PREPAREDNESS TIP: CANNING FOOD

By Andrew Skousen – Originally at World Affairs Brief and reprinted here by permission.

Most canning sites err on the side of caution and recommend long processing times and, preferably, a steam canner. As I noted in the last preparedness tip, I prefer steam bath canning for faster processing with less energy, but you have to know its limits and the bacteria you are fighting. For home canning the main fear is botulism and here’s why:

Cl. botulinum is a bacterium that is all around us in soils and the environment. It survives difficult conditions by forming spores that are resistant to heat, chemicals and drying. Under favorable conditions the spores develop into bacteria (germination) and the bacteria grow in the food. During growth they produce a potent neurotoxin (nerve toxin called botulinum toxin) that causes the illness [botulism].

The botulinum bacteria itself is not the problem—our own gut can handle them in small amounts—it is their neurotoxic byproduct, especially when it accumulates in food under the right conditions: no air, room temperatures, neutral pH, low salt, and low sugar. Unfortunately, some bottled preserves (principally meat and vegetables) sitting on the shelf have these exact conditions. Botulism symptoms include blurred or double vision and gradual muscle paralysis. In extreme cases it can paralyze the lung muscles and cause death (artificial respirators are used now to save most patients). Recovery can take months while the body regrows the damaged nerve endings.

Some sites report that botulinum bacteria may not always cause a bad smell or taste. But don’t fear this invisible threat yet. To ensure botulinum spores are killed all portions of the food must be heated to 250 deg F (121 deg C) for 3 minutes. These temperatures can only be reached with a pressure canner. So why didn’t our great-grandparents get sick more often using water bath and steam canning? They found other ways of inhibiting the spores: Acidic environments (pH less than 4.6), high sugar (>50%) and/or high salt (>7%) inhibits the spores from developing. That is a lot of sugar or salt, so acid is really your best bet.

Many of our great grandmothers canned meat and veggies without a pressure canner, but I suspect they usually cooked these when adding to a meal. The botulism bacteria and its neurotoxin are both neutralized by heat—even just simmering the jar’s contents at 176 deg F (80 deg C) for a few minutes does the job. Don’t throw out suspicious food in hard times, just cook it well. Unfortunately the fear of putting a recipe or instruction out there that might allow for botulism has caused many to throw out their old family recipes and processing instructions so we are mostly stuck with pressure canner instructions for these products.

Fruit and most tomatoes are acidic enough for atmospheric steam canning (despite what you hear), but some hybrid tomatoes are bred to be so sweet they need two tablespoons of lemon juice per quart jar to get the pH level low enough. Many people also add lemon juice to applesauce for the same reason.

A hand-crank applesauce/tomato sauce mill is very useful in home canning. We also pull out the steam juicer for grape and berry juices. Other tools are also extremely valuable depending on your produce: a cherry pitter, pear corer, jar lifter to avoid scalding when removing hot jars and a large-mouth funnel (that fits small and large mouth jars) as seen on Victorio’s website. They are available at kitchen supply stores (and hardware stores seasonally). Next week I’ll cover the options for canning lids including some that are reusable

Canning 101 – The Basics for Beginners

Pressure Canning Tips and How To

From The Prepared Prepper’s Cookbook: Over 260 Pages of Food Storage Tips, and Recipes From Preppers All Over America!

We now turn to pressure canning. The only safe way to process low acid foods such as tomatoes, meats and soups is with a pressure caner. The aim of this chapter is to provide motivation for learning to pressure can, to dispel some of the irrational fears surrounding pressure canning, to provide an overview of the process, and to list a few examples of pressure canning recipes.

I recommend that you read the owners manual that comes with your pressure canner before attempting to pressure can. I highly recommend The Ball Blue Book: Guide to Preserving. If you follow the instructions that come with your canner and read through the Ball book, and follow the instructions and recipes carefully, you will not have any problems.

Why Learn to Pressure Can?

Pressure canning is an important skill to learn, for without electricity the food in your freezer can last no more than a few days. If you have a pressure caner (and a means to cook), you can pressure can that meat. The result is shelf stable meats.

A pressure caner also gives you more options for stocking shelf stable meats. Without a pressure caner, you must either purchase tinned meats from the store or you must purchase freeze-dried meats, and that’s not economically feasible for most people. In addition, if your local store has an incredible sale on meats but you do not have a lot of freezer space, you have the option of canning some or most of the meat.

In contrast to water bath canning, it is not necessary to sterilize the canning jars—just make sure the jars are clean. (Reference: All American Pressure Caner instruction manual, p. 40.) It is necessary to simmer the lids for five minutes, primarily to warm up the seal ring.

Irrational Fears

I can write about irrational fears surrounding pressure caning from personal experience. I put off purchasing a pressure caner out of fear that it would blow up my kitchen. But I did the research before buying, and I opted for the All American Pressure Caner primarily because the lid is affixed to the canner with wing nuts and there is a pressure blowout valve on the lid of the canner. So it’s incredibly unlikely that the caner would blow up my kitchen.

I can tell you from experience that once you can your first batch using a pressure caner, you will laugh at yourself for being afraid. Just read the instructions carefully and follow a reputable recipe, and you will be fine.

Overview of the Process

Suppose you have made a large batch of chili and you want to can it. What do you do? Well, quite simply you just fill clean jars with chili, leaving a one-inch headspace. Then wipe the rim of the jar with a clean paper towel and put on lid and screw ring. Fill canner with recommended amount of water (typically 1 ½ to 2 inches). Put filled jars in canner. Affix lid and turn on burner. Allow the caner to get up to temperature and start the timer.

If you are using a weight gauge canner such as the All American, vent steam for the recommended amount of time (usually 10 minutes) and insert the proper weight depending on your altitude. (See instruction manual for details.) With the All American, you know the caner has reached the proper temperature when the pressure gauge rocks two or three times per minute.

That’s it. When the timer goes off, turn off the burner and allow the caner to reduce to zero pressure naturally. Remove weight gauge. And then open caner. Use proper caning utensils to remove hot jars from caner. Place hot jars on a towel and allow to cool overnight. Test the seal in the morning. Label and put away.

Let us look at a couple of recipes for pressure canning

Skinless Boneless Chicken Breast

Yield: 10 pints

Ingredients:

  • 10 lbs. raw chicken, cut in chunks
  • 1 tsp. salt

Directions:

Cut raw chicken into chunks. Pack into clean pint jars, leaving a one-inch headspace. Add 1 tsp. salt. Clean rim, and add lid and screw ring. Process at 10 lbs. of pressure in pressure caner for 75 minutes for pint jars and 90 minutes for quarts jars. Do not add liquid to caning jars; chicken will make its own liquid as it cooks. (If canning at an altitude above 1000, process at 15 pounds. Check instruction manual for details.)

Skinless Boneless Chicken Breast and Andouille Sausage

Yield: 10 Pints

Ingredients:

  • 8 lbs. raw chicken, cut in chunks
  • 2 lbs. raw andouille sausage, diced

Directions:

Cut raw chicken into chunks. Dice sausage. Pack into clean pint jars, leaving a one-inch headspace. Add 1 tsp. salt. Clean rim, and add lid and screw ring. Process at 10 lbs. of pressure in pressure caner for 75 minutes for pint jars and 90 minutes for quarts jars. Do not add liquid to caning jars; chicken will make its own liquid as it cooks. (If canning at an altitude above 1000, process at 15 pounds. Check instruction manual for details.)

Simple DIY Solar Food Dehydrator

Sealing It Up – Using a Vacuum Sealer to Prep on a Tight Budget

Today we present another article for this round in our non-fiction writing contest – by Mrs. Heidi

My husband and I are like a lot of folks. We live paycheck-to-paycheck (his only as I am disabled and can’t work) and rarely have any “spare” funds, not even ten dollars! But, we can see the “writing on the wall” same as you and we know we needed to be ready. How to go about it was the question, though.

We found a solution. Vacuum-sealing.

Most of us don’t tend to think about it, but even on a super-tight budget, we toss out a LOT of food every year. Those dribs and drabs can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. If you lose even five bucks every week, that’s $260.00 per year. You can afford to buy a lot of long-term storage with almost three hundred dollars!

One of the biggest areas of food waste is spoilage. Everything from freezer-burned meats to moldy cheese and sour milk. It adds up. Even that $1.35 box of stale saltines that you tossed out adds to your “shrink” (“shrink” is a term used in the retail industry for the loss of product that cannot be sold, thus “shrinking” the profit margin).

When my hubby and I sat down after the 2013 Christmas holidays, we decided to keep track of every single bit of food that came into and out of our home. We did a housewide inventory and kept careful track for sixty days. Then we crunched the numbers.

In just sixty days, we had lost over $80.00 worth of food! That’s $1.33 every day, $9.33 per week or $485.00 per year!

We were appalled.

I’ve always rather prided myself on my frugality, especially when it comes to my kitchen and pantry. I was even more shocked than my husband, to be honest.

We took a hard look at in what areas our food loss was greatest. Turned out that spoiled/outdated food was the main culprit.(Other things we immediately did were hubby beginning strictly taking only leftovers for lunch at work unless there weren’t any at all, any leftover “sides” becoming the basis of various “mystery” soups and casseroles, etc.)

That left us with unused food going bad and being thrown out before we even used it. Lots of high-dollar items on that list, too. That was more than 60% of the total wastage.

How could we avoid this and/or extend the usable life of these items?

Now, I was familiar with vacuum sealing from using a commercial version at my late parent’s restaurant/tavern, many years ago. Ours was a small mom and pop place, but we still had to order our food supplies in bulk cases from the distributors. Unless we wanted to waste a heckuva lot of food, we had an issue. Regular plastic bags, zipseal bags, plastic wrap and aluminum foil only go so far. We still had a lot of wasted food – and my folks couldn’t afford to run their business with that kind of overhead.

Attending a Wisconsin Restaurant Association “vendor’s food fair”, we came across a vendor showing slightly smaller vacuum sealing machines, similar to those used in the wholesale market, but geared down for restaurant use. The cheapest carried a hefty price tag of over $500.00, but after talking it over, my folks ordered one.

It saved, literally, thousands of dollars in just a couple of years.

So, as hubby and I confronted our own food waste/storage issues, I ventured the idea of getting a vacuum sealer.

We agreed to see what was available and that we could afford.

After looking both online and then in-person at many models and at varying prices, we settled on one: a FoodSaver® V2430 Vacuum Sealing System. We purchased it at WalMart for $69.99 + tax, on sale. It came with a package of assorted pre-cut bags as well as two, five-foot rolls we could cut to size.

M.D. Adds: This is the model that I have – FoodSaver 4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealing System with Bonus Built-in Retractable Handheld Sealer. The retractable handheld sealer is very convenient…

It just so happened one of our local supermarkets was having a mega-sale on premium steaks – not something you see at our house too often! We bought what we could afford and brought it home along with our new vacuum-sealer.

How It Worked:

It didn’t take long to master the unit. The sealer has two modes: Seal and Vac & Seal. If you merely want to seal a bag and not use the vacuum function (comes in handy for liquids and semi-liquids!), you use the sealing function: place the bag just over the heat-sealing bar, close the unit, press the button and your bag is sealed in ten seconds or so.

This is also the setting you use when making your own custom-sized bags from the rolls. You cut the size bag you want, seal one end, add your item(s), then proceed to either vac&seal or seal your bag – voila`! There are only two buttons – you simply close the lid, select your button, release the lid and that’s all there is to it.

We packed single-meal packages of the steaks, as well as packets of frozen veggies and potatoes to go with, placing these “mealpaks” inside of larger zip-seal bags, labeled and dated, then into the freezer. We also repackaged a lot of previously frozen items, still frozen, and labeled/dated them.

We did the same with fresh items like cheeses, butter, lunchmeat, veggies and fruits. I even packed cut fruits and lebni (a Greek sour-cream/yogurt I like product) for our breakfast smoothies.

Ditto for dry goods like pasta, rice, etc. It was SO easy!

(Our 10-year old granddaughter used our sealer when she wanted to put away some extra Halloween candy, after showing her how to do it ONE time, she was able to successfully and easily use it by herself!)

Cleaning the unit is fairly easy as well, though you do need to make sure you get around the vacuum post very well, particularly when packaging raw meats to avoid cross a contamination and transmission of food-borne bacteria. I simply use a heavy paper towel with 1:1 diluted white vinegar while in use and then an antibacterial wipe before putting the unit away.

Results:

Comparing our previous waste costs to what we saved by vac-sealing, we saved almost $250.00 in the first three months following our sealer purchase. (This was partially due to being able to take advantage of bulk item sales as well) Deducting the initial cost of the machine, plus the additional bags/bag rolls we purchased (between $8 – $15@), we still were left with more than $125.00 in savings!

(Note: The model we purchased did not have the container/jar sealer attachment that is available on other, more expensive models of the same brand, but we improvised by vac-sealing the entire container or jar when we needed to. Worked like a charm!)

In the months since, we have had ZERO spoilage/waste of uncooked foods. We also have been able to make large amounts of things like lasagna, etc. and then vac-seal the leftovers; to freeze for use as another meal a week or two later or to simply refrigerate for my husband’s aforementioned lunches. We even have individually frozen various berries, eggs (first freeze in ice-cube trays, then vac-seal), burger patties, pastas, etc. Once frozen, we simply vac-sealed them and they retained their shape/color/consistency quite well! If we had access to liquid nitrogen, we could IQF and have an even better result.

Conclusion:

By reducing waste in our budget, we’ve been able to use that “extra” money to build our emergency supplies cache. We now have  at least sixty days on-hand as well as packed B.O.B.’s and even supplies for our pets! We anticipate being able to continue to build our stores,adding more “wants” to the “must-haves” we have already laid by as well as items for barter/trade. We even use our vac-sealer for packing our own DIY MRE’s, clothing, batteries, first aid, medications, personal hygiene and other items.

We also vac-sealed personal documents and a few books, card games, stationary – not to mention Bibles. Not only does this protect these items from moisture, etc., it also reduces bulk and we can break down waste-of-space packaging into compact emergency supplies. The purchase and use of either moisture or oxygen absorbers also further extends the usable life of sealed items.

We can even cook or reheat foods in these bags because they are “boil-in-bag”! Even a tin can “pot” can be used to heat food with minimal fuel. That’s a huge plus if you need to conserve water/fuel. Heat your food, then use the water for tea, coffee, hot cocoa or spiced cider – even use it to take a (warm!) sponge-bath. A good, hot meal and/or getting clean will do wonders to boost morale in dire circumstances!

We also have introduced our adult children to this concept, which adds to our entire family’s security in the face of a *HTF event. Now their families share the same preparedness.

You can’t put a price tag on that kind of of security!

The small (!) initial investment has paid us back ten-fold already. We feel our vacuum-sealer has become an essential in our prepping, saving us money, space and providing a greater survivability factor as well as peace of mind we would otherwise not have.

Prizes for this round (ends July 10 2015 ) in our non fiction writing contest include…

  1. First place winner will receive –  A case of Yoder’s Canned Bacon (12 cans, $169.95), a case of Future Essentials Canned Green Coffee Beans (12 cans, $143.30 value), and a case of our Future Essentials Canned Breakfast/Cold Cereal Variety with Milk (12 cans; a can each of Raisin Bran, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, Apple O’s, Whole Grain Frosted Wheat’s, Cocoa Rice Krispies, Honey & Nut O’s, Fruity O’s and Frosted Flakes, as well as three (3) Cans of Powdered Milk Substitute (18 oz. each) – (a value of $62.90) all courtesy MRE Depot and a  WonderMix Bread Mixer courtesy of FoodPrepper.com a $300 value. Total first place prize value over$674.
  2. Second Place Winner will receive – A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $283 value) and an autographed copy of 31 Days to Survival
  3. Third place winner will receive –  A gift certificate for $150 off of Hornady Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo.

Food Storage: # 10 Cans VS 5 Gallon Buckets

Reader Questions: Long-Term Storage of Powdered Milk

We’ve been reading your blog for a little over a year and have gained a lot of knowledge from you and the pack. Thanks for your hard work. We’ve never commented before until we read in the basics article about powdered milk not keeping. We asked why it wouldn’t keep being packed in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers and got no response. We pack most everything in them as we were told to by a long time prepper . We are going to get more food to pack today and need to know about the milk. Don’t want to waste money on it if it won’t keep. Thanks, Kevin.

M.D. Replies: If packaged and stored correctly, powdered milk stores fairly well​ and will last for several years however powdered milk is one of the most difficult food products to store long-term.

Light, moisture and oxygen all cause it to degrade quickly, but properly sealed Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers and desiccants inside five-gallon buckets help a lot and will extend the shelf-life.

Plastic buckets alone are slightly porous and will allow for some air to transfer through them, but by using the bucket and a correctly sealed Mylar bag this can be greatly reduced or eliminated completely.

Pack it correctly and rotate it into your normal everyday meal plan and use on a first in first out basis and you won’t have any problems. You should always be using and replacing your food storage items.

Please note to insure maximum self-life I buy most of my powdered milk stock commercially packaged from Augasonfarms.com

Foodsaver Sealing Mason Jars~Pearl Barley And Long Term Food Storage

You can purchase the FoodSaver 4840 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealing System with Bonus Built-in Retractable Handheld Sealer here and Jar Sealer here.

An Easy Way to Make Babies . . . no, no, not those kind

Today’s non-fiction writing contest entry, was written by the mem

I’m talking brambles (raspberry, blackberry, boysenberry, lingonberry, loganberry, .wine berry*, etc.) There are several ways to do so.  The first is to spend tons of money and buy a bunch of plants; plant them in well-drained soil rich in compost and let them spread naturally. This is NOT my preferred method since I am cheap frugal. For those people who wish to use brambles for perimeter security these methods will definitely help with the budget.

Be sure that you are taking cuttings from disease free plants. If you are familiar with the mother plants, and they appear healthy, cut away, if not beware. That said, my current raspberry patch was salvaged from a dying stand a couple of years ago, I coddled them and was extremely fortunate. If you are buying plants, I recommend a local nursery’s certified disease free plants.

First, if I can’t trade or get plants from a fellow gardener, I like supporting local businesses. Second, I actually got a better deal on my current blackberry patch starter plants than I would have gotten from the big-box stores or Chinamart. Third, and most importantly, big box stores usually have plants shipped in . . . from a galaxy far, far away . . .  and so those plants usually are not as acclimated or suitable to your area as ones from a local nursery.

Next, consider what the main purpose of your patch is going to be – if they’re for eating, not shredding intruders apart, go for thornless cultivars.

Now, to the business of making babies . . .

Pots to transplant – I love the tall 1.5 quart size that perennials are often sold in nowadays. Love them best when I can scrounge them from friends/family/strangers on the street. I have reused milk/iced tea cartons and jugs, making sure to put adequate holes in the bottom for drainage.  If you are reusing containers wash them thoroughly with a 10% bleach solution, rinse well and let air dry before putting in the growing mix.

Growing medium – I find the following to be a good mixture for raising the canes until they are ready to be transplanted. Mix thoroughly 2 parts premium seed starting medium (there’s frugal, then there’s stupid – in this case I spend the money), 1 part compost and 1 part coir (available at your garden center.)  Saturate the growing medium (if using municipal water let it stand for twenty four hours to give the chlorine time to evaporate) and press the soil down gently into the container and let stand until the soil is moist but not soggy.

Growing conditions – place all new babies in bright indirect sunlight, where daytime temperatures are between 68⁰ and 75⁰ F and night time temperatures do not fall below 62⁰ F.

Helpful Hints– Use wet newspapers (people used to get news from them before the internet –google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about) to keep the cuttings moist while you are harvesting. Do not be afraid to try to propagate brambles – unlike real babies, they are forgiving of many things. I have still had success even when I couldn’t spend a lot of time tending them.

I Love Suckers!  Raspberries (usually red, sometimes purple) and a few blackberry and loganberry cultivars develop suckers and are, in my opinion, the easiest way to get new plants. This method can be done during the entire growing season, but if done very latein the season have a warm place for your babies to overwinter. Using sharp pruning shears, from the end of the cane, diagonally cut a 6” – 8” section of the sucker off the mother plant. Snip off all but 4-6 leaves from the cutting. Dip your shears in the bleach solution between cuttings to prevent the spread of any disease.

I have made more than one cutting from particularly long suckers (cut 6”-8” inches for the next section, remove all but 4 leaves from the top) When you insert into the soil, make sure that no leaves come into contact with the soil.  I spray a little fish emulsion solution on the leaves and use rooting hormone on the end of the cutting to help stimulate growth.

Insert a tongue depressor into the center of the soil, pushing to one side to make a space, gently place the cutting between the back of the trowel and the soil. Or you can use a pencil/dowel and make a hole to insert the cutting two to three inches deep. Tamp the soil to remove any air pockets. Put the pot into a clear plastic bag, making sure the plastic does not touch the plant, secure with a twist tie to keep the humidity high.  Check daily to make sure that humidity remains high, and the soil moist, but not soggy.  In four to six weeks they should be ready to transplant.

Working for tips tip cutting also known as softwood cutting – works for brambles that do not produce suckers. In the late spring cut off 6-8 inches of pencil thin, vigorous growing canes. Remove all but the top two or four leaves. Make sure there is are two nodes (leaf brackets) on the cutting. Use the transplant method above. Tip cuttings are prone to wilting, maintain high humidity in the bags, misting the leaves if necessary and resealing the bags after misting.

Tip layering – may be done anytime during the growing season, but works best in the spring. Bend thin, supple canes down to the ground. About 12” from the end of the cane, place a mark, also mark the ground at that spot. Dig a shallow hole and add compost. At the mark on the cane, scrape away about a thumb’s width of the outer bark away from the bottom and sides of the cane.

Remove leaves about 12” back from the mark on the cane. Drive a thin stick or bamboo stake into the ground 2 to 3 inches from the spot on the ground. Bury the scraped away section about an inch or two into the compost, heaping more compost on top. Press down firmly- you may put a rock on top if it’s handy. Gently bend the cane tip up along the stick and attach with a strip of pantyhose or twine. Keep well-watered.

As the tip grows keep securing it to the bamboo stake. After a couple of months check to see if roots have formed by brushing away (use your hands, not a tool) the compost. If roots have developed, cut away from the ‘mother,’ dig up, and transplant. If they haven’t yet, replace the compost and check again in four to six weeks.

Rooting for the home team – This method allows for lots of plants to be started. In early spring dig around a well-established, healthy plant. Using either a scalpel or sharp pruning shears, cut one – three roots that are about the diameter of a pencil. Return the soil and mulch to the mother plant. Cut the roots into 1” – 2” sections. Sprinkle with a rooting hormone.

Using 3” pots, plant horizontally no more than an inch from the surface in the soil mix mentioned above. Keep the growing medium moist but not soggy. Root cuttings benefit from compost tea and/or fish emulsion applied weekly. When plants start to send up shoots transfer to 6 inch peat pots (or ordinary pots) filled with a 1-1 mixture of potting soil and compost. Plant in the garden when they reach approximately 12” high.

*Please note that Asian wine berries, are listed as invasive species in some states and it is illegal to propagate or cultivate plants.

Prizes for this round (ends August 11 2014) in our non fiction writing contest include…

  1. First place winner will receive –  A $150 gift certificate for Fiocchi Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner, and a Wonder Junior Deluxe grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Neads.
  2. Second place winner will receive – 15 Live Fire Original – Emergency Fire Starters courtesy of LPC Survival and a Survival Puck  courtesy of Innovation Industries.
  3. Third place winner will receive – a copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of  TheSurvivalistBlog.net and copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.

Well what are you waiting for – email your entries today. But please read the rules that are listed below first…

Preserving the Harvest… Maybe

By BCTruck

I’ve never been accused of being the sharpest knife in the drawer. Some might even say that I’m a bit “slow”. So while I’m sure most of you blog readers have figured this out, It has just dawned on me.

This is the first year I’ve decided to keep and preserve as much as I possibly can from my garden. I have two gardens. One is for the things the deer love the most,which is in a small fenced area right outside my backdoor. The other Is larger for the veggies that the deer don’t bother unless they are desperate and in that case, I let them have what they want and I try to harvest some for myself.

It was while blanching my squash to prepare it for freezing,that my mind began to wander and I began to think about the huge effort that the federal, state,local, and even HOA,s are putting into trying to prevent folks from being independent of the food grid.

In some states and municipalities,it is against the law to harvest the rainwater that falls onto and rolls off your own roof, and onto the ground.

In some states,there has been a huge effort to stop small vegetable growers from selling their harvest at roadside stands.

There are towns, HOA’s and municipalities that actually forbid people from growing vegetables on their property, without adhering to a strict set of rules and government oversight.

While I was working in my kitchen and thinking about this, I began to have two feelings about this. Shock and outrage. I realized that with all these efforts to discourage or prevent folks from having gardens, there could only be one reason. It’s the same reason we must have “permission” to drive on roads our tax dollars paid for. The same reason why the feds think they are entitled to a portion of our paycheck.The same reason they want to eliminate our right to keep and bear arms. That reason is CONTROL!

Over the years,I’ve mostly “dabbled” at gardening. I’ve never been serious or gardened as though my life depended on it. From now on,I’ll be going about gardening with a different mindset. I’m going to do these things from now on and I encourage those of you who don’t,to give this some thought.

Monsanto and its various subsidiaries,have taken extreme and some would argue,unlawful steps to eliminate seeds that are non GMO,from public access. I will find the best heirloom plants that grow well in my area (zone 7/8) and I will save the seeds from those plants after harvest.

Canning,is an art form unto itself. I resolve to learn to can as much of my own produce as I possibly can. I have a canner, and truthfully, I don’t know what has prevented me from jumping in and learning how to preserve food using this method. I have everything I need,but for some reason I’ve experienced a bit of trepidation about attempting it. No more!

After this season is over,I will expand my garden and I will do everything I can to not have a need for any vegetable I don’t grow myself,next season.

There is an obvious,concerted effort,to outlaw people from freeing themselves from being completely dependent on the food grid. With that in mind,I’ll be doing everything I can to be independent from that grid from now on, and I encourage you to do all you can to lessen the control they have over your access to food.

I’m thinking,between my chickens and a good garden,if I had to,I could live quite well without ever darkening the door of another grocery store. Food independence is just as important as being free of debt. Don’t let them have control! Grow a garden!!

You can visit my YouTube channel here and watch all of my videos…