Thursday, December 11, 2008

Simple Food Storage Items - Bouillon Cubes

Seasonings, herbs and spices are especially important when it comes to your basic food storage. Beef, chicken or vegetable bouillon cubes are excellent food storage items that should be included in your preparations. Wheat and rice when cooked in a broth made with bouillon cubes take on new and different flavors. Bouillon cubes are an excellent base for many soups, sauces and casseroles.

Bouillon cubes are often referred to as flavored salt cubes. This is due to the fact that salt is one of their major ingredients (anywhere from 60 to 70 per cent). It is for this reason that those on a low or no salt diet should exercise caution when using bouillon cubes in their meal preparations. There are low to no sodium products available for individuals where salt intake could be a problem.

Bouillon cubes are made from vegetable protein (found in wheat flour, maize meal, rice gluten etc.) and animal protein. Hydrochloric acid is used to break down the protein into its individual amino acids. The acid is then neutralized. This leaves behind the salts that enhance the bouillon cube's flavor and extend its shelf life. Today it is a more common practice for producers of bouillon cubes to use enzymes instead of acid to break down the protein into amino acids.

Even though most bouillon cubes have high sodium content, they should be considered an essential part of your food storage items. If low or no sodium bouillon cubes are not available in your area, there is a simple solution that will help solve this problem. Place a raw potato in the broth while it is heating. Remove the potato once your broth is heated and the bouillon cube is dissolved. Potatoes are very good at absorbing excess salt.

Bouillon cubes when combined with hot water and a few herbs and vegetables can make an excellent broth or soup. This is a quick and easy solution when you need a broth or soup for a recipe or to enhance a main dish at meal time.

The shelf life of bouillon cubes is approximately 12 to 18 months when stored unopened in their original containers. They should be kept in a cool, dry environment. They may be stored in the refrigerator after opening or kept in the freezer to further extend their shelf life once the original container has been opened.

Soup anyone?

Staying above the water line!



Patricia said...

Hey RW, Everyone should always READ FIRST what is in the bouillon cubes before purchasing. Many of them have MSG--called a flavor enhancer. It does enhance flavor, but it isn't good for your health. MSG can cause headaches and many other problems. There are bouillon cubes without MSG--readers should look for and purchase that variety.

Good post, RW. I buy and use bouillon cubes, but I'm cautious. The potato trick is a good one!

Abrahama said...

Bouillon cubes are magic.

Degringolade said...

Another great post.

I buy bouillion cubes and keep them stored in a gallon jar in the freezer. I also use my handy-dandy little vacuum pump to pump out all the oxygen. I think that next time I will even add a couple of o2 scavengers. These should have quite a long shelf life if stored well.

And Patricia: Not meaning to seem disrespectful, but the bulk of society has no problem whatsoever with MSG. From what I have read, only around 5% of the population have any issues with MSG.

riverwalker said...

To: Patricia

Thanks for the reminder about MSG. It is a definite problem for some people.


riverwalker said...

To: Abraham

Magic soup...


riverwalker said...

To: Degringolade

Keep mine in frezer also.

Great minds...



Patricia said...

Hey Degringolade--disagreements are welcome; discussion aids growth of knowledge and all of that. It was a Japanese scientist who isolated MSG from the seaweed that the Japanese added to their food for flavoring. While I do buy and use bouillon cubes (non-MSG, because I'm sensitive to it), I also buy and use and prefer seaweed, available at any oriental market. It too can make a nice cup of broth with some other herbs...

Methinks, given the choice of avoiding the chemicals added to food by the food industry, which may be harmful, well, people can and will make their own decisions. As far as I'm concerned, MSG is a neurotoxin and I don't need it or want it.

On the other hand, being a food nanny is a thankless stupid job, and I'm not interested in putting much effort into it. Spreading knowledge? Yep. Restricting people's choices? Nope.

There is nothing better than a nice warm cup of broth.

Jodi said...

Great reminder to store things that will make your food storage cooking actually "enjoyable" in an emergency.

riverwalker said...

To: Jodi

Soup is a good thing!



Bloggers said...

Great tips. I love Bouillon cubes , they are great for sore throats too.

riverwalker said...

To: bloggers

They are great for stews also.


Anonymous said...

Hey, 'don't mean to burst your bubbles but even when "MSG" is not on the label, it's still likely to be in the product. Ever since the MSG scare, food manufacturers have been using other words to describe what is essentially MSG. Just some of the words are: "natural flavoring", spices, "hydrolyzed vegetable protein"...
Russell Blaylock (Professor, Medical Doctor) says excitotoxins (MSG, Aspartame, etc) lead to serious brain damage, brain diseases and other diseases - whether or not you feel that MSG bothers you.
His book is "Excitotoxins: The taste that kills". He has a website if you want to look it up.
Having said all this, I do occasionally enjoy bouillon cubes.
BTW real broth/bouillon is real easy to make believe it or not: Just dump a pack of chicken wings, an onion a carrot and a stick of celery in a pot. Add salt. Fill it with water. Heat it up til it boils, then lower the heat to warm (the lowest possible), put the top on with a crack open (to let out some steam), and leave it for an hour or two. when the broth is ready, you can also eat the chicken and vegetables if you like.

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous

Posted an update about MSG. It comes in a lot of forms and is in the food, but hidden in other ingredients.

Try not to use very much with artificial ingredients, such as margarine.



Dan said...

Good idea. I wonder if you can extend the shelf life by vacuum sealing them?

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