Monday, May 31, 2010

Sour Cream Powder Product Review

When you need the "Zing" of Sour Cream
Cream Powder Sour

Sour Cream Powder is a surprisingly versatile product.  It can obviously be used in normal applications for sour cream, such as soups, beef stroganoff, baked potato toppings, Mexican Food topping, etc.  However, you can often substitute it in recipes that call for milk, buttermilk or cream.  It adds a tangy flavor to recipes.  When using as a topping, you mix the appropriate powder and water as directed and then chill.  When using in a recipe you can reconstitute first, or you can add in the appropriate amount of powder and water as you add in the dry and wet ingredients.  While Sour Cream Powder may be seen as a food storage luxury, it is a great compliment to many of the foods you store and often a dairy substitute.  Here are a few ways to try it:

Add a small amount of reconstituted sour cream to your bread and roll dough.  This provides a sharper flavor.

Add in a couple of tablespoons of reconstituted sour cream to your beans just after they are finished cooking.  It is delicious!

Make your own home-made ranch dip or ranch dressing.  You can make it healthy and MSG free.

Use as a thickener for soups or cassroles.  The extra cream and sharpness can really get the attention of children.

We have put together a brief video on how to reconstitue Sour Cream Powder.  You can see how nicely it mixes up and how well it sets up.  Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mango Trail Mix

Trail Mix the Whole Family will Enjoy

One of our great customers stopped by the store and told us that she makes great tasting trail mix from granola, freeze dried fruits, and nuts. So, we decided to try out our own mix. The great part of making this mix was that it was easy and you know what goes into it, so you can make it as healthy as you want.

Here is how we made our homemade trail mix:

1 Cup Granola
1 Cup Nuts (We used 1/2 cup cashews and 1/2 cup almonds)
1 1/2 Cup Freeze Dried and/or Dehydrated Fruit (We used 1 cup Freeze Dried Mangos and 1/2 cup Banana Chips)

This is a simple way to make your own trail mix. The trail mix is quite tasty! The reason I like it is because of the contrasting tastes and textures. The granola and fruits are sweet and crunchy, while the nuts are salty and chewy. I know what I will be eating on my next scouting adventure, hike or roadtrip!

Monday, May 10, 2010

FIFO? What's That?

Easy to Adjust Food Storage Rotation Shelves
FIFO Can Rack

FIFO Can Racks are not as well known as the Shelf Reliance brand can racks, but are similar in use and quality.  The rack pictured above is the 72" tall model that is 36" wide and 24" deep and can hold over 500 small and medium sized cans.  Shelves that are 72" high, 36" wide and 24" deep are the largest size that either Shelf Reliance or FIFO makes.  Many of you have these type of shelves or are familiar with them.  For those that are not familiar with these shelving systems, these can racks help make storage of cans and rotation easy.

The food rotation shevles operate under the principle of First In First Out (FIFO).  The tracks are angled toward the back of the rack in a U-Shape.   You simply load your cans from the top of the track and the cans roll toward the back.  As the cans near the back of the track they slip down the back of the U, slide down the curved back and then roll forward.  The cans you put in first at the top can then be extracted first.  This helps you rotate your cans using the oldest cans first.

The FIFO can racks are actually easier to set up and adjust than the Shelf Reliance racks because of how the tracks fit into the main unit.  However,  FIFO only makes two models right now:  A 72" rack for small and medium cans and a 72" rack for #10 cans.  The small and medium can rack will hold small cans like tuna fish and green chillis, as well as soup cans, vegetable cans, fruit cans and other cans up to 36 oz cans.  The #10 can unit holds small cans up to gallon size (coffee) #10 cans.
FIFO Can Tracker

While this is the only size of can racks that FIFO makes, they do make a Can Tracker and a Mini Can Tracker.  The Can Tracker is designed to fit on pantry shelves, while the Mini Can Tracker is designed for cupboard shelves.  Both of these units can be adjusted to hold various types of small soup sized cans.

We add a board to the top of our unit and you can store food or gear on top.  If you are struggling to organize your canned food and need help with rotation, these shelves can be a great tool.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cast Iron Cookware 101

Cookware for Everyday Use and Preparedness
Lodge Cast Iron

In my opinion, Cast Iron Cookware is a fantastic way to prepare meals everyday and have solid, heavy-duty cookware that is capable of being used in various cooking enivornments.  It makes superb camping and preparedness cookware because of its durability, its ability to be used over numerous heating sources and the fact that you can clean it in various ways.  Furthermore, I could be wrong ,but meals made in Cast Iron just seem to taste better.  I don't know if that is just my wishful thinking, if it is the type of meals I like to cook in Cast Iron or if the even cooking temperature reflects better in the food.

When people think of Cast Iron they often think about a large cauldron type cooking pot with lid for camping or for large jobs.  However, Cast Iron isn't just for Camping!  Cast Iron Cookware is an incredibly versatile type of cookware.  Cast Iron comes in a myriad of different cookware types, including camp dutch ovens, stove dutch ovens, skillets, griddles, cornbread pans, decorative pans, combo cookers, frying pans, pizza pans, biscuit pans, muffin pans, Aebleskiver pans, woks, presses, grill pans and more.  Cast Iron is often referred to as the original non-stick cookware.  When seasoned properly and used correctly, cast iron provides a great cooking surface.

One complaint often heard in relation to Cast Iron is that it is heavy.  That may be true, but the heavy duty construction is what makes this cookware truly singular.  Cast Iron has a nice heating surface, is rugged and strong, and is designed for years and years of use.  Many of us don't trust teflon and aluminum pans, and so stainless steel and Cast Iron make great options.

Some folks worry about the care and washing of Cast Iron.  I actually find it refreshing to take care of Cast Iron.  I feel that if I take care of my Cast Iron, it will take care of me!  You will get many different opinions on how to best clean Cast Iron, but everyone agrees that soap is not recommended for normal day to day cleaning.  Some folks use hot water and a scrub brush.  Others heat the Cast Iron and use a scraper and hot oil.  Some people use oil and rags for cleaning, while others rub out their pans with salt and towels.  Cowboys used to use sand to rub out their skillets and dutch ovens.  We all develop our preferences over time, but one thing is clear, there are many great ways to clean out dutch oven and not having to use water can be a blessing at times.  It is good to lightly rub or coat the insides of the pans and/or lids with oil to keep the Cast Iron in top condition.  Depending on the dish you cook, it is good to start with butter or oil in the pan if you can to help make cleaning easier.

When selecting Cast Iron products, cheaply made cookware just doesn't cut it.  USA made is really the only way to go.  Chinese made Cast Iron and other imports do not undergo the high heat process that is needed to properly strengthen the materials.  The cheap imports can crack and distort much more easily.  Spend a little extra and skip the hassle and frustration of cheaply made materials.

Don't be intimiated by Cast Iron Cookware.  It is relatively easy to use and can become addidicting both in how you use it and the care of it.  An easy way is to start is with a combo cooker, which is basically two skillets that can be used individually as skillets or together as a dutch oven.  You can also just start with a griddle or skillet.  Take time to read the manual that comes with your cookware and buy a book on Cast Iron or Dutch Oven Cooking.  Better yet, join a Dutch Oven Club in your area!  However you approach cooking with Cast Iron, you will be learning important skills that will give you years of enjoyment and prepare you for cooking in various environments.