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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Solar Cooking in "Cookit" - Roasted Garlic Chicken






Here is my roasted garlic chicken made in the Cookit solar cooker. Fast, fun and easy...and today, when it's 107 degrees, there is no in-house heat to worry about. Served with a side salad and some pinto beans, it's a great feast with very little effort!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Flaking Wheat



For my birthday I only wanted one thing, a grain flaker. I'd never heard of it until Preparenownewsletter.blogspot.com talked about it (Thanks Stephen!).

It's fantastic! I took a cup of whole wheat, rinsed it in water in a sieve, patted dry and let sit for about two hours on paper towels. Then I started flaking it using the Flaker.

It looks just like oatmeal!!!

Then this morning I put 1 1/2 cups of water in a saucepan, brought it to boil, added 3/4 cup of the flaked wheat, and there you go! Another fantastic way to use our wheat!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Preparedness

I found an interesting web page that I hope you will enjoy. It's a dynamic page that concerns itself with survival even after a nuclear war...but fascinating to read.

http://preparednesspro.wordpress.com/category/emergency-preparedness/

zucchini

Okay so my zucchini has been growing just fine all along, but it was so very crowded with all the growth that they were buried deep down in the plant. I found three huge zucchini, and I cut back a lot of the growth which was shading the bell pepper and the green bean!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Canning


I went to a fantastic UC Extension class on pressure canning, and while there is too much information to post here, I will put down some of the hightlights soon.

Meanwhile, I have searched for a good place to buy a pressure canner, locally, but to no avail. The phone numbers I received in the pressure canning class didn't get me anywhere, as the places I called no longer sell them. Looks like the Internet will be the way to go!

So I ordered a Presto 16-Quart Pressure Cooker and Canner, which has yet to arrive, but I am so looking forward to it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Canned Meats


Here is a photograph of the canned meat, butter and cheese I bought. The canned chicken and butter were excellent and I expect the same from the other canned meats. Definitely a good brand to buy unless I start pressure canning my own meats.

These products are found at http://www.internet-grocer.net/product.html

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wonder Oven 2



I used the Wonder Oven again today. I boiled dry pink beans for ten minutes, (no soaking beforehand), then quickly put in my Wonder Oven, and let it sit for 11 hours (10 would have been fine). I just checked them and they are fabulous! perfectly done and delicious! This was done, mind you, with TEN MINUTES of actual fuel use. The only other way I know to cut fuel costs like that is to solar cook...and even with that, you could start the beans with solar cooking, then transfer it to the Wonder Oven, and then start something else in the solar cooker!

To order, contact me at Ldswoman@yahoo.com and we'll get you started!

Pam's Garden


Ah the garden continues to grow nicely. The zucchini is even larger than last time I took a photo, even though I've had to literally cut it back so my green bean on the left and the bell pepper on the right get some sunlight.

Sacramento ElkGrove Farmer's Market


We visited the Sacramento County Certified Farmer's Market this morning in Laguna/Elk Grove in front of Petsmart on Laguna Blvd. Awesome!!! We were very impressed. The prices are good, and the quality excellent. They are there EVERY Saturday morning, rain or shine!!! Year Round!!!



SATURDAY
8:00 AM - Noon
Laguna Gateway Center
Laguna and Big Horn Blvds.
(Elk Grove, CA - Front of PetSmart)
>**Open All Year**<

Needless to say, I will not be getting my fruits and vegetables anywhere else from now on! http://www.california-grown.com/index2.html

Canning Tomatoes

Soon it will be time to preserve your abundance of tomatoes. Please note the "how to" below and follow it religiously!

Canning Tomatoes

Source: Adaptations from Dr. George York
& USDA publication


Yield: 2½ to 3½ pounds of tomatoes per quart jar.

Choose sound, ripe tomatoes that are fresh and firm; discarding spoiled or green tomatoes. Green tomatoes contain an alkaloid that may be toxic. DO NOT CAN OVERRIPE TOMATOES; they may be too low in acid for safe water bath canning. Prepare just enough tomatoes to fill the canner each time.

Wash. Dip in boiling water long enough to crack skins. Dip in cold water. Peel and remove cores. Save any juice to add to the tomatoes when heating.

To Hot Pack Tomatoes: Bring whole, peeled tomatoes to a boil. Pack HOT into clean, hot jars leaving ½ inch headspace. Cover with the hot liquid in which the tomatoes were heated. Add 1 teaspoon salt (optional) and 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice or 3 tablespoons vinegar or ½ teaspoon citric acid per quart. Remove bubbles with a non-metallic spatula. Wipe rim with clean, damp cloth. Seal with prepared lids.

To Raw Pack: Pack raw, whole, peeled tomatoes tightly to the tops of hot jars. Press tomatoes down after each two tomatoes are added to release juice and fill spaces. Add 1 teaspoon salt (optional) and 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice or 2 tablespoons vinegar or ½ teaspoon citric acid per quart. Remove bubbles. Wipe rim with clean, damp cloth. Seal with lids prepared according to manufacturer's directions.

Process: Place jars in a simmering water bath that covers the tops of the jars. Start timing when water returns to a gentle boil--200° to 210° F.


Cold Pack: Pints 30 minutes
Quarts 45 minutes

Raw Pack: Pints 45 minutes
Quarts 45 minutes


Cool jars, on a rack, free from drafts and undisturbed for 12 hours. Remove rings, check for seal. Wash. Label. Store in a cool, dry, dark place.

Note: Add lemon juice, citric acid or vinegar directly to the jars before filling with product, or to the top after packing. Add sugar to offset acid taste, if desired. The method for processing tomato-vegetable mixtures, such as stewed tomatoes or tomato sauce will depend on the recipe. Addition of low acid vegetables to tomatoes affects the pH and, without the addition of significant amounts of acid, requires pressure canning. Home-canned tomato juice usually separates. It is hard to duplicate at home the commercially used "hot break" extraction method

Box Charcoal Briquette Oven

My friend Amanda posted this website link on her blog and I'm doing the same; http://safelygatheredin.blogspot.com/2008/10/how-to-make-cardboard-box-oven.html. What a great idea and method to use if needed. Combined with a solar cooker, and a wonder oven, this is the primo way to keep cooking going on in your household.
I will try it eventually myself and post photos!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Canned Meats and Butter


Today we received our sample shipment of canned meats, butter and cheese from Best Food Prices, (http://www.internet-grocer.net/product.html)

I got to say, the canned butter (canned in New Zealand) is AWESOME. Makes me wonder how they do it, so I'll look into that.

The canned chicken is fantastic. I haven't tasted the canned ground beef, beef, turkey or pork or butter yet, but will this week!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pressure Canning

Sisters,

As you may know, I went to the Vintage Park building this morning to attend a Sac Stake "how to preserve food" little class. There were about 15 of us, so it was a nice group. The teacher, a wonderful woman named Kathleen Frawley, was a delight. She has been pressure canning for years, and has also taken the Master series through the UC Extension (see my blog for a list of a bunch of them coming soon!).

First Angie talked about our last meetings and we each visited about how we have used the Wonder Oven. Angie said she will be starting to sell them, so if you know anyone who would like one, let her know. I can make some also, but I'm sure I would charge the same amount as Angie, and I'm sure anyone who wants to make one themselves can just ask her/us how!

Meanwhile, here is what the class entailed:

Angie said she cooked beans using the Wonder Oven, by putting some beans in a pot that was small enough that after the water was on top of the beans, there wasn't a lot of space above it..which is what makes it work. She let them cook for about 10 hours or so after boiling them for 10 minutes. I'm anxious to try this myself. Last time I made the beans this way I only let them "cook" for 5 hours, and I can see now it wasn't enough.

Some of the sisters also mentioned making bread (whchi is made in an empty juice can and "cooks" for about 5-6 hours), and other items...the intention being to save fuel. How cool is it that we can start a meal, like stew or whatever, boil it ten minutes and have it cook the rest of the time without fuel at all!

Our next meeting is in August, the 2nd Thursday instead of the first. I will be teaching about solar cooking, and


I asked Kathleen about steam canners, since I have one and had heard they weren't tested so not sure they were safe (see http://extension.usu.edu/htm/faq/faq_q=219), and she said she uses one just fine. So I will take that advice and use my steam canner for jams, and some fruits, etc., but will still get a water bath canner, and of course a pressure canner as soon as my finances allow.

Kathleen started out by showing us the Ball Blue Book
http://www.amazon.com/Ball-Blue-Book-of-Preserving/dp/0972753702 as an excellent resource for our canning instruction. Pressure canning can be done either hot pack (meaning the food is cooked up and then canned) or cold pack (meaning the food is raw when you put in the jar before canning). She will make her soups and stews, etc., this way by laying out the produce and meats she plans on putting in the jars so she controls the contents of each jar, then she processes them using the longest time and highest pressure required for the ingredients. For example, if you are processing a stew, you use the required time and pressure for the meat being used, since that requires the most.

To keep the bottles hot and clean before using, she uses the sterile setting on the dishwasher and keeps them inside before use. Put towels out on all the counter tops so you will never put the jars directly on the cold counter. Wipe of the rim carefully before putting the lids and bands on, to make sure there is no break in the seal. When putting the jars in and taking them out, be sure to pick them straight up with the tongs, over straight to the canner, and down directly, so there is never any "sloshing"inside that may hit the rims.

In the pressure canner, fill with two inches of water, put the jars in, turn on the heat and put the lid on the pressure canner, but NOT the weight. When steam pours out vigorously from the top, keep it going for ten more minutes, THEN put the weight gage on. Wait again until the weight vibrates and clicks, THEN start to time.When the canning is finished, wait 10 minutes, minimum, take the weight off the top, and wait one hour before undoing the lid clamps. When you take the jars out, resist the temptationi to adjust the lid, wipe off water from the top, or do anything at all except putting the jar on the towel. Make sure this is an area they will not be disturbed, because you want to leave them there for 24 hours.

After that, take off the bands and try to push off the lid of the jar with your thumb. If you can do that, they did NOT seal, and you must reprocess or eat right away. Remove the bands, because it's always possible they will unseal and you won't know it. (Long story, but trust her).

That's it.

We also discussed how to preserve seeds for the future. She always saves her seeds, and said that you can save them very easily by just removing them from the best fruit you can find (best plant, best fruit on the plant) and drying them. For tomatoes, you take them from the tomato and put them into a glass of water for about 3 days until it becomes scummy. (Do in the garage so it doesn't smell up the house). Then rinse them out, spread out paper towels until dry, and then put into a jar or Food Save them. She said they will keep for a long time if cool and dark One caution, you need to do this with NON HYBRID seeds, meaning they are heirloom type so they stay true each generation. Her favorites are Jubalee, Mule Team, Isis Candy, Opalka, and another one who's name escaped me!

The most important thing to look for in seeds is that they do NOT have the F-1 designation, which means they are not "organic" natural seeds.

All in all it was a very productive meeting. Kathleen said she liked our group and plans on coming to future events. Meanwhile, there are several UC Extension classes I'll be going to in June/July. Let me know if you want to join me.

UC Cooperative Extension Classes

I mentioned these classes before but wanted to make it clear that they are being held at 4145 Branch Center Road, Sacramento, which is off Kiefer Blvd. between Bradshaw and Watt Avenue. The classes I plan on attending are:

Basic Introduction to safe water bath canning techniques
Basic Introduction to safe pressure canning techniques
UC Master Food Preserver Public Demo - Stone Fruits: Apricot- Peaches- & Plums
UC Master Food Preserver Classes - All Dried Up

Write for additional information.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Let's Store for a Year

The Ant and the Grasshopper

In a field one summer's day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.
"Why not come and chat with me," said the Grasshopper, "instead of toiling and moiling in that way?"
"I am helping to lay up food for the winter," said the Ant, "and I recommend you to do the same."
"Why bother about winter?" said the Grasshopper; "We’ve got plenty of food right now." But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.
When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger - while it saw the ants distributing the corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew: It is best to prepare for days of need. (Aesop)

“The time will come that gold will hold no comparison in value to a bushel of wheat.”

Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses

For years we have been counseled to have on hand a year's supply of food…. Should the Lord decide at this time to cleanse the Church -- and the need for that cleansing seems to be increasing -- a famine in this land of one year's duration could wipe out a large percentage of slothful members, including some ward and stake officers. Yet we cannot say we have not been warned. April 1965, Ezra Taft Benson.
We have been commanded to store a year’s supply. How do we do it?


This booklet will tell you how, but first things first.


If you don’t pay your tithing, this will be difficult. If you pay your tithing, I can promise you it will be easier to ask the Lord for help on obeying the law of saving a year’s supply. So go ahead and ask with confidence! If you don’t pay your tithing, trust the Lord will help you do so as you fast and pray about it. Do it now!

Elder Ezra Taft Benson (“Prepare Ye,” Ensign, Jan. 1974, 69), said: “The Lord has warned us of famines, but the righteous will have listened to prophets and stored at least a years supply of survival food.”

How do we get our required huge amount of food/toiletries, etc., bought and paid for, much less stored in our homes?

The Provident Living website has a great book called Providing in the Lord’s Way. This is what it says:

Build a three-month supply of food that is part of your normal diet.

Store drinking water in case the water supply becomes polluted or disrupted.

Gradually build a longer-term supply of food that will sustain life.


The righteous are those who listen to the Prophets. We all know this. Yet we may feel completely over-whelmed and believe it’s not possible in our tiny apartment or house that strains at the seams with our family of eight. We grumble that the Lord couldn’t be serious that we need to really, really REALLY store enough food (and more) to feed our family for a whole year! Who’s got room, much less money, for that??

Notice what Providing in the Lord’s Way states: We are to start with a three month supply of food, which, believe it or not, is do-able. We make sure we have drinking water, and then we gradually build up our long term storage foods to sustain our lives (wheat, oats, beans, etc.)

Then we go from there and store whatever else we think we need to eat, as well as other storage items like toilet paper and sanitary napkins.

And, while we’re getting this year’s garden in, we should also store enough vegetable seeds to put in next year’s plants. Maybe a fruit tree or two should be in our backyard as well. However, the gardening side of this is another subject. Today we are talking strictly about storing our year’s supply and how to do it.

But maybe we are cringing even with these requirements and we wonder how we can possibly do all this when we are already in debt, our savings is a thing of the past and we can barely pay for our mortgage or rent. Or maybe we say that our children no longer drink milk and don’t like anything made of wheat, so why bother storing it?

I can't answer every question, but we can talk about it. You may not have a year’s supply of anything, but there are people who do. We will work together on this and become self-reliant!

So, what exactly IS a “years supply”? How do we even begin to attain it? And why doesn’t the church do something, like maybe store grain in large warehouses like Joseph did in Egypt?

President Thomas S. Monson said: “As has been said so often, the best storehouse system that the Church could devise would be for every family to store a years supply of needed food, clothing, and, where possible, the other necessities of life.” Guiding Principles of Personal and Family Welfare,” Tambuli, Feb 1987, 2

Hmm. That kind of shoots the idea of the church taking care of us, doesn’t it? Apparently, “every family” is to store a years supply of food, clothing, etc. That means none of us are exempt. You and me, all of us, must figure out how to do this, so we can survive the future famines and trials to come.

Here’s another quote:

“The Lord has urged that his people save for the rainy days, prepare for difficult times, and put away for emergencies a years supply or more of bare necessities so that when comes the flood, the earthquake, the famine, the hurricane, the storms of life, our families will be sustained through the dark days.” The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 374 (italics added).

All this really seems to indicate something, we’re not sure what, but something, is going to come along and wreck havoc on our ability to provide for our families.

Ouch.

George Albert Smith said: “How…could a man enjoy his religion when he had been told by the Lord how to prepare for a day of famine, when instead of doing so he had fooled away that which would have sustained him and his family” (Deseret News, Mar. 4, 1868, 26).

Okay, so let’s say your husband and/or wife isn’t ready for this stuff and can’t even talk to you about sparing money for such things. Do your best. Pray about it. Pray about it more. Trust in the Lord to help you start saving, storing, preparing for your future. The Lord will soften hearts as needed, even if the only stubborn heart here is yours!

What of those of you who started your food storage long ago. So long ago that it’s rotten. Now what?

You throw it away and start over. Yep. Right now. Today. You aren’t using it, are you? So get rid of it. Let’s talk about what you really want to store and how.

Dark days are coming. The commandment is to prepare, and prepare now. So what if this counsel has been given for years and even your grandparents have rotten food storage they never use? The point is obedience! It doesn’t matter if we never use our food storage (which is a misnomer, because if it’s done right, you already use it. Commit with us to learn what to do with long term storage items like wheat, beans and oats).

Some say: What if it gets stolen or destroyed by flood or fire? To which we say: “So what?” We are being obedient, and that is what it’s all about. Maybe we’ll never have to use it at all!

Let your children see your obedient spirit as you store food and other supplies on a regular basis. When they get old enough, ask them to help you at the cannery or to figure out new meal ideas. Our children need to see us take the words of the prophet seriously. We are to be obedient, regardless of the circumstances we see around us.

So, once we have the conviction to collect and store stuff, then what? How do we actually do it?

First of all, you can follow the words of wisdom given on the ProvidentLiving.org webpages. You can read this and other great publications. Two of my favorite books on food storage are: Food Storage for the Clueless by Clark L and Kathryn H. Kidd, and Making the Best of the Basics Family Preparedness Handbook, by James Talmage Stevens. However, please note that there are new and better things ways and means for food storage than even those books have. Go online. You will find tons of information on the Internet from recipes for wheat to making your own shoes!

So…What Do We Store?

There are two different types of food storage, and we’ll talk about those first. There is LONG-TERM storage items; i.e., food products that can last for 30 years or more if dry pack canned, and SHORT-TERM storage, which are items you rotate in about 3-5 years.

Long Term Items (lasting over 30 years) are:

Wheat
White Rice
Corn
Pinto Beans (or other legumes)
Dried Apple Slices
Macaroni
Rolled Oats (instant or regular)
Potato Flakes
Nonfat dry milk (20 years or so)

However, before food storage, the number one item above all others is:

WATER FOR DRINKING

Water must always be considered FIRST. There are many ways to store water, but a years supply of it is, in my opinion, impossible; however, we are commanded to store a minimum two week supply, with each person expected to drink at least a half a gallon a day.

There are only two of us in my family, but I can relate to how hard it is for the larger family to store water. For one thing, you have to be careful or it might leak all over the surface it’s sitting on. I lived in an upstairs apartment once, above the carport. I dutifully stored a few gallons of water for myself in a closet, and when I left that apartment three years later, I discovered the water was completely gone from the plastic containers. It leaked down through the floor! If I had needed that water it would not have been available.

I can offer two ways to store water quickly, easily, and inexpensively. Using tap water which has been filtered (not necessary, but I like “Brita” water filters), pour the water into clean (washed hot water/soap) liter size plastic soda bottles

When you pour the water into these clean containers, put the DATE on the cap, and the word WATER on several places of the bottle so you know what it is. Put enough for each person in a plastic storage bin (as many as you need), and place in their closet or under the bed. For example, if I had two children in on bedroom, their bedroom would have their own 72 hour backpack, and about 14 soda bottles of water per child.

Every six months we are supposed to change out the smoke detector battery. While you’re at it, check the 72-hour kit to make sure the food’s still good and the clothes still fit, and rinse out the water bottles and re-fill. Re-date the bottles.

Do this twice with the same bottle. After the second time, get new bottles.

What if you feel that there is simply no place to put the water, that your closets are full?

Here is the answer, one that you already know.

Read James 1:5 again. Ask for that inspiration you need. And remember this verse too: "I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." - 1 Nephi 3:7

So where do you put food storage? Where the Lord inspires you to. Pray about it. Have faith the Lord will provide the answers you seek, and don’t be afraid of an answer that may sound weird. Try whatever you can think of. Under the house. Under beds. The shed. An unused bathtub or shower. Whatever. Trust me. You WILL find a place for everything you need to store, and if there is no place to put something, maybe it might not be as necessary as it appears. Clean out your closets again!

It should also go without saying we also need a bit of common sense. Try not to store in wet or overly hot areas.

What about water for hygiene?

Fortunately today, there are products out there that clean our bodies very well. For my storage, I’ve chosen baby wipes, which I bought in bulk from Costco (although any non-scented item will do). Use them just like washcloths. Take them camping and use them in your every day life such that they will be rotated within a few years so they don’t dry out.

Buy enough that you have at least 3 wipes a day per person for at least two weeks in case the water service is interrupted.

Water that is unavailable for more than two weeks is a HUGE crisis situation and may require total evacuation of the area. Just store as much as you reasonably can.


SECOND: THE FOOD PLAN

As you are taking care of the water storage, let’s start with the food storage. This is a three-direction SIMULTANEOUS approach. Each one will have it’s own discussion.

Direction One: A years supply of long-term storage items, collected over time and rotated.

Direction Two: A three month supply of daily meals that your family enjoys, collected over time and rotated. (Just for varieties sake, if you can, extend this up to a year’s worth.)

Direction Three: A years supply of toiletries and other non-food items, collected over time and rotated.

Notice they all say the same thing. You must collect reasonably, over time (don’t get in debt), and then use the items as you go along, in a natural way, so that spoilage isn’t a problem.

THE FOOD PLAN – DIRECTION ONE

Long term storage products, such as wheat, oats, beans, etc., are, in my opinion, best dry pack canned by YOU at the cannery, instead of bought and shipped to your home. There are several reasons for this. 1) You have a personal stake in it, which means it will MATTER to you, 2) It’s fun to “put up in store” items for our survival, and 3) the price is right when you consider how long this stuff lasts.

However, if buying the products online at the Lds.org site or elsewhere is your way to go, then do it. Better something than nothing.

How do you get the extra funds to purchase any of this stuff?

Once again, pray about it. You will find a way if you are determined, even if it means Christmas presents will include cases of green beans and canned peaches (which is kind of cool, actually).

How much do we need per person per year?
Go by these recommendations:

• Grains: about 300 pounds per person, including wheat, rice, oats and cornmeal (a mixture of whatever you like).
• Powdered milk: about 100 pounds per person (even if you don’t drink it, you can cook with it)
• Sugar or honey: about 30-50 pounds per person
• Salt: 5 pounds per person
• Beans: Minimum 15 pounds per person of each type

The amounts can vary widely depending on what you like to eat and what you plan on doing with it.

How to Dry Pack Can at the Church Cannery

Before we get started, please note: You may no longer bring bags of stuff in to can, such as your own flour from Costco or rice from the local Chinese market. Fortunately, almost everything you’d want to can is available there anyway. If you want to can items not sold there, you will need to borrow the canning machine.

The process for dry pack canning beans, wheat, rice, etc., goes something like this:

a) Look at the product sheet for available items. Your RS presidency should have this list. Make sure it’s current.
b) Call the Bishop’s Storehouse Cannery near you, or in Sacramento at 916.381.5150.
c) Ask for an appointment time that suits your needs (they are open only Monday through Thursday unless your ward rep has been trained to open the cannery and cashier).
d) Make sure you have enough money to buy the amount of food you plan on canning. Last I heard, ATM and credit cards are NOT accepted, but they do accept personal checks and cash.
e) The cannery personnel will show you how to use the canner and where the foodstuffs are (make sure you see everything—there is variety—so check it out!)
f) Put on the booties, gloves and hair nets provided.
g) Using the cart provided, bring a bag of wheat or whatever product you wish into the canning area.
h) Open the bag with the scissors or knife.
i) Put six empty cans into the white bins provided (that catch the overflow).
j) Pour or scoop the product into the cans, all the way to within a half inch of the top.
k) Move the cans onto the countertop next to the canner machine.
l) Open the oxygen package, understanding that you can only expose these to air for a moment while you throw one oxygen packet in every can (unless you are canning sugar, as sugar does NOT need the oxygen pack).
m) Turn on the machine (as instructed) and place a oxygen pack on top of the canned product, then a lid
n) Start the canning procedure per the instructions.
o) When finished, attach a label on the can, either on the side or on the top, and be sure to DATE the can with that day’s date.

Once you go the first time, you’ll want to go again – so don’t worry about trying to get all your foodstuffs done at once.

CHOCOLATE AND CANDY NOTE

People have, on occasion, expressed an interest in dry-pack canning chocolate bars, chocolate chips, jelly beans, etc.. Remember: chocolate has fat in it and fats can turn rancid over time. The oxygen pack may not be effective against this. You would be better off, in my opinion, using a Seal a Meal or Food Saver appliance to vacuum-pack chocolate chips or other forms of chocolate (not powders) for longer storage. I buy 10 pounds of chocolate chips at a time from Costco (you can buy either Nestles’ or Ambrosia, which is my favorite), and then separate it out into two- cup sizes, and Food Save them. Fantastic! Lasts a very long time and tastes very fresh!

Hot cocoa is found at the LDS Cannery, and may be dry pack canned. It lasts about 3-5 years. If you like hot cocoa, this is very tasty stuff! Use it, rotate it out, and you’ll do fine.


DIRECTION TWO
A THREE MONTH SUPPLY OF DAILY MEALS THAT YOUR FAMILY ENJOYS

The church recommends that everyone gather a three month supply of foodstuffs that they normally would eat and rotate it out. This section describes what I believe is meant by that and how we can do it for a years supply of food.

As you are dry pack canning the long term storage items, sit down with a note pad and figure out the following:

1. What do you want to eat every day if there were fourteen recipes you could rotate during a crisis? It should have only five or six readily storable ingredients and be easy to prepare. An example would be spaghetti, involving a can of spaghetti sauce (like Ragu) or your personally canned tomato sauce, and spaghetti noodles.
2. Write down fourteen such meal ideas. Include vegetables and desserts if you can.
3. Create a shopping list with the items needed for those meals.
4. Buy extra items to account for each meal, one at a time.
5. Do the same thing for breakfast and lunch ideas.

For example, I’ll show you how to do the spaghetti dinner idea. Double, triple as needed for your family.

I’m also assuming water is not cut off and you have a method to boil water:

Meal for Two

Spaghetti

1 small jar Ragu or similar meat sauce
one tight handful of spaghetti
2 tablespoon diced onion flakes
½ teaspoon chopped garlic (from a jar)
Garlic salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable: canned green beans. Dessert: canned peaches

Now that I know this is a meal I could enjoy from my food storage, how do I store the food? Assuming this is a dinner I will have every two weeks, I need to buy enough for 26 meals for a year’s supply or enough for 6 meals for a three month supply. I’m assuming a year’s supply.

So I need to store
• 26 jars of meat sauce
• 8 pounds of spaghetti noodles
• 3 cups (48 oz) dried onion flakes
• 25 tsp of chopped garlic, and
• 26 cans each of canned green beans and fruit

Keep in mind what you need for this meal every time you do your regular shopping and it will make this very easy. Let’s say I find a great deal on Ragu sauce. I check out my budget. Looks like I can spare about $10 extra this week. I buy 3 bottles of Ragu on sale for $4.00, and a large package of spaghetti noodles. (I will buy a case of green beans and a case of green beans as I go each month at Costco).

Once that is taken care of (or concurrently), you’ll also remember that you planned on having oatmeal, protein bars, and 7-grain hot cereals for your three-month breakfast supply. Costco is having a great deal on Tiger’s Milk Bars. You happen to have enough money that you can buy a 12 pack. For my family, that would take care of a breakfast for each of us for six days.

Choose other breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that work for you using this method, and you’ll quickly see what you can do to have a true year’s supply of a variety of meals/food.

But start small at first. Just be concerned about water, the dry pack canned stuff (wheat, nonfat milk, beans, etc.), and then start saving a three month supply of foods you can rotate through.

If you keep this up, you will be shocked how quickly your budget money expands to acquire all you need!

Storage Ideas

If you look prayerfully around your home, you’ll be surprised to find places to store food. Just don’t lose track of it! Look under beds, in closets, under sinks, behind couches and chairs, or even on bookshelves where books sit that have yet to be read. There are some great computer programs to help you keep track, or you can use a binder or pad of paper. Whatever works.

Here is one area of where I put some of my canned goods.



This is a 7 inch high oblong storage bin designed to fit under beds (although it didn’t fit under ours until we literally raised the bed using coasters). We have two of them so far. This one has the extra tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes that I use often, as well as canned corn. I buy ONLY on sale, (after checking expiration dates), and this is where they go, in date order. My kitchen cupboard has a few of them, but I know where to go when they’re gone. And when I buy more of these products, they go under the bed.
I also have dry packed cans in the laundry room storage cabinets. Try it and see if you have room in there. It may not be dry packed cans, it might be toilet paper (whatever works for you), but do store something in every inch of space you can.

DIRECTION THREE

THE NON-FOOD ITEMS

Storing non-food items can be critical to survival, safety and comfort. Those things are far too varied to give you much of a recommendation list, plus there are other publications that will list them for you.

Suffice it to say you’ll need at least the following, remembering that all of these amounts can be reduced in an emergency rationing mode:

1. Critical medications (talk to your doctor about having a three month supply), plus aspirin and/or Advil type products
2. Tampons and sanitary napkins, if needed
3. Diapers, if needed
4. Extra fabric for making clothes.
5. All cleaning products you like, including detergent, toothpaste, shampoo, hand soap and dishwashing soap, or the means to make them
6. First aid kit
7. Toilet paper and facial tissues.
8. Fuel or some method to cook or heat the home without electricity. However, do NOT store propane or any other flammable liquid as fuel more than enough to run a camping stove or barbeque for a few hours, until you discuss with the fire department!
9. Razors, shaving cream, and hand lotion.
10. Paper plates and plastic utensils.
11. Garbage bags and plastic bags/
12. Whatever else you’d hate to live without.

There are so many other items to store. Don’t forget equipment you need, such as a wheat grinder of some kind (I use a Vitamix blender), Seal a Meal or Food Saver appliance, dehydrator, a water bath and/or pressure canner, gardening tools, sleeping bags, tent, extra blankets, 72 hour kits, firewood, maybe a portable toilet. Think about a generator. There are lots of items you can pull together as you are inspired. But again, DON’T PANIC. Pray and watch for sales!

Start slow, just as the prophets have been saying. But you must start!

Go the dry pack cannery and learn how to can your own food. Attend every class you can regarding self-sufficiency.

You can do this. Your family needs you to do this. Even if you are single and have no kids at home, you are not exempt. Be prepared for what is to come, and be cheerful! Be positive. The Lord will help you!

Much love to you all, and I pray each of you will take this message into your heart and life, and I say these things in Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pressure Canning

The time has come for me to purchase a pressure canner. I've researched and found one that seems to get consistent high marks, which can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004S88Z/ref=s9_simz_gw_s0_p79_t1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0DK0BWTG86M3WCMSRSHP&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846

I also need a water bath canner, since my old steam version is deemed "unsafe" because authorities can't guarantee the jars are processed correctly that way. (Why someone official hasn't done testing is strange).