View Full Version : Healthier Survival Foods?

09-03-2011, 08:59 AM
I would like to store foods that are healthier than Spam and Ramen.

My only ideas so far are quinoa and dry beans.

Does anyone have more ideas to help with my list?



09-03-2011, 09:15 AM
Lots of canned stuff out there is healthier than Spam. In fact, just about anything would be.
Read labels. You can get things liked canned tomatoes (Del Monte Diced) that have no HFCS or salt. Other canned vegies are a little high in sodium.
You could get a pressure canner and do your own.
Rice is good.
Buckets of wheat berries for grinding and boiling
Oat Groats
Various Oatmeals and cereals.
Any kind of dehydrated or freeze dried fruit or vegetable (or even meat if it's done right.)
Take a look at any of the food storage sites and get ideas. You don't have to buy their #10 cans. Do your own thing.

09-03-2011, 09:20 AM
Sardines, canned (or pouched) tuna & salmon. Raw almonds & walnuts.

btw. here's a partial list of what I store & consume; being a vegetarian, I like to know what the protein & fiber content are based on which (all other things being equal) I make my choices:

Protein 10g Fiber 6g
15oz bag=8 servings 1/4c

Protein 11g Fiber 6g
15oz bag=8 servings 1/4c

Protein 11g Fiber 11g
15oz bag=8 servings 1/4c

Protein 11g Fiber 7g
15oz bag=9 servings 1/4c

COUS COUS Whole Wheat:
Protein 8g Fiber 7g
31oz jar=16 servings 1/4c

Protein 6g Fiber 5g
16oz bag=10 servings 1/4c

Protein 3g Fiber 2g
24oz box=18 servings 1/4c

BROWN RICE (Carolina)
Protein 3g Fiber 1g
28oz bag=18 servings 1/4c

Protein 8g Fiber 7g
16oz bag=8 servings 1/2c

09-03-2011, 09:51 AM
Thanks for the ideas.
I had problems with storing ww pasta, b/c bugs hatched inside the boxes.

Does dried fruit (i.e. banana chips, raisins) have any nutritional value (or did they lose it in the drying process)?

Thanks again.

09-03-2011, 10:00 AM
what is the shelf life of canned goods? like the cans you get from the grocery stores? how about freeze dried goods ,jerkies and fruits , just how long do they last , I mean when the date says its good until the 25th ,is it still good months beyond that? what about beans dried beans what is the shelf life of beans?

09-03-2011, 10:06 AM
Banana chips aren't that great but raisins are. Also dried figs, cranberries & blueberries. Chia seeds & pignoli nuts are a nutritional powerhouse. Honey & peanut butter, great too. I think in terms of what will give me the most nutritional bang for the buck that I also like to eat regularly. I like tuna & sardines, eat them regularly and that's what I store. That way rotating is not an issue. Now, in an emergency I can also eat Spam (or shoe leather) but I don't store it since I wouldn't eat it if I weren't desperate. It'll just go in the trash after the expiration date.

Store stuff in tight, lid sealed containers, keep track of expiration dates and rotate your supply.

09-03-2011, 11:29 AM
Thanks Benesse!

I tried to dry cranberries myself and that was a disaster, so I'll stick with Ocean Spray.

I did dehydrate tomato paste and it made a nice leather to break apart and use in sauces and soups.
Again though, I'm not sure how much of the nutrients are lost in the drying process, and I'm not sure of the shelf life.

I love dry milk and am trying to get ahead storing it, but it's pricey right now so I only get a box
or two ahead.

I do have a variety of dry beans stored right now and I must admit I never thought to log in the stats on them, good idea!

I like to make mung bean sprouts, but I really don't know what to do with them other than make egg rolls. I really love the idea that 1/3 cup makes a huge amount of sprouts. I was even successful planting and growing a few I didn't eat.

I'm starting to question the conventional survival food items because of the thought about what
some of that stuff would do to your body on a long term basis. (If I slip up and eat krap for a day or two I pay for it for several days later by not feeling all that good.)

Do you vacuum seal your dry beans as well? I've just been using one zip bags, but I don't have a lot yet to worry about, just getting started.:munchies:

09-03-2011, 12:02 PM
Another thing you might look at is canning and dehydrating your own food. It can be fun, save money, and you know exactly what went in it.

09-03-2011, 12:09 PM
Thanks crashdive. I do dehydrate with mediocre success. Some things come out great, and others,
well, we're not going to talk about that :FRlol:

As to the canning, I have done water bath, but never got into pressure canning.
The supplies are a bit pricey, but you're right, I do like knowing what went into it.


(I don't usually use emoticons, but these are cute)

09-03-2011, 12:13 PM
Also - something to consider --- comfort foods. If Spam is a comfort food for you then having some on hand is not a bad idea. In another thread I just posted about Mountain House Blueberry Cheesecake. While it may not be the most nutritious, being able to break the monotony or "treat" yourself in times of high stress can be important.

09-03-2011, 12:45 PM
crashdive, I love your saying at the bottom 'can't means won't' - that's a good one!

Ok, so I'm thinking about comfort items/food.....good idea!
Especially since the world will be crazy and I will be stressed out.
Cheesecake was a great suggestion.

I'll have to give this more thought today. Idk how NY strip steak and 'tail will dehydrate :chef:


On a side note, completely off the topic, don't you love those commercials for antacids where the food slaps the people in the face as they are trying to eat it? Ha, what they are really saying is, don't stop eating junk food, just take our product when you do!:noway:

09-03-2011, 05:04 PM
if you can lay hands on food safe plastic buckets, you should store your dried beans, rice, macaronis, or anything that bugs will get into. Buckets also keep out rodents better than ziplocs.

Sometimes you can get them for free at grocery store bakeshops and donut shops. You can buy them from several sources. Lehmans sells the square ones (handier than round) but they are expensive even if you buy the 10 pack. I highly recommend a lid crank too. I used to work in a bake shop and those make really short work of getting those seals off.

Store bought canned goods last a while beyond the Use By date. How long depends on the food and the quality of the can. I wouldn't go a year beyond though. Just be sure you don't buy anything that has dents or rim damage. And discard any bulging cans or cans that squirt when you open them.

If you have things in storage you can't possibly use, consider donating them before the expiration date to a food pantry instead of tossing them in the trash.

A really good resource for drying food is The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery. She gives drying methods for most growable foods and also tells you how to store the dried stuff and for how long. She'll also tell you if drying isn't a good idea and if freezing or canning is a better method. Some foods, like winter squashes, potatoes, carrots, onions, and some apples will keep in cool dark storage without drying for many months. I've kept winter squash in the cellar from October to April. It's not a root cellar either.

You have to remember that most home-dried food is seasonal. It isn't meant to last years and years and may only last you through the winter. The concept of multi-year storage is not a back-to-basics ideal. Even the canned goods you make are only good for about a year. After a year, while the seal is still good and the contents are edible, they lose quality, taste and nutrient value. Don't keep your mindset always on long-term. Develop seasonal methods as well for that well rounded survival education.

09-03-2011, 05:21 PM
Dehydrating on the whole doesn't do much damage to fruits and veggies. The one vitamin that is lost is vitamin C. You will retain the calories, which can be very important in bad times, as well as iron, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and, of course, the fiber. But you can make up for the Vitamin C with something like pine needle tea.

When you dehydrate something like cranberries be certain to slice the berry in at least half. Slice it into thirds if it is large. That creates more surface area to remove the moisture and will reduce your drying time.

As for the tomato paste, you can dehydrate spaghetti sauce and make a similar leather. Combine that with dehydrated hamburger and some dry noodles and you have instant spaghetti!

As long as you do a good job removing the moisture and it's kept in something like a glass jar or zip lock then it should stay good indefinitely. Just don't leave it out where it can re-absorb moisture from the air.

Use your oven on its lowest setting and keep the oven door ajar so air can move through the oven. You can dehydrate just about anything that way.

09-03-2011, 07:31 PM
Thanks LowKey, I'll look for those square buckets. I have seen them and they do look more manageable.
I'll check out the Country Living book b/c my dried shredded carrots lost most of their orange color. Bet I was suppose to pretreat with something.

Thanks Rick, spaghetti dinner already made sounds perfect. Even for the here and now hiking trips.
Ha, see I did the cranberries ALL wrong. I tried to make a whole berry jelly sauce first and then spread the goo on the non stick sheet. Weeelll it took forever to dry and when it finally did it was a sticky mess. I kept it though, thought it might work in a muffin recipe?

Well, I've got lots to learn, hope I get 'there' in time!

Thanks so much for the input!

09-03-2011, 07:35 PM
Carrots, I'd dice, not shread.

If you want to store whole berry sauce, canning is your best bet. It's a real easy way to get started with canning.
If you want to make a cranberry leather, mix em with Apples. It's still really really tart tasting though and it usually isn't a good idea to add sugar to leathers (although you can put powdered dextrose on yogurt mixed with fruit after you've dried it, to keep it from sticking together.)

09-03-2011, 07:52 PM
AAhhh that's what I'm doing wrong. I have a whole shelf in my freezer full of cranberries I bought last year and I wanted to dry them somehow. So now all I have to do is add apples, simple, thanks.

Well, with the carrots I was being lazy and used the food processor to shred. I'm pretty sure I'll give the dicing a try. I think carrots are an important thing to store. I was so proud of myself that I had shredded and dried four pounds worth. I looked in on them yesterday and they're very pale looking.

I guess I could just take the easy way out and buy some dehydrated staples, but they are kind of expensive.....

09-03-2011, 08:07 PM
Going from one method of storage to another? Year old frozen cranberries...they might already be freeze dried. :)
This year's crop will be here very soon.

09-03-2011, 08:49 PM
You can also spray your plastic with Pam very lightly if you want to make leathers. That will keep it from sticking to the plastic.