3292

Adding Cheese to Your Food Storage

Have you considered making cheese products a part of your long-term storage plan? Many of us have wisely started with basic items such as: grains, legumes, milk, honey, salt, oil and garden seeds. These are the best place to start, but as you begin to add fruits, vegetables, pasta and other items to your shelves, just think of how some cheese would enhance the flavor and nutrition of these foods! Cheese is high in calcium and protein, and for many of us, it is a beloved "comfort food." In difficult times, comfort foods are more welcome than ever, giving a sense of familiarity and well-being.

Most cheese purchased in the refrigerator section of the grocery doesn’t store too long. Hard and semi-hard varieties can be “freeze wrapped” and stored either “whole” or “shredded” for about 3 months in a freezer. But if power is lost, as often happens in an emergency, your investment may be lost. Fortunately, there are four options available for storing cheese long-term.

    1. Dehydrated Cheese Blend. This versatile, powdered cheddar blend can be sprinkled on popcorn, mixed with cooked pasta or rice, or added to any dish for a cheesy flavor. You can make a cheese soup base or a delicious cheese sauce by whisking it into hot water and serving it over vegetables or potatoes. Dehydrated cheese blend is best if used within five years, although it may have value much longer.

    2. Freeze-dried Shredded Cheese. This is actual cheddar cheese that has been freeze-dried and sealed, and it, too, has many uses. It tastes great right out of the can, and can be reconstituted with a little warm water. Add it to Mexican dishes, chili, soups, casseroles, potatoes, scrambled eggs, salads and much more. This cheese product can store for many years, possibly up to twenty-five years, if kept cool and dry.

    3. Bega Processed Cheese. This imported Australian cheese spread contains ten, 20g servings. Bega cheese is ready to serve, and would be wonderful on crackers or with dried fruit for a nutritional snack or lunch. It could also be added to hot pasta or rice for a yummy flavor-boost. The can does not have an expiration date. It is designed for those who do not have refrigeration. Keep it at a cool, steady temperature and it should be good for many years.

    4. MRE Accessory Cheese Spread. Packaged in individual-serving pouches, this spreadable product is ready to enjoy and adds some nutrition. It is fortified with Vitamins A, C, B1 and B6 as well as providing 15 percent of the daily requirement of calcium and 10 percent of the protein requirement. Keep this cool and it will be good for years.

Think of how often your menu includes cheese, and how easy it is to add this popular, familiar comfort food to your emergency supply. These products make including cheese in your storage plan a smart and sensible choice. And if your plan includes rotating your storage items, these are so delicious, you won’t have any trouble incorporating them into your daily menu!