After Hurricane Sandy came through I realized I had slacked off on my preparedness activities. To get back into the spirit of prepping I decided to do something new every week. This could involve adding more food to my storage, making something useful by hand, or learning a new skill. I knew there was a lot for me to do, but by taking it one week at a time I felt maybe I won’t get burned out or off track again.
Week 1: Laundry Detergent
One week I made homemade laundry detergent to cut cost and save me from having to go to the store so much for laundry detergent. It was easy to make and use. My clothes came out great and now I don’t know if I would go back to the expensive store bought soaps.
Week 2: Soup Recipe
The next week I tried a recipe involving beans and rice. I wanted to know what to do with all of those beans and rice we are told to stock up on. I thought how bad it would be if during an emergency all I had was beans and rice and I didn’t know how to cook it. I wouldn’t know how much dried ingredients to use, that is, if I had some stored away. What if I needed an important ingredient to make the meal more palatable, but didn’t have it?
To solve this problem I decided to put together some meals. If I just threw ingredients into a bag without first testing the recipe out I could be in a situation of having food I don’t want to eat. So I tried one recipe out, “Patchwork Soup.” Let me say I am so happy I did.
I doubled the amount in the recipe to make a huge pot to can several jars. This way I’ll have jars of soups that can be heated up on those lazy days I so often have when it comes to cooking. Things definitely did not go my way. Here are the lessons I learned making this soup.
Recipe Lessons to Learn Before an Emergency
My pots and pans were too small. If I had to cook for a large number of people I would be up the creek. Somebody wouldn’t be able to eat until several hours after others have eaten. Talk about causing a problem. Who decides who eats first? Who’s willing to wait voluntarily? Talk about a mess. This wouldn’t be such a problem if I was only concern about a few folks, but I have a huge extended family that I’m always thinking about.
Another problem with the pot is that while I got all of the ingredients in, there was no room for all of the water. This made it impossible to have “soup.” Instead the beans and rice soaked up the water. On the upside whenever I ate leftovers I was able to add more water without compromising the taste.
All ingredients don’t go in the pan at the same time, even if the directions say they do. Because the beans take longer to cook I should have waited to add the rice. By the time the food was done the rice was mushy. I do not like mushy rice. Next time I will wait to add the rice and seasonings. In this particular recipe, that’s about 30-40 minutes for me.
Adjusting the seasonings to my taste is important. When I package this as a dry soup I believe I will still use double the seasonings, only because I love the seasonings in this recipe. I will definitely make two sizes, one size for about 4 people and one for about 8 people.
I got to buy some larger pans if I want to can or I’ll be using a lot of pans just to make one meal.
There is so much to learn and do so I should be set for the rest of the year and beyond. I want to keep experimenting with food recipes until I have at least 20 good recipes I can use and rotate. I want to practice what I am learning from YouTube videos such as building fires, shelters, and traps. For a lot of these skills I will have to find a way to practice them as I live in the city. Learning to garden is another thing I am learning about. I bought a good book on container gardening, which I will review once I am done with it.
What are you doing to prepare for disasters? How long would you be able to live without power or limited power? We would love to hear about your tips you’ve found useful while prepping.