11 Emergency Food Items That Can Last a Lifetime

11 Emergency Foods that can Last a LifetimeThis article originally appeared in Ready Nutrition

By Tess Pennington

Did you know that with proper storage techniques, you can have a lifetime supply of certain foods?  Certain foods can stand the test of time, and continue being a lifeline to the families that stored it.  Knowing which foods last indefinitely and how to store them are you keys to success.

The best way to store food for the long term is by using a multi-barrier system.  This system protects the food from natural elements such as moisture and sunlight, as well as from insect infestations.

Typically, those who store bulk foods look for inexpensive items that have multi-purposes and will last long term.  Listed below are 11 food items that are not only multi-purpose preps, but they can last a lifetime!

Honey

Honey never really goes bad.  In a tomb in Egypt 3,000 years ago, honey was found and was still edible.  If there are temperature fluctuations and sunlight, then the consistency and color can change.  Many honey harvesters say that when honey crystallizes, then it can be re-heated and used just like fresh honey.  Because of honey’s low water content, microorganisms do not like the environment.

Uses: curing, baking, medicinal, wine (mead)

Salt

Although salt is prone to absorbing moisture, it’s shelf life is indefinite.  This indispensable mineral will be a valuable commodity in a long term disaster and will be a essential bartering item.

Uses: curing, preservative, cooking, cleaning, medicinal, tanning hides

Sugar

Life would be so boring without sugar.  Much like salt, sugar is also prone to absorbing moisture, but this problem can be eradicated by adding some rice granules into the storage container.

Uses: sweetener for beverages, breads, cakes, preservative, curing, gardening, insecticide (equal parts of sugar and baking powder will kill cockroaches).

Wheat

Wheat is a major part of the diet for over 1/3 of the world.  This popular staple supplies 20% of daily calories to a majority of the world population.  Besides being a high carbohydrate food, wheat contains valuable protein, minerals, and vita­mins. Wheat protein, when balanced by other foods that supply certain amino acids such as lysine, is an efficient source of protein.

Uses: baking, making alcohol, livestock feed, leavening agent

Dried corn

Essentially, dried corn can be substituted for any recipe that calls for fresh corn.  Our ancestors began drying corn because of it’s short lived season.  To extend the shelf life of corn, it has to be preserved by drying it out so it can be used later in the year.

Uses: soups, cornmeal, livestock feed, hominy and grits, heating source (do a search for corn burning fireplaces).

Baking soda

This multi-purpose prep is a must have for long term storage.

Uses: teeth cleaner, household cleaner, dish cleaner, laundry detergent booster, leavening agent for baked goods, tarnish remover

Instant coffee, tea, and cocoa

Adding these to your long term storage will not only add a variety to just drinking water, but will also lift morale.  Instant coffee is high vacuum freeze dried.  So, as long as it is not introduced to moisture, then it will last.  Storage life for all teas and cocoas can be extended by using desiccant packets or oxygen absorbing packets, and by repackaging the items with a vacuum sealing.

Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods

Non-carbonated soft drinks

Although many of us prefer carbonated beverages, over time the sugars break down and the drink flavor is altered.  Non-carbonated beverages stand a longer test of time.  And, as long as the bottles are stored in optimum conditions, they will last.  Non-carbonated beverages include: vitamin water, Gatorade, juices, bottled water.

Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods

White rice

White rice is a major staple item that preppers like to put away because it’s a great source for calories, cheap and has a long shelf life.  If properly stored this popular food staple can last 30 years or more.

Uses: breakfast meal, addition to soups, side dishes, alternative to wheat flour

Bouillon products

Because bouillon products contain large amounts of salt, the product is preserved.  However, over time, the taste of the bouillon could be altered.  If storing bouillon cubes, it would be best repackage them using a food sealer or sealed in mylar bags.

Uses: flavoring dishes

Powdered milk – in nitrogen packed cans

Powdered milk can last indefinitely, however, it is advised to prolong it’s shelf life by either repackaging it for longer term storage, or placing it in the freezer.  If the powdered milk developes an odor or has turned a yellowish tint, it’s time to discard.

Uses: beverage, dessert, ingredient for certain breads, addition to soup and baked goods.

Prepper's CookbookAbout this author

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com.

 

 

Emergency Food: How to Make Corn Tortillas

Howtomakecorntortillas_titleMr. Apt Prepper and I were talking out our emergency food supply which contains a lot of beans and rice.  For variety, we thought we should try making homemade tortillas.

Howtomakecorntortillas_ingredientsThe instructions came from the corn masa flour package.  To make 8 tortillas:

1 cup corn masa flour

2/3 cup water

1/8 tsp salt

Other equipment used:

  • Large bowl
  • Zip-lock freezer bag
  • Tortilla press (you can make them without one, this just makes it easier)
  • Flat cast iron skillet – coat with oil or butter

1.  In a large bowl, add water to the corn masa flour.  Mix for two minutes until you can shape a ball.  Add water by the tablespoon if the mixture feels too dry.  I ended up adding about three tablespoons as I kept kneading the dough.

Howtomakecorntortillas_dough2.  Once you can make a smooth ball out of the dough, you can start shaping your tortillas.  Separate the dough into eight small balls.

Howtomakecorntortillas_separated

3.  Lay a piece of plastic such as a cut up Zip-lock freezer bag against both sides of the tortilla press.  The plastic will keep the dough from sticking to the press.

Howtomakecorntortillas_ball

4.  Place the dough ball on one side of the plastic and flatten the press.   Heat the cast iron skillet on medium heat.

Howtomakecorntortillas_flattendough

5.  Carefully pry the dough off and place on the hot skillet.  Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side.  You will notice the dough start to brown and puff slightly.  If you undercook it, the tortilla will taste like raw dough.  I should know, I tried one too soon.

Howtomakecorntortillas_cooking

6.  Keep cooking until all the tortillas are done.  Serve warm.

Result:

These tortillas came out way too small to make tacos but were tasty by themselves.  They are more flavorful and more filling than store bought tortillas.

Next time I will double or triple the recipe to make bigger tortillas.

I decided to see if I could make tortilla chips out of these, since they were too small for tacos.  I cut up the tortillas into four and fried them in hot oil.  I fried them for about three to four minutes until slightly brown, then added salt to taste.  Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.

Howtomakecorntortillas_chipsThe chips made from homemade tortilla chips were very tasty and filling.

It was a bit time-consuming to make corn tortillas yourself, but I like knowing I can make them in case I run out and don’t want to run to the store.   This skill will also help to add variety to survival foods.

 

My new book is out!

Jake and Miller's Big Adventure

Review of Chicken Fajita MRE from Meal Kit Supply

Chicken Fajita MRE from Meal Kit Supply

I’ve been having a back log of product and book reviews, both on items I purchased on my own, and review samples sent by the company or publisher.  It takes me a while to get the reviews done, as I like to read/test each one individually before I post anything about it.  I usually post on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, so on Saturdays I will do product and books reviews.

Meal Kit Supply sent me their newest MRE, Chicken Fajita, for review.  I had tested their product in the past, and was curious how this one would turn out.  The MRE pack included the following:

  • chicken fajita entree
  • 2nd entree was fried rice
  • pack of tortillas
  • dessert consisted of a spice cake
  • 2 drink packets:  cocoa beverage powder and orange flavored electrolyte carbohydrate mix
  • salsa packet
  • eating utensils including salt and pepper
  • heater unit

Contents of MREI added water to the heating unit as directed and wrapped it around the two entrees.

Chicken Fajita entreeThe chicken fajita warmed up really well, but the rice was only slightly warm.  I decided to throw it in boiling water for a minute and it warmed up.  More on this later.

Here is the rice after it warmed up.

MRE Rice

The tortilla packet included 2 flour tortillas-they were ready to eat and did not need warming.  I made 2 tacos by filling the tortillas with chicken, rice and salsa Now for the taste test.

  • I was not expecting a lot from the tortillas but they turned out great- the texture and taste were on par with a brand name such as Mission.
  • The chicken had a stew type consistency, and was a bit more saucy to my taste, but added as a taco filling with the rice, it tasted good.
  • The rice also had a nice texture and flavor.
  • The spice cake was very sweet – I prefer a less sweet taste, but that is my preference.

A few days later, I emailed my contact at Meal Kit Supply to find out why the 2nd entree did not warm up as well.  As I suspected, I positioned it the wrong way, since I wrapped it around the 2 entrees like a blanket, but the correct way is:

“The flameless ration heater should be wrapped around the rations in a ‘z’ fashion — the rations should not touch each other and instead should be inserted on the inner parts of the ‘z.’ Once you’ve done this, quickly shove it back in a ration box before it starts billowing up with steam and let it sit for a few minutes.”

She also mentioned that this was common:  “We’ve received a few emails with confusion over flameless ration heater use, so it is something we are addressing (i.e. clear explanation on the site as well as the bag itself).”

As an emergency food, the chicken fajita is a good choice and passed the taste test.  With so much food included, and with the ability to make two tacos, I felt that two people can split this entree in an emergency.

 

Mother Earth Food Storage

Mother Earth Products

For beginning preppers

DebtProof Living

Homemade MREs

Editor’s note:  Today we are happy to feature a guest blog post from From Julie Languille,
Author of The Prepper’s Pantry and the soon to be released Meals in a Jar: Quick and Easy, Just-Add-Water, Homemade Recipes

Thanks, Apartment Prepper, for inviting me to write a guest post about Homemade MREs. I am passionate about food storage and my first book, The Prepper’s Pantry  is all about setting up food storage with both a deep larder of long term storage foods, and also a rotation pantry filled with canned goods and home pressure-canned meats and chicken. I love the idea of having plenty of dehydrated and freeze dried foods on hand to cook from, but in times of emergency I think it will be really convenient to have ready-made meals, like homemade MREs on hand, and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

I sampled several different brands of commercially available entrees. Although some were somewhat palatable, I found most to be disappointing in terms of taste and texture.  When I think about all the extra work our families would need to be doing to keep us safe and warm in times of trouble, the commercial meals also fell short on calories needed to sustain us.

So I began developing scores of recipes for meals in a jar (or bag) which would be just-add-water complete meals. Some are dry ingredients such as soups or stews and others are home pressure-canned meals of classic braised dishes, such as pulled pork, or brisket. The meals are packaged either in jars or vacuum sealed bags and some come packaged with a “sidekit” a side dish of mashed potatoes, polenta, noodles, tortilla makings or the like.

My second book, Meals in a Jar: Quick and Easy, Just-Add-Water, Homemade Recipes, which is due out in March of 2013, is a collection of homemade MRE meals. The entire book is filled with great recipes for dry soups and stews, perfect for lunches as well as big braises; savory meat and vegetable packed meals sure to satisfy the biggest man appetites. It also includes breakfast ideas for MREs, egg dishes, and cereals, as well as side dishes, beverages and desserts too. The book can be pre-ordered now.
I love the sight of a shelf in my pantry filled with homemade MREs, they taste better than anything I found commercially available, in fact we eat them every week and they are easy to grab and go in a bug-out hurry!  They are also fantastic at the end of a busy weekday.
Besides pressure canning in jars, Meals in a Jar: Quick and Easy, Just-Add-Water, Homemade Recipes  , also covers pressure canning into retort pouches, which are specialized bags you can buy online. They are inexpensive, light-weight and unbreakable (although they can be punctured – ask me how I know). Retort pouches are a great (and portable) addition to your Prepper’s Pantry.

Below is a basic recipe for a chicken noodle soup. I invite you to make up a single batch, adjust it to your tastes and then bag or jar up a whole shelf full. Make a few variations and I guarantee you that you will rest peacefully knowing if hard times are ahead, you have a pantry full of good meals waiting for your family.

Chicken Soup MRE
Makes 1 quart jar or vacuum bag for storage and yields 8 cups of soup – about 6 servings

3 cups egg noodles (choose a variety with a 10 – 12 minute cook time, not the longer cooking “homestyle” noodles)
1 cup freeze-dried chicken (optional) (or you could package this meal in a bag and include 1 can of commercially canned chicken or a pint of home canned chicken)
3 Tb. powdered chicken soup base
¼ cup dried onion
¼ cup dried celery
½ cup dried carrots
½ cup dried mushrooms
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. dried thyme
1 Tb. dried parsley
1 slice dried lemon

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. (This makes the ingredients take less room in the jar as smaller ingredient fill the spaces between noodles.) Add to a clean quart jar, top with an oxygen absorber and close tightly or vacuum seal in a bag.

To prepare your soup, in a large pot heat 8 cups of water to a simmer, and stir in meal contents. Return to a gently simmer and cook 12 to 15 minutes until noodles and vegetables are tender.

Variations: Add dried peppers or corn, or swap out mushrooms for peas or green beans, or substitute beef stock and freeze dried beef for chicken. If you add beans, be sure they are the quick-cooking variety (quick cooking beans have been almost fully cooked and then dehydrated.) Also, stirring in ¼ cup sour cream powder at the end would make a delicious cream-style soup. You can store the sour cream powder in a baggie and tuck it in with the rest of the ingredients to segregate it for adding at the end.

Julie Languille is passionate about both food and preparedness. She owns a dinner planning website with thousands of recipes compiled to make dinner planning, shopping and cooking easy for families. She teaches workshops on preparedness and long term food storage and regularly hosts food packaging parties where families gather to make pre-packaged meal kits to build their own food storage as well as bless families in need. Julie lives with her husband and family on lovely Whidbey Island, in the Puget Sound near Seattle, and when not cooking loves to read, sail and kayak in the waters near her home. Julie is the author of The Preppers Pantry and Meals in a Jar: Quick and Easy, Just-Add-Water, Homemade Recipes.

Editors Note:  Julie’s book, The Preppers Pantry and Meals in a Jar: Quick and Easy, Just-Add-Water, Homemade Recipes is available on Amazon for pre-order.  I have also added it to Apartment Prepper Amazon Store.  Thank you for making purchases through our store!

 

Get the real deal. Whether bugging out or sheltering in place, you can never have enough clean water for survival: For your water purifier needs, please visit:

 For beginning preppers


Good ideas for building a food storage plan can be found here:

Making Iced Tea from Dried Flowers

Dried Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus Iced Tea

I never knew flowers were edible until my mother in law told me about edible zucchini flowers and hibiscus flower tea.  At first I thought it would be gross to eat a flower, but now that I am interested in survival ideas, it actually makes sense.  I thought it would be a good skill to learn how to make tea from dried flowers.   I think it’s a handy skill to be able to make tea from unconventional sources, such as pine needle tea.  Tea can be comforting when served warm, or refreshing when served cold.

Hibiscus tea has several health benefits:

  • Rich in vitamin C
  • Contains antioxidants
  • Promotes healthy blood pressure that is within a normal range
  • Natural diuretic

Dried hibiscus flowersIngredients:

1 cup dried hibiscus flowers (Available at Mediterranean grocery stores; I ordered Davidson’s Organic hibiscus from Amazon)

12 cups of water

1 1/2 cups of sugar

You will also need: 2 large pots, colander

Method 1:

In a large pot pour 12 cups of water.  Add a cup of dried hibiscus flowers and soak overnight.

The next morning you will see that the water has turned red.

Soaked hibiscus flowers

Strain the liquid into another pot.  Add 1 1/2 cups sugar (more or less according to taste) and stir well.  Refrigerate and serve over ice.

The resulting tea had a tart, tangy taste, similar to cranberry juice.  It is refreshing on a hot day.

Method 2:

If you don’t want to do the overnight soaking method, you can also brew it like tea.

Set the water to boil and remove from heat.  Add the dried flowers and let the mixture steep for 15 minutes.  Strain out the flowers and add the sugar.  Serve cold.

Whether you soak the flowers or steep in hot water, the result is the same.  Hibiscus tea is also sold in the herbal tea section of the supermarket, but I found that the home made version is actually more flavorful.

 

 

For more preparedness tips, read my book:

Good ideas for building a food storage plan can be found here:

Help your College Student Prepare for Emergencies

Backpack

Back to school season is in full swing, and these last few weeks were spent preparing kids for the first day of school.

We have a couple of nieces and nephews who are going away to college in a few weeks.  This got me thinking what can be done to at least get them prepared for emergencies.   I’ve listed a three layered approach, with the third choice is the most extensive but also the most encompassing.  It all depends on your relationship with the teen, the extent of their involvement with prepping, what you want to prepare for and how much you wish to spend.

I.  Give a prepping themed “going off to college” gift that will be useful in an emergency or at least get them started to think about being prepared:

  • solar cell phone charger
  • multi-tool or Swiss Army Knife
  • paracord bracelet

II.  Assemble a Power Outage/Earthquake/Hurricane Emergency Kit

Include in a small decorative box or basket, items that they will be able to use for a variety of emergencies such as power outage, earthquake or hurricane.  Include the following:  at least three days worth of water bottles, water purifier, easy to prepare foods (canned foods with can opener) or food bars such as Mainstay Energy Bar, high energy snacks such as peanuts, flashlight/radio/charger and batteries, and pocket sized First Aid kit.  Remember most dorm rooms or off campus apartments are small:  everything has to be reasonably sized and efficiently packed. The items have to be simple to use and do not require special preparations.  They may be in a panic when the emergency happens, so include a note with some instructions.

III.  Assemble a Get Home Bag

In the movie Zombieland, the beginning scene showed one of the main characters getting attacked by a zombie in his dorm room.  After this horrible experience, his first instinct initially was to just get home.  This is fiction, but in a real emergency, anyone would want to get home as quickly as possible.  I think the most efficient way to prepare in a dorm would be to assemble a Get Home bag.

In a backpack, include the following items:

  • personal water filter or set of Hydropacks
  • food bars
  • cash (to be used for transportation)
  • First Aid kit
  • a change of clothes and underwear (weather appropriate)
  • good wool socks
  • comfortable shoes
  • rain gear (umbrella and rain poncho)
  • flashlight/weather radio
  • solar charger
  • utility knife (check campus guidelines) or multi-tool
  • signal mirror
  • whistle
  • lighter or matches
  • tarp
  • self protection such as pepper spray
  • small hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, floss, toilet paper (with cardboard removed), liquid hand sanitizer or wipes, contact lens solution etc.

Adjust the items according to the student’s needs and situation. Have a conversation about what is included in the backpack and situations where it may come in handy.  Include them in your texting tree and explain how it works as well as plans where the family can meet in case of extreme emergency.  As with any emergency preparations, we hope to never have to use them, but  good to have just in case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

MRE and Food Storage Questions Answered by FreezeDryGuy

Please see my previous MRE post to find out how these questions came about.  To find out the answers, I reached out the Freeze Dry Guy website and sent an email.  Apartment Prepper has no affiliation with Freeze Dry Guy- I just wanted to see if they would be kind enough to provide some information.  They were.  Here are the questions and responses I received from Mr. Jason:

First, an introduction:  My name is Mr. Jason and I am the Director of Special Projects for Freeze Dry Guy.  I would be happy to answer the questions you have about MRE’s.  My experience with MRE’s and survival in general comes from over 20 years of experience as a Soldier, Government Contractor, Police Officer and Disaster Management Specialist.  My video resume is available on the Freeze Dry Guy web site.

http://www.youtube.com/FreezeDryGuy

Question # 1.    What is the REAL shelf life for MREs:  For example, if the box indicates Expiration date= 6/1/2012, how much longer will it be good for?  The box is kept indoors, in an air conditioned room, around 75 degrees.

Answer:  If you have a box of Military grade MRE’s and the expiration date is 6/1/2012 then I would start to rotate them out.  The expiration date is based on the best care condition, kept in a cool dry place out of the sun.  However, I would not throw them out if you have room to store them.  You can always use the old MRE’s packets as barter for other things like fuel or medical supplies in a pinch.

 Question # 2.    What are the ideal conditions for MRE storage, for maximum freshness?

Answer:  The ideal condition would always be cool dry place out of the elements.  This will give you maximum storage life.

Question # 3.    I opened a package of MRE, the label indicated “Penne Pasta with Veg Sausage”  When I opened it, the product was actually “Veg Patty in BBQ sauce.”     Is this mislabeling a common occurrence with MREs or was this just a fluke?  

The mislabeling is a not common but it does occur more often with the civilian aftermarket version of the MRE than with the Military issued.  Most aftermarket MRE’s are made out of the country so the quality control is not at the same level as the “made in the USA” stuff.

 Editor’s note:  My batch was “military issued”  To find out what the other MREs contained, we opened the packets and found all to be correctly labels.  This must have been a “fluke.”

Question # 4.  The same package also included a packet of Clam Chowder – can you place 2 food packets in one Heater only one can be  heated?

You can heat more than one item at a time, if they can both fit in the heating bag, but they might not be a hot as if you only heated only one item.

Question # 5.  What would be your recommendation for the most efficient food storage for apartment dwellers who usually lack space? 

My recommendation for long term storage in a limited space would be freeze dried food.  Freeze dried food has the longest shelf life and because there is no water in the package, it is the lightest weight and takes up the least amount of space.

Question # 6.  What would recommend for “bug out bag” food?

Bug out food….I would recommend simple, lightweight foods that require little or no cooking or prep time.  MRE’s are excellent for that.  Just keep in mind their limited shelf life and rotate your food accordingly.  Freeze Dried food is also very handy, light weight, portable, and has a much longer shelf life, but you will need water to rehydrate it.   As a rule you should, at least once a year, go through your bug out bag and replace batteries, update med’s, check equipment, and just make sure everything is still good to go.

Question # 7.  I find that  canned foods can be bought with coupons, but that usually does not apply to freeze dried or dehydrated foods.  Would appreciate any advice regarding how to get the best deals in food storage for apartment preppers.

The best way to get freeze dried food is to shop around and find a company who can deliver the highest quality food made in America, at the lowest price and offer free delivery anywhere in the continental United States.  A company known for its outstanding customer service, and is committed to excellence, a company that offers monthly money saving specials on their products, and has established buying clubs for their customers to help offset the cost of storing food. If only we knew a company like that…  www.freezedryguy.com

 

 

ReadyMade Resources is a trusted source for your preparedness supplies:

 

 

 

Pine Needle Tea

Pine trees

I got the idea about pine needle tea from watching Bear Grylls in Man vs. Wild.  He picked out some pine needles, boiled them then drank the tea.  He said pine needles are full of vitamin C.  Spotting a nice looking pine tree on a walk one day, I decided to try it out.

First, let’s get the warnings and precautions out of the way:  If you are pregnant, do not try pine needle tea, as it is thought to cause possible miscarriage.   Do not try if nursing either, just to be on the safe side.  Know what type of tree you are picking from.  I am not a tree expert but do know the tree I picked from is the white pine variety which is safe.  Be aware of pesticide spraying in your area:  some cities spray insecticide against mosquitoes, beetles etc.  Do not pick near a roadside that is full of car exhaust fumes. 

1.  Collect a couple of handfuls of pine needles.  Choose younger, softer needles, and discard the dried, brown ones.

Pine needles

Pine needles

2.  Wash the pine needles thoroughly, to remove dust and insects.  I did not find any bugs, but did wash out some dirt.  I washed the needles multiple times just to make sure.

Washed pine needles

Washed pine needles

3.  Set some water to boil.  Turn of the heat.  Place the pine needles in the hot water and let steep for five minutes.

Pine needles steeping in boiling water

Pine needles steeping in boiling water

4.  Drain the tea into a cup.  Let cool.

Cup of pine needle tea

Cup of pine needle tea

It is now ready to drink.  I tasted the tea.  The tea taste just like it smells: piney.  I did detect a twinge of a mild bitter aftertaste after swallowing the tea.  I wasn’t wild about the slight filminess that formed after boiling.  I think it may be some residual sap that was on the pine needles.  However if you are out in the wilderness, need something warm to drink, and can use the vitamin C, then pine needle tea would hit the spot.  I won’t be trading in my Chai tea just yet, but it’s good to know you can find a substitute if I had to.

 

 

Many stored foods require water for preparation. Whether bugging out or sheltering in place, you can never have enough clean water for survival: For your water purifier needs, please visit:

An inexpensive but helpful tool to keep track of supplies (Iphone or Ipad users)

 

 

 

 

Taste Test: THRIVE Freeze Dried Ground Beef

Thrive Freeze dried ground beef

Thrive Freeze dried ground beef

Today I am going to review a popular Thrive freeze dried item, the ground beef.   Misty Marsh over at Your Own Home Store kindly sent me a sample a while back, but I had not gotten around to posting the result due to work schedules getting in the way.

I use a lot of ground beef chuck in my everyday cooking, as it is less expensive than steak and can be used in a variety of menu items: tacos, burritos, spaghetti, lasagna, soups etc.   For this taste test, I originally planned to make spaghetti but Mr. Apt. Prepper suggested ground beef and potato hash, so we can really know the taste of the freeze dried ground beef.  The sauciness of spaghetti would have covered up the flavor.   This made sense to me so I went ahead and cooked Freeze Dried Ground Beef Hash.

Here is what I did for the taste test:

Cup of Freeze dried ground beef

Cup of Freeze dried ground beef

1.  Measure a cup of freeze dried ground beef.

2.  Add 1 1/2 cups of hot water.  I just warmed up the water for a minute and a half in the microwave, then added it to the ground beef.

Rehydrating freeze dried ground beef

Rehydrating freeze dried ground beef

3.  Leave the mixture alone for 20 minutes.  While the meat was rehydrating, I cut up one medium potato into cubes.

4.  After 20 minutes, the ground beef looked properly hydrated so I drained out the water.

Rehydrated freeze dried ground beef

Rehydrated freeze dried ground beef

5.  Heat the skillet and add a teaspoon of oil (I used olive but other oils should be fine).  Add the ground beef.  Season with garlic powder, onion salt and pepper.  Brown the ground beef.  I also added about a tablespoon of ketchup (a leftover ketchup packet would also work) for some flavor and moisture.

6.  Add the diced potatoes and mix well.  I added about 2 tbsp of water and covered it up.  Heat on low for 15 minutes.  Mix it around a bit so the potatoes don’t stick to the skillet.

7.  It is now ready to eat.

Freeze dried ground beef and potatoes

Freeze dried ground beef and potatoes

8.  Serve with white rice or tortillas.

Now for the result… This ground beef hash made from Thrive Freeze Dried Ground Beef was very tasty.  The beef had a good texture.  The kids said they look like baby meatballs.  If I were to make spaghetti or lasagna I would break up the ground beef even smaller so it will spread evenly in the sauce.  It has an excellent flavor and tasted just like freshly cooked ground beef.

I have reviewed other Thrive meats in previous posts:  Freeze Dried Chicken and Roast Beef .  The Ground Beef is now the family favorite, and I highly recommend it.

For drinking or cooking, you can never have enough clean water for survival: For your water purifier needs, please visit:

 

For more preparedness tips, read my book:

 

Artisan Bread Update

Artisan bread

Artisan bread

I posted about making homemade bread a few days ago.  The recipe indicated the dough can be kept in the refrigerator and used to make subsequent loaves.  I wasn’t so sure how it would turn out so I am writing an update.

I stored the dough in the same bowl I mixed it in, covered by a sheet of aluminum foil in the refrigerator.   The 2nd time I made it, I tore another grapefruit size piece of dough, mixed it with flour and baked it in the same matter.  The second batch was exactly the same as the first batch.  It had a nice crust, and soft in the middle.  There was no difference in taste or texture.

The third time I made it was about 3 days later.  The dough felt less moist than before, and therefore needed less flour to be added.  I wanted to use up the dough and made a larger sized loaf.  Because it was a larger piece of dough, it also took about 45 minutes to cook all the way through instead of the usual 30 minutes.  I could tell because the dough looked moist in the middle when I cut it in half, so I let it cook a few more minutes.   After the longer cooking time, I sliced the bread as usual, served it with spaghetti.   Everyone liked it.

Verdict:  The subsequent artisan bread loaves tasted as good as the first batch.