It doesn’t take much to render us powerless . . . that sounds deeper than I mean. I am talking about electricity. One ice storm, one tornado, one well-placed lightening strike, and we are thrust back to pioneer life, possibly for several days or a few weeks. Here are some ideas to prepare you for that situation. These are all meals that, if you prepare ahead of time, have a long shelf-life and you will not need to cook them, or even heat them, before you eat them. You will need the ability to pressure can all of these recipes.
You can use your own recipes or modify others. You can use prepared ingredients or totaly fresh, leaving the nutritional quality all up to you. The main point is to get one month’s worth of meals on your pantry shelves in a way that will allow for a long shelf life.
You could have the entire month canned and processed in one week if you have the time to be home. Each bulk recipe you make, plan on that being dinner for that night – and maybe tomorrow’s lunch, too!
Use your own chili recipe, but make a HUGE batch! I use 5-10 pounds of meat when I prepare bulk chili. Once the chili is put together – the meat does not need to be cooked through – place in quart jars and process in a pressure canner. This size batch will yield 7-14 quarts of chili, ready to eat!
Ham and Beans
This is one of the easiest things in the world to make. One decent sized ham – $15-20 – and 5 pounds of dry beans will make a LOT of soup. To mix it up a bit, add some stewed tomatoes, or juice or sauce, to the pot. This can be put on the stove the night before, simmered all night, and canned the next day. To maximize your cost per serving, use more beans and less meat!
Beans and Rice
Choose your favorite rice and bean dish, and then make a bunch of it. Be sure both the rice and beans are cooked before you pressure can. Otherwise, they will swell in the jar and make a mess.
Beans and Weiners
Here is the recipe I use for beans and wieners. Again, make in bulk and pressure can.
This is a super easy recipe. 1 pound ground meat (or use beans); 1 can tomatoes; 1 can corn; 1 package taco seasoning. This is the easy way for one meal. You can use all canned veggies or you can use fresh ones. That is up to you and your schedule. The point here is that this recipe, or a variation of it, can be made in bulk and then pressure canned. (Here is a link to homemade taco seasoning.)
This takes a lot of work, but it is so good and cans so well that if you have the time, you should consider it. I do this one with all fresh vegetables, since they are going to be pressure canned. If I use canned veggies, they will be doubly canned and that just seems mushy, I use V-8 juice and water as the base, with perhaps some chicken or beef boullion for added flavor. Then I just throw in a bunch of fresh vegetables – frozen corn, carrots, celery, onion, potatoes – whatever you want. This is where the work is – chopping all the veggies. Of course you can add chunks of meat or ground meat. Once it’s all put together, however, you do not have to cook the meat or the vegetables through. They will cook during pressure canning.
I just learned that hot cereals can be pressure canned. Cook the cereal as usual, in water, using the slow-cook variety. Add fruits, sugars, spices, etc. to your liking. Process. I would definitely use pint jars for this one.
Also consider just simply buying a supply of canned fruits and apple sauce to use for breakfast items during a long power outage. Remember, you won’t have the toaster or the griddle! You could also home can fruit juices.
Do yourself and your family a favor and have a dessert on hand. Without heat and water, I have to recommend ice cream – yep! – freeze-dried ice cream!! What a terrific morale booster!
One big batch of each of these recipes should yield enough food to sustain your family for one month. Obviously if your family is larger, make larger batches. Everything suggested here can be eaten without any heat at all! One week of hard work and you will have a month’s supply of meals on hand that will last several years without spoiling.