All About Beans/Legumes

Introduction

What distinguishes beans from other plants? Beans have pods with seeds inside them. Aside from beans this includes peas, lentils and some people even include the peanut in this category. All legumes are able to take large amounts of nitrogen from the air and convert it to protein in the seeds. They also return large amounts of nitrogen to the ground and because of this the green plants are sometimes plowed under; as an organic fertilizer.

Right along with the early grains, legumes were among the first crops cultivated and date back to the Bronze Age. Beans have been discovered in the tombs of the Pharaohs and Aztecs. The ancient Egyptians considered beans to be an emblem of life and had temples dedicated to them. Later, the Greeks and Romans used them in festivals to worship their gods. The Roman’s four most distinguished families were named after beans; Fabius (fava bean), Lentulus (lentil), Piso (pea), and Cicero (chickpea).

Early discoverers learned that Indians scattered all over the Americas grew and ate numerous kinds of beans. And from the very beginning, beans were carried back and forth, traded and planted as explorers and nomads wondered the earth. In the Middle Ages beans were one of the primary foods of the peasants of Europe. And in more recent times because of their great storage ability, beans were a primary food for sailors which is exactly how the Navy bean got it’s name. Beans have fed the armies of the world from ancient times to the wars of recent history. From the Great Depression right up to the present, beans have been recognized for their high nutritional content. At a small fraction of the cost of meat protein, one cup of cooked beans provides 25% of the daily requirement for the amino acids.

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Avoid Mistakes When Dieting And Get On The Right Track To Health

Many people think of weight loss or dieting when they hear about nutrition. Yes, those two things are a part of nutrition, but certainly not the only parts. Many things contribute to good nutrition levels. Your ideal diet will depend heavily on your age, fitness level and lifestyle. This article will help you figure out what nutritional plan is right for your particular body type. By reading this article, you will be on the path to improving your overall health.

Continue reading Avoid Mistakes When Dieting And Get On The Right Track To Health

Apple Cider Vinegar – Good for What Ails You

Years ago we had a neighbor (he was rather old and crotchety) who was a master farrier.  He took a shine to Maid Elizabeth and offered to trim and shoe her horse’s hooves in exchange for her doing odd jobs around his homestead.

One day, as Elizabeth was filling feed bunks with hay I watched as the farrier filled buckets with grain. Into the feeder he dumped a scoop of steamed oats, followed by a half a scoop sweet feed.  On top of that he poured a ladle full of amber colored liquid.  Never having seen anyone feed their horses quite like that before, I asked what he had poured over the feed.  He looked up at me, one eyebrow raised and said “its apple cider vinegar”.  He might as well have added “you dummy”, but he just shook his head instead.

Continue reading Apple Cider Vinegar – Good for What Ails You

The Best Plan for Food Self-Sufficiency

Posted on September 2, 2015 by Garden Prepper September 2, 2015

Providing high-quality food for your family year-round takes foresight and planning, plus healthy doses of commitment and follow-through. Whether you grow as much of your food as you can or you source it from local producers, the guidelines here will help you decide how much to produce or purchase. The charts linked to in “Plan How Much to Grow” later in this article will also help you estimate how much space you’ll need — both in your garden to grow the crops, and in your home and pantry or root cellar to store preserved foods. Here’s a step-by-step plan to help you make the best use of your garden space (or farmers markets) to move toward homestead food self-sufficiency.

1. Establish Your Goals

Make a list of the foods you and your family eat now — and note the quantities as well. The charts linked to in “Plan How Much to Grow” further along in this article assume a half-cup serving size for fruits, vegetables and legumes, and a 2-ounce serving for dry grains. If your servings differ from the charts, be sure to adjust your calculations accordingly.

Decide what you’d like to grow, noting the foods your family prefers and recognizing that not every crop will grow in every climate. Research different crop varieties: Some crops — such as melons — require long, hot days to mature, but certain varieties need fewer days to reach maturity, which allows them to be grown in areas with a shorter growing season.

Related Article-Community Gardens: The Secret To Urban Self-Sufficiency

Don’t be afraid to start small and build gradually toward food self-sufficiency. A good starting goal might be to produce all of a certain crop that you use. An early milestone for me was growing all of the green beans we needed for a year and all of the ingredients for the spaghetti sauce I canned. Maybe you’ll aim to eat at least one thing from your garden each day. Keep your goals in mind as you’re planning a garden.

2. Choose a Gardening Method

I recommend following the guidelines of “Grow Biointensive Sustainable Mini-Farming” as developed by John Jeavons at Ecology Action in Willits, Calif., and explained in his book How to Grow More Vegetables and Fruits, Nuts, Berries and Other Crops Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine. Jeavons’ form of biointensive gardening, which can sometimes produce higher yields than less intensive approaches, focuses on eight principles:

  • Deep soil preparation
  • Composting
  • Intensive planting
  • Companion planting
  • Growing crops for carbon and grains
  • Growing crops for sufficient calories from a small area
  • Using open-pollinated seeds
  • Integrating all processes into a whole, interrelated system.

Using biointensive gardening methods, garden beds are double-dug and compost is made from crops grown for that purpose (some of which, such as corn, also provide food). Together, these techniques create a system that not only feeds the soil but also builds and improves the ecosystem. You can see these biointensive gardening techniques in action on the DVD “Cover Crops and Compost Crops in Your Garden

Related Article-Compost! Everybody’s Doing It!100 Things You Can (and Should) Compost

3. Plan How Much to Grow

You can plan either by the number of servings of various crops you want to eat, or by the amount of space you have available in your garden. First, decide how many servings your family needs for the year for a given crop from the charts on the following pages. Divide the number of servings by the number of servings per harvested pound (far-right column in the charts linked to below) to find out how many pounds you need to grow or buy from a local farmer. (This number of pounds is for produce straight from the garden — not the weight after trimming and peeling.)

After you know how many you need, you can deduce how much space your crops will require in your garden based on the estimated yield from the gardening method you choose. Divide the pounds of homegrown food you need by the pounds per hundred square feet for the yield you have chosen (two middle columns in the charts). The result is the number of 100-square-foot beds you’ll need to grow that crop. Of course, your garden is most likely not divided into 100-square-foot beds, but you’ll have an estimate of the total area needed to produce a given amount of each crop. If you have limited garden space, work this calculation in reverse, planning your top-priority crops first.

Ultimately, the yield you achieve will depend on many factors, including your soil, climate and management skills. That’s why the charts below offer a range of possible yield estimates.

Water may quickly become scarce in a disaster or an emergency. This quick video will show you how to easily access a common source of fresh clean drinking water (Watch Video Here)

4. Keep Good Records

Keep a record of your plans and activities. You can keep a notebook or a computer record, but you’ll find that you can plan better if you have notes from previous years on hand — perhaps you planted way too many green bean seeds last summer or you started your broccoli seedlings too late. At the least, you should know how much seed you used, the area you planted, and whether the amount you produced was too much, not enough or just right. (A good garden-planning resource is the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Vegetable Garden Planner.)

Related Article-How To Build A Self-Watering Seed Tray [VIDEO]

5. Preserving Food From Your Harvests

When I first started gardening here in Ashland, Va., I felt the need to do as much canning as I could. I still can green beans and some tomato products, such as tomato soup (I consider that my “fast food”). If you prefer canning, following directions closely is especially important. You can find a compilation of MOTHER EARTH NEWS content on canning in our Home Canning Guide. Additional information is available at the website of the National Center for Home Food Preservation, including the USDA publication The Complete Guide to Home Canning, which is available free to download.

Related Article-The Best Guide For Dehydration. How To Preserve Fruits, Vegetables And Meats.Everyone Should Know How To

My attitude toward canning has changed now that I eat fresh from the garden as much as possible all year. I grow crops that store well all by themselves so that even in winter we have carrots, beets, onions and sweet potatoes (learn more in Food Storage: 20 Crops That Keep and How to Store Them). Another method I’ve shifted toward is solar dehydrating — my solar food dehydrator is a wonderful food preservation tool, and I use it as much as I can. You can learn more about solar dryers from Eben Fodor and the folks at SunWorks. I no longer can applesauce, but I can easily make it as needed from dried apples, and the bulk of my tomatoes are dried by the sun.

Freezing is a convenient option but requires a power source year-round, making your food vulnerable to power outages. The book So Easy to Preserve (also available online at the National Center for Home Food Preservation) has information on freezing and drying in addition to canning. I only depended on a freezer for large quantities of meat during the years we raised our own pork and beef or bought a year’s supply from a friend. Now, however, I buy in smaller quantities from local farmers or share a larger order with neighbors and friends. You could also raise your own smaller animals and process them as needed for the table, thus eliminating the need for preservation altogether.

Related Article-Can you FREEZE Eggs? Yes, and it can save you money!

Want to Do More?

Oils. If you raise livestock, you can render their fats to create cooking oils such as lard and tallow. (Learn more about making and using lard in the book Lard: Cooking With Your Grandmother’s Secret Ingredient.) If you raise dairy animals, you can turn the cream into flavorful sweet or cultured butters. (Read How to Make Butter and Buttermilk.)

You can grow sunflowers, pumpkins, peanuts, hazelnuts and other plants to make cooking oil from their seeds. Some nuts and seeds contain more oil than others — for example, almonds, hazelnuts (filberts), peanuts, sesame seeds and walnuts have an oil content of more than 50 percent. For best results, be sure to use oilseed varieties of sunflowers and pumpkins, which have an oil content of about 45 percent. Find a chart detailing the yields you can expect from growing various nuts and oilseeds, including their oil content, in Growing Nuts and Seed Crops for Homegrown Cooking Oils.

Aquaponics Systems – Everything You Want To Know About Aquaponics System.If you are interested with Aquaponics System and want to learn to build it,there is a solid guide teaching you how to get started the right way. This guide called “Aquaponics 4 you”(Watch Video Here)

To obtain oil from your nut or oilseed crop, you will need to invest in an oil press. I have successfully pressed homegrown hazelnuts and peanuts in a Piteba oil press (available from Bountiful Gardens), which yielded 3 1/3 tablespoons of oil per cup of hazelnuts and 4 tablespoons of oil per cup of peanuts. (Learn more about Using A Piteba Oil Press.)

Sweeteners. Keeping bees to produce your own honey is easy, plus having these pollinators active in your garden will help increase your yields. Bees forage over several square miles, so encouraging the enhancement of the ecosystem in your community will be to your advantage. A single hive may produce up to 50 pounds of honey per year. (ReadKeep Bees, Naturally! to learn more.)

If you live in an area with sugar maple trees, you can make your own maple syrup from the sap. One to three tapholes per tree are typical, and each taphole yields 5 to 15 gallons of sap. Ten gallons of sap boils down to about 1 quart of syrup. (Check out Enjoy Real Maple Syrup for more details.)

You could also grow sorghum to satisfy your sweet tooth. According to Gene Logsdon in his bookSmall-Scale Grain Raising, an acre of sorghum can produce about 400 gallons of syrup. From a 100-square-foot planting, you might expect close to 10 gallons of juice, which will boil down to a gallon of syrup.

Livestock. Backyard chickens are a relatively simple starter livestock. After they begin laying, expect about 200 eggs a year from each hen. After they have outgrown their usefulness as layers, they can become stewing hens. If you raise chickens for meat, Cornish Cross chicks raised for eight weeks typically finish as 4-pound broilers at a feed cost of about $1 per pound. (MOTHER EARTH NEWS has compiled extensive poultry resources on our Chicken and Egg Page.

Related Article-5 Ways to Put Your Chickens to Work For You

Goats or cows can provide your dairy products. A family cow can produce 3 or more gallons of milk per day. Its calf would yield about 350 pounds of meat at 18 months. When we had a cow, we milked only once a day, letting the calf have the rest, and then we’d take the calf for the freezer at about 10 months.

Goats and sheep need less space and feed, making them ideal for small acreages and even some urban lots. One dairy goat can provide about a gallon of milk per day and offspring for meat. Raising a kid to 6 months yields about 30 pounds of meat, including bones.

Related Article-20 Reasons Why Keeping Goats Will Change Your Life For The Better

For other meat options, a feeder pig raised to 7 months (about 260 pounds) can yield about 100 pounds of meat. You can use a pen, but adding pasture is ideal. If you only have a small space, rabbits may be your meat animal of choice. Litters from one 10-pound doe can produce 80 pounds of meat per year. (Learn more in Rabbit: A Great Meat Animal for Small Homesteads.) If you’d like to raise both rabbits and chickens, the book The Integral Urban House: Self-Reliant Living in the City has a plan for a rabbit-chicken integrated housing system.

Remember that the road to food self-sufficiency should be a community effort. You don’t have to do everything by yourself: Decide what you can do, share the surplus with others, and find like-minded people to embark on this journey with you. Enjoy the adventure!

The Best Guide For Dehydration. How To Preserve Fruits, Vegetables And Meats.Everyone Should Know How To

Posted on August 24, 2015 by Garden Prepper August 24, 2015

dried_fruit

Introduction

Why dry?

Drying (dehydrating) food is one of the oldest and easiest methods of food preservation. Dehydration is the process of removing water or moisture from a food product. Removing moisture from foods makes them smaller and lighter. Dehydrated foods are ideal for backpacking, hiking, and camping because they weigh much less than their non-dried counterparts and do not require refrigeration. Drying food is also a way of preserving seasonal foods for later use.

How dehydration preserves foods

Foods can be spoiled by food microorganisms or through enzymatic reactions within the food. Bacteria, yeast, and molds must have a sufficient amount of moisture around them to grow and cause spoilage. Reducing the moisture content of food prevents the growth of these spoilage-causing microorganisms and slows down enzymatic reactions that take place within food. The combination of these events helps to prevent spoilage in dried food.

The basics of food dehydration

Three things are needed to successfully dry food at home:

  • Heat — hot enough to force out moisture (140°F), but not hot enough to cook the food;
  • Dry air — to absorb the released moisture;
  • Air movement — to carry the moisture away.

Foods can be dried using three methods:

  • In the sun— requires warm days of 85°F or higher, low humidity, and insect control;  recommended for dehydrating fruits only;
  • In the oven;
  • Using a food dehydrator — electric dehydrators take less time to dry foods and are more cost efficient than an oven.

Preparing Fruits and Vegetables for Drying

Many fruits and vegetables can be dried (Table 1). Use ripe foods only.

Rinse fruits and vegetables under cold running water and cut away bruised and fibrous portions. Remove seeds, stems, and/or pits.

Table 1. Fruits and Vegetables Suitable for Drying
FruitsVegetables
ApplesBeets
ApricotsCarrots
BananasSweet corn
CherriesGarlic
CoconutsHorseradish
DatesMushrooms
FigsOkra
GrapesOnions
NectarinesParsnips
PeachesParsley
PearsPeas
PineapplesPeppers (red, green, and chili)
PlumsPotatoes
Pumpkin

Most vegetables and some fruits (Tables 2 and 3) should undergo a pretreatment, such as blanching or dipping.

Blanching is briefly precooking food in boiling water or steam, and it is used to stop enzymatic reactions within the foods. Blanching also shortens drying time and kills many spoilage organisms.

Table 2. Blanching and Drying Times for Selected Vegetables
VegetableBlanchingDrying time
(hrs)*
MethodTime
(mins)
Beetscook before drying3½–5
Carrotssteam3–3½3½–5
water
Cornnot necessary6–8
Garlicnot necessary6–8
Horseradishnot necessary4–10
Mushroomsnot necessary8–10
Okranot necessary8–10
Onionsnot necessary3–6
Parsleynot necessary1–2
Peassteam38–10
water2
Peppersnot necessary2½–5
Potatoessteam6–88–12
water5–6
Pumpkinsteam2½–310–16
water1
* Dried vegetables should be brittle or crisp.
Table 3. Blanching and Drying Times for Selected Fruits
FruitBlanching*Drying time
(hrs)**
MethodTime (mins)
Applesteam3–56–12
syrup10
Apricotssteam3–424–36+
syrup10
Bananassteam3–48–10
syrup10
Cherriessyrup1024–36
Figsnot necessary6–12
Grapes: seedlessnot necessary12–20
Nectarinessteam836–48
syrup10
Peachessteam836–48
syrup10
Pearssteam624–36+
syrup10
Pineapplesnot necessary24–36
Plumsnot necessary24–36
* Fruits may be dipped in ascorbic acid or citric acid in place of blanching.
** Test for dryness by cutting the fruit. There should be no moist areas in the center. Times are estimated for use of the dehydrator or oven methods.
+ Drying times for whole fruits. Cutting fruit into slices may shorten drying time.

Steps for steam blanching (fruit and vegetables):

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  • Use a steamer or a deep pot with a tight-fitting lid that contains a wire basket or could fit a colander or sieve so steam can circulate around the vegetables.
  • Add several inches of water to the steamer or pot and bring to a rolling boil.
  • Loosely place fruits/vegetables into the basket, no more than 2 inches deep.
  • Place basket into pot (fruits/vegetables should not make contact with water).
  • Cover and steam until fruits/vegetables are heated for the recommended time (Table 2 and 3).
  • Remove basket or colander and place in cold water to stop cooking.
  • Drain and place fruits/vegetables on drying tray.

Steps for water blanching (only):

  • Use a blancher or a deep pot with a tight-fitting lid.
  • Fill the pot two-thirds full with water, cover, and bring to a rolling boil.
  • Place vegetables into a wire basket and submerge them into the boiling water for the recommended time (Table 2).
  • Remove vegetables and place in cold water to stop cooking.
  • Drain and place vegetables on drying tray.

Steps for syrup blanching (fruits only):

  • Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup light corn syrup, and 2 cups water in a pot.
  • Add 1 pound of fruit.
  • Simmer 10 minutes (Table 3).
  • Remove from heat and keep fruit in syrup for 30 minutes.
  • Remove fruit from syrup, rinse, drain, and continue with dehydration step.

Dipping is a pretreatment used to prevent fruits such as apples, bananas, peaches, and pears from turning brown. Ascorbic acid, fruit juices high in vitamin C (lemon, orange, pineapple, grape, etc.), or commercial products containing ascorbic or citric acid may be used for dipping. For example, dipping sliced fruit pieces in a mixture of ascorbic acid crystals and water (1 teaspoon ascorbic acid crystals per 1 cup of water), or dipping directly in fruit juice for 3 to 5 minutes will prevent browning. Fruits may also be blanched as a means of treatment.

Drying Fruits and Vegetables

Natural sun drying

Sun drying is recommended for drying fruit only. Sun drying is not recommended in cloudy or humid weather. The temperature should reach 85°F by noon, and the humidity should be less than 60 percent. Outdoor dehydration can be difficult in Virginia and other southern states due to high humidity. All food that is dried outdoors must be pasteurized.

  • Dry in the sun by placing slices of food on clean racks or screens and covering with cheesecloth, fine netting, or another screen. Food will dry faster if racks are placed on blocks and the rack is not sitting on the ground.
  • If possible, place a small fan near the drying tray to promote air circulation.
  • Drying times will vary (Tables 2 and 3).
  • Turn food once a day. Dry until the food has lost most of its moisture (fruits will be chewy).
  • Fruits should be covered or brought in at night to prevent moisture being added back into the food.

Drying with a food dehydrator

  • Place food dehydrator in a dry, well-ventilated, indoor room.
  • Arrange fruits or vegetables in a single layer on each tray so that no pieces are touching or overlapping.
  • Dehydrate at 140°F. Check food often and turn pieces every few hours to dry more evenly.
  • See Tables 2 and 3 for drying times.

Oven drying

  • Dry food in an oven that can be maintained at 140°F. Leave door 2 inches to 3 inches ajar. Place a fan in front of the oven to blow air across the open door.
  • Spread the food in a single layer on racks or cookie sheets. Check food often and turn pieces every few hours to dry more evenly.
  • Drying time will vary (Tables 2 and 3). Do not leave oven on when no one is in the house.
  • Oven drying is not recommended in households where children are present.

When food is dehydrated, 80 percent of the moisture is removed from fruits and up to 90 percent of the moisture is removed from vegetables, making the dried weight of foods much less than the fresh weight (Table 4).

Table 4. Pounds of Dehydrated Food from Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits (20 lbs)Dehydrated weight  (lbs)
Apples2
Peaches1½–2½
Pears
Prunes/plums
Fresh vegetables (20 lbs)Dehydrated weight (lbs)
Snap beans
Beets2
Carrots
Onions
Squash (summer)1½–2
Tomatoes¾

Pasteurizing Sun-Dried Fruits

All sun-dried fruits must be pasteurized to destroy any insects and their eggs. This can be done with heat or cold. To pasteurize with heat, place dried food evenly in shallow trays no more than 1 inch in depth. Fruits should be heated at 160°F for 30 minutes. To pasteurize with cold, fruits can be placed in the freezer at 0°F for 48 hours.

Conditioning Dried Fruits

Dried fruits must be conditioned prior to storage. Conditioning is the process of evenly distributing moisture present in the dried fruit to prevent mold growth. Condition dried fruit by placing it in a plastic or glass container, sealing, and storing for 7 days to 10 days. Shake containers daily to distribute moisture. If condensation occurs, place fruit in the oven or dehydrator for more drying and repeat the conditioning process.

Storing Dried Fruits and Vegetables

Cool-dried food should be placed in a closed container that has been washed and dried before storing. Home-canning jars are good containers for storing dried foods. Store in a cool, dry, and dark place.

Dried foods can maintain quality for up to a year depending on the storage temperature. The cooler the storage temperature, the longer dehydrated foods will last.

Reconstituting Dried Fruits and Vegetables

Dried fruits and vegetables may be reconstituted (restoring moisture) by soaking the food in water. Time for reconstituting will depend on the size and shape of the food and the food itself. Most dried fruits can be reconstituted within 8 hours, whereas most dried vegetables take only 2 hours.

To prevent growth of microorganisms, dried fruits and vegetables should be reconstituted in the refrigerator. One cup of dried fruit will yield approximately 1½ cups of reconstituted fruit. One cup of dried vegetable will yield approximately 2 cups of reconstituted vegetable. Reconstituted fruits and vegetables should be cooked in the water in which they were soaking.

Making Safe Jerky

Jerky can be made from almost any lean meat, including pork, venison, and smoked turkey. Jerky made from meat is of particular concern because dehydrators rarely reach temperatures beyond 140°F. This temperature is not high enough to kill harmful microorganisms that may be present on meat. Before dehydration, precook meat to 160°F, and precook poultry to 165°F. For best results, precook meat by roasting in marinade.

Meat preparation

To prepare meat for jerky, make sure that safe meat handling procedures are followed.

  • Clean: Wash hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat. Use clean utensils.
  • Chill: Store meat or poultry refrigerated at 40°F or below prior to use. It is important to thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator. Never thaw meat on counter tops.

Slice partially frozen meat into strips no thicker than ¼ inch. Trim and discard any fat. Meat can be marinated for flavor and tenderness. Many marinade recipes can be used, including this recipe taken from Andress and Harrison, 2006.

Simple Meat Marinade Recipe

  • 1½ – 2 lbs lean meat
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp hickory-smoke flavored salt

Combine all ingredients. Place strips of meat in a shallow pan and cover with marinade. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour to 2 hours or overnight. Heating meat to reduce chances of food-borne illness should be done at the end of marinating. Bringing strips and marinade to a boil for about 5 minutes will accomplish this. Drain.

Drying meats

Drain strips on a clean, absorbent towel. Place strips in a single layer, making sure they don’t touch or overlap. Dehydrate at 140°F until a test piece will crack, but not snap, when bent. Remove dried strips from rack and cool.

If the meat strips were not heated to 160°F in marinade prior to drying, you may want to do this in an oven after drying. Place the dried strips on a baking sheet and cook at for 275°F, or until meat reaches 160°F. This process adds an additional safety step to the process.

Storing meat jerky

Meat strips should be packaged in glass jars or heavy plastic storage bags. Jerky can be stored at room temperature for 2 weeks in a sealed container. For the longest shelf life, flavor, and quality jerky, store in the refrigerator or freezer.

8 Most Dangerous Food Poisoning To Know And Avoid

With all this talk of grilling outdoors, picnics in parks, road trips and other reasons for food to be served in less-than-sterile conditions, we’d be remiss not to at least briefly mention food poisoning. If you’ve ever had it, and you probably have once in your life, your skin just crawled. Sorry.

Below are our eight favorite causes of gastrointestinal upset, tingling in the extremities and other symptoms of food gone terribly, terribly wrong — and how to avoid them. Spoiler alert: A lot of it has to do with the basic washing and refrigerating of stuff.

Continue reading 8 Most Dangerous Food Poisoning To Know And Avoid

Preppers!! 11 Emergency Food Items That Can Last a Lifetime

Posted on July 25, 2015 by Garden Prepper July 25, 2015

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Did you know that with proper storage techniques, you can have a lifetime supply of certain foods?  Certain foods can stand the test of time, and continue being a lifeline to the families that stored it.  Knowing which foods last indefinitely and how to store them are you keys to success.

The best way to store food for the long term is by using a multi-barrier system.  This system protects the food from natural elements such as moisture and sunlight, as well as from insect infestations.Typically, those who store bulk foods look for inexpensive items that have multi-purposes and will last long term.  Listed below are 11 food items that are not only multi-purpose preps, but they can last a lifetime!

1. Honey

Honey never really goes bad.  In a tomb in Egypt 3,000 years ago, honey was found and was still edible.  If there are temperature fluctuations and sunlight, then the consistency and color can change.  Many honey harvesters say that when honey crystallizes, then it can be re-heated and used just like fresh honey.  Because of honey’s low water content, microorganisms do not like the environment.

Uses: curing, baking, medicinal, wine (mead)

2. Salt

Although salt is prone to absorbing moisture, it’s shelf life is indefinite.  This indispensable mineral will be a valuable commodity in a long term disaster and will be a essential bartering item.

Uses: curing, preservative, cooking, cleaning, medicinal, tanning hides

3. Sugar

Life would be so boring without sugar.  Much like salt, sugar is also prone to absorbing moisture, but this problem can be eradicated by adding some rice granules into the storage container.

Uses: sweetener for beverages, breads, cakes, preservative, curing, gardening, insecticide (equal parts of sugar and baking powder will kill cockroaches).

4. Wheat

Wheat is a major part of the diet for over 1/3 of the world.  This popular staple supplies 20% of daily calories to a majority of the world population.  Besides being a high carbohydrate food, wheat contains valuable protein, minerals, and vita­mins. Wheat protein, when balanced by other foods that supply certain amino acids such as lysine, is an efficient source of protein.

Uses: baking, making alcohol, livestock feed, leavening agent

5. Dried corn

Essentially, dried corn can be substituted for any recipe that calls for fresh corn.  Our ancestors began drying corn because of it’s short lived season.  To extend the shelf life of corn, it has to be preserved by drying it out so it can be used later in the year.

Uses: soups, cornmeal, livestock feed, hominy and grits, heating source (do a search for corn burning fireplaces).

6. Baking soda

This multi-purpose prep is a must have for long term storage.

Uses: teeth cleaner, household cleaner, dish cleaner, laundry detergent booster, leavening agent for baked goods, tarnish remover

7. Instant coffee, tea, and cocoa

Adding these to your long term storage will not only add a variety to just drinking water, but will also lift morale.  Instant coffee is high vacuum freeze dried.  So, as long as it is not introduced to moisture, then it will last.  Storage life for all teas and cocoas can be extended by using desiccant packets or oxygen absorbing packets, and by repackaging the items with a vacuum sealing.

Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods

8. Non-carbonated soft drinks

Although many of us prefer carbonated beverages, over time the sugars break down and the drink flavor is altered.  Non-carbonated beverages stand a longer test of time.  And, as long as the bottles are stored in optimum conditions, they will last.  Non-carbonated beverages include: vitamin water, Gatorade, juices, bottled water.

Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods

9. White rice

White rice is a major staple item that preppers like to put away because it’s a great source for calories, cheap and has a long shelf life.  If properly stored this popular food staple can last 30 years or more.

Uses: breakfast meal, addition to soups, side dishes, alternative to wheat flour

10. Bouillon products

Because bouillon products contain large amounts of salt, the product is preserved.  However, over time, the taste of the bouillon could be altered.  If storing bouillon cubes, it would be best repackage them using a food sealer or sealed in mylar bags.

Uses: flavoring dishes

11. Powdered milk

Powdered milk can last indefinitely, however, it is advised to prolong it’s shelf life by either repackaging it for longer term storage, or placing it in the freezer.  If the powdered milk developes an odor or has turned a yellowish tint, it’s time to discard.

Uses: beverage, dessert, ingredient for certain breads, addition to soup and baked goods.

Do eggs raise prostate cancer risk?

Posted on July 21, 2015 by Garden Prepper July 21, 2015

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“Eating just three eggs a week increases chance of men getting prostate cancer,” reported the Daily Mail. The story went on to say: “Experts in the US claimed that men who consume more than two-and-a-half eggs on a weekly basis were up to 81% more likely to be killed by the disease.”

This research examined the association between eating red meat, poultry and eggs and the risk of developing lethal prostate cancer (which the researchers defined as either dying from the disease or having metastatic disease that had spread to other organs). The study was in a large group of 27,607 healthy men, of whom 199 developed lethal prostate cancer over 14 years of follow-up. The researchers calculated that the men who ate the most eggs were at a significantly higher risk than those who ate fewer eggs. No significant association was found with any other food item.

This large study  has some strengths, such as its large size and the fact that information on the participants’ diet was continually updated over the course of the study. However it also has several limitations, and only a small number of lethal cancers actually occurred, which could suggest that this association is due to chance. Furthermore, these results are inconsistent with previous research, which found no significant association between eggs and prostate cancer. The findings will need to be confirmed in more robust studies before any firm conclusions can be drawn.

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, the University of California in San Francisco, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Funding was provided by the US National Institute of Health.

The study was published in the medical journal, Cancer Prevention Research.

The media generally reported the study accurately. However, the Daily Mirror’s suggestion that “a clear link between eggs and prostate cancer” has been found may be misleading, as the researchers say that their results contradict previous findings into the association and that more research is needed. But the Mirror does point out that men in the study who ate the most eggs differed from the rest of the participants in important ways, such as weight and smoking status.

What kind of research was this?

A subgroup analysis was carried out afterwards in the men from this cohort who went on to develop prostate cancer. The researchers wanted to see whether eating habits after a prostate cancer diagnosis were associated with the risk of the disease progressing and becoming fatal.

The researchers’ theory was based on the findings from previous research, which found:

  • an increased risk of developing lethal prostate cancer in healthy men who ate red meat
  • an increased risk of progression to lethal disease in men with prostate cancer who ate eggs and skin-on poultry after their diagnosis

Participants were recruited from an ongoing cohort study that began in 1986. This study was comprised of American male health professionals who were between the ages of 40 and 75 in 1986. Men in this study completed a questionnaire every two years with information on their medical conditions, physical activity, weight, medications and smoking status. They provided information regarding their eating habits every four years.

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Prospective cohort studies are an appropriate design for answering this type of research question. Assessing eating habits at the beginning of a study reduces the risk that people will inaccurately recall their dietary habits, which can arise when you ask people to remember what they ate over a long period of time. It also ensures that the exposure (eating certain foods) precedes the outcome (developing and dying of prostate cancer).

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What did the research involve?

In 1994, the researchers recruited 27,607 men from the existing cohort study in the US. The men did not have prostate or other forms of cancer (except non-melanoma skin cancers, which are rarely aggressove). They had also had a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test (PSA screening is not performed in the UK, as higher PSA levels can indicate cancer but are not specific for it. For example, raised levels can also occur with benign enlargement, infection or inflammation).

In this study:

  • Information on the men’s eating habits was collected every four years.
  • Information regarding prostate cancer diagnosis was collected every two years.
  • From men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, information of treatment and disease progression was collected every two years.

The researchers defined lethal prostate cancer as disease that had spread to distant organs (metastatic cancer) or death due to prostate cancer during the study’s follow-up period (1994 to 2008).

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The researchers followed up the cohort for 14 years and analysed the associations between eating different amounts of red meat, poultry and eggs and the risk of developing lethal prostate cancer. The researchers grouped each participant according to the average amounts of each type of food they ate per week. For red meat, the subgroups included (per week):

  • less than three servings
  • 3 to 4 servings
  • 5 to 7 servings
  • over 8 servings

For poultry, the subgroups were defined as (per week):

  • less than 1.5 servings
  • 1.5 to 2.5 servings
  • 2.5 to 3.5 servings
  • over 3.5 servings for week

For eggs, the subgroups were:

  • less than half an egg
  • 0.5 to 1.5 eggs
  • 1.5 to 2.5 eggs
  • over 2.5 eggs

To determine which subgroup each participant would be allocated to, the researchers averaged their responses from all of the dietary questionnaires the participants had completed up until their diagnosis, or until the end of the study (for those who were not diagnosed).

To determine the amount of each food eaten, the researchers averaged the reported amounts over all of the questionnaires that were completed before diagnosis. During the analysis, the researchers controlled for possible confounding factors such as age, amount of food eaten, body mass index (BMI, which is an indicator of obesity), smoking status and physical activity levels.

The researchers also analysed the risk of dying from prostate cancer in the men who were diagnosed with it during the course of the study, based on their eating habits after diagnosis. The researchers only included men who were diagnosed with localised cancer (cancer that had not spread beyond the prostate). During the analysis, they controlled for possible confounding factors such as age at diagnosis, time since diagnosis, disease stage, treatment type, BMI, activity level, smoking status and pre-diagnosis diet.

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What were the basic results?

Of the 27,607 men included, 199 died of prostate cancer during the study. When the researchers analysed the association between eating habits and risk of lethal prostate cancer when using data up to the point of initial diagnosis, they found that:

  • Men who ate an average of 2.5 or more eggs per week had an 81% higher risk of lethal prostate cancer compared to those who ate an average of less than half an egg per week (Hazard Ratio [HR] 1.81, 95% CI 1.13 to 2.89, p=0.01).
  • The association between average amount of eggs eaten per week and risk of lethal prostate cancer became non-significant when the researchers analysed data collected up to the point of development of a lethal form of the disease (that is, disease progression or death).
  • There was no significant association between the average amount of red meat eaten and the risk of lethal prostate cancer.
  • Men who consumed more red meat or eggs tended to exercise less and have a higher BMI, and were more likely to smoke and have a family history of prostate cancer.

Of the 3,127 men who developed prostate cancer during the course of the study, 123 died of it during follow-up. Further analysis of the men who died found no significant association between eating habits after diagnosis and risk of the disease progressing from localized prostate cancer to lethal prostate cancer.

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers conclude that: “Eating eggs may increase risk of developing a lethal form of prostate cancer among healthy men,” and that although “additional large prospective studies are needed, caution in egg intake may be warranted for adult men”.

Conclusion

This was a large prospective cohort study that examined the impact of lifestyle on the risk of developing and dying of advanced prostate cancer.

In addition to its large size, another strength of the study is that the information regarding exposure (eating habits) and possible confounders (medical conditions, activity levels, weight, medications and smoking status) were continually updated over the study’s course. However, updating information on eating habits every four years may still introduce a significant level of recall bias, and accurately remembering what you ate over the previous four years is likely to be difficult.

The study and data analysis also has several limitations. First, the number of deaths and cases of lethal prostate cancer were small (only 199 out of 27,607 men in the whole cohort, and 123 out of 3,127 in the case-only cohort [those who initially developed localised disease]). This small number increases the likelihood that the results are due to chance. Second, the researchers say that the group of men included in the study generally ate low amounts of the foods of interest, which limits the “power” (or ability to detect a difference) of the analysis.

Furthermore, while the researchers controlled statistically for a number of possible confounders, it is difficult to say whether other factors could account for this relationship. The researchers say that men in the study who consumed more red meat or eggs tended to have a higher BMI, exercise less and were more likely to smoke and have a family history of prostate cancer. Additionally, it is probably difficult to control completely for other dietary effects and focus the analysis on a single component of a person’s diet.

This study points to possible associations between diet and risk of prostate cancer. The aforementioned limitations, however, weaken the strength of these conclusions, along with the fact that previous research has looked at this question and found no association. While an 81% increased risk sounds like a high and definitive figure, it is probably best to wait for more conclusive research before cutting eggs out of your diet. There are existing dietary and lifestyle guidelines for reducing cancer risk, such as limiting your consumption of energy-dense foods such as meat and increasing your consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

12 Reasons Why Apple Cider Vinegar Will Revolutionize Your Health

Recently, one of my good friends shared with me her story of how she cured her eczema naturally using apple cider vinegar (ACV). Since she was a young girl, her skin would break out in painful, itchy rashes which she would treat with doctor prescribed and recommended steroid creams. However, these creams had a detrimental effect on her skin over time, and eventually she had to stop using them, being left to deal with the extremely uncomfortable disease. Her quality of life was almost always compromised, admitting to me that she found it difficult being present while living with the ailment.

After doing some research, she came across people`s personal stories about how they cured their eczema and psoriasis with a simple solution of ACV. She decided to give it a shot. In a spray bottle, she diluted a few table spoons of ACV with room temperature water and sprayed her affected area. She said it stung for the first minute, but the results blew her away. In just a FEW DAYS, her eczema break-out had completely vanished.

This was all from a cheap, organic, 1 ingredient remedy. While the proper medical studies haven’t been conducted at this point, my friend’s story stood as a first-hand account of the treatment really working. After looking into the matter further, I discovered the massive amount of ACV success stories that were out there.

Continue reading 12 Reasons Why Apple Cider Vinegar Will Revolutionize Your Health

6 Healing Tips Using Egg Shell Membrane

For something that is normally thrown out as rubbish, the membrane lining in an egg shell has some surprising uses. That’s right crack that egg and use it as normal. Then, instead of throwing the shell away, peel that thin white skin or membrane out and use it as an aid to healing.

Continue reading 6 Healing Tips Using Egg Shell Membrane