Aug 4, 2010

Training part 3 Food (Part 1)

My mother knows how to can (Funny thought; why is it called “canning” when you use glass “jars”?) As soon as I can get the money together for the basic supplies, I’m going to begin canning, which will go well with Cooking and Gardening. I know it’s a fairly simple process, but like many things in life, as simple as it is, if you don’t know what you are doing you could end up wasting a lot of supplies and time, and in this case quite possibly poisoning yourself and your family if you do it wrong. If you have knowledge or advice, please post something so that I and everyone reading this blog can learn from your experience.

What can I say; Learn to cook without it coming from a box or can. Learn to cook over an open fire or if you have a small propane camping stove, learn how to do more than boiling water with it. If you stock food in volume (rice, beans, wheat, etc) don’t learn to eat it. Eat it as a part of your normal diet. You do not want to change your family’s diet in the middle of a disaster when everything is already up in the air; keeping anything you can as sable as before goes a long way to keeping everyone’s spirits up.

I know Cast Iron is big in camping, but it does take a certain amount of maintenance to keep from rusting. I’ve never had one break, but cast iron is more fragile than forged metal. If you use your regular day to day pots and pans, just watch out for plastic handles leaning too far into the fire. And if they are non-stick surfaces, please be careful to not scrape to the coating off when cleaning.

Boiling water can literally be the difference between life and death. I am currently watching a news report about flooding in Pakistan and the fact that diseases and just now beginning. You must boil uncertain water to kill pathogens or you and your family will be facing sever sickness including diarrhea nausea, vomiting and death. I have heard that water needs to boil from between 0 minutes to 5 minutes. I don’t know the truth of this but I would tend to err on the side of caution. Please keep in mind that at higher elevations boiling doesn’t work the same.

I remember being in Denver at a friend’s house. He was boiling water in a pan for something, and for several minutes you could stick your hand in the water perfectly safely, as the temperature had not risen yet. And that is the important factor: The temperature of the water. 212deg. F at sea level is what it takes to boil water and the temperature is what is necessary to kill the ickies in the water.

High Altitudes:

Water will boil at high altitudes, but it isn't as hot as boiling water at sea level. This is because the air pressure is lower at high elevations. Boiling occurs when the water is hot enough to have the same pressure as the surrounding air, so that it can form bubbles. At high altitudes, air pressure is lower than at sea level, so the water doesn't have to get so hot to get to boiling. Because the temperature of the boiling water is lower at high elevations than at sea level, it takes longer to bring water to a boil at higher altitudes than at sea level.

Most cookbooks consider 3,000 feet above sea level to be high altitude, although at 2,000 feet above sea level, the boiling temperature of water is 208 °F instead of 212 °F.

Adding a little salt to the water will cause the water to boil at a slightly higher temperature which can be helpful while cooking especially at high altitudes.

1. Use bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters if it is available.
2. If you don't have bottled water, you should boil water to make it safe. Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for boiling. Boil the water for one minute, let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers.
3. If you can't boil water, you can disinfect it using household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers.
4. If you have a well that has been flooded, the water should be tested and disinfected after flood waters recede. If you suspect that your well may be contaminated, contact your local or state health department or agriculture extension agent for specific advice.


1. Allow people to drink according to their needs. Many people need even more than the average of one-half gallon, per day. The individual amount needed depends on age, physical activity, physical condition, and time of year.
2. Never ration water unless ordered to do so by authorities. Drink the amount you need today and try to find more for tomorrow. Under no circumstances should a person drink less than one quart (four cups) of water each day. You can minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.
3. Drink water that you know is not contaminated first. If necessary, suspicious water, such as cloudy water from regular faucets or water from streams or ponds, can be used after it has been treated. If water treatment is not possible, put off drinking suspicious water as long as possible, but do not become dehydrated.
4. Do not drink carbonated beverages instead of drinking water. Carbonated beverages do not meet drinking-water requirements. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol dehydrate the body, which increases the need for drinking water.
5. Turn off the main water valves. You will need to protect the water sources already in your home from contamination if you hear reports of broken water or sewage lines, or if local officials advise you of a problem. To close the incoming water source, locate the incoming valve and turn it to the closed position. Be sure you and other family members know how to perform this important procedure.
5a. To use the water in your pipes, let air into the plumbing by turning on the faucet in your home at the highest level. A small amount of water will trickle out. Then obtain water from the lowest faucet in the home.
5b. To use the water in your hot-water tank, be sure the electricity or gas is off, and open the drain at the bottom of the tank. Start the water flowing by turning off the water intake valve at the tank and turning on the hot water faucet. Refill the tank before turning the gas or electricity back on. If the gas is turned off, a professional will be needed to turn it back on.

Included with this is learning how to start a fire. In my 24hr bag, I have flint and steel, a magnifying glass, tinder and a Bic lighter (oh and a P38 can opener). All of this fit in the palm of my hand. IF you can’t start a fire in winter, you-are-dead! I’m not (Unless you ask) going to describe all of the different ways to start a fire, there are 353,000 YouTube videos available for your perusal.


I don’t expect anyone to suddenly become farmer-bob, but having a few plants and trees around you that supplies fresh fruit, veggies, and roots and tubers (love that word). Like everything else in life, all good things in moderation. I like growing things from seeds, it lets me know that I did all the work, plus it’s cheap to get seeds when you’re eating the fruit anyway. Mostly in my opinion, gardening isn’t much more than watering regularly, pruning back the excess and harvesting before the birds and bugs get to everything. Below is a sample of some of the edibles I have grown in my life.

Asian Pear
Fiji Apple
Peppers (would get a harvest every couple of months)
Spice Garden Collection (this and that, and yes I cook with it)
Banana (never got fruit)

Some things that I would like to grow:
Mixed Fruit/Fruit cocktail
Blackberry (I’ve been warned that this is one you have to be extremely careful of as it grows out of control)
Jerusalem artichokes


  1. As far as canning goes, I don't know if one can do that with tomatoes and zucchini but if you'd like to give it a shot Brendan and I have an overabundance of both. He doesn't eat the zucchini because he "doesn't like it" and I won't eat any more of it after 2 or 3 years in a row of eating so much of it. Take it. Please...

    And Brendan has one very important rule as far as his vegetable garden goes and that is, "Mom isn't allowed to touch the plants." I have proven time and time again that any plant I touch will die. I'm just unlucky that way, I guess. :P

    On a more serious note, one should also be sure to keep water designated for drinking well out of the way of water used for anything else. Here's a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website's Safe Water System program: It's used very successfully in the so-called "developing" world and has prevented countless deaths from cholera, shigella, rotavirus and other microbes that cause waterborne diarrhea.

  2. Don't know what to do with zucchini as far as food prep, but I do know that both can be "canned".

    And you make an excellent point about keeping water separate. Brow, Grey, and potable,are each distinct and while you can filter and re-use Grey water for gardening(Generally water that is used for washing- hence the grey color) and potentially drinking with some sterilization (Boiling or bleach). Brown water on the other hand (Basically toilet water) Should not, in my opinion, be used for anything else. The chances of catching something really bad is just to high.