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A Chef's Guide to 2012

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posted on Mar, 5 2011 @ 08:52 PM
This is my first survival thread and I wanted to do something a little different. Many threads discuss what to stock for emergencies, weapons and survival techniques, but I wanted to discuss ways to get the most out of the most precious commodity. Food! Whether your living off the land, or eating from a stockpile, its important to realize that almost everything can be used for nutrition and it doesn't have to taste like garbage. I'm not talking about eating odd foods, just ways to reduce waste, and get the most yield from foods when it matters the most.

To give you a little background, I am a professional chef. I have been in the business for a while now, running a great operation for some really great people. I love to share ideas on topics I have knowledge about but its more important that you do what is best for your needs, and to use your common sense. Consider what I say only an idea for your use, if it works for you. So on that note: Let's get started.

Waste not want not!

It would be an outright shame if you and your family were in a situation where food was tight, and you threw a good percentage in the trash. It doesn't make sense. So what are some ways to ensure less waste?

1. Only prepare what you need

If refrigeration is not possible, then having leftovers is not wise unless it can be stored at room temp. If you save that temperature-sensitive food for the next day, you will either throw it away, or make someone very sick. So prepare meals in proportion with the exact amount you need.

2. Refrigerate

For those of you who are blessed with refrigeration during hard times, you can easily throw it in the fridge for later use. My only suggestion is to make sure to let nothing spoil. Use the items before it expires. Pretty simple. To extend its life, be sure to properly cool items, then seal it tightly AFTER it has cooled. This will also help stop bacterial growth that will spoil the food or make someone ill.

Check into information regarding cellar, or home made (hole-in-the-ground) refrigeration techniques if you can. You would be amazed at how well it can work and how it helps keep food edible when storing is necessary.

3. Oh, The Power of Pot

No, I'm not talking about illegal substances. I'm talking metal and big. In my opinion, a large stockpot is important in hard times. Virtually any food scraps can be tossed in a pot, boiled to oblivion, and whats left is liquid gold. All vegetable trimming, meat scraps, fat, bones, and anything else you so desire can be boiled to extract its nutrients, and has a decent shelf life when properly contained. Its nothing more than soup base or stock. It saves you from wasting what you would otherwise not eat, and pretty tasty if you have some seasonings at hand.

I would also like to discuss rendering fat. If you have the need for fat, animal scraps can easily be tossed into a pot and boiled. Of course, the fat will eventually rise to the top. So toss the pot in the coolest place available after it has boiled long enough, give it some time and the fat will rise and harden on top of the water. And you now have a big chunk of fat for whatever purpose you see fit. Whether its for future cooking, or homemade grease for mechanical parts, fat is damn handy.

Some of you may be thinking it wouldn't be very appealing to boil fruit in water for later consumption. Your right, and you can do this but it wouldn't be tasty. To get the most out of the fruit, I would boil the fruits in a small amount of water to extract the flavor and sugars. Let it keep reducing, or add more sugar if available, until it becomes almost sticky. Be careful not to let it burn, and it will quite easily. Strain out the fruit material and continue to cook until thick. Let it cool and harden and then you have a homemade candy of sorts. Easily available for quick energy or diabetics who need sugar. It also has a much longer shelf life as sugar is a great natural preservative.

Its also important to touch on the type of pot you use. I recommend a 10 gallon pressure cooker/stockpot. I recently bought one at a local store for $15. It has the pressure gauge, vent valve and locking-sealed lid. Not only is it big enough to cook just about anything, it doubles as a tool in canning. I would touch on canning but there is too much good information elsewhere on the web to do it justice. Take a look into this subject if it interests you. It is a great way to reduce waste, and store foods for long periods of time.

A stockpot can also be used for sanitation and various other uses when needed. Items can be boiled or steamed to be sterilized. You can make large amounts of food to be canned, stored and saved for future use. Needless to say, I find a stockpot to be a crucial part of surviving difficult situations.

4. Smoking and Air Drying

I think it is very important to learn how to dry or smoke meats as a way to conserve. With smoking, its important that the meat it cooked by indirect heat (ie; the smoke) and is cooked properly. This will extend the shelf life of the meat. Smoking meats for a day or two can extend its life to a couple weeks if properly contained. Although this is a great method, I find that it may be a bit unpractical for many in survival situations. So I believe that air drying meats is a better option. I would simply slice the meat as thin as you can and place it a container that can be sealed tightly. Make a brine using water, salt ( I also use a little lemon juice), and mix it well. It should be very, very salty and cloudy. Mix well with the thinly-sliced meat, tightly cover and let it sit in the coolest place you can for a couple days. After it has soaked in the brine, find a clean, airy place to dry your meats. Ideally, I would use a "rack" made of clean wood, but exactly how to handle the meats will be up to your imagination and needs. To properly dry the meats there must be direct contact with sunlight and I prefer a slight breeze. I don't know why, but it always tastes better. After the meat dries, it should look like beef jerky almost. Seal the meat in an airtight container and it will keep for some time. The proper amount of salt and the proper amount of time is all that is needed to preserve your meats and ensure less waste.

5. Pemmican

Since we are talking about dried goods, pemmican is an age-old practice that takes dried meats and fruits( preferably berries), grinds or pounds it together into a powder and is then mixed with suet, or rendered fat. Done properly, this method can provide nutrition for many years, some say even upwards of twenty, without the need for refrigeration. It is a very useful method if one can perfect it. I strongly encourage you to look into it.

6. Save the Water

Whether your boiling stock, or cooking pasta, the water can either be filtered and reused, or serve a beneficial purpose in the garden. Water used to boil pasta or possibly rice is packed with nutrients and starches that benefit garden plants. Instead of tossing the water out, water the garden with it. It is a natural way to feed the plants.

These are just some of the ways to get the most of your food when it matters. Whether your canning or making soup stock, you will have a great chance of making survival much easier if you are prepared to make every bit count. And don't forget the pot!

When all else fails....Tortillas!

I have read many threads on survival, and I often read that one of the key items people is storing is flour. Good idea, but how many of us are going to be able to bake bread? Bread requires certain environmental condition to rise, and a few extra ingredients that most of us will simply not have access to. So I suggest that tortillas are the answer. With only flour and water you can create tasty tortillas that are easily at hand, easy to carry and will store safer for a longer period of time.

Simply take flour and water, mix into a dough, pound or stretch by hand and cook in a pan. Simple as that. If your lucky enough to have salt, and some fat that you rendered with your stockpot, you can add a little of both to make it even more tasty. It may not look like the store brands, more like Native American fry bread, but it is an easy way to use two simple ingredients and create a tasty addition to your meals or trip out hunting for game.

I hope that I have shown a few good ways to maximize yield from your foodstuffs, and have a greater vision into what you may need in a SHTF scenario. There are many other areas I could cover but other threads have touched on those particular subjects. I welcome any other ideas my fellow members may have, and I may be adding some more information as the thread moves along. Please feel free to share your hints, tips or tricks so that we can all be prepared.

edit on 5-3-2011 by sheepslayer247 because: spelling

edit on 5-3-2011 by sheepslayer247 because: fixed paragraph structure

posted on Mar, 5 2011 @ 09:17 PM
Thank you so much for this awesome info. This very subject has been on my mind for some time now--I didn't have a clue what to do other than have canned goods, etc. stored up but this is exactly what I needed to know. Great job! Lots of helpful information presented in a cohesive, concise manner.

posted on Mar, 5 2011 @ 09:20 PM
Very helpful information. I didnt even know how to make Tortillas or Air dry meats so i appreciate the effort you've made on this thread. Definitely adding to my collection!!

posted on Mar, 5 2011 @ 09:45 PM
Great thread Sheepslayer
You've done a great job bringing together all this information. If I may, I have another food preservation technique to add to your list.

Confit is one of the world's oldest preservation techniques, confit is done by submersing cooked food in liquid rendered fat and allowing the fat to cool and harden around the food, hence retarding the growth of most pathogens by submersing the food in a near zero oxygen environment (although botulism grows when oxygen is not present, so make certain the food is cooked and sealed properly).

Here's a link to a Duck Confit Recipe (the traditional french dish that popularized this style of preservation in modern times). I learned a lot about this style of cooking recently from an episode of Jamie Does, which happily I happened to locate online for those who learn by example. He begins demonstrating how to make a Confit the traditional way at about the 10min mark. I hope this proves useful for those more adventurous survivalists out there.

edit on 5-3-2011 by Demiwatt because: grammar

posted on Mar, 5 2011 @ 09:59 PM
[color=dodgerblue]S&F for you, Sir!

Off to google tortilla recipes!

posted on Mar, 5 2011 @ 10:00 PM
reply to post by Demiwatt

Thanks for bringing this up. I had worked with this style a little when working for a country club, but never had much practice. This is a great way to preserve meats! Ive seen it made with smaller game birds and even rabbit but it required additional fat.

I think this stresses the need for the ability to render fat from scraps and get use of all you can.

Again, thanks for adding to the conversation!

posted on Mar, 5 2011 @ 10:11 PM
Thank you very much for this. I've learned a lot.
I've flagged it.

I'm very interested in the pemmican. If I understood you well, I can start making pemmican, now that we still have enough, and eat it instead of those cans filled with ham and meatballs. I have a lot of them, but am not too happy with them, as they are also filled with a lot of junk to keep them goof for a few years.
I think the pemmican is more natural.

But if I use pemmican made with dried meat, will it not be too salty to eat.
Because the dried food needs a lot of salt. Normally when we eat salted fish or meat, I boil it first to take out most of the salt, so how do I prepare the pemmican?.
And tomorrow, o no its carnival sunday, everything is closed. So monday I'll go shopping for a pressure cooker.

posted on Mar, 5 2011 @ 10:19 PM
reply to post by daryllyn

Go ahead and google if you need a recipe. There are many different variations, but I chose the most basic to show its ease to prepare. I'm sure you will find one that you like.

Most important thing is that you test it out before the need is dire. Spend a few minutes in the kitchen, whip up a simple batch and try it out. It is much easier than most would expect.

I learned how to make tortillas from female Mexican immigrants. Each lady has a different recipe, but the results are always tasty and they all have experienced harder situations that many of us have. So I have a unique view into how tortillas can be useful.

posted on Mar, 5 2011 @ 10:22 PM
reply to post by notsosunny

A similar preservation technique to Pemmincan is Akutaq, which is whipped fat mixed with berries and sugar, often called Eskimo Ice Cream. This seems like a good alternative that would save your salt supplies for other applications. I've heard this can be hard to stomach though :/ Modern Eskimo Ice Cream Recipe

posted on Mar, 5 2011 @ 10:29 PM
reply to post by sheepslayer247

Well done!

...I would only add that when you say everything can go into the stockpot, you mean everything - even onion skins. I add the water from steaming vegetables too, but great idea to use it for the garden - and plants like cold tea too.

PS. Tortillas are a lot like chapatis - and the trick is in getting the texture right (not too soft, not too hard) and especially, letting the dough sit for a while so the gluten does its thing.

edit on 5/3/11 by soficrow because: to add ps

posted on Mar, 5 2011 @ 10:41 PM
I'm gonna try to remember a few other preservation techniques while at work tomorrow. I read a few books on medieval cookery recently, I suppose I'll dig those up again when I get home afterward

edit on 5-3-2011 by Demiwatt because: grammar

posted on Mar, 5 2011 @ 10:42 PM
reply to post by notsosunny

Pemmican is easy to make when you have perfected the skills of rendering fat and drying meats and fruits. You can't survive solely on it, and should only be used as part of a broader set of skills. So its best to have a good variety. I could post some info, but just do a search and tons of info will be there to explain it better than I ever could. But here is a link anyway:

When you salt or brine meats it will make the meat a bit saltier than normal, but not as much as you would think. It's nothing more than a curing process that "cold cooks" the meat.

posted on Mar, 5 2011 @ 10:54 PM
reply to post by soficrow

I mean damn near everything! I would use onion skins, potato peelings, the cut off ends of other veggies you have prepared, bones, eyeballs or anything else that may contain nutrients, but you wouldn't otherwise eat.

This may sound gross, but if you take the cobs of corn after they have been eaten off of, you can boil them down until its just a dry pan with pure corn starch on the bottom. Corn starch is not just a tool in cooking, but also doubles as a baby powder.

So, yes, just about anything.

edit on 5-3-2011 by sheepslayer247 because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 5 2011 @ 11:10 PM
While slightly off topic, I read an article today about a couple that took 75 USD (in total for seeds and all gardening supplies) and turned it into over 700lbs of produce in one growing season. I'll snag the magazine from work tomorrow and see if I can copy some of its contents over to here, if anyone interested in the methods used therein. I plan on trying something like this next fall myself

posted on Mar, 5 2011 @ 11:22 PM
Nice thread, Sheepslayer.
As a fellow chef (25 years now) and survivalist, I've been working on a thread regarding necessities for the pantry.
Salts, vinegars and other acids, essential canned goods like tomato products, etc.

Time is something I don't always have, though.

One thing in your information I'd think about is the 10 gal. pressure cooker/ steamer.
To me, it seems like overkill.
The amount of energy to get that thing up to temp. and keep it there would be inefficient, imo.

Not trying to be a naysayer, and like I said, great thread!

S&F, by the way.

posted on Mar, 5 2011 @ 11:23 PM
a very important part of survival is building a "HOB OVEN" for baking breads, pizzas, tortillas and many other cooking ideas and even food storage. if you dont know what a hob oven is? here is a video sample of one being built and there is other links you can view to give you complete instruction and cooking recipes

I usually just find a nice large flat rock off a creek bed and gather sticks leaves and mud, then pile mud and small gravel together to make a large mound, then a day later start creating the turtle shell or bee hive around it, mixing the small sticks and leaves with the mud together creating a hob or adobe in layers until it looks to my satisfaction.

after a day or so, i go back and dig all the inside gravel out and let the shell dry , and then fill it up with my kindling and burn a fire in it until its nice and hot to the temperature i need to bake bread, then i drag out the hot coals and put my dough in, close the door and in just a jiffy i got fresh hot baked bread anytime i need it.

no yeast pizza crust is handy too. here's a recipe amongst many other

posted on Mar, 5 2011 @ 11:52 PM
reply to post by anumohi

That's awesome.
I'll do some experimenting in the next few days.

If you haven't already, consider "pre-mixing" your ingredients.

Take bread, for instance.

I will take a recipe, multiply it out by, say ten.
Then take (in the case of bread) all the dry ingredients, flour, salt baking powder, and instant yeast, etc.
Note, you must use instant yeast in this case!

Blend the dry ingredients real well, and then divide accordingly.
I, personally will multiply by ten, then divide by five.

I will place that amount in my Food saver, or a ziplock baggie.

Then write on the baggie the remaining wet ingredients necessary, such as 4 TSP. oil and 1/2 c. water.

Later, you can add the wet ingredients to the dry, and bake 2 loaves of bread (multiply by ten, divide by 5=2)

posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 01:09 AM
reply to post by Oaktree

The 10 gallon version is what works best for me. Of course, it is up to each person to decide what would be best for them. I like the 10 gallon as it has a wider base, so it can heat up faster, and it gives you more room to work with if the need arises for a larger pot. You don't always have to fill it up to capacity, but you don't want to leave yourself short.

I also like that you brought up foods high in acid or acids themselves. This is important as they the foods tend to keep longer and aid in preservation.

posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 06:39 AM
Great thread Sheepslayer, much valuable information here.

Along with food it is very important to have these items on hand:
Spices (every type you use regularly - onion & garlic powder, oregano, thyme, rosemary, ginger, cinnamon, etc (many are valuable as medicinals))
Salt, sugar, yeast, baking powder.
Coffee, tea, cocoa ( chocolate!!! )
Powdered milk,eggs, potatoes.

You can extend your flour supplies by adding ground and dried acorns (must be leached also to reduce tanins), hickory nuts, walnuts, ground grass seeds, dried and ground tubers of various sorts.

Marrow should be extracted from bones and vital organs (heart, kidney, liver) should be eaten immediately as they will not keep long unless frozen or refrigerated.

Anyone living in North America should pick up a copy of the Petersons Field Guide to Wild Edible plants. When the grocery shelves are empty you will have no other options.


Buy some canned cheese and butter. Nearly impossible to create under survival conditions and you will miss them!
edit on 6-3-2011 by Asktheanimals because: added comments

posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 09:02 AM
reply to post by sheepslayer247

I keep saying that lately I am having a "mexican food problem", I just cannot get enough of it. We make chicken burritos/tacos/etc weekly and I would bet that homemade tortillas would make them even better

I seriously love tortillas though and never thought to use them in a dire situation as an alternative to bread.

I am going to miss mexican night when SHTF

edit on 6-3-2011 by daryllyn because: (no reason given)

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