Marti’s Corner – 62

April 20, 2022

Marti's Corner at City PreppingHi Everyone,

NOTES:

  • TEST TIME  I saw this PREPAREDNESS TEST and thought it offered some things to think about. 
  • Coffee Filters – because I don’t drink coffee, I never thought I would need coffee filters.  But when I started using sourdough yeast, I began to keep a pack in my kitchen drawer.  I use them on the yeast because it allows air in but keeps the bugs out.  Here is a list of ways you can use coffee filters:  everything from sprouting seeds to removing fingernail polish.  COFFEE FILTER USES

GARDEN NOTES:

Feel free to skip this part if you are NOT a gardener.

  • My garden is nearly all planted.  It seems like every year I end up rotating where plants go in the yard, trying to find the “sweet spot” where the plants really like to be.  So far, the only things that REALLY produce every year are the blackberry plants.  I’ve moved the blueberry pots to the other side of the yard where they can get more sun.  I’ve got some tomatoes growing in full sun and some on the north side of the house.  When it’s super hot, we have to cover everything with shade cloths anyway.  I just ordered some:  Vensovo 30% Sunblock Shade Cloth Net Black Resistant – 8×20 Ft Garden Shade Mesh Tarp for Plant Cover, Greenhouse, Chicken Coop, Tomatoes, Plants: Patio, Lawn & Garden.  Every year I promise I will be better about patrolling for bugs!  If you see one, get on it!  If you let it go, those bugs will overtake everything.
  • This year, I’m going to harvest my own lettuce seeds.  I harvested tomato seeds and pepper seeds from last year but wasn’t sure how to do lettuce.  Well…… you start by planting lettuce in a 5-gallon container and DON’T PICK OFF THE LEAVES!.  Let it pour all its energy into the plant and seeds.  Just let it grow.  After 3 months or so (depending on the heat) it will begin to stretch up (bolt).  Then it will send out shoots and flowers.  Let it go.  I got my lettuce transplanted this week, so my journey has begun.  Stay tuned.
  • Home huge lettuce harvestThe best gardening thing I ever did was to buy a “Leafy Greens” course.  Since that time, I have had a continual lettuce garden going.  Here is today’s harvest.  The milk is for comparison so you can see I’ve used my LARGEST bowl for the lettuce.  I get this much lettuce EVERY week.  I give lots away and have a friend who buys a big bag every 2-3 weeks.

I grow this lettuce in “under-the-bed” Sterlite containers that you get at Walmart.  They are 5 inches deep and maybe 12 X 18 or something like that?  Anyway, the problem is that after they sit in the sun and weather for a year, they do this:Lettuce container falling apart

They literally break up and fall apart.

So, my husband and I were brainstorming what we could do to protect the plastic.  I found some old felt and covered the plastic tub.

Lettuce grow containerYou can see that we drilled holes in the plastic for drainage, and the water just goes right through the felt.  Then I filled the tub with dirt and transplanted all the little lettuce plants.

Whenever you transplant anything, you should:

  1. Water immediately.  The roots will start to die after about 15 minutes when they are exposed to air.  Watering removes the air pockets around the roots.
  2. Cover with a shade cloth.  Here is my new tub:Improved lettuce growing container

I stuck the skewers in there to keep it from blowing away in the wind we’ve been having.  Three days in the shade will allow the roots to settle in and give the plants a fighting chance.  You can see the tub next to Tricks for a massive lettuce harvest.this one has baby sprouts coming up.  The secret to ALWAYS having lettuce is to rotate the tubs.  I have 8 tubs.  Every three weeks, I pull out the oldest lettuce and replant new.  I haven’t bought lettuce for about 2 1/2 years.  Eating different colors gives you different nutrients.  I LOVE knowing I have something fresh to eat EVERY day!!!  

During the winter, the tubs sit out on the patio table in the middle of the backyard with the sun all day.  In the hot summer, I move them to the side of the house where they are sheltered from the hot afternoon sun.  That’s the nice thing about tubs, they can be moved!!!

THIS WEEK’S PURCHASE: pasta

I’ve read that in some places, pasta is already in short supply.  Part of the reason is that there is a developing shortage of eggs (because of so many flocks being culled from the flu).  At MY grocery store last week, there wasPasta for preppers plenty of pasta, even though the price has gone up about 10%.  Just take $20 and get 15-18 pounds of pasta (whatever you eat the most).  Date it and then find a way to store it.  I always vacuum seal mine because well….. I have a vacuum sealer, and pasta tends to get pantry moths if I don’t.  You can seal it in mylar bags, or buckets with tight lids.  If it’s small pasta like small macaroni or shells, you could even put it in empty, clean 2-liter bottles.

You can MAKE YOUR OWN pasta.  I’ve watched a couple of videos on this, and I like this one the best.  How to Make the SIMPLEST Homemade Pasta – YouTube.  She seems pretty down-to-earth like I would do it.  Plus, she makes me feel like this is something I COULD do!

* In my effort to better rotate my pasta, I opened a package of spaghetti last week that I had vacuum-sealed in 2016.  Perfectly fine.

MISC PURCHASE: dishwashing detergent

I go through about one bottle of liquid dish detergent a month, even WITH a dishwasher.  I try to keep 5-6 on hand.  I have a spot in the garage where I can store extra dish detergent, plastic wrap, trash bags, and stuff like that.  When you fill the sink with soapy water, you DON’T need a big squirt of detergent.  Really.  AND if you’re doing just a pan or bowl, you only need one or two drops.  When I taught kindergarten, and we were teaching the kids to use the glue, we would say, “Dot, dot, not a lot.”  Just think that as you use the detergent.

FOOD STORAGE RECIPES

Homemade pesto sauce

Easy no pine nut pestoThis comes from SOS Foundation Pesto

I like this recipe because they suggest variations you might want to try–like adding spinach, arugula, kale, walnuts, cashews, or even parmesan cheese.  Right now my basil plants are looking good.  

2 1/2 c. fresh basil – rinse and remove stems
1/3 c. parmesan cheese
1/4 c. olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

    Put everything in a food processor.  Blend while slowly pouring in the olive oil.  This should be enough for 1/2 lb. of pasta (about 4 servings).  You could add shrimp or chicken to make a full dinner.

Baked Chicken and Spaghetti

from “New Ideas for Cooking with Basic Food Storage” (No author listed.  Just a pdf I picked up along the way.)

I like this recipe because everything can be shelf-stable.

1 onion chopped – or use dehydrated onions
2 TB shortening or butter – Sauté onion in shortening or butter
1 can of tomatoes (no size indicated, nor whether to use diced or crushed?)
2 TB sugar

dash of pepper
     Add and heat to boiling.
2 c. diced cooked chicken (which for me is a pint jar of canned chicken)
10 oz. cooked and drained spaghetti (doesn’t this seem like an odd amount to you???)
Toss chicken and noodles with tomato sauce.  Pour into greased baking dish and sprinkle with
1/2 grated cheese (your favorite kind I assume – maybe a little Parmesan and a little mozzarella?)

Bake 375˚ for 20 minutes.

Pasta Salad

I REALLY like this one because you can use all shelf-stable ingredients.  Mix and match or add and subtract.  The recipe is “old” and I have no idea where it came from or if it’s even the same recipe I started with.  I’ve made it so often that it’s probably been changed somewhere along the way.

1 package spiral macaroni (I like to use the 3-colored type)
Cook and drain.  Rinse in cold water.
1 can corn, drained
1 can of black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 can of peas, drained (I like to use the baby peas)
3 diced Roma tomatoes (OR you can use 1 can of diced tomatoes)
3 chopped green onions (or use dehydrated onions if needed)

( diced bell peppers, chopped celery, etc. optional)

DRESSING

I use Newman’s Oil and Vinegar Dressing (about 1/2 c.)
1-2 TB sugar
big squirt of lime juice
1/2 tsp Accent – Yes, I use Accent.  All the hype a few years ago was totally made up by a competitor.  

Shrimp Scampi and Angel Hair Pasta

This light meal is perfect for a summer day.  Not a lot of fuss, and so easy.  I realize that shrimp is not a food storage ingredient.  So consider it a good way to rotate your pasta.Easy shrimp scampi with angel hair pasta

2 TB butter
2 TB olive oil
1/2 c. chopped shallot – Sauté shallot in oil mix
zest of 1/2 lemon – add
baby shrimp (I like to buy raw shrimp, no shell, no tail.  It’s only about $5-6 at Winco for 1 pound.  I pour it into a bowl and fill the bowl with really hot water just from the tap.  Let it sit while you are cooking the onion and it will thaw perfectly.)

Heat with the shallot in the saucepan.

2 handfuls of grape tomatoes (I usually cut them in 1/2)
Add about 1/4 c. chicken broth or white wine (yes…. sometimes I cook with white wine.)  Let it simmer to cook off the alcohol and infuse all the flavors.
Cook the pasta, drain and add to the skillet.
Season with chives, salt, and pepper.


Keep working on your storage…Please!!!

Marti

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Gwen
Gwen
4 months ago

I really appreciate your articles and am slowly making my way through them. I’m curious to know about the “Leafy Greens” course. Was that something online or a class you took in person? I really would like to set up something similar to what you’re doing with your lettuce myself. Sam’s Club has some heavy duty gray totes for bussing tables that I’m thinking would be perfect for growing lettuce–they’re quite sturdy so you might check those out as another option to use.

Geni
Geni
7 months ago

Another good recipe for shelf stable ingredients is
Trader Joe’s 3 Ingredient Pasta Salad.
1 lb. pasta (whatever shape you like)
1 can whole black olives (I cut them in half lengthwise)
1 bottle Trader Joe’s Goddess Salad Dressing.
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate over night. Good for short term storage limited by the date on the salad dressing.

Carol
Carol
7 months ago

Merigolds are a great bug deterrent. Also you might try combating the little pesty critters with diatomaceous earth (food grade type) Happy gardening. 🙂

Karl
Karl
6 months ago
Reply to  Carol

Both great ideas that actually work!

linda
linda
7 months ago

I just started reading also. Love the way you find inexpensive ways to garden.

REBECCA
REBECCA
7 months ago

I just started reading the blog and I just love it! Thank you for all the ideas to keep my preps up!

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