Thursday, December 30, 2010

Prepping, and Thoughts During a Winter Storm

Photo By jumpinjimmyjava 

I've been a 'Prepper' most of my life, having been raised in the Hurricane Belt. Living in snow country isn't much different for prepping, except for the cold weather. The recent ice storm left my area without power for several days, and I am happy to report that I was just fine thanks to my preps. I had plenty of heat, illumination after dark via candles and LED lights, food, water...

The big hole in my preps, though, was 2 sided. On one side, I was bored to tears, totally isolated, and had only a few library books. On the other side, I had plenty of time to fret about 2 freezers full of meat, and how long the power outage might extend. Fortunately I got lucky with the return of power just before I would have lost the freezer contents.

As a result, I plan to delve deeply this coming year into safe meat (and other food) preservation that doesn't require any power refrigeration or freezing, yet still retains safety, quality and taste. It will mean lots of experimenting, and probably loss of some meat during my trials, but I will feel better in a year if I have that option of preservation.

I have canned and dried foods for years, and canned a few meats along the way. What I don't have is a place to store jars of canned goods that could freeze and break in extreme cold. I want to better insulate my root cellar for canned goods, but I also want to store some meats that are not canned so I have some variety. Making cheese once I have a 'cave' is also high on the list!

There is something called 'rabbit starvation' whereby folks had only rabbit to eat, but starved to death because the body (especially the brain) requires fats to survive... and vegetables generally do not provide the fats that most animal meats, eggs and cheese do. Hence the interest in preserving meat, along with cheese and eggs.

My feet have been teetering at this threshold for some time, with my desire to learn to make cheese and charcuterie, but it's time to get more serious and cross over the damn line... get busy and make something! Charcuterie such as fresh sausage still requires refrigeration or freezing, but there are dry-cured meats (like chorizo, pepperoni and summer sausage) that keep at room temps. Some meats can be cured (salted), smoked, and hung in a cold (even if not freezing) place over winter; some pre-cooked meats can be stored immersed in a crock of fat in a cool place, and some meats can be dried. There is a lot for me to learn out there!

Update: I wrote this post above Dec. 19, after our ice storm. Then the East Coast Christmas Blizzard came along, and I worried about losing power again. Thankfully, although we got a ton of snow, the power stayed on! I worked on making sausages, which I will cover in several posts over the next week or two.

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