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DIY Food Storage – Baking Mix and Baked Goods

DIY Food Storage – Baking Mix and Baked Goods

Last time we talked about the very basics of food storage and how using a food storage calculator will be helpful. We, also, discussed some of the commercial products available. This time we are going to start looking at some of the ways you can prepare your own food for storage.

The advantages of preparing your own food for storage are you know exactly what’s going into your food and it can be quite a bit less expensive. The biggest disadvantage of preparing your own food for storage is the shelf life is usually more limited than that of the commercial products. Most home prepared food storage will have a shelf life of three to five years, although there are exceptions.

Before we get started on any kind of DIY food storage, we need a way to store them. Making up a large batch of anything won’t be useful if we don’t have any way to package them. We are going to start with dry goods, today, so we will want to a have a few large food grade buckets, with tight fitting lids, available. I get a large variety of buckets, from 1-gallon to 6-gallon, from a couple of local restaurants. Do note, pickle buckets are usually in the 5-gallon or 6-gallon size, which is a great size, but it takes a long time to get the pickle smell out of them.

6-gallon-bucket-with-lid

Ready to get started? Let’s start with one of the easiest of the DIY food storage products. I was talking to my friend Linda, from Food Storage Moms, last week and she asked I post my baking mix. This simple recipe is comparable to Bisquik and, if you collect the flour and sugar when they go on sale, or purchase in bulk, will cost about 1/4 to 1/3 of the price. At full price it will be about 1/2 the cost. The links in my recipe are to the large packages I purchase.

This recipe is revised from a 1952 pamphlet distributed by the University of Virginia Extension. I use unrefined coconut oil, rather than shortening. Coconut oil melts at about 76º F. If you don’t have a place to store your mix that will stay below about 74º F, replace it with shortening.

Large Batch Baking Mix (makes 29 cups – double for 5-gallon bucket)

Ingredients
5 pounds (approximately 20 cups) flour
3/4 cup double-acting baking powder
3 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
2 pounds (approximately 4 cups) coconut oil (can replace with shortening)
2 1/4 cups dry milk

In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, cream of tartar, and sugar. Cut in coconut oil until the consistency of cornmeal. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature. Use anywhere you would use Bisquik.

I put some of the mix in a 1-gallon container, to put in the cupboard for regular use, and the rest in a 5-gallon bucket. I’ve used this as old as six years and it’s still been good. I would try to rotate this mix about every three to four years, though, and more often if you can’t keep it somewhere relatively cool.

Here are a couple of easy survival bar recipes with a really long shelf life. Although I have a food dehydrator, I prefer the oven method of drying. They tend to have a better texture and are less crumbly when dried in the oven.

homemade-survival-bars-4

A number of sites share this recipe for Homemade Survival Bars, some claiming it as their own, but I don’t think anyone knows where it originated. I’ve been making these since the 70’s, back in my back packing days. The last time I moved, I found a few of these bars in the back of the pantry. I’d made them 23 years prior to finding them. I opened one up and smelled it… it smelled fine, so I took a little taste and it still tasted good. These bars are very sweet and aren’t very good as far as nutritional value, but they will provide you with energy and calories.

survival-bars-chia-pin

These Chocolate Chia Survival Bars are my favorite. They taste great, but aren’t as sweet and pack more nutritional value than the homemade survival bars. I make these for a quick pick me up at work, so I haven’t had any that have been around for any length of time, but, from the ingredients, they should last pretty much as long as the homemade survival bars. For storage, I wrap either of the above individually in tin foil, place the wrapped bars in gallon size zip-lock bags, then seal them in a bucket.

tasty-almonds-nuts-with-leaves

Nuts are also great for long term storage. I purchase 5-pound packages of natural raw almonds. They are great for baking, sugaring, spicing, or just eating raw. Here are a couple of my favorite simple recipes. Almonds are my favorite, but you can always use other kinds of nuts, or a mixture.

Glazed Nuts

Ingredients
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups whole almonds or pecan halves

Directions
Preheat oven to 300ºF.
In a medium saucepan, combine water, sugar, and cinnamon. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add nuts and return to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until liquid is a thick syrup.
Use a slotted spoon to move nuts to a shallow ungreased baking pan and spread out nuts. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and spread on foil lightly greased with coconut oil, butter, or cooking spray. When cool, package in airtight
container.

For a sweet and spicy treat, replace cinnamon with 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper.

Spiced Nuts

Ingredients
1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons olive oil or cooking oil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce
3 cups nuts

Directions
In a skillet mix chili powder, curry powder, garlic salt, cumin, ginger, and cinnamon. Stir in olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, and hot pepper sauce. Cook and stir over low heat 5 minutes to mellow flavors.
Place nuts in a bowl; add the spice mixture. Toss to coat evenly. Spread pecan halves in a single layer in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake in a 325ºF oven for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spread nuts on foil and cool completely.

For storage, I place nuts in zip-lock bags, then seal them in a bucket.

Now you have a few simple ideas for making and packaging your own food storage items. Don’t forget to label your buckets with the name of what’s stored inside and the date it was made.

Food Storage Basics

Food Storage Basics

If you are new to food storage, one of the first questions you probably have is, “where do I start?” I recommend starting with a good food storage calculator. A calculator not only gives you a list to go by, but also keeps track of your inventory. I sampled a number of them and decided the one I liked best was foodstoragecalculator.xls (direct download link), provided by Jodie and Julie, over at Food Storage Made Easy. Here’s what the first section of mine looks like:

food-storage-calculator-1

This calculator is very simple and straight forward, making it very easy to use. You will need an xls editor to open and edit it. If you don’t have MS Office with Excel, or equivalent, I found a free xls editor you can check out: Free MS Excel Alternative Software. Before I had MS Office, I used the free alternative Open Office. I still use it on my old computer, that runs on XP. I checked it out and, although they have been taken over by Apache, they still provide a free version.

To use the calculator, you just start entering your own info. You can see in my screen shot, in the upper left corner there is an area to enter your information and how many months of food storage you want to store. Once you enter this information, you’ll see the amounts of each item listed you will require, for the number of months you entered, are calculated. On the right side you are shown how much you still need to add. You will, also, notice some of my entries don’t have required amounts. These are items I’ve added to the original list.

I’m sure you noticed the first section lists grains. Grains make up the bulk of your initial food storage recommendation, from almost any reputable source. The main reasons for this are: they may be purchased in bulk relatively inexpensively, whole grains provide protein as well as fiber, and, with some imagination, they can be pretty versatile.

Now let’s looks at the next section:

food-storage-calculator-2

Here we have Fats and Oils and Legumes. As you can see, I don’t have any shortening, but I have a lot of coconut oil. I don’t use shortening… I just left it, in case I decide at some point to stockpile some. Coconut oil can replace shortening and cooking oil in baking and frying, it’s very healthy, and it can be used topically, as well. The coconut oil I store is natural, cold pressed, virgin coconut oil. The vegetable oil you see is extra virgin olive oil. I don’t see any reason to store salad dressing, since my stores include oil, vinegar, and spices, but, once again, I left it there. In the legumes section, you can see I’ve used and need to replace my lima beans. I’m allergic to soy, so I don’t have any soy beans. Also, I have a bucket full of beans I haven’t added to the inventory yet.

Here’s the third section:

food-storage-calculator-3

Now we get down to Sugars and Milk. I actually have about 40 pounds of honey, so I need to check it and add it to the inventory. I only use sugar when I make kombucha and water kefir, so I don’t stock nearly as much as is recommended. I don’t use corn syrup, at all. I use mostly honey as a sweetener. Besides being a healthy sweetener, did you know honey will last pretty much  forever? I actually have a cupboard full of homemade/home canned jams, but I’ve never weighed them. I know there’s a lot more than three pounds, though. I have about 20 of the small boxes of flavored gelatin in the pantry and six pounds of unflavored gelatin. The milk section is the one I need to work on. Those numbers are accurate.

In the fourth section, we have Cooking Essentials, which is the end of the original list.

food-storage-calculator-4

As you can see, I’ve added quite a few items to the essentials and I’m well stocked on the original items. One of the things I am still adding here is salt. Salt is good for a lot of things besides in cooking and flavoring and it will be a good barter item, if ever needed, as well. Vinegar will, also, continue to grow, since I make my own apple cider vinegar from apple scraps.

Below Cooking Essentials, you’ll notice I’ve added “Mo Supply.” These are 30 day buckets of freeze dried meals. I really like the Augason Farms buckets. I actually have six buckets, now. They are reasonably priced, provide more than 1800 calories per day, and, if stored under optimal conditions, will last up to 20 years. The foods I’ve tried are actually pretty good, too! This particular bucket includes a FireOn Disk, which can be used as a fire starter or for emergency heat, and a water bottle with a filter, which will filter up to 100 gallons of water. Augason Farms is a company based in northern Utah.

augason-farms-30-day

Finally, I have a section for Other, which I also added.

food-storage-calculator-5

These are mostly #10 cans, packaged for long term food storage, I have added to my food storage. The reason for the 30 day buckets and #10 cans are to add some variety and nutrition to my main storage.

What I haven’t, yet, added to the food storage calculator are my pantry full of home and store bought canned goods. I have several large cabinets filled with meats, ready to heat meals, fruits, vegetables, soups, cheese, jams, and condiments.

If the amounts of food in my calculator seem daunting, start with a smaller amount at a time. When I started using it, I already had a good stock in my pantry. You can start with just one week and add to it, one week at a time, as you go. Even if you only add one or two extra cans or packages for your food storage, every time you shop for groceries, you’ll be better off than if you didn’t have any extra food in your cupboards. However you grow your food storage, just remember to only store foods you’ll actually eat.