Saturday, December 13, 2008

Weekend Roundup and Q & A #6 (Be sure to read to the end... we have a request!!!)

The Pantry Panel wrote about surviving a minor illness. We have Sprite, Gatorade and soda crackers in our food storage just for when we get sick. Having food that your kids are familiar with and can prepare for you if they are old enough is a great idea too. Maybe having some favorite recipes in an easy to find location would be a great idea.

Preparedness Matters has a link from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) with a
Family Health Emergency Information Form that would be great to stick in your 72 hour kit.

I am always happy when my two interests collide. What about making a
recipe holder courtesy of Anna Maria Horner, and filling it with food storage recipes as a holiday gift?

For an interesting discussion of bottled butter please see:
iPrepared and Preparedness Brings Peace

Each Saturday we will
post some questions that readers have asked with some (hopefully) good answers. Please be patient as we try to answer all your questions. More questions? Email us!

Previous Question and Answer Posts:
Question and Answer #1
Question and Answer #2
Question and Answer #3
Question and Answer #4
Question and Answer #5

Other Informative Posts:
All About Oats
All About Beans
Let's Talk About Wheat
All About Rice
All About Rice Storage

My question is how to can beef. Is it raw packed like chicken? I prefer not to have everything cooked before and during canning.

Neither Hannah nor I have ever canned meat; I don't know that I ever will, raw meat has never been high on my priority list. We turned to an expert to answer some questions about raw meat canning. Introducing Mountain Man's uncle, a food science professor at a major university. Dr. Uncle (as we'll call him here), actually researches the safety issues surrounding food storage. We posed this question to him, and he wrote back:

Most foods can be “canned” if done properly. I would refer you to the following websites for info on canning of poultry and meat. It is put out by United States Department of Agriculture and put on the web by USU and well studied. You just need to be sure all the ins and outs of pressure canning are understood. When people mix up or don’t understand the need for pressure canning versus hot water bath canning, results can be deadly. The USDA guide is a good reference that we refer people to all the time, then they (USDA) can take the heat for botched canning by consumers (double pun heat and botch (botchulism). You didn’t know I was that clever did you?

The websites I would recommend are Preparing and Canning Poultry, Red Meats and Seafoods (this is a pdf) for meat processing. We do venison all the time at home. Then if you go back one step to Food Preservation you can find all kinds of researched methods for canning. Other Universities will put similar info on their extension websites (Other land grant Universities) OR contact your local extension agent for local info.

So my advice is this, if you are interested in canning meat, DO YOUR HOMEWORK. You don't want to spend a lot of time canning something that will just end up killing your kids.

Can I store my flour and sugar in the packages they come in? I'll have to find out if our stake has a canner, but I doubt it does. I'm not sure how to store it if I can't can it.

We've talked about this here. Basically to reiterate, it depends on how long you are planning on storing the food. If it is for your 3-Month supply and you will be using it within a year or so, you can store it in the same package. According to this chart, opened flour will store for 6-8 months, and store unopened for a year. If it is part of your longer-term storage and you are planning to keep it around for longer than one year, I would recommend canning it either in cans/foil pouches or in 5 gallon, food grade buckets. Sugar lasts indefinitely, but keep in mind that if you live in an area where pests are a problem you might want to stick your package into a 5 gallon bucket just to keep little critters out. Rotten little monsters...

I never thought about buying honey. We don't really use it all that often. Would it be a good idea to buy it in small bottles since we don't use it a lot? Does it stay good for a long time after opening it?

Store what you eat! If you want to try honey out I would recommend starting with small containers. Make sure that you have another sweetener stored that you like to eat and use regularly. A little sugar or honey can make oatmeal and wheat a lot more palatable. According to this chart, honey can be stored open or unopened for a year.

I want to start storing wheat grain and need to buy a grinder so I can make bread. Do you have a recommendation on which grinder to purchase? There is so much out there I don't know where to start. I want to get a good machine that will last a long time and am willing to pay more for quality. I am looking for electric.

I can only recommend the grinder that I have which is a Grain Master by Whisper Mill. It belonged to my grandmother before she died, but I'm not sure how much she used it. I wasn't really into wheat grinding as a teenager. Anyway, point being, I got it 5 years ago and my grandmother had it for a while before that, and it still works great.

I found an article here comparing wheat grinders, but like I said, the only one I can recommend is my own. Speaking of grinders, I really hope I get a hand grinder for Christmas. If my electricity went out for a long time, I'd be in a load of trouble.

We live in a TINY condo (less than 1,000 square feet, no garage). We are busting at the seams, with only two closets in our entire house. I would love creative ideas on where to store food and water in tiny spaces. Also, I've seen them before but where could I get a hold of a list of recommended amounts for long term storage, ie how much rice, oats, wheat, etc. for two people?

There are food calculators all over, but the one I use is here at www.lds.org, you just type in how many people and how many months you are planning for and it will pull up a list what you need to store.

We talk a little about where we store our food here, here and at the bottom of this post here. I buy the foil pouches so I can slide them under my beds, we have really low beds in our home. I can't help it, I love low beds but they're no good for food storage. I liked Hannah's idea of pulling the couch forward from the wall 6-8 inches and stacking food storage behind it. Another idea would be to store in 5-gallon buckets, then paint the buckets and make a cushion for the top--then use them as stools.

Let's hear from some of our readers, where are some of the creative places you store your food storage?

Readers, we want your help!! We would LOVE to see your progress with food storage and emergency preparedness. The week between Christmas and New Year's, we would love to post YOUR success pictures. We want to see car kits, 72-hour kits, 3-month supplies, or longer-term storage. We'd love to see where you store your food! If you have a picture (or two!) to share with us, please email it to us at safelygatheredin (at) gmail (dot) com. Of course, your shelves don't have to be FULL and your kits don't need to be COMPLETE... we just want to see your progress so far!! This is your time to show off what you've done, so let's see it!


Bloggers said...

I just wanted to say that I found your blog today and I am totally in love with it. I just have been sitting here with my toddler at my feet playing and reading over the whole blog.

Anonymous said...

With just my husband and I in a small apartment, we keep some water storage in our refrigerator in the back on the bottom shelf. Our fridge is rarely full, and so this is one available place we have since we've filled nearly every other nook and cranny.

Candace said...

Yes...beef can be raw packed. I do this with beef, elk, venison. You can also sear in a little fat and can. Process for your alititude for 90 minutes.

The McKeachnie Family said...

Hear is an idea for a good rotational storage system for tight spaces...

Melonie said...

Jackie Clay of Backwoods Home Magazine cans meats of all kinds. Your readers can learn more from her at http://www.backwoodshome.com I haven't started canning yet, but I've read her articles with interest over the years and can't wait to try some of her suggestions. Hope it's of service!

Wendi said...

I love to invite you to my blog StorageSkills.blogspot.com for a step by step in pictures tutorial on how to can meat. I actually demonstrate chicken but they same process is used for canning beef.

Roger said...

My husband (he's Roger) and I have about 200 lbs of sugar in 9 5-gallon buckets under our bed. We have two pieces of plywood attached to each other sitting on top of the buckets with our king size mattress on top. We've used this for more than seven years now.

Karyn said...

My Mom used to stack the boxes & cans under our beds as kids- instead of bed frames.

You could also put things in the bottom of closets.

Wheat Grinder said...

Food preservation is always a problem for people,but proper food storage is always essential.So your link on canning would be very helpful for me.Thanks.