Monday, April 27, 2009

Food Storage Calculators

I found this food calculator site and it is more comprehensive than others I've seen. I do not know the reasoning or the method behind their calculations, but I thought I'd pass it along.

And, the following is the one available on the Provident Living site.,11666,7498-1-4070-1,00.html

Monday, April 20, 2009

Laundry Soap

I received this recipe for laundry soap. The dry ingredients are easy to put in storage and you can mix it up whenever you need.

Items needed:
* A 5 Gallon Bucket to store detergent in
*1 Bar Zote Soap (may also use Fels Naptha)
*1 1/2 Cups Arm and Hammer washing Soda
*1 1/2 Cups Twenty Mule Team Borax
*Lots of water

Heat 12 cups of water in large pot. Grate Zote soap and add to water. Stir until soap melts. Add washing soda and Borax--ingredients will foam--stir until everything is dissolved. (Approximately 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Heat 8 cups of water in separate container and place in 5 gallon bucket. Add soap mixture and stir. Add 2 gallons plus 12 more cups of water and stir. You may add 1-2 oz of essential oil for scent if desired.

Cover and let set for 24 hours. Stir a few times over the first few hours of sitting so mixture does not thicken too much.

Use 1/2 cup per load of laundry. Great for sensitive skin. Detergent will not be sudsy in washing machine. Total cost is approximately 1 cent per load.

Products can be found in most grocery store laundry aisles. In Utah, Macey's stocks all the items. Even if you don't use it on a daily/weekly basis it is a handy recipe to have on hand in case of an emergency. You can store dry ingredients indefinitely. Make sure to buy multiple Zote bars to go with one box of of other items.

My disclaimer is that I have not yet tried this out, but it appears from the ingredient list that it would probably work quite well. If someone gets around to trying it before me let us know how you like it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ham Fried Rice & Cooking Rice in the Oven

Melissa taught me how to make rice in the oven, and I don't think I've ever had it turn out better. So, I used her technique tonight while making a Ham Fried Rice recipe. I'll pass both her technique and the recipe along.

3 Tablespoons oil, divided

4 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed (I think I used more)

1 cup chopped cooked ham (I think I used more)

4 cups cooked rice (3 to 3 1/2 would be better)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

dash pepper

2 Tablespoons soy sauce or to taste

  • STEP 1:
    Using an ovensafe pan, bring rice to boil on stovetop (also turn oven on to 375 degrees). After it reaches a boil, cover with tinfoil and put into hot oven for 12-15 minutes. While this is cooking, prepare step #2.

  • STEP 2:
    In a large skillet, use 2 T. oil and scramble eggs. When finished, set aside on plate. In same skillet, use the other 1 T. oil and cook onions. Add peas, ham and seasonings. Stir fry. Add scrambled eggs. When all warm and cooked, add cooked rice and mix all together.
This is a good food storage recipe because it could be made from all canned items, although frozen peas and fresh ham are certainly better.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Botulism & Canning Practices

I have recently learned about two canning practices, widely explained on the internet, that are totally unsafe and can lead to serious illness or death via the botulism toxin.

1) The baking of bread or cakes in glass canning jars.

Unsafe practice: A batter of banana bread, zucchini bread or similar cake or bread is spooned into glass canning jars and baked. After baking but while jars are still hot, a canning lid and ring are secured. As the jar cools, the air is removed from the jar and the lid is vacuum-sealed into place.

2) The sealing of butter or margarine in glass canning jars.

Unsafe practice: The butter or margarine is melted and then placed in a glass canning jar. Once again, a canning lid and ring are secured while the jars are hot, and a vacuum-seal is created as the jars cool.
_ _ _

In both cases, an environment supportive of botulism growth is created. In order for botulism to produce its deadly neurotoxin, it needs three things: no oxygen, low acidity, and a tiny bit of moisture.

If a botulism bacteria is placed in a this environment, it begins to produce a neurotoxin, which if consumed, begins to paralyze muscles. Victims often need antitoxin drugs to deal with it; others need life support when they can no longer breathe on their own, and others succumb and die.

Improper home-canning methods are a major culprit of botulism poisoning.

Canning Rules to Live by:
  • Use a recently published canning book which contains tested recipes. Do not get canning recipes from the internet, old books, word-of-mouth, etc. Do not make up your own recipes.

  • Follow the recipe and instructions exactly. Do not substitute or omit ingredients. This can change the acidity of the product.

  • If the recipe says to pressure cook, do it! Pressure cooking and water bathing are NOT interchangeable methods. A pressure cooker is designed to bring low-acidic food up to higher temperatures.

  • Process according to the appropriate time and pressure.
More Info:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What a One-Year Supply Looks Like

I liked this post (with photos) showing what a one-year supply of basic food looks like. Check it out!