The reason you need to know how to wax hard cheese, is that the wax protects your cheese during storage. Since making cheese was the best way to store milk before refrigeration, I think it is quite useful to know “just in case” of some manner of catastrophic disaster (plus I think it is a […]
Today’s blog is about making cheese, and while it is not an “emergency skill” it does help feed a self sufficient lifestyle. Cheese making came into being as a way to preserve milk without refrigeration, and was a valuable part of historical life. Making cheese in the modern age is more about enjoyment than survival, […]
The internet is full of websites that give information on survival topics, including food storage. There are dozens and dozens of books that will teach you “the right way” to store food and YouTube videos galore. Most contain valid, trustworthy information, but mixed in with that are a number of food storage myths that many people accept without question.
Here are 10 that I take issue with, and I explain why.
By the way, following Myth #10 are 2 short videos that review these myths.
Myth #1: You should stock up on lots of wheat.
When I was researching foods typically eaten during the Great Depression, I noticed that many of them included sandwiches of every variety. So it makes sense to stock up on wheat, which, when ground, becomes flour, the main ingredient to every bread recipe.
There are a couple of problems with the focus on wheat in virtually all food storage plans, however. First, since the time of the Great Depression millions of people now have various health issues when they consume wheat. From causing gluten intolerance to celiac disease our hybridized wheat is a whole ‘nother animal that our great-grandparents never consumed.
The second issue is that wheat isn’t the simplest food to prepare, unless you simply cook the wheat berries in water and eat them as a hot cereal or add them to other dishes. In order to make a loaf of bread, you have to grind the wheat, which requires the purchase of at least one grain mill. Electric mills are much easier to use and, within just seconds, you have freshly ground flour. However, you’ll probably want to add a hand-crank mill to have on hand for power outages. All together, 2 mills will end up costing a pretty penny, depending on the brands you purchase.
Then there’s the process of making the bread itself, which is time consuming.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t store wheat, and, in fact, I have several hundred pounds of it myself. The emphasis on wheat as a major component in food storage is what I have a problem with. In retrospect, I wish I had purchased far more rice and less wheat. Rice is incredibly simple to prepare and is very versatile. It, too, has a very long shelf life.
Myth #2: Beans last forever.
While it’s true that beans have a long shelf life, they have been known to become virtually inedible over time. Old-timers have reported using every cooking method imaginable in order to soften the beans. A pressure cooker is one option but, again, some have told me that doesn’t even work!
Another option is to grind the beans and add the powdered beans to various recipes. They will still contain some nutrients and fiber.
Over the years, I’ve stocked up on cans of beans — beans of all kinds. They retain their nutrients in the canning process and are already cooked, so there’s no need to soak, boil, pressure cook, etc. You can always home can dried beans, and if you have beans that have been around for more than 10 years or so, canning them is a super simple process and insures they won’t become inedible.
Myth #3: If they’re hungry enough, they’ll eat it!
Have you ever fallen in love with a recipe that was easy to make, inexpensive, and your family loved it? You probably thought you’d finally found The Dream Recipe. And then you made it a second time, then a third, then a fourth. About the 8th or 9th time, however, you may have discovered that you had developed a mild form of food fatigue. Suddenly, it didn’t taste all that great and your family wasn’t giving it rave reviews anymore.
When it comes to food storage, don’t assume that someone will eat a certain item they currently hate, just because they’re hungry. If you stock up on dozens of #10 cans of Turkey Tetrazzini, sooner or later the family will revolt, no matter how hungry they are.
Myth #4. All I need is lots and lots of canned food.
There’s nothing wrong with canned food. In fact, that’s how I got started with food storage. However, canned food has its limitations. A can of ravioli is a can of ravioli. You can’t exactly transform it into a completely different dish. As well, canned food may have additives that you don’t care to eat and, in the case of my own kids, tastes change over time. I had to eventually give away the last few cans of ravioli and Spaghetti-O’s because my kids suddenly didn’t like them anymore.
Be sure to rotate whatever canned food you have, since age takes a toll on all foods, but, as I’ve discovered, on certain canned items in particular. My experience with old canned tuna hasn’t been all that positive, and certain high-acid foods, such as canned tomato products, are known to have issues with can corrosion. Double check the seams of canned food and look for any sign of bulging, leaks, or rust.
Lightly rusted cans, meaning you can rub the rust off with a cloth or your fingertip, are safe to continue storing. However, when a can is badly rusted, there’s a very good chance that the rust has corroded the can, allowing bacteria to enter. Those cans should be thrown away.
Worried about the “expiration” date on canned food? Well, those dates are set by the food production company and don’t have any bearing on how the food will taste, its nutrients, or safety after that date. If the food was canned correctly and you’ve been storing it in a dry and cool location, theoretically, the food will be safe to consume for years after that stamped date.
Myth #5: I can store my food anywhere that I have extra space.
Yikes! Not if you want to extend its shelf life beyond just a few months! Know the enemies of food storage and do your best to store food in the best conditions possible.
TIP: Learn more about the enemies of food storage: heat, humidity, light, oxygen, pests, and time.
I emphasize home organization and decluttering on this blog, mainly because it frees up space that is currently occupied by things you don’t need or use. Start decluttering and then storing your food in places that are cool, dark, and dry.
Myth #6: My food will last X-number of years because that’s what the food storage company said.
I have purchased a lot of food from very reputable companies over the years: Augason Farms, Thrive Life, Honeyville, and Emergency Essentials. They all do a great job of processing food for storage and then packaging it in containers that will help prolong its shelf life.
However, once the food gets to your house, only you are in control of how that food is stored. Yes, under proper conditions, food can easily have a shelf life of 20 years or more, but when it’s stored in heat, fluctuating temperatures, and isn’t protected from light, oxygen, and pests, and never rotated, it will deteriorate quickly.
NOTE: When food is old, it doesn’t become poisonous or evaporate in its container. Rather, it loses nutrients, flavor, texture, and color. In a word, it becomes unappetizing.
Myth #7: Just-add-hot-water meals are all I need.
There are many companies who make and sell only add-hot-water meals. In general, I’m not a big fan of these. They contain numerous additives that I don’t care for, in some cases the flavors and textures and truly awful, but the main reason why I don’t personally store a lot of these meals is because they get boring.
Try eating pre-made chicken teriyaki every day for 2 weeks, and you’ll see what I mean. Some people don’t require a lot of variety in their food, but most of us tire quickly when we eat the same things over and over.
These meals have a couple of advantages, though. They are lightweight and come in handy during evacuation time and power outages. If you can boil a couple of cups of water over a rocket stove, propane grill, or some other cooking device, then you’ll have a meal in a few minutes.
TIP: Store a few days worth of just-add-water meals with your emergency kits and be ready to grab them for a quick emergency evacuation. Be sure to also pack a spoon or fork for each person and a metal pot for meals that require cooking over a heat source.
However, for a well-balanced food storage pantry, stock up on individual ingredients and fewer just-add-hot-water meals.
Myth #8: I can stock up on a year’s worth and won’t need to worry about food anymore.
That is probably the fantasy of many a prepper. Buy the food, stash it away, and don’t give it a thought until the S hits the fan. There’s a big problem with that plan, however. When everything does hit the fan and it’s just you and all that food:
- Will you know how to prepare it?
- Will you have the proper supplies and tools to prepare the food?
- Did you store enough extra water to rehydrate all those cans of freeze-dried and dehydrated foods?
- Do you have recipes you’re familiar with, that your family enjoys, and that use whatever you’ve purchased?
- What if there’s an ingredient a family member is allergic to?
- Does everyone even like what you’ve purchased?
- Have any of the containers been damaged? How do you know if you haven’t inspected them and checked them occasionally for bulges and/or pest damage?
If you’ve purchased a pre-packaged food storage supply, the contents of that package were determined by just a small handful of people who do not know your family, your health issues, or other pertinent details. These packages aren’t a bad thing to have on hand. Just don’t be lulled into a false sense of security.
Myth #9: Freeze dried foods are too expensive.
Yes, there is a bit of sticker shock initially when you begin to shop online at sites like Thrive Life, Augason Farms, and Emergency Essentials. If you’ve been used to paying a few dollars for a block of cheddar cheese and then see a price of $35 for a can of freeze-dried cheddar, it can be alarming.
However, take a look at how many servings are in each container and consider how much it would cost to either grow or purchase that same food item and preserve it in one way or another, on your own.
The 3 companies I mentioned all have monthly specials on their food and other survival supplies — that’s how I ended up with 2 cases of granola from Emergency Essentials!
Myth #10: This expert’s food storage plan will fit my family.
The very best food storage plan is the one that you have customized yourself. By all means, use advice given by a number of experts. Take a look at online food calculators, but when it’s time to make purchases, buy what suits your family best. What one person thinks is ideal for food storage may leave your kids retching.
Lots of resources to help you with your food storage pantry
- “A Round-Up of Food Storage Resources“
- Food Saver — vacuum system for storing food long-term
- Food Saver Mason jar sealer
- Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival by Angela Paskett
- Oxygen absorbers, 100 cc
- Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage by Gaye Levy
- The Preparedness Planner (Print this out and prepare a customized planner!)
- The Prepper’s Cookbook by Tess Pennington
- Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Emergencies and Worst Case Scenarios by Lisa Bedford
Want this info on video? Here you go!
Food Storage Myths, Part 1: Myths 1-5
Food Storage Myths, Part 2: Myths 6-10
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When I cam upon a recipe for homemade cheese crackers, as soon as I got past the excitement, I realized that this simple recipe was something that I should have been able to figure out Read More …
We have a very special episode today! Deanna Berkemeier, from Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford, NY, walks us through the process of making cheese from scratch. Deanna is a master at the art of Cheesemaking. We hope you enjoy this! If you’re ever in the Rochester, NY, area, be sure to put Genesee Country Village & Museum on your itinerary! You won’t regret it!
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If you are trying to eat a healthier diet, you probably think you need to cut back on high-fat cheese. Right?
Well, maybe you can have your cheese and it eat. too.
According to a new study by the University of Copenhagen, high-fat cheese consumption may actually be good for you.
After studying the results of a 12-week study of 139 adults, researchers found that high-fat cheese may boost our levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good” cholesterol that helps protects against metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. HDL is critical to a solid cholesterol ratio.
The researchers divided study participants into three groups. One group consumed a total of 80 grams of regular high-fat cheese every day for 12 weeks, and another group consumed a total of 80 grams of lower-fat cheese each day. Instead of eating cheese, the third group of study participants ate 90 grams of bread and jam.
Researchers, who published their results in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, discovered that the group that ate the high-fat cheese was the only one to see an increase in “good” HDL levels. None of the groups experienced a change in “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Other factors such as insulin, triglycerides, glucose, blood pressure and waist measurements did not vary significantly between the three study groups.
In addition to the positive cholesterol link, eating high-fat cheese offers other positive benefits. Cheese provides high levels of calcium, protein and vitamin D.
Cheese also offers vitamin A, B12, riboflavin, zinc and phosphorus, and it contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fat that researchers think may have anti-cancer and heart-protective properties.
Eating cheese also may be good for your teeth. A 2008 study from Turkey that was published in the journal Caries found that people who ate a one-third ounce serving of cheese after rinsing their mouths with a sugar solution had a decrease in mouth acidity, which decreases the risk of cavities. Other studies have found similar results.
Can eating cheese offer protection against certain cancers? A Swedish study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a connection between the daily consumption of at least two ounces of cheese and a reduced risk of colorectal cancer in women.
On average, cheese has about 100 calories per ounce and itoften contains high sodium levels, so moderation is the key to eating high-fat cheese and maintaining a healthy weight. In fact, the popular Mediterranean diet allows for small to moderate amounts of cheese. Cheese is also part of the heart-heathy DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.
So, think in terms of a slice of cheese on a sandwich, not a pile of cheese on a taco, and yes – if researchers are right — you can have your cheese and eat it, too.
What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:
How to Make Cheese from Powdered Milk As a prepper I have buckets and buckets of powdered milk stored. Many of us hate the taste of powdered milk, I on the other hand love it :). Its cheaper to buy this bulk and store it in a 5 gallon bucket, then you can not only …
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The post How To Preserve Dairy Products For Emergency Situations appeared first on SHTF & Prepping Central.
I used to hate cottage cheese, but once I began making cheese, I gave it another chance, and now I like it. The problem is that I go through phases where I want it, but once I get satisfied I don’t want it again for a while, so when I buy it in big packages it can go bad before I am done with the entire tub. I read that you can dehydrate cottage cheese and decided to try it. To dehydrate it, I simply mixed it well in the container to mix the liquid (whey) with the cheese (curds),
A naturally occurring substance that grows on cheese and other dairy products kills cancer cells and a deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria, researchers at the University of Michigan have discovered.
The natural preservative is called nisin, and in lab tests with rats it killed 70 to 80 percent of tumor cells and colonies of bacteria.
“Mother Nature has done a lot of the research for us; it’s been tested for thousands of years,” Dr. Yvonne Kapila, a professor at the University’s dental school said in a press release. “To date, nobody had found bacteria from humans or living animals that is resistant to nisin.”
Kapila’s team used what it called a “milkshake” of pure nisin in the tests. Kapila said more research will be needed to determine if nisin can be turned into an effective treatment.
“The application of nisin has advanced beyond its role as a food biopreservative,” Kapila said. “Current findings and other published data support nisin’s potential use to treat antibiotic resistant infections, periodontal disease and cancer.”
Nisin also was successful in fighting deadly bacteria such as antibiotic-resistant MRSA. Researchers experimented with using nisin to treat infections of the skin, respiratory system and abdomen; and oral health, according to the press release.
Kapila and her team say a megadose of nisin was needed to fight cancer: 800 mg/kg, and not the rate of .25 to 37.5 mg/kg found in foods.
Nisin is a naturally occurring food preservative that grows on dairy products. It is odorless and colorless and found on some popular varieties of cheese, including cheddar, brie and camembert.
Nisin works for two reasons, the press release said: 1), “it binds to a static area of bacteria, which gives nisin the opportunity to work before bacteria changes into an antibiotic-resistant superbug,” and, 2), “nisin kills biofilms—colonies of bacteria that group together into a fortress that thwarts antibiotics.”
The next step, researchers said, is to duplicate the findings in a clinic setting with humans.
The study will be published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.
Are you surprised by the study’s findings? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Cheese is one of those staples that many of us have difficulty doing without. It’s used as a key ingredient in lots of things, from cheese and crackers to tacos and casseroles. Unfortunately, the kind of cheese we tend to buy from the grocery store in shrink-wrapped blocks is not made for long-term storage, which is a major problem for those of us who like to plan far ahead.
Some recommend taking your cheddar out of the plastic wrapping to wax it and then leave it at room temperature, but this is controversial because the moisture content of softer cheeses — meaning anything that’s not rock-hard, like Parmesan — can cause the cheese to go rancid, or worse.
Luckily, science has given us freeze-dried cheese to solve just this problem! It may look pricey, but it’s well worth the cost, simply because of its remarkable shelf stability, flavor, and the fact that when rehydrated, it tastes and melts exactly like fresh cheese.
Unopened in the can, it has a shelf-life of 20 years. Manufacturers recommend that it be used within a year after opening. Compare this to regular cheese, which goes “iffy” if you leave it out of the fridge for a while and grows mold after a couple of weeks even when refrigerated.
Don’t be put off by the idea of “cheese in a can”. This isn’t that suspicious “cheese” mix that you put on macaroni. This is actual cheese. Freeze-dried cheese can genuinely be used any way you use regular grated cheese. And the best part is that it comes in several varieties, so you’ll be equipped to make lasagna with mozzarella, enchiladas with cheddar, and quesadillas with Monterey Jack!
I’ve been known to snack on it directly from the can. Tastes a lot like Cheez-It crackers!
How is freeze dried cheese made?
Before the late 2000’s, I only associated freeze-dried items with the “astronaut food” packets you can purchase in science museum gift shops: fun, weird, but not terribly practical for regular people. Today, however, freeze-dried foods are a food storage staple. (Read about the history of freeze-drying here.)
Regular freezing causes ice crystals to form within the food, which can damage the texture, color, flavor, and nutrients of the food. Think, if you will, about frozen strawberries in the frozen food section and how sad they look once they are thawed. In contrast, freeze-dried food is flash frozen so quickly that ice crystals do not have time to form, which preserves texture, structure and taste. From there, the frozen food is placed in a vacuum. This allows for sublimation, so that the water molecules evaporate off; the water goes from solid to a gas without passing through the liquid state. The end result is cheese that looks, smells, and behaves like cheese when used for cooking.
What can you do with freeze dried cheese?
Just about anything! I’ve made pizza, quesadillas, used it with tacos, and have made all kinds of casseroles with freeze-dried cheese. No one in my family noticed any difference, not even my picky toddler. I wouldn’t recommend using it for fresh eating, as with crackers or in a cold cut sandwich, but only for reasons of convenience: it’s pre-shredded, and thus carries the danger of falling off the cracker.
Pizza is one of the most popular items to make with freeze-dried cheese. This recipe uses a tortilla as the crust, which makes for a quick and easy meal.
- 6 Soft-Taco size flour tortillas
- 1 t. dried basil
- 1 t. oregano
- 1/4 t. garlic powder
- 1 T. clarified butter
- 3/4 cup Freeze Dried Mozzarella Cheese
- 1/2 cup freeze dried turkey, freeze dried chicken or freeze dried ham*
- 1 cup freeze dried green pepper, diced*
- 3/4 cup freeze dried tomato chunks*
Rehydrate ingredients according to directions on can.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Combine basil, oregano, garlic powder, and olive oil in a small bowl. Lightly brush one side of tortilla with mixture. Sprinkle equal amounts of meat, green pepper, and tomatoes on each tortillas.
Top with cheese, place on middle rack of the oven and bake for 8 minutes or until crisp.
*Fresh versions, using the same amounts, can be used instead of freeze-dried.