Did you know that the man who discovered how to preserve blood was black? In the late 1930s, Charles Drew invented a way to process and preserve blood plasma for transfusions, which allowed it to be stored, shipped, and used for longer periods of time. Before that, blood was only able to be used for about a week. You can read about him here: Charles Drew: Doctor was a pioneer in storing blood.
* Don’t forget to feed your garden. Heavy feeders like tomatoes, broccoli, cucumbers need to be fed every 4 weeks. Light feeders like kale, lettuce, beets, cabbage, turnips can go every 8 weeks.
LONG TERM FOCUS: Wheat
And here we are, with the basics.
When my grandson was diagnosed with Celiac disease (life-threatening intolerance of gluten), I wondered about scriptural accounts praising the benefits of grains and wheat. And yet, my grandson — and many, many others– are now having terrible reactions to wheat (gluten). My daughter found out that the wheat we have today is NOT the wheat of 150 years ago. First, most wheat today is genetically modified. This has been done so that the wheat heads are larger and can produce more wheat per acre – to feed more people. Second, the yeast used today is NOT the same either.
Natural yeast breaks down the harmful chemicals in the gluten. When fast-acting yeast was produced, it allowed bakers to bake more bread in a shorter period of time. But, we paid the price in the potency of the product. Third, bakeries have added chemicals and preservatives to the products they sell. These are some of the reasons for gluten intolerance we have seen lately.
Having said that, I think everyone should store wheat. If you want bread, rolls, biscuits, cookies, cakes, etc., you’ll need wheat. If you don’t want to eat it, you can probably barter with it. Plus, wheat is the easiest of all foods to store. (I recommend you try very hard NOT to store it in the garage).
There are two main types of storage wheat:
“Red Wheat is what most people think of as traditional wheat. It is higher in protein and high in gluten and is used to make bread flour. Using 100% whole wheat will make a dense and filling loaf of bread. Hard White Wheat was only developed in the last few decades. The bread made from it is light and fluffy, even when it’s 100% whole wheat. There is not as much protein as red wheat, but you still get the nutrition from the bran and germ.” (from beprepared.com)
On average, you can buy 48 pounds of wheat for $17. Over the next few weeks, we’ll talk about storage options for wheat, how to grind it, what you can do with it, and other things.
SHORT TERM FOCUS: Soup
I “hate” buying soup, NOT ON SALE! I feel like it’s gotten so expensive in the last few years. I have recipes on how to make your own soup. Frankly, it’s really just easier to buy them. I only store soup I use for casseroles, etc. For me: that’s Tomato, Cream of Chicken, and Cream of Mushroom. I have maybe 10 cans of Chicken Noodle Soup because that’s my go-to when I don’t feel well.
Other than that, if I want vegetable soup, or chicken with rice, or any other combination, I just make it.
This month would be a good month to #1 Take Stock. What do you have? What would you need for 3-6 months? #2 Buy a few each trip to the store. Watch for sales. #3 Date the cans and figure out how to rotate. I’ve used soup that is 6 years old, and it is fine. Really, I mean it, it’s fine.
72-HOUR KIT FOCUS: Flashlights
When you get a flashlight, you have three choices:
Something inexpensive ($1) that uses batteries. This is great in the short term, but the batteries will need to be replaced or at least checked once a year. You will probably only get about 8 hours of continuous use in terms of extended use before the batteries will be depleted. Still, it’s cheaper in the short term. Second, you can get a wind-up flashlight. I have one or two of them. I can’t make them work. “Crank for 1 minute and get 1 hour of light.” I cranked until I was exhausted and got about 10 seconds of light. Finally, you can get a solar flashlight. As with everything, there is a wide range of prices. Here are two choices very similar to the ones I have. This one was the top pick NPET T09 Solar Flashlight Car Flashlight 268 Lumens LED COB Light USB Rechargeable Tactical Multi-function Torch Emergency Tool with Window Breaker Seat Belt Cutter Compass.
And this one was the runner-up. Otdair LED Flashlight Solar Power Flashlight, Ultra Bright Flashlight, High Lumens, USB Rechargeable, 5 Modes for Outdoor, Camping, Hiking
The lithium batteries will hold a charge for several years. Every 6-12 months, gather them up and set them outside in the sun. If you have regular flashlights, this week would be a good time to check the batteries and replace what isn’t working.
Also… keep your flashlights handy. Keeping them in a nightstand next to your bed is a good place. One in the kitchen? One in the car? Make sure everyone knows where they are if the lights go out.
FOOD STORAGE RECIPES
You cook wheat berries (the official name for the little wheat kernels) the same as rice or oats. It can actually be eaten just by boiling it: two parts water, one part wheat. Add 1/2 tsp salt. Simmer until the kernels are softened. You can use cooked kernels by tossing them in salads or casseroles or eating them hot with sugar and milk like cereal. In an emergency, you CAN eat them without needing a wheat grinder.
You can also pop wheat berries like popcorn. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet (about 1/2 TB). Add 1/4 c. wheat berries and cook until they pop. Swirl kernels around in the pan to prevent burning. They don’t expand as much as popcorn does, but they still pop). Sprinkle with salt while hot. This will yield about 1/3 c. popped wheat. (I Can’t Believe It’s Food Storage, Crystal Godfrey)
1 1/2 c. wheat
3 c. water
1 tsp beef bouillon
Simmer 1 hour or more
1/2 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1/2 package chili mix
1 can chopped tomatoes
You can doctor this chili up with onions, green peppers, etc. The neighbor who gave me this recipe used to make it for her family several times a year. She didn’t use ANY meat, just the wheat. I tried that once, and Craig pronounced it “not one of his favorite things.” But the wheat will stretch the meat to serve more people.
Best Whole Wheat Bread
Someplace online had a contest, and this was the winning recipe:
Makes 5 loaves
6 c. warm water
2/3 c. oil
2/3 c. honey
2 TB yeast
Mix and let sit for 5 minutes or until yeast is totally dissolved.
2 TB dough enhancer (I bought some online just for this recipe)
1/3 vital wheat gluten (They used to have this at Winco in the bulk section, and now I’m not sure)
2 c. whole wheat flour
2 TB salt
9 c. flour – Add flour as needed. If you let it rest during this process, the water will absorb more of the flour, and you won’t need to add as much. This makes the loaves lighter and not so heavy. In fact, I usually add about 1/2 of the flour (4 1/2 cups) and let THIS part rise. It will be really soupy, but the flour will have time to soak into the water. Then when you add the rest of the flour, you won’t need as much.
If you have never made bread, you need two risings. Once before you shape the loaves, and once after. Watch some youTube videos to see how.
Put into five well-oiled pans and rise again. Bake 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Making bread is just something you get better at as you do it. But hot bread makes your house smell SOOOO good and tastes delicious!
Slow and steady is how to do this. That means you do something EVERY week. Choose one thing from this list and just do it this week.