Friday, May 22, 2009

"What is Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness?"

I have a new definition of Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness. Here it is:

"Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness compromise a set of skills with supporting equipment and supplies".

I have really come to believe this. Becoming self-sufficient and being prepared is like becoming acquainted with a new hobby. When you begin a new hobby, you get needed supplies, take classes or read up on the subject, and practice until you are proficient. This is the same process to use when becoming prepared.

As such, I am offering information to help build those "skill sets". Below is information on canning. You may be thinking that it is a bit early to think about preserving food when some of us have just put in a garden. It really is the "right time". Opportunities to obtain needed equipment and supplies begin now. For instance, locating canning jars in 2008 was difficult because many people decided to get "back to basics" and tried to preserve their own food. That happened here in Highland, American Fork, and the surrounding areas. Since the economy is even more challenged in 2009, that trend most likely will continue. So please read the following information and "glean" what will be of the most use to you.

Now is the time to get the needed equipment that you may need. Below you will find information on two types of Canning Equipment:

Water Bath Canners:

The boiling water bath method is safe for tomatoes, fruits, jams, jellies, pickles and other preserves. In this method, jars of food are heated completely covered with boiling water (212°F at sea level) and cooked for a specified amount of time.

A water bath canner is a large cooking pot, with a tight fitting lid and a wire or wooden rack that keeps jars from touching each other. The rack allows the boiling water to flow around and underneath jars for a more even processing of the contents. The rack also keeps jars from bumping each other and cracking or breaking. If a rack is not available, clean cotton dish towels or similar can be used to pack around jars. If a standard canner is not available any large metal container may be used as long as it is deep enough for l to 2 inches of briskly boiling water to cover the jars. The diameter of the canner should be no more than 4 inches wider than the diameter of your stove's burner to ensure proper heating of all jars. Using a wash kettle that fits over two burners is not recommended because the middle jars do not get enough heat. For an electric range, the canner must have a flat bottom. Outdoor fire pits with a solid grate will also work however close attention is required to insure proper boiling temperature.

Pressure Canners:

Pressure canning is the only safe method of preserving vegetables, meats, poultry and seafood. Jars of food are placed in 2 to 3 inches of water in a special pressure cooker which is heated to a temperature of at least 240° F. This temperature can only be reached using the pressure method. A microorganism called Clostridium botulinum is the main reason why pressure processing is necessary. Though the bacterial cells are killed at boiling temperatures, they can form spores that can withstand these temperatures. The spores grow well in low acid foods, in the absence of air, such as in canned low acidic foods like meats and vegetables. When the spores begin to grow, they produce the deadly botulinum toxins(poisons).

A pressure canner is a specially-made heavy pot with a lid that can be closed steam-tight. The lid is fitted with a vent (or pet-cock), a dial or weighted pressure gauge and a safety fuse. Newer models have an extra cover-lock as an added precaution. It may or may not have a gasket. The pressure pot also has a rack. Because each type is different, be sure to read the directions for operating.

Where in the world do I get equipment like this:

We are lucky in our area to have several sources for the "Canners". Consider the following:

  • Allred Ace Hardware Store (5353 W East Parkway Street in Highland, UT)

  • Smiths Food and Drug (1550 E 3500, Lehi )-The manger states they have jars etc now, but will have the Canners in about 3 weeks.

  • Walmart in Cedar Hills (4689 W Cedar Hills Dr Cedar Hills, UT) and American Fork (949 W Grassland Dr, American Fork)

  • The Mending Shed (1735 South State St., Orem, UT)


No comments:

01 09 10