Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Cooking with Stored Food Products

For about 6 months, I've been experimenting with the Emergency Essentials dehydrated onion and carrots, freeze-dried celery and tomato powder from their My Choice line. I thought I'd share my experiences. First are the onions and carrots. I'm hooked on these. I rehydrate with some hot liquid and then treat them like fresh.  The onions will turn golden brown like fresh, but they take a little longer. The carrots saute well, and if you rehydrate and cook them for a longer period, can also make good puree. What I especially like about these products is that I can use just what I need and not worry about wasting the other half of the onion, for example.  Fewer former vegetable science experiments can be found in my fridge, I promise!

I love the tomato powder.  I was very skeptical about this stuff. I was so wrong. I hope to never buy another can of tomato paste or sauce.  (Maybe some day I will grow and can my own!)Yes, this may seem comparatively expensive, but I can't count the number of times I threw out a few tablespoons of unused paste or sauce in the past.  No longer a problem! I can make exactly what I need. The flavor is fresh, better than the stuff coming from the cans. I'm hooked -- spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, jambalaya, soups whether as the main sauce base or just a flavoring, this stuff is worth the $6.50 for the #2.5 can.  My first can lasted several months of regular use.  A tablespoon or two makes about half to two-thirds of a cup of tomato paste, or a cup of sauce. Just add water!

I'm not as crazy about the freeze-dried celery. It takes longer to rehydrate than the other items, probably because it is so dry that it floats, so you must work with it to make it rehydrate.  It does add some celery flavor and color. Some dishes like jambalaya require celery, and if you don't have fresh you can make this work.  I used this to make roux several times, along with the onions and carrots.  It was fine, but I had to allow an extra few minutes (beyond the time needed for the dehydrated foods) to rehydrate it.

Hope this is helpful.


  1. I am in love with the dehydrated onions too. I add them mainly to the dehydrated hash browns from Hungry Jack and make Waffle House style hash browns on weekend mornings. I'll have to try the carrots though.

    1. They are really handy to have and use. I throw a little extra water and a couple tablespoons of carrots in the pot while making white rice. It looks more festive and adds vitamin A. The left overs are that much closer to what's needed for fried rice the next day!

  2. You both have convinced me to try the onions, and most likely, the carrots. Thanks for the review.