We’ve all experienced some type of ingredient shortage – whether stores are closed because of a hurricane, the current supply chain issues have made it hard to find basic ingredients, or the grocery stores are out of stock.
Take yeast, for example. When the pandemic first impacted the United States in 2020, many people made plans to cook and bake at home, which resulted in a sudden yeast shortage.
According to Slate, “John Heilman, vice president of manufacturing for Fleischmann’s Yeast producer AB Mauri, roughly estimates that it’ll take a month or two until shoppers will see a consistent supply of dry yeast on shelves. ‘I’ve been with the company for five years, and this is by far the highest demand I’ve ever seen,’ he said, noting that there’s been as much as a 600 percent increase year over year. In the past, there have been demand spikes during large snowstorms, but those don’t even come close to what Heilman is seeing now.”
The only thing that is certain is that we can never be certain. This is why it is wise to keep your pantry fully stocked with the basics.
As with the case of yeast in 2020, there are some things you just cannot predict. We never imagined a run on a basic ingredient like yeast, yet there we were.
Whether it’s a natural disaster or something unimaginable happens and you can’t find basic ingredients, it is helpful to know how to make substitutions.
#1 Baking Powder
If you don’t have baking powder, you can add baking soda to cream of tartar for a baking powder substitute. The Old Farmer’s Almanac uses the following recipe to create 1 teaspoon of baking powder:
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
You can easily make a flour substitute at home by grinding up oats in a food processor. My Patriot offers a #10 Can of Quick Oats that has a 30-year shelf life. This is not only a great option for breakfast, but also for making your own flour when you can’t get to the store or, worse, should there ever be a flour shortage.
Eggs are a basic staple and are used in a wide variety of dishes and desserts. If you are in a situation where you don’t have access to eggs, you’ll need to find egg substitutes. You can use flax seeds or chia and water as an egg substitute. The best part is that these items are easy to store in case of an emergency.
To replace one egg, whisk together 1 tablespoon of ground chia or flax seeds with 3 tablespoons of water until fully absorbed and thickened.
Buttermilk and plain yogurt also make good substitutions when baking cakes or muffins. For each egg that needs to be replaced, use ¼ cup of either buttermilk or yogurt.
My Patriot Supply sells Ready Hour Whole Egg Powder that has a 10-year shelf life. This egg powder is specially made for long-term emergency storage and can be used to replace eggs in baking and cooking.
#4 Cooking Oil
If you run out of cooking oil, you can use applesauce or bacon fat as a substitution. Another bonus of these cooking oil substitutes is that you don’t have to change the ratios since they work the same way as cooking oil.
#5 Lemon Juice
Don’t have lemon juice on hand? No problem. Just substitute ½ teaspoon vinegar for 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Beyond working as a lemon juice substitute, vinegar is a go-to ingredient to have on hand. See 40 Reasons Vinegar Should Be in Your Preparedness Toolkit to learn more.
If you run out of buttermilk, you can use milk with white vinegar.
Here is a recipe from The Kitchn.
- 1 scant cup whole or 2% milk, or heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or distilled white vinegar
- Combine the milk or cream and acid. Stir the milk or cream and lemon juice or vinegar together in a measuring cup.
- Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes. When it is ready, the milk will be slightly thickened and you will see small curdled bits. This substitute will not become as thick as regular buttermilk, but you will also not notice the curdled bits in your finished recipe.
- Use the buttermilk. Use this substitute (including curdled bits) as you would buttermilk in your recipe.
You can also use plain yogurt as a substitute for buttermilk. To make 1 cup of buttermilk substitute, combine ¾ cup plain yogurt with ¼ cup of water or milk. Whisk until smooth.
There are several uses for tomato-based sauces. If you have tomato sauce on hand, you can make several substitutes.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac lists the following substitutions:
- One cup canned tomatoes = ½ cup tomato sauce plus ½ cup water; or 1–⅓ cups chopped fresh tomatoes, simmered
- One cup tomato juice = ½ cup tomato sauce plus ½ cup water plus dash each salt and sugar; or ¼ cup tomato paste plus ¾ cup water plus salt and sugar, to taste
- ½ cup tomato ketchup = ½ cup tomato sauce plus 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 can tomato soup = 1 cup tomato sauce plus ¼ cup water
There are several substitutes for butter.
You can use a 1:1 ratio to substitute avocados for butter.
You can also use margarine or vegetable shortening.
Delish also recommends, “If the recipe calls for melted butter, substitute with a neutral oil like canola — not olive oil, as it will impart too much flavor. All of the substitutions are equal: 1 cup for 1 cup.”
To substitute 1 teaspoon of cornstarch for thickening, use 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour.
#10 Whole Milk
There are multiple ways to substitute whole milk when you run out or the store shelves are empty. Ideally, you’ll have Ready Hour Powdered Whey Milk in your long-term food supply. If so, you simply add water to the powder to get a nutritious and delicious substitute.
In addition, you can also substitute evaporated milk and water for whole milk, or combine skim milk with half-and-half.
#11 Coffee Creamer
In an emergency, coffee is more than a necessity; it is a source of comfort. In addition to stocking up on Franklin’s Finest Survival Coffee, you should also know how to make your own coffee creamer in a pinch.
Simply combine whole milk with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup to get a no-cook coffee creamer.
Better yet, try our Ready Hour Coffee Creamer. It has a 20-year shelf life unopened, and 1-year once it is open. In addition to using it as a creamer, you can use it to bake.
The first items people buy before an impending storm are milk and bread, which means you may not be able to find any when you need it. Fortunately, it is easy to make bread from scratch (or with a bread machine).
As we discovered recently, it is even possible to make bread without the key ingredients, yeast and flour.
[Related Read: How to Make Bread without Yeast or Flour]
If you can’t find broth or bouillon at your grocery store, you can make your own broth using a few basic ingredients. You can also freeze it to use later.
Here is a recipe from Mama on the Homestead:
- leftover chicken pieces
- 3-4 celery stalks & tops
- 3-4 carrots
- 1-2 onions
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 8 cups water
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- Save chicken pieces and veggies from meals that you make throughout the week.
- Cut up the veggies into medium to large-sized chunks.
- Add the chicken & veggies pieces + the herbs and spices to a stockpot and cover with water.
- Bring to a rolling boil then reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer covered for 4-5 hours.
- Strain the meat & veggie pieces out of the stock.
- Place in an airtight container like a mason jar and store in the freezer.
Always Be Prepared with Emergency Food In #10 Cans
We never know when disaster is going to strike, but having a stocked food pantry can help us survive the days without power or access to a grocery store.
Having the essentials on hand will make all the difference.
My Patriot Supply is proud to offer the Emergency Staples #10 Can Food Pack. This food pack contains 558 servings of shelf-stable Whole Egg Powder, Powdered Whey Milk, Butter Powder, and Honey Wheat Bread.
Stock your pantry with the basics and know how to adjust when supplies run low, friends.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply