It’s In the Bag by Michelle and Trent Snow teaches a method for assembling a usable three-month supply of food. Its purpose is to promote daily self-reliant living through food storage (expanded rather than basic), canning, sprouting, raising chickens and producing dairy products at home.
Recipes in It’s In the Bag list everything you need, including water, to prepare a complete meal (sometimes even the side dishes). Items are stored in medium size gift bags with the recipe attached to the outside. Each meal serves 6 to 8 people. Twelve advantages are given for storing your 3-month supply this way:
1. You’ll have organized, complete meals
you know your family will enjoy.
I reviewed all the recipes but haven’t actually tried any. Most, if not all, look like they would be good. Be sure to test them, though, before storing multiple bags of the same recipe. Here are some things to be aware of:
• There are about 60 main dish recipes.
The rest (about 40) are breakfast recipes.
One nice addition to some recipes is the optional fresh ingredients you can add or substitute.
The photographs in the book are black and white and don’t do justice to the food but are helpful in the bag instructions.
There are actually several more chapters after the Bag Meal ideas:
"Do-It-Yourself Dairy Recipes" - Instructions and recipes are given for ten homemade dairy products. They all must be made with fresh milk and not powdered, though.
"I Can; You Can; We All Can: Home Canning Basics" - Numerous recipes and instructions are given for home canning. PLEASE use the current USDA canning guide or the Ball Blue Book instead. One instruction continually given is to tighten the lids and rings firmly on the jars before processing. Please do NOT do that. They can buckle and cause seal failure. Tighten them only finger tip tight.
"Trent’s Sprouting Methods" - The recommendation is given to not store sprouting seeds in an oxygen free environment to avoid sprout failure. That is a common myth. Lack of oxygen in storage does not affect seed viability negatively. Trent does include instructions for a creative sprout jar drainer, though, if you’re handy and want to build your own.
"Chicken Coops and Eggleberries" – This chapter on chickens gives some information on egg storage, cutting up a chicken and building a suburban chicken coop.
The last section lists equivalent measures, substitutions and food weights and measures.
The Bag Meal system is a great way to have, use, and eat stored food. Once organized, it does save time, but if you have a list of recipes you always have ingredients for, it takes only a few minutes more to decide and prepare a meal and may save space in a space challenged home. I question whether the Bag Meal method actually saves space so I don’t know how practical this really is for someone who doesn’t have a large pantry, dedicated closet or basement store room. I also believe there is danger in building your food storage entirely on expanded storage rather than basic storage but that’s a topic for a whole other article. In the meantime, check out “Why Basic Storage?”.
The Snows have also put together Gluten-Free Food Storage: It’s In the Bag. I haven’t read it but did glance through it. It appears to be exactly the same book as It’s In the Bag except that the recipes are gluten free.
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