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Food Storage Tips

(Content provided by: Mary Catherine ("Cathy") Miller)


January is a good month for canned good sales in the grocery stores. Take advantage of sales to stock up on vegetables and other canned goods.

Keep food storage 6 inches off the floor to protect it from rodents and condensation. Store at room temperature in dark, dry place. Use only appropriate food storage containers.

Substituting Honey for Sugar -

"When baking, you can replace half of the sugar in a recipe with an equal amount of honey. You then need to reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe (usually water or milk) by 1/4 cup for every 1 cup of honey that you use. You also need to add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to the dry ingredients to neutralize the acid that 1 cup of honey adds to the batter. And you need to lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees F so that what you are baking does not over-brown."

"Cakes, cookies, and muffins all use these rules. For example: In a cookie recipe with 1 cup of sugar, you would use 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup honey. You would decrease the liquid by 2 tablespoons (1/2 of 1/4 cup) and you would add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to the dry ingredients. And don't forget to lower the oven temperature 25 degrees F."

"If you plan to substitute honey for sugar in a yeast bread, you can just substitute as is, because yeast breads usually have so little sugar in them anyway that it doesn't matter."

"If you have more questions about honey, the National Honey Board is a good source of information."

Healing with Honey - Antibacterial - Apply honey to cuts or scrapes and cover with a clean bandage. Sore throat - Add honey to a glass of warm milk and sip slowly. Diarrhea - Mix 4 large Tablespoons of honey in an 8-ouce glass of water for diarrhea caused by bacteria. (from the March, 1999 issue of "Mother Earth News" Magazine)

TVP can be stored for 5-7 years. After it is opened it will last up to 6 months. TVP Reconstituted 1 lb. = almost 4 lbs. (3.92 lbs.)


Make a Solar Oven -- Materials: large cooking pot with clear glass lid; smaller black pot with glass lid; rack; reflectors; brownie mix; pot holders. This works best if you do your cooking at noon.

Make two reflectors on stiff cardboard with foil and white glue. (See Make a Reflector activity below) Set large pot in front of reflectors. Angle the reflectors so they focus the sun’s rays on the large pot. Put rack in large pot.

Mix the brownies according to the instructions. Put them into the small cooking pot. Set the small pot on the rack inside the large pot. Put the lid on the small pot and then the lid on the large pot. Cook the brownies one and one-half times the cooking time listed on the package.

Try making nachos by melting cheese on tortilla chips this way. Remember to use pot holders and start with food that is as close to room temperature as possible. It will take less time to cook.

Make a Reflector Activity -- Materials: a piece of notebook paper; a piece of aluminum foil; scissors; white glue

Cut a piece of notebook paper and a piece of aluminum foil the same size. Brush white glue onto the back of the foil. Smooth it carefully over the paper. Let it dry. Point the reflector at the sun.

Emergency Meals

Meals that could be prepared with alternative cooking sources, without electricity, or without water. Meals should be as nutritious as possible, using as little energy as possible, and easily stored. These are more along the lines of what you might prepare from your 72-Hour Emergency Kit or backpack while hiking. Meals that could sustain you for the days following a flood, hurricane, tornado, etc. when resources are minimal, and you may be temporarily relocated to a shelter, woods, neighbor’s home, cabin, barn, or tent. These are meals for one that could be expanded for the family.

Here are some examples:

Emergency Meal #1: Tuna Salad (tuna, pickles diced or relish, mayonnaise packet)/Crackers (saltines, wheat crackers, etc. in zip-lock bag)/Fruit Cocktail (small can with pop-top opening – no can opener needed)

Emergency Meal #2: Canned Soup (heat with solar heat or votive candle)/Crackers (saltines in zip-lock bag)/Sliced Peaches (small can with pop-top opening)

Emergency Meal #3: Potato Soup (Instant potatoes, butter powder, salt - heated with solar or candle)/Melba Toast (in zip-lock bag)/Granola Bar


Potato Savers - Place an apple (Granny Smith works best but don't know why) in with your 10 lbs. of potatoes and they will not grow eyes.

Don't Throw Away Old Stockings. Save a Potato Instead - Instead of throwing away torn or snagged panty hose and stockings, wash them out and then hang them up in the food pantry to hold potatoes. Believe it or not those potatoes will last for months without sprouting and they will also stay nice and firm. I can buy the jumbo bag of potatoes when they were on sale. It also makes a heck of a conversation piece when company opens the pantry door. Can do the same for onions and garlic.

Maximizing Leftovers - December '99 Tip of the Month - In the past, I stored leftovers with good intentions, and ended up throwing them out when they went bad. Now, I keep a small magnetic wipe-off board on the front of my refrigerator. Each time I put a container of leftovers in the fridge, I write the date, contents, and about how many servings are left. This way, I can see at a glance if I have enough to throw together a quick meal, and can keep an eye on the date to make sure I use them before they go bad. Once eaten, the entry can be wiped off the board.

Acquire your food storage a little each week. Determine your food storage goals and commit yourself to buying something for food storage on a regular basis. Set aside money for food storage purchases with a little extra for that great buy you find just before the sale runs out. If budgeting for food storage is difficult, make choices to allow for food storage budgeting (for example, watch one less movie regularly, cut back on a costly habit like soft drinks or fast food, have a garage sale to get rid of unused items, take a part-time job or sell handmade items, call upon family members to drop their change in a food storage piggy bank, or choose one or more budget items to cut back on. Use coupons, sales, closeouts, bulk buying, etc. to make your food storage more affordable. Buy quality food items and store properly so your food storage doesn't go to waste. Use your food storage and replace what's used, rotating out your stored food so you keep it fresher. Every 6 months turn cans over so that they don't settle and break down in one spot. Give the gift of food storage.


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