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For many, prepping has been a mission and a passion for many years. It all starts innocently enough. We are bit by the prepping bug and typically start storing some extra water, food, flashlights and batteries in response to a widely publicized natural disaster. Soon we move on to first aid supplies, home defense systems and bug-out-bags. And it goes on from there.
Somewhere along the way, prepping takes over our lives and becomes a significant lifestyle shift. Our spare time is spent planning for the BIG EVENT, be it a natural, man-made or even a politically motivated apocalypse.
We have read the books, watched the DVDs, compiled resource manuals, and purchased gear. And still we are compelled to do more.
And so I ask: Is being prepared an addiction, an obsession, or a chore? Can we call it quits if we had to? Do we know when enough is enough? Or are we hoarding? And what is the difference between prepping and hoarding?
These are tough questions which we each must answer for ourselves. To get you started, let me offer up some definitions so that you can begin to formulate a response and arrive at some personal conclusions.
- Addiction: the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming.
- Obsession: a compulsive or persistent preoccupation, idea, or feeling.
- Chore: a routine or minor duty or task.
- Hoarding: a supply or accumulation that is hidden or carefully guarded for preservation or future use.
In my own household, it seems as though every spare moment is spent learning or doing something related to preparedness. When we shop, foremost in our mind is “would this work if the SHTF?”. We learn new skills and revisit old ones so that we stay current and up-to-date with our survival skills. We garden because we feel we have to and not simply for the joy of it. Even as we consider moving to a different home, the punch list of must-haves is dictated by the need for isolation, storage facilities for three years worth of food, and a place to raise chickens and goats.
This business of prepping can be utterly exhausting! And not only that, with extra money being directed toward the purchase of prepping supplies and gear, the budget often gets stretched to the point were a non-prep related purchase becomes a gut-wrenching exercise in guilt.
This is not an isolated phenomena. The like-minded people I pal around with feel the same way. With a life that was busy to begin with, the additional time and energy taken up with prepping activities takes precious hours away from the rest of our lives. A breaking point is reached and without realizing what has happened, prepping becomes work.
A Call For Balance In LifeHow do you feel? Has prepping taken over your life to the exclusion of everything else? Do you feel you have balance in your every day activities? Or not so much?
To help come up with answers, I would like to share a quiz that includes topics I ask myself when I feel overwhelmed by the never-ending to do list:
Do you have more than enough time to do what you want to do?I hope that you will take the time to ask these questions of yourself, for in spite of the dire outlook for our country and our planet, we still need to get on with this business of life. What we perceive as a bubble in time may go on for decades and, depending on your age, a lifetime.
Do you spend quality time with the people who matter to you?
Do you have at least one hobby or pastime outside of your work, family and prepping activities?
What have you done for fun and entertainment lately?
Do you treat yourself to something special at least once a month? What is that?
Do you sleep well and do you look forward to getting up every day?
When is the last time you spent a day doing nothing more productive that watch a DVD or read a book?
When is the last time you ate a meal at a table, without the television or other distraction?
Do you have something to look forward to such as a vacation or special event?
The ManifestoBe content with the knowledge that you have prepared to the best of your ability and then move on and move forward. Embrace the life experience now. Do not wait for some undetermined time in the future to have some fun, to relax, and to savor just being alive. That future, if the SHTF, may never come.
Take the cure from prepper addiction and prepper obsession. Continue to prep but recognize and accept it for what it is and move on to include other things in your life. Go out for an occasional movie. Have a few beers with friends. Shut down the computer for a day or two and share some special time with your sweetie. But most of all, be balanced, be happy and go for the gusto.
Being prepared can be a chore, yes. But it can also be a chore with a happy ending.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!Gaye
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Wheat berries are a pantry must-have and are extremely versatile when it comes to using them in recipes. Although they can be ground to make delicious wheat bread, they can also be added to soups and hearty dishes as well as made into a delicious warm cereal.
Wheat berries are a true whole grain, full of vitamins and fiber and have a sweet, nutty flavor with a delightful chewy texture.
Tips to Cooking Wheat BerriesSoak ‘Em – Wheat berries can take 50 minutes to an hour to cook on the stovetop. A trick to expediting the cooking process as well as making wheat berries tender and chewy is to soak them overnight to speed up the cooking time.
Toast ‘Em - Toasting the berries for a few minutes before cooking encourages their nutty flavor to come out. Spread them out on a sheet pan and toast in a preheated 375°F oven for about 10 minutes, just until they brown a little. This is an optional step, but really brings the flavor of the wheat berry out.
Get Creative – Because of the versatility of this grain, you can use them for virtually anything. Play around the spices, adding fruits and vegetables or adding them to other dishes. Here is one of my favorite cereal dishes I made with wheat berries. I’ve played around with different fruits. I love adding 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds, but since we don’t always have this around, I improvise. Enjoy!
Sweet Wheat Berry Cranberry SaladMakes 8 servings
- 2 cups wheat berries
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
- 1/4 cup apples, diced
- 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients.
- In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for dressing. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss. Refrigerate the dressed salad to allow the flavors to meld before serving.
- Serve it cold or heat it up for a breakfast cereal.
Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com.
The same goes for any other tool or bit of supply you may need in your survival plan. I remember a couple of years ago I was opening a can for supper, and the can opener fell apart after a couple of cranks of the handle. I had another can opener in the drawer, and luck had nothing to do with it, so it was no big deal. However, if I had no backup tool in waiting, I would not have been able to simply grab the back up and finish preparing the meal.
I would have had to do without, compromise, or get primitive and open the can with a huge knife. That would have been a pity as the blade would have needed substantial attention after slicing through the metal can. One is none, two is one. It is a good rule to follow and should be a central consideration as you develop your preparedness and survival plans.
One drawback to this goal of having at least two of your essentials on hand is the added cost. You have to plan on double the cost of these essentials, thus doubling the size of your preparedness budget as it relates to these essential items. Is it really necessary that we have two or more of everything? Not really. There are times when we can get away with making concessions. We may be able to come up with alternative tools or devices to compensate for the loss of some of our needs.
One suggestion I can give here is to make sure that you keep these extra tools in a separate place. Have an extra box of additional tools, but keep it close enough that you can access it when the need arises. Unfortunately, far too many people utilize offsite storage for the excess baggage we consider as needs today. Personally, I consider offsite storage a waste of resources. The money that you spend on locker rental fees could be better used for buying the things you need to develop your preparations for the coming times.
The fees for these lockers can be pretty hefty, and in some cases may be enough to equal the cost of a good supply of long-term storage foods. A one hundred dollar a month rental fee equals 1200 dollars a year. How often have you seen food deals for several months worth of food for that price? Just this week, I received a flyer from a mail order house offering a six-month lunch and dinner supply for one at only $1,299.00. That is not a bad deal, and you could afford it if you can afford to pay that much for a storage locker full of household goods that you do not use.
If you do use this arrangement, perhaps you need to include this aspect of your life in your overall preparedness plan. Seriously consider what you are paying storage fees for, and decide whether it really makes sense. Granted, there will be instances where there is no other option, but for the most part, much of what we have stored in these lockers have little real survival value. If the crap hits the fan and you become forced to shelter in place, will this locker be of any benefit to you? If you have to pack up the bug out vehicle and get out of town, what happens to the stuff you have paid all that money for in storage?
I know some people who have a rental unit as their central bug out command post, with a vehicle inside it ready to roll at a moment’s notice. They keep the truck and trailer fully loaded with MRE’s and long term storage food, along with all the tools they will need to survive if they have to leave town in an emergency. This is a good plan, and, providing you can afford it, and the unit is accessible 24-7, go for it. but it takes a certain level of ability as well as acceptance of the facts to be able to comfortably commit to these sorts of resources.
Whatever you decide to do, make certain that you are comfortable with your choices, that can afford your choices, and that you have considered all aspects relating to that choice.
 $1,299.00 for food for one may sound like a lot of money, but the reality is that it works out to only $216.50 per person per month, for two meals a day. A little over three bucks a meal. When was the last time you had a nutritious meal for that kind of price? It costs an average of eight bucks for a burger, fries and a drink in most fast food places today.
A larger version can be found here.
It may be something small (like a wild fire heading your way), medium (like a chemical spill that empties your town) or bigger (like Hurricane Katrina bearing down on your city) but these are all occasions when bugging out is a good idea (or better than a good idea, legally mandated). Where will you go if you need to clear out of your home and possibly your city on a moment's notice? Here's ten options:
- A community shelter. These are set up when there is a disaster in your area that displaces more than a few home's worth of people. A fire, for example, might displace a few families at which time the Red Cross usually shelters them in hotels but when there is displacement of A LOT of people, shelters that can house up to a hundred or more people are generally set up. Community shelters are also set up when people can not shelter themselves due to the severity of the problem (ie: a tornado shelter for folks living in mobile homes, a warming shelter when the power is out for a whole community, etc). On a scale of "wonderful places to bug out to" these rate pretty low. But they are better than nothing.
- Nearby neighbors, friends, and family. If the problem that sent you fleeing from your home is limited in area (a small wild fire or flooding in low lying areas for example), one of your better bug out options may be with nearby neighbors, friends, or family. This is generally good for the short term and leaves you close enough to your home so you can do/help with your own recovery, make further arrangements, etc. Not a bad place to bug out to depending on the situation (you need to get along well with these people and the fewer people bugging out the better as bringing a family of two to stay is usually easier than bringing in a family of eight).
- Hotels and motels. Whenever there is a disaster, a common place for people to bug out to is either nearby or further away hotels or motels. This gives you more autonomy and privacy than staying with friends or family but can also get expensive quickly. Some of these places will give you better rates if you intend to stay for a longer period of time or if they know you have been in a disaster.
- Family and friends further afield. If the disaster is big enough, you may not be able to stay near to your home and may be forced to travel further away to seek shelter. Staying with family or friends who live further away from you is a good option. This is often a cheaper option (they may allow you to stay for free for at least a certain period of time) but the issue may be how to get there if roads and other transportation options are down.
- Boat or RV. Nothing like sheltering in your own "home away from home". If you have a boat or RV, along with a full gas tank, and the roads aren't too badly damaged, traffic isn't massively backed up, and/or access to useful waterways is available, this may be one of your best options. You will be mobile so you can relocate at a moment's notice and you will have privacy plus many of the comforts of home. Obviously this is higher up on the scale of expensive bug out options.
- Camping. For a short-term bug out, camping may be an option. Obviously you need the gear/food/fore planning to do this. Some of the negatives to bugging out in this manner are that, depending on the disaster, many other people may have the same idea so crowding at your intended camp spot may be an issue, security may be an issue (people may not be so nice is extreme situations), the weather can be an issue, and overall, camping due to circumstances instead of by choice can be downright unpleasant (plus you will need to source/create your own food, water, shelter, latrine, etc).
- Squat. Living in a squat can be either better or less better than camping but not by much. If your area is demolished but there are still buildings standing, these places look like good enough places to shelter for many. Again, safety and security will be issues (either with law enforcement or other residents), as will basic living resources (water, food, hygiene) but if the choice comes down to sleeping in a cardboard box or in a perfectly useful vacant building I'd probably pick the vacant building.
- Bug out cabin or second home. The image is ideal...you need to leave your home in a hurry due to disaster or other reasons and you have a perfectly good second home or cabin waiting for you. The three problems you may have with this set up are #1 the expense (it is expensive to pay for two complete houses, utilities, etc), #2 security when you aren't there (your second home may look like a good target for others either to squat in or to loot with or without you there), and #3 getting there (how will you get there during a disaster?).
- Another country. In an extreme bug out situation, high-tailing it to another country may be an option. Note that this would make you a REFUGEE which is an overall unpleasant experience by all accounts. But extreme times require extreme measures so if this is one of your bug out options, you need to be ready by having a passport, the means to get there and set yourself up for your stay, and a plan for what to do next.
- On the move. Slightly better or slightly worse than being a refugee--depending on the situation--would be a roaming refugee. Sure it is possible to grab your BOB or your bike and just keep on moving from place to place camping one night, couchsurfing another etc. until you come up with a better plan but this is yet another situation where your safety and security could be at risk not to mention the fact that you will still need to be able to provide the basics like food and water for yourself.
Using lemons for health and home is nothing new, since back in ancient times, lemons were used to help heal a variety of ailments. It has been suggested that the Romans used lemons and lemon rinds to fight off disease as well as to ward off insects, uplift moods and even freshen clothes.
In modern times we have lemon essential oil which is a concentration of oils that have been cold pressed from the rind of fresh lemons. Pure lemon essential oil is pale yellow in color and has the aroma of freshly peeled fruit. It’s fresh, clean scent activates the body and the mind and serves as a powerful anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and antiseptic.
Today I list some of the terrific if not awesome uses for lemon essential oil, loosely organized by category. Some of these you may know about but others might be new. You might find a surprise or two here.
33 Awesome Uses of Lemon Essential Oil for Home and Health
Health & Healing1. Soothe Sore Throat: Add 2-3 drops of lemon oil to hot tea, or drink it with warm water and honey to help soothe a sore throat.
2. Coughs, Colds & General Congestion: Rub a few drops of lemon oil on your chest and/or throat when you feel congested. Repeat several times daily. (You can also diffuse lemon oil into the air for help with respiratory problems.
3. Stop a Runny Nose: Use a little carrier oil and a drop of lemon oil in the palm of your hand. Get your fingertip wet and swipe each side of your nose. This really works!
4. Treat Allergies & Hay Fever: Apply a drop of lemon oil behind the ear or under the nose 2-3 times a day to help fight seasonal allergies. Alternately apply to the bottoms of your feet.
5. Energy Booster: Add a couple of drops of both lemon and peppermint essential oils to water for an instant boost in energy.
6. Sanitize Your Toothbrush: Put a drop of lemon oil on your toothbrush then swish it around in a bit of water to immediately clean and sanitize it.
7. Bad Breath: Place 4 drops of lemon oil in 4 ounces of warm water and gargle to get rid of bad breath.
8. Treat Acne: Apply three drops of lemon essential oil to a cotton ball and swipe onto the affected area, repeating up to three times a day.
9. Fight Fatigue: Moisten a cloth with five drops of lemon essential oil and hold directly underneath your nose. Breathe in the scent for at least two minutes.
10. Stress Relief: Add ten to fifteen drops of essential lemon oil to your bath water and soak for at least fifteen minutes.
11. Treat Minor Wounds: Essential lemon oil is a natural antiseptic. Place five drops of lemon essential oil in a bowl of three ounces of water. Wipe the wound with a sterilized cloth or pad that has been dipped into the mixture. Continue this process until the wound appears clean.
12. Remove Callouses, Corns and Warts: Apply a drop of Lemon undiluted, twice a day until they go away.
13. Heal Canker Sores: Add a drop of Lemon to a shot glass of water and swish around the mouth for several minutes to alleviate canker sores.
14. Relieve Cold Sores & Fever Blisters: Dab a drop of lemon oil on the cold sore 2 to 3 times daily. If the lemon oil stings, dilute first with a bit of coconut oil or olive oil.
15. Control Psoriasis: Using a roller ball, apply lemon oil to the affected area 2 to 3 times a day. For an extra boost, top with DIY Miracle Healing Salve, rubbing it in lightly.
16. Clear Up Nail Fungus: Apply a few drops of lemon oil to the affected nail several times a day. Continue until the nail fungus clears up. Note: This may take a few months.
17. Skin Brightener: Brighten a dull complexion by adding a drop of lemon oil to your daily moisturizer. Be sure to follow-up with a sunscreen since lemon oil (and all citrus oils) increase photosensitivity.
18. Improve Mental Clarity: Diffuse lemon in your work or study space to improve mental accuracy and concentration.
Household19. Glass Cleaner: Add lemon oil to a spray bottle filled with water and use as a glass cleaner. This will even clean the hard water spots and soap scum off of a glass shower door!
20. Clean and Sanitize Toilet Bowls: Add a few drops of lemon oil along with baking soda to clean and sanitize your toilet bowl.
21. Disinfect Cutting Boards and Kitchen Surfaces: Rub a few drops of lemon oil on cutting boards and other kitchen surfaces to disinfect and sanitize.
22. Kill Germs: To kill germs, soak kitchen cloths and household rags overnight in a bowl of water with a drop or two of lemon oil.
23. Air Freshener: A few drops of lemon essential oil added to a spray bottle filled with water makes an all-natural air freshener. Better yet, add 8 drops to a diffuser and let the wonderful smell clean and freshen the air.
24. Remove Odors: A drop or two will remove odors. For example, you can put lemon oil on a cotton ball and stuff into stinky shoes or add a few drops to a diaper pail.
25. Freshen Laundry: Add a few drops to your DIY homemade laundry soap or add a drop to the final rinse cycle to freshen up your laundry. This will also leave your washer smelling nice.
26. Degreaser: Lemon oil will remove grease and grime from yours hands, as well as tools, dishes, and household items. It will also remove tree sap and the residue left behind from glues and labels.
27. Wood Cleaner: A few drops of lemon oil added to some olive oil creates a non-toxic wood cleaner and furniture polish.
Outdoors28. Mosquito Repellent: Mix lemon oil with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil) and run over your skin to repel mosquitos who hate the smell.
29. Heal Insect Bites: Apply two drops directly to the bite and lightly rub. Do this two to three times during the day.
30. Hand Sanitizer: Rub a drop of Lemon oil on your hands after using a public bathroom to sanitize your hands.
Food & Water31. Improve the Taste of Water: A a drop or two of lemon oil to your glass of water to improve the taste.
32. Flavor Enhancer: A a drop or two of lemon essential oil to bland food to liven it up. Make sure you are using therapeutic grade lemon oil. You will know this by the supplement information on the label.
33. Prolong Shelf-Life of Fresh Produce: Fill a bowl with cold water, add 2–3 drops of Lemon oil. Drop cleaned fruit into the water, coating all surfaces. This will extend the shelf life of fresh produce.
PrecautionsLemon oil can make your skin more sensitive to the sunlight. So, if you apply lemon oil directly to your skin, stay out of direct sunlight for at least 8 hours and use a sunscreen before venturing outdoors.
Also note that although lemon essential oil is non-toxic, some individuals will find that it can cause skin irritation. This is true of any essential oil. If that happens, or if you are concerned, dilute the lemon oil in a carrier oil such as coconut oil, Plain Ole’ Salve, or another carrier oil of choice.
The Final WordThe nice thing about essential oils is that a little goes a long way. Not only that, if kept cool, dark place and they will keep for years. I say this because at first, the cost for a small bottle may seen pricey but the reality is that when compared with over-the-counter remedies and toxic household cleaners, the cost is nominal.
It goes without saying that not all essential oils are created equal. You want to purchase a pure, 100% essential oil and not an oil that is premixed with artificial or chemical derivatives.
For healing purposes, I use essential oils from Spark Naturals because they deliver a high quality, therapeutic grade essential oil at reasonable price. Plus, they can be used both topically and internally, if that is your choice. That said, there are many fine brands and the nice thing about lemon essential oil is that is eminently affordable.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!Gaye
The regulation guidelines for expired foods are few and arbitrary, really. They are also voluntary. They sprang up in the 1970s for more consumer information and perceived freshness. Expiration labels are only required by law for infant formula and baby foods; other laws regarding dairy are left up to some states and vary. There is waste before, during and after a food item’s grocery stay. Now, more than ever, when throwing out food we’re unsure of, it feels like trashing bags of money – and most of it is completely unnecessary. But nobody wants to read yet another scolding article about it. So…
Now that we know our expiration labels don’t tell us anything at all – where do we go from here? What can we eat with confidence?
First, let’s define some terms for the dates printed on food products:
Expiration - This is an estimated date for when the item is expected to go bad and the consumer is expected to proceed with caution. Still, a surprisingly large amount of these can be expanded, with some exceptions.
Sell by - That’s for the retailer, not for you. It’s about peak quality, like with flavor. It’s for store display and maddeningly, much of this gets tossed – prompting a “dumpster dive” revolution. Wouldn’t it be nice if people didn’t have to relegate themselves to a dumpster to get this perfectly good food? But in the dump it goes first.
Best if Used By/Before and Use By - Again, these refer to quality, not safety.
Pack or Born On - This is the manufacture date stamp and often refers to canned goods and beer.
Guaranteed Fresh - This is mostly the baker’s way of letting you know how long you can enjoy the baked good before it possibly goes stale. It doesn’t mean it’s harmful, but could be stale.
Yogurt and deli meat can last a week to 10 days more than the “sell by” date. Salami at two to three weeks. Most fresh meats, especially poultry and seafood, should be cooked and eaten within days. Eggs a whopping five weeks after expiration. When in doubt, gently place eggs in a big bowl of cold water filled to the top. If the eggs float, toss them. If they “stand up” that just means they are not as fresh but are still okay to eat.
Packaged items can last a long time after expiration but after months you may notice a staleness and waxy taste which could be rancid oils. Packaged and canned items can generally last a year or more after the stamped date.
The key to keeping storable foods the longest, is cool, dry and airtight. Canned goods included. If you see bulging cans – do not open! It’s rare, but it could be botulism. Bill Nye made this crystal clear to me as a kid.
Real Simple and iVillage offer a list of items and a “true” expiration, some lasting for years, but again, take with a grain of salt. Throwing out opened juice after a week in the fridge? No way! Of course if you make your juice yourself, ideally, it should be consumed immediately for best benefits. Whole, natural foods and drinks do not generally last as long as the grocery store – but you knew that! For instance, when I buy homemade bread I know to freeze it, otherwise mold is great indicator I waited one day too long. Lesson learned. Raw honey can last forever and honey and brown sugar indefinitely.
Cheese can have a long fridge life too. According to one naturopath, Kerrygold cheese from grass fed cows can be bought in bulk at Whole Foods and sit in the fridge for six months – mine is still fine after one month.
Is it really a great idea to be eating old food? Debatable. Some fruits like bananas can have added benefits with age. Ayurvedic principles frown on old or rotten food for its effect on the body or biorhythms (except for items better with age or fermentation). But, I’ve seen depression-era folks charge through their 80′s having lived a frugal life eating the bad fruits first, expired foods and keeping the fridge well above the suggested 40 degree mark. (Where can I get an immune system like that!)
The bottom line is that expiration is perception and to follow your nose and your gut. If something smells or tastes funny, do not risk it! Common sense and intuition are our friends and thankfully, we are much less likely to get sick in a clean home than from a restaurant. If you think you might get food poisoning, immediately take homeopathic Arscenicum Album 30c and Activated Charcoal.
What have you noticed that you can eat after the stamped date?
Two websites devoted completely to real expiration dates:
All Recipes allows you to type in what ingredients you currently have and pulls up recipes you can use. You can save favorite recipes in your own online recipe box.
Love Food Hate Waste is an English web site devoted to helping people use food on its way out
Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at NaturalBlaze.com and ActivistPost.com. Like at Facebook.
This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition
Chapter 10 entitled Childbirth covers labor, delivery, and immediate care of the newborn, enough for a layperson to help with a normal delivery. It can be downloaded for free at the web site below.
Note – This publication is intended for UK ships, and mentions giving ciprofloxacin or erythromycin to a mother if she has a fever. In the U.S. it is unlikely that ciprofloxacin would be given to a nursing mother, but is safe for non-nursing mothers. (Ciprofloxacin is excreted in breast milk and may pose a risk of joint damage in children.) Erythromycin is considered safe for both mother and child.
- Free Download – When there’s no other doctor (armageddonmedicine.net)
– Why the early bird gets the worm;
– Life isn’t always fair;
– And maybe it was my fault.
It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student.
-by his parents, Truth and Trust,
-by his wife, Discretion,
-by his daughter, Responsibility,
-and by his son, Reason.
– I Know My Rights
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– Someone Else Is To Blame
– I’m A Victim
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© 2014, Rourke. All rights reserved.
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Seed starting mix and canning horseradish
Do you make your own seed starting mix? The purchased ones are always so hard to get moist and I’m wondering if you have a recipe for a better mix.
We are in a cold climate, although not as cold as yours! Cracking on our fingers can be a problem and I’m wondering what you do for this.
A while back someone asked about canning horseradish. Here’s the recipe I use:
Horseradish for canning
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. kosher salt or pickling salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. ascorbic acid crystals (Fruit Fresh)
3 cups lightly packed, peeled and finely grated horseradish (2 to 3 pounds horseradish root) * Take your food processor outside to grate the horseradish.
In medium glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, and ascorbic acid crystals. Stir until everything is dissolved. Stir in horseradish. Ladle the horseradish into hot jars, leaving a inch headspace. Using a plastic knife, remove any trapped air bubbles. If necessary, add more horseradish to maintain a inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims and threads with a clean, damp cloth. Cover with hot lids and rings. Process half-pint jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Makes about 4 half-pints.
Hudson Falls, New York
While I have made my own seed-starting mix, using 1/2 good, sifted well-rotted compost-laden garden soil, 1/4 Perlite and 1/4 vermiculite, I’m now buying Pro-Mix seed starting mix (you can get it from local nurseries and greenhouses, sometimes Menards, too). When you use your own homemade mix, you must sterilize the soil by putting it in the oven in a large pan. This kills any pathogens that may cause disease in your tender seedlings. You need to heat it at 250 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, then let it cool before mixing it with the Perlite and vermiculite. The Pro-Mix is very good and DOES accept the water easily, where Jiffy Mix seed starter doesn’t.
For cracked hands, I use bag balm for cows. I put it on my hands before I go out in the morning, then a heavier coat in the evening. It keeps them as good as my hands ever get. Pinetree Garden Seeds (www.superseed.com) carries a great selection of natural ingredients if you wish to make your own hand cream as well as books of recipes. — Jackie
What makes these so interesting is the use of shortening to cook/fry them in, gives them a crispy crust like a properly made waffle.
Considering the increasing frequency of active shooter situations, it would almost seem our duty as preppers to be ready to respond to these types of situations. One easy way is to make sure that you are wearing a “trauma ready” belt that has extra holes drilled closer to the buckle. See the image below to see where you should drill an extra 10 or so holes to ensure that you can secure your belt firmly around an arm or leg to stop severe bleeding.
Top 10 foods with the most protein
- Meat (beef, pork, chicken, etc)
- Fish (tuna, salmon, etc)
- Dairy (milk, yogurt)
- Nuts (almonds, peanuts, etc)
- Seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc)
Top 10 foods with the most fat
- Animal fat (beef tallow, lard, etc)
- Fish oil (cod liver oil, herring oil, etc)
- Oil (olive, corn, peanut, etc)
- Nuts/nut butter
- Fatty fish
- Dark chocolate
- Dried coconut
Top 10 foods with the most carbohydrates
- Grains and cereals (rice, oats, etc)
- Dried fruit
- Crackers, potato chips
- Flour (cakes, cookies, bread, etc)
- Jams and jellies
- Starchy fruit and vegetables (bananas, apples, etc)
Hold off on the weed spray! That shining yellow flower that pops up all over creation in the spring doesn’t need to be eradicated. Although dandelions are typically thought of as a pesky weed, they are entirely edible from root to bloom and have many other uses as well. So if your world is being overrun by dandelions, check out some of these fantastic ways to put them to use for you!
Using Dandelion Roots:How to Cook Dandelion Roots
Harvesting and Using Dandelion Roots
Dandelion Root Coffee Substitute
Dandelion Root Tea
Using Dandelion Leaves:Put them in a fresh salad
Cook them like spinach
Try this Wilted Dandelion Salad
Use them in this Avocado Herb Sandwich
10 Ways to Use Dandelion Greens (includes a recipe for pesto!)
Another version of Dandelion Pesto
Make a green smoothie
Dandelion leaf tea
Using Dandelion Flowers:How to make Dandelion Wine and Dandelion Cookies
Another recipe for Dandelion Wine
Dandelion Flower Cookies
Dandelion Flower Tea
Iced Lime and Dandelion Tea
Medicinal and personal care uses:Dandelion Salve
Dandelion Oil for Arthritis and Joint Pain Relief
Dandelion Tonic for liver, bladder, and gallbladder cleansing (video)
Dandelion Recipes:A roundup of Dandelion Recipes Includes recipes for Cream of Dandelion Soup, Dandelion Egg Salad, Split Pea Dandelion Bud Soup, and more.
Get cooking with dandelions with the Ultimate Dandelion Cookbook!
And if you don’t want to eat the dandelions, you can always use them to Feed your chickens!
More information on using dandelions in these articles:
Dandelions: The Weed You Need
10 Wild Plants You Can Eat
Who knew there were so many fantastic ways to use dandelions? So when those beautiful yellow flowers pop up this spring, try some of these uses and make dandelions a friend instead of a foe!
The post 27+ Ways to Use Dandelion appeared first on Food Storage and Survival.
So how quickly will they re-grow? I have found that it takes about two weeks to re-grow a green onion from the stem of one previously used. All you have to do is save the root and about 1-2 inches of the stem. Place the root and stem in a tall glass with the nutrient dense water coming about ¼ inch from the top of the stem. Soon you will have a new set of healthy, nutrient rich onions to eat! Best of all, these stems can be used over and over again as long as you maintain the water and don’t allow any mold to build up on the plant.
Our homestead is very small, and in a biggish city, Youngstown, OH. We bought a fixer-upper here about a year ago. The back yard is very small, and it’s on a hillside. Our back and side yard blends into a large park here, Mill Creek Park. I don’t mean a manicured garden park, I mean small lakes, at least one waterfall, wild critters, etc. It’s beautiful! But, while our yard is cleared of most trees, huge, towering maple trees, lots of them, are right on the boundary. So it’s a pretty darn shady hillside a large part of the day. It’s on the north side of the house.
Personally, I think we could grow some herbs there, since I have better luck with partial shade than full sun, which seems to burn my herbs up. I think green would grow well there. But what about fruit trees and bushes? When I was young, I found elderberries, raspberries, etc, in the woods, and on the edges of forest and meadow. So I am going to research what I might plant there, since fruit, in and out of season, is very expensive (to me).
Sorry I am so long-winded. I see in some catalogs trees that are grafted with a few different kinds of one fruit, such as apples, or even with 6 different fruits, like apple, pear, nectarine, etc. Do you know anything about this kind of tree? Are they a good idea? This would be fruit for the table, since I expect that I wouldn’t get a canning amount of any one of the fruits. Do they produce enough to be worth the space? Are they a hardy, long bearing kind of tree?
Yes, your herbs should work in your partially-shaded yard. Many other garden plants from salad greens to even green beans and tomatoes will often work. Yes, some fruits, too, will grow in partial shade. In Michigan I had a pie cherry that grew in the dense shade of a huge weeping willow in the front yard. It produced very well, too! Elderberries, plums, paw paws, and persimmons also grow quite well in shady areas.
The “fruit salad” grafted fruit trees can work well for many urban homesteaders. All varieties on the tree don’t ripen at the same time so these trees are quite useful. And you will get enough to can jelly, jams, preserves, or sauce (depending on the fruits!). They do eventually produce well and are as hardy and long-bearing as any other kind of fruit tree meant for your zone. They prefer a more sunny yard but I sure would give it a try. It’s amazing at how many things folks have told me I “couldn’t possibly grow” did very well, indeed. Homesteaders are an experimenting bunch! — Jackie
Storing canned goods with rings on them
I have been canning for about a year now, careful to follow all of your instructions, and those in the Ball Blue Book. Once I am sure my jars are sealed properly I have re-attached the ring to some of them as a sort of insurance & a way to “store” the number of rings I am collecting. I have recently read that this can be dangerous – that should a jar unseal the ring will hold it on and allow bacteria to grow and re-seal the jar. Is this cause for alarm? Do I have to discard any jars I have with rings on them?
Jars that have become unsealed will NOT reseal if you screw the ring back on a jar lightly. Once unsealed, a jar remains unsealed. As always, when opening a jar, first look at the contents, open the jar, being sure it IS sealed, smell the contents, then bring to boiling temperature for 10-15 minutes. Sometimes a “bad” jar will pop “sealed” and “unsealed” several times but when you open the jar, the lid comes off very easily and you can sure tell it isn’t normal. I frequently store my washed jars that I’ve taken the rings off and washed both then dried, with the clean rings back on, lightly, just to store them without clutter. — Jackie
Cuts and Abrasions
Minor cuts and scrapes may not sound like a big deal, but when you’re in the wilderness any kind of trauma to the skin can quickly turn into a much bigger problem. The first kind of items you should have in your kit include band aids, gauze and antiseptic cream. Make sure to include sticking plasters which have some padding behind them, as these are ideal for when you develop a blister and are extremely easy to transport. Sticking plaster will also help you to secure a bandage.
Treating a larger wound is often tricky, particularly if you have no medical training. Having the right items in your first aid kit will, however, go a long way to ensuring that a large wound will heal on its own. Your first step is to clean the wound. Many preppers carry water sterilization tablets in their first aid kit for this purpose. Large wounds should be left relatively open in order for infection to drain, but this doesn’t mean leaving them exposed. Your gauze will come in useful here, as will sanitized medical-grade dressings.
Top Tip: Many experienced survivalists – both men and women – will often include sanitary towels in their first aid kits. Whilst this may sound distasteful, sanitary towels are super absorbent which makes them perfect for larger wounds. They’re also waterproof and make for excellent padding.
Good oral hygiene is vital in a survival situation. Your teeth can be used for a variety of different purposes, and if you end up with an infection in your mouth this can be incredibly painful and hugely debilitating. Dental medic kits can be pre-purchased and contain everything you’ll need to practice dentistry in the field. Make sure you don’t get to the point of needing it, by including a toothbrush and tooth powder in your first aid kit.
Bugs and Bites
A can of bug repellent spray and a pair of stout boots are vital items for any serious prepper. But being able to treat a bite once it occurs is also essential, which is why you should always include an EPI-pen, snake bite kit and inhaler in your first aid kit. Malaria pills are also recommended for anyone who lives in an at-risk area.
Author bio: Sam Butterworth is a writer and someone who likes to be prepared for any situation. He works for the UK Safety Store – a favorite firm with preppers the world over, thanks to its comprehensive collection of first aid kits and emergency aid essentials.The post Essential Items for the Prepper First Aid Kit appeared first on American Preppers Network.
- Choose a reasonably safe place to live. If you are moving to a new house or apartment, do a bit of sleuthing around and figure out which neighborhoods are safer than others (start here).
- Put up a "beware of dog" sign. You don't need an actual dog as the sign itself can be a deterrent.
- If you like and want a pet, choose a dog. I know that there are dog people and there are cat people but dogs make a better guard/alarm system for your home than a cat.
- Buy new locks (or re-key your current locks) if it has been a while since this was done, especially if you have lost track of who has keys for your place.
- See if your neighborhood has a neighborhood watch program. If such a program is available in your area, join up. If it is not available, start one.
- Get to know your neighbors. Ask them to call you and report anything unusual they see happening at your home and offer to do the same for them.
- Make sure basic repairs are made ASAP, especially if it impacts your home security. Make sure all window and door locks are secure. Make sure the garage door is secure. Make sure outbuildings can be locked down tight. Replace outdoor light bulbs as soon as you notice them burned out.
- Landscape for safety. Make sure your doors and windows are visible and not hidden by overgrown bushes and shrubs. Plant roses or other spiky/thorny bushes beneath windows.
- Light up for safety. Install motion detector outdoor lights around your property. Add flood lights at various places around your property if needed. Make sure you can light up all of the property around your home with the flick of a switch from inside of your home.
- Hold regular home lock down drills in which your family locks down your home as quickly as possible.
- Before you leave your home or go to bed at night make a sweep of your home to make sure all doors are locked, necessary exterior lights are turned on, all windows are closed and locked, the stove is turned off, nightlights are turned on, etc.
- See if your local $1 store or hardware store offers cheap window and door alarms. These are basically two plastic pieces that attach to the door and the frame or two parts of a window. There is a battery which creates an electrical current and if the pieces are jarred or moved a shrill alarm is set off.
- Set up a fake video security system around the exterior of your home (this is the cheap option and is a slight deterrent).
- Set up a real, wireless video security system around the interior and exterior of your home (this is more expensive). Many of these systems can be monitored via computer or smartphone.
- Don't make it easy for burglars/intruders to enter your home (make sure they can't enter through a dog door, can't pull out a window AC unit and enter than way, that you don't leave your garage door open unless you are actively coming or going in this area, that you don't leave your front or back door unlocked--both while you are at home or while you are gone, that you don't "hide" a key outside in case you get locked out, etc).
- Don't do stupid stuff (like posting your vacation plans on Twitter or Facebook, never changing your alarm system code if you do have an alarm system, leaving a stack expensive looking stuff at the curb on garbage day like a MacBook box, an iPhone box, a box from your new 60" TV, etc).
- Hide your valuables when you leave your home (ie: stick your MacBook air under the sofa when you leave the house instead of leaving it on the table where it can be seen through a window; if you do have a safe, don't just stick it in your bedroom closet, hide it in the attic under a blanket of fiberglass insulation, etc).
- Keep your wallet, cell phone, and car keys on your nightstand instead of sitting by the front door or on the kitchen table where someone can see these items through a window or door.
- Be aware of who you let into your home. Your home can be "cased" for a future burglary by your teenage kid's friends, door to door salespeople, etc.
- Make it look like someone is always home (don't allow mail or newspapers to pile up, keep the radio or TV on when you leave to make it sound like someone is home, use timers on your interior lights to make it look like someone is home/awake at various times during the day and night, etc).
In preparing for the end of the world as we know it, most of us envision facing that future with our families. But what if something were to happen to you? Even if there is no widespread disaster, your death or the death of a spouse or other family member can be the end of your family’s world as you know it.
Don’t think you’re too young or fit for something to happen to you. And please don’t brush off these important preparations because they are tedious or not as glamorous as stocking weapons and ammunition or a year’s supply of toilet paper. Nobody is invincible and accidents happen leaving families to move on without a family member who has died. So even though it is uncomfortable to think about, here are six important steps to take to prepare your family to survive without you.
1. Get Life Insurance.If you are the wage earner for your family and your income suddenly stops, how are your spouse and children going to pay for their necessary expenses? How will they make the house payment, pay for car repairs, food, clothes, utilities? If your job provides the health insurance, how will they replace that? Even a small life insurance policy can give your family a financial buffer, allowing them time to make good decisions for their future.
If you are not the primary wage earner, your spouse will still have extra expenses without you there like paying for childcare while they are at work. Plus you have the expenses involved with the funeral itself.
Help secure your family’s financial future by getting life insurance on yourself and your spouse. It may seem like an unnecessary extra expense, but it is a crucial step in getting your family started in their new life if you die. Here is an interesting article about what kind of life insurance is the best investment. And an online life insurance calculator to help you figure out how much you want to get. Your insurance agent can also help you determine what you need.
2. Have a Will.You may think you don’t need a will. Everything that is yours will just go to your spouse, right? Well, not exactly. It can get complicated. Your jointly owned assets will pass directly to your spouse, but without a will, your personal assets may be divided between your spouse and children and it can get even more complicated if you live in a state that requires a trustee to keep the children’s portion if they are minors and that trustee cannot be the surviving spouse. So your spouse can end up with a lot less than you thought with someone else watching over the rest until your children are grown.
A will is even more important if you have minor children in the event that both parents die. Then your will and not the state will decide who will finish raising your children. Be sure to list the same person as guardian of your children and as secondary beneficiary of your life insurance, ensuring the money will be used for the support of your children.
Talk to a lawyer, write a handwritten will (legal in most states), or purchase a will kit like Quicken’s WillMaker Plus to get your will written.
Your will, life insurance policy, and other important information should be kept in a location that is secure and known to your spouse, parents, and responsible children so they will know what you have and where to find it if you die unexpectedly. Many people use a safe deposit box at a bank for these documents. Here is an option for keeping them at home.
3. Share Your Passwords.Can your spouse access your bank account? Your online profiles? Your phone or other electronic devices? There may be some important information they need to access or they may just want to be able to see your photos. Keep a list of your passwords where they can find it.
4. Share Your Preparedness Gear and Plans.Do your spouse or children know where the food storage is? Do they know what tools you have and how to use them? Are you caching gear in locations other than your home? If your spouse is not supportive of your preparedness efforts, be sure someone close to you knows what you have and what it is for so it doesn’t end up being left behind or sold in an estate sale when you’re gone.
5. Teach Skills.This is one you want to be doing anyway in order for your children to be able to provide for themselves when they leave the house. Can they cook a meal, wash laundry, keep a house clean, hunt, budget, build something, change a tire? Can your spouse perform the responsibilities you normally do in the home? Helping your spouse and children learn the skills they need to be able to take care of themselves is important even if you don’t die.
6. Provide Opportunity for Education.Allow your spouse and older children the opportunity to learn job skills that will make them employable in the event that you are no longer around to provide an income for your family. Support them in job training or side work they may want to do. The corollary is that if you are not the primary wage earner, work to have enough education and skills that you are able to earn an income if your spouse dies.
You never know when your time is up on this earth. It does not matter if you are only 25 years old and still believe you are invincible, taking these steps to prepare your family to survive without you can be one of the most important preparedness efforts you make.
The post Six Important Steps to Prepare Your Family to Survive Without You appeared first on Food Storage and Survival.
- Maintain distances of at least 6 feet between individuals in your group. Many diseases spread through the formation of tiny droplets of saliva during sneezing or talking or by physical contact, such as hand shaking. Maintaining distance helps prevent these droplets from reaching another person’s nose, mouth, or eyes through the air or by transfer through contact.
- Every member of the group must continually remind and enforce regular hand washing by all members of the group. Hand washing is especially important after someone covers their mouth during a cough or sneeze. A hand washing should involve warm water, soap, and at least 25 seconds of vigorous scrubbing.
- Every member of the group must continually remind members of the group not to touch their mouth, nose, or eyes.
- Regularly disinfect frequently touched surfaces or surfaces contacted by bodily fluids, including knobs, buttons, handles, toilet seats, sinks, eating utensils, etc., with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Bleach is cheap to stock, so stock up!
- The use of surgical masks helps contain any coughs or sneezes and also serves as a great reminder not to touch one’s own face. Surgical masks are not thought to be sufficient to protect someone from getting infected, rather they serve to contain infections to an infected individual.
- Boost the immune systems of members in your group by promoting plenty of sleep and taking supplements like vitamin C and D & E, St. John’s Wort, and Green Tea. These supplements boost the immune system, serve as anti-virals, and block cytokines that are often responsible for an overreaction of the immune system that can cause death. For more information on these suppliments and what is known as “cytokine storm,” check out my article entitled “Preventing ‘Cytokine Storm’ Death from Pandemic Flu”.
- Anyone who exhibits symptoms should be quarantined away from others for a period of 7 days. Those who bring food and provide care to these individuals should wear appropriately fitted N95 masks, gowns, and gloves. These basic personal protective equipment require a bit of training, including the following:
- Anyone wearing an N95 mask must put it on correctly and conduct a user seal check. Some key aspects to wearing a mask correctly include: placing the top strap of the mask above the ears over and around the temple areas of the head, placing the bottom strap of the mask below the ears and around the back of the neck, pressing and conforming the nosepiece to the nose by pressing from the nasal bridge down towards the cheeks. Conducting a user seal check by quickly inhaling or exhaling while feeling if any air is leaking between the mask and your face and thus, bypassing the filtering mechanism. Re-adjust the mask until no air can be detected passing between the mask and your face.
- Gowns should be removed and disposed of prior to removal of gloves. o Gloves should be removed according to the following video instructions http://youtu.be/S4gyNAsPCbU.
- Disinfect any tools, dishes, or utensils used to care for the individual with a bleach solution. o Wash your hands after providing care.
The information, concepts, or opinions from CatastropheNetwork.org are intended for informational purposes only and must be evaluated by the reader, in consultation with a professional, to ensure viability for their individual situation.
If you haven't heard about the massive drought in California, well, you probably should have. And since California is where a lot of food is grown that feeds the people of the United States, this is something to worry about. Add to that the fact that food prices keep rising. The price of meat, for example, has risen exponentially over the past couple of years ($8 for a single chicken??? Some years back I was paying 39 cents a pound for chicken!). Here are 10 things to consider about the current food situation:
- Start a food garden. Even if all you have is a window sill where you can grow herbs, being able to produce any sort of food for yourself is liberating. Planting a flower pot of lettuce and a couple of tomato plants is even better. Obviously I don't expect that many people will have the space/inclination to grow the majority of their produce but growing a few things is better than nothing.
- Fill up your freezer. Whenever I find loss leaders or sale meat, I always plan for the future and buy as much as we can reasonably consume within a year or so. Needless to say, the freezer is full of meat and vegetables.
- Ditto for your pantry. While there are a lot of sale items at the grocery store that we simply don't buy no matter how low the price (processed anything basically), there are times, such as when stores have case lot sales and such, that we make a haul and fill the pantry with canned soup/vegetables/fish/etc.
- Hit up the $1 store and 99 cent store. There are some items in these stores that you can find cheaper elsewhere but there are usually plenty of items that are a bargain for $1 and deserve to be bought in bulk.
- Canning, freezing, dehydrating, smoking, etc. Buy a giant, cheap, box of something and experiment. A friend delivered a huge box of bananas that he got on sale for a couple of bucks and said "what can you do with these?" What we did: canned banana baby food. Froze most of the bananas for smoothies and banana bread. You don't want to spend a fortune on something to experiment with but you can often find cheap items that are worth trying to process for your future food needs. FWIW smoked fish is tasty and has along shelf life. Also, canning and jelly making isn't as hard as it seems.
- Learn how to procure your own food. Hunting and fishing are fun hobbies which also provide you with a lot of protein for little more than the cost of a license and a bit of your time once you have the necessary equipment and knowledge.
- Learn how to forage. Have you ever eaten a cattail? These plants are prolific in some areas and were once a staple food for many Indian tribes in the Pacific Northwest. There are literally dozens and dozens of edibles that grow wild that can be had for just the effort needed to gather them (warning: know what it is you are harvesting, take a class to learn if necessary and/or go with someone who knows what they are doing until you know what you are doing).
- Procure seasonally. Old timers probably remember that food used to be seasonal. There was no such thing as a watermelon in January or a fresh tomato in February. You can still flow with the seasons, however, and get dirt cheap prices on food just by buying or harvesting when items are in season (wild berries in late summer, mushrooms in the fall, smelt when they are running, super cheap watermelon at the grocery store in summer, etc).
- Buy grains in bulk. Dried grains (oats, rice, wheat, etc) tend to have a long shelf life, are easy to store, are cheap to buy (ie: a bag of dried beans are much cheaper than the same amount of beans in canned form), and are endlessly useful.
- When you do buy/grow/harvest food items to last for a long time (unlike just buying enough groceries to tide you over for a week), learn how to safely and effectively store them for the duration (the LDS folks are genius at this, info here) so you don't waste your time, money, and most importantly the food.
I am so glad it is starting to thaw where you live. I’ve always enjoyed reading your blog and articles. I know you can let butter beans dry in their shells, but is it possible to dehydrate fresh shelled butter beans or peas? If so, will the finished product taste more like fresh shelled when rehydrated? Thanks for your help. I hope spring comes early for you.
Yes, you can dehydrate fresh, shelled butter beans and peas. And, yes, they’ll taste just about as fresh as newly shelled beans/peas. We’re hoping that Spring comes gently so all this snow doesn’t turn to slop. But any way it comes, we’re sure ready for it! — Jackie
Rendering beef fat
We bought some beef and took all the fat as well (to can for use with dried beans which taste awful without some sort of fat for flavoring). However, how does a person can raw beef fat? You say it’s tallow is not as good as pig fat for making pies and such however I didn’t want to throw it away. So do we render it first and then throw the hot fat in a cool jar and put a lid on it? That should seal itself. Then pressure can it? Or water bath it? What do you think? Or just put the raw stuff into jars and pressure can as for meat? (Probably not recommended I think.) Or process it as you do the bacon by rendering it a bit first and then canning it while it’s still hot? Thanks for your help on this! And spring finally showed up here too! Happily it won’t be a 6 month winter like last year!
I would render it down just like lard, then put into hot, sterilized jars while very hot, then put on a hot, previously-simmered lid, and screw down the ring firmly tight. Just like you do lard. No further processing is necessary. Keep in a cooler, dark place. It should remain good for a long time. Why not can up some of those dry beans with a bit of your beef fat, before rendering, for flavoring? I also add onions and spices to my canned beans to perk up the “blah” taste. I’m sure glad Spring is showing its face at your house, too. We’re all pretty glad for warmer weather. Now if we just don’t get the March or April blizzard! — Jackie
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