Parts of this blog is being moved/combined to Some entries are deleted as they are moved. Check out:

"Backyard Grocery Gardening": Info to provide healthy, nutritious and untainted produce
"Special Cooking & Food Prep": Canning, storing, cooking stored-food or money-saving meals
"Homesteading Basics": Becoming self-reliant, inventory checks, water, emergencies, etc.
"School-At-Home": Discussions, quizzes, assignments and other schoolwork
"What Would U Do If...": A fun way to spend 5 minutes of your day!

Shortcut: Onions, Garlic, and Veggies

Here in Colorado, it's Fall bordering on Winter. Our best growing season is over. So, if you didn't garden this year and are worried about providing decent food for your family, it's not hopeless. This posting will give you a shortcut on providing a few essentials.

Check out your local health food store. Near where I live are several locations of Vitamin Cottage; one just opened up around the corner last week! If you don't have a V.C. in your area, get out your phone book and call up health food stores to find out if they have the following:

Onion flakes: These are diced onions that have been dehydrated. I usually buy every bag they have out. If the section labeled "onion flakes" is empty, I find a clerk and ask! Sometimes they have more in the back and sometimes they are waiting to dry more. Sometimes I rehydrate them and use as regular just-diced onions. Most often, I leave them as is and use these while making taco meat, spaghetti sauce, stew, crock pot meals, roasts, etc.

Garlic flakes or granules: I prefer the flakes even though they look almost as small as a granule. Again, this is garlic dehydrated. These are still pretty potent and really add a great garlic taste, whether rehydrated before adding to a dish, or during cooking.

Spinach flakes: These are spinach leaves chopped and dried. Sprinkled on salads, add to spaghetti sauce, or rice. Remember that spinach has iron and calcium so we try to add them to our meals several times a week.

Parsley flakes: Same as spinach. Doesn't have as much flavor as fresh parsley but still provides great nutrition.

Soup Vegetables: This is a combination of dehydrated veggies like potatoes, celery, parsley, carrots and more. This can be powdered (see below), or added to sauce, stews, chicken bakes, and more. Or, here's a novel idea, make soup with them! One bag of soup veggies makes one decent pot of soup.

The above aren't very expensive. A $3.00 bag of garlic flakes should last you a couple of months.

Each comes in a plastic twist-tied bag, marked with contents and price. They aren't marked if organic, but I think they are. And they don't have any additives - just what's on the ingredients section.

Most of the above can be found in V.C.'s bulk item section, along with herbs, nuts, seeds, TVP (textured vegetable protein), granola, beans, and much more. Check out the entire section.

When you bring these home, mark on the bag the date you purchased them. Then store them in the original bag but placed inside something airtight like a mason jar. Include a dessicant package (moisture-eater) if you have some (we save them from new shoes or vitamin bottles). No need to process by canning; just seal tightly. Store in cool place, away from light. I have my son color brown paper bags, cut to fit, as labels.

If you need to get more of the above into your children, use a spice or other grinder to turn them into a powder. This will hide the color and individual tastes. We call this our "all-vegg powder". Add to mashed potatoes (covered with cheese), rice, into mac-n-cheese, pizza sauce, etc.

TSHTF and General Note: We are a small family in our first house: Doug, Vikki and almost 12-yr-old Weslee. This year (2008) was our first year to garden (we call it our experimental year) so not everything turned out ok. Actually, not even one spinach seed germinated! So, every time I go to the Vitamin Cottage, I grab as many bags as I can of each of the above plus others, leaving one of each for the next shopper (how nice of me!). I spend about $15 a month of dried garlic, onion, spinach, parsley and soup veggies. I have quite the stash of each, and since I'm still adding, we will definitely enough to get through this Fall, Winter, Spring and probably next Summer. Should something happen where veggie prices go up, are tainted with e-coli again, or anything else (like when TSHTF), at least we'll have herbs and some veggies to get us through the worst. (However, we have other things too.)