Search results for: 'canning'

  • Several of the Mountain House Entrees on sale this month include rice. If, like me, you’re fond of rice-based dishes, you’ll definitely want to try these! Mountain House produces some of the most popular, best-tasting entrees in the business. Most of these meals are fully-cooked before they are freeze-dried, not just made of separately freeze-dried or dehydrated ingredients tossed together during the canning process. Here are a couple of my favorites:

    New Orleans Style Rice with Shrimp and Ham (Sale price $22.12, regularly $39.49)

    Reminiscent of Creole Jambalaya, this spicy entrée includes black beans and flavorful seasonings along with shrimp, ham, rice, and vegetables. This dish is a quick, hot meal to make on a cold winter evening!

    Mountain House Rice Entrees: New Orleans Style Rice with Shrimp and Ham

    Sweet and Sour Pork with Rice  (Sale price $27.75, regularly $39.49)

    Pork, rice, onions, green and red peppers, all in a delicious pineapple sauce—yumm, a taste of the islands! We just sampled this yesterday, and the flavors blend beautifully. The pork is in small-enough pieces that it reconstitutes quickly and completely, and the pineapple and peppers balance each other nicely. The “sour” part is just right—not overwhelming.

    Mountain House Rice Entrees: Sweet and Sour Pork with Rice

    Other rice-based entrees include

    • Rice and Chicken, which combines bites of chicken with perfectly-seasoned rice and bits of pimiento.
    • Mexican Style Rice and Chicken, which features scrumptiously spicy chicken, brown rice, tomato, kidney beans, olives, peppers, and onions, as well as a wealth of spices to warm up your winter.
    • Chicken Teriyaki with Rice, including bamboo shoots, mushroom, bell peppers, peas, and onions in a tangy teriyaki sauce which one reviewer said “passed the picky teenage daughter test.”

    These are just a few of the great Mountain House products we have on sale this month. Check out all the Mountain House cans at beprepared.com. You can buy with confidence, knowing our satisfaction and low-price guarantees are there to back up your purchase.

    I’m planning to stock up this month—how about you?

    --Sharon

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, mountain house, preparedness, sale, emergency preparedness, freeze dried, #10 cans, freeze dried food, emergency cooking, Rice dishes

  • Each Monday in January, we’re sharing our Preparedness New Year’s Resolutions for 2014. If you’d like to make some Prepping Resolutions of your own, but don’t know where to start, borrow some of our resolutions or use this series to get some ideas.

    This week we're  talking about Survival Skills. Take a look at last week’s resolutions for Food and Water Storage.

    Prepper style New Year's Resolutions for Survival Skills

    Here is what our Emergency Essentials’ bloggers plan on doing to hone their Survival Skills in 2014:

    New Year’s Resolution Prepper Style: Survival Skills

    Sharon

    I resolve to experiment with and learn different alternative cooking skills, such as basic thermos cooking and one-pot meals on a Single Burner Folding Stove with a Heat Cell Canister. I hope to get a Volcano Collapsible Grill with an Oven Lid and learn to use it for both grilling and baking using the Volcano Dutch Oven. I also plan to continue learning how to grow vegetables successfully in pots. (Last summer’s results were mixed: the cucumbers and peppers were great, but the eggplants were so small I kept waiting for them to grow large enough to harvest while they were actually growing old!)

     

    Sarah

    You may or may not know that, growing up, I used to go camping and hiking with my family all the time. As I grew older, I kicked my inner tomboy to the curb and embraced the world of stilettos and manicures. This year I’m letting the pendulum swing back to middle ground and I’ll be spending some more time outdoors, practicing and learning some survival skills (like building a fire or a shelter, orienteering, etc.). I’m also going to do some canning and dehydrating this year, which will be a totally new experience for me. There are dozens of skills I want to learn, but I’m trying to pace myself, so the first thing I’m going to do is a winter camping trip where I’ll practice building an emergency shelter and a fire. (Wish me luck. But if you’re worried about me, also know that I’m absolutely taking a tent. And an armful of hand and body warmers.)

    Angela

    Sometimes my husband acts like he’s a “dead body” and tells me to try to carry him out of a “burning house” (yes, I know this is weird). It’s annoying when he does it, but I fail at dragging him even two feet every time. This makes me think that I need to strength train to be able to get him to safety if something happened. So my New Year’s Resolution for skills is to learn various methods for carrying another person, strength training (so that I can lift more than 30 pounds . . .), and exercising more in case we have to evacuate on foot, or build a shelter.

     

    Kim

    Once upon a time I was CPR and First Aid certified . . . that was like 6 ½ years ago. This New Year, I resolve to relearn (and get re-certified) in First Aid and CPR. I just hit my one year wedding anniversary this last December and it’s made me realize that I want to be able to be self-reliant in protecting my family, if it comes to that. My husband and I ski . . . a lot. By developing First Aid skills, I will be better prepared to take care of my husband if he gets hurt while we’re skiing (before ski patrol arrives, of course). Knowing CPR and First Aid will also help me in the future when I have children. Learning these skills now will give me confidence to heal/help my children when they are ill or get injured.

     

    What type of Survival Skills do you want to develop in 2014? 

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, Survival, emergency preparedness, survival skills

  • With Halloween over and Thanksgiving soon to arrive, before we know it Christmas will be here and those who start prepping for it now will have an easier, less stressful holiday season.

    The Christmas season is a time of parties, a stream of festivities, a never-ending row of colorful lights, and a lot of fun.  Start preparing now so that you can enjoy the winter wonderland that surrounds Christmastime without being overloaded and overstressed. One huge stressor during the holidays is trying to get gifts at the last minute—this is never a fun way to spend the few weeks before Christmas. Don’t wait until the last minute to figure out what gift you’re giving all of your friends, neighbors, and family members this year.

    Usually for Christmas we all seem to get the cookie platters, baked goods, or holiday decorations. Although these standard go-to gifts are fun (and for some of us, allow us to indulge in our weakness of candy!), why not step away from the crowd and give an inexpensive, unique gift to those you love most?

    My sister actually gave me a fantastic, delicious recipe that will both sweeten and spice up your friends’ holiday—Pepper Jelly.

    Small colorful sweet peppers isolated on white background

    Mmmm! Pepper jelly matches sweet with spicy in a delicious blend of flavors using bell peppers, jalapenos, and a few other ingredients. This recipe is easy to make in large batches, and only uses a few ingredients per batch, making it perfect for a holiday gift.

    Pepper Jelly

    Yield: 8 ½-pint jars

    *You could even do both colors (in separate jars) to create a Christmas season feel

    1. Combine peppers, vinegar, sugar, and cayenne in a large pot
    2. Cook on medium until it boils
    3. Add the Certo, boil 5 minutes (let it boil for the full 5 minutes, or it won’t set.)
    4. Remove from heat
    5. Add food color
    6. Pour into jars

    Pepper jelly is a unique recipe that a lot of people haven’t tasted before, but is savory nonetheless. If sweet and spicy aren’t quite your taste, other traditional jams and jellies make great holiday gifts as well. For a variety of delicious recipes see our Jams and Jellies that please post.

     

    Storing your Jam/Jelly

    Short-term storage is a great way to seal your jelly, protecting it from bacteria until you are ready to dive into it. There are three ways to package your jelly for short-term storage: Traditional Canning, Freezing, and Storing to eat.

    Traditional Canning

    Traditional canning involves cooking your ingredients before sealing them in their individual jars by processing your batch in a boiling water bath. This process takes longer to do because of the cooking time, but ensures that all of your ingredients are clean and ready to eat.  As soon as the jelly is poured into their individual jars, cap them and place in a boiling water bath for ten minutes.  Remove jars and set aside to cool. Soon after removing from the boiling water, you should hear a ‘pop!’ indicating that the jar has sealed itself. If you are unsure as to whether or not it sealed, just poke the lid. If it concaves and then bounces back at your touch, then it did not seal properly. In that case, store it in your fridge and eat within the next few weeks.  You can store traditionally canned jelly for up to a year.

    Freezing

    Freezing is another way to package your jelly for storage. This process takes much less time than the traditional canning method.  After the jelly has been poured into its individual freezer-safe containers, let it cool before capping it, and then place it in the freezer until you are ready to use it. Freezer jams can last up to a year in the freezer or a few weeks in the fridge.

    Store to Eat

    The last way to store your jelly is to store it to eat. Once you have poured the jelly into its individual jar and have let it cool, cap it and place it in the fridge. The recommended storage life is about a month, but I have had my Pepper Jelly in the fridge for two and it still tastes delicious. This type of storage is perfect if you plan to eat your scrumptious jelly right up.

     ***

    Jams and jellies are fantastic gifts to give anytime of the year because they’ll last. When you give jam as a gift, your friends can either break into the bottle immediately or save it for a time when their own sugary supply of holiday goodies gets low.  Jams and jellies are able to store for up to a year depending on how you seal it.

    Jams and jellies give you an inexpensive option when you want a unique, desirable gift for your loved ones. Freeze dried and dehydrated fruits and vegetables are perfect for adding into your jams/jellies without having to break your bank, just use a little here and a little there and still have plenty for later.

    -Kim

    Sources:

    http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_07/storing_jams.html

    http://www.betterrecipes.com/blogs/daily-dish/2011/07/27/how-to-make-homemade-jelly/

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, recipes, skills, baby steps, preparedness, Budget, freeze dried food, holiday

  • Jams and Jellies are great additions to your food storage

    Nothing in the pantry or storage room looks more attractive than a shelf of clear, jewel-like jellies and jams. There’s also the satisfaction that you’ve preserved summer’s fruit in delicious spreads that brighten winter meals, whether a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich or an elegant conserve to go with a holiday ham dinner. Once you learn a few basics, they’re easy and fun to make, and don’t require a pressure canner.

    First, let’s get our terms straight!

    • Jam is made from chopped or ground whole fruit
    • Jelly uses only the extracted juice of the fruit
    • Preserves typically contain larger chunks of fruit or even whole fruit as in strawberry or gooseberry preserves
    • Conserves are fruits mixed with raisins or nuts
    • Marmalades are based on juice and finely-chopped orange or other citrus peel
    • Butters are spiced, long-cooked, smooth spreads

     Traditional jams, jellies, and preserves require long cooking times and the natural pectin that occurs in some fruits. I warmly recall dark, syrupy preserves of the hard sand pears that grew on our property in Florida. They were heavenly on hot biscuits or with bread and cheese! It seemed to me that Mom cooked those fragrant preserves all day to get them tender and perfect.

     Quick-cooking or freezer jams and jellies need added pectin in order to achieve a “gel.” They’re easy to make—just follow a dependable recipe to the letter!

    You will need:

    • A heavy pot such as a flat-bottomed Dutch oven or the pot of a stainless steel pressure cooker. It’s best not to use aluminum, as the acid in the fruits and lemon juice can react with it, giving a metallic taste to your product and perhaps ruining the pan
    • Hot, clean jars—probably pints or smaller—to bottle your product
    • A wide-mouth funnel
    • Hot, clean, new lids and rings
    • Ladles, jar lifters, pot holders, a clean kitchen towel, and (if you like) a candy thermometer
    • For jelly: a colander, cheese cloth or jelly bag, and large bowl
    • A water-bath canner to properly seal the jars
    • Probably bottled lemon juice or vinegar (don’t ignore these; they brighten the color and flavor, help the gel to set, and help preserve the product)
    • Sugar (unless you have a sugar-free recipe), which preserves the color of the jam or jelly, enhances the flavor of the fruit, helps the gel set, and gives a glossy sheen to the product
    • Fruit.  Choose ripe fruit, but not overripe and mushy, for best results. Some cooks feel that jam is what you make from the overripe fruit that can’t be bottled, and that all they need to do is trim off the bad spots—but the truth is that unseen colonies of bacteria have reached deep into the fruit and can cause spoilage on the shelf. Also, overripe fruit has less pectin than slightly-under ripe fruit. A good ratio is 1/3 under ripe fruit to 2/3 ripe fruit to guarantee a good set.

     

    Jelly challenges? We’ve got you covered.

    It can be tricky getting jelly to set properly. Some jellies gel at once, while others seem a bit loose but firm up after a few days. If it never gels, use it as a yummy pancake syrup. Put a bow on the lid and give it to friends, letting them think syrup was your objective all along! You could also reheat it, add a little more liquid or powdered pectin, and try again!

    Another challenge is keeping jelly clear and jewel-like. Cloudiness in jelly can often be avoided by warming the fruit gently before attempting to strain the juice off, then using several thicknesses of damp cheesecloth or a jelly bag in a colander to filter out pulp. Try to resist the impulse to squeeze or mash the softened fruit very much as that can produce cloudy juice. If it still clouds, don’t stress! It may not be as pretty, but the flavor will not be affected.

    If you’re making a jelly without added pectin, such as one including apple juice, there are tests you can apply to see if your hot jelly has reached “gel” stage:

    • Watch the bubbles. Tiny bubbles mean you’re not there yet. When they get larger and more numerous, you’re approaching a gel.
    •  If you’re using a candy thermometer, 220° F is the magic number.
    • Or, you can dip a spoon into the jelly and see if it “sheets” together when you drip it from a spoon. When it coats the spoon, and the last two drops merge into one as they drip back into the pot, you’re there!

     

    JAM AND JELLY RECIPES

    Traditional-style Apple Jelly 

    1. Wash and stem the apples, but leave the peel and core.
    2. Cut into chunks and put into a large stockpot. Add enough water to barely cover, bringing to a simmer.
    3. Cook until tender, about 30 minutes.
    4. Pour into a dampened jelly bag or a colander lined with dampened cheesecloth (dampening the cloth keeps it from wicking up and holding the apple juice) and allow the juice to drain into a large bowl overnight in the refrigerator. Do not squeeze or press the bag.
    5. Measure 1 quart of the resulting juice and add it to a large saucepan over high heat. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a full boil that you cannot stir down.
    6. Continue to boil until the gel stage is reached.
    7. Remove from heat and quickly transfer to clean, hot jars, as apple jelly sets up fast. Cap and refrigerate or process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes.
    8. For a boiling water bath, turn off heat and allow jars to rest in water for 5 minutes. Remove jars and set aside for 24 hours, then check seals and store for up to a year.

    Nice to do: Add a few fresh mint leaves to the apples as they cook for a delicious mint jelly.

     

    Red Currant Jelly

    If you’re fortunate enough to have access to fresh red currants, you can make this beautiful and delectable jelly for your own table and as gifts. For Christmas, consider giving a small jar of this red jelly and a matching one of green pepper jelly with a package of cream cheese and some crackers—delicious!

    1. Place the currants into a large pot and crush them with a potato masher.
    2. Pour in 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.
    3. Simmer for ten minutes, and then strain through a dampened jelly bag or cheesecloth.
    4. Measure out 5 cups of the juice into a large saucepan and stir in the sugar.
    5. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat and stir in the liquid pectin. Return to a full rolling boil for 30 seconds.
    6. Remove from heat and skim foam from the top.
    7. Ladle into clean hot jars and wipe rims. Cap with new, sterile rings and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

     

    Green Pepper Jelly (Paula Deen’s recipe)

    1. Process bell pepper and hot peppers in a food processor or blender until finely minced.
    2. Combine pepper mixture, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.
    3. Remove from heat and add pectin and food coloring.
    4. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and cap, then process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

     

    Rhubarb-Orange Jam 

    1. In a saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and water.
    2. Bring to a boil, and then cook over medium-low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until thick. (It will thicken more as it cools.)
    3. Ladle into hot, sterile jars and seal with lids and rings.
    4. Store in the refrigerator.

    Makes 2 pints.

     

    Mixed-Fruit Jams

    One of the most creative and fun things to do in making jams and jellies is to mix compatible fruits—and most fruits are compatible! Some popular combinations are apricot-pineapple jam, cherry-apple jelly, currant-apple jelly, and apple-grape jelly. If you are mixing fruits without a specific recipe, your safest bet is to be sure that you are using the amounts of pectin and lemon juice called for in the recipes that come in a package of pectin for whichever fruit in your mix requires the largest amount of each. For example, if you’re mixing plums (which are naturally low in pectin) with peaches (which are high in pectin) use the amount of lemon juice and pectin recommended for the plums to be sure of a good set.

     

    Golden Mixed Jam 

    1. Mix the juices, fruits, and sugar in a large, heavy (non-aluminum) saucepan; let stand one hour.
    2. Bring to a full, rolling boil and boil 1 minute.
    3. Remove from heat and immediately blend in the pectin. Stir for 5 minutes.
    4. Ladle into hot sterilized jars and seal.
    5. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

    Makes six half-pint jars of jam.

     

    Cherry-Blueberry-Rhubarb Jam (so good!)

    1. In a heavy pan, combine rhubarb, blueberries, cherries, lemon juice, and water.
    2. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add pectin, and stir thoroughly.
    3. Add sugar, stir well, and return to heat. When it reaches boiling, allow to boil for 4 minutes.
    4. Remove from heat, skim off any foam, and ladle into hot, sterilized jars.
    5. Cap and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

     

    Pear Preserves

    Use a variety of hard pear, such as Kiefer, Southern Sand, or Chinese Sand Pears, as they will keep their texture in a preserve and not turn to mush in the cooking process. The ingredients are simple:

    1. Layer pear pieces and sugar in a heavy pot and allow to sit overnight to release the pear juice.
    2. Place over medium heat and simmer, stirring often until desired color and consistency is reached. Color can range from pale to dark amber.
    3. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath to seal.

     

    Strawberry Freezer Jam 

    1. Mix lemon juice into strawberries. Sprinkle pectin over berries and stir well to dissolve.
    2. Add Karo syrup, stir in.
    3. Add sugar and mix well until it’s dissolved.
    4. Ladle into clean jars or plastic freezer containers and fill to within ¾ inch of top.
    5. Cap, allow to sit on your counter for several hours, and then freeze.

     

    Traditional Cooked Strawberry Jam 

    1. Mix berries and sugar and allow to sit for a while on your counter and then overnight in your refrigerator to allow the fruit to soften and the juices to be drawn out.
    2. Transfer berries to a large stainless-steel or enameled pot and bring to a boil, crushing and stirring the berries. Add lemon juice and stir well, continuing to cook for about 20 minutes or until the jam reaches the desired consistency.
    3. Remove from heat and allow jam to sit for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    4. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars, cap, and either refrigerate or process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

     

    Jam and jelly-making is as much an art as a science, and with practice, you’ll soon gain confidence in your ability to create colorful and delicious spreads!

     

    Sources:

    www.nchfp.edu/how/can7_jam_jelly.html

    www.southernfood.about.com/od/jamsjellies/Jams_Jellies_and_Preserves.html

    www.simplycanning.com/jam-or-jelly.html

    www.pauladeen.com/index.php/recipes/view2/pepper-jelly

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, recipes, freeze dried, Emergency Essentials, holiday

  • Holiday Gifts under $10

    The holidays are a great time to give the gift of preparedness. If you are just starting your holiday shopping list, here are some possible gift ideas for your family, friends, and neighbors. Each Tuesday in November, we are going to show you a holiday gift guide with lists of preparedness items ranging from $10, $25, and $50 to give you up to 30 different gifts to choose from for your various gift giving needs.

    This post shows 10 gifts that are $10 and under that I’m considering for my husband and in-laws (aka, the most die-hard campers/backpackers, gardening, canners I know).

    #1. Mountain House Pouches

    These just-add-water meals are perfect for campers and backpackers, looking for a quick and easy meal after a long day of hiking. I’m thinking about getting some for my husband and his brothers to share for their next camping adventure. Most of these pouches are under $10 and have 2.5 servings in each pouch. Here is one of my favorites, Mountain House Lasagna with meat sauce:

    Gifts under $10: MH Lasagna (2 Person)

    #2. Hot-Can Self Heating Cans-$2.95

    Hot-Can Self Heating Soup or Hot-Can Self Heating Cocoa is the perfect gift for a hiker, backpacker, or hunter who wants to get warm quick while outdoors. Simply activate, shake, and you have nice hot cocoa or soup in minutes (great for outdoor holiday programs or New Year’s Eve events, too!)

    Gifts $10 and under: Hot-Can Self Heating Cans

    #3. Adhesive In-Sole Foot Warmers-$2.50 (with a price this low, you can stock up!)

    These full-length, ultra-thin foot warmers can fit into boots and shoes, keeping feet warmer, longer than a sock could! These single-use pads provide up to nine hours of heat. The perfect gift for my husband whose feet always get cold in the winter at the warehouse where he works.

    20121030-_MG_2592

    #4. Spark-Lite Fire Starter-$6.95

    Just light the included quik fire tinder (it will burn for up to 2 minutes), and arrange your tinder, kindling, and flint shavings to make the fire last longer. The U.S. Military uses this fire starter because it’s compact and perfect if you have to start a fire with one hand (like my brother-in law would have to do while camping with two toddlers . . .)

    20120820-_MG_0669 cutout

    #5. Deluxe Sanitation Water Kit-$9.60

    This item is perfect for camping because it allows you to store up to 5-gallons of water for drinking or sanitation in a metallized bag. You can use the box as a toilet, and it comes with toilet paper, a disposable waste bag, and an enzyme packet to breakdown waste.

    Gifts $10 and under: Deluxe Water Sanitation Kit

    #6. 100-Piece First Aid Kit-$7.50

    This first aid kit includes the basics for survival (bandages, anti-biotic ointment, wraps, etc.) and is helpful for everyday emergencies.  Small enough to store in a kitchen, medicine cabinet, or emergency kit, this kit is great for treating minor cuts and scrapes.

    Gifts $10 and under: 100-Piece First Aid KIt

    #7. Tri-Fold Foldable Shovel-$10.99

    This shovel folds to fit into a compact case and has two serrated edges for chopping and sawing. It’s perfect for shoveling your car out of snow, or for digging sanitation holes and securing tent spikes while camping.

    Gifts $10 and under: Tri-Fold Foldable Shovel

    #8. 5-Piece Home Canning Kit-$9.95

    This kit makes canning safe and easy with all the essential tools to get the job done. This kit comes with a canning funnel, magnetic lid lifter, jar lifter, cleaning brush, and jar wrench. Great for my husband’s Grammy because this kit will cut her canning time in half (and she cans a TON of stuff).

    20131017-_MG_4201_ccs

    #9. Clear Mist 100-Hour Emergency Candle-$4.95

    For some reason, my husband really loves candles, so I know this gift would be great for him. Perfect for power outages, emergencies, and outdoor use, this 100-hour candle is great for emergency kits and to have on hand, just in case.

    Gifts $10 and under-100 hour candle

    #10. Fired UP! Fuel and Fire Starter-$4.95

    Use to light campfires, prepare charcoal briquettes, or as a safe and reliable fuel source for cooking or heating in emergency situations. It has a 30 year shelf life and comes in a 2.5 can to easily source with your backpacking/camping equipment without adding extra weight.

    20131023-_MG_4401_ccs

     

    So there you have it, 10 preparedness gifts for $10 or under.  Now that you’ve seen all these cool gifts and are pumped to do some holiday shopping, don’t forget to come back to the blog next week to see our gift guide for gifts $25 and under.

    Of course, you can always go to beprepared.com or our Pinterest and check out our boards for gifts under $5, $10, $25, $50, and our stocking stuffers and small gifts board to get some ideas as well.

    Happy Shopping!

    -Angela

     

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: holidays, gifts, preparedness, emergency preparedness, Emergency Essentials

  •  Homemade Baby food from food storage

    Here’s a unique way to use your food storage: make baby food! If you’ve got little ones, having a supply of homemade baby food on hand could help you save money and assure you that the food you’re feeding your baby isn’t full of preservatives. Since many freeze dried foods come chopped, sliced, and peeled, cooking baby food with food storage will cut the prep time at least in half.

    The best part is that you can use this pre-made baby food every day or store it for an emergency. If you make and can your own baby food, you can have supplies ready to toss in a grab and go bag if you need to evacuate, or ready at home if you have to shelter in place.

    Here are some recipes and tips for making baby food from food storage.   

    Mango Blueberry Puree (ages 6 months +)

    1 ½ C Provident Pantry® Freeze Dried Mango Chunks

    1 C MyChoice™ Freeze Dried Blueberries

    1 C Provident Pantry®  Freeze Dried Banana Dices

    Reconstitute ingredients following the directions on the can. Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend to desired consistency. Serve.

    Variation for adults: Put all reconstituted ingredients into a blender with 1- 1 1/2 C reconstituted Provident Pantry Non-fat Dry milk for a smoothie. Add milk until smoothie reaches your desired consistency. (The smoothie is rather tasty! I HIGHLY recommend making it for yourself as a treat.)

    Blueberry, Spinach, and Apple Puree (ages 6 months +)

    1 C MyChoice™  Freeze Dried Blueberries

    2 C Mountain House®  Freeze Dried Apple Slices

    A Handful MyChoice™ Freeze Dried Spinach

    Reconstitute ingredients following directions on the can. Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend to desired consistency. Serve.

    Spinach, Apple, and Blackberry (ages 6 months +)

    1 C MyChoice™  Freeze Dried Spinach

    2 C Mountain House®  Freeze Dried Apple Slices

    1 C MyChoice™  Freeze Dried Blackberries

    Reconstitute ingredients following directions on the can. Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend to desired consistency. Serve.

    Tip: Make sure that the Blackberry seeds are blended well. Also, be aware that the Spinach has a strong taste. Consider adding more apples if needed.

    Tips for Cooking Baby Food from Food Storage

    • Many baby food recipes for fresh produce suggest boiling the food before you puree it, and using the water it was boiled in to preserve nutrients.
    • Once you rehydrate the fruits and veggies, they’ll already be soft, so you can skip the boiling step (unless boiling is called for in the directions to rehydrate the food) to preserve nutrients.
    • Use a little bit of the water that you drain from the fruits and veggies after re-hydrating to put into your puree to add nutrients.
    • You can make baby food in a blender or food processor. You may want to also consider getting a hand-operated food processor like this Food Strainer or the Kitchen Plus 2000 so you can puree baby food quickly and easily—with or without electricity.
    • Be adventurous and try new combinations—add or subtract ingredients to your taste.

     

    How to Store Baby Food from Food Storage

    • If you store your baby food in an ice tray, it will last in the freezer for up to three months! You can also use Ziploc bags, breast milk bags, or Tupperware to freeze your baby food in and to take with you on the go.
    • According to the USDA, it is safe to can homemade baby foods made from fruits that are highly acidic. The [USDA website] provides a chart for canning pint size and half pint size jars using a boiling water bath.
    • Do NOT can pureed veggies, low-acid fruits, or red meats or poultry meats using a boiling water bath (even tomatoes that are high in acid and considered a fruit). You will have to use a pressure canner like the All American Pressure Canner to preserve baby food recipes with these ingredients.

     

    Other Baby and Toddler Friendly Food Storage Items to check out: Food storage items are also great for toddlers because they’re great finger foods  and snacks that are soft and easy to eat. Here are some other food storage items that are good for babies and toddlers.

    Provident Pantry®  Yogurt Bites

    Provident Pantry®  Fruits and Veggies

    Provident Pantry®  Pudding

    Provident Pantry®  Dairy, Eggs, and Meat (depending on your baby’s age, items like white chicken meat dices could go over well)

    Have you ever made baby food from food storage? What’s your favorite recipe?

     

    Recipe Sources:

    http://weelicious.com/2012/03/21/mango-blueberry-puree/

    http://tinypaintedfingers.blogspot.com/2013/02/blueberry-spinach-and-apple-puree-baby.html?m=1

    http://lacewineanddrool.blogspot.com/2013/10/baby-food-smorgasbord-homemade.html

    Sources for Making Homemade Baby Food

    http://mychicbump.com/2013/05/the-baby-food-breakdown-by-hello-little-scout/

    http://prepared-housewives.com/2013/10/06/make-baby-food/?preview=true

    Sources about Canning Homemade Baby food Safely

    http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/general/baby_food.html

    http://nchfp.uga.edu//publications/publications_usda.html

    http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/tipcanning.htm#.UmaWTNJDsuc

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, recipes, preparedness, emergency preparedness, freeze dried food, DIY, baby food

  •  Basic survival skills: know how to build a campfire

    I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to be doing during an emergency is reading an instruction manual. All the gear in the world—and I know, there’s some pretty sweet gear out there—is not going to build that shelter or clean that water by itself. As crucial as stocking up on the right supplies is, we also need to be actively building a base of survival skills to call on in a crisis. We can’t all be Bear Grylls, but the following list and resources offers a good place to start.

    So here is a list of the top Five Survival Skills (or How to Make an Emergency Less Scary) that all new and experienced preppers should know.

     

    1. Water

    Pop quiz: Which of the following will kill you fastest?

    • Lack of food
    • Lack of heat
    • Lack of water

    You guessed it—water should be your #1 concern in a disaster. Storing water will help you at home; purifying water will help you when you’re not close to a clean supply. However, purifying water can also help you at home as well. If officials issue a boil order or you’re concerned about the safety of your at home water supply you’ll want to purify your water. Check out our Insight Article, “Water Filtration and Purification” to learn more. But everyone should know the basics of water collection for survival. Howstuffworks.com has a handy-dandy tutorial about collecting water for survival.

     

    2. Shelter

    Basic survival skills: Building a shelter

    What do dry grass, garbage sacks, and a fallen tree have in common? They could all keep you from freezing. Knowing how to raise your ultra-light, four-man, double-walled tent in under six minutes won’t help you if you’re caught in the outdoors without it. You’ll need to know how to build a backup shelter out of natural resources if you don’t have that fancy tent on hand. Our Insight article, “Emergency Shelter” tells you how to construct 10+ emergency shelters with little or no gear. Learn just one, and you’re better prepared than you were yesterday.

     

    3. Fire

    By all means, keep torches, lighters, and waterproof matches handy. And you’re one step ahead of the game if you’ve been collecting dryer lint or newspaper for tinder. But could you get a flame going without all that on hand? Been a while since Scout camp? Brush up on your fire starter skills by watching one of seven video tutorials from the guys at  (wait for it…) http://howtostartafirewithoutmatches.com/.

     

     

    4. First aid

    We recently devoted a whole blog series to beefing up your first aid skills (check out August 2013 in our archives). Don’t know where to start? Learn the Heimlich maneuver.

     

    5. Food

    This is kind of a cheat category. Being able to eat during an emergency includes a variety of survival skills from hunting and foraging to gardening and canning—and frankly, you’d be doing great if you knew a little about each of those skills. You can become a gardening expert by browsing the “gardening tag” on our blog.  You can also develop your food preservation skills by checking out the “canning section” of our blog as well.

     

    But let’s assume the worst. If you were stranded in the woods, miles from your stockpile of freeze-dried entrees and canned peaches, what could you do? Check out these  list of forage-friendly eats from the Chicago Tribune, the Daily Green, and discovery.com. Before you start foraging in your neck of the woods, get a plan guide and get familiar with local plant life.

     

    These are good starting points to begin developing your survival skills. Pick one thing to learn, get really good at it, and then pick a new thing. Before you know it, you’ll be leading treks across Mongolia and hosting your own reality series.

     

    --Stacey

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: skills, preparedness, Survival, emergency preparedness, survival skills

  • colorado flood trees

    In light of the recent flooding in Colorado and all the damage that has occurred as a result, we want to share a series of posts from one Colorado woman’s perspective. Opinions expressed are hers and do not necessarily reflect those of Emergency Essentials.

    If you lived through the recent flooding in Colorado and want to share your story, please email social@beprepared.com.

    We asked Sandy to share how she prepared:

     

    I have been preparing for emergencies for a while now. I grew up back east in upstate New York and had learned from my parents to always be prepared for any emergency. Everyone thinks you need to spend a lot of money to prepare for an emergency. I have learned that is not true. I am a single lady and I recently had to deal with the floods in Colorado and my preparedness was put to the test. I also recently helped my son who was stranded in the Colorado floods realize he needed to start preparing as soon as possible. You never know when an emergency can happen.

    I have been preparing for a variety of emergencies. I just finished canning and dehydrating everything from my garden this summer. This is the first season I have ever used a dehydrator and had fun with it. I have a lot of freeze dried and dehydrated food from Emergency Essentials that should be enough for months if I am unable to get to a store. I am trying to get enough food stored up for at least one year. It came in handy this past week when everyone was packed in the grocery stores and I didn't have to leave my house. I have all the necessities to survive if I was stranded and had to stay at my home. I also have two dogs that I have to prepare for. I have extra food and treats for them sealed in the Emergency Essentials buckets. Also, have a bug out bag for the dogs that you can grab in a hurry if you  need it.

    I must admit my favorite items are my two bug out bags. I have one in my car that is stocked full of everything I need if I get stuck at work or stranded away from home. . One thing that’s important to have in a [car emergency kit] is packaged water. I learned by storing water in my car that due to the heat of the summer, jugs of water do eventually leak because of the heat of your car. (Editor’s note: A great way to store water in your car without leakage is to use small portable water containers like the Aqua Blox, Aqua Literz, or Datrex Pouches. These water pouches are not affected by heat, but can freeze in the winter, causing the packaging to expand, but not burst. The only way they will leak is if there is a hole in the pouch or box.)

    If I am at home and have to leave in an emergency, I have a larger bag that is stocked with enough supplies and food to last close to two weeks. I'm prepared to survive outside if necessary for a while, also. If you have to survive outdoors, don’t forget to pack an extra set of clothes and shoes. Lastly, a great way to collect emergency supplies is to check out sales and what you have around the house for most of the stuff you need to survive.

    Check out the Rest of the Series:

    Why I Prepare: Lessons from the Colorado Flood Part 1

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: preparedness, emergency preparedness

  • Commercial Canning Facility

    We want to pass this information along, because we know that many of you across the country may be affected by these changes.

    LDS Canneries have been or will soon be making some changes. The primary change has to do with the opportunity for patrons to self-can food storage goods. Only 12 facilities nationwide will maintain self-canning facilities, and all other locations will continue to offer pre-canned and pre-packaged goods at no additional cost.

    Some patrons have been upset by the changes, because they have enjoyed the opportunity to participate in canning their own items. Although food safety regulations appear to have played a part in the changes, there are several contributing factors according to the official statement by the LDS Church (which operates the canning centers).

    Several individuals interested in emergency preparedness and food storage have blogged about LDS canneries, including the 2011 price increases, how the Home Storage Centers work, and their experiences participating in a canning session.

    (Hat tip: Kellene Bishop)

    Happy prepping!

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, canning, Current Events

  • I remember hot summer afternoons back in the 80’s, feeling sticky and tired from pushing piles of peach skin and pits off the counter. I can see my mom’s red cheeks, puffing with exertion and her hair all frizzed-out from laboring over the pressure canner. I also remember the stress and frustration; Mom yelling “be careful it’s hot!” and “¡Rapido, rapido! ¡Apúrate!” I know, it sounds like that wouldn't be a cherished memory, but it is.

     

    903 All-American Pressure Cooker/Canner

    Come fall my dad would pull out the pressure canner and put on the juicing adapter as I washed grapes in the sink. I’d stack the fruit inside; he would fasten the lid. Then we’d wait until the purple gold pushed its way into the Mason jars. “Stand back just in case it splatters,” he’d warn me, and I’d wish I was one of those farm kids who get to squirt milk straight in their mouths from the teat.

     

    I remember, months later, wrapped in a sweater on gray winter evenings, digging into soft, sweet peaches and feeling the warmth of summer shine into every corner of our tiny kitchen. Nothing, and I mean nothing, tasted as good as cottage cheese running with sugary peach juice. The grape juice was saved for special occasions like somebody’s birthday, or Thanksgiving, or a Sunday dinner when my dad thought we should celebrate for no particular reason.

     

    I learned a lot in those days; how to keep a sink full of soapy dishwater to clean as you dirtied dishes, how working now meant pleasure later, and how important precision is. These are lessons that I use as an adult; and it all came from my mother and one little machine.

     

    Pressure canning is still one of the most reliable ways to preserve food, especially produce. Preserve food and precious memories—get an All-American Pressure Cookers, and take a look at our pressure canning accessories. A pressure canner is a great gift for moms* who want to store their fresh produce for later. If you've never preserved food before, read up on Home Canning Methods, Canning Basics, Canning Tips and Tricks, and get some canning recipes before you start.

     

    ~ Steph

     

    *And dads, of course. But Mother’s Day is May 12th, so we’re just dropping some hints on behalf of the mothers in your life. [Nudge, nudge]

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage, skills, emergency preparedness, Food Storage Tips, home food production, canning, home food preservation

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