Posts Tagged ‘food storage’

071011_2337_Survivingth1.jpgSurviving the times, these end times, can be very difficult, and in many ways, that difficulty may well create a scenario of failure instead of success for us.

I have not written a great deal of late regarding survivalism and preparedness, for many reasons, but I believe now is the time to get serious, and for us all to get down to “the business at hand”. What is “the business at hand”? That would be getting ready for the coming times, of course.

So, I guess the best way would be for me to return to the beginnings of my prepper activities and look at the changes that have occurred over the years, and maybe help at least a few of my readers learn a thing or two about prepping and survivalism.

First of all, what is survivalism and preparedness? Many people believe them to be the same thing, but they are not. Preparedness is a proactive action that allows us to survive in the future, whereas the survivalism aspect is simply reacting to the environment at hand. Preparedness is what happens before an event, survivalism is what happens after the event, whatever that event may be.

Skills and knowledge gained at any stage of the game can be used interchangeably, of course, but we must bear one fact in mind at all times: once an event occurs, we can no longer prepare for that event.

The bottom line here is that if you fail to prepare to survive after whatever event you expect occurs, when that event occurs, you are all out of planning time. Everybody gets old and retires, and many people plan for those years when we live without employment and a paycheck. But some people fail to plan ahead. Once you retire, there is no retirement planning available, only surviving retirement. And how you prepare for retirement dictates how well you are going to survive retirement. Simple enough?

To start with your preparedness planning, we need to look at where you are now, and where you want to be in the future. You need to know what you have for assets, and what your goals are, if you will. As goals change, so won’t our assets, and part of planning for the inevitable catastrophe is to acquire the assets you need to achieve your goals, and to prepare for the possible loss of those assets.

When I talk about assets here, I am not just talking about money and financial instruments. I include things such as food, water, property, tools and the like, and especially about knowledge. Believe it or not, knowledge can be one of your greatest assets. However, there may be occasions where some of these things may be lost, with or without our consent.

Over the years, I have sustained several life-altering events that came along unexpectedly, but because of the knowledge I have gained, I have been able to survive the aftermath, even though I have lost valuable tangible assets, including several years worth of storage food and other property.

I survived because I developed a mindset that provokes me forward, in spite of the obstacles. Sure, I could have given in and become just another welfare puppet licking the boots of my government, but I didn’t, and I will not, no matter what happens. After a few years of struggling, I am climbing back into the driver’s seat of my own wagon, and intend to direct this wagon in the direction I want it to go.

In the coming days and weeks, I will be sharing some ways that you too can climb into the drivers seat and direct your own wagon in the direction you want it to go, in spite of all the distractions and obstacles you may have to face along the journey.

Surviving The Times is available through my Amazon page at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0056SXP3K

Facilities for Storage (from a USDA bulletin)

A variety of facilities can be built or adapted for home storage. The type of storage built depends upon the climate and the choice of the individual. Elaborate facilities for home storage are not practical unless outside temperatures during the winter average 30° F. or lower to permit proper cooling. The size of the storage space will vary according to family needs.

The principles for successful storage apply to all facilities. For example, the cooling of the storage space and maintenance of a desirable temperature depend upon the outside temperature, the manipulation of the ventilators, and the extent of insulation against undesirably high or low temperatures. Proper drainage and the exclusion of light and rodents are also important.

Storage in a Home Basement

A well-ventilated basement under a modern house with central heating can readily be adapted to home storage needs. The furnace room is an excellent place to cure sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and squashes. After curing, however, these commodities should be moved to a cooler part of the basement. Temperatures in ordinary basements vary in different parts of the country. In basements, temperatures ranging from 60° to 70° F. in winter, when the furnace is in operation, and 70° to 80° in summer are perhaps average. While too warm for most commodities, the regular basement is satisfactory the year around for holding potatoes, sweet potatoes, and onions for short periods, and for ripening tomatoes.

If the basement is to be used for winter storage, a corner should be partitioned off and insulated so that the storage space can be kept sufficiently cold. The storage room should be located preferably on the north or east side, and should not have heating ducts or pipes running through it. At least one window is necessary for cooling and ventilating. Two or more windows are desirable, especially if the room is divided for separate storage of fruits and vegetables. The windows should be darkened to protect the produce from light. They should also be boxed or shaded in such a way as to prevent the entrance of light even when they are open.

Bins may be used for storing certain commodities, but crates and boxes are preferred, as it is possible to remove them for cleaning. Equipping the storage room with shelves and a shitted floor keeps the containers off the floor and provides free air circulation. It also permits the use of water or wet materials, such as dampened sawdust, on the floor to raise the humidity.

Storage Cellar Under Home Without Central Heat

The old-fashioned cellar beneath a house without a central heating system has long been used successfully for winter storage of fruits and vegetables in the colder parts of the United States. The cellar usually has an outside entrance and a dirt floor. The outside doors serve as a means of ventilation and to regulate temperature. Some cellars have no windows, but if present they aid in ventilating and in temperature control. Windows are especially needed if the cellar has a partition to separate the fruit and vegetable compartments.

The precautions regarding light, drainage, and insulation described under “Storage in a Home Basement” also apply to the cellar under a house without central heat.

Outdoor Storage Facilities

Outdoor storage facilities can be constructed above ground or partly or entirely below ground. Cellars constructed below ground are superior because they can maintain a desirable temperature longer and more uniformly than any other type of home storage.

Outdoor storage facilities may be attached to the house or located in the yard or under an outbuilding. They should be convenient to the kitchen, and have proper drainage and insulation.

Underground Cellars

The structure of an underground cellar must be strong to support the weight of earth over the roof. Stone and masonry block in combination with concrete can be used, but a structure made entirely of reinforced concrete is best. A variety of plans can be developed. In the plan illustrated in figure 1, the cellar is attached to the house basement. This structure can also serve as a storm cellar or protective shelter against radioactive fallout in case of an emergency.

The whole structure, with the exception of the door, is covered with earth to prevent freezing. The thickness of the covering varies according to geographical location. In northern sections of the country, 2 to 3 feet may be necessary. Straw or fodder may be used for additional insulation if necessary. Wire screen over the outside ends of air intakes and ventilators will keep out birds and small animals.

Partly Underground Cellars

One type of cellar that can be used in certain northern sections of the country has walls of masonry that are partly below and partly above ground. Earth from the excavation is banked around the walls that are above the normal ground level and one end is left exposed for the door (fig. 2). As in other storage houses, an air inlet and a ventilator should be provided for each compartment, if there are more than one. Proper provision for ventilation is illustrated in figure 1. The double door is insulated.

Figure 1.—Longitudinal section and floor plan of concrete storage cellar that can also serve as a storm and fallout shelter.

Figure 2.—A partly underground storage cellar with stone walls and insulated frame roof.

Storage Above Ground

Aboveground storages can be built of masonry or lumber, but must be well insulated. Even masonry walls, regardless of thickness, have little insulating value. The following discussion is applicable where the climate is consistently cold, but where the average temperature- does not drop below freezing. Even in these climates the minimum temperature may drop to zero or below, and supplemental heat may be needed on very cold nights. Thermostatically controlled heat can be used if electricity is available. Only a small amount of heat is necessary to prevent subfreezing temperatures, and the storage temperature should be watched closely when low temperatures are predicted.

Hollow masonry construction such as cinder block provides the simplest means of installing insulation. Vermiculite, or some other dry granular material, can be put in the vertical channels formed by the alignment of the blocks as each course of block is laid. If cinder block is used, the inside and outside surfaces should be scrubbed with a cement grout to make them less porous. After the walls have been scrubbed with cement grout, the inside of the walls should be painted with aluminum paint to serve as a moisture barrier. Tar paper should be placed between the ceiling and joists as a moisture barrier, and at least 12 inches of dry sawdust or other granular material should be spread in the attic above the ceiling.

A frame building can be built of 2- by 4-inch studding and rafters. “Walls can be made tight by sheathing both the inside and outside of the frame with matched lumber. The space between the inside and outside sheathing should be insulated with loose fill or mineral wool blanket. Laminated kraft paper with asphalt between the layers, aluminum foil, or polyethylene should be placed between the insulation and inside sheathing as a moisture barrier. Building paper over the sheathing in the roof and outside walls is of great assistance in making the structure tight. The interior can then be painted with aluminum paint or whitewashed.

Ventilation for any aboveground storage building can be provided by the same type of roof flue and floor inlet that is recommended for concrete cellars (fig. 1).

A lot of people claiming to be Christians like to throw their relationship with God around and claim that because of their faith, America is held in a special place by God and therefore cannot fall. Brings to mind the Lord’s Prayer doesn’t it?

You know how it goes; Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, my will be done on earth as it is…..”Whoa! Wait a minute, that is not how it goes,” you are screaming as you read this piece. (I know you are, I can hear you.) Of course, it isn’t but that is how most Americans pray, isn’t it? You seem to believe that America has a special dispensation to be relieved from misery and failure. However, this simply is not true.

A peculiar revelation crept into the back of my mind as I was mowing the lawn earlier today. Scripture tells us that we are to be a good steward with the earth, and to tend to His flock and garden. But we all too often forget that they are His flock, and His garden, not ours. We are merely to tend to His property and take care of it.

It is not our lot to decide which grapes to grow and where. It is not our decision to decide whether to make wine, grape juice or simply harvest the grapes to eat as a fruit. It is our lot to tend to the vines, clipping, weeding and watering the crop. It is up to God to decide which grapes will be grown and how they will be used after HE harvests them.

We are required to tend to His property here on earth, not make all of the decisions and control the earth for our own benefit. What we do is to be done for His benefit.

As we get ready to survive the coming times, we need to hold these truths in mind as we develop our preparedness plans. Some of you are under the impression that America will never fall under the dominion of the spirit of the Anti-Christ, but scripture says otherwise.

According to Revelation 17:17; for God did give into their hearts to do its mind, and to make one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast till the sayings of God may be complete… (Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) The King James version puts it; For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled…

What this verse basically says is that all rulers will give control of their nations over to the power of the beast. Gods will cannot be done until this occurs. And guess what, this is being done even today. More and more we are seeing control of our lives being put into the hands of people who are clearly not true believers in Christ.

The end times are a comin’, watcha gonna do ’bout it? The answer is, naturally, prepare for the coming times. This brouhaha over the so called debt ceiling is certainly sign enough for anyone willing to open their eyes and ears to realize that there never was a recovery from this economic depression time we are going through today. Prices continue to rise, food and other products are becoming scarce and we frequently se out of stock labels on an increasing number of products on the grocery store shelves.

Sales figures are trending downward across the entire retail spectrum. Even Walmart has experienced their seventh period in a row of declining sales volume. And you know things are bad if the big blue giant is struggling. So what are we going to do to get ready for the coming times?

There are several areas of need that you should be taking a serious look at. One of them is heating your home this winter, and in following winters as well. I have already posted a piece on heating oil and guaranteed price contracts, usually known as fixed or capped price contracts. Read it and use that knowledge to lock in some good pricing for this coming season. (2011-12 season) You should also take a look at how well insulated your home is and ways you can improve upon that insulation to lower your heating costs. Also take a look at some of the various alternative heating sources, as well as back up plans in case you suddenly find yourself unable to heat with your usual equipment.

Your food storage needs also should be examined. Have you started your long term food storage plans? Have you begun to acquire this type of food supply? How are you going to store that food so that it is kept safe and in a controlled environment?

Water is another concern. What are your plans should the public water supply suddenly fail if that is your current source? If you are on a well, is your pump operable without having to rely on the commercial electric grid for power? Look into a DC pump and a solar panel/battery setup for your wells pumping need.

How about your income situation? If things collapse will you still be able to collect a paycheck, and actually use it to purchase what you need without having to rely upon that little plastic card we all use today? Do you have some cash on hand in a safe place to tide you over until that cash becomes useless? In addition, do you have a plan to have a second or alternative income stream should you no longer be able to work? I hate to say this, but if the economy collapses, will your employer fold like a bad poker hand?

There is really no need for the economy to come to a crashing halt should an agreement not be met on raising this bogus debt ceiling, but it is possible that this is simply an engineered disaster that will allow the government to implement its plans to enact a dictatorship of this country. This is not a pleasant thought, but it is a possibility, however remote it may be. We will know in three weeks time what the outcome will be. I am predicting that the debt ceiling will be raised and that our government will continue to increase its spending on wasteful programs that do little more than lock in votes for those professional politicians that have come to rely on buying the vote as opposed to truly earning the vote of the people.

Hard times are a comin’, brother, watcha gonna do ’bout it?

In the coming days we will be seeing some incredible increases in the costs of the things we buy, especially food for the house, and yet our paychecks will remain substantially stagnant. We’ll be spending more money, but not making any more money. Economists call this inflation, and it has reared its ugly head in a big way this time around. If you’ve been able to do the smart thing and get started on your survival homestead you’ll be thinking of ways to reduce your food costs.

One of the aspects of food requirements is caloric intake, and we get that from many different foods. Fat is just one source of high caloric value, in spite of the bad press fat gets from the media. Fats that are leftover from our meals can be reused and utilized for other purposes. Let’s take a look at some of the sources of these fats, and how we can render and clarify them on the survival homestead and farmstead, courtesy of the USDA.

The further advantage of learning how to do this also allows you to begin preparations towards beginning your own distillery to produce biofuels from waste fats and oils from your small farm operations, allowing you to become more self reliant, and less dependent upon outside sources for your fuel needs. We’ll get into that in a later post, though.

SOURCES AND KINDS OF EDIBLE FATS.

Fig 1.—Composition of some common fatty foods.

The fats eaten in the ordinary mixed diet are furnished chiefly by such foods as fat meats, butter, milk, and cream, but are also present in smaller amounts in pastry, breads, eggs, cheese, cereals, etc. Fat meats like pork (including lard) and beef furnish about 59 per cent of the total fat in the average American diet, according to the results of about 400 studies as reported in an earlier publication of this office. The same investigations showed that dairy products, including butter, milk, cream, and cheese, furnish about 26 per cent of the total fat; cereal products, including cakes and breads, about 9 per cent; eggs about 3 per cent; and fish about 1 per cent. Some kinds of fish contain considerable fat and offer a means of adding it to the diet. One-tenth of the edible portion of such fish as the catfish, salmon, butterfish, trout, shad, and a smaller proportion of other common fish consists of fat.

The composition of some of the foods which are important sources of fat in the diet is shown in figure 1. The amount of energy supplied by these foods depends on the quantity of fat which they contain, the pure fats like lard or vegetable fats furnishing 4,080 calories per pound, and those containing other ingredients like water or protein naturally having a lower energy value.

Not many years ago the fats used in this country were obtained almost entirely from the two groups of farm animals, cattle and hogs. Butter and cream were the ordinary table fats, and it was the general custom for each family to obtain its own supply of lard, which was the chief cooking fat, from the pigs slaughtered on the farm. Beef and mutton fats, or tallows, as they were generally known, were used in cooking to some extent in the form of “dripping” obtained from cooking meats, but found a much wider use for candle and soap making.

Chicken fat was also used in a limited way. As the population began to concentrate in cities and towns, the introduction of central slaughterhouses and rendering plants made it possible to obtain both meat and fat separately in such ways as met individual requirements, and home rendering of fats quite generally disappeared except in rural regions. The increasing population created a demand which soon exceeded the available supply obtained from slaughtered animals, and this made it necessary to seek additional sources of edible fats.

Naturally, olive oil, used for food purposes in some parts of Europe and the Orient and less generally in the United States, suggested the possibility of the utilization of other vegetable fats, and as the methods of refining were improved cottonseed oil came to be very commonly used, and, to a less extent, coconut, peanut, and corn oils. At the present time there are also a number of vegetable fats on the market, some of which are simply refined and used alone or in admixture, while others have been treated by special processes designed to render them harder or otherwise changed in character.

RENDERING AND CLARIFYING FATS.

Beef or mutton suet and scraps of fat contain more or less muscle or connective tissue, which must be removed by rendering before the fat is available for most culinary uses. The household method of rendering generally consists in cutting the material into small pieces and heating it in an open kettle until the fat has separated out quite completely from the particles of tissue, which usually have become shriveled and browned. This tissue (called “scraps” or “cracklings”) is then removed by straining, being pressed to remove the fat more completely. The scraps or cracklings are utilized in various ways in different parts of the country, being sometimes eaten as such and sometimes used as shortening. Some housekeepers prefer to render their fat with the addition of water, since they believe there is less danger of burning. However, this necessitates heating the strained fat until the water is driven off to secure a fat of good keeping quality.

The following method of rendering fats, found to be very satisfactory in the laboratory of the Office of Home Economics, may be applied in the home. The fat is cut finely with an ordinary household meat chopper or sausage grinder and is then heated in a double boiler until completely melted. The melted fat is then strained through a rather thick cloth (medium fine huckaback, for instance) to remove the finely divided bits of tissue. The advantage of this method is that since the material to be rendered is finely divided the fat separates readily from the inclosing tissue at a temperature very little above its melting point, and there is no danger of scorching it as in the older open-kettle method.

This is of importance, since recent information shows that fats overheated in rendering do not keep as well as those which have not been heated too high. Also, there is no odor of scorched fat in the room during rendering. After the fat is rendered it should be carefully heated to make sure that it is free from moisture, and sterilized. This method of rendering fat is entirely satisfactory when the quantity of fat to be rendered is fairly small. The difficulty of using it on a large scale would depend chiefly upon the labor and cost of grinding the fat, for if a double boiler of sufficient size were not available one could be improvised by setting the kettle containing the fat in a larger kettle containing water. Pieces of wood or other material should be placedon the bottom 6f the outer kettle to insure a layer of water between the two kettles and prevent the fat from becoming too hot.

Fats which have been saved when meats are cooked, or which have been salvaged in some other way, must usually be clarified—that is, freed from objectionable odors, tastes, or colors—before being entirely satisfactory for culinary purposes. A common custom is to cook a slice of potato in the fat, and this may help if the fat is fairly satisfactory to start with. A fairly successful household method for clarifying fats is as follows: Melt the fat with at least an equal volume of water and heat for a short time at a moderate temperature, with occasional stirring. Let the mixture cool, remove the layer of fat, and scrape off any bits of meat and other material which may adhere to the underside. Rendering or clarifying fat with milk gives quite satisfactory results in modifying odors and flavors.

The procedure is as follows: To 2 pounds of fat (finely chopped if unrendered) add one-half pint of milk (preferably sour). Heat the mixture in a double boiler until rendered or thoroughly melted, stir well, and strain through fairly thick cloth. When cold the fat forms a hard, clean layer, and any dark material adhering to the underside of the fat may be scraped off. Sour milk, being coagulated, is preferable to sweet milk, since the curd remains on the cloth through which the rendered mixture is strained and is thus more easily separated from the rendered fat, which has acquired some of the milk flavor and butter fat.

Undesirable odors and flavors can be decreased in intensity or removed, if not too pronounced, by heating the fats with a good grade of charcoal, and the method is applicable to fats which could not be satisfactorily treated by the method first spoken of. To each pound of chopped, un-rendered fat add 12 pieces of clean, hardwood charcoal about the size of a walnut and render the fat in a double boiler, as described above. Allow the charcoal to remain in the melted fat for about two hours and stir the mixture occasionally. It is necessary to strain the fat through flannel or other closely woven cloth to remove all the fine particles of charcoal. Rancid odors, if not too pronounced, may be satisfactorily removed by this method. If the odor is very pronounced more charcoal is needed, and the mixture requires longer heating. It is interesting to note that the characteristic yellow color of the beef fat may be removed and a white, odorless fat secured.

Every now and again in my research into the old ways of doing things I come across a gem of a piece that may relate to survival homesteading. Food preservation is one of the main aspects of homestead living, and dehydrating foods is one way of preserving your hard earned crops. Canning may not always be possible, such as when you have more food than canning jars, and dehydrating allows you another option to save that food rather than throw it away. And don’t forget, dehydrating has been in use for centuries.

This piece is from the 1917 edition of The American Food Journal. WWI was under way in Europe and food was in short supply. Community-wide programs were implemented as a way to extend that dwindling food supply and eliminate the wastage of some foods. These processes can still be used today, and are still used on many a homestead.

THE HOME DRYING OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

One of the most prominent features of the food conservation program of European countries has been the universal drying of fruits and vegetables. The surplus vegetables in the city markets were forced by the governments into the large municipal drying plants. Community dryers were established in the trucking regions and even itinerant drying machines were sent from farm to farm drying the vegetables which otherwise would have gone to waste. In addition, large quantities of dried vegetables from Canada and this country were shipped to France during the last two years, and there is a possibility that dried fruits and vegetables may continue to be shipped abroad in considerable quantities to supplement the concentrated food diet of the men in the trenches.

The drying of vegetables may seem strange to the present generation, but to our grandmothers it was no novelty. Many housewives even today prefer dried sweet corn to the product canned by the old method, and say also that dried pumpkin and squash are excellent for pie making. Snap beans often are strung on threads and dried above the stove. Cherries and raspberries still are dried on bits of bark for use instead of raisins. In fact, many of the everyday foodstuffs already are dried at some stage of their preparation for market. The common dried fruits, such as prunes, raisins, figs, dates and apples, are staples in the world’s markets, while beans and other legumes, while tea, coffee, cocoa and various manufactured foods like starch, tapioca, macaroni, etc., are dried either in the sun and wind or in specially constructed driers.

Even though the drying of fruits and vegetables as practiced a few decades ago on many farms has become practically a “lost art,” the present food situation doubtless will cause a marked stimulation of drying as a means of conserving the food supply. This country is producing large quantities of perishable foods this year, which should be saved for storage, canned, or properly dried. Drying is not a panacea for the entire waste evil, nor should it take the place of storing or canning to any considerable extent where proper storage facilities are available or tin cans or glass jars can be obtained readily and at a low cost.

The advantages of drying vegetables are not so apparent for the farm home as they are for the town or city household, which has no root cellar or other place in which to store fresh vegetables. For the farmer’s wife the new methods of canning probably will be better than sun drying, which requires a somewhat longer time. Rut shorter methods of drying are available, and the dried product holds an advantage in that usually it requires fewer jars, cans or other containers than do canned fruits or vegetables; also dried material can be stored in receptacles which cannot be used for canning. Then, too, canned fruit and vegetables freeze and cannot be shipped as conveniently in winter. Dried vegetables can be compacted and shipped with a minimum of risk.

To the housewife in the town the drying of vegetables and fruits presents special advantages. During the season when the market is oversupplied locally and prices are low she can lay in a stock, dry it, and put it away for a winter’s emergency without its taking up much of the needed small storage space in her home. If she is accustomed to canning her fruit and vegetables and finds she cannot secure jars or tin cans, she can easily resort to drying.

And now we are told to dry vegetables and fruits for winter use if tin cans and glass jars for canning are scarce or expensive. This is the advice of specialists in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who recently have studied the possibilities of conserving food to meet war needs in spite of any difficulties that may be experienced in obtaining canning containers. Drying was a well recognized and successful way of preserving certain foods before canning came into general use, the specialists point out, and modern methods make it still more practicable than formerly, either in the home or community groups.

METHODS OF DRYING

The methods of drying have been found by the department to give satisfactory results. These are sun drying, drying by artificial heat, and drying with air blasts, as with an electric fan. Trays for drying by any of these methods, as well as tray frames for use over stoves or before fans can be made satisfactorily at home. Frames and trays for use with artificial heat may be purchased complete if desired.

Home-made trays may be made of side and end boards three-fourths of an inch thick and 2 inches wide, and bottom boards of lathing spaced one-fourth of an inch. If desired, one-fourth-inch galvanized wire mesh may be tacked to the side and end boards to form the bottoms of the trays. Frames for use before fans may be made of wood of convenient size. Frames for use with artificial heat should be made of non-inflammable material to as great an extent as possible. As many as six trays may be placed one above the other when artificial heat is used.

The trays are arranged so that every other one is pushed back three inches from the front, this arrangement affording a free circulation of air, the currents of heated air passing over the product as well as up through it, gathering moisture and passing out through the ventilator. The movement of the current of air induces a more rapid and uniform drying. The trays should be shifted from time to time as the lower ones naturally dry faster than those above.

Another home drier is the cook-stove oven, in which bits of food, leftovers, especially sweet corn, etc., can be dried on plates resting on screen or wire trays at a very low temperature. The door should be left ajar and the temperature often noted.

There are two types of cook stove driers on the market. One type is a box-like compartment containing trays through which the heated air rises, carrying off the moisture through a flue. The second type consists of a shallow flat metal box filled with water and designed so that one end can rest on the back of the stove and the other on a leg reaching to the floor.

The various makes of cook stove cabinets—the size convenient for use in the home—have a capacity of from one to four pecks a day. The larger ones, usually called evaporators, have their own fire-boxes underneath and hold from four to five bushels a day. These capacities are based on green apple measures.

Almost any vegetables or fruit may be dried in these evaporators or cabinets: Apples, pears, peaches, plums, raspberries, huckleberries, currants, peas, corn, potatoes, pumpkins, etc. It has been found that the quality and quantity of each are dependent on the ripeness and the species of the fruit, Baldwin apples, for instance, giving a better grade of product than the Jonathans. The regulation of the heat which passes over the product is of paramount importance. If the air applied at the outset is of too high temperature, the surfaces of the vegetables or fruit become hard, or scorched, covering the juicy interior so that it will not dry out. Generally it is not desirable that the air temperature in drying should go above 140 to 150 degrees F., and it is better to keep it well below this point. Insects and insect eggs are killed by exposure to heat of this temperature.

There is no method which would appeal so much to the modern woman as the use of the electric fan in drying. Every woman knows that at the height of the canning season the thermometer reaches its midsummer maximum, and the day which she has set aside for canning (perishable supplies having been ordered some time ahead) is sure to be a stifling day in the kitchen. To be able to arrange her fruits or vegetables (sliced and ready for drying) on trays stacked in tiers placed before an electric fan and then turn on the current, thus making canning a cool rather than an excessively warm operation, exactly accords with her ideas of modern efficiency. The real advantage of this process, however, consists in the fact that the product kept cool, owing to evaporation, tends to retain its color and eliminate spoilage.

In drying before a fan the number of trays that may be placed one above the other will depend, to a large extent, upon the diameter of the fan. In drying in the sun, trays as described may be used or the products to be dried may be spread on sheets of paper or muslin held in place by weights.

Vegetables and fruits will dry better if sliced. They should be cut into slices one-eighth to one-fourth of an inch thick. If thicker, they may not dry thoroughly. While drying, the products should be turned or stirred from time to time. Dried products should be packed temporarily for three or four days and poured each day from one box to another to bring about thorough mixing and so that the whole mass will have a uniform degree of moisture. If during this “conditioning” any pieces of the products are found to be too moist, they should be returned to the trays and dried further. When in condition, the products may be packed permanently in tight paper bags, insect-proof paper boxes or cartons, or glass or tin containers.

RECIPES.

Spinach and Parsley.

Spinach that is in prime condition for greens should be prepared by careful washing and removing the leaves from the roots. Spread the leaves on trays to dry thoroughly. They will dry much more promptly if spliced or chopped.

Garden Beets, Onions, Carrots, Turnips, Parsnips, Cabbage.

Beets: Select young, quickly grown, tender beets, which should be washed, peeled, sliced about an eighth of an inch thick, and dried.

Turnips should be treated in the same way as beets.

Carrots should be well grown, but varieties having a large woody core should be avoided. Wash, peel, and slice crosswise into pieces about an eighth of an inch thick.

Parsnips should be treated in the same way as carrots.

Onions: Remove the outside papery covering. Cut off tops and roots. Slice into one-eight-inch pieces and dry.

Cabbage: Select well developed heads of cabbage and remove all loose outside leaves. Split the cabbage, remove the hard, woody core, and slice the remainder of the head with a kraut cutter, or other hand slicing machine.

All the products under this heading should be “conditioned” as described above. Beet Tops, Swiss Chard, Celery and Rhubarb.

Beet tops: Tops of young beets in suitable condition for greens should be selected and washed carefully. Both the leaf stalk and blade should be cut into sections about one-fourth inch long and spread on screens and dried.

Swiss chard and celery should be prepared in the same way as beet tops.

Rhubarb: Choose young and succulent growth. Prepare as for stewing by skinning the stalks and cutting into pieces about one-fourth inch to one-half inch in length and dry on trays.

All the products under this heading should be “conditioned” as described.