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Cookbook review: Handbook offers tips on food storage meals families will eat

By Elizabeth Currey

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, July 9 2013 3:45 p.m. MDT

Polynesian Style Sweet and Sour White Beans is a recipe in "The Gourmet Food Storage Handbook."

Cedar Fort Publishing and Media

"THE GOURMET FOOD STORAGE HANDBOOK," by Stephanie Petersen, Front Table Books, $26.99, 176 pages

In “The Gourmet Food Storage Handbook,” Stephanie Petersen attempts to answer the question of countless people staring at their shelves of canned, dehydrated and powdered food: "What on earth do I do with this?"

The book contains more than 200 recipes designed to create healthful, delicious meals from ingredients found in long-term food storage. It is well-organized and beautifully designed, though more photographs of the finished recipes would be a welcome addition.

The recipes are varied, including everything from appetizers and side dishes to desserts and gourmet baking mixes. The highlight of the book is the section on Petersen’s “52 Method: Meals in a Jar."

This section begins with a description of how Petersen developed this method storing meals her family would eat in a jars for her food storage — 52 of seven different meals for a year's supply. She includes detailed instructions and answers to frequently asked questions. Beginners should read this part carefully as it would be easy to make mistakes that would compromise the safety of the food.

With a chapter dedicated to gluten-free recipes and a suggested substitute for the meat in many of the recipes, the dishes are adaptable to various lifestyles.

As Petersen points out, Honeyville hired her to write this cookbook, so many of the ingredients listed are specified as Honeyville products. Substitutions could likely be made, but with the differences between brands, such substitutions may alter the finished product. Even with substituting another brand, the ingredients can be difficult to obtain, and the upfront costs could be overwhelming.

The completed meals taste so delicious that you may want to use them for everyday convenience, a healthier, preservative-free version of boxed meals from the grocery store. Providing clear directions in a format that is easy to follow, this cookbook is a good resource for beginners, but the recipes are just fancy enough to entice more experienced food storage cooks as well.

Polynesian-Style Sweet and Sour White Beans

1 pound small white navy beans (soaked overnight in 1 gallon water and 1 tablespoon baking soda, drained and rinsed)

½ cup Honeyville dehydrated onion (or 1 cup fresh)

¼ cup Honeyville freeze-dried bell pepper (or ½ cup fresh)

4 cups boiling water

¼ cup Honeyville jalapeño jelly

3 cloves garlic (or ½ teaspoon granulated)

1/3 cup hoisin sauce

1/3 cup rice vinegar

2 teaspoons sesame oil or ½ teaspoon liquid smoke

8 ounces crushed, drained pineapple

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Place drained beans in a slow cooker (or solar oven pot) and add onion. Add chopped bell peppers. Add boiling water and simmer on low for 3–4 hours. If you use a solar cooker, it will take the same amount of time in direct sunlight.

When beans are tender, add jalapeño jelly. Then add the garlic, hoisin sauce, sesame oil or liquid smoke, pineapple and fresh cilantro.

Cook 5–10 minutes more if desired.

I serve it on a warm bed of jasmine rice with some chopped cilantro and finely chopped red cabbage for garnish if desired.

— "The Gourmet Food Storage Handbook,” by Stephanie Petersen

Elizabeth Currey is a graduate of the University of Utah, health enthusiast and mother of a toddler. Her email is elizabeth.h.currey@gmail.com.