Have you heard that you can bottle butter at home to store for later, without refrigeration?  

The first time I heard about it was from my aunt a few years ago.  Then I kept hearing about it, here and there and everywhere!

It sounded kind of strange.  And scary-- what about botulism?  So I did some research.

The FDA discourages canning butter, as do the USU Extension offices around the country, because of the risk of botulism growth in canned butter.  HOWEVER, it looks to me that this is a case of erring on the safe side.  They, as government entities, are very averse to any kind of risk.  Botulism has about a 10-17% death rate in those who get it, though with the low incidence of this kind of food poisoning, it translates to 2-4 deaths in the US per year. Lightening kills way more people (about 55-75/yr).

Botulism does not grow if the water "activity level" is below .94; salted butter has a water activity rate of .91-.93.  The added salt helps 'tie up' the water, making it unavailable.  That should be in the perfectly safe range, but is apparently too close to comfort for the FDA, who require a water activity rate of .85 in commercially-sold foods. I would not can unsalted butter; its water activity rate is .99 or higher. Another option is to make the butter into ghee before canning, well-made ghee has no water remaining in it. I wasn't able to find what the water activity rate of ghee is, but logic leads me to believe it is under even the FDA comfort range.  I've canned both salted butter and ghee.  I'm more comfortable with the ghee.

If you'd like to read more about it to decide if canning butter or ghee is okay with you, here are some of the sources I learned from:



http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK50952/ )

Do you ever use Pedialyte or sports drinks for sick children?  Below are some homemade, very inexpensive, and fully functional substitutes.

 We've had an impressive virus at our house lately; my 7-year-old ran a fever for an entire week (with an ear infection on top of it), and now the 4-year-old has the fever-causing virus.  Younger children get dehydrated so easily, so mine get a water bottle to keep with them at all times while sick- but it's "lemonade" water.  It really is lemonade, a little on the weak side and with salt.  I add a couple things to their water bottle, and it helps replenish the minerals and salts they lose while fevering. It tastes better to them than plain water, which helps, too.

I prefer the lemon- if you have fresh it's fantastic-, and lemon seems a little easier on upset tummies than the orange juice.  Lemon is also supposed to help alkalinize your body and cleanse the liver, both of which may help you recover faster.  The salt really is important*.  If you use unrefined coarse or sea salt, you'll also be adding critical trace minerals. (If you only have refined salt, I understand, it's OK, just not as good for our purposes here.)    For the sweetener, I use raw honey because that's what I have in my pantry.  Don't use honey if you're making this for a child under 1 year old because of possibility for botulism.  Sugar can be substituted, but doesn't have the trace minerals that honey does.  If your child likes the flavor of molasses, that's even more nutritious than honey.  My next batch will use blackstrap molasses- the amount of minerals in there are amazing!  And, after all, nutrition is the name of the game when someone's sick! This drink can also be frozen to make ice cubs or popsicles.
Note:  blackstrap molasses is not very sweet at all, and is somewhat of an acquired taste.  If I make some for myself, I tolerate the flavor, but for my children, I use no more than 1 Tbsp. blackstrap and 1 Tbsp. honey.  Using regular molasses is much more palatable to children, and even then I recommend using half molasses and half honey.

Lemon Electrolytes

16-oz  bottle of  water
3 Tbsp lemon juice or juice from 1 lemon (grapefruit juice works too)
1/8 tsp. unrefined salt
2 Tbsp. honey and/or molasses 

Pour about 1/2 cup of water out of the bottle (you're drinking it, not dumping it, right? :)  Add the lemon juice, salt, and honey or molasses. Put the lid on and shake hard.

If you want to mix up a bigger batch to keep in the fridge, use 1 quart of water, 1/2 c. lemon juice, 1/4- 12 tsp. unrefined salt, and 1-6 Tbsp. honey or molasses.  Makes a little more than a quart.

Orange Electrolytes

One 16-oz water bottle, half  full
1/8 tsp. unrefined salt
1 tsp to 1 Tbsp. honey or molasses
about 1 cup orange juice

Add salt and honey/molasses to the bottle, put the lid on and shake hard until mixed well.  Fill the bottle up the rest of the way with orange juice.

Bigger batch: 2 c. water, 2 c. orange juice, ¼- ½ tsp. unrefined salt, 1 Tbsp. honey or molasses.

*The recommended salt amount varies from 1/4 per quart to 1 tsp. per quart. Since I'm feeding this to children, I use the lower amount.  Recipe sources I looked at include the University of Connecticut Health Center, The Rehydration Project, Southern Utah University, LiveStrong.com, and http://www.cheekybumsblog.com/2012/04/living-naturally-homemade-electrolyte-drink-move-over-pedialyte/

Nutrition facts:
lemon juicehttp://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1939/2 
orange juicehttp://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1973/2
blackstrap molasseshttp://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=118&tname=foodspice

Do you know the difference between baking soda and baking powder?  

How long have they been around?

Baking soda, sodium bicarbonate is an alkaline powder; when it is mixed with acidic ingredients, the two react and form carbon dioxide bubbles.  The bubbles lift and lighten batter as it bakes; baking must be done right away, before the bubbles dissipate and you lose its leavening power.  Common acidic ingredients include vinegar, buttermilk, sour cream, lemon juice, cream of tartar, brown sugar, and honey.  Baking soda also helps foods brown better, since moderate alkalinity, along with heat,  is a catalyst for the Maillard Reaction (the reason, other than caramelization, that cooked foods turn brown).

Baking powder is a combination of alkaline, acid (cream of tartar), and starch.  You don't need to use acidic ingredients in recipes using just baking powder, since the balance is already there.  Most baking powders are made with two different alkaline powders- one that reacts right away (baking soda), and one that reacts only with heat.  This way you can save some of that leavening power for when the food is actually IN the oven.  The starch is there to help absorb moisture so the powders don't react in the can and to help the powder stay free-flowing.

To use baking soda instead of baking powder, use 1/3 the amount, and make sure there's something acidic in the batter.  For instance, if your recipe calls for 1 Tbsp (which is 3 tsp.) baking powder, you can use 1 tsp. baking soda, and use buttermilk- or sour milk-  instead of regular milk.  Or mix in 1 tsp. cream of tartar.  Or use brown sugar instead of white.  

This works in reverse, too: if your biscuit recipe calls for buttermilk and you only have plain milk, use it but switch that 1 tsp. baking soda for 1 Tbsp. baking powder (or whatever it calls for, keeping that 1:3 ratio).

As far as I can find, baking powder wasn't invented until the 1800's, but leavening powders have been around at least for centuries.  Some of the earlier ones include:

Baker's Ammonia (ammonium carbonate, "hartshorn"; NOT cleaning ammonia!- which is poisonous)- made from powdered reindeer horn.  (Seriously.)  This one actually has characteristics more of baking powder, substitutes 1:1 for it, and makes cookies especially crisp and light.

Potash or pearl ash (potassium carbonate, an alkaline salt)- made by adding water to  the ashes of 'vegetables' or weeds, steeping overnight, then evaporating all the water by boiling.  The fine 'ash' left is used as baking soda.  There's a fascinating article on the process in the 1802 "Domestic Encyclopedia"

Saleratus, or soda ash (sodium carbonate, an alkaline salt)- also known as washing soda... sometimes used also in the boiling water step of making bagels, as it helps them brown better (Maillard reaction!!!).  An interesting bit of chemistry with this one is that when you heat  sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) by itself above about 160 F, you end up with sodium carbonate (washing soda), with byproducts of carbon dioxide and water (which dissipate into the air).  2NaHCO3(sodium bicarbonate) → Na2CO3(sodium carbonate)+ H2O + CO2  (It works fastest at 400 F.)

Baking soda's first large-scale appearance was in 1846, when a factory was built to make this new product, created by doing the opposite of the formula above- dissolving sodium carbonate in water, then pumping in carbon dioxide.  (There's a more efficient method now.)

  Can you believe we've had this useful leavener less than 200 years, and baking powder less than 150?     Boy, are we spoiled in the kitchen nowadays...

Read more:
Once the dough is mixed, if you use a greased/sprayed 1/4 measuring cup to scoop the dough, you'll get a more traditionally-shaped biscuit.

Yum.  Tender and light on the inside, crunchy on the outside.  This batch was made with 1 cup whole wheat flour.

How much will your year’s supply cost you?  I just got an emergency supply store’s catalog in the mail; they advertised a year’s supply of food for ‘just’ $3649.95.  For one person.  Is it really that much money to get a year’s supply?

Adding up all the essentials, a month’s worth of food for one person is $16.23

                            A year’s worth for one person is  $194.76

Figure in that you’re getting your year’s supply after building your three-month supply; that knocks it down to getting nine months’worth;

                                                            $146.07 per adult.   

You CAN afford to get your home storage! 

If you really want to spend $3649.95 plus tax, you could buy a year’s supply for not just one person, but for NINETEEN people.  Yes, basic storage is different food than that ‘gourmet’ version, but here’s the counsel we’ve been given:          
"We encourage members world-wide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings.” “For longer-term needs….gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time  and that you can use to stay alive(fromAll is Safely Gathered In, First Presidency pamphlet)

Here is the cost breakdown:

Grains, 300 lbs- if you get just wheat and oats, at the cannery they cost between $5.80 and $8.15 for 25 lbs. depending on if you get white or red wheat, quick or regular oats.  If you average this out, it will cost you $6.98 per person, per month.  $83.70 per year’s worth.

Milk, 16 lbs is $1.40/lb at the cannery, which is $1.87 per month, $22.40 per year.

Sugar, 60 lbs is $ .56/lb there, $2.80 per month, $33.60 per year.

Oil, 10 qts –this isn’t sold at the cannery, but the price at Macey’s last week was $2.50 for 1 ½ quarts (48 oz.) At that price, after tax, it’s $1.43 per month, $17.17 per year.  It’s only $14.38 if you buy it at Sam’s Club ($6.98 + tax for 5 qts.)

Salt, 8 lbs- 4# box at Costco or Sam’s Club is a dollar; $ .16 per month, $2 per year.

Legumes, 60 lbs– the cannery sells black beans, pinto, and white, from $14.10 to $16.30 for 25 lbs.  Averaging the prices, it’s  $2.99 a month, $35.92 per year.

Water, 14/gal/person-   You can store this for free by using 2- and 3- liter pop bottles, or juice containers (not milk jugs- they break down).  Or use the 5-gallons square jugs or big blue barrels; they’ll run you about $1 per gallon of storage. 

When you’re done storing these items, you might decide to add a few ‘gourmet’ items- but that’s just extra stuff.

Notice that the costs were just for food, not containers to store them in. Most of my storage containers cost nothing.   You CAN get buckets for free, with a little effort- most bakeries give them away; all their frostings and fillings come in those buckets.  Plan on washing them at home.  There are two main sizes; 5 gallon and 2 1/2  gallon.  I keep packages of dried fruit in the smaller buckets, also cornmeal or other things that I don’t use as much.  They are a great size for a pantry, too.  Some of the buckets have gaskets, some don’t.  The ones that don’t seal well are still good for storing sugar. 

If you want all your wheat, powdered milk, sugar, and legumes in #10 cans from the cannery, it will cost you $85.83 more to get a full year’s worth, $65 to do 9 months' worth.

Here’s the year’s worth breakdown and quantities:    51 cans of wheat $137.80, 11 cans of beans $48.95, 10 cans of sugar $46.50, 4 cans of powdered milk $28.20.

 I don’t can my wheat, sugar, or beans because we go through large quantities; one batch of bread would use a whole can.  Pretty silly storage for me.  Besides, it’s easier for me to find space for 10 buckets than 60 #10 cans; they hold about  the same amount of food.


Best Drop Biscuits
 adapted from Cooks Country
Makes 12

 1 cube butter, melted and cooled a few minutes- set aside 1 Tbsp. of this.
1 cup cold buttermilk or sour milk  (1-2 Tbsp. vinegar in 1 cup regular milk)
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½  tsp. salt  (3/4 tsp. if you used unsalted butter)
1 tsp. sugar

 Heat oven to 475 degrees, no, that’s not a typo.  Mix together the butter (except reserved) and buttermilk; stir until the butter forms clumps.  (This is a faster way of getting the same results as ‘cutting in’ the butter.)  Mix all the dry ingredients together, then pour in buttermilk mixture.  Stir until just mixed in and dough pulls from side of bowl.   Drop onto  greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.  A greased  ¼ c. measuring cup makes the perfect size scoop.    Brush with reserved butter.  Bake until tops are crisp and golden, about 12-14 minutes.    Serve warm.  These also reheat well the next day (10 minutes at 300 degrees) and freeze well, too.

You can use powdered milk in this: mix in 3 Tbsp dry milk powder when you’re stirring together the dry ingredients.  Use ice water  and 1-2 Tbsp. vinegar to make 1 cup, stir with the melted butter.


Remember  this?

"We encourage members world-wide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings.” “For longer-term needs….gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time  and that you can use to stay alive (from All is Safely Gathered In, First Presidency pamphlet)

Here is what a basic supply of food includes:  it will provide about 2200 calories a day, which means you’ll probably get 1800 and your husband will get 2600.  This is less than most people are used to, especially if you're suddenly living a 'more active' lifestyle, but it will keep you alive!

300 lbs grains- includes Wheat, Rice, Rolled Oats, Dried Corn, Popcorn, Flour, Pasta Products, Dried Potatoes.  Some lists say 400 lbs per person, but the current Church site says 300.  Take your pick, according to what you can handle.  Storage-wise or hunger-wise; that extra 100 lbs provides an extra 435 calories per day.

16 lbs. powdered milk- this is just enough for cooking, about ¾ cup per day.  You can store instant, regular powder, and canned milk.  It takes about 5 (12-oz) cans to equal one pound of powdered milk

60 lbs sugar- this includes white sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, honey, molasses, jam/jelly, corn syrup, fruit drink mix, gelatin.  If you have honey that crystallizes, set the bottle in the sun on a warm day, or put it in a pan of water on lowest heat overnight.  It will become liquid again.  You will want more sugar than 60 lbs. if you can your own fruit.

10 quarts cooking oil (2 ½ gallons)- yes, YOU NEED FAT.  Your brain is made mostly of fat.  Guess what happens if you don’t get any fat in your diet?  Plus, it’s a lot of calories for very little storage space.  The darker & cooler you keep it, the longer it lasts.  Fats include shortening, cooking oil, butter/margarine, mayonnaise, peanut butter.

8 lbs salt per person-  this is the cheapest of them all!   In addition to the round canisters, you can buy salt in 4-lb rectangular boxes; these stack together more efficiently.  At Sams’ Club, these boxes are just under $1.  Woo-hoo!  Two bucks and you have your personal salt for the year!

60 lbs. legumes, dried- includes soybeans, pinto beans, white beans, kidney beans, lima beans, anything that ends with ‘bean’ (unless it begins with ‘jelly’), black-eyed peas, split peas, and lentils.  These are a great, inexpensive source of protein.  Store the same as wheat- dry, clean, dark and cool  if possible. It takes 4 ½ (15 oz) cans to equal one pound of dry beans.

14 gallons water per person.  This is just 2 weeks’ supply, for drinking and a tiny bit for washing; the minimum our church leaders have counseled.  You may also want a way to purify water for longer-term use.  To purify, you can boil water for 2 minutes, or use chlorine bleach (plain only, not scented!)  If the water is clear, use ½ tsp. per 5 gallons of water.  If the water is cloudy, use double; 1 tsp. per 5 gallons of water.

Children do not need a full adult’s portion.  For them, figure age 3 and under= 50%, ages 4-6= 70%, ages 7-10= 90%, ages 11 and up= 100%.

Obviously, kids' ages are always changing, so when I calculate what to have on hand ( I inventory every Conference), I project out six months to a year. For instance, if someone is 6 years old, I count that child as 7 years. That way I'm not always slightly behind when it's time to replenish.

 * * * * *

Recipes today are for a whole meal….

Roast Chicken               FromLiving On a Dime, Jan 2010.  
Here is a very basic but yummy recipe. You can also put this in a crock pot to slow cook all day.

1 (3 lb.) whole chicken
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tsp. onion powder
1/4 cup butter or margarine ( You may use lite margarine)
1 stalk celery, leaves removed

Season the whole chicken inside and out with salt, pepper and onion powder. Place breast side down in pan placing margarine and celery into cavity. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until internal temperature is 180° (82° C). You can baste with juices or melted margarine once or twice. Remove from oven and cover with foil for 30 minutes and let it rest before cutting.

You can easily adapt this recipe to your own likes and dislikes. For example, you might use garlic powder instead of the onion powder, you could slide slices of lemons or garlic cloves or even onion slices under the skin. Try other seasonings, too.

The main thing that makes this recipe great is cooking it breast side down, which makes it extra juicy.

Cheesy Peas and Rice

2 1/4 cups rice, cooked                                               1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen peas, thawed
1 (6 oz.) can of mushrooms, drained                          6 oz. Velveeta, cubed*

Combine all the ingredients in a greased 1 1/2 qt. baking dish. Cover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

I didn't used to buy Velveeta because it used to be more expensive than other cheeses, but it is the same price or less than cheddar now, so I buy it more often.

Apple Butterscotch Crisp

This recipe is good served with ice cream or, for something different, try a slice of cheese or a dollop of sour cream.

 5 large (7 small) apples, sliced and peeled                1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar, depending on your apples            1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal                                      1/2 cup butter or margarine, cold                                     
1 pkg. (3 1/2 oz.) cook and serve  
butterscotch pudding

Place apples in a greased 9x13 pan. Mix everything else in a bowl, cutting in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.* Sprinkle over apples. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until apples are tender.

*Whenever a recipe says to cut in something, that means to take a pastry cutter and mix the butter, margarine or shortening in with the dry ingredients until the mix gets crumbly looking. (I just use my fingers. It is easier for me to wash them than a pastry cutter.)

Roast Chicken Leftovers:

Chicken Spaghetti Bake-  Make your favorite spaghetti, mixing noodles and sauce. Instead of adding hamburger to it or leaving it without meat, add some cubed leftover chicken. Put it in a 9x13 greased pan sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and grated Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350° until heated through and cheese is melted.

Make Chicken Soup with leftovers- see the recipe for turkey soup.  Use ¼ the amount of water and spices for chicken because it’s so much smaller!

Leftover Leftovers- If you have any of this soup left, thicken it with a little cornstarch or flour mixed in water. Make a batch of biscuits or use any leftover biscuits you have and pour the thickened soup (now like gravy) over it.