Today I have a list for you. Yesterday we covered the basics. This is a list of basic foods that come in handy, not only in emergency situations but any time you may need something quick.
A Perfect Twenty
The following list is an excellent way to be ready to quickly bring together a kit that can used for everything from hiking and camping to road trips to emergency situations. You can even pre-pack most of it in one easily portable container. I leave the ‘counting’ up to you as each situation is different. If you set it up for three days, that will cover a weekend hike or just about all the mentioned uses. If you need more, you have the list already handy and you can simply add more of each item to your kit. Then you can just grab your meat and cheese from the fridge or freezer and you’re good to go!
- Quick oats. You can make your own no-cook oatmeal by putting quick oats into a food processor for a very short time. You want them to be the same consistency as store-bought packets of instant oatmeal. Then you can premix them with powdered milk, dehydrated fruit, and brown sugar or another sweetener. Pour ¾ cup of the oatmeal mix into a mug; add boiling water, stir, and let stand.
- Nonfat Powdered milk. This supplies calcium, protein, and flavor. It’s easy to use, doesn't lump, and it stores for a long time.
- Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. ‘Nuff said
- Quick cook hash browns. Look for the dehydrated style that cooks up with boiling water. Hash browns are the ultimate sticks-to-your ribs food.
- Dried fruit. Raisins, prunes, mango, papaya, pineapple, cranberries, and other dried fruits.
- Powdered eggs. Whole egg is what you need here. They can be mixed up in hundreds of ways.
- Quick-cooking grains. Instant rice, couscous, and small-grained bulgur to choose from
- Chinese noodles or instant Ramen noodles. These are precooked and dried, so they're ready when you need them. They are good for adding to vegetables and soup mixes.
- Pasta. Not spaghetti, instead use small shells and elbows because they are easier to drain and eat.
- Instant mashed potatoes. You can make shepherd's pie, potato pancakes, and many other things.
- No-cook refried beans. Just add boiling water and you can have burritos.
- Freeze-dried vegetables. Avoid the dehydrated kind as they have a ‘gritty rubber’ consistency and do not have the nutritional value that their freeze-dried cousins do. They are good for mixing with other foods or even just munching as a snack. Make sure you have a good amount of water, as they can dehydrate you from the inside out when your body tries to rehydrate them.
- Canned turkey, chicken, shrimp, and tuna. These meats can go a long way toward adding to dinners but they can add a good amount of weight. Freeze-dried meat and seafood is lighter than canned, and makes a good alternative if you need to grab and go, but they have a high cost.
- Dried ground beef. The only way to stock up on this is to make it yourself. Buy extra-lean ground beef and crumble it into very small pieces as you cook it. Make sure you do not leave any rare meat. Dry the cooked meat in a dehydrator. You can also use an oven at 130° to 140°F. Just leave the door open an inch or two to allow the air to circulate. Dry it for two to four hours or until the ground beef is dry and hard to the touch. Store it in a zip lock bag in the freezer.
- No-cook soups. Almost anything imaginable is available here, just watch out for the super high sodium levels. These for appetizers or additives and can also help you rehydrate.
- Nuts. Peanuts, cashews, almonds, and other nuts add flavor, texture, and lots of calories (in the form of fat) to all your meals. Toasting your nuts in an oven set at 350°F for 10 minutes will enrich their flavor and thereby the flavors of any meals you use them in.
- Cheese. Cheese is loaded with calories (which is very important in any high stress environment). Parmesan keeps well under most conditions, as does mozzarella (Plastic-wrapped ‘string cheese’) as long as you keep it out of direct sunlight.
- Powdered dairy products. You can find cheddar cheese, blue cheese, butter, and sour cream in very convenient powdered form. Use them as flavor enhancers to make any mundane meal much more flavorful.
- Single serve condiments and spices. Trail/trial size packets of catsup, mustard, sweet and sour sauce, mayonnaise, lemon juice, relish, salsa, soy sauce, hot sauce and honey. Spices, herbs and herb blends, bouillon, and good old salt and pepper.
- Comfort food. These are treats of the snack things you really love. Keep in mind many things can be comfort food. I personally like the foods I grew up eating as comfort food, like mac and cheese the way gramma made it, meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy not just treats and snacks. Buy ‘the good stuff’ and don't skimp on portions.
Copyright ©2010 Noel Napolitan
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