Cooking with Your Long-term Stored Foods

stored foods

Cooking with your stored foods is different from your everyday cooking.  It will take more time and effort.  You will probably be handicapped by not having your normal cooking stove.  Your available ingredients will probably be limited.

We all have favorite recipes many of which will be hard to use when you are cooking with your stored foods.  But with a bit of preplanning you may be able to modify some of these recipes so that they still work.  Here is a chart that was published by Brigham Young University showing some possible substitutions.

All dried fruits and vegetables are generally hydrated in double the amount of water.

  • Dried foods hydrate more quickly in warm to hot water.
  • For soups and stews: Add dried vegetables and hydrating water with other ingredients. Dried vegetables will hydrate and cook while the soup cooks. Pre-soaking and sautéing are not necessary.
  • Most dried vegetables require a minimum cooking time of 10 minutes. Dried carrots, peas and corn require 20- 30 minutes.
  • For salads:
  • Green peppers and celery are hydrated in warm tap water for 10-20 minutes while preparing the rest of the recipe. Drain before adding to salad.
  • Dried onion does not require hydrating. For best flavor, add dried to salad; let stand 10-20 minutes before serving.
  • All other vegetables should be cooked before adding to salad.
  • Freeze-dried foods hydrate in equal parts water.
  • These don’t shrink in drying. Double the amount when substituting for dried foods in recipes.
  • For soups and stews, add with hydrating water last 5 minutes.
  • For salads, pre-soak 10-15 minutes in warm tap water; drain and add to salad. (For best flavor, add a little sugar as peas hydrate.)

Here is a good recipe for using wheat in making chili so that you can conserve your fresh meat.  This recipe can also be made without the ground beef.  Depending on your situation you can substitute dried or freeze-dried products for fresh.


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups whole wheat kernels
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 28 oz can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 1 small can chopped olives
  • 1 tsp chili powder (can add more to taste)

Bring water to a boil, add wheat. Cover. Boil until tender 30-45 minutes (or longer). Brown meat, onion and green pepper. Drain grease. Drain excess water from wheat and combine with meat mixture and remaining ingredients. Simmer for at least 30 minutes before serving to blend flavors. Top with cheese and sour cream if you have it.

As you can see from the above recipe, you can modify many recipes to make them work with your food storage.  I strongly suggest that you make some practice runs ahead of time , using not only your stored foods but the cooking methods you would have to depend on in an emergency.


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