Saturday, June 27, 2009

How much will fit in a 5 gallon bucket?

As you know, I like to store many of my dried foods in food grade 5-gallon buckets. I like this for several reasons:
  • You can get them either free or for really cheap from bakeries
  • I stack them up, numbered, and always know how much I have
  • It is easy to rotate them
  • With a mylar bag liner and gamma lid, it is airtight
I thought it might be helpful to post how much product will fit in each bucket. One 5-gallon bucket with a mylar liner will hold:

35-40 lbs. of dried beans

40 lbs of lentils or green peas

35 lbs. white sugar or salt (you don't want to use oxygen absorbers with sugar)

26-30 lbs of spaghetti

16 lbs of penne pasta

43 lbs of wheat berries

33 lbs of long grain white rice - very nice- (2) 50 lb bags fill 3 buckets

All of these amounts leave about 1.5 inches of headroom in the buckets when the mylar is vacuumed, sealed and the oxygen absorbers do their work.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Blender Wheat Pancakes

This has become one of my favorite ways to use wheat. You don't even need a grinder for this recipe! Try it, it just may become one of your favorites as well. I make a double batch, because we really like these.

Blender Wheat Pancakes

1 Cup Milk (translation for powdered milk is 3 T. Milk and 1 C. Water)
1 Cup Wheat Kernels, whole & uncooked
2 Eggs (2 T. powdered eggs 1/4 C. Water)
2 tsp Baking Powder
1-1/2 tsp Salt
2 Tbs. Oil
2 Tbs. Honey or Sugar

Put milk and wheat kernels in blender. Blend on highest speed for 4 or 5 minutes or until batter is smooth. Add eggs, oil, baking powder, salt and honey or sugar to above batter. Blend on low. Pour out batter into pancakes from the actual blender jar (only one thing to wash!) onto a hot greased or Pam prepared griddle or large frying pan. Cook; flipping pancakes when bubbles pop and create holes.

We like to serve these with Buttermilk Syrup (or as my kids call it, "White" syrup). YUMMY!

Buttermilk Syrup

1 cube butter
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs. corn syrup
1/2 cup buttermilk

Melt and boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add:

1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Combine and pour over pancakes.

Remember: you can use your food storage for the buttermilk! Just add 1 Tbs. vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup reconstituted powdered milk to make 1 cup buttermilk. Let sit for about 2 minutes.

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Lower Cannery Prices

Yay! As of June 20, 2009, the LDS Church Canneries have lowered their prices on many items. Click here for the current price list. Can't beat the price on bulk oats, wheat, dry milk, beans etc. etc. I love it when great prices get even better!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

**Canned Butter Warning**

There are many recipes floating around the internet about how to can your own butter. Basically it entails boiling the butter for a length of time (clarifying it), and then putting in hot jars. The hot liquid would seal the jar, and it would solidify after time. I got really excited about this a while ago and did some for my food storage. After going to a class last night about canning, I am throwing away my 12 pints of butter (luckily, that is all I had done).

Growth of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum in canned food may cause botulism—a deadly form of food poisoning. These bacteria exist either as spores or as vegetative cells. The spores, which are comparable to plant seeds, can survive harmlessly in soil and water for many years. When ideal conditions exist for growth, the spores produce vegetative cells which multiply rapidly and may produce a deadly toxin within three to four days of growth in an environment consisting of:

  • a moist, low-acid food,
  • a temperature between 40°F and 120°F, and
  • less than 2 percent oxygen.
As you can see, canned butter meets all of these requirements.

I really enjoy canning, and follow the rules exactly. The problem with canning your own butter, is that the contents never get hot enough for long enough time to kill the potential botulism spores. Botulism spores are resistant to heat -- even from boiling water -- and thrive in a moist, oxygen-free environment. As botulism spores reproduce, they generate one of the most extraordinarily powerful poisons on earth: one teaspoon-worth is sufficient to kill 100,000 people. Improper home canning creates the perfect environment in which to grow the botulism toxin. Also, because food contaminated by botulism may very well look and smell normal, there is often no warning. That is why home canning must be done properly with extreme care. You must follow the tested recipe exactly.

Whether food should be processed in a pressure canner or boiling-water canner to control botulism bacteria depends on the acidity in the food. Acidity may be natural, as in most fruits, or added, as in pickled food. Low-acid canned foods contain too little acidity to prevent the growth of these bacteria. Acid foods contain enough acidity to block their growth or to destroy them rapidly when heated. The term “pH” is a measure of acidity; the lower its value, the more acidic the food. The acidity level in foods can be increased by adding lemon juice, citric acid, or vinegar.

Low-acid foods have pH values higher than 4.6. They include red meats, seafood, poultry, milk, and all fresh vegetables except for most tomatoes. Most products that are mixtures of low-acid and acid foods also have pH values above 4.6 unless their ingredients include enough lemon juice, citric acid, or vinegar to make them acid foods. Acid foods have a pH of 4.6 or lower. They include fruits, pickles, sauerkraut, jams, jellies, marmalade, and fruit butters.

Although tomatoes usually are considered an acid food, some are now known to have pH values slightly above 4.6. Figs also have pH values slightly above 4.6. Therefore, if they are to be canned as acid foods, these products must be acidified to a pH of 4.6 or lower with lemon juice or citric acid. Properly acidified tomatoes and figs are acid foods and can be safely processed in a boiling-water canner.

Botulinum spores are very hard to destroy at boiling-water temperatures; the higher the canner temperature, the more easily they are destroyed. Therefore, all low-acid foods should be sterilized at temperatures of 240°F to 250°F, attainable with pressure canners operated at 10 to 15 PSIG. (PSIG means pounds per square inch of pressure as measured by a gauge.) In Utah County (approx. 4500 ft) the proper pressure is 13 PSIG. At these temperatures, the time needed to destroy bacteria in low-acid canned foods ranges from 20 to 100 minutes. The exact time depends on the kind of food being canned, the way it is packed into jars, and the size of jars, as well as the altitude where you live..

Currently, BYU and USU are testing methods of safely canning butter. For now, I will do without.

Sneaking in Food Storage....

We eat the same main dishes about 80% of the time because of taste, habit, awareness, familiarity, etc. Using your food storage can be as simple as creating a list of dishes eaten and liked by your family. The created list should be at least 10-20 dishes long. Which of the dishes could include the addition of basic food storage items? Make small adjustments to recipes and increase changes as taste preference allows.

For Example:
Meat Loaf : Add rice and/or wheat berries and/or dry beans.
Chili: Add wheat and/or rice.
Tuna Noodle Casserole: Add wheat.
Stroganoff: Serve over rice. Add wheat berries to sauce.
Hamburger Macaroni: Add dry beans.
Stuffed Green Peppers: Add rice and/or wheat.
Chicken Tonight: Add cooked dry beans.
Chicken Enchiladas : Use dry milk base.
Shepherd’s Pie: Add cooked dry beans.
Chicken Noodle Soup: Add rice and wheat.
Chicken Divan: Add wheat. Serve over rice.
Ham Fried Rice: Add wheat.
Choc. Chip Cookies: Add oatmeal and wheat flour.
Pancakes: Make mix using dry milk, wheat flour, and oatmeal.
Cream Soup: Use dry soup mix.
Vegetable Soup: Add rice and wheat berries

For best results:
  • Choose familiar recipes your family likes.
  • Avoid creating abnormal dishes. The further from a “normal” dish the recipe becomes the greater the chance the dish will be rejected and considered undesirable.
  • Add new dishes and recipes to the master menu which use basic storage.
  • Make a conscious effort to use the master menu and basic storage items.
  • Start out slowly to avoid gastrointestinal problems

Taken from: Food Storage Cooking School- Low and Hendricks, USU Extension, Salt Lake
County, 1/99. Copies may be made for individual and non-profit use.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Whole Wheat Berries

These whole kernels need soaking or steam cooking to become tender. When cooked, they have a sweet, nut-like flavor and a slightly chewy texture. There are many ways to prepare dishes with wheat berries, - so experiment!

The versatility of wheat berries is demonstrated in recipes from cereals to breads, to casserole and to stuffing for chicken or turkey. These recipes call for cooked wheat berries. Wheat berries can be prepared ahead of time and the ready-to-use cooked wheat may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 1 week. They can also be frozen.

Wheat berries are probably the easiest whole wheat food to prepare, and certainly ranks as one of the most versatile foods in use. None of the measurements are critical, and there’s no worry about with stirring, continual watching, etc.

Wheat berries can be made from whole wheat kernels or cracked wheat and can be used to replace rice in most dishes; they can also be substituted for mashed potatoes.

To make wheat berries: In a pot with a fairly tight lid, combine 3 cups of water, and 1 cup of wheat. Bring to a boil. Allow to simmer ½ hour. Turn off the heat and allow the wheat to stand 8-12 hours. Drain any remaining liquid. Use or store in refrigerator, tightly covered, for no more than one week.

Thermos cooked: Put wheat and 2½ cups boiling water in a quart-sized thermos. Screw the top lightly and leave until morning.

Slow cooker method: Simmer ingredients on high for approximately 2-3 hours. Turn off the slow cooker and let it sit overnight untouched.

This brings back memories of growing up. Quite often my mom would have cooked wheat in the crockpot ready for breakfast. Sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar, and top with milk. It makes a delicious hot breakfast.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Whole Wheat 101

Wheat is the foundation of any emergency storage supply. It is relatively inexpensive, nutritious, and easy to store. Approximately 150 lbs will supply an adult for one year. A three-week emergency supply is approximately 5-10 lbs per adult. Children under 8 years old would need half those amounts. Wheat has been separated into several commercial classes based on color, hardness of the kernel, and growing season. The hard wheat classes are produced in areas that have dry-temperate climates. The kernels are usually small, red, and have a hard texture. The white wheat classes are usually produced in areas where winters are relatively mild and there is adequate moisture. White wheat kernels are more plump and larger than red wheat kernels and have a softer texture than hard wheat. Wheat kernels are also known as wheat “berries”. Gluten is a wheat protein that giving flours the ability to retain gases produced by bread yeast to permit dough leavening. The hard red wheat varieties are high in gluten and make the best bread flour. Gluten will degrade during storage and lose half its raising power after several years of storage. Gluten can be purchased and added to poor quality flour in order to produce better quality bread. To maintain optimum gluten content and nutrition, t is important to rotate your wheat! Don't wait for an emergency to start learning to cook with whole wheat.

Quality and Purchase. The most inexpensive way to buy whole wheat is from the LDS cannery, Costco, or at grocery stores when they go on sale. For instance, this week at Macey's grocery store, you can get 45 pounds of hard white, or hard red wheat in a sealed bucket for only $16.99! The regular price at Costco is about $21.00 (for a 45 pound bucket). The cannery is a bit cheaper, but it comes in a regular bag.

Hard red spring, Hard red winter & Hard white spring: 11-15% protein. Best uses are for bread flour (high gluten).

Soft red winter, Soft white winter & Soft white spring: 9-12% protein. Best uses are for pasta, cake, biscuits, crackers, and pastry flours (low gluten).

Packaging. Store wheat in moisture-proof, food-grade packaging, such as Mylar-type bags, polyethylene bags, plastic buckets, or #10 cans. I keep mine in food grade 30 gallon buckets. Be aware that rodents can chew through plastic bags. Wheat stored in ~10 pound bags is easy to manipulate, facilitates rotation, allows easy inspection of the grain, and compartmentalizes the grain so contamination of one lot does not expose large quantities of stored grain to contamination. Several bags can be placed inside a 5-gallon plastic bucket. It is not necessary to store wheat in the absence of oxygen unless insects are present.

Storage Conditions. Storage at 40-60°F is optimal for most home stored grains but is usually impractical in most homes except during winter months. Freezing or sub-zero temperatures do not damage stored grains. Storage at temperatures above 60°F causes a more rapid decline in seed viability (ability to germinate) but only a slightly faster loss in food value. Keep your stored wheat in a dry environement. A moisture level over 12% encourages mold growth and chemical degradation of all grains. Moisture above 15% will allow molds to grow. When the moisture reaches 20% some bacteria can start to grow. The result is spoiled grain unfit for use. Store containers off the floor-- especially off concrete floors. Concrete can wick moisture to stored containers very easily. Inspect grain often for insect activity. Treat for insects (see below) or discard affected lots.

Insecticides: NOT RECOMMENDED, may be toxic if not correctly used

Heating: NOT RECOMMENDED, too difficult to control the correct amount of heat to apply.

Bay leaves, nails or salt: NOT RECOMMENDED, these have absolutely no effect on insects or insect eggs.

Freezing: Freeze 1-15 lb bags of wheat for 2-3 days. Allow to warm for 24 hours. Freezing kills live pests, but not insect eggs. Multiple freezing and warming cycles may be needed to kill all insects and hatching eggs.

Vacuum Sealing: Seal wheat in vacuum bags using follow vacuum sealer instructions. Regular polyethylene bags are not suitable to maintain a vacuum.

Dry Ice: Place 3-4” of grain in the bottom of a 5-gallon plastic bucket. Use gloves when handling dry ice. Add 2-3 oz. crushed dry ice. Fill the container to the full height. Place the lid on top slightly askew. After 30 minutes, seal the lid air-tight. Dry ice will control most adult and larval insects present, but usually will not destroy eggs or pupae. If properly applied, a single treatment with dry ice is sufficient for long-term storage. Annual dry ice treatments are not necessary unless an infestation is recognized in the stored grain. Treating grain with dry ice does not reduce its ability to sprout or its food value.

Oxygen absorbers: Seal wheat in Mylar-type bags or #10 cans along with appropriate number of oxygen absorber packets to create an oxygen-free atmosphere. This will kill adult insects and prevent larval insects from surviving.

No Treatment: Choose insect-free sources for wheat. Store them in clean and dry containers impermeable to insects.

* Polyethylene bags and 5-gallon plastic buckets will not maintain an oxygen-free environment after dry-ice or oxygen absorber treatment. Over time oxygen will re-enter the container and this may allow larvae to grow to adults and cause an infestation during storage.

Shelf life. Develop a program to utilize stored wheat on a regular basis. A great way to rotate that wheat is to buy a grinder. Use whole wheat flour mixed with white flour in your favorite recipes. Start with just a spoonful of whole wheat flour in every cup of white flour. Continue adding more wheat flour until you are at 100% whole wheat. As stored wheat is used, replace it with containers of new wheat. Identify each container for variety and storage date. A good rule of thumb is to rotate wheat so that no stored product is older than 5 years. However, older stored wheat does make acceptable bread. A B.Y.U. study indicated that, regardless of headspace oxygen level, wheat packaged in No. 10 cans throughout 32 years of storage at ambient or cooler temperatures made bread acceptable to a majority of consumers.

Use from storage. Stored wheat can be ground for flour, popped (like popcorn), steamed, or cracked and cooked. Some like to germinate and sprout wheat for wheat grass.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Moist Cocoa Lentil Cake

Once again, a great way to use your food storage. This cake is moist, totally delicious, and no one would ever guess that you used lentils! Be careful, you will want to eat a lot of the cake. If your system is not used to lentils, you probably should only eat a couple of pieces. Lentils are very healthy and it would serve us well to start incorporate more legumes into our diets. Our bodies adjust well to beans and lentils- just start off a little at a time.

Moist Cocoa Lentil Cake

2 cups boiling water
2/3 cup washed lentils
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 TBS cocoa
1 1/2 tsp soda
4 large eggs (can use powdered)
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt

Add lentils and salt to boiling water. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid. Add 1/4 cup liquid back to lentils. Make puree in blender or food processor. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. Mix sugar, oil, eggs and beat well for 2 minutes. Add vanilla and pureed lentils to creamed mixture. Sift and add remaining ingredients. Beat for an additional 2 minutes. Pour into prepared cake pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool and frost.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Creamy Bean Pie (really!)

I know when you read the topic of this post you will say to yourself "GROSS!" When I heard about it, I thought the same thing. However, this pie was sooooo good, that I couldn't believe that it is made with beans! It tastes a lot like pumpkin pie. So, if you like a good pumpkin pie, you will want to try this. Another great way to use your beans (and other food storage staples).

Creamy Bean Pie
3 eggs (can use powdered)
2/3 cup dry milk
3/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 TB molasses
1/2 tsp ginger
2 cups warm water
1/4 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 cups cooked white beans (or canned- rinsed and drained)
Pie crust

Mash beans. Blend all ingredients in the order listed (can also use mixer or food processor). When smooth, pour into pie crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 1 hour or until a knife comes out clean.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Chili-Roasted Chickpeas (or any other bean)

When you are feeling like you want a salty, crunchy, healthy snack, you may want to try these! These were demonstrated at the bean class I went to. I got a small cup to take home for the family to try, but they didn't make it home. The following day I made another batch and we gobbled them up too. They sort of remind me of corn-nuts, but I think they taste a lot better. They are filled with fiber as well!

Chili-Roasted Chickpeas
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine in a medium bowl:
2 (16 oz) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained (I have also used kidney beans and black beans- you will want to use about the same size of bean if you combine different ones so they will cook evenly.)
1-2 TB olive oil
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
Transfer mixture to a lighly greased 17x12 inch jelly roll pan. Bake 30-40 minutes or until crispy and dry, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Try sugar and cinnamon too!