Category: Food Storage

How To Store Potatoes For Long Periods Of Time

How To Store Potatoes For Long Periods Of Timeimage – Wikipedia (PD)

The potato is one the most commonly used vegetables in the world. It has high nutritional value, as it contains antioxidants, potassium, vitamin C, and starch. If you’re the type of person that knows his potatoes and can’t get enough of them, I’ll show you how to make provisions to last for long periods of time.

Whether you’re buying them from a local supermarket or you’re harvesting the spuds yourself, you must be aware of the fact that only the potatoes that are in perfect state are best for storing. Those that show minor imperfections (like bruising or tiny black spots or wholes) can be stored as well, but they should be consumed first, as they won’t last too long during the storage period before going bad.

 The best containers for storing potatoes are the burlap bags (hessian sacks). This type of material is excellent for storing spuds, because during storage, the vegetables release moisture. The moisture is easily released and the potatoes breathe easily through the hessian fibers. Storage should be light-free, as light will cause the accumulation of solanine, alkaloids and chaconine.

These substances are poisonous and should be avoided. They are not potentially fatal, but they can induce a state of sickness. Affected potatoes that have been exposed to the sun are easy to spot, as they tend to turn green. The process can be reversed if a spud is affected on less them 1/3 of its area. During storage, it will gradually return to normal, and if the green color on the skin or flesh of the potato persists after storage, simply cut it off and discard it. If the affliction is spread on more than 1/3, the potato should not be stored or eaten, but thrown away immediately.

Hessian sack

Hessian sack

Hessian sacks are available at every garden supplier. As an alternative, paper bags are almost just as good. Old pillowcases can serve the same purpose, as long as you happen to have any lying around. Potatoes should under no circumstances be stored in plastic bags or transparent material, as they will easily spoil from the light and the moisture!

If you’re planning on reusing old burlap bags, you should definitely wash them first. Even if the last year’s batch was 100% successful, washing the sacks is a requirement. Don’t throw them in the washing machine, but rather soak them for a couple of hours in hot soapy water, to which you previously added a splash of bleach. The bleach will sterilize and make the sacks safe for re-usage.

Once you have the potatoes all sorted out and the bags ready for storage, you can deposit them in a cool and dark spot. The ideal temperature for storing potatoes is 42 to 50°F. Going over the recommended temperature is not as bad as going under 42°F, because below this temperature the starch begins to turn to sugar, giving the spuds an unpleasantly sweet taste. This process is reversible if you keep them at warmer temperatures (70°F) for a week or two. If for some reason or another the temperature should drop below or around freezing point, the potatoes will soften and will immediately rot as soon as the temperature begins to rise.

Stored potatoes should be checked periodically, once or twice a month. Take your time and inspect each one at a time.

Potato covered in blight

Potato covered in blight

Blight is very common amongst stored spuds and can spread very fast throughout the storage area. If you’re unsure whether a potato is affected or not, you should smell it. Blight has a very distinctive smell and you’ll know right away. If you happen to notice flies around your burlap bags but can’t seem to find anything wrong with you’re vegetables, check them by hand. In some cases, rot spots tend to develop under the skin. If you feel soft spots, the potato started to rot from the inside. Flies have ways of detecting the rot and will react as a consequence, making them a good indicator.

There you have it: the best and safest way of storing potatoes. Follow through exactly and you’ll have no problems in keeping them fresh. There are other writings out there that suggest throwing in each bag a handful of pesticide pellets. Sorry but this sounds insane. I’m strongly discouraging you to use these vermin pellets while storing potatoes, as this method has never been scientifically proven and could have dire consequences for your health!

by My Family Survival Plan

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How To Store Potatoes For Long Periods Of Time
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3 Useful Food Preservation Techniques For Long Term Storage

3 Food Preservation Techniques For Long Term Storage

When it comes to storing food for a longer period of time, you must be aware of the best preservation methods, which will ensure you do not die of hunger and with a pantry full of spoiled food.

Overview

Let’s face it: none of us disposes of the money needed to buy large amounts of already preserved food. That is why we all need to obtain not only edible but delicious food as well, by preserving fresh aliments.

From my point of view, if you have a basement or a closet in your house, you need to transform it into a storage filled with preserved foods and beverages. There are many scenarios in which this area of your house will become your shelter during a crisis, and what better way to survive it than to enjoy morale-boosting food.

Recent scientific studies have revealed that certain methods of preservation can maintain some foods and ingredients safe to eat even after 25 years of storage. Food usually spoils due to bacterial infections that alter its chemical composition. The techniques that I am about to share with you will guarantee that this process will not ruin your stored goods.

1. Canning

boiling This procedure is also called “pasteurizing” and it works by heating the food at a specified temperature, for a certain amount of time. The resulted product is then vacuum-sealed in glass jars and stored. The canning method can be used on a variety of foods, which include:

• Fruits
• Vegetables
• Seafood
• Prepared dishes

The products, which are preserved this way, can last for a period between five and eight years. However, with a little trick you can double that time and therefore, reduce your costs considerably. Here’s how to do it:

• Use your regular jam recipe, vegetable stew or desired seafood. Cook according to instructions.

• Once prepared, pour these mixtures into sterilized glass jars and use tight lids to cover them.

• Place the jars into a large pot and put old newspapers in between. This will reduce the risk of glass breaking during boiling.

• Pour enough tap water to cover three-quarters of the jars’ height;

• Place the pot over medium heat and after the water starts boiling, let it simmer for ten minutes;

• Remove the pot from the heat and the jars from the pot;

• Let the jars cool down before storing them in a dark and moisture-free room.

With this method, you will be able to preserve food for periods longer than 10 years. Just imagine a crisis that long and still you would be able to enjoy canned foods rich in vitamins and vital nutrients.

2. Drying

This is one of the oldest methods used by humankind to preserve food over long periods of time. It implies taking all the moisture out of the food, and therefore, eliminating any micro bacterial process that might take place. This technique works great with fruit, vegetables, grains, meat, and nuts. You can do this by using a conventional oven or a modern electrical dehydrator.

However, to store food in a smart way also asks for economic measures that will help you save money. For a well-stocked pantry, you will need a considerable amount of food. Therefore, you will be using your oven or your electric dehydrator extensively, and this will double or even triple your gas / electrical bills. Trust me, it’s not worth it!

Here is one simple and cheap technique that will do wonders for you, especially if you live in an area where the climate is at least moderately warm: sun drying.

You can create your own sun-dried tomatoes or fruits in less than one week. You must consider three factors:

• Natural temperature
• Humidity
• Circulation of the air

Simply put, the higher the temperature, the lower the humidity and the stronger the wind will be, the faster your food will dehydrate in natural conditions. You will need the following equipment:

• Two concrete blocks
• Two stainless steel or Teflon-coated racks

drying The dimensions of the racks can be chosen depending on the amount of space that you have and the quantity of food that you wish to dry. It is crucial that they are made from the indicated materials, as other metals could have a negative chemical impact on your food.

• Choose a convenient place where to set up your drying system, such as the roof of your house or your backyard.

• Place a rack evenly balanced on the concrete blocks and start dispersing the chosen ingredient (fruits, vegetables, meat) on it.

• Cover with the second rack to keep birds and insects away, especially for the first few days of the drying process.

*Note: If you cannot afford a second rack, use thin gauze to cover the goods.

• To avoid temperature oscillations, take the food inside during the night.

Fruits and vegetables take between 3 and 5 days to become dehydrated. Meat will take between 5-7 days to dry out. Keep in mind that when drying meat, you must first soak the pieces for five minutes into brine composed of water and a 15% salt solution.

3. Pickling

Up until now, we have used pasteurization and heat to preserve our goods. It is time to bring a new preserving agent to the stage: brine. This is a liquid, which usually contains salt, acid ingredients or alcohol, and it can be used with most fruits, vegetables, meats and even eggs. This method will ensure that you can consume tasty foods for a very long time.

For pickling one pound of vegetables, you will need:

• Sterilized glass jars
• 1 Cup of water
• 1/8 cup of sea salt
• ¾ cup of white wine vinegar
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
• ½ teaspoon of coriander seeds

Pickling Mix all the ingredients into a pot and bring it to a boil. In the meantime, place your vegetables (washed) into the jars. Pour the boiling mixture over the vegetables and seal the jars. Next, use the canning method explained in the beginning to increase the preservation time. Now, all you have to do is to store the jars into a cool and dark room, where the temperature never exceeds 24 degrees Celsius. For larger quantities of vegetables, increase the brine ingredients accordingly.

For pickling one pound of meat, you will need:

• 1 stainless steel bowl
• 1 stainless steel plate
• 4 cups of water, or just enough to cover the meat by 1 inch
• 1 cup of sea salt
• 1 raw egg
• 4 garlic cloves, peeled
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 tablespoon of ground pepper
• 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme

Pour the water into the bowl and dissolve the salt into it. To make sure that you have added enough salt, place the egg inside, and if it floats you have the right composition. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Place the meat inside the brine and put the plate on top of it, to make sure the meat is completely submerged, as it should stay for the whole pickling process. Next, place the bowl into a cold environment, such as the freezer or the cellar. Keep the meat in the brine for a period of 10-14 days, turning it once every three days. Afterwards, the meat will be ready to cook on the grill or in the oven and the product will be edible for many months to follow.

These are just a few of the simple techniques that will help you preserve food for a very long time at a relatively small cost. You can use these methods ensure your family with a reliable resource of nutritious food.

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3 Food Preservation Techniques For Long Term Storage
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How To Make Alcohol At Home

Alcohol is probably the most common vice in the world. Made from fruits or cereals, it is available everywhere, but at a different price. A good survivalist prepares for the crisis by stocking large quantities of alcohol, even if he or she is not a consumer. This is because, in dire times, this product can make for a hefty bartering currency.

Stocking ready-made alcohol beverages can sink your survival budget. That is why many preppers choose to make their own alcohol, inside their homes, at a very low price. I will show you how!

Overview

Since ancient times, people have been producing alcohol from cereals or fermenting fruits and using the same methods for thousands of years. When the industrial era kicked in, companies started producing it on a large scale and selling it to the normal consumer at a lower price than it would have taken anyone to produce at home.

Recipes, which had been passed through generations, have long been forgotten, and the practice of producing your own alcohol has been lost in many communities.

However, when the crisis will hit, mastering this technique will prove to be crucial for both personal consumption and bartering.

How to make alcohol_1

First method: Alcohol made from fruit juice

This is a very simple way of transforming your favorite fruit beverage into deliciously homemade alcohol. You will need:

• 2 large bottles of your favorite juice, by choice
• 2 airlocks
• 2 packets of yeast powder

Make sure that the juice you select for this process is 100% natural and that it contains at least 25 grams of sugar for each serving.

Here is what you have to do:

1. Pour one packet of yeast powder into each of the bottles.

2. Apply the airlocks and tighten them up.

3. Leave the bottles like this for a few days, and allow the fermenting process to take place.
As this is alcohol derived from fermentation, you do not have to worry of getting methanol poisoned, which can only happen if the product is derived from improper distillation.

Crystal White Sugar

Second method: Alcohol made from sugar

This procedure is a bit more complicated, but the end product is absolutely delicious.

Here are the ingredients and materials that you will need:

• 16 pounds of normal table sugar
• 1 pound of distiller’s yeast
• a 6-gallon food bucket, with lid
• a fermentation vessel of the same capacity as the food bucket, with a rubber airlock
• a funnel
• tap water

Distiller's Yeast

The most important aspect to this recipe is the nature of the yeast. You cannot use any type of this live organism to extract alcohol from sugar. Contact a distillery or a merchant that deals with these producers, and purchase special enhanced yeast.

Here are the steps to securing alcohol from normal table sugar:

1. In the large food bucket, mix the sugar with the warm tap water. Mix well;

2. Transfer the mixture to the fermentation vessel;

3. Add the yeast, using the funnel, only when the mixture has cooled down;

4. Leave the mixture to ferment for two days. Make sure that the temperature in the room does not change drastically, and is always between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to make alcohol_2

5. Apply the airlock and make sure that no oxygen is left inside, by pouring a little water over the airlock.

6. Let the fermentation process continue. This might take any time between 2 and 12 days. During this period, the yeast will no longer reproduce and it will generate alcohol. The process will be determined by the bubbling observable at the top of the vessel. When the bubbling will be extremely slow, the fermentation will be complete.

7. Extract the alcohol by siphoning it out, and thus leaving all the unwanted remains in the vessel. The resulting substance should have a concentration of alcohol of at least 20%.

8. Store it into bottles and add it to your cocktails or desired drinks.

How to make alcohol

By using any of these two methods, you will ensure that your storage will contain one of the most consumed substances on the planet. Even if alcohol is not a regular choice for you, it will prove to be a priceless bartering resource.

By MFSP Contributor