Category Archive: Recipes

Free Homesteading, Cooking, Prepper, Survival Kindle eBooks for 01-17-18

Free Kindle Survival Homesteading Books

Free Homesteading, cooking, Survival, , and Prepping Kindle ebooks? Yes FREE Kindle ebooks!! Every now and then Amazon runs special offers on some of their Kindle ebooks, making them free for a limited time (usually just 24 hours).

I will check Amazon on regularly basis for their free Kindle ebooks in related subjects such as survival, homesteading and prepping etc. I will do all the leg-work for you so you don’t have to. You can just come back here regularly, so make sure to bookmark this blog.

These ebooks are only free for a limited time so if you are interested in one make sure you get it right away so you don’t lose out!

Remember you DON’T need a kindle to take advantage of these! There are FREE kindle apps for most major platforms!! iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac and Android. You can find those apps here!

Always check price before engaging, to make sure it hasn’t returned to full price.

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Free Homesteading, Cooking, Prepper, Survival Kindle eBooks for 01-16-18

Free Kindle Survival Homesteading Books

Free Homesteading, cooking, Survival, , and Prepping Kindle ebooks? Yes FREE Kindle ebooks!! Every now and then Amazon runs special offers on some of their Kindle ebooks, making them free for a limited time (usually just 24 hours).

I will check Amazon on regularly basis for their free Kindle ebooks in related subjects such as survival, homesteading and prepping etc. I will do all the leg-work for you so you don’t have to. You can just come back here regularly, so make sure to bookmark this blog.

These ebooks are only free for a limited time so if you are interested in one make sure you get it right away so you don’t lose out!

Remember you DON’T need a kindle to take advantage of these! There are FREE kindle apps for most major platforms!! iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac and Android. You can find those apps here!

Always check price before engaging, to make sure it hasn’t returned to full price.

 

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Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


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Free Homesteading, Cooking, Prepper, Survival Kindle eBooks for 01-15-18

Free Kindle Survival Homesteading Books

Free Homesteading, cooking, Survival, , and Prepping Kindle ebooks? Yes FREE Kindle ebooks!! Every now and then Amazon runs special offers on some of their Kindle ebooks, making them free for a limited time (usually just 24 hours).

I will check Amazon on regularly basis for their free Kindle ebooks in related subjects such as survival, homesteading and prepping etc. I will do all the leg-work for you so you don’t have to. You can just come back here regularly, so make sure to bookmark this blog.

These ebooks are only free for a limited time so if you are interested in one make sure you get it right away so you don’t lose out!

Remember you DON’T need a kindle to take advantage of these! There are FREE kindle apps for most major platforms!! iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac and Android. You can find those apps here!

Always check price before engaging, to make sure it hasn’t returned to full price.

 

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Growing Bath Loofah Sponge Plant from Seed

A beautiful loofa blossom

Luffa or Loofah?

Luffa, lufa, loofa or loofah? You choose. It’s spelled all kinds of ways but it’s most commonly ‘loofah’ in the US and ‘luffa’ in the rest of the world. So whichever way you prefer to spell it, it’s pronounced the same, (like loofah) and it’s a versatile vegetable worth growing!

First of all, I’ll admit it. For a long time I thought loofah sponges came from the ocean. After all, they had the skeletal framework of some creature perhaps kin to the sea cucumber or similar marine animal. And the sign at the store said natural loofah SPONGES.

How long did this misperception last? Well, the revelation came when browsing through a seed catalogue “one day” and in the squash/gourd section, appeared a photo of this “sponge” with a description saying “Grow your own sponge!” I’m pretty sure I made a shameless announcement to the rest of the family that loofas come from a gourd plant. Turned out I’d been a bit behind the curve on this one.

And they are also edible at a younger age. This makes sense being that they are members of the Cucurbitaceae family that includes melons, squash, gourds, and pumpkins! Very cool!

So that bit of revamped knowledge was catalogued and filed away for future reference until one day, a reader of GardensAll.com, Kathlyn Cairns, did what we gardeners love to do. She shared her joy of growing loofahs and sent us some seeds. We started them indoors and set two plants in the back corner of the garden.

Further down in the article we’ve included Kathlyn’s images of her loofah plants and processing.

This year we only grew two plants because loofahs are actually an alien species out to invade the planet! OK, that’s a bit exaggerated but have a look at our photos. The loofa we planted took over our cattle panel arch, a trellis at the back of the garden, and a trellis running parallel to the arch. Oh and BTW–this was just one plant! We think it killed and ate its sibling.

luffa plant

Young luffa plant – image by Coleman Alderson, GardensAll.com

growing loofah plant

Large loofahs in the GardensAll garden with Coleman Alderson

All Jurassic World references aside, the loofah is an amazingly robust plant. It alone survived the powdery mildew, the squash bugs, and the vine borers all of which devastated our squash, pumpkins, and cucumbers. It thrived into October until a hard freeze and a frost  knocked it out.

The big lesson learned about planting loofah is to do so early. Some varieties take 90 days to mature. If you garden in zones much above Zone 8, it’s a good idea to start them indoors to get a jump on the season. In retrospect, it took a while for the seeds to germinate indoors. That may mean more of a delay if you planted seeds outside past the last frost date.

These specific instructions come from our North Carolina Extension Service expert Jean Davis. Though she’s giving recommendations on commercial growing of “Luffa”, the basic cultivation methods apply in general.

Growing Loofah from Seeds

“[Loofah] seed germination is often slow and sporadic. To obtain good plant stands, luffa gourds should be produced from transplants. Soak seed in warm water for 24 hours prior to seeding. Sow seeds, two to three per cell, in flats. Thin to one plant per cell after the first true leaves appear. Grow for four to six weeks in a greenhouse at about 65-70 oF.[Loofah] should be transplanted outdoors after all danger of frost is past.

Site Selection and Fertilization – [Loofah] gourds require a well-drained soil in a location where they will have full sun and good air circulation. Conduct a soil test prior to planting and follow lime and fertilizer recommendations for cucumbers.

Planting and Trellising – To speed growth in the spring in cooler climates, [Loofah] gourds should be grown on raised beds with black polyethylene mulch. Irrigation is required with drip-irrigation being the preferred method. [Loofah] sponge gourds benefit greatly from being grown on a trellis system. If [Loofah] gourds contact the ground, fruit rot, discolored sponges, and misshaped gourds are usually the result. A vertical trellis, similar in design to ones used for trellised cucumbers and pole beans, is most commonly used. It must, however, be VERY STURDY!!. To support the weight of mature gourds, 4″ x 4″ posts set ten feet apart are recommended. The top horizontal support should be a heavy gauge wire or cable. Several other wires can be run horizontally between the top wire and the ground. To help train the vines to the trellis, string can be run between the top and bottom wires in a V-pattern, as for pole beans, or a nylon mesh can be used.

Space rows five or more feet apart to accommodate equipment. In-row spacing of 12-18 inches has produced the highest yields of marketable sponges. The plants need to be hand trained weekly until they reach the top wire. Try to keep all fruit off the ground and away from the trellis wires. Prune plants by removing the first four lateral shoots (from the soil line upwards). As for all cucurbits, [Loofah] gourds need to be pollinated. (GardensAll note: Look for ways to invite bees and other pollinators to your garden space)

Kathlyn Cairns Loofah Photos

loofah image, loofa plant, luffa

Growing loofah plant, image by Kathlyn Cairns

Growing loofah plant, image by Kathlyn Cairns

Loofah plant harvest, image by Kathlyn Cairn

Harvesting Loofah

Opinions vary as to the optimum time to harvest the gourds. Some leave them on the vine till they turn brown and the interior “sponge” separates naturally from the skin. Others take them earlier when they are just turning brown and find that they can “cure” them by placing them in a warm dry spot.

Peeling loofah plant, image by Kathlyn Cairns

Processing loofah – image by Kathlyn Cairns

Drying peeled loofah – image by Kathlyn Cairns

We opted for the latter timing mainly because we had a big freeze on the way and were wary of what might happen should the loofahs freeze. So, we picked and placed them in a dry warm place and allowed them to cure. Ours were “mummified in less than 2 weeks. You can see how to remove the outer skin with a simple putty blade.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

via:  gardensall


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4 Types of Homemade Cheese – Getting back to Basics

Without a doubt, life is made tastier by cheese. We put it on everything from burgers to macaroni and kids love it. We mix it in sauces to add flavor and texture and we eat it plain as a snack. It’s a great source of calcium and protein and most kids will eat cheese even when they won’t eat many other foods.

However, if SHTF, cheese is quickly going to a hot commodity because it’s not something that keeps for long. This is when your skills as a cheese maker will come in handy.

The history of cheese is a long one; some say cheese has been around for as long as 10,000 years! It started when somebody noticed that the milk that they stored in their vessel (a calf stomach) turned into a hard block. Some brave soul decided to taste it and found out that it was delicious. Thus cheese was born. Find out more about preserving milk here.

Cheese recipes have often been passed down from generation to generation, along with the cultures that are necessary to make the cheese. Some are extremely easy to make and don’t require a culture but the tastier and more advanced cheeses do. Before we get started, you need to understand some basic cheese-making ingredients.

4 Types Of Homemade Cheese

Rennet

Rennet is derived from the stomach lining of ruminate animals, namely the fourth stomach of calves. It’s an enzyme that helps the baby animal to digest its mother’s milk. There are also vegetable rennets, microbial rennets that are derived from mold and genetically engineered rennets that are made by injecting cow DNA into plants.

Rennet, or more specifically chymosin, the enzyme in rennet, separates the curds from the whey during the cheese-making process. Milk would curd on its own but by the time that happens, the milk is sour. Rennet allows you to make curds quickly from sweet milk. Most European cheeses are made with rennet while most cheeses made in the US are made using different products.

There are several cheeses, including Mozzarella, cottage cheese and cream cheese that don’t require rennet. This is because you can substitute vinegar, lemon juice or citric acid to create the curd. The difference between rennet and another acid is that rennet slowly curdles the cheese and vinegar or citric acid does it quickly. To get the flavor or texture you need for aged cheeses, you need rennet.

Cheese salt

You’ll often see recipes that call for cheese salt. Cheese salt is just flakey, non-iodized salt. Salt is used in cheese for both flavor and preservation but don’t ever used iodized salt because it damages the bacteria that you need to make the cheese.

If you don’t have cheese salt, you can use regular Non-iodized salt or kosher salt. It’s all a matter of how quickly you want the salt to dissolve. Cheese salt is always best, though because it’s flakey and dissolves quickly.

Calcium Chloride

If you’re using milk that’s been pasteurized and stored cold to make your cheese, you need to use calcium chloride to make your curds firm. This is because calcium in store-bought or pasteurized milk slowly becomes soluble and won’t form a firm curd on its own. Exceptions include cheeses that are stretched, such as mozzarella or provolone because the stretch depends on the calcium leaving the curd.

Cheese Culture

Cheese cultures are good bacteria produced from milk that eat away the bad bacteria by feeding on the lactose in the milk. This is necessary in order to encourage coagulation and help develop the flavor of the cheese. You can buy starters from either local specialty stores or online. There are two basic starters: mesophilic and thermophilic.

Mesophilic culture is used in low-temperature cheeses. This includes the majority of cheeses including chevre, cheddar, cottage cheese, brie, sour cream, Colby blue cheese, feta and many others. Sometimes you can sub vinegar or citric acid, such as when you’re making cottage cheese. For aged, harder cheeses, culture is required.

Thermogenic culture is used in recipes that require higher heat and can be heated to 130 degrees F. It’s used to make yogurt and Italian cheeses such as mozzarella, parmesan and provolone. It’s also used to make other softer cheeses such as Swiss and Monterey Jack.

There are several varieties of both of these cultures that you can purchase and come in freeze-dried packets. You have to keep them frozen until you use them. You can make your own starters by saving part of the original starter but they only last a few days in the fridge before the bacteria are no longer effective so you either have to freeze them or use them.

You can also make them from scratch. I found these recipes on cheeseforum.org:

Meso starter:

Start with:

  • 2 cups fresh store bought cultured buttermilk.

Directions:

  • Set the buttermilk in its container on kitchen counter with lid cracked to relieve pressure and allow to reach 21 C/70 F room temperature to ripen and increase the bacteria population density. After 6-8 hours the buttermilk should be much thicker like fresh yogurt and sourer than at start. If not thick enough, let sit for a few more hours.
  • Use as per cheese making recipes and pour remainder into a full sized very clean ice cube tray and put into your freezer.
  • Once frozen, remove the cubes and put into a clean sealed labeled container or plastic freezer bag to reduce contamination and freezer burn.
  • The resulting ice cubes are each ~30 ml/1 ounce of mesophilic starter. Add cubes (thawed) to your recipe as required.

Thermo starter:

  • 2 cups fresh live/active store bought unflavored yogurt.

Use yogurt as thermophilic starter culture as per recipe.

  • Pour excess into a full sized very clean ice cube tray and put into freezer.
  • Once frozen, remove the cubes and put into a clean sealed labeled container or plastic freezer bag to reduce contamination and freezer burn.
  • The resulting ice cubes are each ~30 ml/1 ounce of thermophilic starter. Add cubes (thawed) to your recipe as required.

Water

It’s best to use filtered water in your cheese because some local waters contain ingredients that will prohibit the milk from turning to cheese.

The Chemistry of Cheese Making

Though it sounds like a daunting task, cheese making is a matter of simple chemistry. Milk is about 85% water; the rest is mostly proteins, minerals, fat, vitamins and lactose (milk sugar). When you add an acid, the milk turns into curd, a jelly-type substance. When you heat the acidified milk, the curd separates from the whey (the liquid). The curdling agent is actually a bacteria that eats lactose, which turns it to lactic acid and makes it curdle.

Heating, pressing and aging the curd separates out more of the whey, which makes the cheese sharper-tasting and harder. That’s why people with lactose intolerance often do OK with harder cheeses; there isn’t as much lactose in it.

What Milk to Use

They type of milk you use depends on the cheese but if you’re making starter, you need to use organic milk because if the cow was given antibiotics, those could have passed through into the milk and will prevent the good bacteria from forming that is the basis of the starter. Since that’s what the starter is all about, your starter won’t form. Learn more about raising animals for milk here and how to milk your cow or goat here.

I’ve also found a recipe to make cheese from powdered milk, which I’ll share in a bit. When choosing milk, go for non-homogenized, also called cream-top, if you can. It’s not critical but produces better results, especially if you’re new to the process. Usually, you’ll be better off using full fat milk unless the recipe calls for something different.

Regardless of what type of milk your recipe calls for, it can’t be ultra-pasteurized because the high heat denatures the proteins and will thus prevent curd from forming.

Homemade Cheese

Cream Cheese

  • 1 quart of cream (you can also use half and half)
  • 1 package (1/8 teaspoon) mesophilic starter
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

  • Place cream in glass bowl.
  • Cover it loosely and let it set at room temperature for 8-12 hours or until it’s about the same consistency as yogurt. It may not be completely smooth but that’s alright.
  • Pour into cheesecloth and allow the whey (liquid) to drain for at least 12 hours. The more liquid you lose, the firmer the cream cheese will be.
  • Scrape out of the cheesecloth and add salt. This is when you’d also want to add herbs if you’d like to get fancy!
  • Refrigerate. It will get firmer as it chills.

Yield: you should get 1 ½ to 2 cups of cream cheese for each quart of cream that you use. You can double this recipe if you want. It makes a great gift!

 

Cottage Cheese

This recipe is super-simple and delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon skim milk
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half

Directions:

  • Place skim milk in large saucepan and heat slowly over medium heat to 120 degrees F.
  • Remove from heat and slowly stir in the vinegar.
  • Continue to stir for a minute or two as the curds separate from the whey.
  • Cover with a towel and let the mixture sit for about 20 minutes.
  • Pour into a colander lined with cheese cloth or a lint-free towel to drain off the whey. It takes about 5 minutes.
  • Gather the edges of the towel and rinse the curds under cold water for a couple of minutes until they are completely cool. Squeeze and squish the mixture as you do so.
  • Squeeze as much moisture from the curds as possible.
  • Put the curds in a bowl and mix in the salt, breaking up the curds into smaller cottage cheese-sized chunks.
  • If you want to eat it immediately, add the cream or half and half. If not, refrigerate the curds without the cream and add the cream immediately before serving.

Mozzarella Cheese

This recipe calls for rennet but there are some recipes out there for making it without. This one is delicious, though.

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon whole cow or goat milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp powdered citric acid dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water
  • 1/4 tsp liquid rennet diluted in 1/4 cup cool water
  • 1 to 2 tsp cheese salt

Directions:

  • Pour the milk into a stainless steel pot and slowly heat on medium to 55 degrees F.
  • Slowly and thoroughly stir in the citric acid solution.
  • Heat the milk to 88 degrees F on low-medium heat until it’s the consistency of yogurt.
  • Gently stir in the rennet for about 30 seconds when it reaches 88 degrees F.
  • Without stirring, let it heat to 100-105 degrees F slowly. This should take 5-8 minutes. The curds will begin to form and pull away from the sides of the pot. The curds will look like shiny chunks of thick yogurt and the whey will be almost clear. If it’s not, cook it for a few more minutes.
  • Remove from heat and scoop the curds out into a bowl with a slotted spoon. Don’t discard the whey.
  • With your hands or a wooden spoon, gently press the cheese against the sides of the bowl to press out as much whey as possible.
  • Turn the heat back on under the whey and bring it to 175 degrees F.
  • Shape the curds into small balls, between the size of a large egg and a tennis ball. Dip each one into the whey using a large spoon or ladle for several seconds. Place the balls together back into a dry bowl.
  • Knead the cheese balls together like you do bread dough. It’s going to be really hot so you want to use heavy gloves or a spoon to do this. This distributes the heat throughout the cheese and is necessary because the cheese won’t stretch until it’s too hot to touch.
  • Repeat several times, adding the salt in after the second time until it’s smooth and pliable, sort of like dough. When it’s stretchy like taffy, it’s done. If the curds break up instead of getting stretchy, don’t panic. It’s just cooled too much and needs to be re-heated. Do this by either microwaving for 30 seconds or pouring hot water over them until they’re 135-145 degrees F again.
  • Roll the cheese into balls the size of tennis balls and it’s done! You can eat it immediately or store in the fridge for up to a week.

Cheddar Cheese

We all love cheddar! This recipe is simple and delectable.

Ingredients:

  • 2 gallons whole cow or goat milk
  • ⅛ tsp calcium chloride diluted in ¼ cup water (optional)
  • 1 packet direct-set mesophilic culture or ⅛ tsp bulk mesophilic culture
  • Rennet, dissolved in ½ cup cool water (choose one):
  • ½ tsp liquid animal rennet or
  • ¼ tsp double-strength liquid rennet or ¼ tablet vegetable rennet
  • 2 tbsp salt

Instructions:

  • Pour the milk into a large stainless steel pot and heat to 85 degrees F, stirring often. If you’re using the calcium chloride, stir it in as the milk is heating.
  • When the milk reaches 85 degrees F, remove from heat and add the culture and stir from the bottom to the top to ensure that it’s infused throughout the milk.
  • Cover and allow to ferment for an hour.
  • Add the diluted rennet, stirring in an up and down motion. This helps the rennet work its way through the milk so that you get the highest yield of cheese.
  • Let the cheese set for about an hour or until the curds start to separate from the whey. The curd will be pulling away from the top of the pot and the whey will be mostly clear and floating on top of the curd.
  • Use a knife to cut the curd into small (1/4 inch) cubes and let it set for 5 more minutes without stirring.
  • Over low heat, bring the curds to 100 degrees F, stirring frequently. The curds will shrink as it heats.
  • Once it’s reached 100 degrees F, continue stirring over low heat for the next 30 minutes. It’s important that the temperature stays at 100 degrees; if it gets hotter, remove from heat for a few minutes.
  • After warming and stirring for 30 minutes, remove from heat and allow the curds to settle to the bottom. This will take 20 minutes or so.
  • Pour the curds into a colander and allow to drain for 15 minutes.
  • Pour the curds back into the cheese pot and cut into 5 or 6 wedges and cover.
  • Fill your sink with water that’s 102 degrees F. Place the pot of curds into the water.
  • Keep the water at 102 degrees F and turn the chunks every 15 minutes or so for 2 hours. This step is important because it’s what makes your cheese cheddar and gives it that unique flavor.
  • After 2 hours, the chunks will be very firm and shiny. Remove them from the pot and cut into ½ inch cubes.
  • Place the curds back into the pot that is still sitting in the 102-degree F water and leave them there for another 10 minutes.
  • Stir gently with your fingers. Repeat this process twice more.
  • Remove the pot from the water and stir the cheese gently, adding the salt.
  • Line your cheese press with cheese cloth.
  • Wrap the cheese cloth around the cheese and press with 10 pounds of pressure for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the cheese from the press, unwrap it and flip it onto a fresh piece of cheesecloth.
  • Press at 40 pounds of pressure for 12 hours.
  • Remove cheese from press, unwrap and flip the cheese.
  • Rewrap in fresh cheese cloth and press at 50 pounds of pressure for another 24 hours.
  • Remove from press and allow cheese to air-dry for 2-3 days until it’s smooth and dry.
  • If it’s too big of a chunk for you to eat before it goes bad once it’s finished, cut into smaller chunks.
  • Paint with wax and store it in a cool area between 55 and 60 degrees F.
  • Allow it to age for at least 60 days. The longer it ages, the sharper it will be.

Now you know how to make some of your favorite cheeses. I started with easy ones to give you confidence. Once you’re comfortable with these, move on to some fancier ones.

If you have any other suggestions or good cheese recipes, please share them in the comments section below!

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.


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Must-Have Canned Foods You may not Know Exist

14 Must-Have Canned Foods You Didn’t Know Existed

There’s a reason preppers and even just people who like a well-stocked pantry purchase canned goods. They hold up for a long time, years even. They’re generally easy to prepare, many items requiring no more preparation than a quick warming in order to make sure the food is free from harmful microorganisms. Cans also come ready to store, no extra prep needed to sock them away for long-term storage.

Plenty of staples like beans, soup, veggies, fruit, and pasta are commonly found in the average family’s pantry, and found in great quantities in preppers’ stores. Those staples would get boring quickly, though. If you’re looking to add some unique and exotic foods to your food storage for either variety in your diet or for trading, read on for a look at the following canned goods you didn’t know existed.

canned-brown-bread image

Bread- Canned bread is totally a thing, and it’s available in several different varieties. While it’s likely more practical to store ingredients to make your own bread for the long-term, canned bread could be a tasty, quick way to a full belly and to get some carbohydrates into your system. You can find Original and Raisin Brown Bread by B & M in many stores or online.

(B&M Brown Bread – plain and also B&M Brown Bread Raisin)

There is no cholesterol in this classic bread. While there’s no need to cook, you can slice it, toast it, bake it, microwave it*, or
use it for sandwiches with cheese and luncheon meats! You can also drop the can in boiling water after putting a hole in the can, and serve with butter. Made with water, whole wheat flour salt and corn oil, you’ll enjoy Brown Bread in a Can the New England way with the classic brick oven Boston baked beans.

Related: How to Make AmishSweet Bread


 

canned butter

Butter- Would you miss butter if you suddenly didn’t have access to the supermarket? No big deal, you can get that canned, too. There are a few brands of canned butter available, (canned butter) and it’s rather expensive since it’s not canned in the US. However, it’d be a lovely treat in a SHTF situation, and fat is a crucial part of the diet. For a less expensive canned butter, opt for powdered butter, instead.

     Related: Making Butter at Home,Like Our Grandparents


 

canned pudding image

Pudding- Canned pudding is more often found in Europe, but you can find it in stores in the US, too, as any buffet or cafeteria worker attest. Whatever your favorite type of pudding, it’s likely available in a can.  (Chocolate Pudding, Vanilla Pudding, Butterscotch Pudding)


 

canned cakeimageimage

Cake- A pudding in the European sense that refers more to a desert dish in general, you can get canned Spotted Dick made by Simpson’s. It’s essentially a sponge cake with spices and raisins. While it doesn’t quite fit into what we think of as a cake in everyday life, I bet it’d be an incredible birthday treat in a SHTF situation.                                                               


 

canned bacon

Bacon- Very few people don’t like bacon, so it’s great that Yoder makes it in a can for long-term storage. It’s salty, fatty, and flavorful, which makes it great for spicing up boring food made from more traditional prepper food items. You don’t need much of it to transform a pot of soup or some powdered eggs.


 

canned cheese

Cheese- While making your own cheese isn’t rocket science, there is a lot of actual science involved, and the raw materials needed may not be easy to come by. So, there’s canned cheese.While it’s not quite like what we think of as ‘real’ cheese, canned cheese has plenty of fat and flavor to be a worthwhile addition to your prepper’s pantry. Check out Kraft’s Prepared Pasteurized Cheddar cheese or Heinz’s Macaroni Cheese for reasonably priced options.  (Also Bega canned cheese when available)



canned hamburger imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimage

Hamburger and other meats – Generally, people think of canned hamburger being home-canned. However, it’s available in cans from both Yoders and Keystone. There are even pre-seasoned canned hamburger products available, like the taco meat by Yoders.  (Ground Beef, turkey, pork, roast beef, pulled pork, chicken breast, chicken)

Related: Pressure-Canning Hamburger Meat for Long Term Preservation


 

canned chicken

Whole Chicken- Canned whole chicken, like those available from Sweet Sue, are good for more than just the meat. When the entire chicken is canned, all the gelatin and fat is preserved, allowing you to make a fantastic chicken soup. 

Related:  How To Can Chicken(Step By Step Guide With Pictures)


 

imageimageimageimage

Sandwiches- Also known as the Candwich, these canned sandwiches will be available in several different flavors. They haven’t quite hit the open market yet, but they’re coming! They come in a can about the size of a soda can with a peel off top. They’re perfect for on-the-go eating. 


 

canned potato salad

Potato Salad- Who knew this traditional, delicious picnic side was available in a can? Canned potato salad would be a good way to add a little flavor into your preps, and it can be eaten warm or chilled, making it a more versatile side dish than you’d possibly realized.                                

Related: How To Can Potatoes for Long Term Preservation


 

image

Tamales- We’re talking whole tamales here. Simply heat these canned tamales up, maybe add some fresh veggies or canned cheese to them, and voila! You’ve created an entire meal by simply opening the can. These provide a ready-made meal in a solid form, which can have profound positive psychological impacts. While canned soup is great for filling you up and providing a decent balance, it’s simply not the most satisfying food out there. 


 

canned cheeseburgerimage

Cheeseburger- Made in Switzerland, these rather expensive canned cheeseburgers aren’t very practical, but they’re a fun addition to your preps. You simply boil the whole can and open for a tasty (that’s subjective, of course) cheeseburger.

 


 

image

Escargot- Even if you don’t care much for fancy seafood, there are plenty of canned sea food items that could be great for bartering. Apart from escargot, you can find crab, lobster, clam, oysters, and other shellfish canned for long-term storage. 

 


 

canned duck confit

Duck Confit- Popular in France, canned duck with fat doesn’t seem terribly popular in the US. However, the high fat content in this canned dish could prove to be helpful in a SHTF situation. It’s great for soups and stews, and it adds a sumptuous touch that you won’t often find in the world of canned goods. 

 

 

 


image

 

Peanut Butter- Peanut butter powder is a product that’s made by pressing roasted peanuts to remove most of the natural oils, and the remaining peanut “particles” are ground into a fine powder. Out with the oil/fat go many of the calories. You can reconstitute the powdered product to create lower-calorie, less-fat peanut butter, but the texture is not as smooth and creamy.

 


 

Whatever you goals, consider adding some non-conventional canned goods to your stores. Variety, after all, is the spice of life. We need a variety of foods to stay at our healthiest, and because of this, people generally want a bit of variety in their diet. The humor factor that many of the above items bring to the table shouldn’t be discounted, either. Psychological health will be remarkable important if society collapses or any disaster, as well, so attending to our psychological needs shouldn’t be overlooked. As is always the case with canned good storage, be sure you’re properly storing cans and rotating your stock as necessary.

 

Want more exotic foods? check out this list. From possum and rattlesnake to pork brains.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

via:  askaprepper, happypreppers,


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Three Ways to Use Healing Essential Oils That Work

When it comes to using essential oils topically, most recipes will simply say “add to a carrier oil and apply”.  That sounds simple enough but the reality is that measuring the proper number of drops can be hit or miss.  Most EO brands include an orifice style dropper but just when you think you have doled out the requisite drops, more come out.  This is not only wasteful, but when it comes to essential oils, using more is not always better.

A solution to this dilemma is to create custom salves, butters, and lotion bars that make the application of essential oils a cinch.  Not only is that, crafting these concoctions and using essential oils in this manner fun, especially if you are a do-it-yourself type.  When creating your own blends, you can mix and match oils at will or stick to a tried and true healing combination.


Speaking of a tried and true healing combination, my absolute favorite is a blend that includes equal parts of Lavender, Rosemary, and Peppermint essential oils.  I love them so much, that I have convinced my favorite EO purveyor, Spark Naturals, to offer them with free shipping but more about that later.

First, though, I am recapping three essential oil recipes that simply work, and should be in everyone’s natural first aid arsenal.  They are a cinch to put together, budget friendly, smell wonderful, and are not in the least bit boring.  Not only that, they make a wonderful launching point for some great custom blends of your own.

Miracle Healing Salve – The Recipe

This is the signature recipe that has garnered almost 200 comments from readers on this website.  This all-purpose healing salve is truly a multi-purpose miracle worker!


Ingredients:
1 Cup Coconut Oil
1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 Tbl Organic Beeswax Pastilles

Containers:
8 each: 2 ounce jars or containers
** or **
4 each: 4 ounce jars (I use these Mason jelly jars)

Essential Oils:
40 drops Lavender essential oil total
40 drops Rosemary essential oil total
40 drops Peppermint essential oil total

Directions
1.  Put a pot of water on the stove to simmer.  While the water is heating, add the coconut oil, olive oil and beeswax pastilles in a heatproof jar or measuring cup.

2.  Set the jar filled with the coconut oil, olive oil, and wax into the water and leave it there until it melts, giving it a stir from time to time.  You want a slow, gentle melt so take your time.  It could take 15 or 20 minutes depending on the temperature of the water bath.

3.  While the ingredients are melting, drop your essential oils into each of the containers. For 2 ounce jars, use 5 drops of each oil (total of 15 drops per jar).  For 4 ounce jars, use 10 drops of each oil (total of 30 drops per jar).

Hint:  I have found that it is easier to use a glass medicine dropper than the dropper that comes with the bottle of essential oil.  This is optional and a matter of personal preference.

4.  Pour the melted oils into each of the smaller jars containing essential oils.  There is no need to stir unless you want to since the oils will mix up on their own.

5.  Set the filled jars aside for up to 24 hours.  Although the salve will start to firm up within minutes, it takes at least 12 hours to complete the firming process.

Healing Body Butter – The Recipe


Ingredients
1/2 cup Shea Butter
1/4 cup Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
1/4 cup (2 ounces) Liquid Carrier Oil (Almond, Olive, Fractionated Coconut, Jojoba, Hemp, etc.)
60 drops essential oils

Suggestion: 20 drops each of Lavender, Peppermint & Rosemary Essential Oils (I use Spark Naturals)

Directions
1.  Combine the Shea Butter and Coconut Oil (or other liquid carrier oil) in a large Pyrex cup or mason jar and set on the stove in a pan of simmering water.  You can also use a double boiler but this is so much easier.  Be sure to use a large vessel so that water does not splatter and contaminate the oils.

2.  Gently stir until melted.

3.  When thoroughly melted, remove your cup or jar from the water bath and set aside for 5 minutes.  During this time, the melted oils will cool just enough to prevent overheating the liquid oils.

4.  Add the remaining oils which are already in liquid form as well as the essential oils.

5.  Set aside to cool. The butter/oils will begin to harden a bit which is what you want.

Note:   I set mine in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to speed the process.

4.  Using a hand mixer (I used my blending stick), whip until you have a nice fluffy consistency.  If cooled and semi-hardened as described above, this will take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes so be patient.

Note:  Another reason you want to use a large cup or jar to melt the oils is that the whipping process will make a mess all over the place if there is insufficient heat room.

5.  Transfer your Simple Body Butter to a scrupulously clean container and you are done.  I have used both glass mason jars and plastic jars (like these) with success.

This is a small batch recipe but it can easily be doubled or even tripled.

Of course if you prefer to use different essential oils, you can do that too.  Just keep in mind that for this small batch, you will be adding about 60 drops total, depending on the quality of your oils and dilution desired.  It has been my experience that the higher quality the oil, the less you will need.

Note: 60 drops is the same dilution used with Miracle Healing Salve.  It uses a total of 30 drops of essential oil per 4 ounce jar.

Healing Lotion Bars – The Recipe

Making these Healing Lotion Bars is super simple.  The ingredients are readily available and although you can use a fancy mold like I did, you can also use a muffin tin or even an ice cube tray for shaping the bars.  After some trial and error, have found this lotion bar recipe to be just perfect!


Ingredients
1/2 cup Coconut Oil (I used Tropical Traditions)
1/4 cup Shea Butter (I used 100% unrefined from Amazon.com)
1/2 cup Beeswax Pellets
25 drops each of Lavender, Peppermint & Rosemary Essential Oils (I use Spark Naturals)

  1.  Set a pot of water on the stove and bring it to a slow simmer.  You may also use a double boiler but I prefer using a pot of water and a glass measuring cup as a make-shift version so I can better see the action.  This also makes pouring the hot liquid into the molds safer and easier.

2.  While you are waiting for the water, gather your ingredients so they are ready to go.  Add the coconut oil and beeswax to your glass measuring cup and set it aside for a moment.

3.  Measure out a chunk of Shea butter then chop it up a bit into smaller pieces.  Set the Shea butter aside for now.

4.  When the water is simmering, add the glass measuring cup holding your coconut oil and beeswax to the pan and let them melt.  Do not add the essential oils; that comes later.

5.  Give your brew a stir from time to time; this tends to speed up the melting of the wax.  For me, this step took about 10 minutes.

6.  When everything is nice and melted, quickly add the Shea butter.  It will melt quickly which is what you want.  While it is melting, stir it up like a crazy person. I read over and over that this prevents graininess so that is what I did.  I used a dinner knife but you can use a spoon, fork, or even a chopstick.

7.  Once the Shea butter is melted, quickly take your liquid off the burner and add the essential oils.  I used the same oils I use in miracle healing salve (and in about the same proportion) but you can use whatever you want.  Or none at all if you want a plain lotion bar.

8.  Quickly pour the liquid into your molds.  I used this silicone daisy mold and love the results although during my testing and trial runs, I used muffin tins, both bare and with paper liners.  They worked fine but were not as cute.  And these daisy shaped lotion bars are very cute if not a bit quirky!

9.  Set the healing lotion bars on the counter to firm up, or, do what I did and set them in the refrigerator to cool.  They will harden up in an hour or two.

10.  Once the healing lotion bars are firm, pop them out of the mold.  They are ready to use as is although I find that they cure and harden a bit more over the next few days.

Note:  The proportion and blend of essential oils is a personal choice.  Feel free to experiment.  For my healing lotion bars, I used the same oils that I use in my Miracle Healing Salve.  The recipe above made 1 1/4 cup of liquid lotion bar base so I chose to use the same proportion of 30 drops for every 4 ounces of base carrier  oil (in this case coconut oil, Shea butter, and beeswax).long before that.

Three of My Best Loved Oils are Budget Friendly + Free Shipping

Early this month, I contacted the owners of Spark Naturals and explained to them I wanted to do a recap of my favorite salve, body butter, and lotion bar recipes.  I asked them pretty-please if they would run a special free shipping offer on my three favorite oils, namely Lavender, Rosemary and Peppermint.

And they agreed!  For a limited time, Spark Naturals is offering free shipping on your entire order when you purchase any one of these three oils.  To take advantage of this offer, be sure to check FREE SHIPPING at checkout.  This offer is good through midnight, August 21.

When I say these oils are budget friendly, I mean it.  Here is a cost breakdown both before and after adding my 10% discount.

  5ml 15ml
Lavender  6.99 18.90
Rosemary 6.99 13.72
Peppermint 6.46 18.45
Total 20.44 51.07
After 10% Discount using code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout 18.40 45.96

11 Ways (So Far) to Use the Miracle Healing Salve EO Combination

The “miracle” of this combination is how easily it resolves a variety of first aid and skin care issues and woes.  Here is a short list of some od the ways I personally use this healing combination of Lavender, Rosemary, and Peppermint essential oil.

1.  Antiseptic Ointment for life’s little bumps and bruises:  Instead of Neosporin, reach for Miracle Healing Salve, Butter, or Lotion Bars to both soothe and heal cuts and scrapes.

2.  Hand and foot moisturizer:  An unbelievably emollient hand and foot moisturizer.  No more dry hands and feet – especially when using the body butter.

3.  Relief for nocturnal foot and muscle cramps.  Rub this combination of oils on the bottom of your feet and on your calves before going to bed.  You must be consistent because at least for me the results are cumulative.   I went from nightly cramps to cramping only 3 or 4 times a month.  Really, this really works.

4.  Promotes healing of scars. Slather the Miracle Salve, Butter or Lotion Bar over new scars and watch them heal in days rather than weeks.

5.  Relieves itching from insect bites, hives, and those mysterious itchy patches that won’t go away.

6.  Eliminates symptoms of mild eczema and psoriasis:  With the addition of 5 to 10 drops of Melaleuca oil (tea tree) to a jar of Miracle Salve or Body Butter, dry, ugly patch of psoriasis on Shelly’s elbow all but disappeared. In the past he has tried everything including diet changes and prescription drugs.  It took about 3 weeks for these healing essential oils to do their thing but they do work. For more immediate results, read Treating Psoriasis with Essential Oils.

7.  Makeup Remover: Smear on your face the wipe away your makeup with a damp washcloth.

8.  Facial moisturizer and serum:  Yes, really.  You would think it would be greasy but the oils absorb quickly and leave your face with a nice, dewy texture.

9.  Cuticle and nail conditioner: No more ragged cuticles or dry, splitting nails.  This is a byproduct of being diligent about #3 above.  It just happened without my realizing it.

10.  Hair serum: A few drops liquefied in your palms and then smoothed over your hair will leave it shiny and less fly-away.

11.  Relieve pet scratching and itching, too. Tucker the Awesome Wonder Dog was scratching himself in one spot on his belly so I put a little Miracle salve on the spot and a couple of hours later he stopped.  Was it the smell, the healing properties or just a coincidence?  I don’t know but it worked.

For dozens of other hints and uses, grab a cup of coffee and read through the 190 plus comments on the original DIY Healing Salve article posted in December 2014.

The Final Word

However you choose to apply your essential oils, the application method does not have to be difficult, tendious, or boring. These recipes are easy to concoct and will give you a jump start on creating synergies that work to heal in a non-toxic manner that is safe and effective for almost everyone.

Pick one, two, or all three methods.  I promise you the results will be worth the effort.  They work.

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

Via: backdoorsurvival


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Make Coffee From Chicory Root

Here’s my story of how I discovered a simple, common weed can be used to make coffee from chicory!

For several years, I’ve noticed a beautiful blue wildflower lining the road during the summer. It starts out looking like a weed, but when it blooms, the flower is the color of a Tanzanite gemstone. I’ve noticed that it also grows well along sidewalks, in gravel, or any other harsh environment you can think of. The plant is a dark green and is about 12-24 inches high. The bluish flower petals are flat at the ends, and slightly “fringed”. The leaves closest to the ground look exactly like dandelion. If you are looking for it on a sunny day, they are easy to see. But, on an overcast day or late afternoon, the flowers close up, and it’s harder to spot.

I decided to take some photos and find out what it was.

To my surprise, I found out it was chicory. I remembered hearing that it can be used to make a beverage similar to coffee, but wanted to learn more about it. I also wondered if it had any medicinal properties.


According to Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants & Herbs, the root can be mixed with water to make a diuretic or laxative. It’s used homeopathically for liver and gallbladder ailments, it can lower blood sugar, and has a slight sedative effect. Chicory root extracts have been shown to be antibacterial, and its tinctures have an anti-inflammatory effect. You can learn how to make your own tinctures fairly easily.

Next, I wanted to find out what parts of the plant were edible and how to use it to make “coffee”. I learned that its root must be dried and roasted before making a hot beverage. Its’ leaves are good for both salad and cooked greens. The white underground leaves are great as a salad green in the spring, and the outer green leaves can be boiled for 5-10 minutes and eaten. I decided to go dig up some roots and try roasting them for coffee.

Make coffee from chicory

I found plenty of chicory right around my house and along my street. I thought I could just pull them out of the ground but I was wrong.

It’s had been dry for the last week and we have a lot of clay soil, so I went and got a shovel. Once I started digging, I found some of the roots are very long. Many broke off as I tried to pry them up with my shovel, but I got a decent sized batch quickly.

I soaked them for a short time, then scrubbed the roots clean, and chopped off the rest of the plant. I put those parts in my garden to add to the compost, which is an ongoing project. I patted the roots dry, and sliced them up. I did have to get a heavier chopping knife because some of the roots have a center that is like wood. The really tough stuff, I just added to my garden, and the rest I put on a cookie sheet.

I thought I’d try roasting it slow and low. I turned my oven on to 250 degrees and watched it for a half hour or so. It seemed to dry out but not really “roast” the pieces. So, I turned up the heat to 350 degrees, and about 20-30 minutes later, a wonderful smell came from the oven. The root pieces were turning brown and smelled like chocolate, caramel and coffee, all in one. The darker it got, the better it smelled. Once I thought the chicory root was dark enough, I turned down the oven to 300 degrees, so it wouldn’t burn but just roast a little bit more. I would say the total time was about and hour and a half. I took the roasted root pieces out of the oven and let them cool to room temperature.

I took out my blender, and used the “chop” setting to grind up the roots. I checked on them after several seconds and found it was still too coarse, but once again, the smell was incredible. I think the blades created enough heat to warm the grounds and send the smell wafting up in the air. I knew I needed a finer grind, so I set the blender to “liquify”, and that worked much better. I ended up with a finer grind that almost had the appearance of cigarette tobacco.

I was finally ready to brew a cup of chicory coffee! I added 2 teaspoons into my coffee filter and add enough water to the pot for one cup of coffee. I watched it brew, and it looks dark, just like regular coffee. By the way, in a power outage, a French Press is highly recommended for every coffee lover. You can get one for less than $30, and it’s worth every penny.

Now, the taste test. First, I tried it black. It tastes just like a strong black coffee (too much chicory?) but with a definite mocha, possibly caramel flavor. I may have used too much chicory, so next time I’ll use 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons per cup when I brew.

Since I don’t normally drink black coffee, I added a tiny bit of stevia and some Coffee Mate to this aromatic concoction. Oh, my, GOSH!!!!! This is like a fabulous cup of coffee from a pricey coffee house. I really thought it wouldn’t be this good. I can’t wait to go out and gather more chicory root! If SHTF, this will be priceless. There is no caffeine in this drink, so you can have a warm beverage, late at night. I had no idea how easy it would be to make coffee from chicory.

I highly recommend foraging for this wonderful and amazing plant. I can’t believe we’ve lost so much knowledge over the years about living off the land. We all should learn foraging skills. This coffee alternative is free, abundant, delicious, and a great barter item. Better yet, just try it now to enjoy, but save some for yourself for later!

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

Via: thesurvivalmom


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How to Make Homemade Artisanal Jam Without Pectin

Nothing is more of a summer tradition here at our house than making enough homemade jam from fresh fruit to see us through the winter. Get some fruit, some sugar, and a box of pectin and you’re good to go, right? Not so fast! You can actually make jam without pectin if you use my favorite old-fashioned method of thickening your product.

Why You Might Want to Make Your Jam WITHOUT Pectin

As the name of this website implies, we like to keep things nourishing and natural.  A while back, I spent some time reading up on store-bought pectin and I was very unhappy to discover the jams I had been making for my family have been tainted with GMOs. I had unknowingly been contaminating the carefully sourced fruit and pricey turbinado sugar with the very things I strive to avoid, and I hadn’t even given it a second thought.

Most brands exclaim breathlessly, “All natural pectin” or “Made from real fruit”.  And this is true – it does originate from fruit. Sound okay, right? Don’t be deceived.  This misleading label makes it sound as though this is nothing more than some powdered fruit.

Here’s the label from the Ball pectin that was lurking in my pantry.


Storebought pectin contains additives that are most likely genetically modified.  Dextrose is generally made from corn products (GMOs that are absolutely SOAKED in glyphosate).  It is made from cornstarch, the main ingredient in good old High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Don’t let anyone tell you that citric acid is “just Vitamin C”.  It is derived from GMO mold.

Not only does store-bought pectin contain unsavory ingredients, but it is also very highly processed. According to Wikipedia, this is how it is produced:

The main raw materials for pectin production are dried citrus peel or apple pomace, both by-products of juice production. Pomace from sugar beet is also used to a small extent.

From these materials, pectin is extracted by adding hot dilute acid at pH-values from 1.5 – 3.5. During several hours of extraction, the protopectin loses some of its branching and chain length and goes into solution. After filtering, the extract is concentrated in vacuum and the pectin then precipitated by adding ethanol or isopropanol. An old technique of precipitating pectin with aluminium salts is no longer used (apart from alcohols and polyvalent cations, pectin also precipitates with proteins and detergents).

Alcohol-precipitated pectin is then separated, washed and dried. Treating the initial pectin with dilute acid leads to low-esterified pectins. When this process includes ammonium hydroxide, amidated pectins are obtained. After drying and milling, pectin is usually standardised with sugar and sometimes calcium salts or organic acids to have optimum performance in a particular application. (source)

So, if you want to avoid GMOs and processed foods, what’s a homemade-jam making mama to do?

Jam has been around for thousands of years.  The first known book of jam recipes was written in Rome in the 1st century (source). Since, I’m pretty sure our ancestors didn’t have those handy little boxes of Sure-Jell or RealFruit or Certositting in their pantries, I set out to learn how they made a thick delicious preserve to spread on their biscuits.

My first attempt at breaking up with the box was to make my own pectin with green apples. While I ended up with a tasty product, it wasn’t really jam-like.  It’s possible, considering the time of year, that the apples were too ripe to allow this to work for me. You can find instructions on how to make your own pectin from apples HERE.

I continued to read recipes and methods from days gone by. It soon became clear that adding pectin wasn’t really necessary at all. In days past, the sugar and the fruit worked hand-in-hand to create the desired consistency. If you are determined to use pectin (some fancier jams are nicer with a thicker set-up) I strongly recommend Pomona’s Universal Pectin, a non-GMO, non-toxic pectin.  Don’t be put off by the higher price – you can get several batches of jam from one packet of pectin, so it works out to a similar cost as the yucky stuff.

I combined bits from a few different methods and finally came up with a jam that the entire family was happy with. In comparison with the boxed pectin jam, it doesn’t gel quite as much, but after trying this jam, the texture of the other now seems slightly artificial to me. This produces an artisanal jam, a softer preserve with an incredibly intense fruit flavor. When using this method, you don’t get that layer of foam that you have to skim off the top like you do with the boxed pectin method. And best of all, you get two products for the price of one. You’ll have an additional sweet juice or syrup at the end of your process.

How to Make Jam without Pectin

First of all, I want to encourage you not to be deterred by the lengthy amount of time to make this jam. Very little of that time is spent hands-on. Nearly all of it is draining time. You’ll end up cooking your fruit down for far less time than the standard pectin-included method, and your fruit will taste fruitier because it’s so concentrated. Give it a try! You’ll be hooked!

  • 7 pounds of fresh or frozen fruit (approximately 14-20 cups)
  • ¼ cup of lemon or lime juice
  • 3-5 cups + 2 tbsp of sugar (I’ve varied this and have even used no sugar at all, but this seems to be the happy place for my family’s preferences)
  • A piece of clean, non-linty cotton fabric for draining (I used a flour sack towel. This will be permanently stained, so don’t use something you want to keep pretty.)

Directions:

  1. Prepare your fruit.  For berries, this means washing them and sorting them, removing little leaves and twigs, as well as berries that are shriveled.  For fruits like apples or peaches, this might mean blanching and peeling them, then removing the cores. Leave the odd green bit of fruit in, because less ripe fruit has more naturally occurring pectin than ripe fruit.
  2. Mash, finely chop, or puree your fruit.  I used a blender to puree half of the fruit, and a food processor to finely chop the other half. We prefer a rough puree texture.
  3. Pour this into a large crock or non-reactive bowl, layering your fruit with half of the sugar.  I use the ceramic insert from my crock-pot for this.
  4. Leave the fruit and sugar mixture in your refrigerator overnight.  The juice from the fruit will combine with the sugar and form a slightly gelled texture. Some liquid will separate from the sugar and fruit.
  5. The next day, line a colander with a flour sack towel.  Place the colander into a pot to catch the liquid from the fruit and sugar mixture. Pour your fruit and sugar mixture into the fabric-lined colander. Put this back in the refrigerator for at least an hour to drain. You can let it drain for longer with no ill effect – in fact this will result in an even thicker jam.

    From this point on, you’ll be making two separate products: jam and fruit syrup.

  6. When you’re ready to make jam, scoop the fruit out of the fabric-lined colander and place it in a pot with lots of open area to help it cook down faster. (This gives more space for the liquid to evaporate.)
  7. The liquid that you caught in the other pot is the basis for your fruit syrup.  You’ll have about 1-2 pints of liquid.  Place that on the stove and bring it to a rolling boil. Add 1/4 cup of sugar and a tbsp of lemon juice per pint and reduce heat to a simmer. I like to add one big spoonful of jam to this to add a little texture to the syrup.
  8. Meanwhile, on another burner, add lemon juice and bring your fruit and sugar mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently. After about an hour, the texture will have thickened. If you still have a great deal of liquid, you can use a fabric lined sieve to strain some more out. (You can add this liquid to the syrup.)
  9.  Fill sanitized jars with your products (syrup or jam).  Process the jam in a water bath canner, according to the type of fruit you are canning and making adjustments for your altitude.  Refer to the chart below for processing times.

    And there you have it…it’s easy to make an intensely fruity artisanal jam without pectin!

    Universal Jam Making Chart

    The processing times are based on sea level. Adjust these times based on your altitude.

    FRUIT

    SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

    PROCESSING TIME

    Apricot Peel, slice in half to pit 5 minutes
    Blackberry optional step: mill to remove seeds 10 minutes
    Blueberry optional step: puree 7 minutes
    Cherry Pit with a cherry pitter, chop before cooking 10 minutes
    Grape Mill to remove seeds 10 minutes
    Huckleberry Check for stems 10 minutes
    Peach Peel, slice in half to remove pits 10 minutes
    Plum Slice in half to remove pits 5 minutes
    Raspberry Crush with a potato masher 10 minutes
    Strawberry Remove cores, mash with a potato masher 10 minutes

    Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

    Via: theorganicprepper


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The Formula For Penicillin

From our friends at doomandbloom.net

=================

As you might know, I write mostly about how to deal with medical issues in situations where modern medical facilities and care don’t exist. Accumulating medications for disaster settings may be simple when it comes to finding aspirin and other non-prescription drugs, but prescription drugs will be hard to get for those who can’t write their own prescriptions or don’t have a relationship with an understanding physician.  Antibiotics are a case in point.

I consider this a major issue because there will be a much larger incidence of infections when people have to fend for themselves. In a long-term survival setting, they will perform activities to which they are not accustomed and injuries are likely.  Simple cuts and scratches from, say, chopping wood can begin to show infection, in the form of redness, heat, and swelling, within a relatively short time.

The History Channel, some years ago, aired a special called “After Armageddon“, where a family gets out of Dodge after a collapse-level catastrophe and eventually makes their way to a village of survivors. Integrating into the community, the father (a paramedic) takes to gardening and other survival-type activities. He suffers a cut which quickly becomes infected. Unfortunately, no antibiotics are available and he slowly succumbs to the infection despite knowing exactly what’s happening to him.

Treatment of infections at an early stage improves the chance that they will heal quickly and completely.  However, many rugged individualists would most likely ignore the problem until it gets worse. This is unwise, as an infection can become life threatening if not treated. Having antibiotics readily available would allow them to deal with the issue until medical help (if available at all) arrives.

ANTIBIOTIC OPTIONS IN SURVIVAL SETTINGS

Years ago, I wrote the first physician article about aquarium and avian antibiotics as a way to stockpile medications for the uncertain future.  Since the only ingredient in certain of these medications is the antibiotic itself, it’s a reasonable alternative. There are some veterinary antibiotics, like Fish-Mox, that are only produced in human dosages and appear identical to human pharmaceuticals, down to the identification numbers on the capsules. For more information, see my series of articles on the subject.

This is not to say you should treat yourself in normal times. When modern medical care is available, seek it out. The practice of medicine without a license is illegal and punishable by law.

Once in a while, I get someone who wants to know how to make penicillin (isn’t it just bread mold?).  It’s true that penicillin is a by-product of a fungus known as penicillium, which, indeed, grows on bread and fruit.  It was originally discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1929. In 1942, a moldy cantaloupe in Peoria, Illinois was found to have a strong version of it.  Most of the world’s supply of penicillin in the 1940s came from cultures of the fungus on that cantaloupe.

There is a formula for making penicillin at home. It’s next to impossible, honestly, to get all the chemicals needed to produce it safely. Besides the legal issues, home laboratories are dicey at best (just ask a local Meth dealer). To illustrate a point, however, here it is:

THE FORMULA FOR PENICILLIN


Penicillium Notatum mold

Penicillin is a by-product of the Penicillium fungus, but the thing is, it’s a by-product of a Penicillium fungus that’s under stress.  So you have to grow the fungus, and then expose it to stresses that will make it produce Penicillin.

First you need to produce a “culture” of the penicillium fungus. – Amicrobiological culture is a method of multiplying microscopic organisms by letting them reproduce in a certain environment under controlled conditions.

One of the most important things to know is that it is easy for other microbes to contaminate your penicillium culture, so use sterile techniques at all times or you will likely wind up with something entirely different (and, possibly, harmful).


general penicillin production process (from NIH)

STEP 1

Expose a slice of bread or citrus peel or a cantaloupe rind to the air in a dark place at 70 deg. F until a bluish-green mold develops.

Cut two fresh slices of whole wheat bread into ½ inch cubes and place in a 750ml Erlenmeyer flask with a non-absorbent plug. One thing you might not know is that a lot of bakeries put a substance called a mold inhibitor on bread.  This suppresses fungal growth so you should probably use bread that you baked yourself.

Sterilize the flask and contents in a pressure cooker for at least 15 minutes at 15 psi. An alternate method is to place in an oven at 315 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour.

In a sterile fashion, transfer the fungus from the bread or fruit peel into the flask containing the bread cubes. Allow the cubes to sit in the dark at 70 degrees for 5 days. This is called incubation.  That’s the easy part.

STEP 2

This is where it gets complicated. Prepare one liter of the following solution:

Lactose Monohydrate                    44.0 gm

Corn Starch                                      25.0 gm

Sodium Nitrate                                3.0 gm

Magnesium Sulfate                         0.25 gm

Potassium MonoPhosphate          0.50 gm

Glucose Monohydrate                   2.75 gm

Zinc Sulfate                                      0.044 gm

Manganese Sulfate                        0.044 gm

You’ll obviously need a scale that measures very small amounts. These are called gram scales and you can find them online.  The above ingredients can be found at chemical supply houses, but you’ll have to buy a significant amount.

Dissolve the ingredients in the order listed in 500ml of cold tap water and then add more cold water to complete a liter (1000 ml).

Adjust the pH to 5.0-5.5 using HCL (hydrochloric acid). You’ll need a pH test kit like those found at pet shops and garden supply stores. Fill glass containers with a quantity of this solution. Only use enough so that when the container is placed on its side the liquid will not touch the plug.

Sterilize the containers and solution in a pressure cooker or stove just like you did before. When it cools, scrape up about a tablespoon of the fungus from the bread cubes and throw it into the solution.

Allow the containers to incubate on their sides at 70 degrees for seven days. It’s important that they are not moved around.  If you did it correctly, you’ll have Penicillin in the liquid portion of the media. Filter the mixture through a coffee filter or something similar, plug the bottles, and refrigerate immediately.

STEP 3

To extract the penicillin from the solution:

Adjust the cold solution to pH 2.2 using (.01 %) HCL. Mix it with cold ethyl acetate in a “separatory funnel” (that’s a funnel with a stopcock; you can find all these items at chemistry glass suppliers) and shake well for 30 seconds or so.

Drain the ethyl acetate (which should be on the bottom) into a beaker which has been placed in an ice bath and repeat the process. Add 1% potassium acetate and mix. You want the ethyl acetate to evaporate off. This can be induced by a constant flow of air over the top of the beaker, say from a fan.  When it dries, the remaining crystals are a mixture of potassium penicillin and potassium acetate.

There you have it, you have put together a laboratory and made Penicillin!  You are now officially a mad scientist.

REALITY

It’s clear that making penicillin at home is beyond the ability of non-chemists.  However, it does make a point.   If there’s a major long-term disaster, there isn’t a way that anyone will be able to produce reliably safe and effective antibiotics at home. You might read about producing penicillin teas, but the issue is that you might have contamination by other molds that could be hazardous to your health.

If you are concerned about a collapse-level event, it may be wise to consider stockpiling some veterinary equivalents. At present, no prescription is necessary nor is there a limit to quantities purchased. This may eventually change as the CDC has declared that an increased “stewardship” of animal antibiotics will be necessary to combat the issue of antibiotic resistance. This is a reasonable concern, but restrictions will probably involve drugs for food animals first.

You can find lists of useful antibiotics, their veterinary equivalents, and much more in The Survival Medicine Handbook: The Essential Guide for When Medical Help is Not on the Way, now in its 700 page Third Edition. The book is available on Amazon or at DoomandBloom.net.

If you don’t want to buy fish medicine, at least grow plants that might have some antibacterial action. Garlic, for example, has scientifically proven antibacterial properties, as do some other herbs.  Honey, in its raw and unprocessed state, is also consider to be antibacterial. More on various herbal options in a future article.

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

Via: doomandbloom


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