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10 Can Rotation for $0
By Bev Sandlin
Okay, I’ve been experimenting again…
Bob brought home canned pop for Thanksgiving in those cardboard 12 packs. Well, after everyone left I got to thinking that if pop cans can rotate in those, why can’t veggie and soup cans do the same thing?
Well, yeah, with one you can fit in five cans, but you need access from the back. So then I got to thinking, what about two stacked?
Lots of duct tape, repeated cutting, and some experimenting later and I now have a 10 can rotation system for $0 spent - if you don’t count the pop, these are just leftover cardboard.
Approximate Dimensions: 16″ L 11″ H 5″ wide
Not pretty! But I figure next time I get to Wally World I will buy some 99 cent spray paint, give them a few coats and they will be acceptable. If you know anyone who drinks pop or beer, these should be pretty easy to come by. I know I’m going to start asking around as the size works well with my plastic shelving units and the price is right!
* These could easily be sized to fit different can sizes just by cutting and taping to the size you desire. Also to fit your cupboards just by shortening them, if you have the height.
* I’m thinking that next time I do this I will use Modpodge (white glue) to glue the boxes together and perhaps glue two pieces of cardboard on the outsides to stiffen them. Then if I wanted, I could have a nice paint job or decoupage some brown paper bags or wrapping paper onto them for added durability and attractiveness.
* Watch your boxes this Christmas season, as I’m pretty sure this can be done with shoe boxes, etc.
If you make one of these, or have some improvement ideas, send in a picture!
Check out this video coming from CampingSurvival.com on making a “pizza” from preparedness food storage products. Pretty cool idea. I have been wanting to research some ideas on recipes for use after the SHTF.
All About Canners! Part 2 of 2
By servantheart, Editor At Large
If buying a used unit, know what you are doing before you buy it. Does it use a gasket? Count on needing to replace it. Most replacement gaskets also come with a new overpressure plug for that model. Make sure it has the counterweight, or, you may have trouble getting the one to fit the vent pipe for that model. That’s the doodad you drop in place to help regulate the pressure. A good, solid model will not rock and make noise unless you have too much pressure built; this is a warning sign. A pressure cooker must rock and release pressure as it works; a pressure canner should not need to do that.
If using a dial gauge canner (the only kind I use) please make sure the gauge needs to work correctly in order to safely can food. You can take your unit to your local county extension office; most of them have the ability to check it for accuracy. However, if it is a really old unit, they will likely tell you they can not check it. I guarantee I’d get this answer on my 1930′s Kook-Kwik canners. They work, and I know my equipment well enough to know they work. It is O.K. to use a canner with a dial gauge that is “off” in reading, as long as it is NOT off more than two (2) degrees, AND you compensate for that while canning. One of my 1970′s Presto units is like this; I have used it for years in this manner; if the recipe calls for 10 lbs. pressure (I am well below 1,000 ft. altitude), then I process @ 12 lbs. pressure. If the gauge ever changes so that it is off by more than 2 degrees, I will replace it.
Do be aware that the replacement parts, including gaskets, are all coming out of China. I have bought multiple gaskets for the same canner at one time, only to have one that did not fit properly, so it would not seal and I could not use it, but another from the same shipment worked just fine. This is a good time for: “2 is 1; 1 is none; and 3 makes me happy!”.
I order replacement parts from online sources. These include:
and ebay and Amazon.
The majority of sellers on ebay, etc., have no idea how a pressure canner works, or what it should look like. They just hope to sell it and make a few bucks. So you see used units in all kinds of conditions, from “never used much”, to “what happened”? Know what to look for or consult someone who does. If ebay, pay only by Paypal for the buyer protection. If there is any damage to certain parts of a canner, it will not be safe to operate. Some parts are replaceable, some are not.
If your canner is sputtering, leaking, etc., you do not have a proper seal. You must take it off the heat, let it cool enough to open, find the problem and fix it, or, forget about it. Food processed like this will not kill contaminants and subject the one eating it to food poisoning.
The Ball Blue Book is a common “go to” source for canning information, but, even it has a few things to say that I will not teach, because it’s just wrong, based on my own experience; but, mostly it’s good stuff. You can get one at most China (Wal) Marts.
Do not try to use a pressure cooker as a pressure canner. Mirro makes a cooker that can be used as a canner; it’s the one with the weighted gauge in 5/10/15 pound “holes” that fit the regulator onto the vent pipe. This is do-able, but, not recommended.
The amount of pressure and time you need to can any given product is determined by: (1) what you are canning (low or high acid?); (2) the altitude where you live (over 1000 ft increases pressure needed by 2 deg. increments; and (3) whether you are canning pints, quarts. etc. If, for example, you need 12 lbs. pressure for X amount of time to safely can that food, where you live, in the size jar you want, then you can not do that with the Mirro; your only choices are 5, 10, and 15 lbs. pressure.
I do not recommend canning in half gallons (yes, you can buy these jars) , as there is no scientific info on proper times and temps per altitude, for any given kind of food. If you choose to can in half gallon jars, that’s your business, but, do know it’s a crap shoot.
What to do about that 12 lbs.? Well, you can not safely can at 10 lbs. pressure; if the recipe calls for 12 lbs., there is a reason for it; it has been scientifically tested and found to be the correct pressure at which to process that particular food, at that altitude, in the size jar you want. Anything less will not guarantee food safety, as it may not be hot enough long enough to kill any potential toxins or botulism wannabes. Ever had food poisoning? Yes, it can kill. But even if it doesn’t, you will, at least temporarily, wish it would.
So, you can process at 15 lbs. pressure. That should do it, right? Sure. If you like mush. 12 lbs. pressure means 12 lbs. pressure. You will need a dial gauge to know where that is, and keep it there.
Most books and sites tell you to take your canner to your county extension office and have it tested once a year to make sure it is safe. I do teach this in my classes, but, do I do it? What do you think? I know how it should act, and, when it doesn’t act right, I replace it.
What size canner should you choose? Nothing under 12 quarts, as they are not considered safe for food processing if they are smaller than 12 quarts – which makes me wonder why All-American sells a 10.5 quart model but, they do. Don’t buy it. I have a 12 quart Guardian Ware (vintage) that is perfect for a leftover pint or more of soup, stew, etc. During dinner, I process my jars (in the dishwasher). After dinner, I pack and process the leftovers. DH will grab a jar, take it to work, remove the metal parts, nuke it, and have it for lunch. He has refused to eat from the company cafeterias for years, because he knows what’s in Mama’s cookin’. Yes, he’s spoiled; it’s my job and I’m good at it. The 70’s harvest gold 12 quarts show up on ebay from time-to-time, as well. Prices will vary, so, shop carefully.
Back to what size canner. A 16 or 17 quart is the most common size; they will hold 7 quarts and 8 pints per fill. A 21 or 22 quart will hold 8 quarts and 9 pints, I believe. A 30 quart, well, now, that’s a pretty big one, but nice for large batches. You must have three (3) inches clearance between the top of the jars and the inside top of your canner lid.
You do need one tall enough to allow for double-stacking pints. You will use a rack at the bottom for the first layer of jars, and a rack between layers. Water does not have to cover the jars; do not use less than 3-4 inches, however; if double-stacking, make sure water is about half full in canner.
What kind of stove will you can on?
The heat source you will can on (most likely a stove) is an integral part of your canning equipment. It is possible to home can on most smooth tops; however, it is a very bad idea, and not recommended, unless you are ready for a new stove. Even radiant heat stoves can not take the prolonged heat necessary for most canning jobs indefinitely; most will do it for a while, but will eventually crack.
A gas flame is your best option for home canning; it gives you the best control over the heat, which makes your job easier.
Electric stoves work just fine, as long as they are not smooth top units.
I know people who have built “outdoor kitchens” just for canning, because they could not afford to ruin their smooth cooktop. These can be rudimentary; a tent with a gas grill and a single burner; or a Cajun cooker (though these are very hard to regulate, as well, and not recommended, particularly for a novice). Some people have purchased used gas stoves and set them up in outdoor kitchens; concrete or stone pad, with a simple roof or awning overhead.
Next: jars, tools, and how to use your canner properly.
What specific questions do you have for me?
All About Canners! Part 1 of 2
By servantheart, Editor At Large
Lee made me do it: A primer on pressure canners
Well, actually, Lee INSPIRED me. Thanks, Lee – I think?!! (Just messin’ with ya’!)
A Word About Water Bath Canners
We are here to talk about pressure canners, but I do want to first bring up water bath canners. Water bath canners are sufficient for high acid foods, the most common of which is tomatoes. However, even tomatoes need a little help; depending on the variety and the soil in which they were grown, they may or may not have sufficient levels of acid; that is why it is important to add lemon juice when canning tomatoes; salt is a matter of taste – there isn’t enough salt to have any effect on food preservation, but lemon juice guarantees proper acidity. Use one-half teaspoon per pint, one level teaspoon per quart. However, it needs to be BOTTLED lemon juice, not fresh; bottled is much more consistent in pH (power of hydrogen – the measure of acidity in an aqueous solution), and more likely to produce a safe product.
A water bath canner should NEVER be used to can foods calling for pressure canning. NEVER. No arguments. I don’t care if Grandma did do it. Water boils @ 212 deg. F.; the minimum standard pressure for home canning any food, at any altitude, is 10 lbs. – this is 240 deg. F. See the difference? Yeah, you’ll hurt people like that, or worse.
Now to pressure canners. Let’s start with the most frequently asked question. No, you can not blow it up. Not even if you try; not unless you process dynamite, or something stupid like that – as long as there is an overpressure plug or device or “hole”. Some older models do not, but very few; those – you can blow up, but you have to work hard at it. It would take a lot of heat for a long time. Even my 1930’s KwikKooks have overpressure plugs; they are metal, and don’t look like a modern one at all, but, that’s what they are, and, unless you let them get stuffed up, they do their job, very well.
Never run a pressure canner dry. It will warp the bottom, and, once the bottom is warped, it is useless for canning. Ask this question before buying a used unit online.
Yes, you will need at least one rack that fits; if you are buying a really old one without a rack, good luck finding one that fits. I do a lot of “borrowing” of racks and that works out fine, but do be aware that with very old units, you may not be able to get replacement parts. Example: the Presto/National # 7 is a common 16 quart unit; I can find a dozen of them for sale on ebay right now. They hold 7 quarts and 8 pints. Replacement parts are easy peasy. But, the Presto/National # 5, the 12 quart, is nearly impossible to find replacement parts for; I had to buy a whole second unit just to get the part I needed for my #5. I have both units, and use both.
Presto was originally National, so, you will often see both names used; either way, they are the same unit, and use the same replacement parts.
Some of the older units (Presto/National) have wooden handles; unless you want to oil them constantly, avoid them – go with the black bakelite handle models, instead. But, if you have a wooden handle unit, olive oil works just fine; just oil them down after using.
The All-American reigns supreme as “the” Cadillac of canners. I have yet to meet an A-A canner who does not love this piece of equipment. But they are very expensive, and parts do break – mostly the hard plastic handles used to tighten down the lid to seal before canning, and reversed to release the lid after a cool down period. It is mostly loved because it is gasketless. If you have one, get spare part knobs, too, before IHTF.
There are less expensive alternatives. I have two 1930’s Kwik-Kook canners that have nothing but heavy metal parts; all canners were at one time gasketless. I use my Kwik-Kooks; they both do the job very well. One is huge, and will hold up to 16 pints or 14 quarts at a run, and the other is a 16-quart (that refers to how much liquid it will safely hold); the 16-quart will run 8 pints or 7 quarts at one time. A 16-quart is a very common size produced by all canning manufacturers.
Then there is the backbone of the canning industry – National/Presto! Presto has been manufactured out of China for about 20 years now. These canners are thinner, lighter, and do not hold up as well as their vintage American production ancestors. I have two newer ones. The dial gauges are plastic, not metal, and they break a lot. I do not like them, and do not use them except to demonstrate them at classes, i.e., “don’t buy this”!
I much prefer my vintage 1970’s American-made Presto units; I have two that are 21-quart units in the circa-1970’s harvest gold. I did not seek out this color; it just “happened”. They come in plain chrome, too. They are rock solid and use the original pressure gauges. I do replace the gaskets and overpressure plugs about once a year, but I can year ‘round – there is no “season” for canning when you’re a homesteader!
The pre-80’s units are heavier and do a better job of even heating, so they are not as labor intensive. Once you get to know your equipment, which means your canner and how it works with your stove, you can pretty much set it and it will hold pressure very well. I find the newer, thinner models need more “adjusting”; therefore, more watching, therefore, more labor intensive.
The Importance of storing Food and Water!
Editor At Large
I live in a suburb of New Orleans, Louisiana. Today, Friday, 9/6/13, the local TV stations had an article on their evening news broadcast that shocked the entire New Orleans metro area.
In St. Bernard Parish, another suburb of New Orleans, it was announced that a four (4) year old boy died in August from encephalitis caused by a brain-eating amoeba.
The authorities stated that they believe the four year old boy had been playing on a “Slip-N-Slide” and had caught the brain eating amoeba while doing so. If that was not shocking enough, the authorities stated that he died in August of 2013. They had waited a month to release the information.
The authorities stated that the water was safe to drink, bathe in, wash dishes and clothes in. Then they say that the brain-eating amoeba was found in the toilet tank inside the house where the four year old boy had caught the brain-eating amoeba.
Now, I am not a rocket scientist, but if the brain-eating amoeba was found inside the houses water system, would you drink or use the water in the Saint Bernard Parish area for anything. Not me!
Why the public officials didn’t announce the boy’s death when it occurred?
Could someone else have caught this horrible brain-eating amoeba because the public officials had waited to announce the boy’s death in a timely manner?
Would you have liked it if you had been using this possibly contaminated water for a month without knowing the possibility that it had the brain-eating amoeba in it?
Bottle water is getting very hard to find in the Saint Bernard Parish area!
This is yet another reason to store extra food and water. It is also important to have a good water filter. You never know when the public officials will tell you that there is a problem with the areas food or water supply.
If you would like to read more on this incident, below are two of the local TV stations that ran this story.
Hey folks – Emergency Essentials is having a HUGE sale on Mountain House Freeze Dried food. I have never seen prices marked down so low.
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Take care all -
From June 24th through the 28th CampingSurvival.com is having a HUGE sale on WISE Food Products. For this limited time all WISE Food products are 20% off.
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How to keep your Food Storage Safe in The Summer
The summer is finally here, and with it, warm weather, longer days, beaming sunshine, and trees and plants that are full of life. But the warm weather also poses a few problems, particularly when it comes to food. We all know the importance of keeping an emergency supply of food, but when it is hard to keep food fresh for just a couple of days in the summer, how are we supposed to keep it fresh for years at a time? Here are some useful tips to keeping your food storage safe in the summer.
Safe From Pests
Because there are so many more pests in the summertime, it can be difficult to keep them out of your food storage, especially when it is out of sight, and you don’t check it regularly. Luckily, there are steps that you can take to make sure that those creepy crawlies don’t make it into your food storage. One of the easiest is to make sure that everything is sealed in an airtight container. Even if the items already have secure packaging, it is still a good idea to put it in another container to minimize the risk. Location is also very important. Choose a cool, dark place, where pests are less likely to get in. If you have a severe pest problem, it might be worth spraying.
Safe From the Heat
You are probably already aware that for any long term food storage, you must only stock nonperishable items. What many people don’t realize, is that some items that may be otherwise nonperishable do not last long in the heat. If you have any items that may melt or otherwise be affected by high temperatures, you may want to consider different ways to store them. If you do not have space for your food storage in an insulated room, try putting items in coolers. Alternatively, there are solar-powered fridges that, although expensive, can really help you out in a grind.
Safe From Spoiling-canning
Bacteria grows much faster in warm temperatures, and as a result, some food doesn’t last as long in the summer. There are ways to preserve food however, and they can be useful techniques for saving money as well as preserving food storage. Canning is one such technique. You can start canning using a canner, but there are also ways to keep and preserve food without expensive equipment. One such way is to take vegetables and pickle them in vinegar.
Safe From Harm
This concerns yourself, rather than your food, but all of this is pointless if you don’t survive! It is important to remember that your food storage needs to include a separate supply of medication that you can use if and when disaster strikes. This includes basic things like painkillers, but also a first aid kit and especially for the summer allergy medication. If you do this, you can rest easy in the knowledge that all of your bases are covered in case of an emergency.
Lee Flynn is a freelance writer and food storage expert.
There IS such a thing as Free Lunch, if you already bought it once..
by Wyzyrd, Editor-at-large
My apologies to the late Mr. Robert Heinlein for misusing this famous “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (TANSTAAFL) ” from his novel, “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress”. (If there is a sign that says “Free Lunch” at the bar, the drinks are going to be more expensive.)
Hopefully, we are all using as much fresh produce and meats as possible in our diets, both for taste and for health reasons. Again, hopefully, all the “kitchen waste” (aside from the meat scraps, which attract rats and other pests) end up in your compost pile, and back into your garden soil, next season. Here are a couple intermediate steps between cutting board and compost pile that can save you money, and generate some ‘free food’ for you and your family.
If you pull or purchase green onions/scallions for your kitchen, “sacrifice” getting to eat the bottom ½ -3/4 inch of the white root end (with as many roots intact as possible). Just plant them in a pot, or back in the ground, with the tips just protruding above the soil. About 95% of them will sprout again and give you a second crop, ‘for free’. If you trim the green part of the leaf vs. pulling, they will keep producing all season. Depending on location, they may even overwinter and produce larger ‘spring onions’. A couple that I planted last summer are producing flower/seedheads this year.
Most supermarket onions are not dried sufficiently to really store all winter. If you end up with some in the fall that are just on the edge of going soft (e.g. a 20lb bag that I bought for a chili cookoff that got cancelled because of a tropical storm), peel them, leaving the roots intact, and plant them. Water, mulch and ignore until Spring. You’ll get some wonderful tender spring onions, that only require pulling, hosing off and tossing, greens and all, on a hot charcoal grill. Delicious. There are apparently towns in rural Spain that have Spring festivals based solely on cooking and eating these (with Romesco sauce and a lot of red wine – info via Anthony Bourdain ).
Sometimes, you have a few garlic cloves that end up falling to the bottom of the basket, and drying out too much for cooking purposes. Soak them in water overnight, and plant. I find about 40-50% will sprout. The young, green garlic sprouts are delicious, and if you leave them in the ground, you get a new bulb.
Celery is NOT easy to grow, so I’ll assume it comes from the grocery store :) Cut off about 2 inches of the white root end. Cook with the rest :). Cut an “X” about 1/4” deep in the root end, and place upright in a bowl with about 1 inch of clean water, and place in a well-lit location. Change the water every couple days. In a couple weeks, you should have a 4-6 inch tall new plant, with decent roots. Cut away all the brown yukky-looking old stem material (there WILL be brown yukky-looking old stems) but leave roots intact. Plant in a sunny spot and water . Celery is extremely ‘picky’, so I usually cut them back when pretty small (8-10 inches), and cook the young, tender leafy stalks. If luck is with you, about 1 in 10 plants will sprout again. If you’re a Jedi gardener, you could end up with a whole new bunch, and a celery root (celeriac) to eat.
Free Freezer Feast
(note: originally published (by me) in a different form as “Garbage Soup” on “The Survival Mom” (http://www.thesurvivalmom.com) website
If you cook, you end up with a lot of compostable veggie scraps. Carrot peels, onion skins and roots, tater peels, parsley stems, bell pepper cores, woody broccoli stems, cabbage cores, etc. You probably also end up with a lot of chicken carcasses, beef and pork bones, fat, shrimp shells, etc. that you DON’T want to compost, unless you really like rats and possums as neighbors.
Here’s a pre-compost pile step to consider: Put ‘em all in zip bags, squeeze out most of the air, and stash ‘em in your freezer. When you have a couple big bags of “waste” veggie material, dump them into a big stockpot, cover with water, add some black peppercorns, an extra onion (don’t toss the papery skins, unless you make your own dyes, they add great color), some garlic, and your fresh herbs of choice. Bring to a boil, reduce to heavy simmer and let it go about 3-4 hours. (DON’T add salt now – please believe me, and go light on broccoli/cabbage/bell peppers/tater peels – they can overwhelm everything else- unless you’re planning on broccoli or potato soup…. You’re the cook – taste it and see what you like.).
Strain out the cooked veg, cool a bit, and compost. If you have a “hot” compost pile, the cooked veggie mess will break down almost before your eyes. You can freeze or can the vegetable stock at this point.
If you want a protein stock, thaw your chicken bones, skin and fat, or shrimp shells or bones, or whatever, brown the heck out of them in a pan with a little oil, add to the hot veggie stock and simmer another 3-4 hours. Strain out the meat scraps/bones and skim excess fat, then freeze, can or just make soup now :)
This is “bassackwards” from classical stock-making, but you don’t want meat, bones fat, etc in your compost pile. Pretty tasty for something that is made out of water, and stuff that is taking a detour on the way to the compost pile or the dumpster :)
We’re all in this together.
Over the years I have tried several different methods of dry food storage with varying degrees of success and cost. I’ve tried buckets, Ziploc bags, and canning jars. What I finally stumbled upon almost by accident was 2 and 3 liter soda bottles.
I like sodas but hate to throw the bottles away! I had been making whirly-gigs out of them for the garden to keep the birds away but there are only so many whirly-gigs a garden needs and I had extra bottles and wanted to do something with them.
Looking at the bottles, I realized that they are durable, light weight, water tight, and once the soda is gone, free. What more could you ask?
I had saved up about a dozen of the 2 ltr. bottles and had a few 3 ltr. ones as well. they have wider openings and are good for large beans like limas, or for flour or meal.
To begin, I wanted a sterile container so I mixed about a tbs. bleach in a quart of water and rinsed and swished each bottle then rinsed with clean water and turned upside down in the dish drainer.
Another way to dry thoroughly is sit them in the warm sun without their lids, or, if you have one of those big Excalibur food dehydrators like I do, take out the shelves and lay some bottles inside. Remember to remove the lids. You can dry them in there on low heat usually in a few hours or just let run overnight. The point is, you want your bottles bone dry.
Next, get your space ready. you’ll need your bottles of course, as well as a funnel or another bottle cut in half to use as a funnel, clean work space, marker and dry food for storage.
I like to pre-treat my beans, rice, grains, meal, flour etc. with a couple weeks in the deep freezer, take out and allow to come to room temp and then put back in for a week or two. This really helps kill off any mealy bug eggs that might be lurking in your food. You’ll want to take your beans and flour treated in this way out of the freezer and allow to come to room temperature. Just sit on the counter overnight.
(You can also just put the filled tightly capped bottles in the freezer too.)
Now, all you have to do is, using your funnel or cut off bottle, fill your bottles with the rice, or beans or whatever you have, cap, use your marker to date and tell what’s inside and you’re done!
I have to say that this is one of the best storage containers I’ve come across yet.
Your food is safe, easy to move or store, won’t pop open, and is practically unbreakable.
You can also fold and insert oxygen absorbers if you like or desiccant packs for added protection and longer storage. Of course with things like sugar or salt, only the desiccant pack would be useful.
These are also excellent to store things like dried bean soup mix in for camping or for putting in your bug out bag (BOB). Being light weight and extremely durable, they are good to have in the BOB and once empty can serve other purposes like storing water.
You can also use 20 ounce bottles for smaller amounts of food that you want to store, or you can store seeds in them provided of course attention is paid to thorough drying.
I also leave the original labels on for the most part as I feel they offer some measure of added protection and aid in keeping out the light.
If you make your own dried soup mixes, or dried vegetables you can store them in the smaller bottles to take camping or in the event of a bug out situation. Dehydrated re-fried bean mix is delicious and easy to store in bottles like this, as well as ready to cook rice dishes.
Also, if you are able to get coke lugs, the heavy plastic bottle trays that the supplier uses, you can use those to put your bottles back in and stack them that way as well.
My husband was able to get a few of them from the coke man where he works and they are ideal for holding the bottles and stacking them. Otherwise, you can use cardboard boxes or just put your bottles in the cabinet if they are used often.
So, to recap. The pros of using these bottles.
1. they are cheap/free and easy to come by
2. they are durable, designed to withstand 200 lbs. of pressure, definitely tough
3. they hold foods in manageable amounts
4. water tight.
5. they are reusable
6. you can see the contents without opening to check for any problems before opening
(important if you worry about mealy bugs and the like)
7. fit easily into the BOB!
The 2 ltr bottles have a rather small mouth and so you are limited to what you can store in them, however, the 3 ltr bottles have a wider mouth and you can often use those for larger things like pasta or the big lima beans.
Other than that, I can’t really think of anymore cons.
Just one more thing.
It is important for everyone to have some food stocked up. Regardless of a person’s income of lack of it. Encourage your family and friends, neighbors and co-workers to put up at least a little food for the future. This is likely the single most important thing you can do to protect your own family because, if your neighbors and friends are provided for, you won’t have to worry about them being in need and perhaps turning to you for food. Many people are put off by all the recommended methods and supplies like Mylar bags or special drums or buckets. For those people that can’t afford those things try using what is freely available and perhaps even superior as a storage container. The ubiquitous soft drink bottle!
Great deal on Mountain House Freeze Dried Food. Check it out……http://www.campingsurvival.com/freezedriedfoods.html.
Turning chickens into food
by Harriet from Australia
Back in the 1980s when we lived on the land we had very little money. We used to purchase end of lay hens for $1 each and would kill and dress them so we could afford to eat chicken twice weekly. These old chooks were tough so needed long cooking as a stew or cooking them in a pressure cooker, but they were a valuable source of protein for our hard up family of six and the price was about a third of what they would have cost already dressed.
In the first season killing and dressing the chickens was a long drawn out affair over weeks. In the second and subsequent years we set up an assembly/disassembly line. First we had the chickens in boxes ready to kill. These were alongside a scaffold which had 10 cones in two rows of five. When my husband wrung their necks he put them upside down in the cones with the heads through the bottom until they stopped moving. From there I picked them out and dunked them into boiling water in the old copper that our forebears used to heat water and wash clothes in. I held on to their feet as I dipped them in the water. Then onto the plucking table where I started on their wings, down their legs onto the chests and worked around to the back. The hot water loosened the feathers. Sometimes they needed an extra dunk in the boiling water, but I was careful not to start it cooking as that meant the skin would tear as I pulled the feathers out. The feathers were swept into a bucket which was then buried deep in the compost.
After defeathering the animal went to the gutting table where my husband cut off the head and feet and took out the guts and any half developed eggs. A quick wash and the chook went into a plastic bag and into the fridge.
We set things up so we could deal with 25 chickens before breakfast, 25 before morning tea, 25 before lunch and 25 before afternoon tea. Then we cleaned up before dinner. 100 killed, plucked, gutted and into the freezer before night fall with all the tidying up done. Ideally the animals would have been hung for a couple of days to tenderize but we didn’t have the facilities for that and with the heavy fly population it was better that they were first refrigerated and then frozen as fast as possible. However by the time we had done the first 25 the amount of time they had in the refrigerator was minimal. Both fridge and freezer worked overtime that day and night. We ate egg yolks for the next three days and chicken twice a week for the next year.
Maple Syrup Making!
By Bev Sandlin, Executive Editor
Freezing temperatures at night and warmth in the day and you have the perfect time to tap maple trees to make some of the most delicious syrup you will ever taste! As I was driving around Canton this last week, I saw many plastic bags hanging off maple trees at Amish homesteads. It made me think back to when my children were small, and we used to make maple syrup! Lots of fun and a learning experience!
But I’ve got to tell you, NEVER cook down in the house! I made that mistake just once! Water literally running down the walls and my wallpaper border in the kitchen fell off! It is definitely an outside project for a weekend, once you have collected enough sap.
We collected from the soft maples in the yard in five gallon pails. It is truly amazing how much sap you can harvest from one tree! Tap five to ten trees and you are in high production!
Take some time to search around YouTube for “maple syrup making” and you will find many videos on different techniques to boil down and store the fruits of your labor! I thought this was a pretty good one to get you started!
Almost 10 minute informative video on maple syrup making.
What Will You Eat When… ?
By Pam, Editor-At-Large
I watched “Doomsday Preppers” once, they showed 3 or 4 different people who were preparing for 3 or 4 different “Doomsday Scenarios”. I understand that every week presents new scenarios with new people showing their solutions. Now, I have the privilege of talking to a dozen different “preppers” everyday and each of them has a different idea of what “Doomsday” will look like, consequently everyone has a different preparation priority list. While I can’t fit each person into some category of sorts, I can give some broad examples of expectations and offer advice on food solutions for each situation.
First, Weather Disasters , earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, floods, snow/ice storms, normally fairly short term. Some folks have been or know someone who has been affected by weather disasters OR live in an area where natural disasters are a distinct possibility.
In such circumstances, life is in absolute turmoil as public services are down, water is contaminated and rescue personnel are working overtime. I have to ask, “If your house has just been washed away, are you going to be sitting in a rubber raft with 200 pounds of rice and dry beans?” “If you are stranded in your car, buried under 6 feet of snow will you be boiling water to fix dinner?” “If you are on your way to the family retreat when your car breaks down, do you want to carry 40 quarts of home canned beets for the next 20 miles (possibly two days)?”
In these predicaments, Survival Food is optimal. Survival food is lightweight, compact, high in calories, vitamins and minerals, can be stored in just about any conditions and requires NOTHING to prepare.
In weather disasters or temporary situations of civil unrest where you are confined to the home, office or storm shelter, Emergency Food is also applicable. These would be prepackaged entrées that require water and heat to prepare. It should be noted that while these prepackaged entrées are extremely quick and easy to prepare, they generally provide less than 200 calories per serving and are intended to be served with other food, ie. Salad, bread, drink and a dessert. A food storage of easy to prepare items from the grocery store, that are used regularly makes eating at home no different than any other day providing you have the means to cook them.
Second, Personal Financial Setback instigated by job loss, unfavorable changes in the stock market, illness, or death in the family. As companies regularly conduct lay-offs or selfishly choose to close the doors of American facilities only to then open production facilities overseas, oft times people are witness to their formerly “professional” neighbor suddenly delivering pizza and they thus begin to brace themselves for a similar situation. One customer told me about his car engine seizing and his personal circumstances snowballed downhill from there. An older couple lost a significant amount of money in stocks, reducing their monthly retirement income. Whatever the details, it’s a personal disaster.
These situations call for food storage which can be full cupboards of grocery store goods that are used normally, home canned or dehydrated food, emergency food, long term storable food or a combination thereof.
Third, Food Shortages caused by drought, floods, world demand or oil prices, economic depression without total collapse causing hyperinflation and/or an increase in crime causing food outlet closures. The possibility of food or other resource shortage is reported on fairly regularly even in the main stream media.
There has been a return to gardening and home canning over the past 10 years because this is the prediction made by most “preppers” I talk to. GMOs, pesticides, additives and preservatives have played their part in influencing these people as well, but the greatest influence has been the rising cost of food in conjunction with the fear of food shortages on a macro scale. The potential for wide spread food shortages is also the best reason for having a long term food storage. The classical definition of Long Term Food Storage is: individual ingredients packaged in bulk in airtight containers to be stored for decades. I harbor intense concern for those who have never cooked “from scratch”, and anticipate using these products for the first time under duress. My most emphatic advice is to learn to use flour before you start grinding wheat.
Fourth, Paradigm Shifting Events such as wide spread economic collapse, an EMP type event, biological warfare or/and prolonged civil unrest even to the point of civil war. This is absolutely “Doomsday”, SHTF or TEOTWAWKI.
Every type of food would have its place in one of these scenarios. Ideally, the long term food supply would be used in conjunction with the garden and other ingredients from the cupboard providing the widest variety and greatest nutrition. When planning a Long Term Food Supply, one must consider the number of people to be fed and for what length of time, the ability to grow adequate fruits, vegetables and livestock, what additional ingredients are required to produce an end product, and how many calories are provided by each item being stored. Emergency Food would be used in much the same way DiGiorno, Stouffers and Sara Lee are now, for variety, when things are hectic, time is short or the cook is exhausted. Survival Food would be a necessity for those on guard duty or a mission away from home.
In a nutshell, these are the definitions one must apply for their food supply planning:
- For a short term disastrous event: Survival Food – requiring no preparation.
- For a relatively short term emergency: Emergency Food – requiring minimal resources and preparation.
- For all other scenarios including an extended personal crisis: Long Term Storable Food, a necessity as a stand alone supply or to balance other sources – requiring water, a method for cooking and time to prepare.
- For the longest term and ultimate sustainability, we have to rely on God and the garden. Home Canning has sustained many generations. With economic trends on a down turn, there is no time like the present to start gardening and learning to preserve food at home.
To be truly prepared you need a complete food storage system that will keep you nourished under any circumstances.
Pam and her husband have fancied themselves homesteaders for over three decades with experience in raising livestock, gardening, food preservation, using long term food storage, living off-grid and everything else that goes with the self-sufficient lifestyle. They own Mayflower Trading Company with the motto: “A pilgrimage to Resource Efficiency”. The mission being: “To help others with products and/or advise in their own pilgrimage to self-sufficiency”. You can visit them at www.mayflowertrading.com
Experimenting with Potato Planting Methods
By Bev Sandlin, Executive Editor
Up here in the North Country, Good Friday is the traditional date that we plant potatoes. Although I can’t see it happening this year with 18 inches of snow on the ground, frozen ground (Not the same, sometimes snow keeps the frost from entering the soil.), and just an occasional 40 degree day. But potatoes are a mainstay in my garden.
We aren’t Irish, but it seems that potatoes enter a meal almost daily at our house—mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, baked potatoes, boiled potatoes, au gratin potatoes, potato soup, potatoes and creamed peas, you get the picture. POTATOES!
Potatoes are comparatively easy to grow and keep well. The only thing I don’t like about potatoes is digging them!
Experimenting with the Cage Method
Last year I tried the cage method with potatoes. Create a wire ring (I used 2×4 wire I had laying around.) about 2 feet across, plant your potatoes in a ring around the outside with the eye facing out and fill with light soil and compost, even straw or hay will work. Layer upon layer, I got about 3 feet high. Wow, did I have potato foliage, but not too many potatoes. However, in all honesty, I think I let them get too dry at times. This method leaves a lot of area for moisture to evaporate from the soil. So was the lack of success me or the method?
What would I do differently? I think this year (As I have the cage already.) I might invest in a length of 6 inch PVC pipe and a cap. Drill holes up and down it, insert into the center of the ring and keep it filled with water.
Experimenting with the Bin Method
I also experimented with the “bin” method. Use an indeterminate potato (Russet flower all season long hence indeterminate.) and keep covering the plant as it grows leaving 6-8 inches of the top out of the soil. Worked okay in a bucket, not so good in a wire cage. Again, I think it was moisture given the drought year.
However, cutting the bottom out of a five gallon bucket and planting the potato in there and covering it seems to work! I only did a couple last year, but this year I plan to do more. What worked for me last year was 2-6 gallon buckets. I cut the bottom off with a circular saw, then cut the bucket in half—loved the two with the handles! Set on turned ground, put seed potato in eye up and cover with 8 to 10 inches of light soil. Tip over in the fall and gather your golden nuggets!
I have a new area of the garden that I am turning this year. I’m thinkin’ that what I am goin’ do is trench the potato row, put the buckets in side by side and use the trenched dirt to fill them. That should conserve on water if it is another dry year and save my back from both turning and bringing in coverage soil. But we’ll see!
Emergency Essentials is have a special sale through March 21st. ALL Mountain House cans are discounted 20% – 25% off.
Great time to take advantage of deep discounts and stock up now.
Note from Rourke: What follows should be considered a “starting point” or a supplemental addition to other food storage efforts. The levels of food suggested will not sustain a family of 4 people for one year.
Feed a family of 4 for 1 year, for less than $300
By MsKYprepper, Editor-At-Large
You are out of excuses!
This plan is THE fastest, cheapest and easiest way to start a food storage program. You are done in a weekend. AND there are no hassles with rotating. Pack it and forget. It’s space efficient – everything is consolidated into a few 5-gallon buckets. You’ll sleep content in knowing that you have a one-year food supply on hand for your family should you ever need.
With the exception of dairy and Vitamin B12, this bean soup recipe will fulfill all your basic nutritional needs. It won’t fill all of your wants, but using this as your starting point, you can add the stuff that you want.
All of the food and storing supplies listed below plus 2 55-gallon recycled barrels to be used for rain catchment cost me $296, including taxes. I purchased rice, bouillon and salt from SAM’s Club. You can buy small bags of barley at the grocery, but if you don’t mind waiting a few days, special ordering a bulk bag from Whole Foods was cheaper. All of the beans I purchased from Kroger’s in 1-lb bags. Buckets, lids, Mylar bags and rain barrels were from the Lexington Container Company. Their prices are so good, with such a great selection that it’s worth a drive even if you are not in the local area. I went on a second-Saturday of the month because that’s when they host free food storage courses taught by Suzanne, an energetic, delight of prepping wisdom. http://www.lexingtoncontainercompany.com/
What you need:
8 5-gallon buckets
8 large Mylar bags
8 2,000 cc oxygen absorbers
8 gamma lids
A handful of bay leaves
90 lbs. of white rice
22 lbs. of kidney beans
22 lbs. of barley
22 lbs. of yellow lentils
5.5 lbs. of split green peas
5.5 lbs. of garbanzo beans
1 lb. of salt
A big box of beef and chicken bouillon.
A measuring cup
What you’ll do
Install the gamma lids on the bucket and insert Mylar bags. Place 2 or 3 bay leaves in the bottom and fill the buckets, adding more bay leaves after each 1/3 to full. Place an oxygen absorber in the top. Label buckets with the contents and date.
- 3 buckets with rice (shake it down good. Get it all in there!)
- 1 bucket each of kidney beans, barley, and yellow lentils
- In 1 bucket store the split green peas, garbanzo beans, salt, measuring cup and bouillon. (I removed the bouillon from the box and vacuum sealed it as bouillon contains a small amount of oil.)
- Yep, that’s a total of 7 buckets, so far.
I place a broom handle across the bucket and wrap the ends of the Mylar bag over the broom handle to give me some support. Then slowly and smoothly run a hot iron over the Mylar bag to seal all except the last 2 inches. Then I press out as much air as possible before sealing the remaining 2 inches. Make sure your Mylar is completely sealed from end to end. Now, stuff the bag into the bucket and rotate the gamma lid into place. This will protect your food for about 25 years. You’ll have excess Mylar bag at the top. Don’t cut it off, that way if you have to cut it open to get into it, you have enough bag remaining to reseal.
Where you’ll put it
It’s pretty easy to find a place for 7 to 8 5-gallon buckets even in the smallest of apartments. Discard the box springs and lay the kid’s mattress on top of the buckets, line the back of a large closet with the buckets. I made a couch-table by stacking buckets two high between the couch and the wall. The buckets are about 6” taller than the back of the couch. Add a shelf and drape and it looks fine; a convenient place for a lamp and books. Get creative.
Making your bean soupMeasure out · 8 oz of rice · 2 oz of red kidney beans · 2 oz of pearl barley · 2 oz of lintels · 1 oz of split green peas · 1 oz of chick peas/garbanzo’s
Add 6-7 quarts of water. Add bouillon or salt to taste. Then add any other meats, vegetables, potatoes or seasonings you have on hand. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for two hours. You should have enough to feed 4 people for two days. This is thick and hearty. You will be warm on the inside and full with one large bowl. Kids usually eat half a bowl.
When the emergency is over
This system allows you to open the Mylar bags, retrieve as much of the ingredients as is needed and then reseal everything after the emergency has passed. Just be sure to replace the ingredients used so that you always have a one-year supply.
The 8th bucket – other stuff I would want
This list isn’t included in the $300. This falls into the “what I want” category. As money and resources became available, I’d just go crazy adding all of my indulgences, starting with coffee! You can add what you want, but I’d fill it with:
- Dry onion. Let’s face it, what’s bean soup without onion! Sprinkle on the onions just before serving.
- “Just add water” cornbread mix packets. I just can’t eat bean soup without cornbread.
- Beef jerky and Vienna sausages. Add protein and zest to the bean soup
- Instant oatmeal. Do you really want bean soup for breakfast? Freeze the oatmeal for 3 days before packing to kill any bugs.
- 10 lbs of jellybeans. Now, don’t laugh – it’s a bean. Jellybeans don’t melt like chocolate might. The high sugar content is quick energy, and a morale booster – with just enough of a high to help you over the really bad days. Easter is about here – stock up!
Before you fill the 8th bucket
Buy small bags of the ingredients and fix a big pot of bean soup for dinner. Eat the leftovers the second night, and 3rd night, until it’s all gone. Find out now – rather than later – what your family might like to add to it. Anything tastes great the first meal, but quickly becomes boring after the 3rd or 4th repeat. Don’t wait until the emergency happens to discover what you SHOULD have stored in your 8th bucket. … Maybe some Beano!
Food Storage for Beginners with Little Money
By Pam, Editor-At-Large
There are multiple ways to build food storage. There is the long term, store it in a closet for years, for the “what if” scenario. There are emergency meals that store long term which are “just add water”, but expensive per calorie.
Then there is the “pantry building” way which is simply buying 2 or 3 of everything you get when you go to the supermarket. If you normally buy a package of spaghetti noodles and a jar of Ragu, buy several of each, keep them in the cupboard. By buying 5 of everything you normally buy (excluding perishables like lettuce) you have a month’s worth of food in a week. Every time you buy something you already have, put the new stuff in the back and use the older stuff first. Keep adding a little all the time – like a piggy bank.
Things like canned soup, vegetables and fruit, ketchup, mustard and barbeque sauce, pickles, olives and sauerkraut last a lot longer than the “best by date” and it’s easy to catch sales. Cream of chicken or mushroom soup makes a nice sauce for white beans and rice. BBQ sauce adds zest to red beans. A jar of salsa adds zing to pinto beans and rice, together or separate. Get a couple dozen packets of dry gravy, sloppy joe, spaghetti, taco mixes. Tomato soup can be used with dry spaghetti, sloppy joe and taco mix as a substitute for tomato sauce. Bacon bits, granulated garlic and dry minced onions make nice additions to a variety of dishes.
Peanut butter is a great source of protein and keeps quite a while. Canned stew and chili should have a place on the shelf. I, personally, find Spam disgusting, but it lasts decades because of the nitrates. There’s canned chicken and, of course, tuna and salmon. Jerky lasts longer in the freezer than on the shelf, heads up, rehydrated it is nasty.
Some other cheap and easy items are oatmeal, cream of wheat, rice, dry beans, barley or split peas for soup in 1 or 2 pound bags, mac & cheese, ramen noodles, rice-a-roni, instant potatoes, pasta noodles, bisquick and stove top stuffing. Other than the stuffing, these things last well beyond the “best by” date. If space is an issue, keep them in a Rubbermaid tote.
A box of instant milk stores well for several years in a recyclable plastic bottle once opened.
Saltines last longer than bread, but not much past the “best by” date. Tortillas can substitute for bread and take little space in the freezer.
Save the freezer for things that can’t be kept for an extended period any other way. Grated cheese in a re-closable bag lasts months in the freezer. Buy meat in the family size or party pack and freeze it in smaller bags. ALWAYS keep the freezer full, any space should be filled with a bottle of water. It doesn’t have to work as hard when it’s full, so it costs less to run and if the power goes out it will stay cold longer.
Have you ever tried sprouting? That’s a great way to put fresh “greens” in your diet without going to the grocery store or having a garden.
Get some ‘feel good’ things, too, like jello and hard candy. Pudding doesn’t turn out very well with instant milk, but works ok with canned milk. If you want to get things like cake, muffin or brownie mixes, a can of dehydrated whole eggs is a wise move. You can store eggs for over a year in the freezer: beat a dozen eggs, pour them in an ice tray, when they are frozen put them in a ziplock freezer bag. Just take out what you need, let it thaw covered in the refrigerator, fry it for scrambled eggs or use it in a recipe.
Christmas time popcorn tins work really well for 25 pounds of sugar or flour and are rodent proof if that is an issue for you.
Coffee, tea, Tang, kool-aid, Country Time Lemonade: I always keep Country Time on hand because I never know when my sister-in-law is going to show up with a bottle of vodka. Gotta love that girl!
Baking soda for cooking, but can also be used for brushing teeth, an antacid, cleaning the bathroom and a hundred other things. Baking powder, yeast, brown sugar and shortening are also some things you might want to have on hand if you like to bake some things from scratch.
Salt, do yourself a favor and buy it in the big bag, it’ll last a decade without any fancy packaging as long as you keep it dry. With pre-made and fast food, we really don’t realize how much salt we eat and need. It’s cheap and the most basic seasoning in the world.
Add extra cooking oil while you’re at it. In a pinch, it can be used as a substitute for butter or margarine in mac & cheese, etc. Whatever you do, don’t forget to have jugs of water stashed in case your services are down.
Variety is important, but if you find your “pantry” has some things you don’t normally eat, commit yourself to eating one of those less favorite items once a week until it’s gone. OR every couple of months you can have an “eat from the pantry” week where you avoid the grocery store completely and eat only what you have on hand.
NOT going to the store for a week or two will really let you see what you need to stock up on or what you will potentially be doing without–Make a list during this week. This method works well for soap, toothpaste and toilet paper, too. Once the pantry is stocked, you can replace what you use as it goes on sale, whenever you shop for fresh vegetables and meat. Eating for a year from the pantry is easily doable. If you prefer to have food packaged for long term storage for use years down the road, we should discuss the pros and cons of those products.
Pam and her husband have fancied themselves homesteaders for over three decades. They own Mayflower Trading Company with the motto: A pilgrimage to resource efficiency. The mission being, to help others with products and/or advise in their own pilgrimage to self-sufficiency. You can visit them at www.mayflowertrading.com.
Current Project: The One Week Food Bucket
By MsKYprepper, Editor-At-Large
I need suggestions for a project that I am working on.
I went to a food storage class a while back and someone there had packed routine shelf stable food – enough for one week – into a bucket. I thought it was such a great idea. A 7-day emergency food cache, with ready-made daily menus of “regular” grocery food.
I am imagining: Immediately after the bad thing happens and I’m all out of sorts, I can grab the convenient bucket and execute easy to prepare meals without using any brain cells. After we eat, the bucket may come in handy for …well … the other things that happen after you eat… And, although it would be too heavy to carry in a bug-out situation, it would be a great grab-n-throw-in-the-car bucket. Anyway, I don’t know the person or how to contact them, so I am attempting to re-create her idea using my food items.
My goals – feed 2 people for 7 days. 2,000 calories per day with some basic nutrition and variety. Everything must fit into a 6 ½ gallon plastic bucket with a gamma lid. (I’m not planning to pack in a Mylar bag.)
Here’s what I have so far, but I’m nowhere near my 2,000 calories. What would you suggest I exchange to increase calories?
For the sake of this project, I assume that I have the ability to supply water, cooking and cleaning requirements separately. …and oh by the way, if you decide to do something similar, I found that I can stuff the underside of the gamma lid with small items. (tea, coffee, crystal light, P38 can opener, etc.)
Looking forward to your suggestions.
|Oatmeal, Quaker, individual packets (12 total)||
|Pancake mix, 5.5 oz.||
|syrup, Aunt Jemima, 8 oz.||
|Beef Jerky sticks (2 each)||
|4 Trail Mix Bar, Nature’s Valley||
|4 Peanuts, Salted Planters, 2 oz.||
|4 Oats & Honey Bars, Nature’s Valley||
|4 Snack Bars, Misc. Flavors, Nature’s Valley||
|Starlight Peppermints – handful||
|Tootsie-Pops chocolate candy – handful||
|14 Coffee, Folgers, Instant Individual, Packets||
|8 Lemonade Drink Mix, Crystal Light||
|8 Raspberry Drink Mix, Crystal Light||
|8 Wild Strawberry Drink Mix, Crystal Light||
|8 Cherry Pomegranate Mix, Crystal Light||
|Double Stuffed Ravioli, Chef Boyardee (2)||
|Raisins, Sun Maid (2 each)||
|Tuna, 5 oz can (2)||
|Tuna Helper, Box 7.5 oz.||
|Powdered Milk Packet|
|Mac & Cheese, Kraft box 7.25 oz||
|Powdered Milk Packet|
|Beef Stew, Dinty Moore Cans 15 oz. (2)||
|Protein Bars, Nature Valley (2)||
|Peanut Butter, Jiff, crunchy, 18 oz.||
|Saltine crackers, 2 columns||
|Chicken, SAM’S Member’s Mark, 13 oz||
|Manwich Can 15.5 oz.||
|Baked Beans, Bush’s Can 16.5 oz.||
|Chicken Noodle Soup Can + Lipton Envelope||
|Protein Bars, Nature Valley (2)||
|Beef with Gravy, Hormel Cans, 12 oz. (2)||
|Baked Beans, Bush’s Can 16.5 oz.||
|Green Beans, Can 14.5 oz||
|Chicken Chow Mien Dinner, LA Choy, 28 oz||
|Spam, Can 12 oz.||
|Sweet Potato Casserole, Glory 15 oz.||
|Cooked Ham, DAK, 16 oz. Can||
|Instant Mashed Potatoes, Idahoan 4 oz.||
|Green Beans, Can 14.5 oz||
|Spaghetti Dinner, Kraft Box 8 oz.||
|Tomato Paste, Hunts Can 6 oz.||
|Chicken, SAM’S Member’s Mark 13 oz.||
|Rice Package, Knorr 5.7 oz.||
|Corn, Can 12 oz.||
|Corned Beef, Hormel Can 12 oz.||
|Instant Mashed Potatoes, Idahoan, 2 oz.||
|Carrots, 12.5 oz.||
Total Calories in Bucket
Total Calories per day for 2 people
By Servantheart, Editor-At-Large
A friend had a surgical procedure this week which temporarily incapacitated her, although she was treated on an outpatient basis and sent home that same day. My friends are very precious to me! My friend’s husband works long, hard hours (and isn’t a very good cook – but don’t tell him I said that!).
I popped open a jar of home-canned chicken and whipped up a batch of my “Chicken Enchilada Casserole”, using my wild rice blend, purchased tortillas (although I can make my own), and purchased Enchilada sauce (which I have not yet learned to make). Took a fresh, hot casserole to the home of my friends, and they loved it!
So, there you have it – reason # 2 to home can:
You always have something good you can throw together for a friend in need!
And here’s the recipe, if you’d like:
Chicken Enchilada Casserole — Heat oven to 350 deg. F
2 cups dry rice blend (see below)
4 cups chicken broth or water, or mix of both, for rice cooking
1 quart home-canned chicken (we prefer just the breasts, so, that’s what I can)
2 packages McCormick’s Taco Seasoning (or any brand that is MSG-free!)
Qty. 2 19-oz Cans Old El Paso (or favorite brand) MILD red enchilada sauce
One can corn (home canned, if you have it)
One can chili beans, whatever brand you like
8-12 large soft tortillas (we like corn, but they’re hard to find)
Shredded cheese, your favorite Mexi-style blend (at least 3 cups)
PS: If you don’t have a fussy eater, this would be great with added chopped onions, etc., but we have a fussy eater, so, there ya’ go!
Put rice on to cook; I use 2 cups dry; my mix is: 2 parts brown rice to 1 part white rice to 1/2 part wild rice; put 2 cups of this mixture into medium saucepan; add 4 cups chicken broth (or water, if you don’t have extra broth, but I prefer the broth). DO NOT SALT. It will make your casserole too salty after you add Enchilada sauce. Cook rice over medium-high heat until it starts to form “bubbles” throughout. Cover, turn heat down to very, very low (or, even turn it off, if you like); allow remaining liquid to naturally absorb.
Open one quart of home-canned chicken into a large skillet, broth and all; add taco seasoning to taste; I add about 2 packages of McCormick’s (no MSG!) per quart jar; cook over moderate heat until it starts to “bubble” a little; turn heat down and cook on low heat, stirring often, until liquid evaporates and meat absorbs spices.
When rice is fully cooked, add contents of corn, including liquid, and chili beans (get all the good chili sauce; you can use the liquid from the corn to swish around in the bean can and rinse all the good flavoring out!).
Add one-half can of your Enchilada sauce to this rice/veggie mix, stir gently.
Take a large casserole dish (15″ long is my favorite, but a 12″ long will do, just a smaller batch, I prefer Pyrex clear glass). Pour your rice/veggie mix into casserole, smoothing it out.
Fill your tortillas with a spoonful of the spiced chicken meat, roll up; place across bed of rice, seam side down, in dish short length (vertically); continue this until you have filled dish with stuffed tortillas. In a 12″ dish, you can probably do 8; in a 15″ dish, you can do up to 12! (lay 2 horizontally at bottom of 8 to 10 vertically above).
Pour remaining one and one-half (1 1/2) cans Enchilada sauce all over and around tortillas CAREFULLY, allowing it to run in between each tortilla roll, all around, etc.
Bake @ 350 deg. F for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven. Top with your favorite grated Mexicala blend cheese until thoroughly covered; place back in oven for five (5) minutes. Remove from oven. Allow to cool. slightly before serving. Enjoy!
MY DH and DD love these fresh, but are even happier with them as “leftovers”, so make plenty!
Serving suggestion: a small green/veggie salad with guacamole and a cup of fresh fruit for dessert would finish the “south of the border” influence!