Tanya Higbee gives tips for food storage.
The November Festive Friday was the place for ideas on food storage and food dehydration. The December Festive Friday will be held on Dec. 10 at noon at the county building. Bring a potluck item. Ideas will be shared on gift wrapping. There will be no charge.
Tanya Higbee shared her ideas on food storage with the audience. A soup lunch was served and pumpkin pie in a cup for dessert. Higbee asked the audience why food storage should matter to them. She covered the areas of cost, where to put the food and how to use the food storage items.
Higbee said food storage can save time and money. You can buy a product for the price you want to pay and store it yourself. "Turn your pantry into your store room. Learn to take advantage of sales. Having food storage keeps your options open. It helps with meal preparation, you can put together a meal using your food storage items. Food storage helps you be prepared and become self reliant. You can help others in need when food drives come along you will have the extra food to make a donation from your pantry without putting a strain on the budget. "Food storage will improve your quality of life. Food storage is like money in the bank. Stock up on the things you will eat and use. Store medicines too. Adapt your food storage to your needs. Make a list of meals your family enjoys and begin gathering the items you will need for those meals. Try recipes and new ideas. Keep a log book of what you are using. Find your own system. Know the prices of items and what you want to pay. Write the things you are looking for on a list and watch for the best price for those items. Learn to use coupons to stock up on items," said Higbee.
She said coupon blogs are popular now. Be careful on caselot sales. Sometimes it's a good deal and sometimes it isn't. Check for the individual prices of the items and see if it's cheaper by the case or by the can. Watch expiration dates on cans. Sometimes stores try to dump old inventory by having a caselot sale. If a can isn't bulging or leaking the item inside should still be safe to eat, even if a can has expired. Check garage sales for shelving to store your food. Use gardens and can the extra produce. Be creative in looking for spots for food. Use plastic containers, put food in closets, wherever you can find space. Under beds is good also. The bottom of closets, above washers and dryers. Keep an inventory of your items and label them with the date they went into your food storage. Put new items to the rear and older items to the front for easier rotation. There are many classes, books, websites available to help you use your food storage. Make sure you store items which help utilize your food storage. What good is a can without a can opener. You need a grinder if you store wheat. Store other items besides food including toilet paper, soap, shampoo, paper towels, wet wipes, cooking fuel.
Put all your information in a binder so it's easily accessible when you need to look something up for reference. "Saving food to eat at a later time can be fun," said Higbee.
Angela Paskett from Ferron shared information on food dehydration. She has her own preparedness blog. She and a friend got together and decided they needed to do something to become more prepared. One way she came up with was food dehydration. Dehydrated food takes up less space and is easy to store. Dried fruit can be used for snacks. It's convenient. Dried peppers and onions come in handy for when you are cooking eggs or potatoes. Just toss in a handful and the steam from the potatoes will rehydrate the onions and peppers. Paskett has a favorite food dehydrator called an Excalibur.
There is a trick to drying food to perfection. It should be crispy, then it's fully dry. If it is spongy, then the item isn't fully dry. Fully dried items will store longer. Paskett uses a reference book for learning more about dehydration and how to prepare the food for dehydration. Some foods need more preparation than others. Fruit is easy because you can just put it on the dehydrator without much preparation. Some fruit should be soaked in Fruit Fresh first to prevent the fruit from turning brown. Paskett also makes fruit leather which is easy and a great snack that kids love. Some vegetables should be parboiled before dehydrating to help them keep their color. Shredded zucchini is also great to dry and store in sacks with the amount you need for recipes like zucchini bread or soups and stews. Paskett said she packs her dried items in ziplock bags which she then stores in plastic tubs or buckets. She also uses canning jars because they have screw lids that tighten down really well.
You can dry frozen vegetables right out of the packages, because they are blanched before freezing. Cut large vegetables into smaller pieces for faster drying. Dry foods with strong odors in a garage or on the porch to prevent them from making the house smell.
Meats need no pretreatment, you can soak them in a marinade for flavor when preparing jerky, or salt and pepper and season the meat after it's placed in the dehydrator.
Internet help recommended was simplylivingsmart.com; everydayfoodstorage.net; funwithfoodstorage.net. Pasket's blog address is http://selfrelianceadventures.blogspot.com
Other activities at Festive Friday included a recipe for turkey casserole. Into a 9x13 inch baking dish place 16 ounces of frozen mixed vegetables or peas and carrots. Add two cups of chopped cooked turkey. Mix two cans of cream of chicken soup; one 8 ounce package of softened cream cheese and 1/2 cup of milk. Put onto a 350 degree oven until hot and bubbly. Place canned biscuits on top of hot casserole. Replace in oven until biscuits are lightly browned. Serve with gravy over top of biscuits.
Turtle Pumpkin Pie
1/4 cup of caramel ice cream topping
1 graham cracker crust
1 cup cold milk
2 small packages of instant vanilla pudding
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 8 oz. carton cool whip
1/2 cup chopped pecans.
Pour caramel topping into bottom of the crust. Top with pecans. Beat, milk, pudding, pumpkin and spices until well blended. Stir in two cups of cool whip. Spread into crust. Top with more cool whip, drizzle on a little more syrup and sprinkle the top with a few more nuts.