In a recent article, we reviewed shelf-stable foods to store for your 72 Hour Emergency Kits. Today, we will review shelf-stable ingredients used to make perishable foods. I’ll provide a few examples of recipes too.
My children eat very few things. They are on the Autism spectrum and only have certain foods that they feel safe eating. In this article, I’ll review what I do to store away ingredients to make the more perishable “safe foods” for my children in case of a crisis.
All of the following advice comes from my own personal experience. I am not an expert on food storage, but I’m a concerned mom who has thought a lot about how to provide food for my two special needs children during “Grid Down” due to a potential hurricane.
In a recent article, we looked at the general storage of ingredients to make perishable foods and used quesadillas as an example. Today, we will start with breakfast recipes and what I store to make more perishable foods that my children will eat.
For breakfast every day, my children eat the exact same thing: Banana Bread Muffins and Apple Juice. Morning is also the time that I serve them their supplements and vitamins mixed in with their juice. I have tried serving my oldest child other things to eat for breakfast, such as cereal bars. Sometimes he will eat them, sometimes not. Most reliably, he will eat my homemade Banana Bread Muffins every morning for breakfast. Having a nice filling safe food on his stomach to start his day, something that is wholesome and fills him up is a great start to the day for both my boys. This would definitely be something I would want to do for my boys, especially in a disaster when stress is high and calories count!
Let’s take a look at some shelf-stable ingredients used to make my children’s breakfast!
My children will not eat other muffins. I have tried commercial mixes, bakery muffins, and prepackaged muffins. They will only eat Mommy’s Banana Bread Muffins. I’ll include the recipe here as well as options for the shelf-stable ingredients.
Banana Bread Muffin Recipe (my own personal recipe)
Makes about 2 dozen muffins
Total time: 1 1/2 hrs
Bake time: 25-30 mins
- 1 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3-4 large ripe bananas)
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 cup of vegetable oil
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup quick-cooking oats
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tbs lemon juice
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use paper muffin cups to line the bottom of the muffin cups or alternatively, grease with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, mix sugar, butter, and eggs until well combined and the ingredients form a frosting-like consistency.
3. In a separate bowl, mash bananas until there are only small lumps.
4. Add mashed bananas, milk, oil, and vanilla. Combine well.
5. Stir in flour, oatmeal, baking soda, and salt. Stir until combined.
6. Before adding to muffin tins, add in lemon juice and stir into batter until well combined. Immediately distribute batter into muffin tins and bake.
As you can see by the recipe above, there are several ingredients that are not shelf-stable that need to be accounted for. Bananas themselves will only last so long on your countertop!
There are lots of ways to preserve bananas! There are commercially preserved bananas that come in several forms, or, you can do the preservation yourself.
Currently, I do not throw away bananas that are past their prime. I peel them, place them into a gallon zip lock and freeze them until I’m ready to make banana bread. Easy, right?
However, this freezing method is not going to work for a more “grid down” scenario where you might need to preserve bananas without refrigeration. You can do this by freeze-drying or dehydrating.
I do not own a freeze dryer because having a home freeze dryer is out of my price range. However, there are commercially sold freeze-dried bananas in almost every brand of preserved food. I’ll include an example here of commercially available freeze-dried bananas. However, keep in mind, there are lots of brands that sell this product.
Ah, now here’s where I get to experiment a little. I have my own well-loved dehydrator and I dehydrate my own banana slices.
I take a cold bowl of water and add a little lemon juice. I slice the ripe bananas in equal width slices and dump them in the water and lemon juice.
Then, I place the fruit on my dehydrator.
Now, I’m no expert and my dehydrator is not fancy. I do not have a timer or temperature adjustment. However, I’m making do with what I have. It is possible to prep on a tiny budget!!! You just have to be creative and work with what you already have available to you.
I was gifted this dehydrator and even though it’s a much older model, it still works and it serves me well.
I dehydrated 4 bananas, enough to make one batch of banana bread once they are rehydrated. I can store these in an airtight container for about 6 months. Dehydrated, 4 bananas are 1 1/2 cups of banana chips.
Sugar and Salt
Sugar! Sugar is such an easy thing to keep on hand because it is already shelf-stable! It’s also a preservative in its own right, so it will last for a very long time at room temperature on your shelf. However…you need to store it properly. I rotate through my sugar, but I still take extra care to preserve it. The same goes for salt.
When I bring home my bags of sugar from the store, I freeze them for at least 3 days to make sure that if there were any pests in there, they would die in the freezer. I don’t need to do this with salt.
Next, I take empty juice bottles and clean and dry them. Transfer the sugar to the bottle instead of the paper bag packaging that sugar comes in. It’s perfect for storage and for mess-free pouring!
You can do the same for salt, but if you do be sure to label, label, label! You do not want to get your salt and sugar confused. For me, I put salt in glass jars.
Can you buy commercially canned sugar and salt for long term storage? Yes. However, I do not want to spend my prepping dollars there because sugar and salt are already so shelf-stable that they are used to preserve other foods! I want to spend my prepping dollars on getting freeze dried long term storage dairy products. Butter and other dairy items are not shelf-stable.
Butter, Eggs, and Milk
Dairy is where it can get a bit tricky. However, freeze-drying makes things a lot easier! There are commercially freeze-dried, powdered, and canned butter, eggs, and milk on the market. There’s also canned milk and commercially canned butter. When it comes to freeze-dried dairy and egg products, there are even convenient “package” deals (like this dairy combo with a can each of dried milk, butter, and egg) for long term storage baking supplies! Check to see what’s out there for freeze-dried or canned baking staples. Keep in mind, you can get most of what you need at your local grocery store. Most grocery stores carry powdered and shelf-stable milk even though it is not packaged for long term storage. However, I have yet to see powdered eggs at my grocery store. I would order that online.
Vanilla is a shelf-stable item, and if you’re adventurous, you can even make your own with clear liquor and vanilla beans!
Vegetable oil is also a conveniently shelf-stable product that you can buy and put away without too much worry. However, make sure it is stored in a cool dry place away from pests.
Flour and Oats
Flour and Oats are shelf-stable, especially if you buy commercially packaged for long term storage, or make your own long term storage buckets. There are lots of places to buy commercially packaged flour and oats for long term storage. However, I do it myself. I rotate my oats and flour on a very regular basis, so I do the same here for my flour and oats as I do for my sugar (see above.)
Some people go as far as to buy wheat to grind into flour, and that might be an option for you!
This, my friends, is another shelf-stable item! I do not leave mine in the cardboard box it comes in. Rather, I put it in a glass jar. I don’t want the box getting pests in it or getting wet. You can buy commercially packaged baking soda that is labeled for long term storage, but I don’t see the purpose of that. It’s already such a long-lasting product if you store it correctly and rotate out, I do not see that need for “long term storage” packaging.
Lemon juice can be bought in shelf-stable bottles and put away in your pantry. However, there are commercially available lemon powders in freeze-dried form.
I also dehydrate fresh lemon slices and put them away in glass jars. You can make lemon “juice” in a pinch by soaking and boiling them in water, but its a lot easier to keep bottled lemon juice in my pantry. I use the dehydrated lemon slices for flavoring water. Yum!
My children will drink Apple Juice in a half-and-half apple juice and water mix. Two parts water, one part juice is usually how they drink it.
Unopened apple juice bottles are shelf-stable for months, but there are commercially available apple juice powders.
My muffins freeze very well after baking, so I make dozens at a time for my children. I simply take their muffins out of the freezer and defrost in the microwave for their breakfast! This is a fast and easy way to keep muffins on hand without them going stale.
I’m anticipating that I will be able to use these muffins if the grid goes down at least for a short while until I can bake muffins.
Baking muffins in a disaster scenario would be interesting! I’ve seen people bake in covered cast iron using silicone baking cups to hold their batter.
Thank you for taking a look at how I prepare for grid-down with my children! We looked at breakfast preparedness in this article. Next article, we’ll tackle how to make their lunches in a grid-down scenario. Until then, prepare and have fun doing it!
About Jenny Jayne
Jenny Jayne is the mother of two wonderful boys on the Autism spectrum and is passionate about Autism Advocacy. She is a novelist who writes Post-apocalyptic fiction and a freelance writer. Her first novel is coming soon to Kindle eBooks near you. Her guilty pleasures are preparing for hurricanes, drinking hot coffee, eating milk chocolate, reading romances, and watching The Office for the 50th time. Her website: https://jennyjayneauthor.wordpress.com/