Sunday, August 2, 2009

Food Storage Advice

I want to address food preservation in this post. Above are photos of my canned meat. Ground beef on the left and chicken on the right. I used a pressure cooker purchased from Wal-Mart (above). The cooker comes with a recipe book and you must follow it precisely. Or you can pick up the Ball Blue Book so at the grocery store near the jars. That is the Canning Bible and if you plan to seriously can, you should own it.
Whether you plan to can or jar now or later- when there is no freezer- you should stock up on plenty of jars and lids. Lids should NOT be reused- so buy lots of extra lids. FYI food properly preserved can last several years (meat goods 3-4 years and fruits 2-3yrs). But, if it smells rancid after opening- DO NOT EAT. Laying up good quality meats, vegetables, and fruits in their peak condition will make them last that much longer.
In regards to freeze-dried foods they taste great- but cost a lot. You should probably plan to budget in at least some freeze-dried goods, but canning will go a long way to make up for it in cost if you cannot.
You can pressure can almost anything; it's by far the safest way to preserve anything without freezing. What my wife and I did was wait for a good sale at the local grocery store and buy several pounds of what was on sale. We got boneless, skinless chicken breast for $1.39 and ground beef for $1.50 a few weeks later.
Post collapse, you will use canning to layup your crops and any meat you can not eat within a day or two (deer, cows, elk or even a big turkey).
You can use almost any heat source for your pressure cooker as long as you can keep the water boiling inside for up to two hours. I purchased a wood burning stove a few months back that will do just that- but even a wood fire will do fine as long as you can keep it hot.
There are two main types of cookers. Those with gauges and those with weights. Get the ones with weights- they are more reliable and do not need to be calibrated, have no moving parts and are less likely to break. Here's a great site with canning materials.

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