You can make homemade yogurt easily at home. I have typically made my homemade yogurt with whole organic milk, and yeast. I have made my yogurt with my Excalibur food dehydrator. Making your own homemade yogurt helps you save a lot of money in the course of a year. Making yogurt is easy to do, and homemade yogurt tastes better, it is fresher, and you can make it the way you desire. Check out this video from the YankeePrepper. He adds vanilla and sweetness with honey and sugar in his making process.
It is important to have some extra food stored away for a “rainy day”. You would be surprised how helpful a well stocked pantry or storage area can be. Of course, it is best to have supply of food and other items on hand in case of some sort of natural disaster. However, the reality is that there will be days when you are too sick or your kids are too sick to go out to the store for some chicken noodle soup and jello. Having a supply on hand can really save the day.
How do you build up your food storage reserves? The answer is a little bit at a time. It will take about 6 months to stock up doing it this way, but it is worth it. Not only will your pocketbook thank you, but the task will be a little less overwhelming.
The best way to begin building up your food storage reserves is simply to purchase extra supplies as they go on sale. For example, you might purchase 2 more cans of tomato sauce than you actually need. Keep what you need in your pantry, and put the rest into your storage area.
I have found it is best to separate the food, especially when you have kids. This is because I have found that if I buy more food, my kids will eat more food. I know from talking to other moms that have a food storage plan that this happens to them too. Therefore, I have found it necessary to lay down some ground rules. My children know that whatever is in the kitchen pantry is “fair game” for eating! Whatever is in the storage area is off limits unless they ask first.
I have also gotten in the habit of stocking the pantry when we get any “extra” cash. For example, part of the tax return goes to stocking the pantry each year.
A small note: having a food storage area does not mean it is ok to hoard food or to get upset if you need to use your food storage items. This is the purpose of having some extra food in storage–to use it when you need to use it. My great-grandmother lived through the Depression and struggled to feed her 5 children and disabled husband. After the Depression was over and their financial situation leveled out, she started to purchase large quantities of pasta “just in case”. When she passed away in the early 1980‘s, the family was shocked to discover that the basement was full of pasta. It appeared that she had bought pasta for over 40 years and never ever used any of it! Of course, most of the food had gone bad by that time and it had to be thrown out. The mental images of my grandmother and mother throwing away damaged food is something that has always stayed with me, even to this day. Because of that, I make a habit of donating to the food bank regularly from my food supply. I also check the supply regularly and use food before it gets moldy or spoiled.
Do you have extra food stored for your family? If not, you might want to consider creating a food storage plan and taking steps to purchase extra food at the store or the bulk food store. The sooner you start, the sooner you will have a full pantry.
Learning how to pickle your produce is a great idea. Of course, many people think that pickling is something that is only done with cucumbers. The truth is that you can pickle just about any type of vegetable you can grow.
As a child, growing up in Pennsylvania Dutch country, I remember eating the Chow Chow that my grandmother used to make. Chow Chow was one way that the Pennsylvania German’s in the area used up the odds and ends from their garden as summer drew to a close. They simply combined their produce and pickled it!
Pickling is fairly easy to do, but it does take some time. In order to pickle your produce in jars, you will need to get some supplies. You can purchase mason jars, lids, and bands to the jars at most big box retail stores or local hardware stores. You will also need a large stock pot or a water bath canner. If you are using a large stock pot, you will need a spacer or a rack so your jars don’t sit directly on the bottom of the pot. You will also need something to lift your jars out of the pot after they have been processed. I would recommend using jar tongs. Although initially your purchase might be a large investment, keep in mind that the pot, jar utensils, spacer, mason jars, and the bands can be re-used year after year. I would also recommend purchasing a canning guide or checking online for the LATEST guidelines. Recommendations can change quickly and for safety reasons, it is best to make sure you are doing things as they should be done.
The first step is to gather your supplies, including your pickling mix and vinegar. You can buy the mix most likely at the same place where you bought your mason jars. Each mix is slightly different as are the directions for processing. However, it is very important to follow the directions on the mix very carefully for safety reasons as well as for taste reasons. If you add too much vinegar, or too little vinegar, it could alter the taste of the food.
Of course, it is best to pickle top grade produce. However, the reality is that people have been pickling their less than great produce for generations. Yes, pickling is a great way to use your less than stellar veggies. I have to say that I have pickled cucumbers and other vegetables that were over-ripe and have had pretty good results. I’d rather pickle the over ripe produce than composting or throwing the produce away! I’ve also cut out the soft spots out of my cucumbers and pickled the rest of the vegetable too. My mother and grandmother also did this too and no one ever had any problems. However, if you feel uncomfortable canning less than perfect produce–don’t!
It is important to scrub your produce well before pickling. Make sure to get the dirt off the veggies and cut off the blossoms and stems if they are still present.
Pack the vegetables as closely as possible in the jar. Remember that produce will shrink as it becomes pickled. Follow the directions on the jars as far as leaving head room or space between the top of the produce and the rim of the jar.
Mix the pickling mix according to the directions and fill the jars with the mix. Wipe off the rim of the jar to make sure that you will get a good seal, especially if you have spilled the brine on the jar. Then, place the lids on the jars and screw the jar bands on tightly.
Place the jars in the stock pot or the canner. Fill the stock pot with enough water to cover the tops of the jars. Then add enough water so that the top of the water is about 1 to 2 inches above the jar tops. I measure this by putting my thumb on the top of a can and adding enough water until the water line is flush with the knuckle of my thumb. Then, bring the water to a boil and process for the amount of time in your canning guide. This step is VERY important! When the jars have been processed, remove them from the water with the jar tongs and allow them to cool.
If the jars have been processed correctly, you should hear a “popping” sound as the jar cools. You will notice that the lid of the jar is slightly indented too and that you can not press down on the lid. If you can press down on the lid, that means that the jar has not processed correctly. You can re-process the jar, or you can put the jar in the refrigerator and use as soon as possible.
After the jars have cooled, label with the processing date and the type of produce. Then, store the jars in a cool, dry place.
This might sound like a lot of work, and I suppose it is. However, once you get the hang of it, it goes very quickly. Remember too that you and your family will be enjoying the fruits of your labor all winter long! That makes the effort worthwhile.
Powdered milk is a stable in our preparedness long-term food storage. You might think you can’t do much with powdered milk, but that isn’t true, there are many uses of powdered milk.
- Use it to make your own Hot Chocolate Mix
- If you like a splash of milk in your coffee or tea, use a spoonful of dry powdered milk
- Make low fat cheese
- Making Parmesan Cheese
- Add a splash of vanilla extract to the prepared powdered milk for our kids, or even your coffee.
- Use it to make gravy with everyday. Make up a batch of the prepared milk with an extra tablespoon of milk to make it extra rich. Rich milk makes for very creamy gravy.
- When making baked goods add 1/4 cup for extra flavor and nutrition.
- Use prepared for baked goods instead of fresh milk.
- Use in handcrafted soaps for extra moisture for your skin.
- Keep on hand so you don’t have to run out to the store for when you run out, and need just a bit of milk.
- Make Peanut Butter Playdough
- When making bread there is no need to scald the milk before using.
By using powdered milk on a frequent basis you can easily rotate your food supply and keep it fresh at all times. If you get used to using powdered milk on a daily basis, if it came time for your sole milk supply became the powdered milk your transition to powdered milk will be very easy. These are just a few ideas for using powdered dry milk. Maybe you have some ideas to share.