Salads using only stored foods can be amazingly appealing and full of flavor with a little creativity. In hot weather, it's so nice to have a cool meal. It's simple to find recipes made with stored foods or to convert salad recipes so they could be made in an emergency if fresh foods are not available. Many times these salads are so delicious, you wouldn't wait for an emergency to eat them. Without fresh foods, they are still very nutritious.

Main ingredients

Long grain rice, pasta and barley, which store well, make a great base for a salad. Main dish salad recipes include beans and/or meat added to rice, pasta or barley, or they form a base for a salad by themselves.

A large quantity of dry beans can be cooked and frozen for quick and cool meal preparation during the summer. Canned beans are also very convenient to use.

One can of chicken is easily substituted for the cooked chicken in a recipe, and bottled bacon for cooked bacon. A half a jar of bacon is often enough to add all the flavor you need in a recipe. Canned tuna or chunk ham are also great in salads.

Vegetables and fruits

Vegetables are an important part of a salad. Canned corn substitutes well for fresh or frozen corn. Canned potatoes with their nutty flavor work well in salads. Surprisingly, even canned green beans and well-drained diced tomatoes taste wonderful in some salads with great dressings.

Freeze-dried vegetables can be hydrated in lukewarm water for 10 minutes, drained and added uncooked to a salad for beautiful color and flavor. Peas and puff-dried carrots are wonderful in salads. The addition of a little sugar to freeze-dried peas as they soak gives them the sweet flavor of fresh peas.

Most dried vegetables with the exception of dried onion, celery and green peppers need to be cooked and cooled before adding them to a salad.

Canned fruits also make a nice addition to a salad. Recipes often call for drained mandarin oranges or pineapple chunks, which store easily.

Critical flavor boosters

Dried onion can replace green or red onions in a salad. When making this substitution, add a half a teaspoon of dried onion at a time and taste until you reach the desired onion flavor. It is best to add dried onions without hydrating them. Dried onion loses its intense delicious taste in salads when hydrated.

Two vegetables that add important flavor to salad recipes are celery and green peppers. Dried celery and green peppers can be hydrated in lukewarm water for 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the salad. They are then drained and added. These may not have the same crunch, but they definitely add delicious flavor to a salad. It's surprising how good they taste. One tablespoon of dried celery equals one stalk of celery. Two tablespoons of dried green peppers equal ¼ cup fresh diced green peppers. For some reason these vegetables add better flavor when they are dried. Freeze-dried celery and green peppers lose flavor more easily when added to recipes.

If you want to try dried green peppers or celery without buying a large No. 10 can, consider purchasing these in a size 2.5 can (size of hot chocolate mix can) from Augason Farms (called "Everyday size"), Walton Feed or other emergency supply store that sells dried foods in small cans.

The dressing makes all the difference!

One of the most important parts of a food storage salad is the dressing. Homemade dressings are a great way to rotate oil and olive oil, if you store them. If you are converting a recipe, you will often find that the dressing ingredients, like vinegar, spices, condiments and sugar all store very well. Mayonnaise and mayonnaise-type salad dressing store well even without refrigeration. (See past article "Some fridge foods don’t require refrigeration.")

Save time

Salads made with stored foods are very fast to prepare. Vegetables are already peeled and cut up. When you're short on time, they are a delicious shortcut to a great cold meal.

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Try these delicious salad recipes made with only stored foods.

Bean and Salsa Salad

1¾ cup soaked and cooked dry kidney beans OR 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained

1¾ cup soaked and cooked dry black beans OR 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1¾ cup soaked and cooked dry white beans OR 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained

1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained

2 tablespoon dried celery (if you don’t have these yet, use two fresh stalks diced to try recipe)

1½ tablespoon dried onions

Dressing:

¾ cup salsa

¼ cup vegetable oil

¼ cup bottled lime juice

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon cumin

Soak celery in ¼ cup lukewarm water for 10 minutes. In a bowl, combine beans, corn and onions. Whisk together dressing ingredients; pour over salad. Add drained celery and toss. Chill. Serves 4-6.

© Probert, Harkness, Emergency Food Storage in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition

Chicken Black Bean Salad

¼ cup dried green peppers (if you don’t have these yet, add ½ cup diced fresh to try recipe)

1¾ cup soaked and cooked dry black beans OR 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained & rinsed

1 (2.25-ounce) can sliced black olives, drained 1 (12-ounce) can chicken chunks, drained

1 teaspoon dried onions

Dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons bottled lime juice

1 teaspoon dried cilantro

2 teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Soak green peppers in ½ cup lukewarm water for 10 minutes. In a bowl, assemble rest of salad ingredients. Drain peppers; add to salad. Whisk together dressing ingredients; pour over salad and toss. Serves 6.

© Probert, Harkness, Emergency Food Storage in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition

Leslie Probert has a bachelor's degree in home economics from Brigham Young University. She has spoken to thousands of people on food storage, is co-author of "Emergency Food in a Nutshell" and and is a mother of three. Leslie can be contacted at [email protected]