Monthly Archives: April 2010

  • Spillin' the Beans

    If you don’t know beans about beans, read on for some great information and new ideas!

     

    Beans belong to a group of foods referred to as “legumes.” This food group includes peas, lentils, and peanuts in addition to the beans in which most of us are familiar. Next to cereal grains, the legume family contributes the most substantially towards feeding the people of the world. The high protein content of beans is necessary when meat is hard to come by, which is what makes legumes a wonderful addition to your food storage pantry! Beans are also high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and contain important vitamins and minerals like foliate, calcium, iron and potassium.

     

    There are many different varieties of legumes and each variety is used in different ways!

     

    Lentils

    Lentils are a quick cooking legume commonly found in soups, stews, and salads. They have a meat like texture and are high in protein and fiber, yet low in fat!

     

    Pinto Beans

    Pinto Beans are popular in Tex-Mex cooking and are used for refried beans in tacos and burritos. They are nutrient rich and provide a flavorful side dish often paired with spicy rice. These naturally dehydrated beans are sometimes specially prepared with salt and sometimes other ingredients and sold as refried beans.

     

    Black Beans

    Black Beans are known for their meat like texture and versatility. They are a Latin American staple that have a mild flavor and are commonly used in salads and paired with rice as a side dish. This bean has recently become more popular with many 'Fresh Mex' Baja Mexico inspired restaurants. Due to its meat like texture and dark color, it is often used as a red meat substitute.

     

    Small Red Beans

    Small Red Beans have a hearty flavor and a rich texture. They are often used in bean casseroles or served with rice and Cajun seasonings.

     

    Kidney Beans

    Kidney Beans are the bean most often used in chili recipes. It is also very hearty in texture and accents other flavors well.

     

    Split Green Peas

    Split Green Peas are known for their flavorful use in “split green pea soup.” Its fresh flavor and color make it a great way to add color and variety to your home storage.

     

    Small White Navy Beans

    Small White Navy Beans are excellent for use in soups and stews. Bean with Bacon soup is one of the most popular recipes for White Navy Beans.

     

    Soybeans

    Soy Beans are extremely versatile and used worldwide in making soymilk, textured vegetable protein (a meat substitute), and tofu. It takes flavor very well and has a wonderful texture.

     

    Peanuts

    Peanuts are in the legume family and are considered by many people to be a comfort food and family favorite. Most commonly used to make peanut butter, it is used in recipes and as a simple sandwich filling. Though their high fat content makes them hard to store, you can store peanut butter and peanut butter powder.

     

    Garbanzo Beans

    Garbanzo Beans (or Chick Peas) are often used in salads and as a base for making humus. Though similar in use, they are not as commonly used for home storage.

     

    Beans are used to thicken gravies and add richness to soups and stews. Bean flour can be used in place of wheat flour in many recipes. Bean flour is delicious in dips, spreads, and can be used as a fat replacement when cooked and mashed into the consistency of shortening!

     

    Dry beans should be parboiled or soaked overnight before cooking. Many dry bean varieties can be stored up to 30 years if packaged correctly. Once cooked, beans can be stored safely at least five days in the refrigerator, or up to one year if frozen. Over time, beans may require a longer soak and extended cooking times to achieve a softer texture.

     

    This is just a small sampling of the many things you can do with beans! The recipes and possibilities are nearly endless with this versatile and healthy food storage basic. Hopefully you are an official “bean counter” and ready to store and use more this wonderful food!

    -Angie Sullivan

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • Worth the Wheat

    What is nutritious, versatile, affordable, and stores great? Why, it’s wheat!

    We are continuing our preparedness journey by stopping at a few very important landmarks. One important stop will be the wonderful world of wheat! This amazing grain is a staple of food storage enthusiasts for many reasons.

    Wheat has been a part of the human diet since before written history! It is the principle food of most of the world’s inhabitants. Wheat in its whole grain form contains an impressive list of vitamins and minerals. It is also a significant source of fiber and protein. Wheat contains complex carbohydrates, which makes it filling and an excellent source of energy.

    There are several types of wheat, but the most common grown in the U.S. are red and white wheat. Varieties include hard red spring, hard red winter, hard white , soft white, and durum. Which one you choose depends on what you will use it for. Hard red wheat is hard in texture, red in color, and is excellent for making hearty whole wheat loaves of bread or as a red meat substitute. Hard red winter wheat is also the most common wheat available. Hard white winter wheat is more delicate in flavor and can be used to make lighter breads, rolls, and scones. This lighter wheat can be used as a white meat substitute.

    Surprised to find out that wheat a can be used as a meat substitute? Well, you’ll be happy to know that there are countless books and websites devoted to all the amazing things that can be made from wheat. As a matter of fact, I recently ran across a recipe for whole wheat brownies, now that’s something I can’t wait to try! Don’t forget that a coarsely ground wheat, or "cracked wheat," makes a nutritious breakfast cereal too.

    Wanting to stretch your food storage dollar? Think wheat! This simple grain is very affordable and with all the things you can make with it, you’ll be fortifying your diet and saving money by using it regularly. In addition to being an affordable commodity, whole wheat has an excellent shelf life. Brigham Young University recently conducted a study of wheat that had been stored for 32 years. The University found 97% was acceptable for emergency situations. That sounds like a great track record to me!

    After learning so many interesting things about this invaluable grain, I can’t wait to try out a few new ideas for my own family. Hopefully, this has renewed your interest in wheat and all the wonderful things you can do with it. As you can see, wheat is well worth it!

    -Angie Sullivan

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • By Angie Sullivan

    Storing and planting garden seeds is a great way to reap the benefits of gardening now, and in the future!

    I decided we would take a small detour on our journey to preparedness to talk about something that is probably on many minds this time of year, gardening. I know what you are thinking-what does gardening have to do with preparedness? When land is available, one of the best ways to keep fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet during an emergency is by growing them in your own garden. A garden adds nutrition and variety to your food storage.

    Let’s talk a little about storing and planting garden seeds and you’ll see!

    Storing Garden Seeds

    Non-hybrid, open pollinating seeds are the best type to store when purchasing storage seeds. These types of seeds can be planted and their seeds can be collected at the end of the season for a future garden. Most seeds purchased today are hybrid seeds and cannot produce more plants. That is why choosing “non-hybrid” seed is so important. Remember the old adage, “You can count the seeds in an apple, but you cannot count the apples in a seed”.

    The Garden Seeds available from Emergency Essentials are non-hybrid, open pollinating and include packets of several different vegetables. Each packet of seeds is foil lined, and the seeds are sealed in a #10 can. Garden seeds should be stored in a cool and dry environment, sealed tightly to avoid moisture. Each of these cans have enough seeds to produce a vegetable garden up to two thirds of an acre!

    Planning Your Garden

    Draw a garden plan. This will help you decide what to plant where, and will help when you rotate the next year. Use whatever space you have available, but remember that your garden should have at least 4-6 hours of full sunshine every day. The soil should be able to drain well. If you are using planters or window boxes, be sure to allow holes for drainage. Fertilize the soil by adding fertilizer before tilling. Continue to fertilize throughout the growing season. Plant a good variety, remembering that different colored vegetables yield different nutrients. Try planting a “rainbow” of colors to get the most vitamin variety.

    How To Plant

    A good general rule is to plant seeds at a depth of three times the diameter of the seeds. Fine seeds should be scattered on top of the soil and pressed down lightly. Climbing plants such as tomatoes, peas, and beans should be planted near stakes or trellises. Allow yourself room to move around and weed between the plants.

    Saving Seeds

    Saving your own seeds may seem time consuming, but when you replant your own seeds, they usually yield plants better suited to your soil and climate! After planting, keep track of the healthiest non-hybrid, self-pollinating plants. Once the seeds have been collected, they need to be dried thoroughly before storing them. Excess moisture can cause the seeds to mold and rot. Use a fine screen or a sheet of plastic or glass to dry the seeds on. Dry the seeds in a warm place, out of direct sunlight. Seeds that are dried can be stored in small pill bottles, small envelopes, and other small containers. Label each packet well and add any relevant information. Then, store these in a cool, dry place. If you use envelopes, you might want to seal those envelopes in a jar with an airtight seal to keep out any additional moisture.

    Sprouting Seeds

    There are times when your family needs nourishing vegetables immediately in an emergency. Waiting months to harvest a garden may not be feasible. A fast and easy way to obtain nutrients is through sprouting! Sprouting is simple, and there are kits available to aid you in the process, or you can use items you find around the house. Good sprouting seeds are alfalfa, mung beans, triticale, soy beans, lentils, whole peas, adzuki beans, clover, garbanzo beans, rye, wheat, beans, rice, and oats. The last five seeds listed will sprout in only two days! The rest will sprout in three to five days.

    Have you enjoyed our small detour? Hopefully you are inspired to add a very important item to your food storage supply, garden seeds. Reap the rewards of gardening and add variety and nutrition to your food storage plan at the same time!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: angie sullivan, Passport to Preparedness

  • by Angie Sullivan 

    Beware of these common preparedness mistakes as you try to build up a good storage of food and water.

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    As our journey continues, I just simply can't go on without warning you of some of the "pitfalls and potholes" of preparedness. They are the mistakes that many people make as they begin storing for the future. The following points are seven of the most common mistakes in food storage.

    1. Water Don't forget it! I know I've mentioned this before, but surprisingly, water is often overlooked. If you do purchase water storage kits or barrels, fill them as soon as possible. Water is crucial, yet because it is so accessible to us, we often forget it.

    2. Extended Staples Don't forget to store the additional pantry "staples" that turn basic foods into recipes. Consider storing oil, baking soda, baking powder, yeast, shortening, and powdered eggs, to name a few. Purchase a food storage cookbook and try the recipes to see what your family enjoys. Make sure you have the extended staples you need for those recipes.

    3. Vitamins Obviously you want to try your very hardest to include as many high vitamin foods as you can. Nevertheless, you will still want to store multivitamins for your family. You might consider asking your doctor what multivitamin is best for your family and each person's individual needs. It is also wise to store vitamin C tablets, as citrus and other fresh fruits with vitamin C may be hard to come by in an emergency. This is a crucial vitamin to store as it prevents scurvy, a disease of the connective tissue. One University discovered that vitamin C tablets, if stored properly, can store up to twenty years.

    4. Quick and Easy "Psychological" Foods These are foods that require little or no preparation, are familiar and taste good, and are comforting. These would be the "fun foods" of the food storage plan. Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) are a good option. They come in many different flavors, and even offer cake and cookies!

    5. Balance Buy several different items. Instead of having a year supply or large amount of one item, such as wheat, have a varied supply that you can live on for as many months as possible. Should you need to use your food storage before completing your plan, you will have the balance and variety you need to survive.

    6. Containers What a tragedy to store bags and bags of food only to have moisture, insects, or rodents ruin it! Using food grade storage containers will help you retain your food storage investment. Number 10 cans are excellent for food storage, especially when coupled with an oxygen absorber. If you choose to store in 5 gallon buckets, be sure to use a food grade liner. Do not use garbage bags as they are not safe for food.

    7. Use Your Storage The most common mistake lies in never touching your food storage. I know this sounds counterproductive, but periodically using the items you store and rotating them into your daily diet is the best way to know that you can eat what you store. You will be more familiar with the products, and more comfortable with the preparation.

    Remember to avoid these seven pitfalls and potholes, and you will be able to continue safely and happily on your journey to preparedness!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, baby steps