Should I buy pre-made meals in bulk or individual cans of fruits, vegetables, and meats? If so, why or why not?
Of course, it’s up to you, but if you decide to buy complete meals, make sure to taste-test them before investing money in a large number of cans of a particular food. Some websites provide free or low-cost samples, or you can simply order one can to try.
Pre Made Meals
Cooked ingredients are assembled in a factory according to recipes for these meals. They could consist primarily of noodles/rice, a sauce and spices, and possibly some vegetables. Others may include a chicken or beef meat option. If all of the ingredients are freeze-dried, add boiling water and wait for the food to absorb the water and soften. Others may necessitate simmering.
For example, a Chicken Teriyaki from Valley Food Storage requires 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then whisk in the contents of the package. Reduce to a gentle boil for 10-15 minutes, or until the noodles are tender. Allow to cool for 5-7 minutes after removing from the heat. (Because many of their pre-made meals contain dehydrated foods rather than freeze-dried foods, they require more cooking time but are no less tasty.) I’ve discovered them to be excellent entrees with no preservatives, fillers, or additives.)
Pre-Made Meals are ideal for those times when you need a quick meal but don’t want to go to a fast-food restaurant. It is also healthier and less expensive.
There are also many pre-made mixes available, such as soup bases, brownie mixes, and pancake mixes. (These are as good as or better than what you can get at the grocery store.) Some may require an additional ingredient, whereas others (soup bases) can be made into quick and hearty meals by adding meat and vegetables.
Not all ready-to-eat meals are free of preservatives, fillers, and additives. It is dependent on the company from which you purchase. I recommend that you always read the ingredient list (ask them for an ingredient list if it is not listed on their website.)
I keep some complete meals in my freezer. They’re all right, and some of them are particularly good. But I’ve read the labels, and to be honest, I’d rather make my own combinations of vegetables, meats, spices, and sauces so I know exactly what’s in the meals I prepare for my family. There are no preservatives, fillers, or ingredients that could cause an allergic reaction in anyone who is sensitive to those ingredients.
So now, when I buy long-term food supplies, I look for cans, buckets, or pouches that contain only one type of meat, fruit, or vegetable.
I carefully examined my favorite recipes. I went through each ingredient and made a note of which could be replaced with a freeze-dried, dehydrated, or canned product — rather than fresh.
Almost all of the recipes I looked at could be converted to a shelf-stable version of fresh.
How do I incorporate these ingredients into my regular recipes and menus? Will they have the same flavor?
I know that’s two questions, but they’re inextricably linked. I started by writing the substitutions next to each fresh ingredient in my recipes.
How do I put a dry ingredient to use?
How much dry should I use if I need 1 cup of fresh?
How long should the dry ingredients cook?
For the most part, using a dry ingredient is very simple. Rehydrate it by covering it with warm or boiling water and allowing it to sit until soft. Then, in any of your recipes, use the product as you would a canned or frozen product.
What proportion of the dry ingredients should I use?
Keep in mind that if you use dehydrated ingredients, the food will expand significantly, and you could end up with a very hearty soup without even realizing it! Begin with small amounts and gradually increase as needed.
If you use freeze-dried products, the pieces are roughly the same size as fresh foods; therefore, if your recipe calls for 1 cup fresh, use 1 cup freeze dried.
How long should the dry ingredients cook?
If you’re going to throw some dry foods INTO your soup, you’ll need to add a few minutes to allow for rehydration. There is no need for additional time if you have already rehydrated them. Because freeze-dried foods are pre-cooked, they are an excellent choice for casseroles and soups.
Can I eat the dry ingredients straight from the can?
Because freeze dried foods like meats, fruits, vegetables, and even cheese are pre-cooked, you can eat them dry as a snack. However, the majority of people prefer meats and cheeses in recipes. However, the fruits and vegetables are delicious right out of the package. Fruits, in particular, are great in trail mixes or tossed in a baggie for a healthy snack in your child’s lunch box. (They’ll go crazy for yoghurt bites or yoghurt melts.)