The best way to make sure that your emergency food stores will work for you in an emergency is to use it. It should be food that you already eat regularly. You can rotate your emergency foods into your daily diet and replenish it as you use it.
When you do that, it will never spoil or go stale and you will know how to cook it during an emergency. You can use your ordinary recipes and won't have to spend time looking up recipes.
I use dried foods in my daily life to save a lot of money. When you shop on an empty stomach you are much more likely to spend more money than you planned or need to spend. The way to stop this is to make certain that you have a full stomach before you get in the store.
There have been many studies done that show that people will even spend more on non-food items when they shop hungry. I blogged a little about this in one of my earlier posts about weight loss.
If I am going to be out all day and know that I will get hungry before I finish shopping I take along a snack in my pocket. A full meal of dried foods will fit in a small pocket. I take a bottle of water along as well. In the summer when I lived in a hot climate I took a bottle of frozen water so it was nice and cool to drink.
You need to drink extra water when you eat dried food or you can easily get dehydrated. Your digestive system must have water to work properly or it will pull the liquids out of your body if you don't drink enough water.
There is an important warning about dried foods: Even though the dried foods seem like just a little bit of food because most of the water was removed, it will be just as big as it was before it was dried, inside you. That means you can get a really horrible stomach ache if you eat too much.
It works best to eat the dried food slowly; chew it very well and drink plenty of water as you eat it. That way you can gauge how much to eat to fill you up comfortably. Be sure to share this warning with anyone you share your dried foods with. I believe it is possible for someone to be seriously injured without knowing about this.
I plan a balanced meal when I take my pocket meal of dried foods along. That means a protein, a carbohydrate and something from the fruits and vegetables group. The carbohydrate of my choice is usually crackers I make myself because they are small and don't take much room either. I can share a recipe for the crackers if people want it. They are very tasty and everyone I have given them to really likes them too. They are also healthy.
I used to make them with freshly ground flours, but my grinder that I have now is not satisfactory. I found one that will probably work ok, but have to put it on the list to get later. Things made with freshly ground flour taste much better and are lots healthier as well. Once you get a routine down, it is not too much trouble to grind your own grains before you bake.
This blog post seems to be long enough so I will end here by telling you that I want to add more about dried foods in my next post or so.