One of the challenges of living 20 minutes from the nearest grocery store is that you really dont want to run out of any one item you regularly use. The items I most often run out of are of the dairy variety, milk, butter, yogurt and such. When it costs you $5.00 in gas to get to the grocery, that $3.00 lb of butter just got a whole lot more expensive. For this, and other reasons, I decided to explore other options for keeping us well stocked in dairy product. One of the products I decided to try was Thrive foods, which I purchased from Shelf Reliance. They offer an amazing variety of foods, but for this intial order I decided to restrict myself to the basics, instant milk, powdered eggs, sour cream powder, cheese blend and butter powder. I ordered the smallest packages since this was my first experience with the products.
The first thing I tried was the Whole egg powder. I am not even quite sure why I ordered this, since we have more eggs than we know what to do with, but I none the less I did, and I was not disappointed. I used the egg powder for a variety of recipes and it worked very well. I wont lie, Id rather use fresh eggs, especially if I’m cooking just eggs. At approximately $0.22/ egg, its comparable to the cost of eggs purchased in a grocery store. I would definately keep this product on hand, especially if you dont have laying hens in your back yard.
The second product I tried was the Cheese Blend. I actually meant to order the shredded cheese but ended up with a cheese powder. The powder looks and smells alot like the powdered cheese you would find in a box of mac and cheese. I had a difficult time getting the cheese smooth by just adding hot water. I ended up putting it on the stove for a few minutes, and with some heavy duty whisking, it finally came together. We tried it with noodles and several different vegetables. It was not a family favorite. Having said that, we are largely a “real” cheese family, so this was going to a be a hard sell from the start. At $1.00/ serving, this will not become a pantry staple for me.
Next up was the Butter powder. I had some reservations when I opened the bag and found a white powder that didnt smell much like butter to me. However this was one of my favorites. The package says it is best used for baking but I found it to be much more versatile. I did use it for making cookies and granola bars and had great results with both. I also used it with rice, on some steamed vegetables and brushed on a loaf of french bread before it went in the oven. I dont think I would want to try to eat this on my toast in the morning, as I was unable to get that wonderful smooth creamy consistancy we love so much in butter, but the flavor is great. At a little over $9.00 a bag this product isnt cheap but it really does go a long way. This is a keeper.
Sour cream powder was next on my list. I love sour cream, and for heavens sakes dont bother buying fat free, ugh! At 14 grams of fat per serving, low fat it is not. Having said that, a serving is 1/4 cup, which is quite a bit. The sour cream powder mixed up best with Really cold water. Like the butter, its not the normal consistancy you may expect. It did have a little bit of a different flavor but it did work well mixed with other ingredients. Overall, not the real thing, but it will work in a pinch.
By far, the real winnner was the Instant milk. This is not your mommas powdered milk! This was the only product I bought a #10 can of, and I am glad I did. This milk mixes up super easy and is really good. The few times I tried to sneak powdered milk to my family (unsuccessfully) I mixed it up the night before and out it in the fridge so it was ice cold. I mixed this instant milk up with cold water, poured it into glasses and put it on the table, they didnt even notice. I was amazed! I used it today when I was making corn chowder, 2 cups of hot water, 1/3 of milk powder, give it a stir and in the pot it goes. I really love it! If you buy the case of 6 # 10 cans you can get the price down to about $5.75/ gallon, if you buy the large bucket you can get the price down to about $4.00/ gallon. As winter is approaching, I will be placing an order for a larger quantity of Instant milk very soon. I am also looking forward to trying some of their other products including the yogurt bites.
Overall I was well pleased with my Shelf Relaince order. I was very satisfied with the quality of the products, the shipping costs as well as the shipping time. Are there other food storage companies or products that you use and would recommend? I’d love to hear about them!