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Thursday, March 24, 2011

How to Dehydrate Hamburger (Hamburger Rocks)

Raw Hamburger
How would you like to be able to store hamburger without having to freeze it?  How about being able to take advantage of a good sale without having to worry about how much freezer space it is going to take up?    What if you could  keep it for a couple of years or more just sitting on your shelf?  What if you could have it already cooked and ready to use in no time at all and with no thawing involved?  If this sounds like something you would be interested in,  then boy do I have some good news for you!  They are called Hamburger Rocks and they do! (Rock, that is!) And the best part?  Simple, easy to use and you can do it right in your own kitchen.
  There are countless recipes you can use with hamburger rocks.  Now with that being said, there are a few things that this stuff won't work for. You can't really "form" it so you won't be able to make things like meatballs or hamburger patties.  Other than that your imagination is your only limitation. Use it for things like taco meat,  spaghetti sauce, soups, chipped beef, meat pies, and  pizza toppings. Even Hamburger Helper just got even easier!!   Anything you usually use "crumbled" hamburger for, you can use hamburger rocks for.
Here's how you do it.

1. Brown your hamburger a skillet.  While you are cooking it be sure to break it up well. You don't want large chunks in your pan.
2. Once your hamburger is browned, drain all the grease from it.  An easy way to do that is to use a colander.
3. After you drain as much grease out as you can, rinse the meat with boiling hot water until the grease is gone and let it drain again. You want as little as possible in your meat.  Grease will make your meat go rancid pretty quickly.  You want to avoid this at all costs.
4. After you have the grease out and the meat is well drained, put it in a clean skillet. Season your meat with whatever you choose to use. I use salt, pepper onion powder and garlic powder.  Season it to your own taste. (You could make up different batches like "taco meat" or any other flavor)   Continue cooking until all the moisture is gone.  You want to get it as dry as you can without burning the meat.
5.If you are using a dehydrator, place your meat on the trays.  I would use screens or fruit roll up trays so the meat doesn't fall through.  If you are going to be using your oven, put the meat in a baking pan about 1/2 inch or so deep.  A cookie sheet or something similar works well.
6. Dry at 165 degrees for approximately 15 hours in your dehydrator.  For your oven (if you can't set it at 165 degrees) you may need to it at its lowest temperature. Put a spoon or something like it in the door to prop it open slightly.  This will allow the moisture to escape as well a lower the temperature slightly.
Stir every few hours to make sure it is evenly drying. When it is done, the meat will be dark brown and hard (like little rocks) with no moisture in it.
7. Store in air tight jars. You can use your vacuum sealer or o2 absorbers to draw out the air. 

To re-hydrate, place the meat in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  As with most dehydrated foods the rule of thumb is 2 parts water to 1 part meat.
And there you have it.  A really simple way to store hamburger meat with minimal effort.

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Get the Training You Need...Here's How

Original Article

As a survivalist, or basically anyone who wants to learn a new skill, there are bunch of ways to go about your task of learning. First, you will want to pick something that you want to learn. Obviously it should be able to add value to your current or future situation. In the survivalist arena, some good things to learn may be: HAM radio, emergency medical responder, martial arts, how to fight, outdoor survival, how to hunt, how to fish, animal tracking, how to shoot/improve your shooting skills, how to can food, etc.
This is how you can go about learning said skill(s):
  • Take a class. This is the best way to learn something because you will have the opportunity for hands-on practice as well as have someone to ask questions of.
  • Read. Go to the library and check out every possible book on your topic.
  • Check out YouTube. Here are some examples of educational videos available online that I posted over on the CNI site: Example #1 Example #2
  • Find a club or group to participate in. I've belonged to shooting clubs, HAM radio clubs, backpacking groups, etc. The real benefit is being able to tap people more knowledgeable than yourself and learn from them as well as being "in the loop" when new products/items come out.
  • Find a mentor. No matter what you want to learn--shooting to business management--there is always someone who has been there before. If you find one of these people that has learned how to be successful at whatever it is you want to learn, plus they have the heart of a teacher, you will have a mentor who can help you get to where you want to be in regards to your skill development.
  • Google. There are probably a million and one websites devoted to what you want to learn. Find them and learn from them.
  • Practice. No matter what you want to learn, if you don't practice at it you will never be able to optimize your skill. So practice. Religiously.
  • Attend conventions, meet-ups, and other gatherings devoted to your area of interest. This is a great way to learn new things and network with like-minded people.
  • Put your skills to work. Once you have a good grasp of your new skill, consider using them in day to day life. I know quite a few HAM radio enthusiasts who also volunteer with ARES and RACES. I know quite a few outdoor enthusiasts who also volunteer with Search and Rescue. I know quite a few doctors, nurses, and paramedics who volunteer with humanitarian aid efforts in disaster areas. Again, this is another way to refine your skills, share what you know, help others, and learn new things.
  • Teach others. Once you have a good grasp on your new skill, consider how you can share it with others. Maybe you can teach a class, start a blog, start a website, or participate in forums. This will allow you to help newcomers as well as learn new things yourself.
  • Compete. HAM radio contesting. Participating in the Dakar Rally. Running a marathon. Scaling a mountain. Participating in shooting tournaments. Entering your canned vegetables at the county fair. Most skills you learn will also have an element of challenge to them if you want to up the ante and compete with others in your chosen field.
Learning something new is not a one time thing. Most skills that you will find useful will require some or all of the above tactics in order to become proficient. The good part is that once you learn a skill, you very rarely forget it, and you never know when said skill will come in handy (ie: a SHTF scenario or just helping your son's Boy Scout troop earn a new badge).

#10 Cans and 5 Gallon Buckets: How Much Can They Hold?

Original Article

Don’t you hate it when you buy your foods in bulk along with some buckets and then end up with one bucket too few when you repackage it all?
Or how about when you get your food storage calculator all filled out and it says to buy 600 pounds of wheat and you have NO IDEA how many buckets or cans that equates to?
Well we just spent the day perusing the internet to come up with a handy chart for you that includes the most common items recommended for long term food storage and how many pounds you can store in both #10 cans and 5 gallon buckets. Please note these are estimates depending on how you are packaging (i.e. using mylar bags or not)
Food Item #10 Can 5 Gallon Bucket
Wheat 5 pounds 37 pounds
White Flour 4.5 pounds 33 pounds
Cornmeal 4.3 pounds 33 pounds
Popcorn 5 pounds 37 pounds
Rolled Oats 2.5 pounds 20 pounds
White Rice 5.3 pounds 36 pounds
Spaghetti N/A 30 pounds
Macaroni 3.1 pounds 21 pounds
Dried Beans 5.6 pounds 35 pounds
Lima Beans 5.4 pounds 35 pounds
Soy Beans 5 pounds 33 pounds
Split Peas 5 pounds 33 pounds
Lentils 5.5 pounds 35 pounds
White Sugar 5.7 pounds 35 pounds
Brown Sugar 4.42 pounds 33 pounds
Powdered Milk 3 pounds 29 pounds
Powdered Eggs 2.6 pounds 20 pounds

#10 can data comes from ShelfReliance.com and is what THEIR #10 cans contain. Numbers could be slightly more or less elsewhere.
We will be making this into a cute handout to include in our next batch of free binder updates, but in the meantime it’s a great info sheet to print out and keep with you when you are shopping or ordering your foods online.