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Counting Frozen Chickens…

August 12, 2012

With all this talk of food prices jumping up 30% over the next year, I took inventory of my freezer and cupboards today. Doesn’t look good for the home team… In the freezer, I found three frozen turkeys from last winter, 5 chickens, 5 pounds of deer meat and some freezer-burned blackberries. In my kitchen I have thirty pounds of dried beans and grains and one gallon of canned green beans. Sure, tomatoes are ripening daily and I’ve got plenty of fresh cukes and squash, but not enough of anything to preserve.

This isn’t about freaking out over global climate change and preparing for Armageddon. It’s time we realize that the season of plenty is about over and we need to start working toward more self-sufficiency for our family’s sakes. We can start stocking up on staples like grains, dried beans, canned foods… and garden seeds for next year, preferably heirloom varieties. It’s going to hurt to start paying 30% more for food, 20% more for gasoline, and probably another 10-15% for everything else as the economic impact of this year’s drought continues to take its toll. If we are lucky it’ll only be that much.

 How much food do you have in YOUR freezer?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2012 7:11 pm

    Everyone knows that potatoes are TREATED, not sprouted. I really need to double check my writing.


  2. Susan Munroe permalink
    August 16, 2012 12:16 am

    Another thought…

    Many people think they can’t grow things unless they come in a seed packet with Burpee or Park (etc) on the front.

    Have you ever passed or bought things in the Bulk Food section of a grocery store? Look at all those seeds in there! I’ve taken samples of practically all the beans, grains and seeds, and almost all of them sprouted (including the while spice seeds). It’s a lot cheaper to buy a pound of pinto beans in bulk for $0.79/lb than buying a small packet of 80 seeds for $3.

    If your local grocery doesn’t have bulk, check out the health food stores and the ethnic stores. If no luck there, check out Bob’s Red Mill online for local retailers, and in a pinch, you could mail order them.

    You don’t know the specific variety, or if it’s the best for your area, but it could work in a pinch… esp if you tried some first, so you would know.

    Popping corn
    Flax seed
    Kamut wheat
    Poppy seeds
    Triticale (cross of wheat & rye)
    Various types of wheat (some are kind of climate-specific, do your homework for your area)

    Adzuki beans
    Anasazi (Cave) beans
    Black turtle beans
    Cannellini beans
    Cranberry beans
    Fava (broad) beans
    Flageolet beans
    Garbanzo beans
    Great Northern beans
    Lima beans (aka butter beans)
    Red kidney beans
    Mung beans
    Pinto beans
    Small red beans
    Soy beans

    If you intend to grow something, buy a small amount first and see if it will sprout in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel in it. If it sprouts, it should grow.

    Some things in the bulk aisle won’t sprout or grow: split peas, white rice, probably hulled things like sunflower seeds. Wild rice has been heat-treated, and won’t grow.



    • August 16, 2012 6:08 pm

      Sue, this is fascinating. Thank you for listing all these seeds that are readily available and potentially plantable. I’ll never look at dried beans the same again. Very cool.

      Do you know a trick to wash off the anti-sprouting chemical they spray on potatoes? Would love to use regular potatoes for seed.


      • August 17, 2012 7:09 pm

        Hi, Tam!

        I don’t know how many years I walked past the bulk bins with blind eyes. I guess because everyone knows that potatoes are sprouted so you can’t use them for seed potatoes, I guess I (and a lot of other people) assumed that whole grains/seeds/beans were treated too.

        It all started with a bird feeder. The birds leave some seed on the ground, and things start growing. A neighbor told me that someone had told her that if you heat the birdseed at 200F for 10 minutes or so, it kills the live germ inside the seeds so they don’t sprout.

        So I grew some black-oil sunflower seeds and got plants. The birds and the chickens loved them. So…… if the birdseed is ‘live’, what about the wheat and beans and millet seeds you can buy bulk or in bags? The rest is history.

        Then I discovered that a store in the next town carries a LOT of packaged beans/seeds/grains from Bob’s Red Mill. I tried them, and they sprouted, too. Bob’s stuff comes in bags from one to 1.5 lbs, and the big bags. I think of it as pre-weighted, pre-packed and labeled seeds, now!

        As a seed bank, I put some of Bob’s seeds in plastic containers and freeze them.

        Re: Potatoes
        One of my rail crews used to work in a potato plant (yes, the pun was intentional) in Idaho. He said the potatoes are either sprayed or fogged with one of several different chemicals, and that the chemicals damage the sprout ends, usually stunting them. I asked if it could be washed off, but he said he didn’t know for sure, but he didn’t think so. The chemical is apparently absorbed into the potato itself (or the eyes).

        But in Carol Deppe’s The Resilient Gardener book, she says you can grow your own seed potatoes, and tells how to do it, starting with certified seed potatoes and then keeping the line going.

        The duckweed you sent is growing very well. I wonder how people eat it — cooked like spinach, or as soup?



  3. August 13, 2012 1:19 pm

    I was just looking when I put the finished batch of apricot freezer jam in there this morning. It isn’t encouraging. I lost everything this last winter when the power was out for 5 days after an ice storm, and haven’t replaced much of it.

    All the meat I’ve got is one thawed/refrozen chicken that I planned to impale in the chicken’s yard to make maggots (protein) for them. I guess I should do that while the flies are in such abundance.

    People really do need to be responsible for themselves. “Self-reliance” is not a dirty word. There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (TANSTAAFL, as Robert Heinlein put it). Everything costs somebody something, and the Other People don’t owe you food or anything else.

    The world economy is seriously unstable. When the Great Depression began in 1929, there were over 12 million farms across America. Today, there are only about 2 million, and most of those are in the Midwest and California, so there could easily be a delivery problem (gas here in WA today: $4/gal, diesel is higher). Could your local farms feed the whole area? NO!

    In her brilliant book The Resilient Gardener, author Carol Deppe says people could survive quite well on 5 basic foods: potatoes, corn, beans, squash and eggs (some duck breeds will lay all year without artificial light, chickens won’t). It would also be nice to have the things that make those five foods tasty and familiar: herbs, onions, salt, etc. I cringe at the thought of not having a local source of chocolate…

    But we can’t wait until the Big Problem happens — that’s too late. Get ready or suffer.



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