Friday, December 23, 2011

Dried Foods For Disaster Preparedness

Dried foods are excellent for emergency preparedness food storage because they don't need to be refrigerated or frozen. (No electricity required to keep them from spoiling.) They don't take up a lot of space, and are easy to prepare.

Freeze dried foods are especially good for emergencies. I belonged to a buyers group a while back and got free samples. They taste very good, take little space to store and are easy to prepare. Their drawback is their high cost. If you can afford them and like them they can be a good way to go. If the cost of freeze dried foods gives you pause, you could buy just a few of them and make the bulk of your emergency meals out of other foods.

It is possible to dry your own emergency foods. I do this myself. I do not dry all of the foods in my emergency storage, but the ones I dry increase the  amount of time I can last during an emergency. They also lower the cost of my food storage.

My first tentative attempts at drying food were not for an emergency. I wanted to have dried orange peel to use in cooking. The stuff I got from the spice section in the grocery store tasted like Tang. This was not the taste I wanted. I thought that grating a little orange peel and drying it could not be that hard.

I grated it on the fine part of my grater and spread it on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and put another layer of paper towels over it to keep the dust out. It worked just great. I always keep some on hand now. I don't always eat organic oranges and the grated peel I have stored is organic and is always ready when without an extra trip to the grocery. The convenience is a worthwhile benefit.

Since then I have dried many more leftover bits of food on top of my fridge on a cookie sheet lined with cheesecloth or paper towels. I did it enough to justify getting a food drier from a yard sale. 

It is also good for making fruit leather. I do not make it for myself, because it is too sweet for me most of the time. Children love it though. They love it even more if you let them help make it. It is wetter than regular fruit and takes up to three days or even longer to dry. It depends on your drier, weather and other things. It is long enough to get up good anticipation by the time it is ready. Forget about storing any from the first batch.

Fruit leather is ideal for a food storage program because it does not require any preparation to eat. The hardest part is having some left for emergencies.

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