Welcome back to “Tax Refund Week” where we’re sharing with you how to get big chunks of your Food Storage built, if you happen upon big chunks of change. Today we’re talking about Food Storage Appliances.
Food Storage Appliances can be dreamy- and they can also be pricey. We know this. Julie made bread by hand for months before investing in a Bosch mixer. By the time she got one she was so happy – and knew it was going to be a worthwhile purchase she would use weekly. Jodi borrowed her neighbors Wondermill every few weeks to grind wheat before she knew it was going to be a good purchase for her (after attempting to use a cheap hand grinder). The last thing we would want is for people to go spend hundreds of dollars on appliances they’ll never use.
We understand that in some long term powerless situation we will not have the luxury of using our “power tools”. But how great to build up the confidence (and recipes) you’ll need BEFORE an emergency strikes. So here’s rundown of some of the appliances we have found to be so helpful in our kitchens, enabling us to easily rotate and USE our Food Storage EVERY DAY!
We use our grain mills for so many things. First and foremost we use our grain mills to grind wheat for bread, pasta, pizza dough, tortillas and more. We also use our grinders to grind popcorn into corn meal. Fresh ground cornmeal is so delicious and you can store popcorn longer than cornmeal. Another great thing grain mills can do is grind white beans to make flour to use as thickeners in soups. You can also grind rice to make rice flour. We also grind a mixture of grains and legumes to make flour for an Ezekiel bread that is extremely nutritious. The possibilities are endless! If you have a manual wheat grinder you can also grind seeds, nuts, and other oily products as well as cracked grain cereals. So many great options.
Do you NEED an expensive mixer? NO! Will you completely fall in love with cooking from scratch if you have a good one? YES! Having a great mixer has made making whole wheat bread from scratch a breeze. Julie hasn’t bought a loaf of bread in 8 months – and she doesn’t take credit for it- she gives it to her Bosch mixer. Making whole wheat pizza dough, tortillas with a variety of grains, and pasta works much better when you have a mixer that does the job right. Kneading doughs by hand doesn’t always allow the gluten in wheat to develop and can really affect your results. Whatever mixer you get, make sure it is high quality – you don’t want to replace it often.
We both had purchased electric pressure cookers on sale at Costco and then proceeded to put them in our basements because we were scared of them. Julie decided to work up the courage to use it and mastered the art of cooking dried beans – which is normally an intimidating food storage item. Since then we have both come to love and use our pressure cookers several times a week. It is SO easy to cook dried beans, brown rice, wheat, and other grains because they cook so quickly and WITHOUT SOAKING. Any normal meals you cook can be done more quickly and turn out yummier using a pressure cooker. Jodi even makes healthy homemade baby foods to save money and preserve nutrients.
When just getting started with food storage, things like dehydrating and canning can seem intimidating, time consuming, and annoying. You can buy dehydrated foods at the store so why bother? But once you start getting into food storage you may find yourself fascinated by the world of preserving your OWN food. Dehydrators can be used to preserve fruits and veggies that you buy on sale, to make delicious and healthy beef jerky, to make homemade yogurt using your powdered milk, and can even be used to make homemade (CHEAP) powdered eggs. If properly preserved your home-dehydrated foods can last a long time and add a nice supplement to your long term food storage.
Preserve meats and low-acid veggies, stews, soups, sauces, and more. You can also use a pressure canner as a traditional water-bath canner to preserve high-acid fruits, jams, jellies, and salsas. Similar to the dehydrator, you may find your food storage journey causing you to take an interest in preserving your own garden harvest as you think more about self reliance. Pressure canners seem intimidating but they open up SO many more options for shelf stable meals and the home-canned meats are a lot yummier (and cheaper) than store-bought.
-Jodi Weiss Schroeder