With winter weather soon upon us, and let’s face it, uncertain economic times ahead, I’ve been thinking a lot about shelf stable meals I can have stashed away for those times when I might not be able to get to the store for a while.
In my search for ideas, I’ve found myself reading memoirs from famine survivors, stories from the Great Depression, and recollections from Frontier life.
In all of my reading I’ve found one thing in common. Everyone who lived through lean times remembers being sustained by a simple soup, and some bread if they were lucky.
It may be a humble meal, but soup can also be incredibly nourishing. And there are so many variations and ways to mix it up, it’s possible to have soup every day and not get tired of it.
Not to mention that soup is probably one of the least expensive meals you can put together without losing out on nutritional value.
So that is my plan. To store the ingredients I would need to throw together a variety of soups. Quick. Easy. Inexpensive. And nourishing.
Why I Prefer Freeze Dried Foods
Freeze dried foods are super easy to use. Just toss them in some water to rehydrate, and cook as usual.
With soups they’re especially easy- just get your broth hot, stir in all of your ingredients, and boil for a few minutes before serving.
It’s a no-brainer for me, really.
11 Delicious Freeze-dried Soup Recipes
As I gather my ingredients, I do so with recipes in mind. Here are a few of our favorite soups and a few I’ve found elsewhere, which I plan on making with my freeze dried foods.
I’d recommend that you print them off and put them somewhere to refer back to when you’re ready to throw a good soup together.
Vegetable Beef Soup – This is one of our family favorites. I love it because you really can add whatever veggies you have on hand (fresh or dried) and it turns out great every time. Also, with beef flavoring added you could skip the meat and still have a flavorful, hearty meal.
Creamy Potato Soup – This delicious soup can also easily be made using all shelf-stable foods.
Chicken & Dumplings – Another tasty and filling soup your family is sure to devour.
Southern Style Chicken Stew – My kids beg for this. It’s good to make dishes your children are familiar with during emergency situations.
Tomato Florentine Rice Soup – Rice is cheap and filling, and the addition of spinach to this soup really kicks it up a nutritional notch.
Chicken & Rice Soup – A great alternative to chicken noodle soup.
Potato Rice Soup – A Depression era recipe using inexpensive staples.
Lentil Soup – I love that you can just throw all of these ingredients together in a Dutch oven, and cook.
Beef Barley Soup – A nourishing comfort food.
Bean, Beef & Tomato Soup – Ground beef, veggies, pasta and spices might make a yummy meal.
Easy Black Bean Soup – A meatless meal packed with essential protein.
Something that you may notice is that many of these recipes include grains. Grains are a great way to bulk up your soup inexpensively, and will keep bellies full longer. And beans are nice because they’re a complete source of protein, and are much cheaper than meat.
The Shopping List
There are so many different ways you can use the following ingredients to throw together a meal. Here’s a list of what you’d need to have on hand to make all of the above recipes. If you home-can, you can always use canned goods and just rotate them out every couple of years.
I like freeze dried foods ’cause I can pretty much forget about them until I need them (many freeze-dried foods have 30 years of shelf life).
You might choose to substitute real meat with Thrive TVP (textured vegetable protein, a soy-based product), which tastes like meat but is much cheaper. I do generally try to avoid soy, but the (vegetarian) Ham TVP really adds great flavor to some dishes.
- Beef Bouillon & Chicken Bouillon – Bouillon is such an important staple. Probably the most important when it comes to making soups. Even if you have nothing but bouillon, if you have a garden or if you can wild forage, a beef or chicken flavored stock will really add savor and essential vitamins to whatever you can throw together for a soup. Thrive Bouillons have no MSG, are Certified Gluten Free, and are Vegetarian. And they’re delicious. One #10 can (the size of a gallon of paint) contains 575 servings.
- Ground Beef or Beef TVP
- Beef Dices
- Chopped Chicken or Chicken TVP
- Ham Dices or Ham TVP
- Sweet Corn- again, non-GMO!
- Green Beans
- Carrot Dices- these are dehydrated, not freeze dried, so the shelf life is 8 years.
- Chopped Onions- can use these with a little garlic powder in place of shallots.
- Potato Chunks
- Split Green Peas- these are dehydrated, with an 8 year shelf life.
- Tomato Dices
- Green Bell Peppers
- Chopped Spinach
- Tomato Powder- use to make tomato juice for soup bases.
- Instant Black Beans- I’d recommend buying the beans in buckets for the best value.
- Kidney Beans
- Small White Navy Beans
- Instant White Rice or Instant Brown Rice (Brown rice tends to go rancid more quickly than white rice, so it has a shelf life of 7 years, as opposed to 30+ years)- Buying the buckets of rice will give you the best value; buying rice in bulk and packaging it yourself in a bucket with mylar bag and oxygen absorbers will be even cheaper.
- Hard White Wheat (Berries) or Organic Hard White Wheat- These are also available in buckets for a better deal.
- Pearled Barley- available in buckets for best price.
- Elbow Macaroni- an 8 year shelf life on Thrive pastas.
- Egg Noodle Pasta
- Whole Grain Penne Pasta
- Rainbow Farfalle Pasta- naturally colored!
- Shredded Cheddar- you’ll be so glad you got it!!
- Instant Milk- actually delicious!!
- Butter Powder- 5 yr. shelf life.
- Baking Powder- Aluminum free!
- Brown Sugar- 10 yr. shelf life.
- Freeze Dried Cilantro- tastes just like fresh.
Other Spices and Pantry Essentials
- seasoning salt
- cayenne pepper
- garlic powder
- chili powder
- minced garlic
- crushed red pepper flakes
- onion soup mix
- cider vinegar and wine vinegar (buy buy the gallon)
- bottled lemon juice
- bottle of grated parmesan
- olive oil
You probably already have most of these spices and baking essentials on hand. Just make sure you keep enough for emergencies.
Remember, spices have a very long shelf life as long as they are kept in somewhat cool, dry conditions. Rotate out perishables to keep your stock fresh. And always buy in bulk when possible for the best price.
Budgeting It All Out
We live on a very tight budget, so we just pick up a little at a time as we’re able. Being a Thrive Life Consultant, I earn free products and half-off products every month, so that definitely helps!
Some people sign up to be a consultant for the discount alone, with no interest in selling anything. If you’re interested in setting aside some emergency foods, it might be worth it to sign up yourself.
Whatever you do, please consider the wisdom in having some shelf stable foods set aside for emergencies.
Whether a storm hits your area, a job is lost, or it is unsafe to leave your home for whatever reason, having food on hand will ensure that you and your loved ones don’t suffer through the ordeal.
What dried soup recipes do you plan on making in an emergency?
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.