Tag Archive: food storage


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Jerky…a staple of those who hunt, camp, hike or just enjoy being able to eat a high protein snack without cooking. I have been making jerky for about 20 some odd years now and want to share a few ‘secrets’ to making it. You can make jerky out of ANY type of meat, including fish, deer, beef and chicken.

I personally got started making jerky when I was blessed with A LOT of venison/deer meat and had no idea how to cook it. After several not so good attempts at making normal meals out of the venison my hunter friend mentioned how much he liked jerky and asked if I could make that for him. And that is how I got into the jerky making business. It’s fun, easy and tasty and it doesn’t matter much what you are trying to use. For purposes of this article I will be speaking about making chicken and beef jerky.

First things first, people almost always ‘question’ homemade jerky and freak out about the safety of eating it (after all its NOT cooked) and how long you can keep it safely. If you do it right neither of these two things will matter. I have eaten my own personal jerky that was over 3 years old…no problems!!! But it usually doesn’t last that long. So, without further ado let’s get making jerky!

What you will need:
Your protein source (meat..fish, beef, chicken, deer, whatever!)
Salt (or high sodium content marinating sauce)
Seasonings of choice (if making your own)
Dehydrator

For simplicity’s sake I typically use BBQ sauce, or salad dressing or Worchester sauce…almost ANYTHING that you could use for marinating your protein.
The REAL trick is to have a high sodium content in your marinating sauce. This ‘cures’ the meat so that no nasty critters/germmies can grow. You want at least 40% of your ‘daily’ sodium allowance to be in your marinating sauce. Not hard to do really especially if you use soy sauce (which I did for this particular batch).

I used a honey mustard salad dressing (one bottle) and then ½ of one bottle of soy sauce. Just stirred together…use your imagination here. I have been known to just add table salt to increase the sodium content. Typically 1 tablespoon to 1 cup marinating sauce. I have been known to make my own ‘salad dressing’ and just add the extra salt. Don’t be afraid to have fun here to make new and interesting tastes! As a note: if you happen to decide to use venison I typically soak the slices in butter milk and salt to get the ‘game/blood’ out of the meat for about 2 days in the refrigerator. Doing it this way means needing to use less salt for the ‘marinating’ part.
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Next, slice your protein into strips no more than ½ inch thick. If you have a lot of fat, trim it off. The thicker the slice, the longer it will take to dry and the longer you will have to marinate. If using chicken, the chicken breast is best for making jerky.
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After slicing into thin strip simply put your meat into a ziplock baggie and put in your marinating sauce. Allow to sit for 20 minutes at a minimum in the refrigerator (or counter top). Some of my best jerky has been allowed to sit in its marinating sauce for 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator, especially if I am making large amounts.
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Next lay the strips out on your dehydrator trays.
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Set the heat level (if you have one) to 155 and leave alone for the next 5 hours.
After 5 hours come back and check for doneness. It should be ‘dry’ but flexible but ‘hard’ too. I have found that chicken and fish dry much faster than denser types of meat such as beef. If not done yet, check back about once an hour until it passes the flexible, dry and hard test.
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Once you have the jerky ‘made’ let it sit to cool off for several hours. This is important to avoid moisture being trapped into the bag that you will place your finished jerky in.

Now there are 2 schools of thought on how to store homemade jerky. If you are going to eat it quickly, say within a couple of months, simply putting the jerky into a zip lock baggie will work and you can keep in a coolish dark place. However, if you are planning on long term storage you will want to vacuum seal it. Personally I vacuum seal a personal sized serving of the jerky and then place into 5 gallon buckets (yes, I make that MUCH!!!). One note on both methods, be sure that no pin prick holes are made in the storage bag, this allows moisture and air to get into the bag. Whenever I vacuum seal I will generally allow the sealed bags to sit over night and then reseal (double bag) any bags that have air in them, not doing so will shorten the shelf life. Or, you can just use that unsealed bag first.

Have fun! It takes just a little bit of work to make your own jerky but it tastes awesome and people will beg you for it!

Stay safe and be prepared
survivingshtfmom

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20141029_6

Homemade Sweet Saurkraut and Sausage Canned

Who doesn’t like sauerkraut? Okay, I know a few who don’t but its usually because of, well, what I shall call the ‘pucker’ factor. Its is ‘sour’ after all and most store bought kraut is very salty too. But in my quest for the ultimate, who wouldn’t like it sauerkraut I found a way to make ‘sweet’ sauerkraut and you can add whatever meat you want to it too! PLUS you can pressure can it to put up for a delicious meal or snack anytime. And as a bonus, there is no ‘waiting’ around for it to mature. Most canned sauerkraut recipes you either ferment the cabbage before canning it or are told to wait 10 days or more after canning fresh cabbage to get the ‘kraut’. But this, is instant and yummy.

What you will need:
Canning Jars (7 quart or 14 pint)
Canning salt
Sugar
Apple Cider Vinegar
6 lbs Cabbage (or there abouts)
Meat of your choice (sausage, polish sausage, hamburger, etc.)
Boiling water.

The first matter at hand will be to get your canning supplies ready. Following the ‘new’ manufacturer’s directions. Simply run the jars and lids and seals through the dishwasher. Put the jars on cookie pan and place into 250 degree oven.
Lids/seals/rings go into a pot of water and are brought right up to a boil and then taken off and put aside. Get your pressure canner water going at this time too.

Next you will want to process your fresh cabbage. Peel off the 2 outer most leaves and then wash the outside of the cabbage. Next cut up the cabbage into bite size pieces (however you like, shredded, pieces). Place in a bowl to the side.
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Cook your meat. In my case I just browned the sausage in a pan. But how you cook your meat will depend upon what type of meat you use.
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Once you have both the cabbage and meat ready you will then combine into a large bowl and mix well.
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At this point, bring a kettle of water to boil, you will add this to the packed jars of cabbage/meat.

Pack your cabbage/meat mixture into your jars leaving about1 inch head space.
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Then add to each jar:
½ tsp canning salt

If you are using PINTS then add:
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of sugar

If you are using QUARTZ then double the amount of vinegar and sugar.

You will then fill each jar with the boil water leaving at least ½ inch of head space.
Clean the rim using vinegar and then proceed as you usually would placing lids and rings on each jar.

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Place the jars into the canner. Allow to come back up to a boil and then process as you would with any normal canning.
Pints: 55 minutes at 10 lbs.
Quarts: 75 minutes at 10 lbs.

After processing you once again follow normal canning procedures. Allow the pressure to come down before removing the top. Place on a towel and cover allowing to cool overnight. Wash the jars before putting up.

You can eat at will and its yummy!

Give it a try and share…
survivingshtfmom

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Lets face it…you are making a huge investment into your future by storing food and supplies or maybe you just have enough to get by…but no matter where you live or how ‘clean’ you keep things, PESTS will find their way into your home and life.
In the following video by my partner in preparedness, Phil of VaCreepinOutdoors we look at a very simple and effective tool in controlling rodents and the difference between rats and mice (not that I personally see a difference between them, they all chew and spoil food, equipment and such).

Not for the faint of heart! A mouse is shown setting off a trap. And no, we didn’t set it up that way, it just happened that after filming the segment on the best trap (in our opinion anyways) that Mr.Mouse couldn’t resist the smells of peanut butter and we were there to film it.

Be sure to check out his other videos:

As another note…after we caught that one we heard another trap in my workshop go off and that one caught TWO mice in one shot…

I love the Snap-E Traps…bye bye mice!!!

more to come on rodent control!!

And just for giggles and grins…this guy from Jersey is too funny…reminds me of the song “I Can’t No Satisfaction” lol…beware of the language heehehhe

american1Last night was the premier of National Geographic’s ‘American Blackout’. A fictional ‘story’ of what could happen if the power went out across the country for a prolonged time period (in this case 14 days). If you didn’t watch it, do so…it presents some very real incidences and film footage from other disasters, but it also follows along a story plot of several different types of people including a prepper. It is hard to watch in some places, but honestly, I believe it presents a very watered down version of what would happen should the 3 main power grids in this country go down at the sametime. Food supply lines become disrupted, medical care is basically non-existent, fires go unchecked (remember, it takes POWER to MOVE water in the form of pumping stations)…the whole banking system crashes (everything is computerized)…and when people figure out what is going on…well, there is a line in this fictional movie… “man, give me that can of peaches, I don’t want to have to hurt you, but I got kids”…you get the idea there and in following the prepper family, who takes along someone who has no clue about being prepared and why its not such a great idea to operational security, you find out just how people will be when you have something and they have nothing and your kindness…well…not going to spoil that one. american

I am trying really hard to not be a spoiler here, but lets just say…our government is NOT ready for it. Look at Katrina, Super storm Sandy and many other localized or regional events. Now take that and times it by a million, no, make that over 200 million.

Fact is, is that MOST people in this country will have NO IDEA what to do and will be looking for help. We as a society have been taught learned helplessness and this fictional movie glaringly points this fact out. Do you realize that most people don’t even have a simple manual can opener?

Most interestingly enough of all is that there is a real life PLANNED DRILL ‘what if’ scenario coming up on November practicing this very possibility.

Taken from

http://blog.chron.com/fromunderthebridge/2013/10/movie-tonight-coming-drill-american-blackout/

Do not panic–just be prepared! This is just supposed to be a drill.
(my comment, when they tell you not to panic, that is when you do)
“On November 13 – 14, 2013, the United States; Canada; and Mexico, along with more than 150 companies and organizations in all three countries, will take part in the GridEx 2013 Preparedness Drill – one of the largest preparedness drills in our country’s history. They will practice for an event unlike anything this country has ever seen, one experts fear is only a matter of time away from happening.
The U.S. Government is gearing up for a major Preparedness Drill that will simulate a Grid Down Scenario, one that will examine what would happen if the county’s electric grid was taken down by both physical and cyber-attacks.
The threat is very real and is something that we’ve covered in great detail in the past. Our electric grid is extremely vulnerable to an attack that could leave our country in the dark for weeks, maybe even months.
In preparation for this type of attack, our government is going to test the grids vulnerabilities, as thousands of utility workers team up with various government agencies.
The drill will look at how the three governments react to the loss of the power grid, and a crippled supply chain that would inevitably follow the event.

So, my question to you is this…can you take care of you and yours for at least ‘2 weeks’? and can you make the decisions that will be needed to made if you have to when you have to do so?
Look at it this way…what do you have to lose to store extra water, flashlights, food? Watch American Blackout to see why it’s a good idea.
For me, well, I am on the move again, ramping it up…you stay safe and get ready. The feeling of just having some things on hand will help you stay safe and strong when and if anything goes wrong.

Remember the minimum:
1 Gallon of water per day person/per animal
Flashlights, batteries (candles present a HUGE fire risk, last resort)
Battery/hand cranked radio (there are ones that come with hamradio reception by Grundy)
Food that can be eaten without having to cook, especially important in areas where there are a lot of people
A plan to dispose of human waste
Extra medicine/First Aid
Cash on Hand
Extra Gas

This is just the basics folks.

Lately I have been taking stock of my ‘stock’ (read that preps). Admittedly, I have included my children in getting prepared, but I didn’t realize just how much THEY did not understand the importance of organization, labeling and rotating. Yes, two are under 12 but one is a teenager who is into prepping. We talk about how to store things, what and why we keep extra on hand, safety, the value of being able to be less reliant on the ‘just in time system’ and a whole lot of other things. And many times we work together getting things done or they see me doing it with some help from them. Prepping with children as a single mom has brought up some interesting things, but when I started making extra room in my house to include another person, whoa! I just wanted to bug out and not deal with it…but, here I am, learning and hope that in my learning you can learn something too, especially if you are a single parent with children.

First, I realized just how much ‘crap’ is in my house that has really no value to me, but that’s another subject. Next, I realized that things had just been put behind closed doors so to speak to, just get it out of the way, and instructions were just NOT followed. And before someone has something to say about ‘kids being kids’ I am going to tell you that I am old school and believe that when an adult gives specific instructions on what/how to do something YOU DO IT. Not that I am trying to turn my kids into sheeple and not that I am not open to their ideas of how to get things done, but when you are told to pour the salt into a particular container and then label it, I expect it to be done. Put it in and label it and then put it in the spot I have set aside for it.

HAHAHA…I started cleaning/reorganizing and I found things stashed away like a squirrel stashes his nuts for the winter. Some of what I found was big bags of RICE just tucked away in a storage closet (seriously, that is NOT a joke). That was my teenager. Instead repacking the rice safely, he disappeared the containers and then stashed the rice.

Haha factor aside, I did not find this amusing at all and then I began to wonder about other things and sure enough, Mr. I Play Video Games, had not labeled salt containers or sugar containers, had just thrown can goods haphazardly into the pantry…sigh…really? And yes, I stood over him and things got done but really? At almost 16 years old I have to do that to make sure it gets done properly? Lets just say a few things ‘disappeared’ on him and I told him point blank that if he couldn’t follow simple instructions and put things away properly then how was I supposed to trust him with a crossbow or driving a car. Anyway…My 9 year old at least knows how to put green beans with green beans and to put the oldest up front. Sigh…so the past two weeks has been spent back tracking. Oh, I also found empty boxes that were never thrown away (so I assumed we had that in stock). Really? My 3 year old know how to throw things away.

There were quite a few things I found ‘out’ about, mostly just annoying things but if the little things like putting labels on buckets (so you know what it is), or putting the rice into mouse/bug proof containers or just throwing away an empty box of something can’t even be done, ohhhh…man, my mind just goes nuts over that one.

So what’s my point?

Everyone has to be on the same page at all times and understand the reasons behind why certain things get done. And just talking about it isn’t going to work with some people. Written instructions, establishing routines and expectations and then, being ‘the leader’, following up every time until you are dead sure that everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing. And unfortunately, having worked in the real world, I have seen this same behavior from ‘adults’. Time consuming? Yes. Pain in the rear? Yes. Should you as ‘leader’ have to micro-manage. No. It would be nice to be able to delegate, but most people are used to ‘getting by’ with little to no consequences to themselves. This go around it was just proper food storage. And we can all go to the what ifs, but it got caught in time. So micro-manage I will until I am sure that we are all on the same page on how things will get done.

Ideas for the micro-management/leader that does work well for both children and adults:

Get a whiteboard…the type you can list ‘to do’ items on daily. Save your breath.

Get another whiteboard…this one won’t be daily but will list chores/responsibilities for the week. Unfortunately, even adults need this (ever worked in a restaurant?).

Have a sit down/write down meeting. In this case, with my 3 children I was able to explain WHY it was important about storing food correctly. THEN a notebook came out and the steps were written down. They took turns writing out the steps and reasons why. In my case it was about food storage, but this will work in any type of situation that you see come up or MIGHT come up, including security tasks. And YES, children can help on that end too. At this sit down ask questions instead of lecturing. You’d be surprised at how well this works.

Don’t overlook abilities. Some people are better at something than others. SWAT analysis is a good thing. Unfortunately, you may find yourself (as in my case with my children) that you have to work with what you got. My case, kids  which means I have to work with what I got, including the attitude.

Have a CLEAR system and keep it simple. Chaos is NOT good! For instance, one place I keep proteins, another certain types of canned goods, another place salt, sugar and another for rice. Its in the same place all the time (that is until someone decides to just do it their way). But I do have a system in place. This allows you to know instantly where certain things are (for instance I have ONE place for all batteries and ONE place for all types of lighting except for candles). By having a few things here and a few things there you wind up wasting time and energy ‘looking’ for things.

Speak up…don’t be afraid, as the ‘leader’ to say what you have to say when it needs to be said. I will admit it, when I found things not done correctly they, my kids, were in the middle of doing homework…guess what? They wound up redoing what they were supposed to do instead of the homework and opps! The homework got done when typically they do what they want to do. Seems to make the impression to just get it done right the first time.

Lastly, DO follow up to make sure things are being done correctly. Don’t make it obvious that you are doing so but just check. If done correctly…give praise (yep, that includes adults too), if not done or not done correctly stop right then and there and do what needs to be done. Food storage case I pulled the bags of rice out, put them on the counter top, called my son into the kitchen and stood there until I SAW him doing it. Then said thank you, walked away and then rechecked a bit later. Done right.

Anyway, that’s my rant for today (well, everyday it seems). Discipline and order and a system and being on the same page with everyone when things are ‘normal’ makes it easier when something comes up later on.

Now, back to clearing out the crap!

ISD…okay…just what is that you ask? I is for improvised, S is Storage and D is for Device…Improvised Storage Device…yeah, okay, okay, I will admit that older son #2 came up with it and he is an admitted warfare nut and everything is put or translated into militaristic terms if you communicate with him. But hey, an ISD sounds lot better than ‘repurposed’ or ‘recycled’ doesn’t it?

So what is an ISD exactly…well, see the picture below for a few ideas…

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Of course the wonderful, multi-purpose 2 liter soda bottle. I use these to store rice, flour type products, popcorn, salt, sugar and other liquids (not water though as they are too thin as I have found out for long term use/storage). Gatorade bottles are great too for storing rice, flour, liquids and BEANS very easily. (Anyone who has tried to get beans into a 2 liter soda bottle knows what a pain in the rear that is let alone get them OUT and I am not into self torture food storage). How about those lunch meat containers? Put them into the dishwasher and guess what? Instant free storage. Old salad dressing bottles are great for making your own salad dressings, storing ‘homemade’ liquid soap or, if you are like me and buy in bulk, putting that liquid into a manageable container. I save and reuse the spice bottles too, again, great for breaking down from bulk purchase to manageable and you can use them to make and store your own toilet/tub scrub. One gallon water jugs that have been used? Either refill them and put outside for use as grey water (flushing toilets, watering plants, etc.) or refill with some other liquid purpose (recently I made bug killer from concentrate and used a one gallon jug to store extra in). I saved the empty laundry detergent containers to refill and reuse with my own laundry detergent and make gallons of bug killer from concentrate. Cottage cheese containers, sour cream containers? Yeah, those things that we constantly throw away…perfect for storing non-food items in such as nails, screws, thread, crayons, you name it…if it fits, it stores. Big vinegar containers I reuse to make large amounts of cleaners using vinegar. And, I will admit to reusing those zip lock bags too, a simple scrub and air dry and you get more than one use out of them. I save and reuse anything that is a ‘container’. I have a couple of totes with clean empty containers in them ‘just in case’. You never know…Any one with more ideas? Please do share your reuse ideas for ISD’s…improvised storage devices.