Friday Food Storage Quickie: Week 3

Sharon September 26th, 2008

Ok, so far we’ve added pasta, popcorn, orange veggies and dried fruit.  This week, we’re adding legumes and herbs and spices.

I know you already probably have some beans or peas in your food storage, but this week, I encourage you to get something leguminous you like to eat, but don’t store.  It is so easy to just buy one kind of bean or pea at the most – all navy beans or all split peas or something.  But the range of tastes and textures involved is really quite vast and wonderful.  So even if you are primarily relying on one thing, maybe add a little extra for variety – some 16 bean mix, chana dal, anasazi or Jacob’s cattle beans, or even some nice black soybeans.  The more you vary your legumes, the less it feels like “beans and rice…again?!?!” 

 What are the best sources of interesting legumes?  Well, in some areas you may be able to get local beans or peas worth trying – Maine Yellow Eye, Southern Cowpeas….  Indian, caribbean and asian grocery stores are excellent sources of inexpensive legumes, as are coops and supermarket bulk bins.  And if you have a little money to spare and are really adventurous, seedsavers.org has beans available on their sites, showcasing dozens of rare heirlooms.  And don’t forget to pick up some seed to grow some for next year.

Next up, herbs and spices.  You are not going to be happy eating grain and legume meals unless you can vary them using seasonings.  And since asian, indian and caribbean grocers are such great sources of interesting legumes, you might as well take some time to check out their spice offerings while you are there.  They are one of the cheapest sources out there for seasonings – and they often sell whole spices which keep much, much longer than ground ones.

Coops and bulk stores, odd lots stores, drug- and dollar stores are all great sources of inexpensives herbs and spices.  Think quantities here – you aren’t going to flavor a big pot of lentils and pasta with a teaspoon of curry powder – cooking lots of staple foods means using a lot of seasonings.  So if money is tight, look for the ways to get lots of bang for your buck.  Obviously, if you can afford it, buy fair trade and organic when you can.

Of course, many herbs can be harvested in  your garden – or someone else’s.  Seriously, consider asking a neighbor who gardens if they ever have extra herbs – most of us have mints and oreganos that regularly try and take up more space than they are allotted.  You can take rooted cuttings and plant them and any trimmings and dry them for winter.  Plants can be brought inside for winter or the dry season as well. 

Other seasoning plants can often be found in the wild – wild onions and garlic dry beautifully for garlic and onion powder, and many herbs have naturalized into landscapes – wild thyme ranges free here, as do several mints, while other flavoring herbs have also escaped in other regions. Harvest reponsibly, of course.

This week’s extra is not a tool – it is a medical basic – the tetanus shot.  Just like it is wise to keep your flashlights charged and ready, IMHO, anyone living sustainably and playing the dirt needs a current tetanus shot going into the crisis.  I know there are those who don’t vaccinate – personally, I feel strongly that this should be the exception for anyone who works or plays in the dirt, works with tools or does any of the other things that we’re all doing. We vaccinate selectively, but our kids always have a current tetanus shot.

 Keep it updated – tetanus is a horrible disease endemic in the soil.  So if you can’t remember when you last had a tetanus shot, now is the time to get an update – and to check on everyone else in the family.  This is especially the time to push a little for teenagers and young adults who might otherwise just skip it. So please, please consider getting updated – who knows how long we will all be able  to do this.

 Ok, have a great weekend everyone!

 Sharon

38 Responses to “Friday Food Storage Quickie: Week 3”

  1. Meadowlark says:

    Dumb question… how bad do tetanus shots hurt? I’m a wimp. (yeah, and a former Marine, what’s up with that?)

  2. Susan in NJ says:

    Meadowlark, my family dr. gave me good advice when I was a teenager and complained that shots hurt — he said if you wouldn’t tense up your arm, it wouldn’t hurt. And he was pretty much right, I had a tetanus booster on Mother’s Day (knife accident) and it was just a prick.

  3. anita says:

    I just had my every-5-years tetanus booster, and my doctor says ‘they’ are now recommending something called a DTAP—diptheria (I’m pretty sure), tetanus and whooping cough, which is apparently making a comeback. Also boosters are now recommended every 10 years, but 5 makes me feel better . . . there are an awful lot of things to be punctured with around here.

  4. Excellent advice to keep your shots up to date. Come SHTF there are going to be a number of epidemics as access to medical care, proper nutrition and sanitary living conditions deteriorate.

  5. Fern says:

    I’ve found that the first time a person gets any particular vaccination that it often causes a much more intense reaction. My son’s tetanus shot at age 4 or so caused a LOT of swelling and pain. My last tetanus shot – part of my Y2K preps – no reaction. I don’t recall having a reaction for the one before that, either (after I got bitten by a kid at the shelter I was working at).

    Back on legumes, my order for 25 pounds of red lentils is back ordered at the co-op, dang it! Have green lentils, green split peas (lots), pinto beans (lots) some yellow split peas, black beans, navy beans, cowpeas, and red kidneys. Used the last of the chickpeas yesterday so I guess I’ll get those while waiting on the red lentils. But it dawned on me earlier today that I have 300 pounds of grains and only about 35 pounds of beans. Clearly I have to work on them beans!

  6. kelley says:

    i cut my hand on a can last night (on the street – don’t ask), and was very glad to have had a tetanus booster recently.

    that shot hurt. sorry.

  7. Chile says:

    I need to see if I’ve got the date of my last tetanus shot in my records. Or maybe not. We’ve been here almost 5 years and I know I haven’t had one here and didn’t in the last place we lived for a year. Will schedule that soon.

    Regarding legumes, may I suggest lentils? The advantage to them is they cook very quickly compared to other dried beans. Some of the varieties also have a meaty taste to them, which will make involuntary vegetarians (come SHTF) happier. Red lentils cook fastest and dissolve away into a hearty broth. I think it’s the little round black lentils (French?) that really taste meaty. I have some of both, but none stored.

    Great suggestions, Sharon!

  8. Chile says:

    Why you should keep written records of your food storage: because you’ll forget that you have 10 lbs of red lentils in a bucket otherwise…

  9. Sarah says:

    I don’t find tetanus boosters especially painful. Gardasil, on the other hand? Ow. But I suppose I might as well see if I can get a tetanus booster in November when I get the next Gardasil one.

    Mmmm….beans. Tonight will be the first bean soup of the season. I think we’re really pretty set for interesting beans and lentils, but I might pick up some split peas. Does anyone have a good ham-less pea soup recipe?

  10. [...] Casaubon’s Book » Blog Archive » Friday Food Storage Quickie: Week 3 Ok, so far we’ve added pasta, popcorn, orange veggies and dried fruit. This week, we’re adding legumes and herbs and spices. [...]

  11. Rosa says:

    Fern, red lentils are the best food ever. I should get more, I think we might be almost out.

    I just committed to a bushel of organic soybeans, next time we visit Iowa. That is, 60# or a two-year supply at our current consumption levels. For $20 direct from the farmer. A friend has agreed to take half, but I don’t think she can really visualize 30# of soybeans.

    Also, does anybody dry their own mushrooms? Is there anything special I should know about that? I think I may have a bucket of button mushrooms coming my way.

  12. Emily says:

    Sarah-

    I have several great ham-less pea soup options.
    #1: Use smoked sea salt
    #2: Use ham bouillon (try Better than Bouillon brand -it’s a paste in a jar, not a cube)
    #3: Use a whole lot of plain salt

    1 part split peas to 3-4 parts water. Boil. Add seasoning. That’s about it! Full recipe is on my Vegetarian Menu for Another Month at http://eatclosetohome.wordpress.com/

    Emily

  13. Susan in NJ says:

    Sarah, I’m not very keen on green split pea soup, but I do like to cook and puree dried green peas to add body to european style green soup, made with cups of practically any finely chopped fresh green herbs (I usually use cilantro and parsley).

  14. Fern says:

    Sarah, do you want ham-less split pea soup to avoid pig products, 4-leg products, or something else? The reason affects the range of options!

    Using soy sauce in a split pea soup deepens the flavor, or your could use a fake bacon product (turkey based), or add some Liquid Smoke, or add browned beef or turkey smoked sausage, to name a few options.

  15. Vegan says:

    We’re having greenish/brown lentils tonight. We love all legumes and eat them daily, red lentils and split peas are favorites. They cook quickly and do not need to be soaked overnight. When our children were young, they particularly loved lentils and split peas. I use lots of spices — turmeric, cumin, coriander and curry powder — when I cook them.

  16. Kate in CT says:

    Since we’re on the topic of beans,beans, what gas reducing techniques actually work? Or do we just not bother like my Aunt who says she wants beans gassy cuz farting feels good:)
    She realy does.

  17. jenn says:

    Y’all have no idea how lucky you are that your preparations are so easy — I can’t include legumes in my stock because I can’t eat them. I had about 1/4 c of legumes at dinner on Wednesday and was sick all night and all day yesterday (I figured my allergen load was low so… wrong.).

    Sharon, any thoughts on non-dairy/egg/legume (allergic to all items) items for storage? I don’t eat meat, either (but … ewww!).

    I’m thinking it’s basically going to be lots of tofu in aseptic packaging (I can tolerate that but not TVP), high gluten flour for making seitan, many kinds of rice, and loads and loads of quinoa.

  18. Amelia says:

    Kate, I’ve had good luck with activated charcoal capsules taken after a meal containing gas-producing foods; most health food stores and a lot of grocers carry them in the supplements section. IANAD, but it might be worth trying.

  19. Fern says:

    Jenn – I was looking at quinoa this morning, it’s a pretty nicely balanced protein grain-like thing. And, can you have nuts?

  20. Tara says:

    Sarah – The original Moosewood Cookbook has a great split pea recipe (no ham). I actually use it as my base recipe, and sometimes I add ham or sausage, sometimes not.

    We eat a lot of legumes here, too, so I have lots of those stored in many varieties. As for lentils, French Puy lentils are my favorite, but so hard to find! They’re a rare treat for me. I will, however, eat any type quite happily.

    My favorite dried herb to keep on hand is Herbes de Provence. I find it to be a really nice all-purpose mix that suits our tastes, and I use it in quite a lot of things. If I had to toss out all my herbs and spices and just pick one of each to use for the rest of my life, they would be Herbes de Provence and Creole seasoning. I’d sorely miss curry, though. (Note to self: stock more Creole seasoning!)

    Tara

  21. clew says:

    On bacon substitute: I have had smoked onion bits that were the most amazing vegan bacon-equivalent I’ve ever had. (They don’t taste like bacon so much as they fill in the, the bass-line.) Mmmmm. There’s only one farmstand I can get them at, and they’re pricey, but I am given to understand that smokers aren’t *very* hard to run. Hmmmmmm.

    On beans and gas; some stomachs are less flexible about it than others, but on the whole I’d say switching to a leguminous diet slowly is the trick. You need to have a full population of the gut microbes that digest beans, and they don’t flourish immediately. (After being vegetarian for years, one can have an equally smelly reaction to eating meat — because those microbes are in retirement.)

    Also; throwing out the soaking water can help (though you lose some nutrients); adding ajwain (Middle Eastern spice, smells a little like thyme) is said to help; slow soaking may be more effective than quick-soaking.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Sharon,

    Would you mind elaborating on your comment about selective vaccines, i.e. which ones you feel comfortable getting and which ones you think are musts for children? You mentioned vaccines and the benefit of having a most of a population covered in your book, but didn’t get into specific varieties.

    Thanks for what you do.

  23. Shira says:

    Sarah,

    Pea soup the total veg way: lots of garlic and onions, veggie broth powder or homemade dried celery and mushroom slices.

    Pea soup the fleishig way with turkey bacon, kosher dogs or smoked goose if you can get it. The fall is a good time to put up some duck legs as confit (slow cooked and stored in their own grease.) A little flavors a whole pot of soup.

    Shira in Bellingham, WA

  24. Erika says:

    Meadowlark (et al.), Tetanus shots themselves don’t hurt, but you may be sore the next day. The cure for that (and all other post-vaccination soreness) is to use the muscle that got the shot. So, adults that get their shots in their arm – your deltoids are the muscles getting the drugs, little kiddos that get shots in the legs are in the quads. For adults, flap your arms around, kinda like a chicken dance, making sure to lift your upper arm straight up (using those deltoids!) once an hour every two or three hours ’til ya’ go to bed, and you should feel fine. For kiddos that get their shots in their legs, walking practice (if they’re not walking on their own), walking, or just having kiddo stand – they naturally kick and move their legs, should help out too. What all this dancin’ does is to move the vaccine from one blob in the muscle to a much wider area, less stress all over hurts less than the same amount of stress all in one place. (I’m a former Navy Corpsman, I worked in immunizations for a while… and no worries ’bout being a wimp – I had a 2 star start tearing up before his tetanus shot, and my saying “You need a tetanus,” caused two PFCs to have to catch their staff sargent on his way down!)

    Sharon, I’d also be interested to hear your thoughts on vaccinating kids. I do see the issue from both sides, but until the day comes where DH and I have children, I’m still not sure what I think we’ll do.

    –Erika

  25. Rachel M. says:

    Hi Sharon, I just recently found your blog and a current post on my own links back it. I am really enjoying reading your posts and perspectives. But back to beans – do you know about Rancho Gordo Heirloom Beans? Great source for ordering dried beans, including less easily found varieties. I love their website and blog too. They feature some pretty good lookin’ bean recipes!

  26. Sharon says:

    Meadowlark, I think tetanus shots do hurt a bit, but it is quick. There’s a bit of an ache later, that gets better if you move things around.

    RE: our vaccinations. We don’t do anything with thimerosol (the exception is that when Eric’s grandparents were living with us, we gave the kids flu shots one year, so that they’d be less likely to transmit the flu to the grandparents and kill them (Eric’s grandfather was unable to have one), the chicken pox vaccine (Eli had a nasty reaction to it the first time – Simon had chicken pox, but if Eli gets past 12 without having them, we may break down and try the vaccine again, simply because CP is such a horrible disease for adults and teenagers – in the meantime, I’m really looking for a family with chicken pox to come visit!)

    Otherwise, we do DTAP, the broken up MMR when they are little and MMR when they are older and the shots are spaced out. We waited on Hep B until they were school aged, but did do it. Am I forgetting any?

    Re:Gas – this isn’t a big problem in our lives, I think since we’re accustomed to eating legumes a lot. There’s a product called “beano” that I hear does work, and we sometimes cook our beans with the herb epazote which reduces gas levels (mostly for the taste) but I don’t have a lot of advice on this one. Others?

    Re: Proteins – Jenn, can you eat tree nuts? Those might be the best high protein options for you? Do you eat fish at all? That’s a tough one – aceptic tofu might be good – a soymilk maker will also allow you to make tofu, and store dried beans if you can eat all tofu. There’s powdered soymilk out there too, if that works for you.

    Sharon

  27. Maeve says:

    I was given the advice to put dry beans in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, let soak a bit, drain water. repeat. Then cook in fresh water. The person who needs Beano still needed Beano, so I don’t bother with all that. But it does work for some people.

  28. Vegan says:

    If, after thorough soaking and long cooking of legumes you still have gas, yes, I’ve heard “Beano” is good. Also, VegLife brand has a supplemental enzyme formula called “Peaceful Digestion.” I’ve used the latter. Probiotics in general may help, too.

    In our family of four, two of us tend to be gassy (not to an extreme) and the other two are never flatulent regardless of what they eat. Basically, we just live with it.

    I remember my mother being flatulent and it never negatively affected her health. She is 85 and fairly healthy. Unless one gets severe discomfort from consuming legumes or other veggies, flatulence does not diminish one’s healthy composition. :)

  29. freelearner says:

    Well, I am in the minority here, as my family does not vaccinate. Tetanus is the one disease that people ask me about most often when I say we don’t do vaccines.

    The vast majority of the decline in mortality from tetanus came before the vaccine was developed, as can be seen in military statistics for various 19th and 20th century wars. This is because basic wound hygiene and sanitation play an enormous role in preventing cases of tetanus.

    Even after mass vaccination against tetanus began post-WWII, both the incidence of tetanus and the case fatality rate have continued to decline. This is for various reasons: better public understanding of wound care, decreased contact with animals, better medical technology, better nutrition, etc.

    Today we have about 40-50 cases of tetanus in the US in any given year, with a 16% chance of death for those infected. (I am using CDC data, here: http://tinyurl.com/3vn7ct .) About 1 in 8 tetanus infections occur in IV drug users. It is absolutely true that being vaccinated reduces one’s risk of dying, once infected. Among the unvaccinated, the case fatality rate is 28%, while for fully vaccinated people (3 or more tetanus shots) the fatality rate is only 4%. Tetanus is twice as deadly among those over 60, and those over 60 are almost 5 times more likely to become infected with tetanus in the first place. Being diabetic also doubles one’s risk of death once infected.

    Looking at these statistics, and considering that in my family’s case we keep no agricultural animals (nor was our land ever used as pasture, to my knowledge), my family will not vaccinate against tetanus. However, I view vaccines as incredibly dangerous, and I realize most here likely do not. But I thought I’d toss out these statistics for any who are interested.

  30. Sharon says:

    It is also true that a sustainable agriculture that can support our present population is almost certainly going to mandate that millions more of us start coming into contact with livestock and grow food with livestock manures. That is, at least one of the major factors keeping tetanus rates low is likely to shift radically.

    In a shift to a much poorer society, it is also worth noting that the tetanus vaccine is a major factor in eliminating the risk of neonatal tetanus, a serious factor in infant mortality rates in the poor world.

    Sharon

  31. squrrl says:

    Jenn: Regarding protein without all the usual protein storage foods…have you investigated the Ethiopian grain teff? It’s supposed to have a very good amino acid profile for a grain, and I understand that the traditional fermented (like sourdough) bread made from it provides a substantial portion of national protein consumption in Ethiopia. Here’s a link I googled up: http://chetday.com/teff.html

    Sarah: Like other posters, I dunno if you’re looking for vegetarian or just not ham, but I find smoked turkey legs (which have the added advantage of being cheap) to be pretty much just the same as ham, and that from someone who loves ham and eats it often. I’m terribly curious about these smoked onion bits though now!

  32. Dan says:

    Spices: I recently restocked all my glass jars of spices for under $0.75 each with bulk organic spices from Whole Foods. Basil, Oregano, Garlic Flakes, etc. Compared to $8.00 per jar and up, not a bad way to go.

    Split Peas: Have been my cheap food of choice for a while. We have a rice-cooker with a soup setting (so basically a slow-cooker). I do about 3 cups of split-peas, 6-7 cups water, 5-6 cut-up red potatoes, 1 chopped onion, some veggie boullion, bay leaf, and then an assortment of whatever spices I’m in the mood for…sometimes curry, paprika, cayenne, cumin for an Indian flavor…sometimes throw in some carrots and celery and call it soup…either way I can make a batch to eat off for 3 days that is high in protein, cheap, and delicious. Goes great over brown rice too…especially the curry variety. The best part is, I spend 5 minutes prepping, then just wait 3.5 hours and am ready to go.

    Of course, a pressure cooker would save some energy and time…

  33. agwh says:

    Sharon’s list sounds like the standard no-frills vaccination schedule. My kids also got the polio vaccine (sugarcube) when they were little. The pediatricians will try to talk you into more, but those are all the basics.

    About the tetanus shot–I needed a booster a couple of years ago. After giving me the injection, the nurse massaged the area for a couple of minutes, and my arm was not sore at all on the day or the day after. I remember that after my previous experiences my arm was pretty uncomfortable almost immediately, so the massage made a huge difference. Unfortunately, I always have a reaction to tetanus vaccine several days later, so I was in worse shape after a week. Most people don’t have that problem, but anyone who is worried about soreness should try to find the most sympathetic nurse around and ask for a couple of minutes of massage to get the vaccine moving.

  34. clew says:

    I often make a bean or veg soup a little extra soupy, and then throw in half a cup of one of the ‘wierd little grains’ (amaranth, quinoa, teff) to thicken it up and add variety. More species in my diet without a lot of change to my cooking/eating habits.

  35. mudder says:

    Beans and legumes are excellent to keep on hand for cheap meals. I’m a huge fan. They’re tasty and quite heathful, to boot – lots of fibre.

    I get good-quality bacon ends from the butcher for about a dollar a pound (and 1/2 to 1 lb is really enough, though more is tasty too) and toss them in the bottom of a pot to sizzle and brown a bit, then add my soaked beans and broth or water to get a really mind-altering flavor. I can make a gigantic pot of anything beany for under $5 (including a few vegetables thrown in, too – onions and carrots mostly) and feed an army, or eat for myself for at least a few days.

    I keep clean pickle and sauce jars in the cupboard with my beans and such stored in them: some seperated out by type, and some pre-prepared into dry soup mixes. In some, I’ve even got dried spices pre-added or in small packets thrown in the jar. I have a hot cocoa mix that I’ve done the same with that I can just spoon out as I please, and it cost a fragment of what store packets cost.

    For the other topic:
    Please, PLEASE consider the cost:benefit ratio when thinking of vaccines.

    For next to no cost and very, very little risk, you can avoid, and help others to avoid, some nasty lifelong diseases in a variety of conditions. Yes, reactions can happen. Reactions also happen with every single thing in our environments – chances of side effects are slim, and chances of life-threatening or permanently damaging ones are even more slender.

    I’d ask that you consider at least a basic schedule of MMR and DTP vaccinations. That’s measles, mumps, rubella, diptheria, tetanus, and pertussis. In some of these, the lifelong immunity is not so much immediately helpful for the person getting the vaccine, as their *children*. A pregnant woman who catches rubella, aka german measles, has a very good chance of spontaneous abortion, for example.

    Personally, I’m quite pleased to be vaccinated against an array of diseases that could maim, disfigure, or kill me and/or anyone I come into contact with.

  36. colleen says:

    Re. smokiness/flavor in vegetarian split pea (and other legume) soups: smoked hot spanish paprika. It adds wonderful smoky flavor and just a hint of heat without being spicy. It has really changed my soup making. (And having been vegan for the past 6 years or so, and making at eating bean soups since I was old enough to cook, to add in a major ingredient like that is a really big deal).

    The first time I used it (in lentil soup), my [vegan, but liked meat/eats meat subs and analogues] husband swore he smelled bacon in the soup.

    As for split pea, I use a really basic recipe — start off with chopped onion, garlic, carrot, celery or celery seed (depends on season), add peas, add bay leaf and other long-taking seasonings (like the paprika), maybe cubed or grated potato, and a bunch of fresh filtered water + bouillon paste (like BTB veg blend) or, even better, homemade stock (usually super-concentrated to save freezer space) + fresh water. Lighter seasonings near end, along with any desired salt source (sea salt, tamair, etc) and freshly ground black pepper. Yum.

  37. Angela says:

    Re split pea soup the veggie way–a couple of dried chipotle peppers. They add a deep smoky flavor and a small kick. You can use the ones in adobo if you have them around, but dried is significantly cheaper. I got this from a book called The Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook.
    Sharon–just found your blog, and I love it even though the topic is scary–thanks for writing!

  38. Muscle Boost says:

    I’ve seen this in stores is it the same exact product?

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