oven. The drying time will vary based on the size and specific food being dried. There are a few precautions for sun and oven food dehydration. You must keep an eye on the food. If the temperature is too low or the humidity too high, your food could dry too slowly or even spoil. If it is too hot, you could cook the fruit on the outside while the inside remains moist and vulnerable to mold or microorganisms.

     

    Commercial food dehydrators offer a controlled drying environment. They provide a constant, ideal temperature along with heated air that is circulated throughout the dryer. Many food dehydrators offer tray liners so you can dry small sticky foods or even make fruit leathers which are a tasty, inexpensive and healthy alternative to store purchased fruit snacks. You can also make your own beef jerky in a dehydrator! Along with the various foods you can dry, think of being able to dry while you’re away at work, doing other chores, or even asleep! There is minimal worry or fuss involved when you use a food dehydrator, especially when paired with a great and informative instruction booklet with recipes and how-to’s that will help you create a bountiful harvest of dried foods in your own kitchen.

     

    After drying your food, be sure to cool it to room temperature and follow the packaging how-to’s we discussed last week, such as plastic bags, Snapware®, or other airtight containers. Enjoy back packing and camping with your own dried fruits and meats or simply store it away for later months when the sweet taste of summer’s harvest will brighten a cold day!

     

    Drying your own foods can be simple and fun by following this simple Dry DIY!

    -Angie Sullivan

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Passport to Preparedness, angie sullivan

  • Serve and Preserve

    By Angie Sullivan

    Want to serve some of those great food storage recipes we’ve discussed, but worried about how to keep that food fresh longer? It’s time to discuss some great storage options!

    I know there are many of you out there who are hesitant about using your food storage. You’ve read the previous articles about trying out some new recipes, or learning to make bread, but that’s where you lose the nerve. You can’t seem to get the gumption to open that can of milk, or pry the lid off that bucket. You’re afraid that there will be no going back- that within a short time you will have lost the shelf life of your product, and as we can all agree, shelf life is a big deal in the world of food storage. If this sounds familiar, then this article is for you!

    Shelf life is dependent on a few variables. Heat, oxygen, light, and moisture are the biggest factors when it comes to shelf life. The less heat, oxygen, light, and moisture your product is exposed to, the longer it will last. Recent studies show that fluctuation in temperature is the biggest culprit when it comes to decreased shelf life. So, if you can keep your food at a stable temperature, in an airtight container, away from moisture and light, you will have the most success in preserving your food. Studies also show that most dehydrated foods can last up to a year after opening if stored well. Here are a few ideas on how to store that opened can or bucket:

    • Put the product in a zip top plastic bag squeezing all the air out or use a commercial sealer and store the food back in the can with the lid on.

    • Pour the product into Snapware® containers, which create an airtight environment and are attractive and easy to use on a regular basis. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, easily able to accommodate almost any food storage item you wish!

    • Metalized plastic bags can be purchased to put food in, and you can even seal them yourself with an iron at home! These bags can be put inside buckets for extra protection. They are a solid barrier to odors, which makes the bucket/bag combination nearly impervious to rodents. , They are also wonderful at keeping out moisture and light.

    • Gamma Seals are lids made especially for buckets that enable you to open the bucket with a simple twist of the seal. It allows you to get into the bucket, without having to pry off the lid. I use a Gamma Seal on my bucket of wheat, so I can get to it easily, yet keep the lid on therefore protecting it from any pests.

    As you can see, you have several options when it comes to helping preserve those precious food storage items once you have opened them. Hopefully you can banish your fears and feel more confident that you too can serve and preserve your food storage items!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Passport to Preparedness, angie sullivan