Friday Food Storage Quickie: Soup to Nuts

Sharon December 11th, 2009

Hi Folks – Time for another food storage addition.  Because it is the holiday season, it makes sense to add things that are on sale right now – many spices and seasonings, as well as ingredients are at the lowest price they will be all year if you have to buy them conventionally (as always, if you *can* buy food locally, from a coop or in bulk, it will generally be a better deal, support good stuff and include less packaging and waste, but we try to be realistic here.)

Last week we got the ingredients for bean or lentil soup together – yum!  This week we go from soup to nuts, literally. Right now our food storage, if you’ve been following my suggestions is probably a little thin on protein, so it is a good week to add a nice, vegetarian protein source – nuts.  These are reasonably priced right now – ideally you will get them from local farmers, but they are also available in supermarkets. They are nutritious, in a cool dry place in the shell will keep 1 year, they are tasty and most people like them.  If you don’t like whole nuts, consider peanut, almond or cashew butters.

Except, of course, the people who are allergic to nuts, which is a non-trivial portion of the population.  Nuts are one of the most 8 most common food allergies in the US.  Most people with nut allergies can still eat chestnuts, which are biologically different than most tree nuts, so that’s one possibility.  Otherwise, you will want to add another protein source to your storage.  Shelf-stable tofu, marmite/vegemite if you like it, more beans, or canned meat or fish (choose organic whenever possible and not overfished species).

Also on sale in a lot of places right now is dried fruit – you can make this yourself if you have inexpensive fruit sources throughout the year – for example, perhaps you can still get a deal on apples at this point. But if you have to buy it, I would recommend some form of dried fruit for anyone who feels they may have to switch from their current diet to a storage diet at some point. The reason is this – unless you diet consists now primarily of the foods you already keep in storage, sudden dietary shifts tend to cause constipation.  This is not a pleasant problem to have, particularly if you are in the middle of a crisis. It also provides something sweet for people not accustomed to doing without sugars, it makes for an easy snack food for kids (mixed with nuts is even better), and it will allow you to make “treat” foods like oatmeal raisin cookies or dried fruit granola bars.  Again, if you can buy local, organic or in bulk, please do so.

We added spices and seasonings last week – if you can, add a few more this week. Remember, whole spices store best, and it isn’t hard to grate some cassia or a nutmeg.  But if all you can get are ground, you can keep them in the freezer for up to two years or on the shelf for one. Just keep them tightly capped and away from heat and light (ie, don’t put them on those shelves over the stove.

Remember the food pantry – throw in a couple of jars of peanut butter and some bread or crackers for them as well if you can afford it.  Dried fruit will also always be welcome, as will things like granola bars for families with limited time to cook.

Finally, our non-food item this week is alcohol, assuming, of course, that your family wants/uses alcohol (I am not encouraging anyone to take up drinking here).  Why would you want alcohol?  Well, there are a number of reasons.  First, you might want it for medicinal purposes – there are studies out there that show that in most cough syrups, the alcohol is the effective portion. Why not toss the Nyquil and just have a glass of whiskey with some honey in it – it tastes better.  If you make tinctures or your own flavorings, you’ll want it for that.  My feeling is that if you have a crisis, a glass of wine with dinner is not the worst idea in the world.   It is the classic barter item in a crisis, and if worst came to worst, and you have to drink contaminated water (which happens at times), you should put a little alcohol in it for safety if you can’t treat it any other way.  Many liquor stores have alcohol on sale right now, so it is a good time to add to your pantry, if you feel it is a worthwhile thing to have!

Cheers,

Sharon

5 Responses to “Friday Food Storage Quickie: Soup to Nuts”

  1. –”canned meat or fish (choose organic whenever possible and not overfished species)”

    Do you have any suggestions for an ethical canned fish? It’s something I’ve done a little research on, and I haven’t been able to come up with any options that aren’t exorbitantly expensive – like $6 for a 7.5 oz can of salmon. Unless the fish is caught in one part of the world, shipped all the way to China for processing, packaged, and then shipped back to the US for sale, it seems like canned fish is beyond the reach of most people’s food budgets. I’m willing to pay a more to eat my values, but I can only afford fish at that price in very small quantities. This is something I would definitely include more of in my food storage if I knew of a good option (non-farmed, ethically fished, food miles as low as feasible, reasonably affordable).

  2. aimeeon 11 Dec 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I have a suggestion on the fish – shrimp or clams. Both are available canned, and baby clams are a very good source of iron and other minerals as well as protein. Can be made into clam chowder or fritters. Also, it’s worth looking into dried fish – in chinatown or a hispanic market you should be able to find dried shrimp, dried oysters, and dried salt cod. They all keep for a good long time.

  3. Sharonon 11 Dec 2009 at 12:53 pm

    In many places herring and sardines are not overfished. We like both.

    Sharon

  4. Claireon 11 Dec 2009 at 8:47 pm

    My understanding is that chestnuts are more of a carbohydrate source than a protein source. Maybe that’s why some people with nut allergies can eat them.

  5. MichellePon 13 Dec 2009 at 9:49 am

    Brandy makes a good preservative in homemade fruit syrups.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply