Tuesday, 2 May 2017

09:07 – Chillier weather has moved in. It was 49.1F (9.5C) when I took Colin out at 0645 this morning, sunny and with strong winds. We had another 0.8″ (2 cm) of rain in the last 24 hours.

Email yesterday from Cassie, whom I hadn’t heard from in a couple of months. She was just checking in and letting me know that she and her husband are now up to over a year’s worth of food, and feeling pretty comfortable about the level of their preps. They’ve laid in bulk quantities of flour, rice, pasta, cooking oil, and so on and have the dry stuff repacked in one-gallon foil-Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.

Cassie has also jumped big-time into canning meats. She does Marathon canning sessions a couple weekends a month, and is up to about 150 pounds of ground beef, chicken, pork, and sausage canned in pint jars. She waits until a particular meat is on sale, buys a bunch of it, typically 30 or 40 pounds at a time, and then cans it.

She also mentioned that she and her husband are now cooking and baking a lot more than they used to. Rather than eating a lot of fresh and frozen foods, they now make most of their meals from LTS. She’s been surprised at how little extra time that takes, especially since they often make up large batches and end up with several meals in the freezer.

Cassie offered an interesting observation that a lot of people probably don’t take into account in their LTS planning. She thought they had lots and lots of spices. Big Costco/Sam’s-size jars of onion flakes and garlic powder, for instance. But as she and her husband were making dinner one night she was measuring out a tablespoon of garlic powder and thought to look at the serving size on that big jar. She said a light bulb went on over her head as she realized that she was used to thinking of herb/spice quantities based on the way they used to cook. Back then one of those small jars of something would last them forever because they so seldom cooked from scratch. With the way they’re cooking now, even a large jar of something isn’t going to last them very long at all. So she sat down at her computer, logged onto Walmart.com, and ordered a bunch of different herbs and spices in large jars to add to their stocks.

She was a bit concerned about shelf-life. A lot of packaged herbs and spices have stated best-by dates 6 months out or less. I told her not to worry about it at all. Best-by dates on herbs and spices are as imaginary as those on canned foods. Most spices are packaged in PET (or glass) bottles, where they’ll remain good for many years, if not decades. They won’t even lose any potency to speak off. Those bottles provide an airtight seal, so the odors/flavors aren’t going anywhere. The same is true if Cassie buys bulk spices like turmeric or paprika or whatever and repackages them herself. Bulk spices usually come in plastic bags, which are not a long-term storage solution. But transferred to PET soft drink bottles or foil-laminate Mylar bags, they’ll last forever.