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Adapting Recipes for the Pantry
 

 

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ADAPTING RECIPES FOR THE PANTRY

    Many recipes that call for fresh or frozen ingredients can be adapted successfully to use pantry stable ingredients. Choose a recipe and ask these questions to determine its adaptability:

    • What are the fresh or frozen ingredients?
    • Is there a canned, dehydrated or freeze dried version I can substitute?
    • Will I need to add more liquid?
    • Will I need to change the cooking time?
    • Will I need to change when an ingredient is added in the mixing or cooking process?
    • Will I need to prepare the substitute ingredients differently than the fresh?
    • If there is no good substitute, can I leave out an ingredient without sacrificing flavor or texture significantly?

The following is a recipe from the Pillsbury Harvest Time Cook Book. It is followed by an analysis of its adaptability to the pantry.

HAM AND BEAN SOUP

2 cups dry Great Northern beans
2-1/2 quarts water
2 cups cubed, cooked ham
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 can (16 ounces) whole tomatoes, cut up

Rinse beans, place in Dutch oven with water. Bring to boil over high heat; boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 1 hour. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer, covered, 1-1/2 hours or until beans are done. 12 (1-cup) servings.

• What are the fresh or frozen ingredients?

Ham, carrots, celery, onion

• Is there a canned, dehydrated or freeze dried version I can substitute?

Ham – canned, TVP, freeze dried
Carrots – canned, dehydrated, puff dried (similar to freeze dried)
Celery – dehydrated, freeze dried
Onions – dehydrated, freeze dried

• Will I need to add more liquid?

Yes, if using TVP, freeze dried ham, dehydrated or puff dried carrots, and/or dehydrated or freeze dried celery because there is so much of each.

• Will I need to change the cooking time?

No.

• Will I need to change when an ingredient is added in the mixing or cooking process?

Yes, if using canned carrots. Add them the last 30 minutes of cooking.

• Will I need to prepare the substitute ingredients differently than the fresh?

No.

• If there is no good substitute, can I leave out an ingredient without sacrificing flavor or texture significantly?

If dehydrated or freeze dried celery is unavailable, it can be left out.

    Using the answers to the questions, the following is one way the recipe can be adapted to pantry stable ingredients.

WHITE BEAN SOUP (from Pantry Cooking)

2 cups dry Great Northern beans
2-1/2 quarts water
1 can (12 ounces) luncheon meat, cubed
1/2 cup dried celery (optional)
2 tablespoons dried onion
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
Dash pepper
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) whole tomatoes, undrained and cut up
1 cup sliced canned carrots

Rinse beans and place in a Dutch oven with the water. Bring to a boil over high heat; boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 1 hour. Add remaining ingredients except carrots. Simmer, covered, 1 hour. Add carrots; simmer an additional 30 minutes or until beans are done. Makes 3 quarts.

Tips for making substitutions

    • When substituting canned for fresh vegetables in a recipe that requires cooking for more than 30 minutes, add the canned vegetables the last 30 minutes so that they don’t overcook.
    • When substituting dried for fresh, use 1/3 to 1/2 of the amount originally called for. Some dried foods may need soaking before adding them to the recipe and some may just need extra water added to the recipe. To decide which, consider how long the food is to cook and whether the cooking liquid will discolor the food.
    • When substituting freeze dried for fresh, use the same volume but either reconstitute before adding or add extra water to the recipe.
    • Powdered eggs and cheese will not work well in all recipes requiring fresh eggs and cheese. Learn the limitations of these foods before substituting them for fresh in recipes.

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Copyright © 2004 - 2013 Cheryl Driggs
Last modified: 07/15/2013