This guest post is by A Richardson and entry in our non-fiction writing contest.
Someone suggested an article on making one’s own “Meals in a Jar” using dehydrated foods. My general guidelines work like this:
If I want meat included, I use hamburger “rocks” which is ground meat (beef or turkey) which I have browned, rinsed well to remove fat, then dehydrated into little crumbles.
I add my choice of dried veggies, such as onions, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots. I am careful about the carrots, as those I dehydrate from commercially frozen ones (dump and dry system) take a very long time to rehydrate.
I may choose to add beans and/or grains. If the idea is to make a nearly instant dish, then the beans and grains should also be cooked and dehydrated. Bulgur is pre-cooked.
Otherwise, I like to use those which will cook in twenty minutes or less.
Generally, for beans that means black-eyed peas, green or yellow split peas, or lentils. For grains, I choose amaranth, quinoa, millet, or white rice. or a combination of two or more of them.
Sometimes I also add a small foil packet of bouillon granules or herb or spice mixes as well as salt and pepper.
Maybe I just add a note to cook using canned juice as the liquid.
As an example, just off the top of my head, I might try to make up a pot of senegalese soup, a curried apple soup, without pretense of replicating the original. I would start with half a pint of dried apples and a couple of tablespoons of dried onions, with a bit
of garlic. I would use at least two seasoning packets, one with chicken bouillon granules and curry powder, the other with a bit of powdered milk to round out the flavor of the finished dish. Measurements would be predicated on the expected volume of the final product.
Maybe three cups of water would be needed to both rehydrate and cook the apples and onions to make a pint of soup. So I would need two teaspoons of bouillon granules to make the “cooking broth.” I might also guess that 1 teaspoon of curry powder would be about right.
I would try maybe 1/2 cup of milk powder to be stirred in after the other ingredients have come together. Because I know that curry flavor develops better when the spices are cooked in oil, I might package the curry powder separately with instructions to do just that before adding to the soup. I might also suggest that a few raisins or chopped peanuts could make a tasty topping. Such could be included in its own foil packet in the jar.
You can see that a bit of testing would be needed to make the most of your own recipes. Packing for storage means putting in a glass canning jar or a recycled glass jar with a pop-top type lid. I seal mine by putting the whole jar in a large FoodSaver canister, then vacuuming to seal.
Here’ looking forward to reading your recipe ideas.
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