Sunday, 11 January 2015

09:05 – The low last night was in the mid- to upper-teens Fahrenheit (~ -8C). Not record-setting cold, but distinctly chilly for around here.

I got quite a few comments and email questions about my post yesterday, so I’ll try to deal with them here.

Q: How do you store all these dry staples? A: In clean 2-liter soft drink bottles, which can be stacked at least four or five high. The polyethylene terephthalate (PET) used for these bottles is by far the most impermeable to water vapor and oxygen of any common plastic. In the thickness used in bottles, it’s not as good as glass or metal, but it’s good enough for storing food for at least five to ten years. Some items, including the sugar and salt, don’t even need an oxygen absorber. For the others, one 300cc oxygen absorber per 2-liter bottle is sufficient to prevent oxygen damage.

Q: Why the emphasis on white flour instead of whole-wheat flour or wheat berries? A: White flour is far more stable in storage than whole-wheat flour. Wheat berries are more stable still, but require an expensive mill. Also, white flour is far more digestible, particularly for children, than whole-wheat flour or the flour you grind yourself from wheat berries. If you’re not used to a diet heavy in whole-wheat flour, you will regret a sudden shift to it.

Q: Why so much flour and beans instead of legumes and lentils like split peas, which are faster and easier to cook, particularly when fuel is in short supply? A: Again, digestibility and food preferences. Extended soaking greatly reduces the cooking needed for beans. White flour is extremely versatile. If you have any means of cooking/baking, it can be used for porridge/pottage, no-knead bread, pancakes, etc., etc.

Q: What’s the best way to get started on all this? A: Just go do it.