(Just a reminder, this FAQ was written in 2003/2004 and some of the information in this section may be out of date. While not every link will work, you may be able to Google the organization name and find the information referred to.)
This FAQ does not tell me what I need to know!
Please put your question to the rec.food.preserving, rec.food.cooking, misc.survivalism, or misc.rural Usenet newsgroups. You could even resort to that tried and true method – a book.
The following is a list of books that have been found useful by many, but is by no means exhaustive on the subject. If you have books you would like to suggest, please feel free to e-mail me with the particulars. Please include the same kind of information about the book in question as you see below, particularly the ISBN #, if it has one.
A Year’s Supply; Barry G. & Lynette B. Crockett; 1988; ISBN# 0- 915131-88-9; Available form the author at P.O. Box 1601, Orem, Utah 84057 and some book or preparedness related stores. Publisher’s Press.
Book of Tofu, The; William Shurtleff & Akiko Aoyagi; 1975; ISBN#0-345-35181-9; Ballantine Books.
Cookin’ With Powdered Milk and Cookin’ With Powdered Eggs; Peggy Layton; Both 1994; No ISBN; Available from the author and some preparedness related suppliers. P.O. Box 44, Manti, Utah, 84682.
Cookin’ With Home Storage; Vicki Tate; 1993; ISBN# none; Published by the author; Address: 302 East 200 North, Manti, Utah, 84642; Tel # (801) 835-8283
Country Beans; Rita Bingham; 1996; ISBN 1-882314-10-7; Published by Natural Meals In Minutes 30500 SE Jackson Rd, Gresham, OR 97080.
Home Food Systems; Edited by Roger B. Yepsen, Jr.; 1981; ISBN# 0-87857-325-9; Rodale Press.
How To Develop A Low-Cost Family Food-Storage System; Anita Evangelista; 1995; ISBN 1-55950-130-8; Loompanics Unlimited.
How To Dry Foods; Deanna DeLong; 1992; ISBN 1-55788-050-6; HP Books
Keeping Food Fresh; Janet Bailey; 1985; ISBN# 0-385-27675-3; Doubleday & Co.
Keeping The Harvest; Chioffi and Mead; 1991; ISBN# 0-88266-650-9; Storey Communications.
Making The Best Of Basics – Family Preparedness Handbook; James T. Stevens; 1996; ISBN #1-882723-25-2; Gold Leaf Press or from the author: 15123 Little Wren Lane, San Antonio, TX 78255
Permaculture Book Of Ferment & Human Nutrition, The; Bill Mollison; 1993; ISBN 0-908228-06-6; Tagari Publications
Prudent Pantry, The; A.T. Hagan; 1999; No ISBN #; Available from the author at firstname.lastname@example.org; Borderline Press.
Putting Food By; Greene, Hertzberg and Vaughn; 1982 (14th edition); ISBN# 0-525-93342-5; Penguin Group.
Recommended Dietary Allowances (The RDA Book); National Research Council; 1989 (10th edition); ISBN 0-309-046335 (paper); National Academy Press
Root Cellaring; Mike and Nancy Bubel; (1994); ISBN 0-88266-703-3.
Tofu & Soyfoods Cookery; Peter Golbitz; 1998; ISBN 1-57067-050-1; Book Publishing Company; P.O. Box 99, Summertown, TN 38483
Whole Grains; Sara Pitzer; 1981; ISBN #0-88266-251-1; Garden Way Books
Consumer Information Center, Department EE, Pueblo CO 81009. Ask for the Consumer Mailing List Catalog. You can order those nifty USDA pamphlets from this catalog.
Check your extension service office for pamphlets, which can usually be bought for a dollar or so. Especially important for high altitude canning, getting recipes specific for locale, even information on U-Pick sites and local farmers’ markets.
Controlling Indianmeal Moths in Stored Shelled Corn and Soybeans; Phil Harein and Bh. Subramanyam; FS-0996-A-GO Revised 1990 Minnesota Extension Service, University of Minnesota
Food Storage Cooking School: Use It Or Lose It FN-503; Rebecca Low, M.S. USU Extension Home Economist and Deloy Hendricks, Ph.D. Nutrition and Food Science Specialist; Utah State University Extension.
Food Storage In The Home FN502; Utah State University Cooperative Extension Service Bulletin
Frequently Asked Food Questions FN 250; 1993 Utah State University Cooperative Extension Service Bulletin
Home Food Storage Management FN 500; Rebecca Low, Georgia C. Lauritzen; Utah State University Extension
Home Storage of Wheat FN-371; Ralph E. Whitesides; Utah State University Extension
How to Turn Your Kitchen into a Lab! FN 257; Charlotte P. Brennand, PhD, Food Science Specialist; Utah State University Extension
Ingredient Substitution FN 255; Georgia C. Lauritzen, PhD, Food and Nutrition Specialist; Utah State University Extension
Molds And Mycotoxins In Feeds; C.M. Christensen, C.J. Mirocha, R.A. Meronuck; FO-3538-C-GO 1988; Minnesota Extension Service, University of Minnesota
Molds In Grain Storage; Richard A. Meronuck; FO-0564-C-GO; Revised 1987; Minnesota Extension Service, University of Minnesota
Nonfat Dry Milk FN142; Utah State University Cooperative Extension Service Bulletin
Storage of Dry Milk FN 177; Charlotte P. Brennand, Food Science Specialist; Utah State University Extension
Use of Oxygen Absorbers in Dry Pack Canning; Albert E. Purcell, Theodore C. Barber, John Hal Johnson; Benson Quality Assurance Laboratory Department of Food Science, Brigham Young University
USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning AIB 539; U.S. Department of Agriculture Extension Service. 1994
Water Storage FN 176; Georgia C. Lauritzen, Food and Nutrition Specialist; Utah State University Extension
C.1 INFORMATION SOURCES
Food Preservation & Storage, General Cooking
National Center for Home Food Preservation
“The National Center for Home Food Preservation is your source for current research-based recommendations for most methods of home food preservation.” Look in the publications area for such works as the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning and links to many states cooperative extension web sites leading to even more useful information.
Utah State University Cooperative Extension Service
The publications pages of the Utah State University Cooperative Extension Service web site. Many of the best cooperative extension works on food storage can be found here. A definite must for anyone interested in food preservation or storage.
Walton Feed’s Self Reliance/Information Area
The how-to area of the Walton Feed site. Information about food production, preservation and storage, nutrition, storage planning, grain mill comparisons, and more.
Altrista manufactures the Ball, Kerr, and Bernardin lines of home canning supplies. Much good information on boiling water bath and pressure canning of all kinds of foods.
Articles and discussion forums about baking, grains, fermented milk products, edible wild plants and more.
The Fleischmann Yeast web site. Great information on baking and yeast topics.
A companion FAQ to this one. What I don’t cover here Jack Eddington does and vice-versa. Very much worth your time if you are interested in food preservation.
From the FAQ – “The primary purpose of this document is to help cooks from different countries communicate with one another. The problem is that measurements and terms for food vary from country to country, even if both countries speak English.” Even if you don’t plan to cross so much as a county line this FAQ is worth reading. Many sometimes confusing food terms are made clear.
The ftp site also carries the Chocolate FAQ.
A number of FAQs and files for sourdough breads. Much in-depth knowledge here.
rec.food.sourdough FAQ Starter Doctor
rec.food.sourdough FAQ Questions and Answers
rec.food.sourdough FAQ Recipes (part 1 of 2)
rec.food.sourdough FAQ Recipes (part 2 of 2)
rec.food.sourdough FAQ Basic Bread
Meat Smoking and Curing FAQ
Hasn’t been updated in a long time, but the Meat Smoking and Curing FAQ by Richard Thead still has much good information.
Alternative Cooking Methods
International Dutch Oven Society
A large resource of information concerning virtually anything that can be done with a Dutch Oven. If you can bake it in your kitchen you can bake it in a Dutch Oven.
One of the best Scouting (boys and girls) sites around. Click on the cooking directory for some really good information on Dutch Oven and other kinds of camp cooking.
The Solar Cooking Archive
A major source of information and access to equipment. There are explanations of the physics of how solar cooking works, plans for cookers, commercial suppliers, books, other reading and more. If you’re interested in solar you really want to visit this site.
Doug Edwards Solar Cooking site
An excellent site with clear photographs of a number of solar cookers. A good links page to many other solar cooking resources. Some interesting crystal radio info as well.
Home Power Magazine
They frequently run solar articles, including solar cooking. Many of the articles are available for online viewing or you can subscribe.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration Bad Bug Book
The FDA’s Bad Bug Book. Using information compiled from the FDA, CDC and other sources it provides basic facts regarding foodborne pathogenic microorganisms and natural toxins. A good source of information if you’re looking for details on food borne pathogens and how to prevent or control them.
A large source of food-safety information of all kinds.
Food Safety Answers.Org
A pilot project of the Iowa State University Extension service to help provide answers to common food safety questions and to provide an interactive resource with the input from experts from industry, academia, associations, and the Federal government.
Disaster Preparedness. Mitigation, Relief
Federal Emergency Management Agency
|http://www.fema.gov/library/prepandprev.shtm||Preparation and Prevention|
|http://www.fema.gov/library/dizandemer.shtm||Disasters and Emergencies|
|http://www.fema.gov/library/respandrecov.shtm||Response and Recovery|
|http://www.training.fema.gov/emiweb/cert/||Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT program)|
|http://www.fema.gov/kids/||FEMA for Kids|
|http://www.fema.gov/help/site.shtm||Site Index (better than their search engine)|
The FEMA site with files and publications on disaster preparedness, post disaster response, mitigation and more. A good starting place to begin learning. Many will find preparedness literature more palatable if it comes with a Federal agency’s name on it and this is the place to get it. Be sure to investigate the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) materials. Your tax dollars went to pay for this stuff, you should use it.
American Red Cross
|http://www.redcross.org/pubs/dspubs/genprep.html||General preparedness materials (.pdf)|
|http://www.redcross.org/pubs/dspubs/childmatls.html||Materials for children (.pdf)|
|http://www.redcross.org/pubs/dspubs/cde.html||Community disaster education materials (.pdf)|
The Disaster Services portion of the American Red Cross site. Many good how-to type of publications for coping with various natural and man-made disasters can be found here.
IFAS Disaster Handbook
The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) has compiled a Disaster Handbook for many natural and man-made crises. Some excellent information and well worth a look.
Disaster Relief Organization
Some good preparedness information. The address is case sensitive so make sure to include the capital L.
Water, Sanitation, General Knowledge
The Hesperian Foundation
While the Foundation has nothing to do with food, they are the publishers of some important books that anyone with an interest in long-term preparedness should have such as Where There Is No Doctor, Where There Is No Dentist and A Handbook For Midwives among others. You can order them directly from the source.
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Digital Library
Many useful training and field manuals that can be hard to find elsewhere can be found here. I especially recommend FM 21-10 Field Sanitation and Hygiene. This site can be slow at times, so be patient.
La Leche League
The La Leche League is the oldest and largest breast-feeding education and support group in the world. If you have an interest in feeding a baby the natural way, these are the people to ask for information.
Rec.backcountry Distilled Wisdom Panel 9 – Water Filter Wisdom
A good discussion of the hazards of backcountry water, water purification, and water filters as applied in the backcountry. The above address will list all of the rec.backcountry Distilled Wisdom panels – sort by date and find the latest posting of the Water Filter Panel.
FATFREE: The Low Fat Vegetarian Recipe Archive
A “low-fat vegetarian” web site. Even if you’re not a vegetarian it has one of the best search engines for using the USDA Nutrient Database (food nutrient compositions) that I’ve found. Do turn your pop-up blocker on.
Henriette’s Herbal Homepage
Medicinal and culinary herb FAQs, archives of the medicinal herb, culinary herb, and herb-info lists. More than a thousand plant pictures and a plant name database. One of the oldest and largest herbal information sites on the WWW.
The Food Insects Newsletter
THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS
The LDS church, commonly known as the Mormon Church, has long had a social welfare program for the benefit of its members in need. Believing the best way to deal with the problem of needy members is not to have any, the church also strongly encourages its membership to be as self-reliant and self-dependent as possible. To further this end it provides accessto church owned cannery facilities and makes large, bulk purchases of storage foods to sell at cost to any member with an interest in starting a personal food storage program.
Most facilities will be at one of the LDS Bishop’s Storehouses located in various places around the country, but some churches will also have their own local facilities. The easiest means of finding one is simply to ask the LDS church member you know. If they don’t themselves know, or you don’t know any Mormons, then a little phone book research will be necessary. Find your nearest local Mormon church and ask to speak with the local Bishop of the Ward or Relief Society president. Either one of those two individuals should be able to give you the information you seek.
The Church also has it’s own web site at http://www.providentliving.org and there you can find further information on geographic locations of church owned Home Storage Centers and instructions for how to begin your own home food storage and emergency preparedness programs. Even if you aren’t an LDS member and don’t intend to use their facilities the food storage and emergency preparedness areas are worth a look.
If you find that you have a cannery within striking distance give them a call. If you are not LDS inquire as to whether they allow non-church members to use their facilities, any available times, and what you need to provide. Be up front and honest, you’ll hardly be the first to talk to them about food storage. Ask for a copy of the cannery guidelines and a price list of what is available. There may also be classes or seminars as well. There is a degree of variability between the canneries so what is available at one may not be at another.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Policies about non-members using the LDS Family Canneries may vary from location to location so you’ll need to investigate the specific cannery you are interested in. Please keep in mind that the individuals responsible for the family canneries are all volunteers with demands on their time from many areas. Be courteous when speaking with them and, if there are facilities for use, flexible in making arrangements to use them. You will, of course, have to pay for the supplies that you use, cans and lids at the least, and any food products you use. As a general rule they cannot put your food into storage for you. Be ready to pay for your purchases in advance, if necessary. They do not take credit cards and probably cannot make change so take a check with you.
Any food products you want to have sealed in cans or pouches will need to fall within their guidelines of suitability for that type of packaging. This is for reasons of spoilage control since many types of foods aren’t suitable for simply sealing in a container without further processing. If you purchase food products from the cannery, they will already be within those guidelines. A brief treatment of these guidelines can be found below.
LDS FAMILY CANNERY GUIDELINES
Subject to some variability among storage centers, the following foods are generally available at the canneries:
|Apple Slices||Hot Cocoa Mix||Pudding, Vanilla|
|Beans, Great Northern||Macaroni||Soup Mix|
|Beans, Pink||Milk, Non-fat Dry||Spaghetti|
|Beans, Pinto||Oats, Rolled||Sugar|
|Beans, Refried Dry||Onions, Dry||Wheat, Red or White|
|Carrots, dry||Potatoes, dry||White Flour|
|Fruit Drink Mix||Pudding, Chocolate||White Rice|
In addition to what foods may be available for purchase from the cannery you may also be able to bring your own to put up. These will need to be low-moisture in nature, of a high enough quality for storage, and free of insects.
|Approved Dry-Pack Products|
|Milk||Non-fat dry milk and milk or whey products such as hot cocoa.|
|White flour||Bleached or unbleached, but not self-rising.|
|Whole grains||Not milled or cracked, no oily seed coat.|
|Rolled oats||Quick or regular.|
|Legumes||Dry peas and beans, including dehydrated refried beans.|
|Pasta||Pasta products that do not contain egg.|
|Fruits and vegetables||Dehydrated or freeze-dried products that are dry enough to snap. (Best items: apples, bananas, potatoes, onions, carrots, corn, peas. Marginal items: apricots, peaches, pears, tomatoes, green beans).|
|Sugar||Granulated or powdered, but not brown or other damp sugars.|
|Miscellaneous||TVP (textured vegetable protein), cheese powder, gelatin, soup mixes (without bouillon).|
You will be able to purchase the necessary cans or pouches, oxygen absorbers, boxes and plastic lids for what you want to can.
Some foods do not keep well simply sealed inside a can or pouch even with oxygen absorbers so are not approved for canning.
|Non-Approved Dry Pack Products|
|Milled grain||Whole wheat flour, cornmeal, cereal.|
|Oily grains/seeds||Nuts, coconut, brown rice, pearled barley, sesame.|
|Baking mixes||Anything that has self-contained baking powder is not suited to long-term storage.|
|Leavenings||Baking powders, baking soda, and yeast.|
|Egg noodles||Any noodles, pasta, or macaroni that contains egg yolks.|
|Cold cereals||Ready to eat breakfast cereals, granolas, etc.|
|Miscellaneous||Spices, oils, bouillon, dried meats, dried eggs, brown sugar, candy, first-aid supplies.|
Although I am not in complete agreement with the above list, it is workable and will get the job done. Make sure the food you want to pack has little fat or moisture content and you should be OK. For grains, legumes, flours, meals and dried fruits and vegetables do make sure to use the oxygen absorbers. You should not assume the food is insect free. When the packets remove the available oxygen any insects in the can will die or at least go dormant.
FOOD AND EQUIPMENT SUPPLIERS
MAIL ORDERING STORAGE FOODS — WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
When it comes to building a food storage program, sooner or later you may need to seriously consider mail ordering at least a part of the foods you want. Even for those of us who try do as much as we can locally there are some things which are not going to be easily available in our areas. To help with this I have included below a list of food and equipment suppliers where nearly anything can be found.
Because many do find it necessary or desirable to purchase via mail order I am including some points to consider before shelling out your cash.
1.– Find out how much the shipping costs are going to be. Grains and legumes are relatively cheap, but weigh a lot when bought in bulk. Because of this, shipping charges can sometimes double (or more) the actual cost of the product by the time it reaches your door. Adding insult to injury is the round bucket fee UPS charges in addition to their regular shipping charges. This fee has become sufficiently high that many companies now find it cheaper to buy boxes to ship their buckets in. Compare carefully each company’s list price and their shipping charges, combined, when deciding who to order from. Saving up for a larger order, or finding someone to combine orders with might enable you to make a large enough order to get a price break on shipping. Alternatively, you could take a vacation in the area of the company’s location or swing through the area on the way back from one. If you choose to do this, be certain to call ahead and let them know your date of arrival so they’ll have your order ready and waiting for you. The company in the next state may be higher on their list price, but end up being cheaper than having it shipped in from six states away.
2.– Ask the supplier when your order is going to ship. Some suppliers are behind in filling orders so you could be waiting and waiting. Slowness in shipping is not necessarily a sign of bad business though. Some suppliers may drag their feet, but others may be genuinely swamped by the volume of business they are receiving because they have a good product at a fair price.
3.– How fresh is the product you are ordering? Freshness is what it’s all about when it comes to storage foods. If a food has a five year shelf life in its container then you want as much of those five years to be on your shelf, not the supplier’s.
4.– Be clear as to how the product you are ordering is packaged. Many suppliers offer identical foods packaged several different ways. Be certain the product number you are giving the salesperson is for the product packed in the manner you want.
5.– What is the head gas analysis? If you are ordering foods packed in a nitrogen flushed oxygen free container (with or without an oxygen absorber packet added) then ask about the laboratory test results that measure the oxygen content of the head gasses in the container. This is of great importance if you are counting on the extra storage life such packaging will give you. There are but a few companies such as Perma Pak, Ready Reserve, and Walton Feed that actually produce packaged storage foods and most dealers only distribute and retail their products. If the dealer can not produce the manufacturer’s test data measuring the head gasses of the products they are selling then keep looking.
6.– If you are purchasing wheat and intend to use it primarily for bread making then be sure to ask about its protein content. The best breads need at least 12% protein with 13-14% better still. Unusually high protein levels though might indicate a problem. When considering grain wheat subtract about 1.5% of the protein content of the berries to arrive at the probable gluten content of that lot of grain. Also take a close look at the weight of the product. One company’s five or six gallon bucket of wheat may not weigh the same as another’s. The same applies to dehydrated foods such as fruits, vegetables, TVP, etc. Ask about the moisture content of bulk foods which are not already packaged for long term storage. 10% or less moisture is where you want to be for grains, legumes and most everything else.
7.– What is the company’s damage and return policy? If your carefully packed SuperPails and #10 cans get dented or cracked in shipping you’ll need to have them replaced. Most mail order companies will require you to contact the shipper (such as UPS) for a claim number. The shipper may or may not require an inspection so don’t destroy any packaging or containers until you know for sure.
Does anyone else know of anything else a person should look out for or ask about when mail ordering storage food?