September 22, 2015 at 6:15 pm #43984
Copied from gardening 101 By, MountainBiker: “As with all of my preps I assume no electricity and thus I do not include freezing as a food preservation option. My choices are thus canning or drying, or cool temp storage. I don’t have a spring house but my basement is pretty cold all winter. Beans can be left to dry or canned while still in the green bean stage. Drying is the easier of the two and doesn’t use up canning supplies. The same can be done with corn, though I haven’t preserved corn yet. I make sweet pickles with cucumbers and can them for longer term storage, though you can do pickles in other forms. Tomatoes can be canned or made into sauce. I prefer to make sauce but it is a lot of work to cook it down. I am switching to just growing plum tomatoes going forward as they are good for making sauce. Pumpkins can be canned but watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew don’t lend themselves to that so I’ll only try to grow a little bit of them for summer eating. Acorn, hubbard, and butternut squash can be preserved for a long time as is but zucchini and summer squash won’t keep so zucchini and summer squash will be relegated to just a few for summer eating. Potatoes, onions, and carrots can be preserved for a long time as is in a cool place, but peppers don’t lend themselves to being preserved very well so I am limiting them to just small quantities for summer use. Cabbage can be preserved as is for a long time in a cool place, or you can make sauerkraut and can it. Most berries can be made into jams. Apples can be made into applesauce, apple cider, or vinegar or hard cider. Most fruits can be canned, made into a sauce, or made into jams. Sunflower seeds can be stored dry. The various salad greens don’t lend themselves to any kind of long term storage and going forward I’m not going to plant many, or perhaps any at all. Note that I have canned peppers and summer squash using a pickling recipe but the result is kind of soggy and not especially tasty. You can mix a little in salads but that’s about it. I have also made relish, but a little goes a long way as that is not the kind of food that lends itself to diverse uses. It is also a lot of work relative to the benefit. I am far from being expert in food preservation but dabbling a little here and there as I have done has been very educational. In a post-grid environment, water bath canning will be labor intensive if you have to do it over a fire.”
September 22, 2015 at 9:21 pm #43989
- This topic was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by 74.
Post-SHTF something that folks will quickly bump up against is that a handful of canning jars isn’t going to get you very far. More is better, especially when you are talking lids. Hundreds of jars is not too many. You’ll quickly find that wide mouth is preferable to regular. I buy them at the end of the canning season when they go on sale. A few years ago I picked up several hundred that a neighbor was going to toss when the elderly father died. There are reusable lids available these days, though a bit pricey if you need lots of them. https://www.lehmans.com/p-326-reusable-canning-jar-lids-regular.aspx?show=all I have set aside a large supply of non-reusable lids bought in bulk from Lehman’s. https://www.lehmans.com/p-2831-bulk-canning-dome-lids.aspx The regular mouth in bulk is 345 lids for the same price. The enamelware canning pots are good, but have more than one. They won’t last forever and are fairly inexpensive as large pots go. https://www.lehmans.com/p-874-black-enamelware-canner-215-qt.aspx https://www.lehmans.com/p-8349-black-enamelware-canner-33-qt.aspx I have a couple of the 7 jar ones but plan to buy the larger so as to make each batch more productive. You want a large stock pot to go with it for processing whatever will go into the jars. I have a 24 quart one.https://www.lehmans.com/p-956-stainless-stockpots-with-lids-by-vollrath.aspx?show=all. To make sauerkraut or other potentially corrosive (to metal) items you want a crockpot. I have a #5 which is 5 gallons. https://www.lehmans.com/p-5458-5-gallon-numbered-stoneware-crock.aspx Note that stoneware is pricey because it is far superior to regular ceramics. You can cook in a fireplace using stoneware whereas regular ceramics like earthenware will crack in the heat. I cooked with stoneware when I took a hearth cooking class, and now have a couple covered stoneware pots set aside.September 23, 2015 at 12:24 am #43994
Excellent information that we’ll need to “digest” in our own household, as this is an area we’re weak in. One thing that we’ve particularly appreciated having is a Food Saver (vacuum packing device). We got the canning jar adapter for both regular and wide mouth, but agree with you, MB, that the wide mouth is the way to go. We learned that you can substantially preserve the long shelf life of any freeze dried foods (including meats) when you open #10 cans, by distributing those cans into multiple canning jars and then using the Food Saver to vacuum seal them again (that info came directly from one of the long term food storage companies, but I can’t remember which one off hand). With a limited amount of electricity, you can do a lot with a vacuum packer. Just another option to consider.
We’ve had an older model (no longer available) V2860 for years, and love it, but the currently available Game Saver Deluxe (V3270) appears to be substantially the same machine with a much better warranty (10 years). It has a port, and comes with the accessory hose that allows use of the canning jar attachments (regular lid and wide mouth lid – just choose size on the product page).
There are expensive plastic canisters that can also be purchased, but we’ve rarely used ours. Generally 1- and 2-quart canning jars are great! Just make sure the rim on the jar is completely clean and the rubber ring on the lid is completely clean and dry (especially no oil or grease) before sealing. You put the lid on the jar, the attachment with hose attached over the lid and jar, and vacuum away using the “Canister” setting. Then pull off the attachment and you’ve got a nicely vacuum sealed jar of whatever. The screw-on cap that usually goes on a canning jar simply isn’t needed. Of course the continuous length bags can be great for some items too (there’s a built-in cutter that allows you to size a bag to any length you want, depending on what you’re saving). And this unit will allow vacuum sealing of veggies, not just game meats, just like our model will.
We’ve run ours with our Goal Zero (small Sherpa50 unit with inverter) battery pack just to make sure it will work if/when we need it, and it runs just fine without lowering the battery charge virtually at all.September 23, 2015 at 11:36 am #44001
Salad greens can be raised on the kitchen window ledge, some can be raised from the ‘heart’ or stump left when you have used the large leaves.
Watermelon jelly and pickles are a good way to treat yourself during the winter.September 23, 2015 at 12:28 pm #44003
GS, I don’t have one of those sealers and can see how nice they can be. My wife has one of those cheap Ziploc manual ones that she has used before putting some things in the freezer, but it is nowhere at the level of what you have.
Whirli, one of the things I haven’t tried yet is growing shoots during the winter so as to get fresh greens. I have bought some supplies to do so but just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I had never heard of watermelon jelly and had to look that one up. It sounds good. In lieu of an electric blender post-SHTF, I imagine using a potato masher would do the trick. My guess is that post-SHTF we’ll all learn how to preserve things we hadn’t thought of before. It is a little tough to grow watermelons this far north but no harm no foul for folks to try if they’ve got a little extra space.
For those of you who have fireplaces, a good prep to have for using it to cook is a crane. http://www.rumford.com/store/cranes.html The ones I posted here are rather pricey. You can find them for far less or even have one made by a blacksmith for a lot less. We had a Rumford fireplace in our last house and I went to a blacksmith to get one. Get some hooks to so as to be able to adjust the height of the pots. Of course you will need cast iron pots for cooking in a fireplace. You can’t go wrong with Lodge products made in the US. https://www.lodgemfg.com/. It is pricey but if you shop around you can save some money. I had bought some stuff at an outlet store I came across. Good cast iron will last a lifetime and then some. Some stoneware would come in handy too.
When I have time I’ll post some notes about the hearth cooking classes I took a few years back.
September 25, 2015 at 6:01 pm #44038
- This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by MountainBiker.
Canning is a great prep skill. We can among other things fresh tuna, elk, jelly, relish, tomatoes, bbq sauce and ketchup, bone broth made from elk bones, etc. Learning how to can is a big plus for us. A couple of quality canners and plenty of jars is a bit of investment though.September 25, 2015 at 7:19 pm #44040
In whatever fashion one chooses, being able to preserve food is essential, life and death even. It is an investment worth making.September 25, 2015 at 9:51 pm #44042
Best to closely follow canning guidelines for canning particularly meats.September 25, 2015 at 10:20 pm #44043
We love cast iron cookware. I strongly endorse what MB said about shopping around though. Just as one example, the Rumford site advertises a 9 quart Lodge dutch oven for $196, but the Lodge site lists it at $112. And that same model is selling on Amazon for $79. Go figger! But cast iron, while expensive, is worth it! Just learn how to use it (and keep it properly seasoned). My wife won’t even attempt to make corn bread in anything else.April 28, 2016 at 6:26 pm #48533
Let’s try to stay on topic and build a useful resource. We have many knowledgeable contributors in gardening and food storage methods that can help.
I’m planting seed potatoes from my last season’s crop. I stored them in my garage in cardboard boxes on shelving. One wall of the garage is below grade level and I have the shelves against that wall. The garage will stay about 40-45F until outside temps hit the 80’s for a few weeks.
The bulk of my potatoes were harvested late in September. The potatoes are still efible although they’ve become a little shriveled and the eyes have small potatoes growing. If I had to these could still be kept as edible for another month or so. My first planting of potatoes is about 4″ tall now. In s month I should have baby potatoes to keep us going and maintain a sustainable cycle year after year.
Below is a box being used for seed. One potato is cut in half so you can see the quality. After cooking there wouldn’t be anything noticeably wrong with the texture or taste of these potatoes.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by 74.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by 74.
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