Guest Article by NRP & Blue, June 15, 2021.
Soups, Stews, and Chili; these are the universal foods that feed millions maybe billions each day.
I want to yack a bit about a very easy way to feed your family, even if a few extra happen to drop by for a meal, or to stay till the end of TSHTF, because they did not “get ready”.
See See, See, I did not use that “P” word HAHAHAHA
Yeppers, off the Deep End, here I go.
Most of those that cook know how to build that big-ole-pot of Soup and is seemingly easy to do.
Here I want to help out not by offering a few Recipes, but what to store for building/filling that 14 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven that’s sitting in that Campfire because your out of Propane and the Power has been out for 2 months.
One of the first things of course is going to be getting some sort of Broth going.
I’m going to grab a hunk of Freeze Dried Beef, add a little water and reconstitute it a little, chop it into small pieces, toss a little oil in the pot and sear that beef a little, add a few quarts of water and let it cook/simmer for a few hours….
We want the soup to taste good right? This is not a Can of Campbell’s Rice Soup, Good food takes time. And let me tell you something right now, in times of misery and woe good food is a must to calm the Heart, Mind, and Soul.
Next; I’m going to open a can of good old Swanson’s Beef Broth, do NOT store the new fandangle wax-covered-cardboard, it won’t last 3 months. If you’re going to store the Wet Broth, get the stuff in a Steel Can.
Better yet, how about storing the Powdered Broth? It will keep for many years, this is what I prefer and have a variety of different flavors, PS: this stuff actually is cheap (Frugal) and like I said, will keep for quite some time; unfortunately, it is packed with Salt. But guess what, if TSHTF hard what’s a little extra Salt? You’re probably going to be sweating it out anyways.
Even “More Better” (hehehe did I actually say that?), make your own Broth and can it yourself, talk about easy AND “Frugal”, plus you can put some hunks of Meat right in the Broth and forgo the Beginning two steps…. Good Idea huh?
So now we got a Quart or more of Homemade Beef Broth sitting in that lonesome Dutch Oven, what’s next? Well I’d toss in a small hand full of Dehydrated Onions, Hint: buy a 50 pound sack of Onions from the Restaurant Supply and Dehydrate them yourself, again, the cost is fractional than buying them from Augason Farms. Just store them in a Vacuum Sealed Jar (I use 1/2 gallon ones).
Ok, now we have some Beef Flavored Onions….. Or is that Onion flavored Beef? Hummmm
Good start to any Soup. How about a couple of handfuls of FD (Freeze Dried) or Dehydrated Vegetables, again you can buy FD vegies from almost any store now-a-days.
BUTTTTTT remember what Site you’re on, Frugal Living on the Ranch. So again, when your Garden comes in, OR when vegetables are cheap (HAHAHA when has that ever happened) get busy Dehydrating all you can, once dried they can be kept for a VERY LONG time. Seriously, dehydrate everything from Apples to Zucchini, you can and will use it all.
Ok what’s next?
So, now were standing there staring into a pot of “ok” looking Soup, how ya going to “Spice” that up a little? Maybe some home-dried peppers, some dried herbs (Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, remember the Song? LOL) how about some of those Spices you bought on sale and Sealed up tight…… All these will help the Soup taste like a Fine Restaurant made it.
How about a little Filler/Starch, Pasta comes to mind doesn’t it? Personally, I like to store Angle Hair Spaghetti, it seems to go into about everything, it’s cheap and also will store for decades if stored correctly. I like to break it up into about 2” long pieces, seems to make better Soup. OR, just toss in a couple of handfuls of Flat Noodles, works just as well. A word of caution, do NOT add to much Pasta, if ya do, it will turn into a big-ole-pot of Goo aka Paste. AND do not cook the daylights out of the Paste, again it will taste like Paste.
Now once the pasta is cooked, remove it from the Fire and just let that all sit there till the Homemade Bread is done baking, and prepare for a fine sit-down dinner with the Family……..
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK goes the front door, you carefully check who’s beating on the door to find it’s the Daughters Family that just got in from, ohhhhh let’s say, Texas or maybe Albuquerque??? And they are hungry because there was nothing open or a place to eat on the way……
EASY, no problem, just toss in another fist full of Pasta, and Vegetables, add a bit more water, maybe a little more spices and in 10 minutes there you go. NO PROBLEMS.
The point????? You just built a very nourishing Soup out of “stuff” you have stored by simply planning ahead. Dehydrating and canning your own foods is a VERY cheap, ok ok ok “Frugal”, and seriously rewarding way to help fill that Deep Pantry. BTW, not a single thing I mentioned will not store for less than 5 years.
Now I don’t care who you are, ya have to admit that’s one very fine looking Pot of good old Stew. I’m going to fast forward you about 6-9 months past a SHTF event of your choice, you’re out of Fresh/Frozen Meat, well some will be out of Fresh/Frozen Meat, also the FD meat is starting to look a little thin, what ya going to do to help subsidize the Food you do have?
Hunting and Fishing come to mind very fast. Now before you go “Ohhhh I could not do that” you might want to think on that really hard when you happen to miss a few meals and the Family is starting to look a little thin.
So you bagged a Rabbit or Squirrel AND you have the knowledge to process it (Right?). Now again it’s time to cook that thing up, how ya going to do that…. A good old fashion ‘Hasenpfeffer’ (German Rabbit Stew) comes to mind, there are thousands of Recipes out there, print a couple off and have a Hard Copy.
Back to that Dutch Oven, and our Stew, sitting there in that Fire, A little oil/flour to “Brown “ the meat, add some Carrots, very few Onions, and maybe some Parsnips or Taters and there ya go, add some water, NOT making a Soup here so go easy on the Water. Once more some of those Deep Pantry Spices, and there you have it… one heck of a delicious meal that will fill the belly of quite a few people. Maybe bake up some Biscuits or Fry-Bread and your set to go.
You just knew I was going to get to those Rice and Beans, RIGHT??? HAHAHA
Well not to worry I don’t put Rice in my Chili, so all is good.
Ok, without typing another 1000 words here, there are literally a million recipes for Chili on the Web, and I’m betting you-all have Great Grandma’s 8th generation mix in that old Flip-Top Recipe Box sitting there on the Book Shelf.
BUT, when you read that Recipe is there a single item in that mix that you can’t store for a LONG time in your Deep Pantry? Even if you like good old Green Chili like I do, I can/do dehydrate my Hatch Chili and cook it up later anytime I like.
Here is a Challenge for you… Take that Recipe for Chili you like and figure out if there really is anything that you cannot store., Now it might call for Fresh Meat or some fresh picked Dandelions or something crazy like that, but I bet you a Strawberry Sunday that Freeze Dried Meat if stored and rehydrated “correctly” will taste no differently than a hunk of fresh Beef you just paid $10+ a pound for.
Again, my point, Look around your kitchen, look to see what you have there can be stored ‘long term’. Yeah Yeah Yeah, I know I like a fresh out of the Garden Vegetable Stir Fry, but I’m sure as heck going to be ready for If/When the lights go out in Dallas again for a week or 10.
BTW, just saw a news flash, Hurricane Season is expected to be sooner and worse than normal…. Climate Change? Sure why not, if not a Hurricane, maybe a Drought, how about laid off due to lack of work….
PS: I just had to toss this in there… I LOVE a good Green Chili Stew.
Tis my Article and I can if I want HAHAHAHA, Told you I was going over the Deep End… UGHHHH
AND yes I can Store everything for this in my Deep Pantry, and have done so.
Add a couple of Homemade Torts with this…. OMG pure Heaven…
I know what I’m having for Dinner Tonight. Yummmmmmm