An Interview with Mountain House Foods

Here is another interview with a Mountain House Foods.  This is a very informative one and gives some good information that will help you determine which foods to purchase.

Howard

Our History

Questions:

  • Mountain House Food

    Here is an example of one of the freeze dried foods that Mountain House makes for the U.S. Military

    How long have you been in the food business?

  • What is your main motivation for staying in business?
  • Do you have a military background?

OFD (Oregon Freeze Dry)was started more than 50 years ago when two entrepreneurial businessmen came together and, with a grant from the Governor of Oregon, built our first production facility in Albany, Oregon. Our primary business at first was freeze drying strawberries for General Food cereals. Then the Vietnam Conflict happened.

The Department of Defense put out a Request for Proposal (RFP) for food that would taste better, last longer, and weigh less than K and C rations. We answered the call and won the contract to make freeze dried meals for the United States Special Forces.  For those of you familiar with those kinds of rations, back then it was called the Long Range Patrol Ration or “Lurp.” Nowadays it’s called the MCW/LRP and we have continued to make them for our Special Forces soldiers ever since. We also make other food for the other branches of the military.

It’s out of these rations for Special Forces that Mountain House was born. As the war began to wind down, we had a warehouse full of these Special Forces food rations. We took them to local and regional army surplus retailers, where the meals sold like hotcakes. That’s when we realized we had a consumer-demanded product and Mountain House was born.

We’ve been in this industry longer than just about everyone else and are recognized worldwide as the trusted experts in freeze drying. Our production facilities and headquarters are still in Albany, Oregon where we continue to provide good paying jobs and support the local economy.

What’s even more interesting is that up until 2012, we didn’t have a marketing department! We grew to be the industry leader in the freeze-dried food segment based purely on word of mouth and the support of the customers who believe in our food. The food sells itself. There are a lot of imitators in the market, so please test them side by side with Mountain House and buy what suits your family’s taste best.

Our Mission

We have a mission that you won’t explicitly see in any of the marketing or materials but it permeates our whole philosophy and culture: To Feed and Comfort in Time of Need. Whether that is on the top of the tallest mountains in the world, on a polar expedition, on the battlefield or hunkered down at home with the power out, we make food people trust. We don’t have any other option, really. If you can’t rely on the food we make, then why  make it at all?

Our Brands

Questions:

  • What Brands of Food do you sell?
  • What is your favorite brand?

OFD has had several brands over the years, but Mountain House is the longest lasting. Long before I started work for OFD and Mountain House, I was a Mountain House consumer and fan. I grew up eating Mountain House when I was on camping trips with my family and Boy Scouts, as well as on hunting and fishing trips with my dad. Now that I have a family of my own, I store Mountain House in my pantry at home just in case we need it.

Our Technology

Questions:

  • What is the oxygen level in the brands of foods that you carry?
  • Has your food been independently tested?
  • Why doesn’t nitrogen flush work?
  • What method do the brands that you carry use to control the oxygen levels? 

Our food is always manufactured to the strictest quality standards. Not only do we maintain SQF II certification, we are also routinely inspected by the USDA (we use real meat in our meals) and cooperate with rigorous independent third party audits.

We maintain the strictest standards for oxygen and consistently average under 2%. Feel free to check out an oxygen study Columbia Food Laboratories did, showing average O2 to be .16%!

When it comes to nitrogen flushing, we’ve used it in the past. However we now use oxygen absorbers which works better. We also have a proprietary packaging structure and other technologies that help us maintain the longest proven shelf life in the industry.

Just as an FYI, our oxygen absorbers are filled with iron powder. If you ever accidently forget to remove it from your food before rehydrating, no worries. The food is still perfectly safe to eat.

Our Sourcing

Questions:

  • Are there Chinese foods in the products you sell?
  • What about foods from Mexico or other countries?

We make every effort to source our ingredients here in the United States. Sometimes, due to seasonality (i.e. it is not the growing season in the US) we will source from other places. Regardless of where the ingredients come from, all ingredients must pass very vigorous inspections and standards.

Specifically about China… we found that the best bamboo shoots for our Chicken Teriyaki come from there. Same with the water chestnut in our Oriental Style Rice & Chicken. They are the only ingredients that comes from China.

We also source real tomatillos from Mexico for our White Bean Chicken Chili. Once again, we sought out the best ingredient for our needs and it turns out that it comes from Mexico. 

Consumer Education 

Question:

  • What would you warn consumers to look for in purchasing foods?

There are several things that consumers may not know but really should. Here is a list:

Shelf Life Claims

Mountain House has the longest, real-world proven shelf life in the industry. There is a world of difference between a claim of “up-to” a certain shelf life and a guaranteed shelf life. Technically, a food company claiming a shelf life of “up to” 25 years would not be lying if the food went rancid 2 months after it was made. There are companies out there that do this because they count on you never actually tasting the food. Watch out!

We guarantee our food will be good for 10+ years in pouches or 25+ years in cans. We add the “+” because we know that the food will likely be good for much longer than that. We’ve eaten the food and sent it out for independent testing. We know for a fact our claims are true.

“Will Sustain Life” vs Virtually Indistinguishable from New

Also be aware of companies that use the absurdly low standard of “Will Sustain Life” rather than the consumer expectation of “Virtually Indistinguishable from New.”

For instance, a 25-year old bag of potato chips will probably “sustain life”, but that doesn’t mean you’d want to, much less enjoy, eating it.

Servings vs Calories

Watch out for the very common “servings vs calories” trick. There are some multi-month kits out there that would literally starve your family to death if you’d use them as your sole source of nourishment. The average adult needs between 1600-2200 calories depending on activity level, size, gender and age. Ignore servings and focus on the number of calories you need to thrive in an emergency situation. And make sure the calories are high quality and aren’t empty calories, like those from drink mixes and the like. Some kits have a significant portion of their calories in drink mixes.

GMO-Free (Genetically Modified Organisms) Claims

Another thing to watch out for are “GMO-Free” claims. The biggest warning sign is when a brand pastes the words “GMO-Free” or “Certified GMO Free” on its label, usually accompanied by a fancy seal. Unfortunately, “GMO-Free” is not a legally or scientifically defensible term. The proper labeling actually comes from the Non GMO Project, and to my knowledge there are no Non-GMO Project Verified makers in the freeze-dried food space.

The Non GMO Project is the only independent verification for GMO free products in North America. It is a very rigorous and very expensive process to obtain and maintain a Non GMO Project Verified Seal. We strongly encourage everyone with concerns about GMOs to visit the Non GMO Project website and educate themselves.

Peace of Mind

Question:

  • Why do you think people should buy long-term storage foods?

Everyone has (or should) have a savings account large enough to pay the mortgage and all your expenses for 3 to 6 months if you should become unemployed or have a medical emergency. The same thing applies to food. The peace of mind it brings knowing your family will be fed in critical times is priceless. With her permission, I’d like to share something one of our Facebook fans shared with us during the chemical spill in West Virginia last January:

“I’ve always been a big fan of Mountain House food but even more so now. For the past week my family has been one of those effected by the chemical spill in WV and has been living with contaminated water. What a relief it’s been to open up a couple of bags of our favorite mountain house food, using very little water, and have delicious meals from bottled water that I know is safe. No worries about doing dishes afterwards or having to bring in fresh water just for that reason. Mountain House…you have a loyal customer for life! Thank you!” –Shelly B.

It is situations like these that embody why people should consider buying food for long term emergencies.

Serving Sizes

Question:

  • What size serving do the foods you carry have? 

We use USDA “Reference Amount Customarily Consumed” to determine our “serving size”, although as noted above, you should focus on calories rather than “servings” when making your purchasing decisions. We have a variety of different serving size option to choose from. You’ll have to check out the back of the package or www.mountainhouse.com to find the specific information on the meal you are looking for.

Why Mountain House?

Question:

  • Why should people buy from you? 

Mountain House is the industry leader for a reason. It basically boils down to a few things:

  • We make the best tasting freeze dried meals you can buy. But don’t take our word for it. Please, compare us to other brands and buy what is best for you and your family. We wouldn’t want it any other way.
  • We are easy to find. We are available in the camping section of most stores as well as and several other places like Freeze Dry Guy and The Ready Store. If your favorite retailer doesn’t carry the item you’re looking for, you can order from www.mountainhouse.com.
  • We have fed people in their time of need in every climate and condition on earth. Literally. From the bottom of the deepest oceans, to the battlefield, to the tops of the mountains, and all the way to the Moon and back. Mountain House is the food people trust when they can’t afford failure. That’s an endorsement money simply cannot buy.
  • We have the longest proven shelf life in the industry.
  • When extreme explorers and expeditions need food, they call us.
  • We actively listen to our consumers and take their suggestions into consideration. Our most recent items Apple Crisp, Biscuits and Gravy and Fire Roasted Vegetables were developed directly from consumer feedback.
  • Finally, did you know Mountain House makes an easy meal when you’re just too tired to cook —and clean up — after a hard day at work? I’ve done it many-a-time, and our research shows I’m not alone.

Conclusion

Thank you for the opportunity to share our story! If you’d like to request a free sample, please email Mountain House customer service at MH-Info@ofd.com with your name and physical shipping address and we’ll gladly get you set up.

 

Why Airguns Can Be an Excellent Tool for Hunting Quietly

airgun

A Spring powered airgun with scope

I received some excellent comments and emails on yesterdays post on Hunting Quietly Without Attracting the Attention of Your Neighbors.  Several of them dealt with using 22 sub sonic, low velocity pistol rounds or silencers.  I cannot disagree with these ideas they all have merit and a place in the overall scheme of things.  However, there are several reasons that I lean towards the use of airguns rather the conventional firearms for this purpose.

One is the price of ammo, pellets are cheap, around here you can buy 500 for under $10 if you wait for the sales and they are available.  Compare that to 22 cal or any other ammo prices.  You can afford to stock a lot.

A second reason is that most of the game you will be hunting will be small game, rabbits, birds, squirrels etc.  The cheaper less powerful air rifles are adequate for hunting these animals.  For larger game such as deer, you would want something with more power.

You can purchase airguns in most states, even California without paper work.  Anyone can own one.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) has jurisdiction over firearms. The U.S. Code specifically prohibits any federal, state or local municipality from declaring an airgun to be a firearm. Not only do the federal firearms laws not apply to airguns, they cannot be applied by law.

The law is United States Code, Title 15, Section 5001, BB/AIRGUN/PAINTBALL/IMITATION FIREARM PREEMPTION.  The sections of interest to us are Sections “g(i) and g(ii)” at the very end. Read their very clear language.

(g) Preemption of State or local laws or ordinances; exceptions

The provisions of this section shall supersede any provisions of State or local laws or ordinances which provide for markings or identifications inconsistent with provisions of this section provided that no State shall

(i) prohibit the sale or manufacture of any look-alike, non-firing, collector replica of an antique firearms developed prior to 1898, or

(ii) prohibit the sale (other than prohibiting the sale to minors) of traditional B-B, paint ball, or pellet-firing air guns that expel a projectile through the force of air pressure.”

To me noise is a big issue; some airguns are quieter than others.  I will concede that 22 cal sub sonic rounds can be just about as quiet as airguns.  I have attempted to do some research on the  subject and have found three sites that address the subject.  Here are their links.

There are mainly three different types of airguns.

Spring powered air rifles- often called springers. This type of air rifle uses a spring to compress air in a chamber.  The two biggest advantages for buying a spring-powered rifle are power and ease of use.  With a spring powered air rifle you only have to cock the gun once to achieve maximum power. Most are rated at 1000 FPS and can be used for small game hunting, target shooting, and pest control.  Adult males will have no problem cocking the rifles but if you are buying the air rifle for your younger kids (Under 14) or wife make sure they can handle the cocking pressure. Springers are probably the noisiest of the airgun types.

airguns

A Benjamin Discovery with pump

Pneumatic airguns use compressed air for power. There are several ways that the air can be compressed. The most common pneumatic airgun is the multi stroke.   These airguns are designed so that several strokes of the pumping mechanism forces air into a chamber where it is held under high pressure.  Each pump stroke forces more air into the chamber which increases the pressure which in turn increases the velocity of the projectile.

There are also airguns that have a pump similar to a bicycle pump that can be charged once and then fired multi times.  These are nice, since you can have a fast second shot.  Some of the pneumatic airguns can be pressurized from scuba tanks and by other means that I have not covered since they would not be viable under emergency conditions.

CO2 powered, while these are fine under normal conditions, in an emergency the co2 cylinders would not be readily available.

A couple of other factors that can influence how much noise your airgun makes are 

One, ultra-lightweight alloy pellets.  If you are exceeding the sound barrier (approx 1120 fps) you will get a loud crack.  Using heavier pellets can solve your problem by slowing down the velocity of your pellet.

Another possible problem could be that your rifle is dieseling.  You should never use a petroleum-based product in the barrel or compression chamber of a spring-powered airgun.  This can cause an explosion called dieseling.  This is loud, not good for your rifle and can be hazardous.

Get an airgun and play with it, it is cheap shooting and you will find it can be a good hunting weapon.

Howard

Hunting Quietly Without Attracting the Attention of Your Neighbors

hunting quietly

Snares can be made in all sizes

I have been giving some thought lately on hunting quietly.  By that, I mean to hunt without attracting the attention from your neighbors that a normal gunshot would make.   Unless you live way out in the country, a gunshot will attract unwanted attention.  So I have several suggestions on hunting quietly.

The first method I am going to suggest is to use snares.  This may be the best method, these work all the time, whether or not you are present.  If a neighbor were to find a snare, they may not know who placed it.  Snares can be made to take just about any size game.

Here are some links to making and using snares,

Now snares take practice so if you live in an area where the law permits you to hunt with snares I suggest you get out and experiment.  One thing that may make snaring easier in an emergency is that there may be many household pets that have been turned lose.  Not having a fear of man they may be very easy to catch by baiting.  Personally, I have no qualms about eating a dog or cat in a starvation situation.

Bows and crossbows are viable if you have some training and experience in their use.  They are silent and can kill very effectively.  They do require a certain amount of strength and are not for everybody.  I am going to get an expert on bow hunting to do a post in the future.

hunting quietlyA good choice for many of us may be the air rifle.  I know two people who live in a semi-rural area with neighbors less than a hundred yards from their home.  Both have killed deer that were raiding their garden with single shots to the head.  In neither case were they detected.  Neither individual had particularly high quality air rifles.

If you choose to buy an air gun, avoid ones that use co2 or other cylinders that have to be purchased.  Tomorrow I will post an article to help you determine what type of an air rifle to buy.

Be warned that most of what I have suggested here on hunting quietly is illegal in almost every state and is not something you should try without determining if it is legal where you live.  Don’t do anything dumb and get into trouble.

Howard

 

My Trip to Utah and Visits with Suppliers of Preparedness Products

preparedness productsThis last week or so I have been traveling in Utah to visit family.  While there, I was able to visit four different companies that deal in preparedness products.  I dropped in on all four companies without any notice to see what I could learn about their operation.

The first company I visited that sells preparedness products was Emergency Essentials, now to be fair I dropped in at one of their stores not there headquarters.  This is a store I have been in before and have always received good service.  Today was the same; the employees were able to answer questions and appeared to know their products.  They have an excellent display of water filters that you can actually use.  In a few minutes, I was able to pump water through about eight different water filters.  My wife has arthritis in her hands and this was particularly helpful for her.  One filter stood out as being the easiest to operate, after doing a little more investigation on this filter if everything still looks good, I will write a post on it. This is one for her bug out bag.

Overall, my experience there was good.  We purchased a few items, including some of the new MRE side dishes and desserts.  I want to try these and see how good or bad they are.

The next store we visited was Eden Valley Farms one of the new companies in this market.  We just happened to find them by accident when we saw their sign.  Stopping there, we met one of their owners and were able to talk to him about their products.  I identified myself as the owner of a blog and we talked about his products and others.  He started out by telling me how everyone else’s products were not equal to his.  He attacked everyone from Mountain House to Wise.

We then talked about his products and I asked him what the residual oxygen content of his packaged foods was.  He stated 0-oxygen content, that he uses nitrogen flush.  (Nitrogen flush has been abandoned by most companies, in favor of oxygen absorbers or a nitrogen preservation system in which a vacuum is drawn prior to insert the nitrogen.  No company to my knowledge has achieved 0 oxygen).  I asked him if he had this laboratory tested and he said no.

His food is packed in Mylar bags, he contends that this is a better packaging system than #10 cans.  One thing that I noticed was that the serving sizes on the packages I looked at were 50 grams.  Now I don’t understand metrics and have no real idea what size this serving is.  (According to the internet this is about 1/3 of a cup.)  His products do not contain any meat.  His prices seemed high, for instance they list 200 servings of strawberry cream of wheat at $349.00.  After looking at his products and talking with him I could not recommend his products at this time.

The third store I went into was The Ready Store.  I went to their headquarters which also contains a small outlet store.  The overall selection of long-term food storage products that they carry seems good.  Here I identified myself and asked if I could talk to someone who could tell me about their business.  The young lady at the front desk said the only person I could talk to was not there, although I could see many other employees coming and going.

The young lady at the front desk also ran the outlet store.  She had very limited knowledge of the products and was anything but helpful, actually close to just plain rude.  Even though I did buy a couple of water filter cartridges that were heavily discounted, I will not go back.

preparedness products

The batteries are easy to change

The fourth business that I visited was Goal Zero.  Now they have an outlet store at their headquarters and if you live near them or are visiting the Salt Lake area I recommend you go and see them.  They have great discounts on new and refurbished products and the young lady that dealt with us was very helpful and had lots of knowledge.  I have one of the old Gobes that will no longer hold a charge and she showed me how to change the battery which will fix it as well as several of their other products. It is a simple task.  I spend more money here than at any other store on this trip.

A member of their marketing staff also spoke with me and provided me with a copy of next year’s catalog. Hopefully I will be able to do some reviews on new products they have coming out next year.  I was impressed with this company and the level of knowledge their employees have.  This is the second recent contact I have had with Goal Zero and they have both been good.  I recommend them and their products.

I hope my experiences gives you some insight in which companies that sell preparedness products, you want to deal with.

Howard

Weaning Yourself Off Junk Food

junk foodWell I hate to admit it, but I like junk food and it is becoming a problem, I got on the scales this morning.  Candy, cookies and pies are my weakness and I need to lose weight and get off them immediately.  Now I know that sugar is not good for me and that I like it too much. So how do I get off it?

The first thing I did is tell my wife to quite bringing junk food home; I find that if it is not around I find something else to eat.  If my only choices are healthy foods I will eat them, carrots make a good substitute for me.

Now avoiding sugar is not as easy as it sounds, sugar or one of its substitutes are all over the place. Read food labels and look not only for the word sugar, but also for sucrose, glucose, dextrose, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrates, molasses and agave syrup.  Sugar is not only present in candy, desserts and sugary drinks, but is added in almost everything.  Get rid of all these sugar-containing foods.

Now for me I will go cold turkey and just quite eating the things that are bad for me.  At the same time, I will reduce my portions.  For the first few days, I will be a grouchy old bear to be around, but after that my system will adjust.

My wife loves to cook this is a two edged sword, because I love her cooking and eat too much.  So one of the first things that we will do is to make our favorite dishes healthier by reducing sugar, salt and fats.  For instance taking the skin of chicken greatly reduces the fat and calories.

When you want something sweet, go for fruit or carrot sticks instead.  Take your time when you eat, chew your foods.  Don’t eat in front of the TV.  You will eat more and enjoy it less, because you are distracted.  Eat your meals on a regular schedule and cut out the late night snakes.

Drink lots of water and get plenty of exercise.  Getting junk foods out of our diet will keep you healthier and better prepared to face the TEOTWAWKI.

Howard

P.S. Now only if he would take his own advise, am waiting to see.

Preparedness Mom

Beginning Prepping and the Basics of Food Storage

prepping

A three months supply of the foods you normally eat

One thing that I have noticed lately is that there are a lot of beginning preppers who have basic questions, so today I am going back to basics.  This post will give you some basic information on prepping along with links to more.

One of the most basic questions, is how much food to store?  The following two posts may help you decide,How much food should you store? and How Much Food to Store From an Article by the Utah State University

A second question, is what type of food to store?  The LDS Church (Mormon) recommends a three-month supply of the foods that you normally eat, followed by a supply of long-term storage foods.  The LDS Canneries carry the following list of products, all of which are packaged for long-term storage.

        • Apple slices  These items are packaged for long-term storage
        • Pinto beans
        • White flour
        • Macaroni
        • Nonfat dry milk
        • Quick oats
        • Regular oats
        • Potato flakes
        • White rice
        • Spaghetti
        • Sugar
        • Hard red wheat
        • White wheat
        • ————————————————————
        • Black beans  These last four items are only available in bulk
        • White beans
        • Dehydrated carrots
        • Dry onions
food grade container

Be sure your buckets are food grade

The above items will store between 10 to 30 years depending on the storage conditions.  There are a few additional items that only store for a couple of years available from the canneries.  Here is a link to locate the LDS Cannery nearest you.

Now the LDS Church does not claim that this list is all inclusive.   You still need to supplement it with other foods that meet your needs.   Here is a link to a list of foods that I recommend you consider. A List of Foods That I Recommend You Have in Your Storage

prepping

Oxygen absorbers

All the foods should be package in food grade containers; this can include Mylar bags, five-gallon buckets, and number 10 cans.  Oxygen absorbers should be included in any dry long-term foods that you package at home.  Here is a link that explains O2 Absorbers, Oxygen Absorbers.   Here is a link to another post on food grade containers, Food Grade Containers and Why You Should Use Them   

Now this is just a little bit of the information that is available on food storage for preppers.  In the future, I plan to post basic information on water, first aid and other areas of prepping.

preppingNow I will recommend a book that I published several years ago, it contains a lot of good information for preppers.  The book is Emergency Preparedness and More, a Manual on Food Storage and Survival  

I hope this information helps someone that is getting started to go in the right direction and avoid some of the mistakes I have made while prepping.

Howard

Found My Old Dill Pickle Recipe

dill pickleI found the recipe that I wrote an article about several weeks ago Dill Pickles. This dill pickle recipe is the one I asked if any one knew about. It was given to me many years ago by a cousin and I thought I remembered right, but since I didn’t hear from any old timers out there I thought I was wrong. (Wouldn’t be the first time.]  Any ways this recipe you don’t have to water bath and they are the best dill pickles I have ever had, homemade or store bought.

This recipe was found in the Huntsville  Heritage cookbook, handed down from colonial days.

Dill Pickles

      • 1 1/2 pecks fresh cucumbers
      • 4 dozen heads fresh dill
      • powdered alum
      • dried red pepper (optional)
      • 1 1/2 cups salt regular not iodized
      • 1 quart vinegar
      • 4 quarts water

Scrub cucumbers with soft brush. Soak overnight in fresh cold water. Next day, drain and dry each with a soft rag. Do not bruise. Sterilize quart jars, drain and put 2 heads dill in each. Pack best spot free, whole cucumbers into jars. (Small ones pack best) Into each jar put 2 more dill heads and stalks, a pinch of alum and small sliver of red pepper if desired. (For first time try adding pepper to only half the jars). Bring remaining ingredients to a boil; Pour over cucumbers in warm jars. Fill to top and seal. Let jars set for 3 weeks in a dark cabinet. Liquid will turn cloudily. When it clears, pickles ready to eat. Makes about 12 quarts.

Once you make these you will make them all the time. My cucumbers are just starting to grow and I can’t wait. Of course I will be doubling the recipe and give them as gifts for Christmas to my kids. They will be so surprised since they have mentioned them once in a while. (Remember those pickles you made when I was little) well now they will have some.

I hope you enjoy these dill pickles as much as I did and will again.

Preparedness Mom

Making Hominy is Easy and Inexpensive

hominyRecently I did a post on nixtamalizing corn to prevent pellagra, in that post I told you how to add lime water or lye to whole corn to make Masa.  Today I will post directions on how to make hominy. This is another way of Nixtamalizing corn and to liberate the B-vitamin niacin, and make it usable.

Dent, flint, white, yellow or multicolored corn work well for making hominy.  Popcorn does not make hominy, though it can be ground for corn meal.

To make hominy you need lye, you can either get it at the store or make it.  If you buy some make sure you get pure lye (sodium hydroxide), not drain cleaner.  It is available at grocery, hardware or building supply store. Directions for making it are future down the post.

Warning: Lye, whether you make it yourself from wood ash or purchase it at a store, is very irritating to the skin and can do severe damage to eyes and throat.  Always use extreme caution when handling lye.  Keep it away from children.  Rubber gloves and safety glasses should be worn when handling lye.

First, wash 2 quarts of shucked whole corn to get rid of dust and chaff.  Use a non-reactive pot, this means cast, iron, stainless steel, and enamel coated steel or heat resistant glass.  Never use aluminum, iron, tin, or Teflon.  Next mix 8 quarts potable water and 2 ounces of purchased lye (about 8 – 9 teaspoons).  Always add lye to water to avoid a possible violent reaction.  Bring the pot to a boil and boil vigorously 30 minutes.  Turn off heat and let stand 20 minutes longer.  Drain hominy and rinse well using hot water.

Work the hominy (rub it) with your hands, until skins and the little dark tips at the point of the corn are gone. You may have to rinse several times to get rid of all the skins and lye.  Float them away in the rinsing water.

Drain the hominy, rinse out the pot and put the corn back in the pot.  Cover the corn with water and boil for 5 min. Change to fresh water and repeat the 5 minute boiling cycle 4 more times.

At this point you may cook and eat it, freeze it, can it or dehydrate it. This recipe makes 6 quarts or so of hominy.

Making lye water for hominy

If you lack store bought lye you can make your own lye water by slowly pouring rain or distilled water through hardwood ashes.  You can use two plastic buckets to make your lye water processor.  Take one of the buckets and punch some small holes in the bottom. Set this on top of the second bucket and put a couple of inches of straw or dried grass in the top bucket to keep the ash from going through.  Fill the remainder of the bucket with clean hardwood ashes.  Then slowly pour water through it.  The finished lye water should be strong enough to float an egg.  If your water is weak, simply run it through another bucket or boil it down to concentrate it.

To make hominy, put 1 gallons of lye water, 2 quarts of dry corn, and 1 additional gallon of plain potable water in a large non-reactive pot.  Simmer the corn kernel until the skins start to slip off. Drain, rinse and rub the corn through 4 cycles of fresh water to get the lye out.  Once the skins are off the corn and the lye is washed out the hominy is ready to use.

Hominy can be made directly from  wood ash.  Simple put two double handfuls of clean hardwood ashes into 2 to 3 quarts of clean water.  Boil the ashes for 1 hour, periodically adding water.  Then let it set all night for the ashes to settle.  In the morning, pour the liquid off the ashes and add dried corn in the water.  Cook until the skins come off the corn and the color brightens, this takes about 1-2 hours.  Rinse and rub in 3 changes of water. Use the fresh hominy right away or preserve for later.

Hominy can be eaten many ways depending on your tastes. Boiled until soft with salt and buttered is a good way to begin.  You can add hominy to chili or stews or sauté it in bacon fat.  It can be frozen, canned or dehydrated so that you can add it to your storage

Howard

 

 

Glo-toobs are an Interesting Light

glo-toob

Recently I read the Survivalist Series by A American and enjoyed it.  In the first book, he kept mentioning a light called the Glo-toob.   He made it sound so good that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one.  So a while back I ordered a couple.

Since they arrived, I have had a chance to play with them and learn more about the product.  The Glo-toob​ is a multi-function, light that can be purchased in one of several configurations.  The Glo-toob is different than a flashlight in that it gives off 360 degrees of light.

The Original Glo-toob is powered by an 23A alkaline battery and will last for 30 hours.  They claim it is so strong that it will remain waterproof to 11,500 feet.  This is the one referred to in the book.  I did not buy this one because of the special battery.

They also make the FX series which is similar to the original but has seven different light modes including slow strobe and SOS.  It should last 30 hours in the permanent light mode.  It also uses the 23A alkaline battery.

A third style is powered by lithium batteries.  This one will stay lit for 100 hours and has 11 lighting modes.  I avoided this one because of the lithium batteries.  However, I may end up purchasing a couple of these because they have an infrared capability.  This could be quite useful at night in conjunction with night vision.

The fourth style is the one I ended up purchasing.  It is the smallest and only has three different modes, 100 percent, 25 percent and flashing, but it uses only one AAA battery.  The battery life is much shorter 4-15 hours depending on the mode.  The big reason that I purchased this model was that all my battery powdered devices work on AA or AAA batteries.  I have reusable batteries in these sizes and everything to charge them.

The light is waterproof to 200 feet.  I am not planning to be anywhere that deep, but do like the fact that it is waterproof.  The light is reasonable bright and you could read by it in a tent.  Hung up in a shelter or tent this would be a more practical light than a flashlight. One thing that I have done with this and that I do with all my lights is to treat the threads and o rings with silicone grease.  Just a little put on the threads makes them turn easier and the silicone lengthens the life of the rubber o-rings.  Here is a link to a post I wrote about this, Waterproofing Flashlights  

All the Glo-toobs are constructed from very durable components.  They one I got seems quite tough and I think that it would still work if I ran my truck over it. I am happy with it and would recommend it to others.

Howard

Rickets, a Vitamin Deficiency Disease that May Affect Preppers

Today we are on the whole a pretty healthy society compared to the past.  Many of the illness that plagued our ancestors are no longer a problem.  Diseases that I saw as a child are almost gone and forgotten.  I remember when people worried about polio, now you rarely hear about it and only from a third world country.  One reason that our health is good is that we have fortified a lot of different foods with vitamins.  This has eliminated diseases like scurvy, rickets, pellagra and many others.

Now I know that food on the whole was better for you before we started playing games with genetics and artificial fertilizers.  Unfortunately,  many people used to get vitamin deficiency diseases due to poverty and lack of knowledge about the vitamins our bodies need.  For us as preppers it is important that we take advantage of this knowledge and not make mistakes that led to vitamin deficiency diseases.

Rickets is a good example, it’s a disorder caused primarily by a lack of vitamin D.  It leads to softening and weakening of the bones particularly in children.

We can get vitamin D in two ways.  Vitamin D comes from food or is produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight.  People who lack exposure to the sun for the following reasons often lack vitamin D.

      • They live in climates with little exposure to sunlight
      • They stay indoors for various reasons.
      • They work indoors during the daylight hours
      • They cover their body for religious reasons, often practically women.

People often fail to get vitamin D for their diet for the following reasons

      • They are lactose intolerant (have trouble digesting milk products)
      • They do not drink milk products
      • They are vegetarians

In the 17th and 18th centuries, rickets was quite prevalent throughout most of the world.  This resulted in many children having club feet, curved spines, bowlegs, knock knees, weak ankles and hip disease.

Rickets was often seen in infants, sometimes appearing as early as their second week of life.  Rickets was especially prevalent in bottle feed babies, remember milk was not fortified with vitamin D.  If a breast-feeding mother was vitamin D deficient, she would pass this along to her infant.  In the United States alone records show that between 1910 and 1961 13,807 deaths were attributed to rickets, 8.387 to infants under 12 months of age.

ricketsSigns and symptoms of rickets

      • Bone tenderness
      • dental problems
      • muscle weakness
      • increased tendency for fractures (easily broken bones), especially greenstick fractures
      • Skeletal deformity
      • Toddlers: Bowed legs
      • Older children: Knock-knees
      • Pelvic deformity
      • Spinal deformity

Fortunately, rickets is a fairly easy disease to prevent.  It can be done through diet or exposure to the sun.  You should make sure that children and expectant mothers eat vitamin D rich foods.  This includes butter, eggs, fish liver oils, margarine, fortified milk and juice, portabella and shiitake mushrooms, and oily fishes such as tuna, herring, and salmon.

Everyone should be exposed to the sun at least twice a week for about 30 minutes, pregnant mothers more often.  By exposure, I mean getting sun on your arms and legs, in other word shorts and a t-shirt.  Darker-skinned people need to be exposed longer to the ultraviolet rays of the sun.  Do not use sun block and avoid being sunburned.

If you encounter someone who already has rickets, you can treat them by giving them extra vitamin D, calcium and phosphates.

Remember that I am not a Doctor and have not received any special medical training, if you encounter any of the these problems go and seek help from a trained medical professional if possible.

Howard

 

Howard