Having an organized food stock is one thing, but being able to creatively cook recipes from that stock is a whole other ballpark.
Living on beans, rice, and canned/farmed veggies is perfectly healthy and will keep you nutritiously fed. Learning to cook a wide variety of dishes from packaged staples and preserved foods leads to an understanding of what exactly survival means.
Understanding how to cook from your food stock is extremely important, but what happens next? Being able to store the delicious recipes that you’ve created is half the battle.
Cold storage feels like it is forever dwindling and is not a long-term solution, and not everyone wants to invest in expensive Food Saver bags and machines. Dehydrators can also run you a pretty penny, but they are not necessary with a little innovation.
One way to dehydrate without special equipment is to use your oven. The lower the temperature, the easier it is to dry out your food. Each oven model is different, so check yours to see what your lowest possible temperature is.
For certain air circulation, especially when drying fruit, it’s a nice trick to place a fan in front of the oven with the door cracked 1-inch. This keeps the air moving around the food, removing even more moisture. Fruit is not the only thing you can dehydrate in your oven.
These DIY long-lasting energy bars only call for 7 ingredients (including plain water!) and are simple to make and dehydrate for long-term storage.
These lemon-flavored bars contain whole oats, flax seeds, and honey for protein, nutrients, and a burst of energy.
Related: How to Make 2400 Calorie Emergency Ration Bars Designed to Feed You for a Full Day
● 2 cups old-fashioned oats
● ½ cup flax seeds
● 2 cups powdered milk
● 1 cup sugar
● 1 3-oz. package lemon jello, unprepared (or your favorite flavor – just avoid getting pudding!)
● 3 tablespoons water (plus more for mixing)
● 3 tablespoons honey
#1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.
#2. To a large bowl, add the oats, flax seeds, powdered milk, and sugar. Mix with clean hands until everything is homogenous and set aside.
#3. To a small saucepan, add the jello dry mix, 3 tablespoons of water, and 3 tablespoons of honey. You will not be preparing the jello as per its package directions, so no need to prepare it beforehand.
#4. Turn the heat to medium-low and bring this mixture to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Allow the jello to boil for 1 full minute before removing it from the heat.
#5. Pour the hot jello mixture into the bowl with the oats and flax seeds. Allow the hot jello to cool slightly before mixing with your hands. This is the best way to ensure all of the dry mixture is moist enough.
#6. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time if the mixture is too dry. Mix the dough again after each tablespoon of water. You do not want this mixture to be too wet, otherwise the bars will not have as long of a shelf life.
#7. Once the oat mixture holds together in a log when you squeeze it in your hands, it is ready.
Related: How I Make My Own Cough Mixture
#8. Line a 9×12 baking dish with parchment paper or foil. I highly recommend using parchment, but used foil in this recipe because it is what I had on-hand. Using a measuring cup, press these bars firmly into the lined baking dish.
#9. Using a sharp knife, cut your bars out prior to baking. Just run the knife though the pressed oat mixture, being sure to cut all the way through. This will save you from crumbling later, as these bars dehydrate in the oven.
#10. Place the bars in a preheated oven and bake for 1½-2 hours or until very dry and crisp. The low oven should totally dry out the bars.
Related: How to Dry Plums for Long-Term Storage Just Like Grandma
#11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container, mylar bag, or even a vacuum-sealed bag. These bars should last 1 year and provide energy anytime you need a boost.
Storing for Up To 1 Year
Because these bars dried out so much in the oven, most of the moisture is removed from the dough. This works to our advantage because there is less of a chance that bacteria will creep in during storage.
The simplest solution is to store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. For an added layer, you could store these in a ziplock or mylar bag, sealed, and then placed inside an airtight container. No special equipment required.
If you are a huge fan of mylar bags, purchase some quart-sized mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Store your bars ¾ of the way full with 1 CC oxygen absorber and seal well. Mark each bag that you seal with the recipe name and date of seal. I like to add all homemade recipes in my stock to my food rotation list along with my packaged foods.
If you already have the equipment, feel free to vacuum-seal these bars and mark them for your food stock. You can seal the bars and cut into individual portions so that you never have to reopen a sealed bag. The nice packaging adds a little something special, especially if you make these energy bars for kids.
I like to keep boxes of dry jello mix in my stock. It’s something that can be added to many dishes, like these long-lasting energy bars, and is fun to eat as a treat. Lemon-flavored jello was used in this recipe, but feel free to use any flavor that you like. Just be sure you’re using jello and NOT pudding. Pudding is not the same as gelatin!
Also, feel free to add additional nuts, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, or anything else that you like in your granola bars. Dried fruit works, although be sure it is very dry, crisp fruit such as freeze-fried strawberries or blueberries.
When you are creative with your food stock, your mind and belly are happier.
You can make a wide range of recipes with all of the food you have in your stock right now! It’s all about knowing what you like and what you have at your disposal.
Once the recipe is done, make sure to store the extras in a proper way to maximize the yield.
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for a quart size mylar bag – it would be the minimum 100CC 02 absorber >>> it would be more likely to find 1/2 and 1 gallon size mylars – 300CC to 500CC would be the norm addition ….
Most nutrition experts recommend ground over whole flaxseed because the ground form is easier to digest. Whole flaxseed may pass through your intestine undigested, which means you won’t get all the benefits.
I am interested in food supplies the most.
I am wondering if using a gas oven if the fan could blow out the flame?
Maybe I am over thinking this.
Again, enjoyed the article 👍
MadFaB: At the time I was drying my fruit in my electric oven, I didn’t use a fan. I left the door ajar about one inch by inserting the handle of a wooden spoon in the door because the doorstops wouldn’t allow a smaller opening than about 4 inches which was too much. I only inserted enough handle to allow the door to remain open because the handle got hot and I didn’t want to fire harden the handle or worse yet, have it scorch. I don’t think the oven would actually get hot enough to cause the handle to burst into flame but I didn’t want to take any chances anyway. I don’t remember the flashpoint of wood offhand, but I am sure it is higher than 125°F which is what the thermometer said the oven was. But in any event, see my post below about sun drying. I found sun drying left the fruit softer. If I didn’t watch the fruit in the oven carefully it got over dried and hard.
Ok here’s the what if question … can the ingredients be altered ? Is there diabetic recipes or recipes for vegetarian or vegans?
So question … isn’t pudding basically dried milk with cocoa and sugar? A little starch maybe? I dunno and I’m not where I can go look but if powdered milk is already part of this recipe … ????? Also, almond flour may be substituted for powdered milk, correct? Whey powder? This article opens-up a lot of interesting ideas. I especially like the lemon jello in the recipe but it’s all for flavor – it cannot be considered a binding agent.
Why dry fruit in your kitchen oven? You can dry fruit in the sun just like our ancestors did for thousands of years. I have been drying persimmons in the sun for almost 20 years. I bought quarter inch squares, wire baking cooling sheets. I also bought those tents that many on line vendors sell for protecting picnic foods from insects. They are cheap and pop up or fold down for easy storage. Put the fruit out as soon as the sun is hitting a spot that it shines on most of the day and bring the trays in in when the sun no longer is hitting your drying spot or move the fruit. We get late afternoon sea breezes frequently which are damp. I bring the fruit in when the ocean breeze starts up. If you don’t have that problem leave the fruit out until the sun no longer shines in your yard.
If you have a table set up it keeps stray animals from investigating your fruit unless you have a raccoon infestation. If that is the case, then you may want to hang the trays from a line or some other improvised method of keeping the fruit off the ground.
Drying fruit in the sun is also green. You aren’t using electricity or gas to dry the fruit. Errant breezes blow over the fruit hastening the drying process. You can use lemon juice to lessen browning of fruit that turns brown as it dries or you can buy a commercial product that does the same thing.
Quite interesting recipe. Is the purpose for a “treat” food that lasts a long time? Wondering if they’re yummy for everyday or really more of a “survival” food.
Is there a substitute for the dry milk? I have a very extreme allergy to milk. It’s the mail reason I can’t use prepackaged prepping foods. They contain milk, cheese or something along these lines. I keep telling them they need to come up with some survival foods that don’t contain milk, soy or gluten. If someone were to find the way. They would make a killing. It’s not a gas problem. I get extremely severe pain if I eat milk or cheese. So it will not work for people like me.
It sounds like you have gallstones. I had the same thing for about three yrs and it was gall stones doing it. Had to have my gall bladder removed., but there may be natural ways to eliminate them if you start now?
Don’t let them talk you into the brain hacking vax, btw. Watch Dr Carrie Madej vids and know the tech in the vax is even worse than she says.
@Jim Souders: can you have goat milk? They make a powdered version of it as well…..
I can buy dried coconut milk in Australia. It would also change the flavour a bit. It’s sold in the Asian food department.
I wonder what one could use to substitute for the dry milk. I am trying not to use milk products.
I was also thinking of using stevia instead of the sugar.
Now I see that other reply above, About coconut milk. I will try that.
At what temp do you use for the oven ?
It says 200 degrees at the top of the recipe.
I didn’t think it would but I always go to the worst first, then rein myself back. Horse hoofs NOT Zebras. Lol
Being from Northern western Washington, I don’t think I can dry my fruit outside. Although starting tomorrow we are going to get some much needed sunshine, and not the liquid kind. I do have a great dehydrator so I would use that before the oven as mine will only go down to 175 degrees
Thanks for the reply. Stay cool this weekend, you are supposed to get very good fruit drying weather.
Yes, perfect weather for drying fruit and everything else. At least the humidity isn’t below 10%. Unfortunately, the persimmons are still tiny and green. The heat is adding to the fruit drop however, despite how much I irrigate the trees. In Japan where persimmons grow everywhere, June is nyubai or rainy season and while it is hot and humid, most days the sun is only in evidence for a short while. In SoCal it is hot and dry although because it is still early in the season, there is a touch of humidity, unlike later in the year where the humidity falls below 10% so one doesn’t mind that it is 111°F (it’s a dry heat, so you don’t feel it har de har har har) If one has been in a building a/c’d down to 68 or 65, when one goes out into temps like 110 or above, it is like getting punched. Much like getting hit in the head with a hammer, after a while you don’t feel it any more. That is until you fall face down on the concrete because you are critically dehydrated which you didn’t notice because sweat evaporates in an instant in such temps and low humidity.
Is it true folks From Bellingham never go outdoors without an umbrella or raincoat?
111? NOPE!! All my mold would dry up and then I wouldn’t have my protective coating. Actually Bellngham isn’t as wet. Farther south. Marysville Everett Arlington are in this convergence zone and it is wetter than Bellingham, that gets more snow. As to your question, Only if they are a California transplant, and then we laugh at them. Lol
Have a great night , sir.
I would recommend chia over flax. Flax goes rancid easily, where chia can be kept for years and remain good (and I’ve done that by accident). Use honey mesquite flour, if possible. It’s high in natural sugar, has a caramel taste, and whole pods have been stored 40 years by agronomists and were considered fresh. niio
recipe calls for 3oz(which is 85g) jello package ,I’m guessing its supposed to be .3oz (8.5g) ?
Kavin: Jello comes in 3 oz boxes and 6 oz boxes. The author means the small Jello box which is 3 oz.
Can these bars be put in the freezer and taken out as needed? I just thought I would freeze them so if the grid ever goes down they are already made. What do you think? Thanks!
Anything grain should go in the freezer to make certain there are no moths and so on in it. I think it takes a week or so, than add a few bay leaves to the pack to keep it free of bugs. niio
I might add in some pumpkin seeds to this: they are great nutrition, but also good for parasites which might come in handy after TSHTF…