Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wheat Meat (Don't be scared)

Ok I know the very name wheat meat can make a person cringe. That is what I thought too but hopefully you will be as surprised as I was by the reality. It was really good! I'm not saying all wheat meat is good, but this recipe definitely was. This is going to be a long post so please bear with me. :)

I've been wanting to try wheat meat for some time because the reality is, no matter how much meat you store, you will eventually run out. I was HIGHLY skeptical of wheat meat but I knew I had to at least try it. Plus, my new favorite food storage book (A Bite of Independence Through Self-Sufficiency)has a whole chapter raving about it and since I pretty much trust that book with my life now.....

There were different recipes depending on what you wanted to make: chicken, ground beef, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc. I decided to make meatballs for our spaghetti, and hamburger patties for dinner later in the week. That is all I've tried so far so those are the recipes I'll post on my recipe link.

Let me just say that IT..............WAS..................AWESOME! First I made the meatballs and served them with spaghetti. You seriously could NOT tell it wasn't real meat. It looked like meat, tasted like meat, had the consistency of meat. And the ultimate test - my kids gobbled them up!

Two days later we had our "hamburgers." I didn't tell anyone that they were not real. I even barbecued them on our grill! I accidentally made the patties bigger than the buns so I had to cut off the edges, leaving a lot of pieces of "meat" on the serving platter.

Not one of my kids realized that the burgers weren't real. They gobbled them down and then asked if they could have the leftover "meat" on the platter. I just smiled and said, "Sure." They gobbled that down too, leaving only scraps.

My husband did catch on. He thought they were real burgers until he bit into one and then he realized they were not real meat BUT he still liked them and ate the whole thing. This could be because he eats more real food than the rest of us since he works at the Fire Station several times a week and eats there.

We also had some friends come over later in the evening and when we told them what we had for dinner (people CONSTANTLY ask me what we've eaten that day - probably just morbid curiosity) they wanted to try some. I was reticent since all there was left was the little scraps that had long since grown cold. Still they tried it, and THEY LIKED IT TOO! They couldn't believe it was made out of wheat. In fact one of them said, "Hey, it tastes like chicken!" LOL

One side benefit I was not aware of, is that a byproduct of making wheat meat is bran. I made approximately 2 lbs of wheat meat and ended up with about 2 cups of bran left over. So, I made bran muffins which my kids LOVED. Out of 2 dozen I could barely keep one aside so that my husband could try it when he got back from work.

I'll post the recipe for making the wheat meat but here are a few basics. Wheat meat is made entirely from wheat. The bran and starch is washed out of the wheat and you are left with the gluten. Gluten loves to take on the taste of what is around it but it also absorbs liquid so you want to be careful not to add it to your dishes too early. It needs to be added last or it will take on too much moisture and lose it's meat-like texture.

For my recipe I used 10 cups of freshly ground wheat flour and it made approximately 2 lbs of "meat" and 2 cups of bran. Once you have your gluten prepared (don't worry - it's SO easy!) then you bake it. It looks like large rolls. I then ran the rolls through a meat grinder. You can use a food processor as well but the consistency won't be quite the same as meat. The key here is to trick your brain into thinking what you are eating is really meat so you want the consistency and taste to be as close as possible.

Anyway, I ground up the rolls into ground "meat" (man I'm getting tired of using quotations marks! :) ) and then I added seasoning to give it the flavor of what I was making, which was meatballs and hamburger patties. I then shaped them how I wanted and baked them one more time. It is VERY important not to over bake. Better to bake it a little too short, than a little too long. Also, this recipe calls for eggs to be used to bind the wheat into patties. I didn't try it with powdered eggs because I store fresh eggs for stuff like this. I don't know if it would work with powdered but I do know it will work if you use just the whites of the eggs and not the yolks.

I served the meatballs right away while they were still warm in the spaghetti. The hamburgers patties I kept in the fridge for a couple of days. I threw them on the grill just long enough to reheat them. Both were a hit with my family. Going to try to make chicken next. It's a different process but supposedly I can even use it to make chicken nuggets! What 3 year old wouldn't be happy about that?

Finally, on a nutritional note. Wheat meat contains NO cholesterol, and has 1/3 fewer calories than hamburger. In fact the only thing keeping wheat meat from being considered a complete protein is that is lacks the amino acid Lysine, which can be resolved by using eggs to prepare it. Plus I'm sure you've already guess how much cheaper it is than meat. Of course we aren't all going to give up meat but if you ever do have to, you can at least feel good about the nutrition, and economical value, of wheat meat.

21 comments:

  1. I used to make this stuff all the time. It really is great. A little time comsuming, but the results are great.
    *hint for those who want a short cut* just use gluten flour and rehydrate it to the right consistancy (like bread dough if I remmeber right).

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  2. Okay, so I commented without looking at the recipe first. The way I used to do is it the "basic wheat meat" way.

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  3. What is the name of your favorite food storage book?

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  4. This doesn't have anything to do with meat, but have you tried a powdered milk called "Morning Moo's"? It actually tastes pretty good, nothing like powdered milk, and because it isn't fat free, it can be whipped into cream, maybe even butter if you whip it long enough. I actually like to drink it plain, though it makes cereal taste kind of funny. You can also buy it in chocolate flavor.

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  5. It's called "A bite of Independence Through Self Sufficiency" It is out of print but you can still buy used copies at Amazon.com. I can't believe I just stumbled upon it. Far and away the best book that I have come across and everything I've tried from it so far has been wonderful. I'm going to try making cheese next. :)

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  6. Malinda,

    I actually bought both regular and chocolate Morning Moos while I was in Utah last week along with several other brands of milk. I'm going to try a blind taste test with my family of powdered milk, and whichever they like the best I'm going to store for just drinking milk. It doesn't matter what you cook with but for drinking.........

    My family used to go through 5-6 gallons of milk a week. On powdered milk it was less than a gallon a week, and most of that was from me cooking with it. The only thing is, it needs to have the proper nutrients. It doesn't matter if your family will drink it if it isn't providing any of the nutrients their bodies need.

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  7. Wow you all are brave... and YOU are my HERO !!! A few years ago, we had to live on our food storage for 3 months until the shelves were depleted down so much it was scary ( but we still bought fresh produce ( had a garden too ), eggs, milk/dairy and meat) due to my Hubs being unemployed. It was so hard not to have cash to buy those goodies and extras we were used to eating but found out we could live without them ! Good luck...I barely made it through 3 months when things turned around for us and it took awhile to stock things up again. Good luck !!!

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  8. I have read your entire blog from the beginning and admire everything you are doing for yourself and your family. You now know that you can make it through any crisis. I plan on getting my food storage organized to the point where my family can live on it for one month. That is my goal right now. No shopping for one month. Sounds great if we can actually do it. I plan to try it this fall. Good luck to you and your family. You are almost half way through your adventure.

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  9. LOL, thanks. Most people say I'm more insane than heroic.

    The thing is, I think it's more insane to store food you aren't sure how to use. What if we really did have to live off it? Could we? I figured it was better to find out now.

    I've learned a lot, like how we blew through a year's worth of oatmeal and brown sugar in just a few months, but only ate 1 can of rice in the same amount of time.

    I believe we are counseled to store food because we are going to need to eat it, and it's probably not going to be a happy event that brings us to that situation. I just don't want to be there and, on top of everything else, trying to figure out how/what to feed my family.

    Most fear and failure can be eliminated with knowledge and preparation.

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  10. Mardi,

    I'm excited for you to try it for one month! You will learn so much. It's VERY hard - harder than I imagined it would be - but the knowledge and confidence I have gained are priceless.

    Start a blog. Inspire others. Can you imagine a whole country full of people with the ability to independently feed and care for their families no matter what happened? How could that change us? Independence and self reliance = Freedom.

    Good Luck!

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  11. My husband wants me to make him some wheat meat now!! :)

    Love your blog!

    I tried to put this in the question box but it wouldn't let me...

    Could you tell us your menu? I'm having such a hard time coming up with some ideas. Thanks!

    Shannon

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  12. Shannon,

    Hands down that is the hardest part. For a mega dose of reality I always suggest to people that they sit down with an inventory list of their food storage and try to make a week's menu ONLY using food storage items. You will quickly realize if you had to live off it, you might be in trouble.

    Here are some meal ideas from what we store:

    Breakfast:
    Homemade cold cereal or granola, oatmeal, toast, waffles, pancakes, scones, juice, hot chocolate.

    Lunch (hardest meal-especially school lunches):
    PB&J, tuna fish, soup, homemade tortilla chips.

    Snacks:
    Homemade granola bars, dried fruit, popcorn, homemade graham crackers, pretzels, or wheat thins, or popped wheat.

    Dinner:
    Mac and cheese, soup, spaghetti, chili, wheat meat meals, homemade burritos, rice and beans, homemade enchiladas, etc.

    Dessert:
    Oatmeal chocolate no bake cookies, cake, brownies, apples crisp, fudgsicles, peanutbutter cookies, etc.

    Hope that helps!

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  13. I just found your blog (through a recommendation from Viggie of Viggie's Veggies) and thought I'd give you a blogging tip.

    You can add a print option!

    Just visit http://www.printfriendly.com/ and follow the instructions.

    It would be a great public service if you made your recipes printable. :)

    Oh, and I love what you and your family are doing with this year-long experiment!

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  14. Kari,

    Great suggestion! I added the widget but I find it won't print from the blog's main page, you have to click on the post you want to print so that it opens in it's own page before it will print.

    No big deal but I wonder how many people will get frustrated not realizing that is what they have to do?

    Is there anyway to fix that? I'm not very blog savvy. I only started this blog because so many people wanted to follow what I was doing.

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  15. You can also find interesting recipes online for Wheat Meat. It is also known as Seitan (handy to know when looking for recipes.)

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  16. Looks great! I've been pouring through the book since it arrived. I can't believe that we have people who have figured out how to turn wheat into meat and yet we can't seem to get the hang of balancing our nation's check book.

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  17. Megan,

    LOL! The problem is, the people who are making wheat meat, and living self sufficiently are NOT the same people that are balancing the federal budget. I say put a couple of frugal moms in charge.......... :)

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  18. OK-this post cracked me up. My mom wrote a few cookbooks "make-a-mix". We had to try this "WM" waaaaaaay back in the day. I have forwarded this to her. Maybe we should try it again?! ;)

    http://royalpitatoias.blogspot.com/2010/04/we-are-family-hear-us-roar.html

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  19. I have a Make a Mix book; I wonder if it is one of your mom's? :)

    I know wheat meat brings out the worst of what we think of food storage but this recipe really wasn't bad. Of course my taste buds HAVE been compromised by 6 months of food storage LOL!

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  20. I happened upon your blog this evening. I posted a long reply but, somehow, it was lost into the "ether" when I hit submit. So I will try again.

    I wrote "A Bite" with my good friend, Marlynn, and her two daughters. We lived a short distance from each other, in the same Queen Creek ward. My boys have grown and left the nest, Marlynn has since passed away and, unfortunately, I lost track of Jenny and Venicia when I moved to the Mid West.

    I sorely miss my little "farm" and the livestock I raised. I miss my cows and the cheeses I used to make. It was one of the happiest times of my life, living self-sufficiently. I still garden and can, but snowy winters and arthritis limit my outdoor activities. Of the four of us, I was the one who raised and butchered my own meat, but over the ensuing years, the ability to make wheat meat has proved very valuable.

    My time now is spent baking and decorating cakes, something I have enjoyed for the last 12-15 years.

    "Make-A-Mix" has been one of my favorite books on my bookshelf since it was first written. Madeline, I believe, was in our Stake and I enjoyed meeting with her, Nevada and and Karine.

    I'm glad I discovered your blog. Wish me luck as I hit the submit button again!

    Jan

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  21. Jan, I'm so grateful to you for co-writing this book! I'm a good friend of Sherida's and at the moment am making wheat meat (it's in the oven in fact). I've tried everything to see if I could get a hold of someone responsible for writing or publishing this book (I was hoping to ask permission to share the wheat meat recipe) but I haven't been able to get in touch with anyone. I hope you don't mind if I share your recipes on a recipe blog I write for food storage. I think they're something a lot of people can use right now! Thanks again. - Megan

    http://myfoodstoragecookbook.com/

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