Sep 7, 2012

Product Feature: Shortening Powder

I've been looking through the September Specials and deciding what I want in my Q order for this month (my Q is set to ship the 8th of the month so this is a priority the first week of the month).  I'm always excited to see what the specials are going to be but then I have to decide what to include in my order.  Sometimes that's easy and sometimes it's not.

This month I was contemplating the Shortening Powder:  Why would I want Shortening Powder?  What advantage does it have over storing shortening?  How can I use it?  If I want it, do I want it in a #10 can or in a Pantry can?

Why would I want Shortening Powder?
One big advantage to storing Shortening Powder is shelf life.  Did you realize that shortening has an unopened shelf life of only 2 years?  And once you open it, it's about 1 year.  The Crisco website says that "If you notice any change in color or appearance, or if your Crisco product develops an off odor or taste, it's probably past its shelf life and shouldn't be used."  THRIVE Shortening Powder has an Unopened Shelf Life of 10 years (based on optimal storage conditions) and an Opened Shelf Life of 1 year.

I can't help but think of the benefit of measuring a powder out rather than shortening which then clings to the sides of my measuring cup.  I've tried a couple tricks for decreasing the stickiness, and even a special measuring cup, but it is still a pain to me.

How can I use it?
By adding water and blending it together, you can use the shortening powder in place of regular shortening.  (1 cup of Shortening Powder + 1/4 cup of water = 1 cup of shortening).  One site I read suggested you can sprinkle a small amount of the powder into a pan for frying.  The shortening powder quickly turns to liquid shortening as the pan heats up; it also notes that this is not good for deep fat frying but good for pan frying.

I'm also thinking I'd like to try making a biscuit mix to keep on hand for easy biscuits and that the Shortening Powder would work perfect in a mix!  As I searched the internet, I found a blog with a biscuit recipe for shortening powder that will be on the top of my To Try list once I get the Shortening Powder (guess I've made my decision).  That same blog has some information on shortening powder, but it doesn't state which brand she got her information from.  I like her comment about not having to "cut in" the shortening into my recipes.

Pantry can vs. #10 Can
A Pantry can of THRIVE Shortening Powder has 67 servings (1 Tablespoon = 1 serving)
A #10 can has 200 servings
My husband loves to make biscuits and gravy on Sunday mornings so I've been buying the large 6 lb container of Crisco and it has 227 servings (also 1 Tablespoon).  So now to figure out if we're using that many servings before it goes bad.  If yes, then I need to buy the #10 can.  If not, then I need to buy it in the Pantry Can size.

Number crunching
I am very frugal so I always like to make sure I'm getting a good price for whatever I buy, remembering that if I'm going to throw it away, it's not a good price no matter what I pay for it.  Using the numbers below and knowing how often we use shortening, I'll be purchasing Shortening Powder in a #10 can.  If you use shortening less often than we do, the Pantry can may be the right size for you.
Pantry can on sale is $5.49 for Q-Club and Home Party customers, which is 8¢ per serving.
The #10 can on sale is $10.99, which is 5.5¢ per serving.