Are you looking for a tasty way to boost your nutrition, one your family will like? Something you can tuck in with your preps? Something cheesy that can be sprinkled on just about everything? Check out nutritional yeast.
What is this you ask? Yeast? Cheesy yeast? Yes! Read on…
Table of contents
What is Nutritional Yeast?
First, let’s define yeast. What is it, really? It is a fungus but not a mold. There are approximately 320 species of the yeasty beasties, and they have served us for many centuries by fermenting juice and leavening bread. They make food tasty and nutritional but can also spoil food and cause health issues. I first got up close and personal with yeast in college microbiology class when I saw a yeast culture bud under the microscope.
For years I was aware of baker’s yeast, the yeast used in bread making. Later, when I was a new mom, I discovered brewer’s yeast. I made a type of smoothie with it to help produce breast milk. However, it just didn’t taste very good. Recently I was introduced to another form of yeast, nutritional yeast.
Yeast is yeast is yeast, right?
Not really. Nutritional yeast is really different.
How is Nutritional Yeast Different?
Nutritional yeast is the same strain of yeast as that used in baking, except the yeast cells are no longer alive. It is whole dried, deactivated yeast cells. In other words, you won’t be baking bread, or anything else, with this yeast form. (Read this post for making your own yeast for baking purposes.)
Typically, it’s in the form of yellow flake or powder. In Australia, it is sometimes sold as “savory yeast flakes.” It contains protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and is grown to be a food product on its own.
How Is It Cultivated?
To cultivate nutritional yeast, the cells are grown in a sugary culture, such as molasses, and then harvested. During processing, the yeast cells are deactivated. The deactivated yeast is then washed, dried, and crumbled so it can be sprinkled onto other foods.
Does It Taste Good?
I find it very tasty. Its flavor is nutty with an umami flavor, and many vegans use it as a substitute for cheese powder.
How Do I Use It?
If you think of it as a seasoning, you realize that you can use it in any food, to season any food, so long as you like it in it. It adds a cheesy flavor without all the extra fat and calories.
Here are a few ideas:
- sprinkle it on salads and potatoes
- add to soups, sauces, and smoothies
- mix in with mashed and fried potatoes
- stir into scrambled eggs for a cheesy flavor
- liberally apply to popcorn
Really, the only limit is your palette and your imagination. Sneak it into your family’s meals or put it right in the middle of the table with the salt and pepper and enjoy the health benefits of a tasty supplement.
Are There Health Benefits?
This sounds great, but what are the health benefits?
Well, nutritional yeast is remarkably high in vitamin B-12. This vitamin is essential to keep the nervous system healthy and reduces the risk for anemia. This makes nutritional yeast an important supplement for vegans. Just two teaspoons of nutritional yeast provided over 300% of the daily value of B-12.
It is also rich in antioxidants, especially glutathione and selemomethionine. A diet rich in antioxidants can protect the body from chronic conditions and toxins.
Like brewers’ yeast, it is rich in the other B vitamins, B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), and B6 pyridoxine), and B9 (folic acid). Nutritional yeast is low in calories, about 20 per 2 teaspoons. It is low in carbs and high in protein, having nine essential amino acids. This makes it a complete protein.
It’s fat-free and contains calcium, iron, and potassium. It is heart-healthy and is thought to reduce cholesterol levels, support good blood sugar levels, and lower the risk for diabetes and heart disease. It supports the immune system with beta-glucan.
I guess the question now is, why wouldn’t you want to be eating nutritional yeast?
Possible Adverse Effects
Adverse effects are rare, but there’s a possibility that it could trigger migraines or irritable bowel syndrome in some people. Just be careful of your quantities if you suffer from these issues.
How Should I Store It?
Nutritional yeast is best stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. If you want to store it for a long period of time, it is best to store it in the refrigerator. It is shelf-stable for a couple of years but keeps even longer in the refrigerator.
It’s typically found in the baking section of the supermarket right beside baking yeast.
My favorite brand is Bragg’s, which is easy to find at grocery stores and health food stores.
Should Preppers Consider Nutritional Yeast?
Nutritional yeast is a great addition to any prepper’s pantry. It’s high in B vitamins, trace minerals, and protein, making it a great addition to meals. Use it to add a nutty, cheesy flavor to dishes and help boost nutrition in a variety of meals. Since it has a long shelf life, it’s a great item to stock up on for emergency situations. Plus, it works for a wide variety of diets; there is even a gluten-free version.
Do you include nutritional yeast in your emergency food storage? How do you like to use it?
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8 thoughts on “Nutritional Yeast: Great Reasons to Add It To A Prepper’s Pantry”
I love nutritional yeast flakes and enjoyed this article. There is, however, one concern I have. The natural vitamin B12 in nutritional yeast is an “analogue”, which means that it is not the real deal. It binds to receptors but cannot be absorbed, and blocks the real vitamin B12, if any, from being absorbed. Vegans used to eat nutritional yeast for it’s B12 but found themselves deficient. Now many manufacturers add vitamin B12 to it, but it is not as high quality as natural B12. Much, much tastier than a vitamin pill though! Thank you Mimi and Lisa.
Great info, thanks! If I wanted to store Nutritional Yeast in a sealed mylar bag, would that extend its shelf life? Would I want to add an oxygen absorber?
Either way would be fine. Personally, I’d use a canning jar and the vacuum sealer since nutritional yeast is fragile and could be crushed into a powder if sealed in a bag.
I just bought some of this as my husband is allergic to dairy and someone mentioned to use it like parmesean cheese.
My family LOVES nutritional yeast and throw it on everything from spaghetti to vegetables and of course, our very favorite: popcorn. I hadn’t even thought about including it in long-term storage, but truthfully, it doesn’t last very long in our house. 😉 Great idea!
I recently became allergic to dairy, but was missing cheese. This also a decent substitute. Sometimes I make popcorn, drizzle it with olive oil, then sprinkle with nutritional yeast flakes. I also make cream of wheat, add plant butter and NYF.
Nutritional yeast is a favorite topping on grits! The cheesy flavor, health benefits without the calories or mess of cheese.