10 Requirements for Long Term Food Storage

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10 Requirements for Long Term Food Storage   This is a very simple article that details some very important pieces of the food storage process. Its a full article that doesn’t talk about the actual food to be stored. Rather, it focuses on how to store and plan to do things the right way with …

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EcoSolarCool new Solar Refrigeration

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EcoSolarCool, Solar Refrigeration,Refrigerator, Solar, Off-grid,

Stay cool with the new EcoSolarCool’s refrigerator models

EcoSolarCool have kick-started 2017 with the release of two new Solar Refrigeration models. The new additions to the upright product line aim to minimise the daily power consumption of cooling appliances. Refrigerators are one of the most energy consuming appliances in the home, accounting for up to 25% of household energy cost. EcoSolarCool want to change this, “providing constant, reliable and energy efficient cooling at great value.”

Two New Models

Both of EcoSolarCool’s new models are approved by UL250 and CSA to US and Canadian standards. These are the only solar refrigerators in the world to hold this approval. Plus this is for the whole unit and not just the compressor. Both models have the most up to date and advanced Danfoss DC compressor and are manufactured in Europe. The power consumption for the models is also at a record low for the solar/DC appliances industry at 201 kWh per annum! This is also amongst the lowest in the AC refrigeration appliances market.

The ESCR260GE Metallic Grey model has a total capacity of 260 litres (9.2 cubic feet). The refrigeration compartment is larger in comparison to the freezer compartment at 235 litres (8.3 cubic feet) to 25 litres (0.9 cubic feet). The freezer is located at the top of the unit and the refrigeration compartment at the bottom. This model weighs in at 121.3 lb (55kg) and is 23.7 x 25.2 x 57.1 inches.

The ESCR355GE Stainless Steel model has a total capacity of 354 litres (12.5 cubic feet). The larger refrigeration compartment (258 litres/9.1 cubic feet) is located at the top of the unit, and the freezer compartment (96 litres/3.4 cubic feet) at the bottom. This model weighs in at 163.2 lb (74kg) and is 23.7 x 25.2 x 78.8 inches in size.

Features of Both

Both models have adjustable internal temperatures and reversible doors. The temperature range for the cooling compartment is between 0°C/32°F to 10°C/50°F. Whereas, the freezing compartment temperature can reach as low as -18°C/-0.4°F. For operation, both models need a solar panel, a 12 volt AGM, lithium or deep cycle battery and a 15 amp 12/24 volt solar charge controller. The battery ensures the refrigerator will continue running through the night and on not so sunny days. Whereas, the solar charge controller regulates the electric charge from the batteries and the solar panel(s). To find out how many solar panels/batteries needed to run your solar refrigeration appliance, check out EcoSolarCool’s blog post.

The refrigerators are perfect for a wide variety of situations from RVs, to cabins to on and off-grid homes.

Both refrigerator models can be bought from a local dealer or the Solar Power estore. Prices advertised on the EcoSolarCool website are $1,299.00 for the smaller Metallic Grey model and $1,650.00 for the larger Stainless Steel model.

EcoSolarCool Products all have these…

All the solar powered refrigeration and freezer appliances sold by EcoSolarCool have a 4.4 inch thick lining of polyurethane insulation. All products also have a built in energy-saving mode feature to make sure the units don’t guzzle more energy than what it needs. Plus, they also have an automatic shut off to ensure the appliances have a long service life. All units have a two year warranty and operate at an input voltage of 12/24 volts.

If you want to find out different methods of keeping food cool then check out this post.

You may also like to find out more about how solar refrigeration works in more detail, check out these articles:

What is a Solar Refrigerator?

Low Energy Refrigeration

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Is Your Home SHTF Ready?

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Is Your Home SHTF Ready? Host: Highlander “Survival & Tech Preps “ Audio in player below! Is your home SHTF ready? We will find this out and perhaps give you a few ideas of what you could do or expect if you’re not “Home Ready”. With the growing threat of everyday random violence even the best … Continue reading Is Your Home SHTF Ready?

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5 Tips to Start Your Apartment Garden

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5 Tips to Start Your Apartment Garden What I like most about this article is that it addresses an issue that many frightened preppers deal with. I am talking about those stuck in condos or apartments that feel like they have no ability to grow their own food. These restrictions could be do to space …

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Pressure Canning Asparagus at Home

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Pressure Canning Asparagus at Home Asparagus is one of the those amazing gifts of spring. I put it on par with the English pea and arugula as those first blessings from the garden. If asparagus is cooked too long it can become terrible. In fact, for many years I thought asparagus was what came out …

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Top 10 Barter Items Every Prepper Should Have

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Top 10 Barter Items Every Prepper Should Have Along with those items that you store for your own personal use there should always be a little bit stowed away for the purposes of bartering. You know the average American doesn’t have much cash stored in their home. Once that cash runs out, if the ATMs …

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How Cherokees Used Trees for Food, Medicine, and Craft

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How Cherokees Used Trees for Food, Medicine, and Craft There are those articles that stir ideas, that offer small smatterings of information often prefaced with a bold title. These articles are very important to the content of the community. This article is not that type. This is a well crafted and thoughtful article filled with …

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Growing Vegetables In Pots – Choosing Plants That Thrive

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Growing Vegetables In Pots – Choosing Plants That Thrive Not everyone has the chance of having a lush vegetable garden. Most of us have to deal with the lack of gardening space or arable land. Living in an urban environment requires for you to find alternatives to your gardening plans. However, there is always a …

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9 Ways our Homestead Cooks Off Grid

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9 Ways our Homestead Cooks Off Grid I learned early in my prepping career that stoves can die on you! Particularly electric stoves. They are just not the best single option for the average home. The power goes out and now you are stuck with eating out or eating cold. When you talk about a …

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Two Old Salts Talking About “Salt”

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Two Old Salts Talking About “Salt” Host: Bob Hawkins “The APN Report“ Audio in player below! What bears scrutiny more important than anything else, is the food we eat, and what effects it has on our wellness. If you haven’t seen a photo of me, you may not realize that I’m “fluffy”, in other words, I’m … Continue reading Two Old Salts Talking About “Salt”

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Why Your Carefully Calculated Prepper Food Supply May Not Be Enough (And What You Can Add)

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We all prep for different future scenarios. Some of us worry about losing our jobs. Others live in drought-stricken areas and put extra food back to see them through the … Read the rest

The post Why Your Carefully Calculated Prepper Food Supply May Not Be Enough (And What You Can Add) appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Is a Family Cow “Worth It”?

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Is a Family Cow “Worth It”? Host: Austin Martin “Homesteady Live“ Audio in player below! Owning a family cow is a huge responsibility. A recent guest on the Homesteady show (here) compared it to marriage. A cow requires daily care and attention. A family that wants to own a cow will need to be able … Continue reading Is a Family Cow “Worth It”?

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7 things to remember about cooking in SHTF scenario

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Just about every prepper has stored some food and water in case of a major disaster. That’s one of the first things you began to stockpile right? But did you ever stop to consider ways and means of cooking your food in a serious SHTF scenario? Unless you have a month’s (or more) worth of […]

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Preppers Food Storage List

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Preppers Food Storage List There are so many food storage articles on the net. The best part is that most of them offer some great information. This article is one of the more comprehensive articles out there. It features about 30 food items and how to incorporate them into your food storage plan. It is …

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Making Maple Syrup

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1_featured_syrupandshack

2_tappedinsnowMaking Maple syrup is an annual celebration of spring, as it is one of the first wild plant foods of the year and the rising of the sap marks the beginning of the spring harvest.  For the do-it-yourself tapper, it is not so much about calculating (the work to syrup ratio turns many a woodsman to purchase rather than boil, and perhaps even to the manufactured, corn syrup based, imitations) as it is about experiencing the full spectrum of early spring weather while communing with the forests and partaking in one of the most quintessentially American traditions.

By Nathaniel Whitmore, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

For me, cooking sap is a way of remembering my first mentor who taught me of wild edibles and medicinal herbs.  It is also a time to remember the Native Americans who taught early colonists how to tap Maple trees and boil the sap into syrup and sugar.  It is also a great way to start off a new year with an act of self-reliance.  Even if you don’t have the time or lifestyle to make syrup every year, you should be familiar with the basic principles and practices in the case of necessity.  The process is rather simple, but there are several things to know and be aware of.  This article will explain the basic steps of making syrup, including some information you should know about trees, the season, and the process of cooking.

When to Make Maple Syrup

When the dormant sap of trees first rises in the late winter and early spring, its sugar content is high and it is free of many of the stronger tasting constituents of the sap of a fully awakened tree.  It is this sap, that rises and descends back to the roots with the warm and cold of early spring.  Once the trees bud, the sap takes on bitter flavor and remains suspended in the tree, while the hole you drill to receive the sap through starts to heal up.

This year, because of regular warm spells, the sap is very watery.  I have not counted the gallons I boiled or the syrup resulting from it, but I have heard a couple people say that a local paper reported that the ratio was around 70 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.  Good cold winters followed by ideal spring conditions (such as a March, in my area, with lots of warm days well above freezing alternating with cold nights well below freezing), produce much sweeter sap than warm winters.  We had sap flow all year and by mid February people were tapping trees and getting good sap flow.  Often, it is still much too cold in February for much sugaring.  Generally, a good year starts off with Sugar Maple yielding around 1 gallon of sap for 35 gallons of syrup.  The average for Sugar Maple is said to be 40 to 1.  The average for Red Maple is 60 to 1.  In spite of the watery sap, the syrup still tastes delicious!

Which Trees to Tap

Generally, syrup is made from Maple trees.  However, many other types of trees were tapped by Native Americans, including Birch, Ash, Hickory, and Black Walnut.  The ideal tree is Sugar Maple.  Quite a lot of syrup is made from Red Maple.  Silver Maple, Ash-Leaf Maple (Box Elder), and others can also be used.  

9_maple_leaf_imageMaple trees are relatively easy to pick out.  One distinct characteristic of Maples is that they have opposite branching.  When looking at the buds or branch silhouettes, you can see that the buds are formed directly opposite each other and the branches tend to remain that way (of course, here and there one of two opposite branches breaks off, but overwhelmingly the opposite branch arrangement is obvious).  Most other trees have alternate branch arrangement, where the branches come from one side then the other, or spiral around, so that they are alternating, rather than opposite.  A third type, such as is seen in many evergreens, is the whorled arrangement, in which several branches spread out from a certain point, or node.

The only other trees in my area besides Maple that have opposite leaves are Ash trees.  Ash are easy to tell apart because, having compound leaves, the branches are rather stout (the smaller branching taking place in the deciduous stem of the compound leaf).  Since Maple have only simple leaves, they need more finely divided branches.

Maple bark is distinct, but difficult to describe and highly variable.  Red Maples develop a much more shaggy appearance in older specimens, while Sugar Maple has its distinct folds.  Red Maples have large red buds, while those of Sugar Maple are smaller and brown.  Sugar Maple prefers upland, more exposed areas.  Red Maple prefers moist areas and is also known as Swamp Maple.  (Sugar Maple is known as Hard Maple and Red as Soft Maple because of the density of the wood.  Sugar Maple is good firewood.)

Besides the sugar content of the sap, Red Maple often doesn’t flow as well as Sugar because of the cooler shady areas it tends to grow.  Generally, people try to tap on the south side of the tree of trees with good southern exposure.  This is because on an average year, the trees that warm up the easiest run the best for syrup productions.  However, if you are tapping the same trees year after year, you will want to spiral around the tree with the taps each year to avoid damaging the “sweet spot”.

Tapping the Trees

9_dropofsapI use a non-electric drill to make the holes for my spiles.  It is a traditional tool, works well, is much more peaceful than a power drill, and doesn’t run out of battery power.  The holes are drilled so that they are a little deeper than the spile will need to go (you don’t want to smash it into the back of the hole) and at a little bit of a downward slant so the sap doesn’t stagnate in the back of the hole. When you hammer the tap, or spile, into the hole, take care not to split the tree.  If you split the tree, sap will run out of the crack and less through your spile into the sap bucket.  I listen for a change in tone as I tap.  When the hollow thud turns to a crisp note, I know the spile is seated tightly.

Hang your bucket, cover with the lid, and, if the weather is right, enjoy the pings of the drops of sap landing in the empty buckets.

Boiling Maple Sap

Cooking of the sap is best done in a shallow pan, for surface area.  Bring the sap to a good boil.  As it gets cooking and for a little while after it is boiling impurities will rise to the top in the form of foam.  Use a sieve to scoop the foam from the boiling sap. Repeat this until it is cooking well without abundant foam production.  Every time you add sap, you will need to repeat the process of removing impurities as they foam to the surface.

3_3_goldenelixerAnother type of foam marks the end of the process.  Once the sugar concentration gets to a certain point, which depends also on the temperature, it turns to foam.  This is a very important point, for if you are not carefully watching towards the end, you could miss this stage as the syrup all turns to foam and bubbles out of the pan.  Many people like to finish the process inside.  It is particularly dangerous to leave almost finished syrup unattended in your home.  It could foam over and cause some problems.  This second foam, which marks the sugar concentration of syrup, is not to be removed with the sieve – it will simply calm back down to syrup once taken off the flame.

Finishing Steps

Once cooled, the syrup should be poured into large jars and let settle so that the sediment can sink to the bottom.  You can then pour the clear syrup off the top.  It might then be left to settle again, to remove any more sediment or sugar sand.  Often, people like to filter the syrup.  It can then be jarred.

With time, and sometimes quite quickly with watery syrup, mold can develop.  In order to recover moldy syrup simply bring to a simmer again and skim the mold off the top.  Let it simmer for a bit, being careful not to let it foam over, and skim repeatedly to make sure the syrup is heated up well and the impurities are completely removed.

Equipment

4_buckets on Red MapleI use the old fashioned galvanized buckets.  Many people today use plastic equipment, including plastic hose linked together to replace buckets at each tree.  I have often wondered about ways to make syrup without these specialty spiles and buckets.  Natives would sometimes collect sap through “v” shaped cuts, rather than holes with spiles.  It is, of course, possible to fashion spile with wood, bamboo, or other plants.

The process of cooking becomes much more challenging without metal.  The large, flat, pans used for sap boiling are perfect for the job.  I can’t easily imagine trying to boil without it.  Native people used hot rocks to boil sap, and apparently for making sugar.  I am sure they had ingenious ways for doing so, but any quantity of production will be much easier (and still plenty of work) with metal.

Drinking Sap

5_maplesyrupWhen I first began making Maple syrup, I was warned not to drink the sap.  However, this old knowledge was either misguided or the wisdom, for better or worse, has been forgotten.  Today, there are many companies bottling the sap itself for commercial sale.  It is being promoted as a sort of northern version of Coconut water. Sap, especially the first of the season, is indeed delicious.  It has a noticeably sweet taste and is otherwise clean and crisp like water.  Besides sugar, it has significant mineral content. It is also enjoyable to use the partially concentrated sap for making tea and oatmeal.  So, really, there are many ways to enjoy Maple sap, straight from the tree, during the cooking process, and as syrup.

Even if making Maple syrup is not much of an option, sap is a potentially important clean water substitute.  Weather permitting and without a good water source, it could be possible to tap a tree in the spring and collect the sap for cooking and drinking.  I mostly use 3 gallon buckets on the trees and on good days they can overflow.

One year I made some syrup from Black Birch when boiling from a stand of Red Maple.  The Maple ran for a couple weeks before the Birch started.  The Birch continued after the Red Maple had stopped.  The Black Birch produced copious amounts of sap.  Similarly, the Black Walnut that we tapped this season, though it dripped a little when first drilled it did not run much at first, when the Sugar Maple were productive, but then started to run well.  So, the staggered timing of the various tree’s sap flow is significant.  Knowing when which trees tend to run could help you collect sap beyond the season of any one species.

Pancake Ideas

pancakes_syrupOne final thought about Maple syrup- pancakes!  Since much of the delight in Maple syrup is in gathering food from the trees, I especially like to include other ingredients from the trees when eating it.  One of my favorites is acorn pancakes.  Properly prepared acorns are delicious and make very tasty pancakes.  I also like to use Slippery Elm powder as an ingredient.  (Sometimes, I simply make a gruel with Slippery Elm and Maple syrup.  It is very delicious.)  Walnuts can be added for additional flavor and nourishment from the trees.

The obvious drawback to Maple syrup is its high simple sugar content.  For this reason, I also like to use Cinnamon at times in my pancakes.  Cinnamon is known to help with blood sugar problems.  Blueberries (and other dark-colored fruits) are also good, as their high antioxidant content helps offset the sugar concentration.  Using such healthy ingredients makes enjoying Maple syrup a more wholesome and nourishing experience.

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By the case? Buy the case….Pt III

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So….my daily pass through the meat department looking for bargain meats. And, to my surprise, the spaghetti sauce I usually  prefer is on sale. Hmmm. Ok, I bought about 120# pasta a week ago…I guess I need enough spaghetti sauce to go with it. And it is on sale, after all. Ten cases please.

20170308_125222Annnnnd…another 120 Monopoly game pieces.

On the bright side, a trip to CostCo for a case of Italian sausage and I’ll be ready to have my favorite reasonably-quick comfort meal on hand for the next….mmmm…..two years. On the negative side, even for me, this is a quantity not usually kept…I need to do some re-arrangements of things in the food storage area. But…there is comfort (and economy!) in these sorts of maneuvers.

Raising Meat Chickens

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Raising Meat Chickens Host: Austin Martin “Homesteady Live“ Audio in player below! Should you raise meat chickens on your homestead? Chickens are commonly called the “Gateway Animal”, and so it makes sense that Chickens are a great way to get started with raising your own meat. But raising meat birds is not the same as … Continue reading Raising Meat Chickens

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3 Edible Plants in Your Backyard for Health and Nutrition

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3 Edible Plants in Your Backyard for Health and Nutrition Who decided which plants were good garden plants and which ones were weeds? It’s interesting to contemplate isn’t it? Especially when you consider that many of the plants we pull and toss are actually edible plants with as much or more nutritional value than those …

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Tips For Building Emergency Food Stocks

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Tips For Building Emergency Food Stocks Have you been trying to build an emergency food supply, only to turn around and use up all you worked to stock up? It can be incredibly frustration and make you feel like you’re failing when that likely isn’t the case at all! Most people, when first starting to …

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Some Thoughts On Food…

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I just want to start by saying thanks for all the comments and suggestions on my recent question about ‘what Do You Think’. I’m going to go through the comments and choose some questions to answer in these coming weeks. I will highlight (as some people said in the comments) that a LOT of these questions are already answered, in a LOT of detail in my online courses.

I have two separate courses. ‘One Year in Hell’ which goes in to a lot of detail about how I survived in my city during war, and ‘Survival Bootcamp’ which is a great step by step guide in getting prepared. Both courses are popular, informative and unrivaled and, as always, I am giving it to you for the most affordable price I can. You can see more details of the courses and join here:

 

OK, today I’m going to look at something very specific. As you know I like looking at the aspects of survival mindset, and I find it most important when it comes to surviving hard situations in longer or shorter periods of time, but yes, I agree that you may have the mindset of a warrior or really hard survivalist but still some basics need to be covered.

Basics like food.

Food

Food is something that you cannot live without, and just like about any other basic survival topic a whole bunch of books are being written about it, what and how to store, prepare etc.

While I am not going to write book about food, I will mention few basic things that you need to consider, based on my SHTF experience.

Have What You Like to Eat?

Yes, it make sense to store food that you kinda like to eat. But on the other hand if you hate canned tuna, for example, and there is sudden huge discount of canned tuna why not buy it and store it, you can trade it, or simply (trust me) you will eat it if you have to.

Do not miss a great deal just because you do not like some food (or you think you do not like it)

Other point here is that SHTF is stress for your body (and mind), huge stress.

Your body will need food that is balanced and good (healthy) for you more then ever. So if you have wrong eating habits, eat too much unhealthy food, maybe it is about time to change your habits, learn some stuff, start to eat good food, and start to store it.

When SHTF you will need your maximum strength, and since you ‘are what you eat’ you can conclude that stuff in your pantry will have a big role in how tough you are going to be when SHTF.

What Food?

It is matter of being practical, or having common sense (again).

You are storing food for SHTF, so it make sense to think about few things that food needs to “cover”:

1. It needs to be in amounts big enough to cover your or your family needs over a certain period of time, so do some calculations in order to have clear picture what amount of food will get you through how long a period of time

2. Needs to be packaged in a way that gives you options to move it quickly or hide it in different places (small packaging, cans, vacuum sealed, MREs, sealed buckets, small packages of sugar,and similar packaging is preferable), that also gives you less chances of spoiling whole storage if something goes wrong (water, infestation etc.)

3. Preparation of the stored food preferably needs to be as simple as possible, not time consuming, and need to have as little impact as possible on your other resources (for example if you store food that needs a lot of time to be prepared and lot of wood to burn in order to make it ready for eating you are doing something wrong). MRE’s are a good example of foods that require ‘minimum’ preparation.

In lot of cases you will have just enough time to eat something quickly, not to spend a couple of hours to make complicated meals.

“Fancy” items

Yes and no. If you are preparing on a budget then forget about fancy items, stuff like junk food items, useless candy stuff and similar.

On the other hand if you covered your basics really good then why not. Have things that you can use for trade, because in any situation there are always going to be people with extra money (or resources) who will want to spend it on “fancy” things.

Also think about items that may be kind of “comfort food” for you and have some of that stored too. There will be days when piece of food like that will make a huge difference for you.

I just want to be clear, make sure you have all of the ‘basics’ well covered before you worry about adding ‘fancy’ items to your food supplies.

 “It Is All In Your Head”

 

But still, do not forget about mental aspect of everything.

Here is one small memory from the war, from the first period of “adapting” to it, it is not a pleasant memory, but I cannot erase it, let s try to use it here in order to make my point more understandable for you:

 I was visiting my buddy, his father had broken ribs as a result of being partially buried under the rubble after shell hit house.

After checking his ribs, and giving some advice, they offered me meal, and of course I took it.

Me and my buddy went out at the yard with two bowls of macaroni, we sit down in pitch dark with our backs to the house wall and we ate and look at the city with sporadic explosions and fires in it.

At the moment we had Czech 22 sniper rifle so we were trying to see something in dark, hopeless, but we simply were eating in the dark, chatting, scoping… some kind of weird SHTF break I guess.

It was hot summer weather, and when you close eyes and “catch” break between explosions and gunfire you could almost imagine barbecue and beer.

And then I felt something weird in my mouth, I was paralyzed for a second, then I moved to the corner of the yard in order not be visible when I lit my lighter, and I checked what exactly is in the bowl.

Bowl was almost empty, some macaroni were left there in water, but also together with that there were bunch of worms floating there.

I checked again, yes-bunch of small grey worms, was not sure but I could swear that some of them was still alive.

I felt immediate urge to throw up. I close my eyes and remembered that I did not eat whole day, that macaroni was my first and only meal that day, and I started to repeat to my self: “do not throw up, do not throw up, I need that full stomach, do not throw up…”

And in next second I throw up everything.

I walk to my friend and ask him “what the f… you gave me to eat, it is full of worms”?

He answered me:” I know man, all what I have is infested with it, it is like that for weeks, I do not mind, and I thought you not gonna notice it in a dark”

I was angry, for a moment, I felt urge to shoot him in the face, then I was angry at myself because I did not check the food.

And then minute later I was angry because I saw warms, I checked it, and now my stomach is empty.

Biggest “highlight” was that my stomach is empty.

It was in the let’s say “adapting” period of SHTF.

Later, I have learned to eat what was available. Expired food, infested food, raw food, weird food.

Over the time you simply want to fill your stomach with something, hunger gets into your pores somehow and you do not mind for some things.

Often I would intentionally go into the dark with my bowl, just not to check too much is there anything else inside.

I assure you, as the situation deteriorate, you will eat lot of stuff that you would not usually eat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mighty Oak: Survival Food and More

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survival_forage_oak_tree_mushroom_acorn

mighty_oak_treeOak is a favorite tree of survivalists.  It’s strong, dense wood is favored for utility and for firewood.  Acorns, though most species need to be prepared by leaching, are an important survival food.  Plus the acorns, bark, roots, and leaves provide important herbal medicines. Native Americans used many species of Oak for medicine and food.  Mainly the part used for medicine is the inner bark. With this being said, the acorns have been considered medicinal food as well as staple food.

By Nathaniel Whitmore, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

Oak is a far more versatile survival example than many realize. The uses of Oak are not limited to simple acorn consumption. For example, in The Way of Herbs Michael Tierra discusses acorn porridge as a common food for the treatment of tuberculosis and other wasting diseases.

Oak & Mankind

Acorns were a principal staple of our ancestors.  Talk of the Paleolithic diet has persisted long enough for real Paleolithic snacks to emerge among the over-priced, plastic-wrapped Paleo bars.  Yet in spite of the increase in grain-free snacks, cookbooks, and diet practices, I have not seen any increase in acorn use.  Though, a quick google search did turn up a few sites selling acorn flour.

The acorn was quite possibly one of the major foods that allowed our Paleolithic ancestors to start building agricultural society from hunting and gathering.  Largely, acorns are edible, though most species need to be leached and some are so astringent and bitter that they are considered inedible.  

food_acornsGenerally, acorns are leached of their tannic acid with cold water soaks or through slow cooking (while changing the water).  Some are sweet enough to be eaten raw or with relatively little cooking.  Early man learned to bury astringent acorns in bodies of water or to anchor in streams so that they could return later to the leached acorns and prepare food from them.  Enough acorns and our distant ancestors managed to hunker down for a winter… and the rest is history… until current times.  I don’t know how long it has been the case, but I just checked online and found a few companies selling acorn flour.  For years I had been saying that I hadn’t seen any for sale or in commercial products.  Until just the other day nobody ever responded saying they knew of acorns in mainstream commercial foods.

Acorns are one of my favorite foods, though I often don’t get around to them.  You have to find them at the right time (others are looking too and some of them, like the squirrels, take it more serious than me).  Once found they still need to be processed and leached.  Then cooked.  They can be eaten just like that, cooked into rice, mashed into pancakes, or dried and ground into flour.  The mash or flour can be used in just about anything.  It is very tasty.

Acorns as Survival Food

Although many animals eat acorns as they find them, a good number of the Oaks produce acorns too bitter and astringent for humans to eat without leaching.  The most efficient way to leach acorns if you are home or at a long-term camp is with cold water.  You’ll want to cook them (if possible) eventually, but you can save on fuel by doing the bulk of the leaching with cold water.

Related: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

If you want to or need to speed up the leaching of acorns, you can do so by applying heat.  Just as with cold water leaching, when the water turns dark you should dump it and add clean water.  You might find it best to heat up a large vessel of water so that after you dump the tannin-rich water you can add hot water.  This will be quicker and will avoid any fixing of the bitterness from alternating between hot and cold.

Mushrooms that Grow with Oak

mushroom_Maitake_oakBesides the acorns as a potential staple food or nutritional side dish, Oak forests prove hospitable because of the large selection of edible mushrooms that grow with Oaks.  (Of course, the warning stands that there are non-edible and fatally poisonous mushrooms that grow with them as well.)  There are basically three different kinds of mushrooms: decomposers, parasites, and symbionts.  The subject is complicated by the various forms within these three categories and in that many mushrooms belong to more than one of the three.  Nonetheless, these basic groups are important to learning mushroom identification.  Decomposers break down dead material, such as a downed Oak or one that was killed by a parasite, so they are found on such material.  Parasites attack their host.  In the case of Oaks, they can take a while to succumb to the parasite and in many cases can grow for years before dying from the attack.  Parasites are therefore found on live, dying, and recently dead hosts.  Symbiotic species grow in association with their host.  In the case of mushrooms and Oaks, the fungus is attached to the tree roots underground so the mushrooms grow from the ground near the tree.

Edible species of mushrooms associated with Oak include all three of these types of mushrooms.  Two of the most abundant and well-known edible species are common in the autumn on Oaks – Maitake (Grifola frondosa, Hen-of-the-Woods, Sheep’s Head, etc.) and Honey Mushrooms (Armillaria spp.).  Chicken-of-the-Woods (Laetiporus spp.) is another abundant and delicious Oak parasite.  These three mushrooms (two of them are identified only by genus above because there are groups of closely related species known by the same name) are prolific enough to provide surprisingly large amounts of food.  Indeed, many mushroom hunters content themselves with only one of the three as a foraged ingredient for the table.  But they also miss out on many of the other fungal offerings under Oak.

Mycorrhizal (symbiotic) species include delicious edibles like Boletes, Chantarelles, and Milk Mushrooms (Lactarius spp.).  Chantarelles (Cantharellus spp.) are pretty well known and pretty easy to identify.  Also, closely related is the Black Trumpet (Craterellus spp.).  Boletes (Boletus spp. and other related genera) are perhaps more difficult to identify than Chanterelles.  Although there are many species of Chanterelle, there are a few obvious species that stand out.  The Boletes, however, are a very large group.  Although it is not really true, some people consider all Boletes to be edible (at least those without a strong bitter or spicy flavor).  Certainly, some are very prized.  Lactarius is a group with many non-edible and poisonous species, and many people avoid them.  However, there are some delicious species that grow with Oak, like the Voluminous Milky (L. volemus).

You might want to check out Macrofungi Associated with Oaks by Binion, Burdsall, Stephenson, Miller, Roody, and Vasilyeva.  It is over 400 pages on mushrooms associated with Oaks and includes information on edibility.  

Chicken-of-the-Woods

mushroom_chicken_of_the_woodsChicken-of-the-Woods (not to be confused with Hen-of-the-Woods, Grifola frondosa) is also known as Sulphur Shelf and Chicken Mushroom.  I avoid the name Chicken Mushroom because it also refers to another, and Sulphur Shelf is really only good for certain varieties.  It is called Chicken-of-the-Woods because it tastes like chicken and has a similar texture.  I have served it to folks who thought it was chicken, though I wouldn’t have done so intentionally – as some people do react to even the thoroughly cooked mushroom (she helped herself to the pan of leftovers).  As with most mushrooms, Chicken-of-the-Woods should be cooked, and with this one in particular it should be done thoroughly and with plenty of oil.  It has mixed reviews, but I think it is mostly due to it being harvested past its prime (which is common) or cooked improperly (it really does suck up the oil – be libral).  Many people love this mushroom, even if they generally don’t like mushrooms.  Plus, it often grows in abundance.  This is a very significant survival food.

Hen-of-the-Woods

mushroom_maitake_hen_of_the_woodsHen-of-the-Woods is another mushroom that can grow very large and in abundance.  It is also known as Maitake, Sheep’s Head, Ram’s Head, and more.  In this case “Hen” refers to the appearance more than the taste and texture.  When found young (they can still be young and be quite large) they are quite delicious.  Hen-of-the-Woods should be cooked thoroughly to avoid digestive troubles.  It is revered as a medicinal as well as an edible, being used for the immune system to help with infections and cancer.

Mighty Materials

Although the modern world has largely forgot Oak as a source of food, its wood is still commonly recognized as a superior building material.  Used for hardwood flooring, furniture, and more.

Read More: The Survival Staff

Oak is also still used as an ideal material for martial arts weapons like the bo staff and for the handles of nunchaku.  It is very strong and makes a good choice when a superior and strong material is desired, such as for tool handles and sturdy furnature.

Oak as Fuel

fire_flame_facts_top_tenThough there is significant variety among the many species of Oak, it is generally a superior firewood.  It is dense and hard and has a high heating rating.  It does burn a little slow, which is one of its benefits, but it also doesn’t put out light as well as some other choices of wood (Hickory, for example, is also very hard but burns bright.  Lighter woods that burn quick will often put out more light.).  It can easily become smoky when not dried well or not tended to in the fireplace.  Of course, being dense means that it dries slow.  In my mind the classic “all-nighter” is a nice, large, dry Oak log placed on a hot bed of coals.

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What To Start Planting In March

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What To Start Planting In March I get a lot of messages asking what you can plant in March, so here are some great tips to help you along and get an amazing spring garden you have always wanted! It’s the perfect time to start working on your Spring gardening plans, even though Spring doesn’t …

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SURVIVAL TREES: BASSWOOD – Amazing survival resources from the Basswood Tree

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As spring quickly approaches, I’d thought I share with you why the BASSWOOD tree is one of my favorite Survival Trees!

Introduction

Trees can provide a survivor with elements from all four core survival priorities:  Shelter, Water, Fire and Food.  Trees can be used for warmth, hydration, food, tools, and self-defense.  It’s crazy to think that one can use a tree to start a fire, take shelter under it, and then find themselves able to eat and drink from it.  Trees provide an immeasurable number of materials essential to survival, and studying the different species, as well as what they offer, is a worthwhile endeavor that will pay major survival dividends time and time again.

This article is an except from my much more extensive POCKET FIELD GUIDE titled SURVIVAL TREES that will ship (autographed) in the APRIL FORAGER EDITION APOCABOX.  Each tree is accompanied with illustrated drawings of its leaves and (on occasion) other identifying features, such as fruits, nuts, barks, or buds.  The guide (nor this article) is not designed or intended to be a tree identification guide. Rather, it should act as a supplement to other guides on the subject, offering survival specific information and insight that typically is not covered (or even mentioned) in the average identification guide.  

The use of each tree type is broken down into some or all (if applicable) of the following five survival categories: Shelter, Water, Fire, Food, and Tools & Miscellaneous.  The information contained in these categories has taken me nearly two decades to compile, learn, and test.  Yet, I am sure there are still uses and resources for each tree that I do not know.  It is my hope that this article deepens your knowledge and appreciation for the amazing BASSWOOD tree.

Basswood (American Linden) : Tilia americana

The American Linden, or Basswood, is one of my favorite survival trees.  Not only is it entirely edible, but the Basswood also provides a surprising number of other survival resources.  In Britain, this species is often referred to as the Lime Tree, though it is not the source of the lime fruit.

Shelter

The Basswood tree is not a particularly good tree for shelter.  However, mature Basswoods are notorious for sending up a slew of smaller sucker Basswood trees from their base.  This is one way I am able to identify Basswoods in the winter when their leaves are gone.  These sucker trees are usually very straight, tall, and easy to harvest.  Although not very strong, like oak or maple, they still make great shelter poles if fallen branches aren’t available.  Basswood is a very soft wood and a favorite among wood carvers. Even 2-3” diameter saplings can be cut easily with just a knife.  Consider this option before spending significant calories on a tree of a different variety.

Water 

Basswood trees can be tapped just as a Maple can be tapped.  Although not nearly as high in sugar content and not worth boiling down for a sweet syrup, Basswood sap is incredibly refreshing and is one of the fastest sap trees I’ve ever tapped.  Young sucker trees, as well as 1st season growth on branches (1/2” in diameter or smaller), can provide a survivor with a very functional spile.  The centers of these two are very pithy and can quickly be reamed out with a wire or a thin branch with a sharpened point. I’ve used many a Basswood spile while gathering drinking sap from Basswoods, Maples, and Birches.  Friends of mine who make tobacco pipes will often use a young basswood sucker for the tube because of its hollow nature.

The Basswood is also a sign that you are probably near water, as they prefer moist, water-rich environments.  If you’ve found a Basswood tree, keep looking because there is likely a water source close by.  

Fire

Basswood is not a great wood for extended warmth and heat, but it is without question my favorite wood to use for friction fire kits such as Bow Drill and even Hand Drill.  Basswood, especially sucker trees and 1st year growth branch wood, is the perfect consistency for friction fire lighting.  The light-weight, porous wood generates a nice hot ember very quickly.  Sucker trees at the base of mature trees are my favorite for this, but fallen limbs and branches will work just fine as well.  Regardless, it is one of the softest woods available.  When available, I use Basswood to make both the hearth-board and spindle for my Bow Drill fire kits (see POCKET FIELD GUIDE:  Master the Bow Drill).

Food

Young Basswood leaves are my favorite wild edible green.  I eat a basswood leaf salad at least two times a week from March-May.  When their flowers are in bloom, I will add them to the salad, as they are edible too.  The leaves are very mucilaginous and may pose a texture issue for some.  While edible all throughout the summer, Basswood leaves are best when young and smaller than a silver dollar.  I also like to steep 10 or so flowers in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes to make a fragrant tea that I very much enjoy.

The seeds of the Basswood are edible as well, though, they are time consuming to collect.  They dangle from underneath the leaves in small clusters and are attached to a tongue-shaped bract.  The hard, outer shell must be cracked away to access the edible seed. I simply do this inside my mouth and spit out the hull, although I’ve been known to chew it up on occasion.  When green, before the hull turns hard and brown, these can be ground into a paste or added to soups and stews.  Basswood seeds, leaves, and flowers can all be added to soups and stews.

The inner bark of Basswood (the whitish layers between the rough outer bark and the solid wood) is edible as well and has a very refreshing texture and flavor.  It reminds me of cucumber.  It can be scraped away in handfuls and eaten raw or boiled to break it up and soften it for chewing and digesting.

Basswood leaves can get quite large and make perfect natural tin foil for baking meals in earthen pits or in the coals of a fire.  Wrap food in at least 5-6 layers of green leaves and tie with the peeled bark from young basswood suckers or branches.

An old-timer once told me that he heard of families in the Great Depression who added basswood sawdust to bread-mix as a filler to make rations last longer.  The wood is not poisonous, so it’s something to at least file away in your brain.

Tools & Miscellaneous

As mentioned previously, the hollow tubes from basswood suckers and young branches have many uses.  Some of these include: 

  •        Spiles for tapping trees
  •         Drinking straws
  •         Blowing tubes for making coal-burned containers
  •         Smoking pipes (not necessary for survival but interesting nonetheless)
  •         Trap systems that require a hollow tube (yes, there are some)
  •         Bobbers/floats for fishing

Basswood is a very soft, nonpoisonous wood and makes an excellent medium for a variety of cooking utensils including spoons, ladles, forks, chopsticks, stirring sticks, and spatulas.  Most of these can be carved with just a knife in very little time and with little effort.  Using basswood for such tools also reduces wear and tear on your knife blade.  Due to their fast and straight growth, basswood sucker saplings also make excellent quick and dirty arrows for bow and arrow or atlatl.  They are lightweight, have few branches, and very easy to fire or heat straighten.

By far the most incredible resource the Basswood tree provides is cordage.  That name “BASS”wood is actually derived from the word BAST, which means plant fiber.  The inner bark of the Basswood tree is one of the most easily accessible fibers I’ve ever gathered from the wild.  It is best gathered when the sap is running heavy during the spring months.  With saplings that are 3” in diameter or smaller, the tree can be scored from left to right.  A knife can be used to pick at the score line and once a piece large enough to grab is available, entire strips that are many feet in length can be pulled from the sapling.  If care is taken, saplings can be cut down and the entire sheath of outer and inner bark can be removed in one piece by carefully peeling from the bottom.  Pounding the bark with a wooden mallet (metal will damage the inner bark fibers) will help it to loosen and will be necessary to process trees much larger than 3” in diameter.  I’ve seen sheets of bark pulled from basswood trees (with many hours of careful peeling and pounding) as large as 2 feet wide by 15 feet tall.

The inner bark fibers, just beneath the rough outer bark, can be processed into cordage that can be used to make nets, clothing, baskets, traps, or any other accoutrement necessary for survival.  On the younger saplings with a thin layer of outer bark, the freshly peeled strips of bark can be used right away as crude cordage for shelter building or rough bindings.  In my courses, I’ve seen two adult men pull on opposite sides of a 2” strip of basswood bark and not be able to break it.

For a finer, more pliable cordage, the bark must be soaked (called retting) in water for at least a couple weeks.  The rotting process loosens the inner bark fibers from the outer bark.  It can then be easily pulled away in long ribbons that can be used as is or stripped down into thinner cordage.  The soaking can be done in a container or at the bank of a pond and river.  This process of retting works for many varieties of trees including, Walnut, Willow, Tulip Poplar and Cottonwood to name a few.

Because Basswood bark can be removed in large chunks from the tree (typically during spring months only), it is an excellent candidate for crafting bark containers.  Below is a basic pattern for making a seamless bark container.  The dashed lines represent fold lines.  

 

Conclusion

If you’re like me and like to learn how to glean food and resources from trees and plants, consider subscribing to the APRIL APOCABOX called the FORAGER EDITION.  It is all about foraging and includes an exclusive signed copy of my POCKET FIELD GUIDE titled SURVIVAL TREES where I detailed the survival uses for many more incredible trees on the forest.  To subscribe to the FORAGER APOCABOX, CLICK HERE:  http://www.myapocabox.com

For more of my Pocket Field Guides, please visit my Amazon.com page at: https://www.amazon.com/Creek-Stewart/e/B0076LIRK6/

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

CR///EK

Real Simple To Make Lemon Pudding Cake You’ll LOVE

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Real Simple To Make Lemon Pudding Cake You’ll LOVE Need a quick and easy delicious dessert everyone will love? See how to make lemon pudding cake. This recipe is adapted from RecipeLion.com. A huge thank you for sharing this recipe as this is my ultimate favorite dessert now! This Unforgettable Lemon Pudding Cake takes your average lemon cake recipe to the next level! It’s an easy recipe with cake mix, so you don’t have to fuss over making a delicious dessert everyone will go crazy for. Take that box of lemon cake mix to the next level with this Unforgettable Lemon

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Food Storage with Katzcradul and Peggy Layton!

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Food Storage with Katzcradul and Peggy Layton! Host: Katzcradul “The Homestead Honey Hour” Can you think of anyone better to talk to about long-term food storage than someone who’s a home economist and licensed nutritionist, has written a series of books on the subject, and has raised seven children utilizing her food storage? She’s out … Continue reading Food Storage with Katzcradul and Peggy Layton!

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Homemade Apple Cider Recipes To Die For

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Homemade Apple Cider Recipes To Die For   My grandma made the best apple cider from an old English recipe. My mom has an old dutch recipe that is pretty good too. I went hunting the internet for a collection on apple cider recipes that I could share and I think I have found a …

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Preppers and Survivalists Must Be Hunters and Gatherers

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woods_hunting_deer

empty_grocery_shelvesIt just isn’t realistic to think all of our prepping supplies will hold out forever. My family, friends, and I may have devised the best survival plan there is, even better than most of the selection of “you can make it” books at the big box book store.  But, as time dwells on, the supplies will dwindle. Maybe our Bug In survival scheme has enough food stocked for the millennium.  Good for us.  Tell me again how long that is?  Not unlike the Lord’s return if you believe in that survival book, we know not when the end comes.  So, how do you plan for it?  

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Likewise, my loved ones and I had the forethought and the financial commitment to branch out to secure a designated Bug Out backup survival location.  This comes complete with a farmhouse, water well, and rural power.  A backup generator with a 1000 gallon fuel tank surely ought to last long enough until stability returns.  Well, we hope so anyway.

At the Bug Out, our panty is chocked full of long term foods, a mix of food types, and tastes.  With the available water we can mix up just about any variety of menu concoctions for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a few snacks thrown in.  We are among the lucky ones to have provisioned so well for the long haul.  

Time Bears On

We’re six months into the SHTF and doubt is starting to creep in.  The food stocks have gone past the first three rows in the cabinets, and now variety selections are waning.  Everybody is getting tired of canned meats, and if they eat another helping of tuna, they may start to grow gills.  Everybody’s eyes are not green with envy, but green from all the green beans and green peas.  Sure we are fine, but we all want something more, something different.  

Our Bug In residence is only two blocks away from a wooded area, and open sage fields teeming with natural life, both plant and animal.   The Bug Out escape house is near a huge forested area.   So far, neither area seems to have been approached by anybody else in the immediate area.  Scouting hikes provides good Intel that nobody seems to be using these available resources.  It’s time to take advantage of this situation.  

Hunting Becomes Necessity

squirrel_hunting_meatThis section is not so much about how to hunt, but more emphasis on the why we should.  Apart from whatever food supplies we laid by in store, we should be mixing in available game meat to supplement our diets.  Actually this should be done from the get go.  This makes our pantry supplies extend further well into a longer period of unrest or instability, or no new food supplies at the usual outlets.  We have to learn to supply some of our own food resources. The argument here too is for the value of this supplemental food source.  I am not a nutritionist, but everything I read about food recommends that protein is a good thing.  In a SHTF survival situation, adding meat to a diet would seem to be a very wise move.  

Read Also: Fallkniven Professional Hunting Knife 

What will you hunt?  If you have never hunted before and nobody in the group if there is one has never hunted, then you need to start to learn how now.  Books, videos, hunting television, seminars, and other participation activities can bring you up to speed fairly quickly.  I highly recommend a good library of hunting books, and everything to do related to the subject.  

Now, if you are an experienced hunter already, then you know what to do.  Generally this activity is initiated by on the ground scouting to inventory what game might be available to harvest.  This can be done by simple stealth hikes into prospective hunting areas.  Maintain as secret and as low a profile as you can.  Once you fire a gun to hunt, then you have given notice of your presence.  Archery is also an option to consider.   

Scouting can also be accomplished to a certain degree by observing via optics from a distance away.  You must have good binoculars and or a spotting scope to do this part well.  You are looking for obvious signs of game movement, tracks, deer rubs, and other game sign.  Visual confirmation of game in the areas is a really good start.  

hog_hunting_survivalWhat game might you expect to find?  Naturally this essentially depends on where you are in the country.  The United States is very blessed with a long list of wild game species available for pursuit via hunting.  The short list is white-tailed and mule deer, elk, antelope, goats, sheep, big bears, big cats, wild hogs and wild turkey.  Small game could be rabbits, squirrel, raccoon, and such.  Upland game will include all kinds of bird species from quail, dove, woodcock, pheasant, grouse, and the list goes on.  If water is around, you may find waterfowl in ducks and geese.  Find out what is normally available where you live and where your Bug Out site is located.  Your state wildlife agency will have a web site and likely pamphlets for this information.    

For hunting you will likely already have the necessary firearms including a decent, accurate, scoped rifle, one of at least .30 caliber, but a .223 or others can be used with the correct hunting type ammo.  Small game can be hunted with a rimfire rifle or handgun.  A shotgun will be useful for birds, waterfowl and small game.  Have a variety of shotshells on hand besides self-defense type loads. Certainly, you can add all types of hunting gear and accessories including hunting clothing, camouflage, knives, game bags, and everything else to help you secure the game meat you need.

Sport Fishing for Sustenance

fishing_survival_nutritionWhen we highlight hunting, we do not mean to slight or ignore the freshwater or saltwater fishing opportunities where you might reside during a SHTF.  As you have prepared for hunting, also prepare for fishing.  Fish are a high priority, good quality food to add to the menu. As with game animals, research what fishing opps are available to you and which types of fish can be caught.  I won’t list all the possibilities here, because the variety is so regional.  You should know your area well enough to know about fishing lakes, rivers, streams, and even small rural farm ponds, any water source that might hold edible fish.  Take the same advice on fishing as with hunting, if you do not know how.

Stock up on basic fishing tackle, rods, reels, line, lures, tackle supplies, hooks, weights, etc.  Have the whole shooting match on hand.  Again, a good book on general fishing will describe what to buy, and how to use it.  You may find also like hunting that fishing is a good recreational activity as well.  You’ll need that as well to support mental health during trying times.  

Gathering

survival_garden_forage_foodThis is my own weakness beyond knowing how to grow a garden.  By all means make plans and provisions for growing a garden of any size.  As you know Mother Nature also provides many sources of plant life that can be eaten raw, added to salads, or cooked. Again a good regional resource book will be valuable for finding greens, flowers, seeds, legumes, mushrooms, wild fruits, and other plant-vegetable life that is indigenous to your area.  This resource will be valuable so you’ll know what to gather and how to process it for food.  

Related: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

So, obviously this was a quick treatise just skimming the bare essentials of food harvesting skills you will need to acquire and practice.  Ideally, you have stored up enough food stuffs to grind it out over a long period of time.  However, it is just smart to learn to supplement these supplies with fresh foods found in your local habitats.  Learn now what these resources are in your area, how to harvest or gather them as supplemental food sources.  

Photos Courtesy of: 

John Woods
OakleyOriginals

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Chocolate Rations in your Food Storage??? You May Want to Hurry!

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If your are like me and considered adding chocolate rations to your food storage but haven’t yet, you may be too late.  Have you noticed that chocolate prices have steadily increased?  In 2016, many newspapers covered the global chocolate shortage.  Its estimated that the shortages will start in […]

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By the case? Buy the case….Pt II

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I may not have a lot going for me, but Crom as my witness…..I will never be hungry.

I like pasta. I’ve cut back on it a bit, but I make a very nice bolognese sauce as well as a very nice tomato sauce. Anyway, the magic number for me for pasta is $1/#. When I can get it for less than that, I’ll stock up. The lower the price, the more I stock up. Pasta keeps quite well, and I use it fairly often…probably 2# a week. So, my  local Albertson’s had the stuff on sale for $.050/#. This was the same sale as they had last June. This time, I was merciless. Last summer was rigatoni, this time – ziti. (Who doesn’t love them some baked ziti????)

20170227_130414You know you’ve maxed out your shopping skill level when they start bringing out your purchases on a hand truck in addition to a shopping cart. The promotion was part of some ‘Monopoly’ themed contest they were having. That’s when it got amusing…

“Ok, 160 boxes of pasta, at fifty cents each…”

“And there’s a 10% discount for buying by the case.”, I gently reminded her.

“Right. So that’s going to be $80 less 10%….so….$72.”

I hand her the cash.

“And here’s your receipt and you get….177 Monopoly pieces.”

“I’m sorry…what?”
“You get 177 Monopoly pieces. Are you playing the game?”

“Uhm..no…but with 177 pieces I think I might have to.”

20170227_132554

So….that happened. Joke’s on me, it’s going to take me *hours* to go through all those and check for winners.

Final analysis? For you numbernerds, the scoreboard looks like this:

Normal price: $298.40
Price with sale: $80.00
Case discount: – $8.00
Final total: $72 or $0.45/#.

20170227_132647

The money shot

Now, yes, I could tuck away all that food but my habit as of late has been that when I find a *really* good deal on something, I set aside $20 and donate the food to the food bank. So, they’ll get about three cases. It’s ‘Karma Helper’.

Yes, there’s some math discrepancies going on. I think thats because they’re factoring a slightly different pricing schedule. Fact remains though: awesome deal.

How the Early Pioneers Preserved Food and What They Ate

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How the Early Pioneers Preserved Food and What They Ate Imagine living in an era when there is no refrigeration. Ever thought about the foods our pioneer ancestors ate, and ancient people before them? Foods from 150+ years ago or long before that. Compare that to the “food” we eat for decades before we woke …

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How To Build A Herb Spiral

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How To Build A Herb Spiral Spring is just around the corner and winter is starting to wind down, for some of us anyway. Build one of these beauties and have plenty herbs for the rest of the year. I found an article that shows you how to construct these simple herb gardens in a …

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Contamination in Australian water & foods.

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(Click the web browser refresh button to see the latest reports. Date Formatting is Day/Month/Year – 11th March 2011 is 11.03.2011.) March 2015 – Tuna Contamination Report,
This incident reportedly happened six months ago, and unfortunately there was no available sample to test.
In late March I received this email from a contact who has a Geiger counter.
I have removed some information from the correspondence to protect the contacts anonymity.
“You have to watch your food like a hawk. My daughter had some tuna in oil….very small tin. I had been warning her. But dad is crazy. I found the tin going into the recycle, it still had a bit of oil in it. So, me being me, I got out my geiger counter and took a reading………it went ballistic.
It just keep climbing and climbing. I didn’t think it was going to stop……It stopped climbing when it hit 38K counts per minute….I didn’t know my bGeigie Nano meter went that high. The oil seemed OK, the tin seemed OK, but a tiny flake of leftover tuna the size of a match head was on the lip of the tin, that is what set it off. Don’t eat ANYTHING from the sea….anymore. That tuna was toxic radioactive nuclear waste, and not food.”
38K counts per minute would be around 1000 times background, using this model Geiger counter!
I sent this email to get more information on this very high detection.
Do you still have the sample?
If you are located in Australia, and still have the sample, I could test it, if you posted to me.
If you don’t have it, if you provide the information below, I may be able to source some here, and test it.
In what country was the tuna tinned?
In what country was it purchased?
Here is the reply to my email query.
This happened over 6 months ago.
I can only assume it was canned in the USA. tuna in oil. At that time I thought the reading was coming from the oil in the tin….I didn’t notice the flake that was on the outside top edge of the can. I got it stuck on my finger and washed it off. After this, is when I couldn’t get a reading from the tin or the oil again. I realized that the flake which was gone down the drain by then was the cause.
I thought my Geiger counter was malfunctioning at the time, which it never has before or since. The count was going up and it freaked out my son as we watched it climb. The highest reading I have ever gotten until then was 164 CPM off of a milled piece of pine, but at that time I was (and still am) learning how to use the geiger counter.
Comment:
A small number of tests on different brands of tinned tuna have been conducted here recently, and over the last couple years. There was nothing to report from these tests. This is only one community testing lab, and each test takes 24 hours, or more. A large variety of mainly Australian food products have been tested, so statistically the number of tinned tuna tests conducted here at this stage is very small.
It obvious more widespread community and government food testing needs to be conducted.
08.03.2014 – Proven: Pilliga groundwater contaminated by Santos CSG
Extracts:
Documents obtained by The Wilderness Society show that groundwater in the Pilliga has been contaminated by Santos CSG operations.
Uranium levels recorded in the groundwater as a result of CSG activities are at 20 times the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.
The NSW EPA have confirmed the contamination event, but failed to act with any proper legal force, choosing to fine Santos only $1,500 dollars.
On Friday, EPA chief environmental regulator Mark Gifford confirmed the contamination was caused by water leaking from the pond and that lead, aluminium, arsenic, barium, boron, nickel and uranium had been detected in an aquifer at levels ”elevated when compared to livestock, irrigation and health guidelines’
Comment By Lock the Gate:
Uranium levels recorded in the groundwater as a result of CSG activities are at 20 times the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. It is the nightmare that the communities of the north west dreaded, and we hope that the contamination is contained and does no harm. Groundwater is the lifeblood of towns and rural businesses and the worst fears of local farmers are being realised.
http://www.lockthegate.org.au/proven_groundwater_contaminatedhttp://www.smh.com.au/environment/santos-coal-seam-gas-project-contaminates-aquifer-20140307-34csb.html
26.09.2013 – Detection of Radon-220 in the rain
http://sccc.org.au/detection-of-radon-220-in-the-rain-september-2013
20.09.2013 – “Contaminated seawater reaches the east coast of Australia and Indonesia,” Japan Meteorological Research Institute.
Comment:
It is important to read the PDF presentation to fully understand the dynamics of this. (Link provided below)
http://fukushima-diary.com/2013/09/japan-meteorological-research-institute-contaminated-seawater-reaches-the-east-coast-of-australia-and-indonesia/http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Meetings/PDFplus/2013/cn207/Presentations/1028-Aoyama.pdf
09.09.2013 – Detection of radioactive Iodine I-129 in roof gutter moss Australia.
http://sccc.org.au/detection-of-radioactive-iodine-i-129-in-roof-gutter-moss-australia
October 2012, Impact on Australia from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident
1. Food imported from Japan, page 22.
2. Family living in Fukushima for 150 days, page 32.
3. Vehicles and Military aircraft, including American helicopters, page 28.  (They appear to be using measurements of square centimeters cm2 instead of per square meter m2, so multiply by 10,000 to get the Bequerel per square meter amount.)
4. Mutton Birds Tasmania, page 36.
http://www.arpansa.gov.au/pubs/technicalreports/tr162.pdf
11.09.2011 – Silent Storm atomic testing in Australia
Extracts:
Australia’s milk supply? From 1957 to 1978, scientists secretly removed bone samples from over 21,000 dead Australians as they searched for evidence of the deadly poison, Strontium 90 – a by-product of nuclear testing.
Official claims that British atomic tests posed no threat to the Australian people.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDOUeniCNKM


Emergency Preparedness in the Big City

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Emergency Preparedness in the Big City It always pays to be prepared for an emergency situation, but sometimes being prepared for an emergency in the city can be different than being prepared for an emergency in more rural areas. Terrain is a huge factor with big cities, let alone the fact that you are in … Continue reading Emergency Preparedness in the Big City

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How to Grow Sprouts In A Mason Jar For You Or Your Chickens

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How to Grow Sprouts In A Mason Jar For You Or Your Chickens Sprouts are great for us and our lovely chickens. They are full of nutrients and much-needed sustenance. You can use sprouts in your every day foods, I prefer them in salads It gives the salad a great crunch and taste. For chickens …

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Using a Wood Burning Stove to Cook Off Grid

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Using a Wood Burning Stove to Cook Off Grid Using a wood burning stove to cook off grid is not as easy as many people would think! Sure, anyone could start a fire in the stove, put food into a pot or pan and heat it up but would it taste good? Will it be …

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The Best Chicken Pot Pie Recipe – Freezable

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The Best Chicken Pot Pie Recipe – Freezable Chicken pot pie is a favorite of mine and has been forever! This is a cheap recipe to make and even cheaper if you make a big batch and freeze the leftovers!. I personally like it with some cubed potatoes added inside but it’s very good without them! I made them in batches of 8. They freeze so well, I have a stockpile in my freezer. They stack beautifully in the freezer and hardly take up any room. Once the pot pies have been filled and covered with the pastry dough, cover with foil

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20 Long Lasting Foods That Should Not Miss From Your SHTF Pantry

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20 Long Lasting Foods That Should Not Miss From Your SHTF Pantry I recently realized I never really thought about how to stay alive during a long term survival scenario such as an EMP that could wipe out the entire electric grid for many, many years or an economic collapse like in Venezuela. It’s only …

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Cooking Alternatives Off Grid!

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Cooking Alternatives Off Grid! Host: Denob “The Prepared Canadian” Over the last couple of years, I have had the chance to try a lot of different off grid cooking options. From home made solar ovens to open fire methods and everything in between, I found out a lot about what works and what doesn’t. Actually, … Continue reading Cooking Alternatives Off Grid!

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7 Steps for Growing Your Best Crop of Onions

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7 Steps for Growing Your Best Crop of Onions Onions are on of the crops every self sufficient Gardener should be growing each year.  Even if you only have a small garden it is possible to grow and store enough onions each year so that you never have to buy another onion again.  Onions are …

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15 Survival Cooking Methods You Can Use In Any Disaster

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 15 Survival Cooking MethodsSurvival cooking is cooking food without modern conveniences such as electricity or natural gas. It’s primitive, it’s back to the basics, and it’s foolproof once mastered.

I love to cook.

Call me a freak, but preparing my own food, to my tastes, in my kitchen, with my ingredients is a favorite exercise of mine.

It’s good for the soul and it usually ends up tasting pretty freaking awesome.

My kitchen is a sacred space where I wield sharp blades, tend to hot surfaces, mix and match with my vast array of spices.

Sadly, my stocked pantry, spice rack, refrigerator, and freezer won’t always be at my disposal.

Likely a future event will shut down electricity, put my home in danger, and compromise my kitchen. Whether it’s a natural disaster, an extended emergency or the apocalypse, I won’t be able to cook like I normally do.

And while that’s tragic, we don’t have to call it an end to a good meal. Even without your fancy gas powered stove, electric oven, propane grill, food dehydrator, or microwave you can still cook up a damn tasty meal.

In fact, survival cooking is a skill that can turn a dire situation into an enjoyable mealtime. That’s why survival cooking is so important.

When everyone else is eating expired canned goods, your family will be enjoying fresh hot meals.

14 Survival Cooking Methods

One of the best parts of survival cooking is that it doesn’t require a high degree of accuracy. It’s a sloppy science, one you can afford to learn through trial and error.

In fact, in an emergency, you won’t even have the option of gourmet. Chances are you’ll be working with few ingredients and you’ll be hungry enough not to notice.

This is far from rocket science – more like basic chemistry – hunter-gatherers perfected these tricks long ago, and if they were capable of doing it, you should be too…

You’re smarter than a caveman, right?

So we’ll start off with the most primitive survival cooking options. Then we’ll focus on a few new survival cooking devices to help with your emergency food plans.

1 – Makeshift Grill

Let’s start with the easy and the obvious first. If you can start a fire, you’re already halfway there.

A glowing pile of coals is easier to control than open flames for cooking. So let your fire burn down to orange flameless coals before turning your fire into a grill pit.

Once you get your bed of coals glowing, find a grate you can use as a grill. A section of chicken wire or even chain-link fence will work in a pinch.

Place your grate over the coals and let it get hot (to disinfect it) before placing your food onto the grill. Now cook your meal to your satisfaction.

2 – Makeshift Griddle

The makeshift griddle is similar to the makeshift grill. However, instead of using a grate, you use a flat surface that conducts heat.

Thin, flat rocks work fairly well and are often easy to find. Sheets of metal, ceramic tile, and other similar surfaces will work too.

Place your flat heat conductive sheet into an open fire and let it warm up for a while. Then place your food on the griddle and start fryin’.

3 – On a Spik

This is an age-old method, popularly used for whole pigs. But the concept works for any animal you can kill, skin and clean.

Use a metal pole or sturdy wet branch to shank through the meat from end to end. Note: if you use a dry branch it will burn and your meal will drop directly into the fire.

Prop both ends of the skewer up on a forked support so that the food’s suspended over the flames. Now rotate the spit to evenly cook your feast.

4 – Earth Ovens

Believe it or not, you can bury your food in the dirt, and it cooks. It’s true.

Dig a pit and start an open fire in the bottom of it. Get it really going so you can cultivate a nice bed of coals. You’ll want to start the fire a good 2 hours before you start cooking and let it burn to a low smolder.

Depending on the size of your food, your fire pit may vary in width and depth. For example, if you’re planning on cooking a whole pig underground, you are going to need a 6 x 6 x 6-foot hole and a big fire.

Once you’re ready, cover the fire with large stones. Then throw a layer of grass or other vegetation down for moisture, and add your food. Finally, toss on an extra layer of vegetation on top and fill the hole up with dirt, burying your food.

Allow up to a half or full day for cooking (depending on size and heat).

Earth ovens are an ancient form of cooking. It’s been used for hundreds of thousands of years around the world by different cultures. Way before the advent of electricity or natural gas.

5 – Stone Oven

This is a quick and easy way to make an oven with heat control.

With stones, build a small chamber big enough to fit your meal. Give it three walls and a top, leaving one side open for easy load and unloading.

Next, stack wood around the stone box and start your fire. The fire’s heat will warm the stones and the inside of the chamber will get hot. Hot enough to cook whatever you stick in there.

Control the stone oven’s temperature by adding or removing logs to your fire.

6 – Dehydrating Food

Food drying can be accomplished in several different ways.

The easiest is sun-dehydration (or sun-drying). This is where you lay out your food and let the sun suck out the moisture. Low moisture helps preserve the food, helping it last much longer.

You can also dry food or dehydrate fruit by letting it slowly bake over a heat source (like a campfire) until crisp.

7 – Barrel Stove

If you can get your hands on a steel barrel and have the means to cut it up, make a barrel stove. They’re a fantastic way of controlling heat for cooking.

First, stand the barrel up on one end, and cut away a rectangular section at the bottom. This is where you’ll load your wood. Now, punch about a dozen nail-sized holes in a group about halfway up on the backside for an air vent to allow a draft.

Finally, cut a small section out of the top of the barrel where smoke and air can escape. You might even attach a chimney-like apparatus if you have the necessary materials.

You can also buy a barrel stove kit to make this process even easier.

8 – Coffee Can Stove

This is a trick I’m pulling straight out of the Cub Scout’s Handbook.

Get your hands on a tin coffee can. Remove the plastic top and wrap. With a knife, punch three or four evenly spaced holes along the base of the tin coffee can.

Flip it over so the opening is on the ground and the bottom is on top. With a gel candle or firewood, heat the can from the inside and use the flat top surface for cooking.

If you want to control the flame or feed the fire easier, cut a small square hole on the side of the can and add a second smaller can to feed sticks.

Types of Emergency Cooking Stoves

Emergency stoves come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. So it’s a sure thing that you’ll be able to find one that is right for you.

Most of the following options can be added to your bug out bag, to your car’s survival kit, or put in your survival backpack. So if you ever have to get the hell out of Dodge, fast, you’ll always be prepared with a camp stove on hand.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our #104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Here’s a list of emergency camp stoves to choose from.

biolite camping stove9 – Biolite Camping Stove

The Biolite Stove is SICK! Not only does it turn sticks into heat, but it harnesses energy to charge electronic devices.

You get three products in one with this nifty little future survival stove. A heater, a stove, and a charger.

10 – Emergency Pocket Stove

sf pocket stoveSimplicity. That’s what this emergency pocket stove is all about.

The small metal box opens up into a standing platform and holds the fuel cells. Pull one of the fuel cells out, light it, and place it underneath the platform. You now have a crude emergency camping stove.

And it’s highly portable. Seriously, this thing fits in your back pocket!

11 – Jet Boil Wilderness Stove

jet boilThe Jet Boil is the stove I use on all my backpacking trips because it’s so light, packs down well, and it boils water fast.

It only holds a single liter but is absolutely perfect for all my wilderness adventure needs.

This will work perfect for short term survival situations but you’ll have to stock up on the propane bottles for a long term one.

12 – Dutch Oven Stove

dutch ovenThe dutch oven stove has been around forever, but it works great. The only downside to using a cast iron dutch oven is the fact that they’re freaking heavy.

You won’t be adding this to your pack or bug out bag. However, they’re perfect for a bug out vehicle or survival trailer.

This one has a gallon capacity for meats, soups, or chili. It also has support legs and is extremely durable and reliable.

13 – Solo Stove Lite – Compact Wood Stove

solo wood burning stoveUnlike the high-tech Biolite wood stove, the Solo Stove Lite doesn’t come with extra bells and whistles. Which might actually be more attractive for some folks.

It’s simply a lightweight, packable, stainless steel stove. Perfect for those who like to venture out into the great wide open.

Just add wood, light it, and you’re good to go.

14 – Sun Oven Stove

all american sun ovenHave you ever heard of a Sun Oven? This is a prepared survivalists dream tool. The sun oven can cook any meal you’d cook in a kitchen oven using the power of the sun. No fuel, no electricity, no wood, just sunshine.

It’s a bit of an investment but you shouldn’t wait for a disaster to start using this survival tool. Start cooking homemade solar meals all year long and save on gas and electricity today.

15 – Traditional Wood Stove

wood stoveThis options is NOT portable and takes some serious time and money to install but they make excellent disaster scenario stoves. A good wood stove also serves double duty as an emergency indoor heat source.

In a prolonged power outage, nothing’s better than a wood stove to provide both heat and the ability to cook awesome survival meals. If you’re serious about getting prepared, find a way to install a wood stove in your home or bug out location.

A Note on Creative Survival Cooking

There is a bigger takeaway from all this. It’s more than just simple survival cooking techniques.

It’s the bigger idea of preparing, adapting, and overcoming.

  • Preparing by making investments in the right tools today.
  • Adapting to the situation you find yourself in.
  • Overcoming obstacles to survive.

Using any resource available to you to make the most of your situation and to best ensure your survival. Improvising is a survival skill for any situation, not only when you’re hungry.

It’s like the show Iron Chef – the chefs have no idea what main ingredients they will have to use until the game begins. Then they have to use whatever they can to create the best meal possible.

In most survival situations, you’ll not know what resources and ingredients you’ll have on hand. You’ll likely have to make due with whatever happens to be there.

Being able to do this successfully is vital, and it opens the door for infinite possibilities. You can make a kitchen out of an empty meadow with a little creative survival thinking. Learn to apply this to all situations and you will go far.

The Final Word

Preparation is the biggest key to maintaining one’s survival. Eating food is an essential part of staying alive. So make certain you’re prepared to handle your own sustenance in dire circumstances.

You can’t assume grocery stores and restaurants to remain open throughout a disaster. Instead, you better understand the basic concepts behind survival cooking and food stockpiling.

So remember what you learned here today by practicing.

Even if you invest in a camp stove, you should still practice all the survival cooking methods. Even the best camp stoves are not reliable 100% of the time.

Someday you may find yourself in need of a makeshift survival kitchen. And you’re skills and knowledge may be put to the ultimate test.

Which of these cooking methods are you planning to use when disaster strikes? We want to hear from you in the comments below.

Will Brendza

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Preserve your chicken eggs safely (for over 9 months)

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Preserve your chicken eggs safely (for over 9 months)

Whether you buy your eggs from a grocery store, local farmers market or the hen house in your back yard, you can learn a lot about preserving eggs simply by observing nature. You see when chickens lay eggs they have a protective coating called the bloom. This protective layer does an amazing job of keeping out harmful bacteria, germs and oxygen.

By recreating this “bloom” process on our own we can safely preserve our eggs for 9 months (or more) with out the need of even a refrigerator. 9 months! As absurd as this notion sounds to many not only is this proven and possible but you can do so with no negative drawbacks to the eggs taste or even health.

Mineral oil

There are several methods to preserving eggs for the long haul but one method is hands down the easiest and that involves using mineral oil. To safely preserve your eggs simply warm up a quarter cup of mineral oil. 10 to 15 seconds in the microwave should do it. Before starting the process have all of the eggs you wish to preserve outside of the carton. They may be hard to retrieve while inside the carton with slick, mineral covered fingers.

The mineral oil goes quite the distance too.A quarter cup usually covers 6 dozen eggs. You can often find mineral oil in the pharmaceutical section near the laxatives as it is commonly used among those with bowel issues. Something else to keep in mind is that you can also use baby oil in the mineral oils stead if you can not locate any mineral oil. These two products are identical other than the added fragrance found in baby oil.

Now we scoop up a few drops of warm mineral oil while running our fingers and the oil over the eggs completely with out exception. With out worrying too much about consistently only coverage, place the eggs back in the carton with the narrow side facing down. That’s it. Optionally you can use a food handling glove (or medical latex glove) if you do not feel like getting your hands a little messy.

Finally we want to store our freshly preserved eggs in a cool and dry place. Storing them in a room at room temperature a few weeks is acceptable but ultimately 68 degrees the ideal temperature for long term storage.

The maintenance at this point is minimal. To keep the egg yolk intact and looking well flip the egg carton upside down. If you are gathering eggs from your backyard the process is not much different. Wash your eggs first if need be and then start the process.

Shelf Life

Next lets dispel the myth that eggs need to be refrigerated to remain healthy. This is simply not true. Eggs and the preservation of them has been around much longer than refrigeration its self. Also note worthy most nations do not put their eggs in a refrigerated area.

Author note: I personally keep the eggs gathered from my backyard on a counter or windowsill until I am ready to use them. I just wash them prior to use, stripping the bloom and any possible germ or bacteria. Any longer than a weeks time (or in hot weather) I personally move them to a carton and then refrigeration, but this is not needed. And to prove it just follow a few fail-safe methods to determine exactly when your eggs go bad and under what environment. After some trial and error you can create a system that works for you.

Determining when your eggs have spoiled.

You can always follow your sniffer as long as you can smell from it. Rotten eggs smell terrible. This tell take sign is because hydrogen sulfide is created while the protein is being broken down by bacteria. This putrid smell can not hide itself. One whiff and you know when your eggs have expired.

If you do not trust your nose you can always rely on your eyes. Stick an eggs in cold water. Make sure the container is at least 2x as wide and 2x as deep as the egg. As long as the egg does not float it is fresh and safe to consume. Floating eggs have not been compromised. As oxygen finds its wat into the egg, air bubbles start to form, eroding the health of the egg, while also causing it to float.

This strategy creates a 9 to 12 month window for keeping edible eggs. This simple method lost to time itself, is quite incredible once you realize the typical shelf life when buying eggs at the supermarket it so short.

An amazing discovery in an abandoned house in Austin, Texas: A lost book of amazing survival knowledge, believed to have been long vanished to history, has been found in a dusty drawer in the house which belonged to a guy named Claude Davis.

 

Remember… back in those days, there was no electricity… no refrigerators… no law enforcement… and certainly no grocery store or supermarkets… Some of these exceptional skills are hundreds of years of old and they were learned the hard way by the early pioneers.  WATCH VIDEO BELOW!

 

Source : surviveourcollapse.com

 

 

                 WHAT TO READ NEXT !

 

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Food Storage: How to Store Food With Dry Ice

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Knowing Store Food With Dry Ice is is an alternative to method to help preserve your food storage.  This method is slightly more complicated than using Oxygen absorbers, but it is cheaper. Additionally, depending on your location, this method is easier to do since most large grocery stores as well as welding supply companies have […]

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UNESCO Credits SOIL Course

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Off-Grid, Course, Permaculture, Eco-friendly, ecovillage, Earthaven

The Permaculture & Ecovillage Immersion experience has been recently accredited by UNESCO

Last month I outlined the Permaculture course available at the School of Integrated Living (SOIL) in the ecovillage Earthaven (see here).

Recently, this program has been certified by Gaia Education, a provider of sustainability education across the world. The Ecovillage Design Education (EDE) credential will be provided through the Permaculture Immersion program running between Jun 10 and August 11 2017 at Earthaven ecovillage in North Carolina. The program provides students with both the knowledge and practical skills needed to design a society which reaches sustainable development principles supported by the UNESCO Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development.

The program has four main dimensions which are covered. The social element involves working towards a common vision, improving communication skills and the ability to deal with conflict and diversity within a society. The economic element includes assessing the impact of the global economy on local projects and coming up with ethical economic opportunities within projects. The ecological aspect is learning about permaculture principles, as well as designing water systems for projects and learning how to apply green building principles. Finally, the worldview aspect is about maintaining a healthy lifestyle whilst incorporating regular spiritual practice.

SOIL co-founder, Lee Walker Warren, said, “The program helps passionate people understand their impact on society and forge real connections with themselves and others. People who are deeply engaged in their local and global communities make the biggest impact, both on other individuals and the planet.”

Over 4,900 students have taken part in the Ecovillage Design Education program across the world, supported by Gaia. There are various locations where these programs take place including Estonia, Italy, Canada, Chile, South Korea, Thailand, India, Scotland, Switzerland, Japan and the Netherlands. However, SOIL is only one of two organisations in the US which offer the UNESCO recognised EDE course.

On completion of the course at Earthaven, both an EDE certificate and a Permaculture Design certificate will be awarded.

There is currently a $100 discount when booking through the SOIL website for the Permaculture Immersion program by using the promotional code: SOILPEI100.

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70+ Preparedness Gardening Projects

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70+ Preparedness Gardening Projects Gardening has and always will be an important preparedness tool in aiding us towards self sufficiency and survival. With out it we wouldn’t last log in a SHTF situation. Having food stockpiled is great and will keep you fed but what would you do if the emergency you were in didn’t …

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Hygiene and sanitation, #1 in watching out for #2!

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Hygiene and sanitation, #1 in watching out for #2! Host: Sam Coffman “The Human Path” Hygiene and sanitation, how prepared are you really in regards to  and (in the worst case) coping with gasto-intestinal disease in a post-disaster environment?  The Human Path Sam Coffman discusses everything you ever wanted to know (and some things you … Continue reading Hygiene and sanitation, #1 in watching out for #2!

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DIY Mason Jar Bee Hive

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DIY Mason Jar Bee Hive Making a mason jar beehive is super easy and the benefits of having one will help you out beyond belief. These are so simple this hive thrives in urban areas too. If you know anything about bees you know that having your own hive can be as easy as a …

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Food Storage Starter Kit

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Having a month supply of food storage is simpler than you might think.  It’s known as a food storage starter kit.  In one box (19 x 13 x 7.5) you can put 6 cans of food that will make 90 meals.  The 6 cans are a bit bigger […]

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Best Canned Goods for Starting Food Storage – Starter Kit

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Having a month supply of food storage is simpler than you might think.  It’s known as a food storage starter kit.  In one box (19 x 13 x 7.5) you can put 6 cans of food that will make 90 meals.  The 6 cans are a bit bigger […]

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Why coffee should be a part of your preps

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Editor’s note: Please welcome Liz Thornton to Planandprepared.com! I’m stockpiling coffee in case of a looming SHTF scenario. It’s something I’m taking very seriously and treating as a high priority. If coffee is part of your daily life, here’s why you shouldn’t take it for granted either. Let me take a few steps back and introduce […]

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How To Build a Gravity-Based PVC Aquaponic Garden

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How To Build a Gravity-Based PVC Aquaponic Garden Aquaponics, is a food production system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In normal aquaculture, excretions from the animals being raised can accumulate in the water, increasing …

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A Canoe That Can Fit Inside a Backpack

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A Canoe That Can Fit Inside a Backpack Ori Levin designed a full sized canoe that’s completely collapsible and can be stored in a bag that’s only 5 x 9 x 28 inches big. Basically, you can have a boat in your backpack. This amazing product Called the Adhoc Canoe, only weighs 9 pounds and …

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Storing Vegetables Without A Root Cellar

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Storing Vegetables Without A Root Cellar Most people think that if you don’t have a root cellar, you can’t store vegetables long term. That simply isn’t true! Each vegetable can be stored for longer than normal with just a few tweaks here and there, depending on which vegetables you want to store. You really don’t …

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Survival Gear Review: Best Glide Survival Fishing Kit

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Best Glide Fishing Kit

It better be an emergency if you use this thing, because this is not your Daddy’s tackle box.  best_glide_emergency_survival-fishing-kitAll 3 versions of the Best Glide Survival Fishing Kits (Standard, Basic, Compact) are pretty sparse but that is why they are called emergency fishing kits.  If you are building your own Bug Out Bag, I think you could do better with a few hours at the local fishing store creating a small tackle box for you and your family.  But, if you are lazy or just want a cheap insurance policy to throw in your emergency kit, the Best Glide kits will cover your basics.

By Murphy

I would not stake my life on this product but for the size and the weight, it is worth having with you if you don’t have any other options.  Out of the 3 choices, I personally like the Standard version (which you can buy on Amazon for around $20).  Take a look, we tried to fish with the standard version using just a stick, no luck catching a fish but we only tried for about an hour before giving up.  In a survival situation, you might be there a while.  Watch the video below, see what you think.  Like I said, I built my own but I am old school.

Video – Best Glide Emergency Fishing Kit

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The Prepper’s Guide to Non-Dairy Milk

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The Prepper’s Guide to Non-Dairy Milk Most preppers stock a significant amount of dry milk because it’s so highly perishable that it tends to be one of the first things that people run out of when a disaster strikes. But for someone who has difficulty digesting lactose, adding that kind of milk to their coffee …

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Trail Cameras for Hunters or Animal Lovers

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Someone is messing with my head

Whether you are an avid hunter or just love watching animals behaving normally in their natural habitat, you will want to read this.

A trail camera is a relatively low cost way to improve the efficiency of hunting as well as being the only way you can watch animals in their every day situations without disturbing them by your presence.

Trail cameras have huge possibilities for hunters. You can carry out a survey of the animal population in your chosen location, study the habits of your prey and even catch poachers and trespassers who have no right to be in the area. This last benefit is also one for animal lovers and vegans who wish to protect their local fauna from invasive hunting.

One thing to worry about is your beautiful new camera being stolen by other humans – whether they be hunters or just ramblers. That is why camouflage is an important consideration.
At around $150, one of the best buys is the Bushnell Trophy Cam Aggressor No Glow with Xtra Camo. As well as having excellent battery life and great night vision, it is also extremely hard to spot (other than when it actually goes off and uses the built in flash).

Choosing the best camera for your needs though leads you to consider the correct criteria. Features that matter most include portability, image resolution, night vision and storage space. To guide you in selecting the best option, have a look at this buyers’ guide .

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Beefy Burger Casserole That’ll Make Everyone Want More And More

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Beefy Burger Casserole That’ll Make Everyone Want More And More Welcome back to another amazing recipe that I absolutely LOVE! This dish will for sure set your sinner table apart from any-other table in your neighborhood! This hamburger casserole will win hearts and tastebuds whenever it is served at your dinner! If you have had the internet for as many years as I have you will know that there are so many recipes out there all trying to get you to make them. Well, let me let you into a secret! They are all garbage. The recipe I am sharing

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The Wavebox Portable Microwave Oven

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The Wavebox Portable Microwave Oven The impact of the microwave oven on human grazing habits has been extreme. It can reheat frozen food or cook raw food in a fraction of the time required of a conventional oven and has brought the convenience of preparing food to new levels. Now a portable microwave oven offers …

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Feeling Hot Hot Hot: Solar Cooking in Action

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Solar cooking, parabolic, box cooker, panel cooker, solar, off-grid, self-reliance, cooking, food, technology

Despite looking futuristic – solar cooking has been used for many years

Cooking can be challenging in itself. Following recipes, getting the right ingredients and hoping it comes out tasting delicious – unless you’re a top class chef, everyone has had a fair few burnt dinners in their time. When you’re off-grid however it’s not just worrying about what it tastes like, but how to cook the food in the first place!

Harvesting the power of the sun for cooking has been a practice conducted for many years.

Solar cookers have been on the market since the mid-80s and have become a popular option for safe and easy cooking with no fires or fuel involved. There are obvious benefits to solar cooking, after the initial investment it is a free renewable source of energy. Not only this, but it is seen as a healthier way of cooking without smoke from fires etc.

Solar cookers convert the sun’s rays to infra-red radiation producing heat. Therefore, it is not the sun’s heat itself or the ambient air temperature outside the cooker that causes the food to cook.

There are three main types of solar cooker which can vary in their design and build.

The solar box cooker is derived from a box with reflectors that funnel the sun’s rays into the chamber which contains the food to be cooked. These models can reach very high temperatures, on average between 200-350°F, which is ideal for most baking needs. With a good heat retention and little need for supervision it is perfectly safe to leave food for long periods without fear of burning. Being a box shape these cookers are less likely to tip over and when constructed will have high levels of insulation.

The solar panel cooker on the other hand doesn’t reach temperatures quite as high; between 200-250°F. Essentially the design is a pot or pan within a plastic enclosure, with a 3-5 side reflective panel surrounding it to channel the sun’s rays. This type of design is best for slower longer cooking periods, leaving food very succulent. With no adjustments needed to track the sun, little supervision is needed.

Solar Cooking, food, cooking, solar, off-grid, technology

No need to worry about the risk of fire or burning food with solar cooking

Finally, the solar parabolic cooker can maintain the highest temperatures of the three main types and so can be used for grilling or even frying food. It can cook food much quicker, however usually smaller amounts than what can be held in the box or panel solar cookers. Also more attention is needed when cooking using this model, as the angle and direction of the cooker will need to be changed more frequently to track the sun.

There are many plans and designs for you to try if you want to have a go at a DIY solar cooker. Many designs include using materials commonly found around the home or are easily obtainable. For example, cardboard boxes, aluminium foil, black paint, some form of adhesive and even umbrellas!

If you don’t want the hassle of DIY or want a larger cooker with a guarantee, then there are several options on the market.

The All American Sun Oven is a box cooker design which can cook, bake, dehydrate and boil. Reaching temperatures of up to 400°F with even heating across the entire cooking chamber, the Sun Oven can do almost anything except frying. The built in thermometer also allows you to monitor the temperature. Weighing in at 23lbs the Sun Oven folds up like a suitcase, with its reflectors easily collapsing, making it easily portable. An adjustable leg prevents toppling and a levelling tray inside the cooking chamber ensures there’s no spillage when adjusting the Sun Oven.

Manufactured in Illinois, cooking times are similar to a standard electric cooker or oven after preheating. Factors that will affect the cooking time include the quality of sunlight at the time of cooking; the type and amount of food being cooked and how often the oven is refocused or the door opened. A typical rule of thumb stated on the Sun Oven website is to add between 10 to 15 minutes on to the cooking time, every time the oven door is opened. The model has an estimated life span of 15 years and can last a lifetime if cared for and maintained properly. The Sun Oven is available on Amazon at $298.00.

If you want something a little closer to the $200 mark, then the GoSun Sport is worth checking out.
Solar cooking, solar, food, cooking, off-grid, technology,

Small and compact the GoSun Sport and GoSun Dogger are perfect for fitting comfortably in an RV

This slightly futuristic looking design features parabolic reflectors and a solar vacuum cooking tube, which absorbs light and acts as an insulator. The tube converts approximately 80% of all the sunlight captured by the reflectors into useable heat for cooking – pretty impressive. With the parabolic shape of the reflectors, the GoSun Sport rarely needs readjusting as it captures light from a variety of angles. Not only this, but this model can cook in the cold and snow due to the high levels of insulation. Although, you will have to add up to 15 minutes onto the cooking time to allow the oven to heat fully.

With the cooking tube shape, food cooks evenly and in as little as 20 minutes, with temperatures of up to 550°F being reached! Despite this, the GoSun Sport is cool to the touch, easy and low maintenance and weighing only 7.5lbs is perfect for an RV or boat.

GoSun Ambassador Patrick Sweeney lives off-grid in his tiny trailer called Patcave. He told GoSun, “I love to cook and I love to be self-reliant. I also can’t afford to eat at restaurants. Living on the road in the Patcave, the GoSun stove allows me to cook great food anywhere the sun shines.”

The GoSun Sport retails at $229.00 on Amazon.

A smaller version of the GoSun Sport, the GoSun Solar Dogger, retails at $59.00 on the GoSun website. It is lightweight at only 2.5lbs and is perfect for hotdogs. Reviews on the Solar Dogger have shown that this model can be used for a wide variety of foods from oatmeal to fish.

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25 Reasons To Go and Pick Dandelions Right Now

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25 Reasons To Go & Pick Dandelions Right Now Dandelion, officially classed as a weed, is also a fantastically useful herbal remedy that contains a wide number of pharmacologically active compounds. Dandelion can treat infections, bile and liver problems and acts as a diuretic – which is probably where the popular myth that dandelion causes …

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Make a Solar Oven Using a Pizza Box

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Make a Solar Oven Using a Pizza Box You will need: Large cardboard pizza box (most local pizzerias will give you one for free) Ruler Marker Aluminum foil X-ACTO knife or similar cutting tool that can cut through cardboard Electrical tape Black construction paper Non-toxic glue (i.e. Elmer’s Washable School Glue) Thin stick about 10” …

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Most Common Seedlings Problems and How To Fix Them

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Most Common Seedlings Problems and How To Fix Them To become self-sufficient, gardening becomes a necessary task. Seed starting is one of the most exciting activities of every gardener. However, it can also be the most critical one and failing to care for your seeds and seedlings can spell disaster. If your sustenance is directly …

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You Are What You Eat Including Food Additives And Chemicals…

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Guest article, by ‘NRP’… You ARE what you EAT. We use approximately 275 chemical food “additives” in this country: The short list: Azodicarbonamide, calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate, DATEM, sodium stearoyl lactylate, potassium iodate, ascorbic acid, Tartrazine, Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), Propyl gallate, Sodium nitrite, TBHQ (tert-Butylhydroquinone), Silicon dioxide, silica and calcium […]

Why You May Need To Stockpile Supplements For SHTF

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Why You Need To Stockpile Supplements For SHTF I am not a doctor or a medical professional this is for information purposes only. Please consult with a medical professional if you have any questions or you start to take any supplements. Even in healthy people, multivitamins and other supplements may help to prevent vitamin and …

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Do It Yourself Sweet Cream Butter

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DIY Sweet Cream Butter Making butter is really easy, I make it all the time when I am home over the summer! I personally LOVE sweet cream butter over any other butters. I love the rich flavor it gives and again it’s so easy to make. Knowing how to make butter if SHTF is a …

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The First 15 Foods You Should Stockpile For Disaster

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The First 15 Foods You Should Stockpile For Disaster

Image source: TheKrazyCouponLady.com

 

A good stockpile of food will go a long way toward helping you survive the aftermath of any disaster or life crisis, especially when grocery stores are emptied.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that there are people who are not preppers who nevertheless instinctively know to stockpile food. This really isn’t surprising when you consider that through most of mankind’s history, stockpiling food was essential to survival — specifically surviving the winter months. During those months, wildlife is bedded down trying to stay warm and plants are dormant. If one didn’t have a good stockpile of food, their chances of survival were pretty darn slim.

But knowing to stockpile food and knowing what to stockpile are two different things. The vast majority of what the average American family eats is unsuitable for stockpiling, because it falls into one of three categories:

  • Junk food – Lots of carbs, lots of sugar, lots of salt and lots of chemicals, but not much nutrition.
  • Fresh food – Foods that won’t keep without refrigeration.
  • Frozen food – It will begin to spoil within two days of losing electrical power.

So we need to come up with other foods — foods that will give us a lot of nutrition and also have the ability to be stored for a prolonged period of time. Here are what we consider the 15 most important ones:

  1. Beans – This is one of the more common survival foods. Not only are beans plentiful and cheap, but they provide a lot of protein — something that’s hard to find without meat.
  2. White rice – The perfect companion to beans. An excellent source of carbohydrates, and it stores well. [Note: Don’t store brown rice, which contains oils and will spoil.]
  3. Canned vegetables – A good way of adding micro-nutrients to your survival diet. Canned goods keep well, long past the expiration date on the label.
  4. Canned fruit – For something sweet, adding canned fruit allows you a nice change of diet. Being canned, they keep as well as the vegetables do.
  5. Canned meats – Of all the ways of preserving meat, canning is the most secure in protecting the meat from decomposition. While it doesn’t typically have as good a flavor as fresh meat, it still provides animal protein at the most reasonable price you’ll find.
  6. Honey – As long as you can keep the ants out of it, honey keeps forever. Plus, it is beneficial during cold season.
  7. Salt – Nature’s preservative. Most means of preserving foods require the use of salt. In addition, our bodies need to consume salt for survival.
  8. Pasta products – Pasta is a great source of carbohydrates, allowing you a lot of variety in your cooing. Besides that, it’s a great comfort food for kids. Who doesn’t like spaghetti?
  9. Spaghetti sauce – Obviously, you need this to go with the pasta. But it is also great for hiding the flavor of things your family doesn’t like to eat. Pretty much anything, with spaghetti sauce on it, tastes like Italian food — whether you’re talking about some sort of unusual vegetable or a raccoon that you caught pilfering from your garden.
  10. Jerky – While expensive to buy, jerky is pure meat, with only the addition of spices. Its high salt content allows it to store well, making it a great survival food. It can be reconstituted by adding it to soups and allowing it to cook.
  11. Peanut butter – Another great source of protein and another great comfort food, especially for the kiddies. It might be a good idea to stockpile some jelly to go with it.
  12. Wheat flour – For baking, especially baking bread. Bread is an important source of carbohydrates for most Americans. Flour also allows you to shake up the diet with the occasional batch of cookies or a cake.
  13. Baking powder & baking soda – Also for making the bread, cookies or cakes.
  14. Bouillon – Otherwise known as “soup starter,” this allows you to make the broth without having to boil bones on the stove for hours. Soups will probably be an important part of anyone’s diet in a survival situation, as they allow you to eat almost anything. Just throw it together in a pot and you’ve got soup.
  15. Water – We don’t want to forget to stockpile a good supply of water. You’ll go through much more than you expect. Experts recommend a minimum of one gallon per person per day, but remember: That’s just for drinking.

While this doesn’t constitute a complete list of every type of food that you should stockpile, it’s a good starting point. You’ll want more variety than this, but in reality, your family can survive for quite a while with just the 15 things on this list.

As your stockpile grows, add variety to it. One way of doing that is to create a three-week menu, with the idea of repeating that menu over and over. If you have everything you need to cook everything on that menu, you’ll have a fair assortment of food, and enough so that your family shouldn’t grow tired of it.

What would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below:

Be Our Guest – Food Preserving Part 2

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Creek, Food Preservation, Off-grid, Refrigeration, Spring House,

Want a spring house but have no spring? Diverting water from a small creek is an option

In Part I, I covered canning and smoking as food preservation methods. This aricle take a look at refrigeration and dehydration.

Freezing and refrigeration is the easy way to preserve food compared to some other methods. The only problem is, once frozen or cooled it has to stay that way until consumption.

Before the wonders of electricity and modern technology, how did people do this?

On farms and in small villages it was common to have a spring house which would provide natural refrigeration. A stone building with troughs dug into the ground on which the house stood would be built over a natural spring. Water from the spring would flow through the troughs and jugs of milk or other produce could be placed in the channels. These would then be kept cool as the water flowed around them. Ledges and hooks would also be provided in the spring house, to hang meat and vegetables in a cooler environment.

If the house wasn’t built over a natural spring, water could be redirected from a nearby creek. Initially some spring houses were made of wood, however this was prone to rotting. Stone therefore is the better material, not only does it hold the cold better but it won’t decompose or decay with time.

Fancy building your own spring house? You can find out more at Bright Hub.

Another option which was used before electricity and still used today is root cellars.

These underground rooms stay cool in the summer but above freezing in the winter – perfect for fruits, vegetables and canned goods. The cool temperatures prevent bacterial growth and the humidity prevents withering. Ideally the cellar will have temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, have low levels of sunshine, good insulation from materials such as straw or soil and be easily accessible.

Root cellars come in a variety of forms from walk in rooms to putting trash cans in the ground to create a “mini” cellar. If you’re on a tight budget, take a look at this video by the Walden Effect, who made a root cellar out of an old refrigerator.

Speaking of refrigerators, if you want to be a bit more tech-centric, then there are various options for off-grid cold food storage.
Propane fridge, RV, off-grid, food preservation, chest freezer, solar freezer

RV owners have relied on propane fridges for many years – but are they worth the cost?

Propane fridges have been a staple for many RV owners and in off-grid homes. Some models can run off propane, DC or AC, making them more flexible. Although these appliances are good for keeping food cold and frozen with ample storage, they do require some maintenance and if they break down can be expensive to repair. Not only this, propane may be unavailable or very expensive to get hold of in certain areas and some propane fridge models can be extremely “fuel hungry” – not exactly the most economical option. There is also an initial investment of over $1,000. Take the Dometic DM2652 on Amazon at $1,119.99. This model measures 24 x 23 x 53.8 inches and so is perfect size for an RV, if you’re willing to spend the money.

Solar power refrigerators are also gaining ground.

Some of which can be hooked up directly to solar panels, running off direct current. The EcoSolarCool Solar Refrigerator on Amazon operates on 12 or 24 DC volts and is reported to be the most efficient solar refrigerator when tested against two other leading brands also advertised on Amazon. Coming in at 121lb, this stand-alone 25.3 x 23.6 x 57.1 inch model is a good size with just over 9 cubic feet capacity for storage. It comes with an upper freezer compartment and a lower refrigerator compartment. With prices starting at $1299.00 though, this is also an appliance that comes with a rather large price tag.

Another alternative is investing in a chest freezer.

These range in price but can be fairly inexpensive and have good storage space. Plus they can average under 2 amps when running. However, because of its shape (it’s a chest) rummaging around for the food you want can be a pain. Chest freezers can also develop condensation and it is best to buy a separate thermostat to monitor the temperature. Some chest freezers come ready to be run by solar power such as the Sundanzer Solar-Powered Refrigerator – 1.8 Cubic Ft., “>Sundanzer Refrigerator, specifically designed for off-grid use.

If you want a more DIY approach and temporary refrigeration then a zeer pot could be the answer.

Popular in Africa, zeer pots are essentially one terracotta pot inside another. One pot must be small enough to fit inside the other pot, but large enough to hold whatever you want to keep cool. The gap between the two pots is filled with sand and then water. The process of evaporative cooling keeps the inner pot much cooler than the outside environment. Although this is not cool enough for meat storage, it is still an option for other produce such as vegetables. If you fancy making your own zeer pot, have a read of this.

From keeping things cold to heating things up! Another food preservation technique is dehydration.

Efficient with zero energy input and little hands on time required, dehydration is perhaps one of the easiest ways to preserve food. The downsides to dehydration are that even though foods weigh less and so are easier to store, there is a longer time for food preparation later when making meals. Also dehydrated food can have a different taste (and texture obviously) to fresh produce. If using a solar dehydration method then you are limited to when the sun is out. This may not be such a problem at lower latitudes, but higher latitudes can be very restricted in their “sun time”.

Dehydrator, food preservation, solar, off-grid

Dehydrating foods can be done in a variety of ways from drying in the sun to using an electric dehydrator

Herbs and greens are the easiest foods to dehydrate; they dry quickly with no slicing required. Fruits and veggies are a little trickier; they need to be sliced thinly or diced into small pieces for drying. Smaller fruits like blueberries should be punctured to allow the moisture to escape during the process. Meat and fish are the most challenging to dry safely. The cuts need to be sliced as thinly as possible and be kept in a constant supply of warm air. Salting first will help with the preservation. Meat and fish especially should be stored in a cool place after drying to ensure they last for a few months.

So what can you use for dehydrating?

Firstly, you could invest in an electric dehydrator. These are probably the most convenient option for setting up (with no babysitting) but require a power source. The Excalibur Food Dehydrator being sold on Amazon at $244.95 is one such appliance. With nine large trays boasting 15 square feet of drying space, you can hardly complain for lack of room. But despite this the whole body is not overly large at 17 x 19 x 12.5 inches. An adjustable thermostat ensures you dry at the temperature you want and a 26 hour timer means you can walk away without the fear of forgetting about your food!

If you want to go down the solar dehydrator route, there are pre-assembled options. For instance the Hanging Food Pantrie Solar Food Dehydrator has five drying trays and protects food from insects and pests whilst using the suns energy to dry the food. No noisy fans and it’s collapsible for easy storage after use. Retailing on Amazon at $59.99, this is an option if you want something that stores well but also has good drying space.

Alternatively, you can go the whole hog and build your own solar dehydrator.

There are many variations and the beauty of this option is you can adapt the design to suit your needs. The basic components are a heat collector and a drying box. The heat collector has a clear plastic top which heats the air inside causing it to rise up and into the drying box. This is typically made of plywood with trays to rest the food on top of. Strategically placed vents help to control the air flow into and out of the dehydrator box to keep a constant circulation around the food.

If you want more detailed information on building your own solar dehydrator, take a look at this guide.

The post Be Our Guest – Food Preserving Part 2 appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Please don’t eat the bunnies

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I’m really concerned about how people, especially young people will fare if/when TSHTF, I am right now, as I type, having a conversation with a young lady (23 years old she told me) on a Facebook group about frugal living. There have been some photos posted of people butchering their meat animals, chickens, roosters, rabbits and the such, though as I went through the page, honestly I saw only a couple of photos of someone with the dead animal in the photo that they intended to butcher.

This particular young lady posted a plea to the group to not post photos of animals being slaughtered (her words) for meat as these animals are cute and in her mind shouldn’t be considered for food, or at the very least not discussed on the FRUGAL living group as this “upsets her”. She posted a couple of pictures of cute baby chicks and baby bunnies to drive home her point.

I carefully penned a reply explaining why it’s frugal to raise and butcher your own meat animals, and that I’d prefer to see an animal raised on a home setting or small farm setting and butchered in a humane manner rather than animals being raised in commercial settings, never seeing the light of day, never touching the earth, being fed soy based feed, growth hormones, antibiotics, to have never felt the loving hand of a human and the such.

I wrote in the most polite and empathetic manner possible, but the conversation quickly degraded to her asking me why I don’t raise cute puppies for meat. You can see the full conversation below, I blurred out the names for privacy purposes. For the record, she also told me she does eat meat, just not red meat or rabbits. I am not interested in bashing or making fun of this young lady, I am sincerely concerned about the lack of knowledge as to where our food comes from, and the future of our society, especially if things go south.

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5 Ways to Take Your Coffee Off the Grid

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5 Ways to Take Your Coffee Off the Grid Imagine that you wake up one morning and you find out SHTF…. I know coffee would be the last thing on your mind but what if you had to give up real brewed coffee – cold turkey. When the lights go out one day in the …

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9 Food Projects That Could Make You 100 Percent Self-Sufficient

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9 Food Projects That Could Make You 100 Percent Self-Sufficient

Image source: Pixabay.com

Are you ready to feed your family?  If you want to reduce your dependency on the commercial food supply, you better start now. Establishing crops, building infrastructure, raising animals, and working out the kinks takes time, and you may have a few less successful years before you can really eat off the grid.

Assuming you have a house on cleared land, with at least one usable outbuilding already constructed, you will be able to focus on growing food. With long working days, attention to seasonal change and weather, efficient work practices, and regular routines, two adults can work the land for food within a few years.

Here’s nine foods that can make you 100 percent self-sufficient. Keep in mind that crops like lettuce – which is easy to grow and doesn’t store very long – aren’t on the list.

Protein

1. Beans. Reliable and easy to grow, beans are a nutritional staple for the homesteading family. Prepare the soil early, and plan on 2-3 months of growing before harvest.

9 Food Projects That Could Make You 100 Percent Self-Sufficient

Image source: Pixabay.com

2. Poultry. If starting with chicks, expect 2-3 years of successful rearing, selection, brooding and culling before you will have your flock established. In the meantime, you will collect eggs and eat birds you choose not to keep in the flock. Start with 10-12 chicks, and plan for them to be around 3-4 months old before butchering.

Just 30 Grams Of This Survival Superfood Provides More Nutrition Than An Entire Meal!

3. Rabbits. Rabbits are quick producers of meat for your family. It is not unreasonable to expect 20 or more rabbits per year from a single breeding pair. Allow for 1-2 years for your rabbits to become established. Select for breeding performance, health and size, and introduce new genetics regularly.

Grains

4. Corn. This is a prolific grain crop needing much nutrition from the soil and up to four months of heat for production. In your first year of growing corn, it is not unusual to have a lot of losses due to weather, pests or soil issues. However, once you have worked out the issues, corn can be an important staple grain. Plan on about two years of learning before cultivating a substantial harvest.

5. Wheat. One of the most common grains in the American diet, wheat is reasonably easy to grow but hard to harvest. Wheat is ready after around two months of hot weather. When planning to start wheat, figure in threshing and grinding time.

Fruits & Vegetables

6. Winter Squash. Grow winter squash to supply your family with important vitamins and to provide you with an easy keeper crop. Winter squash takes up to four months to mature, but you should be able to get a good yield in your first year with appropriate pest management and watering.

7. Apples. Although apples can be extremely useful, you need to plan on 6-10 years with your trees before they will bear fruit. Your patience will pay off, however, and planting apple trees is well worth the wait.

Need Non-GMO Seeds? The Best Deals Are Right Here …

9 Food Projects That Could Make You 100 Percent Self-Sufficient

Image source: Pixabay.com

8. Potatoes. Potatoes are easy to start, and you can expect a good yield in your first year of growing them. Short-season varieties will grow in as little as two months, but longer-season varieties can take three months or more.

Extras

9. Honey. While not strictly necessary, honey is a fantastic sweetener on the homestead and comes with lots of nutritional benefit. However, bees take a while to get production ramped up. Your first-year harvest will be very small, but in the second year you can harvest up to 30 pounds of surplus honey from one hive (leaving the bees something to eat over the winter).

What would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

What Is A Rocket Stove? Why Do I Need One?

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What Is A Rocket Stove? Why Do I Need One? Rocket stoves are fabulous! Easily built but capable of producing a hot flame that you can cook, I suppose, everything over. You can even bake bread with a little modification. Knowing how to build one from bricks or stones is practical knowledge, that if held …

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Be Our Guest: Food Preservation Part I

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Canning, off-grid, cooking, food preservation, water bath, pressure canner

With the “know-how,” food preservation isn’t so daunting

Charcutier Sean Cannon is opening his first restaurant, Nape, in London this month. Born and bred in Norfolk, Sean told the Guardian how growing up in a self-sustaining community influenced his cooking. His best kept secret – preserving.

“Whether it’s killing an animal and having lots of fresh meat, or early summer and everything is ripe, knowing what to do with a glut is key.” Cannon said.

If you live off-grid you’ll know that preserving food for future use is essential. Not only does it provide food security, but also allows you to taste sweet summer berries in the winter. By doing this age old tradition, it also stops more modern thoughts and concerns of “what is actually in my food?” If you do the preparing and the preservation, you know exactly what has gone into the food you will be eating.

There are many ways to preserve food including canning, freezing, dehydrating and smoking.

Canning is a valuable and low-tech way to preserve food. There are two main methods for this, either water bath canning or pressure canning. It is worth noting that water bath canning should only be done for acidic fruits, such as berries and apples. If canning other produce such as meats and vegetables, pressure canning should be used; otherwise there is a high risk of food poisoning.

The basic process is to heat water in your canner (or large pan if water bath canning). This should not be filled to the top; 3-5 inches should be left for your jars of food. Jars should have lids secured and be placed carefully into the canner, being careful not to knock other jars, as they could crack or break under the high temperatures. The jars should be immersed in the canner with the water just covering the lids. The canner lid should be locked in place if pressure canning and the jars left for as long as needed according to the recipe. After the required time, the canner should be allowed to depressurise if using a pressure canner, before the jars are removed. Heat protection and necessary precautions should be taken to ensure you do not burn yourself. The jars should then be left to cool and seal for a minimum of 12 but ideally 24 hours. The sound of popping and pinging will mark your canning success!

Canning is so popular because of the wide variety of foods that can be preserved this way and the length of time they will remain edible for. Plus there’s no worry of keeping food frozen or cool!

Canning does however come with an initial start-up cost. If you’re only looking to preserve fruits and jams, then water bath canning in a large pan is of course an economical way to go. However, if you’re looking to preserve a wider variety of foods which includes meat and vegetables, then it would be wise to invest in a pressure canner.

The Presto 23 Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker comes in at a reasonable $86.44 on Amazon. This can double as a water bath canner and a pressure cooker. Made out of aluminium, the canner allows for fast and even heating and with a liquid capacity of just under 22 litres, seven quart jars fit comfortably inside. The lid has a strong lock and an over-pressure plug can relieve any build-up of steam. With a 12 year warranty and excellent reviews, this canner will certainly suit the needs of most canners.

Canning, food preservation, jars, canning, water canning, pressure canning, off-grid, storage

Good jars & lids are a must – there’s nothing like hearing the “pop” of sealing success!

The Presto’s rival is the All American Canner. This is a pricier option at $225.37 on Amazon and has many similar features, being made of aluminium and also holding 7 quart (or 19 pint) jars. This is a heavier unit though, coming in at 20lbs to the Presto’s 12lbs. A reviewer having access to both canner makes did however point out another comparison between the two. She noted that the All American Canner has a weighted gauge which needs less “babysitting” than the Presto with its dial gauge, which required her to keep adjusting the heat of her stove. However, she pointed out that when compared side by side, both the Presto and All American took the same amount of time to get to pressure, to can the produce and to bring back down ready to remove the jars.

Once the initial canner investment is made, there are a couple of other bits and pieces which you will need. Jars are a must and are reusable. However, if using second hand jars to try and save on cost, it is important not to have any that are cracked or damaged in any way – this could lead to some nasty accidents later on!

In terms of lids, these can either be replaced for around $3 per pack or you could spend a little extra and invest in some reusable Tattler lids. These are marketed at $8.88 on Amazon for a pack of 12 and are “indefinitely reusable”.

Other kit you might want to buy (and are recommended to prevent nasty burns) are a jar lifter and canning funnel. These can be bought separately or in a set with other equipment such as kitchen tongs, a jar wrench and magnetic lid lifter advertised on Amazon at $8.79.

For more detailed information on canning basics for beginners, check out Starry Hilder’s video on YouTube!

Another popular preservation method, especially for meat and fish is smoking.
Smokin' Hot! Only if you want to eat your meat straight away. If you want to preserve your meat, cold smoking is the way to go!

Smokin’ Hot! But only if you want to eat your meat straight away. If you want to preserve your meat, cold smoking is the way to go!

This involves long exposure to wood smoke at low temperatures, which is different to grilling over an open fire. Smoking preserves meat and fish by drying the produce and the smoke creates an acidic coating on the meat surface, preventing bacterial growth. The addition of a rich mouth-watering smoky flavour only adds to the appeal of this preservation method.

 

There are two types of smoking method. The first is called hot smoking and cooks the meat so it can be eaten straight away. This involves getting the temperature above 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The meat will still need to be cooked over a long time, leaving it very tender.

The second is cold smoking which doesn’t cook the meat for consumption straight away. Instead temperatures between 75 and 100 degree Fahrenheit are used to seal the meat and flavour it. The time meat or fish is left to smoke depends on the cuts and type of produce. Adding salt to the meat can help to speed up the process as it is a natural preservative. After drying the meat should be placed in an air tight container and stored at a cool temperature until consumed.

There is a wide range of smokers from electric or gas to charcoal and wood. This propane smoker from Amazon comes with a built in temperature gauge and retails at $211.40. Alternatively, instead of trying to find a smoker that suits your needs, why not build your own? That’s what this family has done!

 

Part II of “Be Our Guest – Food Preservation” will cover refrigeration and dehydrating.

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Grow Your Own: Winter Lettuce and Microgreens

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Grow Your Own: Winter Lettuce and Microgreens Winter is a tough time to grow food, we all know that. This article shows us how to grow winter lettuce and micro greens inside over the winter months. If SHTF this may be all we can gather, especially if you get a lot of snow and freezing …

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Cooking With Mud Like In The Old Days

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Cooking With Mud Like In The Old Days Improvised cooking was part of everyday life during the time of the pioneers. Most families were lacking even the most basic cooking utensils. In order to prepare a hot meal, they had to improvise and look for alternative cooking methods. Cooking with mud was one of the …

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How To Build Your One Year Supply Of Food

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How To Build Your One Year Supply Of Food   Everyone’s storage plan should include bulk food storage items, for example, oats, rice, salt, etc. These basics are needed in everyone’s home storage. Long-term food storage is cheap and healthy and very do-able. Having enough food for one whole year is every preppers dream. A lot …

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Doomsday Preppers? You’ve GOT to be kidding me…

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This post was written exactly 4 years ago, on my Facebook page. I still stand by it. Rich Fleetwood – February 7, 2012 · Riverton · Watching “Doomsday Preppers” on NGC this evening, with an as objective as possible viewpoint. I’ve been doing this stuff myself for 20 years, and in my position and experience, with the […]

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How To Make Cheeseburger Beef Jerky

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How To Make Cheeseburger Beef Jerky You read the title right! How to make cheeseburger beef jerky. I thought I saw just about every jerky there was… that’s why I love doing this, I learn something new everyday. Jerky is tasty and comes in all variety of flavors from spicy to sweet. I was trying …

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Cooking from scratch

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cooking from scratch

Cooking and eating are two (of many) pleasures in life for me, I learned how to cook from watching my mother who was a fantastic cook. She could take just a few basic ingredients and make a meal fit for a king. I remember pushing a kitchen chair up to the counter and standing on it so I could see and help my mother cook. My first dish that I made all by myself was scrambled eggs, standing on a kitchen chair to reach the stove top, of course my mom was right there, but she let me do everything myself, I was so proud of that plate scrambled eggs.

My mother cooked everything from scratch, we never had boxed or pre-prepared anything, I will admit that I was a bit jealous of my friends who ate TV dinners from foil trays, they ate macaroni and cheese from the blue box, and white bread from plastic bags, I thought we were just too poor for such luxuries. Little did I know how lucky we were to have a mom who was talented in the kitchen. Once I was older I discovered just how tasteless that institutional food really was and appreciated my mother’s skills all the more.

One thing I learned from my mom was how to cook without having a recipe to follow, I call it “cooking by the seat of my pants”, I know how to follow a recipe, but I also know how to tweak a recipe, how to make it even better, how to substitute ingredients and best of all, how to make up my own recipe for the things I want. A few benefits of cooking for yourself is it’s usually more frugal, another reason is you know what is going into your food, no mystery ingredients (or ones you can’t pronounce) and best of all, it’s often tastier.

The other day at the grocery store, I purchased a package of English muffins, there were only 6 in the package, they were tasty but rather expensive. We quickly ate them over a matter of 2 mornings. I decided I wanted to make some, I had made them before, I know there are 2 different methods, one is to make a dough, roll it out, cut out the rounds, allow them to rise and grill until cooked on both sides. The other is the batter method, where you make a thick but pourable dough, I already knew I preferred the batter method as that results in English muffins with the nooks and crannies.

I searched through many recipes online but couldn’t find one that I wanted to use, so I just made one up. It’s not difficult, I poured some milk into a pan, added some butter, sugar and salt, I warmed it up until the butter melted (but not too hot), removed from heat, added a packet of yeast, stirred, then began to add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well until it became a thick batter. I covered it and kept warm until it bubbled up nicely, then I cooked them on a griddle top using silicon egg rings to contain the batter as it cooked. Sorry, I don’t measure anything, I just add ingredients until it looks right 🙂

egg-a-muffins

Once cooked on each side, remove from the griddle, cool a bit (that’s hard when fingers keep reaching for the hot muffins), slice each one in half and toast on the grill top. Eat as you wish, you can eat them with butter and jam, or you can put whatever filling you want, my favorite right now is a fried egg, sausage, bacon and cheese, we call them egg-a-muffins (can’t call them anything with a Mc in the name, but you know what I’m talking about). I’ll try to work out a recipe with measurements below.

The egg rings made it easy to do, both for the muffins and for the eggs, I received them to review and they work just fine, you can find them here: Silicone Egg Rings by Ozetti.

Here is a rough estimate for the ingredients, I think it should be easy enough to follow

2 cups milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 packet rapid rise yeast (regular yeast will also work)
approx 2 cups flour

Add milk, sugar, salt and butter to a pan and warm until the butter melts, remove from heat, do not allow it to get too hot, add yeast, mix well, then start adding all purpose flour in half cup increments, stirring well (I use a whisk) after each addition, you want it to be a thick but pourable batter, it may take more flour. Cover and allow the yeast to work, the warmer your kitchen, the quicker it will happen, it should bubble up and nearly double in size in about a half hour. Heat a flat grill, griddle or frying pan, use the silicon rings or you can use canning lid rings (be sure to oil them), I touched the butter to the pan inside each ring, then scoop the batter into each ring, don’t fill too full. Allow to cook on a low flame for about 5-8 minutes on each side. Once cooked, allow to cool a bit, then slice in half and toast before eating.

You can use water instead of milk, if you do that you can add powdered milk or even a bit of non dairy creamer, or just go with plain water.

This batter reminds me of the no knead artisanal breads that are all the rage, the dough is wet and when you mix it, it becomes “shaggy” looking as the yeast does its thing and the gluten is developed. Let me know if you try this and how it works out for you 🙂

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