cooking

All posts tagged cooking

By Daisy Luther – The Organic Prepper

This summer has already been setting records for heat across the country and it’s only June. As the electrical power grid struggles to meet the high demands of central air conditioners battling the heat wave, these hot weather cooking tips can help you to keep your cool without cranking the air even higher.

Cooking is the activity that adds the most ambient heat to your home, followed by running a dryer.  Your choice of cooking methods can greatly increase the temperature in your house, and then your air conditioner must work harder to overcome it. This can add a lot to your electric bill, and worse, if you have no air conditioner, choosing the wrong cooking method can make your home humid, muggy and miserable.

Hot Weather Cooking Tips

Now is the time to seek some different kitchen strategies.  We can look back in history for a guideline, based on what our pioneer ancestors ate.  Foods were lighter and required less cooking since nearly all cooking was done on a wood-burning stove that would have made the house unbearable. As well, many people set up summer kitchens, consisting of either a separate building to keep the main house cooler or an outdoor fireplace.  We can take our cues from them and adapt their diets to our modern lifestyles.

  1. Change your eating habits with the thermometer. As the weather warms up, the harvest from your garden will increase.  Most summer vegetables require little, if any, cooking, and can generally be quickly steamed to perfection on the stove top.  Look for easy, no-cook recipes and fast non-processed foods.
  2. Break out the kitchen gadgets.  Instead of firing up the oven,  or cooking something for hours on the stove top, pull out those dusty, seldom-used kitchen gadgets.  Toaster ovens, countertop grills, and slow cookers can all make meals without heating up the house. If I am going to be gone for the day, I often put something in the crock pot for a nice meal to welcome us home.  (I’ve included a couple of our favorite recipes below.)  The low heat of the crock pot will not affect the temperature in your home, and it’s a great way to tenderize a less expensive cut of meat, to which you can add some fresh veggie sides at dinner time.  Skip the roasting and baking during the summer.
  3. Always make enough to have leftovers.  Leftovers are a goldmine for speedy future meals.  They generally require just a quick heat in the toaster oven or on the stovetop, and some foods are delicious when compiled into a cold salad or rolled up in a flatbread.
  4. Take it outside.  Use a barbecue, a solar cooker, or an outdoor fireplace to cook your meals in the summer, keeping all of the cooking heat outdoors.  If you are grilling meat outdoors, make extra to add some quick protein to your salads.
  5. Focus on local abundance.  Even if you don’t have a garden, you can still have delicious local produce.  Hit your farmer’s market and plan your menus around the seasonal goodness found there. (Find farmers and markets in your area HERE!) Enjoy summer fruits and vegetables like berries, cucumbers, peaches, tomatoes, and much more!  None of these requires much, if any, cooking time.  Just wash and eat!
  6. Try different protein options.  Look for delicious plant-based sources of protein.  Beans picked fresh from the garden won’t require nearly as much cooking time as the dry ones sitting in your pantry.  If you prefer animal products, look for quick-cooking proteins like fish, chicken cut into small pieces, and eggs.  Save large oven-baked roasts for winter fare, or at the least, use an alternative cooking method.
  7. Enjoy the health benefits of eating seasonally.   Seasonal foods provide you with exactly what you need at different times of the year.  For example, in the spring, those tender leafy sprigs like lettuce, kale, peas and pea shoots, and asparagus provide vitamins K and folate, which support blood health, bone health, and cell repair.  The cool delicate foods are light, low in calories, and rejuvenating to the body as you gear up for the upcoming warm weather.  Feasting on these waistline-friendly foods is a great way to get rid of that  insulating layer of fat that you may have acquired during the winter.
  8. You’ll save money in more ways than one.  Not only will your electric bill be reduced by adjusting your summer eating habits, but so will your grocery bill.  Seasonal foods are less expensive by nature of their abundance at a given time.  Farmers MUST sell them quickly or they’ll spoil.  So you can often purchase them in large quantities at rock bottom prices. And if they come directly from your garden, it’s even better for your wallet!

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Crock Pot “Rotisserie” Chicken

Here’s a delicious way to cook a whole chicken without turning on the oven. The skin will not be crisp but the meat will be moist and delicious. If you want to crisp the skin, you can carefully remove the chicken at the end of the cooking time and pop it under the broiler for a few minutes.  This is ridiculously easy and you don’t need to add any liquid.  The juices from the chicken and the fruit and veggies you stuff it with will create enough liquid to make gravy if you so desire.

Ingredients:

  • Whole chicken
  • Lemon or lime
  • Onion, cut in half
  • A few cloves of garlic to taste
  • Seasoning of choice

Directions:

  1. Shove the onion, citrus, and garlic inside the cavity of your chicken.
  2. Put your chicken into the crockpot, breast side up. If you want to raise it up a little, wad up a couple of balls of tinfoil tightly to put under it.
  3. Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with your favorite herbs and spices. (I really like this blend by Braggs.)
  4. Turn your crockpot on low and go away for 8 hours. Test that the chicken is done by gently checking to see if the leg is loose. If you can gently pull it away, then the meat is done.

Note: You can start with a frozen chicken too. Turn the crockpot on high for the first 3-4 hours, then down to low for the last 4 hours.

Crock Pot Con Carne

Serve your con carne on a bed of rice or in soft tortillas.  Top it with sour cream or plain yogurt, and garden fresh chopped lettuce, peppers, and tomatoes.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds beef or pork roast, or 2 pounds of skinless, boneless chicken
  • 4 cups of diced tomatoes
  • 1 diced bell pepper
  • 1 finely minced onion
  • ¼ cup of fresh cilantro or 2 tbsp dried cilantro or 2 tbsp parsley
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 tbsp of chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar

Directions

  1. In the crock pot, combine all ingredients except the roast.
  2. Add the roast to the crock pot, being sure to submerge the meat completely.
  3. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  4. Remove the meat from the crock pot and use two forks to shred it.
  5. Place the meat back into the liquid in the pot and stir it together.  Allow it to sit, uncovered, for 10 minutes before serving.

This article first appeared at The Organic Prepper: 8 Hot Weather Cooking Tips to Help You Keep Your Cool

About the author:

Daisy Luther is a single mom who lives in a small village in the mountains of Northern California, where she homeschools her youngest daughter and raises veggies, chickens, and a motley assortment of dogs and cats.   She is a best-selling author who has written several books, including The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource.  Daisy is a prolific blogger who has been widely republished throughout alternative media. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health, self-reliance, personal liberty, and preparedness. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter,.

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If you live in an area that gets sunny days, a good skill to learn is how to cook with a solar oven.

But first you need to have a solar oven to cook with.

There are many excellent, reasonably priced solar ovens How To Build A Solar Oven available on Amazon along with several books that will teach you the ins and outs of solar oven cooking. It is pretty easy to learn but it is quite a bit different than cooking with a power source and takes a bit of practice to get things just right.

For our more handy readers, solar ovens are fairly easy to build, taking only some common construction parts – things like wood, insulation, aluminum, screws, etc. (They can even be built out of cardboard instead of wood for those not skilled with woodworking tools bu they won’t last as long.)

Combine these parts with some basic woodworking (cardboard cutting) skills and you will have a low cost, fully functioning solar oven in no time.

Below, we are showing a four part video series created by YouTube user bctruck. The video series is very interesting as it shows bctruck building the solar oven – showing both issues he encountered as he designed and built it and how he overcame them to end up with a really nice, low cost solar oven.

(Note: Below the video series is a free 58 page pdf book on solar cooker construction and cooking techniques.)

For those who are interested in the how to build a cardboard based solar cooker and for all those interested in learning more about solar ovens and solar cooking in general, please download the free pdf guide Solar Cookers: How to Make, Use and Enjoy.

This article first appeared at The Weekend Prepper: How To Build A Solar Oven

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By

For many preppers, gear is the name of the game when it comes to disaster survival.  While we here at Survivopedia like to advocate skill building over the collection of supplies, there are certain tools and equipment that can be live saving when SHTF.

You’re probably already familiar with the term bug out bag and you may already have one (or more) of your own.  Everyone has his or her own idea of what a bug out bag should look like, but there is no such thing as the perfect set up.

But a bug out bag isn’t just only intended for those individuals intent on getting out of dodge as soon as disaster strikes.  Furthermore, bugging out may not always be a viable option.  The survival essentials that you’d want to have in a wilderness or on-the-road survival situation are the same items you’d want on hand at home when SHTF.

With that in mind, we’ll introduce you to some essential tools to keep in your home to give you a much better chance at surviving a disaster.

Since we’re assuming you’ll be using your home as a shelter, we won’t discuss tools associated with shelter building.  We will focus on the other crucial components for survival including:

  • Water procurement
  • Fire-making
  • Cooking
  • First Aid
  • Communication
  • Security

Water procurement

Water is the single most important element you need to survive.  It’s a great idea to store large quantities of water in your home in case of emergencies, but keep in mind even bottled water has a shelf life and requires rotation.  When the pipes run dry and your stores run out, you’ll need a way to procure water on your own. In a survival situation you should aim to drink at least 1-liter of water each day.

Keep in mind that you’ll not only need water for drinking, but for cooking, cleaning, and hygienic purposes as well.

Boiling rainwater and making a homemade still are options, but when it comes to water-procuring tools a purifying straw can be a great device to own.  The LifeStraw is an award-winning polifestraw-personal-water-filterrtable filtration device that allows you to drink directly from any fresh water source, contaminated or not.

Its basically a big, plastic tube that allows you to suck water through a series of hollow fibers in a process called microfiltration–this frees the water you drink from 99.9% of bacteria and parasites.

A single personal LifeStraw can filter up to 1,000 liters of water and has a 3-year shelf life.

Fire-making

Fire is essential for keeping warm, disinfecting water, cooking, and overall morale.  If you already have a wood-burning fireplace in your home you’re off to a good start, as those powered by gas and electricity will be quick to fail when SHTF.

Whether hunkering down or bugging out, it’s recommended you always carry at least 3 tools for starting a fire.  This could be your basic plastic lighter, a box of waterproof matches, a magnesium rod and striker, or emergency flares.  Regardless of you’re preferred choice, always have a backup to your backup.

In addition to actually starting a fire, you’ll need tools capable of providing you with a sustainable supply of fuel, most often in the form of wood.  The best tools for gathering wood are wood-splitting mauls (somewhere in the 6 to 8 pound range), crosscut saws, and sledgehammers and wedges.

Cooking

Many home preppers are advocates of stockpiling as much shelf-stable, dehydrated, and non-perishable food items as your space and budget can afford.  Whether or not this is your route, you’ll still need a handful of basic tools and utensils to make meal preparation and cooking much easier.

  • Basic utensil set (fork, knife, spoon) or spork
  • Can opener
  • Plate set
  • Enamelware camp mug
  • Single burner stove (with extra fuel canisters)
  • Homemade alcohol stove
  • Metal pot

First Aid

Hopefully you already have a sense of what should go into a basic survival first aid kit.  Things like gauze, hydrogen peroxide, antibacterial ointment, bandages, and scissors are all basics that you should have on hand.

Some other essential first aid tools and instruments to consider include:dreamstime_s_27991494

  • Tweezers
  • Safety pins
  • Suture kit
  • Razor blades
  • Tampons
  • Surgical tubing

Communication

In an earlier post, we went into some detail about the importance of familiarizing yourself with various communications systems and devices.  When disaster strikes, power lines and cell towers are sure to be affected and leave you without information pertaining to your surroundings.

In a disaster situation, knowledge is the key to your survival.  That begs the importance of having a backup radio (or two or three) on hand to make receiving and transmitting pertinent information to others a possibility.  Beyond the radio itself you probably won’t need many tools to keep it operating aside from a power source and antenna.

See the post on communications or its follow up on some less-conventional techniques for more information on this topic.

Security

In a hunker-down, home survival scenario, you must think about what measures you are willing to take to protect your family and property.

No bug out bag or home of a self-respecting prepper should be without some form of weapon to be used for self-defense and security purposes.  Firearms should be your first option if available to you, as they are the most effective and powerful of self-defense weapons.  Not to mention they have the ability to put food on the table if used for hunting.

Other self-defense tools/items include:

  • Pepper spray
  • Gun cleaning kit
  • Gun oil/lubrication

If a gun isn’t available to you, you may consider using one of the multi-purpose tools listed in the next category, as some of them can be adapted to be used for security in addition to their intended practicality.

Misc. Tools

The equipment listed below may not fall specifically into the categories above but are commonly found in bug out bags and home preparedness kits alike because of their versatility.

  • Crowbar
  • Fixed-blade knife
  • Paracord
  • Siphon/hand pump
  • Hatchet
  • Heavy-duty flashlight (Maglite works best)
  • Multi-tool/Swiss Army knife
  • Duct tape
  • Garden wire

Keep in mind that every prepper is different and has his/her own ideas of what tools, equipment, and supplies you should have on hand when SHTF. Arguably, you’ll have a much better chance surviving a disaster scenario if you stay in your home and use the resources you already have to foster the survival of your family.

The categories mentioned above and their associated tools are commonly considered the most important components and essential equipment for surviving any adverse scenario.

Check out our other posts for more in-depth discussion of these categories and to help get a better sense of what tools you should have on hand.

This article first appeared at Survivopedia: Essential Tools for Home Survival

Find out more about surviving after disaster on The Prepper’s Blueprint.

Photo sources: 1, 2, 3,

canned-protein

By Ken Jorgustin

While planning and choosing various foods for your overall preparedness food storage, also think about the proteins.

All foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds are considered part of the Protein Foods Group.

Proteins are the building blocks for our bones, muscles, and blood.

Here’s a list of some choices for storing back some canned protein…

CANNED PROTEINS

They are already ready-to-eat, pre-cooked and/or pasteurized, and therefore theoretically require no fuel consumption for safe eating (although some of the items listed below will likely taste better warmed up or cooked).

Canned Food Shelf Life

Canned Salmon

Not only is this fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, it’s actually better for you when canned because ‘traditional pack’ salmon is packed with the bones intact, meaning more calcium for your bones and teeth. Also, some of the fat is removed, making it a healthier option.

Canned Tuna

Tuna is a naturally lean protein source, also containing good omega-3. Be aware that tuna may contain levels of mercury, so it’s probably best not to consume more than a few cans a week. Here is a tuna consumption calculator for your reference regarding maximum recommended intake.

Canned Chicken

Packed with protein and low in fat for a relatively low calorie count, chicken is high in selenium as well as cancer-preventing B-vitamin niacin. It also contains B6, which is important for energy metabolism.

Canned Pinto Beans

The canned beans are convenient and can easily be added to soups or stews. They’re a good source of folate and manganese, relatively high in protein, and rich in vitamin B1 as well as a slew of other minerals.

Canned Kidney Beans

They are high in fiber, iron and memory-boosting B1, releasing their energy slowly (meaning no sugar spikes), and contain a relatively good amount of protein.

Canned Beef

There are a variety of commercially available canned beef choices out there. Beef is another source of protein. I just randomly checked a can of Kirkland canned beef (12 oz) and it contains 15 grams of protein, slightly more than the same size canned chicken (13 grams).

Canned Almonds

Often considered the healthiest nut, a medium sized handful contains about 5 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber (the highest of any nut), calcium, zinc, iron, vitamin E, and some B-vitamins, minerals, and selenium. Generally, most all unprocessed nuts are good in that they contain protein and other attributes. If they’re canned, they should have a longer shelf life, but the oils in them will go rancid after a time.

How much protein do you need each day?

Recommended daily amounts are shown in the following list from the USDA.

These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity, beyond normal daily activities. Those who are more physically active may be able to consume more while staying within calorie needs.

Children 2-3 years old 2 ounce equivalents**

Children 4-8 years old 4 ounce equivalents**

Girls 9-13 years old 5 ounce equivalents**

Girls 14-18 years old 5 ounce equivalents**

Boys 9-13 years old 5 ounce equivalents**

Boys 14-18 years old 6 ½ ounce equivalents**

Women 19-30 years old 5 ½ ounce equivalents**

Women 31-50 years old 5 ounce equivalents**

Women 51+ years old 5 ounce equivalents**

Men 19-30 years old 6 ½ ounce equivalents**

Men 31-50 years old 6 ounce equivalents**

Men 51+ years old 5 ½ ounce equivalents**

**See Protein Equivalents Chart below…

Protein Equivalents Chart

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7 Prepper Food Storage Mistakes

Posted by Guest Contributor

1 – VARIETY

Most people don’t have enough variety in their storage. 95% of the people I’ve worked with only stored the 4 basic items we mentioned earlier: wheat, milk, honey, and salt. Statistics show most of us won’t survive on such a diet for several reasons.

  • Many people are allergic to wheat and may not be aware of it until they are eating it meal after meal.
  • Wheat is too harsh for young children. They can tolerate it in small amounts but not as their main staple.
  • We get tired of eating the same foods over and over and many times prefer not to eat than to sample that particular food again. This is called appetite fatigue. Young children and older people are particularly susceptible to it. Store less wheat than is generally suggested and put the difference into a variety of other grains, particularly ones your family likes to eat. Also store a variety of beans. This will add variety of color, texture and flavor. Variety is the key to a successful storage program. It is essential that you store flavorings such as tomato, bouillon, cheese, and onion.

Also, include a good supply of the spices you like to cook with. These flavorings and spices allow you to do many creative things with your grains and beans. Without them you are severely limited. One of the best suggestions I can give you is buy a good food storage cookbook. Go through it and see what your family would really eat. Notice the ingredients as you do it. This will help you more than anything else to know what items to store.

2- EXTENDED STAPLES

Few people get beyond storing the four basic items, but it is extremely important that you do so. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Store dehydrated and/or freeze-dried foods as well as home canned and store bought canned goods. Make sure you add cooking oil, shortening, baking powder, soda, yeast and powdered eggs. You can’t cook even the most basic recipes without these items. Because of limited space I won’t list all the items that should be included in a well-balanced storage program. They are all included in the The New Cookin’ With Home Storage cookbook, as well as information on how much to store, and where to purchase it.

3 – VITAMINS

Vitamins are important, especially if you have children, since children do not store body reserves of nutrients as adults do. A good quality multivitamin and vitamin C are the most vital. Others may be added as your budget permits.

4 – QUICK AND EASY AND PSYCHOLOGICAL FOODS

Quick and easy foods help you through times when you are psychologically or physically unable to prepare your basic storage items. No cook foods such as freeze-dried are wonderful since they require little preparation. MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), such as many preparedness outlets carry, canned goods, etc. are also very good. Psychological Foods are the goodies – Jello, pudding, candy, etc. – you should add to your storage.

These may sound frivolous, but through the years I’ve talked with many people who have lived entirely on their storage for extended periods of time. Nearly all of them say these were the most helpful items in their storage to normalize their situations and make it more bearable. These are especially important if you have children.

Store a variety of beans. This will add variety of color, texture and flavor.

Store a variety of beans. This will add variety of color, texture and flavor.

5 – BALANCE

Time and time again I’ve seen families buy all of their wheat, then buy all of another item, and so on. Don’t do that. It’s important to keep well-balanced as you build your storage. Buy several items, rather than a large quantity of one item. If something happens and you have to live on your present storage, you”ll fare much better having a one-month supply of a variety of items than a year’s supply of two to three items.

6 – CONTAINERS

Always store your bulk foods in food storage containers. I have seen literally tons and tons of food thrown away because they were left in sacks, where they became highly susceptible to moisture, insects and rodents. If you are using plastic buckets make sure they are lined with a food grade plastic liner available from companies that carry packaging supplies. Never use trash can liners as these are treated with pesticides. Don’t stack them too high. In an earthquake they may topple, the lids pop open, or they may crack. A better container is the #10 tin can which most preparedness companies use when they package their foods.

7 – USE YOUR STORAGE

In all the years I’ve worked with preparedness one of the biggest problems I’ve seen is people storing food and not knowing what to do with it. It’s vital that you and your family become familiar with the things you are storing. You need to know how to prepare these foods. This is not something you want to learn under stress. Your family needs to be used to eating these foods. A stressful period is not a good time to totally change your diet. Get a food storage cookbook and learn to use these foods!

It’s easy to solve these food storage problems once you know what they are. The lady I talked about at the first of the article left realizing what she had stored was a good beginning, but not enough. As she said, “It’s better to find out the mistakes I’ve made now while there’s still time to make corrections.” This makes a lot more sense.

If you’re one who needs to make some adjustments, that’s okay. Look at these suggestions and add the things you’re missing. It’s easy to take a basic storage and add the essentials to make it livable, but it needs to be done. As I did the research for my cookbook I wanted to include recipes that gave help to families no matter what they had stored. As I put the material together it was fascinating to discover what the pioneers ate is the type of things we store. But if you have stored only the 4 basics, there’s very, very little you can do with it. By adding even just a few things it greatly increases your options, and the prospect of your family surviving on it. As I studied how the pioneers lived and ate, my whole feeling for food changed. I realized our storage is what most of the world has always lived on. If it’s put together the right way we’ll be returning to good basic living with a few goodies thrown in. – The Prepper Journal

Read the Original article here

How to Make A Survival Stove with Two Soda Cans

By P. Henry

There are a lot of ways to eat food if the grid goes down, but almost without fail the best way is hot. Oh, sure you can swallow a lot if you are on the run. MRE’s were designed to be eaten cold. Canned food is edible right from the can, but I haven’t met a meal yet that didn’t taste better with a little doctoring. Maybe its some spices or cheese, but heating almost anything up makes it taste better. The warmer your meal is, especially in colder months, the better you feel when you are eating it. A warm MRE meal can actually taste great. OK, it can taste pretty good if you heat it up.

With the need for warm meals you are looking at some type of system for getting that food warmed up. We have discussed how if the grid goes down how you might find yourself where there is no kitchen to cook your meals. Yes, you can use a fireplace, but what if you don’t have any wood? What if you want to keep your fire smaller to help avoid detection.

This is when a stove system can come in handy.There are hundreds of examples of stoves out there. I have a jet-boil, which isn’t really a stove, but I can boil water for soup or cook foods quickly with just a little gas. There is always the rocket stove if you have the time and wood available, but I just found a great tutorial for how to make a small alcohol stove out of two coke cans. If you can’t find two coke cans laying around somewhere you are hurting.

Alcohol stoves use denatured alcohol for fuel and are very common with ultralight backpackers because of the huge weight savings. You can pay a pretty high amount for these stoves, but that isn’t necessary if you have some time and a willingness to try your hand at creating something. These can be made simply with just a couple of tools you may already have and give you an excellent source for cooking or even heat in a pinch. – The Prepper Journal