Archive for April, 2011

Choosing Vegetable and Fruit Varieties for your own Garden

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

I am one of the lucky people who grew up in the country. My widowed mother stayed on the farm after my father died in a farming accident. She was of the opinion that her family was safer on the farm. I have sometime questioned that. As I get older I know that we did all grow up. What I did not realize is that by growing up on a farm a learned many skills that have come in very handy over the years.

Living in the rural area on a twenty plus acre parcel of land; I am able to use many of those skills. These skills include gardening, canning fruits and vegetables, freezing, and dehydrating.

I encourage everyone to have a little space that they can use for producing your own food. You may have plenty of land and are able to have animals and fruits and vegetables are just a few edible plants in your window seal.

Don’t overdo it the first time you attempt your gardening. Pick a few vegetables and fruits that you will enjoy eating.

As you page through any seed catalog, you will discover that each vegetable and fruit is usually available in a number of varieties. Some may be particularly good for freezing; others maintain their quality best when canned. Certain varieties dry better than others, and some hold their flavor and texture well in underground storage. If you’re planning to preserve a good part of your harvest, you’d do well to decide how you will be storing your garden surplus before you order your seeds and then choose those fruits and vegetables accordingly. If your family does not like a particular vegetable or fruit; don’t buy the seeds or starts. They still will not enjoy eating it just because you went to all the hard work of growing and storing this food.

If you are growing your own food, you’ve got it made over those who must rely on the grocery store or the supermarket for their daily sustenance, because you can pick and process the food that grows from your soil when its quality is at its very best. This means that you harvest fruits and vegetables when they have reached just the right stage of maturity for eating, canning, freezing, drying, or underground storage, and you don’t have to lose any time in getting the food from the ground into safekeeping, either.

Whether you want your vegetables or fruits very ripe or just barely so at the time you harvest them depends upon the specific food and what you intend to do with it. In most cases, vegetables have their finest flavor when they are still young and tender: Pease and corn while they taste sweet and not starchy; snap beans while the pods are tender and fleshy, before the beans inside the pods get plump; summer squash while their skins are still soft. Carrots and beets have a sweet flavor, and leafy vegetables are crisp but not tough and fibrous, when they are young. This is the stage at which you’ll want to preserve their goodness.

Fruits, on the other hand, are usually at their best when ripe for this is when their sugar and vitamin contents are at their peak. If you’re going to can, freeze, dry or store them, you’ll want them fully mature. But if you plan to use your fruits for jellies and preserves, you will not want them all at their ripest because their pectin content—which helps them to gel-decreases as the fruit reaches maturity. In order to make better jellies, some of the guavas, apples, plums or currants you are using should be less than fully ripe.

With the exception of perhaps a few gardening wizards, it is impossible to control just when your peaches, pears, apples and berries will be mature. Once planted, fruit trees and berry plants will bear their fruit year after year when the time is right. You’re at their mercy and must be prepared to harvest just when the pickings are ready if you want to get the fruit at its best.

Vegetables are a different story. Because most are annuals and bear several weeks after they are planted, you can plan your garden to allow for succession planting that extend the harvesting season for you and furnish you with a continuous supply of fresh food. This means that you can eat fresh vegetables over several smaller harvests if you wish (and your weather cooperates) and be able to preserve small batches at a time as vegetables ripen.

By planting three smaller crops of tomatoes instead of one large crop, you won’t be deluged with more tomatoes than you can possibly eat and process at one time. Space your three pea plants ten days apart in early spring and you’ll have three harvests of peas and still plenty of time to plant a later crop of something else in the same plots after all the peas are picked. Vegetables lake salad greens that do not keep well should be planted twice. Plant early lettuce about a month before the last frost and follow it with cauliflower. After the onions are out of the ground, put some fall lettuce in their place for September salads. If corn is one of your favorites and you’ve been waiting out the long winter for the first ears to come in, by all means, eat all the early-maturing corn you want, but make sure that enough late corn has been planted for freezing later on.

Vegetables that keep well in underground storage like cabbage, squash, and the root crops, should be harvested as late in the season as possible so you won’t have to worry about keeping vegetables cool during a warm September or early October. Some vegetable, like carrots, parsnips, and Jerusalem artichokes, can be left right in the ground over the winter, so it is wise to plant some late crops of these vegetables just for this purpose. Green and yellow beans, planted in early May, can be followed by cabbage in mid-July that can be stored right in the ground over the winter and into the early spring.

Dear Emma,

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

“I receive letters from many of my friends stating they “Don’t get it why store food.”
Here is the reason why. This Is the reason why.
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This morning I received the following letter from Glenn Beck, Off the Grid News letter.

Dear Emma,

About 6 weeks ago, we brought you a disturbing report about how the government is stockpiling survival food at unprecedented levels. Typically, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) keeps 6 million meals on hand for any kind of emergency or natural disaster. But recently, they put out RFPs (Request for Proposal) indicating their interest in buying, literally, hundreds of millions of emergency meals to the tune of about a billion dollars. This is a huge purchase for a minor government agency. And they’re not the only government agency getting in line to buy.
Government orders have now locked up the capacity of all the major manufacturers of emergency food supplies. If you’ve tried recently to buy a larger quantity, you probably had trouble finding anyone who could fill your order.

And it’s only going to get worse, for several reasons.

Global food shortages are having an impact on the survival food market.

There’s almost no surplus food anymore that can be preserved for emergencies. As fast as most crops are ready for harvest, they’re being used to feed people. Food reserves are at alarmingly low levels. Emergency food manufacturers are having trouble getting what they need to produce emergency food supplies.

And then there was Japan.

The Japanese triple disaster – earthquake, tsunami, nuclear power plant meltdown – has been a huge blow to the dehydrated food industry. Why? Because Japan has a robust, food-processing industry. Many U.S.-based emergency food suppliers send their food to Japan for processing and then ship it back here for packaging. With radioactive contamination now detected on inbound cargo ships and airline passengers, it’s anybody’s guess as to how long it will be until these emergency food shipments are deemed unsafe. Everything coming out of Japan is suspect, and will be for a long time to come.

By the way, you may be relieved to know that our suppliers never have their food processed in Japan. It’s all done here in the USA. But that’s cold comfort, because to be honest, we aren’t quite sure where we stand with our supplier. (More about that in a minute.)

How should you prepare for “the new normal?”

Three words: get in line.

Three more words: get a lot.

Industry shortages will persist for months, if not years, to come. Emergency food supplies operate outside the normal “just-in-time” economy we’re used to, for all the reasons we’ve talked about. That’s why, if you hope to have any emergency food stored, you absolutely must plan ahead.

In the past, we have been able to keep supply lines open and fulfill all our customers’ orders for emergency food supplies. But unfortunately, that’s no longer the case. Our supplier has been approached by an anonymous buyer to purchase any and all remaining inventory – including future production. The good news: we still have orders in the pipeline, and those orders will be honored.

After that? … Well, let’s just say that we’re doing some hard negotiating so that we can continue to receive at least some supplies of emergency food, even if it’s less than usual. But there are simply no guarantees. We live in a time of great uncertainty.
If you’ve been putting off your decision to buy survival food, you can’t afford to put it off any longer. When you finally decide to get some, it could be too late. That’s why we suggest you consider getting our Safety Net package. The Safety Net food package contains a full one-year supply of food for four adults, or two adults and four children. This amount of emergency food will keep you well-fed in just about any emergency situation.

Here’s the thing, though. We don’t have any to sell you right now. However, we do have those pending orders in the pipeline with our supplier, and we expect to be able to begin selling again to our customers in a few weeks. When we do, you’ll want to be first in line.

This video, from our own Brian Brawdy, reveals how you can ensure you have your own personal food Safety Net. Click here to view the video now.
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FOOD STORAGE PLANNING AND USE THEREOF

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

FOOD STORAGE PLANNING AND USE THEREOF

I am so happy to be able to walk in to my food storage room and find a two year supply of food for a family of four (4).

My husband studies the food storage that I have and determines what is missing and/or needed to complete your home food storage in a way that we can enjoy or meals, and have plenty to eat for several years to come. We use commercially prepared freeze dried products and home stored products. We garden, home can and dehydrate many foods. Others we purchase commercially in bulk, which will enhance and improve out quantity and quality of food on hand. It is never necessary for me to run to the market to purchase last minute items, when unexpected company arrives or we need a change in diet because of an illness in the family.

I suggest that you look at the following websites for ideas to help you in planning your personal family food storage plan. BePrepared.com will help you determine what foods you would enjoy having on hand for your family. BePrepared.com/shelflife this site will help you determine how long your Freeze dried and dehydrated for will keep on your shelf and maintain it nutritional value. Some Freeze dried food will be life sustaining for up to 30 years in ideal conditions. BePrepared.com/recipes
Learn how to rotate your food storage. Rotation is key to a successful food storage program. Several reasons make rotation an important habit in maintaining your preparedness.

• To minimize the loss of nutrition value and food quality.
• To make the most of your food storage investment.
• To learn how to use your stored food so when the time comes you’ll be even
better prepared to use it.
• Enjoy the food you’ve stored while it tastes best. Then replace those foods
you use them.