Saturday, May 31, 2014

Redux: Egg-cellent Egg-ducation

Learning about storing eggs was what led me to the world of preparation sites on facebook and blogs.

UPDATE 2015: Now I store my eggs with coconut oil. Same method. 

How to Store Eggs With Coconut Oil

1. Check your eggs against light for cracks, just use those don't store 

2. Take the eggs out of the little cups. Trust me you will appreciate that later.

3. Warm up a little mineral oil. I do about a tablespoon for 18 eggs.
Several people have asked about using other food grade oils.
Sadly, other oils will eventually go rancid.

4. Slather them with a little mineral oil.

5. Place them small tip down in the carton.

6. I found one with a slight crack & set it aside.

7. I date the box with the month/year. If stored properly in a cool, dry, dark location the eggs should last about 9 months. I write 9 months, just in case I forget. Then put it away.
Once a month I turn the eggs over (upside down) to keep them from settling.

Here they are in my fridge.
This is a process for long term storage of eggs on the shelf. I choose to keep them in the fridge, since I have the space. BUT, if we lose power (short term or permanently), I have eggs stored for many meals. From my fridge I used these eggs up to a year after storing them.

My first blog post on storing eggs: Storing Eggs with Mineral Oil

Friday, May 30, 2014

Feijoada, using those black beans in storage....

Feijoada, is a classic Brazilian black bean stew and is a huge favorite of mine.
I had opened a can of bacon and decided to go ahead and make a simply meal of Feijoda and rice for dinner from storage.
This is the basic recipe from South American Dishes. The great thing about this recipe is that it lends itself to adaptation really well. So, while I used this a start, I changed it up based on the ingredients I have in storage. This is theirs...
  • 2 cans (19 oz each) black turtle beans *
  • 3 small links (200 g/7 oz) Spanish cured chorizo sausage **
  • 8 thick slices (225 g/half pound) smoky bacon
  • 1 large white onion
  • 3 fat cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1.25 cups beef stock (or water for a lighter flavor)
  • small handful (1/4 cup finely chopped) parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
This is mine...

First I covered the dehydrated onion and garlic in water and let them rehydrate. Then I added some butter to saute them a bit more. I added the bacon (pressure canned) and cooked it up until it was crispy.
Then I added the can of black beans and water. I wanted to cook the beans more, so they were squishier. 
I added black pepper and red chili powder to spice it up.
Towards the end, I mashed some of the beans up in the pan to thicken up the stew.
Made two cups of rice and then poured the stew over the rice.

Simple, tasty and filling. This time I made home made crackers to go with the meal. Amy Meyer shared this cracker recipe with us in May. They are REALLY good.
I also store maniac to make farofa, which is a typical topping for this black bean stew, But, I will have to share it with you later, since I didn't make it this week. I should have. 

May this be yummy in your tummy. Enjoy!

Memorial Day Menu: Hamburgers and other tasty sides...

Eat what you store & store what you eat...
This is what I made for Memorial Day dinner & it made me very nervous. But, yet again I learned a lot.
First the entire menu is all from storage. To qualify that: when I say it is from storage, it means I have multiples of whatever I am using in my stores already.

Hamburgers with mushrooms and loaf bread.
Potato salad
Baked beans

Well, I started the day rehydrating potatoes. These were probably my very first batch of dehydrated potatoes, simply cut and dehydrated, not precooked. That is why the potatoes are a funny color. But, I was determined to use them, they are perfectly fine food.


As you see, I simply cut them up, add mayo, mustard, pickle relish, salt and pepper. It was great to find out I was out of mayo in the fridge and sure enough, there was plenty on my shelf to save the day.

While I was working on this, I started rehydrating mushrooms to put to top of the hamburgers. Have I mentioned I love mushrooms. I find that if I cover them with water, slowly cook them on the stove & add more water; doing this about 4 or 5 times they turn out pretty good. They tend to be a wee bit chewy, but DH really prefers them this way. Who knew? I added butter and Adobo, one of my favorite spices.


Then I started making bread. Now I used a mix (Hodgsons) and my bread maker.


Then I unjarred the hamburgers. Yes I have canned hamburgers.
I rinsed off the fat and spiced them up, since I know canned hamburger tends to lose a lot of flavor. I used Adobo, salt, pepper & garlic. Let them sit in the fridge.

We decided to cook them on the grill to give them even more flavor & it was Memorial Day after all.

Then the baked beans. I simply used a can of Bush's Baked Beans with added brown sugar, which I made myself (how to...). 

Here you have it. The bread, the potato salad, the meal. 


Lessons Learned:
1. Blanching potatoes before dehydrating, which I now do already, makes it look prettier.
2. Store water, more water. Rehydrating takes a lot of water.
3. Seasonings, more seasoning
4. Time, cooking like this takes more time & planning.

5. Practice more

How to Make Brown Sugar...

Making your own brown sugar is really simple.
November 2013, I learned how to make brown sugar. I really wish I had know this before I stored brown sugar.
What is strange is I knew in the back of my mind that molasses was added to cane sugar to make brown sugar. I just didn't know how simple it was. Add brown sugar to the list of things I no longer will buy & store. Thank you to Susan Harris Weido for sharing how simple it was.
1 C. granulated sugar
1 T. molasses for light brown sugar
2 T. molasses for dark brown sugar
Mix with a fork. 
TIP: I wrote the recipe on the lid of my jar, in case I forget. LOL.
Also, if you are not storing molasses, I personally think you should It is one of those items that stores extremely well and for a long time.

I like to share hand me down photos, these measuring spoons were my MIL's.

Details on Zaycon Hamburger $3.99/Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts Special for $1.49 a pound...

One of my goals this month was to purchase from the Zaycon Hamburger Event coming up in July. They have a special deal, when you purchase from the hamburger event then you get a special deal on your first box of chicken at their fall event for only $1.49 a lb. That is a super, super deal. I purchased my 40 pounds of hamburger this weekend. I was trying to understand how this was going to work. Now I know. 
First, you register and see if there is an event coming near you. Honestly, you may have to travel. But, in our opinion, it is worth the hour drive for us.
Next, you order your beef before it runs out. (DONE). Here are some details on their hamburger.
  • No pink slime.
  • The beef cattle have a grass diet which is supplemented by grain after they reach approximately 700 pounds.
  • 100% grown in the USA.
  • There are no chemicals, additives or water added to meat during processing.
  • Processed at a USDA-inspected, state-of-the-art plant employing strict operating protocols (including HACCP) and the highest in food-safety standards
  • Prior to processing, inspectors from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service randomly sample cattle under a monitoring plan and perform testing for antibiotic residues.
  • USDA nutrition labeling standards defines "extra lean" and "lean" ground beef based on the lean/fat ratio. While not part of these guidelines, the term "super lean" is often used in the grocery sector to describe ground beef at the upper end of the "lean" category (i.e., "Zaycon Foods 93/7 Super Lean Ground Beef"). This ground beef product is 93% lean and 7% fat
  • Comes in a 40-lb case with four 10-lb chubs per case (approximate weight--see note below)
After I ordered, I looked around and finally saw this message: 
"Congratulations! You have purchased 1 case of ground beef in our Summer 2014 sale. This entitles you to 1 case of boneless, skinless chicken breast at $1.49/lb in our Fall 2014 sale! This offer is not transferable. "
Now, that is a deal; considering DH just purchased some boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $4.49 a lb, that is sitting in our fridge right now.  Don't ask. Sometimes he doesn't check prices.
If I didn't believe in their quality or value, I wouldn't be talking about it. Plus, if you are able to find some of our friends who are interested, they have a FANTASTIC referral plan. 
Any way, got my hamburger purchased. Now I need more canning jars. LOL. It is a never ending cycle, which I have to admit I love.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Step by Step: How to Pressure Can Butter for Storage

Here you go. Canning butter with pictures (March 2013).
This is one of those “controversial” topics. I used an amalgamation of sites, blogs and videos. All experienced canners, to figure out how I was going to can the butter.  
If you are interested, this is a link to my blog on what the USDA says about canning butter. 

First things first. I am a bit of a canning rebel. But, I try to be the safest rebel! Personally, I am not a fan of oven canning butter or just adding lids to hot jars and letting them seal. My reason is that butter is a protein. especially after reading up on what the NCHFP states.
Washed & sterilized jars, the NEW lids, rings etc. We worked with pint jars. We had purchased 15 lbs. of butter. 1 Pint = about 1 lb. of butter.
This time we used salted butter, next time I probably will use unsalted butter.

Prepped the center island with our utensils.
Nifty little rubber map I got at Walmart. Came in a roll. Heat resistant. 

Note, all photos are my original photos~Perky Prepping Gramma~ 
Then we prepped the marbles: used to mix up the fats back into the clarified butter after canning. Evidently we did not all use the marbles.
We unwrapped the butter, then melted it down, then simmered for 20 mins. 
Skimming the foam off the top as it cooked and put that into jars to put in the fridge. If you can see to the right...those are the jars with the foam. We didn't pressure can those jars. We put them in the fridge to use immediately. It's very salty, for my taste. I used the foam on veggies over the next week or two.
At the same time we were sterilizing the jars, lids & marbles.

NEAT TIP: Use a saucer to contain the drips as you are transferring the butter from the pot to the jars. Brilliant (from Katzcradul)

First put a marble in the jar, then add butter to the bottom fill line. That would be the lowest line on the top.
Wipe off the rims of the jars with a clean paper towel with vinegar. Add sterilized lids and rims.

Double stacked in my new All-American pressure canner.
This is the first time
I used my AA!
Added water to the bottom.
Canning rack on the bottom.
One row of jars on the bottom, another canning rack and yet another layer of jars.
Lid on, battened down. Timer set. This is a protein, so the pints were done at 10# for 75 minutes.


Edited: Probably after about an hour of taking the jars out of the canner, I started gently shaking them every half hour or so. DONE! We got 15 jars canned. Plus two+ pints of the foam that was skimmed off.
Through out the cooling stage, we would shake up the bottles. The marble we added mixed up the fats & clarified butter.


There you have it. The end result (below).

I used some of the foam on french toast the next day. Yummy!
As with everything your store, how you store your canned goods is important. Cool (the cooler the better) & dark locations help lengthen the shelf life of any stored products.
Update May 29, 2014: I am still using the canned butter & it is a wonderful addition to my storage. Since I tend to use a lot of butter in my cooking, it is one item I am glad I learned how to store.

Edited 02/07/15: What does the USDA (NCHFP) really say about Pressure Canning Butter?

Edited 06/07/14: Controversy, education and wise choices for your family...

I saved up my money to purchase my All-American Pressure Canner, it was worth every penny saved. I still use my Presto, it particularly great when I am doing big canning days like 40 pounds of chicken.  I participate in the Amazon Associate Program. I receive a small commission on any purchase made through my referral site, which helps me have the time to write the blog. Your support is appreciated!

I really appreciate you visiting and reading my blog posts. Feel free to follow me on Facebook at Perky Prepping Gramma. Please feel free to share with credit to Perky Prepping Gramma, that would include all my original photos. Thanks. (763)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Progress on one year of meals for 12 people...*

Meals for 12 in a Box” Storage
This is a slow process, because it is a daunting task. Wow! But, I am taking it one meal at a time. Here goes... 
I tend to store things separately so I will have some flexibility when it comes to making meals later down the road. I don't want to be “boxed in”. 
But, when it is a meal I know we like I “box it in”. I will then store it “12 meals at a time”. After I hit the goal of one years food supplies stored for DH and me; this year I am now working on storing meals for 12 people for one year. That's 4464 meals just for dinner. (13,392 for three meals a day)
Basically when you have a specific meal you like, work towards buying enough for 12 meals (one meal, once a month for 12 months). Do that 30 times & you have one year of stored food. Simple, huh? 

I have been really working hard toward this lofty goal. With some adaptions, I have started a list on a calendar page, as I figure out what I already have on hand and what I need to add to bump up the # of meals, then I add it to the calendar. This taking me awhile, particularly since I have started packing things away for when we move. I certainly have more food stored, I just haven't converted it to my calendar yet.
BREAKFAST: I started with breakfast. Since I already had plenty of bulk items that I would need stored.
For example we have 24 ½ gallon jars of cold cereal. Being generous, I estimated that would be about “8 breakfasts x 12” for the year.
Plus, I have TONS of oatmeal stored. Enough for to round off the remaining breakfasts; to include dehydrated fruits, canned fruit and powdered milk.

With that ton of oats I have enough oats left to add at least six cookie “days x 12” for my calendar, to include: sugar, butter, p.b. and cocoa, for our favorite no bake cookies.
I have 52 cake mixes (yes, I am working on having on hand the stuff stored to make cakes from scratch), which added about 4 “days x 12” to my list.

Here is one new example for dinner that I finally completed:

So, if this is one meal, I need to have 24 pints of beef (the other half will be meatless made with mushrooms), 48 pints of pressure canned milk & 48 packs of the packaged mix, plus noodles.= one meal for 12 people, 12 times in a year. To expand that: This is what it looks like on paper:12 (people preparing for) x 12 (once a month for 12 months) x 31 (one month) x 3 (meals a day) = one year of storage.

I was sort of beating myself up for not being any further along on my goal, but that meal alone is 144 meal portions. NOT beating myself up anymore.
Edited: Dehydrating milk, canning milk and canning butter are popular posts. The "how to" links are embedded within those words (above). I need to transfer the butter from Facebook to the blog. I tend to respond a lot faster to comments left on the facebook page, with THIS post if you have questions or comments.

Note: Currently of the 12 people I am preparing for, 6 are children. When I am storing for the children, I am storing an adult portion for them. While they are young now, if something happens say in five years, they will be teenagers. I want to insure that I have enough to feed them at what ever age.

I often store these meals in these banana boxes, good movable size for this gramma. I label and date the boxes. I also add the amounts needed of other items on the box itself.

You may modify it, based on your goals. For example, when I got started I modified it to “6 meals” so I could attain my first goal of 6 months storage goal. Don't forget to add water to your storage as needed.
I will be slowly working on these boxes and will share more as I go along. 

What I do here is simply share our preparedness journey. If you liked this post we would love it if you joined our Perky Prepping Gramma community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day. (1597)

Things I have used or read this week:


Your order is so very appreciated, because anything ordered through my Amazon Associate links helps me to be able to stay home and write for you. Perky Prepping Gramma is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Saturday, May 24, 2014

About Perky Prepping Gramma...

Hi there,
I am Perky Prepping Gramma and I 

am simply share my journey of a newbie preparing...

I am going to CHALLENGE YOU to do the same.

I am still relatively new to all of this. Here I will share my journey to how I have gotten to where I am at in being prepared. While I am new, I still do a lot of research as I learn new skills.
Honestly, I started this page so I as able to share on other pages with revealing my identity to my family and friends. But, I was surprised that people started to like me and I honestly shared about not even knowing what questions to ask as a newbie.
I have had to learn it all from scratch: preparing for the future, pressure canning, learning dehydrating & gardening, reloading my own & renewing my weapons skills.

Our preparation journey started in late 2011. We decided that we were uncomfortable with the way the economy is going.
We ramped up in the fall 2012, as I found a wider community to learn from.

In this short amount of time focusing on our goals, we have managed to store two years worth of supplies. Our biggest accomplishment to date, was we were able to get out of debt and purchase our own "retirement" farmstead for CASH.
That's right! We aren't rich, so I believe that you could do it too.

One thing I encourage is to read through the blog posts here and the photo tab on my facebook page. When I started I did that with several trusted sites & it really jumped started my search for knowledge. It is a way to learn things very quickly. Sort of like reading a book.
I am interested in meeting others, particularly for the D.C. Metro area.
Just so there are no surprises: I am also a follower of Christ, though everyone's faith journey is welcome & respected here. I served in the Army (Military Police). 

I am married to Mr. Perky, we have two grown children (both boys) who are married and we are grandparents x 6. 

Please feel free to follow me on Facebook at Perky Prepping Gramma. There is a lot more information under the photo tabs there. I have slowly been trying to transfer it over to this blog. I interact better there at this point in time. Feel free to share pictures of your journey, what YOU are actually doing.
Welcome to the journey and I look forward to hearing from you!


Also, just to be honest with you, a blogger doesn't really earn any income from blogging. I do earn a little money from sharing affiliate links, I get a small percentage from any of your purchases through my links like Perky Prepping Gramma on Amazon at no extra cost to you. Your support means a lot to me & helps me continue to share the doings on the farm. 
There are other places I will recommend and share like on this old post Shopping with Perky. Things like Zaycon Food, the LDS Store and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.