If you've landed on this blog by mistake, please follow this link:


Please update your bookmarks and the links on your sites.

Join our forum at:

Monday, November 30, 2009

Post from: Pioneer Living. Net

This will be my last post for a short time. I thank you for guesting here and hope you all take care.

A human can survive a maximum of 3 days without the intake of water, assuming you are at sea level, at room temperature, and a relative humidity. Depending on the climate conditions, it has been recorded that people have lasted longer than two weeks with no water supply.

In cold temperatures water is still very important and requires the same 3.78L (1 gal) of water per day. In snow conditions snow must be melted first.

A lack of water causes dehydration, resulting in lethargy, head aches, dizziness, confusion, and eventually death. Even mild dehydration reduces endurance and impairs concentration, which is dangerous in a survival situation where clear thinking is essential. Your body requires 3.78L (1 Gal) to 6L of water or other liquids each day in the wilderness to avoid dehydration and to keep your body functioning properly.

Dark yellow or brown urine indicates dehydration. Because of these risks, a safe supply of drinking water must be located as soon as a shelter is built (or even before, depending on conditions). In a survival situation, any water supply may be contaminated with pollutants or pathogens .

There are some plants which will provide you with survivable sources of water. Most tree roots and vines contain lots of water, and can be purged by breaking into 3 ft. sections, and standing upright above a water catcher. Avoid any vegetable liquids which are cloudy, milky in appearance, or colored in any way.

Water can be gathered in numerous ways. In areas of abundant moisture, water can be scooped out of a creek or pond. Rainwater (which is typically safe to drink) can be caught in makeshift containers. If these easy sources are not available, a bit more ingenuity will be necessary. Water can be collected from condensation traps or solar stills. Clothing can be used to collect dew from vegetation.

Although you cannot drink salty seawater, if you are near the beach, you can dig a sand well on the opposite side (from the sea) of a windblown dune. Below sea level, the sand well will fill with drinkable water. It may taste salty or brackish, but the sand acts as a filter reducing the salt content the further you dig inland.

Stagnant water can be made drinkable by filtration through a sieve of charcoal.

Animal blood is not suitable for re-hydration, as it may be diseased. In addition, because of the nutrients it contains, it requires energy to digest. Mammals all have blood-borne pathogens so the animal must also be cooked. Urine contains salt and other toxins, which also makes it unsuitable to drink, although it can be refined in a still.

A common survival skill is that cacti can be sliced open to obtain water. While some cacti do have fluid inside, the barreled cacti is best.

Many birds, mammals, and some insects, are reliable indications of water, either through a stream or a soaked patch of earth.

In extremely dry environments, it is necessary to take extra care to prevent water loss by:

Breathing through the nose to prevent water vapor escaping through the mouth

Not smoking

Resting in the shade and avoiding strenuous labor during sunny, hot periods and move very slow.

Not eating too much (the human body uses a lot of water to digest food )

Not drinking alcohol, which hastens dehydration

You can gather moisture in these ways:

Transpiration - collecting transpired water via a plastic bag.

Melting ice

Well water


Utility-Scale Atmospheric Water Gathering

Harvesting/collecting dew from plants and grasses

Solar still

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Homesteading General

Homesteading General

To The Land

People are leaving the cities and moving to a life of self-sufficiency. They are buying small and large parcels (1 to 40) acres. Some can abandon city jobs, while most others commute to work, enjoying a blend of rural life. The rewards can be great with a more independence, family togetherness, lifestyle, and freedom with less stress.

There is nothing better then a year-round garden and greenhouse; keeping chickens, ducks, rabbits, and fruit trees. Going back to mother nature and back to basics is true independence.

Land Hints

Your selection of land is very, very important to your success. Practical characteristics should out weigh esthetics, even though both are important.

The first thing you need is to make a list of your needs; timber, pasture, flood zone, creeks, water quality, availability of water, and neighbors to name a few.
Note: Land further away from populated areas is generally preferred.

Now, you will probably need to make some compromises but this is and or will be a life style change, if you are from the city.

Whatever your needs, check growing seasons and local climate, water availability, soil types, roads, and in some cases required well depth if needed.

Please consider your age and physical condition as well in regard to the amount of work you can handle, do not commit yourself to a larger place then you can keep up and enjoy. Also something else to consider; is this going to be a full time self-sufficiency with a income-producing work or a part time hobby?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Do what?

What is happening in the world today has not changed. It is our beliefs that humans all over the world still need to educated themselves. Educate yourselves on what is happening around the world.

Educate yourselves to be able to provide for your family whatever the future may be.

We live in a society of people who depend on other people to take care of them. We rely on our jobs to pay us to be able to feed our families. We rely on the grocery stores to provide us food for us to buy for our families to eat.

Almost every day, well it seems like it, we hear reports of contaminated food being sold to us. Our family has had these items in our cupboards, freezers, pantry’s in the past. We had to throw these items out for fear of our children getting sick or possibly dying from these contaminated foods.

We do believe again that everyone should educate themselves and find out what does GM seeds mean? What does GM foods mean?

Why are we genetically modifying our foods. Foods that the good earth provides us that is nutritional and healthy. Why are we modifying these foods. What is wrong with the foods that our ancestors ate?

I ask myself these questions almost every day. Why have we become a society of being taken care of by others. What happened to taking care of ourselves. What happened to the lost art of basic human survival.

I also ask myself, “What has happened to the human spirit of standing up for what is right?”

I was taught by my parents, grandparents that you are always free to voice your opinion no mater what it was. You are always free to stand up for what is morally right.

We are looking in the face of a changed America. A changed World.

We come across so many people who are afraid today. We are not sure why they are afraid. We assume it is because they do not know how they will survive should they loose their job, or should the grocery store shelves go empty. They do not even know where the food comes from that they eat.

It is really sad. We are only here to help those who have been wronged by not having the information passed on by their ancestors what it takes for basic human survival.

Sorry I was in a ranting and raving mood tonight. Thank you all for your support in our efforts to give people the resources to be able to take care of themselves and their families no matter what happens in the days to come.


Some times we must all stand up for what is right, even if that means we stand alone.

Re-posted by: www.pioneerliving.net

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


We live in a world and time of uncertainty. Governments in other countries are falling apart. People in the United States and around the world are loosing their jobs, getting their hours cut back due to the economic situation that is truly global.
It becomes more and more difficult to stay positive in a world that seems to be falling apart. No matter what you believe, do not loose faith. Weather it be faith in your God, or faith in yourselves as human beings.
We as human beings have the power to change. Change within ourselves, change within our communities, and change in the world for the better of mankind.
It all starts with change within the home. The home that you have provided for your family. The home that resides in a world that you would like to see your children, and grandchildren to grow up in. The change starts within you.
We as human beings have the ability to have what we desire. I am not talking about the material things that most of us think we desire, but the true desire for ourselves and our families to be happy, healthy and safe.
While talking with my mother tonight regarding the issues of what is happening in the world today, and expressing our mission to be able to help as many human beings as possible of the lost/forgotten art of basic human survival, the lessons that have been passed down in our families of knowing what it takes to survive, she was very concerned about the people who have no land to grow their own food, the city dwellers and suburbanites.
Understanding this need is the first step. This is part of what we hope to accomplish. Not only helping out fellow homesteader’s, survivalist’s, “the new pioneers”, and the new patriots striving for the freedom of being able to secure a happy, healthy, safe environment for their families and all human beings. We feel that there are solutions out there for everyone. Solutions for the city dwellers, the suburbanites, the country folk, homesteader’s, survivalist’s, and patriots, just as our forefathers intended for us in America and fought for as the American Son’s of Liberty, (ASL).
There are solutions for each and every one of you. You have to look deep enough. Open your mind to the possibilities. Each and every one of us has the ability to survive whatever is handed to us in life.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Canning 101 Part 2

Processing in a Pressure Canner
If you live at an altitude of 0-1000 feet, you can process foods in a weighted gauge pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure. If you are using a dial gauge pressure canner, use 11 pounds pressure. If you live at an altitude more than 2,000 feet you need to increase the pounds pressure at which you process foods. These increases are not given in this bulletin. Contact your county extension center to get this information. If tomato products are acidified, they can be safely processed in a water bath canner. If not, they must be processed in a pressure canner.

Here are some pointers for using a pressure canner:

1. Pour 2 or 3 inches of water in the bottom of the canner and heat to boiling.
2. Set jars on the rack in the canner. If you have two layers of jars in the canner, use a rack between them and stagger the second layer.
3. Fasten the canner cover securely so steam cannot escape except through the vent.
4. Once steam pours steadily from vent, let it escape for 10 minutes to drive all air from the canner. During processing, the canner must be filled with steam, not air, since it is steam that reaches the desired temperature of 240 F.
5. a. If the canner has a weighted gauge, start counting the processing time when it jiggles or rocks. The target pressure for this type of canner is 10 pounds pressure. Adjust heat so that gauge jiggles 2 or 3 times a minute or maintains a slow, steady, rocking motion.

6. b. If the canner has a dial gauge, bring pressure up quickly to 8 pounds, then adjust the heat to maintain 11 pounds pressure. Start counting the processing time when the gauge registers 11 pounds pressure. When the processing time is up, turn off the burner. (If you are using a coal or wood stove, remove canner from heat.) Let the pressure in the canner drop to zero by itself. This may take 45 minutes in a 16-quart canner filled with jars and almost an hour in a 22-quart canner. If the vent is opened before the pressure drops to zero or if the cooling is rushed by running cold water over the canner, liquid will be lost from the jars.
7. When the pressure has dropped to zero, open the vent or remove the weighted gauge. (With a weighted gauge canner, pressure is completely reduced if no steam escapes when the gauge is nudged or tilted. If steam spurts out, pressure is not yet down.)
8. Remove canner cover carefully, tilting it away from your face so that the rising steam cannot burn your face or hands.
9. Remove jars from canner. If liquid boiled out of jars during processing, do not open jars to add more liquid. Do not retighten screw bands, even if they are noticeably loose.
10. Place hot jars upright to cool on a towel or rack. Leave space between them so air can circulate. Keep jars out of drafts.

Check Seals
Vacuum seals form as the jars cool. When jars are cool (12 to 24 hours after processing), check the seals. If the lid is depressed or concave and will not move when pressed, it is sealed. If sealed, carefully remove screw bands. If a band sticks, loosen it by covering it for a moment with a hot, damp cloth. Bands left on jars during storage may rust, making later removal difficult.

If you find an unsealed jar, do one of the following:

* Refrigerate the food and use it within 2 to 3 days.
* Freeze the food. (Drain vegetables before freezing.)
* Reprocess the food. Remove lids, empty the contents into a pan, heat to boiling, pack into clean, hot jars, and put on new lids. Process again for the full time.

The eating quality of twice-processed food may be poor. If more than 24 hours have gone by since processing, throw out the food. It might be unsafe to eat.
Label and Store Sealed Jars
Label sealed jars with the processing date. Store them in a cool, dry, dark place. Properly stored canned foods will retain their quality for at least a year. Never store canned foods near hot pipes, a range, a furnace, or in direct sunlight because they lose quality.

If stored in a cold place, protect from freezing by wrapping the jars in newspaper or covering them with a blanket. Canned foods that do freeze may be used as long as freezing does not break the seal. However, they may not be as tasty as properly stored canned foods.

If canned foods are kept in a damp place, lids may rust.
Signs of Spoilage
Before using always check canned foods for signs of spoilage -- leakage, bulging lids, or loss of seal. Bulging or loss of seal indicates gas formation inside the jar. Upon opening the jar, look for spurting liquid. After opening, check for gassiness, cloudy liquid, disagreeable odor, or mold. Never taste food that shows any sign of spoilage. Throw it out; it might be unsafe to eat. Furthermore, never feed this food to animals; it could make them sick.

Cloudy liquid may be a sign of spoilage or be due to minerals in hard water or starch from overripe vegetables. If liquid is cloudy, check for other signs of spoilage. If there are not other signs of spoilage, boil the food. Do not eat any food that foams or has a disagreeable odor during heating.

Always boil home-canned, low-acid foods for 10 minutes before tasting. Do not use this method to make improperly processed food "safe." If enough bacteria is present (due to improper processing), boiling for ten minutes might not destroy the toxin.

Black deposits on the underside of a lid are not a sign of spoilage. The under side of canning lids is coated with enamel. If there are imperfections, such as tiny scratches or pinholes in the enamel, natural compounds in food can react with the metal in the lid to form harmless brown or black deposits.

For more information call the Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, in your county. The Cooperative Extension Service is usually listed in the telephone directory under county offices.
Processing Directions for Canning Acidified Tomatoes, Acidified Figs and Other Fruits
All processing times are given for processing in a water bath caner. Pack foods listed below to within ½ inch of the top of the jar. Source of instructions is the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, 1995.

Water Bath Process Water Bath Process
PACK STYLE Pints (minutes) Quarts (minutes)
Apples Wash, peel, core, and slice apples. Drain and rinse. Cook and pack. Cover with hot liquid or hot syrup. Hot only 20 20
Applesauce Prepare sauce and make sweetened or unsweetened. Hot only 15 20
Figs* Wash and drain. Do not peel or remove stems. Cover with water and boil for 2 minutes then drain. Gently boil figs in light syrup for 5 minutes. Hot only 45 50
Peaches Wash, peel and pit. Slice if desired. Drain and rinse. Pack cooked or raw. Cover with hot liquid or boiling-hot syrup. Hot or Raw 20 - Hot
25 - Raw 25 - Hot
30 - Raw
Pears Tree-ripened pears may have a coarse, gritty texture when canned. So, pickpears when they are full size but still firm and green. Hold for 2 weeks in the refrigerator then ripen them at room temperature before canning. Wash, peel, halve, and core pears. Cut into quarters if desired. Drain and rinse. Cook and pack. Cover with hot liquid or boiling-hot syrup. Hot only 20 25
Plums To can whole, prick skins in several places with table fork to prevent splitting. Freestone varieties may be halved and pitted. Pack cooked or raw. Cover with hot liquid or hot syrup. Hot or Raw 20 25
Tomatoes, acidified and packed in water To loosen skins, dip into boiling water for about 1/2 minute, then dip quickly into cold water. Peel and core. Leave small tomatoes whole. Halve or quarter larger tomatoes. Pack cooked or raw. Hot or Raw 40 45
Tomatoes, acidified* and packed in tomato juice Follow directions above except cover with hot tomato juice. Hot or Raw 85 85
Tomatoes, acidified* and packed raw without added liquid Follow directions above except when packing press tomatoes in the jars until spaces between them fill with juice. Raw only 85 85
Tomato juice, acidified* Quickly cut 1 pound of fruit into quarters -- to prevent juice from separating. Heat immediately to boiling while crushing. Continue to slowly add and crush freshly cut tomato quarters to the boiling mixture. Simmer 5 minutes after you add all pieces. Hot only 35 40
Tomato sauce, acidified* Prepare and press as for making tomato juice. Simmer until sauce reaches desired consistency. Boil until volume reduced by one-third for thin sauce; one-fourth for thick sauce. Hot only 35 40

* Add 2 tablespoons bottle lemon juice per quart or 1 tablespoon per pint; or add ½ teaspoon citric acid per quart or ¼ teaspoon per pint to the jars.

Vegetables and tomatoes and figs that are not acidified are low-acid foods. All processing times are given for processing in a weighted-gauge pressure caner at 10 pounds pressure at an altitude of 0-1000 feet and in a dial-gauge pressure caner at 11 pounds pressure (at an altitude of 0-2000 feet). Source of instructions is the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, 1995.

Pressure Process Pressure Process
PACK STYLE Pints (minutes) Quarts (minutes)
Beans, lima Shell and wash. For both raw and hot pack, pack beans loosely into clean, hot jars. Cover with boiling hot water. Hot or Raw 40 50
Beets Sort beets for size. Cut off beet tops, leaving an inch of stem. Leave only 1 inch of root attached. Scrub beets well. Cover with boiling water until skins slip off easily, 15 to 25 minutes depending on size. Peel and trim off top and root. Leave baby beets whole. Cut medium or large beets into 1/2-inch cubes or slices. Cook and pack immediately. Cover with fresh hot water. Hot 30 35
Corn, whole kernel Husk corn and remove silk. Wash. Cut corn from cob at about 3/4 of the depth of the kernel. CAUTION: Do not scrape cobs. Pack cooked or raw. Cover with cooking liquid or fresh boiling water. Sweet corn sometimes darkens during processing due to caramelization of sugar. The sweeter the corn, the more likely it is to darken. Although the dark color is unattractive, the corn is safe to eat. Hot or Raw 55 85
Corn, cream style Follow instructions above except for cream style corn, scrape remaining corn from cobs and add to jar. To each quart of corn and scrapings, add two cups of boiling water. Heat to boiling. Add ½ teaspoon salt to each jar, if desired. Hot only 85 ---
Greens Remove tough stems and midribs. Place about 2-½ pounds greens in a cheese cloth bag and steam about 3 to 5 minutes or until well wilted. Pack loosely and cover with boiling water. Hot only 70 90
Green beans Wash and trim ends. Leave whole or cut or snap into 1-inch pieces. Hot or Raw 20 25
Mixed Vegetables 6 cups sliced carrots
6 cups cut, whole kernel sweet corn
6 cups cut green beans
6 cups shelled lima beans
4 cups whole or crushed tomatoes
4 cups diced zucchini
Wash and drain all vegetables except zucchini. Wash, trim and slice or cube zucchini. Boil for 5 minutes and pack. Cover with cooking liquid. Hot only 75 90
Peas, green Shell and wash. Cook and pack. Cover with cooking liquid or fresh boiling water. Hot or Raw 40 40
Potatoes, sweet Use small to medium potatoes. Can pieces or whole within 1 to 2 months after harvest. Wash and boil or steam (15 to 20 min). Remove skins. Cut into uniform pieces. CAUTION: Do not mash or puree pieces. Pack and cover with fresh boiling water or syrup. Hot only 65 90
Pumpkin, cubed Wash pumpkin, remove seeds, and peel. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Cook and pack. Cover with cooking liquid.
CAUTION: Only cubed pumpkin or winter squash is recommended for home canning. If desired, mash just before serving or using in recipes. Do not can mashed pumpkin or winter squash, as the product may be too thick to ensure adequate heat penetration during processing. Hot only 55 90
Squash, winter cubed Follow method for pumpkin, cubed. Hot only 55 90
Tomatoes, whole or halved packed in water Wash tomatoes. Dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds until skins split; then dip in cold water. For raw pack cover with water and pack. For hot pack, boil gently for 5 minutes then pack. Hot or Raw 10 10

Sources for additional canning instructions:

* Ball Blue Book, Edition 1, Ball Corporation, Muncie, IN, 1994.
* Kerr Home Canning and Freezing Book, Kerr Glass Manufacturing Corporation, Sand Springs, Oklahoma, 1982.
* The New Putting Food By, Third Edition, R. Hertzberg, B. Vaughn and J. Greene. The Stephen Greene Press, Brattleboro, Vermont, 1982.
* So Easy to Preserve, Third Edition, Cooperative Extension Service -- The University of Georgia, 1993.

Canning Glossary of Terms (A-L)

Acid foods - Foods which contain enough acid to result in a pH of 4.6 or lower. Includes all fruits except figs; most tomatoes; fermented and pickled vegetables; relishes; and jams, jellies, and marmalades. Acid foods may be processed in boiling water.

Altitude - The vertical elevation of a location above sea level.

Ascorbic acid - The chemical name for vitamin C. Lemon juice contains large quantities of ascorbic acid and is commonly used to prevent browning of peeled, light-colored fruits and vegetables.

Bacteria - A large group of one-celled microorganisms widely distributed in nature. See microorganism.

Blancher - A 6 to 8 quart lidded pot designed with a fitted perforated basket to hold food in boiling water, or with a fitted rack to steam foods. Useful for loosening skins on fruits to be peeled, or for heating foods to be hot packed.

Boiling-water canner - A large standard-sized lidded kettle with jar rack, designed for heat-processing 7 quarts or 8 to 9 pints in boiling water.

Botulism - An illness caused by eating toxin produced by growth of Clostridium botulinum bacteria in moist, low-acid food, containing less than 2 percent oxygen, and stored between 40 degrees and 120 degrees F. Proper heat processing destroys this bacterium in canned food. Freezer temperatures inhibit its growth in frozen food. Low moisture controls
its growth in dried food. High oxygen controls its growth in fresh foods.

Canning - A method of preserving food in air-tight vacuum-sealed containers and heat processing sufficiently to enable storing the food at normal-home temperatures.

Canning salt - Also called pickling salt. It is regular table salt without the anti caking or iodine additives.

Citric acid - A form of acid that can be added to canned foods. It increases the acidity of low-acid foods and may improve the flavor and color.

Cold pack - Canning procedure in which jars are filled with raw food. "Raw pack" is the preferred term for describing this practice. "Cold pack" is often used incorrectly to refer to foods that are open-kettle canned or jars that are heat-processed in boiling water.

Enzymes - Proteins in food which accelerate many flavor, color, texture, and nutritional changes, especially when food is cut, sliced, crushed, bruised, and exposed to air. Proper blanching or hot-packing practices destroy enzymes and improve food quality.

Exhausting - Removal of air from within and around food and from jars and caners. Blanching exhausts air from live food tissues. Exhausting or venting of pressure canners is necessary to prevent a risk of botulism in low-acid canned foods.

Fermentation - Changes in food caused by intentional growth of bacteria, yeast, or mold. Native bacteria ferment natural sugars to lactic acid, a major flavoring and preservative in sauerkraut and in naturally fermented dills. Alcohol, vinegar, and some dairy products are also fermented foods.

Headspace - The unfilled space above food or liquid in jars. Allows for food expansion as jars are heated, and for forming vacuums as jars cool.

Heat processing - Treatment of jars with sufficient heat to enable storing food at normal home temperatures.

Hermetic seal - An absolutely airtight container seal which prevents reentry of air or microorganisms into packaged foods.

Hot pack - Heating of raw food in boiling water or steam and filling it hot into jars.

Low-acid foods - Foods which contain very little acid and have a pH above 4.6. The acidity in these foods is insufficient to prevent the growth of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Vegetables, some tomatoes, figs, all meats, fish, seafood’s, and some dairy foods are low acid. To control all risks of botulism, jars of these foods must be (1) heat processed in a pressure canner, or (2) acidified to a pH of 4.6 or lower before processing in boiling water.

Microorganisms - Independent organisms of microscopic size, including bacteria, yeast, and mold. When alive in a suitable environment, they grow rapidly and may divide or reproduce every 10 to 30 minutes. Therefore, they reach high populations very quickly. Undesirable microorganisms cause disease and food spoilage. Microorganisms are
sometimes intentionally added to ferment foods, make antibiotics, and for other reasons.

Mold - A fungus-type microorganism whose growth on food is usually visible and colorful. Molds may grow on many foods, including acid foods like jams and jellies and canned fruits. Recommended heat processing and sealing practices prevent their growth on these foods.

Mycotoxins - Toxins produced by the growth of some molds on foods.

Open - Kettle canning A non-recommended canning method. Food is supposedly adequately heat processed in a covered kettle, and then filled hot and sealed in sterile jars. Foods canned this way have low vacuums or too much air, which permits rapid loss of quality in foods. Moreover these foods often spoil because they become recontaminated
while the jars are being filled.

Pasteurization - Heating of a specific food enough to destroy the most heat-resistant pathogenic or disease-causing microorganism known to be associated with that food.

pH - A measure of acidity or alkalinity. Values range from 0 to 14. A food is neutral when its pH is 7.0: lower values are increasingly more acidic; higher values are increasingly more alkaline.

Pickling - The practice of adding enough vinegar or lemon juice to a low-acid food to lower its pH to 4.6 or lower. Properly pickled foods may be safely heat processed in boiling water.

Pressure caner - A specifically designed metal kettle with a lockable lid used for heat processing low-acid food. These caners have jar racks, one or more safety devices, systems for exhausting air, and a way to measure or control pressure. Caners with 20- to 21-quart capacity are common. The minimum volume of caner that can be used is 16-quart capacity, which will contain 7 quart jars. Use of pressure saucepans with less than 16-quart capacities is not recommended.

Raw pack - The practice of filling jars with raw, unheated food. Acceptable for canning low-acid foods, but allows more rapid quality losses in acid foods heat processed in boiling water.

Spice bag - A close able fabric bag used to extract spice flavors in a pickling solution.

Style of pack - Form of canned food, such as whole, sliced, piece, juice, or sauce. The term may also be used to reveal whether food is filled raw or hot into jars.

Vacuum - The state of negative pressure. Reflects how thoroughly air is removed from within a jar of processed food--the higher the vacuum, the less air left in the jar.

Yeasts - A group of microorganisms which reproduce by budding. They are used in fermenting some foods and in leavening breads.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Canning Part 1

Canning 101

How Canning Preserves Food
To can means to heat process food in a glass jar with a lid in place. Processing kills microorganisms -- bacteria, yeasts, and molds -- that contaminate food and cause food spoilage and/or food borne illness. Processing can be done in a water bath canner or a pressure canner, depending on the food's acidity.

Acid foods (all fruits except unacidified figs) can be safely processed in a water bath canner. Acidified tomatoes and figs can also be safely processed in a water bath canner. Microorganisms in or on acid foods are easily killed at 212 degrees F (the temperature of boiling water). Low-acid foods (vegetables and tomatoes and figs that are not acidified) must be processed in a pressure canner. The bacteria that produces botulinum toxin cannot grow in acid foods but can grow in low acid foods. These bacteria (Clostridium botulinum) have spores that survive hours of boiling water temperature. However, these spores are destroyed within a reasonable time at 240oF (the temperature reached inside a pressure canner set at 10 pounds pressure).

If low-acid food is processed in a water bath canner, botulinum spores on the food will survive. In the absence of air, a condition found inside a jar after processing, the spores become living bacteria. As the bacteria grow, they form toxin. Eating even a drop of this potent toxin can be fatal to humans and animals. Over 70% of the cases of botulism have been caused by low-acid foods that were improperly canned at home.

To make sure your home canned foods are safe, carefully follow the canning instructions in this bulletin. Process acid foods in a water bath canner and low-acid foods in a pressure canner. Never process any foods in a conventional oven, microwave oven, steamer or dishwasher, as these methods do not kill microorganisms that cause food spoilage and/or foodborne illness.
Recommended Canning Equipment
Before each canning season, assemble and examine all canning equipment.

Canning jars. Use only standard canning jars (also called Mason jars) with the manufacturer's name printed on the side. These jars can withstand the temperature extremes of canning. And, the sealing edge is smooth and flat so lids will seal properly.

Never use commercial jars, such as mayonnaise and pickle jars, for home canning. These jars are not very resistant to temperature extremes; they break easily. Also, lids may not seal on these jars because their sealing edge may be rounded rather than flat. Finally, the neck of the jar may be so short that the screw band will not hold the lid firmly in place during processing.

Canning jars must be in perfect condition. Check all jars, new and used, for hairline cracks, chips or nicks on the sealing edge. Such defects can result in breakage or failure to seal.

Canning lids. The only safe way to seal a canning jar is with a two-piece canning lid. The set consists of a flat metal lid and a screw band. The lid has a sealing compound around the edge and is enameled on the under side to prevent food from reacting with the metal. The screw band holds the lid in place during processing. A vacuum seal forms during cooling, after the jar is removed from the canner. Screw bands that are in good condition may be reused, but always use new lids. Do not use screw bands that are bent or badly rusted.

Two types of canners. Use a water bath canner to process acid foods. A water bath canner is a large deep kettle that has a cover and a rack to hold jars. You can also use a big, covered pot that is deep enough to allow water to extend 1 to 2 inches over the tops of the jars with enough room for the water to boil briskly. Also add a rack to keep the jars off the bottom of the pot.

Use a pressure canner to process low acid foods. A pressure canner is a deep, heavy kettle that has a rack on the bottom for jars to stand on. It also has a tight-fitting lid with a gasket, and a pressure gauge. The gasket keeps steam from leaking out around the cover. If the gasket is worn, stretched, or hardened, replace it. There are two types of pressure measuring gauges, dial gauge and weighted gauge.

A dial gauge has a needle that moves along a numbered scale to indicate the pressure inside the canner. Each year check the dial gauge, old or new, for accuracy and during the canning season if heavily used. Call your extension agent, Family and Consumer Sciences, to find out where testing can be done.

A weighted gauge fits over the air vent tube. It permits pressure in the canner to rise to the desired point and then releases excess steam by "jiggling" or "rocking" to keep the pressure from going higher. Weighted gauges do not need testing for accuracy, but they do need to be kept clean. Check the vent tube to be sure it hasn't been bent or damaged during use.
Getting Canning Equipment Ready
Wash canning jars in a dishwasher or in hot soapy water, and rinse well. Keep jars hot by leaving them in the dishwasher or hot water until you are ready to fill them. Jars do not need to be sterilized, as this will be accomplished during processing. Wash and rinse canning lids and screw bands. Follow the manufacturer's directions for preparing lids. They may need to be boiled in water for a few minutes before use.
Preparing Fruits and Vegetables For Processing
Select high quality, unblemished fruits and vegetables for canning. Canning will not improve quality. Can them as soon as possible after harvesting. If you must hold foods before canning, keep them in the refrigerator. If you buy fruits or vegetables to can, get them fresh from local farmer's markets, roadside stands or pick-your-own farms.

Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before canning even if they will be peeled. Garden soil contains bacteria. NOTE: Potatoes must be peeled before canning. Potato skins contain a high bacteria count increasing the chance of botulinum toxin formation.

Wash by scrubbing with a vegetable brush and rinsing thoroughly. Or, if more practical, soak in water for several minutes. Lift out of the water so the soil that has been washed off won't settle back on the food. Peel, pit, and/or slice only as much food as you can process at one time.

Some fruits and vegetables (apples, apricots, nectarines, peaches, pears and potatoes) darken when cut. To prevent darkening, keep raw, prepared produce in a solution of 1 teaspoon ascorbic acid to one gallon of cold water. Check among the canners' supplies in the supermarket to get this product.
Sugar and Salt
Sugar helps retain the color, shape and texture of canned fruits. Sugar is usually added as a syrup. To make syrup, pour 4 cups of water into a saucepan and add:

* 2 cups of sugar to make 5 cups of thin syrup OR
* 3 cups of sugar to make 5-1/2 cups of medium syrup OR
* 4-3/4 cups of sugar to make 6-1/2 cups of heavy syrup.

Heat until the sugar dissolves. Make 1 to 1-1/2 cups of syrup for each quart of fruit. Up to half the sugar used in making syrup can be replaced with light corn syrup or mild-flavored honey. Fruits also can be safely canned without sugar. Pack the fruit in extracted juice, in juice from another fruit (such as bottled apple juice, pineapple juice, or white grape juice) or in water. Salt may be added to vegetables and tomatoes before canning. Since its only function is flavor, it can be safely omitted. Canning fruits and vegetables without adding sugar or salt does not affect processing times or microbiological safety.
Packing Instructions
The two methods of packing food into canning jars are raw pack and hot pack. Raw pack is packing raw, prepared food into clean, hot jars and then adding hot liquid. Fruits and most vegetables need to be packed tightly because they will shrink during processing. However, raw corn, lima beans, and peas should be packed loosely, as they will expand. For hot pack, heat prepared food to boiling or partially cook it. It should be packed loosely while boiling hot into clean, hot jars. Hot pack takes more time but has been found to result in higher quality canned foods.

For either packing method, pack acid foods including acidified tomatoes and acidified figs to within 1/2 inch of the top of the jar. Low acid foods to within 1 inch of the top of the jar.

After food is packed into jars, wipe the jar rims clean. Put on the lid with the sealing compound next to the jar rim. Screw the band down firmly so that it is hand-tight. Do not use a jar wrench to tighten screw bands. There must be enough "give" for air to escape from the jars during processing. Process food promptly after packing it into jars and adjusting lids. Processing times are given for pints and quarts. If you are using half pint jars, use processing times for pints. For one-and-one-half pint jars, use processing times for quarts. Fruit juices are the only product that may be canned in half-gallon jars.
Canning at Altitudes Above 1,000 Feet
If you live at an altitude of more than 1,000 feet, you will need to modify the processing time for acid foods and the pounds pressure you use to process low-acid foods. The processing instructions presented in this bulletin are for altitudes of 0-1000 feet.

To determine your altitude, contact the North Carolina Geological Survey Office. Their address is: 512 North Salisbury Street, P.O. Box 27687, Raleigh, NC 27611. Their telephone number is 919-733-2423. After determining your altitude, your local extension center can help you to determine changes you need to make to your canning instructions.
Processing in a Water Bath Canner
Use a water bath canner to process acidified tomatoes, acidified figs and all other fruits. A pressure canner can be used to process acid foods but the quality will not be as good.

1. Fill the canner half full with water; then cover and heat. For raw-packed food, have the water hot but not boiling. For hot-packed food, have the water boiling.
2. Using a jar lifter, place jars filled with food on the rack in the canner. If necessary, add boiling water to bring water 1 to 2 inches over the tops of the jars. Do not pour boiling water directly on jars. Cover.
3. When water comes to a rolling boil, start counting the processing time. Keep water at a rolling boil for the entire processing time. Add more boiling water to keep water 1 to 2 inches above jars.
4. As soon as the processing time is up, use a jar lifter to remove jars from canner. If liquid has boiled out of the jars during processing, do not open them to add more. Do not retighten screw bands, even if they are noticeably loose.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


If you've dreamed of having healthier, readily available fresh foods for your family to eat whenever they'd like, you may have started wondering how to plant a vegetable garden. Planting your very own vegetable garden allows you to control whether harmful chemicals are used on the foods you eat, allows you to have fresh vegetables for cooking or eating raw during harvesting season, and saves you money both in the summer and winter, because you can freeze or can the vegetables you grow and use them throughout the year.

Ok, maybe you have dreamed it but now it is time to get educated and learn a few basics of gardening, your life may depend on it.

Planting a vegetable garden is not difficult either, but there are a few steps involved. First you have to plan the location of your vegetable garden, then you need to prepare the soil for your vegetable garden, then you will plant your seeds or starter plants. From then on, it's just a matter of caring for your vegetable plants and keeping the weeds away. And before very long you will find yourself outside picking fresh vegetables right off the vine.

Planning your Vegetable Garden

The first thing you'll need to learn about how to plant a vegetable garden, is that location is very important. Vegetables need five to six hours a day of full sunlight, so where you place your vegetable garden plays an important role in how successful that garden will be.

You will also need to plan your space wisely. Depending upon how many vegetables you want to plant, and how much of each vegetable you'd like to be able to harvest, you might find you need quite a bit of room for your vegetable garden. A family of four for instance, generally needs rows of vegetables approximately ten feet long to provide enough harvest for the entire family. So if you want to plant twenty different vegetables, you will need a lot of space. Another thing to consider is to only plant vegetables that you and your family like.

Vegetable gardens can be planted in containers however, so this might be an alternative option for you to consider. Many vegetables can grow in one container too. Your best bet for the first time planting a vegetable garden is to start small. Choose maybe five vegetables to plant for instance, or try planting smaller amounts of many different vegetables.

Preparing your Soil

The next step you will need to learn about how to plant a vegetable garden, is that soil preparation is very important. There's a lot to learn in this area, so we won't cover it in detail here. But the basic steps involved with preparing your vegetable garden soil involve turning the soil, and enriching it with compost or other organic matter.

Vegetables need a lot of nutrition to grow well, so the better you prepare the soil before planting, the better chances you have of producing a bountiful crop.

Planting Your Vegetables

The third step in learning how to plant a vegetable garden is the fun part. You will plant your vegetable garden seeds or starter plants in the newly prepared garden soil. Make sure you choose your seeds wisely. There are a lot of vegetable seeds out there that have been genetically modified. Try and choose only heirloom seeds if possible. Heirloom seeds have not been genetically modified and you can gather and store heirloom seeds for next years planting saving you the expense of purchasing seeds for years to come.

Now, if you're planting your vegetables in traditional rows, you'll simply sprinkle seeds along the top of a row, then cover then lightly with a thin layer of soil. If you're using starter seedling plants for your vegetable garden, you will make a slight hole in the top of the row, put your starter plant down in the hole, then pack the mounded soil around it lightly.

Planting vegetables into raised garden beds is done the same way when you're using rows. If you decide you'd like to plant your vegetables in square blocks however, that's easily done in the same ways too. Alternatively, you can randomly place your vegetable plants and seeds, and you will get a more natural growth look from your vegetable garden when the sprouts begin to create leaves and produce.

Make sure you water your soil well during the seed planting or during the transplanting of seedlings.

Try and keep the soil moist without over watering your garden and come harvest time you will enjoy all the fruits of your labor.

Please Note: This is only the very basics to setting up a garden. Upcoming Online Magazine issues will include in depth articles on seed selection, growing, preserving and benefits of specific vegetables, herbs, and grains.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Food Storage

A Few Basics For Food Storage

In the not too distant past, drying, salting, and live storage were the only ways know for preserving foods. The Indians of the North and South depended on sun-dried foods. The American settlers survived bitter winters by salt-cured foods and live foods in root cellars. Caesar’s army carried pickled foods and China dined on salt-cured vegetables.

Canning has been one of the most popular methods of preserving food since 1809, when the technique was first developed. Canning must be carried out with careful care if bacterial contamination and spoilage are to be avoided. You must choose the proper canning method and follow procedures exactly, and adjust for high altitudes if needed.

Salt was a treasured commodity in the ancient world not only for its flavor but also for its preservative properties. When produce is impregnated with salt, moisture is drawn out and the growth of spoilage-causing bacteria inhibited. Now, there are four basic methods of salt curing: dry salting, brining, low-salt fermentation, and pickling.

Dehydration opens a new awareness of rich taste. Our great-grandfathers used to sun-dehydrate their food many years ago as one of their few means of food preservation. With modern technology it still remains one of the best means of preserving food.

Fermentation of vegetables is the same type of process as salting and bring. Fermenting vegetables is a simple, inexpensive method for preserving both meat and vegetables. It requires no special equipment, materials or skill. In many rural areas, or when it isn’t feasible to freeze, dry, or can, this method is used.

Smoking meat has a very palatable flavor. Smoking is a simple process to dry out meat. Smoking tends to inhibit bacterial action and cool smoked meats need no refrigeration.

In preserving bulk foods you must fumigate to protect your food from becoming infested with weevils or spoilage. There are several varieties of weevil, such as the saw toothed grain beetles, larder beetles, flour beetles, weevils, several kinds of moths, and cockroaches. Many of these are injurious. Under proper conditions these larvae can eat the germ or life-giving properties of grains so there is no vitamins or nutrients left.

The best way to fumigate is with Dry Ice.

Place a handful of grain or other food in the bottom of container; place one or two cubic inches of dry ice on top of it. Pour the remaining grain or other food on top of the dry ice. Fill the container and leave two inches headspace in each can. Do Not Place The Lid On The Container Until The Dry Ice Has Completely Dissipated.

The sulphur method can be done as well. Use the large rock size 1 oz for a five gallon can.

Place the proper proportion of sulphur in cheesecloth, a nylon stocking and or any porous material can be used. In order for the fumes to spread throughout the grain or product to be fumigated. Tie the sulphur in the material used and fill the can. Push the bag of sulphur as far down into the grain as possible. There is no need to wait; the lid may be placed on can immediately. Apply masking tape around the lid, making sure the can is airtight.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hi All!

Hello All,

My Name is John Milandred one of the founders of Pioneer Living and over the next two weeks I will be sharing with you some of the information on our website at: www.pioneerliving.net

Just a little note today and hope you all like my posts.

The forgotten/lost art of basic human survival. How did our grandparents, great grandparents, and ancestors survive without all the modern conveniences available to us today? Helping humans all over the world with solutions for caring for themselves and their families.

Often when people think about a survivalist, they envision someone who is trained in the outdoors and can survive off the land but a survivalist also stock piles food and possibly weapons to prepare for a disaster and the future unknown. Our ancestors were in reality survivalists.

This was because they were self sufficient, were responsible for one’s own self and family, protection, health, and sustenance as well as shelter.

This is what our ancestors knew and lived every day. They were prepared for what life brings through planning, learning, and preparing for any possible future.

The articles you will find will be focused on simpler times what our ancestors knew and lived every day. From disaster preparedness, extreme wilderness survival, growing and preserving your own nutritious food, foraging for food in the wilderness, water survival, and basic every day living.

Information and solutions to survive our ever changing environment in which we live in today. Solutions for taking back the responsibility of ones own self.

We think that you will be surprised how simple it is, no matter what walk of life you come from, how to get back to basics and in control of your life.
North Carolina Prepper sNetwork Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. North Carolina Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.