Cooking a meal from scratch is going to be very common in the weeks and months after a major economic collapse or a complete power grid failure. Our grandparents were not spoiled with the ready-to-eat foods we have been lucky (or maybe not so lucky) to have grown dependent on.
After a long day at work or a busy day running errands, we can pop an entire meal in the microwave or oven and eat in 30 minutes or less with no prep work.
After we are thrust back into the dark ages a bit, that luxury will be gone and we will be baking from scratch. Preparing soups, stews and casseroles that fill the bellies of our families and provide them with the nutrition they need to stay healthy will be done with the ingredients you grow in the garden, harvest from the wild or have been stored away.
It is almost impossible to store every little ingredient you could possibly want or need. You may have had the foresight to add a cookbook to your stockpile, but the chances of you having all the ingredients listed in a recipe is slim.
In many cases, you can just skip one of the non-essential ingredients. In other cases, you are going to have to have some kind of substitute to aid in rising, binding, liquid and what not.
The following list includes some substitutes you can use for various ingredients. Who knows, you may end up creating a masterpiece!
The list will start with the ingredient you need followed by a substitute you can use
1.Chicken Broth—1 can of beer is equal to a cup of broth. You could also dissolve a bouillon cube in a cup of boiling water.
2.Unsalted Butter—1 cup of lard, shortening or vegetable oil.
3.Bread Crumbs—Cracker crumbs will work in the same measurement. You could also use crushed bran flake cereal or rolled oats.
4.Brown Sugar—1 cup of white sugar and ¼ cup of molasses will give same flavor. You will want to reduce the liquid in the recipe by a quarter cup to make up for the addition of the molasses.
5.Buttermilk—1 cup of regular milk with a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice mixed in. Let the milk sit for about 15 minutes before using it in the recipe.
6.Heavy Cream—Mix 2/3 cup of regular milk and 1/3 cup of salted butter to make 1 cup of heavy cream.
7.Clove of Garlic—An eighth teaspoon of garlic powder.
8.Evaporated Milk—Half and half creamer will suffice.
9.Sweetened Condensed Milk—1 cup instant milk, ½ cup boiling water, 2/3 cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter will equate to a can of milk.
10.Rice—Can substitute with brown rice or barley.
11.Molasses—Dark corn syrup can be exchanged for the molasses or mix ¾ cup brown sugar and a teaspoon of cream of tartar to equal 1 cup of molasses. You could also trade straight across with raw honey.
12.Tomato Sauce—Mix half a cup of tomato paste and half cup of water to get one cup of tomato sauce.
13.Vegetable Oil—A cup of applesauce can be substituted for vegetable oil in baking. If frying, use a cup of shortening or lard.
14.Yogurt—Buttermilk or sour cream can be exchanged in the same measurement.
15.Baking Powder—Combine ½ teaspoon cream of tartar and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to equal 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
16.Cake Flour—Use regular flour minus tablespoons.
17.Lemon Juice—A quarter teaspoon of apple cider vinegar can be used in place of one teaspoon of lemon juice.
18.Margarine—A half cup of applesauce is equal to a cup of margarine.
19.Cornstarch—Use two tablespoons of flour to equal one tablespoon of cornstarch.
20.Whole Egg—There are a number of substitutions; ¼ cup of mashed potatoes, ¼ cup canned pumpkin, ¼ cup egg substitute, 2 egg whites or half a smashed banana.
21.Mustard—A half teaspoon of ground mustard mixed with two teaspoons of vinegar will make a nice topping for your burger or in a recipe.
22.Sugar—2 cups of powdered sugar can be substituted for one cup of table sugar or trade the white sugar straight across for brown sugar.
23.Baking Chocolate—If the recipe calls for an ounce of baking chocolate, substitute with 3 ounces of cocoa powder.
24.Mayonnaise—Trade the mayo for yogurt in a recipe.
25.Beer—Trade beer in a recipe for beef broth or apple cider.
26.Yeast—This one is tricky and it won’t result in the exact flavor you are used to, but it will help the food you are baking to be fluffy. You will need ¼ teaspoon of baking soda for every cup of flour in the recipe. Mix the baking soda into the dry ingredients. For every ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, you will want to add one tablespoon of lemon juice to the wet ingredients. Don’t let the dough rise like you would with yeast. Cook it immediately.
27.Milk—You can make a cup of milk using the directions on your nonfat dry milk container. Add two teaspoons of butter or vegetable oil to give it some texture. Powdered milk is preferable to the instant dry milk. It tends to have more of a milk flavor and will retain the taste of the original recipe.
When you are preparing meals from scratch, you will discover you can change the flavor enough to make the meal appear “new” by using some of these ingredient substitutes, even if you have the ingredients listed in the original recipe. It is fun to get creative by using different substitutions. In many cases, the substitutions are a bit healthier.
Substituting fresh fruits and vegetables in a stew is always an option. Using dried beans to make a stew or soup will require a little extra cooking time than what the recipe called for, but it will be much healthier and taste a lot better.
You can interchange the protein in a recipe as well. A beef roast may be hard to come by after SHTF, but you can use a recipe designed for meat to cook chicken, venison or whatever you manage to catch.