Thrive Life With The Survival Mom

Adventures in Food Storage Cooking: Banana Cream Pie

 banana cream pie recipeThe whole point to purchasing items like freeze-dried fruit and sour-cream powder, as I see it, is so you can make recipes, including desserts, that require these ingredients when you are in a situation where you can’t get them via other means. This is why it’s so neat the ThriveLife has such a breathtaking variety of foods available.

One thing I hear most often from people unfamiliar with food storage is, “I just don’t know how to cook with it.” So this will be a step-by-step walk-through of how to take any ol’ recipe and substitute food storage ingredients for fresh ones.

For our experiment, I decided to choose a dessert and then try making it entirely from food storage ingredients. The chosen recipe? Banana Cream Pie. I chose this recipe from because it calls for bananas and sour cream, two ingredients easily sourced from ThriveLife.

Banana Cream Pie

Let’s take a quick look at the ingredient list:

  • 1-1/2 cups cold fat-free milk
  • 1 package (1 ounce) sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen reduced-fat whipped topping, thawed, divided
  • 3 medium firm bananas, sliced
  • 1 reduced-fat graham cracker crust (9 inches)

Here is how I used shelf-stable ingredients from Thrive Life in place of the fresh ingredients called for in this recipe:


For the milk, we can use powdered milk, reconstituted. There are many different brands on the market and each has its own ratios of powder-to-water. ThrifeLife Instant milk is intended for drinking, and since this pie recipe will not be cooked or baked, Instant Milk is a better choice than powdered milk in this case. To make 1 1/2 C instant milk, add 4 1/2 Tbsp to 1 1/2 C water.

Packages of pudding mix are shelf-stable and will stay good on your shelf for a long period of time. If you really wanted to, I suppose you could make it from scratch, but I think it would be better for all concerned to use commercial pudding mix. According to a nifty little site called Still Tasty, pudding mixes are good for up to a year, so you could stash away a few and not worry about having to rotate it for quite a while. My personal preference is to shy away from anything labeled “sugar free” or “lowfat” because in practice these terms seem to be code for “yucky-tasting.” (I have priorities.) Therefore I would store normal vanilla pudding mix.


The sour cream can come from Thrive Life. Fresh sour cream can start growing colonies of stuff within one week, but a can of sour cream powder will stay good for 10 years if left unopened, and one year as an open can on the pantry shelf. To make 1/3 C sour cream, add 2 Tbsp sour cream to 1/3 C sour cream powder.

Ah…frozen whipped cream. Ok, I admit it – you can’t exactly keep this on your shelf for a long period of time. But if you have a chest freezer where you are already storing a 100 lb of hamburger and 50 lb of frozen chicken breasts as part of your preparedness strategy, there’s no reason why you can’t add a container or two of whipped topping while you’re at it. Just make sure to always rotate it out – if it stays in the freezer too long, it could get freezer burned. (Freezers require special care during emergencies, so if you have an additional freezer, you’ll want to brush up on emergency freezer preparedness.)


Bananas from ThriveLife. The can says that one 1 cup of dry banana slices is roughly 1 1/4 bananas. This recipe calls for three bananas, so you could just kind of eyeball it to be slightly more than 2 c of bananas. Bananas vary in size so the exact amount is pretty subjective. It’s probably best to err on the side of too many bananas than too few. You’ll want to rehydrate these for our pie recipe.

Graham cracker pie crusts are available at the grocery store for a couple of bucks, but as a general rule, these don’t tend to store well. Anything that has a high fat or oil content will go off quicker; even if it is labeled “low fat.” Graham crackers themselves don’t store very well, either, which I discovered the hard way after putting some in a kid’s 72-hour kit back years and years ago.

So how do we get around this particular hurdle? Well, at its core, a graham cracker is a cookie, so you could use any old cookies, really, as the crust. If you want some inspiration, check out this nifty little article that suggests several alternatives. The last one, in particular stands out: macaroon cookies. Well, wouldn’t you know it, ThrifeLife has instant macaroon cookie mix! Just add hot water as directed and then instead of making it into cookies, pat into your pie tin as you would any graham cracker crust. So not only is our little problem solved, we have just succeeded in making our banana cream pie extra awesome. You could also use Thrive Life’s sugar cookie mix in the same manner.

Putting It All Together

Now that we have sourced all our ingredients, we just have to put it all together as we normally would. Once you reconstitute and rehydrate everything, it would take less than 10 minutes to put your pie together and leave it in the fridge to set.

Final Verdict

When I made my version of this banana cream pie, I went ahead and used a regular ol’ graham cracker crust because I happened to have graham crackers on hand and that was the least expensive option. A lot of people are hesitant to use a lot of food storage ingredients in every-day cooking because they worry that it will taste funny. Well, it doesn’t. In fact, it was really good! This was some of the best banana cream pie I’ve ever had. I will definitely make this recipe again, whether it’s from 100% fresh ingredients or as another food storage experiment.

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