Food Storage Essentials: Food storage gifts that make a difference

Published: Friday, Dec. 2 2011 5:00 a.m. MST

When looking for a meaningful Christmas gift idea, don't forget about food storage. Why not ask a loved one, "What is stopping you from finishing your food storage?" The reply will help you know where your help is needed. Here are gift ideas that can help someone you love overcome obstacles they face when storing food.

"I don’t have a plan. I’m storing food but I don’t know what I’m doing."

A variety of food storage books are available. Look for one with a simple way to plan stored food to give as a gift. Having a simple plan helps people feel secure in continuing to buy food storage and they know when goals are reached. That’s encouraging.

"I need recipes. I have no idea how to use what I’m storing."

A food storage book with a variety of recipes makes a great gift. Some combine stored foods with fresh foods in delicious everyday meals. Others use only stored foods in great-tasting everyday meals, which can also be prepared in emergencies when fresh foods cannot be found. It’s surprising what you can make.

Planning what to store is simple when based on favorite food storage recipes. This helps people store only foods they will use and avoid storing long and detailed lists of recommendations made by others.

"I don’t know which dried foods are most important to store. There are so many to choose from."

After converting hundreds and hundreds of favorite dishes to meals using only stored foods, I have found four foods are common in delicious recipes. In their dried form, onions, garlic, celery and green peppers add critical flavor to food storage recipes and are very convenient to use. Consider giving these in No. 10 cans or in smaller cans, either everyday size cans (from Augason Farms) or size 2.5 cans (from Walton Feed).

Some great-tasting puff-dry dehydrated carrots from Honeyville Grain could make a nice gift. Carrots contribute important vitamin A in food storage meals. These hydrate and cook in just five minutes.

Everybody loves potatoes. You could give some dried potato dices, which are versatile enough to be fried in place of hash browns, yet are chunky enough to add to soups, simplifying the varieties you store.

"I need to get more food."

You might give a gift certificate to an emergency supply store or grocery store for use only to buy food storage. Or go to a cannery belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and can No. 10 cans or pouches of food for an inexpensive gift. People who are not members of the LDS Church can attend when they go with a member.

"I’ve stored wheat but don’t know what to do with it. I don’t know how to make bread."

Consider giving a grain mill or some money toward purchasing one. An electric mill is fast and convenient for making flour. My favorite hand mill is a Wonder Junior with stone burrs for fine flour. It will also make delicious cracked grains, which cannot be made with an electric mill.

If your loved ones do not know how to make bread, consider giving your favorite bread recipe for a gift with a coupon for free lessons. They’ll love you forever.

Why not give a can of powdered eggs? These expand what can be made with stored grains to include delicious pancakes, muffins, cornbread, cookies and other desserts without the need for fresh eggs. You cannot tell the difference in appearance or flavor of baked foods using powdered eggs compared to those made with fresh eggs. Of course, you could give chickens for fresh eggs, however that may not go over very well. Powdered eggs are so simple to store.

"I'm afraid to store dry beans because I don’t know how to cook them. They take a long time to cook."

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