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lessons learned on the journey toward independence

Food Preservation

How to articles on effectively preserving food using a variety of methods.

b2ap3_thumbnail_food-storage.jpgThis last week I decided to tackle the large question about my food storage. Since Nick and I were married earlier this year (April) we have been steadily (as money allows) stocking our pantry with the necessary items. Oats, Beans, Wheat, Rice, Salt, Honey, Dried fruit, Canned fruit, Canned veggies, Potatoes, Nuts, etc. But I started asking myself the question: Do I have enough food in my pantry to last me a year, till the next harvest? That's my goal!


Providing food for ones family is an understood responsibility. The problem is that many shift this responsibility to the grocery store, depending on it for this necessity of life. What we fail to think of is how quickly the grocery store shelves go bare leading up to even a fairly routine natural disaster. What if the transportation system is disrupted? How many days of food are on the grocery shelves? And above and beyond that is the fact that much of the commercially available food is treated with dangerous chemicals. And something that many fail to consider is the fact that even much of the organic produce available is just as nutritionally deficient as the non-organic.


Friends, the reasons are many and powerful. The time has come to seriously learn and implement agriculture as quickly and thoroughly as possible. I appreciate the simple, but profound truth expressed in Proverbs:

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Why Wheat?
"When determining the value of whole grains in the diet, one need only look back into the history of the Roman Empire. Of course the Roman legions that went about conquering new lands played an important role in the conquests of Caesar. It is interesting to learn that Roman soldiers were fed a daily ration of meal comprised of wheat, rye, flax and bran. Early nutritionists and Generals knew, and understood, that grains provided all the daily needs of a fighting man, provided the most amount of energy per pound of food, and could be stored and moved most efficiently to the point of consumption. It’s even more exciting to know that when the soldiers were successful in battle, securing an area or village containing cows, goats and pigs, that they would shun the prospects of fresh meat and refused to eat it. They became so reliant on the power of their daily ration of grain meal, and its vitality, that they would not consume other foodstuffs, even when they were available. They feared that other foods would make them sluggish, mentally weaker and less likely to succeed in battle. The Roman Meal story is a favorite of ours, because it reminds us that the same simple heritage of grains in the diet that we are rediscovering in modern times, was held in the highest regard by fighting men 2000 years ago."
Taken from Wheat Montana's News Blog

We believe some of the most nutritious wheat grown in America is from Wheat Montana Farms. Go to the Dealer Locator to find the nearest Dealer/Retailer to you on the Wheat Montana's Website.

Here are some helpful tips from the Wheat Montana's FAQ's page:

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Harvest time is here and the food is coming from the gardens and orchards. Gleaning is a great way to get food when your orchard is not mature enough yet. Since we are only in a temporary location we don't have an orchard  yet. However a good friend of ours has been helping us get produce from gleaning. Recently we ended up with several boxes of peaches. We really enjoy canned peaches.

Water Bath Canning hasn't been my specialty. Growing up, I can remember all the glass quart jars we broke trying to preserve food in them. So I was a little nervous about trying it myself. I've become comfortable with pressure canning since I've been doing beans that way all summer, but the water bath seemed a little intimidating. But here were a few tips that really helped me. If I carefully followed these, then I didn't have any trouble with water bath canning.

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Recently I remembered hearing from a friend of mine who previously lived in the mission field.  She had to find creative ways of preserving food and here is a little of what she shared with me:

I spent some time in the country of Uganda. It was tropical, but our location adjacent to Lake Victoria kept the humidity and heat down.  Average daily low/high was about 68 - 78 F.  There were no food safes.  No propane fridge.  Electric everything, and the power was "down" on a regular basis.  Parts of most days, and a week or two of most months was completely powerless.  Because we never knew what to expect, we learned to purchase food guardedly.

One time early on, we stupidly had the freezer packed full of food in order to "preserve" it for the entire time my husband was to be gone.  In what we learned later was to be "true to form", the power went out a couple days after he left and did not come back on until a day or two before he was to return.

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CherriesWe once had some friends give us several boxes of very ripe black cherries--my very favorite berry! Problem was that they were already starting to go bad and we had to do something with them QUICK. So Nick rigged up a temporary solar dehydrator out of supplies that we had here laying around. 3 cement blocks, a few lengths of 2X4's, a piece of metal roofing, a fan, and an old piece of glass window pane.



Solar dehydratorWhile he set it up, I quickly sorted out the good cherries, cleaned and pitted them, and spread them out on some cookie sheets that I had in the kitchen. Then we put them under the glass supported by the the 2X4's and complete with my new oven thermometer we left it in the sun to see how it would work. At night I would bring them back into the house and in the fridge so they wouldn't go bad, but after the first night, I left them out even at night till they were dry. During the day while the sun was shinning the temp was 150 degrees F inside the dehydrator.


oven thermometer in solar dehydratorAt the end of 4 days those cherries were a little too dry! And I had a whole quart and a half of dried cherries! They tasted really delicious on top of our cereal the next morning. I also dried comfrey root out in the sun, however I didn't need to put those inside under the glass. They dried rather quickly just out in the open on baking sheets.

 

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