Tag Archive: Homemade

Free Homesteading, Cooking, Prepper, Survival Kindle eBooks for 02-16-18

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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Free Homesteading, Cooking, Prepper, Survival Kindle eBooks for 02-11-18

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 02-2-18

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 02-1-18

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.


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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 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.


  • 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.


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


  • 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!


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


  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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


  • 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!


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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)



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



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.




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. 






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!

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

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

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

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)

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!

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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4 Types of Filtration to Consider for An Emergency Home Water Supply

Photo by Tim MacWelch

There are a variety of ways to tackle water filtration in an off-grid scenario.

Waterborne pathogenic organisms have been, and will continue to be, a huge threat to the safety and health of anyone who is providing their own water supply, especially from surface water sources. Dysentery and other water related ailments have been killing kings and commoners alike for millennia, and it’s still happening right now. The World Health Organization estimates that water-borne pathogens kill as many as 3.4 million people a year worldwide.

In a crisis setting, you may not be using your normal source of water. This makes filtration an even more important issue. So whether your back-up water supply comes off your roof, from a spring, or out of a tank – consider using this equipment so that you and your family don’t fall victim to the global epidemic of dirty water.

1. Carbon Filters 
These are the elements in your household “pitcher filters,” which remove chlorine, lead, iron, copper, and other not-so-tasty elements. You can also find these filter elements in the plumbing lines of OTG homes around the world.

2. Reverse Osmosis Filters
The best of the bunch in the opinion of some, reverse osmosis involves pushing water through a membrane. Particles and organisms larger than a water molecule just can’t fit through the pores. This is a fine filter for screening out pathogens, but it’s best used on already clear source water. This filter can clog the fastest, and it may also require “normal range” water pressure, something you may not have on a gravity fed system.

3. Sand Filters
These are exactly what they sound like: vessels of sand that catch and hold particulates and pathogens. These are an excellent “first step” in your system, especially if you occasionally have sediment in your water which would hopelessly clog a finer filter.

4. Ceramic Filters
I’d trust my life with these. The best ceramic filters have silver imbedded in them. The ceramic screens out the larger pathogens, and the silver kills the little ones (like viruses).

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

Via: outdoorlife

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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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