Chow Bella

A Non-Perishable Thanksgiving with the Survival Mom

Lisa Bedford wears many hats -- she's a local blogger, mother of two, and a survivalist. She combines those hats regularly by running TheSurvivalMom blog, where she dishes out advice on how to prepare for everything from a natural disaster to financial crisis.

One survival technique Bedford is a big fan of, unsurprisingly, is using freeze-dried and dehydrated foods. The foods stay edible for long periods of time, are healthy, and easy to find space for.

"The quality is great, and most of the time no one knows that it's freeze-dried or dehydrated," she says.

But with Thanksgiving around the corner, we gave Bedford a challenge: Can she create a menu for a Thanksgiving feast using only freeze-dried and dehydrated products? She accepted the challenge, and completed it.

See Bedford's non-perishable Thanksgiving menu and some tips on preparation after the jump...


The Menu:

  •  Freeze-dried turkey chunks, which are available in a can or jar, though a jar only lasts for a year while a can will last much longer.
  • Mashed potatoes made from dehydrated potatoes, dehydrated milk, and butter powder. If that's not enough, sour cream powder is available at some stores, and dehydrated chives can be added.
  • Green-bean casserole made from freeze-dried green beans, mushrooms, and onions, with shelf-stable cream.
  • Homemade rolls made from freshly ground wheat with reconstituted powdered butter as a spread.
  • Corn, either freeze-dried or dehydrated.
  • Cranberry sauce, made from dehydrated craisins, thickened with corn starch, or a standard canned cranberry sauce.
  • Pumpkin pie, made from do-it-yourself dehydrated pumpkin or canned pumpkin.
  • Apple pie, made from freeze-dried or dehydrated apples, with a handful of dried cranberries.

Several items on the list can be found locally at providers such as Honeyville Farms in Chandler, where Bedford shops for dehydrated and freeze-dried products. 

Many of the dishes can be made at home as well, through a DIY dehydration process you can read about on Bedford's blog. At-home dehydration systems are available online and through Craigslist or eBay for about $30. Most dehydrated products prepared at home have a shelf life of a few years, but wheat can last 20 years or more, Bedford says. The food just needs to be a stored in a cool, dark, dry location.

Bedford also grows herbs, like basil, cilantro, and chives, which she says can be easily dehydrated.

But despite using dehydrated products semi-regularly, Bedford says she won't be trying anything this ambitious for Thanksgiving anytime soon, with the possible exception of freeze-dried onions.

"Maybe for the stuffing," she says.