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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Basic Herb Information

Dried thyme (Thymus vulgaris). This is a focus...Image via Wikipedia
Storing HerbsSunlight ruins cut herbs, so tie them loosely but securely in a plastic bag and put them int he lowest part of the refrigerator. Herbes like cut chives, tarraogon and chervil are good up to a week, mint for two weeks, and thyme, sage and rosemary even longer.

Freezing HerbsChopped and stored in freezer tubs, herbs can be useful during the winter, however fresh is always preferred. Probably the best way to freeze herbs, however, is by making herb butter (either of the mixed herbs or individual ones).

Chopping Herbs
Ideally you need a good-sized cook's knife with a 7 inch blade that is slightly curved and a wooden chopping board. Chopping gadgets tend to squash the herbs and make them mushy. Arrange the herbs on the choping board by spreading them out, then rest the blade of the knife horizontally on the board at the edge furthest away from you. Hold the pointed end between the finger and thumb of one hand to steady it, take the handle in the other hand, and make sharp cutting movements swingng the handle towards you as you chop - so that the blade swivels in a fan shape across the herbs, and back again.
Chives are an exception as they are far easier snipped with kitchen scissors. Basil should have its leaves torn rather than chopped to best retain all the fragrant oils.

Herbs recommended to work well in their dried form

Basil - nowhere near the character and flavor as it is fresh, but works fine in soups and sauces through the winter
Bay leaves - better dried than fresh as they can tend to have a bitter flavor
Dill - can be used successfully if you infuse the leaves in warm water for a few minutes, then drain and use as fresh
Oregano - works well and as a substitute for marjoram
Rosemary - works alright, but it is recommended to be chopped as finely as possible since it's much more spiky when dried
Sage - dries well without losing much flavor
Tarragon - dried is useful if you steep it in warm water for a minute or two before using
Thyme - works well, especially in stocks and stews

Thanks Stephanie for this post!

SILVER AS A SAFETY NET


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Simply Sprouting

Sprouts are a delicious alternative to expensive bottles of vitamins which can lose their nutritional value as well as expire within a year of it being purchased.  In fact, sprouts provide the highest amount of vitamins, minerals, proteins and enzymes of any of food per unit of calorie.  Enzymes are important because they heal the body, cleanse the body, prevent diseases, enhance general functioning of bodily organs, aid in digestion, and remove gas from the stomach.  
Once a seed has germinated, it begins to sprout.  Within these sprouts contains vitamins A, B, C and E, and K, as well as, Calcium, Potassium, Zinc, Chlorophyll, amino acids, and up to 35% protein.  Inside these small biogenic (living) foods lies essential nutrients and vitamins that can assist in providing a good portion one’s daily requirement of nutrients.  Sprouts can grow anywhere, during any season, and require minimal work.
These small living plants, are commonly referred to as complete foods because they are packed with high levels of complete proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and extraordinary amounts of protein.  When eaten, the sprouts provide the body with nutrition and gives the body what it needs to stay strong and healthy on a daily basis.  In fact, James Wesley Rawles creator of the Survivor Blog  believes that “ounce for ounce, sprouting seeds are the most nutritious and space and weight efficient form of storage food!”

Anything Can Be Made Into a Sprout

 The most common types of seeds to sprout include alfalfa, fenugreek, peas, lentils, radish, broccoli, cabbage, mustard seed, garbanzos, quinoa and red clover.  However, many people sprout grains, nuts, and an assortment of beans as well.
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Sprout Safety

Because raw foods have been known to carry traces of salmonella and e. coli, it is suggested to use organic seeds or untreated seeds since these type of seeds have no traces of insecticides and have been handled in a way that minimizes contamination.  Additionally, persons that have compromised immune systems or those that are very young should avoid raw sprouts.  It is best not to use seeds from the nightshade family, such as tomato, eggplant, cayenne, ground cherry, paprika, potato, sweet pepper.  They can cause serious illness.  However, any other type of seed is fine.  They can be cooked or eaten raw, and can easily be incorporated into one’s diet.
Related Articles and E-Books:
Make Your Own Sprouter
The Ultimate Guide To Sprouting

Episode 62 - Back to Basics - Jump Starting your Shelter, Fire and Warmth preps

Continuing our mini-series on jump starting your preparedness, we look at some things you can do to for maintaining shelter, fire and warmth.

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