Shelf stable nutrition is a big part of creating a sound food storage program. Nutritional diversity should be something you concern yourself with while you are building up your deep pantry and your long-term food storage solutions.
This is one of the reasons why you are seeing preppers focus much more on food production like gardening, livestock and even hunting. We all understand that a decade of rice and beans doesn’t offer the type of nutritional profile that anyone really desires.
You have more say in what goes into your body than you think.
Homemade Food Storage
What was once a buyer’s game, food storage has become just as much about DIY in the prepper’s journey. One thing you can say about preppers is that our skills and motivations evolve quickly. We are talking about a group that has only existed, in name, for a decade.
The media portrayal and main sources of information taught us early on the fact that preppers were stock pilers who worked hard to buy and train their way to survival in a post collapse, SHTF landscape. This could include dried foods, guns, bunkers, and any other extreme measures to survive.
Eventually, the movement started to round out. It got injected with some of the homesteading fever and before long preppers were looking at the quality of life overall. Massive changes started taking place and if you got the average prepper of 2010 in a room with a 2020 prepper, they would be speaking different languages.
Ownership is probably the right word. We have taken ownership of processes like food storage, food production, food preservation, community relationships and these things have made us much more formidable.
Understanding how to cook and make your own food is the basis of homemade food storage. I am going to show you how to create a dense vitamin bar that is filled with nutrition and has a 1-year shelf life. Now, making bars is a lot easier than you would think. I hope you give this one a try.
- ¼ Cup of Sunflower Seeds
- ¼ Cup of Chopped Almonds
- ¼ Cup of Dried Cranberries
- 2 Cups of Quick Oats
- ½ Cup of Honey
- 1 Cup of Almond Butter
- 2 TBSP of Coconut Oil
- 1 TBSP of Turmeric
- ½ TSP of Salt
- 1 scoop of Protein Powder
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Mix your nuts, seeds turmeric, cranberries, and oats in a large bowl.Add the rest of the ingredients to a small saucepan and warm the mixture up together. This mix doesn’t have to simmer or anything, just warm it up, so it is pourable and mixable.Mix everything together in your large bowl and be very thorough. Try to coat every single oat with some of that mixture.Spread the mix out in an 8×8 baking dish. We are going to cook this mix for 30 minutes on an exceptionally low heat and try to dry it out for long term storage.Once they have cooled, cut them into squares.
You can now increase the shelf life of these bars even further by slipping them into a mylar bag, with an oxygen absorber and sealing them. You can get a year and beyond if you store these vitamin bars this way.
These vitamin bars pack a seriously nutritious punch! The nuts, seeds, turmeric, and oats take this mix to serious heights and the addition of your protein powder elevates things like Vitamin K, A, C, and Iron. Using protein powders also gives you the ability to increase things like Vitamin C without adding a bunch of sugar, with some types of dried fruit.
In the batch that I created in these pictures I excluded the cranberries and the mix was fine.
Oats are a complex carbohydrate, and this means you have a source of energy that burns slowly and consistently to give you energy throughout digestion. Processed sugar burns fast and enters the bloodstream like a blitzkrieg. It forces your body to release insulin to deal with it. This is a bad way for you to manage your energy systems.
All these benefits combine to make this simple, nutritious vitamin bar that can be stored for more than 1 year.
Related: 8 Food Storage Myths
Sealing for 1 Year and Beyond
For those of you who have never used mylar and oxygen absorbers, this section will be particularly important. On the shelf you could likely get 1 year out of these bars, if you kept them in zip locks that were airtight and maybe stored them in a Tupperware as a second layer of protection.
However, to assure you get the necessary shelf life and that these Vitamin bars are there for you when you need them, you should invest in some Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers: 50cc Oxygen Absorbers, Quart Sized Mylar Bags.
Fill your quart bags about ¾ of the way with your cut bars and drop in one 50cc oxygen absorber. Squeeze as much of the air out of your bags as possible and using a hair straightener you can heat seal the bags closed.
Don’t forget to mark the bags, so you know what they are and when they were sealed. At this point you have nutritious Vitamin bars that will last 1 year and beyond!
Your prepper pantry and long-term food storage plan can be made up of much more than beans, rice, and canned goods. By creating your own foods and packing them yourself, you can create what you really want.
These nutritious Vitamin bars will give you a shelf life of one year and become a great snack that your family will love. Remember, you can add or subtract ingredients in these bars. You can also modify these ingredients.
Don’t use sunflower seeds if you don’t like them! Use walnuts or something else. If you don’t have almond butter at home than, use peanut butter. The taste will be different, but it will get the job done all the same. That is the beauty of cooking your own survival foods, you can create them however you want!
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What is the consistency of these bar? I prefer crunchy bars over chewy. Also, is Mylar really necessary for a one- year shelf life item? I think of Mylar as something for much longer term.
I would go with ziplock freezer bags. They are heavier (thicker) than a regular ziplock bag but not as heavy (thick) or expensive as a mylar bag. If you want to vacuum seal it it can be done with the Vacuum Sealer machine or by the description given in the article.
Thank you. There is one store near me that has barrels of bulk items that would make it easy and not too expensive for a small test batch. Most things I cook have 2 ingredients, the shake and the bake. I think your idea of zip lock freezer bags and a sealer will work great.
Govtgirl: Personally, I think 300 degrees is too hot if you are dehydrating something. I would think the lowest temperature your oven will operate at would be better and then you decide what consistency you want. If you want them chewy with more moisture, don’t leave them in the oven so long. They probably won’t last as long. If you want them drier, leave them in the oven for a longer period of time. If they are drier, the will probably last longer.
The guy down the street and my brother both dry persimmons until they are like chewy cardboard. OTOH, I dry my persimmons so that they are no longer juicy and astringent, but soft, a little drier than prunes, perhaps the consistency of dried figs.
I suspect the longer one dries the mixture, the longer it will last. None of my suppositions are based on actually messing around with this mixture, just based on drying persimmons and other fruits like apricots.
Left coast chuck
been reading your posts for some time and they are always relavant to the topic and I mostly agree applying almost 7 decades of expereance to my thoughts.
I wonder what would happen if you threw in an oxy absorber, then vaccumed it in a regular vacuumed food process bag and froze it??
I bet it would be good for a long time.
Mike: I think it would be edible as long as your freezer stayed frozen. It might lose some food value, but canned food found above the Arctic Circle decades after it had been abandoned was still good and had lost only minimal amounts of food value. That was canned, of course, but it was subject to freezing and thawing, something we are all told turns food into botulism bearing death.
I had some meat that had been buried back in the back of the freezer. At the start of this silliness that has existed far too long, I was sorting through my freezer looking to try to create space for more items. I ran across the meat, It was dated 2013. I didn’t want to experiment with it. It looked darker than I remembered 7 years later it having been when it got tucked away. Your judgement whether my recollection was correct or not.
I gave it to the neighbors who fed it to their dogs whom they reported enjoyed the steaks immensely. The dogs are still alive, so the proof is in the pudding as my grandmother used to say.
I recently bought some steaks mail order. They came frozen on dry ice. The literature with them says as long as they stay frozen in the vacuum pack they are good for a year. I have already tried some and they are premium meat. I feel confident that they would still be good to eat 5 years down the road although they might not be as tasty as they were just delivered.
It is my personally held opinion that correctly vacuumed packed and frozen is the ideal method of storing food short of dehydration.
Now, that said, all bets are off if you have a self-defrosting freezer. In order for that to work, warm air is wafted over the freezing coils. In my view that has a diminishing effect on the long term storage of items. That was the overriding feature I looked for when I purchased my freezer — it could not be self-defrosting. When I have to defrost the freezer, I buy dry ice ahead of time and pack everything in the freezer in ice chests with dry ice. It stays on dry ice until I have completely defrosted the freezer and it is back to temperature, then the stuff goes back in. I also put any left over dry ice in the freezer to make sure the food comes back to freezer temperatures slowly.
Long winded, but I hope helpful.
And thanks for the kudos.
I remember reading some time ago about scientists who had found a frozen mammoth in Siberian permafrost. One of the “tests” they ran was to cook and eat some of the meat. Apparently, it was edible but “dry”.
Appreciate it, LCC. What you say makes sense. I think that will work just fine.
I like the recipe. Only problem, it would last right up till hordes of grandkids discovered the stash. But, there has tro be someplace they won’t find them… 🙂
And, it lacks meat! Well, that’s what pemmican is for. niio
Red: It has protein powder which is the soylent green version of meat.
When I want to hide something in my freezer, I mark it “rye bread”. wrap it in foil. Never gets touched or taken. Guess I’m the only one that likes rye bread. Keeps my chocolate stash safe 🙂
Generally how long would you cook this at 300 degrees?
Thank you so much for your comment.It should be cooked at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. I am sorry we forgot to add this information to the article. I have just added the missing info.
I wonder if you could substitute peanut butter for the almond butter. I assume the author put in almond butter in case anyone has peanut allergies. And if you wanted to have these bars last even longer maybe invest in a vacuum sealer. Am seriously considering getting one.
You sure can!
Armin: Read the very last paragraph where the author suggests peanut butter in place of almond butter.
Armin: Rule No. 1 with any recipe, once it’s in your hands, it’s your property. That’s copyright law, as well. What I wonder, tho, is does peanut butter have more oil in it, and, would it go rancid faster? I am assuming adding a little extra molasses would help, and add to the nutrients in peanut butter.
Red: It’s your property as long as you don’t reproduce it for anything except your own personal use. Can’t reproduce it and hand it out to the kiddies in your 2nd grade class. San Diego School District paid a rather large sum to a publisher when one of their school teachers did that, even though she didn’t charge for it.
Used to get folks bringing copyrighted material into my print company all the time wanting to reproduce it. That and chain letters. Ha! Got a call from a printer in Texas who had printed a chain letter. Next thing he knew the feds were ransacking his printing business. He called me in a panic because I was Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee. He told me he was being dragged through the press with press releases. They had even charged him with RICO violations. I listened to his tale and told him to see if his attorney could work out a plea deal with the Deputy AG prosecuting the case. He told me his attorney had suggested working out a deal. I told him that was good advice. Follow it. Kinko’s would up paying a several million dollar judgement to the publishing industry. That was the tip of the iceberg. The settlement decree also contained a stipulation that Kinko’s would pay the plaintiff’s’ attorney fees. I never did find out what they were, but I can only imagine that they exceeded the settlement amount several times over.
chuck: If you tried to sue someone for copying your recipe for variegated crispy marmot spaghetti bake, the copyright lawyer would ask you if this was like his grandmother’s version. You can sue if the plagiarist stole your comments, they’re about the recipe, but not part of it.
Copyright and Recipes
When it comes to recipes and copyright in the U.S., the law is actually very clear (PDF). Copyright does not protect recipes, “That are mere listings of ingredients,” However, it can, “Extend to substantial literary expression – a description, explanation, or illustration, for example – that accompanies a recipe or formula…”
Also, anything published prior to 1922 is fair game. Anything the copyrights have run out on, also. It doesn’t mean you won’t get into harassment lawsuits, but it should not be anything worse. niio
You cook it for 60 to 90 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit or 165 degrees Celsius.
Can dried bananas be substituted for dried cranberries?
Make up a batch and find out. You won’t know until you try.
what you want, but remember, cranberries are very high in vitamin C, bananas aren’t. niio
To my knowledge bananas are rich in potassium, which helps a lot in times of intense physical effort.
For this reason tennis players eat bananas at breaks …
I live in Brazil, I have bananas, but I don’t even know cranberries …
Great text, wonderful comments …
Any tart berry or fruit would be good in these. Cranberries are high in vitamin c, and they dry well, but use what you are comfortable with and have available. If you grow goji berries or can get them at an Asian market or a health food store, the taste is similar and goji berries are even higher in vitamin c. If you have relatives in the US, maybe they can mail you some…I don’t know what the prohibitions on shipping food are, so they might not be able to.
Susan I don’t see why not, I’m sure you could make endless combinations of ingredients to create these. Don’t leave out using freeze dried fruit as well, the dollar store does sell freeze dried apples and strawberries, however you only get a child sized hand full of the fruit in the package. I would take a stroll through the cereal isle of your local grocer and have a look at the varieties of granola bars that are on store shelves. My daughter happens to be partial to the caramel pretzel ones.
Have not dried my own banana chips
but often freeze whole bananas (since they “over ripen” so easily!😕)
Peel, wrap in parchment paper, then seal in Ziploc bag: frozen they keep well for many weeks! 😀
Consuming, have rolled in a warm pancake – or just poured honey (or chocolate syrup) over whole still frozen -they thaw so fast!
If you are drying for long term storage, I would use the lowest heat range the oven can operate at. I would heat them until they reached the consistency I wanted. Dryer would last longer. More moist would probably taste better.
An hour or an hour and a half seems @ 325 seems long to me and quite hot for dehydrating. In addition the author recommends 300°F.
According to the article it does mention drying. However 300 degrees as you mentioned is a little hot, for drying and would most likely be for baking, which is commonly what you do when making granola bars to solidify the mixture.The adjusted temperature and time is for baking in my comment, as were the times taken from recipes. Personally I would bake mine, not dry them as they may make the oats a little stale in my opinion. I would use citric acid I think for better preservation since this has fruit in it
Thanks for the suggestions, Jacques.
Good suggestions, Jacques.
Thanks Govtgirl and LCC, for letting me add to the discussion.
Can you use a food saver instead of the Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers? My food saver sucks out all the air and vaccum seals the bag.
Have the best of both worlds, put an oxytocin’s absorber in the food saver bag and suck the air out. Belt and suspenders approach.
Thank you, predictive. I had to look up oxytocin as it is not a word I use in every day conversation.
Here is what my electronic dictionary said: Oxytocin:a hormone released by the pituitary gland that causes increased contraction of the uterus during labor and stimulates the ejection of milk into the ducts of the breasts.
I would say you definitely want to put an oxytocin absorber in the food bag along with an oxygen absorber. The major problem that I foresee is that I wonder whether there is such a thing as an oxytocin absorber.
It has been a dull day. That is the humor highlight of my day so far.
I did get a chuckle out of the oxytocin comment LCC, I thought you meant O2. When I read it it sounded tongue and cheek, as if you were telling Marc to suck the love out of the bags haha. Oxytocin as I understood it is also known as the cuddle hormone. It’s released during, pregnancy, breast feeding, hugs and cuddling, and during fun times between couples. It’s reported to last 2 to 3 days in men and up to 3 weeks in women.
I read it as oxycontin the first time I read the post. My thought was that it was the Hell’s Angels party snack version.😂
LCC, I think there is such a thing as an Oxytocin Absorber…AKA : an infant. And with any luck, it lasts a lot longer than 1 year. But with the same amount of luck, it only requires that oxytocin for about a year or so. 😉
Yes Marc you can however the food saver bags only preserve goods for around 6 months without preservatives. 3 weeks for fruits and veggies in my experience. The textured bags seal better and LCC is right that using an oxygen absorber in each bag would work better. Personally I would treat these like M.R.E.’s and place each bar in it’s own mini bag, seal then stack inside of a larger bag and add O2 absorbers before sealing again.
I thought those food savers protected foods for at least a year. Hrrmmm, Now I gotta locate some of those O2 Absorbers.
Marc: See my comments to MikeinAZ above. I think properly sealed, vacuum sealed foods in the freezer will last at least a year. The steak vending company said their meat was good vacuum sealed in the freezer for a year. I suspect that is really a minimum amount of time if one only considers food value and freedom from deadly critters, but only if it stays fully frozen for the period stored.
I don’t think unfrozen vacuum sealing has any special long term benefits except for dried items sealed up with a desiccant and O2 absorber.
Here’s another recipe for ANZAC cookies that would work well for emergency food. Can also add dried fruit and nuts to these.
Remember that any biscuits with fat, nuts or oil can eventually get rancid with age and improper storage or exposure to high temperatures.
Wow, Miss Kitty! Those sound awesome.
I hope to make a batch soon. Let me know how they turn out if you do too.
For anyone wanting to try a variation of this just for snacking, try the Rice Krispy treats recipe on the jar of Marshmallow Fluff. You can vary it by using any sort of dry ready to eat cereal and substituting all or part of the butter called for with the nut butter of your choice. Don’t use anything too sweet though…the fluff is all the sweet you really need, IMHO, but you can add fruit, nuts, chocolate chips and maybe one third of the cereal can be a sweet one if you really want a sugar rush. Very easy to make and you can sugar up the kids and send them home to their parents.😂
Ha! Like our parents did to us when we had little kids atr home?
I like mine dipped in semi-sweet chocolate. niio
It’s the last time your kids use you for a free baby-sitter, I guarantee!😁
I suppose you can make a health food version, too, with all organic ingredients and carob chips, but I think the organic stuff sometimes has been hanging around so watch the expiration dates and shop for it at stores with a high turnover. Bob’s Red Mill has nice product and it can be found at a lot of different stores. Trader Joe’s has the best prices and selection for dried fruits and nuts in my area (the Northeast). They also have a variety of nut butters – their sunflower seed butter is very good with blueberry preserves and would probably work with dried blueberries in this recipe.
I stopped buying Red Mill when I asked why the chia seed I bought wouldn’t sprout. “Um, well, I couldn’t really say!” I’ve had American-grown chia on a shelf in the pantry for 5 years and it still sprouted. They bought irradiated and didn’t say. while that doesn’t bother me, that they tried to lie about it does. Given the prices they charge, they should be 100% organic, not sometimes organic, sometimes maybe. niio
The amaranth seed I bought (BRM) sprouted though… maybe the government has been irradiating newer packages “for our protection”.😐
Miz Kitty: If they sprouted, I don’t see a problem. But, what got to me is, instead of putting out a call for growers of a native plant, they bought foreign. Because it is a commercial crop in the US, imports have to be irradiated to kill the germ, which prevents the spread of diseases in the crop. that was dishonest in two ways, 1) they advertise as organic and irradiating isn’t allowed. 2) They did not inform people it wasn’t American grown. No one in the family has bought anything from them since. niio
If anyone lives near a Winco, they have grind-your-own nut butters and a large assortment of bulk items.
Freitas: Cranberries are a very tart fruit with very high amounts of vitamin C. Açai Berry, acerola, and so on are stronger than cranberries. Vitamin C is needed in foods because all too often, we have little access to fruits. I doubt you’ll suffer that in Brazil. You might want to raise the protein level, instead. niio
The amaranth seed I bought (BRM) sprouted though… maybe the government has been irradiating newer packages “for our protection”.😐
Miz Kitty: I will no longer buy from red barn because the chia is irradiated. I don’t mind that, but rather that they lied and sold it as organic. If you want some Tarahumara amaranth, ask. Love lies bleeding is a very old grain type, but the leaves are great and it’s a cool type for old-fashioned flower gardens. niio
Hello to all, how is all, I think every one is getting more from this web
page, and your views are pleasant for new people.
What are your thoughts on freeze drying these instead of baking them?
Bake, then freeze. Anything put in the freezer is subject to defrost in case of power outage, something not uncommon this far back in the brush. Coked foods dehydrate better and last longer in the freezer. niio
I think I would substitute the cranberries (too sour for my tastes) with raisins, and maybe try using peanut butter, shredded coconut, and vanilla flavored powdered protein drink mix, with maybe a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or allspice.