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Sunday, October 30, 2011

List of Hardware for the Prepping of Food

List of hardware for food prep atshtf ________________________________________

     I've been thinking that we need to make specialty lists for different purposes such as items to help prep and cook foods atshtf. This list will be just for food preparation and cooking in a stay at home or things to have at the retreat situation but would like others to help with a separate list for bug out situations that you could carry on your backs or in a pull wagon.

Items for prepping foods without city power supply: Can openers, multiple hand crank can openers. Buy good ones that will last and are sturdy. Pots that will hold up over an open fire. Cast iron cookware is number one and secondly would suggest black granite ware pots because they can be used in solar ovens as well. Third suggestion would be camping cookware which would be easiest to use in a bug out situation. They are usually nesting and can be used in multiple ways. The fourth suggestion is a good non teflon wok with lid and utensils because it would be great for over an open fire. Many people in Asia only have woks and maybe one other pot for cooking.
Large metal utensils such as spoons, slotted spoons, and spatulas for non bugout situations.
Knives, butcher knife (should be carbon steel so it can be sharpened easily for multiple uses such as cutting up game or vegetables or slicing cooked meats. Can also be a good self defense weapon.
Bread pans for baking breads or loaves of anything. Can also be used for caseroles, cakes, or even to make jello in in the colder weather. Ice chests of various types for keeping animals out of foods kept outdoors in the cold for storage of meats, leftovers, dairy, etc. Will also help keep foods from getting to hot in the summer even without ice and protect open foods from rodents. Egg beaters, whisks, colanders, mandolins, graters, hand cranked food processors, pasta makers, blenders, toasters, metal skewers, tongs, fish baskets for cooking over a grill or fire, steamer baskets, deep fryer baskets, seed and bean sprouting supplies, leather pot holders and good cloth pot holder mits. All of these items are able to be purchased at non electric places such as Lehmans and most can be purchase at China Mart or on the web and you probably already have much of this list.
Bowls of different types for different uses. Ceramic or glass, metal and wood all have important uses, plastic bowls are good for storage with lids.
Cookbooks whether they are recipes from the web such as Frugal Forums or books you can buy such as cooking with storage foods, beans and rice cookbooks, campfire cooking, solar cooking or crockpot cookery can be used for solar cooking, wild game cookery, wok cookery, etc. You need to find books that you can adapt to non electric cooking. Cookbooks such as were written in the colonial days up through the 1940's are great books to teach to cook frugally and well over wood stoves, fireplaces, gas stoves etc. There are many of the really old cookbooks for free on the net that you can either download (which would take a lot of paper and ink) or to copy and paste the recipes that you like and make a personal cookbook that you think your family would go for atshtf. There are sites on the net with recipes such as; Or just buy a crockpot cookbook for slow cooking recipes that can be used in the solar oven. You can also bake, roast and steam in your solar oven. Casseroles, breads, cakes, cookies, roasted meats, baked potatoes, custards, pies, etc. about the only thing you cannot do is fry in the solar oven. It may take longer to cook some dishes but it still comes out great and you will have a hard time burning anything except cookies, but they at least burn evenly. ;-)
Now lets talk about ways to cook. We have just been talking about solar cooking in solar ovens. commercial ones cook the best but you can make your own and have something on hand until you can afford a commercial one. There are the oven style and the cook-it style which is a reflector and oven bag cookery. There is also the fresnel lens cookers. You can probaly fry in that last style. I don't have one and never have tried one but I have read about them.
Rocket stoves are a convenient and frugal style of cooker that uses very little fuel and it can be nothing more than branches, paper, cardboard, pine cones, etc. just don't use pressure treated wood.
Campfire cooking is a wonderful way to cook if your are not severely limited on wood. It does take a bit to do any amount of cooking, but one good thing about it is that the food is wonderful in flavor being cooked on an open fire and you can do spit style cooking as well as fry foods. You can buy the wrought iron items to use over the fire to hang pots or use as a spit etc. from online or make them yourself with directions from the net. They can be made from iron pipes and the grill over the fire can be an oven rack from a discarded stove or grill.
Wood stoves which will probably be used by many for heating their homes can be cooked on indoors and you can even bake your biscuits or corn bread etc on top of one with a camp oven over them. This is really only practical in the colder months of the year. Since there will be no air conditioning you will not want to heat up your house. Wood cook stoves are great but again not comfortable to cook in the summer on or in them.
There is also hobo stoves which you can use any fuel you may have on hand, I personally use buddy burners in mine for short term power outages. The plans and directions for these are also on the net. The buddy burner will last for approximately 2 hours and will definitely cook most of what you would want to cook.
There are propane grills, charcoal grills, and coleman style gas stoves, and also some kerosene stoves out there but they all take fossil fuels that are expensive and will be hard to replace so I would save those to use for special occasions or when wood is not available and the sun is not out. The frugality of the solar oven and the rocket stove and buddy burners make them my personal favorites.
My next in line is propane grills and burners if you can afford to store a quantity of propane and lastly due to the cost of wood if you have to buy it are the wood stove and campfire style cooking. The wood we will be buying or collecting mostly will go for heating our home in the wood stove. So in the winter I will be making lots of stews and soups, rice and beans etc. on our boxwood stove. Also don't forget your camp oven, if you purchase one they usually come with a temp. guage which will come in very handy. You can make them but you will have to guess about your temp. unless you can rig up a guage yourself. .
Grain mills are an important item if you want to be able to grind your wheat, corn, beans, rice or whatever into a meal or flour. It was the second most important item on my list after a water filter. I researched it and found that the most durable mill was a Country Living Grain Mill. I saved for quite a while to buy it. As a matter of fact I bought it after I bought my grains and was a nervous wreck until I did get it. I do think I need a second mill for smaller amounts of flour to make pancakes or biscuits. I don't want to drag the big mill out and it is large and heavy to just grind a cup or three of flour. I will probably be grinding large amounts of flour just one or two times a week so the major mess can be cleaned up more easily and then the mill can be stored out of the way until the next time. Please don't buy your grains and no mill. Boiled wheat is no where near the same thing as bread...........
Next on my list which really should have been first is WATER equipment such as filters, barrels, pumps etc. My favorite filters are the large drip filter Berkey style filters whether homemade or bought. Mine is a Katydyn brand but it is the same exact style as the Berkey's are. You will need large amounts of water for cooking, washing foods, hygiene of the kitchen and of the members of the household. The pets and animals will need water etc. . Everyone already knows the rule of 3's so I won't repeat them but water is number 2 on there just because air is always number one. . Now lets talk about how to prepare for tshtf when it comes to water. A deep well is the most effective method of getting water but then there are parts of the country where the wells would have to be hundreds of feet deep and would be out of range money wise. I can't really speak to desert areas as I have never even been to a desert in my life. I would imagine buying cisterns and having them filled would be good for them and living next to an area where there is water available. For most of the country wells are practical and there is enough rainfall in most of the country that we can capture the rain through gutters and containers. There is also other methods of collection such as pools, barrels with large plastic funnels, homebuilt ponds, etc. For the short term I have about a hundred 2 liter soda bottles filled with water. Of course they are treated and rotated out for fresh treated water twice a year. Half every six months.
Suggestions for food preservation for the future if there is no power is solar dehydrators, water bath canners, and pressure canners as well as having a smoke house. The plans for the solar dehydrators and the smoke houses are on the net for free and are there for the Preppers who want to google them.
As far as the canners go, I have bought all mine either on the net used or at thrift stores or estate or yard sales. The one thing that can really cost dearly is the jars, lids and rings. If you have the money buy the tattler lids for your jars if not then let me suggest you buy your extra lids for the future from Dollar General they have the regular lids for a dollar per pack of 12. Cheapest I have found anywhere. The wide mouth lids are quite expensive and if I had it to do over I wouldn't have bought any wide mouth jars. I bought most of my jars by advertising what I was willing to pay per dosen (my you know what key is broken so I have to spell dosen with the s. Sorry. I bought many dosen's of jars this way locally. Many older folks who are now passing away used to can food yearly and the grandchildren of those people who are cleaning out grandma's attics, garages and cupboards don't want them and would otherwise probably just throw them away so they are willing to sell them for cheap. Try it....
Lastly I want to talk about the many remarks of buying huge quantities of paper plates, paper towels etc. because of water shortages. I think having a supply of paper plates is advisable but I have no room to have a years supply of paper plates, and plastic utensils etc. as well as not having the money to purchase them. So my idea is to assign eating utensils and plates, mugs,and glasses to each individual in the family and then have everyone clean their own utensils with first wiping them off with newpaper which I have stored up and then taking a rag with bleach water and wiping them down. The rag may be kept in a small amount of bleach water while the family does their own items and then can be wrung out and hung to dry for the next time. If they wipe their dishes well before washing them with the rag there won't be much in the way of food left on them and it will be very frugal to wash them. By not using soap and just using hot water with a little bleach it will still be sterile without having to rinse or even dip the plates, glasses, mugs or utensils. The only things that will have to be washed in any amount of water will be the pots or serving bowls. But there won't be many serving bowls except for non cooked items or cold served items such as fruit salad, jello, or potato salad, slaws, or meat or seafood salads. One pot of boiling water of about a quart could wash these things easily and even the dirtiest water can be used to soak pots that need soaking then they can be washed with a small amount of boiling water with bleach and a little soap afterwards.
I must admit I have made many of the items that can be homemade to use in my preservation, storage, cooking etc. because of deciding I need to put our available funds elsewhere but when I do buy items that I cannot make I look for used first and then sales or discounted items second. Research to me means searching and then searching and then searching again as many times as it takes to find the items I need at the cheapest prices. One warning I have for everyone is to check out the cost of shipping if it comes from somewhere else thru whatever site or method you use. My experience has shown me that shipping costs vary widely and can make the seemingly cheap item terribly expensive. Compare to your door price not just the listed prices. Remember to keep the use of credit also in mind. If you can't pay it off immediately after it is put on your card you may be paying interest which also runs the price up. Just sayin...........
I hope that this will open a dialog about equipment for your food storage and prepping and survival atshtf. As you can see I didn't get into gardening, building, or wood chopping supplies. Those things should be on a list of their own.
So happy prepping!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

30 Things Needed for Food Storage

This is a recent post that I made on Frugal Squirrel Forums. I believe it is a very good article with a fairly complete list of items we should have in our permanent short, intermediate and long term storage. I hope that the following list will be added to and critiqued for our food storage needs after the stuff hits the fan. It is not a question of what will be sold out first because we hope to have these essentials when we need it and not have to buy after a catastrophe....

1. Water, water source, water treatment supplies such as plain bleach and filters.

2. Grains, wheat berries with grain mill, corn, oatmeal, flour, grits, rice, and other grains.

3. Pasta's such as macaroni, spaghetti, egg noodles, penne and any other type you like.

4. Dehydrated potatoes, instant mashed potatoes, boxed potatoes such as au gratin and scalloped.

5. Dairy such as dry milk, canned milk, condensed milk, instant nonfat dry milk, and non dairy creamer.Cheese which can be canned cheese, parmesan, cheese whiz, and waxed cheeses. We should have recipes for making fresh cheeses such as cottage cheese, ricotta, and mozzarella from dry milk. Also yogurt can be made as well as yogurt cheese from dry milk. Powdered eggs, whole, whites or scrambled.

6. Dehydrated vegetables such as carrots, peas, beans, legumes of all kinds that you like, broccoli, celery, bell peppers, onion and mixed vegetables.

7. Canned vegetables, for quicker use and for situations where you don't have enough water.

8. Dried Fruits such as raisins, cranberries, prunes, apricots, dates, coconut, and apples.

9. Nuts and Seeds such as peanuts, walnuts, pecans, cashews, almonds, mixed nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc.

10. Canned meats which there are many canned meats in the grocery store such as chicken, tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, corned beef, roast beef in gravy, barbeque pork, dried beef in jars, ham, and lots of sandwich spreads. Also is good to can your own meats of all types. Don't forget Spam, or Treet and also pepperoni's and summer sausage which have quite long shelf life which can be extended by freezing the meats until such time as you need them or until there is no electricity.

11. Canned meals and soups such as chili, stew, chow mein, spaghetti, ravioli, soups of all kinds, and home canned meals as well.

12. Baking supplies such as yeast, baking powder, baking soda, salt, gluten, sugar, honey, cream of tartar, flavorings, spices, cocoa, chocolate chips, coconut, seeds.

13. Canned fruits such as fruit cocktail, peaches, pineapple, pears, applesauce, apples, etc.

14. Coffee, teas, cocoa, instant breakfast, sport drinks and drink mixes like koolaid or tang. Make sure your drink mixes have added vitamins especially vit. C.

15. Cereals such as oatmeal, grits, cream of wheat, cold cereals of whole grains and rotate to keep fresh.

16. Canned sauces such as salsa, spaghetti sauce, sloppy joe sauce, chili sauce, tomato sauces and pastes, and canned tomatoes.

17. Treats such as packaged cake mixes, brownie mixes, candy, popcorn, pudding mixes and jello mixes.

18. Herbs and spices for cooking. Very important to get a lot of what you usually use and keep it unopened and in a cool dark space. Without these your food will be bland and tasteless. Make sure you have vinegar and lemon juice for flavoring and salad dressings and cheese making.

19. Sweeteners such as Honey, sugar, brown sugar, confectioners sugar, agave, corn syrup, maple syrup, sugar substitutes, or pancake syrups.

20. Oils and fats such as shortening, lard, vegetable oil, olive oil, canola oil, butter, and other exotic oils.

21. Peanut Butter, other nut butters if desired. Also don't forget jellies and jams of your choice.

22. TVP if desired to add protein to dishes such as chili, spaghetti etc.

23. Sprouting seeds and beans. Very healthy when you have no fresh greens in winter. Try to grow cabbages and collards through most of the winter to use to help with winter foods.

24. Alcohol if desired but not necessarily to drink. Can be used to make flavoring and used for marinades. Makes venison taste pretty good with Jack Daniels. Red wine can make canned beef taste good like beef burgundy. Useful for cooking and drinking especially for celebrations.

25. Garden seeds that are heirloom, non-gmo, and fresh so they will sprout. Keep fresh heads of garlic so they can be broken up to be planted as well as some fresh potatoes so they can be cut up and planted as well after the stuff hits the fan.

26. Vitamins and mineral supplements. Which will help prevent malnutrition from lack of some foods that you may not be getting especially fresh foods.

27. Ensure, and pedialite may be good to have for people who become ill and need special diets while recuperating. You can find rehydration drink recipes on the net.

28. Bouillion cubes or granules for flavor in foods and for broths when nursing ill patients.

29. Medicinal herbs for home remedies. There may not be any medical treatment available other that what you can supply yourself.

30. Medicinal herb seeds to grow in your garden to make sure you have a supply of home remedies when needed. Have a good book or two on home remedies and herbal medicines.

This is my list of essentials for bugging in place or for keeping in a retreat. I have these things for the most part. Still filling in a little here and there. Please add those things you think are necessary that I may have forgotten or accidentally omitted. There should be a separate list of non food items that we should have such as water filters, wells and pumps, cookbooks, grain mill, pasta maker, food mills, can openers, canners and jars, food dehydrator, solar oven, rocket stove, grill, propane, gardening equipment, security items and defense items. But that will be for another list.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ominivore or Vegetarian?

I am one of those people who has wasted my time canning beef, chicken, pork, venison, and meat stews, and soups. I have read many comments on survival sites about how canning meats are a waste of time. They say that people can hunt for their meat or live a vegetarian lifestyle. I say both are non-sustainable. I believe the animals that are considered meat sources will be hunted to near extinction and vegetarian lifestyle will not be giving you enough calories to do the hard work you will need to do for survival. I plan to only eat meat 2 to 3 times a week if the stuff hits the fan and we can't go to a grocery store for our regular foods. I have a years supply of food for 4 to 5 people but will be feeding upwards to 13 people possibly. I will not be feeding everyone straight meat but will be putting a bit in with beans and rice dishes or vegetable and meat soups or stews served with rice or noodles or mashed potatoes or breads of different kinds. Meat will not be figured prominently any more but will be there for psychological value and flavor. Special holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Fourth of July I will serve a more pure form of meat such as salmon cakes or barbeque pork or sausage egg casserole. They will seem much more celebratory if they are few and far between. Thanksgiving I have a recipe for Chicken or Turkey croquets put away along with stuffing, veggies, gravy and rolls like most other Thanksgivings of our past. I always like the fixings better than the Turkey on Thanksgiving anyway.....Now to talk about vegetarian eating. It isn't my favorite way to eat everyday but 3 or 4 times a week it could be okay. I have played around with creating things like lentil rice burgers and when they are served with all the hamburger fixings and also with a little beef boullion in the burger it is really passable and my husband even said he can deal with that as a substitute for burgers atshtf. Also baked beans and corn bread and fried rice is a very acceptable meal. If your beans are the canned variety and come with bits of pork fat. Make sure you chop the pork fat very fine and leave it in the beans for flavor and the fat that is needed in your diet. Spaghetti sauces that you stock up on can be the meat type flavors such as Del Monte's Meat Spaghetti Sauce or Italian Sausage style sauce. Spaghetti Marinara is fine but try to put away Parmesan Cheese into your storage for those meals. It will help mask not having meat in them. Who here hasn't tried vienna sausage in their beans and rice or in the rice caseroles? What about buying the cheaper canned Luncheon Meats like Treet, which I bought about 75 cans of for 75 cents each for flavoring otherwise bland meals like bean soup or frittata's or quiches. My husband tells me all the time not to buy Spam because he hates it. I cook for him many different meals with the luncheon meat and he has never said a negative word about it and cleans his plate. Perceptions are something we will have to work around until everyone is on board with eating what we have and being grateful for it. I figure I will be able to make Tuna Macaroni and cheese casserole to feed 13 people with 2 cans of tuna in oil if I leave the oil in the tuna and add it to the macaroni and cheese. The tuna flavored oil can substitute for the butter and will add the taste of tuna throughout the casserole. What about learning to make a hummus sandwich spread to make for a change of pace from the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and think of eating baked beans over toast for lunch in the winter. In the summer make use of the salad greens and tomatoes for sandwiches. What about refried bean and red rice burritos with a dollop of yogurt. If you have cucumbers or zucchini make sandwiches with them with a spread of yogurt. Learn to make homemade yogurt and cottage cheese and riccotta from non fat dry milk and serve those with fresh or canned fruits or vegetables for lunches or light dinners. Yogurt is very versatile and can be used in place of sour cream in stroganoff and on baked potatoes or with instant mashed potatoes for a richness and tang that you would not be getting without the butter and sour cream that we are all so used to. Don't forget that yogurt takes to being flavored very well. You can add some strawberry jam to it or chives and garlic powder, try different seasonings with plain yogurt and you will see what I mean. Just look as some of the recipes you use regularly and figure how you can change them to use what you have in food storage or buy the things for your food storage that you don't think you can live without like powdered sour cream it is really quite yummy. But if you can't afford it then learn to make the yogurt. If you are a pretty staunch carnivore/omnivore consider raising rabbits and or chickens if your city allows it. My city does not allow the eating fowl of any kind to be raised domestically, but they don't have any rules about rabbits so we are headed for raising rabbits this coming year. And don't forget that rabbit manure is considered one of the best fertilizers and does not need to be aged to be used. We will start them off in a greenhouse type structure this winter and will move them outdoors in the spring. Everyone's tastes and preferences will be different but you need to think about whole meals when you plan your food storage, not just individual ingredients. Take the time to look at your menus and store the things you will need for the whole menu or learn to deal with substitutes now before tshtf. These are important steps on your journey to your future survival and life skills that you are trying to prepare for after the collapse or catastrophe happens.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Canning Season!!

This is definitely canning season for me. I decided to can as much beef and possible since the national news has been saying that beef would be going up 30 to 33% soon. I have been going to the commissary at the Air Force base near me and buying the mark down beef roasts, round roast mostly, and canning them. So far I have canned almost 50 lbs. in both quart and pint jars. I am having to take a little break because I need to go buy more canning jars today. So I will be going to Walmart and Big Lots and try to get the most economical jars. I have also canned about 20 lbs of ground beef. I need to can 20 more lbs of beef that I have and will be canning 30 more lbs of ground beef. When I can ground beef I do it the way the lady does on Homestead Acres. She breaks it up and boils it, then she removes it from the water and puts in the jars. Then adds de-fatted beef broth to the jars and pressure cans them. I have taken it a small step further and used the leftover broth and small amount of the ground beef to make beef/vegetable soup and then I can that as well. The recipe I use is one my family used as I was growing up. It is beef or ground beef, onion, garlic, canned tomatoes, mixed vegetables (I used my dehydrated mixed vegetables), boullion cubes, basil, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper. It is just a throw it together soup, seasoned to taste and is very delicious. I have always since childhood eaten mine with peanut butter bread on the side which I dip in the broth. My granddaughter screams yea everytime I tell her I am making it. Sometimes she begs me to make it, so having the canned soup allows me to fix it for her in minutes as opposed to the hour or two it would usually take. Our family doesn't mind commercially canned chicken noodle soup or dried Top Ramen once in awhile but homemade is preferred. I will be soon making more pear butter and pear sauce to can. That is a yearly tradition and this year I plan to try persimmon butter and persimmon ketchup. I have never had them so will be interested in how the turn out. I used to eat persimmon straight off my parents tree but my Mom did not can much so I never had the butters and ketchups that can be made from different fruits. I also want to learn to make chutney which I believe I could do from the pears this year. We lived in Scotland at one time for a couple of years and chutneys were very popular over there. The fall is arriving and the windows are open and AC is off. So the canning doesn't make the house uncomfortably hot anymore and I have the itch to keep canning. I am hoping to clean out my freezers and find everything that is good in cans and will try to make room for the venison that I hope to be storing soon. I will try canning a lot of that as well but that will come gradually over the winter. I do hope hubby gets at least one deer this year. I plan to help him butcher it ourselves this year. The butcher asks too much from us for his services and I want the whole dear in the freezer or my pantry so wish us luck!