Who needs flavor and variety when they’re living off of food storage? I DO! You do TOO!
That’s the whole point of this series of articles: don’t just survive, enjoy it. Sure, the “S” just hit the “F”, and it’s TEOTWAWKI (The end of the world as we know it), but that doesn’t mean I want to only eat beans. Most “survivors” are going to work up an appetite by manually grinding hard winter red wheat berries with their hand mills. You can’t bear the thought of that, so let’stalk about getting back to your normal way of life.
Everyone enjoys a night out on the town, if for nothing else but the opportunity to taste something new and critique another dish of food (channeling your inner food snob). Well, if SHTF or you’re dealing with the aftermath of a major event,you still want to eat well. After all, isn’t the idea behind getting prepared to actually live comfortably when times are tough? Exactly! So here’s the deal: there is a ton of great stuff still to come; so before we even get into this article’s content, you need to know you can expect some really great additional articles on this topic. The material that’s coming is THAT good!
So let’s start with cool ideas for those with young kids, who still want to eat well too. Afterall, we aren’t all staging a Zombie apocalypse survival plan from our mother’s basement, right?
Goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk, has a much more interesting flavor profile for many things and lasts a long time in a can. It’s also not impossible to make cheese with canned goat’s milk (though it’s very heavily pasteurized and processed) and it’ll work for toddlers. Try making cheese with canned cow’s milk: it’s nearly impossible. In fact, with a bit of preparation you could incorporate goat’s milk into your toddler’s diet and you won’t skip a beat if things go downhill fast in the economy or the food market or in the resulting civil disorder.
Steel cut oats
Oats are excellent, but sometimes you don’t want the same old paste-like consistency that comes with rolled oats. Toasted, then slow cooked with minimal water, steel cut oats have a nutty flavor, a substantial texture and are totally kid friendly with a bit of brown sugar and canned creamery butter. Add in some canned goat’s milk (as above) and, no joke, kids eat this stuff up (pun intended). It’s surprisingly adult too; a great start to the day, it’s hot, humble but satisfying. It does well with fresh fruit or dehydrated fruit and nuts. Seriously just a great (and incredibly cheap) food prep item. Guess what? It last significantly longer on the shelf than rolled oats too.
Semi-sweet chocolate chips aren’t overly sweet, but kids still love them and they can last up to 3 years before significant degradation to their flavor and texture (especially high quality versions, with less milk and more cacao). Use them to elevate a bowl of steel cut oats for kids or make some simple fresh chocolate chip muffins to give your family a treat, either way, these will go a long way to bringing back some normalcy to your food “rations”.
Probably not a good idea for 5 year old and under, but for pre-teens and teens, these will keep them occupied. Chewing on something helps them stay engaged in whatever they’re doing and keeps the edge off of a not-full stomach. If you mix raw unsalted seeds with salted or other flavored seeds, you’ll stretch the flavor a ton and get great nutrition from a very cheap food item. They will keep you from worrying about mundane things as you’ll need to focus on cracking a seed and eating it without the shell (some people like eating the shell). Raw seeds last about 3 years before some will turn rancid, but roasted seeds can last 4 years or so. If you’ve never eaten seeds, they won’t last that long. Cracking seeds is an addictive habit.
You CAN pop it with just heat or hot air, but if you get a bit creative you’d be surprised how awesome that popcorn can be. With a bit of hot seasoned oil and some melted butter after it’s popped, popcorn is a gourmet item. Once you get the hang of popping your own hot oil popcorn, you will like it MUCH better than movie theater popcorn and it’s significantly healthier. Kids love the stuff and it’s quick and easy to make. Properly stored popcorn will last for 5-10+ years and as time goes by you cannot tell the difference in taste. Properly sealed in a good container, kernels will last indefinitely.
For now, this is just the tip of the iceberg for cool kid foods with a long shelf life. You’ll want to stick around to check out the next installment of this series because there are thousands of great items that can be made to last in your long-term storage and this is the only place you’re going to get the whole picture without significant research. Have you checked your own current stash to see how much of it is stuff you actually enjoy eating?