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Monday, March 19, 2012

Ghee-licious and Other Preps

Item 1:  Kinda cool idea, along the lines of the Just Add Water (JAW) [link] recipes I favor - The Honeyville Farms blog has put together a bunch of recipes using their freeze dried and dehydrated foods.  While not in the same category as my JAW recipes - where you add water, wait, then consume - recipes such as this one [link] add the additional step of requiring baking or further cooking prior to consumption.

The dry ingredients are put into Mason jars with an oxygen absorber, lidded and put away.  The oxy absorber causes the lid to seal shut, keeping the contents fresh for 5 to 7 years.

I've got two issues with these otherwise great looking recipes.  First, they'd be expensive.  Honeyville Farms produces these products, and item-for-item are obviously much more expensive than buying the foods fresh.  Since they're implying in their posts that these meals are basically for every day use, they'd cost considerably more when compared to using fresh ingredients for daily meals.  I do my JAW recipes for use in emergency situations, and can personally justify the additional cost on that basis.  YMMV.

Secondly, if I were going to put these together, I'd do them in mylar or Foodsaver bags.  They'd take up much less storage "real estate" that way.  I personally only use my Mason jars for home canned foods I've purchased or gathered in abundance.  They're a way of saving a bounty of food you've come upon.... or, as in my next item, having a long-term storage item where there are few, if any, other alternatives.

Still, I like the idea.  Using the Mason jars and having to do the extra cooking might have an application in your prepping plans.  The linked article above has other links at the end so you can download the print off 12 recipes the author has put together.

Item 2:  Finally got around to making and canning up some ghee.  Ghee, for those of you who aren't one of the Cool Kids, is "drawn butter" - whole butter with the milk solids removed.  This gives you another type of fat to add to your storage.  Supposedly, this stuff lasts years and years.

WARNING:  Don't do this.  The government doesn't say it's safe, so you'll probably die if you follow the instructions.  If you choose to continue reading these instructions and end up dead or sick, you made that choice, you deal with the consequences.

I followed the instructions from this article [link] which were very easy to follow.  I, too, used the half-pint jars (why aren't these called one cup jars?).

I started with 4 pounds of unsalted butter in a heavy-bottomed pot -

I had the flame on low.  Once everything had melted, I kicked up the heat to get the mess a-boilin'.  This drives off the water in the butter that can cause problems with storage and safety -

I turned the heat down a bit and the white "scum" on the top pretty much disappeared.  The milk solids settled to the bottom of the pot.

I took my cleaned jars, which I put into the oven at 200F to heat up and dry out (don't want any water in the jars).  I put my lids in 190F water to soften up and sterilize.

I then triple folded some cheese cloth and poured the melted butter in a 1 quart measuring cup (had to do this step twice).  I then used a wide-mouth funnel to fill the jars (ended up with 7 1/2 jars from 4lbs of butter).  I took the lids, dried them off with a paper towel, and screwed them down.  Within 10 minutes, all of the lids had "popped" and sealed.

If you look closely, the jars at the top of the picture have a very light "dusting" of milk solids that made it through the cheese cloth.  TO ANYONE WHO HAS DONE THIS IN THE PAST:  Any problems with this?  My gut says these will not store for years like the stuff without the dusting is supposed to last.  Unless I hear some pretty compelling information, I'll be putting these jars in the fridge and using them first.


Item 3:  I've got a buddy that was in a horrible car accident a few years ago where his face got pretty wrecked.  Part of the consequences was his inability to chew food for quite a while.  As a result, he lived on those Ensure food drinks.  They're primarily marketed towards older folks as a way to ensure you get your daily calories, vitamins and minerals.

I figured they might be a good prepper's items to squirrel away.  The problem with them is that they're bulky and heavy.  They come in these little metal or plastic bottles.  Too much cost and work to consider as survival food.

By chance, I was snooping around some site, and found this stuff.... in powder form.  You take some of the powder, add water and you've got a 250 calorie quickee meal or snack.

The stuff runs around $10 a can (for 7 servings - link), but I found a generic version of it in my local supermarket at around $7 (has the same nutritional stats).

IMO, this is just about a perfect JAW item, in that you don't even need to heat up the water to consume it.  Just mix and drink.

I'm going to take individual servings and vacuum sealing them in Foodsaver tubes.  I've done this before with Gatorade - I'll take some pictures of how to do it at a later time.

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.


Anonymous said...

I make Ghee in my crock pot...PERFECT !

Adventures in Self Reliance said...

I've "Bottled Butter" using almost the same method, but I don't strain out the solids. Instead I add a marble and keep shaking as the butter cools.
I have used the "Butter" after 6 months and a year and it was great and I had no issues at all. I did use pasteurized butter not butter made from Raw milk so that might be something to consider.

Dave, RN said...

Look at the ingredients of Ensure. This will "Ensure" that you don't consume it.
"Water, Corn Maltodextrin, Sugar, Milk Protein Concentrate, Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soy Protein Isolate. Less than 0.5% of the Following: Whey Protein Concentrate, Magnesium Phosphate, Potassium Citrate, Sodium Citrate, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Soy Lecithin, Calcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Salt, Carrageenan, Ferrous Sulfate, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Zinc Sulfate, Niacinamide, Manganese Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Cupric Sulfate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Thiamine Chloride Hydrochloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Chromium Chloride, Biotin, Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenate, Potassium Iodide, Phylloquinone, Vitamin D3, and Cyanocobalamin.

Mostly water and sugar.

Pure crap.

Chief Instructor said...

Anon, Hmmm, need to think about that. Tell me, how do you ensure you don't get any milk solids in the ghee? My ghee isn't a liquid any more, it's more of a semi-solid. Any help would be welcome.

Adventures, when you bottled the butter, did you refrigerate it, or was it left at room temps?

Dave, I hear what you're saying, but this is for a Get Home Bag, not for regular eating. I want low weight, high calorie with as many nutrients as possible.

Adventures in Self Reliance said...

Chief I store the butter in a cool basement that stays between 55-65 degrees depending on the season. The person that showed me was Kellene Bishop at and she says she has used her bottled butter up to 5 years later.
If you do the bottled butter I recommend the wide mouth 1/2-1 pint jars. Makes it a lot easier to use a butter knife.

Chief Instructor said...

I did the home canned whole butter a few years ago, but got scared off by everyone saying I was going to die from botulism poisoning. I kept it all in the fridge.

My TO DO list has pressure canned butter. I figure if the temp is brought up over 240f, the botulism issue goes away.

I just don't know if the jars will hold a seal if any of the boiling butter oozes onto the jar rim.