Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Poor Man's Plumpy'nut and More...

I need to give you two warnings about the following information.

I don't know about longevity and safety issues of do-it-yourself (DIY), made-at-home recipes of anything involving dried milk products. So, if you decide to make a batch of home-made, "Poor Man's" "Plumpy'nut", I would not keep the finished product outside of a refrigerator. I also don't know how long it will last inside the refrigerator but to be on the safe side, I would treat it like leftovers (three (3) days) if you have added dried milk to it.

If you end up in the hospital with some type of food poisoning because you did not heed the warnings given, you accept full responsibility for your own actions. I also cannot control the cleanliness or lack of same with your mixing utensils, etc.

The other warning I would like to give you is this, this is a very powerful concoction and if you eat a lot of it, you might have to butter your hips to get your quickly-widening ass through your front door. This stuff is a very powerful emergency ration. It's not something that you sit around and eat while watching television.

"Plumpy'nut" was developed by a French Pediatrician as a food for use in famine-stricken countries.

While I don't have the formula for actual "Plumpy'nut", I can tell you what I have tried at home. It is tasty and it's no wonder it turns around severely malnourished children on death's door in a matter of a couple or a few weeks.

This is the incredibly simple recipe:

1. Dried (Powdered) Milk
2. Peanut Butter
3. Honey

That's it! Isn't it great? Purchase some Dried Milk, Peanut Butter and some Honey and whip up a small batch in your kitchen and try it out. You can mix it just about any way you want to, it's very versatile. Start out with a cup of dried (powdered) milk and a cup of Peanut Butter and about a quarter cup of Honey. Add more Honey as required. Just start mixing it up until it is mixed well and you should have a very, very thick goop and, VOILA! You have Poor Man's "Plumpy'nut"!

You can also use Nutella, Ovaltine or Nestle's Milo added to the ingredients or in just about any combination that your taste buds find appealing.

All of these ingredients with the exception of the powdered milk don't have to be refrigerated. These are all basically dry goods that you can use and then put back in the pantry, right? Honey, Peanut Butter, Ovaltine, Milo and Nutella don't have to be refrigerated once opened.

I'm also not a chemist or some type of food safety specialist so I don't know the long-term ramifications of combining these foodstuffs together and leaving them together for long periods of time.

I do know that if used carefully, this is a very valuable list of ingredients to have in your pantry in case of emergency. It could save your life. In the future I want to run some experiments with a Rival or Tilia Brand Food (Bag) Sealing appliance and see how everything turns out. I'd also like to contact powdered milk manufacturers and find out about the safety of that material once the foil envelope is opened and the product is added to these other ingredients and re-sealed in another air-tight bag.

My entry on Honey from over a year ago is a must-read for survival food information as well.


conwict said...


Thanks for that. I was just looking at this:

It's apparently an amazing "do everything" breadmaker. A friend of mine was advocating running it off a generator for survival type food...I am not sure if it grinds wheat but it does pretty much everything else, like start yeast. Basically takes ingredients and makes an excellent finished product.

So I thought I'd show you that; I know you are (rightly) interested primarily in minimalist stuff, but if one had a dedicated getaway place, or just an isolated dwelling, a generator and lots of grain and this gizmo would be great.

Don Rearic said...

I'm interested in everything. 8-)

Might not be able to get away from whatever happens. Other things you might have to run for your life from.



r said...

Wow.. I haven't thought of this stuff in a few decades now. Back in the Day when we were bushrats, we'd make the stuff up into a large grapefruit sized ball for working outside building log cabins in Alaska all winter. Amazing calorie fuel.

We'd break the Mother Blob up into Baby Blobs and wax paper them, leave a few in an interior pocket and gnaw on as needed. Got the ingredients in bulk from an old hippy organic food store that was back in town many years ago.

I think we originally heard about the stuff in The Mother Earth News (where else? It was the early 70's). We used a non fat powdered milk that had the texture of powdered sugar, very fine. It was hard to find, but we bought it in bulk and never had short term storage issues with it, and that was while living off the grid.

Thanks for the memories and a great article as well...

Don Rearic said...

You're welcome! I bet this stuff is tastier than the other stuff I have heard Alaskans ingesting to keep warm - seal blubber oil. Oh my god, how nasty could that possibly be? ;-)

conwict said...

A quick word on sanitation/keeping it safe.

The book Nourishing Traditions advocates keeping raw meat in the fridge 2 weeks if you are going to use raw meat (any raw meat) in a dish.

I imagine if you kept this homemade Plumpy'nut frozen for a couple weeks it would kill any microbes before they could spoil it, and give you a nice headstart after removing it.

Don Rearic said...

Even with all of the preservatives in store-bought meat, I would think that two weeks of storage in the refrigerator would be a bit much. To be honest, I have not purchased any chicken, beef or pork from any local grocery store that I would trust for that long. All of that shit starts to turn in a matter of days now.

On the flipside, just refrigerating and not freezing, any meat that I would kill I would not trust that long, either.

There might come a day, sooner than we think, where some gray beef is a must-eat thing and be glad to get that, too.

Blackthorn D. Stick said...

I ABSOLUTELY Refuse to eat anything called PlumpyNut!!

Don Rearic said...

That's OK because if you eat too much of it, it would be PlumpyBUTT and not Plumpy'nut, anyway. 8-)

Some Guy said...

PlumpyNut is an awesome trail food - but using it as a staple gets REALLY old really fast. I have had several 3-6 day hiking outings where we really regretted that bit of austerity because it's so monotonous. That said, it is what it is, a great food that will keep you moving. I'm just sharing my idiocy as much as giving a thumb's up.

Don Rearic said...

No idiocy at all! 8-)

I have made some of it here at home and it tastes pretty good! Wouldn't want to have to eat a lot of it but in the final analysis, food is just fuel to a human being. It's only because we live in our comfortable world, this is something I enjoy as well, that we can actually just eat stuff we like to eat.

This is a food that's a fuel and it's pretty you gets old quick.


chanel pugh said...

Is it safe to feed this concoction to a malnourished family post-shtf?

chanel pugh said...

Hi, has anyone tested this homemade plumpy'nut to a malnourished child?

chanel pugh said...

Hi, has anyone tried this homemade plumpy'nut to a underweight child?

Unknown said...

Thanks for this. I have a 6 yr old who is very skinny, and tiny for his age. Doctor wants him to put on weight. Read about Plumpy nut online and wanted to see if there was a homemade version and found this. Just tried making a tiny bit to see how it taste. It's great. Will give some to my son today when I pick him up from school.

Lobo Rojo said...

Honey may contain botulinum spores, which precludes it from being fed to infants and susceptible adults. If that is a concern, or if you don't like honey, replace it with something like dextrose powder or maltodextrin. Also, honey (and corn syrup and molasses) are humectants, and will thus jeopardize the dryness of your product.

One key ingredient you are missing is oil. Coconut or some other oil should be added. In addition to the fat it adds, it will help make those powders added pasty and less clumpy.

I think actual Plumpy'Nut contains lecithin, too.

You could also add cocoa powder, powdered vanillin, or some other dry flavoring.

None of these things individually require refrigeration, nor do they expire quickly. So why would this stuff only be good for a few days when you mix them together? As long as you do a decent job of sealing-out moisture, this stuff should last a long time.