Survival Skills: Staple Foods and Their Role in Grid-Down Cooking

Got a few buckets of wheat and a hand crank grain grinder in the closet? That’s great, but how are … Continued

Got a few buckets of wheat and a hand crank grain grinder in the closet? That’s great, but how are you going to make bread if the utilities are down? This quandary tends to stump a lot of preppers. And while wood stoves and outdoor brick ovens can bake bread without electricity, there are other ways to use your staple food items. Here are a few options.

Flour: Fresh bread is delicious and very sustaining, if you have the means to make it. But there are several other things you can do with flour, whether you bought it ready-to-use or ground it yourself. Add water to a few cups of flour, stir, then knead, until you achieve a dough consistency. Roll out the dough or pat it flat on a flour-coated surface. Cut the flat dough into strips and boil the pieces as dumplings. Plain water will suffice, but a soup stock of some kind is a major upgrade. You could also add a few spoons of flour to a cup of cold water and stir into a pan of hot grease for homemade gravy to pour on your MRE. Or add a few spoons of flour to cold water, then pour into your soups and stews for a carb-rich thickener.

Oats: Most oats are rolled or milled to facilitate their transformation into oatmeal. This is a fine staple food as is, but you can also branch out with oats. If you have a hot, flat surface like a pan on top of your woodstove or a griddle lying on a bed of coals from a fire, you can make oatmeal cookies. Follow the recipe on the oatmeal box. Grease the pan heavily and drop in flattened cookie dough pieces. With a greased spatula, flip them when you think they are about halfway done. If the bottom edges are dark brown, they should be ready to flip. I once made an entire batch of cookie dough into one giant “super cookie” in a Dutch oven over the fire. That was a fun and tasty experiment.

Rice: A global staple, rice can be boiled in 2 cups of water for every cup of dry rice. You can also break out your flour mill to grind rice into flour. This can either be used with wheat flour, or in its place. You could also stir the rice constantly while boiling it in water to make a starchy porridge similar to risotto.

Sugar: Not that sugar is particularly nutritious, but it does make a great staple due to its calories and indefinite shelf life. Add sugar to anything for a flavor upgrade and calorie enhancement. You could even make candy out of that sugar, following the recipes for caramel, hard candy, toffee, etc.

Salt: You don’t need too much salt in your diet, but a little bit is necessary. Add salt to your dishes, both savory and sweet, to enhance their taste. It’s also handy for food preservation and many other tasks.

Powdered Milk: This chalky beverage choice doesn’t have to be used as a beverage (thank God). Add the dry mix to virtually any food to increase the protein and calories. I even mix it with instant pudding mix to create a “just-add-water” snack for hiking and camping.

What are your favorite things to make with food storage staples? Let us know in the comments.