Thursday Open Thread 4-20-2017


Food is a major intersection of our lives with the rest of the world. We enjoy multiple cuisines and ingredients from around the globe. Using food as a medical treatment is long standing tradition. It is the first medical therapy for a number of medical conditions; diabetes, heart conditions metabolic disorders. Most kitchen spices have been used historically as medicine or food preservatives.

Food insecurity and rapid price increases in basic commodities become political problems. For the next few weeks I will be writing about methods to increase one's food security and safety.

Grow your own is one type of food resilience. However, we can jump into the cycle of food at any stage to decrease our cost, improve quality, decrease our reliance on corporations and buy us some time in an emergency.
food cycle.JPG

It is important to know how to acquire, store and preserve food. Very few climates allow us to grow food the food we like to eat 12 months of the year, without major infrastructure investments. Those add time and money. It is less time intensive to preserve extra crops grown or purchased: fermented, dried, cold storage, salted, canned or frozen. Once the food is preserved keep the vermin and insects out.

If the rule of thumb is to have 6 months expenses in the bank, it is not unreasonable to have 30 days of food available for life's unexpected twists and turns. My original storage containers were popcorn tins, I had received as gifts. and re-using jars from commercial foods. I spent 5 to 10% of my budget to buy extra food of each food group: carbohydrate, protein, vegetable, fruit and fat. Now for most of my non-perishable foods I have a minimum inventory and restock when items are on sale or purchase bulk.

Knowing how food has been historically preserved helps identify which foods to purchase at the market. Thickening agents are being added to most commercial dairy products such as yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese and ricotta. It interferes with the ability of the fermenting yeasts to preserve the food. Basically, the food spoils faster once open. The products change, I tend to read labels every time I purchase. Currently purchasing Daisy sour cream & cottage cheese and Nancy's Plain yogurt.

One of the better profit areas for corporate food conglomerates is processed or marginally processed food. If we purchase basic ingredients to make our own biscuit mix or buy a whole head of lettuce we reduce corporate profits.

Master Baking Mix
8 C flour (I will mix different types of flour)
1/4 C baking Powder
2 t salt
2 C powdered Milk (opt - never add)
1/4 C sugar (opt - never add)
2 C shortening or lard (that does not require refrigeration)

Mix dry ingredients in bowl. Cut in fat until consistency of corn meal. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 60 days. Use in any recipe calling for BisQuick.

A couple of pictures taken while anchored in the Crooked River fishing for trout. Not very cost effective fish, but an enjoyable activity.
Crooked River.jpg

CR Deer 2.JPG

Choices about food are made several times a day those choices. The question we should ask ourselves is “Do the choices I make reflect my beliefs?”

Is it contradictory to believe
fossil fuels should be kept in the ground and buy raspberries and asparagus in winter, imported from Chile.

corporate overlords rule our lives, drain our pocketbook and buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks vs a locally owned coffee shop.

plastics ruin the world and use a Keurig-style coffee machine or buy fresh vegetables in a plastic bag.

in respecting the choice of individual lifestyles and demanding everyone make the same choices in food selection and eating habits.

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Comments

Raggedy Ann's picture

I'm so happy you are doing this resilience OT. This is critical for our lives. We are moving in this direction more and more, as I have commented before. Gerrit and I had great conversations about it. We can learn so much from each other.

We are 85% solar. We grow much of our greens. We are going to convert one of our out buildings to a greenhouse. We grow garlic to sell and trade for other food. We buy eggs from a local fellow with chickens. We don't eat meat.

We're going to put in a root cellar for food storage. At 64, I'd like to learn to can.

Just a few things to add to the discussion.

Have a beautiful day, folks! Pleasantry

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If you acknowledge it, you can change it.
AMERICAN PRIVILEDGE: When INTERVENTIONISM is just a word to you because it's not your front door those drone strikes come knocking on. ~Caitlin Johnstone's friend

studentofearth's picture

@Raggedy Ann the next steps do not seem to be so difficult. It is more attitude than age, a willingness to try, learn and try again with a new level of knowledge.

I like that each of us are at different stages of skills and knowledge. I am just beginning the energy independence path. I am at the better insulation, using passive solar and maximizing my secondary heat source of wood. The current heat pump still has a few years of life.

I can (primarily hot water bath) my favorite foods. Pears and Jelly and jam with real sugar, tomatoes without salt (the easiest), tree fruits with no or little sweetener and the traditional family pickle and relish. I don't use the pressure cooker too often, but am addicted to home canned tuna. yesterday I saw a number of youtube videos on canning butter, what a waste of time. It is easier to us the Indian method of preserving butter and just make Ghee. I have had it store in the fridge up to 3 years. (Did not realize it was a new health fad)

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My top political priorities: 1) Healthcare - Medicare for All, 2) The right to grow food, 3) copyright & patent reform (especially PHARMA)
Live for today, you may not be here tomorrow. Plan for the future, you may live to a 100+.

riverlover's picture

and actually in season. Central and South American imports (in winter here) I do not buy. Lucky for me, my usual grocery store labels country of origin on all produce, sometimes when it's local, even the farm name(s). Everyone seems to be eating strawberries now--harvested in CA or FL? I wait until they are on sale (2-fer) before purchase. Eating for one means I risk having mold develop. And my freezer right now is full. Time to remove the ice maker, which I had to desire to plumb. Lots of frozen fruit, lots of frozen meat, fewer frozen vegetables. I have price points for special vegetables like asparagus. Do not buy when it's over $2.50/lb (inflation may toss that one soon).

Now with my gall bladder acting up, I must be very careful with fat content. I had one attack after eating peanut butter. But I did successfully eat lean pork chops. But I am verging closer to anorexia given the eating roulette game. Sigh.

Nearly morel season, I have a crop literally out the front door. I have successfully dried them and store-bought mushrooms when they are on sale. Then they go into my spice cabinet. Hen of the Woods I sauteed and froze. They do cook quite well after that. And do taste like chicken! Also harvested on a tree stump on my property. I will BOLO now that I know, it's bright yellow when it begins to ooze from the tree. Looking for more edible fungi that I happen to have on-site.

I am also learning about wild edibles available locally. The price is right if the area has not been sprayed. Anyway, I am trying. And yes, all carb and plant food waste is composted.

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studentofearth's picture

@riverlover Growing up we would travel to the fir forest annually to get our years supply. Nice just outside your door. Only seen a picture of a Hen in the Woods.

It is easy to stuff the freezer and have food loose quality before using. I am getting better at rotating my supplies and have at least 1 night a week I only cook from the freezer.

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My top political priorities: 1) Healthcare - Medicare for All, 2) The right to grow food, 3) copyright & patent reform (especially PHARMA)
Live for today, you may not be here tomorrow. Plan for the future, you may live to a 100+.

smiley7's picture

vicariously fishing with you. I was saddened to read the other day that the Western Steelhead are in big trouble.

Yesterday, my cooking goal was to cook collard greens to perfection, not too much, but tender; fortunately, greens grown locally are available most of the year and around one dollar a pound. I cooked what amounted to five portions for a buck.

I don't eat out, can't afford it, nor enjoy it much either as most of the food is prepacked and industrial and full of salt.

I shop everywhere, buying the specials and mark-down meat; with a goal of paying a buck for protein for each meal. Too bad, fish is out of the budget and difficult to find from USA.

Health interferes with fishing opportunities so I don't have a small freezer full of trout, brim and small mouth like I used to have.

Did find the motivation to replant and freshen my window-sill plants yesterday, adding a cherry tomato and green pepper plant and tiny violets; made me feel good.

Thanks for this good start to today and

fish on!

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studentofearth's picture

@smiley7 They are a vital part of our ecosystem and of returning nutrients from the sea to the land. Population growth, mining, oil extraction and industry seem to making a bigger impact than our conservation efforts. Farm raised salmon salmon is not the answer.

I mostly avoid commercial fish since they started adding sodium triphosphate to increase the weight of frozen fish products.

Interesting, I tend to have a pot of vegetables and herbs mixed in with the house plants. Just that bight of freshness can make a day. Thanks for stopping by.

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My top political priorities: 1) Healthcare - Medicare for All, 2) The right to grow food, 3) copyright & patent reform (especially PHARMA)
Live for today, you may not be here tomorrow. Plan for the future, you may live to a 100+.

OzoneTom's picture

@studentofearth
This contains several links to stories about reduced runs from Alaska to California, plus Japan:
https://jackpineradicals.com/boards/topic/salmon-feared-dead-on-us-west-...

Not "dead" yet of course, but happening over such a wide area would seem to indicate "something" happening out in the ocean. And that suggests that populations may become unsustainable.

edit: direct link to article referenced in the above post:
http://yournewswire.com/millions-salmon-dead-west-coast/

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dance you monster's picture

A big investment last summer to get it. There's no place to live on it yet, or to process and store what we'll grow, but those are tasks for the coming year. In the meantime, this winter we propagated and/or grafted the hundreds of trees and bushes that will give us fruit and nut crops (since they'll need at least four or five years before they begin to produce). Orchards and forest farm; no sizable livestock in the plans, but that's something we can trade for. And it's not about personal subsistence, but about feeding a community better. Subsistence is just slower death. We're aiming higher.

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riverlover's picture

@dance you monster I want to start nut trees. Last year I planted paw paws.

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dance you monster's picture

@riverlover

From seeds collected from centuries-old Native American orchards.

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studentofearth's picture

@dance you monster My growing season is too short for most fruit and nut trees to provide a reliable harvest. I plant, feed and water the trees, still go buy bulk in Hood River for product to can and freeze.

Exciting project. Would you please provide photos and an update occasionally.

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My top political priorities: 1) Healthcare - Medicare for All, 2) The right to grow food, 3) copyright & patent reform (especially PHARMA)
Live for today, you may not be here tomorrow. Plan for the future, you may live to a 100+.

dance you monster's picture

@studentofearth

Not all fruits will grow there, of course, nor all nuts, but the selection of what *will* work is more than we have room for, anyway.

I will document the growth over the years to come.

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OzoneTom's picture

@studentofearth
I bought some garlic starts from a farm there a few years ago. Love this line of posts, thanks!

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earthling1's picture

@studentofearth
Hood river has lots of cherry, apple, and pear.
But take heart, the climate IS warming and crop migration is already underway. Wineries are moving north from Cali.
Thanks for hosting the Open Thread.

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riverlover's picture

@earthling1 Experimental. But they can't walk 100 miles without one planting. Unfortunately, even small trees get expensive fast, and I must resort to pot-grown seedlings just because of rootball size. I am also Zone 6A, used to be 5. So it's happening.

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Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

studentofearth's picture

@earthling1 Zone 4 will provide a harvest for 3 out of 5 years and Zone 5 for may be it will produce something. It is the temperature variability and dry climate that is the hardest on plants during winter. We reliably get a major frost around Labor day. If I can keep the annual plants from being damaged it is not uncommon for them to keep producing until November.

In the summer the nights are too cool for maximum plant growth. But it does make it easier to sleep at night in August.

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1 user has voted.

My top political priorities: 1) Healthcare - Medicare for All, 2) The right to grow food, 3) copyright & patent reform (especially PHARMA)
Live for today, you may not be here tomorrow. Plan for the future, you may live to a 100+.

dkmich's picture

When I was a child, I lived with my extended family of Italians in Detroit. My aunt was a great cook. She could "whip" up anything and labor for days over other meals. She would let me help her in the kitchen when I wasn't doing something else. I helped her can tomatoes once. It seemed like a big deal at the time because of the volume she canned. Canning was not a common routine even for her. All things being equal, I would prefer to just live in a climate conducive to providing me with fresh fruit and vegetable year round. Nothing beats fresh, but canning is definitely second best.

Thank you for this very interesting OT.

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studentofearth's picture

@dkmich not benefit from your time at the computer; spreading the word about c99 and providing interesting video clips. Keep up the good works.

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My top political priorities: 1) Healthcare - Medicare for All, 2) The right to grow food, 3) copyright & patent reform (especially PHARMA)
Live for today, you may not be here tomorrow. Plan for the future, you may live to a 100+.

eyo's picture

Happy 420 Day! Biggrin Mad props to brothers and sisters worldwide. Peace out!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anandamide
"joy, bliss, delight" Scientists have only just begun to discover the magic. Keep going.

Love & Happiness
lol edit: change "we" to "scientists". Unfortunate side affect.

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On a blog.

studentofearth's picture

@eyo Thanks for the music video.

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My top political priorities: 1) Healthcare - Medicare for All, 2) The right to grow food, 3) copyright & patent reform (especially PHARMA)
Live for today, you may not be here tomorrow. Plan for the future, you may live to a 100+.

eyo's picture

@studentofearth and science is a lot like religion, that's what I think. From what I know about "making magic", like Wiccans or Pagans or some other ancient practice carried on through now. I guess that is what prayer is like too, I don't know.

I think I put this here before, maybe it is partly Tulsi Gabbard's intent when she proposed removing cannabis from Schedule 1. Having legislation ready to pass helps, thanks.:

Peace & Love

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On a blog.

Lookout's picture

Here in the south you can garden all winter - well Kale and collards anyway.

I've always thought that is one reason Northern countries (Canada, Scandinavia, etc.) are more progressive. They have to plan so much more to keep their livestock and food through the winter, whereas in the south there is almost always something for the critters to graze and at least a batch of greens to cook. That planning helped them learn to think ahead...something southerners have difficulty doing.

Many think they need a farm. Give this urban family a listen... (it is worth your 15 mins)

Have a good day. I'm off to grade my road - had 3/4 inch of rain in about 15 min night before last. One of the joys of country living...road maintenance. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Thanks for the OT!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

dkmich's picture

@Lookout

10 Detroit Urban Farms Rooting Goodness Into The City
http://www.dailydetroit.com/2015/07/06/10-detroit-urban-farms-rooting-go...

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Lookout's picture

@dkmich

Than any other city. The fellow in the clip I posted suggest growing your own food the the best revolutionary action you can take. I thought he had an interesting take.

I enjoyed looking at the farms in the link you posted dk.

My road worked very well...just the right amount of moisture where it will move and repack. Still have to hand work some ditches and weeps. Like I said...the joys of country living.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

riverlover's picture

@Lookout Also a maybe-inch of crusher-run scraped off the snowplow this year. Much raking to do. Grr.

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studentofearth's picture

@Lookout countries and their inclination for planning and their more progressive societies. Shared hardships and disaster can bring out the best in people. I had not thought of winter as a regular occurring hardship.

I came across this map a few months ago. I have been contemplating historical differences between eastern and western civilizations.

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My top political priorities: 1) Healthcare - Medicare for All, 2) The right to grow food, 3) copyright & patent reform (especially PHARMA)
Live for today, you may not be here tomorrow. Plan for the future, you may live to a 100+.

Arrow's picture

Morning all.
I'm always late....not a morning person.
Here's a tweet...

Responding to this...

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If we wish real hard and believe...we can save Tinkerbell...next time for sure. My prognostication of what people at TOP and that party will think about it.

studentofearth's picture

@Arrow I am on the pacific coast and most of my replies are read in the last afternoon and evening back east.

If we could get more voters to evaluate a candidate on political philosophy and action vs party label we would be better off.

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3 users have voted.

My top political priorities: 1) Healthcare - Medicare for All, 2) The right to grow food, 3) copyright & patent reform (especially PHARMA)
Live for today, you may not be here tomorrow. Plan for the future, you may live to a 100+.

enhydra lutris's picture

open thread. You need to add a tag that says only Open Thread. "Morning Open Thread" may be its reality, but a simple Open Thread tag is also needed.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

@enhydra lutris
Thanks el.

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studentofearth's picture

@JtC

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My top political priorities: 1) Healthcare - Medicare for All, 2) The right to grow food, 3) copyright & patent reform (especially PHARMA)
Live for today, you may not be here tomorrow. Plan for the future, you may live to a 100+.

PriceRip's picture

          As you point out: Is it contradictory to believe ...

          corporate overlords rule our lives, drain our pocketbook and buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks vs a locally owned coffee shop.

but the local Starbucks general manager and night manager are really nice people. They did an awesome job helping me load the U-Haul truck.

Smile

          As we settle into our (100% wind energy) home in Medford, OR we will be able to go mostly locally grown food and sustainable. And, Dutch Bros. Coffee is from the area. As it expands is it doomed to become like Cabelas? I love Cabelas in its original incarnation, but what now? And The Buckle is still awesome for a certain demographic.

          <Advertisement>For those unaware: Dutch Bros., Cabelas, and Buckle started as locally owned businesses much like Apple. In Medford, Pacific Power offers (for a price) a "Blue Sky Option" guaranteed to source energy from wind and solar. In addition, True South Solar is an awesome company in Ashland populated primarily with SOU graduates. </Advertisement>

          As with all of life's processes, choices represent a journey and never a destination.

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"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
Robert J. McCloskey, U.S. State Department spokesman. From a press briefing during the Vietnam war.

earthling1's picture

@PriceRip
Family owned. Sell only burgers. Best in the world. Did I mention $2.35 each?

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studentofearth's picture

@PriceRip sometimes the local businesses treat employees and community worse than the international company that just opened a business. Ideally we have the time to evaluate each business and re-evaluate periodically their impact in total.

Amazon is a good example. They make it easy for individuals to buy a product and donate a small portion to non-profits and school districts. In the big picture they are destroying the small owner operated businesses that have supported a community for decades.

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1 user has voted.

My top political priorities: 1) Healthcare - Medicare for All, 2) The right to grow food, 3) copyright & patent reform (especially PHARMA)
Live for today, you may not be here tomorrow. Plan for the future, you may live to a 100+.

riverlover's picture

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Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

earthling1's picture

Due to 8 week bronchial infection. Gone now but trying to play catchup.
Have started seedlings but will have to buy quart starts of tomatoes and other veggies.
Rain, rain, freaking rain. Seems like it will never stop. Approaching 50 inches for the season, almost double for Vancouver, Wa.
Having to tent my onion starts, not because of the normal frost threat for this time of year, but for the rain. And wind. My plastic wrapped green house blown away two weeks ago. The plastic, not the framwork. Oh well, it lasted 3 seasons and I have nearly a whole roll left over.
Frost is not a problem as this was the warmest March in recorded history and April is on target to break records also. Who knows, maybe I will be able to plant coffee in a couple of years. Or coconut.
Seriously though, I am having problems with cool weather crops such as spinach and lettuce. But maybe I can finally grow some decent onions this year.
By the way, welcome to the Pacific Northwest, Price Rip.
I think you're going to like it here.

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Mark from Queens's picture

So much to expound on, wish I had more time today. Am headed out with the Boy in just a moment.

Food choices, and really giving thought to the whole system through which food reaches us, as well as eating healthier in such a processed environment and monopoly stranglehold, are important to me.

I loathe the corporatization of our food system. We buy in bulk and store in mason jars, have tons of spices from everywhere and try to do a little urban farming. We hardly ever buy any product from one of the big conglomerate food companies such as Kraft, etc. Whenever possible we always buy from the small proprietor or locally.

Just made a quick stir fry for me and the infant, with whatever we had in the refrigerator, including tempeh, broccoli, peppers, carrots, cabbage, and some Braggs amino acid liquid (and a little sprinkle of Thai fish sauce). Quite good.

Definitely want him to appreciate, at the least, how food is prepared, to handle vegetables and put things together, etc.

That scenery you were in while fishing looks amazing!

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(thirty three and a third at TOP)

"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

studentofearth's picture

@Mark from Queens Looking forward to your thoughts in future diaries.

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My top political priorities: 1) Healthcare - Medicare for All, 2) The right to grow food, 3) copyright & patent reform (especially PHARMA)
Live for today, you may not be here tomorrow. Plan for the future, you may live to a 100+.