Saturday, October 25, 2008

Weekend Roundup -Question and Answer Edition

We got a lot of good questions this week, so we're doing another Q&A today! We'll start doing a Q & A post each Saturday to keep up with the questions. If we haven't answered your question yet it's probably too hard. Just kidding, we'll get to it in the weeks to come.

First up though, a little roundup:

Someone finally did it! It being comparing the cost of canned beans to dried beans, and did a tutorial on how to cook and store them to boot. Check out the post here at A Year of Crockpotting.


I have a question about canning. Is hot water canning different from pressure canning?

Hot water canning and pressure canning are different. To see the differences in methods, see our post on hot water canning here, and pressure canning here. To pressure cook foods, you do need an actual pressure cooker (or pressure canner which is bascally a large pressure cooker see here). To just do hot water canning, you could technically use any large pot with a lid-as long as it's deep enough to completely cover the jars with water AND you need a wire rack to keep the jars off the bottom of the pan (too much jiggling) see here.

What about soft white wheat and soft red wheat? What is the difference between winter wheat and spring wheat?

There are two types of white wheat – hard white and soft white. The differences between the two are found mainly in the end products for which they are used. Soft white has a lower protein level than hard white. Which is why the cannery sells the hard wheat, so the protein level is higher and therefore more nutritious. My guess is that the same is true of red wheat.

Where can you buy double boilers and the pots etc. needed to bottle things at home? Also, do you have a cheap place to buy jars or do I just have to get them at the grocery store?

You can buy pretty much everything you need online - try doing a Google search, or searching on Amazon. Amazon will show you many different brands of products, and they often have consumer reviews, which I really like.

You can buy your jars at any grocery store in the canning section (which is usually a really small part of the bags/tin foil section. I wouldn't buy them there if you can help it. I would look around at garage sales or talk to some older people in your area. I know my Grandma has shelves full of jars that she doesn't use since she doesn't can anymore. I defintely recommend getting your jars secondhand. I do buy my rings and lids at the store though.

I would love to hear any advice for those of us who eat raw or vegetarian. What are some different types of grains and such we could store to use for sprouting to have fresh greens? What are your recommendations for food storage in that regard?

Well if you eat raw, food storage can be a huge challenge. Having your own garden is probably the best advice we can give you in that regard. That way, you will have a constant supply of raw food available to you. Of course, this isn't always possible depending on where you live and what season it is. Your food storage can be heavy in dried fruits and veggies, nuts, etc. Consider storing some food that you would eat in an emergency, even if that doesn't necessarily mean you would eat it normally. This will make rotating difficult, but it's worth it.

Being vegetarian should be easy for food storage since canned meat is the most expensive item in the food storage! Stock up on lots of beans which are a great source of protein and of course vegetables.

As for your question about sprouting grains - here is a good article with some information about sprouting and how to do it. There are even a few illustrations showing you how to do it.

I am interested in the instructions about building your own rotating shelves, but I don't see them anywhere on your page.

We are slightly technically challenged so we haven't figured out how to link a pdf file on the blog, so email us at safelygatheredin @ gmail.com (remove spaces) and we'll send you a pdf of what we have.

Many of you have been asking about these, and a while back we posted the page on our site. However, they aren't really instructions on how to build it - it's more of a crude drawing with all the measurements and supplies you need. If anyone is interested in building these shelves, and can read the drawings, we'd love to have you take some pictures so we can share a step-by-step tutorial on the blog! Maybe someday Mountain Man or my husband will get to it... but we don't really see that happening any time soon.

What are the axe and shovel for in the 72-hour kits? Do we need a long-handled shovel and an axe to chop down a tree?

The axe and shovel come in handy in many ways, especially for survival. But I wouldn't stress about it if I didn't have it. Put it on a wish list and get it when you can. Never go into debt to buy food storage/emergency preparation items. That's not responsible.

cut firewood, clear a fallen tree in the road, you could use the back end as a sledgehammer to nail tent posts to the ground, you could kill animals to eat (according to my husband), etc. You could have a long-handled axe or a small one (a hatchet), but the longer one would probably be more useful, in my opinion.

Shovel: dig a latrine, dig down to find water, flatten ground for tents, dig in snow if needed, etc.

What do you store your 72 hour kit?

I store mine in our guest room closet - that's where all my food storage is, too! (Hannah)

I also store my main kits in the guest room closet. The sleeping bags are in another closet and the tools are in the garage. See here for more details about 72 hour kits.

I have a large walk-in attic storage area. It get's VERY hot in summer and equally cold in winter. Is there any kind of food storage that I can safely put there?

Unfortunately, there's really not much food-wise that will be safe up there, but you can store things like toilet paper, paper towels, infant and feminine needs and so on. How about storing off season clothing up there so there's more room in your closets for food storage/emergency preparation items.

Are you in Utah?

Nope, we aren't. And we try not to talk about it, because Mountain Man gets a little weepy about being so far away from the mountains.

If there's anything you'd like to know about food storage, within reason of course, please email us at safelygatheredin (at) gmail (dot) com.


Kelly said...


Thanks for saying hi on my blog. I actually already found this one and I love it. Keep up the good work. With your blog and a few others and the political/economic climate, I have felt very inclined to get my food storage in order. All of your tips are greatly appreciated.


Mel said...

One part of a question was not answered...as a city girl who married a farmer I have learned the difference between spring wheat and winter wheat. Spring wheat is planted in the spring, and winter wheat is planted in the late fall (my husband just planted it last week). Simple as that!

Kristine said...

Another difference for the soft and hard wheat - the hard wheat stores longer. I don't remember the exact shelf life of the soft, though.