Saturday, March 27, 2010

Aurora Firestarter

Great Firestarter is Made in the USA!
Aurora Firestarter

This firestarter is my new favorite emergency preparedness item.  Like many of you I struggle starting fires with a bow and drill and the hand drill.  In the mean time, I keep this firestarter handy with some dry lint or cotton balls to help with starting and I have had great success with starting fires with my first strike.

Since videos are a great way of demonstrating products, I videotaped our son on a recent campout using this firestarter.  He got a fire started on the second strike!  Hope you enjoy:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Freeze Dried Corn

So Sweet It Can Be Eaten Right Out Of The Can!

This product is delicious rehydrated and can even be eaten dry as a snack!  The Honeyville Farms Freeze Dried Corn is a sweet yellow corn that has been flash frozen and then sublimated to extract almost all of the moisture from the corn and then is canned for long-term storage as a dry product.   The freeze drying process for sweet yellow corn removes approximately 97% of the water while helping to retain the natural taste and nutrition. This product comes sealed in a #10 can and has a shelf life of  up to 15 years in the sealed, unopened can.

Rehydrating can be done in several ways.  The following video provides some great instruction on how to do this:

This is a very popular product because of its high quality and great taste.  Here is a great Chili Corn Bread Recipe where you can use your reconstituted sweet yellow corn:
Green Chili Corn Bread
1/2 Cup Corn Meal or Corn Flour
1 Cup Natural White Flour or other white flour
1 tsp Real Salt or other table salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda (preferably aluminum free)
1/3 cup Red Feather Pure Creamery Canned Butter or other butter
2 Eggs or 2 Tablespoons Whole Egg Powder and 8 Tablespoons Water
1 Cup Reconstituted Freeze Dried Corn
2 Cups Reconstituted Freeze Dried Shredded Cheese or 2 Cups Freshly Grated Cheddar Cheese
1 Can Green Chilies
1/4 cup Honey or Sugar
3/4 Cup Milk or 3/4 Reconstituted Country Cream Real Instant Milk
Mix all ingredients together and place in glass baking dish.  Bake at 350 Degrees for 50 minutes or until done.

Friday, March 19, 2010

How to Grind Your Own Stone Ground Flour With the WonderMill Jr. Delux

Grinding Your Own Nutritions Stone Ground Flour is Easy with the WonderMill Junior Deluxe

WonderMill Junior Deluxe with Stone Grinders

There are many advantages to grinding your own flour, and nutritionally, there is nothing better than stone grinding your own flour at a slow speed.  We enjoy the fact that the WonderMill Junior Deluxe comes with a set of stone grinders that make grinding your own flour easy.  You can use the stones to crack wheat, mill farina (creamy wheat) or grind flour down to pastry fine consistency.  No wonder the manufacturer calls it the World's Best handmill!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Whole Powdered Eggs

An Important Part of Your Food Storage Program

I love my chickens and the fresh eggs that I receive from them each day, but in the preparedness world it is often prudent to also have on hand a long-term food storage item as a backup.  Whole powdered eggs are a great shelf stable product.  The Honeyville brand of whole powdered eggs for instance will last 10 years in the unopened can and up to 1 year after opening.   Some people are a bit skeptical about purchasing them or using them based on their reputation.  Our family has used them in Pancakes, muffins, cookies and other baked goods.  They are easy to measure out and work great.  A good recommendation is to have two (2) to four (4) of the #10 Cans of Whole Powdered Eggs per person in your food storage for cooking and baking needs.

We have also made scrambled eggs with them.  Here is a picture of what they look like once they are cooked.  I put green chilies in with them to help improve the taste.  As scrambled eggs they taste different than fresh eggs because the powdered eggs have been pasteurized.  However, the eggs do bake up nice and fluffy.  If you add spices and/or vegetables they are pretty good.  Our kids actually ate them up with more zeal than we did, probably because they didn't have any pre-conceived notions about powdered eggs like we as adults did!

Monday, March 15, 2010

WonderMill Junior - Kid Friendly and Parent Approved

WonderMill Junior Deluxe
This is a grain mill that even children will get excited about.  At least for a few minutes that is!  While it is hard to sustain the excitement with younger children, many older children and teenagers will often take the challenge seriously to mill grain for you.  This is because it is somewhat gratifying to enjoy the fruits of your labors by cracking your own wheat, grinding your own fresh, creamy wheat or milling your own super-fine pastry flower.   Of course, it is so much faster to turn on your electric mill and effortlessly watch as the machine finely mills your grain into flour.  However, the newer high impact electric mills feature high speed steel grinding burrs and plates that are not able to crack wheat or make coarse grade corn meal.  The best these electric mills can do is a medium flour or fine cornmeal at best.  The lower temperature of hand grinders will also help conserve additional nutrition of your flours and cracked cereals versus high-speed electric grinders.
Freshly Ground Creamy Wheat (Farina)
The grinder stones that come with the deluxe model hearken back to the older box style mill that featured stone heads that I enjoyed growing up.  The stones can be adjusted in the front of the mill using the adjustment knob.  You can crack wheat, grind creamy wheat consistency and even get down to pastry fine flour in one single pass.  The stones are obviously designed for dry, non-oily grains and seeds as stones are mildly porous.  The stainless-steel burrs on the other hand are ready for moist and oily nuts, seeds and grains.  The stainless-steel burrs are great for grinding brown rice flour, bean flour and corn meal.  You can really open up a wide spectrum of possibilities with having both stone and steel grinders and being able to control the consistency of your milling.
Stone Grinders Above and Steel Burrs Below

You can grind flax seeds, process lime soaked corn for masa and even make peanut butter using the stainless steel burrs.  Below you can see a picture of corn cooked in lime for tortilla masa that has been run through the WonderMill Junior.  Truth be told, this was a slow and laborious endeavor, probably better suited for a meat grinder, but I was able to do it in the WonderMill Junior and then completely clean my grinder afterword.
Yellow Corn Masa

Just one look at the WonderMill Junior shows you that this mill means business.  The WonderMill Junior is solid piece construction with a food grade powder coating.  The hopper will hold just over one quart of grain!  The WonderMill Deluxe has a set of grinder stones and a set of stainless steel burrs.  The large double clamp on the bottom of the mill allows for clamping on to a surface up to 2 inches.  The mill seats nicely on tables and counter tops due to the double rounded mounting plates that tighten down firmly using large, rounded tightening knobs.  The double clamp and mounting plates are both powder coated to protect your table top and counter.   

There are cheaper and more expensive hand mills out on the market, but in my opinion the WonderMill Junior hits the mark as to quality, versatility and price.  The key here is solid piece construction, heavy duty features, stone grinders and stainless-steel burrs.  These qualities make for a nice, heirloom quality hand grinder.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Red Feather Processed Cheese

Red Feather Processed Cheese Delivers on Taste and Quality
Red Feather Processed Cheese is a high quality canned cheese that is really quite tasty.  This processed cheese is very comparable to the cheese that you find in holiday food packages around Christmas time.  While it is not as hard as chedder cheese, it has a much more firm texture than Velveeta.   The ingredients consist of the following:  Cheese (Pasteurised Milk, Salt, Culture, Enzyme), Water, Sodium Citrate, Butter, Salt, Sodium Polyphosphate, Potassium Polyphosphate, Citric Acid, Nisin (to retard spoilage).
Red Feather Processed Cheese has a Best Used Before date of one year from the time of processing.  However, we have received reports that this cheese can last 5-10 years or more if stored in a cool dry area.
This cheese has been quite poplular in the food storage world that past few years and so we decided to put together a brief video on the cheese so you can at least see the cheese and get an idea of its consistency.

As you can see in the video, the cheese is a white processed cheese that is not overly soft but can be used as a spread.  While processed cheese has more soidum and phosphates than we generally care for, a bit of Red Feather Cheese in moderation is really quite enjoyable and is hard to resist!  In an emergency or extended camp this would definitely be a very delicious commodity.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gourmet Anasazi Beans

Beautiful Beans with Great Taste
During the mid 1980's my grandmother introduced me to Anasazi Beans.  She had received a small amount of beans from a local museum just after the bean had gone into commercial production and she was able to begin cultivating her own beans in great supply a few years later.  I found the beans very intriguing because of their nice coloring versus the plain old pinto beans that she had traditionally grown. 
As the name suggests, these beans were cultivated by the Anasazi (Pueblo) Indians of the Four Corners area.  It is hard to pin down the exact history of how the bean was introduced into the commercial market, but apparently a small amount of beans were found in a sealed clay pot following an archaeological dig back in the 1950's.  Even though it defies the general seed viability laws, a portion of the beans were germinated after tests concluded that these seeds were 1,500 years old.  Commercial and private growers then helped with the production of the seeds and there is now a thriving market for Anasazi Beans.
Anasazi Beans are a wonderful alternative to Pinto Beans, Navy Beans and Great Northern Beans.  Like all beans, these beans are high in fiber and protein.  Anasazi Beans are also a good source of calcium and iron.  What is great is that Anasazi Beans contain significantly less gas producing carbohydrates than Pinto Beans, thus resulting in a generally milder gastro-intestinal experience!  Plus, the beans take less time to cook than Pinto Beans.
Here is a great way to cook them:
Soak 2 Cups of Anasazi Beans overnight and then drain.  Rinse and drain again.  In general, soaking beans help to soften them for cooking, reduce indigestible oligosaccharides (sugars), begin the germination process for improved nutrition, lower the gas producing carbohydrates and provide a cleansing rinse.
Pour beans into a large pot and add 6 Cups water.
Add 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
Add 1 teaspoon of Real Salt
Optional - Add a chopped onion or 1/2 Cup of rehydrated onions from your food storage.
Optional - Add a clove of garlic or 1 teaspon granulated garlic
Optional - Add a whole chili pepper (my favorite is the Serrano) and remove before serving
Bring the mixture to a boil and then allow to simmer for 1 hour with the lid slightly vented.  If the beans are still hard continue cooking until soft.  Serve in a bowl with a side plate of warm tortillas or bread!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Troy's Buttery Food Storage biscuits

Easy to Make Biscuits from Your Food Storage

These are my favorite biscuits in the world.  My mother used to make them when I was growing up and my wife resurrected the recipe for me and started making them.  The recipe is basically just a baking powder biscuit recipe.  We will give you an idea of how to make them with your food storage.  These biscuits are easy to make, clean up well and are delicious!

We use some very high quality food storage ingredients to come up with these buttery biscuits.  We typically use flour ground from Prairie Gold Hard White Spring Wheat, or we use a combination of Prairie Gold Flour and Natural White Unbleached and Unbromated White Flour.  The butter for this recipe comes in the form of Red Feather Pure Creamery Canned Butter.  Our powdered milk of choice is Country Cream Real Instant Milk and we use Rumford Aluminum Free Baking Powder.  For salt, we prefer Real Salt Granular over purified table salt.

You can cook these biscuits in an oven, dutch oven or even a sun oven.  So without further delay, here is the recipe:

Recipe for 10 - 12 Biscuits:

2 Cups Prairie Gold Whole Wheat Flour and/or Natural White Unbleached and Unbromated Flour (or other combination of Wheat and/or White Flour)

3 tsp Rumford Aluminum Free Baking Powder (or other baking powder)

1/2 tsp Real Salt Granular (or 1 tsp table salt)

6 Tablespoons Red Feather Pure Creamery Canned Butter (or fresh butter or shortening)

2/3 Cup Country Cream Milk (or raw milk or pastuerized milk or other powdered milk)

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, add flour (whole wheat, white, or combination of both), baking powder and salt.  Melt the butter or shortening and pour in.  (You can also cut in the butter or shortening, but I like to melt it.)  Add in 1/2 cup of milk.  Mix lightly and quickly.  If the dough leaves the side of the bowl you are ready to.  If not, add additional milk.

Turn out the bowl onto a lightly flour surface and then roll out to about 1/2 inch.  Most of the time I don't even flour the surface as these come up fairly cleanly.  Cut biscuits out with a cup.  Bake on an ungreased pan for 10 to 12 minutes.  Enjoy these biscuits hot with additional Red Feather Creamery Butter!