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Friday, April 23, 2010

Hot Water canning Unit 2 (How to)

[Display of home-canned food] (LOC)Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr
High acid foods are processed in a boiling-water canner. The heat is transferred to the product by the boiling water which completely surrounds the jar and two-piece cap. A temperature of 100° C (212° F) is reached and it must be maintained for the time specified. Always follow a modern recipe with proven and tested processing times.

This method is adequate to kill molds, yeasts, enzymes and some bacteria. This method never reaches the super-high temperatures needed to kill certain bacterial spores and their toxins, which can produce botulism, therefore, this method cannot be used for processing low-acid foods. See more about the Basic Steps for this method, or learn more about pressure canning and low acid foods.

Water bath canners are widely available. You can use any big pot, however, if it is deep enough for the water to cover the tops of jars by several inches. Allow 5 to 10cm (2 to 4 inches) above jar tops for brisk boiling. The canner must have a tight-fitting lid and a wire or wooden rack. The jars must be held off the bottom so the heat can penetrate properly. The jars are divided so they will not bump into each other or tip over in the boiling water during processing.

To ensure uniform processing of all jars with an electric range, the canner should be no more than four inches wider in diameter than the element on which it is heated. However for flat top stoves, canners should be*no more than 2 inches wider than the diameter of the element.

What Foods Use This Method?

Acid foods like fruit butters and spreads, fruit pie fillings, sauerkraut, pickles and pickled vegetables, jams, jellies and marmalades can be safely processed by boiling water bath canning. The types of organisms that cause spoilage in these foods are usually killed at boiling temperatures. Use the boiling water bath method for canning acid foods. Because the hybrid varieties of modern tomatoes are on the borderline between being acid and low-acid, tomatoes and tomato products are no longer considered safe for water bath canning methods without additional acidification.

Canning Is a*Science

Pressure canning is the only canning method recommended for low-acid foods like meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables. Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium that causes botulism food poisoning, is destroyed in low-acid foods when they are processed at the correct time and temperature in pressure canners. Canning low acid foods in boiling-water canners is absolutely unsafe because the botulinum bacteria can survive this process. If Clostridium botulinum bacteria survive and grow inside a sealed jar of food, they can produce a deadly toxin. Just a tiny taste of food containing this toxin can be fatal.

Getting Started

Put filled glass jars into canner of hot or boiling water. For jams, preserves and raw packed fruits or tomatoes, have water in canner hot but not boiling. For pickles and hot packed fruits and tomatoes, have water boiling. Add boiling water until it is an inch or two over tops of containers; don't pour boiling water directly on glass jars. Place cover on the canner. *See more about the Basic Steps.

For most foods, you start to count processing time when water in the canner comes to a rolling boil. Processing methods for some pickles, such as fresh-pack dill pickles, are slightly different from the usual water_bath procedures. For these products, start to count the processing time as soon as you place the filled jars in the actively boiling water. Follow instructions carefully for the food you are canning.

Keep water boiling gently and steadily during the time recommended for each food. Add boiling water during processing if needed to keep containers covered. Remove jars from canner immediately when processing time is up. *Go to recipe links with safe, proven and tested canning resources.

Further Units will cover Pickling and recipies for Various common items that folks like to can and preserve! The main factor in caning is and MUST BE SAFETY! Pleae closely folow all precautions and enyoy the new skills that your will have !


Hot Water Canning Preperations Unit 1

Hello all, RON L here - SERE SURPLUS

Just thought I'd add a post on Hot water Canning, this is a method that goes decades and was used both in Europe as well as the US! This methods is suitable for High Acid foods such as Tomatoes and some others, it is NOT SUITABLE FOR MEAT, FISH OR FOUL! This Method uses no pressure, it uses a simple Metal Caldron and Glass Canning Jars Lids and rings!

This Discussion will be posted as several parts and this one will be Preparation of Hot water canning items!

Refer to the PICS below to see some of what I'm talking about!

First, before we clean and prepare the components of a Hot water canner, lets talk about the parts and functions of each, shall we?

1. Hot Water canner - Typically an Enamel covered caldron or Pot that has a decent water capacity and a Removable metal rack so can and jars can be easily lifted out for adding and removal of jars! See PIC #1 - This s a Garage sale find a 20 QT pot and cost me a whopping $3.00 Pic# 2 shows you open and metal Jar Rack, Top was removed for picture.

2. Canning Jars! Pic # 3 - 4 These vary is size but are all thick glass and include a non chipped or damaged top and vary from pint to qt sizes, the ones shown in PIC were a Flea market by years ago for a few $ as well!

3. Canning Jar lids - PIC # 5 Various sizes and makes to fit normal mouth jars as well as Wide MOUTH, many hardware stores sell both the Lids and ring, as well as the jars! This was a Garage sale find costing me $2.00

4. Jars installed into the Rack to place into the Canner pot.PIC # 6-7 - Just showing for illustration purpose these are empty and need or Preparations to make safe for use!

OK, now that we have seen the components of Hot Water caning, lets talk about how to make them ready and safe for use! SAFETY FIRST, ALL ITEMS WE ARE GOING TO USE, MUST BE THOROUGHLY CLEANED AND STERILIZED PRIOR TO USE!

My Preferred methods is to Emerse the pot and Top itself in a sink of Boiling water and as hot as I can handle with gloves on! I use steel wool to scrub the rack clean of Rust and all and make as squeaky clean as possible!

Ditto the jars, Lids and Rings I boil water for the sink, emerse, soak and scrub with a clean dish towel Use of a few Drops of Bleach as well as Dish washing Liquid and anti bacterial soap is good as well!

Once the items are clean I let air dry and place in a clean area or cabinet till ready to actually can! This Concludes part 1 of Hot water caning, Next segments will cover the How to's and whys of hot Water caning, what items prefer and a few items you can use for your home canning Projects! Cheers! MORE TO COME, SOON!!!!!!

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Prepare: The fallacy of living off the land

There is a common thread among many survivalists and that is the concept of  "living off the land" once the poop hits the fan. The idea being that the survivor can get along hunting, fishing, trapping and foraging from nature. This is a futile methodology and should be avoided.

Living off the land conjures up images of Daniel Boon or Davy Crockett stomping through the woods with their trusty muzzle loader, sitting around a camp fire roasting a large piece of unknown meat and wearing buckskin fringe and a dead raccoon on their head. In the post-SHTF world, this sounds like a pretty novel idea.

After the nukes go up and the cities explode, head for the national forest with a pack and rifle. Find a little clearing in the glen and put up a shelter which will later be expanded into a cozy little cabin. Take down a deer every so often for food. Or walk over to the mountain stream and pull up a couple of trout for breakfast. Study the local fauna and gather nuts, berries and medicinal herbs. Stockpile wood for the winter and hole up in peace and comfort while avoiding Mad Max and Snake Pliskin in the far away dystopian world.

Right. You and every other Jerimiah Johnson Jr.

Living off the land is nearly impossible. Even the early mountain men returned to civilization from time to time to sell pelts and restock supplies they could not fabricate or find in the wilderness. Things like salt, gun powder, shot, etc. The Native Americans lived off the land, but did so in communities where multiple people took care of multiple tasks; hunting, food preparation and storage, processing of game and hides, etc.

Here's another take on it. If the SHTF, what do you think everyone else will be doing? Not just hunters like yourself, but Joe Suburban with his never used Remington? Now imagine 5000 Joes and you get the picture. Not only will they be stomping around every national and state park scaring away the game, they will be shooting anything that looks like a deer including you!

Then there's the game. Game management is a full time job. Once that goes out the window, along with hunting season, quotas and bag limits, the game will be wiped out to disastrously low levels in short order. Forget about deer. Next will be squirrels, rabbits, dove, quail, beavers, woodchucks, etc. What happens when you finally take down that deer and it turns out it is sick? Do you take a chance because you have nothing left to eat but grubs and roots or walk away? No thanks, not for me.

If it were me, I would live off the land, but my land. Not some open piece of woods far away. You are better off in semi suburbia with 400lbs of rice, a good sized garden and the option of plinking squirrels and an occasional stray dog for stew meat. Add some chickens, a few goats and maybe a hutch of rabbits and you are in good shape. Better than Grizzly Adams some would say.

Living off the land is dangerous and no matter how many guns you have nor how much woodcraft you posses, the odds are against anyone starving to death in less than a month. If Joe Suburban doesn't get you first.

Expanding Your Preparedness Efforts

Preparedness in general can be overwhelming due to the many facets involved in preparing.  You not only have to be in constance with your food storage program but you also have to be aware and knowledgeable of what and how you store items. The Shelf life of differing food items coincide with climate and temperatures according to where you live in the United States, the colder it is the longer the shelf life.  Living in Hawaii we have a shorter shelf life for many food storage items because of the climate, since we live in the tropics it's pretty hot and sunny all year round and we have to deal with the humidity and moisture as well.  Homes here do not come equipped with basements unless you have built one within the home from the start.  Having knowledge in storing dehydrated, freezedried, canned and fresh foods is one of the most important things to understand and know when it comes to storing up food.  There is a great deal of books and online info out there that can overwhelm you just as well and then theres always the trial and error effect where you get the hands on learning skills which I think most of us can account for.  Knowledge is power and every step of the way we are learning and growing in the much needed skills of preparing.

Gardening and farming is another area that not only expands beyond the moon and stars its just plain endless like the sky.  Theres so much that goes into gardening I'm tired just thinking about it, from Non-Hybrid Seeds to hybrid seeds, soil, mulch, composting, Beneficial Insects, raised gardens, rain barrels etc. need I say more.
And farming is even tougher its hard work.  You not only have a variety of animals to feed but you also have to know how to care and feed them and raise and butcher them and defend and protect them from other wildlife critters that want to eat them as well.  I don't know didley squat about farming but I'm sure it is extremely labour intensive work and I admire and appreciate those who do have farms and homesteads who are able to do these things because you have a great deal of knowledge and know-how, to me you have an edge above urban and suburbanites.  Therefore I shall always seek your wisdom and knowledge regarding many prepper topics and issues.

Having a first-aid kit is a must for every household but what also should be implemented with it is some basic skills of administering first-aid when an emergency arises.  Taking a basic training course in First-Aid from the Red Cross would be very helpful in the event you find yourself facing an unpredictable emergency it may just save someones life or all it may take is a bandaid and some ointment, what ever the case may be you will be prepared to spring into action if need be.  You can also take a course in the training program called CERT Community Emergency Response Team, the class is FREE, you learn how to respond to emergencies and disasters within your community helping neighbors and family members as well as at work.  In the event emergency reponders are spread thin and they won't reach people after 72-hours have passed.  An ideal class and course for neighborhood communities, churches, schools, families, employers, employees, and EVERYONE.

I have not even begun to scratch the surface on every single prepapredness topic that there is to scratch but this just gives you an idea of how much each entails and within each one there are gazillions of research and knowledge that can be learned expanding evermore into the abyss of the world of preparedness.  Theres so much to learn and grow from here that I don't think I'll even learn it all before I leave this planet for good.  But what can also be done in addition to this never ending "prepper" adventure and discovery is the ability to teach others and share the wisdom and knowledge that you have gained throughout this journey.  Never think you aren't good enough or that you don't have what it takes to inspire and help others with what you know.  We all have gifts, although some of us may not hold official college degrees in our hands but we each do have skills in other areas that can help implement others that are lacking in different areas where a need is seeked out by another.  That's the beauty of teaching and learning.  And when you're stumped for a guest speaker for your churches preparedness functions or fairs utilize the members that have the know-how in each category when it comes to emergency preparedness events.  I believe you would be empowering one another and strengthening the "prepper" connections.  As time goes on you will have expanded your preparedness efforts by leaps and bounds just by planting one seed and watching it grow infinitely.    

Better Barter Preparedness, by Dan H.

I've heard a lot of suggestions about bartering.  Some of them are good ideas, while others might be dangerous.  Bartering is just trading, either goods for goods, goods for services, or services for services.
First of all, we need to ask why we are bartering at all.  If we need to barter, it is probably because we need (or just want) something we don't have, and someone else needs or wants something that we have.  If something isn't exchanged by both parties, then it's essentially a begging or charity situation.
It is best to put yourself in a position where you don't need to barter at all.  Have everything you need.  If you don't have enough food, water, shelter, weapons, medical supplies, communications equipment, gardening supplies, energy, transportation, books, tools, or skills, then you need to get those first!  Try to prepare yourself to the point that you have enough for charity.
None of us can be totally prepared as an individual.  Very few of us can be totally prepared as a family.  Even few multi-family groups will have everything they will ever need.  This is why you will need to prepare for bartering.
Ideally you want to be prepared enough that you don't need to barter for tangible items (food, weapons, etc.).  It is very difficult, however, to have all the skills you might need.  Some of the skills you may have to barter for might include medical, veterinarian, electrical, mechanical, machinist, or heavy labor.  Those first skills I mention can take years of training and practice to become proficient.  The need for those skills are probably obvious.  The last one, heavy labor, might not be considered a “skill”, but clearly it isn't something you can store up for years.  Labor help might certainly be needed by the weak or elderly, but even a strong young family might need help with a bigger project (large crops, digging an irrigation system, constructing a building, cutting wood, etc.).
Now that you know why you might need to barter, the question becomes what do you use for barter?  A skill is a very valuable thing to have.  As I have said, for most people, skills are hard to store for a rainy day.  And if you are the one with a valuable skill, it takes no room for you to store it.  And, when you give your skill to someone, you still have it when you leave.  Most of us, however, will be trading something tangible for a skill or for something tangible.  Think of tangibles you can get now, that might be valuable during TEOTWAWKI, that store well, cost little, and can be hard to make.
I strongly suggest that the primary item you store for bartering is food.  Look at almost any big disaster, or the lives of people in Third World countries.  Food is generally the most sought after item.  Use your head when you barter with food.  Don't do anything to give the impression that you have lots of it.  You may want to act like it is your very last meal and you're only trading it away out of desperation.  You don't want someone coming by later and taking the rest of your food by force.
Other items I would suggest are lighters, matches, toilet paper, feminine protection,  duct tape, razors,  soap, lithium batteries, aluminum foil, coffee, small bottles of drinking alcohol, and cigarettes.  Those last items may be very desirable to those with addictions, even if you don't use them yourself.  Fuel might also be used for barter, but its bulk, hazards, and shorter shelf life might make it hard to store enough to spare any for barter.
Generally, you should probably not barter your own firearms and ammunition for other goods.  First of all, if you're trading your firearms away, it must mean you didn't store enough of something else.  Extra guns and ammo can be expensive.  Use some of that money to get more food and other supplies so you are less likely to need to barter in the first place.  And, the price of a gun can buy an awful lot of the other bartering items I mentioned.  My second thought would be concern that the gun or ammo would be used against you or your family.  If you're willing to trade a gun to someone, it should be someone you would trust with your gun at any time.  I might barter a gun in exchange for a service, or barter to someone who already has a gun.  If you trade it to the wrong person, you might truly be at the loosing end of the deal.
Don't get me wrong.  You need plenty of guns and ammo for yourself, your family, and maybe some spares.  My plans, generally, don't include using them for barter.  You definitely don't want to be in a position of having to barter to get a gun.
If you notice, I haven't mentioned water as a bartering item.  That's because I think you should not barter with water.  First of all, you should have planned well enough that you will not have to go to someone else for your water.  And, if you have water to barter with, then you can afford to give it away to someone in need.  I think nobody should be deprived of water if it's available.  If you have the only water hole in 50 square miles, then share!  It's just the right thing to do.  Water is more replaceable.  It can fall from the sky, food generally doesn't.
After you get your bartering supplies in order (remember, get your personal supplies in order first), then you should make a list showing what items you are willing to barter away, and how many of those items you're willing to get rid of.  At the end of the list, you should make some notes telling why you decided what items are to be bartered and why.  If you're not around to make the bartering decisions, the list can be a great benefit to whomever is bartering.
Some great tips on how to actually barter can be found in Jim's book, "How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It".  Check it out. [JWR Adds: I also wrote some advice on bartering strategies, and that 2008 article is available in SurvivalBlog's free archives.]
So, plan ahead.  Be smart about who you barter with.  Store enough supplies for yourself, for charity, and for safe bartering.

Solar LIghts

( Picture from Article That Follows)
I heard about a family who was caught in a disaster without any lighting. They had put solar lights on their walkway up to their front door. The person writing the article said they were inside in the pitch black and there was a glow of light coming in their living room window - when they investigated it was their solar lights. They promptly brought them in their house and used them until their lights came back on.
It had crossed my mind to use my outdoor solar lights, but I hadn't ever tried them. So after reading this, I turned off my lights and retrieved some of them. They aren't as bright as a lantern or a candle, but they would be a wonderful thing to have as a back up when your other resources were spent. The light isn't really bright but you can see where you are going especially if otherwise it is pitch black!

I have seen a few sales on them with the spring gardening items, so it would be a good time to invest n them. You can even use them to help with lighting outside right now! I have solar lights that are 5 years old and still shining bright at night.
Here is an article about them:
Outdoor solar lights uses the identical action to generate power as the solar panels on your ceiling (or that you could set up on your ceiling, if you selected to). Essentially, it applies photovoltaic (PV) cells, which accumulate and switch solar energy into electrical energy. The PV cells apply semiconducting materials to engage the sun’s light, which interacts with the silicon and another components to produce electrical energy. The electrical energy runs over cables which power the battery, which in go powers the light. This is an highly simple explanation, but it will present you the common idea of how solar cells play. They can only make electrical energy from direct sunshine, which is why solar lighting wants a battery in order to be able to light up the dark.
So that the batteries to keep a constant charge, the solar light fixture should be in a position that meets full sunshine for almost of the daylight. If it just gets partial sunlight, because it’s barred by trees or other construction, or because your area has much of cloudy conditions, the batteries will run out earlier, and your fixture will supply light for a lower amount of time. Most outdoor solar lights fixtures own a backup power system which applies rechargeable batteries. Solar lights fixtures which apply a small amount of electrical energy frequently apply small AA Ni-Cad or NiMh batteries. But more strong solar lights fixtures (like head lights) apply a covered lead acid battery.
Photo detectors that automatically evaluate light degrees (like the kind that tells your photographic camera when to apply its flash) are constructed into the solar lights fixtures. They monitor light degrees and turn the fixture off at morning and on at nightfall. But get sure there are no artificial light sources (like a street lights or head light) that may contribute a wrong reading and forbid the light from turning on.
Outdoor solar lights usually utilizes LED bulbs. They apply less power than incandescent bulbs and, with a lifetime of around 20 years, are much longer-lasting. Until lately, solar lights overall has not been as bright as lighting powered straight by direct current electrical energy. But the earliest super bright LEDs can at present illuminate as well as halogen bulbs. http://solarlighting-s.com/outdoor-solar-lights/