Category: Food Storage

How To Naturally Preserve Meat

How To Naturally Preserve Meat

In a survival scenario, learning how to store food will once again be crucial for your very own existence – like the good old days. Your fridge will probably become just another shelf, useless without a power source. But there are ways to still keep your balanced diet, ways that help you preserve and store even the most important food group: meat!

Even if you survived the “fall of mankind”, doesn’t mean you have to give up on eating healthy. And by smoking and curing your meats, you’ll still be able to enjoy roast beef or bacon. I’ll walk you through the easy steps of keeping your meats fresh and tasty without a fridge.

How To Smoke Your Meat

The process of smoking food is defined by exposing the meat (of almost any sort) to the smoke produced by burning plants, smoldering wood or other spices or organic materials. In the U.S. the most commonly used smoking woods are apple, cherry, oak, and mesquite. The meat is smoked for long periods of time at low temperatures (180° – 225°F), reliant on indirect heat. Grilling is a similar process, but it’s based direct heat and high temperatures. The practice of smoking began purely out of necessity. Before modern day appliances, smoking was an excellent means of preserving meat because the smoke covers the surface like an acidic coating, a very inhospitable surface for bacterial agents. Furthermore, it also dehydrates the meat, furthering, even more, its resistance. Today, meat is smoked or cured purely for flavouring reasons, as modern means of conservation are preferred. But the way things are looking, we’re about to go back to old habits rather sooner than later.

Smokers today use all sorts of devices, based on different types of energy: propane, electricity, charcoal, and pretty much everything else capable of generating smoke. Some backyard kettle grills can be easily modified to become instant smoking apparatuses. But there are also professional smoking machines available on the market. Just make sure you have enough space for such an appliance before purchasing one.

There are 2 basic ways in which you can smoke your meats:

Cold smoking is used for flavouring rather than cooking. The process involves temperatures of less than 100°F and longer periods of exposure to smoke. It’s an excellent method of adding taste to already cured fish without actually cooking it. The same goes salami and other sorts of meat.

Hot smoking is different; it should be done in a closed appliance (be it grill or any sort for cooking gadget) so that the meat is not only being flavoured by the smoke but also cooked by the generated heat. The temperatures, in this case, are considerably higher (140°F – 160°F). For safety, the meat should be cooked at first at 160°F for 45 minutes straight, to ensure the annihilation of any sort of parasites or bacterial agents.

Different types of wood give different results when it comes to smoking meat. Hardwood and fruitwood make for excellent savoury smoke, mesquite smoke gives an earthy flavour, fresh apple wood smoke is sweet and goes great with poultry and pork and hickory wood gives the meat a sharp and rich flavour. If you plan on gathering smoking wood, make sure not to gather any sort of toxic or poisonous plants.

How To Cure Your Meat

Curing basically means preserving meat and fish in salt. Back in the days when refrigerators or refrigeration techniques hadn’t been discovered yet, curing with salt was the only way to maintain freshness. The abundance of salt created a more than the inhospitable place for bacteria that, if left alone, would spoil and rot the meat in no time. But because due to modern day technological advances, curing (like smoking), it’s no longer used for preservation purposes, but only for flavoring. The process of curing doesn’t normally rely on salt alone. It’s more than common to use other ingredients to contrast the salt. Sugar (brown sugar, honey, maple syrup) it’s the best counter for salt and adds a unique flavor. There other frequently used herbs or spices as well: black pepper, coriander, bay leaves and more.

There is another important ingredient which you can’t do without, and it’s more than add flavor. Sodium nitrite (commonly found in spinach, lettuce and celery) it’s very important to the mix, because it inhibits the growth of the Botulism bacteria, which can be fatal.

Sodium nitrite will also give a specific savor and a unique color (bright red). This ingredient, however, can be toxic in high dosage, so respect the following mixture recommendations: 6.25% sodium nitrite to 93.75% table salt (regardless if you’re using pink salt or fresh vegetable extracts as a source of nitrites).

Once you have everything ready, you can cut your meat into slabs. Afterwards cover each slab heavily with the salt mixture. After you’re done, pack the meat slabs tightly in jars and place them in storage space of your choice, where the temperature should ideally be around 36°F. Let the meat sit for a month, and afterwards take it out and wrap each slab in paper or plastic, making sure each one is airtight, so moisture doesn’t get in. The meat slabs can be stored again or consumed at your own will.

How To Brine Your Meat

The process of meat brining is also known as “wet curing”. It goes by the same principle of meat preservation with salt. But rather than relying on dry salt, brining is about keeping the meat submerged in a saline solution. The meat needs to be cut in slabs and placed into jars or containers that have been previously washed and sanitized. One way of preparing the saltwater is by adding 1 pond salt + 1 cup sugar / 3 quarters of water. Spices and herbs can be added as well, according to taste. The meat should stay completely submerged in the saline solution. Once the meat is placed in storage you’ll have to check on it once a week, stir the brine or replace it if it thickens. The process will last a month.

These are some of the cheapest, easiest and most practical methods of naturally preserving meat. Each one is different and comes with its own unique flavor, so you should try them all out before deciding what works best for you. So get practicing while it’s still all in good fun rather than for survival reasons.

By My Family Survival Plan

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How To Naturally Preserve Meat
Graphic – www.myfamilysurvivalplan.com. Images – Pixabay (PD)

Home Essentials You Need For Survival

Home Essentials You Need for Survival

With so many daily works, family, and personal distractions, it’s no wonder so many of us remain unconcerned and unprepared for a potential disaster to strike. But they do strike often, all around the world, and assuming you and your family will be exempt could endanger your lives.

Even though it takes thought and investment, preparing your home and your family for unexpectedly harsh conditions is well worth the sacrifice. In fact, the peace of mind alone might be worth it. If you don’t know where to get started, Modernize offers up a list of home essentials to build off of as you collect survival supplies.

Flashlights, Lanterns, and Backup Batteries

When anticipating a disaster, the last thing you should rely on is electricity. And there’s nothing more frightening than thinking of trying to keep your family safe in total darkness. Make sure flashlights and lanterns are handy in several rooms of the house, and always keep a good stock of backup batteries and bulbs. Solar flashlights are also a great addition, especially if you’re going to need to be on the move.

Hand Crank Radio

Staying tuned in to what’s going on could mean the difference between life and death. Procure a solar hand crank radio that will keep you updated on the news and weather while you keep your family locked up safe.

How To Survive A Permanent Power Outage

Solar Oven and Freezer

Nobody hopes that the aftermath of a disaster will be long-term. But it’s best to prepare for a longer time without electricity than you would like to imagine. Solar ovens are simple, effective, and can cook food in a variety of ways. Ready-to-go, just-add-water meals are very handy for a short-term emergency. But a solar oven and a solar freezer to store your food stock could work in tandem to keep your family eating well in spite of the circumstances.

Coats and Boots

Being prepared for inclement weather is essential. Heavy-duty raincoats, winter coats, hiking boots, and rain boots will help keep them warm in dry in case of flooding or freezing weather. It will also help them travel more easily if traveling becomes necessary.

Water Purifier

Aside from shelter, water is the most immediate and vital need in many emergency situations. If you are not prepared to convert unsafe water into potable water, you’re not truly prepared at all. You need to both have ways to filter and purify it. While you’re thinking of your water needs, it never hurts to set up a rain catchment system that will allow you access to running water—though you will still need to treat rainwater to make it potable.

First Aid Supplies

A well-stocked survival first aid kit will include gloves, surgical shears, antiseptic wipes, bandages, pain relieving medication, antibiotic ointment, cotton-tipped applicators, sterile gauze pads, a thermometer, tweezers, and several other items.

Make sure to thoroughly research and go beyond the basics for your first aid kit.

Pet Supplies

No one overlooks their kids when they plan for a disaster, but a pet isn’t always foremost on everyone’s mind. Pets need their own survival supplies including food, blankets, bowls, a leash, their own first aid supplies, and anything else you determine your individual pets’ need.

Sanitary Supplies

While weather disasters are more common in America these days, epidemics also pose a danger—as do unclean condition potentially caused by natural disasters. Supplies that would come in handy during a dangerous outbreak include adhesive sealing masks with eye shields, anti-bacterial and anti-virus lotion, anti-bacterial wipes, biohazard bags, biohazard suits and gloves, and a supply of antibacterial soap.

Hygiene Essentials

Comfort and cleanliness isn’t usually the first thing on your mind in a survival situation. But if you prepare ahead, you can be more thorough about what your family needs and wants. Items like soap, toilet tissue, toothbrushes and toothpaste, feminine products, deodorant, and razors will come in handy even after just a day of relying on your survival supplies.

Sleeping Bags

Reflective sleeping bags that are cushy and can withstand harsh weather could mean the difference between a safe and good night’s rest and many sleepless, anxious nights. To protect your family from hypothermia, select sleeping bags that offer heavy insulation, fully waterproof materials, and low-temperature ratings.

70 howtos for your preps

Emergency Preparedness Guide

No matter how much you prepare yourself and your family, any type of emergency or disaster is bound to come with surprises. Instead of relying completely on your supplies and knowledge, make sure you have the educational resources anyone in your family would need to know how to deal with in difficult disaster-related circumstances.

Multi-Tool Knife

Weapons are certainly an important aspect of a home survival kit, as are tools. Combine them into one item for optimum efficiency and ease of use. You never know when a screwdriver, pliers, or a mini saw could come in handy.

These are simply the foundational items for a home survival kit. Build off of your family’s anticipated needs and show them how to use the supplies in case of an emergency.

By Mary Saurer

Mary Sauer is a writer who has been published by Babble, Mom.me, and What to Expect. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two young daughters.

7 Nutritious Foods That Can Last Almost Forever

7 Nutritious Foods That Can Last Forever

Whether you’re fighting invaders, natural disasters or zombies, you’ll need to be prepared. The first order of business, in this case, is to prep yourself up with the kind of food and nutriments that will and can last you for as long as possible.

So start stacking your shelves with the right sort of food; the sort that provides enough energy and nutriments to keep you safe and healthy, but at the same time is easy to store and will last next to forever (without special refrigeration methods). Let’s have a look at what your best options are for long-term survival.

Ready To Eat Meals (Over 5 Years Of Shelf-life)

This food product is also known as MRE, and it’s the exact same product that US troops have been using on the battlefield ever since mid-1981. The simplicity of the package might through you off course and you might think the food container consists of nothing more than basic proteins and carbs (something in the terms of meat and potatoes). But you’d be wrong. There is a wide variety or MRE packs to chose from lemon pepper tuna, beef brisket and even vegetable-based meals (like lasagna). The foil pouches are very practical (easy to handle, carry and eat), containing approximately 1,200 calories each. Read more here about MRE info and recipes.

Ready to eat meals (MRE)

1. Dried Or Canned Beans (Over 30 Years Of Shelf-life)

These type of beans can last over 30 years if stored under the right conditions. If the can is vacuumed and they’re kept away from a light source, there’s no telling how long dried or canned beans can go, but they can easily outlast a human generation. This claim is supported by a recent study conducted by the B.Y.U., which claims that pinto beans stocked in #10 cans (devoid of oxygen) and kept away from light sources last well over 30 years. The really old beans may be a bit harder to cook, as they will take longer to soak (re-hydrate) and cook. And if you want to avoid the toughening up the skin, you can add salt or other acidic ingredients.

Dried beans

2. Honey (Indefinite Shelf-life)

If it’s stored in proper conditions, in an air-tight container (tightly sealed) and away from humid environments, honey can last forever, thanks to its low content of water. It doesn’t hold an outstanding nutritional value, but it can provide you with basic sugars, it can add flavor to meals and it can also be used as a treatment for burns or wounds. It crystallizes over time, resulting in thick, sugary deposits on the bottom of the container. But the process can be easily reversed by gently heating up the honey. As a testament to its immortality stand recent archaeological discoveries of Egyptian tombs, in which containers filled of honey were found. The color and consistency of honey may change over time, but nothing to compromise its edibility. Uses of honey – Gold in your Pantry.

Honey

3. Pemmican (Indefinite Shelf-life)

The tiny pemmican cakes are a Native-American recipe that is very easy to make and will last outstanding periods of time. They’re made out of lean meat, animal fat and berries (for flavor more than anything). The might was dried over fire and crushed into a thin powder, which was mixed with animal fat and berries to add flavor (but it’s not necessary). The meat that was used for pemmican was wild game, like deer, elk or buffalo. But more traditional lean meat (like beef) will do just fine. It’s tasty, easy to make, it’s a great source of protein and it doesn’t require cooking, heating or refrigeration. Related >>> How to make Pemmican – The Ultimate Survival Super-food!

Pemmican

4. Rice (Over 30 Years Of Shelf-life)

We can easily consider rice a super food, and we would not be wrong. It’s varied, practical and cheap. It cooks easily and it currently serves as the main food source for half of Earth’s population. And to top it all, if stored under the right conditions it can last forever. Polished rice can do just as well as raw rice if it’s stored in an oxygen-free and cold enough environment; it will last 30 years easy. Brown rice, however, will not last longer than 12 months tops, because of its high oil content, which makes it spoil and go rancid way faster than regular rice.

Rice

5. Ramen Noodles (Over 10 Years Of Shelf-life)

This wonder-pasta coming from Japan it’s a blessing in disguise for those days when you’re forced to live based on what you were able to gather and store. Living on ramen solely is a thing of the present as well, as urban legends have it that college kids can sustain themselves on a budget-tight ramen noodles diet for years. All joking aside, this is a more-than-affordable dish (16 cents a pack), comes in various seasonings and it’s easy to prepare.

Ramen noodles

6. Powdered Milk (Over 30 Years Of Shelf-life)

Powdered milk or non-fat dried mild (aka. NFDM) is excellent for long emergency food storage. It’s a derivate of non-fat milk, which is dried (by spraying or heating on a drum) in order to remove all water (this makes it impossible for the microorganism to strive). Dried whole milk contains fats, and does not store well. Powdered milk is a regular “household” item in times of crisis when fresh milk just isn’t available. It may not be appealing to the eyes, but it lasts forever if stored correctly (in dry and light-less conditions), it’s great for cooking and baking and it’s really easy to tell when it goes bad: if it turns yellow, simply throw it away.

Powdered milk

On the “honorable mentions” I’d like to include some items that are not a necessity for survival, but will add some taste and color to your everyday meals: the Twinkie snack cake (known to last for up to 30 years), peanut butter (can last up to 5 years if stored air-tight), salt (it’s a mineral therefore it won’t spoil), sugar (it will out-last you), vanilla extract (it will age like fine wine if stored in a cool, dark place), vinegar (it’s everlasting), soy sauce (if unopened and stored correctly it can last for many years) and hard liquor (which will never get old).

There you have it, a complete list of what will feed you and also of what will brighten your days during dark times. Get your provisions up as soon as possible and you’ll be fine under any circumstances.

by My Family Survival Plan

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7 Nutritious Foods That Can Last Almost Forever
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