Saturday, April 21, 2012

Daily Briefing for Saturday, April 21, 2012

Taste Test Report - Freeze Dried Ground Beef

In my quest to bring you people more information you can use to get ready for whatever the future holds, I'm called to test things in my kitchen and back yard which my wife and stepdaughter find somewhat off putting.  Today's test clearly fit that bill.

I ordered a can of freeze dried ground beef from Emergency Essentials.  For $47, you get 20 ounces of freeze dried ground beef.  Doing the math, this represents 9.4 grams of protein per dollar, which isn't exactly cheap when compared to other types of food.

Preparation is easy.  Heat up some water (you don't even have to get it up to a boil), dump the meat in and let it set for five minutes.  Drain off the water and you have ground beef you can use for anything you'd use ground beef for.

My observations:

Preparation - very easy.  Used the solar oven to heat up the water and re-hydrate the meat.  It worked well and quickly.  Grid down, I'd keep the used water, throw in a little bouillon for a nice beef stock. 

Cost - It's pricey.  Then again, freeze dried anything is pricey.  This is something you'd use as an ingredient to a bigger dish, such as a pasta or rice based recipe.  It would be a good way to add true beef flavor and protein to a meal.

Taste - It's ground beef, so it taste like ground beef.  The only difference I noticed was in the texture.  The freeze dried beef, once hydrated, is a bit softer than the ground beef you'd buy fresh and brown in a skillet.  Mixed in with other ingredients, you'd be hard pressed to tell it wasn't fresh ground beef.

Additives - Interestingly, none whatsoever, according to the label.  No additives or preservatives.  Of course, the beef isn't certified organic, so whatever the cow got growing up in terms of hormones, feed, etc. is what you're getting in the ground beef.  But in an emergency situation when we have a true food desert (as opposed to the nonsensical ones declared by the USDA), how many of you organic-only types will turn your nose up at food just because Whole Foods didn't sell it?  I suspect there are no organic purists in foxholes.

Shelf life - The conventional wisdom here runs the gamut.  I've read articles claiming it's good from anywhere between ten to thirty years.  However, once you open the can, you'll need to consume it within 30 days, provided you keep it refrigerated.  If not kept refrigerated, you're looking at a "best by" date of about a week.

Overall impressions - I'll be using this can up over the next thirty days, using the meat as a condiment to other dishes.  If my impressions on the matter change, I will let you know.

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