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Emergency Food Kit 101, Tips & Tricks on how to survive unexpected disasters

With all of the hurricanes that have been affecting the Southern and Coastal areas in the United States lately , it might be a good idea to have an Emergency Food Kit on hand.

In the event of an disaster, power outages could last for several days, roadways could be dangerous to drive on and there maybe no way to stock your food supply. Emergency kits doesn’t have to break the bank, simple canned foods, dry mixes and other items that do not require refrigeration, cooking, or any special preparation; could make all the difference & a lot of these items are more than likely in your cabinets.

A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:

(-)Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.

(-)Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.

(-)Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.

(-)Flashlight.

 

Suggested Emergency Food Supplies

Consider the following tips when stocking your emergency food supplies and be sure to include a can opener, and eating utensils.

  • Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Choose foods your family will eat.
  • Remember any special dietary needs.
  • Avoid foods that will make you thirsty.
  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried fruit
  • Canned juices
  • High energy foods
  • Food for infants
  • Comfort/stress foods

A good rule of thumb is to not eat too much of foods that will make you thirsty; such as salted crackers, also stay away from salty cereals and heavily salt mixed nuts. Instead, look food that has a high liquid content.

Another note is to be very mindful of Safety & Sanitation regarding your food. In the event of a lack of electricity or a cold source, food can become unsafe and bacteria in food can grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 °F; if these foods are eaten you can become very sick. Just remember, “if there’s any doubts about if what you’re eating is safe, it’s a good rule of thumb not to eat it.” Here’s a few Do’s and Don’t below.

Do:

  • Keep food in covered containers.
  • Keep cooking and eating utensils clean.
  • Discard any food that has come into contact with contaminated flood water.
  • Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more.
  • Discard any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture.
  • Use ready-to-feed formula. If you must mix infant formula use bottled water, or boiled as a last resort.

Don’t:

  • Eat foods from cans that are swollen, dented or corroded, even though the product may look safe to eat.
  • Eat any food that looks or smells abnormal, even if the can looks normal.
  • Let garbage accumulate inside, both for fire and sanitation reasons.

Cooking

Alternative cooking sources can be used in times of emergency including candle warmers, chafing dishes, fondue pots or a fireplace. Charcoal grills and camp stoves are for outdoor use only. Commercially canned food may be eaten out of the can without warming.

To heat food in a can:

  1. Remove the label.
  2. Thoroughly wash and disinfect the can. (Use a diluted solution of one part bleach to ten parts water.)
  3. Open the can before heating.

Managing Food without Power

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.
  • Refrigerated or frozen foods should be kept at 40° F or below for proper food storage.
  • Use a refrigerator thermometer to check temperature.
  • Refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was out for no more than 4 hours.
  • Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40° F for two hours or more.

Using Dry Ice:

  • Know where you can get dry ice prior to a power outage.
  • Twenty-five pounds of dry ice will keep a 10-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for 3-4 days.
  • If you use dry ice to keep your food cold, make sure it does not come in direct contact with the food.
  • Use care when handling dry ice, wear dry, heavy gloves to avoid injury.

These are also good notable mentions to have in your food kit.

Peanut butter.

Whole wheat crackers (consider vacuum packing to prolong freshness)

Nuts and trail mix.

Cereal.

Dried fruit.

Canned meat such as tuna, potted meat, salmon, chicken and turkey.

Potato chips 

Eating calorie-rich and Protein-rich foods are really the best to stick with because they have calories and nutrients you will need to help you keep warm and healthy. 

 

 

Cited from:

FoodSafety.gov.

https://www.ready.gov/food

 

https://www.redcross.org/ 

https://survivalistgearhead.com/survival-food/

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Dormant Northwest, how to keep your plants alive during the winter.

   There’s no place quite like America’s Northwest, equipped with unbelievable views of Mountains, an array of Wildlife, Numerous Islands, Forest Terrain and Waterways that lead straight to the open ocean; The Northwest Territory is a dream.  

3AF70000-1CE2-4AF3-BFB4-C516913157A2

  The Northwest also has an impressive plant community with a wide range of large conifers, trees, shrubs and groundcovers as understory plants. 

   However the behavior of these plants vary depending on amount of sunlight and moisture. For instance, in places where the soil is well drained and south-facing, or in open canopy sunny conditions, you will find plants more tolerant of dry conditions. Many of these plants will grow in mixed deciduous Forest condition as well.

   Depending on the location, when fall arises most plants generally begin to conserve any stored water it has left in it and become inactive or Dormant, to preserve its life cycle during the Winter. 

  Dormancy is a natural response to adverse conditions during the cold winter months; in which plants are extremely vulnerable and may need assistance to survive.

   Below are a few gardening tips that will help you care for your garden in the Northwest Winters.

Cited directly from; https://learn.eartheasy.com/articles/ten-ways-to-prepare-your-garden-for-winter/ 

1.) Clean up rotting and finished plants. Old plants can harbor disease, pests, and funguses. Removing spent plants from the soil surface or burying them in garden trenches (if they are disease-free) prevents pests from destroying your garden; also burying old plants in your garden adds organic matter to your soil, essential improving soil tilth and overall health.

2.) Remove invasive weeds that may have taken hold over the growing season; most invasive weeds remain viable in a compost heap or weed pile, so resist the urge to simply shift them to another part of your garden. Removing invasive plants completely is the only way to prevent those plants from sprouting all over again and disrupting next year’s crop.

3.) Prepare your soil for spring. Despite the fact that most people reserve this activity for the spring, fall is a great time to dig in soil amendments like manure, compost, bone meal, kelp, and rock phosphate. In most climates, adding nutrients at this time of year means the additions have time to start breaking down, enriching your soil, and becoming biologically active. It also means you won’t have to wait until your garden dries out in the spring to work the soil for the first time. Amending, turning, or digging soil now means you’ll have already done some of the work when the busy season hits. Similarly, a fall tilling (if you till your soil in the first place) helps improve drainage before extreme weather becomes a reality.

   Once you’ve added any amendments in fall, you can cover the bed with sheet plastic or other covering to prevent winter rains from washing the amendments below the active root zone; this applies especially to raised beds since they drain more readily than in-ground beds. Remove the sheeting in early spring and till lightly with a hoe in advance of spring planting.

4.) Plant cover crops. In many climates, late summer or early fall is a good time to sow cover crops like rye, vetch or clover. These crops help prevent soil erosion, break up compacted areas and increase levels of organic matter in garden beds. Cover crops also add nutrients. Planting legumes in your garden such as clover or field peas can increase the levels of available nitrogen for garden vegetables. While a general guideline is to plant cover crops approximately one month before your first killing frost, some cover crops are hardier than others. Consult your local extension agent or seed provider to identify the best fall cover crop for your region.

5.) Prune perennials. Fall is a good time to trim some perennial garden plants, though take care to ensure you choose the right ones. Although plants like fennel benefit from a fall pruning, research shows that spent raspberry canes continue to nourish the plant’s crown into the winter. Blueberries also prefer a spring pruning, which helps safeguard the plant from exposure to disease and stress. Focus fall pruning efforts on herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage; and vegetables like asparagus and rhubarb. Blackberries also benefit from a fall clean up. Remove spent or crossing canes to help control the plant’s vigorous spread.

6.) Divide and plant bulbs, Although spring bulbs have long since flowered and died back, other flowering bulbs like lilies bloomed more recently. Three to four weeks after that glorious array, it’s time to dig up and divide any plants that appeared crowded or straggly during the growing season. For spring bulbs, this might mean some guesswork to determine location. Other plants will be more obvious. Dig 4-8 inches away from the plant’s growing stalk, carefully loosening the soil. Lift bulbs gently and separate bulblets for immediate transplanting elsewhere in the garden.

  If you previously dug up your spring bulbs for dividing, now is the time to plant them again. Daffodils, tulips and crocuses are all ready to go back into the soil for another year’s display.

7.) Harvest and regenerate your compost. Now that the heat of summer is over and nature’s microbes are settling in for their winter’s nap, you may be tempted to ignore your compost heap. This would be a missed opportunity in two ways. First, material composted over the summer is probably finished and ready to go. Using this rich material to top up garden beds, amend deficient soils, or fertilize lawns and landscaping will nourish your soil and jumpstart growth come springtime. Second, cleaning out finished compost means making way for another batch, which—in most areas—can be insulated against winter’s chill. To keep those microbes working a little bit longer, build your fall compost heap with plenty of autumn leaves, straw, or sawdust layered with kitchen scraps and other active, green matter. For more information, read our article about successful winter composting. You can also find the basics of composting in this article.

8.) Replenish mulch; Mulching in winter has many of the same benefits as summer mulching. These include reducing water loss, protecting the soil from erosion, and inhibiting weeds. But winter mulching has other benefits as well: as the soil transitions to colder weather, the freezing and thawing of the earth can adversely affect garden plants, whose roots suffer from all that churning and heaving. Adding a thick layer of mulch to the soil surface helps regulate soil temperatures and moisture and ease the transition into winter. A thick layer of mulch around root vegetables left in the garden for your fall and winter harvest can also buffer against hard frosts and prolong your crop. And as the mulch breaks down it incorporates fresh organic material into your soil.

9.) Review the cultivars in your garden and assess your growing season. Now is the time to reconsider under-performing plants and find out if a better variety exists for your location. If your plants are performing adequately, consider extending your harvest by adding varieties that ripen earlier or later in the season. When considering vegetable performance, take careful notes for next season about what worked and what didn’t. Some of the season’s successes and failures can be chalked up to weather, but others are within your control. These include soil fertility, moisture levels, and plant placement. Although you might think you’ll remember the highs and lows of summer come springtime, recording a short list of lessons learned now will provide more information in the end.

10.) Clean and sharpen tools, Although most gardeners know they should keep tools clean and well oiled throughout the year, its difficult to keep up with this task when gardening is in full swing. Fall is a great time to rejuvenate your tools’ lifespan by giving them some attention. Begin by washing tools to remove dirt and debris. If rust is present, remove with sandpaper or a wire brush. Sharpen hoes and shovels with a basic mill file. A whetstone works well for pruners. Finally, rub the surfaces of your tools with an oiled rag coated in light machine oil. This will help seal the metal from oxygen and extend your tools’ lives for another year.

   Wherever you live, there are always steps you can take to prepare for next year’s gardening season. Taken now, these steps will not only help your spring and summer run more smoothly, they can also improve your yields over the long term.

 

Links:3AF70000-1CE2-4AF3-BFB4-C516913157A2

1.)https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/climate-impacts/climate-impacts-northwest_.html

2.)https://www.beautifulpacificnorthwest.com/northwest-wildlife.html 

3.)https://www.fs.usda.gov/photogallery/r6/plants-animals/gallery/?cid=2866&position=SubFeature*

4.)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Territory

5.)https://learn.eartheasy.com/articles/ten-ways-to-prepare-your-garden-for-winter/ 

6.)https://tzuchi.us/offices/sanjose (map of NW picture)

 

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Curry & the European Journey, from plate to palate

A0BE933C-8BC4-4650-A305-B6DDE84AD5ED.jpeg  Food has always been the highest form of representation of every culture, it’s the one thing everyone holds with deep pride.   

  For centuries, great Empires rose and fell fighting to control the spice trade during the 15th century, a war that continued 200 hundred years before ending in the 17th century. The European nations of Spain, Portugal, England, and Holland; all strived to gain control over the prosperous Indonesian Spice islands. However over the last few centuries that lust for spice has been tamed and poured into one of India’s greatest Culinary expressions, Curry.

  The definition of Curry is a variety of dishes usually prepared in a sauce and with the combination of spices or herbs, usually ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, or (fresh) dried chilies. 

  The more popular European dishes, like Masala, typically has meat or vegetables to make its Curry and can be either cooked, fried, or sauted but is usually a blend of heated spices. 

   In the past, spices were predominantly used as a food preservative or for health enhancing purposes but what many people may not be aware of, is that Spices play a bigger role in the world of Nature than you might think.

   What humans may consider as an aromatic fragrance or a means to flavor food from particular spice, Nature uses these aromatic chemicals as a defense mechanism against bacteria, fungi, insects and mammals; to protect the plant after it has finished flowering.

   Spices are usually collected from a flowering plant, dried and then used for Culinary or Medicinal purposes; where as Herbs and be used as is, leaves & roots, but any other part of the plant is often dried can be used as a spice.

Below are a few examples of popular Curry dishes from the European areas.

Pub Style Chicken Curry

Cited directly from: https://www.lifeinpleasantville.com/pub-style-chicken-curry/

 Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil

4 split chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 medium onion chopped

4-5 medium carrots chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

4 cloves garlic finely chopped

1-2 Thai red chili peppers finely chopped

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 1/2 tbsp mild curry powder

2 tsps flour

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsps minced ginger

2 cups hot chicken stock

1 cup table cream (18% M.F.)

1 tbsp Sweet Mango Chutney

Instructions

Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat and add chicken pieces. 

Season with kosher salt and pepper. 

Cook until chicken is white on all sides, four to five minutes. 

Add onions, carrots, garlic, and chili pepper. 

Cook over medium heat until onions are softened, another 5 minutes or so.

Stir in tomato paste and coat vegetables and chicken.

Toss in curry powder, flour, turmeric, cumin and ginger. Stir until dry. 

Add in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add in cream and once it returns to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Stir in mango chutney just before serving.

Serve over Basmati rice with Naan bread for dipping.

Lighter chicken curry

Cited directly from: https://www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/meat-and-poultry/lighter-chicken-curry/

Ingredients

madras curry paste 2 tbsp

onion 1, chopped

garlic 3 cloves, chopped

ginger a thumb-sized piece, chopped

plum tomatoes 3, chopped

tomato purée 1 tbsp

low-fat coconut milk 400ml

chicken breasts 2, cut into bite-sized pieces

basmati rice 200g

sugar snap peas 200g

lime 1, juiced, plus wedges to serve

coriander a few leaves, to serve

Directions 

STEP 1

Blend the curry paste, onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, tomato purée and some seasoning in a food processor until smooth, then tip into a deep frying pan. Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes until reduced, darkened and smelling fragrant. Tip in the coconut milk and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer gently for a further 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through.

STEP 2

Put the rice into a pan with 400ml of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer, put on a lid and cook gently for 12 minutes until cooked and all the water has been absorbed.

STEP 3

Tip the sugar snap peas into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and a little seasoning, and serve with the rice, coriander leaves and lime wedges.

Cited from:

https://www.mccormickscienceinstitute.com/resources/culinary-spices

https://www.bbc.co.uk/teach/class-clips-video/food-gcse-five-things-you-need-to-know-about-curry/zbbcxyc

https://www.lifeinpleasantville.com/pub-style-chicken-curry

https://www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/meat-and-poultry/lighter-chicken-curry/

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Dandelion, A quick look at the Super Herb you didn’t know about

   Who would have ever thought that the beautiful yellow flower growing among the weeds or right in our backyards, was actually an edible herb. Dandelion, or Taraxacum, are very common in the Alabama area and have been used for several years in medicinal purposes, teas & food recipes. 

   Originally derived from the French word “dent-de-leon” (meaning “tooth of the lion”), Dandelion have certainly made their place among the kitchen and in medicine. The bitter greens growing from the plant have been used in raw salads,Teas or cooked like spinach, in several recipes. 

   A great source of beta-carotene (vitamin A), Dandelion leaves are one of nature’s most abundant greens. They also provide a plethora of other essential minerals that are crucial to healthy body function, such as: phosphorus, calcium and thiamine.

Below are some recipes that are sure to help you get the most from your Backyard SuperFood, the Dandelion:

SAUTÉED DANDELION GREENS WITH EGGS

Friendly Tip: These greens can be very bitter, so for this particular dish it’s a good rule of thumb to briefly blanch it in salted boiling water before preparing this recipe. Also sauteing Leeks then cooking them with the Greens, adds sweetness and a nice flavor to balance this dish out. 

INGREDIENTS

 4 cups chopped dandelion greens, thick stems removed (about 1-2 large bunches)

 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, clarified butter

1 large leek, white and light green parts only, finely chopped

4 large eggs

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large pot, bring the salt water to a boil. Next add the chopped dandelion greens and blanch them for a period of 1 to 2 minutes. Drain the greens and press out as much liquid as possible with a spoon, preferably wooden.
  2. Melt  about ¼  of butter in a sauté pan over medium heat, sautée the leeks until tender or about 5 minutes, make sure to occasionally stir the Leeks to prevent sticking . Reduce the heat to medium low and add the greens a little at a time, until wilted or limp, then add more.
  3. When all of the greens are wilted, crack the eggs into the pan on top of the greens then top with cheese then cook the eggs uncovered until the egg whites are set. You may also use a poached or a sunny side up egg to top the greens, if  you prefer.

 

Dandelion Salad

Friendly Tip: For this recipe it’s best to use the leaves that are tender, and therefore should be picked before the plant blooms. These can be served raw or slightly cooked, there may still be some bitterness but not as much. I would suggest maybe adding some bacon piece, cherry tomatoes or chicken for a little extra zing to compliment this nice vinaigrette recipe with this salad. 

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic scapes

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, 

1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar, 

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 

8 cups dandelion greens (large leaves torn in half)

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a bowl, combine garlic scapes, lemon juice, salt, and sugar then whisk until well combined. Drizzle in oil in a slow steady stream, while rapidly whisking the mixture until everything is completely emulsified.
  2. Finally place the Dandelion Greens in a salad bowl. Drizzle dressing over greens, add other ingredients to the salad (if preferred) and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

 

Dandelion Tea

Friendly Tip: Did you know that Dandelion tea act as a natural diuretic — meaning it will gently help expel extra fluid in the body by causing drinkers to urinate more. This happens because the Dandelion Tea causes the kidneys to release more sodium into the urine, which ultimately reduces pressure on the blood vessel wall, as the sodium removes water from the blood. If your is to  lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar or improve eczema; this would be a great natural option.

Just a heads up, this Tea does have a bit of a bitter profile, however it is palatable on its own but adding a little honey to it should sweeten it and won’t interfere with the Dandelion’s natural health benefits. 

Ingredients 

1/2 cup dandelion all parts 

4 cups water boiled 

Instructions 

  1. Remove all dirt and debris from the Dandelion then place Dandelion in a mug, using at least a ¼ of the plant (packed in the mug) per serving.
  2. Pour the boiling water over Dandelion then cover with a lid and allow to steep for 20 minutes or 3hr – overnight if you want a stronger brew.
  3. Strain the brew, add Honey to sweeten or drink as is.

 

Cited From:

https://www.gaiaherbs.com/blogs/herbs/dandelion

https://www.drugs.com/npc/dandelion.html,

Recipes: 

https://www.abeautifulplate.com/sauteed-dandelion-greens-with-eggs

https://www.freshbitesdaily.com/dandelion-tea,

https://www.marthastewart.com/314616/dandelion-salad