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Best DIY Portable, Protein Rich, Survival Food That Won’t Break the Bank

In this article we will look briefly back in history at a time when both fuel and food were in short supply.

Will it happen again?

At some point it is indeed possible and of course we need to be prepared. After that glace back we’ll learn a DIY way to add to your light-weight, portable food preps by creating “Quick-Cook Beans and bean meal along with delicious multi-use aquafaba”.

Some Backdoor Survival readers are probably too young to remember the trucker strikes of the 1970s when gas prices increased by over 100% in a short time; from about 30 cents per gallon to 70 cents as a result of the oil embargo.

Today those prices may seem laughable but consider how it would affect you if today the cost of gas went from $3 to $7 per gallon practically overnight!

wait in line for your turn at the pump was up to an hour in larger
cities. On top of that, the fuel storage tanks may be empty when you
finally pull up, making it necessary to wait until your next assigned
“even” or “odd” day to get in line and begin again. This is
not fiction or exaggeration it actually did occur, as those over a
certain age can attest.

Is it any wonder that independent truckers (owner–operators) made a stand that started with one angry, frustrated trucker (J.W. Edwards, aka River Rat) whose truck stopped on I-80 in PA? He picked up his CB microphone and the proverbial dam broke. During this strike some truckers lost their homes just so they could afford to keep their rigs.

Some lost their rigs and never went back into the trucking industry. They had been making decent money but if they couldn’t get fuel, they couldn’t work. When their fuel costs more than doubled, their income decreased significantly.

Is it any wonder then that the Council of Independent Truckers (CIT) staged strikes across the U.S. and these shortages and strikes lasted for many months before a shaky settlement was finally reached?


Here is how that gas shortage and independent trucker strike affected food delivery in the Northeast where we lived at the time.

Many grocery chains had to close their doors temporarily. Some stores stayed open with limited food. Toilet paper was at a premium when you could find it. Occasionally non-independent truckers could deliver food but with more folks vying for the limited food and toilet paper, the grocery stores usually closed within an hour of the food delivery…sold out, doors locked.

Sometimes arguments and fights broke out in grocery markets and in the gas lines. That was almost 50 years ago when civility was usually still practiced and normal folks had a little more patience. I can’t imagine how that same scenario would play out today—well, maybe I can, and it’s not pretty. See BDS article, “Are You Toilet Paper Prepared?” for a great way never to run out of TP.


So could this shortage happen again? Absolutely! And there are low rumblings within the trucker community right now. You’ve probably read about the Slow Rolls’ that have recently begun in various states across the United States and are planned throughout this spring and into the summer, 2019. It’s low key now and may be under the media radar or it is being ignored by the media, but it is there and is brewing. Truckers are again rightly disgruntled.

Although this time the root cause is different, the threat to the ever decreasing number of independent truckers’ livelihood is at stake. Time will tell if the problem will increase this summer. At this point we can’t know what the outcome will be. The independent truckers have less impact on the transportation industry than they had in the 1970’s but in this crazy world a surprise seems to be around every corner so of course, being prepared is one major key to a more secure future.


Living in a farming section of the country, I know that the federal government has made attempts to take more control over all aspects of food production as well assmall truck farming and dairy production. They even seek to regulate backyard gardening through tightly controlled restrictions and over-the-top “rules” – and no “accusation” of rule breaking has to be “proven”!

The mere suggestion of an infraction of the arbitrary rules can close down a farm or cause farmers to have to pay large fines which they can ill afford.

Controlling food transport may be another way for the federal agencies to reach their “total control of food” goal. As small owner-operated independent truckers are forced out due to more regulations that remove the monetary incentives to stay in business, it will be easier to control the mega transportation industry. The same is true of meat and dairy production and of organic produce.

fuel and food shortages can repeat what happened the 1970’s. Only
this time, over 40 years after the first strike, the world is a far
different and more volatile place and it is hard to predict what
might happen. My point then is simply to heed the Scout motto: Be Prepared! – prepared for shortages and challenges of any kind that you think
you may be facing. Only you know the strengths and weaknesses that
are in your preparedness plans. The challenge is to identify the
weaknesses and move forward to begin to correct them as you
can…..even if you are only able to do it in a small way.…do

a prepper community we have a leg up in this area. But lately I’ve
been thinking about things we can do to make life a little easier now
and in the future as we continue to gather, store and use our
emergency food supplies.

Best DIY Portable, Protein Rich, Survival Food That Won’t Break the Bank

Emergency Foods

of the currently available high energy foods are listed below and
definitely have their place in go bags and other prep applications.

  • Dried
    or wet pouched
    fish and
    These are fully cooked and ready to eat. Spam
    also comes in a pouch fully cooked.
  • Cured
    bacon or salami
    – (usually high in carcinogens). There are ways to DIY cured meats
    but even then you must be careful about premixed curing rubs which
    contain nitrites. This applies to using jerky rubs as well.
  • Protein
    Bars: These
    bars are an easy energy source but are very highly priced if you are
    considering buying for a family to rely on. For
    example, Quest bars cost $25.00 for 12 bars. Yes, they are high
    protein and they do fill a need, but if there are four people in
    your evacuation group and they each have one bar a day for one week,
    the total is $58 dollars plus tax. They do have 9 gms. of protein
    per ounce so having some of these bars is a good idea if the other
    ingredients in it agree with you. I think the bars are about 2.2
    ounces each. Nice if that is within your budget. There are many
    types and brands available.
  • Nut
    Nut butters are
    nice when they are packaged in individual units because they are
    convenient, but again they are relatively pricey when purchased that
    way. In jars, even if they are made of plastic, they are too heavy
    for a pack but having this at home is a good choice since just about
    everyone enjoys them. Of course, this seems to be a high allergen
    food for many people. Of all of the nut butters, peanut has the
    highest amount of protein with 7 gms. per ounce, 2 gms. higher than
    the nearest competitors: almond and cashew butters. The Justin’s
    brand comes in individual packet size.
  • Nuts and Seeds:
    These have the added advantage of being filling but they also go
    rancid easily if you are fleeing a situation during hot weather. The
    last thing you want is a wonky stomach at a time like that!
    Stabilizing them in a date or fig based nut/seed bar does allow the
    seed or nut to last a bit longer.
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I was looking for a flavorful, nutritious food at a very reasonable cost to add to traditional trail foods that are regular players in a go bag or other prep scenarios that may also be used at home. So here is a quick, easy way to add to your light-weight, portable food preps in a way that will be within even the most modest of budgets.

This is a good fiber/ caloric food, is tasty, easy to make and use, light-weight and can be eaten with or without taking the time to start a fire when on the move or during a situation such as a power failure. It was important to me that it be portable, easy to use, shelf stable and healthy.

instructions below can be used with a variety of dry beans.

BEAN: aka-Borlotti bean, Shell bean, Crab eye or Rosecoco

The only store where I have been able to find packaged cranberry beans in Maryland is the Food Lion Grocery Chain. I’m going to be in Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia this week and will check to see if the Food Lion in those places carry them.

If you cannot find cranberry beans, then great northern, kidney, cannellini beans or chickpeas work well. The cost for the pictured one pound bag was $1.49. The instructions below can be used with a variety of dry beans.

How to Make Your Own “Quick Cook” Beans

cooking beans the pre-soaking process can take from an hour to
overnight, depending on the kind of bean. Then making the bean soup
can take another hour or two. Who has that kind of time?

a side note here:
You can dehydrate canned beans from the store. They don’t need any
soaking or cooking since they come already cooked. After drying they
reconsitiute easily. It’s a good way to dehydrate if you just want
to add a few small bags of dried beans to your stores, however it is
quite a bit more expensive when done this way and not cost effective
for a group or family.

process below for using dried beans will take upfront time but after
that initial time investment you will be all set to have a hot mug of
bean soup while on the trail in a matter of 20 to 25 minutes. Or you
can eat the beans like popcorn without stopping your journey! Here’s
how it’s done.


  • 1
    lb. dry beans of your choice (increase poundage if desired)
  • Salt
    and other spices to your liking.
  • 1
    large heavy pot
  • Water
  1. Rinse beans and remove any flawed beans or pebbles.
  2. Put cleaned beans into the large heavy pot.
  3. Cover with water 3over beans.
  4. Bring to boil, then cover.
  5. Turn off heat
  6. Allow to soak until beans have increased somewhat in size. (1-2 hours depending on size of bean)

Water should be 3” above the beans as they soak. The beans will
take on water and begin to swell. At this point you can choose to do
a “quick hot soak” or you may choose to soak overnight (covered).

Hot Soak:
Bring the beans to simmer, turn off heat, cover and allow to soak for
about an 1 ½ hours while the heat is off.

After soaking as above, return to heat and bring to a low simmer. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally to make sure the beans have not began to scorch at the bottom of the pot. Below.

simmering as the beans begin to soften. I like to use a long handled
wooden spoon with a wide flat base because it gives me a good
indication of any early scorching that might be starting and I can
lower the heat. This is more apt to happen when the beans begin to
thicken (as seen below) so stay close and stir often at this stage.

this point the beans are done. They are soft, creamy, and have a
meaty flavor. A thick bean broth has formed as you can see above.
This broth tastes wonderful and can be used in a number of surprising
ways that we’ll discuss later in the article.

and Rehydration:

After the cranberry
beans are cooked on the stove, well drained of all of that beautiful
Aquafaba (save it of course), and towel dried but still damp, it is
time to seasonings.Add sea salt
or any spice you might enjoy i.e.: chili powder, curry, onion or
garlic powder, lime zest, garam masala, Chinese five spice etc. You
could even choose to go sweet if that is what you like. Then place
them on dehydrator screens. Beans will be clumpy so separate them a

Don’t worry about
getting each bean separated because as they dry they will do that.
Any dehydrator will get the job done. If using the round type
dehydrator the trays may need to be rotated every couple of hours to
assure even drying.

times may vary from 8-10 hours. I have left them up to 12 hours just
because I could not be home to take them out of the dehydrator and
they were fine.

beans below are for snacking or you can throw a couple of handfuls
into any soup or stew for added body and richness.

Oven Dehydrating

If you don’t have
a dehydrator, that’s okay. You can simply place the cooked beans on
cookie cooling racks which have been placed on a cookie tray to catch
any dry crumbs that drop through the racks. Or just place drained
beans on a jelly roll pan with sides. Dehydrate at 125° degrees
until fully dry and brittle. The time varies with the variety of bean
and the trueness of oven temperature but 8-12 hours in the oven
usually does the trick. Check for dryness frequently. Since you are
using radiant direct heat and not with hot air heat it is easier for
the beans to burn. Watch them closely.

Aquafaba (aka: bean broth,
bean water)

Delicious enough to serve in
any upscale restaurant!

to Use Aquafaba

  • It’s
    a stand alone delicious soup. Aquafaba is full of deep, robust
    flavor. It is packed with protein and is a good nutritional
    substitute for bone broth. I understand that it is beginning to be
    popular in vegan circles. It can be used to “beef-up” soups and
    stews, adding an umami (meat-like) flavor. I use this if a family
    member or friend needs an uplift during cold season.
  • Aquafaba
    can be used as a direct replace egg white replacement in meringues.
    Usually this is made from chickpea broth. If you have ever purchased
    a can of cooked chickpeas you may remember the thick liquid that
    covers the beans in the can. This chickpea aquafaba is the best bean
    broth to use in baking cookies, cakes and breads as an egg replacer.
    There is about
    1/2 to 3/4 cup of this liquid, so about 8 to 12 tablespoons in each
    can of chickpeas. It amazingly whips up just like egg whites! You
    can use the “aquafaba juice” that is in the canned chickpeas for
    whipping or make it yourself from cooked chickpeas, then use the
    peas to make hummus. There seems to be no waste when it comes to
    using beans.
  • You
    may also freeze aquafaba for later use. A good way is to freeze it
    in ice cube trays and when frozen remove the cubes and put into
    freezer bags for easy premeasured use.
  • This
    broth can be dehydrated then powdered which makes it a super
    portable high protein food. Of course, if you are on the move, make
    sure to have your water filter along to use before adding creek
    water etc. to rehydrate into drinkable bean broth.
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New or Unusual Foods Now

It’s important to experiment and learn unique ways to use and combine your stored food supply. There are so many ways to step up your game plan and move out of your comfort zone. It can produce some tasty results that add variety and flavor to emergency foods. Having variety in your emergency storage can be lifesaving. History has proven that there are those who will actually starve to death rather than eat the same things for prolonged periods of time.

Diversify experiment, broaden your food horizons, and especially vary foods for your children. When they are part of the planning and process they are more likely to eat new foods. If there are true allergies I’m certain you have made sure you have appropriate variety and nutrition available for them, and may have already experimented with foods with survival in mind. You can’t effectively introduce emergency foods to your family for the first time when so many other things may be changing around them. If you have fun with presenting new foods before an emergency and getting them on board perhaps your kids will become food allies. This simple strategy can lessen stress and increase unity.

How to Use Your Dried Bean Products

  • Once fully dehydrated, the seasoned beans can be eaten as a portable dry snack. They have a hard pretzel-like crunch. This has limited use and doesn’t make a “meal”, but is a tasty trail crunch.
  • If you crush the dehydrated beans in a bag with a meat tenderizing mallet and then grind them into a coarse cornmeal type consistency, they rehydrate easily in water. Just add enough filtered water to slightly over-cover the meal and allow to sit and rehydrate for 10-12 minutes. Next, simmer slowly, adding sufficient water until the thickness is to your liking.
  • If you can knowledgably forage and add some wild garlic, dandelion, violet greens or flowers, stinging nettle, berries, seeds, wild mushrooms, etc. of course there will be added nutrients and taste.
  • One advantage of having the dried lightweight bean meal in your backpack is being able to have hot “Cream of Bean” soup or gruel relatively quickly,using a small portable pop-up stove or a wood fire. I add a little salt after they are ground into meal and have salt available in my go-preps.



into meal, it’s light weight and easy to transport.

Bean Meal Made Into Gruel

of this meal as similar to grits or cream of wheat. Compared to the
aquafaba gruel is not as smooth and creamy but has a wholesome taste.
It is filling and will “fill you up”. I’ve has this when on day
long hikes in the late autumn. It’s a welcome meal. I also added
butter powder…so good and rich.

AQUAFABA SOUP (Bean Broth)~ Not to be confused with bean meal gruel

like to add a little cream on top when at home. It’s not likely
you’ll be serving it like it’s shown here when you are in any
kind of emergency or survival situation but it tastes just as good
out of a canteen or metal mug! And you’ll be happy for a nutritious
hot meal.

make sure that you have a good water filter wherever you go. If you
carry powdered milk along and are thinking about adding that, be
aware that the powder should be added AFTER the water and dehydrated
broth combination is fully hot. By adding milk while cooking you risk
having clabbered (clotted, grainy) soup or broth! Add a little,
slowly at the end of cooking and after it is off of the heat source.


in glass containers with oxygen packs for shorter term (6 months) or
in Mylar bags with O2 packets for many years. I like to powder a good amount and then
hermetically seal in Mylar and keep a variety in our individual go
bags, along with hermetically sealed Mylar water packets.(See related
article on BDS) The Mylar bags can be cut into custom sizes before
filling and sealing to meet your specific needs.


At first glance this dry bean process may seem too involved or time consuming, but don’t be deceived. Most of the time is in waiting for the beans to dry…..while you are doing other things. My suggestion: Try a one pound bag and experiment with the process. Then when you feel comfortable and like the results and can see the true value, go whole hog, figure out the logistics and involve your friends and family. Have a good time. Make an event of it if you’d like. You’ll be helping yourself and others and have a good time into the bargain!

don’t know if a trucker’s strike will be the cause of food
shortages but common sense tells us that the road ahead isn’t rosy
and that there will be shortages and most likely for a longer period
of time. Preparedness is an act of hope. Prepare for the worst, hope
for the best.

Blessings, Donna

A Note From Samantha: For those of you that are interested in learning more about grocery stores struggling to stock shelves and the trucker strikes, I encourage you to take a look at the investigative guest posts I wrote for my friend Daisy over at The Organic Prepper. Links are below.

“Why Are We Seeing So Many Bare Shelves At Grocery Stores Across The Country?” February 5, 2019, The Organic Prepper

“What Would Life Be Like Without Trucks? We’ll Find Out When Truckers Strike April 12” April 11, 2019, The Organic Prepper

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