Budget Prepping And Food Storage Ideas

Guest post by Allie

Salt will be a great prepping item to start with because not only can you flavor food with it, it can be used to treat sore throats by adding it to warm water and gargling. Salt and baking soda can make a homemade toothpaste mixing equal parts and shaking.

The next prepping item to keep on a budget is rice. Rice will give you calories for quick energy aka simple sugar so if you’re hypoglycemic make sure to eat with protein. If stored properly can store for 20 + years. If you put rice at the bottom of your salt it will pull moisture out of the salt and absorb it. If you fill a sock or make a pillow you can fill in with rice and use as a heating pad or ice pack by either freezing in the freezer or heating in the microwave. In a shtf you can boil water and drop the bag/sock of rice in for a few minutes and wrap in a towel to use as a heating pad. Remember with injuries to treat with cold or ice first to reduce swelling for the first few days and then heat. If prone to injuries while working/exercising apply heat to increase flexibility before working/exercising.

The next thing on the list is beans. Yes, I know since the 1930s we have taught to be a manly man you must eat meat, well if you can afford it good for you. But beans will provide you protein, fiber, and iron at a fraction of the cost. Not only are beans edible but they are plantable. Remember there was a time seeds were more valuable than gold.

Tang is next on the list, it gives you 100% vitamin C plus, 10% calcium, calories. You can get it relatively cheap like Kroger’s 10 for $10 sales. Roughly 75 containers would be a year’s supply for a family of five if you were having only one glass a day (yeah I know that would be hard to do if your kids love the stuff)

Powdered milk makes an excellent source of calcium – 25% with vitamin D which can be gotten from the sun for free. Powdered milk can be used in desert items like (instant or homemade) pudding. There are recipes out there on how to make cheese from powdered milk. In SHTF with no electric and running out of fuel for your refrigerator, you’ll want nonperishable foods to store and eat.

Cereal, depending on food allergies it can range from rice cereal, hot cereals like oatmeal, or wheat or corn cereals. It adds calories and varies nutrition depending on brand and type. I recommend getting several different types especially the brands your kids love.

Keeping with eating a balanced meal, I recommend only four different types of canned vegetables. All high in vitamin A. They are spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots, and pumpkin. And it would be a plus to store pumpkin seeds to plant or eat as a protein rich snack. To eat as a snack flavor with seasoning example Cajun seasoning and bake at 350 for 5 to 10 minutes ~ Hubby says they taste like chips or sunflower seeds.

The last thing I recommend is olive oil. It adds calories but it will get the plumbing going if you are constipated. If you are a pasta lover it can be added to pasta with parsley and parmesan cheese and be a tasty treat.

Doing a pound a day of rice and beans, 2 cups of powdered milk, a serving of cereal, a cup of Tang, and a tablespoon of olive oil will give you roughly 1050 calories a day which is on target for a child 6 or younger and coming up short for adult household members. To make up the difference in calories need you can add a pack or 2 a day per adult. For me personally, I eat about 1050 already, more on days I am really active.

For those that will get overheated in temps over 100 degrees, the budget prepper should get a battery operated hand fan – $1 at the dollar tree and a spray bottle also a $1 and spray water frequently to create artificial sweat and breeze. Good to have on hand to help prevent heat stroke.

Please add your budget prepping advice and recipes in the comments below….

Review of Augason Farms Pancake Mix

By Mr. Bam Bam

This morning I was in the mood for pancakes and suggested to my wife (aka Bam Bam) that we head for Waffle House. Instead, she pulled out a can of Augason Farms Pancake Mix that she’d won in the writing contest and proceeded to whip up giant stacks of fluffy pancakes. We sat down and poured hot maple syrup and butter over our servings. They were absolutely the best pancakes we’ve ever had. She prepared the entire 15-ounce can of pancake mix and we cleared our plates. (Yes, we are stuffed little piggies right now.) All she had to do was add water, stir the mix-up and throw it on the griddle. Within minutes, our breakfast was on the table complete with glasses of fresh orange juice.

I would definitely recommend including Augason Farms Pancake Mix in your food storage. After our breakfast this morning we’ve determined we need at least 50 more cans.

PANCAKE

PANCAKE

How Do You Handle Emergency Food Storage?

by Moira M

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest

As I write this, we are in the middle of Winter Storm Jonas. There is 13″ of snow in the yard and the closest paved road is five miles away. I haven’t been off the property in five days and did not make a trip to the store to stock up for this storm. Doom and gloom time? Not really. The power was out for about 12 hours this morning. We had coffee, bacon, eggs and toast for breakfast courtesy of the propane camp stove. If necessary, we could wait here happily for the next week or two eating a variety of foods with or without electricity. I always wonder how it would be if we ever had to put our preps to actual use. So far I’m pretty pleased with how we have handled the little mini-crises we have had.

What is the best way to handle emergency food storage? The answer is different based on your situation. Your budget, your family size, your storage area, your special dietary needs, and your location all affect how you handle emergency food storage. But there are some common ideas that everyone can use.

The first rule is that anything is better than nothing. If you don’t have any food in the house, you are completely unprepared for emergencies. While some people may not believe there are people with no food in the house, consider college students (especially in dorms with meal plans for the cafeteria) and singles living in large cities. Everyone needs to have at least a three-day supply of food for something as simple as a hurricane or blizzard. Even a case of the flu could keep you stranded at your house for a few days.

Four Factors of Food Storage

It is important to consider four factors with food storage: shelf-life, calories, nutrition and morale. All four play a vital role in emergency food storage.

Commercially prepared food is usually marked with an expiration or best by date. Many people consider it safe to eat foods after the actual expiration date as long as the packaging is secure, and the food looks and smells good. If you were starving after a disaster, I’m sure you would agree. However, that would be one of the worst times to get food poisoning. Obviously the food doesn’t instantly go bad at midnight on the date stamped on the package, but how long after is questionable and likely varies from can to can. Home processed foods may be even more in question due to the many factors that can influence the process of canning, dehydrating, sealing, etc. Choosing foods with the longest shelf life and using the oldest food, while replacing it with newer food is a good plan.

The current suggested diet in America is 2,000 calories per day for an adult. Many diets, designed to help lose weight, recommend that you not dip below 1,200 calories per day. You could possibly aim for 1,500 calories per day as long as the adults were not performing a lot of physical activity, such as waiting for a storm to subside. Those performing physical activity such as clearing debris from roads, cutting and splitting firewood, and hiking may require in excess of 2,000 calories per day. If the disaster was very short-termed then the calorie deficit would likely not matter much, but over the long-term physical problems would appear.

Everyone should be familiar with the effects malnutrition has on the body. Like calorie intake, nutrition probably doesn’t matter very much over a short-term disaster. In long-term disasters, it may matter very much. Proper nutrition is important to good health. Likely if you were unable to resupply with good food due to a long-term emergency, you would also not have access to good medical care either.

Morale is often overlooked in food storage discussions. Remember that mental health is important as well, so be sure to include items that your family likes as well as some treats as part of the supply.

How Do You Decide What to Store?

The simplest method to start storing food is to simply pick up a few extra items each time you shop. Choose items you use regularly that have a shelf life of at least one year. When you buy another of that item, you put the newest one in storage and move the older one into the cabinet for use. This has the advantage of being easy to do and allows you to take advantage of items you find on sale. However, it may result in a bunch of assorted ingredients that may not make a normal meal. Gummy bears, green beans and a tin of sardines is better than nothing, though.

Another fairly simple method is to choose one meal your family likes and on each shopping trip, purchase the ingredients to make it three times (or six, or twelve, etc.). This allows you to build a stock of complete meals that your family enjoys. It is flexible in that you can purchase as many sets of the meal as you can afford at the time. Over the course of a year, you would have several days’ worth of a variety of meals that your family likes. You may not be able to take advantage of sales as easily, but it is a pretty solid plan.

An easy, but more expensive way to amass food storage is to purchase commercially prepared freeze-dried/dehydrated meals. You’ve seen these meals in your sidebar advertising if you do an internet search for anything related to prepping. They can be found in catalogs and in the camping section of Wal-mart and sporting goods stores. You can purchase one meal or a sealed container with a multi-day, multi-person supply depending on your needs and budget. Most of these allow you to open the bag, add hot water and wait a few minutes. Those who like these meals note that they are easy, relatively light-weight, very long-term storage, and delicious. Doubters point out that they are expensive and may contain questionable ingredients for preservation.

The final food storage method I’ll address here is what I’ll call the basic ingredient method. You purchase items like flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, powdered milk, and so on. Even more basic would be hard wheat berries, dried corn or popcorn, and other grains which must be ground with a mill before use. The original items generally have a much longer storage life than a commercially prepared mix. They are versatile because you can make many things with these ingredients. The downside is that if you must store recipes unless you and everyone with you can cook from scratch without them. These items generally require more preparation, longer cooking time and perhaps more equipment compared to the simplicity of opening a can of prepared soup or adding hot water to the camper meal noted above. If you choose this method (and I recommend it as part of your plan), remember to have a trial run of the recipes from time to time. You need to make sure you have what you need. In a disaster, you can’t run to the store for milk and butter, or anything else.

My recommendation is to do all of these together and monitor your supplies to make sure you can make a variety of meals in various circumstances. A friend of ours approached food storage simply. He bought several month’s worth of rice and bouillon cubes. I will admit that this will keep bellies full. However, after a few days, I’m guessing they’ll want something other than rice and bouillon. It is great that he did something – which is again better than nothing! Now that he has taken that step, he can add more items bit by bit. Canned or dehydrated meats and vegetables, plus some sort of bread would be great additions and allow for a bit of variety in his meals.

At first, I looked down on the fancy freeze-dried meals for prepping. Who really needs easy beef stroganoff in a disaster? I can make bread from scratch, thank you very much. Then I realized that these meals are the take-out/frozen pizza night solution for an emergency. If you’ve had a busy day clearing a giant tree that fell in your yard, do you really want to make a meal from scratch? Instead, you can do something simpler and quicker, whether it is boiling pasta to serve with canned sauce or adding the boiling water to the easy beef stroganoff. I’ve tried several of these meals now, and they really are quite delicious. Say what you want about powdered eggs. These people add meat and other flavoring, and they are wonderful. It doesn’t line up with my plan to eat fewer processed foods, but there is a place for that convenience in my food storage. Using all of the methods together gives you the greatest flexibility. You get complete meals, variety and flexibility, and convenience all in your food storage.

How Is Your Food Packaged?

This is also a good time to consider how your survival food is packaged. We’ve all seen the massive containers of food in bunkers on movies. A number ten can is contains about 110 ounces of food. If you don’t have access to refrigeration, you have to eat it all before it spoils. That may be possible if there are a lot of you, but not as easy if you are a couple or small family. The small amount of money you save by buying one larger can instead of eight smaller cans really isn’t worth it at that point. Also, you can more easily transport, share or trade your supplies if they are in smaller containers. (Some of you may be thinking that you’d never share in a post-apocalyptic scenario. Remember that it may be a blizzard and your elderly neighbors ask to borrow a can or two of soup to tide them over a few days. It is probably a better idea to build neighborhood goodwill by helping and a small can says you had a little extra where a bigger can may identify you as a prepper, and thus a target, in a real disaster).

The food must be securely packaged against air, humidity and pests. If the original packaging isn’t secure, repackage the food. This allows you to break up bulk purchases into smaller portions. I love to use my FoodSaver to seal food in mason jars or in plastic bags. The sealed bags can be placed in food safe buckets to deter pests. I’ve seen a tip recently to pour salt into the bottom of the bucket before adding the sealed bags. The salt absorbs moisture and is food safe in case of ingestion. Depending on the storage condition, the salt could be used for food preservation in the future. Many people use mylar bags with vacuum sealers and/or oxygen absorbers to store food in various quantities. These mylar bags are often stored in food safe buckets as well. We’ve stored rice and other such food in clean, dry two liter bottles. There are many options. Consider what you are storing, where you are storing it, and how you’ll be using it. Do your research and actually test your methods now while you can go back to the grocery store if your plan fails.

How Do You Track Food Storage?

I prefer to use a spreadsheet. I have columns for quantity, category, description, expiration date, size, calories and total calories (quantity times calories). I have tabs for home canning, professional canning and other goods. This allows me to see how much I have of each item and calculate how many day’s worth of calories I have. I’m able to sort by expiration date and know what I need to work into the menu over the next week or so. I can review the list and see what I need to restock on the next store trip. You can use the spreadsheet to re-inventory the food storage.

You can place a printout of the inventory in your food storage area so that you can update it as you add or use items. You can also put a white board or chalk board up to note added or used items and update your spreadsheets when you have the time. If other people in the household will be getting items from your food storage, then you should make it as simple as possible for them to record updates.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you do track your food storage in some way. Be sure to use items or donate them to charity before they expire. Be able to calculate how long your food storage will stretch. You may be unhappily surprised at how fast it will go!

What Do You Need Other Than Food In Food Storage?

There are many things other than food that you may need for food storage that isn’t food:

  • Vitamins – Vitamins may be a good option in an emergency when you may not be getting the proper nutrition on a regular basis. This might be even more important for children and expecting mothers.
  • Meds – Everyone should have a good first aid kit plus medicines to treat the usual illnesses, and the best place to keep it may be with food storage. It may be helpful to at least store medicines to treat acid reflux, indigestion, and other food related problems with your food storage. Plus, burns and cuts are known to happen in normal kitchen tasks, and may be more frequent when cooking with alternative fuels and light sources.
  • Grain Mill – If you store wheat berries or corn kernels, you would use this to grind them into flour or corn meal. The wheat berries and corn kernels have a longer shelf life than flour and corn meal but naturally require more work on your part. Electric models are easier when you have power, manual are useful in power failures.
  • Meat Grinder – If you want to process meat into ground meat or sausage, this is the tool. Again, electric models are easier when you have power, manual are useful in power failures.
  • Canning Jars and Equipment – If the power fails, you may be able to salvage perishables in your refrigerator and freezer by canning them. You can use a pressure canner or water bath canner with alternative fuel sources like propane and wood fires. For really long-term disasters you would need canning jars to preserve food to last all year.
  • Dehydrator – If you have a dehydrator that you can run on alternative power, you may be able to use it to salvage refrigerator and freezer items as well. In the right weather conditions, you can dehydrate food on screens in the sunshine. Note – laying the thinly sliced food on one screen will work, but if you get a little fancier, you can hinge two framed screens together. This way bugs don’t start a conga line on your dried tomatoes.
  • Seeds – If something interrupts the supply chain you may need to grow your own food. Make sure that they are heirloom seeds so that you can use the seeds from this year’s crop to grow next year.
  • Livestock – This isn’t a possibility for some, due to where they live. I suggest starting with a few hens, which make great gateway livestock. Hens can provide fresh eggs, which is a great ongoing, fresh and nutritious food. Goats, sheep and cows can provide milk and meat. Remember that a dairy animal is a big commitment, because they must be milked once or twice a day without fail.
    Note – you do not need a rooster to get eggs. Hens lay eggs with or without a rooster. If a rooster is present, you may get fertilized eggs. This is great if you want to make more chickens, but traumatizing if your child is making brownies (maybe scarred-for-life traumatizing – I know someone who won’t eat eggs after this sort of thing and it has been thirty years). I’ve heard it said that if you refrigerate fertilized eggs on day one, nothing develops and you’ll never know the difference. It is a matter of personal preference whether to get a rooster (can make more chickens to resupply meat and eggs), or not (no additional chickens, but also no “half baby chick/half egg” and no crowing). A compromise would be two coops or a divided coop.
  • Pet food – my dogs would be ecstatic if I ran out of dog food and had to feed them people food. Other people’s dogs have allergies that would cause trouble. Lay in a supply for any household pets and livestock you have.
  • Lanterns, Oil Lamps, or Candles – If you want to cook early or late in the day, you’ll need to be able to see to cook, eat, and clean up after!
  • Paper goods – I generally avoid the waste of disposable plates, napkins, cutlery and cups. However, in an extended power outage there are times you need a break from the dishes. This is especially true if you are on a well, and have to use a generator or hand pump to get water (perhaps more so if you have to carry it from a river and filter/boil it first).

Random Tips

Practice cooking, especially with foods you store for emergencies, but really any practice is better than none. An emergency is really not the best time to learn. You may waste food you need to last through the emergency. Also, you will identify things you need to add to your food storage, such as spices, water supply, alternative cooking methods and so on.

Plan meals to reduce waste. If you don’t have access to refrigeration, only cook enough for one meal. If you can refrigerate foods (like outdoors in winter, in a sealed container in a spring or river) then plan to have vegetables, with or without meat that can be combined into a soup or stew the next day. This is good advice generally. Check your perishable food once or twice a week and plan a meal to use up produce, dairy, and leftovers before they spoil.

Include foods that don’t require cooking. If you go camping and rely on a campfire for cooking, you understand the need to have food that won’t require you to keep a fire going all day long. You may want to have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, peanut butter crackers, along with fruit (fresh or dried) and other such foods. This is also great for if you’ve had a long day working and just need to eat as quickly and simply as you can.

When camping, I like to keep cleanup simple. After dishing up the food, I fill an empty pot with water. This can be the cast iron Dutch oven you just made dinner in or a spare pot. When you’re finished eating, you have hot water ready to wash dishes!

What Do I Make With Food Storage?

I suggest everyone make a folder of recipes to keep with the food storage. That way you will have a custom set of recipes that you have everything to prepare (because you have been storing it, right?) and that your family likes.

Old cookbooks are great as well. They assume that you will cook with original ingredients instead of mixes. They are also less likely to include modern electrical appliances like microwaves and food processors.

How to bake over a camp fire: I use a cast iron Dutch oven. The edges of the lid are curved upwards so that coals can be added to the top for baking. Using a lid-lifter (a cast iron stick with a hook on the end) the lid can be carefully removed and replaced so that food can be checked without coals falling onto the food. Mine came with a small rack that fits inside the Dutch oven. A metal pie plate can be placed on top of the rack to create a baking atmosphere in the Dutch oven and prevent the bottom from scorching before the food has baked through. If you don’t have a rack, you can improvise  With a little practice it works very well.

Here are some recipes from my collection. Dehydrated or canned versions of various ingredients may be substituted.

Survival Bread

2 cups oats
2 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 cup sugar
3 Tbl honey
3 Tbl water
1 pkg. lemon or orange Jell-O (3oz)

Combine oats, powdered milk and sugar. In a medium pan, mix water, Jell-O and honey. Bring to a boil. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. (If the dough is too dry, add a small amount of water a teaspoon at a time.) Shape dough into a loaf. (About the size of a brick.) Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool. Wrap in aluminum foil to store. This bread will keep indefinitely and each loaf is the daily nutrients for one adult. To prepare this over a fire, place the loaf in a pie pan on a rack inside a Dutch oven. Place over coals and move coals to the lid of the oven to bake.

Recipe Note – I had to add quite a bit of water to make this into a dough – I’d say about a half cup. Also, this could be made in a Dutch Oven over the fire if desired.

Cornbread

1/2 cup butter (1 stick – divided)
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk plus 1 Tbs. White Vinegar, let stand a few minutes; or just use the milk as-is)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
Optional – 1/3 cup sugar (I don’t put sugar in my cornbread, but some people do)

Begin by preheating the cast iron skillet over the fire while you get the cornbread mixed. Melt 6 Tbs. butter in the skillet. Keep an eye on the butter so it doesn’t scorch.

In a bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, cornmeal, flour and salt. Pour in the melted 6 Tbs. butter from the skillet. Stir to combine thoroughly, but don’t beat.

Put the remaining 2 Tbs. butter in the skillet. Slide it around with a spoon or rotate the skillet to coat the entire bottom and about an inch up the sides. Don’t burn yourself. Once the butter is melted and the skillet coated, pour in the cornbread mixture. Put the skillet over the low coals and put the lid on. Add coals to the top. Check it after about 15 minutes. It may take up to twenty, but you don’t want to let it burn.

You may have to turn the skillet during cooking or move it to warmer/cooler spots of the coals as it cooks to maintain an even temperature. Using a lid lifter, carefully check for doneness and remove from heat when ready. See my earlier posts for a more thorough explanation of baking with cast iron.

To bake this cornbread in the oven, you follow the same recipe. Place the cast iron skillet with 2 Tbs. butter in the cold oven and preheat to 375. Mix the remaining ingredients and carefully pour into preheated skillet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crust is lightly browned (and usually cracks will appear in the crust). You don’t use a lid on the skillet when baking in the oven.

Basic Bread

5-6 cups all purpose flour
2 packages of active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp. yeast from a jar)
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
2 cups warm water (120-130 degrees)
Cornmeal
1 slightly beaten egg white
1 Tbs. water

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of flour, the yeast, the salt and the warm water (the water is a little warmer because you are compensating for room temperature flour).Stir thoroughly to combine ingredients, scraping the edge of the bowl as you go. Continue to stir until thoroughly mixed and the gooey dough begins to pull apart in strands when you pull the spoon away. Mix in another 1-2 cups flour. You want to use as little flour as necessary to get the dough ready for kneading. You’ll add more flour as you knead and too much flour causes all kinds of problems in baking bread – tough crust, too dense bread, etc.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes. Add remaining flour a little at a time when the dough gets sticky as you knead.  Shape dough into a ball. Place dough ball in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a cloth and put in a warm place to rise.

After the dough has roughly doubled in size, punch it down (push it down with your hands) and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide it in half and cover with a cloth. Allow it to rest for about 10 minutes.

If you are able to bake this bread in a Dutch oven with the pie pan on a rack arrangement, that may work best. If not, put it directly in the Dutch oven and bake it – you’ll just need to flip it half way through cooking. Bake over the fire for about 30 minutes and add more time as needed.

Chicken Corn Chowder

3-4 medium potatoes or can of potatoes
1 onion or dehydrated onion flakes
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can corn
1 can chicken (can be omitted if desired)

For fresh potatoes, boil potatoes and onion in just enough water to cover potatoes. When potatoes are tender, reduce heat to simmer and add remaining ingredients. Drain corn and chicken first, if desired to have a thicker soup. A bit of cornstarch may be added to thicken soup if desired.

If you use canned potatoes, simply add all ingredients along with all liquid from cans and simmer until warm and flavors mingle. Add a bit of cornstarch to thicken if desired.

For either recipe, add salt, pepper and garlic salt to taste.

Note that other ingredients may be substituted, depending on what is available. Also, this recipe may be placed in a pie crust for a delicious pot pie. Use what you have and try to mix flavors that sound compatible to you.

Chili

1.5 pounds ground beef (venison, pork sausage, or a combination would work too)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (or sweet peppers, or add hot peppers too if you like them)
2 qt. diced tomatoes
1 pt. tomato sauce
1 can kidney beans, drained (completely optional for those who don’t put beans in chili!)
3 T chili powder (you can use a chili seasoning packet if you prefer)
1 T garlic salt
a few fresh chopped tomatoes from the garden

Get a good bed of coals. Place a sturdy grill over the coals or set up a tripod or other cooking ensemble. Suspend a cast iron Dutch Oven over the coals and start cooking.

Sauté the onions, garlic and peppers. Brown the ground beef or other meats. Then add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans and spices. Stir together. Let the chili simmer, stirring occasionally

Let the chili simmer slowly, stirring occasionally. Make sure it is over a good, warm spot on the fire, but not boiling violently or sticking. Let it cook down until it thickens and the flavors merge. You can eat it after a half hour, or let it simmer for hours. This makes great leftovers if properly refrigerated.

Prizes For This Round (Ends April 12, 2016) In Our Non-Fiction Writing Contest Include…

  1. First place winner will receive –   A gift certificate for $150 off of  rifle ammo at Lucky Gunner, an Urban Survival Kit a $109 value courtesy of  TEOTWAWKI supplies, a WonderMix Deluxe Kitchen Mixer a $299 value courtesy of Kodiak Health and a LifeStraw Mission Filter a $109 value courtesy of EarthEasy, and a 4″ Heavy Duty WaterBoy Well Bucket a $106 value and a WaterBoy Tripod Kit courtesy of Well WaterBoy Products for a total prize value of over $867.
  2. Second Place Winner will receive – 30 Day Food Storage All-in-One Pail a $119 value courtesy of Augason Farms.com and Berkey Light with 2 (9″) Berkey Earth Elements a $157 value courtesy of LPC Survival, for a total prize value of $276.
  3. Third place winner will receive –  International MRE Meals Supply a $72.00 value, a LifeStraw Portable Water Filter a $19 value, Yoder’s Fully Cooked Canned Bacon a $15 value all courtesy of CampingSurvival and one copy of each of my books “The Prepper’s Primer” and a copy of “The Prepared Prepper’s Cookbook“ for a total prize value of $137.

Dried Bean Recipe from Schatzie Ohio

From Schatzie Ohio

OK, we all hear that to be a good prepper we need to store a lot of dried beans – LOTS of dried beans. Being a good prepper (at least, I think I am) I have stored lots of dried beans in a variety of types. I have kidney beans, pinto beans, white (navy) beans, red beans, black beans, lentils, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), split peas and lima beans. With all these beans you will need a lot of recipes to cook them. Here again, I have lots of recipes for all the different kinds of beans except for the lima bean. For the lima I only have one recipe.

Well, way back in the 60’s in California they use to give out Blue Chip Stamps (like S&H Green Stamps) with your purchase at different businesses. Gas stations in particular were great at giving them out with your purchase and some even gave double the amount of stamps to get your business. What does this have to do with beans you ask? Well, I managed to save up enough stamps to get a Presto pressure cooker. Most everyone knows that using a pressure cooker is a good way to cook dried beans.

With that pressure cooker came an instruction booklet that also had recipes. There in that booklet, I found my one and only lima bean recipe. Now I found this recipe to be very tasty and even people who have shared it with me have said that even though they are not overly fond of lima beans this dish was pretty tasty. The recipe was called Lima Bean Pot. I changed one ingredient to suit us. I use Hillshire smoked beef sausage instead of the breakfast sausage that the recipe called for. You could make it with any sausage that you like. This recipe could also be made with shelf stable ingredients like dried onion, celery, and peppers. You could use commercial or home canned tomato products.

OK, enough of all this the recipe is as follows:

LIMA BEAN POT

  • 2 cups dry lima beans
  • about ½ pound sausage, sliced
  • 1 chopped onion
  • ½ green pepper,chopped
  • ½ cup celery, sliced
  • 1 medium (14 oz) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 small (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt -I use a little less than this
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder or more if you are so inclined

.

Soak beans overnight and drain. Heat pressure cooker and brown the sausage. Remove from the cooker and pour off fat in excess of 2 tablespoons or add butter to make enough fat to saute onion, celery and pepper. Add back in the beans, sausage and remaining ingredients. Mix together well and close the pressure cooker’s lid. Cook with the pressure regulator rocking slowly for 25 minutes. Let the pressure drop of its own accord.

Towards the end of the cooking process, I will whip up a batch of cornbread to serve with the lima beans. Hot cornbread spread with honey butter and this dish makes for a satisfying meal.

I am hoping that some of our readers will have other good lima bean recipes to share. Heaven knows that we all could use more good dried bean recipes. Here is to Good Eating from Schatzie Ohio

Sloppy Joes via Country Vet

Sloppy Joes

Cook 2 lb hamburger, drain, and return to the skillet.

Add the following:

  • 2 c catsup
  • 3 Tb sugar
  • 3 Tb vinegar
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 3 tsp worcestershire sauce

Cook while stirring for a couple of minutes to blend flavors.

A candle powered stove… wait… what?

by BCtruck – Subscribe to his youtube channel for more interesting home workshop projects…

I came across a video by the inventor, Paul Elkins. I am a fan of his but I haven’t watched his entire catalog of videos. The one that really got my gears turning was his experiments with tea candles for the purposes of cooking or heating water.

Pauls trials were what I would call moderately successful. I thought I could make something that would work better at capturing the heat that a tea candle puts off.

I made a tea candle stove and I designed it around a thin gauge metal pot with a lid. After several experiments and even more, attempts at fine tuning and tweaking,I was able to cook a stew over the candles in less than 3 hours. It actually got far hotter than I wanted it to and I had to blow out 5 of the 9 candles I started the stew with.

That was so successful that I removed the pot and tried cooking stir fry over those candles. That was not a success but I knew why. The candles were not close enough to the wok to get it hot enough to stir fry. I decided that I would design another stove to be used exclusively with a cast iron skillet.

I began by choosing a skillet that I had a duplicate of, and taking a measurement.

candle powed stove

I deducted 3/8ths of an inch from that measurement and cut a hole that size in a 14.5 x 14.5-inch piece of plywood.

candle powed stove

Next, I took that circle of wood I had just cut out and secured it in my bench vise. I got a 1 5/8ths hole cutting saw and drilled 8 holes in it,evenly spaced around the edge and one dead center.

candle powed stove

Then, I went to the table saw and cut out the 14.5 x 3.5-inch sides.

candle powed stove

I then assembled the 4 sides, glued and nailed them together, then I did the same to the top.

candle powed stove

 

candle powed stove

While the glue was drying, I screwed a handle onto the tea candle paddle,stained and put two coats of polyurethane on the entire stove.

candle powed stove

Since I was out of bacon, I was forced to go to plan B, which was spam. That was a resounding success and it made me go out right then and buy some bacon and cook it. It did take a little longer than I would have liked, but it was a success!

candle powed stove

Now, I’m looking into making my own multi-wicked candle poured into a foil pie tin . The tea candles are more than sufficient heat wise, but they are .4 cents apiece. That s not bad for cooking a meal,even if you used ten,but I’m convinced I can make them cheaper and get them hotter by making them myself. If you would like to watch the videos of either the spam or bacon being cooked on this stove,here are the links to them both

Ideas, thoughts and observations on home canning

by BlueJeanedLady

We’ve only two adults in the household these days (not counting pets of any age) and here’s a few ideas I use for ‘down sizing’ & trying to manage the food rotation. All just a few basic ideas, humble opinions, etc., that I’m happy to share with any & all that may be interested.

1. When I home can foods, I use MORE PINT JARS than quart jars simply because we are two and not four or more, right now. Exceptions most noteworthy being food products the two of us use a lot of, like tomatoes, tomato based sauces, salsa mixes, & quick pickled veggies, simply because our two, singular yet like-minded taste palates can eagerly consume a quart of any within a week or so. So, nothing goes to waste and most things that are well processed and if not used within a year can also remain ‘shelf safe’ for a much longer time.

For another food example, my husband & I could both eat green beans or green garden peas eight days a week (so I have canned both green beans and green peas in quart jars) but canned carrots, not so much. Not that there’s anything wrong with canned carrots, ha, ha, ha, – – – just not a ‘go to’ canned veggie for us! I mostly only need a smaller amount of carrots for certain soup, stew and casserole recipes. Therefore, carrots are assigned pint jars only, for now. Saves on food waste.

I’m also hoping to teach myself how to (properly & consistently) can preserves, jams & jellies – which I hear ??? isn’t as scary as I imagine – this summer. Since a) this will be an ‘experiment’ of sorts and b) we love such but don’t need or crave such every week, I’ll be starting out with even smaller, 1/2 pint (one cup), jars. This way, even if it turns out like syrup for pancakes, ice cream, or for use with decadent smoothie type shakes, not much will go to waste or over indulgence as we take our time in consuming an open container of such. 🙂

This non-discriminating veggie / fruit buying example was a ” newbie food prepper” mistake I made early on . . . I started buying several (equal number of each) cans of every fruit & vegetable on sale in the grocery store until I had to slap myself ‘up-the-back-side-of-the-head’ (Gibb’s style, as on the TV show, ‘NCIS’). Took a year or so to realize I’d shunned the untouched cans of mixed “fruit cocktail” languishing in the corner of the pantry, long after eating many a can of preferred, sliced pineapples, peach or pears halves. Then (surprise, surprise) suddenly, those ignored cans of “fruit cocktail” were about to reach their “use by” dates. Poor containers of fruit cocktail really deserved a more appreciative audience!

In summarizing, to rotate all successfully, don’t buy as much of things further down on you &/or your house-mate(s) wish list as you do of things you each like, much better! 🙂

2. Be vigilant (“UGH,” said BlueJeanedLady) about menu planning and try to be vigilant (“UGH,” said she, again) about sticking to your menu plan for the upcoming week. Some people do menu planning monthly, but I just can’t go there at this point in time! If YOU can, GO FOR IT! This is a very tough one for me as I hate, hate, hate sticking to a menu plan when I don’t have to – – – mostly because I can be very impulsive about cooking “what I’m in the mood for” on any given day. I’m still on the learning curve with this one, so wish me continued occasions of willpower with a dash, or two, of good luck!

None-the-less, menu planning (which involves portion control that is healthy for all, by itself) does save so much money, i.e.; food, as well as a lot of meal prep time. I’ve learned that if I do take the time to browse through my pantry, check the fridge (especially the fresh produce & fresh dairy items needing to be used soon) and dive into the freezer for a ‘looksie’ for whatever else needs rotating before beginning my menu planning, I am forced to take appropriate note of anything that hasn’t been rotated recently and am better influenced to then incorporate the miscellaneous items into my upcoming menu plan. Still, she cries, “UGH!” as the struggle continues!

3. Contrary to popular belief, some things are not necessary cheaper / more convenient if bought in bulk. (HUH?) Beware – &/or – Be Aware! The only easy way to say this is with a real life (been there, made that mistake and could have bought the T-shirt had I saved my money from poorly planned purchases) example.

The example: We go through a lot of a) soy sauce and b) Worcestershire as we use both for last added condiments & early added ingredients in cooking. Even as we normally only use a few tablespoons, or less, per serving, it seemed I was always adding one or the other to my shopping list. Imagine my joy when our local wally world started selling each by the gallon! I got one of each!

BIG mistake! Although it was no big deal to keep funneling from the larger jug into a smaller bottle for kitchen convenience, we started noticing an ‘icky’ & later, an ‘ickier’ (but – thank goodness – not ill health inducing ‘sickly’) taste with each re-fill. YUCK-OLA!

NOTE: The moral of this oxygen infused story applies to many other condiments and dried herbs & spices as well: If you don’t use it often, even if you do use it regularly, you’ll save the flavor & more money in the long run with the smaller, individually well sealed, containers.

What we knew intellectually, but obviously failed to recall & apply practically, was that the flavor of both the soy sauce & the Worcestershire started deteriorating the moment we opened the sealed lid of the larger container. Even refrigerating the gallon container after opening didn’t help – – – the added oxygen slowly started diluting / destroying the original, great taste of the condiment concoctions! Ended up throwing out at least a half gallon of each! We then returned to the “regular sized” (12 to 16 or so ounces???) individually sealed bottles and now try to keep half a dozen of the sealed bottles on hand at all times – – – nothing goes to waste these days and I still have several months worth of much loved food condiments stored; ready, eager and able to please, as we choose to consume them.

ANOTHER NOTE: This oxygen contamination issue doesn’t seem to apply to white & cider vinegars and plain ‘ole yellow mustard (to mention a few items) that we also use frequently and now buy in the gallon sized containers. These particular items seem to stay perfectly fine sitting pretty on the pantry shelves. I continue to use the gallon jugs to re-fill the smaller jars of each for convenient kitchen use with no noticeable difference in flavor (nor any loss of effectiveness, as I also use the vinegars for medicinal and household cleaning purposes). Yippee!

4. Another way to keep some of the rotation moving with professional &/or home canned / jarred foods for just one or two people is to cook some recipes (lots of variables considering the recipes you choose to use for this scenario) in double, triple or quadruple batches – you’ll automatically use more product before its “use by” &/or labeled “expiration date” – and then you can vac-seal & freeze, &/or home can into pint or quart jar batches for future, quick & easy heat-up, portions.

I rarely make a homemade pot of soup or stew for just two and many times I also double entire (non-soup) meals so I can make up a couple of my own “TV / Frozen” meals for two, and reheat within the month. Just seems such a waste of time and stove-top / oven, heat / energy to make only one meal at a time as long as the natural gas or electric power is still flowing.

Yes, I understand that home canning is the preferred option for many whom can, & whom do can, routinely on a regular basis. And yes, I agree that freezer storage will be at risk if the power grid goes down or even a short term natural disaster (power lines temporarily down) occurs – – – but even if that happens tomorrow, one could probably get a day or two or three of use from deep freezer storage before things completely thaw and begin to spoil. JMHO, so continue eating at your own risk! 🙂

Are any of these “rotation control” ideas along the lines of what you were inquiring about, JenMar? Sure hope some of this might be helpful for you &/or someone else!

Ya’ll keep taking care and stay safe!

My thoughts and experiments with various means of off grid cooking

by BCtruck – subscribe to his YouTube channel for great do-it -yourself projects.

I’m a firm believer in redundancy or the old adage,” one is none and two is one”. Over the last few months, I’ve put a lot of time and effort into experimenting with different methods of boiling water and cooking off grid. While I haven’t tested them all by any means, I’ve tested several and I have come to some interesting conclusions. Who knows, maybe my experiments will save you some time or perhaps cause you to reconsider an option for cooking that you have put in your preps, that might not work as good as you thought.

To begin, I’ll break the methods down into what each type of cooking uses for fuel.

  • solar
  • fire
  • compressed gas

Solar is the easiest to address. I’ve built and cooked with a solar oven. They typically take several hours and some monitoring and repositioning, but they work well and are easy to build, and not terribly expensive to buy. I’ve even got water to boil in the one I made.Here is a picture of mine, before I made reflectors for it.

solar oven bct

It worked fairly well like this, but when I made reflectors and found the optimal angle to attach them at, my internal temps went way past 300 degrees.

Fire is the next type of fuel I’d like to discuss. Of course, you can just light a fire and use that to cook over. It worked for our ancestors and still works today. However, the type of fire I’ve become confident in for its survival applications is fire that burns hot enough to both create woodgas, in a device designed to take advantage of that woodgas and burn it off before it exhausts from the device. Those are a rockets stoves and woodgas stoves. The next two pictures are of a rocket stove I built and gave away at prepper stock and the woodgas stoves were also built by me to be given away as prizes at the same gathering the next year.

rocket stove bct

cooker bct

These can be purchased (I don’t mean from me) if you don’t have a shop or aren’t handy with tools. In fact, they make some very nice rocket stoves and woodgas stoves commercially and I’ve tried the ones silverfire makes and while they are a bit pricey, they are extremely well made and I see no reason they wouldn’t last a very long time.

Rocket stoves and woodgas stoves may both use the same means of achieving extreme temperatures very quickly. By creating woodgas and using up that woodgas in a complete combustion, before it exits the stove as smoke. This is why a properly burning stove like either of these produces such extremely low emissions. Both the rocket and woodgas stove can boil larger volumes of water very quickly and I’ve cooked some really great meals over each of them. While they both need to fed with biomass (wood, dung, pine straw, grass, leaves) the woodgas stove isnt quite as convenient to feed as the rocket stove, because the pot needs to be lifted in order to do that. In a complete grid down, SHTF scenario, my choice would be a rocket stove for long-term survival.

Next, I’d like to discuss compressed gas stoves and tell you about some interesting findings. A one pound bottle of propane contains roughly 22,000 BTU’s of energy. I have had a small two burner propane stove that runs on a one pounder, for about 20 years. I’ve used it hundreds of times for cooking and a few times for emergency heat in a small room. This stove even made a few trips to bike week with my wife and I. Though I have used it many times, I had never given much thought to just how well it would serve in a grid down scenario. While I was experimenting with candle cooking, I decided to get the stove out and hook it up to a brand new bottle and answer a couple of questions. How long would it last on one bottle and how long does it take to boil two cups of water. The water boil test was what I expected. It boiled two cups of water in about 4 minutes, with the burner on its highest setting. I decided to leave that burner running at its highest setting and see how long a one pound tank would last. Five long boring hours later, it was still going. It was going well enough to even use for cooking though I doubt at that point it was enough flame to boil water. I gave up watching it, but I would feel comfortable saying you would get at least five hours from a tank.

Let’s do some math. Now I admit up front, my methodological skills are sorely lacking, but here goes. A one pound tank containing 22,000 BTU’s, will run a single burner at its highest setting for five hours. So, a twenty-pound tank containing 430,000 BTU,s would theoretically run a single burner at its highest setting, for roughly 95 hours!! That’s a lot of cooking right there! There are a couple things I would like to add to this before we jump back into picture mode. The little propane stove can be run on a twenty pound tank, using a special hose (see picture), or the one pound tank can be refilled, using an adapter, from the twenty pound tank.(see picture). The stove is about 30 bucks on amazon, the hose is about 25 and the adapter to refill the one pounder is about 12 bucks. Let me just say that this is my “go to” preferred method of off-grid cooking for shorter term emergencies. You know, emergencies that you could see ending in a few months and life returning to a more normal state. I currently have 42 of the one pound tanks and so much propane in larger tanks that I don’t even want to give a number. I will say, I think I could easily go 4-5 years on propane using it carefully and not being wasteful. Now for some pics and thanks for taking the time to read this article.

campstove bct

hose bct

adapter bct

You Don’t Have to Be a Gourmet Chef to Cook With Food Storage

One of the most common food storage questions, readers ask me, is “what do we do with all those grains and beans you suggest we store in our pantry”. This is a good question and one that I’m sure has been asked by many while facing their buckets of grains and wondering what to do next.

To be honest, when I started doing this, I asked the same, but with the help of several  good books, recipes and a bit of trial and error, I can now whip up a tasty meal from what most people, would think was a bucket of horse feed. It’s not at all difficult, so don’t be intimidated (or afraid to throw out a botched batch of whatever you are making) all you have to do is start.

This is the main reason (aside from saving money) that I stress that you need to use what you store, so you can learn and know how to use what you have when needed. Never stockpile and think you’ll learn what to do with it “when you have to” do it now… You’ll gain confidence and a valuable skill.

Before listing my five favorite recipes here, I would like to suggest three books, that I think will be a great help to you when learning how to use and prepare these basic foods.

The first book is “How to live on wheat” by John Hill this is a great book that I reviewed here. The other two books are by Peggy Layton Cookin’ With Beans and Rice and Cookin’ with Home Storage, these three books will help answer any questions you have about using basic foods from your pantry and are loaded with recipes that you can use in your kitchen.

Below are five of my favorite recipes  using foods from my food storage…

Cooked Pinto Beans

  • 2 cups of beans
  • 8 cups of water
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of lard (you can make your own lard)

Sort beans, wash and soak overnight. Beans can be cooked on the stove top, over an open fire or in a Crock-Pot or pressure cooker. Mix everything in an appropriately sized cooker and cook over heat until soft.
If I am going to be home all day I prefer the open fire, gives the beans a unique taste not found with the other methods. The fastest and most convenient way to cook pinto beans is with a pressure cooker.

Pinto Bean Cakes

  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Press beans into a paste with a fork and add cornmeal, salt, flour and chili powder. Stir well. Add the chopped onion and mix until well blended. If the mixture is too dry, thin it with bean juice or a small amount of water. Heat a skillet and grease it with bacon drippings, lard or cooking oil. When the pan is hot, drop in the bean mixture by the spoonful and press each bean cake flat with a spoon or spatula. Brown and serve.

Corn and Bean Pone

Grind ½ cup of whole corn and ½ cup of pinto beans to the consistency of flour, combine in a bowl mixing well, add one teaspoon of salt and gradually add ¾ cup of boiling water. Melt enough lard to cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of grease, after the pan is greased, pour the mixture into the pan and blend with the grease.

The mix shouldn’t stand more than an inch thick in the pan to start, rising very little during preparation. (To make it rise like cornbread add two teaspoons of baking powder.) Bake at 350 degrees until done. The pone will develop a brown crunchy crust when done. This can also be fried on the stove top, like pancakes. I like to chop up a batch of wild onion and mix with the batter before baking this adds flavor and texture. Also makes a makes a good breakfast – for breakfast don’t add the onions and instead cover with maple syrup or add a little honey.

Wheat Sprouts

Soak wheat in warm water for 24 hours, drain and pour the wheat into a large jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with a thin cloth or screen – sprouting wheat needs oxygen so be sure it can “breathe”.  Flood the jar three or four times a day, draining off any remaining liquid each time.

The wheat will start to sprout in about two-five days depending on the surrounding temperatures – when the sprouts have grown to 1/4 – 1 inch in length they can be used. The sprouts can be eaten raw or dried and ground into a flour then added to recipes and bread. Drying reduces the vitamin content, so I prefer to eat the sprouts fresh.

With sprouts, you can have fresh greens even in winter and they only cost cents per pound. Besides sprouting wheat you can also sprout other seeds and legumes such as sunflower, buckwheat, soybeans, mung beans, alfalfa, clover etcetera.

One of my favorite sprout recipes is from the afore mention “How to live on wheat”  is cooked sprout cereal you’ll need, 4 cups freshly sprouted wheat, cook the sprouts for a few minutes or until they are soft. Add to a large bowl and add salt and honey to taste and cover with warm milk. Makes a nutritious breakfast or midday snack.

Simple Sourdough Bread

To make simple sourdough bread mix the following ingredients in a large bowl:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sourdough batter
  • ½ cup legume protein complement
  • 1 tsp salt

Knead dough thoroughly and allow to rise to about twice its original height. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until done.

Have you tried preparing food from your food storage? What worked best for you? What did you learn? Let us know in the comments.

Chicken Gumbo

by Petticoat Prepper

For a big gathering use the first numbers, for a normal family dinner use (these numbers).

  • 1 3/4 cups (1/3 & 1/4 cups) cooking oil, I like butter best
  • 2 1/2 cups (2/3 & 1/8 cups) flour
  • 3 cloves (1 clove) garlic – minced
  • 1 cup (2 ribs) celery – chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups (1 med) onion – chopped
  • 1 cup (1 bell) bell pepper – chopped
  • 2 pounds (1 pound) hot sausage sliced – your choice
  • 1 1/2 gallons (1/3 & 1/8 cup) water or chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons (1 tablespoon) bottled brown bouquet sauce
  • 1 tablespoon (1 teaspoon) Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (1 tablespoon) gumbo file
  • 3 tablespoons (1 tablespoon) salt
  • 3 tablespoons (1 tablespoon)pepper
  • 3 whole chickens (1 whole chicken) cut up in frying pieces- I like to boil, skin and shred but you can fry too
  • 1/2 cup (1/4 cup) parsley- chopped
  • 1 cup green onions – chopped

Begin by making a roux with flour and oil/butter in a fry pan. Stir over medium low heat the oil or melted butter and flour together until DARK brown, stir this a lot and know that it will take a long time to make the roux. Add garlic, celery, bell peppers, onions and sausage. Set aside.

In a large pot pour the water/stock and bouquet sauce, add roux mixture, Worcestershire, gumbo file, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then cook at a low boil for about 20 minutes. Add cooked and shredded chicken and parsley. Cook for 45 minutes. Serve with rice and garnish with green onions.