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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Canning Conundrum, Show Me The Money and More JAW

Most preppers are familiar with the adage, "Store what you eat".  The idea being, don't store stuff you hate just because it's cheap or plentiful.

For instance, I know with metaphysical certainty that beets and sweet potatoes were put on this earth for no reason other than to test my gag reflex.  They are horrible, puke-inducing produce.  I'd never even consider putting some of them up in storage.

Chicken, on the other hand, is something I really like.  I've never met a chicken I didn't love.  As such, I've home canned TONS of chicken.  Mostly breast meat, with a smattering of thigh meat.

Here's the conundrum:  I love chicken breast, but after canning, it's like commercially canned tuna - flaky.  I love chicken breast, and I like it in this style, but not ONLY in this style.  No other storage format (freezing, dehydrating, etc.) is as shelf stable.

Beef is the same way, but I've found a way around it:  I grind and brown it first, THEN can it, and the texture is just like regular old ground burger.  I can it with my Italian sausage flavorings, and it absolutely rocks.

Has anyone ever ground up chicken breast, cooked it THEN canned it?  If so, how was it?  In my mind's eye, it won't keep the "bouncy" structure of a ground meat - it will just be another pint of flaky breast meat.

Looks like I've got another test ahead of me...

Speaking of beef, I heard a story on TV about how beef prices are set to spike.  Something about how we've got fewer heads of beef than we had in the 1970's, and not enough cows to breed more.

Sounds like a marketing ploy, or poor planning, to me.

I don't eat a lot of beef - mostly pork and chicken - but I like a big ol' thick steak now and again.

I do believe I'll be picking up some beef for the freezer, and some freeze-dried cans of beef for the larder.

I just don't get this - leaving money on the table.  And in these cases, I mean that literally.

With my gun classes, if you can't make the class and you notify me of this less than a week before the class, I provide you with a credit that can be used for any future class (if you call me a week or more before the class, you can get your money fully refunded if you want).  Right now, I have 6 students that have bought and paid for my Introductory Pistol class - at $99 a pop - that haven't reschduled.  One of these is 7 months old!

In our PM shop, we pay past customers who refer us new customers, a 5% bonus.  We look at this as advertising expense, and doesn't come out of the proceeds of their friend!  Anyways, we must be over $1000 in unpaid referral fees. 

We call them immediately to thank them and to come down and get their free cash.  We do a follow-up call a week later to touch bases again.  Nuthin'.

They must be tripping on all of those green shoots as they're running to the store...

A screamin' JAW (Just Add Water) recipe....

This was inspired by a post I saw over at Riverwalker's Stealth Survival blog.  The topic was, Comfort Food.  As he noted, food has a way of settling you down - grounding you.  Those food favorites have a way of making a crappy day not quite so bad.  In a survival situation, they could be crucial to your mental (and physical) health.

One of my first thoughts was mashed potatoes.  Yeah, boy - I luvs me some spuds!

I keep the majority of my JAW packets in my car.  They're part of my stuck-out-in-nowhere-and-I'm-going-to-be-here-for-a-while supplies.  They take up a bit too much room to be included in my Get Home Bag, but are perfect if I've got to hunker down for a while.  Great for camping trips as well.

My idea was for a bacon, cheese and garlic mashed potatoes recipe.  I picked up a bag of bacon bits (actually, Textured Vegetable Protein - TVP), and some cheese powder from the bulk section at my market.  I already had plenty of potato buds and dehydrated garlic (not powder, but the minced bits).

The first crack at it was OK, but didn't curl my toes.  It would be good in a bad situation, but not Top Shelf.  The second try was absolutely awesome!  I increased the garlic and cheese amounts (2x and 3x, respectively).

Here goes:

2/3 C potato buds/flakes (I've got Idahoan)
1 T powdered instant milk
3 T Cheese powder
2 T TVP bacon bits
1 tsp dehydrated minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 C boiling water

Mix it all together, keeping it covered (or sealed in a Foodsaver bag) for 5 minutes, then devour.  The reason there's no picture is because I ate it all.  Seriously, this stuff rocks.

One tip - more water is better than less water.  I did the first recipe with a cup of water (which was a little over what was supposedly needed) and it was still a bit too stiff and almost sticky.  Added the extra water, and it was creamy smooth.

Enough for 2 side dishes or one meal.

The stats (total) -

Cal - 285
Fat - 3.5g
Carbs - 51g
Protein - 14g

As Campbell's says, "Mmm, mmm, good...."
Copyright 2012 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Shy Wolf said...

One reason for the spike in beef costs is the drought situation in the beef raising areas. Many ranchers thinned their herds, at a loss, because they could neither feed nor water them. There was a glut of beef for a while, though the price didn't indicate this, and now the price is skyrocketing (up here, anyway).
One dairy farmer in my area got rid of his dairy herd due to fed interference/controls and began beef herds, his reasoning: less gov't bother and more money per pound.

LyndaKay said...

Good luck with the chicken. Hope you get some answers. My problem is how to find someone to teach me how to can produce and other foods. I haven't found anyone who does it anymore. I can read the info on the net, but there's nothing like someone standing by you and giving you tips. Maybe I should put a classified ad in the local paper.

Anonymous said...

Another reason for feed costs going up is that more feed was being diverted to ethanol production. I believe ethanol subsidies were dropped recently, but not necessarily regulations requiring certain ethanol production levels. So we'll probably have a bit more price uncertainty, particularly from imported ethanol -- which if I recall correctly also had tariffs changed.

Chief Instructor said...

Shy, yeah, the price of beef here in
CA has been going up steadily as well. Beef tongue, which used to be throw away stuff, is over $4 a pound. Low grade steaks like NY Strip and T-bone are all north of $7 a pound.

LyndaKay, I got started just by doing it. I bought a Presto brand pressure cooker, read the book that came with it, read some web sites, and just did it. It's really pretty easy if you follow the "rules".

Anon, don't EVEN get me started on corn and ethanol - it absolutely makes my blood boil. Yeah, let's take food and turn it into something to put into your gas tank. Oh, and did I mention that it takes more energy to produce than it provides?

Absolutely insane. I wonder how many miles to the gallon we'll get with our algae-powered cars...

Tracy Dear said...

Just another recipe- I love sweet potatoes, but not sweetened with syrup or sugar or marshmallows... we make them savory. Try them with one of these combinations: cumin, cilantro, and red pepper; or, rosemary and garlic. Or try them seasoned with ginger. Of course, all of these recipes go with butter and cream. You'll like them!

Chief Instructor said...

So you make them like spuds - boil them up and add the savory flavoring? Hmmm. I may give them a shot, but I'm not hopeful!