Gold Telegraph: Global Food Supply Chains Beginning to Erode, Crisis Looms?

From The Gold Telegraph – Global Food Supply Chains Beginning to Erode, Crisis Looms?

…One would begin to believe history might not be repeating itself, but it is undoubtedly starting to rhyme. During the great depression of the 1930s, the hardest-hit industry was farming. Farm incomes dropped by nearly two-thirds at the beginning of the 1930s. Dairy farmers dumped countless gallons of milk into the street instead of accepting a penny a quart.

During World War 1, farmers had produced record crops and livestock to keep everyone fed. However, when prices started to fell, they tried to harvest even more to pay their debts and living expenses. In the early 30s, prices dropped so low that many farmers went bankrupt and lost their farms. In some cases, the price of a bushel of corn fell to just eight to ten cents. Some farmers even began burning corn rather than coal in their stoves because corn was cheaper.

However, there is a dramatic difference today. Prices are not dropping; in fact, grocery bills are getting more expensive by the day. Supply chains are being disrupted due to the transportation and of course processing of a vast selection of foods.

As we are beginning to learn, the country where the coronavirus started, China, may now be facing a food crisis. The country has just reopened its economy as the communist regime has even claimed a coronavirus victory.

However, there was a leaked government document made public last Thursday that shows that government officials have been planning for a shortfall in food supplies.

The document, dated March 28, was drafted following a meeting which was called to make special arrangements for food security.

“The State Party Committee and the state governments and counties and cities must do everything possible to transfer and store all kinds of living materials such as grain, beef, mutton, oil and salt through various channels,” the document said, according to a report from Radio Free Asia

The document also calls for the “mobilization of the masses to consciously store grain and ensure that each household reserves between 3 and 6 months of grain for emergencies…”

Click here to read the entire article at The Gold Telegraph.

Primal Survivor: 10 Tips for Buying Food During Shortages

If you waited until now to stockpile emergency food, you are probably struggling.  The recent pandemic means Emergency food kits orders are backlogged for months.

Popular retailers like REI are out of virtually all freeze-dried meals.  And supermarkets are having an impossible time of keeping shelves stocked with non-perishables like pasta, flour, canned goods, and instant meals.

This doesn’t mean you can’t stockpile food during the pandemic.  You’ve just got to be strategic about it.  Here are some tips to help you build up a stockpile of food even in the midst of disaster shortages.

1. Understand Why You Are Stockpiling Food

As the experts keep telling us, there is no food shortage right now. Rather, all the panic buying is causing the shelves to empty quickly. People are simply buying more than usual.

Nor is there likely to be a food shortage anytime soon.  Even in countries which have almost complete shutdowns, food manufacturing employees are allowed to go to work.  In fact, governments are organizing safe transportation to make sure these people can get to work!

Sure, there could be food shortages in the not-too-distant future. It’s understandable (and even smart) if you want to stockpile just in case.  However, now is not the time to build up a long-term food stockpile.  Wait until the craziness has died down to start!

If we aren’t going to run out of food, then why stockpile?

The answer is this: So you don’t have to leave your home. And especially so you don’t have to leave home to go to the grocery store.

Because of all the crowds and people who pass through them, grocery stores are one of the most dangerous places during the coronavirus pandemic.  The longer you can go between grocery store visits, the safer you will be (and thus the safer your community will be too).

Once you realize you are stockpiling food so you don’t have to leave home, you will be able to go about shopping in a smarter way.

2. Do Not Go Grocery Shopping during the Panic

If you have enough food in your home to last a while (even if it’s just a few days), DO NOT GO GROCERY SHOPPING NOW.

At the time of writing this, people in the United States are still panic buying.  If you head to the stores now, you will likely find bare shelves and crowds of people.  You won’t succeed in getting the food you need and you’ll expose yourself to a lot of potentially-sick people.

Instead, hold off on going to the store as long as you can.  In countries like Italy, it only took a couple weeks before the panic-buying stopped.  In Serbia, the panic-buying stopped after just a few days and the shelves were back to normal.

crowds at supermarket during COVID-19
Look at all these people shopping for supplies. It’s safer to wait for the crowds to thin out! (Image credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue)

3. Make a Food Spreadsheet

A friend of mine works at a supermarket.  She tells me about all the people literally buying 30 packages of spaghetti and nothing else.  Others are buying massive amounts of flour and oil but nothing else.

What the hell are you going to do with 30 bags of pasta???

Sure, you won’t starve but do you really want to eat plain pasta for the next few weeks?  And how will you use flour without yeast or baking soda and baking powder?  Oil is also pretty useless if you don’t have something to fry or cook with it! (continues)

Click here to continue reading at Primal Survivor.

Backdoor Survival: Getting the Most Out of Your Food Supply

Samantha Biggers of Backdoor Survival has an article up addressing how to stretch your food supplies, whether it be during a quarantine or a long emergency.

Something that a lot of us don’t always pay the most attention to is getting the most out of meals and supplies. Sometimes it doesn’t seem worth our time and from a financial perspective, there are times when this actually has a ring of truth to it.

With the current state of affairs, a lot of us may need to start thinking of ways to be more frugal and less wasteful with the supplies we have on hand, especially when it comes down to food.

Although we have tried to develop good habits over the years, Matt and I have found ourselves being even more careful about using up leftovers and being creative with cooking.

We have chickens, cats, and dogs so even if something drops to the floor or there is a small amount of waste, we usually can use it to supplement the diet of our animals. In the case of chickens, they can recycle that potentially wasted food and parts that you don’t typically eat such as carrot tops and fruit cores, into delicious eggs, and hopefully in the spring, baby chicks.

Cook something delicious and basic and use the leftovers for other meals.

Some people really don’t like leftovers. Part of the reason for this is that some foods truly are better if they are eaten right after cooking. The key is to plan out meals so that you don’t have to experience this as much.

One example I can think of is soups and stews that have noodles in them. How many of us have cooked a big pot of minestrone soup or similar and went back and reheated it the next day to find that the noodles had disintegrated or at least became very mushy?

Twice Baked Potatoes

(Note: At the end of the recipe I have a casserole version of this recipe that uses boxed mashed potato flakes in case that is what you have on hand or you run out of potatoes from your pantry.)

This is a recipe that is inexpensive and delicious at the same time. My husband learned this recipe from his Mom and he cooked it for me and still does so regularly. It is also a great way to make use of leftover baked potatoes. Sometimes we will just cook a whole baking tray full of potatoes to use for many different dishes throughout the week. It saves on cooking fuel and makes it easy to cook a lot of wonderful meals.

To make twice baked potatoes you need the following:

Medium To Large Potatoes

The ingredients below can be added in any combination, depending on what you have on hand. If you have some leftover meat from another meal, then this is an excellent dish to make use of that!

Meat (Optional but adding it makes this dish a meal in itself)

Cheese

Onions (This can be dried onions like chives or dehydrated onions or you can fry them up with meat)

Mushrooms

A little milk, yogurt, or broth to cream some potato filling

To bake the potatoes, first, wash them well and place them on a baking sheet. Spritz or rub with oil. I like to use grapeseed oil for this. Salt the outside. Poke a few holes in the top of each with a knife or fork. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 F for 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the potato. Stick a toothpick, fork or similar into them to make sure they are soft in the middle.

Allow to cool enough to handle. Scoop out the inside as much as possible and put it in a stockpot or other small cooking pot. You want enough room to mix in any of the additional ingredients listed in the recipe above. You can also use a mixer if desired. That may be the way to go if you are doing these for a crowd.

Mash the scooped out potatoes or use a mixer to whip them with enough milk, yogurt, or broth to get them a consistency that you can scoop into potato skins. Add in any meat, cheese, veggies, etc. We usually shred cheese. You can also use powdered cheeses if that is what you have on hand.

Spoon your filling into the potato skins. Top with cheese if desired. Parmesan works well but you can also use any other type you would like.

Bake in a 350 F oven until the cheese starts to brown. Serve with sour cream, green onions, bacon, salsa or any other additional toppings you desire.

This is a very versatile recipe as you can see. There are countless combinations you can use for fillings and toppings. Think about what leftover veggies or meats you have and use them first.

Baked Potato Casserole Alternative If You Don’t Have Baking Potatoes

Make mashed potatoes from the dry boxed variety. Mix in any of the ingredients just as you would for the baked potato method above. Butter or oil a pan and spread mixture into it. Top with shredded cheese or dry Parmesan. You can sprinkle bacon crumbles on top too if you have them. Bake until cheese is as golden as you like it.

Put out smaller portions on plates. People can always go back for more. If you serve dinner in a serve-yourself manner, then have a discussion with everyone about this and encourage good habits.

Putting too much food on each person’s plate can result in waste. After all, no one is going to want to put what is left off of everyone’s plate back into the pot. If someone has a lot of leftovers on their plate then perhaps using a Tupperware and labeling it with their name so they can eat it for lunch the next day is a good idea? Just a few thoughts to prevent the age-old problem of too much on the plate sometimes… (continues)

Click here to read the entire article at Backdoor Survival.

Rogue Preparedness: How to Store Green Coffee Beans and Roast Off Grid

Who doesn’t like coffee? Morgan at Rogue Preparedness has an article on roasting your long term storage green coffee beans. Sure, you can store roasted beans, but fresh roasted beans make so much better coffee. You could even store already ground coffee, but ew, no. Green coffee beans can last 20 years in storage and still make nice, fresh coffee after being roasted.

Coffee is considered a vice by many but when it comes to coffee, it’s going to be highly sought after in any emergency, disaster, off grid situation. Coffee has been a staple of many households for…it’s existence, basically.

There’s some conflicting information online about how to best store coffee beans, whether green (raw) or roasted. I’m going to offer my advice based on my own personal experience and advice given from actual coffee roasters and aficionados.

I’ll also be talking about how to roast raw coffee beans off grid.

First, let’s talk about how to store roasted coffee.

There are some hardcore coffee drinkers out there that will tell you roasted coffee is only good for 6 months after packaged and/or opening. Roasted coffee can be stored for years and it’ll still have that nice caffeinated effect. I have never found any evidence that coffee will go “bad”, as in unable to drink.

I’ve even heard people say that ground coffee will only last a few hours after being ground! Maybe as far as the freshest taste goes, sure, but coffee will still be plenty potent for years to come after it’s been ground, or even as roasted coffee beans, just as long as it’s stored properly.

Will the same taste quality be there? Probably not. But it’s still coffee.

The best ways to store roasted coffee would be in an opaque container, meaning something that isn’t clear. Notice the type of packaging that coffee comes in. Just as long as light can’t directly shine in, it’s a good package.

A mylar bag with an oxygen absorber works great. You can also just store it in a mylar bag without an oxygen absorber, though the oxygen absorber will greatly help the longevity of taste.

You’ll also want to keep the coffee stored away from heat and moisture. Keep it out of the fridge and freezer, too.

I’ve drank ground coffee from a container that has sat there for years and brewed it up and it’s tasted fine and also did the job that coffee is supposed to do; give me that sweet, sweet caffeinated feel.

Next, let’s talk about storing green (raw) coffee beans.

I like to store raw coffee beans in addition to regular coffee because…why not! Raw coffee beans store for a significant amount of time, years, just like roasted coffee. I like the satisfaction of roasting my own coffee.

There are a few different ways to store green coffee beans.

But first, just like with roasted coffee, you want to store your green coffee beans in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.

The first way is to vacuum seal it and then place the vacuum sealed bag (which is usually clear) inside of a burlap bag or some other opaque bag.

You could also store in a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber.

You could also store in a burlap bag.

Lastly, let’s talk about how to roast raw beans.

The video above shows how I roast my coffee with propane. There are several different ways to roast coffee at home in small batches like shown in the video above, but this is just one of the easiest.

You’ll need:

  • Popcorn popper
  • Aluminum foil
  • Propane stove
  • If you don’t have a propane camp stove, you can use a fire

Cover up most of the holes of the popcorn popper with aluminum foil. You want to roast the coffee so closing the holes allows the coffee beans to roast.

Prepare your fire or propane stove setup outside in a well ventilated area.

Put the green coffee beans inside of the popcorn popper, close lid.

Keep the heat on the propane fairly low, but not too low, you’ll want to experiment so that you’re not roasting the beans too slowly or too fast and not burning them. I’d suggest starting out with just a handful of beans to get the hang of the process first.

Place the popcorn popper over the heat source and rotate very slowly, sometimes letting it sit for a few minutes at a time without rotating, just be sure to keep a very close eye on it. It may take 5-10 minutes for it to ‘heat up’.

The popping noises you’ll start to hear are completely normal. Once you hear the first ‘pops’, that’s when it’s just about ready. The popping will continue, even when it’s at a medium roast.

When it comes to how long you should do it, this comes with experience. Once you hear the first cracks, they should be medium brown, or you could continue to roast to make them a darker coffee bean. It’s up to your personal preference.

As an FYI, you don’t need a popcorn popper or propane, it’s just one of the easiest ways to do it as you have full control over the process.

If you’re doing it exclusively over the fire and don’t have all that new-fangled gear, you can just put the coffee beans in a pot or pan with a lid. You’ll want to stir frequently, while at the same time keeping the lid on so that it roasts. Lift the lid, stir, close for a minute, lift the lid, stir, close for a minute, etc. until you hear that first ‘popping’ then try to stir while keeping lid fairly closed. You want it to roast, but you also don’t want it to burn, so the beans need to be moving about.

Then, grind and enjoy! You can buy a manual coffee grinder. You can grind them with a rock. Or a mortar and pestle. Or you can place them in a bag and hammer them.

Of course, you can always store instant coffee, as well.

Coffee is a staple in the prepper community and has a great shelf life. As far as I’m concerned, coffee doesn’t go bad. I’ve never heard of an instance that coffee has gone bad.

Conquer tomorrow, by preparing today!