News Flash…White Flour is NOT Forever!

For years I  have assumed the accepted  belief that white flour has an indeterminate life cycle and that once it’s packed, it is good for life.

Home Storage Friends, I’ve got some seriously bad news for you, white flour is not forever!

Boy – did I receive a tasty surprise when I discovered a couple of white flour buckets that had gotten tucked behind other items.

These flour buckets were dated 2009 and yes, it had the original flour still inside.
I thought, “Ooooh, I need to use this stuff!” and proceeded to make a double batch of biscuits.

Well, That was a BIG mistake!

During dinner, my kids and their friends – (what a way to make an impression) – seemed to turn bit white, while gagging slightly, when they took their first bite of these mirages of flaky goodness.  Even after their first  bite,they were troopers as they attempted to mask the beyond bitter taste with butter, honey and/or cinnamon sugar.

One of the neighbor kids at the table stated that my biscuits tasted like really bad play-dough.  The expressed consensus throughout the meal was that rancid play-dough doesn’t really taste very good.

The last time I had gotten a ‘compliment’ like this from a non-bias crowd was when I served some roll-out sugar cookies several years ago to the children of a good friend – the recipe for these cookies I found on the Martha Stewart website and had felt pretty confident that they were be the ‘bees-knees’.

My friends kids were kinder than my own.
The older girl in the car simply asked me if I was serving the ‘play-dough’ cookies again.
It was an awkward moment, but I took it well by incorporating generous amounts of humor.
If I can’t laugh at myself then I won’t have any fun when my friends are laughing at me.

FYI: I am very sure that it was the slightly aged flour, not the recipe,
that brought on the less-than-desirable play-dough taste.

My mistaken imaginations of forever white flour were shattered this past week as I slaughtered a double-batch of innocent biscuits.

I will say it again: Home Storage Friends, I’ve got some seriously bad news for you, white flour is NOT forever!

I truly feel concern for those who have acquired their ‘food-storage’, (hunkering down for decades in grandmas basement) either by early inheritance, or by personal investment…the day will come when you will need to eat it.  Make sure it is edible today to ensure you can eat it tomorrow.

If you have those #10 cans or 5 gallon buckets of white flour that are dated beyond two years from their original packing – unless they are vacuum sealed in Mylar or food sealer bags – then your white flour probably tastes pretty nasty right now.

This past incident with my flour being 7 years old just topped my record of serving some pretty nasty food.  Believe me, starvation would definitely more flavorful that those biscuits.  I don’t think there is any amount of sugar, milk, butter or other flavor altering ingredient that can fix rancid flour.

I mean it was rancid!  Not just the “Ewe, that’s stale.” taste, it was more like the “Ugh! Get this nasty tongue stinging, stinky, nausea party out of my mouth!” kinda taste.  There was no fixing it….there IS NO FIXING IT!

Wheat and other grained flour is worse – 6 months tops for wheat flour before it goes, unless you keep it in a 45-50 degree environment, then it may have a bit longer keep.

My advise to you is to open TODAY an older #10 can or 5 gallon bucket to verify that the flour is still good.  Sometimes food in the can will also take on a tinny taste over time.

My theory is: If one can. or bucket of white flour is bad then be assured that all the cans or buckets of white flour reflecting the same date, or close to it, will be bad as well.

If your white flour is vacuum sealed in Mylar or food sealer bags, it may still be good.  You will not know unless you open it and the worst time to discover your stores are bad is when you are ready to eat them.

Remember stored food is not meant to sit in your basement, crawlspace, stairway space or closet waiting for an apocalypse.  It is supposed to be regularly consumed and replenished just like your cupboard.

Eat What Your Store Today ~ Store What You’ll Eat Tomorrow

May the Storage Be With You

Anne 🙂

 

 

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Beekeeping 101: 5 Things to Do Before Your Bees Arrive

I still dream of Beekeeping  – if you do to, then locate your local beekeeping chapter in your area.
http://www.beeculture.com/directory/find-local-beekeeper/
Beekeeping 101: 5 Things to Do Before Your Bees Arrive
http://homereadyhome.com/beekeeping-101-5-things-to-do/

Thinking about getting bees? A At the time of this post, I’ve just finished installing the last of three packages of bees. There are two hives at our mountain house and one at the community garden in town. Here are my girls down at the garden…

It’s exciting!! I just know you’re going to love beekeeping, too. However, to get to this point, there are some important steps you need to take. And to make it easier for you, let me share what I’ve learned so far. Consider it a little Beekeeping 101.

Before you pick up bees from a supplier, there are five things you need to do:
1. Ask yourself important questions.

Why do you want to keep bees? Examine your motivation for getting into beekeeping. Do you just want bees to pollinate your garden or are you hoping to become a honey distributor?

Are you allergic to bee stings? There’s really no way around it. You will get stung at some point. Some swelling, itching and redness are normal reactions to bee stings, however a small percentage of people will have a life threatening allergic reaction. If you or someone in your family has a severe bee sting allergy, this probably isn’t the hobby for you. If you’re unsure whether or not you’re allergic, it’s a good idea to get tested by an allergist.

Are you committed to beekeeping?
Beekeeping isn’t considered a time intensive hobby, but during your first year, you will inspecting your hives frequently, as this will help you learn more about your bees. Also, be realistic about the time you have. Don’t go all out and start with more hives than you can manage.

What will your neighbors think?
If your neighbors are opposed to your new hobby, you may just need to explain basic beekeeping to get them to come around. For example, the community garden where my bees are located is on a church’s property. (A church with a weekday preschool program!) It took a little educating and some convincing but ultimately the bees won. If your neighbors are so against your bees and are making your life miserable, you may have to find a different location for the bees or not get started in beekeeping at all.

2. Get educated.

Start by reading books and watching videos about beekeeping. The best books I’ve read are Beekeeping for Dummies by Howland Blackiston and Kim Flottum’s The Backyard Beekeeper.

Then, take a class. Call your local Cooperative Extension and ask about beekeeping classes or google beekeeper associations in your state. Most associations offer a beginner beekeeper class and some will even pair you with a mentor once you complete the class.

Also, educate yourself on the local ordinances. Check with your town or city government and find out if beekeeping allowed. In some places, it’s illegal to have hives (usually in urban communities). Other communities allow hives, but have a restriction on the number allowed. And some places require you to register as a beekeeper or obtain a permit.

3. Order your bees early.

Yes, that’s right. Ordering your bees is on the list of things to do before your bees arrive because if you don’t order early enough, there’s a good chance you may not have bees arriving at all!

At the bee school I attended, the instructor handed out a list of recommended bee suppliers on the first night (another benefit to taking a class) and said, “Order your bees now.” Yikes! I still hadn’t completely made up my mind if I wanted to get into beekeeping and now, I had to order bees!?! But, the students who didn’t follow his advice were out of luck. The suppliers ran out of bees.

The best time of year to get bees is early spring but you need to place your order well ahead. During the winter, usually 4 months or so before spring delivery dates, contact your supplier and get your order in.

4. Buy beekeeping equipment.

There are several different styles of hives. The most common hive is the Langstroth hive. All the equipment suppliers will sell the components for the Langstroth but not all manufacturers’ equipment matches. It’s best to choose a supplier you like and stick with them. (Both books I mentioned above list the names and contact info for equipment suppliers.) I purchased my hives from brushymountainbeefarm.com. They were super patient and helpful answering all my beginner questions. Also, they make it easier for beginners by offering 8 or 10-frame beginner kits, and of course, you can always order items separately.

Either way, here is the equipment you need for a Langstroth hive:

  • hive bottom board
  • hive body (Also called a brood box or deep super. Another option is to use two medium supers instead of one deep. They are easier to handle when full of bees and honey.)
  • shallow super
  • inner cover
  • telescoping top
  • 9 1/8” frames (I prefer pre-assembled frames.)
  • 5 3/8” frames (I prefer pre-assembled frames.)
  • 8 1/2” crimp wire wax foundation
  • 4 3/4” crimp wire wax foundation
  • entrance reducer
  • entrance feeder (or another feeder of your choice)
  • hive tool
  • bee brush
  • smoker
  • veil
  • gloves
  • jacket or full bee protection suit

You’ll also need a hive stand to get your hive up off the ground. Cinderblocks are a good inexpensive option and pallets work as well.

Here’s a video that shows you how all the equipment fits together…

https://www.youtube.com/embed/WWLsaPjGws4“>http://

5. Set up your hive.

If you didn’t purchase pre-painted boxes, then the first thing you need to do is paint the outside of the hive body, telescoping top (wood only) and bottom board with an exterior latex paint or a natural sealant.

Next, install the wax foundation on your frames. Watch this video to see how it’s done:
https://www.youtube.com/embed/XqvsCGRHE84“>http://
Then, ready your location to receive bees. Don’t wait until the package of bees is in your hands before you get all the location logistics worked out because things rarely go as planned. Decide on the best place for your hive and set up the hive stand. Gather all your equipment and have it ready. And it doesn’t hurt to practice lighting your smoker once or twice before the big day.

If you’re just getting started in beekeeping, I’d love to hear from you!
What questions do you have? What have you learned so far? Tell me how it’s going for you in the comments below.

How Much Should I Store?

How Much Should I Store?  That’s a good question.  

Why are you storing?  What is the reason you are interested in setting stores aside?

If you have not read the Why Store Food? post, I would recommend it. 

When you have determined your ‘Why” of storing food, you can then begin planning how much to store.

Food Storage is anything in your cupboard or pantry that has not been opened, prepared, cooked, planted or consumed.  So storing extra food should be a pretty simple task, since you have probably already started and haven’t realized it.

There are a several of ways to start your stores. How much to store depends upon your ‘Why’.  Some storage activities can be planned simultaneously:

Prepare a 72-96 hours Short-term Emergency Kit:

This is usually a backpack prepared with various survival items, change of clothing, open and eat meals, rolls of TP and a water filtration system or several containers of water.  The site Emergency Essentials has examples of ready-to-go-kits for emergency needs.

Ready-to-go emergency kits are kits that are packed in the car or in a quick to grab spot for those times when you have just a few minutes or hours to make your ‘escape’.  This can happen during fires and floods.  Make sure you have an easy-to-carry, fire-proof, water-proof container to store your important papers and identification information in case your residence is lost or damaged.

Temporary Bug-in Extended-Emergency Supplies:

This would be for short-term food or essential shortages due to winter conditions, hurricane preps, strikes or temporary civil disturbances.

Set aside needed, easy to prepare food, water and non-food essentials (toilet paper, hygiene and medical products), in  your home.  

Prepare a minimum of two weeks of food and water and set aside up to 3 gallons a day – per person – for drinking, cooking and sanitation.  

Make sure that there are essential items for warmth, generator fuel and cooking fuel if an emergency should happen during the winter months.

Quarter-Year Kit Preps:
3 months = 1/4 of a year

This would be for preps due to an epidemic in your local area that would shut down infrastructure and require individuals to self quarantine in order to contain the outbreak.

This type of prep is basically a minimum of 3-4 months emergency supply of food, water and non-food essentials.  Having medical and non-food essentials in your storage would greatly relieve your own discomfort  during a quarantine experience.

Planning for three months could also benefit families that have a meeting place in a different location where the bulk of their supplies are stored, but need time to plan or wait for an opportunity to leave the area.

6 Month Preps:

Yep six months of food, water and non-food essentials.

These kind of plan-ahead supplies are for the anticipation of job loss, serious civil disturbance and prolonged pandemic.  Most people, who do not plan to stay put in their city homes usually store this type of supply at the rural place where they intend to ride-out the storm.

1 Year Supply:

This is the mega supply that some people feel more comfortable storing.  

With world events in a precarious state, some people wonder what would happen if our countries infrastructure and economy failed?  What if the factories that manufacture our easy-to-eat foods had to shut down, even temporarily?  What if by some cataclysmic event, the way we live changes for a long period of time?  

Serious preppers answer their concerns and questions
by taking action and finding solutions.  

These preppers are not the fanatical media inspired stereo-types, they are everyday working folk who love their families and are sincerely worried for their wellbeing.  

These prepper live in your neighborhood, work regular jobs, get haircuts, drive cars, go to movies, enjoy vacations, celebrate holidays and love their families dearly – enough to see to their welfare in case the worse were to happen.

It is just as easy to accumulate a year supply as it is to gather two-week, 3 month or 6 month supply. 

How Much Wheat Am I Really Going To Eat? by Anne McFadden

How Much Wheat Am I Really Going To Eat? by Anne McFadden

In Section 13, the Year Supply, the question of ‘How Much Food’ is answered through easy to read charts of various types of food.  These charts show you how much food you will need based upon how much food you plan to consume.  If you need to customize the charts, simple fill-in-the-blank math formulas are provided to help you determine the exact amount of food you wish to store.  

In this book you can immediately get started on charting your way to food-storage success by following the guidelines in the charts and consistently continue in your efforts to stock up.  

Click the “Get the Book” tab on this site to start
on your food storage preps today.

May the Storage be With You.  🙂

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Why Store Food?

There is a stigma attached to the notion of food storage.  Often media events confuse those who choose to plan ahead to be fanatical prepper types.  See glossary post: What Is  a Prepper?

There is a myriad of reasons to store food, two of which cannot be ignored:  natural disaster and job loss.

Natural/Manmade Disaster:

In the event of a natural disaster, or man-made one, it can take relief agencies 2 to 7 days to reach you.

What will you eat and drink until then?  

If you are imagining special forces troops to be singling you and your community out for food and water drops during the first few days, you’re fooling yourself.

Your most immediate help will come from your own preps, a neighbor on your street, or in your community, then family – if they can get there.  Next will be from your church and last the government, or agencies, that take action during the aftermath.

To be the most help to your immediate family and your community, you need to prepare for your own in case of disaster, so that you can have the strength and peace of mind to help other.

Job Loss:

With the economy seemingly on the brink, jobs are harder to find and harder to keep.  An employer can ‘lay-off’ employees for any reason in most areas, workforce loyalty is rarely regarded as part of a corporations integrity or benefits program.

Many people receive a pink-slip without any warning and then they are left to figure out what they are going to do.  If you have enough food and non-essentials, then you only need to fine work to pay the bills.  Planning and prepping for the unexpected can help you maintain your own self-worth and increase your ability to take care of your family.

How Much Wheat Am I Really Going To Eat? by Anne McFadden

How Much Wheat Am I Really Going To Eat? by Anne McFadden

Section 1 of ‘How Much Wheat Am I Really Going to Eat?’ will help you determine the amount of food you may need by answering a few simple questions about Why you want to store food.  

You can get a copy of this book under the ‘Get the Book’ Tab on this site, or click the title link above.

When you establish the Why’s then you will know the ‘How Much’ food and non-food essentials you will be planning for.

By planning ahead, you can be at peace when life throws you a curve ball.

May the Storage Be With You.  🙂

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