My First Meal
My first meal, without a fridge was canned chuck roast, and dried Broccoli. I served it with red wine and some fruity trail mix. Red wine is great for SHTF because it does not need to be refrigerated. I was very happy to discover that the broccoli is quite good and it does not need to be cooked. You just add hot water to it and it is ready to eat.
I bought the broccoli on Amazon in a number 10 can. One cool thing about buying dry foods, in a number 10 can, is that you don’t have to repackage them, like I did when I bought the ones from harmony house, in plastic jugs. This broccoli comes with a 30-year shelf life, as packaged. The number 10 can is the best packaging for dry goods. Canning jars would probably be number 2 and Mylar bags would be number 3. After that would be food saver bags.
One concern, that I had, going into this month, was that I would not have enough vitamin C. I can tell when I don’t have enough vitamin C. My mouth loses health. Vitamin C is kind of hard to get out of canned products. I had intended to buy the vitamin, in pill form, but I didn’t. Then I discovered that 1/2 a cup of this broccoli has 110% of your daily needs of vitamin C. This is major news because it is the only long term storage food I have seen with this this much vitamin C. Perhaps when they dry the broccoli, they do it at a lower temperature that doesn’t destroy the vitamin.
I think you will find that there is a theme to a lot of my meals, and that is they are kind of soupy, even if they aren’t exactly soup. This is for two reasons. Canned foods have the delicious broth in them and dried foods need water added to re-hydrate them. It actually is a delicious form of meal. I go with this for many meals, even though they are all very much different. Another thing of note, is that I will not have 21 meals to share with you. This is because, I often will eat the same or similar thing multiple times. It saves me the mental energy of thinking about what to eat.
Oh, that reminds me. There is another thing that happened very unexpectedly. If you remember, from my first thoughts about going a month without a fridge, I was very worried about leftovers and I said that I would be primarily using vacuum bottles to store hot leftovers until my next meal. Well, in a week’s time, that only happened one time. This is because I used my pint jars of meat and ate smaller cans of fish, than my store bought cans of pork and beef. So, I was able to eat most of my meals in one sitting.
For breakfast, during my work week, I found the simplest thing to do was to have dried fruits and nuts. I do this sometimes, when I’m not living without a fridge. I do it because it’s less work, in the morning, when I’m trying to get ready for work. The only thing missing from this picture, is meat sticks. Sometimes I eat those, in the morning, with nuts.
Adding Grain to my Non-Grain eating Diet
Next up, was a meal I prepared, at work. I tend to eat an 80% primal diet. This means I avoid eating rice, bread, and other foods made from grain. Yet, I store grain for SHTF. I figure it’s healthier to eat rice and bread, than it is to starve to death. No food is better at storing up large amounts of calories for a long time, for a little amount of money, than grain. So, here I have a food saver bag of rice, from August, 2015. I am no longer using food saver bags to store rice, so I wanted to open this up first. I now use Mylar bags. I mentioned them in this shopping list here.
I poured some rice and dried carrots into a plastic container, to bring to work. The containers are not so photogenic but they are good for travel. I rightly guessed that it would take the same amount of time to cook the two ingredients. One nice thing about dry ingredients, is that you don’t have to open a pre-determined amount, like you do with a can. So I took a guess about how much I needed and poured them into this container.
I ended up with more carrots and rice than I anticipated. Too cook it, I added water, and put it in the microwave until boiling hot. I left it in there steaming for about half an hour, then heated it one more time, to boiling hot. It was immediately done, upon the completely of the 2nd heating. It expanded to double it’s volume during those final couple of minutes.
So there is my work lunch. Canned pork with rice and carrots. I always dump the broth, from the can, into the meal. The broth carries with it, a lot of flavor, which is useful in flavoring the rice and dried veggies, which do leave a bit to be desired. I typically put seasoning in the dry goods to, but I don’t know if I did here. In any case, the seasoned broth.
My Avocados Didn’t Make It
When “my power went down,” I had some avocados sitting out. Avocados are hard enough to keep fresh, with a fridge, once they are ripe. These guys didn’t make it. So sad.
Making Canned Fish Delicious
Canned fish can be a bit of a challenge. If you remember in my article about canning pork, I talked about fitness of a food for canning. I mentioned durability has being a helpful trait in food, to make it good out of a can. Well, fish is sensitive to being overcooked, so it does not come out as well canned as pork shoulder or chuck roast does. That doesn’t mean you don’t want canned fish. It does offer some variety to your diet and fish is a healthy thing to eat. It just requires a bit of spicing up.
Above you can see that I went all out to make this Chub Mackerel into a nice meal. The mackerel is in thee pieces, in the can. So it’s not like your typical canned tuna or salmon. Left to right, in back: Tomato powder, dried peppers, the Mackerel, and green beans, minced onions, and Tamari (no wheat soy sauce). Front: Garlic, pepper, sesame seed oil, and curry powder.
The sesame seed oil is the dark kind, that comes from the Asian section of your grocery store. It is not the light kind, that comes from the oil section of the grocery store. It has a very powerful, rich, earthy flavor and aroma. It adds a lot to the food and does not require a large amount to do it. I used it when making Stir-fry and I mostly cook in refined coconut oil. I only add this oil for flavor and not as something to cook with.
I like to buy my green beans, in these 12 can cases, at Sam’s Club. These cases are pretty convenient to store them in and it is quick to buy too. They also come with quick open tops. You can buy them on Amazon but the price is nuts, as is often the case with canned foods. I think they include some of the cost of shipping heavy cans of food, in the price of the food. This just makes it more expensive than buying it in a store that has semis deliver.
And there we have it. Chub Mackerel, with Green Beans. I did not include the fish broth from the can. Instead the sauce is just from the tamari and oil, along with what came from the fish and beans. There was also some liquid from when I re-hydrated the peppers. It was delicious.
Extending the Unchilled Life of Meat Sticks
I like to eat Meat Sticks or as these are called, Hunter Sausage. Of course they are called that because they don’t need to be refrigerated and a hunter can take them along a hunt. These sausages are made by a local meat processor, Kowalski, and they are sold by Sam’s Club, in a very large bag. They are very good and have natural casings. I have found that, even in the fridge, they tend to loose quality, before I can eat them all. I like to store them in the freezer. I can eat them frozen as they are pretty dry and don’t get hard in the freezer.
The reason they don’t store well, is because they actually quite moist for dried meat and they come in a plastic bag. I took them out of the bag and set them out to air dry, between paper towel. They become much firmer than they are in the bag but I think they last longer and I’ll try to save some for when the month is out. I just pulled some more from the freezer, because I have been eating them. So some will only have been out for 3 weeks, when the month is over. They are quite good. You will see them again, later, in this post.
Everyone’s Prepper Nightmare — Spam!
Every time you mention prepping, people envision Spam. They do so with disgust. I find the canned meat to not be all bad. Like everything, in this post, it just needs a bit of something to make it better. You will notice, though, there is no salt in my ingredients, there. It’s because the meal is salty enough.
The Spam, I ate, was a year and a half past it’s “Best By” date and it tasted just like Spam that I bought that day.
Some delicious beans and spam. I put the microgreens on top, hoping to get a bit of flavor from them but they were overpowered by the spices and the beans and spam.
The meal was quite rich and it was more than I could eat for dinner. I reheated the meal, after I was done eating, then put it in this Stanley Food Jar (See it on Amazon) and I ate it for breakfast. I put it in the jar, at 10:30 p.m. and ate it at 8 a.m. It was still hot and about 85% as good as the night before. There was some discoloration in the spam. 9 1/2 hours was about the limit for this. Part of the reason was the Food Jar was not full and the temperature was coming down by them. I did not reheat it in the morning though. It was still hot enough to enjoy.
The meal was likely in the temperature danger zone, though. That’s between 41 and 159 degrees. The American Restaurant association, when I was certified, said that it was okay for food to be in that zone for up to 4 hours. Of course, that is a blanket statement, with no regard for where food is in the temperature zone, or what kind of food it is. Does it have lots of salt, or acid? Was it sterile when it went into the zone? Is it covered? The idea is to make restaurant management simple to make safe. It is probably a regulation from the FDA. It means there is probably a lot of good food that gets thrown out. With all of that, the danger zone is something to be mindful of. The food jars, reduce the amount of time a food spends in that zone by keeping them hot. You put foods in, boiling hot. That’s 212 degrees. It takes a few hours before they drop below 160.
Chicken Rice Vegetable For Lunch
Here you can see, I’m heading to work, again, by the plastic container. In there, I have green beans, carrots, and rice. I also have a dab of coconut oil, garlic and basil. I cook the veggies and rice, in first. I used the same method as in the carrots and rice, above. Then I added the chick, broth and all. I did not add salt because the chicken came with it. Always read your ingredients’ nutritional information for salt content. The oil is needed because the chicken is breast meat and has almost no fat. The fat helps to keep from getting hungry and gives the meal a nice mouth feel. Coconut oil is preferred do to shelf stability. It can be stored, after opening, for years.
Chicken, rice, carrots and green beans.
Time For A Hot Breakfast
Ingredients for my hot breakfast, back left: Homemade tallow, dried hashbrowns, hot sauce, 2015 dried garden peppers, minced onions. Front: Kowalski hunter Sausage and mineral oil coated eggs.
Here are the eggs, I coated with mineral oil, last weekend. They seem to have soaked up the oil and are no longer shiny. The eggs were still good. After posting about this, last week, a friend told me that people used to store their eggs in waterglass. I found some sold on Amazon. People still use it to seal concrete. Waterglass, seals the pores in eggs. I read that you have to poke a hole in them to boil them, because of this. I don’t know what the proper solution to make for sealing eggs, though. If you want to use the product, I recommend further research. Several Amazon Costumers are talking about storing eggs, in the questions and answers section. Also, I don’t know if there is a “food grade” or if that even matters.
I have several dry ingredients here, and I’m re-hydrating them but pouring hot water over them.
I made this tallow by cutting beef suite, into cubes and placing them in a crock pot, on low, for 8 hours. It was quite simple. I’m told that if you don’t use water, in the process, it is shelf stable. This tallow has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of weeks now. I’m going to used it in the hashbrowns and they turned out well.
There it is. The meal was quite delicious. I usually don’t eat hashbrowns but I bought them for prepping, for the same reason I bought rice. I’m not sure soaking the hunter sausage made much difference but I can say I was very glad to have them, as a part of this meal. They added much flavor and go well with the eggs. The only thing I’m missing, is the dried tomatoes, from my parent’s garden. I so could have put them on the eggs. Overall, I was very happy with this meal.
A Little Indulgence
There is nothing like snacking on dark chocolate. I prefer this supreme dark, 90% cocoa chocolate because it is healthy and just sweet enough to be enjoyable. It’s even better with red wine.
After a week without a fridge, I can say that I barely miss it at all. The food is so much better than I expected. The key ingredient in making the food so good, is the preparation. Canned and dry goods can leave something to be desired. To be more blunt, they can be downright awful. The seasonings, use of broth, and the combination of foods, into soupy meals has made a real difference. So has the use of peppers and onions, in a lot of my meals. Canning some of my own meats has helped too but even the store bought cans were good, with my preparations.
I barely tapped into my food store in a week. If you saw my food store before the week and after, you would not know what was missing. I don’t have a house and the food I store, is mostly just in my pantry. I questioned how long it would hold up and now I’m thinking, I could make it quite a while, without shopping. I have not tapped into my large rice storage or my dry bean storage, at all. By month’s end, I may discover a weak link in my preps, but so far, I’m not sure what that will be. I have many foods, I have not shown you yet, and those will be coming up, in future posts.