Modern food processing is producing great options for storing and cooking some of the most nutritious vegetables.

Dried carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A in a food storage diet. Yet some people avoid food storage recipes using dried carrots because of their strong smell and taste, even in soups and main dishes with plenty of spices. Dried carrots require 25-30 minutes' cooking time before they become tender.

New puff-dried carrots have now appeared on the market. These are made using partial dehydration followed by either sudden heat for 30-90 seconds, or sudden pressure reduction in a pressure chamber containing CO2, causing them to puff. Puff-dried carrots have a great flavor, tasting like fresh carrots. In fact, they can be eaten right out of the can. These carrots hydrate and cook in 5-10 minutes, and some I tasted were so good they could be served alone as a side dish. Search online to learn where these are sold. The taste and nutrition make them worth the additional cost compared to dried carrots.

Broccoli is an important vegetable high in vitamin C. It also has some vitamin A and other important nutrients. However, commercially dried broccoli can give off a strong smell as it cooks for 10 minutes.

Freeze-dried broccoli cooks without the smell in just 5 minutes. This broccoli retains excellent vitamin C during freeze-drying and adds delicious flavor and color to food storage dishes. You will find it at food storage supply stores or online.

Canned tomatoes, a good source of vitamins A and C, are easy to find at a grocery store. Yet some people do not like chunky diced tomatoes in food. Consider buying new canned petite diced tomatoes, cut into very small pieces, or crushed tomatoes. The delicious juice in canned tomatoes forms a wonderful base for a soup or stew. Canned tomatoes are already hydrated, saving stored water, which is a plus.

Look for sales on these foods. Besides their nutrition, dried, freeze-dried and canned vegetables are just so convenient to use. Someone else peeled and cut them up for you! That's a big bonus in any busy schedule – not just in an emergency.

Here's a fast and delicious food storage recipe to try:


Sweet and Sour Beef

3 c. water

½ c. puff-dried or dried carrots

¼ c. dried onion

2 T. dried green pepper

1¾ t. beef bouillon

1 (15-oz.) can tomato sauce

¼ c. brown sugar, packed

2 T. vinegar

1 T. Worcestershire sauce

1 (12-oz.) can beef chunks, undrained and broken up

¼ c. water

2 T. cornstarch

Hot cooked rice

Combine the first 5 ingredients and simmer 10-25 minutes, until carrots are tender. Add all but the last two ingredients and simmer 5 minutes. Mix cornstarch in ¼ cup water until there are no lumps. Stir into beef mixture. Return to boil, stirring constantly. Simmer 1 minute. Serve over cooked rice. Serves 5-6.

(If your favorite national discount store does not stock roast beef chunks, don't hesitate to make a request on a comment card every time you go.)

(© \"Emergency Food in Nutshell,\" 2nd Edition Revised, Probert and Harkness)