Emergency Food Supply: Week 31
What’s For Dinner?
Dinner foods are often very similar to lunch foods. We talked about canned foods in our last newsletter. In this issue, we’ll talk about frozen and freeze-dried foods, including specialized “emergency preparedness” foods.
Freezing is an ideal way to store some kinds of foods without needing special equipment for preparation: meat, stews, soups can be easily stored. Vegetables like whole tomatoes, kale, and collards can be blanched and frozen. Frozen berries and fruit can be used directly in smoothies.
An easy way to begin using your freezer for food storage is to double your recipes when you cook and pop half of what you’ve made into the freezer. In just a month or two, you could have two weeks of stored dinners.
Running out of freezer space? In a Minnesota winter, the great outdoors can be an emergency freezer (think shelves in an unheated garage or porch). Watch the thermometer so you don’t lose food to the spring thaw.
Using this preservation technique food can be reduced in size, can maintain its nutritional value, and in an unopened pest-proof container, can be safely stored for 25 years or more. What a deal!
A wide variety of foods can be found in freeze-dried form – meats and cheese, fruits and vegetables, eggs. But this kind of food storage has some downsides:
- You may not be getting as much food as you think you are – serving sizes can differ greatly between companies. There is no standard.
- The physical properties of freeze-dried food will be very different from their properties in a fresh form. You may find that you don’t like the texture or taste of food preserved this way.
- You may need to cook your favorite meals differently. (You may find adding some dehydrated food to current favorite meals greatly enhances them! Think about adding freeze-dried berries or banana to oatmeal.)
- It can be hard to deal with the quantity of food that must be prepared and eaten when a #10 can, or a 15-lb airtight plastic bin or a 5-lb mylar bag is opened. A #10 can holds 13 cups of food! Once the can or box or bag is opened, the food needs to be protected from moisture and pests, and eaten within 6-12 months.
- These products are often expensive. If you don’t like the food (that you may never have tried before you purchased it), you could find yourself throwing away an investment worth hundreds of dollars.
That said, these foods can be extremely valuable in meeting your long-term food storage plans.
If you choose to use pre-packaged freeze-dried foods, start slow and DO include them in your regular meal rotation so you become familiar with how to cook them. Try out some recipes with freeze-dried ingredients. If you like them, then invest in more cans/bags.
Your Tasks For the Week
- If you will be using your freezer for 3-month food storage, inventory what you have now and decide what you would like to add from the list of food items your family likes to eat.
- Pick up 3 of those items this week.
- Research specialty freeze-dried foods and identify some you might use in your regular meal rotation. Do you need it to be organic? Gluten-free? Low-salt? Does your local grocery or co-op carry this product? Will you need to find it online?
- Buy one freeze-dried product and try it out in a meal this week.
Transition Longfellow does not recommend any specific products, but you may want to take a look at these and other emergency food suppliers:
- Thrive, sold online and in-person by local distributors at house parties where you can try the product in advance
- North Bay Trading, a Wisconsin-based company that offers organic and non-GMO food options.
- Legacy Foods with foods packaged for long life and gluten-free options
- Costco carries emergency food supplies from Mountain House, Nutristore, and Thrive.
Do you know of other suppliers who you believe provide a quality product? Please share with the Transition Longfellow Facebook group.
Interested in a bulk buying option? Post your interest on the Facebook group and see if anyone would like to join you.