Food Storage Tips

  • A Surprising Use for Freeze-Dried Fruit

    A Surprising Use for Freeze-Dried Fruit

    One of the unexpected ways I've learned to use freeze-dried fruit is in baked goods—and I don't mean adding freeze-dried fruit to muffins or quick breads, although those are delicious options, as well. In addition to the traditional ways of using freeze-dried fruits in baking, use them to flavor frosting, cream cheese filling, buttercream, or even your batter!

    Using fresh fruit in these items can prove... runny. You know what I mean—you want the delicious flavor of your favorite fruits, but when you get the strawberries (raspberries, etc.) into the frosting, the water in that fresh fruit ruins the consistency.

    Using freeze-dried fruits can give you all the delicious fruit flavor you're looking for without any of the watery aftermath. Just measure out the amount you think you'll need, crush them in a food processor or blender (do NOT rehydrate... remember, we're trying to avoid additional liquid), and stir them in! It's that simple.

    Trust me. You'll want to give it a try. You can thank me later (preferably in the form of freshly-baked cupcakes...).

    --Urban Girl

  • Why store Soybeans in your Emergency Supplies?

     Why store Soybeans in your Emergency Supplies?

    After living in Beijing for nearly three years, I came to understand the importance of soybeans in food storage. The Chinese people first record use of soybeans in 2383 B.C. They used soybeans as nearly their sole source of protein, where we in the states provide protein in our diets by storing meat, milk, eggs, and cheese.

    The Nutritional Benefits of Soybeans

    The US Food and Drug Administration food composition tables list the soybean as 40%-complete protein (unlike other legumes which are incomplete proteins), 20% soybean oil, and over 35% carbohydrates.

    The soybean contains 23 times the vitamin B1 (thiamine) found in meat, and twice as much protein as beef (per gram). Soybeans do not contain the cholesterol found in animal protein or the gluten found in grains. Highly water soluble, soy carbohydrates such as galactan, pentosan, and raffinose encourage probiotic Lactobacillus bifidus bacterial activity and discourage harmful bacteria.

    When you make textured soy protein or flour from soybeans, the protein increases to 50%, and the flour is substantially higher in vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), biotin (10 times), riboflavin (9 times), pantothenic acid (15 times), calcium (20 times), iron (10 times), niacin (5 times), and choline than typical wheat flour. The soybean is also a good source of the anti-ulcer Vitamin U (gastrazyme) and cholesterol-reducing lecithin. When soybeans are sprouted they provide 130 micrograms of vitamin C per gram.

    So how do you use stored soybeans?

    Make Your Own Soy Milk

    To make soy milk for one person for one year takes approximately 50 pounds of soy beans plus a $119.88, 1.7 liter, Soyajoy G4 Soy Milk Maker and Soup Maker. The G4 has a powerful grinder and built in heater necessary to make soy milk, almond milk, or rice milk. Using 1-1/2 cups of organic soy beans will yield about a gallon of soy milk.

    The G4 comes with all of the equipment you need to make soy milk, but I also use coffee filters to strain my milk twice for a smoother texture. The milk tastes far better when chilled overnight.

    To look at a simple comparison of the costs, consider the following:

    • Soy Dream Enriched Vanilla Soymilk, 32 Ounce Aseptic Boxes (Pack of 12) by Imagine Foods from with a one year shelf life will cost about $55.81 per 3 gallons of soy milk plus shipping or about $18.60 per gallon. One gallon per week times 52 weeks ends up costing a person about $967.00 a year.
    • 52 pounds of canned dried soybeans (roughly 10 cans) from Emergency Essentials with a 30 year shelf life will cost $119.50 plus shipping (only $12.00).
    • Compare that with milk sold in your local grocery store at about $3.50 per gallon with a week-long shelf life, at $182.00 per year.
    • Soy milk can be sweetened with just a quarter cup of sugar, fructose, agave syrup, honey, or corn syrup per gallon if desired. It can also be flavored with 2 tablespoons per gallon of Dutch baking chocolate or vanilla extract.
    • The American Soybean Association has indicated soy milk can also be used in an emergency as a replacement for infant formula based on studies conducted in China after WWI and in Germany after WWII.
    • The leftover ground soybeans from the production of soy milk can be used as fertilizer, soy-burgers, or as animal feed, further reducing food costs.
    • According to staff at Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, there is a one to one conversion between soy flour and wheat flour used for baking.


    Make Your Own Tofu from Soybeans

    The next way to use your soybeans is by making soybean curd (tofu). It is made from soymilk brought to a boil with an added agent that causes the protein to separate from the milk. The most common agents used include magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, magnesium sulfate (also known as Epsom salt), calcium sulfate (gypsum), vinegar (acetic acid), and citric acid. If you purchase a Soyajoy Premium Total Tofu Kit from the kit will come with the traditional wooden press box, two types of agents, and instructions. Varying the amount of agent and the time pressed will determine the firmness of your soybean curd.

    Sprouting Soybeans

    Last, soybeans can be easily sprouted. Place clean soy beans in a stackable sprouter or quart mason jar. Soybeans will expand to about six times their original size. Soak the seeds overnight in a ratio of 4 parts warm water to 1 part beans. In the morning, rinse and drain the beans. If using a mason jar attach a sprouting lid or seal it with cheese cloth and a rubber band and then flip the jar over. Store slightly tilted over a dish rack to allow excess moisture to drain. Wash beans 3 to 4 times a day in cool water. This removes all unwanted bacteria from the surface of the shoots. Harvest the sprouts when 2” in length, just prior to the emergence of rootlets. The sprouts can be cooked, canned, stored in the refrigerator for three days, or frozen for later use.

    Delicious Recipes Using Soybeans



    2 cups soybean pulp (which is left over from making soy milk)
    1-3/4 cups gluten or gluten made from King Arthur never-bleached flour
    1 cup peanut butter
    6 tablespoons tomato sauce
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1-1/2 teaspoons ground sage
    4 teaspoons salt

    First, if you are unable to find powdered gluten, you can make it from King Arthur never-bleached flour. Mix two cups of flour with enough water to form a stiff dough. Let sit for ½ hour, then, begin washing away the starch by kneading the dough in a bowl under water. Replace the water several times until the water becomes clear when kneading the dough. Make enough gluten to use 1-3/4 cups of gluten in the recipe.

    Next, place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until uniformly mixed. Roll in log and slice into rounds or use as a loaf. Cook slices in a frying pan or loaf in a 350o F oven until done. After you master the basic soy-burger, you can add ground carrots, squash, or different flavorings to your burger.

    Soy-Enriched Bread

    1 cup of milk
    2 tablespoons sugar (or fructose, agave, or honey)
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons oil
    1 cake fresh yeast or equivalent
    1 cup water
    ¼ cup lukewarm water
    1-1/2 cups soy flour
    4-1/2 cups unbleached flour

    To prepare, begin by adding yeast cake to ¼ cup lukewarm water. Then, scald the milk. Add sweetener, salt, oil and 1 cup of water to the milk. Allow the milk mixture to cool to room temperature. In a mixing bowl, sift two flours together. Add the milk mixture and yeast gradually mixing until a ball of dough is formed. Knead dough on lightly floured board until surface becomes shinny. Shape into ball and allow to rise in warm draftless location 1-3/4 hours. Punch down and  form 2 loaves; let rise again about 2 hours or until doubled. For a great result, bake at 375oF for 20 minutes and finish at 350o F for another 25 minutes. Brush with oil and let cool. I usually make four loaves at a time and freeze two for later use mixing one batch at a time but baking them together.

    Soybean Brown Rice Loaf

    2 cups cooked soybeans, coarsely chopped
    1 cup cooked brown rice
    2 beaten eggs
    2 tablespoons ketchup or catsup
    3 tablespoons minced onions
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    ½ teaspoon celery seed
    1 teaspoon salt

    In a food processor, pulse together ingredients in order of ingredients provided. Bake in greased bread loaf pan at 350o F 25-35 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

    Soy Custard

    2 cups soybean milk
    ¼ cup sugar (fructose, agave or honey)
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    3 eggs well beaten
    ½ teaspoon vanilla

    In a double boiler, combine milk, sweetener, and salt. When warm add beaten eggs and continue to cook until mixture coats spoon. Cool and transfer to dessert dishes. Chill before serving.

    Egg Foo Yung

    6 eggs
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoons diced green pepper
    1 tablespoon diced red pepper
    ¼ cup minced red onion
    2 cups cooked bean sprouts, drained
    1 tablespoon soybean oil to fry each cake

    In mixing bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Add all other ingredients except oil. In a large skillet, drop ½ cup portions of mixture and fry in oil until browned on each side (about 5-6 minutes). This dish is traditionally served with brown rice and a dash of soy sauce.

    Warning: According to my interview with the American Soybean Association, raw, un-sprouted soybeans—including the immature green form—are toxic to humans, dogs, cats, pigs, and chickens. Un-sprouted soybeans must be cooked with water to denature the trypsin inhibitors that are toxic to most mammals.


    -Nurse Patchet
    Regional Disaster Services Instructor
    American Red Cross




    A Completed Works of Healthy Soybean Milk - Full Color Edition - With 20 Delicious Bean Dishes (Chinese Edition... by Zhu Tai Zhi (Jun 1, 2012)

    Association analysis in soybean. by Eun-Young Hwang (Sep 3, 2011)

    Author interview with the American Soybean Association

    Author interview with staff at Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods

    Making Juice and Soybean Milk (Chinese Edition) by lv hong bin (Jan 1, 2012)

    Nature's Miracle Protein: The Book of Soybeans by Tokuji Watanabe and Asako Kishi (Feb 1984)

    Practical Handbook of Soybean Processing And Utilization by David R., Editor Erickson (1995)

    Put A Little SOY In Your Life! by Michigan Soybean Promotion Committee (1900)

    Soybean field? Fly a kite (Paperback) (Traditional Chinese Edition) Paperback – Original publication date unknown

    Soybeans: Chemistry, Production, Processing, and Utilization (AOCS Monograph Series on Oilseeds) by Lawrence A. Johnson, Pamela J. White and Richard Galloway (Jan 27, 2010)

    Soybeans: Chemistry, Technology and Utilization by KeShun Liu (Jul 31, 1997)

    Soybean Utilization by Harry E. Snyder and T.W. Kwon (Oct 4, 2013)

    Soybeans: Their Culture And Use... by Carlos Grant Williams and J. B. Park (Apr 7, 2012)

    Soybeans as Human Food: Unprocessed and Simply Processed by H. L. Wang and et al. (Oct 28, 2004)

    The Flowering Soybean (Chinese Edition) by Meng Ye (Apr 1, 2012)

    Y.T. Chiu, Soybeans, Cornel University 1927.

  • 5 Tips for Building your Food Storage

    Family Enjoying meal,mealtime Together

    If you’re just starting out, building a long-term food storage supply can seem a little overwhelming—but it doesn’t have to be. About two years ago we published an article giving you 15 Tips for Shopping for Food Storage and now here are 5 tips to help you build your food storage. These tips will make it easier to build your food storage supply.

    1. Build a short-term then a long-term supply

    Often when an emergency happens it’s close to home. Power outages, unemployment, or even illnesses can leave you homebound and having to rely solely on yourself. Building a short-term and long-term food storage supply will help prepare you for disasters that last anywhere from a few days to a few months (or longer). And since you never know when an emergency may occur, or how long it’ll last, it's important to at least have a supply to get you through any unexpected emergencies.

    Your primary focus in building your short-term supply should be adding enough food to help you and your family survive for a short period of time. You may start by storing enough for three days, then a week, and then build up to two or three weeks. Great items to add in your short-term supplies are Mountain House pouches, MREs, and larger just-add-water meals.

    For your long-term supply, consider adding combos and even year supplies of food that will drastically increase your food storage supplies in one fell swoop. (And buying in a combo even saves you money over buying the same cans one or two at a time!) Add the basics first—items like grain, rice, sugar, salt, etc.—and learn how to use the items you aren’t familiar with. Time and time again, these basics have been used and proven to sustain life.

    Learn more about the life-sustaining powers of food storage in our Insight Article,  Wisdom of Food Storage.


    2. Build a Menu and Multiply

    5 Tips for Building your Food Storage

    Decide how much food you need to help your family survive for a certain amount of time by building a menu and then multiplying it. For example, if you want to build a reserve of food to last your family for a year, then you’ll need 52 weeks of food. You can build a menu for a week (if you don’t mind eating the same meal every Monday), two weeks, or even a month for more variety in your emergency meals.

    Once your menu is built, multiply it by the length of time you need it to last: multiply a one week menu by 52 (weeks) to know how much of each item you’ll need to store to last you for a year. Similarly if you have a month-long menu, multiply it by 12 (months) to determine the quantity of each item you’ll need.


    3. Include items in your supplies that will enhance your food storage items

    5 Tips for Building your Food Storage

    Items such as mayonnaise, mustard, jarred pesto, or other condiments, oils, vinegars, and dressings don’t typically have a long shelf life, but they will help add variety to the meals you make using your food storage.

    Rotate these “short-lived” items regularly. Use them in your everyday menu. Use items that are closer to their expiration dates first, and replace them with new versions in the cupboard. (Also known as FIFO, or “first in, first out”.)


    4. Make or find a simple system for tracking what you've got and what you need

    Without a system for tracking your food storage inventory—even a simple system like this one in our Food Storage 101 Prep School—you may end up with too much flour and not enough milk—or vice versa.

    Another important point to consider when tracking the needs of your family is understanding what each member of your family needs—in terms of calories and nutrients. These are important to consider in day-to-day life, but are even more crucial in an emergency. Read more about how to know what you should buy with our Insight Article “Food Storage: What Should I Buy and How Much? The Calorie Count Factor”.


    5. Rotate your long-term food storage into your day-to-day meals so your food storage will always be fresh

    Rotating your long-term food storage is a great way to introduce your family to the flavors of your emergency supply while keeping it fresh. Use the same “first in, first out” principle as you would with your short-term supply. As you rotate your food storage through your daily meals, the first items you purchased should be used before later ones, which you can keep in stock in case of an emergency.

    Another reason to rotate your food storage into your daily meals is to introduce the flavor and style of freeze dried/dehydrated foods to your family (especially children). The last thing you want in an emergency is kids who refuse to eat. If your family has been eating freeze dried/dehydrated meals all along, then eating it in an emergency is just like any other day. The emergency will seem a little less like a crisis and a little more like normal life.

    Learn more about how to “Eat What You Store” and “Rotating your Food Storage” with our Insight Articles.


    What’s your best tip for those trying to build their food storage?

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