Valley Food Storage

Food Storage Substitutions: 
When Fresh Is Not Available

I'm sure all of us have several cookbooks full of good recipes, but we're looking at our favorite recipes with prepping in mind. During a crisis, there will be no trips to the store; we will need to cook with whatever is in our pantry or storage.

Invest in emergency food storage now and enjoy peace of mind for the next 25 years. Don't miss out on the savings! 

Like many of you, I often cook with soup, chicken, or some vegetable or fruit from cans purchased at the grocery store or my own canned/bottled supply. Canned foods are a must-have in my storage plans. But sometimes we don't have a can of some food, or a particular food doesn't even come in cans, or the recipe calls for a fresh food. That's when we need to be creative and flexible. Find a substitute for the recipe ingredient with another food that will be healthy as well as tasty.

Use the following chart to give you an idea of what to substitute when fresh ingredients are not available.


Apples Dehydrated apple slices, applesauce
Beef Freeze-dried ground beef, freeze-dried sliced beef, dehydrated beef crumbles, canned beef, chipped beef, beef pouches, TVP, jerky
Bell peppers Dehydrated peppers, freeze-dried peppers
Butter Canned butter, freeze-dried butter powder, shortening
Carrots Dehydrated carrots, freeze-dried carrots
Celery Dehydrated celery, freeze-dried celery
Cheese Freeze-dried shredded or powdered cheese, Cheez Whiz, Velveeta processed cheese, canned cheese soup
Chicken Canned chicken, freeze-dried chicken, dehydrated chicken pieces
Eggs Freeze-dried powdered eggs, 1 tablespoon soy flour plus 1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon applesauce
Ham Canned flaked ham, Spam, Canned ham, Freeze-dried ham, dehydrated ham or bacon bits
Milk Nonfat dry powdered milk, nonfat dry milk, freeze-dried milk powder, canned evaporated milk

Canned mushrooms, freeze-dried mushrooms, dehydrated mushrooms

Onions Onion powder, freeze-dried onion, dehydrated onion, onion soup mix
Turkey Canned flaked turkey, freeze-dried turkey, dehydrated turkey pieces
Sausage Freeze-dried sausage crumbles, pepperettes, or little smokies



Most of us probably store white sugar. It's easy to store and will last indefinitely. Try these substitutions if all you have is white sugar and your recipe calls for other types of sweeteners.

1 cup Dark Brown Sugar 1 cup granulated sugar + ¼ cup molasses
1 cup Light Brown Sugar ½ cup dark brown sugar + ½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup Dark Corn Syrup 1 cup brown sugar plus ¼ cup water
1 cup Light Corn Syrup 1 cup granulated sugar plus ¼ cup water
1 cup Granulated Sugar 2 cups sifted powdered sugar OR ¾ cup honey plus 2 tsp baking soda
1 cup Honey 1 ½ cup granulated sugar plus ¼ cup water OR 1 ½ cup Honey Crystals plus 6 T. HOT water.


Dry Red Wine Liquid drained from canned mushrooms OR beef broth, OR tomato juice, OR 1 cup red grape juice (decrease sugar in recipe)
Dry White Wine Chicken broth OR ginger ale, OR white grape juice (decrease sugar in recipe)
Beer / Ale (in cheeses) Chicken broth, ginger ale
Brandy Apple cider, peach or apricot syrup
Red Burgundy Red Grape Juice
White Burgundy

White Grape Juice

Champagne Ginger ale
Claret Grape or currant juice or cherry cider

Peach, pear or apricot juice

Kirsch Syrup or juice from black cherries and raspberries
Rum Pineapple juice mixed with almond extract
Sherry Orange or pineapple juice

About Freeze-Dried Foods

In my opinion, no food storage plan should be without freeze-dried foods. Not only do they last 25 years or more, but with a little hot water, they provide the same vitamins, minerals, and flavor that fresh foods can provide when they are available.

If you want to change your attitude about surviving on only your food storage, learn how to use freeze-dried foods in your regular recipes. You might be surprised how good they are!


Investing in freeze-dried meats gives you the ability to use your normal recipes with very little adaptations. These are the available kinds:

  • Chicken diced
  • Buffalo chicken
  • Chicken cooked and seasoned
  • Ground beef
  • Beef diced
  • Roast beef
  • Italian meatballs
  • Sausage crumbles
  • Turkey
  • Chicken and Beef TVP (vegetarian)


As you probably know, some vegetables are not available canned, but they are available freeze-dried, such as bell peppers. In the middle of a cold, dark winter, having a good supply of vegetables in your panty is the difference between going out in the cold and snow to the store, or there may not be any in the winter at all. Here are some very useful veggies to throw into any soup or casserole:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Diced carrots
  • Green beans
  • Corn
  • Green, red, and yellow bell peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini
  • Regular and sweet potatoes

There are even more varieties of fruits available in freeze-dried form, including many tropical kinds that will not grow everywhere, such as mango, pineapple, and bananas. 

Eggs and Dairy Products

We usually buy eggs and dairy products on our weekly grocery store trips because they are considered perishable and need to be refrigerated. But what if in a crisis and you need an egg, or milk for the breakfast cereal? Not to worry — there are freeze-dried varieties that are just as good or nearly as good as the fresh. And, they will last 10-25 years.

Just think how comforting it would be to your kids to make them a pizza when we're in a grid down situation. (Make sure you have a way to cook it when the electricity is out.)

Think about storing some #10 cans (or the pantry or pouch size) of these dairy products:

  • Shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheeses
  • Powdered cheese
  • Powdered milk, buttermilk
  • Powdered whole eggs, egg whites, and egg yolks
  • Powdered butter
  • Canned butter
  • Powdered shortening

What is the ratio of fresh foods to dry?

If you're in the middle of preparing dinner with a favorite recipe, how do you know how much dry food to used in place of fresh? It depends on the type of food, but here's a chart to give you some idea of how much to substitute. Keep in mind, however, that it does depend on the type of food because some foods expand more than others when reconstituted, but there are instructions for preparing freeze-dried or dehydrated foods on the can.

Broccoli 1 cup 1/2 cup 1 cup
Celery 1 cup 1/2 cup 1 cup
Corn 1 cup 1/2 cup 1-1/2 cups
Green Beans 1 cup 1/2 cup 1 cup
Mushrooms 1 cup 1 cup 2 cups
Onions 1 cup 1/3 cup 1 cup
Peas 1 cup 1/3 cup 1 cup
Peppers 1 cup 1/2 cup 1 cup
Potatoes, diced or shredded 1 cup 1/2 cup 1-1/2 cups
Spinach 1 cup 1 cup 1-1/2 cups

Freeze-dried Foods mentioned above are available at:

You might like these:

What do you think?

I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments.​​