With all of the publicity given to the California ballot initiative on GMO labeling, I have seen little if nothing mentioned about an initiative in my little community that would ban GMO crops on our island county. And the truth is, while there are few places in the world that could remain effectively GMO-free, the San Juan Islands in Washington State is one of them.
If passed in November, an initiative measure in our county will prohibit the cultivation of crops, livestock and other organisms that have had genes intentionally modified in a way that did not occur by mating or natural recombination. We would essentially become a safe zone for non-GMO crops which in term will preserve our ability to grow and control our food supply for years to come.
So why is this important and why is this being shared on a website that promotes prepping?
Rocket stoves and outdoor grills are great for cooking in a pot or skillet when the power is down or non-existent following a disaster or a worst case SHTF situation where fuel is either flat-out unavailable or intolerably expensive.
How to build a mud oven for use now and when the SHTF.
Buddha (c. 563 BC to 483 BC) is credited with saying: “To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”
Now it seems to me that if the world were to drastically change in a TEOTWAWKI situation, having a strong and clear mind would be paramount to survival. And yet, as we plan for such an event, how much of our effort is spent on the matter of good health in the here and now? Not as much as we could and should I say.
The reasons are simple. It is just easy to continue to do things the way we always have. Some chips with our burger, a nice piece of pie for desert, and oh yeah, what about the can of soda to wash it down?
I have always been interested in diet and nutrition, most likely because I was an overweight child and have struggled to maintain trim my entire life. For the most part I have won the battle but now I also face the dreaded prospect of aging, and am acutely aware that what goes in can materially affect both how I look and how I feel as I get older.
Antioxidants – What are they?
Mention pinto beans and most people simply shrug their shoulders with disinterest. Even I used to do so. After all, when you walk down the supermarket isle and browse in the bean section there are all kinds of neat beans with far more exotic and enticing names. How about Cannelli, Anasazi, Adzuki or even those sexy Black beans. So many really neat beans – why settle for the pinto?
The pinto bean is typically the cheapest bean on the shelf, whether in the traditional dried form or in cans. Does being cheap make it less attractive? I think not. Because when it comes to beans, cheap, or shall I say thrifty, is a good thing. And not only the that, the pinto is sturdy enough to withstand inexact cooking methods without turning to mush in an instant.
Let me describe these little fellas for you. The Pinto bean is light beige in color with added reddish brown splashes of color. They are kind of cute in as much as a bean can be cute. The name “pinto” comes from the Spanish term for painted. Like magic, when the pinto is cooked, it becomes a nice pink color, almost like the blending of the beige the red on a painters pallet. Neat.
So what is the big deal about freeze dried food for long term storage? I have been skirting around the edge of this issue since early summer, when I had my first taste of some prepackaged, freeze dried food from a #10 tin. Oh sure – it all sounded good. After all, it was roast beef and for a meatasaurus like me, how bad could it be?
While not to disparage one brand over another, the roast beef from Thrive was, well, the word that comes to mind is vile. I tried it plain and I tried it hidden in the rich broth of homemade soup. Your mileage may vary but it was bad. Really bad.
So back I went to the drawing board. I thought if I could learn about the science behind freeze dried food, I might be able to make better choices going forward.
How does freeze drying work?
Freeze-drying works by putting food into a state of “suspended animation”. Provided the food is of good quality to begin with, it gets freeze dried where it can stay, under proper storage conditions, for 20, 30 or even 40 years. When you get around to eating it, you add some warm to hot water and the food comes back to life, supposedly ready to eat with the same taste and texture it had to begin with. That is the theory, anyway.
You have probably asked yourself: Just how much food should I store for my family’s long term storage needs? There is no single best answer to that question since everyone’s personal situation is different. Still, it is nice to have a set of guidelines from which to start.
Today I would like to introduce you to The LDS Online Food Storage Calculator. Using this calculator, you can determine the amount of food your family will need to store away for a given period. All you need to do is enter the number of adults and children in your family. Press “Calculate” and like magic, the recommended amounts by category appear on the screen.
The amounts you will be presented with are for a year – buck heck, that is a lot of food to purchase if you are just starting out. My suggestion is that you take that amount and divide it 12 to get a monthly amount or by 52 to get a weekly amount. Why? I don’t know about you, but for most people, putting together a monthly supply of provisions is far more manageable than looking at the requirements for one year.
So how much food would 2 adults need for 30 days?
Yesterday I wrote about cooking dried beans. I was able to prove to myself that preparing delicious beans was really possible without using a can opener. And talk about thrifty! When purchased in 50 pound sacks, the cost is just a tad over 50 cents a pound.
But long term storage of that many beans is an issue. Many sources will say that the shelf life of dried beans is about a year but in reality, the self life can vary according to room temperature and other variable.
As beans age they lose their oils, resist water absorption and won’t swell. Worst case, they must be ground to be used (and thus you will commonly see uses for “bean flour”). Storing beans in nitrogen helps prolong the loss of these oils as does cool temperatures. Hermetically sealed in the absence of oxygen, the consensus is that you can plan on a storage life of 8-10 years at a stable temperature of 70oF and even longer if stored at cooler temperatures.
Okay, sounds good, especially since I already have a Food Saver . But, as I learned during my foray at Bean Storage University, the standard food saver bag is not enough. I need some Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers .
The following video is great. Although it is kind of long, it shows you how to easily pack up those beans for long term storage and is definitely worth the 8 or 9 minutes to watch.
While having dinner with friends last week, the conversation came around to emergency food storage and, more specifically, beans. The consensus around the table was that beans were a great item to have stashed away in our pantries but that cooking dried beans was a pain in the arse and not altogether something we wanted to do.
Well I needed to chew on that one (and no, I am not referring to tough cooked beans.) I had been harping on S.H. for awhile asking him to keep an eye out for canned bean bargains during his weekly foray to the big city.
Now wait just one darn minute. I can cook beans. I know I can. Just how hard can it be?
So that is what I set out to do. I bought a one pound bag of kidney beans ($1.49) and cooked them up. It was so easy– no mess, no hassle, and I ended up with five cups of beans for the same price as a 15 oz. can of beans yielding 1 1/2 cups of beans.
How easy was it? I used the “quick soak” method described below and they were perfect.