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Thread: Cooking with Shelf Stable Foods

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    Senior Member natertot's Avatar
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    Default Cooking with Shelf Stable Foods

    I know lots of folks here preserve and can. Others stockpile canned goods, pastas, flour, sugar, and other shelf stable items. Recently, I have attempted to cook using ONLY shelf stable non-refrigerated items. I am doing this to see what it would be like if power went out for an extended period of time and curious to the meals that could be created. I have found myself lacking in this area and have been searching for a cook book to help me.

    Does anyone have any cookbook suggestions or recipes that use only shelf stable food storage?
    ”There's nothing glorious in dying. Anyone can do it.” ~Johnny Rotten


  2. #2
    Senior Member Michael aka Mac's Avatar
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    https://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/reci...table-recipes/

    https://www.foodcity.com/content/276/

    https://lifecurrentsblog.com/recipes...e-ingredients/


    Those are a few websites that use only shelf stable foods in their recipes...

    With that said, these are NOT Top Chefs who have designed them.


    Making a delicious meal with only shelf stable foods takes a combination of imagination, & willingness to go outside your cooking comfort zone to try different alternatives of your normal meals to get the perfect texture, flavor, & acidity & spiciness.

    I cannot suggest a cookbook for this, as all of my recipes I created, but I can tell ya of some things that greatly improved the meals for me.

    Canned goods: Other then complete meals or soups, or those in sauces, rinse in a strainer, all of the meat, and veggies thoroughly to remove some of the preservative tastes and salt from the food, some foods like ham and chicken you want to rinse for a longer period.

    Canned goods are already cooked (for the most part) and retain the flavors of the preservatives, and the best way to use them are in slow cookers so they can absorb other flavoring.



    The same can of string beans (for example) cooked for 5 mins in a skillet or 4-7 hours in a slow cooker, one you will be able to tell right off the bat they are canned while the other you are gonna strungle to say if they are canned or fresh.

    An alternative to slow cooking veggies is pickling them. Due to their already high salt content, adding white vinegar or Balsamic (red or white) & some spices is all it takes after a day or two to get them to taste as if they were fresh and not canned.

    Baking:
    When using powdered milk, add more dry milk then what the package mentions per cup of water and also add a small amount of sugar, this will increase the density of the milk and add sweetness to it making it more comparable to fresh milk.

    Stove Top:
    Use a cast iron pan to even further infuse your food with flavoring from the seasoned cast iron.

    DUTCH OVENS:
    and this is your single best option. Having a cast iron Dutch oven gives you the best of both worlds, a slow cooking method and the flavoring of a seasoned cast iron pot.

    This device alone can be the answer to your question. Again, I repeat myself, the best way to get canned and shelf stable foods to taste good, is a good recipe, and a Dutch Oven so that you can slow cook your shelf stable food to restaurant quality meals.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Nate, cooking with shelf stable foods does not need to be any different than cooking with fresh foods.
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    Senior Member Michael aka Mac's Avatar
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    For the most part I agree with u Crash. Although since time has not been kind to me, the high sodium in can goods requires some sodium removal precreation.

    Also I find that canned goods taste better slow cooked where as fresh produce tastes great no matter how long you cook it for.

    But whether its canned or fresh, what is crucial for a successful dish, is a good recipe, of which it is that, I think, that Natertot seeks.

    But personally I am with u Crash, skip the Shelf Stable recipes and go straight to the good ol' home cookbooks and whenever it says "Add Fresh (fill in the blank)" simply add the canned version of it.

    (just use slow cooker recipes lol)

    I should also point out that I am a "Foodie" and a picky one at that, so I am not easily pleased. That should be taken under consideration for my advice, as if you are not a picky eater, you probably wont care one way or another. (picky as in how something should be prepared, seasoned, texture, taste etc. and not picky as in one that doesn't partake in a large spectrum of different foods as I have eaten Snails, frogs legs, tripe, duck tongue, pigs ear, chicken feet, thymus glands, foie gras, larva, cow tongue, Ostridge, gator, wild boar, etc. etc.)

    Oh, Natertot, if you are not canning your own meats for this cooking with no electrical power scenario with shelf stable foods, and you are buying canned meat, may I suggest trying to get some canned goods from foreign countries, as here in the USA, we have a rather limited variety of canned meat, least here in NY where I live that is the case. I have seen from other countries, canned Mutton, beef brisket, quail, pheasant, eel, Corn beef, Sweetbreads, and every fish you can think of.

    My point being, you will have a lot more variety

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    Michael aka mac, yup. Canned meats have been the hardest food stuffs to prevent food fatigue. Those canned whole chickens are just gross.

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    Senior Member Michael aka Mac's Avatar
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    Madmax, again awesome avatar name man... I was gonna write saying that I think you meant pheasant, squab, or quail as I never heard of a canned whole chicken, but sure enough holy !@#$ you are right they actually sell whole canned chickens, I be damned... ty google search

    And totally agree with ya, Canned meat here in US has such a low variety, food fatigue comes into play. It is what happened to me, I just couldn't look at spam again during this pandemic, and that's when i started getting foreign canned meats to end the boredom. The irony of it is, the fact that they even had those canned meats to mail me during the pandemics initial outbreak, I am led to believe they too had food fatigue of their own everyday canned meats and would rather sell them then eat them lol.

  7. #7

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    Ha ha. Yeah, SHTF(Worse than it already is) we'll be casting nests for fish and trapping. There might be some left over cans of sardines on the shelves. Or freshly butchered mystery meat for sale down at the crossroads (Cat anybody?) My wife and I can do ok with veggies most of the time. Got good friends with a little homestead farm. Plenty of water with fish in central FL. I think we'd be better off than most. Then it comes down to resource guarding. A sad scenario. But who knows, maybe I can use all the useless knowledge I've accumilated in 63 years to use.👍

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    You can always can your own meats. I have canned burger, brats and chicken on the shelf. You can also purchase a surprising, if not expensive, variety of canned meat from burger to pork, turkey, chicken and so on.

    https://www.werlingandsons.com/
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    Senior Member Michael aka Mac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    You can always can your own meats. I have canned burger, brats and chicken on the shelf. You can also purchase a surprising, if not expensive, variety of canned meat from burger to pork, turkey, chicken and so on.
    Ok Rick so now I am curious, if this is a vernacular thing ie. you say tomato i say TOE MOTTO, but when u said u canned burger do you mean ground beef or do you mean cooked beef patties ie. a burger?

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    Thanks for the insight. Hope my first try will be successful, and I will manage to can something good. Of course, I thought I was being slick be posting something useless only to come back later and spam your site. As I said, I thought I was being slick........I was wrong.
    Last edited by crashdive123; 08-01-2022 at 01:21 PM. Reason: Idiot Spammer

  11. #11

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    I've seen canned ground beef in the store before.
    When the shizzy hits the fizzy (borrowed that from the canadian prepper) we won't care what or where that food comes from or what it tastes like. I'm kinda worried about what the demon dog will eat. I don't suppose the neighbors would take kindly to him eating their children.

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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Good Lord don't let him eat the kids Max, it would probably kill the poor hound!

    You newbies talking about canning meats be aware that it takes a pressure canner to do that safely.

    Most vegetables can be canned with a hot water bath but meats take temps above boiling point to kill the botulism strains. That requires pressure.

    Nate, I mostly live on frozen and canned foods and my family survived on home canned goods when I was growing up. I still eat a lot of tinned vegetables and count on them as most of my long term supplies.

    Cook them just like fresh as Crash said. I usually cook my food longer than the "modern" cooks do. None of this "lightly steamed" stuff for me. I will put a half dozen cans of green beans in a pot with an onion, a spoon full of salt and a couple of strips of bacon and simmer them all day. I might use the Dutch oven or I might use the slow cooker.

    In the winter I will dump several cans of mixed vegetables into a pot with a can of diced tomatoes and a pound of sausage or ground beef, simmer it all day and live on it for two or three days. It's good with a big loaf of soda bread.

    That brings up another topic, the one where we talk about slow cooking over wood coals on the fire outside. Propane and gas stoves are good for boiling water and warm ups but if you are "cooking" you need a good low long term fire.

    And this time of year it has to be outside. You can't stand cooking on the hearth inside in July and August even in KY or OH. The guys south of here would not dream of doing it.

    That runs to the culture of the south I grew up in pre-air conditioning. You got up and had breakfast and the cook started lunch immediately, before it got hot! Lunch was the big hot meal of the day. You did not heat up the house in the afternoon or you would not be able to stay inside until midnight!

    Supper was something light and possibly cold, like cold sliced roast and chilled potato salad, that you had cooked long before-hand. Lots of nights we grilled chicken, steak or burgers outside and had salad or baked potatoes baked in the coals. Nothing that would heat up the house.

    Further south it was common to sleep on the screened in porch or under the shade trees in the back yard to escape the heat.
    If you didn't bring jerky what did I just eat?

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    Back in the day in South Texas, my ancestors would have breakfast after a couple of hours of chores. It wasn't daylight yet... Breakfast was usually eggs, milk, biscuits and gravy. Some kind of salted or fresh meat complimented the meal. They ate it very fast. Then lunch was a biscuit and whatever else they could stuff in a handkerchief and they ate it with plenty of water under an Anacua tree if they could find one, otherwise a Mesquite tree would suffice. Supper was the big meal, served after dark. That's when Grandma pulled out the stops. She put plenty of food on the table for the 12 of them. The leftovers, of which there weren't many, were the makings for breakfast the next day. Oh, and they ate supper very fast also. Meals were not social events. Most of the conversation was muffled and consisted of wanting more food...

    Life was solid work day in and day out. There were some slack times but not many. The 10 ga double accounted for the meat in many of the meals and they ate what fell, quail, doves, blackbirds, whatever. One shot had to procure several if not many severals of whatever the target was. Stories of maneuvering for an hour to get birds lined up on a limb or the ground were common.

    Food was stored in a root cellar under the house. It was NOT cool in the Summer but they managed to overwinter some home canned goods and root crops. The garden was going year round and the windmill pumped water into a wooden (cypress) cistern for the cattle, garden and house use. The kitchen was about 30 feet from the back door on the north side of the house in a separate building. All the cooking was done out there year round.

    It was hard to preserve meat. They had a smokehouse and made sausage and bacon and may have smoked some hams, and dried some meat but it all had to be used pretty quick. It was easier and more effective to keep the meat on the hoof for as long as possible then use and preserve it for the short term.

    They had a cash crop and ate some of that if it made. There were times when transportation failed and they got to eat all of it.

    Life, by comparison to the present, was exceptionally hard, but, they lived, one died in infancy and the oldest boy of Italian immigrants died of influenza on the ship on the way back from WWI. The rest were very successful when they left the farm. I attribute most of their success to their work ethic and frugality. They wasted nothing, they squandered nothing. When you grow up with one pair of shoes a year, and you still go barefoot to keep from wearing them out, you learn a lot more than how to stay out of the sticker burrs.

    Alan


    side note: The trash (there was no garbage) was hauled out into the brush and dumped. I used to find piles of glass and rusted tin and iron. I used to kick through it and pick out the intact bottles I could find. I wish I'd have paid more attention...

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    We were lucky growing up. We had an attic fan. I don't remember the size but it was big. Maybe 42 inches (?). Something like that. We would turn that thing on at night and it would pull air through the house. I can still remember laying in bed with air being sucked in the window by that fan listening to the skip from the big watt stations in Chicago or St. Louis. When mom cooked on hot days she would turn on that fan and suck the heat out of the house. We didn't get a window air unit until I was a teenager. Yes, Alan, we had a garbage dump where we used to go shoot rats with our BB guns when we were wee lads. That was a treasure hunters delight. All they really needed to do was turn a bunch of kids loose in there and all that trash would have disappeared. It would have been taken home to some bedroom where it would have become who knows what. A spaceship, a NAZI killing device, a secret time machine. We had imaginations back then.
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    I suppose that in TN we were just far enough north to have real winters, where you could kill hogs in the autumn and cure the meat for long term use. Once the temps dropped in the fall they did not go much above 60f until April.

    Our hams were salted, then smoked and hung in the smokehouse for use until the next autumn. Our Christmas ham was usually one left from the previous year and not a fresh ham.

    It was the same with shoulders and bacon, it all hung in the smoke house until needed.

    Our country is so large and diverse that climate accounts for most of the differences in how we all coped with the variations in temperature.

    I consider where I live now as being very mild in the summer. We have only a rare day that reaches 100. Where I grew up down in TN we went to 90 daily beginning in May and at 4th of July it would hit 100 every day until mid September.

    In turn, it seldom went below zero in TN and here in KY I spend weeks on end below freezing with lots of trips to below zero. I find that the 300 mile difference creates a 10 degree separation of temperature on the average.

    I still keep up with that due to the kids and grand kids living down there.
    If you didn't bring jerky what did I just eat?

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    The year I moved to NE Florida (1989) it snowed. Having been stationed in the Pac North West for the previous several years, I though...cool.

    The winters are mild and the summers are hot. Bless Willis Carrier.
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    It's 91 right now. Heat index was 102 at 6:00 PM... Just a regular July day...

    Alan

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