Practical Self Reliance: Storing Fresh Eggs in Limewater (Keeps 12+ Months)

Ashley Adamant at Practical Self Reliance has a good article on preserving fresh eggs – Storing Fresh Eggs in Limewater (Keeps 12+ Months)

The practice of storing eggs in lime water goes back centuries, and it’s still one of the best ways to preserve eggs without refrigeration.

Anyone whose kept chickens knows that egg production doesn’t always line up with demand.

In the spring months, you’ll be buried in fresh eggs, right when you’re excited to be outdoors planting the garden and couldn’t care less about baking.  Production stays strong all summer when it’s too hot to run the oven and you’re too worn out in the evenings to bother anyway.

Then in the fall, right as cozy weather starts, production starts to slip.  By winter, when the days are short and you’re ready for some comfort food baking, they may have stopped laying altogether.

These days, industrial chicken operations turn on banks of lights to keep the ladies cranking out eggs year-round (and just replace the chickens at 2 years old as they wear out from laying nonstop).  That’s a relatively new thing though, and the option of a steady year-round egg supply has only really existed for the past few decades.

Historically, how did people preserve eggs to ensure a steady winter supply?

The answer is, they had literally dozens of methods to preserve eggs.  They stored them in wood ash, wheat bran, and straw, or coated them with butter or lard, or kneaded them into homemade pasta that was hung to dry.

Most of the methods rely on a few simple principles:

  1. Start with clean, fresh eggs.
  2. Don’t wash the eggs at all.  That removes their natural “bloom” that prevents bacteria from entering through pores in the shell.
  3. Keep the eggs cool, but not too cold.  An egg is a living thing, and it’ll stay fresh best unwashed and at around 50 degrees (root cellar cool).
  4. If possible, seal the pores off further to prevent contamination within the egg.  Oil, ash, and lime are the most popular choices.

Simply storing fresh, unwashed eggs in a cool environment (around 50 degrees) will buy you a lot of time.  We’ve taken our fresh eggs and stored them in the basement dependably for up to 4 months, and occasionally as long as 6 months, no treatment required (so long as they’re not washed).

If you’d like to dependably store eggs for longer than 4 months, like if you’re trying to store an overabundance of spring eggs for the next winter’s baking, you’ll need a bit of help to get them to keep that long.

While many different methods work, most have drawbacks.  Storing in ash, for example, makes the eggs taste a bit musty and smokey.  Storing in salt draws water out of the egg, and makes them taste a bit salty.

Storing eggs in sodium silicate, known as “Waterglassing” was really popular for a time.  Incredibly dependable, the eggs didn’t spoil for years…but they changed.

Sodium silicate is used for sealing tile these days, and it softened the shells and penetrated the eggs…changing their flavor, and even their structure.  Waterglassed eggs whites won’t whip, and there’s never really been any testing on the impacts of eating a boatload of sodium silicate for breakfast.

So what does work?  Storing eggs in a food-safe lime solution made with pickling lime (calcium hydroxide).

The calcium solution seals the eggshells and effectively preserves the eggs for a year or more.

Though it’s called “pickling lime” it doesn’t make pickled eggs.  The process keeps the eggs in their same state, and once you pull them out of the solution they can be used just like a fresh egg.  They fry up beautifully, and the white still whip to stiff peaks.

It’s called “pickling lime” because it’s used to firm up veggies before pickling, namely dill pickles, and old fashioned watermelon rind pickles.  It works the same way to firm up the eggshells and seal them at the same time.

Don’t believe me?  Here’s someone cooking with eggs after a full year in lime water:

How to Preserve Eggs in Lime Water

Preserving eggs in lime water starts with making a lime/water solution.  The ratio is one ounce of lime powder (by weight) to one quart of water.

(That’s about 28 grams per quart of water or about 2 heaping tablespoons.)

Lime for Preserving Eggs

I’ll measure out the solution in a quart mason jar, and one quart of the solution is just about right for filling a half-gallon mason jar once the eggs have been added.

Give the jar a shake, and you’ll have a milky white liquid.  Much of the lime will settle out to the bottom over time (that’s normal), but what you’re doing here is making a saturated lime solution.

Some sources say that as little as 1 part lime to 700 parts water creates a saturated solution, but other sources say that the lime may not be completely pure and you need to use a bit more to be sure.  Still, others recommend as much as 1 part lime to 2 parts water.

At a rate of one ounce to a quart, there’s a lot that settles out of solution, and it’s a good middle ground that ensures that the solution is saturated (without wasting a boatload of lime in the process).

lime water solution

Carefully select eggs that are super fresh and clean, without cracks or issues, pulled from clean nesting boxes that day.

Fill a clean jar with the eggs, and then pour the lime-water solution over the eggs.  Be sure that the eggs are completely submerged and then cap up the jar.

Pouring lime solution over fresh eggs

Cap up the jar, and store in a cool place, like a basement, pantry, or cool closet on the north side of the house.

A half-gallon mason jar will hold roughly 14 to 18 eggs, depending on size.  You can also use something like these one-gallon glass jars, which will hold about 3 dozen eggs.

Historically, they would have been stored in wooden barrels or ceramic crocks (like this one that I use to make sauerkraut a gallon at a time).  Alternately, a food-safe plastic bucket will work if you want to store them in bulk.

We keep our jars of eggs in the basement, right next to my home-canned goods and root cellared apples.

Once you’re ready to use the eggs, simply remove them from the solution and give them a rinse before cracking.  Rinsing ensures that the lime solution doesn’t get into the egg as it’s cracked, which will impact the flavor.

Then, just cook with the eggs as you otherwise would…(continues)

See also:

Practical Self Reliance: 30+ Ways to Preserve Eggs

and this video from Homesteading Family

Economic Collapse Blog: More than half “plan to stockpile food and other essentials” for the months ahead

Michael Snyder at The Economic Collapse says that More than half of all Americans “plan to stockpile food and other essentials” for the chaotic months ahead

There was a time when preppers were relentlessly mocked, but nobody is laughing now.  Today, most Americans are thinking about stockpiling food, and this massive shift in our national mindset has been sparked by concern about what is going to happen in the months ahead.  Many Americans believe that another wave of the coronavirus pandemic is coming, others believe that our ongoing economic depression will get even deeper, and yet others are convinced that the upcoming election could produce widespread violence.  Of course there have always been people that have been deeply alarmed about future events, but we have never seen anything quite like this.  In fact, a brand new survey has found that over half of all Americans are currently planning “to stockpile food and other essentials”

Slightly more than half of Americans in a recent poll from Sports and Leisure Research Group say they already have or plan to stockpile food and other essentials. The chief reason: fears of a resurgent pandemic, which could lead to disruptions such as new restrictions on businesses. On Oct. 2, the number of COVID-19 cases in the USA was its highest in almost two months.

People still remember the shortages that we witnessed earlier this year when the coronavirus pandemic first erupted in this country, and those that ended up being stuck at home without enough toilet paper would rather not repeat that experience.

So as the mainstream media continues to hype a new wave of the pandemic, we should expect to see Americans hitting the grocery stores really hard.  And according to data company Envestnet Yodlee, there is evidence that this is already happening

Already, there’s some evidence that grocery sales are rising, according to data from industry sources. The typical bill for a trip to the grocery store rose to $72 for the week ended October 6, or 11% higher from the week before, according to data company Envestnet Yodlee.

“That’s the highest we’ve seen since the first week of June and the second-highest since we started tracking this in January,” said Bill Parsons, group president of data and analytics at Evestnet.

Fortunately, many grocery store chains anticipated a spike in demand in advance and started stocking up ahead of time.  The following comes from CNN

Grocery stores across the United States are stocking up on products to avoid shortages during a second wave of coronavirus.

Household products — including paper towels and Clorox wipes — have been difficult to find at times during the pandemic, and if grocery stores aren’t stocked up and prepared for second wave this winter, runs on products and shortages could happen again.

During a time when other retailers all over the nation are failing at a pace that we have never seen before, many grocery store chains are actually experiencing booming sales.

And of course I have been warning that this would eventually happen for a very long time.  During a time of crisis, demand for food and other essentials tends to go up and demand for non-essential items tends to go down.

Needless to say, this is something that is not just happening in the United States.  All over the world we have seen demand for food on the rise, and this comes at a time when global food production has become increasingly stressed.

As a result, food prices all over the world are starting to escalate quite aggressively

Food prices continue rising during the coronavirus pandemic, jeopardizing food security for tens of millions worldwide.

On Thursday, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations said world food prices rose for the fourth consecutive month in September, led by surging prices for cereals and vegetable oils, reported Reuters.

FAO’s food price index, which tracks the international prices of the top traded food commodities (cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat, and sugar), averaged 97.9 in September versus a downwardly revised 95.9 in August.

Sadly, this is just the beginning.

Global food supplies will continue to get even tighter, and global demand for food will just continue to shoot higher.

So I would stock up while you still can, because prices will never be lower than they are right now.

Meanwhile, our society continues to unravel right in front of our eyes.  You would think that the Lakers winning the NBA title would be a time to celebrate for the city of Los Angeles, but instead large crowds of young people used it as an opportunity to riot and attack police officers

A crowd of more than 1,000 revelers descended into the area around Staples Center after the game. Unruly individuals mixed within the crowd began throwing glass bottles, rocks, and other projectiles at officers. That is when an unlawful assembly was declared, and only a limited number of people complied and began to disperse. A larger portion of the group broke off and began vandalizing businesses while continuing to engage in violent behavior, some aimed at responding officers.

In Portland, protesters just toppled statues of Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln during a “day of rage”, but the mainstream media didn’t seem to think that this was any sort of a problem.

And in the middle of the country, the violence never seems to stop in the city of Chicago

Five people were killed and 48 others were injured by gunfire this weekend in Chicago. Five of those wounded were teenagers.

Last weekend saw 37 people shot throughout the city, five of them fatally.

Of course things could soon get a whole lot worse.

According to one recent survey, 56 percent of all Americans expect “an increase in violence as a result of the election”.

Isn’t that incredibly sad?

Many are still hoping that such a scenario can be avoided if one of the candidates is able to build an extremely large lead on election night.  A large enough lead could potentially cause the candidate that is behind to concede fairly quickly, and that may ease tensions.

But I wouldn’t count on that.

At this point we are about 500 hours away from the election, and both sides are indicating that they are prepared to fight until the bitter end.

And the side that ultimately ends up losing is likely to throw a massive temper tantrum, and that won’t be good for our country at all.

So it makes sense that so many Americans are making extra preparations for the months that are ahead, because it definitely appears that they could be quite rocky.

Six Figures Under: What We Learned from Our Quarantine Food Storage Challenge

Stephanie at Six Figures Under has an article about What We Learned from Our Quarantine Food Storage Challenge during the first few months of the pandemic.

After three months of eating from our pantry, freezer, and long-term food storage, our Quarantine Food Storage Challenge is coming to an end.  Today I’m sharing some of what we learned. Hopefully something will be helpful to you as you plan to be more prepared with your own food.

First we’ll cover the three reasons we decided to end our open-ended challenge now. Then I’ll go over lessons we learned and what we plan to do about it!

For those of you who look forward to these updates, this won’t be the end of talking about food storage!  In the coming weeks, I will take the focus off MY food storage and start talking about YOUR food storage (how to get started, what to store, how much to store, how to keep track, how to use it).

As I’ve started reading through hundreds of responses in the 2020 Six Figures Under Reader Survey, I see that many of you are interested in building up your own food storage and would like some guidance.  (If you haven’t shared your thoughts, I would really love if you would take a couple of minutes to complete the survey).

Why we are ending our food storage challenge

When we started our challenge, we weren’t sure how long it would last.  I know some of you will be surprised or disappointed that we’re concluding it now, and I want to explain why we are deciding to go back to grocery shopping.  Essentially it’s because we accomplished what we set out to do. Let me break that down into specifics.

The primary reason we started the challenge was to keep ourselves and others safe by not going to the grocery store during the pandemic.  At the outset of this, there wasn’t a full understanding of how this novel coronavirus was transmitted.  Now that we have a better understanding, we feel like occasional trips to the grocery store are generally safe. Thankfully the outbreak in our area hasn’t been too terrible.

The secondary reason for undertaking a food storage challenge was to give our food storage a test drive.  While we have stored food for years, we really didn’t have a grasp of how much we would really need and what things we would wish we had more of.  We’ve figured a lot of those details out as we have monitored what we have used during the last three months challenge of not grocery shopping.  Now we have a better idea of what and how much we should store for our family.

The third reason for ending our food storage challenge now, rather than continuing the challenge indefinitely, is so we can make the effort to restock and update our food storage.  The future is uncertain in many ways, including potential continued disruptions in the food supply chain, so while we have the ability to stock up, we want to do so. You will see us implementing changes to our food storage in the near future.

What we learned from eating from our food storage challenge

How much food storage our family needs

As I’ve learned about food storage from a “scholarly” perspective, I learned how many pounds of this or that that you need per person for a certain length of time, but I had no idea how that would play out in real life. The suggested amount of 150 lb of wheat per person age 8+ (and half that for kids under 8) for a year supply doesn’t come with a menu or even a recipe book.

I had no idea if this was a low ball or high ball estimate.  I wasn’t sure if that was a “keep us alive” amount or a “life as usual” amount.  That’s about 12.5 lb per person per month.

Our family has 5 people age 8+ and 2 people under age 8 (I’m not including the baby in this count).  With that estimate, we would use 75 lb of wheat in a month.

I would have to say that estimate is nearly spot on.  We ate about 80 lb of wheat per month during our challenge.  Essentially that was just used for bread, pancakes, waffles, and other baked goods.

I’m still working on recording everything in our spreadsheet so we can calculate our own family’s consumption rate and create a customized food storage plan just for us.

What surprised us

If you followed along with our weekly updates during the challenge, you may remember that in the beginning I was having a little panic attack about some essentials that I thought we were low on like yeast, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, salt, and oil.

In the beginning we had no idea how long the quarantine/lockdown phase would last and what shortages there would be.  We didn’t know how long we would choose to continue our challenge or if at some point it would no longer be our choice.  Either way, I wanted to be prepared, so I purchased some of these staples online.

As it turned out, I haven’t opened the 5 lb bag of yeast.  We have used only about a pound and a half of yeast in the past 3 months.  That is partly due to reducing the yeast in all of our recipes by half (with no problems).

We also haven’t had to open the 5 lb bags of baking soda or baking powder!

Of the 4 gallons of oil that I bought at the beginning of the challenge (knowing that they were essential for all of the baking I would be doing), I still have 3 left.

What we NEED to stock more of

We are probably good on wheat, powdered milk, beans, applesauce, etc, but there are some areas where our food storage is lacking. We’ll use a one-year supply as a measuring stick because that’s how many food storage recommendations are made. Feel free to divide by four if you want to build up to a 3-month supply or divide by two for a 6-month supply.

Salt– Salt is such a simple ingredient, but it’s essential!  It’s literally the cheapest food storage item out there.  And we didn’t have enough stored.  In fact, we were nearly out!  Right at the beginning of the challenge, I bought a few packages of salt from Walmart. Otherwise we would have been completely out!  That’s embarrassing!  For a year supply, it’s recommended that you store 8 lbs per person (that’s 4 regular salt containers per person).

Oil– We used just under 1 gallon of oil per month.  That means we would need roughly 12 gallons for a year supply.  This is one of those things you don’t just buy and tuck away for a disaster. It’s important to rotate through your stored oil or it will eventually go rancid.

Sugar– It’s recommended to store 60 pounds of sugar (in some form) per person for a year’s supply.  We don’t have anywhere near that, so this is definitely an area for us to work on going forward.

Oats– Oats are a major staple for us, but we haven’t stocked up for a while so we were low when the challenge started.  My MIL gave us a 25 lb bag of oats that she had, which is what we’re currently eating.

Rice– We didn’t run out of rice, but we are low and don’t have anywhere near what we would need for a year supply.

Pasta– We generally eat a lot of pasta. It’s fast, easy, and everyone likes it. We had quite a bit on hand at the beginning of our challenge, but we would have run out during the second month if we weren’t being careful with it. Of course, with an abundance of wheat and eggs, we could decide to make our own pasta, but while that would be delicious, it would no longer be fast and easy.

Peanut butter- We typically buy peanut butter for about two months at a time, but we definitely need to store more.  Peanut butter an jelly sandwiches are a staple in this house!  As long as we rotate through what we have, there won’t be a problem with spoilage or waste.

Jam/Jelly– As an important ingredient in PBJs, we need to store more jam!  In the past when we’ve had easy access to free blackberries, we’ve made loads of our own jam.  It’s been a while since we’ve made jam in large quantities, so we’ve been buying it.  We have both blackberries and raspberries growing on our property now, so hopefully we can get back into making our own jam.

Cocoa Powder– We have around 10 lb, but we need more for a long-term supply. And yes, cocoa powder is an essential storage ingredient for us!

What we WANT to stock more of

Some of the things we want to stock more of in our food storage are:

Cheese– Over the next few months, we’re planning to store more cheese.  We’ll keep a reserve in the freezer and rotate through it.  By no means will it be a year supply, but if we need to live strictly off our food storage again we can ration it.  During this challenge we stretched about 5 lb of cheese to last for two and a half months, which, for a family with cheese habits like us, is impressive.

Butter– Butter is our fat of choice when it comes to baking and cooking, but throughout this challenge we had to rely on alternatives like canola oil and shortening because we only had 5 lbs of butter in the freezer at the outset of this challenge.  We actually still have a pound of butter left because we were being careful to ration it. Like cheese, I plan to store more in the freezer.

Raisins– We eat a lot of oatmeal, cream of wheat, and other hot breakfast cereals and raisins are a favorite add-in.  We should definitely store more of them!

Chocolate Chips– For baking and for mom snacks when there isn’t anything else sweet around.

Salsa– We are fortunate to have hens that keep us well stocked up in eggs (at least in the warm months).  We love having salsa to make fried eggs more exciting.

This obviously doesn’t include the normal everyday staples that we’ll be buying when we go back to the store next week like milk, sour cream, tortillas, chicken, ground beef, or pork (if it’s available and not crazy expensive), lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, celery, strawberries, apples, bananas, and other fresh produce.

Other things we learned during the food storage challenge

Understanding  the practical implications of eating from our food storage has been very valuable and will help so much as we go forward.  But a clearer picture of how long our food storage will actually last isn’t the only good thing that came from this challenge.  Here are a few other things we learned (or re-learned).

Eat all leftovers so nothing is wasted

We’ve always been pretty good about eating leftovers and not letting them go to waste, but during this challenge we were especially conscious of not wasting food.  Our food supply felt more finite that it normally does since we weren’t shopping to replenish it.  That made us more aware of not wasting any food.

Don’t overeat just because something tastes good

Another way to waste food is to overeat.  We don’t usually think of overeating as wasting food, but that’s really what it is. Mike and I were careful to stop eating when we were full instead of continuing to eat just because something was tasty.

Try new things

We took advantage of the extra time during quarantine to experiment and try making and eating new things. A lot of you thought it was funny that I had bever made split pea soup before.  Well now we’ve had it several times and really like it!  We’ve made tortillas from scratch.  We learned a few ways to make cheese.  And now that the older kids can make bread by themselves, we’ve been enjoying delicious homemade bread even though I haven’t made any for the last month!

Whew!  That was a lot!  Thanks for sticking with me!

Like I said, next week I will take the focus off MY food storage and start talking about YOUR food storage.  I’m excited to help you get started on or improve your food storage situation.  Let me know if there’s anything specific you want me to make sure to cover!

Prep School Daily: Basic Food Storage–An In-Depth Discussion of Dry Milk

Here’s an article from last year at Prep School Daily on options for dry milk – Basic Food Storage–An In-Depth Discussion of Dry Milk. When the lockdowns first started, milk was a bit scarce at local stores so we used the dry milk in our food storage to supplement the regular milk we already had. Even if you don’t have the best tasting dry milk, it can be pretty good if you mix it half and half with some regular milk — so you’re using it to stretch your fresh product, rather than completely replacing it.

Is this really what my life has come to?  While I never pictured myself becoming famous (zero desire for that) or rich (security has its advantages) or saving the world, somehow I guess I thought I’d be doing something a little more exciting than writing about dry milk.  Something a little juicier.

But alas, here we are.

Last week I taught a class all about dry milk for about a dozen people at church, and in the process I learned a few things and thought I should share that bit of knowledge with my readers.  And before doing that, I thought I should review what I’d already written.  And to my shock I found that I’d never actually written anything about dry milk!

So without further adieu, let’s delve into the mysterious world of powdered milk.

First off, we have to define each of the kinds of dry milk.

Non-instant nonfat milk is not sold by a lot of companies.  I found one seller on Amazon and non-instant nonfat is also what is sold by the Home Storage Center (HSC). It is processed by drum drying, where the milk is sprayed on a heated drum and then scraped off.  The drum is heated and the resultant dry milk has a cooked flavor to it.  It is generally much less expensive than instant nonfat.  As the name suggests, it does not mix instantly, but takes a bit more stirring.  It has a reputation of being less palatable than instant.

Instant nonfat milk is far more popular, easy to find through all preparedness vendors and at grocery stores.  It is processed by evaporation and spraying into a heated chamber where the milk dries almost immediately.  It is a more expensive process.  There is a wide range in price and palatability.

Instant milk drink is promoted as being the best-tasting.  And it is!  BUT IT’S NOT REAL MILK!  In fact, if you take a look at the list of ingredients, milk is number 3 on that list (at least, for Morning Moos).  It can’t possibly be more than 33% milk.  Kinda disturbing.

There are also instant lowfat and whole milk options.  These are not packaged for long term storage, and even if they were, they don’t have the shelf-life of long-term storage.

In the process of preparing to teach the class last week, I decided to take a look at the nutrition information label for the instant milk drinks to compare with the dry milk powders.   And I discovered that there is quite a range in the vitamin and mineral content of the various products.  Because milk is the primary dietary source of vitamin D for most people in their food storage, it’s something we really need to pay attention to.

However, it doesn’t really matter how much more nutritious one brand is over another if it doesn’t taste good, unless it is only being used in baking and cooking.  If your child refuses to drink it, it won’t matter that it’s got the most vitamins and minerals, right?  And you know you can’t blame them, because you remember pretty well how nasty some dry milk can be.

So doing a taste test is pretty important, especially before forking out a significant chunk of change.  Milk is definitely not cheap.  I’m including the results of three taste tests here. All are for pretty small groups.  One is from a group in Utah that posted their results online.  Another is from a class I taught in Missouri about seven years ago.  And finally, there are the results from my class last week.

For the Utah group, they tested the following milks and milk drinks:  Emergency Essentials, Country Cream, Walton Feed, Augason Farms, HSC, Walmart store brand fresh nonfat milk (control), Honeyville,  and store brands.  All were mixed according to directions and chilled well.  Sugar and vanilla extract were not added to any of their samples.  In their taste test (which was held nine years ago), the HSC milk (from a freshly-opened, freshly-canned can) scored the worst.  Provident Pantry (now Emergency Essentials) was rated the highest.

In my class in Missouri, seven years ago, we had five different samples.  I’m working from memory here, so please bear with me.  We had the Provident Pantry brand (which now carries the Emergency Essentials name), Grandma’s Country Cream, a brand I can’t remember for the life of me, one sample from the Home Storage Center that was mixed according to directions, and another sample from the Home Storage Center to which sugar and vanilla extract were added.  In our small-ish group, choices for the best milk divided pretty evenly between Provident Pantry, Grandma’s Country Cream, and the one I can’t remember.  Everyone put the milk from the Home Storage Center, unadulterated, in last place.  What was surprising to all of us was that everyone picked the milk from the HSC to which we added vanilla and sugar as the second best.

In my class last week we had seven different milk choices. All of the milk products that were acquired years ago have been stored at recommended temperatures since purchase.  The cans from the HSC, Provident Pantry, and Grandma’s Country Cream were all opened last week.  Except for the sample with vanilla and sugar, all were mixed according to package directions.  All were well chilled.  Taste testers ranked the samples from 1 to 5, with 5 being the best and 1 being they’d rather die than drink it again.

I was surprised by some of the results.  I will note that most of the taste testers this week were over the age of 50, and I really think there is some change in the taste buds when we get older.  It’s so important to taste and see what we like best.  We have our ideas of what tastes good, what something is supposed to taste like.  I’m pretty happy to eat store brands of most foods, but my graham crackers better be Honey Maid, and my saltines better be Premium or Krispy.

My cans of Provident Pantry and Country Cream were ten years old.  The cans from the HSC were from 2001 and 2010.  Carnation, Kroger, and WinCo bulk were all fresh purchases.

Coming in at a solid last place was Carnation, with an average of 2.1.  I’d have thought they would have figured out the milk business by now.  Kroger scored 2.9.  Provident Pantry, 3.3.  WinCo bulk bin, 3.4.  Country Cream, 3.9.  HSC without any additives, 3.6.  HSC with sugar and vanilla, 4.1.

For the nutrition analysis:            Vit A   Vit C  Vit D  Calcium      Cost        Servings     Cost/Serving
Carnation                                      10%      2%     25%      30%       $0.99             4                  $0.25
Kroger                                           15         —       15          20             2.31           12                   0.19
WinCo bulk                                      (not noted)
Provident Pantry                            0          2          0          25
Country Cream                              0          0        10          30
HSC (2001, no additives)             10        4          25         35
HSC (2010, sugar and vanilla)     15        4          40         35

For comparison, what’s currently available
HSC                                              10        4          25         35            4.00           29                   0.14
Country Cream                               2        2          10         30          18.99           64                   0.30
Augason Farms                             15        2          10        20           22.99           39                  0.59
Thrive                                             0        0          10         20           10.49          15                   0.70
Emergency Essentials                   10        4          25        30           18.95           45                   0.42
Augason Farms Morning Moo     10        0          15         10           23.99           93                 0.26
(Carnation and Kroger remain the same)


As you can see, the various milk products different dramatically in nutrition and cost per serving.  All servings are eight ounces each.

The clear winner for cost per serving is the HSC milk at 14 cents per serving.  Even factoring in the cost of sugar and vanilla extract (at $4.00 per ounce currently), it’s 22 cents per serving to make a milk that tastes as good as the more expensive brands.  If you look at the nutritional content, the HSC is the winner again, just barely surpassing the Emergency Essentials brand.  The others just don’t even hold a candle, especially when you factor in how important vitamin D is in the diet, and even more so for children.  In case you don’t remember, where else can you get vitamin D in your diet?  Fish, beef liver, eggs, and cod liver oil.  Or supplements.  Keep in mind that 42% of American adults are deficient in vitamin D.  And in the early 1900s, before milk was fortified, 90% of children in Boston and New York had rickets.  Make sure you plan well for the children in your life.

Another method for improving the taste is to add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more milk powder per quart of milk.  We didn’t try this for the class and I have no experience with it.  It’s just something you may wish to try yourself.

For the class last week, we didn’t just taste test milk, though that was a really important part of the class.  I also showed participants how to use the inexpensive HSC dry milk in their everyday cooking.  We taste tested instant oatmeal, cream of tomato soup, survival bars, and chocolate pudding.  Even if people prefer the more expensive milks for drinking, it’s important to see that less expensive milk can successfully be used for cooking and baking.  However, it is very important to note that the measurements of dry milk for baking are not necessarily interchangeable.  It takes anywhere from 2/3 cup to 1 1/3 cups of powdered milk to make a quart of liquid milk.  All recipes on this blog, unless otherwise noted, are made using HSC milk, which uses of a ratio of 3/4 cup dry milk to 3 3/4 cups water.

Yanasa Ama Ventures: Is a Global Famine Coming?

Yanasa Ama Ventures is a video company run by a ranching couple, focusing on agricultural, wildlife, and conservation videography. Besides offering such services, they also have a wide variety of ranch tutorial, tips, news and opinion pieces on their Youtube channel. Below they talk about a variety of food problems occurring across the globe, and what they may portend for the future. The novel coronavirus and its effect on global supply chains is pretty well known at this point, but there are a host of other issues as well. If you’re not keeping track, China is dealing with droughts, pestilence, and historic flooding, parts of Africa are dealing with droughts and locust plagues, and Russia has been limiting their exports of grains whether to protect domestic supply or for political power. Yanasa Ama talks about some of these topics in the video, as well as the effects of a solar minimum. You can also find articles like this one from NPR, saying there is no need to worry about food shortages, but it relies on computer models which say that because food supply has increased for many years, it will continue to increase for many years. While that may be true over time (much like holding stocks), it doesn’t account for bad years, or deny that there could be famine in some years.

“Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping’s call for an end to food waste is a sign that the communist country is facing a shortage of grains and pork after months of flooding, insect infestations, the African swine fever (ASF), and the impact of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).” – Taiwan News

“In 2020, locusts have swarmed in large numbers in dozens of countries, including Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Somalia, Eritrea, India, Pakistan, Iran, Yemen, Oman and Saudi Arabia. When swarms affect several countries at once in very large numbers, it is known as a plague.” – BBC

“Southern Africa is suffering through its worst drought in several decades and perhaps a century. Drought and its associated impacts have been causing critical problems for agriculture, vulnerable communities and overall development for many years in South Africa. This year they need to import more than 100,000 tones of cereal to survive famine. “ – Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital

“The coronavirus has revealed how risky it can be to rely on Russia for grain imports. Despite warnings from the WHO and WTO, Russia imposed an export quota on critical grains such as wheat, barley, and maize as the virus swept across the globe…Whether for domestic food security or international hybrid warfare, Russia’s behavior in 2010 and now during the coronavirus foreshadows new dangers in a warming world. ” – National Interest

 

Seattle Times: Washington State Stockpiling Food

Derek Sandison, director of the Washington state Department of Agriculture, tours a Fife warehouse Friday that’s packed with nonperishable food the state can tap if demand at food banks and other distribution centers soars amid the pandemic and resulting economic collapse. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

From the Seattle Times, From peanut butter to applesauce, Washington state stockpiles tons of food for the need ahead. Note that even The Seattle Times references the “resulting economic collapse” as a reason for having food stockpiled.

In Washington state’s new food warehouse, there’s enough Jif peanut butter to make nearly 3 million sandwiches.

Barilla pasta boxes stretch to the ceiling, 100,000 in all. Large stacks of TreeTop applesauce, pancake mix and canned green beans sit on pallets, like soldiers waiting to be sent into duty.

Since the coronavirus crisis first rocked Washington in March, nonprofits and state agencies working in food assistance have been forced to draw a completely new road map for getting food to people who need it.

The warehouse in Fife is part of that new model. After seeing food banks struggle to meet demand once the pandemic hit and the economy tanked, the Washington state Department of Agriculture (WSDA) began preparing to buy and stockpile tons of food to ward off a shortage in the months ahead.

The new stockpile is driven by two major factors: A nearly doubling in demand for food assistance across the state and a national food supply chain that is bogged down amid an overwhelming surge in demand.

As many as 2.2 million Washingtonians — about 30% of the state’s population — are facing food insecurity, according to Katie Rains, WSDA food policy advisor. That’s more than double the 850,000 state residents who sought help from food assistance programs last November, before the pandemic. 

We’ve been in this very desperate situation starting toward the end of March,” said WSDA Director Derek Sandison. “This [warehouse] is a continuation of our efforts to make sure we have fusions of product that will help us to continue to weather the storm.”

The storm took hold in mid-April, Sandison said during a tour of the warehouse on Friday. That’s when the state’s three main food bank distributors — Food Lifeline, Northwest Harvest and Second Harvest — told the WSDA that based on the spike in requests for food assistance, the organizations had roughly a two-week supply of food for hunger relief.

“We went into panic mode,” Sandison said. “That’s not an exaggeration. … So we jumped in with both feet and started active procurement on our end.”

But as the WSDA was trying to buy as much nonperishable food as it could to increase the state’s emergency reserves, so was everyone else.

Not only was the WSDA competing with other states and large national food-assistance programs, it also faced competition from grocery stores as national supplies of products such as pasta and peanut butter were becoming increasingly hard to come by.

“Peanut butter was a very highly wanted and needed commodity,” said Gary Newte, sourcing and product director for Northwest Harvest. “Peanut butter prices have probably tripled in the last three to four months.”

These high costs are having significant effects on the big food bank distributors’ bottom lines.

“Over a seven-month span during this crisis, we’ll spend more on purchasing food than we have for the previous four years combined,” said Thomas Reynolds, CEO of Northwest Harvest.

And six months into the pandemic and economic crisis, those costs haven’t gone down, Newte said. Many food distributors are still waiting on food they ordered months ago, he said…

Click here to read the entire article at The Seattle Times.

 

Christian Prepper Gal: Proper Storage of DIY Emergency Meals

Christian Prepper Gal has a thorough article on How to Properly Package and Store Homemade DIY Emergency Meals.

Vacuum sealing vs mylar bags

When I first learned that we could dehydrate food and keep it for long term food storage I was so excited!! I immediately bought an inexpensive, but good, dehydrator. While looking for recipes and such as to what to do with my new dehydrated foods I ran across what are called meals in a jar. I wasn’t really looking for meals in a jar because the emergency meals I had were for us to use if we had to “bug out”. So, I didn’t get too excited about them. That is, until I ran across a YouTube video of what this lady was calling a “meal in a bag”. Hmmm. Now that was something I could get interested in!

I already had some military MREs in our food storage, and was aware of emergency foods such as Mountain House and Wise Foods meals. I even had a couple of sample kits of emergency meals. So, I knew that not only would these meals be cheaper to make myself, but they would also be healthier. And, I could make food that my family would actually eat! (I have very picky eaters here.) So, I started looking for other recipes because I like to have a variety of foods and choices. But, recipes were not that easy to find. So, I started experimenting with how I could make up my own recipes. And, that’s how I started making my own meals in a bag!

However, upon further research for meals in a bag I became confused. I thought you could store the meals in either a mylar bag or a vacuum sealer bag. Well, actually you can store in either. But, what I discovered along the way is that the mylar bags will last longer than the vacuum sealer bags. I’ve even done videos and written recipes using and suggesting you could use either mylar bags or vacuum sealer bags to store the meals. And, that’s why I decided to write this article to explain the difference as well as the way you should store meals in a bag or jar and other dehydrated/freeze dried foods.

Mylar Bags

Mylar bags are deemed to be by far the best way to store meals in a bag. Apparently mylar bags are made for long term use. I do not personally know how long they will last because I’ve only been using them for a couple of years. Supposedly, they are good for 25 plus years. And that’s what makes them superior to vacuum sealer bags. Although, that does not mean you can’t continue to use vacuum seale bags if that’s what you are using. I will explain that in just a bit.

When storing dehydrated or freeze dried food in a mylar bag you will need to place an active oxygen absorber inside the bag before sealing the bag. The oxygen absorber draws all of the oxygen that is in the bag. It usually takes 3-4 hours to do so; however, I’ve had some take as long as overnight.

Not sure what size oxygen absorbers you need? Since I use either pint or quart size mylar bags for my meals I use 300cc oxygen absorbers. Although, a 100cc size is recommended as a minimum. I’ve also read that the 300cc is what is recommended for the gallon size. My first mylar bag purchase included the 300cc so that’s what I’ve gone with since.

It is easy to seal mylar bags. They have to be sealed with a high heat. Most vacuum sealers do not have a high enough heat to seal mylar bags properly and it is recommeded that you do not use the sealer on them. But, not to worry. All you have to have to seal mylar bags properly is a flat straightening iron that is used for straightening hair. That’s right! Just clamp one half of the top portion of the bag with the straightening iron, hold it there for around 20-30 seconds, turn the bag over and do the same to the other half. Easy and simple! Oh, and vacuum sealers will not draw the air out of a mylar bag propery either. They weren’t made for mylar bags and mylar bags were not made for vacuum sealers. You can also use an impulse heat sealer to seal the mylar bags if you prefer and it is within your budget to buy one.

A quick note: The mylar bag above has a zipper at the top. Just so you know, that does NOT mean that you do not have to seal the bag. You just seal it above the zipper. The zipper is so you can open the bag and zip it shut, or re-use it. It does not keep air completely out of the bag like heat sealing it does.

Vacuum Sealer Bags

As stated above, I started out using vacuum sealer bags for my homemade emergency meals. However, upon learning that they will only last for around two to five years before air will start to seep back in through the pores of the plastic, I stopped using them for my meals. They may last longer than said two to five years, but I did not want to take that chance.

The vacuum sealer bags are epecially susceptible to leaking when storing rice or other sharp dehydrated foods in them. So, if you are or did use these you will need to check them once in a while to make sure they are not leaking. One way to help avoid this is to place rice or other sharp foods inside a brown paper bag before placing them into the vacuum sealer bag. I’ve also used thick paper towels to help protect food from poking through. All it takes is a tiny pin prick size hole to allow enough air in to spoil the food.

As long as you check the bags often and rotate them (cooking the food in the bags and replacing them with new meals in a bag) every couple of years you should be just fine using the vacuum sealer bags. I didn’t throw out the ones I have in vacuum sealer bags because I know they will be good for a couple of more years and I just plan on rotating them out.

Canning Jars…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Christian Prepper Gal.

Food Preservation

Our tomato plants are starting to produce an abundance of paste tomatoes. We’ve just finished canning our first excess of tomatoes for the summer. We dehydrate our goji berries in batches as we harvest the ripe berries. We’ve previously canned up elderflower cordial earlier this summer and enjoy refreshing and healthy spritzers in the heat. Blackberry and blackberry/apricot jams have been stored up in jars. The first ripe watermelon was devoured this afternoon; will we preserve some rind?

Food preservation has become something of a lost art in this day and age, but a lot of people still express an interest in the practice. Where can you learn more about it if you don’t already have a friend who has been preserving food? One way is through books. The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving or The Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving are stand-bys that have been updated over the years. They mostly just cover canning, but have very reliable recipes and instructions that are easy to understand for beginners. If you can learn through reading, but don’t want a whole book on the topic, Instructables has a free online course on Canning and Preserving which lets you work through six topics at your own pace.

For a more visual approach and covering more topics, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Extension has a video series on Youtube called Preserving Alaska’s Bounty which gives you an overview of several preservation topics, including water bath canning, pressure canning, sausage-making, fruit leathers, sauerkraut, dehydrating, and more. The videos are a bit dated, but still have good basic info. Youtube user Homestead Heart also has a playlist for food preservation. English Country Life’s Youtube channel has a food preservation playlist which includes things like curing bacon, smoking food, lard, and more. A more technical or science explanation of food preservation can be found with FoodSci with ProfVigeant.

The WSU Extension normally has an online, food preservation program called Preserve the Taste of Summer, but it appears to be closed for the year. Click here to download a PDF flyer with details about the course cost and syllabus. Similarly, the University of Idaho Extension has a Preserve @ Home online program, which next airs in January 2021. Click here for a past Preserve @ Home flyer.

Other web resources include:

National Center for Home Food Preservation (Univ of Georgia) and its related website Preserving Food at Home.

Healthy Canning

The Home Preserving Bible

FoodPreserving.org This one is Australian. Weights are giving in both grams and pounds, while other volume measurements are in the familiar cups and teaspoons.

Now, go forth to a new life, rising through food preservation methods to self-sufficiency, peace and plenty.

Survival Mom: The Food Storage Companies I Recommend and Why

Survival Mom has written an article about her experiences with a few well known food storage companies in The Food Storage Companies I Recommend and Why. I’ve made purchases from almost all of those mentioned as well, and my own experiences mirror hers – Thrive and Emergency Essentials are my top go-tos, but I’ve used the others for bulk purchases that I have packed for long term storage myself. Mountain House has good quality, but we prefer ingredient-based storage to complete meal storage.

The Food Storage Companies I Recommend and Why via The Survival Mom

Over the years I’ve purchased “survival” food from a dozen or so different companies, and believe me, not all companies that sell that type of food are the same. In a couple of instances, the food was so bad that even I, a pretty damn good cook, couldn’t salvage the end result.

If you’re going to invest money in freeze-dried and dehydrated food, then it’s worth the time to research and try sample-sizes of a company’s product before stocking up.

Some of the brands I’ve used and purchased are Thrive Life, Legacy Foods, Honeyville, Emergency Essentials, and the one widely-marketed brand that was the worst and which will remain nameless. (Wise consumers will be well-advised to steer clear of that particular brand.)

Currently, the company I use most often is Thrive Life.  Over the years and hundreds of cans of their food, I’ve found their quality, taste, and variety to be the best. Disclaimer: I like their food so much that I am an “independent consultant” for their company and earn a commission for any sales generated from my link.

Thrive Life foods

Thrive Life has an outstanding, user-friendly website, and a huge array of mostly freeze-dried foods that can be incorporated in thousands of recipes. This is my recommended form of food storage — individual ingredients that give you unlimited recipe options.

Just-add-water meals come in handy for events like power outages and quick evacuations but they do limit your meal choices to just the varieties you have on hand. Thrive Life offers the opportunity to earn money and have foods auto-shipped, which has helped me stay on track with food storage goals and build a supply of freeze-dried food. In short, they have some unique features similar companies do not offer. I’ve been a Thrive Life consultant for 8 years and most of my own food storage comes from this company.

The Best Food Storage Company?

So what about other companies such as Emergency Essentials, Walton Feed, Augason Farms, and Honeyville?

None of these companies are inferior, they just don’t rise to the top in the various categories that I personally find to be most important — most helpful website and resources, an auto-ship option, consistently high quality, and the largest variety of products.

Years ago, I’ve visited the main Emergency Essentials store in Salt Lake City and found the manager there to be friendly and helpful. Their site offers survival products that are priced well along with freeze-dried food, and I’ve purchased MREs there as well.

For a year or so I taught classes at the Honeyville Farms retail store in Phoenix and bought quite a few food items each time. One thing I noticed was that the food purchased in the store was very nicely priced but the price increased dramatically online. They advertise a low shipping cost, but obviously, the price of shipping has to be made up elsewhere, thus the increase in their online prices. This made it difficult for me to determine which of their products were priced well and which might be more expensive than other brands, whose shipping charges were higher.

A couple of years ago I priced a 50-pound bag of hard white wheat at the Honeyville Farms retail store and back then it cost $19.99, but was $43.99 online. That’s quite a difference and is typical of all their food products. The $8.99 shipping charge becomes meaningless, and it also makes it very difficult to truly compare Honeyville’s cost and value with other companies. One thing I do like about Honeyville are their baking mixes for things like cornbread and brownies.

Augason Farms is very well-known in the food storage community. It’s family-run and offers generally lower prices. However, what I’ve found is the quality of food is a mixed bag. In some cases, it’s as good in terms of appearance and flavor as Thrive Life, but too often, the quality is lower. I sampled some of their soup mixes, and they aren’t something I would feed to my family without major improvements on my part.

Rainy Day Foods/Walton Feed was the very first food storage company I encountered, and the ordering process, at least back then, was quite confusing and complicated to a newbie. It really helps to know what you want and will use before perusing the site. Eleven years ago when I first began my food storage project, I had no idea what adzuki beans were or whether we would ever eat a #10 can of ABC soup mix! Their website is functional but offers little additional help or support, unlike Thrive Life.

Rainy Day products are good quality, we used the cocoa powder I bought years ago. If you want to take a look at their products and pricing, it’s best to place a huge order with other people, if possible, in order to save on shipping. When I did this, an 18-wheeler delivered the order to my friend’s house (she was the coordinator), and she divided up the orders for each person.

Two other well-known brands I’ve tried are Mountain House Foods (Read my Mountain House review.) Legacy Foods. I tried several of their freeze-dried entrees — very good!

All that food is surprisingly similar. Here’s why.

One factor many don’t realize is that all this food, whether it be wheat, strawberries, corn, and everything else comes from only so many farms! Just as food processing plants package food and then place different labels on them for different brands, these farms and packing plants do the same thing. So wheat purchased from Emergency Essentials just might come from the exact same farm as Augason Farms wheat or vice versa.

There are very few plants that freeze-dry massive amounts of produce, so it’s just logical that the food itself is the same from one company to the next, and only the label and, possibly, the packaging process is different. Exactly where the food comes from is highly confidential, and you will probably only find out the country from which it originated…

Click here to read the entire article at Survival Mom.

TMIN: Get Prepared for Coming Food Shortages

The Most Important News writes about existing and forecast food shortages in You May Not Understand This Now, But You Need To Get Prepared For The Food Shortages That Are Coming

I was going to write about something completely different today, but I felt that I needed to issue this warning instead.  Even before COVID-19 came along, crazy global weather patterns were playing havoc with harvests all over the globe, the African Swine Fever plague had already killed about one-fourth of all the pigs in the world, and giant armies of locusts the size of major cities were devouring crops at a staggering rate on the other side of the planet.  And now this coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented worldwide economic shutdown, and this has put an enormous amount of stress on global food supplies.

On the official UN website, the United Nations is openly using the term “biblical proportion” to describe the famines that are coming.  Even if COVID-19 miraculously disappeared tomorrow, a lot of people on the other side of the world would still starve to death, but of course COVID-19 is not going anywhere any time soon.

Here in the United States, our stores still have plenty of food.  But empty shelves have started to appear, and food prices are starting to go up aggressively.

In fact, we just witnessed the largest one month increase in food prices that we have seen since 1974.

For a long time I have been warning my readers that eventually a loaf of bread in the U.S. will cost five dollars, and one of my readers in Hawaii just told me that “my wife came home with ½ loaf of bread for $2.99”.

So it appears that the day I have been warning about has already arrived for some people.

Of course the price of meat is going up even faster than the price of bread.  The following is an excerpt from an email that one of Robert Wenzel’s readers in Alaska just sent him

Our local Costco as of now, beef hamburger is $9 a pound, and steaks are $18 a pound. Hamburger was at $3.50 a pound before all this.

Our local butcher shops, that butcher and package the little local beef that is raised here, are all out of meat.

Luckily, I have a couple moose in our freezers, and plenty of canned smoked salmon, and salmon season is coming soon again.

Hopefully the price of hamburger has not nearly tripled in your area yet, but without a doubt meat prices are going to just keep heading higher.

Ultimately, it is all about supply and demand.  Meat processing facilities have been shut down all over America due to COVID-19, and this is starting to create some really annoying shortages

If you go to Wendy’s this week, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to get a hamburger. Go to the supermarket and you’ll probably see some empty shelves in the meat section. You may also be restricted to buying one or two packs of whatever’s available. Try not to look at the prices. They’re almost definitely higher than what you’re used to.

This is the new reality: an America where beef, chicken, and pork are not quite as abundant or affordable as they were even a month ago.

But as I keep reminding my readers, the only reason these meat shortages are so severe is because many farmers are unable to make their normal sales to the processing plants that have closed down.

As a result, a lot of these farmers have been forced to gas or shoot thousands of their animals

For farmers in Iowa, Minnesota, and other Midwestern states, they have had little choice but to euthanize the backlog of animals, which means gassing or shooting thousands of pigs in a day, according to The New York Times.

The financial and emotional repercussions on the farmers are profound. Some farmers lose as much as $390,000 in a day, said the report. So far 90,000 pigs have been killed in Minnesota alone.

In the end, a lot of farmers may have to go out of business after being financially ruined during this crisis, and we will seriously miss that lost capacity in the days ahead.

Because the truth is that global food supplies are only going to get tighter and tighter.  As I have discussed previously, UN World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley has warned that we are facing “the worst humanitarian crisis since World War Two”, and he insists that we could soon see 300,000 people literally starve to death every single day…

“If we can’t reach these people with the life-saving assistance they need, our analysis shows that 300,000 people could starve to death every single day over a three-month period”, he upheld. “This does not include the increase of starvation due to COVID-19”.

And did you catch that last part?

He specifically excluded the effects of COVID-19 from his very ominous projection.

So the truth is that the number of people starving to death each day could ultimately end up being far, far higher.

In wealthy western countries, starvation is not an imminent threat.  But what we are seeing is an explosion of hunger that is absolutely unprecedented.  All over America, people have been lining up “for hours” at America’s food banks so that they can be sure to get something before the supplies run out…(continues)

AYWtGS: Flattening the Curve Vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve

A Year Without the Grocery Store has an article about planning ahead for the next waves of the virus and associated second and third order effects in Flattening the Curve Vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve.

All of us have heard a lot about flattening the curve.  And according to many experts, we have successfully flattened the curve – to a greater or lesser degree depending on where in the country you live.  But we have a new problem now.  People are thinking about re-emerging from their respective lockdowns – whether self-imposed or government imposed.  And all that many people want is for life to return to normal.  Okay, I’ll level with you.  *I* want life to return to normal, but that isn’t my focus right now.  My focus is on getting ahead of the curve.

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Getting Ahead of the Curve?

So what I do mean by ‘getting ahead of the curve?’    It’s a fairly common phrase – “getting ahead of the curve.”  In our circumstances, I mean that we need to be able to look toward the future and see what actions we need to take NOW to take care of our families down the road.

Don’t be deceived – this is only the first wave of the virus.  If the pattern of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 holds true, there will be at least 3 waves of this virus.  So if we are seeing an end to the first wave of the Covid-19, we need to start about thinking about preparing for the second and third waves.  We also need to start trying to figure out what will the financial and practical fallout be for our country, region, state, county, city, and family.

Practical Fallout

One way that we’re already experiencing practical fallout is in the breakdown of our supply chain.  When I was at church yesterday – and yes, for the first time in seven weeks, we actually went to church I spent some time talking with a friend who lives in rural Illinois.  She was telling us that they have friends who work in pig farming.  They started probably two months ago, killing off any baby pigs that they didn’t think were going to be among the best of the litter.  Since then, they’ve taken measures to abort any baby pigs at all.  They know that they aren’t going to have the money to feed those pigs until the meat production plants reopen.

We’re already hearing about how Tyson has been shutting down plants because workers have tested positive for the coronavirus.  We’ve seen shortages of hand sanitizer, toilet paper, garden seeds, soups, pasta, masks, gloves, and so many other things.

So what can we do?  Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve<img class=”alignright wp-image-17895 size-medium” src=”https://i2.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873.jpeg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1″ alt=”Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve” width=”300″ height=”200″ srcset=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=1024%2C681&ssl=1 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=768%2C511&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=1536%2C1022&ssl=1 1536w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=2048%2C1363&ssl=1 2048w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=650%2C433&ssl=1 650w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/AdobeStock_83435873-scaled.jpeg?resize=600%2C399&ssl=1 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />

Start now and watch the news.  What item or items (whether in your area or in the entire country) is likely going to become scarce in the near future?

1.)  Right now, if you have room in your freezer or you can pressure can, picking up extra meat is very important.  Bacon was already out of stock at Costco when I went out (with gloves and mask) last week.  They didn’t even have beef in the form that I usually pick it up.  Pork and chicken are the two types of meat that are in the greatest danger of seeing shortages.  The sooner you can get out and stock up, the better off you are.

2.)  Restock any foodstuffs that you can to bring your food numbers back to where they need to be.  If you’ve been using my book and workbook system to get your long-term food storage to where it needs to be and your short-term food storage to 3 months, then you know what areas you’ve been taking from during these last two months. Make sure that you fill them back up.  We’ve used significant amounts of oatmeal and tomato sauce.  When I was out at the post office today, we stopped at a store to refill our personal stores.

3.)  Restock any non-foodstuff items.  Have you worked your way through almost an entire pack of gloves?  See if you can replenish them.  Do you have to wear a mask when you’re out in public?  Are you running low?  Can you make your own, purchase single-use face masks, or another reusable alternative?  How are you on shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent?

Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve<img class=”alignleft wp-image-17896 size-medium” src=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1″ alt=”Flattening the Curve vs. Staying Ahead of the Curve” width=”300″ height=”200″ srcset=”https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=1024%2C683&ssl=1 1024w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=1536%2C1024&ssl=1 1536w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=2048%2C1365&ssl=1 2048w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=650%2C433&ssl=1 650w, https://i1.wp.com/ayearwithoutthegrocerystore.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/markus-spiske-5gGcn2PRrtc-unsplash-scaled.jpg?resize=600%2C400&ssl=1 600w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />Financial Fallout

How stable do you believe your job is?  How about your spouse’s job?  I known and met people who have lost parts of their income because of Covid-19.  I know people who have lost their entire income because of the virus as well.

Even if you think that things are on sure footing, it is a good time now to create an alternate budget.   We have the regular budget that we operate on a month to month basis, but then we have an alternative budget.  First off, If you’ve never used YNAB – You Need A Budget – then I would highly recommend that you check it out.  It is a yearly subscription fee, but it has saved us so much money during the four years that we’ve used it.

So we’ve back to this alternate budget.  It’s a bare-bones budget with every convenience that we feel like we could live without cut out of it.  We aren’t living on that budget, but we’re looking at a time when that might be necessary to live on less.  This enables us to ask, “How much less can we live on?”  And allows us to have concrete numbers as to what we HAVE to bring home…(continues)

The Organic Prepper: What We Learned Living on Our Food Storage for a Month

Kara Stiff at The Organic Prepper has used the recent stay at home orders to test living off of her food storage and relays What We Learned Living on Our Food Storage for a Month.

Before the stay-at-home order was even issued in my state, I stopped going to the grocery store. I despise shopping: the fluorescent lights, the spending of money, the inane conversations about children with strangers. It’s easy to convince myself not to go if people might be sick there. Since I have the luxury of doing so, I can leave what’s available for those who haven’t had the ability to stock up.

This is important. Stocking up when items are scarce is hoarding, but stocking up when there is plenty available is the opposite of hoarding. If I’m stocked up, I have the power to remove the pressure of my own consumption from the system just when the system is most stressed, therefore allowing others to get more of what they need.

I had never actually given our food storage and production systems a good test, though. Now I have, and I’ve learned some important things.

To be clear, my kitchen wasn’t perfectly sealed off from the world. A friend gave us some milk before the stay-at-home order, and my mom brought us some baked goods while I gave her beets and eggs. My husband bought cheese once. But other than that, we’ve been eating at home.

Organization really matters

We’ve been keeping a deep pantry for about seven years, ever since my first child was born and money was very tight. Back then it was just a giant Rubbermaid full of canned tomatoes, beans, pasta, and crackers. We called it the Zombie Apocalypse Box. It was easy to move, which mattered a lot because we moved five times in less than five years, first while pregnant, then with one small child, then with two.

Though it was mobile, the ZAB had serious limitations. First, it probably only constituted two weeks’ worth of supplementation to the regular pantry, which isn’t enough. Even worse, it was difficult to maintain because it was not easy to access and organize. I had to haul the heavy thing out and spread it all over the living room floor once a month to check the expiration dates and rotate stock. This was an impossible task when I had a baby who never slept.

As we finished building our house, the delightful prospect of never moving again sank in. I planned out the cabinet space and stocked what I figured was a month to six weeks of olives, tomatoes, pasta, coconut milk, peanut butter, canned mackerel, and other staples. I also packed some rice and beans for longer-term preservation. (More about a layered food storage plan here).

Not only is this organization much easier to maintain and rotate, but it also allows me to put a greater amount of food in an area not much bigger because the shelves make it easy to stack efficiently. Some things, though, are better off less accessible. This month I was able to keep back a bag of potato chips by hiding them from myself, and I greatly appreciated having them later.

Food storage isn’t enough

A stockpile cannot last forever, no matter how large. Humans are biological, and to survive we must have a place in the ecosystem. Modern industrial agriculture denies this. It tries to bend every flow of living energy into our own mouths, replacing resilient forests with vulnerable cornfields, swapping intricate wild networks for simple one-way streams to build ever more human bodies. Wild mammals now account for less than 4% of the mammal biomass on Earth, while humans, pets, and livestock account for the other 96%.

My family chose a parcel of land that was large enough to accommodate different levels of management. We have a sheet-mulch garden where we tightly control which species are welcome, and a fenced pasture and young orchard that are more of a compromise. Rabbits and raccoons are welcome in the orchard but not Bradford pear trees, and everything is welcome in the pasture except raccoons (geese deter them). These areas constitute only a small slice of our land, while the rest is pretty wild.

This spring, here is what’s available from our land: arugula, beets, and chard overwintered in the garden, French sorrel and a small amount of asparagus from our young patch, wild greens and onions, and eggs from the chickens. From last year’s production, we have goat, chicken, okra, and sweet corn still in the freezer, as well as pumpkins, sweet potatoes, flour corn, pickles, and salsa on the shelf. There isn’t any milk for people yet, because the first goat of the season only kidded yesterday…

Dietary deficiencies are no joke. They can have permanent effects on the body, and they sap the will to live. Some people do well for decades on vegetarian or vegan or other specialized diets, while others discover after years that what used to work fine has now ruined their health. Everyone is different, and I know of no sure way to tell ahead of time what is right for whom. Blood tests don’t tell the whole story; my tests looked normal, but my fatigue was crushing. The best I can do is try to feed us a wide variety and listen to all our bodies.

Stocking back up

When I went to stock back up before supply chains deteriorate further, only a few of the shelves at my local grocery store were sparse. Coronavirus has been moving more slowly in my state than others, so there hasn’t been panic in my lightly-populated rural area. It’s part of why we moved here: new developments get to this part of the world last.

There wasn’t much choice of flour, oatmeal, rice, or garlic. I adjusted my buying so as not to take the last thing of any type, and I swapped some generics for name brands because that was what was available, but I was largely able to get what I needed. I’m aware that may not be the case next month. In stocking back up I also leaned on local sources of food, trying to support those businesses and help keep them solvent during a difficult time.

I expected eating from stores to cost a little less, but I was surprised to be able to bring my stock of necessary items back up to full for about 70% of the cost of a typical month’s food. I would not have believed we were eating 30% of our food budget in chips, milk, butter, tortillas, fresh things like avocados and bananas, and cheese. But it’s true…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at The Organic Prepper.

Jamie Cooks It Up: Food Storage and Recipes

40 Food Storage Recipes and Food Storage/Pantry Staple Lists is an older blog post from Jamie Cooks It Up! It talks about what kinds of foods to have as staples and for long term storage, and then links to a bunch of storage recipes (also on her site) for using those foods. Maybe you bought up a bunch of food storage early in this pandemic and aren’t sure what to do now. Maybe you’re looking at the supply chain woes and wondering what you need to get through the rest of year. Jamie Cooks It Up also posts a “week menu plan” each week with one meal per day for the week.

I’ve been getting a lot of emails lately regarding food storage, and pantry staples. 

“What do you keep stocked in your kitchen, what are some fabulous food storage recipes, Where should I buy my food storage and What can I feed my family if I can’t go to the store for 3 weeks in a row”. These are just a sampling of the questions posed.  

Now, I am by no means a food storage specialist, however I thought I would put together a few tips, lists and recipes together for you regarding the subject. Please know that the advice I am giving here is just from my own personal experiences, and not the only tried and true method around. If you have some food storage advice, I would love you to leave it in the comment section for others to view. 

Acquiring a substantial food storage can be overwhelming, I realize. The intention of this post is not to cause you stress or grief or feelings of extreme anxiety. When I was newly married, some 18 years ago, I remember coming across an article in a magazine that had to do with organizing a kitchen and what spices a person should  purchase. After taking one glance at the list I tossed it in the trash and thought to myself…”there is no way I’ll EVER be able to acquire all of those things, I wonder how long we can live on cupboard lint.”

It’s true. Those were my very thoughts. 

However, I learned as I’m sure many of you have, that it just takes a little bit of time, effort and financial planning and a well stocked kitchen can be attained. The same is true of obtaining a useful supply of food storage. You don’t need to spend 1 million dollars or build an underground bunker storing 95 years worth of food to be successful. 

Alright, let’s get to it. If you are already a food storage pro, and are just looking for the 40 Food Storage Recipes promised, please scroll to the bottom of the post and enjoy. 

WHY IN THE WIDE WORLD SHOULD I STORE EXTRA FOOD?

As a means of being prepared for difficult circumstances, such as job loss, natural disasters or an economic downturn. 



WHAT KIND OF FOOD SHOULD I STORE? 

You should store food that your family regularly eats, that also has at least a 3 month shelf or freezer life. Baking supplies, spices and seasonings, canned goods, as well as frozen vegetables, fruits, meat and poultry. (Lists found if you keep scrolling down.)

Expensive Freeze Dried Food is not really my cup of tea. I may regret not purchasing it if the continents end up colliding and I am forced to dig a hole in my back yard and eat tree roots to survive. Truly. I may regret it at that point. But for now, stocking and storing a 6 month to 1 year supply of real food my family regularly eats is my course of action. 

Store some long term food storage items such as hard winter wheat, rice, dried beans, etc. I try to keep about a 3 year supply of these things. (Keep scrolling down for a complete list). They are inexpensive, healthy and if stored properly they have a 30 year shelf life! That is a long old time, wouldn’t you agree? I keep these items in large, sealed, 5 gallon buckets (they can accommodate about 40 pounds). I don’t have a big food storage room so I just stick them here and there, which really means my kids all have 3 or 4 buckets in the bottom of their closets. But they don’t mind, they would rather eat rice and beans than tree roots…or so I keep telling them…

LONG TERM STORAGE:

*Hard White Winter Wheat
Dried White Beans
Dried Black Beans
Dried Kidney Beans
Lentils
* White Rice
Brown Rice
*Steel Cut Oats

40 FOOD STORAGE RECIPES
The recipes I have listed for you below, are recipes that primarily use food storage staples as ingredients. You may need a fresh egg, some milk, butter or cheese for some of them, but I tried to keep the list as food storage friendly as I could…
Moogie Mush, cracked wheat cereal

Total Time: 17 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

4 C hot water
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 t vanilla
3/4-1 C raisins
2 1/2 C cracked wheat (I buy White Winter Wheat and then crack it in a blender)
1/4 C brown sugar
20 packets of splenda

Instructions

1. Crack your wheat in a blender. Don’t add more than about 2 cups at a time. It should be the right texture after about 4 minutes.
2. Combine the water, salt, vanilla and raisins in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
3. Turn down the heat to low and stir in the wheat. The wheat tends to clump up a bit. Break the clumps up with a wooden spoon.
4. Add the sugar and splenda and stir to incorporate.
5. Cover the sauce pan, turn off the heat, and let it sit for 10 minutes. (Keep it on the warm burner)

Organic Prepper: 11 Delicious Ways to Use Dry Beans from Your Storage

A week ago, we posted an article on cooking the dry beans from your food storage. Here’s one from The Organic Prepper that has recipes for using those beans in ways you may not have thought previously – 11 Delicious Ways to Use Those Dry Beans You Stockpiled. The author, Diane Vukovic, is also the author of the book Disaster Preparedness for Women.

Dry beans are one of the best disaster foods to stockpile. They are nutritious, cheap, and last for years when stored properly. But then disaster strikes and you suddenly have to figure out how you are going to use all of those beans. Eating rice and beans gets boring quickly!

I’m lucky because my family already eats beans almost daily. So, when COVID-19 struct and we tapped into our food stockpiles, our diet didn’t change much. Here are some of the bean recipes my family is eating now. Even my kids like most of these.

Tip: When building up your disaster food stockpile, think about how you will use the foods in meals. Otherwise, you could end up with a lot of foods you don’t like. Or you might end up with disproportionate amounts of food, like 30lbs of pasta but not sauce to go on it.

In my book Disaster Preparedness for Women, I show exactly how to plan a food stockpile so you can make healthy, balanced meals. The book also covers all the preparedness essentials so you are ready for anything. Get the book here.

Here are 11 tasty ways to use dried beans

Try these delicious dried bean recipes.

1. Red Bean Pasta Sauce

This disaster recipe couldn’t be easier. Just blend (or mash) 1 cup of cooked pinto beans with 1 cup of tomato sauce to make 4 generous servings. Add seasonings like salt, basil, and oregano to taste. Serve over pasta.

2. Chickpea Nuggets

Of all the beans, chickpeas are the most kid-friendly. They also don’t have as much water as other beans, so are easier to form into burgers, balls, or nuggets. I like this recipe which uses oats to hold the nuggets together. If you don’t have breadcrumbs or cornflakes you can just use more blended oats for the coating. You can also omit the nutritional yeast.

3. White Bean and Olive Oil “Alfredo” Sauce

Here’s another easy bean sauce for pasta. Just blend (or mash) 1 cup of cooked white beans and ¼ cup of olive oil or butter to make the base. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, parmesan, and a splash of lemon juice to make a delicious creamy sauce for pasta.

*You can also sneak this sauce into mac n’ cheese so your kids get more protein without even realizing it.

4. Lentil Bread

Whenever I make bread, I sneak in some extra nutrition. How? I add things like blended kale, pulverized dried mushrooms, or bean puree. The bread comes out great and my kids eat it up.

To make, remove about ½ cup of water from your bread recipe and replace it with ½ cup of bean puree. If the dough ends up being too wet, add more flour…

5. Bean Burgers and Sausages

Beans and lentils can easily be turned into burgers or sausages. All you need to do is:

  • Make sure the beans are drained very well or the burgers will fall apart. Lentils are particularly wet so I’ll squeeze them by hand to remove the water.
  •  Pulse in a food processor with some cooked veggies and seasonings. If you have egg, add an egg to the mixture.*
  • Add oats, breadcrumbs, or flour (oats and breadcrumbs work best because they absorb moisture and hold the burgers together well). Keep adding until you form a mixture that sticks together.
  • Form into burger or sausage shapes. Bake or fry.

*Egg acts like glue to hold the burgers together. If you don’t have egg, you can usually just omit the egg and the recipe will still work. Another option is to use flax or chia seeds instead of egg. These become a bit like glue when wet and do a good job of holding burgers together. I’ve got a massive stockpile of flax at home specifically for this purpose!

6. Black Bean Brownies

I know this one probably sounds weird, but you can’t taste the black beans the brownies at all. It ends up being a protein-packed treat and your kids don’t even realize they are eating beans. I like this recipe which is simple to make with disaster staples…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article at The Organic Prepper.

Hello Homestead: Cooking with Dried Beans

Sam Schipani at Hello Homestead has an article that explains how you should prepare your dried beans, storage, soaking, cooking – Here’s what you need to know about cooking with dried beans. If you are seasoned at using your storage foods, then there may be nothing new here, but if this is your first time pulling out that food that you got “just in case” or recently picked up some dried beans as desperately sought out foods for lockdown, then this is for you.

Red kidney beans. | Photo from Pexels

As the number of positive coronavirus cases continues to climb, citizens around the country have started stockpiling foodstuffs in preparation for the recommended social distancing, self-quarantine and self-isolation. A few nonperishables, in particular, have been popular in grocery stores — among them, canned beans.

Luckily, dried beans are generally available in bulk supply, in both conventional grocery stores and health food stores. If you purchased a bag of dried beans to stand-in for your usual canned counterparts, you may not know what to do with them.

Consider this an opportunity to open yourself up to the wonderful world of dried beans. Dried beans are cheaper, healthier and more sustainable than their canned counterparts. Plus, dried beans usually come in much more fun and tasty heirloom varieties than the canned offerings.

To make tasty, tender beans while avoiding any uncomfortable gas, here’s what you need to know about preparing dried beans from scratch.

Stored dried beans at Songbird Farm in Unity, Maine. | Photo by Linda Coan O’Kresik

1. Store them

First, make sure you properly store your dried beans leading up to the moment you use them. Dried beans left in their original grocery store packaging — generally, a thin plastic or paper bag — will dry out faster. Instead, store them in food-safe storage containers with a tight-fitting lid. Dried beans should also be stored out of direct sunlight in a dry spot kept at a cool temperature between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. A cool pantry will work best.

2. Soak them …

Many dried beans need to be soaked before they are used to dissolve the starches that cause intestinal discomfort. The exceptions to the bean soaking rule include smaller and softer legumes, such as lentils, split peas, black-eyed peas and adzuki beans.

For all beans, pick through the beans and discard any discolored or shriveled beans, as well as any foreign matter such as stray pebbles or twigs. Rinse the beans well.

To soak, put the dried beans in a pot and cover them in a few inches of water. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator.

If you don’t have all night, you can also quick soak beans and get a similar effect. Put those beans in a pot, cover them with water and bring them up to a boil. Let the beans boil for a few minutes, then cover the pot and turn off the heat. Let the beans sit for at least half an hour in the hot water.

… or, maybe, don’t soak them

There are kitchen gadgets that can help you get around the soaking if you really want to. You could make your beans in a slow cooker in just a few hours without soaking overnight, or you could prepare dried beans in a pressure cooker (but don’t skip the olive oil — this helps reduce foam during cooking, which could clog the pressure valve).

The exception to these workarounds, though, is red kidney beans, which should always be soaked. They require a different cooking method to break down toxins in the bean. To make them more digestible, always soak first and then boil for 20 minutes before preparing in the slow cooker or pressure cooker.

3. Cook them

If you have chosen to use the regular soaking method, now it’s time to make those beans nice and creamy. First, drain and rinse your soaked beans, whatever method you wound up using.

Transfer them to another pot, then cover them in a few inches of water (the exact amount isn’t important). Bring them to a simmer, avoiding a boil (which will make them fall apart), with a dash of salt.

You may have heard that dried beans shouldn’t be salted until the end of cooking to avoid toughening the beans, but this is an oversimplification of the truth. In fact, some chefs swear that salting beans at the beginning of cooking and ending up with flavorful, tender beans. As a general rule, keep early salting light — most of the salt will be added at the end, after the beans have cooked through.

To give your beans a little more flavor, add aromatics such as onions, shallots, garlic, chiles or fresh herbs. The Bean Institute recommends a whole, quartered onion, a few cloves of garlic, and a sprig or two of fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme or a bay leaf, but you can experiment with your own mix of flavors. Lightly salt again after about an hour of simmering.

After another 30 minutes to an hour, your beans will be tender and edible (a quick taste test will help to make sure, but be careful not to burn your tongue). Turn off the heat and fish out any aromatics you used (keeping them in a cheesecloth bag is one easy way to do this). Then, season the cooking liquid to taste with salt and add any acidic ingredients such as tomatoes, vinegar or lemon juice… (continues)

Read the entire article at Hello Homestead by clicking here.