It kind of surprised me that mainstream news site would address the problems with our national power grid so candidly. "The Department of Energy warns in a new report that the aging electric grid, which provides most electricity to the nation, faces threats from terrorism and storms caused by climate change that could knock out Wall Street, hospitals and the Internet if left unfixed ... In the new report, the Energy Department warns that modern life could be endangered if the grid went down. A congressional report has warned that a solar flare or terrorist attack could darken the grid for a year, during which most of those supplied by the grid would die."
Reading over the article made me want to do something preparedness-related. As such, I decided to look over the canning closet.
My canning closet, if you recall, used to be a superfluous bathroom which Don gutted and installed with shelves. (And yes, we're working on putting in earthquake bars across the shelf fronts.)
Since I'm an avid canner (actually that's an understatement -- I'm a passionate canner), I needed a dedicated space to store all our canned goods. The canning closet's original shelves filled up quickly, so Don installed additional shelving which relieved some of the space issues... although it's still cramped quarters.
But last year for some reason, I didn't do much canning. And, since we're constantly using the stocks in the canning closet, I was showing distinct "holes" in my formerly well-stocked pantry
So -- time to do some canning and fill in those holes.
Our budget is tight this month, but I have some things on standby waiting to be canned. I had this big ol' bag of bulk frozen peas that was taking up room in the freezer, so I decided to start with that.
I heated the peas...
...and started filling jars.
How many jars? I have a hand-written note in my canning book that says ten pounds of frozen peas fills about 17 jars. I washed 18 jars, just to be safe (the maximum my pressure canner holds).
In preparing my Tattler lids, it always amuses me to see a sampling of what we used up.
Pre-heating the lids and gaskets.
First layer in the canner.
Second layer in the canner.
Processed them for 40 minutes at 12.5 lbs. (for our elevation). They came out of the canner just before bedtime.
Uh-oh, now I've been bitten by the canning bug. I decided to soak, simmer, and can some pinto beans for easy refried beans. I was out of canned pinto beans in the pantry, but I had a ten-pound bag of dried beans waiting for me. I can only can five pounds at a time, since five pounds of beans comes out to around 17 or 18 pints, canned.
I soaked them overnight...
...then let them simmer for several hours the next day.
All canned up and ready to store.
I took a quick inventory of the canning closet, and here are some of the things I want to stock up on:
- Bacon bits
- Chicken breasts
- Pizza sauce
- Chicken stock
As I said, we're on a tight budget this month, so I'll stick with canning up stuff we already have on hand, such as the rest of the pintos. That's the best way to stock a pantry: not with massive one-fell-swoop activities, but little incremental steps.
It occurs to me I haven't posted much lately on the topic of preparedness, so it might be worth putting more emphasis on the subject. The reason this post is called "Friday Roundup" is because I want to start a new Friday habit of posting whatever we've done during the week (big or small) that inches us toward increased self-sufficiency or self-reliance.
And since everyone's circumstances and situations are different (meaning, we can all learn from each other), I invite everyone to pitch in during Friday Roundups to explain to other readers what steps you took during the week -- remember, big or small -- toward preparedness.
This may also encourage people to do something, anything, that may prove helpful if, like the article above suggests, the power grid goes down.
So... what's your Friday Roundup?