Blog Archives

Using the Tomato Harvest: Salsa!

Every year, I make my own salsa and can it. Every year I make more than the previous year and I still haven’t managed to be able to make it last over the winter. My vegetables this year in the garden did terribly, so when I saw that the grocery store had 50 lbs of tomatoes on for $10, I jumped all over that chance.

Here’s my favorite salsa recipe. I got it originally from my friend Judy (may she rest in peace) and altered it because she doesn’t add nearly enough heat for my family.

Salsa:

8 cups of Roma tomatoes (peeled and chopped)

4 cups onions, chopped

4 cups sweet peppers, chopped

1/4 cup vinegar

5 cloves garlic (or to taste)

Jalepeno pepper or to taste (I usually add a lot of jalepenos and Thai chilies but we like it really spicy)

1/4 to 1/2 tsp oregano (to taste)

1/2 tsp coriander

2-3 tbsp salt

Cook until veggies are done then add a small can of tomato paste. Cook for another
5-10 minutes then put into sterilized jars. Place your filled jars in a water bath canner and process for 20 minutes.

Home canned foods can last a long time but are usually best if consumed within a year to 18 months of canning.

Dehydrating Citrus – and Why It’s Important

Vitamin C is a very important nutrient that seems to be lacking in a lot of survival foods. Getting enough vitamin C is vital in an emergency situation. It is necessary for collagen synthesis (collagen is what heals your wounds, and knits the skin back together), without it your new wounds may not heal properly and older cuts may start to fall apart.

Enough vitamin C can cut back on how often you get colds and flus and cut back on how much they affect you. It can also delay the onset of certain neurological disorders such as Alzheimers. It is essential for drug metabolism, helping medications to reach their full potential in your system.

Sources of vitamin C include: broccoli, sweet bell peppers, sprouts, kale, spinach, tomatoes, strawberries and of course citrus fruits. Citrus can be found easily and cheaply by almost everyone and it is so simple to dehydrate.

Pick nice, firm just ripened fruits. Cut into thin wheels (1/4″) and lay on your dehydrator trays. Using a temperature controlled dehydrator, set it to 125 F. It takes about 6-8 hours depending on the humidity in your area, it could also take more. (Here’s my dehydrator: https://amzn.to/39aoRbO )

To use your citrus, you can place it in glasses of water or juice to add flavor or you can powder the inner parts to make juice mix. Make sure to store your fruit in airtight containers in a cool dry environment.

dehydrated oranges

Dehydrating Broccoli and Using It

To dehydrate broccoli, first cut it into bite sized pieces and blanch for about a minute in boiling water. This will help to maintain the green color (otherwise it goes a nasty brown).  Plunge the hot broccoli into some cold or iced water to stop the cooking process. Drain to get as much water off as possible. I then spray with a bit of lemon juice (also helps the green color). Place on your dehydrator trays (not touching otherwise you get damp spots). It usually takes my dehydrator about 6 to 8 hours to dehydrate broccoli. Store as you would other dehydrated foods. Here is the dehydrator I use: (Excalibur Dehydrator)

To use your broccoli, here’s a simple but tasty broccoli soup recipe using things that are probably already in your food storage.

Broccoli Soup

3 cups chicken broth (approx 2 cans. You can also use water or water with bouillon cubes)

5 cups rehydrated (or fresh) broccoli (approx 2.5 cups dehydrated)

1.5 cups fresh (or rehydrated) onions (approx 3/4 cups dehydrated)

2 bay leaves

6 tbsp butter (can also use canned butter or butter powder)

7 tbsp flour

3 cups milk (can use reconstituted powdered milk)

Bring chicken broth (or water etc) to a boil. Add broccoli, onions and bay leaves. Reduce heat and simmer until broccoli is tender. Remember to remove your bay leaves.

In a separate saucepan melt butter and stir in your flour to make a roux (paste). Slowly stir in the milk and incorporate it into the roux. Cook until thickened. Add your broccoli mix slowly. Heat and stir until thick.

If you have no butter and flour to make a roux you can also thicken your soup with cornstarch (make sure it boils to cook out the cornstarch) or potato flakes.

Dehydrating Carrots

I like to dehydrate my own vegetables. I find it is cheaper than buying the #10 cans of dehydrated vegetables. My own dehydrator is sort of lack luster. It was $30 and has large holes so I can’t dehydrate everything I would like to (saving up for a nine tray Excalibur though! ~ update: I got one and love it! You can find one here )

One of my favorite veggies to dehydrate is carrots. They are easy, get super small and I add them to a lot of different dishes (soups, stews, in the pan with roasting meats etc).

To dehydrate carrots, I first peel them and chop off the tops. I then slice them very thin ( 1/8 “) on a mandolin but I have also used a knife (doesn’t take me too long because I was a chef but could take someone with lesser knife skills all day to do the amount as thin as they should be). You need to blanch the carrots next. To do this, plunge the slices into boiling water for about a minute and take them out and put them in ice water. I usually use a metal strainer to put the carrots in the boiling water then I’m not fishing after all the little bits with a slotted spoon. I don’t normally have ice so I just rinse the slices with very cold water to stop the cooking process.

After your carrots have been blanched and cooled quickly, you arrange your carrots in a single layer on your dehydrator trays. My dehydrator has a recommended setting for vegetables so I set it and leave the carrots for a good 6-8 hours. I then test a couple of pieces of carrots by taking them off the trays, let them cool down then try to bend them. If they bend, put them back in. If they snap or crack, they’re done!

In the picture are raw sliced carrots and the dehydrated carrots. For size comparison, I’ve added an American penny.

Another Storage Recipe: Scones!

Here’s another recipe you can make using your food storage. I have made this with dehydrated versions of the ingredients and it works well.  This is a traditional Irish scone, passed down through the family.

2.5 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

2.5 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1/2 c butter

1 egg

1 c buttermilk to mix. (you can also use water or 2% milk for this, it just tastes way better with buttermilk)

You can add a great deal of different things to these. My favorite is to add cheddar cheese (about a cup worth). I have also added raisins, currants, lemon zest, garlic powder, poppy seeds, etc, etc.

Mix it into a thick dough. (You may need to add more milk or more flour). Roll out to 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick. Bake at 375* F for 12-15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Basic Bread

I wanted to share with you a simple bread recipe. I use this recipe all the time at home and it is really easy to make with things that most people have in their long term food storage.

The recipe:

1 lb flour (regular, all purpose flour or whole wheat)

2 tsp of yeast (we keep our yeast in the fridge once opened)

1 tbsp salt

1.5 cups of warm water (not hot)

Mix your ingredients to form a dough and knead for about 10 minutes.

Place your dough in a greased bowl (I use olive oil to lightly coat the inside of a mixing bowl). Cover the bowl with a towel and put it in a warm place for about an hour to let the dough rise.

After the dough has risen and roughly doubled in size, preheat the oven to 500* F.

Punch down the dough and shape it. (It doesn’t have to be pretty. I’ve down round loaves, baguettes, regular loaves and buns with this recipe.)

Place in the oven and turn it down to 450*F. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it rest for at least 20-30 minutes before cutting. It is still cooking during this resting period.

Cut and enjoy. Bread may not be glamorous but in a SHTF situation, it can keep you alive and stretch out any sort of stew or soup you may be eating.