Thursday, February 26, 2015

Blog Series: Survival Gardening for Self-Reliance: Tips and Tricks

“The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.” Abraham Lincoln

Part One: How is a Survival Garden Different?

My favorite garden is the year almost everything went wild. The harvest was amazing – an abundance of greens, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, pumpkins and watermelon. We even managed to attract a fat toad who made the strawberry patch his temporary home.

Clearing the land, drawing up plans and planting seeds is an act of self-reliance. No other experience is quite as validating as picking and eating the food you grew yourself.

This is especially true during a crisis. It’s incredibly empowering to have tools to feed your family even when the grocery store shelves are bare. In the next few blog posts, I’ll discuss how to prepare, plan and care for your emergency garden, so when the time comes to deploy your heirloom seeds, you’ll be locked and loaded.

How Is a Survival Garden Different?
(Look for more details on the following topics in upcoming blogs)

You may think that all gardening is pretty much the same. You select the seeds, map out the beds, do the grunt work, and then sit back and enjoy the harvest. That’s true except in the case of survival gardening. You need a whole different mindset when it comes to:

1. Choosing seeds:

Hobby gardeners love to experiment with unfamiliar varieties, but in a survival garden, every square foot of growing space counts. You have to choose those fruit and vegetable seeds you can rely on to thrive in your climate and yield abundant harvests. Your family’s survival is at stake.

2. Balancing nutrients:

Normally, gardeners tend to select their favorite fruits and vegetables to grow. They know they can fill in the gaps with grocery store produce. As a survival gardener, you must assume that other produce will be unavailable, so nutrition plays a key role in deciding what to grow.

3. Planning the garden layout:

For many backyard gardeners, drawing up a garden is part of the fun. They might pencil in a bench, a koi pond or brightly hued flowerpots. In contrast, when you map out your survival garden, your prime directive is growing as much food as possible in the space you have. Efficiency, not aesthetics, is your focus.

4. Harvesting

Hobby gardeners can afford to be relaxed about harvesting. They may opt to cut a few lettuce leaves and grape tomatoes for a quick meal, neglecting to pick that monster zucchini that has already reached epic proportions. As a survival gardener, you must pick methodically to widen your harvesting window and make the most of every precious seed.

Many hobby gardeners hang up their gloves and trowels once the first frost of autumn arrives. In contrast, you will still be busy, harvesting and saving seeds for next year’s garden.


Post your own questions below, and we will try to answer them as the Survival Gardening series progresses!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Recipe: Patriot Pantry Hasty Rice Pudding

“I sing the sweets I know, the charms I feel, My morning incense, and my evening meal --The sweets of Hasty-Pudding. Come, dear bowl, Glide o'er my palate, and inspire my soul.” --Joel Barlow, American Poet and Diplomat, “The Hasty Pudding” 1793

Patriot Pantry Hasty Rice Pudding

This old-fashioned dessert dates to the 13th century in Europe and even earlier in Asia. Patriot Pantry Emergency Food Supply kits, ranging from a 4-Week supply to a 1-Year Emergency Food Supply, provide the majority of the ingredients you will need to make this delicious comfort dessert. It is easy, relatively quick and likely to become a family favorite during emergencies, campouts, hiking trips and at home.

Ingredients:

2 teas. cinnamon
½ cup sugar
1 cup plus 1 T water
½ cup raisins

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the rice pudding starts to boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook 5-7 minutes longer until the mixture is thickened. Remove from heat and divide into 4 serving dishes.

*If you are using water from a lake, stream or unfamiliar well, purify it prior to use with a filtering device from My Patriot Supply.



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Franklin's Finest: More Than Just A Great Cup of Coffee

"Among the numerous luxuries of the table...coffee may be considered as one of the most valuable. It excites cheerfulness without intoxication; and the pleasing flow of spirits which it occasions...is never followed by sadness, languor, or debility." -          Benjamin Franklin

As the newest addition to the Patriot Pantry, Franklin’s Finest Coffee is collecting rave reviews. Packed to retain its rich flavor and enticing aroma for 25 years, it is nearly impossible to resist opening up a pouch for immediate enjoyment.

Franklin’s Finest is ideal for a cozy fireside coffee break, a backcountry ski expedition, hunting parties and snowmobile treks because it is designed to travel. All you need is a campfire or gas stove, some fresh water and a mug.

Our freeze-dried coffee is more than just a hearty hot beverage, however. You can use in iced drinks and in recipes that call for a flavor boost. Below are some simple ideas for putting a spectacular spin on some sweet treats:

  • Sprinkle a few pinches of Franklin’s Finest Coffee on top of an iced chocolate cake for a tasty twist
  • Top a hot fudge sundae with a sprinkling of Franklin’s Finest and some crushed oreo cookies to make an easy mud pie dessert
  • Add ½ teaspoon dry Franklin’s Finest to frozen vanilla yogurt and enough milk – use reconstituted Settler’s Whey Powdered Milk if desired -- to make a delicious mocha smoothie. Just blend well.
Try the following recipes for an instant pick-me-up on your winter ski or hunting trip:

Backcountry Iced Latte

1 - 2 teaspoons Franklin’s Finest freeze-dried coffee, to suit your taste
2 teaspoons Patriot Pantry sugar
1 T Settler’s Whey Powdered Milk, pre-mixed with 1/2 cup warm/hot water*
Fresh snow

In a sealable container, mix together Franklin’s Finest Coffee, sugar and the pre-mixed Settler’s Whey Powdered Milk. Snap on the lid and shake well. Stick the container in the snow to cool. Fill a coffee mug nearly full with fresh, clean snow. Shake the cooled coffee mixture and add to the mug. Enjoy!

Servings: 1
Calories: 100
Protein: 3 g
Fat: 2.6 g

Finest Sweet Coffee Biscuits

Yield: Approximately 40 cookies

2 cups unbleached flour
2 T Franklin’s Finest Coffee, dry
3/4 tea. baking powder
½ tea. salt
2/3 cup margarine
1/3 cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
½ tea rum extract
Pecans

Mix the dry ingredients together and set aside. In a large bowl, cream margarine and white sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in brown sugar and mix well. Add the egg and rum extract and stir to combine them.

Add the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined to form a crumbly dough. Form the dough into two logs that are each about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in waxed paper and refrigerate for 8 hours.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick coating. Unwrap the dough and slice each log into 1/8-inch rounds. Place each slice on the baking sheet approximately 1-inch apart. Press a pecan half into the center of each cookie. Bake 7-9 minutes, just until the cookie edges begin to brown. Remove them to a cooling rack.



Hints: These thin cookies bake quickly, so watch closely after 5 minutes or so. Cool the cookie sheet between batches.