Disclaimer: I’m NOT an expert at anything. But over the years, I’ve had a lot of experiences and tried a lot of things: canning, sourdough baking, gardening, knitting, cooking, etc. At the same time, I’m still learning about canning, sourdough baking, gardening, and a host of other things. This is a continuing adventure for me. Preparedness is part of my routine and never far from my thoughts.
* Planning my garden. Another disclaimer: I don’t really have a “garden” plot. I more or less have pots everywhere. I find this system is NOT my favorite, but my husband has strong opinions, and so I don’t always get my way. I’ve been debating how to stake up my tomatoes.” Last year, the plants were about 10 feet tall. I had a ladder out by the fence that I climbed up and down to put the shade cloth on and off. It was such a pain. I started with tomato cages (the large ones), then added a 6-foot stake in the center of the cage, then ended up putting another cage on top of the first one (upside down). I have GOT to find another way. This gardener shows a dozen different ways to trellis a plant up. 10 Trellising Options for Containers & Earth Beds: Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Squash, Melons & More! I like the idea of weaving. This gardener talks about the pros and cons of staking and caging. Staking vs. Caging Tomato Plants – PROS and CONS of Each Method | How to Support Tomato Plants.
* I wanted to show you one more thing. I have been using fabric planting bags. See the picture below. There are 3 sizes: 10-gallons, 7-gallons, 5-gallons. They are perfect for me because I can move them around (they have handles). Amazon.com : Cavisoo 10-Pack 7 Gallon Plant Grow Bags, Heavy Duty 300G Thickened Non-Woven Aeration Fabric Pots with Reinforced Handles
* Even if you don’t plan on having a garden, it would be a good idea to pick up 5-6 (or more) packs of seeds at the grocery store. Just include them as part of your preparedness JUST IN CASE!!
Apples are on sale locally this week for 2 pounds for $1. I’ve been thinking about making and canning some apple pie filling. Canned Apple Pie Filling Recipe | Allrecipes. This recipe calls for 6 pounds of apples ($3) and makes 7 quarts. It takes 2 quarts for 1 9-in pie. You just need a pot big enough to cover the jars with water. My daughter bought me one of these and I don’t know how I EVER lived without it. They are AMAZING!!
LONG TERM FOCUS: Beans
It is recommended that you soak beans before cooking them. They need rehydrating.
Long term soak: wash and sort and put in a pot of cold water overnight. Okay, let’s be frank. Who can remember to do this? Ugh.
Short term soak: my favorite: Boil for 2-3 min. Turn heat off, cover, and let sit for 2 hours – or until you get back from doing all your errands. Dry beans absorb the same amount of water in the short soak as they do in the long soak. The short soak helps reduce hard-to-digest complex sugars by 80%. This helps cut down on intestinal gas. (Preparedness Principles, Barbara Salsbury, p62). Don’t add salt or any spices until after the soaking.
Always, always, discard the soaking water and start with fresh water when you get ready to cook. Really helps the beans digest easier.
What about old beans? THAT’S the question everyone wants to ask because we all have those 20-year-old cans of pinto beans under the stairs. As beans get old, the outside skin gets tough and won’t soak up water. Many people use a little baking soda in the water. Baking soda is an alkali. “Some nutritionists do NOT approve of using baking soda because it tends to destroy the thiamine or Vitamin B content.” (Preparedness Principles, Barbara Salsbury, p62).
Don’t throw old beans away. You can “crack” them and open them up so they will absorb water.
#1 Use a grinder and add the beans a little at a time. Don’t “grind” into flour, just crack.
#2 Use a sturdy blender and pulse a few times
#3 Put the beans in a double baggie and smash it with a hammer or run over it with the car.
Don’t mix old beans and new beans when cooking.
SHORT TERM FOCUS: Tomatoes
People have asked me about tomato powder. I bought some once. It’s pretty cool. Add a little water, get tomato paste. Add more and get tomato sauce or tomato juice. BUT, after just a few weeks, that tomato power was hard as a rock. No amount of scraping could get any out of the jar. I threw it away.
THEN, I tried making my own. I dehydrated some tomatoes and tried running them through a grinder. All I got was a sticky, gooey mess. (Were they not dry enough? Not sure, but I never did that again!) In fact, I’ve not had good luck drying tomatoes at all. I HAVE heard from people who dehydrate tomato sauce. It turns out like fruit leather. Then they take it camping or backpacking and use it in meals. Kinda cool.
What I have always done in the past is to just can “diced” tomatoes. This is what I cook with most. If I find a good buy on tomatoes this year, I might try making the sauce from last week and canning it. But diced tomatoes are my go-to item. Here are some items you might want to just purchase extra of catsup, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes (although in a pinch, you could just run your diced tomatoes through the blender), and chili sauce (I like to use this for sloppy joes). Store what you eat. Catsup turns brown after about a year (maybe sooner if it is stored in a warm place). Tomato paste also does not last long. But tomato sauce will last for several years. I have 2-3 flats that I rotate. They are in a cupboard up in the laundry room. 🙂
72 HOUR KIT FOCUS:
In an emergency, if you have to evacuate (especially in case of fire), you will want to take things that cannot be replaced: pictures, documents, etc. Having all the scrapbooks together in one location is a good idea. Having a notebook with insurance, mortgage, medical records, birth certificates– is a great idea. BUT, just as great would be to just have pictures of these things on your phone or on a flash drive. You can tuck a flash drive into EVERYONE’s kit. If it is overwhelming to try and get it into a notebook, just take out your phone and snap away. You can even take pictures of every page in the scrapbook.
FOOD STORAGE RECIPES
Award-Winning White Chili
Yes, it’s true. I won first place at the Church Halloween Party. LOL
1 lb canned chicken OR 2 chicken breasts cut in small pieces. If using raw chicken brown chicken in
1 TB oil with
1 chopped onion (1 TB dehydrated reconstituted)
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 tsp cumin
If using canned chicken, just add everything to the beans.
In a large pot, add 3 cans of Northern white beans, 1 can of garbanzo beans, 1 can of white corn, 1 can chopped green chilis, 2 tsp chicken bouillon. I don’t drain anything. AND I don’t have to add any extra liquid.
Simmer together for 1 1/2 hours. Top with jack cheese if desired.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 c. picante sauce
1 pkg taco seasoning
2 c. water.
Let the chicken simmer in the water for 10 min. Then add:
2 c. Minute Rice
1 c. drained black beans. Stir in.
1 c. cheddar cheese sprinkled on top.
Cover and let cook 5 min.
Split Pea Soup
I fell in love with split pea soup when we lived in Utah and could buy Lysander’s soup at the grocery store. But, it is not widely available online or in the store. I don’t know what seasonings are used, but the soup is just delicious. Here is the recipe I used last time. There are no “seasonings” except salt and pepper. The added ingredients add flavor, but when I get the chance, I’m stocking up on the Lysanders!!!
Soak 1 lb peas in water overnight (see above)
Brown 1/2 lb bacon (I’ve used ham as well)
Add 1 diced onion (1 TB dehydrated, rehydrated)
2 celery stalks diced
2 diced carrots
1/2 lb pork sausage
Drain the peas and add to the meat/onion mix
Add 2 quarts of chicken broth. Simmer until peas are soft and thickened.
That’s all for this week. Do something to be prepared.