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Food Storage Tips

  • Top 10 Food Items to Store

    label bannerAs I said in my last blog, a few weeks ago I attended a very interesting preparedness meeting that had a lot of great ideas. They gave some top ten lists that I thought were really good. The first list was the top 10 non-food items to store that I wrote about last time. This time I wanted to share the top 10 food items to store. Here they are:
    1. Salt. Salt has many important attributes for food preservation as well as being a flavor enhancer.
    2. Seasonings, spices, bouillon. These will store a lot longer than the labels may say and food prepared from storage will taste much better.
    3. Honey. Honey has a long shelf life, is a great sweetener and has health benefits. It is an antimicrobial which means it fights infection.
    4. Dry bulk items. These are your staples such as rice, beans, pasta, grains and sugar. They are inexpensive and long lasting.
    5. Oil. For short term storage you should store vegetable oil and shortening. Olive oil and coconut oil are better for long term storage.
    6. Freeze dried foods. These are the most expensive food storage, but they provide variety and great flavor.
    7. Flour. If you aren’t used to grinding your own, you will need to transition or you will send your body into shock. Having some on hand will help with that transition.
    8. Kitchen staples. This would include baking soda, baking powder, yeast, vinegar, whatever you use for everyday cooking.
    9. Nonfat dried milk. Milk is one of the basic necessities and it has been proven that people can survive on just powdered milk for quite some time. It also has a very long shelf life.
    10. Pet food, animal feed. If you have a pet, he or she is going to need to eat as well. If you rely on animals, such as chickens for eggs, they will need to be fed to keep up their laying.
    Well there you have it. I hope you will check it over and see what you need to work on. I know that it made me think of some things that I hadn’t considered. Don’t be afraid to research the best way to store items and other uses for them. Next time I will post the last list they gave to us: 10 other items to be prepared.

    Contributed by Pam Higley


  • Get Prepared - Vegetables

    Eating and Storing Healthy! Eating and Storing Healthy!

    No meal is complete without vegetables – whether as a side dish or as an ingredient in the main entrée. Likewise, no food storage supply is complete without a variety of vegetables.
    Dehydrated and/or freeze dried vegetables are a great way to include vegetables in your food storage supply. When stored properly in air-tight containers, vegetables will store 20 to 25 years. You may ask yourself whether it is better to store dehydrated vegetables or freeze dried vegetables and what is the difference between the two. When it comes to nutrition there is very little, if any, difference between dehydrated and freeze dried vegetables. Freeze dried vegetables will reconstitute quicker than dehydrated and are very easy to use. Other than the time it takes to reconstitute, the biggest difference is density. Freeze dried vegetables are very light in weight so when comparing ounces you get fewer dry ounces in a can of freeze dried than you would in dehydrated. If space is an issue in your storage, you will be able to store more dry ounces of dehydrated product in a smaller area than freeze dried.

    Store a variety of vegetables. Store a variety of vegetables.

    There is a wide variety of vegetables available for storage from onions and celery for flavoring to carrots and peas as a side dish. Almost all are available in freeze dried and dehydrated. This is a great way to add potatoes (sliced, diced, shredded or mashed), green vegetables (peas, green beans, broccoli), carrots, onions, celery, and even mushrooms and other less common vegetables such as cauliflower and asparagus. Tomato powder is a versatile and great addition to your food storage. You can use it to thicken sauces or make delicious spaghetti or pizza sauce.
    Check out our wide variety of dehydrated and freeze dried vegetables that are on special this week and add this important item to your food storage supply.

    Try this quick and easy, delicious Broccoli Cheese Soup!

    Broccoli Cheese Soup Broccoli Cheese Soup

    Rainy Day Foods Creamy Potato Soup mix
    Rainy Day Foods Freeze Dried Broccoli
    Rainy Day Foods Freeze Dried Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
    Optional: add your favorite meat or other ingredients for variety
    Mix soup mix according to directions on the can. Add ¼ to ½ cup freeze dried broccoli and 1 cup shredded cheese. Ingredients may be adjusted according to personal preference. Cook until thick and vegetables are tender or combine ingredients in a slow cooker and let simmer for about an hour or until soup is thick and vegetables are tender.
    Delicious and Easy!!


  • Get Prepared - Grains

    Rainy Day Foods wheat

    September is National Preparedness Month and food storage is a major component of preparedness along with emergency supplies and non-food items. Having a supply of food can bring great peace of mind in times of economic hardship as well as those times of natural calamity. One of the staples of food storage is grain.
    Grain is an excellent food storage item with a long shelf life when stored properly. In air-tight containers and at a cool, constant temperature grains can store up to thirty years. Grains are rich in protein, fiber, antioxidants, b-vitamins and other trace minerals. It is recommended that adults have three servings of grain daily. Grain as part of a healthy diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and certain cancers.
    There are many varieties of grain. Among this list are wheat, spelt, kamut, amaranth, buckwheat, triticale, millet, oats, barley, rye and others. There is certain to be a grain that you will like and that will help fill your dietary needs.

    varieties of grain varieties of grain

    Hard red and hard white wheat are some of the most popular grains and are used by many in bread baking. This is a recipe for Whole Wheat Bread using freshly ground Hard Red or Hard White wheat – or a combination of both.

    4 cups hot tap water
    2 tablets Vitamin C-crushed
    ½ cup oil
    ½ cup honey
    1 ½ tbs. salt
    ½ cup lecithin
    10-12 cups whole-wheat flour
    2 tbs. yeast

    Grind 8-10 cups wheat. Using the hottest tap water measure and add crushed vitamin C. In the mixing bowl add the water to the oil, honey, and lecithin. Mix in 4 cups flour. Sprinkle yeast over top and let stand 5-6 minutes until bubbly. Add salt and 4-6 cups more flour and mix for 10-12 minutes. Dough should be smooth and elastic. Dough should pull away from sides of bowl. Dough should be moist and may be sticky. Adding too much flour will cause dry cracking bread. *Dough is thoroughly developed when you can pull off a small piece and stretch it to form a paper thin sheet.
    Shape into loaves and place in well-greased bread pans. Let rise until double in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Temperatures and times will vary. Remove from pans and cool. Yields 5 medium loaves.

    Whole Wheat Bread Whole Wheat Bread

    So, with recipe in hand, you can start off National Preparedness Month by adding a variety of grains to your food storage supply and take another step towards your Preparedness goal!


  • Summer and food storage.

    Family time at farmers market can be fun! Family time at farmers market can be fun!


    Summer months are filled with vacations, swimming lessons, camping trips, and reunions.   We are also more aware of hurricanes, tornadoes, and drought.   These fun and family days of summer often keep us from the planning and preparing our home storage.   However weather and finances remind us of the need to find ways to add to our pantry as well as our storage.   Gardens and farmers markets can help us keep on track by dehydrating, and bottling fresh supplies.   If you have a garden you know the satisfaction it can bring.   If you are not able to raise your own produce take advantage of your farmers markets.   You'll find great deals with healthy and delicious products.  Oxygen absorbers, mylar bags, or buckets can be a great help in storing your extra.

    This is the perfect time to dehydrate or preserve the extra produce for the long winter months.

    Farmers market-great for home food storage bottling. Farmers market-great for home food storage bottling.
  • Food Storage

    Food Storage. We all think about it. We all know deep down that this is something good that we can do for ourselves and our family. Yet many households today, if they were to face a crisis of any kind whether it be natural or man-made, would not be prepared. So how does one go about doing it? The answer is simple. Each month try to buy one thing that you could put into your food storage.

    Food storage should have a shelf life of 15-30 years. This means that items that are sealed in a can or a bucket with oxygen absorbers in them to remove the oxygen are the best way to store food for long-term storage. You can store them in a cool (optimal temperature is 60 degrees), dry place and forget about them. Items such as grains and beans are a great place to start.

    If you were to store one item each month, by the end of 2014 you would have twelve items. So instead of trying to get your food storage all at once, try just getting one item a month and see where it can take you. See the peace of mind you will have by the beginning of 2015 all because you decided to buy just one thing each month.

    Contributed by Richelle Stoker

    hard red wheat
    16 bean mix

    Click here to view and purchase grains

    Click here to view and purchase beans



  • Bean Sprout Salad

    Sprouting is an easy technique that, with a little practice, can give you fresh, nutrient-dense seedlings year-round.  You can grow your own sprouts indoors, even in the heart of winter.  In general, producing  sprouts is as simple as placing some beans in a jar and helping them to maintain a humid environment for a few days. The process of sprouting is thought to give legumes a more  complete nutritional profile because they are exiting their dormant seed phase and starting the process towards becoming a plant; thus, they have more diverse vitamins and proteins.  Beans are purportedly easier to digest after being sprouted.  I love soy bean sprouts, but there are many other legumes that are easy to grow and make great-tasting additions to salads, sandwiches, stir fries, or wherever your imagination takes you.  I enjoy sprouts on salads with few other ingredients -- just lettuce, some cooked sprouts, and hot peppers -- but these tasty beans will make a great addition to your dish of choice.

    bean sprouts
    bean sprouts
    bean sprouts







    2 Tbsp of one of the following: mung beans, soy beans, alfalfa seeds, lentils, or adzuki beans (alternatively, try a sprouting mix)

    Lots of fresh water, as described below


    1. Rinse beans and remove any debris.
    2. Soak beans in about 2 cups of water in a covered jar for 8-12 hours, or overnight.
    3. Drain the water, rinse the beans a few times, and refill the jar with fresh water until the beans are submerged.
    4. Place beans in a sprouting jar specially designed for growing seedlings. Alternatively, place beans in a sterilized glass canning jar and cover with a sprouting lid.
    5. Place jar in a dark place with good ventilation.
    6. Rinse the sprouts twice a day with fresh, clean water.  This is as easy as flowing water into the jar, swirling the sprouts for a few seconds, and draining the water. Repeat for several days.
    7. Remove sprouts from the jar when they are the desired size.

    Tips and Notes:

    The Sproutmaster kit from Rainy Day Foods is a good sprouting system, and delivers consistent results.

    I have tried stretching clean cheesecloth over the lid of a mason jar in lieu of a sprouting lid. I did not have good results, though others have had success with this method.

    Although eating raw sprouts is generally considered safe, I recommend thoroughly cooking your sprouts before using them in recipes. I even cook my sprouts before putting them on my salad, I like the mix of warm and cool veggies in every bite.

    Do not sprout large beans such as kidney, black, or pinto beans -- they may be toxic.

    Your sprouts will be white in color, not green -- the sprouts in my pictures look different because I tried sprouting green peas, which must be planted before pea shoots can be harvested. They have more chlorophyll (the chemical that makes plants green) because they were growing in the sun.


    Contributed by Kate Wilt

    Click here to view sprouting seeds and seed sprout kits



  • Storing Basic Pantry Items

    Treats can be so yummy, but sometimes they’re needed at inconvenient times.  Recently this was the case at our home.  Needless to say, I was so happy I had all of the ingredients on hand in my pantry.  This reaffirmed to me the importance of storing food.  Even if you’re not into storing emergency items like wheat, rice and beans, you might want to think about storing basic pantry items.  What a relief it is to be able to make something without making a trip to the grocery store for that one missing ingredient.   At Rainy Day Foods you can stock up on flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, baking cocoa, powdered milk, butter powder, and powdered eggs.  All of these were in the recipes for the treats I needed to make.  I love that you can get larger sizes of these items; larger sizes mean less shopping and less money spent in the long run.  And who doesn’t want to save money?  One note:  I did not use the powdered eggs, butter or milk in these recipes.  However, it’s nice to know that if I had been out of these refrigerated items, I could still make these treats.  Here are the recipes:







    8 eggs               1 lb. butter                    ½ c. baking cocoa              4 c. sugar              

    4 c. flour                                                                                                          

    Mix together.  Pour into large cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min.


    ¼ c. butter         3 T. baking cocoa       ½ c. milk      4 c. powdered sugar

    Mix together.  May need to add more powdered sugar to get right consistency.       

    Sunburst Lemon Bars

    Crust:     2 c. flour       ½ c. powdered sugar         1 c. butter, softened

    Mix ingredients together on low speed until crumbly.  Press mixture evenly in bottom of ungreased 9x13 pan.   Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes until lightly browned.

    Filling:    4 eggs, slightly beaten     2 c. sugar      ¼ c. flour    1 tsp. baking powder  

    ¼ c. lemon juice

    In large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, flour and baking powder, blend well.  Stir in lemon juice.  Pour mixture over warm crust.  Return to oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until top is light golden brown.  Cool completely.

    Glaze:      1 c. powdered sugar       2 to 3 T. lemon juice

    In small bowl, combine powdered sugar and enough lemon juice for desired glaze consistency.  Blend until smooth.  Drizzle over cooled bars.  36 bars. 

    Sunburst Lemon Bars





    contributed by Pam Higley


  • Summer Pumpkin Muffins

    Do you ever crave seasonal foods well after they've come and gone from the grocery store? Peppermint bark is something that I could eat all year long, but I only buy it at Christmastime.  Pumpkin treats are another holiday specialty that I enjoy in every season, so I always stock up on canned pumpkin puree when it's on sale in November.  These pumpkin muffins are fairly healthy and will tide you over until the cooler months.  Enjoy them warm from the oven with a small pat of butter, or eat one for breakfast on your way to work.


    1/2 cup milk, reconstituted from powder

    3 eggs  (fresh or from powder)

    1 cup pumpkin puree

    3/4 cup white sugar

    1 Tbsp molasses

    2 1/4 cups flour

    2 tsp baking powder

    1 1/2 tsp baking soda

    1 tsp pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon

    pumpkin muffin batter





    Preheat oven to 350F. Mix milk, eggs, pumpkin puree, sugar, and molasses in a large bowl. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice until fully incorporated. Divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until tops of muffins are firm.

    Yield: 12 muffins

    Tips and Notes:

    Add more sugar if you prefer a sweeter muffin.

    Feel free to add raisins, chocolate chips, walnuts, or other desired mix-ins.


    Summer Pumpkin Muffins







    Contributed by Kate Wilt


  • Lentil Sloppy Joes

    I grew up eating sloppy joes on a regular basis because it was a meal that my parents could make quickly and easily.  When I started cooking for myself, I would sometimes add lentils or quinoa to the recipe in order to stretch the expensive meat further. This recipe is designed to use your food storage, but you can add in some freeze dried ground beef if you have it on hand. It would also be great with imitation beef bits or fresh beef, whichever your preference.  If you do so, do not reduce the lentils by more than half --  they're filling, inexpensive, and are a great source of fiber.  This recipe will make even the pickiest meat eaters get a little more variety in their diet.


    1 cup uncooked lentils

    1 quart water

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    1/4 cup onion, rehydrated

    1/4 cup mixed (red and green) peppers, rehydrated

    2 tsp garlic powder

    1 Tbsp chili powder

    1 tsp salt

    8 oz can tomato sauce  OR 3/4 cup water + 1/4 cup tomato powder

    1/4 cup tomato paste OR 2.5 Tbsp water + 1.5 Tbsp tomato powder

    3 Tbsp maple syrup

    2 tablespoons yellow mustard

    Rolls for serving


    Put the lentils in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium.  Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.

    Meanwhile, heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion and peppers and cook until soft. Add cooked lentils, garlic powder, chili powder, and salt; stir to mix. Add tomato sauce and paste. Continue to cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, then add the maple syrup and mustard.  Serve on rolls.

    Yield: 6-8 sandwiches.

    Lentil Sloppy Joes
    Lentil Sloppy Joes






    Contributed by Kate Wilt


  • Granola Bars using Quick Oats

    School is out so I’m looking for treats that are easy and delicious.  I found a great recipe for granola bars that I decided to try.  It calls for quick oats which led me to research the different types of oats.  All oats start off life as an oat groat.  A groat is simply the whole unbroken grain of oat.  Before being made into any other variety of oat, groats are usually roasted at a very low temperature.  This not only gives the oats their nice toasty flavor, but the heat inactivates the enzyme that causes oats to go rancid.  This makes oats more shelf-stable.

    Whole groats are becoming much easier to find these days.  They’re also processed into these common kinds of oats:

    Steel-Cut Oats—We get steel-cut oats when the whole groat is split into several pieces.  Simmered with water, steel-cut oats retain much of their shape and make a chewy, nutty-tasting porridge.

    Rolled Oats—Whole groats can also be steamed to make them soft and pliable, and then pressed between rollers and dried.  The resulting “rolled oats” re-absorb water and cook much more quickly than whole groats or steel-cut oats.

    Old-Fashioned Oats—The source of much confusion, old-fashioned oats are actually the same as rolled oats.  You’ll usually see them called “Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats” on packaging.

    Quick or Quick-Cooking Oats—These are oats that have been pressed slightly thinner than rolled oats.  They cook more quickly, but retain less of their texture.

    Instant Oats—Pressed even thinner than quick oats, instant oats often break into a coarse powder.  They cook the quickest of all and make a very soft and uniform mush. 

    I assumed that the more processed the oat, the less nutrition would remain.  However, Harold McGee in “On Food and Cooking” says that all processed oats have the same nutritional value. This was a surprise to me.  Rainy Day Foods sells a variety of these oats in assorted sizes.  For my recipe I tried the quick oats. 

    Granola bars

    Here is the recipe:

    Granola Bars

    1 cup brown sugar

    4 cups quick oats

    1 cup light corn syrup

    3 cups crisped rice cereal

    1 cup peanut butter, creamy

    Boil brown sugar and light corn syrup.  Then add peanut butter.  Mix oats and rice cereal together in a large bowl.  Drizzle syrup onto dry mixture.  Stir to mix together.  Press into a buttered cookie sheet.

    Note:  I added a ½ cup of chocolate chips as I was pressing the mixture into the cookie sheet.  The whole family loved these and thought they tasted great.  Next time I may try peanut butter chips.

    Contributed by Pam Higley


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