Archive for August, 2010

Pinole: The Ultimate Bugout Food

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

One of my readers (thanks Charles :)) had recently turned me on to something I haven’t heard of before — powdered corn.

Although it known by many different names, in the western world it is most commonly referred to as the Spanish word “Pinole”. This “trail food” has been the staple for indigenous cultures world-wide and as it turns out, it’s the perfect bugout/travel food.

Here’s an excerpt taken from “History, Manners and Customs of the Indian Nations”, written by John Gottlieb Ernestus Heckewelder, describing how the Lenni Lenape, or Delawares, prepared and used this emergency food:

Their Psindamooan or Tassmanane, as they call it, is the most nourishing- and durable food made out of the Indian corn. The blue sweetish kind is the grain which they prefer for that purpose. They parch it in clean hot ashes, until it bursts, it is then sifted and cleaned, and pounded in a mortar into a kind of flour, and when they wish to make it very good, they mix some sugar [i.e., maple sugar] with it. When wanted for use, they take about a tablespoonful of this flour in their mouths, then stooping to the river or brook, drink water to it. If, however, they have a cup or other small vessel at hand, they put the flour in it and mix it with water, in the proportion of one tablespoonful to a pint. At their camps they will put a small quantity in a kettle with water and let it boil down, and they will have a thick pottage.

With this food the traveler and warrior will set out on long journeys and expeditions, and as a little of it will serve them for a day, they have not a heavy load of provisions to carry. Persons who are unacquainted with this diet ought to be careful not to take too much at a time, and not to suffer themselves to be tempted too far by its flavor; more than one or two spoonfuls, at most, at any one time or at one meal is dangerous; for it is apt to swell in the stomach or bowels, as when heated over a fire.

Pinole is also the staple of the famous Tarahumara indians (sometimes referred to as “the running people”), a Mexican tribe of superathletes who run 50 or 100 miles at a time for pure enjoyment, seemingly without effort. Their fuel for these runs? They take with them small sacks of Pinole.

How to Make Pinole

What You’ll Need

  • frying pan (cast iron or non-stick preferred)
  • dried corn on the cob: For this you just hang some corn in a dry place in your home until the kernals are dry throughout and come off the cob without much effort. For a less auhentic but still workable solution, you can also dehydrate frozen or canned corn in your dehydrator.
  • blender, coffee grinder, or food processor: (or mortar and pestle if you want to really do it the authentic way)

How to Make Pinole

Step 1: Remove the dried corn kernals from the cobs (skip this step if you dehydrated frozen corn)
Step 2: Heat up a non-stick pan (or oiled pan if you don’t have one) to medium heat.
Step 3: Spread out the kernals on the hot pan so that none are on top of another. Heat until the majority swell up and turn round and light-brown.
Step 4: Remove from heat, place the parched corn in a blender, coffee grinder, or food processor and grind until finer than cornmeal (but not as fine as wheat flour)

I’d like to add that you can also make Pinole by taking cornmeal and cooking it over a pan in the same manner as above (don’t expect it to swell however).

Pinole Recipes

One popular method of consuming Pinole is to mix it with water (1 T to 3 cups) to make an energy drink. I personally did not like this all too much since it doesn’t dissolve completely in the water and feels like I’m drinking a glass of sand and water. The taste was good but the consistency wasn’t to my liking (and I’m someone who doesn’t mind eating bugs…go figure :))

Instead, I preferred to take the tablespoon into my mouth and chug it down with water.Since the Pinole actually tastes pretty good by itself (I used the Tarahumara Pinole Recipe found below), I found this a lot more appetizing.

As a side note, I was quite surprised at how much it made me feel full. The Pinole must of swelled inside my stomach after a bit giving me that “full” feeling — and that was only two tablespoons of it. I can see how this would sustain you on long trips. I’ll have to definitely try this out before a run and let you guys know.

Here are some recipes I found online:

Tarahumara Pinole Recipe

  • 1/2 cup pinole, ground fine
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar, honey, or agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Runner’s Recipe

  • 2 cups Pinole
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp. hemp or chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • This can be quickly blended together in a hot pot or pan and cooled until dry.

All of these recipes can be added to water and drunk (1 tablespoon to 3 cups water), cooked down in a pan with water to make a gruel (oatmeal-like consitency), or just shoved in the mouth while on the run (bugout, exercise, E&E etc).

Conclusion

In place of packing Cliff Bars or MREs into your bug out bags, how about some Pinole instead? If it can fuel the Tarahumara indians for a 100+ miles of running on a regular basis I’m sure it can benefit the prepper’s bug-out to a safe location. Try it out and let me know how it works for you!

Btw, if you’re interested in reading about the Tarahumara (as well as some info on Pinole), let me suggest a great book entitled, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Where There is No Doctor and Dentist – Free Download

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Whether you’re dealing with a societal collapse or are living/traveling in a remote location far away from any hospital, understanding how to treat medical issues where there is no doctor around is of prime importance.

Perhaps the two most well-known books available for this type of information are the Where There is No Doctor and Where There is No Dentist books put out by Hesperian Health Guides. These books — especially Where There is No Doctor — have become the “bible” of primary health care for community health workers and villagers in poor countries around the world (and popular among the survivalist community might I add).

Typically these books go for around $12 each on Amazon but now you can download them free directly from Hesperian Health Guides at the following links:

What You’ll Learn

Both books use simple language and hundreds of drawings (not world-class illustrations by any means but they do their job) to teach the layman about recognizing, treating and preventing common illnesses and injuries – it goes way beyond simple first-aid information.

Here’s a sample of some of the information you’ll learn:

Where There is No Doctor

  • How to properly administer medicine and dosage instructions
  • The proper methods of injecting medicine
  • How to deliver a baby
  • How to heal without medicines
  • Guidelines for the use of antibiotics
  • Home cures
  • Medicinal plants
  • Homemade casts
  • and more…

Where There is No Dentist

  • How to properly examine and diagnose dental issues
  • How to treat cavities, abscesses, infected sinuses, and more
  • How to prepare and insert homemade fillings
  • How to inject inside the mouth
  • How to safely and correctly remove a tooth
  • and more…

Night Vision for the Rest of Us

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Night-vision devices have come quite a long way since the Vietnam 1st-Generation optics. And as technology has improved and production costs have come down, demand continues to grow in the civilian market.

One of the premier night-vision technologies that the military and law enforcement use on regular basis is forward-looking infrared. This technology allows the viewer to see differences in thermal radiation that objects give off, clearly contrasting an individual or animal from its background. Since most night-vision devices (Gen I – Gen III) require some amount of ambient light to work (and will not work in the day), flir devices have a clear advantage (no pun intended :)).

Despite the obvious benefits for preparedness-minded people such as yourselves, this technology has been too expensive to make it worth while.  However times are changing. FLIR, the company which has pioneered this technology, is trying to increase its position in the civilian market. And along with this they will soon be releasing a FLIR monocular/camera called the “Scout”.

Here’s a video showing off some real time images/video produced by the Scout:

Aside from the TEOTWAWKI applications (personal security, poach hunting etc) there are quite a number of other applications (taken from the FLIR website);

  • See people: Keep track of the rest of your hiking or camping party – in the darkest nights, and even when they’re obscured by light foliage.
  • See animals: everything gives off heat, so animals can’t use their natural camouflage to hide from Scout. Discover those hard-to-spot animals that you’ve always wanted to see, day and night.
  • Track game: – sportsmen can use Scout to track wounded animals by following their heat signatures directly, or by detecting signs they leave behind like blood trails and foot prints.
  • Stay safe: – Scout’s thermal night vision technology lets you see clearly through smoke, dust, and light fog so you can stay safe in the outdoors when conditions deteriorate.
  • Lightweight and rugged – Scout is rugged, fully submersible, and built to last. Weighing less than a pound-and-a-half, it won’t drag you down.
  • Easy to use – direct, push-button access to all camera controls make Scout easy to use, even with gloves on
  • See more, and see farther, than with other night-vision technologies because Scout sees clearly without any light whatsoever, it can see farther at night than other imaging technologies that need ambient light to work, and can see heat sources that these other cameras could never find.
  • There are dozens of at-home uses for Scout as well including home security, location of heat leaks, and detection of water damage. Its ¼ x 20 tripod mounting hole and video output make it easy to mount on an ATV, pickup, or SUV.

Another interesting video explaining some of the uses for this product with some more detail in law-enforcement applications:

Conclusion

Without officially testing this, I can in no way provide a strong argument either way. But this looks like a great piece of equipment and the capabilities look amazing!

So how much for this bad-boy? For the Scout the company is quoting around $3000. Not cheap, but it beats the prices a few years back of around $10,000+. Still, I’d like to give it a bit more time to let the idea percolate inside my head.

How to Make Powdered Eggs

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010


This post is sponsored by Prepper Academy, the only preparedness program that shows you step-by-step how to rapidly prepare for the coming hard times — no matter what your income or where you live.



The incredible edible powdered egg.

Despite the at-times negative media attention (we all know how reliable the main-stream media is nowadays) eggs are a very nutritious source of food that is one of the cornerstones in baking. With it’s low-cost but high-quality source of protein, if it weren’t for its short shelf life and fragility, it would be a great addition to your survival store if only you could store it.

Well, unbeknownst to many people, eggs can in fact be stored (up to 10 years if stored correctly) in the form of dehydrated egg powder — perfect for bug-out bags, camping trips and long-term food storage.

They can be used in baked goods just like normal eggs or reconstituted and made into fluffy scrambled eggs.

Here’s how you can do it at home:

What You’ll Need

  • A food dehydrator (I use a cheap Walmart version)
  • Eggs
  • Something to store the powder in when complete

How to Make Powdered Eggs

The process for making powdered eggs is fairly simple. However there are two ways (one which creates a far superior product but more on that later), let me explain the process for both:

(In these examples, I used a half-dozen eggs for the cook-dry method and another half-dozen eggs for the wet-dry method)

The Cook-Dry Method

Step 1: Whip up a half-dozen eggs using a blender (for a more complete mixture). And then then in a non-stick frying pan, cook the egg solution like you would when making scrambled eggs.
Step 2: Place cooked eggs onto a drying rack in your dehydrator and set the temperature to about 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 3: Let dry for around 4 hours until completely brittle throughout.
Step 4: Chop dried chunks in a blender or food processor (or coffee grinder) until it has a fine powdery constancy. Bag it and store it away.

The Wet-Dry Method

Step 1: Lightly grease a fruit roll sheet (it comes with the dehydrator) with a paper towel.
Step 2: Whip up a half-dozen eggs using a blender (not necessary but it does make for a a more uniform mixture). Pour the egg slurry into the fruit-roll sheet and set the temperature to about 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 3: Let dry for around 16 hours until completely brittle throughout.
Step 4: Place dried chunks in a blender or food processor (or coffee grinder) until it has a fine powdery constancy. Bag it and store it away.


Here’s a picture showing the final result of both the wet-dry and cooked-dry method of dehydrating. Each half-dozen eggs dehydrated produced almost exactly a half a cup of powder. You can also see how the wet dry method produces an orange powder (this color turns back to yellow when reconstituted and cooked).:

My Results

When comparing the two methods there is most definitely a clear winner — the wet dry method.

This is surprising since most of the information found online and in books explains that you should use the cook-dry method. Their main reasoning is that by cooking them it will kill any potential salmonella bacteria. I find this point irrelevant since after reconstituting them you will be cooking with them anyways (as you would with the original eggs) which will kill the salmonella.

The only advantage I found with the cook-dry method is the quickness of the drying time (four hours compared to 16 with the wet-dry method). Beyond that, when reconstituting the cook-dried eggs and cooking them like scrambled eggs, they have a grainy texture, and they taste dry and stale. They also do not fluff up like normal eggs when cooked in a pan. I assume this lack of “rising” would not work to well in baked goods that require this “leavening” property.

The wet-dry method produces a much better product. Although the powder turns initially orange, when reconstituted and cooked like scrambled eggs, the orange turns to yellow and they taste, look, and feel just like non-dehydrated egss. They also maintain the “leavening” property and fluff up which is important for baking.

Here’s a picture of the two in powder form with their resultant reconstituted and cooked product:

How to Use Powdered Eggs

Uses of Powdered Eggs

Powdered eggs can be used in the same exact manner as regular eggs. The only thing you’ll not be able to do is create things like poached eggs, or sunny-side-up eggs etc. But for all other needs like baking, french toast, scrambled eggs and so on, you’ll have the same results — but in a much more compact and storage-friendly form.

How to Reconstitute Powdered Eggs

Reconstituting powdered eggs is a simple process. To make the equivalent of one average sized egg mix 1 heaping tablespoon of egg powder together with 2 tablespoons of water. Stir it up, let it sit for 5 min and use as you would normal eggs.

Conclusion

After trying out this process, I’m not sure if it’s entirely worth it to spend 16 hours to make a dozen powdered eggs. I assume if I had a better dehydrator with more than two fruit-roll sheets it would be an easier process, but given what I got it would take 120 hours to fill a #10 can (it fits about 7 1/2 dozen eggs) if I used the wet-dry method (the cooked dry egg taste so bad I wouldn’t even consider it).

Also, since you can purchase really cheap powdered eggs online, equivalent to what you would pay for fresh eggs in the store, makes it even less appealing.

For example, from HoneyVilleGrain.com (where I get my powdered eggs from) you can purchase a six-pack case of #10 cans of powdered eggs for $89.99. This is equivalent to 45 dozen eggs (each can fits about 7.5 dozen eggs) – enough for a year’s supply for a small family.

At $89.99 that’s around $2 a dozen. Not too bad.

Where this whole process would definitely be worth it is if you had chickens that produced more eggs than you typically consume. This would help to store up a good amount of eggs when the chickens go through their down phase.

Peter Schiff Speaks to the Ludwig on Mises Institute

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

For those who haven’t heard of Peter Schiff, he was one of the first people (back in 2006) who predicted the real estate bubble, subsequent collapse and the depressed economy which we are now facing. If you’re interested in a quick video montage of him being laughed at (who’s laughing now) during that time for his “doom and gloom” predictions, check out this video:

If you have an hour and fifteen minutes to spare, I would highly recommend you watching this next video. He does an excellent job at encapsulating exactly how we got into the economic state we are in as well as the problems we are facing in the near future:

Food Storage Basics: The Gamma Seal Lid

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

If you’ve read any of my other articles on food storage, then you’ll know that I always stress the importance of rotating and using your food storage now — this includes your long-term bulk-food items such as sugar, dried milk, wheat, flour, grains and legumes.

Not only does this force you to figure out how best to use these items, it also gets you and your family used to eating what you one day may need to rely upon.  

The problem with bulk foods is that most people tend to store them in large, air-tight 5-gallon buckets (as I do), and once you peel back the seal strip and open the bucket, the seal breaks and forever loses it’s air-tight sealing properties.  

This obviously doesn’t lend itself well to reuse. And since you’re most likely not living exclusively off of your long-term food storage, it will take a bit of time to go through say a 5 gallon bucket of wheat or dried milk — increasing the potential of it spoiling or getting infested before it’s used up.

Up until recently, when I opened a bucket, I would transfer my bulk food from it to smaller individual mylar bags. This was before I found out about Gamma Lids.

Gamma Lids converts any food-grade 5 gallon bucket to a reusable, and resealable airtight and leakproof food-storage container. Check out this video to see just how easy it is: