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June 23rd 2010
archived under: Day-to-day, Food, Gardening, Home & Garden, Organization

One thing about eating the way that we do – mostly meat, produce, eggs, and dairy – is that it makes it difficult to have a store of food ready in case of an emergency. On the east coast, that would mean hurricanes or tornadoes. Out here, that means possibly an earthquake (which my husband worries this area is LONG overdue for). In any case, if we were without power and refrigeration for many days (or up to 2 weeks), it would be difficult for us to find things in our house that were edible after the first day or two.

Our house here doesn’t have a pantry – something that’s a little strange, and might have been a bigger issue if we were still eating “pantry foods” including canned soups, pasta, rice, crackers, etc. Rather, we have a couple baskets on shelves for things like extra nuts, maybe a bag of pork rinds, a summer sausage, extra coconut and almond flours, honey and maple syrup…and that’s about it. We also have one drawer for canned and jarred items – usually just a couple jars of tomato sauce, some cans of tomatoes and tomato paste, artichoke hearts, olives, coconut milk, and maybe a can or two of chicken (which I honestly can’t remember the last time I used).

So how should we set up an emergency kit?

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I’ve been experimenting with our food dehydrator a bit – and it just makes everything look so beautiful, like food potpourri. I know there are entire recipes that can be made with dehydrated/reconstituted foods, but it’s difficult to find them – most recipes include many “fresh” ingredients along with the dehydrated ones. But I’m hoping to be able to figure out some good soup recipes I can put together with only dehydrated items… I’m not sure what else though, honestly.

Do any of you have good all-dehydrated recipes that I could make and package to store for an emergency? If the power were out, we’d be able to put a pot on our gas grill and cook that way.

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Of course it’s easy to dehydrate vegetables – and while you CAN eat them in their dried states, it’s kind of odd…

Fruits are also easy, and delicious dried – think banana chips; dried blueberries, cherries, and strawberries; and various fruit leathers. Mmm…

For protein – I haven’t made jerky yet, but it’s on my list. If you have a suggestion of a yummy marinade or seasoning mix for jerky (one that doesn’t include sugars if possible – including honey or syrup), please share it!

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I had thought about learning to can this summer, but I’m not sure if that’s a super idea because we’re likely to move in the fall, and jars are heavy and fragile – it would be much easier to move dehydrated foods! I definitely do want to learn the “art” of canning, but right now might not be the best time.

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As far as store-bought canned and jarred foods go – I suppose our emergency kit could include canned/jarred tomato products, cans/pouches of chicken/tuna/salmon, summer sausage, cans and jars of fruit in their own juices (not in “syrup”), and boxes of broth or stock. As far as canned vegetables go, I hate that they’re all mushy and pretty much nutritionally useless – green beans are the only ones I can think of that I might eat, but they’re so soft, flavorless, and cooked to death! Canned pumpkin and beets are good… Nuts and dried fruits, cans of coconut milk, olives, and…

What else? I guess all of that would be fine in an emergency and would keep us alive, but it would be tough to actually put together meals from those things.

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So, basically this has been a rambly post… just kind of spilling my thoughts about emergency stores of food when eating the primal/paleo way… any ideas or suggestions are really very welcomed!!! Especially if you’ve got experience with dehydrating for that purpose!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos of my pretty dehydrated veggies!

Three gold stars go to the person who can identify all four of the dried veggies! Can you figure out what they all are?

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Rusty (3 comments)

Love your blog! Don’t have a clue about the dehydrated veggies, looks like yellow squash, carrots, and a couple of green things! LOL. As far as beef jerky, I just cut up some carne asada and marinate in Braggs Aminos for 24 hours in the fridge, then dehydrate for about 5 hours. Tasty!




Mary Ashley (1 comments)

I make sugar-free jerky! I can’t give specific quantities as I tend to eyeball, but I marinade the meat in equal parts liquid smoke and wheat-free tamari, then throw in some chipotle powder, garlic and a little cayenne if I’m in a spicy mood. I’m snacking on some right now. I don’t miss the store-bought version!!




Jill (1 comments)

Yellow squash, carrots, snap peas, celery




Nicole (1 comments)

squash,celery,carrots, and spinach?

Also, if you dehydrate spinach, you can make it into a really fine powder. It keeps and it’s fun to add to any egg dish /casseroles /meatloaf /whatever you want!




Lauren (1 comments)

Hi,

I know I’m late to the discussion, but this post really got me to thinking about long-term emergency food storage and eating a grain-free, whole-foods diet. I’m just transitioning on the grain-free thing, but I’ve kept a sugar-free and mostly refined foods-free home for the past year. And all that is definitely not a part of most food-storage plans. I think you’re on the right track with canned meats/tuna, jerky, tomato sauce, dried fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds. I think that if you are able to eat them, then storing either cans or bags of dried beans or lentils would be a good addition. As someone else said, it’s survival over lifestyle in issues like this. Also, pemmican would be a wonderful addition. It incorporates fat, sensible carbs (fruit), and protein, so would be a whole-meal item; plus, it stores indefinitely. I’d also keep a store of grain-free crackers, granola bars, nut and coconut flour, cans of coconut milk, ghee, and don’t forget that some foods like winter squash and root vegetables keep for a long time (upwards of a month or more) if you store them in the proper conditions. Having a steady supply of all of these should be enough to get you by and provide you with adequate nutrition.

In terms of actual meals, you can muesli with dried fruits and nuts and a can of coconut milk, soups (as you mentioned) with crackers, maybe if try drying spaghetti squash and reconstituting the noodles to make pasta with canned sauce and meat, etc… If you can find a source of heat, you can use your flour to make skillet bread and use it as a base for cheese-free pizza, tuna sandwiches, with soups, etc… These are all I could come up with right now, but I hope it helps! And thanks for the mental exercise.




Laura (1 comments)

I dehydrated with an Excalibur dehydrator. I highly recommend it. I borrowed several dehydrators from family and friends before I bought one.

As far as jerky goes… have fun and remember, the longer it's dried the longer it will last. I've made lots of varieties of jerky for personal use and for gifts. Beef is the most common, but I've also make turkey jerky, fish jerky, venison jerky and egg/seed (chia, flax, oat) cracker jerky chocked full of protein. Veggies are super easy to dry although I usually sprinkle a little veggie salt, garlic, or some kind of seasoning on them pre-dry. It makes for much tastier dried food. Fruits are easy, too, but some can be a bit tricky if you're not familiar with them.

The best book I've found is call “Dry it, You like it” It's an old book, but really useful and inspires creativity.

Fruit leather can be stretched much further by adding zucchini as a filler with the fruits, you can't even taste it when the leather is done and you have a much more filling, healthier leater. Crispy nuts are also a great thing to make in the dehydrator. Soak raw nuts overnight in a bath of water and lightly salt or season. Dry until the nuts are crispy and you have way better salty crunch snack that will last in the pantry for months.




Deb (4 comments)

The question I have is what dehydrator do you use? I am looking for recommendations as I would like to purchase one.




Amber (87 comments)

That is a good point about the canned foods. It is better to be prepared, and if its too much to take when you move donating is always good. (Especially when can are close to expiration. Seeing that you dont eat many canned foods you will want to rotate your stock of what you do have, so by the time you move it may be the time to donate and replenish)

Water is extremely important. If you can get your hands of a 55 gallon barrel it will keep you safe for at least 20 days or so. Each person needs a minimum of 1 gallon of water a day, up to 3 if your including washing dishes/cleaning yourself. I found 4 on Craigslist for 20$ a piece and we use one for rainwater and the rest for reserved water. Just make sure they are FOOD GRADE. Ours were used to make beer, so a good cleaning and some bleach got them ready to store.

Being stuck in Cleveland makes it tough for us. If something happens in the winter….ugh. We are hoping to get a wood stove soon. At least we will have heat then. The power grid could fail again, like it did 6-7 years ago. Thank goodness it wasnt winter when that happened. :( Scary to be without electricity.




sally (6 comments)

guess I should scroll down and read the other comments before I guess next time :o)




Amber (87 comments)

That is a good point about the canned foods. It is better to be prepared, and if its too much to take when you move donating is always good. (Especially when can are close to expiration. Seeing that you dont eat many canned foods you will want to rotate your stock of what you do have, so by the time you move it may be the time to donate and replenish)

Water is extremely important. If you can get your hands of a 55 gallon barrel it will keep you safe for at least 20 days or so. Each person needs a minimum of 1 gallon of water a day, up to 3 if your including washing dishes/cleaning yourself. I found 4 on Craigslist for 20$ a piece and we use one for rainwater and the rest for reserved water. Just make sure they are FOOD GRADE. Ours were used to make beer, so a good cleaning and some bleach got them ready to store.

Being stuck in Cleveland makes it tough for us. If something happens in the winter….ugh. We are hoping to get a wood stove soon. At least we will have heat then. The power grid could fail again, like it did 6-7 years ago. Thank goodness it wasnt winter when that happened. :( Scary to be without electricity.




sally (1 comments)

ok, my guess is carrots, yellow squash, bell pepper and celery?




Joyful Abode (953 comments)

3 gold stars! :)




Mamatha (68 comments)

Squash, Carrot, Green bell pepper and Zucchi/Squash blossoms? I wish I could taste them all now.




GuerrillaAesthete (5 comments)

I'm agreeing with Amber, in an emergency situation, your first thought is survival, not meals/lifestyle. Honestly, having lived in CA 23 of my 33 years, the odds of NEEDING the emergency stock is much lower than when I lived in Chicago or Oregon. Make sure you have water and food that can be eaten with little to no prep and no heat, and you'll be fine. Water is really the more compelling concern in my mind. You can always buy canned goods (even though I recognize your concern with them) and donate them when moving time comes around.




Monsterbugblankets (16 comments)

yellow squash, zucchini, celery, carrot?




Amber (87 comments)

There are many books at the library about dehydrating foods and about putting together meals from them. (soups in a jar, meals in a jar, ect.) Or you can search amazon, I love their book reviews and previews.

If you also search anything on 'survival' you will find a lot of info about how to store food and what to store. I know right now you eat really fresh foods, but in a survival situation you have to take in the fact that there may not be fresh food around (especially in the winter when your garden is gone). BUT, have you ever heard of succession planting and root cellar storage? Its a way you can make sure you have *some* kind of fresh food even in the winters.

I could go on and on, sorry to ramble :( I've been researching this stuff for the last 2 years and have a decent idea of it. If you have any questions about it I will try to help. And there is always google if I cant, lol! ;D

What dehydraor do you use? I am always searching craigslist, but they sell before I get to them :( I think I may purchase one this year. My grandmother is teaching me canning this summer/fall as well. I cant wait!




Erin (3 comments)

Summer Squash, carrot, green pepper, celery. Heh…food potpourri.




Joyful Abode (953 comments)

3 gold stars for you! woo hoo!




Kat (20 comments)

I commented on LJ but I'll do it here too. Yellow squash, strawberry, celery & green pepper.
You could dry some salmon or cod.




Ashley (50 comments)

I know the squash and the carrot, but can't figure out the two green ones.






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