My month of no fridge is over. I learned some things along the way. I’ll cover some of that here and make a special post just about what I learned. Let’s look at what I was eating in the last 3 weeks. I had a great time and I’m really happy with how things turned out. I decided to not make a post every week because I thought that would get repetitive, yet there were a number of things I did differently here, that I didn’t show in my first week post. So it merits another post. Wow, I have 108 photos, after deleting repeats. Apparently I had more variety than I thought I would, going in. This might be two posts.
- 1 Let’s See Some Meals!
- 2 One Carefully Planned Day Of Food in Three Coordinated Meals
- 3 What’s Next
Let’s See Some Meals!
Great Northern Beans and Hunter Sausage
A very simple set of ingredients for a simple meal. The meat sticks are proving to be a vital flavor and pleasure enhancer throughout the month. Only a small amount is needed to dress up other foods. I talked about extending their out of fridge shelf life, here.
Just a touch of coconut oil on top of these beans gives the meal a nice mouth feel but not quite the same flavor I get when I add butter, in normal times.
Salmon can always use a little help. I’m super happy to have this tomato powder. See it on Amazon here. It accomplishes the same thing as tomato past but you can use it in any increment you want to. Tomato really helps fish but I would not want to open an entire can of paste for this. The red beans complement the rich flavor of salmon too. Rule of Thumb: Use white or light colored beans for white fish and white meats and red beans for red meat and red fish.
It is said that if you store your tomato powder sealed and in the freezer, its shelf life starts when SHTF and your power goes down.
Get a load of that rehydrated tomato from my parent’s 2015 summer garden. I store these in the freezer, for the same reason I store the powder in the freezer. Their dry storage shelf life begins when the power goes down. They probably last a couple years outside of the freezer. They definitely last longer than sun dried tomatoes.
You can tell by the plastic container that I made this at work.
Spicy Beef and Tomato with Peppers
I wouldn’t quite call this chili because it doesn’t have cumin but it is quite good. Those tomatoes pack a bit of a kick if you are sensitive to hot foods but it’s not too hot. I buy those tomatoes at Sam’s Club. Maybe they have them at the grocery store. If you want to know about that beef, see this post.
The flavor is more powerful than this photo looks.
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White Chicken Chili
My parents’ 2015 garden bell peppers make their final appearance in this white chicken chili. Dehydrated peppers go a long way per volume, so the temptation is to use caution with the quantity. White chicken chili uses a lot of peppers though, so don’t be too afraid to use lots. I used a little hot sauce on the chili and that’s not shown here.
What does that Ham Look Like Up Close?
You’ve seen and will see this Brookdale ham a few times. Here are some close-ups. I bought the ham at two different Aldi locations. So there is a chance they sell it near you. I think it was a good find. It’s a pound of meat for $3. (Price at the time and place I bought them. Your’s could vary). I bought about 10 of them. If you are prepping on a budget, these cans are a must.
When you first open this canned ham, it does not look so appetizing. What you are seeing on the outside, is a kind of gel you might expect to get from bone broth.
When you cut into the Ham, it reveals itself to be more than met the eye when you first opened it. The ham has grain and texture that you will not find in a can of Spam. I believe it is a higher quality experience than spam. Yet, I will continue to buy spam because, as you will see below, opening a full pound of meat presents a challenge for a single person, eating alone. It’s the storage of leftovers that I have been talking about since the first post in this series. I cannot eat a pound of this ham in one sitting. On that note: with dry beans and rice this can of ham could feed a family of 4 (small kids) for about $4.50. If you are doing financial preps, and are looking for a way to save money, think about that. I’m a large man and didn’t add rice, so it fed me twice. I used canned beans, so it was about $4.75 for 2 large filling meals. You can see those meals next.
I cubed the ham for soup.
Canned Bean and Ham Soup With Leftovers
Home mixed Italian seasoning, Ham, Beans, Pepper, Minced Onions, Garlic, and microgreens.
I like to mix my own Italian seasoning because it comes out differently, every time. Sometimes I do it while cooking by adding herbs one at a time. Italian seasoning has: basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and sage. If you buy it at the store, it will typically also have marjoram. Marjoram is from the oregano family and is milder than oregano. I don’t believe it is a necessary ingredient. The other ingredient, not in there, is bay leaves. When you buy them, they come whole. They are ground into Italian seasoning. Sometimes I add them separately but really, I can take them or leave them.
I knew this meal would have leftovers but I didn’t know how much, so I brought both of these with me to work. The one on the left is a Stanley Water Bottle, that I use because it’s the only bottle I found this size. I talk about these bottles in greater depth, here. You can see the water bottle on Amazon here. The other bottle is a food jar and you can see it here. Both bottles proved important in making it through this month.
9:30 p,m with leftovers from my lunch from work. It’s still hot enough to enjoy eating.
Beef with Vegetable Meal
I generally found it much simpler to use the pint jars of meat that I canned myself, to make single serving meals but I wanted to use these large cans. Of course this means using a vacuum bottle for leftovers. The spices on the left are the home made mix of Italian seasoning, I talked about above. With the tomato and beef along with Italian seasoning, I’m essentially making marinara meat sauce and vegetables.
Nine hours have passed by and you can see, that the meal is still 158 degrees. This is 2 degrees into the danger zone of 40-160 degrees. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about, plus I don’t think the food has been in that zone for long.
It doesn’t look as pretty here. Part of that is because of the 9 hours and part of that is because I added water. The water actually made the meal better. This is a general trend with all of these meals. The wetter the meal, the better it is. I generally didn’t make straight up soup but I always consumed the broth in meat cans and the extra water from rehydrating vegetables.
One Carefully Planned Day Of Food in Three Coordinated Meals
You’ve seen me make breakfast before, using Hunter Sausage. Eggs are so much better with a little meat. The hunter sausage, like the dry foods, is great for one particular reason. You can use a tiny portion without having to deal with leftovers. You can see how I had fresh eggs, without refrigeration in a previous post, here.
Today, I wanted to have ham with my breakfast. If I’m eating eggs for breakfast, I don’t really need a lot of ham out of a 1 pound tin. so to have ham, with my eggs, I needed to plan out the rest of my day of eating at the same time. So I am preparing three meals of two preparations, all at once. Above, I talked about how you could feed a family of four out of that tin and I ate two meals out of it. Now you will see me eat three.
Water Ham, carrots, hashbrowns, onion, basil, salt, pepper, cabbage, eggs, tomatoes.
Vitamin A Deficiency and Blindness in Children
Southeast Asia is known for Vitamin A deficiency because many people are poor and they subsist on a diet of mostly rice. What to most people put in their deep food store–Mostly rice and beans. You can store up massive quantities of rice and beans for little money and store it for 10-30 years depending on how you do it. These foods could sustain you through a long term famine. If you are feeding your kids mostly rice and beans for an extended time, you run the risk of a Vitamin A deficiency. This problem can be easily cured by added carrots to your deep store. Carrots have a huge quantity of vitamin A.
The carrots in the above picture are Harmony House and you can see them here. That link takes you to a gallon sized jug of them on Amazon. That was more than enough to make it a month without a fridge. I went to this page of Self Nutrition Data and used the data to run some numbers. If the information on that site is correct, This 20 pound box of carrots contains 124,182% of your daily needs for vitamin A. That’s enough vitamin A to sustain one person for 3.4 years. That’s about 10 months for a family of four.
Here is what the 2015 garden tomatoes look like, dry. These are for breakfast. I put hot water in the bowl, then got to work on the cabbage.
Yes you saw that right! That is 6 cups of dried cabbage! It’s from my parents’ 2015 garden, too. I’m glad they put how much cabbage was in there, because it told me just how much space and how much water they needed.
Here is what the cabbage looks like out of the bag.
Because I’m not going to be eating the cabbage for breakfast, I rehydrated it in a vacuum bottle. It also cooked in there. I’m using a canning funnel to fill the bottle and this makes it so much easier. I put carrots in there, with the cabbage and poured water in from my tea kettle. I went looking for the kit that this funnel came with, on Amazon and I found this one. I think it is a better kit, than the one in my picture, because it comes with a jar opener. Sometimes I need a little help opening a stuck jar, from fermenting. I used a strap wrench.
The Tomatoes are ready to go. I forgot to put garlic in the ingredients pic.
I also forgot to put microgreens in the first pic. I get started cooking and think of other things I want in there. These are a micromix. I’m not even sure what one they are but you can find something similar here.
This is the last of my chuck roast tallow, from when I canned the beef. This tallow had a much lighter flavor than the tallow I rendered in the crock pot, from a block of suet. I used it to cook the hasbrowns, of course. Both tallows held up on the counter.
This breakfast turned out delicious. That is hot sauce in the bowl and Jameson, Caskmates Irish Whisky in the whisky glass. Yes, a touch of whisky goes well with an SHTF breakfast. Actually this stuff is unlike any other distilled spirits I have had. It really tastes good neat / straight.
Ham and Cabbage, With Carrots
When I put the cabbage and carrots in the vacuum bottle, to be cooked and rehydrated, I had to store the ham separately. There wasn’t room in the bottle. So I combined the ingredients in this pan. I ate them, then used the pan to reheat them and store them for dinner, in one of the bottles. This was not one of my favorite meals but I appreciated having something different. This was a real challenge for me. These pics show variety but not as much as you might think, when you consider how many meals one eats in a month.
I do have enough pics for another post and they are different enough from these to make you want to come back. I invited about 8 people over for a game night and I prepared a feast. I’ll share that experience with you. I’ll share one fail and one success in gaining access to fresh food. There was something to learn with both. I will finish off my parents’s 2015 garden peppers and open up a number 10 can of Augason Farms Dehydrated Bell Peppers. If you can’t wait, you can see them on Amazon here.
Articles In This Series
I’m Going To Live With No Fridge For a Month My thoughts about what I expected to come and how I planned to live.
Canning Pork – An Awesome Preparation for a Month Without Refrigeration This was a great experience and I highly recommend it.
Day 1 of the Month Without a Fridge and Canning Beef My initial actions on day one. I store fresh foods to make out out of the fridge for a month.
My First Week without a Fridge — In Delicious Pictures I’m taken by surprise by how well everything is going
My Last Three Weeks Without a Fridge –In Delicious Pictures Pt. 1. Everything is going great and I learn some new things.
The End of My Month Without a Fridge – Spouting Beans. I had a SHTF Feast! More deliciousness to share and more to say about preparing SHTF food.