When you commit to preparing homemade snacks for yourself or your family, choosing snacks with a long shelf life will allow you to make them in bulk, reducing the frequency with which you have to prepare them. Both the pantry and the freezer serve as long-term storage spots for your homemade goods.
Granola bars are a balanced and filling snack, combining carbohydrates and protein to satisfy you in between meals. Create your own by adding ingredients such as chopped nuts, dried fruit, spices, honey, seeds or even chocolate chips to rolled oats. Sweeten the mixture to taste with honey or agave, spread in a parchment-lined, flat pan and bake. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks in your pantry, or up to two months in your freezer. Alternatively, individually vacuum-seal the bars to keep out additional moisture and preserve them for longer periods and make easy grab-and-go or lunchbox snacks.
Rolled up, dried fruit leather is a nutritious snack that is popular with both kids and adults. Puree fresh fruit, a small amount of sweetener, such as honey or sugar, and any desired spices. If the fruit is light in color, add a small amount of lemon juice to prevent browning. Spread the puree on a silicone-lined baking sheet and bake at a very low temperature for six to eight hours. Cool, transfer to parchment paper, and cut to the desired size. Because you remove so much of the moisture in the fruit when making the fruit leather, the snack keeps very well for up to two months in an airtight container, or longer if vacuum-sealed or stored in your freezer. Be careful to prevent moisture from being introduced to the leather, or it will shorten the shelf-life.
Nuts have a shelf-life of one to two years if properly stored. Rather than buying a simple nut mix, create your own mix and flavor it according to your tastes. Combine any variety of nuts, such as macadamias, pecans, almonds or cashews, and roast them with spices. Add in dried fruit for sweetness and additional nutrients, if you desire. Store the nuts in airtight containers or mason jars in your pantry for up to four months, refrigerator for up to one year, or freezer for up to two years.
These twice-baked cookies are light, crunchy, great with coffee, and can be made to be either sweet or savory. Add nuts, chocolate, dried fruit, coconut flakes or spices to a basic sweet biscotti dough. Reduce the sugar and add sun-dried tomatoes, curry powder, parmesan cheese or other savory items to create a more cracker-like flavor. Shape the dough into a flat log, bake, slice and bake again to create the dried-out texture of the cookies. Store the cookies in an airtight container in your pantry for up to a month, or in your freezer for up to two months.
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- Texas Agricultural Extension Service: Safe Home Food Storage
- Baking and Pastry: Mastering the Art and Craft; The Culinary Institute of America
- The Science of Good Cooking; America's Test Kitchen
- University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources: Nuts: Safe Methods for Consumers to Handle, Store, and Enjoy
- Classic Snacks Made from Scratch; Casey Barber
- The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making; Alana Chernila
- Preserving Summer's Bounty: A Quick and Easy Guide to Freezing, Canning, and Preserving, and Drying What You Grow; Rodale Food Center
Kathryn Roberts has worked in the culinary industry for nearly a decade in various roles, including pastry chef and bakery manager. After studying at the Culinary Institute of America, she earned her BFA from Goddard College and is pursing an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
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