Sunday, December 18, 2011

Food: Why It Is A Key Priority

Got food?  Like several years worth?

Really ought to be a priority for you & your family.  Might also consider acclimating your family to what you are storing.  If your bunch has never eaten hot cereal mush for breakfast on a routine basis, Winter is a good time to begin serving breakfasts like Oatmeal, BearMush/Farina, Cracked Wheat Cereal, MaltoMeal, and Rice breakfast cereals.   Hot cereals served with Molasses, raisins/dates/prunes, Nuts especially Walnuts & Pecans, and sweetened with Brown Sugar, Honey, or Maple Syrup  can be not only nutritious but also very filling and substantial source of energy to begin your day.  No refrigeration required.  Forgot to mention Yellow and White varieties of Grits.  Cornmeal makes some very tasty cornbread and a slab or two of cornbread with butter and honey is especially tasty with any meal.

Don't overlook Peanut Butter and Jelly/Preserves on homemade wholewheat bread as another breakfast that gives lots of protein and calories which spell energy.

Unless you have lots of refrigeration and freezer capacity, plus the AE to generate the power to run them; your diet and food prep menus will have to change.  If you own a ranch/farm or enough land to keep a few cattle, hogs, and other meat livestock, your protein supply will be limited.  Lots of guys figure to hunt their meat....   Not really viable, in my estimation.

Many armchair preppers and best-case scenario survivalists figure hunting will be a resource.  Not me.  Unless you live extremely remote and have formidable barriers that isolate your area from interlopers, there will be lots of folk pursuing their next meal in the woods.  Game tends to be quickly killed-off or leave an area with significant hunting pressure.  What you're likely to find in the woods is someone more stealthy than you who will follow you home and survey your situation, coming back at a time when the Surprise Visit they've planned has been coordinated and planned.

The first year and likely first 2 years, you'll need to be self-sufficient in every aspect of your food supply; just to maximize value of your time and be present to dissuade those Surprise Visitors...

The idea of "hunting" is really a pipedream.  What you're looking for is killing game animals, not spending time finding a track or trail and then stalking for the kill.  Gathering Protein is the name of the game.  All the illegal practices outlined in your fish & game handbook are going to yield results.  Baiting animals is a possibility.  Fish traps come to mind.  Actually, the best way to gather Protein is by trapping and snaring.  You set 25 traps out on a trapline and you've got 25 different likely spots being "hunted" 24/7.  Snares take game quietly.  Don't want to be firing weaponry unnecessarily in The Aftermath...

Before there is an Aftermath, there will be The Main Event.  Your food supply must be such that you're able to stay off the radar and Out Of The Line Of Fire.  Even a good idea to use oil or kerosene to heat your home, propane for cooking in that first year etc so you don't attract Surprise Visits who got wind of your homestead by smelling your woodsmoke.  Woodsmoke also provides a pretty visual picture, and if barometric pressure is low, it won't rise much above chimney level.  Hungry and desperate folk have nothing better to do than search out where their noses lead them.  Be sure it isn't to your back door...

In an earlier article, we discussed how home canning, home packed storage of whole grains, and using a dehydrator can combine to give you a dependable resource of high protein foods.  Sprouts and Wheatgrass offer a very high vitamin content and can be grown in small areas indoors.  Healthfood stores offer many varieties of sprouting seed these days.  Wheatberries will yield wheatgrass when planted in a tray of potting soil and kept in sunlight a few hours everyday.  Sprouts have more nutritional value than mature vegetables.

Learn now to make your own bread.  Breadmachines are excellent for mixing dough and saving you the time an effort of kneading dough.  For $10 or so at a resale, hard to go wrong.  Having 2 of the same type enables you to process that much more dough.  Easy to bake 4 loaves as it is to bake one, more efficient use of your oven also.  Takes 4 cups of flour to make a 2lb loaf.  Use at least 2 cups of Hard Red Winter Wheat flour, AKA Whole Wheat, to be sure your bread has a decent level of protein.  3 cups hrww to 1 cup white gives a good consistency.  Might look up the recipes for Ezekiel Bread to get even higher protein levels in your bread which will be a diet mainstay.

Brown Rice is The Primary Dietary Superfood.  More protein than any other whole grain and combined with beans it yields a Complete Protein.  You want to store a lot of Brown Rice, preferably Organic Short-Grained variety.

Meat can be used sparingly.  Stir fried and in stews, small amounts of meat are very filling and do not over-tax your digestive tract.  Eating whole grains will have beneficial effect on digestive and elimination tracts.  You want your food to build your body's health and immune system, not merely to taste yummy...

Eggs store very well when kept refrigerated.  Probably can hardboil them and keep them in a pickling solution for many years, but I have never partaken of such "bar food", pickled pigs feet included.  Still, if you got eggs and no way to keep them below 55F; you do what you can.  If you've got a chicken pen in the backyard then you are set, and fresh eggs keep several days easily at room temperature.  Might look into digging a root cellar, or if you have a nearby stream, doing a food submersion box for keeping stuff cool.

Gotta have a way to cook once your utilities are down.  Maybe you have a propane setup now, but will your stove work w/o electricity?  Many of the basic jobs these days use electronic ignitors and unless you have AC power, the stove won't function.  A 2 or 3 burner campstove with a 5gal bulk tank, hose and adaptor is a decent solution.  Maybe you want a couple of  campstoves and a Coleman camp oven to bake in?  Or maybe you have a BBQ-Smoker out on the patio?

Kurt Saxon in The Survivor discusses using a Stanley Thermos as a slow-cooker for morning cereal.  Couple ounces of grain, add in the correct amount of boiling water and tightly cap the thermos and in morning have warm, ready to eat cereal.  Easy to make soup or reconstitute jerky.  Can't have too many Stanley Thermoses...

Gonna need potable water for drinking and cooking, not to mention handwashing.  Coleman makes their blue plastic 5gal jug with a spigot tap and vent which is ideal for using on countertop and can be stacked 2 or 3 high.  A new or fairly clean 30gal trash can will also hold water reliably.  Fill with a hose and you can use a two-wheeler dolly to move around.  Put a clean trash can liner bag inside before filling, and don't forget the lid and a ladle or pump.  Can likely find 55gal soda syrup drums if you live near a softdrink bottling plant.  Clean out the residue and add a little bleach, then rinse and fill from your garden hose AFTER you've moved the barrel where you want it located.  Gotta have water stored and don't forget water for hygeine as well.

Need a place to keep your foodstuffs out of excessive heat and humidity.  5gal plastic buckest with gasket seal lids are very durable and don't admit moisture or conduct any condensation.  Gotta use the CO-2 packing method detailed earlier to be sure, but that is easy to do.  Plastic jars of gallon size are ideal for storying loose grains, pasta, beans and herbs & spices.  Honey is especially long-storing and much better in the nutrition dept than is sugar.

More to come on this subject....

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