Today’s article was guest written by Lee Flynn
What to Do When You Have 50 Pounds of Potato Pearls That Expire This Year
Knowing that you have emergency supplies on hand is reassuring. When faced with potentially long periods without adequate power or access to outside help, having a fully stocked pantry and ample water supplies, along with a power source, is calming. Whether you’re preparing for a prolonged winter power outage or economic breakdowns, emergency food storage is something you want to build up and maintain properly.
The drawback to having lots of stored food on hand is the eventual expiration date for everything. You will have to use up all that food before it goes to waste, and when you have something like 50 pounds of potato pearls sitting in a cabinet, the task can seem daunting. But over the course of a year, you can use up much of what you have and temporarily freeze the rest. Depending on the size of your family and the sizes of food servings that you eat, polishing off 50 pounds of mashed potatoes and other stored goods isn’t that difficult.
Get perspective, first. While 50 pounds seems like a lot of food, when you divide it up by serving size and number of people, it suddenly isn’t that insurmountable. 50 pounds of potato pearls, for example, equal over 1,030 half-cup servings. Assuming a family of four is eating these, that’s enough for almost 260 meals. If you and your family tend to eat a cup of mashed potatoes instead of 1/2 cup with a meal, that’s 130 meals you’re looking at. So depending on serving size, you’d have to eat mashed potatoes with dinner for about 10 to 21 days per month. 10 days a month is easy. 21 days is doable, but it could get a little boring after a while. Luckily, there are several options for you.
If you don’t already plan menus, start now, and include either mashed potatoes or something like shepherd’s pie, which has a mashed potato topping, with two or three meals each week. Mashed potato recipes can be plain or fancy, so your meals won’t lack flavoring. Also start setting aside baking time and making recipes like potato rolls and pasty or empanada dough, all of which can use mashed potatoes in place of part of the flour. In fact, research World War II rationing recipes, especially from Great Britain. Several recipes for pasties—not pastries, but pasties, which are like hand pies—use mashed potatoes in the dough. The recipes are easy to double. These can be frozen for future lunches. Potato rolls and potato bread can also be frozen, saving you some money on lunch bread and dinner rolls for the next few months.
While frozen food eventually has to be eaten, lest the quality start to go downhill because of freezer burn, the food will remain safe if you have it in temperatures close to zero Fahrenheit. So you will have to eat those rolls and pasties, but you can keep them for several months.
As you get closer to the end of the year, ramp up bread-product production and freeze. Remember that the potatoes won’t automatically expire at midnight on their last day if you have them frozen properly. Also start looking at recipes like potato candy and potato fudge. As strange as those sound, they can taste incredibly good. Online searches will reveal several recipes.
If you reach the end of the year and still have potato pearls or other food left over—a possibility if you haven’t had time to bake, or if you’re the only one trying to eat all this—separate what’s left into smaller bags and freeze the pearls. Or, schedule one or two specific days to go nuts with baking and use up the rest. You can use a similar strategy with almost any food that has an expiration date if you give yourself enough time.
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