Monday, June 8, 2015

Surviving Survival Food

Kathy was hiking the Maroon Bells back in college with some buddies. They were at 13.6K and one of the hikers would not eat the freeze dried pack food. Sure as shooting, this resulted in altitude sickness and they never summited. That story has always had me thinking. Yes, in Hawaii, (hurricane zone), I did put some of that freeze dried good till 2025 emergency food away, but I am very aware that we might need to be very hungry before we would eat it. Our house in Washington state has volcano, earthquake and mudslide risk. We aren't preppers or anything like that, but a bit of effort to locate food options makes a lot of sense. As I find other tasty sources of survival food, I will update this post and reset its date.

8/16/15 Saw a #10 can of freeze dried chicken at Winco and added to the collection. It was a bit pricey, $30.56, but a much better buy than anything else I can find on the Internet. Next time we go, I will get a second can, open the first and try to develop some recipes. I also noticed dried "edamame, plan to seal some up with my food saver. Lightweight and a source of protein, (and they are good).

7/11/15 I am a sucker for rice and beans, let's do it survival style. Boiled water, added salt, ( yes me, I added salt). Added dried kidney beans, covered the pan, left overnight. The next day, they were still stiff, but better than the last time. We need enough water to accommodate the rice and assume that the beans will still take a bit and the veggies. Added survival dried onions and vegetables, (also known as Winco bulk aisle vegetable soup). Seasoned with some red pepper flakes and powdered garlic, (in a real survival situation, I would need lots of powered garlic). Tasted the broth. My brain was screaming it needs more salt, but a lot of the so-called survival foods are high salt. What else can I do with flavor? A few dehydrated mushrooms chopped up couldn't hurt and of course a rule of cooking is to pair mushrooms with garlic, so more garlic powder. Added a little basil and oregano and tasted the broth, (remember, the rice absorbs the broth and diminishes the flavor, so the broth has to pop). Something was missing, I got my dried tomato powder can that I got from Wal-Mart. The can was opened back in May, it is now July and the powder is starting to cake, but I can still mine it with a spoon. A little goes a long way with tomato powder, so I was conservative. That was it! We have a survival beans and rice strategy that we would be able to eat.

6/17/15 Costco is now carrying dehydrated Bare organic Fuji apples, 30 oz. to a bag. This is not a concentrated caloric food source, a two apple portion is about 21g sugar, (what you would get in a serving of a healthy juice), but a great source of fiber and they taste great. They also weigh next to nothing, a 30 apple serving is 14oz. but they are bulky. None the less, they meet my criteria for survival food because they taste great. I used them in a Greek yoghurt cole slaw as a foil against Salmon Puttanesca and it was great. Last night we had a class in Pacific Northwest gardening and we were running a bit late so supper was Skinny Brit cheese and these apples.

6/9/15 Smoked Salmon. Someone asked me why the emphasis on dry or dehydrated foods. Simple, weight. I have tried to find a source of dehydrated salmon, so far no joy, (though there are a lot of dog and cat treats so it must be possible). We did find smoked salmon with no nitrates at 5.99 per 8oz. box at the Grocery Outlet. Even though it is canned, in the foil pouches, it does not have an infinite shelf life, so we will have to open a pouch a week or so and try to replace.

6/9/15 Survival Sliders - Base:
Equal parts vegetable soup, dried bean mix, dried mushrooms, (I used porcini). Blend these dry ingredients into a flour.

Add 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 4 oz. of egg white as binder and chicken stock or water to a blendable consistency. I added red pepper flakes and dried basil. I normally do not add salt, but this needed some salt. Keep in mind that the dried beans and vegetables are going to consume some of the moisture, so you want to factor that in.

For most of the variations, I mixed by hand with a spoon in a small soup bowl. I would guess that was about a cup of base, added as three really heaping TBSPs.

Using the base, here are some variations we tried.

1. Base + grated parmesan cheese or parmesan powder, 2 heaping tablespoons
2. A taste of India:  Base + 2 tsp Garam Masala, 1 tsp Tumeric, a heaping tsp. of Greek yoghurt and sprinkle one side of the patty with red curry powder
3. Italian: Base + add one heaping TBLSP of tomato powder, Italian seasoning to taste, garlic powder sprinkled on top. Some fresh Basil would have been a nice addition.
4. Orient Express: Base + 1 tsp Ginger, gluten free Tamari sauce to taste. Next time I will add some sesame seeds.
5. Artichoke with mild banana peppers:  Base + 5 quartered artichoke hearts, 5 slices of banana pepper, (I used the Vlassic stackers).  Had to add a bit more egg white before I blended again.

5/21/15 Kathy found some mixed dried beans at WinCo in the bulk section. I put them in water overnight, but they were still hard the next day and the next. I tossed them out. Then I tried blending them into a flour, added chicken stock and fresh cremini mushrooms and made a soup. Not bad, next time I will add some veggies.

5/15/15 Well shucks, if this was a real survival situation I would need dried mushrooms.  Tried a Google search for dried porcini, an offer from spicejungle came up for $9.95. Clicked on it, oh, that would be $9.95 an ounce. Surviving is very expensive. What about ebay and Amazon? Amazon won this round with a pound of porcini and a pound of morels.

5/9/15 Back at Wal-Mart, noticed they have tomato powder. Tried it out with a pasta dish using WinCo vegetable soup. Really worked out well. Kathy doesn't like a lot of tomato in pasta, so I put the soup mix and tomato powder in the water with the pasta.

5/7/15 Was in the bulk aisle at WinCo and noticed their dried vegetable soup, dehydrated carrot, onion, celery, spinach, parsley and tomato. This is becoming a staple cooking ingredient for me. And I can order 10 lbs factory sealed for 57.57 for pick up at the store. That is a lot of vegetable soup *grin*.

5/2/15 I noticed they have survival food in #10 cans at Walmart. I bought a can of red and green peppers and a can of dried onions. I have tried them in a few baked goods and some soups. Learned to use the peppers in moderation or your get really interesting food. TIP: dried vegetables can make a great thickener in soups.

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