The Survival Mom » Food http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Fri, 22 May 2015 07:00:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 How to Make Homemade Masa & Corn Tortillas http://thesurvivalmom.com/homemade-masa-corn-tortillas/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/homemade-masa-corn-tortillas/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 07:06:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22881 This is the second half of my two-part series addressing the trend in survival circles of grinding popcorn for cornmeal and nutritional concerns about cornmeal, in general. In part one, I outlined how corn must be processed before eating in order to to free up the nutrients. Skipping this step can result in a terrible […]

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how to make homemade masa and corn tortillasThis is the second half of my two-part series addressing the trend in survival circles of grinding popcorn for cornmeal and nutritional concerns about cornmeal, in general. In part one, I outlined how corn must be processed before eating in order to to free up the nutrients. Skipping this step can result in a terrible vitamin deficiency known as pellagra.

If you’ve stocked up on popcorn, planning to grind it, skip the grinding. Just go ahead and pop it. Eat it lightly salted, and relish the joy that comes from knowing that you are eating popcorn the way it was meant to be eaten.

But popcorn is only part of the story. It’s not the only whole grain corn available on the open market. Honeyville Grain, for example, sells yellow, white, and blue corn in bulk. From this, you can make homemade masa, the key ingredient of many tasty food items, such as tortillas, tamales, and pupusas.

Corn was developed by the ancient American peoples to make specific foods unique to their culture. Corn was a staple in the Americas long before the Europeans arrived on the scene, but they never contracted pellagra. However, the Europeans using the same became quite ill. They were using this new grain to make foods that they were already used to eating, namely bread (cornbread) and porridge (grits/ polenta). In other words, they were using a New World ingredient to make Old World food, and it didn’t entirely translate. They were missing something crucial: nixtamal! To get out of corn everything that it has to offer, you can’t use it in a European way. You have to use it in a Native American way.

Homemade Masa and Corn Tortillas

Disclaimer: this takes a lot more preparation and effort than merely grinding it in your Nutrimill. However, I’m confident that once you try real, homemade tortillas from real, homemade masa, you will never want to go back.

Ingredients

2 cups whole dent corn
2 Tbsp calcium hydroxide (also called cal, or pickling lime – sometimes found in the canning aisle at the supermarket)
6 cups water
1 tsp salt

Equipment

Food processor
Tortilla press
Plastic wrap

Instructions

Rinse your corn and put it in a saucepan over medium heat with the calcium hydroxide/pickling lime and water. Slowly bring it to a boil over a period of 20 minutes or so. Let it continue to boil for 10-15 minutes, then remove from heat. Let it sit undisturbed overnight or for at least 8 hours. This is when the magic happens — the chemical reaction that changes the nutrients in the corn so that they can be absorbed by the human digestive tract.

When the allotted time has past, the pericarp, the outside bit of the corn, will have loosened considerably. Put the corn in a colander and rinse with cool running water as you rub the corn with your hands. Keep rubbing and rinsing the corn until all traces of lime and pericarp are washed away.

Place the corn, now technically nixtamal,  in the food processor with the salt. Process on High until the corn is at the proper consistency – it should be chopped up finely enough that it can be formed into balls. Sometimes I have to add as much as 3-4 tablespoons of additional water to get it the proper consistency.

Ta-da! You have made masa. This can be used for humble corn tortillas, tamales, and also pupusas, which are a kind of stuffed tortilla.

homemade blue masa

Homemade blue masa

Here’s a picture of some masa I made. You may notice it is blue. No food coloring was added. That is the real, actual, non-photoshopped color. That is because I have a lot of blue corn in my food storage. I chose blue corn for two reasons:

1) Why bother with boring yellow corn when it can be blue?

2) Blue corn is higher in protein.

Also, there does not currently exist any GMO blue corn on the market. You can be guaranteed a non-GMO product when purchasing blue corn, if that is something that is important to you.

Making homemade corn tortillas

To turn your masa into tortillas, first line your tortilla press with plastic wrap to keep the masa from sticking. Place a small portion (about 2-3 tablespoons worth) in the tortilla press. Cook about 1 minute on each side on a HOT griddle or skillet.

I adore homemade masa and corn tortillas, and I love making them from scratch. They are immensely popular with my family, including the picky toddler.

I hope you will look at corn a little differently from now on. It is an extremely versatile food and full of nutrition when prepared correctly. Grinding unpopped popcorn into cornmeal, while it might sound like a good idea, is not an efficient use of food resources, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about corn as a food storage item. Popcorn can be popped, and dent corn can be made into masa to make tortillas. If you haven’t already included corn in your emergency preparedness, do so today!

how to make homemade masa and corn tortillas

 

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Surprising Facts About Corn, Popcorn, and Malnutrition http://thesurvivalmom.com/corn-popcorn-and-malnutrition/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/corn-popcorn-and-malnutrition/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 07:00:53 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22542 This is the first in a two-part series addressing the practice of making homemade cornmeal out of popcorn. In this first part I will address the dietetic science that shows why this is a bad idea and some surprising facts about corn, popcorn and malnutrition. The second part will address other things that can be […]

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corn, popcorn, and malnutritionThis is the first in a two-part series addressing the practice of making homemade cornmeal out of popcorn. In this first part I will address the dietetic science that shows why this is a bad idea and some surprising facts about corn, popcorn and malnutrition. The second part will address other things that can be done with corn that are much better for you than grinding it into cornmeal.

All about corn, popcorn, and malnutrition

Regular pre-ground cornmeal has a relatively short shelf-life. Five years is the usual rule of thumb. Unpopped popcorn, however, can be stored for decades under the right conditions. Someone put two and two together and figured that grinding popcorn into cornmeal as needed would be a decent solution to this problem. I’ve heard people insist that it is more nutritious than cornmeal from the store, “…which has the bran removed,” and that it tastes better.

I must admit that I have not tried it myself, so I can’t say that I can speak with authority about the taste, but I will tell you that it is not nutritious. In fact, if you made ground popcorn your primary staple you will put yourself at risk for contracting a lovely little disease called pellagra. Pellagra and its relationship with corn is one of those things that intersects food, history, and science.

Popped popcorn, when it is not smothered in fake butter and preservatives, is very good for you. It is high in niacin and fiber, and low in calories. Corn tortillas made from cornmeal, have undergone processing of their own and are similarly nutritious. The peoples of Pre-Columbian America built their empires on corn.

If a corn tortilla is good for you, corn muffins from ground popcorn must be just as good, right? Wrong.

Prior to processing, the nutrients found in corn, niacin, in particular, are inaccessible to the human body. In order for our bodies to absorb all the good stuff, corn must be either cooked with an alkali to form nixtamal (pronounced “neesh-tamal”), or popped. Eating corn meal from unnixtamalized field corn or unpopped popcorn is nutritionally equivalent to eating a cardboard box.

When corn was first brought back to Europe from the New World, Europeans really liked the idea of eating corn. Unfortunately, they didn’t understand the value of nixtamalization. To them, it was an unnecessary step. In places where corn became the primary staple, people started getting this “strange disease” that caused skin lesions, neurological problems, and death. This disease was pellagra. In the Southern United States alone, pellagra accounted for more than 100,000 deaths. Pellagra was also widespread in Spain, France, and Italy. Only in the early 20th Century did scientists figure out that pellagra was caused not by a toxin found in corn, as previously thought, but a niacin deficiency.

This is the reason why food companies fortify our breakfast cereals. If you grab a box of cornflakes, in particular, or regular store bought cornmeal, you’ll find niacin and folic acid on the list of ingredients. This does not constitute the native vitamins already found in corn, but synthetics that are sprayed on. Those spray-on vitamins are both a good and a bad thing. Good because when the FDA began to require niacin fortification in cornmeal, pellagra all but disappeared in the United States. Bad because there is some concern that synthetic vitamins do not behave the same way inside the human body.

Additionally, many nutritionists caution against eating highly processed foods that have more than 5-10 ingredients on the label, which leads some to actively search out unfortified corn products. Thrive Life Cornmeal, for example, lists only one ingredient on its cans of cornmeal: Ground Yellow Dent Corn.

This is not a step towards better health

Grinding popcorn for cornmeal is not going to be any better for you than grinding dent corn. In fact, it would be worse because the structure of a popcorn kernel is different from a dent corn kernel. Popcorn has a much thicker pericarp – that’s the bit that gets stuck in your teeth – and a much smaller amount of starch per kernel.

If you have a reasonably well-balanced diet, it’s unlikely that you or anyone you know will actually develop pellagra and die from the odd batch of cornmeal made from unfortified corn. But don’t kid yourself: cornmeal, and especially popcorn cornmeal, is empty calories. That’s a luxury that will come at too high a price in a survival situation, where you must make every calorie count towards optimal nutrition.

Cornmeal in your food storage pantry isn’t a bad thing, but add other foods rich in Vitamin B3 and, in fact, B3 nutritional supplements as well. Food to consider are:

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Coffee
  • Kidney beans
  • Meat, chicken, and tuna
  • Mushrooms
  • Peanuts
  • Peas
  • Sunflower Seeds

This is not to say that you should not store popcorn at all. When properly stored, popcorn can have a shelf-life of 15-20 years. Be sure to also store a small amount of (regularly rotated!) cooking oil or other fat along with it, so that you can pop it.

Stay tuned for my Part Two popcorn article, in which I will talk a little more about what you can (and should!) do with corn that will keep you well-fed and healthy: nixtamalization, masa, and tortillas.

For further reading, I recommend, Red Madness by Gail Jarrow, about Pellagra in the deep South and “Pellagra: Curse of the Unprepared“, an article by Liz Bennett.

corn, popcorn, and malnutrition

 

 

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7 Ways Blueberries Pack a Powerful, Nutritional Punch to Your Food Storage Pantry http://thesurvivalmom.com/health-benefits-blueberries/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/health-benefits-blueberries/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 21:23:39 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=23282 When I was growing up, my parents would buy blueberries in bulk. We would freeze them in little sandwich bags. Whenever we wanted a treat, my siblings and I would fill a small cup with the frozen berries and eat them one at a time until our fingers and mouths were purple and sticky. We […]

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Blueberries pack powerful nutritional punch via The Survival Mom

When I was growing up, my parents would buy blueberries in bulk. We would freeze them in little sandwich bags. Whenever we wanted a treat, my siblings and I would fill a small cup with the frozen berries and eat them one at a time until our fingers and mouths were purple and sticky. We also found that frozen blueberries were excellent bribes for our dog, though our mom was not pleased to discover we had been wasting berries in such a fashion.

We knew the blueberries were “healthy,” whatever that means when you’re ten years old, because our mom would go so far as to actually buy them for us. Fruit roll-ups and Froot Loops were not exactly welcome at our house because these were “mostly sugar.” The health benefits of blueberries were unknown to us, nor did we much care.

Fun fact: Blueberries are from the genus, “Cyanococcus,” which is literal Greek for “blue round things.”

Now that it’s been a few years and I have become a grown-up with kids and a mortgage and everything, it turns out that blueberries really are good for you! Most discussion on the health benefits of blueberries veers toward the technical side, tossing around mysterious words like “flavonols” and “anthocyanins,” and “antioxidants.” What does this mean in plain, non-organic chemistry English?

The health benefits of blueberries are numerous!

Simply put, foods with naturally-occurring blue and purple pigments (anthocyanins) are known to reduce the risk of developing certain kinds of cancers. This is the “antioxidant” property of blueberries at work. Blueberries are also high in manganese, copper, and zinc; elements important for maintaining heart health and bone structure. Manganese deficiency, in particular, is relatively common but difficult to diagnose. Feeling under the weather? Try some blueberries!

That’s just scratching the surface. It seems that there is no part of the body that does not benefit from ingestion of blueberries. Blueberries have been known to lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, and to improve short term memory. The fiber content is good for your digestive system, and they can help lower blood pressure Their low glycemic index makes them an excellent food for diabetics. Doctors suggest eating raw blueberries as a treatment for urinary tract infections.

Antioxidant compounds are a little finicky and can break down easily, so most nutritionists recommend eating raw blueberries instead of cooked in desserts. Even though the antioxidants may break down a little in cooking doesn’t mean that all of the blueberries’ goodness is destroyed if you put them in a batch of muffins. Blueberries are extremely versatile and taste amazing in a wide variety of baked goods, while retaining a good portion of their health benefits.

You can store blueberries by freezing them and dehydrating them at home. They can be safely frozen for long periods of time (at least 3-6 months in clinical studies) without any detriment to the antioxidants. In general, dehydration is not as efficient as freeze-drying in this respect. However, if you have a lot of blueberries on hand and want another way to preserve them, dehydrating is still a good way to store them over a longer period of time.

If blueberry smoothies or frozen blueberries in a cup aren’t your thing, don’t despair.

Freeze-dried blueberries in your food storage pantry

Including blueberries in your diet shouldn’t have to end at the door of your refrigerator. Freeze-dried blueberries are readily available, for example, these from Emergency Essentials. The freeze-drying process retains nearly all of the fruit’s original nutrients but because the berries contain zero moisture, they have a very, very long shelf life.

I add a small handful of freeze-dried blueberries to smoothies, along with a small scoop of Greek yogurt, some almond milk, and sometimes, a tablespoon of cocoa powder!

These two recipes from Emergency Essentials are perfect for using freeze-dried blueberries. The ingredients in each recipe can easily be stored long-term, making it possible to whip up a batch of muffins and bars any time!

Blueberry Granola Bars Recipe

½ cup honey

¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 ½ Tbsp ground cinnamon

1 ½ cup instant rolled oats

2 cup freeze-dried blueberries

Instructions

  1. Reconstitute the blueberries; Drain excess water.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 9″ square baking pan.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine honey, brown sugar, oil, and cinnamon. Bring to boil and continue to boil for 2 minutes without stirring.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats and blueberry.
  5. Stir in honey mixture until thoroughly blended.
  6. Spread into pan, gently pressing mixture flat.
  7. Bake until lightly browned, about 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
  8. Cut into 3″ x 1 1/2″ bars.

Blueberry Drop Muffins Recipe

1 cup flour

½ tsp salt

1 Tbsp butter

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ cup dehydrated fat-free milk

½ cup freeze-dried blueberries

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder.
  2. Work in butter with fork or pastry blender.
  3. Add milk, stirring in just moisten. Carefully fold in blueberries
  4. Drop by tablespoon on greased baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 375°F for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned.

Blueberries pack powerful nutritional punch via The Survival Mom

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10 Uses For Tomato Powder http://thesurvivalmom.com/10-uses-tomato-powder/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/10-uses-tomato-powder/#comments Sun, 10 May 2015 07:00:10 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22951 Tomato powder is hands down one of my very favorite products to have in my food storage. I love it because it’s: Inexpensive — especially when compared to things like tomato powder or tomato sauce Pure — just 100% tomatoes with no additives or preservatives Healthy — check out all these heath benefits of tomatoes Versatile Tomatoes are […]

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Tomato Powder

Tomato powder is hands down one of my very favorite products to have in my food storage. I love it because it’s:

  1. Inexpensive — especially when compared to things like tomato powder or tomato sauce
  2. Pure — just 100% tomatoes with no additives or preservatives
  3. Healthy — check out all these heath benefits of tomatoes
  4. Versatile

Tomatoes are a critical ingredient for your food storage pantry and tomato powder gives you even more options for tomato based recipes. Here are TEN ways you can use tomato powder:

1. Homemade tomato sauce

2/3 cup powder + 2 cups water = just a bit more than one 15 oz can

2. Homemade tomato paste

6 T powder + 1/2 cup water = one 6 oz can

3. Tomato juice from scratch

1 cup powder + 8 cups water = one 64 oz bottle

4. Marinara sauce — Use this recipe for homemade or this popular Survival Mom recipe.

Combine together in a large pot:

1 T. freeze dried or fresh onion
4 Cups Water
1/2 Cup tomato powder
1.5 tsp freeze dried parsley
1.5 tsp freeze dried basil
1.5 tsp freeze dried oregano
1.5 tsp freeze dried Italian seasoning
1.5 – 2 tsp salt
1.5 T garlic powder
1/4 Cup brown sugar

Bring to a simmer and cook on Low for an hour.

5. Red meat sauce

Simply add some sausage or ground beef (fresh or freeze dried) to the marinara sauce above. You might also consider mushrooms (fresh or freeze dried) and tomato dices (fresh, canned or freeze dried)

6. Enchilada sauce —

  • 1/3 cup tomato powder
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 T. cumin (adjust to taste)
  • 1 T. chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp freeze dried onions (or use fresh)

Full recipe and instructions here:  Homemade Enchilada Sauce.

Or use tomato powder instead of tomato sauce in the recipe found on Survival Mom here: Stock Your Pantry From Scratch: Enchilada Sauce

7. Tomato soup (just like Campbell’s)

  • 6 tablespoons water plus 4 T flour
  • 1/4 cup water plus 3 T instant milk powder (or 1/4 cup whole milk)
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup tomato powder
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt

See full recipe and instructions here: Copycat Cambell’s tomato soup

8. Spanish rice

Just add a tablespoon or two of tomato powder plus some onion, garlic and a bit of green chili (I use freeze dried) to a pot of regular rice before you cook it. You’ll end up with some yummy Spanish rice.

9. Homemade ketchup

  • 6 T. Tomato powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • ¼-1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder

10. Barbecue sauce

  • 1-1/2 cups Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • 6 T Tomato Powder
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons Ground Mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Paprika
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper

 

Tomato Powder uses

 

 

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Build your Food Storage from Scratch: Canning Bing Cherries http://thesurvivalmom.com/canning-bing-cherries/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/canning-bing-cherries/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 18:00:40 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22846 Bing cherries. Everyone in the family LOVES them and they are so very simple to can up! My family eats them faster than I can put them up, and cherry season doesn’t last long, so I have to be quick! Here are my step-by-step instructions for canning bing cherries yourself Canning Bing cherries First, get out […]

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canning bing cherries

Bing cherries. Everyone in the family LOVES them and they are so very simple to can up! My family eats them faster than I can put them up, and cherry season doesn’t last long, so I have to be quick! Here are my step-by-step instructions for canning bing cherries yourself

Canning Bing cherries

First, get out all your canning equipment, jars, extra bowls and strainer for cleaning your cherries, etc. and don’t forget a stack of kitchen towels or old washcloths–you’ll need them.

Step by step, here we go:

1. Wash cherries

2. Stem cherries. Get the kids in on this! My 4 year old did the majority of this task and he is darn good at it! My 14 year old helped, but she ate more than she stemmed!

3. Prick a hole in each cherry if you’re not going to pit them, and I don’t. I just grabbed handfuls of clean stemmed cherries and gently poked each one with the end of a steak knife, and then I pack them into canning jars. S I M P L E!

 

packing cherries

4. Get the canner heated up, the pot of sugar syrup going and my lids heating up in hot water too. I get this started while we’re getting the cherries ready to pack into jars.

My sugar syrup is just water and organic raw sugar, boiled for a few minutes and simmered. I used a 4-quart pot and about 3-4 cups of sugar. My husband likes the canned cherries in a heavier syrup than I normally use for our fruits, so I obliged since he will be the one to eat the vast majority of the canned cherries!

While everything is getting ready on the stove, I am poking holes in the cherries and stuffing them in jars!  If you have children/family around to help you– this may well be your quickest canning project–ever!

cherries in canner

The canning process

When the cherries are in the jars, I cover them with my sugar syrup to about 1 inch headspace, and make sure the rims/mouths of the jars are wiped clean with a wet, hot cloth. Then I put the lids on and screwed down the rings.

At this point, set them in the rack in the canner, lower the rack and make sure the water level covers the jars. Process them in the water bath for 30 minutes. When done, carefully remove each jar and set them on a towel, (listening for the ‘PING!” as each jar seals up) on your counter or table for about 24 hours, then label and line your pantry shelves! DONE!

 

canned cherries

That’s it!  Told you it was easy!

Helpful resources

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Summer On a Plate: 13 Light, Delicious Recipes http://thesurvivalmom.com/delicious-summer-recipes/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/delicious-summer-recipes/#respond Wed, 29 Apr 2015 07:00:14 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=23017 A morning smoothie greets me just about every day. I love combining fruit, almond milk, nuts, cottage cheese (yep! It blends up great!), and other flavors. I never quite know what my final result will be. I want to share with you a great recipe from Augason Farms that incorporates their freeze dried whole raspberries. […]

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delicious summer recipes

A morning smoothie greets me just about every day. I love combining fruit, almond milk, nuts, cottage cheese (yep! It blends up great!), and other flavors. I never quite know what my final result will be.

I want to share with you a great recipe from Augason Farms that incorporates their freeze dried whole raspberries. For a flavor switch-up, you could use blueberries, strawberries, or blackberries. When they’re freeze-dried, you can use them throughout the year and once the container is opened, they’ll stay fresh for months.

Take a look at just how simple this recipe is:

Raspberry Smoothie

1 cup raspberry yogurt
1 1/2 cups of Augason Farms Country Fresh Milk, prepared
1 1/2 cups Augason Farms Freeze Dried Whole Raspberries
2 Tablespoons Augason Farms Honey Powder, prepared

Blend for 2-3 minutes or until smooth.

You can omit the honey and use the sweetener of your choice, such as stevia.

Another delicious summer recipe is this one for a macaroni salad with a twist or two:

Aloha Macaroni Salad

2 cups Augason Farms Elbow Macaroni
1/2 32-ounce jar salad dressing (Miracle Whip) or mayonnaise
1 20-ounce can pineapple tidbits
1/2 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup raisins
1 medium carrot

Peel and dice carrot and steam until crisp-tender.  Boil macaroni in boiling water 7-10 minutes.  Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Chill for 2 hours or overnight prior to serving.

Now, to get your summer off to a light and delicious start here are 11 more recipes I tracked down that looked too good to keep to myself!

delicious summer recipes

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Sprouting Seeds – An Essential Part of Your Food Storage Plan http://thesurvivalmom.com/get-started-sprouting-seeds/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/get-started-sprouting-seeds/#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2015 23:26:51 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22571 Do you like sprouts? I had only ever eaten plain, long white mung bean sprouts from the grocery store and didn’t really care for them. Then I discovered home sprouting and the wide variety of seeds, beans, lentils and nuts that could be sprouted. My family now eats them on salads and sandwiches and sometimes […]

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Get started sprouting seedsDo you like sprouts? I had only ever eaten plain, long white mung bean sprouts from the grocery store and didn’t really care for them. Then I discovered home sprouting and the wide variety of seeds, beans, lentils and nuts that could be sprouted. My family now eats them on salads and sandwiches and sometimes even just straight from the sprouter!

Beside the fact that sprouts are healthy for everyday eating and should be added to your diet for nutritional reasons, sprouting is an excellent prepping skill to have.

Top 5 Reasons Preppers Should Sprout

1. Nutrition

Certain seed mixes combine not only for great taste, but for high nutrition. Some seeds provide every amino acid, a long list of vitamins and minerals, and many are high in protein. Access to a fresh, non-meat/dairy source of protein during hard times is highly desirable. Broccoli sprouts are one of the most nutritious… eating one ounce of broccoli sprouts gives you as many antioxidants as 3 pounds of mature broccoli! Check out this link for a list of nutritional content for the most popular sprouts.

2. Garden Indoors All Year

If you live in an extreme climates that limit your outside growing months, you can grow a variety of fresh greens year around. No dirt under the nails, no back breaking work, no worries about early frost.

3. Security

If you have a security reason for not gardening outside, you can still have fresh greens by sprouting indoors. In fact, you can hide them even more if needed by putting your spouters inside a cabinet, under a bed, etc. Sprouts do not need any light for growth. Exposure to sunlight at the end of growing will activate the chlorophyll and green up the sprouts, but it is not a requirement for taste or nutrition.

4. Portability

You can sprout on the go by taking your sprouter in the car or even by putting it inside a backpack. In a bug-out situation, you can carry a great deal of food in very little space. (See #5.)

5. Shelf Life and Compact Storage

Sprouting seeds have a shelf life of 1 to 5 years depending on the variety. Refrigerating can double the lifespan while freezing can extend it 4 to 5 times. See a full list here. Most sprouting seeds are very small, but grow exponentially. A single pound of alfalfa sprouting seeds can produce 7 pounds of edible food!

Get started sprouting seedsThe only potential “downside” with sprouting during emergency situations is the amount of water needed. Sprouts need to be initially soaked and then rinsed twice a day. If access to safe water is an issue, it could be difficult to impossible to grow the sprouts. However, sprout water does not need to be discarded. In fact, the water used for the initial soak is full of nutrients that could be consumed as is, used as soup stock, or as needed to reconstitute dehydrated or freeze dried foods.

My Favorite Sprouters

Sprouting is so easy, a child can do it. If you can measure and rinse seeds, you can sprout! All you need is the right sprouter.

Four Tray Sprouter – The trays of this sprouter allow you to either sprout a variety of different seeds and beans in one compact footprint, or enable you to stagger your growth by starting the trays a couple days apart so you have fresh sprouts constantly at the ready. Watch this video to see how this sprouter works.

The Easy Sprout Sprouter – Simple, compact and likely the most popular sprouter of all. This one is a must if you want to sprout on the go. Here’s an instructional video to show you just how easy it is!

Get started sprouting seedsIt’s surprising how quickly sprouts can begin to go bad, so both these sprouters allow you to make relatively small amounts of sprouts so they can be eaten within just a couple of days.

My Favorite Sprouts

There are dozens and dozens of seeds, bean, lentils and nuts you can sprout on their own, but mixing them together for a gourmet treat is what I like best. Here are three of my favorites, but be bold and be sure to try a wide variety to find your own favorites. The best way to do that is to find variety samplers like this one or this one.

French Garden – Put this on your sandwich (if you have any left over after eating it straight from the sprouter!). Healthy, high protein and so good.

Nick’s Hot Sprout Salad Mix – Spicy and fragrant and 35% protein.

Pea Carnival – A mix of different peas. I was surprised at how much I liked this one. Yum!

 

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Berry, Berry Delicious: 21 Berry Desserts to Make Your Mouth Water! http://thesurvivalmom.com/berry-dessert-recipes/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/berry-dessert-recipes/#respond Tue, 14 Apr 2015 13:27:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22443 Everyone loves dessert. If you love berries, too, this is the post for you! These are all tasty and far healthier than many other desserts. Several are even gluten free. The first two recipes are from Emergency Essentials and include ingredients that are shelf stable, meaning they can be stored at room temperature for long […]

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berry dessert recipesEveryone loves dessert. If you love berries, too, this is the post for you! These are all tasty and far healthier than many other desserts. Several are even gluten free.

The first two recipes are from Emergency Essentials and include ingredients that are shelf stable, meaning they can be stored at room temperature for long periods of time. If your family loves berries of all kinds, you should check out the freeze-dried versions. They’re nearly as nutritious as the fresh versions and they are super easy to incorporate in recipes. I use them frequently in my breakfast smoothis.

Be sure to learn about the 6 enemies of food storage so your food will remain nutritious and tasty, long term.

Sweet Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Add ½ cup Strawberry Powder  to a white cake mix or batter, along with ½ cup extra water. Bake according to directions for your altitude.
Strawberry Buttercream Frosting:

INGREDIENTS:

3-4 cup Powdered sugar

1/3 cup Strawberry powder 

1 cup softened (but not melted) butter

1/2 tsp salt, if you used unsalted butter. If you use salted butter, omit this salt

2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Milk or cream to achieve desired consistency (more than plain frosting, as the strawberry powder tends to thicken)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed to be sure it’s all soft and creamy.
  2. Mix strawberry powder with powdered sugar.
  3. Gradually add 3 cups of the powdered sugar mixture, beating on low speed. Once it’s mixed, increase speed to medium and add vanilla if desired.
  4. Add milk or cream to achieve the consistency you want in your frosting.

Blackberry Cobbler Delight

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup butter or margarine

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup dehydrated fat-free milk

2 tsp  baking powder

1 cup flour

4 cup Freeze dried blackberries with juice

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Melt butter in a 9″ x 13″ cake pan.
  3. Mix next 4 ingredients into a smooth batter.
  4. Pour melted butter into flour mixture without scraping pan. Stir until blended.
  5. Pour blackberries with juice over batter.
  6. Bake for approximately 1 hour.

And now for 19 more berry dessert recipes!

You’ll find all these and more on my Pinterest dessert board!

Sweets

Blackberry Sorbet

Coconut Berry Bars

Cottage Berry Whip

Frozen Berries with Hot Chocolate

Fruit Jellies

Pretzel Berry Desserts

Recipes in a Jar: Cherry Cheesecake

Sparkling Berry Gelatin Cups

Superfood Triple Berry Chia Pudding

Baked Goods

Angel Berry Trifle

Berry Layered Angel Food Cake

Berry Medley Oatmeal Crumb Bars

Berry Parfait

Blueberry Crumble Bars

Double Berry Swirl Greek Yogurt Cake

Glazed Mix Berry Scones

Gluten Free Brownie and Berries Dessert Pizza

Soft and Fluffy Strawberry Banana Cake

Vanilla Bourbon Cherry-Blueberry Pie

 

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Build your Food Storage from Scratch: Homemade Strawberry Jam http://thesurvivalmom.com/homemade-strawberry-jam/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/homemade-strawberry-jam/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 07:00:24 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22512 Strawberries…….the “first fruits” of canning season (I can year round, but strawberry jam seems to me, to “begin” the real seasonal canning blitz!) and there is nothing like real, fresh strawberry jam! BONUS ? It is SO very simple to make and can up! Homestead Strawberry Jam 8 cups of fresh strawberries, stemmed, cut and […]

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homemade strawberry jam

Strawberries…….the “first fruits” of canning season (I can year round, but strawberry jam seems to me, to “begin” the real seasonal canning blitz!) and there is nothing like real, fresh strawberry jam! BONUS ? It is SO very simple to make and can up!

Homestead Strawberry Jam

8 cups of fresh strawberries, stemmed, cut and washed up

2 Packages of All Natural No Sugar Pectin

2 cups of real grape juice

1 cup of organic sugar

Just dump your stemmed, washed and sliced strawberries in a big enamel or stainless steel pot, turn your burner on medium to medium high, mash them up quickly with a potato masher!

 

strawberry jam

 

Then, add in 2 packages of Sugar Free Pectin, 2 cups of grape juice, sugar and stir.

Strawberry-Jam2

Last year I was making a batch and found I was out of grape juice (the horror!) and so I just omitted it and dumped in a half cup of water. My family declared that batch to be their new favorite!  So, just note this recipe, is very forgiving.

Bring this to a rolling boil for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring all the while so it doesn’t stick. Turn off your burner and remove from heat.

This is where a good canner has her canning jars, lids and equipment all ready to go! Or you have wonderful children who gather it all together and prepare it for you! Canning is a ‘must have’ skill at our homestead, so I involve the children and we all work together!

Ladle your hot jam mixture into your prepared jars, leave 1 inch head space, and wipe the rims of your jars down good with a clean damp cloth. Jar rims must be clean. If not, food on the rims can prohibit a proper seal. ALWAYS wipe down your jar rims.

Now, put on your lid/ring (tighten just slightly—do not wrench down on them) and set all your jars in your canner rack. Lower your rack into the boiling water, making sure the jars are covered with water. Once your water gets to a rolling boil, start your timer.

Check your Ball Blue Book for times related to the size of jar you are using and your elevation. I like to use pint jars or smaller, primarily, for jams. For me, at my elevation that means I am going to process my jam (“process” = keep jars in the full rolling boil water) for 20 minutes. Once time is up, I turn off my burner, and let the pot just sit for a few minutes prior to removing my jars.

Once I start removing my jars, I place them on the towel I have set out on my counter or tabletop (a place out of direct sun, drafts and that your jars will not be disturbed for 24 hours) and let them sit. If I don’t have more jam to process I clean up and get my canning equipment put away, so it’s easy to be ready for the next canning session.

This recipe makes PERFECT Jam! You can omit the sugar if you want, it is DElicious jam, a tiny bit tart with no sugar–but we like it that way, too! If you want to add the one cup of organic sugar, it sweetens it just perfectly! There is no need for those overkill, “10 cups of white sugar” recipes, unless that is what you want to make. Not only is this version cheaper, it is SO much better for you and, we think, it tastes better, too!

I did this entire batch (with help from my children cutting and washing berries & getting together canning equipment) from start to finish in less than an hour. In season, local produce (from your garden is the cheapest and freshest way to go!) is the time to stock the pantry! Plan ahead this year to line your pantry shelves with home canned food–it doesn’t get any better!

Happy Canning!

Helpful resources

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3 Things To Make With Wheat Besides Bread http://thesurvivalmom.com/3-things-make-wheat-besides-bread/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/3-things-make-wheat-besides-bread/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 15:41:21 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22468 Lots of us like to store wheat. It has a long shelf life, it’s nutritious, and you can use it to make that beloved staple of Western Civilization: bread. In fact, in Medieval Europe, all other foods – meat and vegetables – were considered, “stuff you eat with bread.” However, the ovens the Medieval Europeans […]

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Things to make with wheat, besides bread.Lots of us like to store wheat. It has a long shelf life, it’s nutritious, and you can use it to make that beloved staple of Western Civilization: bread. In fact, in Medieval Europe, all other foods – meat and vegetables – were considered, “stuff you eat with bread.” However, the ovens the Medieval Europeans used to make this bread were huge, required enormous amounts of fuel, and took most the day to heat up.

We are certainly spoiled with our nice little electric ovens that come up to temperature in less than twenty minutes, but without modern conveniences, how would you bake that bread? Most of us don’t have Medieval bread ovens out in the backyard. And even if you did, what would you use for fuel? It would be a shame to let all that wheat go to waste.

Fortunately, bread is not the only thing wheat is good for. If you have a grill, or at least a cast iron frying pan, a manual wheat grinder, and just a few extra ingredients, you can make a wide variety of meals. I’m not even going to mention cracked wheat cereal, which brings to mind thin, sad faces and Little Orphan Annie. I mean meals that you would actually want to eat, like pancakes and biscuits.

Even without a modern oven or range, you can place a frying pan over your outdoor grill or over a campfire. This method is perfect for making things like pancakes and tortillas, and can also be used for other quick breads like biscuits (you will have to flip them).

Knowing alternative ways to cook, and having the tools to do so, is important for short-term power losses and even a long-term failure of the power grid.

Pancakes

Any pancake recipe can be converted into a whole wheat pancake recipe simply by substituting whole wheat flour for white flour. For very best results, use buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use reconstituted powdered milk and add a tablespoon of plain yogurt. Here is my children’s favorite recipe:


2 Eggs

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/5 cup milk or buttermilk

2 cup whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp brown sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients, cook as you would any other pancake recipe. Makes 6-8 pancakes, depending on size.

Tortillas

We eat a lot of tortillas at our house in the form of fajitas, enchiladas, soft tacos, burritos, et cetera. I went through a lot of tortilla recipes trying to find one I like, and this one is pretty fool-proof. I usually double it for my family of five:

2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup water

3 Tbsp olive oil

Combine all ingredients and mix by hand until it forms a ball. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour a little at a time until the desired texture is reached. Let the dough rest for about twenty minutes, then divide into six portions. Roll out each ball and cook about a minute on each side. Makes 6 tortillas.

Biscuits

This recipe is adapted from a recipe book that used to belong to my great grandmother.

2 cup whole wheat flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

4 Tbsp shortening (the amount can be decreased to 2 Tbsp, but I prefer the flakier texture that comes with more fat)

3/4 cup buttermilk

Mix the dry ingredients together, cut in the shortening. When adding the buttermilk, do not overmix. Instead of rolling out the dough, save time and form the dough into a log, then cut the log into biscuit-shaped slices. Allow 4-5 minutes per side on medium heat, taking care not to let them burn. For best results, cover the pan. Makes 12 biscuits.

 

You’ll notice that none of these three recipes require more than two cups of flour . That is because I assume that if you don’t have your electric stove, you probably don’t have your electric wheat grinder, either. Have you ever tried to grind six cups of flour at once with an ordinary hand-powered grain mill? It’s incredibly tedious. You’ll be having flashbacks from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter for days. Two cups at a time, however, is entirely doable. You’ll be able to finish in less than a half hour.

I hope you will be inspired to test out these recipes. I was skeptical about the idea of skillet biscuits on the grill, but was pleasantly surprised by how they turned out. What are some other non-bread ways you have used wheat in your home?

Helpful resources for you

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