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Preparedness Nuggets

A Cyberbook of Practical Wisdom for Daily Living

gathered from internet discussion groups and edited for web publication by

Mrs. Julianne Wiley .

Part the Twelfth

Another great non-electric catalog

Build your own water distiller

Cook perfect rice

Cooking pinto beans

Cooling home-made soap

County extension office for canning advice

Crank/solar radios

Dehydrated food

Drying seeds

Fall gardening

Foraging off the land

Forever foods

Free or cheap 5 gallon buckets


Goatpaint and other products

Is lye soap harsh?

Mega-links for living green, off the grid

Milk and juice jugs for water

Mormon cannery

Planting store-bought potatoes?

Plastic food/water containers

Poison oak and ivy

Pump and seal

Pumping well water

Square foot gardening email discussion list

Storage food source

Storing eggs

Supplies and suppliers

Thermos cooking

Using those dried veggies

Vacuum sealer

Water in mylar-lined boxes

Water purification straw

Waterbeds for storing water?

Why not just buy water in jugs?


Try Krispy Kreme and other doughnut shops, bakeries, ice cream shops, Subway and other sandwich shops, the Deli or Bakery section to supermarket (WalMart Bakery doesn't charge, AND they give you the lids!) , laundromats, and house painters (to get buckets of water-based paints that will wash out cleanly.) Depending on condition, these can be used for water storage, food storage, or container gardening.



We bought the system of water boxes and they work great. We have them stored under all the beds and in the bottoms of closets: we just place our shoes on them instead of on the floor. The mylar keeps light out and prevents bacteria from forming. The mylar will expand to hold six gal. of water if the electricity is out and the water should freeze and expand. Or if you need to store them is an out building. The water boxes are lined with a mylar bag with a spigot and a plug. They can be used over and over. The boxes make them easy to store and to carry.

Each bag holds up to 6 gal. (in case of freezing) - itÆs designed for 5 gal. The sides would just expand a little. The kit includes 5 boxes and 5 bags for a total of 25 gal. From Emergency Essentials itÆs $25.00. Phone 1-800-999-1863. Or:



You might want to check out the website they have an extensive list of expiration dates of canned and prepackaged food. They have a category called storage life of groceries...



HereÆs why: The plastic containers 1 gal., 2.5 gal, etc. bought in stores will begin to develop leaks after 4 months. I bought 15 of the 2.5 gallon jugs a year ago, as I like to keep them on hand for emergencies. After a year, I found that many of them had leaked all the water out The plastic literally breaks down and begins to leech into the water. All water will begin to 'breed' bacteria after 3-6 months unless it is treated with chlorine or an aerator product like Aerobic Oxygen. This is true for plastic milk cartons, too.




Many of the dehydrated fruits sold by food storage companies come from one company -- Vacu Dry (707) 829-4637 (ask for Sarah). These products are actually low moisture foods (3-6% moisture, not dehydrated 20-25% moisture). (They supply dry fruits to cereal manufacturers.) They will sell to us in bulk!!! You can order factory-direct at a great savings IF purchasing their 25# boxes. (If you are purchasing smaller quantities, they will refer you to Scott Sperry at Food Storage Sales 801-268-3913 --- and youÆll miss out on the great bulk discount.)

YEAH!!! 25 lb boxes of low moisture fruits. Good turn around time! We should have them in time for our canning dates before the end of this year. They also produce "Perma Pak"...low moisture fruits prepackaged in #10 cans. They do NOT sell those directly. You must go through a distributor. WOW what a mark-up!

These boxes are sealed to keep out moisture. One product I highly recommend if #4 mesh prunes. These are little chunks that can be added to cereals, breads, etc. TheyÆre $3.65 per lb.(remember there are about 7-8 lbs. of fresh fruit per 1 lb. of dehydrated with no waste). Prunes an energy boost-- They also have lots of iron and other important nutrients. ---------------------------------------------


The company is United States Plastic Crop. out of Ohio. Their phone number is 1-800-537-9724. They have some great deals on plastic buckets (5 gallon) that are FDA approved ($3.92 + .83 for the cover. They also have MANY water storage containers (from 55 gallon drums at $42.15 new to 5 gallon containers at $3.20). In addition, if you buy in larger lots you can get discounts up to 15%.



Their "point" is reducing dependence on the large structures that are also what most of us are worried about relating to teotwaki. For mega-links regarding alternative shelter, power, community and etc., see these sites. One of the interesting finds herein is that there is already a network of "eco-villages", some in existence as long as 70 years, where experiments are on-going about developing a community that is not dependent upon outside imports of energy or exports of waste.

Sustainable living -- food, shelter, community

Eco-Village Information Service

The Knapp's Favorite Links Page

Earth-friendly and self-sufficient architectures



Emergency Essentials specialty is nonfood items like grain grinders and "72 hour kits", water box kits etc. You can order them by the item #-S21-KW-S100 Basic 25 Gal. Boxed Water at $25.00 per kit. This includes 5 boxes, 5 mylar bags, tape and instructions.

Your best bet on dry beans, carrots, onions, sugar, flour, rice, wheat, powdered milk, is an LDS cannery. They won't be in superpails but the #10 cans are sealed with an oxygen packet. Maybe this is better for use anyway since you don't have to open such a large amount. You will need to order powdered eggs, butter etc. elsewhere.

If you are ordering, you might want to consider some T. V. P. pails. Each pail contains over 1300 servings and is very inexpensive. I think we paid about $28.00 per pail last year and got chicken, beef, sausage and bacon. I figured a little of the TVP in some beans or rice would go a long way in flavor and for only pennies.

Order a good cookbook to help with these gourmet meals One of the best I have ordered is "Cooking With Home Storage" by Vicki Tate. Besides the usual, she has a last chapter on what to do when your home storage runs out. This includes how to cook frogs and grasshoppers. Let's hope that's one thing we never need to know!



We are the stewards of a flock of approximately 50 muscovy ducks. 35 are just chicks but we know we have 4 drakes and 11 hens of the mature ducks. They lay between 100 and 120 eggs a year per hen, if we end up with 20 hens that we keep that means about 2,000 delicious eggs. Naturally I am concerned about storing eggs. So here is some of my egg research. Lehman sells waterglass, enough to preserve 40 dozen, that means by my recipe they are selling about a 1/2 pint for approximately $21. I bought 1pt 14 oz (almost 2 pints) for $8.19 at the pharmacy. I simply asked for Sodium Silicate Solution. They can order it if they don't have it This brand is made by HUMCO out of Texarkana TX and will expire on Feb of 2003. 1 gallon of the solution (1 pint of sodium silicate solution to 9 or 10 pints of water yielding a little more than a gallon) should preserve 75 to 100 dozen eggs (900 - 1200 eggs) according to Carla Emery's an Encyclopedia of Country Living Old Fashioned Recipe Book. p 346.

Here are the details of the method referred to as the Water-glass method. Pack them between 24 hours and 4 day old eggs. Older eggs don't keep as well. Eggs with no roosters or drakes around will keep longer than fertile eggs, but of course you then have to cope with unhappy roosters or drakes.

20 years ago when she wrote the book it was about $1.05 a pint now its $4.10 a pint still a bargain. Again, check the pharmacy first and I was told that many car parts dealers also have it. It is a 1:9 ratio if you want smaller quantities just keep the ratio intact. 1 cup to 9 cups or in my case 1 pint to 9 pints of water.

Have your crock scaled clean to start with she used deep plastic cans. I used plastic for the few eggs I had. Boil the water and let it cool before you add the waterglass. Then pour the mixed solution into the crock. Remember not to fill the crock or container too full of the solution because you will be adding eggs so no more than a third full. Add the eggs. Make certain there is an extra 2 inches covering them. In hot weather it evaporates pretty fast so watch it carefully. Earthenware, enamel, glass or plastic all work fine.

Cover the container as tightly as you can. Don't let it freeze but store it in a cool dark place. It starts out clear liquid but gradually turns cloudy into a milk color sort of jelly. The book says it isn't harmful but the container had all these becarefuls on the labels so I asked the pharmacist and he said in a 1:9 ration it has no harmful effects. It won't hurt you if you get it on your hands after it is mixed but I wore gloves to mix it.

Make up enough solution as you go to handle any new eggs you put in. So if you are putting ten eggs make enough to cover them leaving 2 inches over the eggs. If it gets low due to evaporation add some more solution that is mixed 1:9. To use the egg you will have to wash them so the goop doesn't fall into the food or if you hard boil them you should prick the small end so they don't pop. The sodium silicate works by sealing the eggs and should keep them for up to a year.

Here is a neat tidbit - don't wash the egg before preserving it because the egg is actually covered by a natural sealer and without it it is more susceptible to bacteria and evaporation. Any particularly dirty eggs wash and use right away. Don't use cracked eggs. Carla says that eggs harvested between March and May keep better she is guessing that its because of the milder temperature.

To freeze eggs you should separate any that will need to added to recipes separated or only needs egg whites. When we do this we put the extra yolks in the egg mixture we make. The freezer life is 8 months (even enough for Minnesota winters). Wash the eggs thoroughly, use very well cleaned utensils (not just something out of a drawer). You will have to use them within 12 hours of thawing them, so keep your frozen packages small to avoid waste unless you are a family of 10, that should mean no more than 6 eggs at a pop. She uses baby food jars. Simply break the egg into a jar and label it as whole egg. If you do whites only for meringues or other recipes then be very careful that not even a speck of yolk gets in with them. Don't add anything to the whites. To do the yolks as 1 tsp. of honey per 1/2 cup of yolks or 1/4 tsp. salt per 1/2 cup of yolks be certain to label what you have done to the yolks.

1 1/2 TBSP. of thawed yolk equals 1 egg yolk

2 TBSP. of thawed egg white equals 1 egg white

3 TBSP. of whole egg equals 1 egg more or less.

One recipe also allowed for lightly mixed eggs as if you were going to make scrambled eggs with just a dash of salt.

GOOD RECIPE: ice cream mush (call it sorbet and people will think it's suppose to be that way)- It is nutritious but hard to gauge the hardness exactly. 1 cup of whipping cream, 6 eggs, 1 cup of crushed pineapple, 1 mashed banana, and diced section of orange. Whip cream and eggs separately. Add 1/4 tsp. vanilla. Fold the mixed fruit into the egg, then into the whipped cream. Put it in the freezer occasionally lifting it to keep the fruit from staying at the bottom. If you use blueberries or raspberries add a little honey to sweeten it. We used apples and added some honey and it was so goooood.

Crepes and French toast and fried egg sandwiches can all be made when the eggs are plentiful and be frozen. As long as we have electricity I plan on freezing things and in MN the winter will take care of it.

I am not going to worry about fat/cholesterol when my work level is increased, my stress level is increased and God has been kind enough to provide food. The feed for 50 ducks costs about $6.50 a month. I love the muscovy ducks we have they are friendly, polite, the hens are pretty and they like the snow and don't need a pond. The don't quack and they are wonderful mothers!

In all things and in all times Praise the name of the Lord.



Hi everyone. I subscribe to a service - that send out tips on a variety of topics. While NOT teotwaki related it offers a large number of brief 'daily' tips on a large number of topics which may interest ôpreparers.ö One example:


Square-foot gardening works on the principle that American gardening practice has been too heavily influenced by the demands of large-scale agriculture. The square-foot home garden, as popularized by Mel Bartholomew, takes up less space and is less labor-intensive than a traditional garden with 20-foot rows and 2 to 4 feet between rows. Talk with others who cultivate this efficient gardening style, send an e-mailto with the message subscribe sqf




You can add them to soup, zucchini bread, etc. I bought this soup mix at Sam's and read the was parboiled long grain rice, wild rice and dehydrated, green peppers, red

peppers, onions , etc. Anyway, you just added water. So I home-made the same mix. I added a bit of chicken bouillon: my 14year old son (the one with hollow legs when he eats), LOVED it.

I would always buy celery and before I used it all, some would go bad and I would end up giving it to the chickens. Well, now I use it fresh for whatever and they I dehydrate the rest. When I make soup, or potato salad, I just throw in a scoop of the dehydrated ones and it is great. I do rehydrate a bit for potato salad. You don't get the crunch of celery, but the taste comes through.



We have poison oak and ivy all over our place, so one of the things we're stocking up on is Calamine Lotion and Oak-N-Ivy Cleansing Treatment. But if we ever have to make-do without these OTC remedies, the following will work: Plantain or jewelweed (often found growing right next to the poison ivy), crushed to a mush and then applied to the rash.



@e purchased our food saver at a garage sale for $50. Since that time...about 5 years ago....we have seen several for sale at garage sales or in those Peddler Post's type newspapers. Also...if you live where they have "Service Merchandise" stores....they sell the Food Savers and at times SAM'S Warehouse has them The best one is the FoodSaver from Tilia. It goes for around $200.00, but you can get from Caribou Cry in Canada for 210.00 Canadian dollars, which translates to about $138.00 US dollars.

and click on "Other Resources," you will find a link to it there. -----------------------------------------------------------


Our family based business, Forever Foods, is Christian values based business which provides all-natural (i.e. NO preservatives) gourmet-style foods with 8-15 year storage life as well as organic sprouting seeds, peas/beans/grains, and even pre-packaged purified water.

If you'd like a catalog, price list, and 2-serving sample meal mailed to you, please send $10 ($5 for catalog only) by check or money order to:

Forever Foods

P.O. Box 207

Yamhill, OR 97148




...The first year you start just buy the seed potatoes you like then saved them after that. We love the red skinned potatoes here in Vermont. They seem to do well in the rocky ground and last long in the root cellar. Usually one eye of the potato makes one plant which will grow one lb. We can get 1000 lbs with 50 lbs of seed potatoes if everything is perfect. But we have been averaging 500 lbs to 700 lbs a year. Except the year we decided to give the garden a rest. I love potatoes because they are easy to grow and you can do all kinds of things with them. They also have vitamin c.

Store potatoes may have disease. Then again they may not. Commercial growers use certified seed potatoes. If you were to use your own potatoes year after year, you'd have the same chance of disease. So it's your choice. But they should work just fine. BTW, I'd plant in a different location each year. That helps prevent disease and bugs from getting *too* bad



All soap is made with lye. Even the expensive stuff in the stores. Soap is made with lye, but if it's done correctly, there is no lye in the finished product. A chemical reaction occurs between the lye and the oils. This is called saponification. You can make wonderful gentle emollient soap at home. You can use any oil you like, if you know how to adjust the amount of lye.

Do not use Drano! Use 100% lye. Yes, it is necessary to use some kind of lye. Our grandmothers made their own by leaching the wood ashes they had saved all winter from the fireplace and stove. But it was not as reliable as what is commercially available today. Might get really soft slimy soap, for example.



When making my soap I add ice cubes or frozen milk cubes to the lye. The recipe calls for three cups water or milk / with ice floating. That is why it doesn't get as hot as it would with just plain room temperature liquid

Guess what? You can use ice cubes and water to immerse the container you dissolve your lye and liquid in for my recipes too. This really helps speed up the time needed to make the soap. Another idea is to mix your lye and water the night before you plan to make soap. Just be sure you label it, cap it, put it up high, whatever is necessary to keep anyone from touching it!




Fruitful Acres, Rt. 1 Box 6991, Palatka, FL 32177. Catalog costs $2.

Christian family owned business.

We sell soapmaking supplies, among other things. Making soap is fairly easy, just be very careful with the lye. Buy a can of Red Devil Lye (or anything in the drain cleaner section of grocery store that says 100% lye - not Drano!). Get a good scale, like a kitchen scale or a postal scale. Here are a couple of recipes to try. They use cheap or easily accessible ingredients. Let me know what oils, etc. you have or would like to use. I can probably find a recipe for you.

Wear rubber gloves. Don't use any metal other than quality stainless steel. Don't use plastic that isn't capable of handling temps of at least 200*. Avoid breathing the fumes when you first add lye to water.

Sprinkle 2.35 oz. lye over 6.1 oz. water (measure as accurately as you can and then don't worry about it.) Set aside in a safe place (where no one will touch it or drink it). Let cool. Melt 16 oz. beef tallow that was previously rendered. Cool both tallow and lye to about 100*. some people recommend room temp so I assume it doesn't matter too much. Drizzle lye solution slowly into melted cooled tallow. Stir vigorously (wear gloves!) until it is the consistency of pudding. Pour into mold. cover and wrap in blankets to prevent temp variations. Wait 18 - 24 hours. Uncover, mark, and cut into bars. Let dry for 3 weeks before using. Turn occasionally during that time.

To substitute lard: use 16 oz. lard, 2.1 oz. lye, and 6 oz. water.

To substitute olive oil: use 16 oz. oil, 2 oz. lye, and 5.9 oz. water.

To add other oils for their nourishing properties to the skin (such as cocoa butter), add up to .75 oz. before pouring into mold. Stir well.

Let me know if you have any questions or problems.

Anne Keckler, Fruitful Acres



For all you new folks to canning and wondering what's safe and what isn't and so forth. Please take the time to stop by your local county extension office. I got a whole stack full of recipes and canning directions...which are always the most up-to-date guidelines from the USDA. All this is free to you. Many extension offices also offer canning classes for may as well use the services as long as they are available to you. The most recent flyer I got from them was how to can everything at 15lbs of pressure...since so few people actually adjust their weighted pressure canners. It's a one page reference sheet and I found it very helpful



The best book I've found on any goat related products, cheese, chevon recipes, soap, etc. Is the book "Goats Produce Too" by Mary Jane Toth. You can order the book from Mary Jane directly or Hoegger Supply.

Mary Jane Toth

2833 N. Lewis Rd.

Coleman, MI 48618

(517) 465-1982 The book is about $12

One of the best homestead investments I've ever made.



I think there are three basic reasons that rice gets sticky. Too much water, too long cooking and stirring when its simmering. I use 2 1/4 c. water to 1 c. brown rice (doesn't matter which variety). I heat til its boiling and simmer (covered)about 45 min. I don't peek until the end to make sure the liquid is gone. Personally I think warm brown rice with honey is delectable.



Have you tried sprouting? That is a nice way to have greens in the winter (and watch things grow!) Also, you could bring in any herb plants that you might have grown outside (parsley especially!) I'm going to bring in a patio tomato plant and see if I can get some out of it in the house. You could also build a cold frame in your garden and plant more cold hardy veggies in that.



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



You can get a crank radio with shortwave from Lehman's ( $115.00 includes shipping

Kansas Wind Power (785) 364-4407 $87.00

+ antennae $10.00 + S/H $10.00 = $107.00

Real Goods 1-800-762-7325

$109.00 + $19.95 for solar option + S/H $9.25

These Times (518) 392-2886

$97.50 + antennae $16.50 + S/H $8.50



Depending on the severity and duration of teotwaki, I thought some of us who may not be well schooled in foraging off the land may be interested in a "crash course" so I provided some useful information to that end. Much of this is redundant from link to link, but, I found some interesting info on many of the links. Hopefully we will not have to rely on these skills, but, better safe than sorry.

This site has some excellent information for those who may have to live off the land. Besides, this is simply good information to know in case of an emergency.

Captain Dave's Survival Center

Case a Month Club for those who want to stock up on food supplies but

cannot afford to do it all at once. It may be getting late, but, it is

better than nothing.

Link with articles related to survivalism

Various links with applicable info:



I dry much of our home grown produce, plus cherries, apples, bananas, peaches and beef jerky. The home produce includes carrots, parsley, peppers, and tomatoes. The trick is to make sure the veggies are completely dry, usually to the point where they are brittle to the touch, not soft or damp in any way. One bit of damp food in a bag can cause the whole bunch to mold. I store my dried veggies in small (sandwich size) ziplock bags, then I put those in a gallon bag, and put that in a bucket and seal it. The #1 test for dryness is to break apart the dried food and look for any minute beads of water. If there is even the tiniest drop of water( Look closely. You may or may not require a magnifying glass), the food is not dry enough.

I have simply stored everything I dry in plastic bags inside coffee cans. I have never once had mold problems or bugs. And I have literally stored for years! No O2 absorbers needed if the food is dried long enough. Better dried too much then not enough.

"Dried foods will last from one season to the next...For optimum quality, dried fruits and vegetables should be replaced annually...I repeat, I think it is a good idea to use dried foods within one year of drying them, just as you would canned and frozen foods."

If you find any MOLD, simply slice at the place. To prevent further mold, put dried pieces of food on Aluminum foil and bake at 200* for 15 minutes ------------------------------------------------------------------


What to do for water well if you can't get the water out without electricity? Install an old fashioned pitcher hand pump on your wellhead. This will work ONLY if your static level (the depth at which your water stands in the well when it's not being pumped) is under 21 feet. It doesn't matter how deep your well is. That has nothing to do with its static level. Many wells have a static level of 20 feet or less, even though theyÆre hundreds of feet deep. I used to be a well driller and drilled hundreds of them that fit this description

A pitcher pump will cost $50.-$65. at most building supply places. You'll need a check valve, shutoff valve, and some fittings. It's easy to do yourself. If you have a submersible pump (one that's placed near the bottom of your well), as most wells do, you won't need another drop pipe with a foot valve on it. You can actually pump the water by hand right through your pump and the pipe it hangs ON. (Note: the shut off valve will be turned off when the electricity is on and the pump is running. When the electricity is off the shut off valve will be opened. Just prime the hand pump and youÆre in business.)

Every well with a submersible pump has a tee valve on the top with a plug facing up. Turn off the power to the pump. TURN OFF THE POWER TO YOUR HOT WATER HEATER, drain the pressure tank (turn on an outside hose). Remove the plug at the top of the wellhead and plumb in you newly purchased hand pump. Any water well company can give you helpful advice as well as any pump co. With a little knowledge you can easily do it yourself . If you have a jet pump it gets a little more complicated, but not much. Ask for help and get it set up.

The most important thing in case of a crisis is having a water supply for you and your family. Please suggest this idea to your neighbors & friends. Here in Oregon we're going to put one on our church well to help those in the community who maybe weren't prepared when the power goes out.



From: Chip and Alice Cantrell <>

Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 16:53:19 -0500

I have only experimented with non-hybrid and heirloom seed saving for a few seasons now but I must say, the ones I have tried have been VERY viable with a germination rate well over what was claimed on the packages. We let the heirloom broccoli we grew last fall go to seed (probably about 18-24 plants) and what we didn't harvest soon enough is now coming up all over the garden! What we did harvest made literally MILLIONS of seeds and my mother has been sprouting them to eat like alfalfa seed. She says they are wonderful and even higher in all the vitamins and good stuff than the full grown broccoli itself! We did not use the oven(gas) or electricity to dry our seed.

For the beans and peas we waited for them to get fairly dry on the bush and then picked them and brought them in. Don't shell them right away, it's better if they can dry completely in their pods, then shell them. We just let them lay spread out on a sheet in the house for a couple of weeks. (Jacob's Cattle Beans are really great for saving, and growing and EATING !)

For the broccoli we just cut the whole bush down and hung it in the garage till dry. I guess you could do this with the beans too.

The pumpkins were stored in a cool place until eaten and that is when we took their seeds out and spread them on a cookie sheet to dry.

There are some really good heirloom seed companies on the web... The New Seed-Starters Handbook by Nancy Bubel

Great reference book for all "seed" questions. Instructions on how to start more than 200 plants from seed. Also source lists for seeds. Seed starting problem solutions. Seed saving tips for specific plants.

Rodale Press

Emmaus Penna.


WATER PURIFICATION STRAW TOP Click here: Survival Straw * A

Complete Water Purification System in a . . .straw</A>



You can use a water bed for water storage. Use Clorox at 1 tsp. per 10 gal h2o to keep bacteria down. There are algaecides sold to prevent algae growth in waterbeds: but we have use a waterbed for over 20 yrs and never added anything but water, and never had a problem. In those rare instances that we needed to drain the bed, the water came out clear, with no evidence of algae. I suspect that algae will usually not grow in waterbeds because of the lack of light. I don't think h2O2 will help for water purification. You might want to check the sites on long-term water storage (Captain Dave's site, Emergency Essentials, Watertanks, etc.--and others have this kind of info).

A lot of the flexible watertanks are made out of the same basic material as waterbed mattresses; in fact, the "bag in a box" bag is made by a waterbed manufacturer.

Our basic plan is to store our "main" water in flexible tanks like the above, using chlorine, and filter it before we drink it.



The Mormons don't offer everything a normal dried food storage company does, but they did have quite a bit. I just did the dried foods today and will be going back for more. Product is put in #10 cans and then nitrogen packed for freshness.

In comparing prices with some of these dried food storage companies, they were generally much cheaper. Some products were much less. Example: Hot cocoa mix- #10 can at Waltons is $14.45. Same thing at the Mormon Cannery was $5.21.

They also have a wet canning process that can be used, but they need a minimum of about 14 people at a time in order to make it worth starting up their steamers and cookers. Can get in with a larger group by appointment. Must commit to buying at least one case of each item, such as chicken noodle soup, beef stew, chili con carne, turkey chunks, potatoes, applesauce, etc.

You can't get everything there, but you can get quite a bit, and at great prices. Will also let you bring in your own food products and use their canning machine and nitro packs for a very small fee. Something like .50 per can.

And most importantly, you walk in and take it out with you. No waiting around for 15 week delivery times. Ouchhhh!

I understand there are about 30 or so of these canneries throughout the country. Check out your particular area.



With jugs that have had anything other than water, you have to presoak them in a concentrated solution of at least 10 drops per quart of bleach with a standard 5 1/4% Sodium Hypochlorite content like Clorox and some generic or store brands. Whatever brand you use, purity it important and we use Clorox. Some bleaches also contain soaps which might be good for laundry but not good for bleaching the contaminants from a plastic water container. For our use, the soap is itself a contaminant.

This procedure of pre-soaking plastic water containers is an old campers' trick. Boat and RV owners have used this procedure forever to get the plastic "taste" out of the water, particularly on new boat and RV water tanks. (Have you ever taken a drink from a garden hose on a hot day? YECH!) Dianne and I have also used container bleaching with success on 15, 25 and 55 gal. water barrels that had previously stored Pepsi concentrate.

We use the Clorox concentrate to pre-soak two barrels to economize. We let one barrel soak for about a week and then transfer the solution to a second barrel. After flushing the first barrel with clean water, we use a small "squirrel cage" fan to completely dry it. We take off both barrel caps and put the fan on top of one of the two holes. This fan takes very little electricity and helps insure no residual bacterial process from moisture trapped in the barrel after cleaning. The container is now ready for filling with the final fill of water with a much smaller concentration of bleach.

This method of "leaching" the taste and impurities from any plastic water container is an important tool to make the water better for drinking and cooking, particularly from containers with previous liquids other than water.

I expect that a water bed can also be made safe for water storage by bleach leaching.



From: Dick Agnew <>

Several years ago, a friend of mine was griping about having to buy distilled water. The long and short of it is that he and I worked together to build a solar water still. This is about how we did it.

As I recall, we had enough scrap on hand to do this without any purchases, and we found the plans in some dusty magazine, probably something like a popular mechanics or something.

We used an old shower door for the glass.


Sheet of glass - arbitrary size greater than 6 sqft

Sheet of plywood .5 to .75 thickness a little larger than glass

A length of 2X6 and a length of 2X4 the width of the glass

A shallow, narrow though - such as a 1" PVC pipe cut in half lengthwise or

use your imagination. Like build one from scrap wood. Also needs to be as

long as width if glass (approx.)

Small supply of waterproof paint and caulk.

Nail, screws and stuff.


Build a box the size of the glass, such that the glass will be a tight fitting lid. The box's ends use the 2X6 on one end and the 2X4 on the other. The bottom of the box is from plywood, as is the sides. The sides need to be cut at an angle so that the ends of each side are flush with the 2X ends. Once the box is built, use caulk and waterproof black paint to seal and protect the wood.

Using scrap plastic and PVC glue, block the ends of the trough so that it will hold water. Then drill a .25 diameter hole in one end and attach a short length of plastic tubing and seal well.

Mount the trough on the 2X4 at the shallow end so that it is about 1.5 in above the bottom of the box, drill a hole in the box to feed the plastic tubing through.

Run a bead of caulk along the width of the glass a little from one end such that the caulk will be directly above the trough when the glass lid is in place.

Place the box in a protected location in full sun, on a table or stand or saw horses. Pour in about a gallon or so of water you want to purify. Put the tubing into the mouth of a water jug. Place the glass lid on top, and wait.

The sun will warm the water, which will evaporate. The vapor will condense onto the glass and run down the underside of the glass till it reaches the caulk bead then it drips into the trough, and out the tube winding up in the water jug. If the temp. is too hot, the vapor might not condense on the glass. If this happens, pour a little cool non-purified water over the glass to cool it off every now and then,--careful not to get any of it into the purified water. I suggest emptying this every night to reduce bacteria build up. I also suggest using a mild bleach solution to disinfect the glass, trough, and tubing before use.

Most all commercially available silicon latex caulk would be safe for use in this. They typically include a mildew-cide, but shouldn't hurt. If you are concerned, use an aquarium save silicon caulk for the drip bead.

As I recall about 8 - 10 sqft glass surface can result in 1 gallon of purified water per day, depending on sun, temperature, and humidity.



I bought a Pump & Seal per the advise of my uncle who has used one with great success. He has canned food all his life and now dries most of it. He has several dryers and seems to like the ones with their own fan in them the best, one of them being a Mr. Coffee, that he bought at Walmart. Anyway, he keeps dried foods for years and really likes the Pump & Seal. I did tomatoes the other day and used mine for the first time. It seems very easy to use. It doesn&AElig;t come with many seals though so I ordered some from a man in W. Va. They cost about $7.00 per hundred. I sent a letter of to the company yesterday to see if I could order directly from them any cheaper. I'm anxious to try it on freezer bags as they say you wont get any freezer burn if you use it.



1. Soaking them overnight is a good idea, even though they don't seem very soft, they do cook quicker if this is done.

2. Once you have started them cooking, only add hot water, don't add cold. And don't add salt until the last half hour or so. Both of these have to do with making sure the skins of the beans are soft and not hard (no clues as to why it works, but it does).

3. Beans can be slow cooked in a Dutch oven covered with coals, it's been a long time since I've done it this way, but I would say if you buried them overnight they would be great in the AM, or put them on in the morning and eat them for dinner. Effectively, these are baked beans. Be sure to add a lot of water on this one, if you are starting with raw beans (at least four or five times the amount of beans, so the larger Dutch ovens are much better than the smaller ones).

4. Some people say sprouting the beans before cooking them increases the food content; can't vouch for personal experience here. Bean sprouts of all kinds are good to eat and often used in salads.

5. Beans are a very bland food, and thus the cultures which use beans as a mainstay are big on seasonings, and all of us should follow their example. Bay leaves, cumin, chili powder, garlic, onions (garlic powder/onion powder, or dried flakes), Italian seasonings (e.g. oregano), as well as maple syrup and sugar and tomato sauce can be used to flavor beans.

6. When cooking beans and fuel is a concern, here are my suggestions. The best would be to cook on top of a wood stove, or a Dutch-oven/campfire or fireplace. Any way you look at it, if you are using propane, it is going to be at least a couple of hours of propane cooking. One way around this, which will be my summer project this next year, while the natural gas is still working, is to cook a lot of the dried beans that I am buying right now and can them, so that cooking them in January 2000 will be a simple matter of grinding them. In a health food store, I've bought dehydrated refried beans, and I am thinking about trying that with my Wal-mart dehydrator (it will probably be necessary to use the mat that is usually used for fruit leather). Beans don't require bacon, salt pork, or ham hocks for flavor, they help, but might not be available if the stores aren't open. Vegetarian beans are more healthy, anyway. About half-way through the cooking process, I usually add some rice, whose protein compliments that of the beans to make a nutritionally complete protein for use in building human bodies umpteen ways.

7. One of the food preservation books I've consulted, can't remember which one right off the top of my head, will look for it and post it later, has recipes for vegetable and bean leather, made in a food dehydrator, which seems promising.

8. Dried beans can be ground into flour and substituted for part of the wheat in making bread, rolls, and biscuits (say 1 cup bean flour for 1 cup wheat flour). Adds nutritional value and compliments the wheat protein for the same reasons cited in 6 above.

9. You can use cooked pinto beans to make a great sweet pinto bean pie. Just make your typical recipe for pecan pie, only instead of using pecans, use pinto beans (flavored however they are). I have personally made this pie and while I have never served it to anyone who wasn't dubious about the first bite, everybody always asks for more and the pie never lasts more than one meal.

10. Cooked beans in spaghetti sauce, with perhaps some dried or fresh shredded carrot and squash, is a great topping for any kind of pasta.

11. In fact, in my own kind of crazed way in the kitchen, I tend to think of pinto beans as a general all-around substitute for hamburger. If I don't have hamburger, but I do have beans, just about any recipe that calls for hamburger I may cook using beans, thus, I have on occasion produced bean pie (instead of a meat pie), Bean Shepherd's Pie (this one has received rave reviews from all the carnivores who have tried it, even without the hamburger), and various combinations of beans, cheese, rice/noodles/macaroni, and vegetables, with various kinds of sauces (i.e. made from beef bouillon, or chicken bouillon, or cream of mushroom soup, etc.), in casseroles. And yes, I have made sandwiches from refried beans, onions, cheese, and mayonnaise. (tastes better than it sounds).

12. Thus far, we have hardly even touched on the wide variety of Mexican dishes that use beans, but the possibilities here include burritos, enchiladas, tostadas.

13. Beans for breakfast, over biscuits, or on toast, is very good.

14. I believe there are bean recipes on my website Better Times cookbook.

15. Beans come in many different formats, so to speak, and it is often fun to combine several different colors of beans for a festive soup or casserole.

16. Beans can be eaten every day, without boredom, as long as you have spices. they can be eaten without spices, of course, especially if the alternative is starvation, but people will complain and the quality of life will be deteriorated.

17. When making beans, you can add extra water and make bean soup. You can put dumplings, cooked rice, barley, or pasta in to make it a more hefty bean soup.

18. there are various recipes for bean burgers, but I haven't met one yet that I was satisfied with, but then, maybe I wasn't hungry enough. An exception is falafel, made from garbanzo beans, which is quite tasty, whether it is baked or fried.

19. If you soak the beans in water overnight, then cook them in a pressure cooker, it reduces the amount of time and fuel required drastically. Pressure cooking requires much less water than the old open-pot method, and water will be a prime commodity. You can put onions, garlic, cumin etc. in with the beans, but don't add salt or acidic things like tomatoes, or the beans will never soften. After they're cooked and soft (about 45 minutes) you can salt them and add dried ham soup base and things like that to season them. Yummy, cheap and nutritious.

20. I made a cardboard box solar oven here while back and cooked up a mess 'o beans. It was a crock pot type recipe, but I wound up adding more water. Cooked about 6 or 7 hours on a hot, sunny day. Served it up with embedded chips and embedded salsa so as to be politically correct (:0)> (just kidding 'bout the salsa)

21. We have decided to build an outdoor brickoven. They can be constructed simply or very ornately. One of the many uses for these ovens aside from baking bread is the heat that is "left over" after the initial baking is done is great for many things. You can simply put some beans, spices and water in an old fashioned bean crock, place in the oven over night. In the morning....baked beans. AND no fuel is used!!!! Just left over heat!!!

22. Another option is to hang an old-fashioned cooking crane in your fireplace (if you have one) and cook as you heat!

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.

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