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Preparedness Nuggets 11

A Cyberbook of Practical Wisdom for Daily Living

gathered from internet discussion groups and edited for web publication by Mrs. Julianne Wiley .

Part the Eleventh


Great zucchini salsa for canning

Grow potatoes vertically

More preparedness books

Nutrition data

Odd grains/make noodles

Bay leaves for storing rice

Rootbeer recipe

Salsa canning recipe

Scrounge the used book stores

Simplest solar cooker

Thermos cooking

Unusual recipes in old canning books

Using dried veggies

Water storage information

Well drilling


I'd recommend the book "Stocking up III". It's an all around good reference...everything from drying foods, canning, making cheese, etc.

Zucchini and Summer squash....we have found that we like grating the zucchini before drying. I then can rehydrate it quickly for pizza's, soups and breads. The yellow summer squash is our favorite for breads so I do dehydrate some of it grated but the rest we slice very thin with our

food processor and dehydrate. It's is a bit tougher when you rehydate it but if you steam it while you fry it or steam it while cooking in butter and's just fine.

Peppers....I usually just chop those and dry them. Add them to soups and chilies and such. I've been told you can do strips and they rehydrate OK but have never tried it myself.



Maria's Zucchini Salsa

10 - 15 cups grated unpeeled zucchini ( about 3 - 5 medium zucchinis )

8 oz. jalapenos ( the first time I used canned jalapenos and it was mild, then I used about 3 jalapenos and it was a little spicier -- you can add up to 16 oz. but that's too spicy for me )

3 - 5 cups chopped onion ( about 4 medium onions )

Mix and refrigerate overnight. Use plastic gloves when handling jalapenos. (I didn't and suffered -- real hot, red hands all night long ) Rinse and drain the next day.

5 - 10 cups chopped tomatoes

5 cloves garlic

2 cups vinegar

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 gallon tomato sauce

1 tsp. cumin

1 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. dry mustard

1 TBSP chili powder

1 TBSP corn starch

2 TBSP cilantro ( coriander )

Simmer above ingredients together with the refrigerated mixture for about 1/2 hour. Process pints for 20 minutes or quarts for 45 minutes ( water bath ).Pressure canning, process pints at 10 lbs. for 15 minutes. Makes about 17 pints.



Just discovered this new site--run by the people-- a place where you can post questions specifically about water storage and get answers from the watertanks folks (and it looks like you can start discussion threads, too, although' the site is too new for that to have happened so far)



Here's the info. I'd gotten from well-digger Ken Casey (753-3691) here in Upper East Tennessee. Things may or may not be different in your part of the country because of geological and/or state regulatory differences.

1. Water tables: in East Tennessee, stable: no problems with water table dropping because of drought.

2. Contamination: most well water is contaminated to *some* extent due to leaking city sewer pipes, leaking gas-station underground storage tanks, and/or leaking rural septic systems, farm feedlot (animal manure) and agricultural nitrate contamination, etc. Advise having it tested and, if necessary, running it through a purifier that uses UV light.

3. Price: Drilling - $10/ft. Casing: $5/ft. The purpose of the casing is to keep the sides of the well rigid. They use casing in most soils but do not use it once they hit rock, because then the rocky sides do not need reinforcement. So let's say you had a 250 ft. well, and the drillers hit rock at 60 feet. The cost would be:

(250 x $10) + (60 x $5) = $2500 + $300 = $2800

BUT you don't know til you're finished, how deep that well is going to have to be. It could be 100 feet, or 250 feet, or 500 feet. And so it could end up costing you, say, $1500 or $5000 or $8000, and WHATEVER it was, you'd have to pay for it. Hm.

4. Hand-pumping: you can hand-pump maybe 100 feet. For hand-pumping and windmill-powered pumping, check out the Lehman's catalog online:

5. This is an intriguing possibility: you could buy your own drill, and drill your own water well. You can get a "kit" complete with instructions and a video, from:


2200 Anderson Road

P.O. Box 1

Opelika, AL 36803-0001

They claim that it USUALLY comes out cheaper to dig your own, and then you can use the rig to dig other people's wells, and make a profit.



Did you know you can save lots of energy by cooking many things in a thermos. I have cooked beans, wheat and rice in a thermos very successfully. Some beans require 2 heatings but most things only need the initial heating and more time than usual.

For more information and good instructions go to



Wheat and rice are the staple foods of billions and, if prepared my way, will fill you up, give you boundless energy; and cost next to nothing.

60 pounds of hard red winter wheat, the highest in protein, minerals and vitamins, averages $8.00 (240 breakfasts at 4 cents each). Brown rice, also higher in nutrition than white, costs $14.00 for 25 pounds. Also 200 servings since rice swells twice as large as wheat. These are bought in bulk at any feed and seed store.

I do not mean that wheat and rice, plain, is what I am asking you to live on. When is the last time you have eaten a potato plain? I am simply suggesting you process all your food in inexpensive, energy-saving ways and eat better than you ever have for less than $10.00 per week.

First the thermos. There are three kinds but only one is practical. Forget the cheap, plastic ones lined with Styrofoam. These might cook oatmeal and white rice but do not have the heat holding power you need. Silvered glass thermoses are fine, but a bump will break them. Also, since you are going to do actual cooking and will use a fork to remove the contents, they will not hold up.

The only practical cooking thermos is the Aladdin Stanley. It is lined with stainless steel, is well insulated and will keep steaming hot for up to 24 hours and holds a quart. It is also unbreakable, with a lifetime warranty. It costs $22.00 at Wal-Mart or can be ordered through any sporting goods store. It would save you its price in a few days. If you have a family, get two or three.

Most foods cook at 180 degrees or more. We are used to boiling, which is 212 degrees, and foods do cook faster, the higher the temperature. But if time is not important, cooking at a lower temperature is even better as most vitamins are not broken down. Thus, if you cook at a minimum heat, you save nutrition.

A great factor in thermos cooking is the saving in the cost of energy. Whereas it would take about two hours to cook whole-grain wheat or nearly an hour to cook brown rice. Thermos cookery takes only five minutes of actual fuel-burning to cook. So youÆll save as much in energy as you spend on the food. imagine the convenience of thermos cookery in camping, which would save on wood, weight of food carried, and no food odors to alert bears or raccoons.

Thermos cookery is also an advantage to anyone living where he is not allowed to cook. There are no cooking odors to tip off the landlord.

First, you need the thermos. Then you need a heat source. If you are in a non-cooking room, buy a cheap, one burner hot plate from your local Wal-Mart, Target, Sears etc. You will need a one quart saucepan. You will also need a special funnel to quickly pour the pan's contents into the thermos, plus a spoon or fork to help the last of the food into the funnel.

To make the funnel, cut off the bottom four inches from a gallon plastic milk container. If you do not buy milk or cannot find an empty container, go to your nearest Laundromat. You will find in the trash receptacle, an empty gallon bleach bottle. Use that the same as the milk container but wash it until there is no more bleach odor.

The first step in thermos cookery is to fill the thermos with water up to the point reached by the stopper. Empty the water into the saucepan and make a scratch or other indelible mark at the water's surface inside the saucepan. This will allow you to put just enough water in the saucepan, as too much will leave food out and too little will give you less cooking water.

Just to test how the cooker works, start with four ounces of wheat. You do not need to buy 60 pounds. You can buy two pounds from your health food store for about $.80 This would give you eight meals at 10 cents each. In the evening, put four ounces in your saucepan, plus a half-teaspoon of salt to prevent flatness, even if you intend to sweeten it. Fill to the mark with water. (If you have hot water, let the tap run until it is hottest. Tests have shown that less energy is used in using hot tap water than in boiling from cold.) Bring the contents to a rolling boil, stirring all the while. This will take from three to five minutes.

Then quickly, but carefully, swirl and pour the contents into the funnel and help any lagging matter from the pan to the funnel and into the thermos. Cap firmly but not tightly, shake and lay the thermos on its side, to keep the contents even.

Next morning open the thermos and pour its contents into the saucepan. With four ounces of dry wheat, you will now have at least 3/4 pound of cooked wheat and about a pint of vitamin and mineral enriched water. It has a pleasant taste. Drink it.

You can now put milk and sweetener on it or margarine, salt and pepper, etc. If you can eat the whole 3/4 of a pound, you will be surprised at how energetic you feel for the next several hours. An added bonus is its high fiber content.

Having tried the four ounce portion, you might next use eight ounces. This will absorb most of the water. It is unlikely that you could eat a pound and a half of cooked whole grain wheat. You can either divide it and eat the other half for supper or if you are a family man, make it the family breakfast food to replace the expensive brand. If you have children, get them into the act by fantasizing they are Rangers on a jungle patrol. For lunch, prepare a few ounces of hamburger or other meat chopped finely, plus chopped potatoes and other vegetables the night before. After breakfast, put these and the right amount of water in the saucepan and prepare as usual. At lunchtime you will have a quart of really delicious stew. Since nothing leaves the thermos in cooking, as contrasted to the flavor leaving stew cooking on the stove, you can understand the better tasting, higher vitamin content of thermos stew.

Lunch and possibly supper should not cost you more than 25 cents if you study the article on the dehydrator. Jerky and dried vegetable stew is good and costs little.

The brown rice dishes could also be either a main course or desert. Brown rice has a much greater swelling factor than wheat so four ounces of rice will pretty much fill the thermos. You can put vegetables and meat in it to cook or try a favorite of mine. It is four ounces of brown rice, 9 cents; one ounce of powdered milk, 10 cents in a large box; two ounces of raisins, 22 cents; one teaspoon of salt; some cinnamon and four saccharine tablets. Cook overnight. This is 46 cents for 1 1/2 pounds of desert.

With some experimenting, you can become an expert in thermos cookery. If you are single and live alone, you could, conceivably, eat nothing except what you cooked in a thermos. But if you are married, and especially if you have children, don't push it. Even with the economy of this system, it's not worth alienating your family. If your wife doesn't like it, challenge her to make the food tastier and think up some thermos recipes. You might also tell her the advantages of thermos cookery.

For one thing, she would spend much less time in the kitchen. What with the expected brownouts, she could do all the cooking in five, ten, fifteen minutes, depending on how many thermos bottles she used. Another important factor is that, especially during the heat waves, the home would not suffer the added heat from the kitchen.

I noticed in I believe the Seventh Generation catalog something similar: it's actually a slow cooker that works on the same principle. You boil the food.... then put it into the cooker. The cooker is non-electric and will keep the food hot up to 14 hours. I may get one to save on my use of propane for those long stewing things. I've also come to appreciate my 6 qt stainless steel pressure cooker for fast cooking....especially beans.



This is good, but a little tart due to the vinegar in it. My County Extension home economist says do not alter the recipe, since the time and pressure of processing is dependent on the acidity of the recipe. All in all, I think salsa is better fresh or frozen. Has anybody tried dehydrating all the ingredients, and then preparing a "mix" that can be reconstituted with water? Anyway, here ya go:

5 lb. tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2 lb. green chili, peeled and chopped

1 lb. onion, chopped

3 t. salt

1/2 t. pepper

1 c. vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a large kettle. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes. Fill jars, leaving 1/2 in. headspace. Adjust lids and process in a boiling-water canner - pints 20 minutes, 25 minutes if you live above 6000 ft. altitude.



In North Carolina, potatoes can be planted in the Fall with this method: loosen the soil; .....lay a car tire on top of it.... put a layer of leaf mulch down on the ground inside the tire, then lay your potato 'seed' on top. Then apply another layer of leaf or straw mulch, and then a layer of soil.

Roots will begin to grow before it gets too cold because the mulch breaking down, producing heat, plus the black rubber of the tire absorbs the sun's heat and protects the 'seed.' .

Come spring your above ground growing takes place and you have an early, well-established plant. THEN: you keep adding soil and mulch around the bottom of the plant as it gets taller, covering the bottom inches of the plant but always leaving 7 - 8 inches of green potato leaves growing up top; and you keep stacking more tires on top. Eventually you have a modest "tower of tires" with the green part of the plant still growing out the top one.

To harvest: just knock over the tire tower. You'll find many dozens of beautiful big potatoes.



Great day at the used bookstore! I found a pamphlet from our local propane dealer in 1945 on dehydrating food. The directions stated that you stretch cheese cloth over wood frames (attach it with staples or thumb tacks) put vegetables thinly sliced one layer thick on the cheese cloth and in their oven) the pilot light alone would provide enough heat to dehydrate many of the veggies in about 12 - 48 hours some more dense vegetables might require the warming setting.

And in the antique book section:

1935 Blue canning book. How to can frog legs and meat and make jelly without store bought additional pectin.

1916 Poultry book (I raise ducks and a few bantam chickens) It had pictures of recommended chicken coups, how to grow oats inside, and incubators with kerosene lamps attached to the side with detailed details.

1945 Mirro Pressure cooker book that had wonderful tips on using their new pressure cooker and included scads of recipes. We have a wood/propane stove and I will want to minimize especially in the summer extra cooking time and the pressure cooker will help do that and in the winter it will reduce the amount of propane needed to cook some things.

I also got how to used dried fruit and vegetables pamphlet - all the cook books came to less than $6.00 please start scrounging for materials written to help the housewives of America from both wars. The writing is endearing and was an obvious way to try to support women who were left on the home front. I was touched by the care and love that was written in a handout book or pamphlet and wondered if we will all be writing for new brides and other survivors the same way with as much care. I hope so.





My sister loved a book she had: "Better Homes and Garden....Home Canning and freezing". . Much to her dismay...the book is not being produced anymore. ...then this weekend while looking at an antique store I found the book for $1.50. My printing has a date of 1986. ISBN: 0696-010607

Here's a list of the type of unusual canning recipes included.

Old Fashioned Beef Stew

All the soup stock recipes

Garden Pea Soup

Pepperpot Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

Ham-Bean Soup

Fish Stew

Basic Meatballs

Chili Con Carne

Basic Ground Beef

Italian Meat Sauce

Fish Creole

Swiss Steak

Chicken ALA King

Beef Stroganoff

Curried Lamb

Barbecue meat for Sandwiches

In addition....I seem to have the bumper crop of Eggplant coming on this year. I was wondering how on earth I was going to preserve it in a way that we'd eat it. We don't like it fried and mostly put it into Ratatouille. Then I found out I can can Ratatouille for an instant meal... just cook up some rice...heat the mix from the jar for 20 minutes....and dinner is served....almost as fast as microwave cooking!.

NOTE FROM JUSTPEACE WEBSERVANT: When using old canning recipes, disregard the instructions for processing times and use the modern times specified by the USDA and found in places like the Ball canning book and etc. The science of home preservation has done considerable research since older books were published, and thus you need to use the modern version for all home canning purposes.



The USDA knows! And you can know as well, by checking their searchable database on the Internet, at no charge, paid for by your taxes.

To check on foods in general go to: and search the database. E.g., under "squash," one cup of boiled zucchini is completely evaluated at:




Here is my recipe for Noodles...

4 med eggs 4 half eggshells water

2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt

flour (can be white, wheat, amaranth, spelt, triticale, rice, bean,


Mix eggs, water, baking powder and salt thoroughly. Add enough flour to form stiff dough. (I'm not saying how much flour, because different flours have different absorbency and will require different amounts. Just add til it "feels" like a stiff dough.) Roll out thin and cut into strips. Let dry. Drop into boiling chicken, ham, or beef broth. Stir lightly. Then cover and boil, without stirring, until tender (approx.. 10 minutes).



Here's the recipe:

4 gal. water

4 lbs. sugar

1/2 tsp.. yeast


Mix water and sugar together til dissolved. Put yeast in 1 pint of warm water to dissolve. Pour in with water and sugar. Add contents of one bottle of Rootbeer extract. Mix well and bottle immediately. Keep out of sun and let sit 2-3 days.

Here are the amendments we make: NO YEAST - we like it better without it. We don't bottle it, we just let it sit in a cool place overnight in a stoneware crock.



Check the following web site for solar cooking:

it is called the minimum solar box cooker Lots of do-it-yourself information.



The only advice I can offer regarding that fact that I've kept my brown rice for a couple of years is (1) freeze the grain for 24 hours (in 5-lb batches, if you don't have room in your freezer to do it all at once)--- this kills any live bugs or bug eggs that may already be there; and (2) put bay leaves on top of every grain container that you store. This will deter any NEW bugs from getting in. I buy the big container of bay leaves at SamÆs and I put the leaves all over the top. Works with any dried grain, seed or bean you're trying to store: bay leaves repel insects.

For much greater detail about my plans for adapting my "urban homestead" to meet the looming challenges of peak oil, climate instability, and economic irrationality, see Gatewood Urban Homestead, the permaculture design for my home.

Better Times Cookbook V | Justpeace | Better Times | | Access to Energy Conservation | On Pilgrimage in Oklahoma City | Bookstore | Better Times II | Bulgar Bugle | Mutual Aid (Grassroots home and community scale disaster preparations)