Thursday, June 11, 2009

All Those Gadgets Were a Bad Idea

Now that I added all those gadgets the other day, I'm getting rid of most of them. They were cute. They were fun. But they take too long to load when I'm on a slow dial-up connection.

Ah well.

The Kale Was Terrible!

I tried my dehydrated kale the other night, and it was terrible.

I'd come home from work late, and was too tired to fix a real meal. So I decided to make a quick soup out of some of the things I've been dehydrating. I got 1/2 cup of my cooked-and-dehydrated navy beans and 1/2 cup of my cooked-and-dehydrated brown rice. I added some dehydrated carrots, celery, and green pepper. Then I added some of the kale and some herbs and spices and some chicken stock. Then I added boiling water and let it rehydrate everything.

The first few spoonfuls weren't bad. But then I noticed my mouth felt funny. And then I remembered than when I blanched the kale there was a greasy residue in my pot. That greasy residue was now in my mouth. I tried to eat some more, but it just got worse. So I ended up throwing the soup away. And the rest of the kale.

So I guess this is a good example of why you should try your emergency foods before an emergency.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Added Some Gadgets

I added some gadgets to this blog, so take a look around the page. There are some quotations and weird facts on the bottom of the page. And there are several gadgets along the right side, too.

The Cool Clouds picture will change every time you refresh your web browser. I left it near the top of the page so you don't have to keep scrolling to see it if you refresh.

The Weather always starts at New York. I've tried to enter Vernonia's zip code, but it won't save it. Of course, you can enter your own zip code to see your current weather.

You can refine the posts visible in your window by using the Blog Archive gadget. Click "2009" to see all this year's posts. Or click on "June" to see just this month's posts.

Right now the Favorite Links gadget just has links to gardening and preparedness websites. I'll be adding more later. I'm hoping to find a way to categorize the links. Stay tuned...

Thoughts on the Cranberry Leather

I've been thinking about the Cranberry Leather that I threw away last week. I think the problem was that the flavor was just way too strong. I think if cranberries were mixed with applesauce the leather would be a lot better. So I'm going to try that when cranberries are available again in the fall.

My Emergency Essentials Order Arrived Today

My Emergency Essentials order arrived today. I ordered a #10 can each of Dehydrated Refried Beans, Cheese Blend, Artificially Flavored Imitation Bacon Bits Textured Vegetable Protein, and Tomato Powder. I also ordered a Bean cookbook and 3 8-oz spice jars.

I'm really excited to try the refried beans. I usually buy them in #2 cans at the grocery store. But I often waste some of it because I just can't eat that much at once. So I like the idea of using the dehydrated stuff. I can mix up just as much as I need.

I'm concerned that I won't be able to use all the food in each can before it deteriorates. But I thought I'd make a cover out of folded Glad wrap to put over the top surface of what's left in the can. That should keep out at least some of the moisture and oxygen then gets into the can when I open it.

I'm planning to use the Tomato Powder to make Spanish Rice (among other things). When I'm eating at a Mexican restaurant I always like to mix my rice into my beans. So this should work well with the re-hydrated beans. And I can make a cheese sauce with the cheese powder to put over the top.

I'm also looking forward to using the Bacon TVP and Cheese Blend with potatoes and broccoli to make a cheesy potato casserole. Yum!

Emergency Essentials

Last Friday I placed a small order from Emergency Essentials:

They have a lot of dehydrated and freeze-dried foods. They carry several of the Mountain House meals, as well as Provident Pantry foods (their own brand). They have an awesome variety of fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes, and meats and meat substitutes. They also carry other preparedness supplies

The foods come in several different options. Most everything is available in #10 cans. Some of the Mountain House meals come in 2-serving pouches. And some staples, such as beans and whole grains, come in 6-lb "Superpails" with metallized bags. The pails and bags are also available separately.

Once of the things I like about Emergency Essentials is that they have lots of recipes using their products. If, for example, you're looking at their Dehydrated Whole Eggs, you can click on "Related Recipes" and get a list of recipes using their whole egg powder.

When I first visited the website, the prices seemed a little high to me. $22.95 for freeze-dried whole blueberries. But when you consider how much you get in that #10 can--80% of a gallon--and what it would cost to get the food and dry it yourself--the price seems really reasonable.

They also have several articles on storing foods and other emergency preparedness topics.

All in all, it's a good website to browse around.

The dehydrated kale turned out great: nice and crispy.

I wasn’t sure how long to blanch it. The directions for most of the vegetables in my dehydrator book say to blanch for a couple minutes or “until the color changes.” So I thought that’s what I’d do. But the color turned to dark green as soon as I dropped the snipped leaves into the boiling water. So I left them for a couple minutes then took them out. The kale wasn’t cooked, but that’s OK because it will cook when I use it

The blanched kale was a soggy green mass—like cooked spinach. I wasn’t about to try pulling out individual pieces, so I just spread globs of kale around on the mesh screens for my dehydrator. And it dried very well.

It’ll go well in soups and stews.