One of the most common food storage questions, readers ask me, is “what do we do with all those grains and beans you suggest we store in our pantry”. This is a good question and one that I’m sure has been asked by many while facing their buckets of grains and wondering what to do next.
To be honest, when I started doing this, I asked the same, but with the help of several good books, recipes and a bit of trial and error, I can now whip up a tasty meal from what most people, would think was a bucket of horse feed. It’s not at all difficult, so don’t be intimidated (or afraid to throw out a blotched batch of whatever you are making) all you have to do is start.
This is the main reason (aside from saving money) that I stress that you need to use what you store, so you can learn and know how to use what you have when needed. Never stockpile and think you’ll learn what to do with it “when you have to” do it now… You’ll gain confidence and a valuable skill.
Before listing my five favorite recipes here, I would like to suggest three books, that I think will be a great help to you when learning how to use and prepare these basic foods.
The first book is “How to live on wheat” by John Hill this is a great book that I reviewed here. The other two books are by Peggy Layton Cookin’ With Beans and Rice and Cookin’ with Home Storage, these three books will help answer any questions you have about using basic foods from your pantry and are loaded with recipes that you can use in your kitchen.
Below are five of my favorite recipes using foods from my food storage…
Cooked Pinto Beans
- 2 cups of beans
- 8 cups of water
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 2 teaspoons of pepper
- 1 tablespoon of lard (you can make your own lard)
Sort beans, wash and soak overnight. Beans can be cooked on the stove top, over an open fire or in a Crock-Pot or pressure cooker. Mix everything in an appropriately sized cooker and cook over heat until soft.
If I am going to be home all day I prefer the open fire, gives the beans a unique taste not found with the other methods. The fastest and most convenient way to cook pinto beans is with a pressure cooker.
Pinto Bean Cakes
- 2 cups cooked pinto beans
- 1 small onion, chopped (I like to use wild onions)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
Press beans into a paste with a fork and add cornmeal, salt, flour and chili powder. Stir well. Add the chopped onion and mix until well blended. If the mixture is too dry, thin it with bean juice or a small amount of water. Heat a skillet and grease it with bacon drippings, lard or cooking oil. When the pan is hot, drop on the bean mixture by the spoonful and press each bean cake flat with a spoon or spatula. Brown and serve.
Corn and Bean Pone
Grind ½ cup of whole corn and ½ cup of pinto beans to the consistency of flour, combine in a bowl mixing well, add one teaspoon of salt and gradually add ¾ cup of boiling water. Melt enough lard to cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of grease, after the pan is greased, pour the mixture into the pan and blend with the grease.
The mix shouldn’t stand more than an inch thick in the pan to start, rising very little during preparation. (To make it rise like cornbread add two teaspoons of baking powder.) Bake at 350 degrees until done. The pone will develop a brown crunchy crust when done. This can also be fried on the stove top, like pancakes. I like to chop up a batch of wild onion and mix with the batter before baking this adds flavor and texture. Also makes a makes a good breakfast - for breakfast don’t add the onions and instead cover with maple syrup or add a little honey.
Soak wheat in warm water for 24 hours, drain and pour the wheat into a large jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with a thin cloth or screen – sprouting wheat needs oxygen so be sure it can “breathe”. Flood the jar three or four times a day, draining off any remaining liquid each time.
The wheat will start to sprout in about two-five days depending on the surrounding temperatures - when the sprouts have grown to 1/4 - 1 inch in length they can be used. The sprouts can be eaten raw or dried and ground into a flour then added to recipes and breads. Drying, reduces the vitamin content, so I prefer to eat the sprouts fresh.
With sprouts you can have fresh greens even in winter and they only costs cents per pound. Besides sprouting wheat you can also sprout other seeds and legumes such as sunflower, buckwheat, soy beans, mung beans, alfalfa, clover etcetera.
One of my favorite sprout recipes is from the afore mention “How to live on wheat” is cooked sprout cereal - you’ll need, 4 cups freshly sprouted wheat, cook the sprouts for a few minutes or until they are soft. Add to a large bowl and add salt and honey to taste and cover with warm milk. Makes a nutritious breakfast or midday snack.
Simple Sourdough Bread
To make simple sourdough bread mix the following ingredients in a large bowl:
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup sourdough batter
- ½ cup legume protein complement
- 1 tsp salt
Knead dough thoroughly and allow to rise to about twice its original height. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until done.
Have you tried preparing food from your food storage? What worked best for you? What did you learn? Let us know in the comments.