Spicing up Your Post-Apocalyptic Menu

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Spicing up Your Post-Apocalyptic Menu
courtesy of @nate_dumlao

Spicing up Your Post-Apocalyptic Menu

When you’re stocking up your post-apocalyptic pantry, gourmet taste probably isn’t the first thing on your mind. After a couple of months of MREs and non-perishable snacks, though, you may find yourself wishing that you had something to add a little bit more flavor to your meals. Growing and preparing spices isn’t tricky, and it can make a world of difference when it comes to the bland and the downright unpalatable. Some spices can even make your dishes healthier. Here are a couple of ways that you can continue to enjoy eating, even after the collapse of society.

 

Stock up on Spices

Powdered spices can last for years when stored properly, so it’s a good idea to stock up now on the essentials. This will give you plenty of time to establish your own garden of herbs, spices, peppers, and other flavorings. You should also learn how to dry and powder your own produce to make it last longer.

Not only do dried spices add flavor to your meals, but they can also make a good addition to your medical arsenal. Taking cinnamon as an example, it has anti-clotting properties, while ginger can help to prevent cold and flu symptoms. It’s a good idea to brush up on common medicinal herbs and their uses when considering what to grow or stockpile.

Grow Cold-Hardy Herbs

While some herbs need to be replanted each spring, others can withstand the cold. This makes it easier to maintain a healthy herb garden year after year without having to worry about transporting plants indoors. Some common cold-hardy herbs include mint, thyme, chives, oregano, sage, parsley, and lemon balm. If you have a feline companion to keep to rodents away from your grain stores, you can also grow catnip as a fun treat.

Make Flavorings from Bugs

While some may balk at the idea, eating bugs has actually been proposed as a healthy and eco-friendly alternative to meats, offering plenty of protein, good fats, iron, and calcium. In a post-apocalyptic world, it would be much easier to farm or hunt for a big population than for larger animals. In addition to being healthy, some bugs also have unique flavors that can help to add complexity to dishes. . Crickets have a subtle nutty flavor, while grasshoppers taste slightly of peanut. Stink bugs, while unappealing, can add apple flavoring when used in cooking. Many larvae also have unique characteristics–bee larvae are said to taste like chanterelle mushrooms and bacon.

When you’re stockpiling food for the worst, it’s important not to neglect taste. A supply of fresh and powdered herbs can turn an otherwise bland dish into an enjoyable experience and add a dash or normalcy to your post-apocalyptic lifestyle. You can also get creative and create flavors out of other natural materials such as insects.

 

Jenny Dawson is a freelance writer and editor. Before turning to freelancing she spent many years working in charity PR. When not working she loves getting outdoors, cooking and spending time traveling with her family.
 
 

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Cacao Powder – A Mayan Super Food Packed With Antioxidants

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I just made a cacao powder blended smoothie (I threw in a banana too). For the sake of modern survival I thought that I would share with you a ‘not-so-well-known’ ingredient, high in antioxidants, that we have in our pantry: Pure organic Cacao Powder. We have been enjoying it’s antioxidant value for a number of years. For those of you who don’t know, organic cacao is considered a Mayan ‘super food’. In ancient Mayan culture cacao was revered as the drink of the gods. Only the elite of Mayan society could afford to drink it as the seeds were used

The post Cacao Powder – A Mayan Super Food Packed With Antioxidants appeared first on Modern Survival Blog.

Homegrown Spices and Seasonings For Your Living Spice Cabinet

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(Length: 1:16 minutes)

How old are the spices in your spice cabinet?

If you’re like me, some of spices and seasonings might be just slightly older than two to three years—the point at which they lose potency and should be discarded.
But what if you could have a continual supply of homegrown spices and seasonings that you use most, without having to worry about an expiration date?

In this quick video, I show you a quick solution—a living spice cabinet on your kitchen windowsill filled with homegrown spices and seasonings.

I grow basil, chives, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and sage.

These are all excellent choices for indoor container gardening. And you can add parsley, horehound, winter savory, dill, marjoram, coriander, and mint to that list.

Whether you’re a well-established gardener or your gardening skills are just starting to bloom (sorry, couldn’t resist! 😉 ), you’ll need a few things to get your living spice cabinet started.

Environment: Right Plant, Right Place

One of the most basic principles of successful gardening is “right plant, right place.”

Basically, if you grow a plant in an environment that meets its basic needs for sunlight, temperature, airflow, soil drainage, etc., you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor in the long run.

Your plant will be stronger, healthier, happier, and more productive; have fewer disease and pest issues; and create fewer headaches for you!

So, before you head to the garden center for pots and seedlings, take a few minutes to determine how you’ll provide the right environment for your herbs.

Here’s what you’ll need to consider:

  • Light Sources

Sunlight: Most herbs need six to eight hours of sunlight daily. You can usually provide this via an unobscured window with western or southern exposure. To ensure that the entire plant gets adequate sunlight, rotate it every three to four days.

Artificial Light: If you don’t have an indoor location that provides enough natural light, you can use two 40-watt cool white fluorescent bulbs. Place the plants 6 to 12 inches below the light source, and keep the bulbs lit for two hours per hour of required sunlight. For example, if your plants need eight hours of sunlight, expose them to 16 hours of artificial fluorescent light daily. And if you don’t want to mess with turning the lights on and off at certain times each day, consider buying a plug-in timer to handle the task for you. (Trust me, they’re awesome. Highly recommended!)

  • Temperatures

Herbs prefer moderate temperatures, so choose a location that reaches 65°F–70°F during the day and 55°F–60°F at night. Avoid temperature extremes by keeping your herb plants away from mechanical heat sources and out of chilly drafts.

  • Humidity

Herbs will grow best in a somewhat humid environment. So, if you live where it’s arid, you’ll need to get creative to provide supplemental humidity. You might fill a tray with stones, set your pots in it, and keep it filled with water just to the bottom of the herb containers. Alternately, you can keep a spray bottle handy and mist your herb plants with water as needed.

  • Airflow

Like many other plants, herbs do best with good air circulation. So be sure not to crowd your plants together, maintaining a bit of space between them. And, when possible, crack a window or turn on a fan to keep some air flowing in the area.

Materials: Four Essentials

Now that you’ve figured out the best spot in your house for your homegrown spices and seasonings, it’s time to go shopping—either in your potting shed or at your local garden center!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Fast-Draining Growing Medium

Look for a potting mix designed to drain fast and control moisture.

The main ingredient will be coir or sphagnum peat moss. These amendments have a large texture that helps the soil stay aerated and well drained, and their natural absorptive properties help keep the soil moist. (Interestingly, the more sustainable choice of the two, coir, is also the most useful. Not only is it a renewable resource produced from coconut husks, but it absorbs nearly a third more water than peat, is much easier to re-wet when it’s dry, is more alkaline, is slower to decompose … the list goes on.)

The ingredient list will also include some combination of water-holding minerals, such as vermiculite or perlite.

Many growing mediums will also include additions like compost, fertilizer, and wetting agents.

Or, you can be like Grow Network, Change Maker, David the Good and make your own!

Liquid Fertilizer

Think fish emulsion and seaweed. Make your own liquid fertilizers centered on these ingredients here, or find some premade options at your local garden center.

Recommendations vary on how often to feed your culinary herb plants. Some say to use low-dose liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks, while others recommend feeding them every four weeks, or even less often. If you’re concerned about overfeeding, let your plants be your guide. If they look lush but have poor flavor, it’s time to cut back on the fertilizer.

Plants

Many people prefer to plant seedlings because they get you to your goal of freshly harvested herbs that much faster. However, if you’re willing to wait a little longer, grow your herbs from seed. In either case, follow the planting directions provided on the pot or seed packet, and you’ll have homegrown spices and seasonings in no time.

Water: The Final Ingredient

Finally, remember to water your herbs—but just occasionally.

Almost all herbs grown indoors will do best if you let their soil dry out between waterings. You’ll know it’s time to water if, when you stick your finger into the soil to a depth of one-inch, the soil is dry. Rosemary is the exception to this rule. Its soil needs to be kept moist.

It’s Time to Spice Things Up!

With just a few simple materials, plus a careful choice of environment, you’ll have homegrown spices and seasonings in YOUR living spice cabinet, just like mine.

It will add visual and aromatic appeal to your home and your meals—and, perhaps best of all, help ensure that your favorite spices are always fresh and full of flavor!

 

What are your favorite spices to grow? Do you have a living spice cabinet? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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Sam Coffman Top 25 Herbs Chart

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The post Homegrown Spices and Seasonings For Your Living Spice Cabinet appeared first on The Grow Network.

Top 100 High ORAC Value Antioxidant Foods

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The ORAC values of the following spices-herbs-foods are rated very high (healthier?) and are worth considering for your overall health and well-being. ORAC is an abbreviation for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity and was developed by the National Institutes of Health in Baltimore. ORAC units measure the antioxidant capacity of foods. The higher, the better…   UPDATED for your further comment and opinion…   It is widely believed that high antioxidant foods help greatly to lower the risks of cancer, degeneration, and disease. The following list consists of high ORAC value food and spices. Consider making an effort to obtain and

The post Top 100 High ORAC Value Antioxidant Foods appeared first on Modern Survival Blog.

Don’t Forget to Include this Essential Ingredient in Your Food Storage

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com Besides basic things like food and water, we take for granted many other items we use on a daily basis such as toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, trash bags, clothing, etc.  One item that came to mind is salt.  I decided we need to store more salt:  it is inexpensive and plentiful now, but if we were to run out, we would really miss it.  For hundreds of years, salt was not readily available […]

The post Don’t Forget to Include this Essential Ingredient in Your Food Storage appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

Spices, Herbs, Seasonings With Your Long Term Food Storage

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Spices and seasonings added to a long-term food storage (deep pantry) will enhance what otherwise might be dull and mundane (with some of your ‘staple’ foods such as rice & beans, etc..), enhancing flavor and edibility. Spices may consist of dried seeds, fruit, roots, or bark of plants. Herbs are considered leafy parts of plants […]

5 Cold-Killing Spices Hiding In Your Kitchen Cabinet

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5 Cold-Killing Spices Hiding In Your Kitchen Cabinet

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As winter blasts the U.S., the local pharmacy is dispensing various chemical cocktails aimed at curbing the symptoms associated with the common cold and seasonal flu virus. The pharmaceutical companies certainly benefit during the cold winter months, but their relief is costly — and not guaranteed. In fact, some medications often produce side-effects that are just as bad or worse than the original symptoms.

So, what natural options are available? The answer may be as simple as a glance in your spice cabinet.

Good nutrition is essential for a healthy life. As the adage states, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” A well-thought-out diet, full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, will bolster your immune system. Whether sprinkled on as a garnish, used to create a flavorful broth or sauce, or even steeped in a tea, this list of cold- and flu-fighting spices can keep you healthy and happy this winter.

1. Turmeric

Dress up your farm-fresh eggs, create a tangy dip, or spice up a side of rice with a dash of turmeric. Produced from the roasted rhizomes of the turmeric plant, turmeric powder stimulates the immune system, reduces inflammation, balances blood sugar levels and aids the digestive system, all of which are important aspects of fighting off the common cold or seasonal flu.

2. Clove, nutmeg and cinnamon

This trio is most often associated with baking fall and winter “goodies,” and with warm, soothing drinks; however, they also work well together to aid the body in resisting infectious illnesses prevalent during the holiday season. These spices are antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents. The addition of nutmeg also has the added benefit of being an anti-depressant, which is helpful to calm the wintertime blues and relieve insomnia, although caution should be used by only including small amounts of nutmeg to any recipe.

3. Ginger

5 Cold-Killing Spices Hiding In Your Kitchen Cabinet

Ginger. Image source: Pixabay.com

Although ginger is used with the popular fall spices listed above, it also works to aid the digestive tract — relieving nausea, reducing bloating and gas, and overall working to relax the digestive tract to promote healing. Ginger also provides extra support for the immune system and further relieves inflammation due to irritation or infection.

4. Oregano

Not to be limited to Italian dishes, oregano can be sprinkled on eggs, salads and meats, enhancing your immune system by acting as a powerful antioxidant. It contains multiple vitamins and minerals, giving it helpful antibacterial and antiviral properties. Oregano also provides relief from inflammation, particularly in the upper respiratory tract, which is more vulnerable due to the drier air found in the colder climates.

5. Thyme

Well known in ancient times for its medicinal properties, thyme is most effective against respiratory infections and intestinal distress. It boosts liver function, increases immune function and clears the sinuses — the breeding ground of many respiratory infections.

For many of us, these spices are staples in our cabinet, only to be pulled out for special recipes and not considered based on their medicinal properties. Yet by incorporating them into our regular diets, we can increase our chances of staying healthy during the winter months.

What is your favorite spice for health? Share your tips in the section below:

10 Common Kitchen Spices That Have REMARKABLE Healing Powers

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10 Common Kitchen Spices That Have REMARKABLE Healing Powers

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Did you know you have a medicine cabinet of sorts right inside your kitchen? Many of the spices and herbs you have in your pantry can do more than just add flavor and color to your cooking. They also can benefit your health.

For centuries, traditional health practitioners have used spices and herbs to help people heal from all sorts of ailments and to help them maintain their wellbeing. Many herbs and spices contain as much or more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as fruits and vegetables.

Here is our list of 10 healing spices that you likely already have in your pantry:

1. Basil. Fragrant basil, which is a great addition to many dishes, has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. The volatile oils in basil can help relieve stomach and digestive upsets.

Research by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology found that basil contains high amounts of beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which may be useful for treating inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis. A study by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society also found that basil is useful in reducing swelling.

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There are many varieties of basil available, including lemon basil, holy basil and Christmas basil.

2. Cloves. You can use ground or whole cloves to treat inflammation in the body caused by anything from the common cold to a toothache.

Cloves, which have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, also may be useful in controlling insulin levels for diabetics.

3. Cayenne pepper. Made from tropical chili peppers, cayenne pepper contains alkaloid capsaicin, which blocks the chemicals that send pain messages to the brain. Capsaicin also works to rev up the body’s metabolism and may boost calorie and fat burning in certain individuals.

Cayenne can relieve indigestion, gas and nausea. Since it thins phlegm and eases the body’s passageways from the lungs, cayenne also is useful in treating coughs and colds.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people with diabetes who ate a meal with liberal amounts of cayenne required less insulin to reduce their body’s blood sugar.

4. Rosemary. As a super anti-oxidant, rosemary contains 19 chemicals with antibacterial properties that help fight infection. Often used by herbalists to treat asthma and allergies, rosemary contains volatile oils that can reduce the nasal constriction caused by histamine.

Researchers from Kansas State University found that rosemary can help your skin and aid your memory retention.

5. Turmeric. A favorite ingredient in curries, turmeric is the spice that gives many Indian dishes their yellow color. The chemical responsible for turmeric’s color, called curcumin, may protect the body from certain forms of cancer, such as prostrate and colon cancer and melanoma.

10 Common Kitchen Spices That Have REMARKABLE Healing Powers

Image source: Pixabay.com

Research has linked turmeric consumption with reduced inflammation in certain chronic conditions, such as psoriasis, and it is useful in treating colds and respiratory problems.

6. Sage. Sage is a natural mood-enhancer and memory booster. Sage also boosts the action of insulin and reduces blood sugar in the body, so it is helpful for diabetics.

Preliminary research suggests that sage may be useful in treating Alzheimer’s disease, since it prevents a key enzyme from destroying acetylcholine, which is a brain chemical involved in memory retention and cognitive learning. In another study, college students who took sage extract performed significantly better on memory tests than students who did not consume sage before the test.

7. Ginger. Ginger has been used by natural medical practitioners in many cultures for centuries to reduce stomach upset and to quell nausea.

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As an anti-inflammatory, ginger also is useful in reducing the pain of arthritis and of osteoarthritis pain of the knee. Ginger root’s healing compounds, including gingerols, also help ease headache pain.

8. Cinnamon. This tasty spice is an antioxidant powerhouse that can help stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetics and pre-diabetics.

Just a half teaspoon serving of cinnamon a day can reduce triglycerides and total cholesterol levels by 12 to 30 percent, according to research studies. Cinnamon also can help prevent blood clots.

9. Thyme. Thyme contains thymol, a germ-killing oil that can protect against gum disease, infections, ulcers and certain forms of cancer.

In addition, thyme extracts can soothe the coughing and throat irritation caused by the common cold or bronchitis.

10. Oregano. Often used in Italian recipes, oregano contains four compounds that soothe coughs and colds and 19 different chemicals that contain antibacterial properties.

Oregano consumption can improve the digestive tract, and research shows that it may help lower blood pressure, as well.

You may be wondering how long your spices will stay fresh in your pantry. As a general rule, herbs lose their potency and flavor over time. Whole spices will stay fresh for about four years. Ground spices will stay fresh for two to three years, and dried herbs will be potent for up to three years.

What is your favorite healing spice? Share your tips in the section below:

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9 All-Natural Cures For Recurring Bad Breath

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9 All-Natural Cures For Recurring Bad Breath

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Whether it is from the onions on your sandwich or that extra cup of coffee, you probably have dealt with the uncomfortable problem of having bad breath at one time or the other.

Many of us grab a mint or chew a piece of gum for a quick fix. Some of us stash a bottle of mouthwash in our desk drawer or in a compartment in the car to freshen our mouths when we are on the go.

However, what do you do when you have an ongoing breath problem? Most commercial breath freshening products contain harsh, unnatural ingredients, and they can simply mask an underlying problem that is causing the bad breath in the first place.

The good news is that there are many natural ways to fight bad breath. In addition, most are easy and inexpensive. Here are nine natural ideas to try to help eliminate bad breath.

1. Take care of your teeth and mouth. The first step to fighting bad breath is to take a good look at your oral hygiene. It is important to visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Additionally, if you usually brush your teeth only first thing in the morning and last thing at night, consider brushing your teeth more frequently.

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Try brushing after every meal — which may involve having a toothbrush and toothpaste with you at work or in your car — and floss your teeth twice a day.

Speaking of that toothbrush – when was the last time you got a new one? Replacing your toothbrush every two to three months can help keep your breath fresh.

Your teeth are not the only culprits when it comes to bad breath. Your tongue can harbor odor-causing dead cells, fungi and bacteria. Try scraping your tongue each morning with a spoon and then rinsing with water afterwards to decrease or eliminate the odor.

Simply place the spoon on the back of your tongue and then drag it slowly forward. Rinse well and then repeat several times. Include the sides of your tongue in this cleaning process.

9 All-Natural Cures For Recurring Bad Breath

Image source: Pixabay.com

2. Drink plenty of water. Did you realize that a dry mouth could play a role in bad breath? When you do not wash bacteria away with water, they can thrive on the food particles in your mouth. These germs then can release foul-smelling byproducts that cause bad breath.

Your body’s own natural saliva can do the trick, but if you are dehydrated, you may not be producing enough salvia to eliminate the bacteria. Aim to drink more water during the day, and try swishing it around your mouth to help eliminate mouth odor.

3. Consume enough zinc. A deficiency in the mineral zinc can be a contributing factor to bad breath. As an antimicrobial, zinc helps neutralize and eliminate harmful germs in the mouth. Try supplementing your diet with food rich in zinc, including pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, sesame seeds and chickpeas.

4. Supplement with herbs and spices. Many items from your kitchen spice shelf or your herb garden can aid in eliminating bad breath when you chew them. Here are a few examples:

  • Cloves
  • Fennel
  • Dill
  • Cardamom
  • Anise seeds
  • Cinnamon
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Cilantro
9 All-Natural Cures For Recurring Bad Breath

Image source: Pixabay.com

5. Enjoy some citrus fruit. Eating an orange can be a simple and healthy way to fight bad breath. By stimulating your salivary glands, the citric acid also creates an acidic environment in which bacteria cannot thrive.

Another option is to nibble on a clean, small piece of lemon, lime or orange rind.

6. Create a natural mouth rinse. Many commercial mouthwashes contain alcohol, but you can easily create your own natural mouth rinse. Try gargling with a simple salt-water solution to help rid your mouth, throat and tonsils from bacteria.

Another option is to mix a cup of water with a teaspoon of baking soda to cleanse and to freshen your mouth. Squeeze in some lemon or lime juice, if you like, for flavor and for the added benefits of Vitamin C.

7. Consider probiotic foods. An overloaded digestive tract can contribute to breath problems. Basically, stomach problems can create a build-up of excess of gas that then exits your body through your mouth.

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Supplementing your diet with probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kombucha tea and fermented sauerkraut helps get your digestive system back in balance. Another idea is to mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with water and drink it prior to eating a meal to aid your digestive process.

9 All-Natural Cures For Recurring Bad Breath

Image source: Pixabay.com

8. Eat more raw foods. Many raw foods, such as apples, celery and carrots, can act as natural toothbrushes. Not only do they scrub your teeth as you chew, but they also can kill odor-causing bacteria. Some raw foods also have a high-water content that helps you produce more saliva.

9. Cleanse your body of toxins. Bad breath can be a sign that your body has a high level of toxins. Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes can contribute to the problem of bad breath, for example.

A natural way to cleanse your body is by drinking stinging nettle tea. Stinging nettle is a powerful herb that can help eliminate toxins, boost adrenal function, stimulate the lymphatic system and increase the excretion of uric acid through the kidneys – all of which can help fight bad breath.

If you are taking any medications, talk with your doctor to see if your prescription could be causing dry mouth or otherwise could be contributing to a breath problem. Over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants or diet pills also could be part of the problem.

Finally, bad breath could be a symptom of an underlying health issue, including anything from gum disease, to lactose intolerance, to diabetes. If you have tried the above natural remedies and still are experiencing bad breath, it may be time to see your doctor for a physical.

How do you fight bad breath? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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

Crushed and Powdered Dehydrated Vegetables for Storage

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powdered dehydrated vegetables

Crushed peppers

Many people forget that just storing food is not all it takes to be prepared for an emergency. Having your food taste good is also important.  Many of the foods that you have stored will have to be cooked from scratch.  Spices have a limited shelf life, but there are other ways to improve the taste of your foods.  So start thinking about using crushed and powdered dehydrated vegetables to improve their taste.

Vegetables flakes can be made by crushing dehydrated vegetables in a blender, (If you’re using a blender watch your speed, to fast and you will have powder instead of just bits and pieces) If the power is out you can use a rolling pin (just put   vegetables in a plastic bag and crush them.  You can even rub the dehydrated vegetables between the palms of your hands as our pioneers did.  The crushed vegetables are good for seasoning; in particular, I like the peppers.  Many of the powders are great for thickening soups and stews as well as adding flavor.

Powders are pulverized dried vegetables.  Using a blenders or mill will give you the best texture. Onions, celery, and tomatoes are the most popular powders and are very nutritious seasonings.

Here is a short list of vegetables you can powder or pulverize.

  • Asparagus                     Put slices or spears in blender                       Use in soups
  • Beans                           Green Blend until powered                            Soups & sauces
  • Broccoli                         Place pieces in blender                                 Soups & sauces
  • Celery                           Powder in blender                                        Seasoning
  • Cucumber                     Blend until powdered                                    Seasoning & dips
  • Onions                          Blend onion until finely powdered                  Seasoning
  • Peas                             Power in Blender                                         Soups or broths
  • Peppers Blend               Slices until powdered                                    Seasoning & soups
  • Parsley Fresh                Blend with other seasonings
  • Spinach                        Puree in blender                                           Soups
  • Tomatoes                     Make sure tomatoes are dry                           Catsup, juice and soups
powdered dehydrated vegetables

Powered vegetables

Properly packaged in airtight containers, stored in the dark and kept cool, they will have a long shelf life of many years.  Here is some additional information on Dehydrate Vegetables for Your Storage this Summer

I hope that this will help you get started. There are so many blends that you can make by just dehydrating your leftover vegetables and you will be surprised at how much better they taste than store bought spices.  Have fun and experiment with new ideas and store for later.

Preparedness Mom

The post Crushed and Powdered Dehydrated Vegetables for Storage appeared first on Preparedness Advice Blog.

How Do You Take Your Turmeric?

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(Turmeric on eggs) As many of you know, Turmeric has health attributes that contribute to fighting inflammation. Those suffering from arthritis or joint pain have often have turned to Turmeric which lowers levels of inflammatory enzymes. Turmeric is under study for its potential to affect human diseases, including kidney and cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, cancer, irritable […]

‘Kitchen Cures’ For The Common Cold

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‘Kitchen Cures’ For The Common Cold

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If you get a cold this winter, help is just a few steps away, right in your kitchen. While I can’t promise that these remedies will heal you overnight, they will definitely make you feel better and may reduce the degree and length of time that you suffer.

Make a Steam Tent or Take a Bath

One of my favorite home treatments for a cold is an herbal steam. Simply take a couple of spoonfuls of dried herbs and toss them in a large heatproof bowl. Cover the herbs with boiling water. Sit in front of the bowl. Cover your head and the bowl with a towel. Inhale the head-clearing moisture and herbal medicine.

You can use this technique for children, but ensure that the water is quite a bit cooler. Make a game out of it. With very young children, you may need to go into the “tent,” too.

Ordinary cooking herbs contain powerful properties which inhibit viruses and bacteria. Oregano, rosemary and marjoram possess some of the most active antimicrobial actions. Sage is very soothing if you also suffer from a sore throat. For herbal steams, inexpensive bulk-size containers of herbs are just fine. Don’t use kitchen spices such as ginger or cinnamon for steams, as they are too stimulating and can be irritating. Add a bit of citrus peel to your steams, too.

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Use the same herbs for herbal baths. Children benefit from the use of catnip, dill, mint and fennel. They are soothing and gentle. The catnip and mint help relieve fevers if used in a tepid bath.

Enjoy Hot Brothy Soups

Mom was right when she fed you chicken soup when you were sick. Soups are terrific medicine for colds. While chicken soup is fine, any brothy soup is beneficial. Soups are easy to digest, so they conserve what energy you have for healing. If you suffer from chills, a cup of hot soup may be just what you need to warm from the inside. While most children and many adults prefer mild-tasting soups, I recommend spicy types for maximum benefit. They warm you up better.

Use plenty of the germ-fighting herbs mentioned above in your soups. Other herbs and spices which are particularly beneficial include cayenne, turmeric, ginger and black pepper. The hot-flavored herbs improve your circulation, including that of germ-fighting lymphatic fluid. They also help to relieve the aches and pains that may occur when you have a cold.  Hot soups get everything flowing. Your nose may run more while you are eating your soup. That is healthy. It gets the offending virus or germs out of your tissues.

Include mushrooms, particularly shitakes, in your soup. They are powerful immune-boosting aids. Include plenty of colorful, fresh vegetables, which are packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants which promote healing. Be sure to toss in lots of garlic and onions.

Make Some Cough Medicine

‘Kitchen Cures’ For The Common Cold

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Very effective cough medicine can be made by heating up some honey. Pour the heated honey over some kitchen herbs in a heatproof container. Use at least one teaspoonful of dried herbs, or one tablespoonful of fresh herbs, for each cupful of honey. Place a lid over the container. After 20 minutes, strain out the herbs. Use up to one tablespoonful of syrup every four hours. Any of the aforementioned herbs work well. Try thyme, lemon and fresh garlic for a potent antiviral blend. It will soothe irritated throats and reduce coughs.

If your throat is particularly sore, use sage and a pinch of cayenne. While it might seem odd to add such a potent herb to a syrup which is formulated to ease a sore throat, cayenne possesses numbing properties once the heat wears off.

All of the children’s herbs mentioned above may be made into syrups for them. Make a delicious honey syrup with chamomile. It has antispasmodic actions which gently quiet children’s coughs. Plus, it tastes great. The amount to administer is based upon the size of your child. Do not administer honey to babies.

Juice Your Favorite Fruits and Vegetables

Dehydration makes mucus thicker, and may cause fevers to intensify. Stay hydrated with freshly made juices. Juices contain concentrated amounts of vitamins and minerals which your body needs to heal. They are particularly useful if you have little appetite. Like soups, drinking juices conserves your body’s energies so that it can fight off the cold more efficiently.

Smoothies made with a little yogurt are fine in moderation. While many dairy products shouldn’t be consumed when you have a cold because they may increase thick mucus production, a little bit of Greek yogurt added to a smoothie provides protein. Yogurt sooths inflamed tissues of the throat and gastrointestinal tract as well.

There is no guaranteed cure for the common cold, but kitchen remedies are tools which promote healing, provide your body with the nutrients needed for healing, keep you hydrated, and help to relieve symptoms.

What kitchen foods or advice would you add to this story? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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9 Christmas Herbs And Spices That Smell Good, Taste Great … And Heal, Too

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Christmas Herbs And Spices That Smell Good, Taste Great ... And Heal

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We all use spices and herbs when we cook during the year. At Christmastime, however, certain spices, and certain herbs just make the holidays real. They add a different taste to our food and smell to our air. You’re no doubt familiar with the smell of freshly baked pumpkin pie — what holiday does it make you think of?

Smell isn’t everything, though. How about the taste of hot chocolate, egg nog, holiday cookies or candy canes? Our childhood Christmas memories are likely full of the aromas of certain spices or herbs.

Spices and herbs produce the smells of the holiday. There are many customs, legends and memories created by these spices and smells. They add flavor and aromas to the season; normal dishes have an extra festive flair when you put just the right spice or herb in them. Not only do the spices and herbs smell wonderful, but they also have proven health benefits.

Most of the herbs and spices we associate with this holiday are exotic and come from warmer climates. Spices were once sold at the price of gold — and believe it or not, they were sometimes the reason for wars between countries. That is how important they were. (And now we can buy them to our heart’s content in the grocery store!) Spices and herbs played a big role in the history of mankind.

The Top Ten Christmas Spices and Herbs

1. Rosemary. Here is an herb that has many uses. It can be used for cooking, baking or decoration. You can find rosemary plants, including decorated ones, in garden centers, even during this time of year. It is a very popular herb to use with turkey or roasts, as well as in stews and soups. It is also a wonderfully fragrant plant to add to holiday centerpieces. Medicinally, rosemary has be shown to be helpful in reducing headaches and encouraging healthy skin and hair.

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2. Bayberry. This is actually a fruit, but its fragrant smell and special wax have become very popular at Christmas. The wax from the fruit is often added to candle wax; this is where you get your bayberry-scented candles. Bayberry is also known as wax myrtle or myrica. It is said to help treat diarrhea.

3. Cinnamon. This spice is used worldwide and comes from a cinnamomun vernum tree. It was once a prized spice and given to visiting dignitaries. It is a common spice today, and is used in dishes to eat and added to seasonal decorations. Cinnamon is also good for combating nausea and indigestion. You can use it in baking, cooking and teas.

Christmas Herbs And Spices That Smell Good, Taste Great ... And Heal4. Lavender. Lavender is a favorite scent for women. It has a calming effect and soft fragrance. It is symbolic of purity, immortality and cleanliness. Perhaps for this reason, it is often used in aromatherapy. It is also used for patients who suffer depression.

5. Myrrh. This, of course, was given to the baby Jesus. Myrrh comes from Commiphora Myrrha Tree resin. It is another spice often used during church services. This spice was worth more than frankincense in the ancient world. It is used as an oral antiseptic.

6. Ginger. Used in all forms, ginger is mostly used in baking and cooking. It can be candied as well, and used in teas and popular holiday drinks. This spice helps to ease nausea, gas, congestion and inflammation.

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7. Cloves: Buds of the clove plant are often used for baking and cooking, and putting in drinks and teas, and in wonderfully smelling decorations of the season. It has anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities and can help in digestion.

8. Nutmeg. Often used in baking, cooking, drinks and teas, nutmeg also helps settle and relax nerves.

9. Sage: This herb is a well-known, fragrant anti-inflammatory. It reduces irritations in your intestines and stomach. It also helps with sore throats. It is often used in baking and cooking.

Other herbs and spices we can’t forget to mention: At Christmastime, you will also smell or taste juniper, peppermint, allspice and vanilla. Cranberries also can be included here, as the red berries are used for cooking, baking and decorating.

Spices and Herbs as Gift Ideas

You can use herbs and spices as Christmas gifts. Make your own steak seasoning, rosemary salt or roast seasoning mixtures. A favorite is a rub made from rosemary and garlic. Create away and wrap with care to present a unique homemade gift to a special someone.

So choose your herbs and spices and get creating this season. Let your decorating skills come alive, and cook those family meals with confidence and love. No matter what you make or which dish you cook, your food will taste amazing and your home is going to smell festive. All it takes is a little dash of this, and a pinch of that.

What are your favorite Christmastime herbs and spices? Share your suggestions in the section below:

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