Review of Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast

Beyond Basics with Natural YeastThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I received a review copy of Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast by Melissa Richardson.  For anyone who does not know about “natural yeast” vs. commercial yeast:  Yeast is a naturally occurring substance that is present everywhere.  Baking with natural yeast means cultivating your own “starter” dough and using it over and over.  Commercial yeast is what we all know and buy at the supermarket – Fleichmann’s or Red Star come to mind.  This book is about using natural yeast for all kinds of baking needs.

I have to say my one experience with natural yeast was not exactly stellar:  I ordered sourdough starter and was not very successful when I baked my first loaf.  Even with good intentions, I ended up throwing it all out when the started dough began smelling odd in the fridge.  Nonetheless, I was ready to give natural yeast another try.

The book is beautiful: full color with glossy pages, and a spiral spine for easy page turning.  The book’s appearance immediately drew me in.

Upon reading the book, I learned a lot about success factors in growing your yeast, the science behind it and the multiple uses of natural yeast.  Prior to reading this book, I thought natural yeast is normally just used for baking bread.  Actually, it has so many more uses besides bread:  muffins, pancakes, waffles, crackers, croutons, stuffing; there is even an international chapter with recipes for different cuisines.

This book is a follow up to the first book, The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast.  If you are completely new to natural yeast, I would recommend reading The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast-even the book mentions it is a good idea to read it.  However, if you are already familiar with using natural yeast, Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast can stand on its own.

The recipes are simple and easy to understand.  The photos are eye-catching and very inspiring.

In fact, I was so fired up about trying natural yeast again that I took the steps to grow my own starter.  The book also gives instructions on how to obtain your own free starter.  I think it is very practical and cost-effective to learn how to grow and bake with natural yeast.  Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast is a keeper and I recommend you pick up the book.  It would make an excellent gift as well.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

 



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Monday Musings 12/1/2014: How to Cook a Perfect Steak in a Cast Iron Pan

 

How to Cook a Perfect Steak in a Cast Iron PanThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.  I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving holiday.  It’s December – this year has been going so quickly!

First the blog updates…

This past week had me experimenting with using my cast iron pan to make the perfect steak.  Cooking steak is a hit or miss for me, with the steak coming out dry nine time out of ten.  I prefer my steak to be on the medium well side, but tend to overcook it when cooking it on a pan.

How to cook a perfect steak in a cast iron pan

I remembered an article by Gaye Levy over a Backdoor Survival called Cooking Steak on your Cast Iron Survival Skillet.  When I first read it, I was skeptical about cooking steak in a super heated oven, but since I did not want to ruin these Omaha Steaks that were gifted to us, I thought why not give it a try.

The directions are simple – for exact instructions, go read the original article. 

I used what I already have in my kitchen so my steps varied slightly.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Season the steaks.  As Gaye instructed, I drizzled the steaks with olive oil, and seasoned them.  I used a Hawaiian sea salt rub  Let the steaks marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. Place your cast iron skillet in the oven and let the oven heat up to 500 degrees.   Make sure you have your oven mitts handy.
  3. Once the temperature reaches 500 degrees, use your oven mitts and take out the skillet.  Turn on the fan vents in your kitchen, it may get smokey.
  4. Place the skillet on your stove burner set on high.  My unit has an electric stove; I would have preferred a gas burner but it worked out.
  5. Place your steaks on the hot skillet, and time them for 30-40 seconds on each side.  The steaks will form a nice crust.
  6. Transfer the skillet with the steaks back to the 500 degree oven.  Let the steaks cook for two minutes, then flip and cook for two more minutes.  With these directions, a one inch steak will come out medium rare.  If you want the steaks to be medium well, you may add another minute, but that’s it.
  7. Take the steaks out of the skillet and place on a grill or upside down plate to “rest.”  The point is to for the steak not to sit on its juices. Cover with aluminum foil and let it sit for two to five minutes.

Please be cautioned that the cast iron skillet gets extremely hot.  I used oven mitts taking them in and out of the oven, but accidentally brushed up against the handle after I took off the mitts.  Ouch!  Don’t do that!

Verdict:  The steaks were the best I ever made.  They did not dry out and came out perfect.  The family gave them a thumbs up.

Berkey Giveaway  Our Berkey Light Giveaway sponsored by LPC Survival is still going on.  Don’t forget to enter!

Another great giveaway is scheduled for this Friday, 12/5 so please check back!

Now for the links…

Guess What Happened The Last Time The Price Of Oil Crashed Like This?…

List of Collapse Medical Supplies

#takebackfriday

5 money-making websites that have an A+ rating with the BBB

Zero Waste Alternatives: The Ultimate List

Do We Own Our Stuff, Or Does Our Stuff Own Us?

The Best Debt Repayment Tools and Apps

 

Take care and have a great week everyone!

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

Great deals for Christmas shopping!

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Can You Brew Coffee from Stale Green Coffee Beans?

Can You Use Green Coffee BeansThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

A few years ago, when I first started my emergency stash, I bought green coffee beans as I was learning to brew coffee off grid.  The beans were purchased in 2010, and were left in the original packaging for the last four years.  I should have repackaged them in mylar bags, but sometimes even a preparedness blogger slips up.

Can You Use Green Coffee Beans 1I found them after we moved to a smaller space and was too cheap to throw them away.  This past weekend, I ran out of my favorite Dunkin Donuts coffee but did not want to break into my emergency supply of Kona coffee.  I thought, “Why not see if these old green coffee beans are still any good?”

What the stale green coffee beans looked like:

They are no longer green but almost look like peanuts:

Can You Use Green Coffee Beans 2

Roasting stale green coffee beans:

I used my cast iron skillet over a propane stove outside.

Can You Use Green Coffee Beans 3

After a few minutes, they started turning brown.  Then, they started smoking, and smelling slightly burnt.  Finally, they started making the popping sound, like popcorn, but not as frequent.

I was a little concerned the beans did not smell as strong as expected.  There was a slight coffee smell, but also accompanied by a toasty smell.  But I was determined to see them through.

I let them toast some more, and turned off the heat.  They do look brown with a slightly oily sheen as they’re suppose to look.  Then I placed them in a colander, shook them around a bit over the sink to let the chaff fly off.

Can You Use Green Coffee Beans 4After they cooled, I used the Nutribullet nut attachment to grind them.  They now smelled like real coffee.

Can You Use Green Coffee Beans 5I brewed the coffee using them the next day.   I would say the coffee aroma was not as strong as when they were fresh, but these are four year old green coffee beans.  I was actually surprised they were any good at all.

Can You Use Green Coffee Beans 6When I tasted the coffee, I found it tasted good; probably not as robust as they would have been had they been properly stored, but I can’t complain.  This experiment was to see if  it’s okay to brew coffee from stale, green coffee beans.  In answer to the question, I would say yes.  But if you want to maintain optimum quality and taste, then store them properly and they will last even longer.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!

 

11 Emergency Food Items That Can Last a Lifetime

11 Emergency Foods that can Last a LifetimeThis article originally appeared in Ready Nutrition

By Tess Pennington

Did you know that with proper storage techniques, you can have a lifetime supply of certain foods?  Certain foods can stand the test of time, and continue being a lifeline to the families that stored it.  Knowing which foods last indefinitely and how to store them are you keys to success.

The best way to store food for the long term is by using a multi-barrier system.  This system protects the food from natural elements such as moisture and sunlight, as well as from insect infestations.

Typically, those who store bulk foods look for inexpensive items that have multi-purposes and will last long term.

Listed below are 11 food items that can last a lifetime

Honey

Honey never really goes bad.  In a tomb in Egypt 3,000 years ago, honey was found and was still edible.  If there are temperature fluctuations and sunlight, then the consistency and color can change.  Many honey harvesters say that when honey crystallizes, then it can be re-heated and used just like fresh honey.  Because of honey’s low water content, microorganisms do not like the environment.

Uses: curing, baking, medicinal, wine (mead)

Salt

Although salt is prone to absorbing moisture, it’s shelf life is indefinite.  This indispensable mineral will be a valuable commodity in a long term disaster and will be a essential bartering item.

Uses: curing, preservative, cooking, cleaning, medicinal, tanning hides

Sugar

Life would be so boring without sugar.  Much like salt, sugar is also prone to absorbing moisture, but this problem can be eradicated by adding some rice granules into the storage container.

Uses: sweetener for beverages, breads, cakes, preservative, curing, gardening, insecticide (equal parts of sugar and baking powder will kill cockroaches).

Wheat

Wheat is a major part of the diet for over 1/3 of the world.  This popular staple supplies 20% of daily calories to a majority of the world population.  Besides being a high carbohydrate food, wheat contains valuable protein, minerals, and vita­mins. Wheat protein, when balanced by other foods that supply certain amino acids such as lysine, is an efficient source of protein.

Uses: baking, making alcohol, livestock feed, leavening agent

Dried corn

Essentially, dried corn can be substituted for any recipe that calls for fresh corn.  Our ancestors began drying corn because of it’s short lived season.  To extend the shelf life of corn, it has to be preserved by drying it out so it can be used later in the year.

Uses: soups, cornmeal, livestock feed, hominy and grits, heating source (do a search for corn burning fireplaces).

Baking soda

This multi-purpose prep is a must have for long term storage.

Uses: teeth cleaner, household cleaner, dish cleaner, laundry detergent booster, leavening agent for baked goods, tarnish remover

Instant coffee, tea, and cocoa

Adding these to your long term storage will not only add a variety to just drinking water, but will also lift morale.  Instant coffee is high vacuum freeze dried.  So, as long as it is not introduced to moisture, then it will last.  Storage life for all teas and cocoas can be extended by using desiccant packets or oxygen absorbing packets, and by repackaging the items with a vacuum sealing.

Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods

Non-carbonated soft drinks

Although many of us prefer carbonated beverages, over time the sugars break down and the drink flavor is altered.  Non-carbonated beverages stand a longer test of time.  And, as long as the bottles are stored in optimum conditions, they will last.  Non-carbonated beverages include: vitamin water, Gatorade, juices, bottled water.

Uses: beverages, flavor additions to baked goods

White rice

White rice is a major staple item that preppers like to put away because it’s a great source for calories, cheap and has a long shelf life.  If properly stored this popular food staple can last 30 years or more.

Uses: breakfast meal, addition to soups, side dishes, alternative to wheat flour

Bouillon products

Because bouillon products contain large amounts of salt, the product is preserved.  However, over time, the taste of the bouillon could be altered.  If storing bouillon cubes, it would be best repackage them using a food sealer or sealed in mylar bags.

Uses: flavoring dishes

Powdered milk – in nitrogen packed cans

Powdered milk can last indefinitely, however, it is advised to prolong it’s shelf life by either repackaging it for longer term storage, or placing it in the freezer.  If the powdered milk developes an odor or has turned a yellowish tint, it’s time to discard.

Uses: beverage, dessert, ingredient for certain breads, addition to soup and baked goods.

Prepper's CookbookAbout this author

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com.

 

 

Emergency Food: How to Make Corn Tortillas

Howtomakecorntortillas_titleMr. Apt Prepper and I were talking out our emergency food supply which contains a lot of beans and rice.  For variety, we thought we should try making homemade tortillas.

Howtomakecorntortillas_ingredientsThe instructions came from the corn masa flour package.

How to make corn tortillas:

1 cup corn masa flour

2/3 cup water

1/8 tsp salt

Other equipment used:

  • Large bowl
  • Zip-lock freezer bag
  • Tortilla press (you can make them without one, this just makes it easier)
  • Flat cast iron skillet – coat with oil or butter

1.  In a large bowl, add water to the corn masa flour.  Mix for two minutes until you can shape a ball.  Add water by the tablespoon if the mixture feels too dry.  I ended up adding about three tablespoons as I kept kneading the dough.

Howtomakecorntortillas_dough2.  Once you can make a smooth ball out of the dough, you can start shaping your tortillas.  Separate the dough into eight small balls.

Howtomakecorntortillas_separated

3.  Lay a piece of plastic such as a cut up Zip-lock freezer bag against both sides of the tortilla press.  The plastic will keep the dough from sticking to the press.

Howtomakecorntortillas_ball

4.  Place the dough ball on one side of the plastic and flatten the press.   Heat the cast iron skillet on medium heat.

Howtomakecorntortillas_flattendough

5.  Carefully pry the dough off and place on the hot skillet.  Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side.  You will notice the dough start to brown and puff slightly.  If you undercook it, the tortilla will taste like raw dough.  I should know, I tried one too soon.

Howtomakecorntortillas_cooking

6.  Keep cooking until all the tortillas are done.  Serve warm.

Result:

These tortillas came out way too small to make tacos but were tasty by themselves.  They are more flavorful and more filling than store bought tortillas.  This makes about eight corn tortillas.

Next time I will double or triple the recipe to make bigger tortillas.

I decided to see if I could make tortilla chips out of these, since they were too small for tacos.  I cut up the tortillas into four and fried them in hot oil.  I fried them for about three to four minutes until slightly brown, then added salt to taste.  Drain on paper towels to remove excess oil.

Howtomakecorntortillas_chipsThe chips made from homemade tortilla chips were very tasty and filling.

It was a bit time-consuming to make corn tortillas yourself, but I like knowing I can make them in case I run out and don’t want to run to the store.   This skill will also help to add variety to survival foods.

 

My new book is out!

Jake and Miller's Big Adventure

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Self Sufficient Saturdays: Cookware You’ll Never Have to Replace

cast-iron-cookwareMy favorite survival cookware are cast iron pans.  For anyone who is unfamiliar with cast iron, they are the black heavy iron pans that have been around for hundreds of years.

My mother-in-law actually introduced me to cast iron pans.  Whenever I helped her cook anything in her kitchen, I marveled at how her cast iron pans cooked everything so well.

Why I like them so much:

  • They distribute heat evenly
  • When well seasoned, they work like a non-stick pan, or require very little oil.
  • The same plan will cook well with any type of stove:  electric, gas, you can even stick it in the oven and make bread in it.  In an emergency, it will work well over an open flame. 
  • The pan adds iron to your food, which helps avoid an iron deficiency.
  • Because they so sturdy, they will last a lifetime, and you won’t need to spend money for replacement pans.

In those days, I used Teflon pans, but once they get a scratch, they peel and shred after a while.  After I saw how much better the cast iron pans heated through, I tossed out all my Teflon pans and asked my mother-in-law to help me buy some.

She did not take me to a cookware store; instead she took me to Goodwill.  She said she found the best cast iron pans there.  People would toss them out thinking they were inferior to Calphalon or other name brand cookware.  Being of a frugal nature, she encouraged me to find second-hand deals instead of full priced items.

If you are in the market for one, try getting it used at stores like Goodwill, or shop online at Craigslist or Freecycle first.  If you are just starting out, I would recommend choosing a slightly rusted cast iron pan, to make it easier on yourself. 

The same process to salvage it, is the same process to season a brand new pan.

  • If you have a new pan, just wash and rinse, no scraping needed.  If you are working with a used, slightly rusted pan, wash with a strong dishwashing liquid and scrape out the rust with a steel wool.
  • Dry completely with a dish towel.
  • Coat the pan with cooking oil all over.  I have used vegetable oil, olive oil or peanut oil
  • Turn the oven on low heat, around 250 degrees and leave the pan in the oven for 4 hours.  Do not leave unattended.  It may get a bit smoky if the heat is too high.
  • Turn of the heat and leave the pan in while it cools.
  • Repeat the process over a few months until the pan turns black.  You now have a well-seasoned pan.

Cast iron pans are available pre-seasoned.  You don’t have to go through the process if you don’t feel like it.  Just remember the pan should not be left sitting in a sink-ful of water.  It should be rinsed and dried after use and coated with a thin layer of oil.  I’ve recently started coating my pans with coconut oil and it adds a nice flavor to the food.

They are still fairly inexpensive, around $10 for a non-seasoned pan, and about $20 for a pre-seasoned one.  Whether you buy it used or start out with a pre-seasoned skillet, you’ll be pleased with they way they cook, and it will last for generations.

 

Reminder:  Don’t forget to enter our latest giveaway for  Berkey Sport Bottle and Watersafe City Water Test Kit!

For details click here!

 

 Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Self-Sufficient Saturdays: How to Cook a Common Survival Food

Pinto BeansWelcome to another Self Sufficient Saturday post.  Today we’ll take a look at a prepper’s staple:  dried beans.  It is an inexpensive source of protein, tasty and filling.   Many people settle for canned beans, thinking it is too hard to make it yourself.  It is actually very easy.

How Much Dried Beans to Use

1 cup dried beans = 3 cups cooked beans

Since I like to make a large enough batch to last for a few meals, I use about three cups of beans.

Preparing Beans

Before you cook any type of beans sort through them to remove any pebbles or any foreign matter.  You should also give the beans a quick rinse.

There are two ways to prepare beans:

  • Soaking method
  • Fast boil

Soaking method:

1.  Just measure three cups of beans and soak in a pan of water overnight.  The beans puff up the next day.

2.  Throw out the soaking water, then rinse the beans.

3.  In a large pot, add the beans and enough water to cover the beans.  Cook on medium heat and let the pot simmer.  You can add a peeled piece of garlic if you like.

A couple of tips:

  • DO NOT ADD SALT.  The salt will toughen the beans and will not cook properly.
  • Old beans may take longer to cook.  For tips on how to properly store beans, please see Survival Food Storage.

Add more water as it boils down.  If the water runs out, the beans will start to burn.  Allow the mixture to boil for 1 1/2- 2 hours until the beans are tender.  Once the beans are soft, add salt to taste.

Fast boil method

1.  If you forget to soak the beans the night before, do the fast boil method.  Add enough water to cover the beans in a pot.  Let the mixture boil for about three minutes.  Turn off the fire and remove from heat.  Place the pot in the sink and add tap water.  Pour the beans into a colander and throw out the water.  Rinse the beans one more time under the faucet.

2.  Now you are ready to cook the beans.

Follow Step 3 above.

Plain cooked beans are great added to plain white rice.   With a bit of salt and pepper, beans and rice make a great comfort food.  Even picky kids like it.

Another thing you can easily make is refried beans.

Refried Beans

You will need:

5-7 cups of cooked pinto beans (following the steps above)

1/2 cup lard, butter or vegetable oil

1 cup grated monterey jack cheese or your favorite type of cheese like grated cheddar cheese

Melt the lard, butter or if using vegetable oil, add to the pan.

Drain the beans leaving around 1/2 cup of bean water and add the beans and water to the pan all at once.  Careful you don’t get splattered.

Mash the soft beans with a potato masher.  Mix the beans and the oil very well.  If the beans look too dry, add 1/4 cup of water or chicken broth to the mix and keep mashing to your desired consistency. Some cooks like the beans to be on the dry side, some like it a bit more watery.

Mashing beans

Once the beans are mashed, add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle the grated cheese on top.  Allow the cheese to melt.  Serve with tortillas, tostada shells or tortilla chips.  You can even make breakfast burritos by mixing the refried beans with scrambled egg, more cheese in a large flour tortilla.

Refried beans

Refried beans with monterey jack cheese

 

 

Self-Sufficient Saturdays: How to Brew Coffee without Electricity

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Today I am trying out a new feature, “Self-Sufficient Saturdays” where we take small, practical steps to becoming more self-sufficient.  I used to have a Starbucks habit, but managed to kick it, not by giving up a tasty cup of coffee (I know it’s an acquired taste), but by learning to brew a great cup of coffee at home.  And, at the same time, I have backup plans for my coffee, in case of an emergency.

A coffee drinker who is missing his or her daily coffee knows a caffeine withdrawal headache is coming.   You have a few choices to avoid that pain:

  • Instant coffee – the “just add a heaping teaspoon to hot water” kind that comes in a jar (not my preferred choice)
  • Individual packets of Starbucks or a similar brand (Not bad, even after it expired)
  • Single cup bags of coffee – also just needs hot water (this is good too)
  • tea
  • Give it up (I’m not ready to do this right now)
  • Brew it yourself

I have a few backup plans, including all of the above, but will only give it up if I have to.  This time I am brewing it myself.

You will need:

–campfire popcorn popper (or small covered skillet)

–green coffee beans

–manual grinder

–French press

–measuring cup

–wire mesh colander (optional)

How to Roast Green Coffee Beans

  1. Since I am trying to have a backup plan in the event of an emergency and we are off-grid, I used our propane camp stoveWarning: I do not recommend using a camp stove in your kitchen:  this would be unsafe and can cause carbon monoxide build-up.  Camp stoves should be used outside.  Also, I read from various articles that roasting green coffee beans may cause a lot of smoke.  Our apartment has a very sensitive fire alarm which gets set off very quickly, so we did this outside,  so the fire alarm does not go off.  We don’t want a visit from the fire department from having the fire alarm go off while we are roasting our beans!  If you are roasting on a stove indoors, turn on the exhaust fan or open a window to make sure your area is well-ventilated.
  2. Assemble all your materials in advance:  green coffee beans (I used Kona coffee), campfire popcorn popper, measuring cup, wire mesh colander
  3. To start small,  I measured about a quarter of cup of green coffee beans.
  4. Turn on the fire to low setting.  Preheat the popper on low flame.
  5. Pour the green coffee beans into the skillet/popper, cover and shake.
  6. Keep the popper moving around and start listening for a popping sound.
  7. Check under the lid and look at the beans.  They started to turn brown after about 5 to 7 minutes.
  8. The popping is not constant like popcorn, but happens every few seconds as the beans crack.  This  is about the time the beans start to smoke a bit.
  9. After about 10 minutes, I checked again and it looked like the beans were brown so I turned off the fire.
  10. You will notice some bits of chaff:  pour into a wire colander or just blow on the beans and the bits  fly off.  Now you are ready to grind the beans.
Coffee beans

Roasted coffee beans and green coffee beans

These photos show the difference between the green beans and the roasted beans.  The smell is also quite different: the green beans do not smell like coffee at all, they have a pungent, plantlike smell, while the roasted ones indeed smell like the strong coffee smell we all know.  The aroma does linger long after you have finished roasting them.

Grinding the Beans

  1. I used the Danesco Manual Coffee Grinder.  Adjust the grinder for maximum coarseness, if you will be using a french press.  To do this, take off the handle and adjust the cog wheel up and tighten it back up.
  2. The grinder does not have any cushioning under the bottom, so you will need to stabilize it on the counter by placing a towel or pad underneath.
  3. Remove the cork stopper from under the grinding mechanism.
    Coffee off grid1

    Coffee grinder

  4. Pour the beans and start grinding.  Hold the grinder stable with the left hand and grind with your right hand (vice versa if you are left-handed).
    Coffee grinder

    Grinding roasted coffee beans

ground coffee

Ground coffee beans

I have to say this was the hardest part!  It took a bit of muscle power to continuously grind the beans and hold it down.  All in all, it took about seven minutes to grind the quarter cup of beans.

Brewing with the French Press

  1. I used the Bodum Shatterproof 8 cup French Press Coffeemaker.  Eight cups sound like a lot of coffee, but actually, the “cup” is actually a 4-ounce cup, not an 8-ounce mug that most of us are used to.
  2. The quarter cup of whole beans made about 2 level scoops (measuring scoop came with the french press) of ground coffee.  The rule of thumb is to use one scoop per cup of coffee.
  3. Boil water in a separate pan.  I boiled about 2.5 cups of water.  Turn off fire once the water boils.  Because this is a plastic press, the instructions indicate the water must be hot but not boiling.  I would think a glass french press would work with boiling water.
  4. Remove the cover/plunger of the french press.
  5. Pour the ground coffee into the bottom of the press.
  6. Pour the hot water.
    French press coffee

    Brewing in a French press

  7. Slowly insert the cover/plunger.   Turn the lid so the opening/pour spout is sealed and away from you.  and press the water/coffee gently until plunger cannot go any further.   Do not apply too much pressure or this may cause the water to splatter up.
  8. Once the coffee is pressed, it is ready to drink!

I have to say this was a fine cup of coffee.  It seemed like a lot of work for two cups, but it was worth it.  The result was a very fresh tasting, strong cup of coffee.  Roasting the green coffee beans was not hard at all;  I can roast a larger batch next time.

In a disaster situation, you can’t beat a nice comforting cup of fresh brewed coffee.

Even if we never need to make coffee off grid, knowing how to roast green coffee beans saves money in the long run.

© Apartment Prepper 2013

 For low-cost ways to prep:

 

For easy ways to become more prepared, read my book:

Review of Chicken Fajita MRE from Meal Kit Supply

Chicken Fajita MRE from Meal Kit Supply

I’ve been having a back log of product and book reviews, both on items I purchased on my own, and review samples sent by the company or publisher.  It takes me a while to get the reviews done, as I like to read/test each one individually before I post anything about it.  I usually post on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, so on Saturdays I will do product and books reviews.

Meal Kit Supply sent me their newest MRE, Chicken Fajita, for review.  I had tested their product in the past, and was curious how this one would turn out.  The MRE pack included the following:

  • chicken fajita entree
  • 2nd entree was fried rice
  • pack of tortillas
  • dessert consisted of a spice cake
  • 2 drink packets:  cocoa beverage powder and orange flavored electrolyte carbohydrate mix
  • salsa packet
  • eating utensils including salt and pepper
  • heater unit

Contents of MREI added water to the heating unit as directed and wrapped it around the two entrees.

Chicken Fajita entreeThe chicken fajita warmed up really well, but the rice was only slightly warm.  I decided to throw it in boiling water for a minute and it warmed up.  More on this later.

Here is the rice after it warmed up.

MRE Rice

The tortilla packet included 2 flour tortillas-they were ready to eat and did not need warming.  I made 2 tacos by filling the tortillas with chicken, rice and salsa Now for the taste test.

  • I was not expecting a lot from the tortillas but they turned out great- the texture and taste were on par with a brand name such as Mission.
  • The chicken had a stew type consistency, and was a bit more saucy to my taste, but added as a taco filling with the rice, it tasted good.
  • The rice also had a nice texture and flavor.
  • The spice cake was very sweet – I prefer a less sweet taste, but that is my preference.

A few days later, I emailed my contact at Meal Kit Supply to find out why the 2nd entree did not warm up as well.  As I suspected, I positioned it the wrong way, since I wrapped it around the 2 entrees like a blanket, but the correct way is:

“The flameless ration heater should be wrapped around the rations in a ‘z’ fashion — the rations should not touch each other and instead should be inserted on the inner parts of the ‘z.’ Once you’ve done this, quickly shove it back in a ration box before it starts billowing up with steam and let it sit for a few minutes.”

She also mentioned that this was common:  “We’ve received a few emails with confusion over flameless ration heater use, so it is something we are addressing (i.e. clear explanation on the site as well as the bag itself).”

As an emergency food, the chicken fajita is a good choice and passed the taste test.  With so much food included, and with the ability to make two tacos, I felt that two people can split this entree in an emergency.

 

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