I’m sure you’re family is accustomed to cooking regularly with fresh produce. However, in a time of emergency, regardless of the season, fresh produce will not be readily available. So what can you do now to ensure some semblance of normalcy even in the event of an emergency? Learn alternative recipe methods.
- There are countless types of freeze dried vegetables that will add some spice back into your dishes such as onions, green peppers, celery, carrots, peas, and corn. Simply do a Google search on “freeze dried vegetables” and you will find a proverbial garden of resources.
Remember that you can dehydrate many of your own favored vegetables as well such as shallots, zucchini, green onions, mushrooms, and so much more. So, there’s no need to feel slighted in your cooking repertoire. For an example of dehydrating onions, click here.
Adapt your present recipes to accommodate some canned vegetables now. I’ve begun using canned peas, corn, and green beans regularly in my cooking so that I don’t feel deprived when I’m faced with a produce crisis. I’ve also successfully used more trendy canned/jarred vegetables such as artichoke hearts, canned potatoes, canned asparagus, etc. In our kitchen, I’m sure to also have on hand plenty of dried minced onion, and jarred minced garlic to ensure that I don’t have to suffer a loss of taste in my cooking.
- Feel free to load your freezer full of vegetables. I wouldn’t hesitate for one moment to invest in plenty of frozen vegetables. In the event your power goes off, you will still be able to utilize that which you have in a freezer for a long time so long as you keep the opening and closing of the freezer to an absolute minimum. Keep in mind that frozen vegetables won’t go bad as quickly through the thawing process as will fresh produce. While you’ll need to focus on using the frozen items first during a prolonged power outage, it still beats having no access to those vegetables you love. (I haven’t found a good canned broccoli yet, so I’m grateful for this option.) While some of what you store may experience some freezer burn, keep in mind that the use of a pressure cooker will rehydrate such items quickly and bring out their desired taste just fine. (Also, here’s a tip: when you buy those enormous bags of spinach at the warehouse store, don’t hesitate to freeze it. It will keep just fine and is still great for steamed spinach and green smoothies as well. No need to waste perfectly good spinach.)
- Square foot gardening is a great answer to ensure you don’t have to rely on the stores to produce your favored vegetable picks. Square foot gardens are large enough to grow items that you don’t normally find frozen or in cans such as cabbage, broccoli, radishes, and lettuce, etc. You can build your square foot boxes above the ground—so no roto-tilling is required. Simply layer the bottom with a weed resistant ground cover, then fill them with your preferred soil and water regularly. You won’t have to bend as far down to tend to them, and you will have a minimal amount of weeds as well. (Photo by www.throughtheillusion.com)
- Get familiar with sprouting. Sprouts are a great substitute for fresh produce. Sprouting can provide you 10 times more nutrition than any of the other vegetables that you’ve come to know and love. For example, broccoli sprouts have been found to contain 50 times as much of the antioxidant sulfurophane as mature broccoli. Sprouts are busting at the seams with antioxidants and they are full of protein, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. They are a veritable whole food. If you start incorporating sprouting now into your diet, your family won’t go into “shock” with such a new alternative. You can sprout almonds, wheat, all kinds of beans, amaranth, barley, corn, buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, cabbage seeds, kale seeds, mustard seeds, pumpkin seeds, radish seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, peas, and SO much more. Sprouting is also very fulfilling as it’s a relatively quick process. You get to benefit from the fruits of your labors a lot sooner than planting.
Here’s hoping you can successfully begin implementing these sound strategies now so that you and your family can enjoy the benefits of vegetables in the future. I’ve also included a couple of recipes below that are simple “dump” recipes that include vegetables. They are yummy now and are ideal in the event of an emergency.
One Pot Dinner
½ to 1 pound of ground beef, turkey, or canned beef, browned and drained
¾ pound of real bacon, from a package or fresh, diced into small pieces
1 C chopped onion (frozen, fresh, or ½ cup dried)
2 one pound, 5 ounce cans of pork and beans
1 one pound can of kidney beans, drained
1 one pound can of buttered lima beans, drained
1 C ketchup
½ C brown sugar
1 T liquid smoke
1 T white vinegar
1 t. salt
Dash of black pepper
Combine ingredients. Stir. Cover and cook slowly for about 4 hours, or in a pressure cooker for 25 minutes.
Pasta and Canned Veggie Salad
2 cups of uncooked gemelli or rotini pasta
½ cup of chopped red or green onion (frozen is fine)
1 ½ cups of canned carrots, drained
1 C balsamic vinaigrette dressing
½ t. seasoned salt
8 ounces asparagus spears, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 jar (6 ounces) marinate artichoke hearts, drained and liquid reserved
1/3 cup of Real Bacon bits
1 Can of halved black olives, drained (optional)
1 Can of small mushroom buttons, drained (optional)
1 cup of your favorite sprouts (optional)
Cook and drain pasta according to package directions. Place carrots and onions in a shallow skillet with ¼ cup of the dressing. Sauté until lightly warmed. Then add asparagus spears and ¼ cup of the dressing as well as the seasoning salt, and sauté until warmed through. Remove from heat and add to pasta. Also add artichoke hearts, bacon, reserved liquid, remaining dressing and bacon bits. (This is when you would add your optional items as well) Toss lightly and serve.
1 T. olive oil or vegetable oil
1 ½ cups frozen or dried bell pepper and onion mix
2 cups frozen or canned mixed vegetables
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) Italian Style stewed tomatoes, undrained
3 ½ cups of beef flavored broth
½ cup of uncooked small pasta shells
1 can (15 ounces) of dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 T. minced garlic
1 T. of Italian Seasoning
In a 4-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add peppers and onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender. Stir in mixed vegetables, tomatoes, and beef broth. Heat to boiling, breaking up the tomatoes with spoon as mixture cooks. Stir in pasta. Cook uncovered over medium heat 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables and pasta are tender. Stir in beans. Cook 4 to 5 minutes more until thoroughly heated. As a special treat, top with garlic croutons, or parmesan cheese, or both!
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