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By Kellene Bishop

Debt can weigh you down  Photo c/o usoge.gov

Debt can weigh you down Photo c/o usoge.gov

“I’ll start getting better prepared once I get out of debt.”  This statement makes me cringe, frankly. It’s a myth—a deceptive rationale—for SO many reasons. 

For starters there’s the misconception that being out of debt has “everything” to do with being better prepared. And yet there are countless aspects to preparedness that don’t require ANY money for success. Instead, they require an appropriate amount of willingness, a constant quest for knowledge, and a positive attitude. You can’t buy any of those things with money. In fact, I can’t think of a single time I’ve had to pay to go to the library and get books that educate me. I’ve also never had to pay for a CPR class or perusing the internet for additional information. Neither have I had to shell out a dime to a shrink to be better mentally prepared for a “what if” scenario. 

The other misconception about financial preparedness is that it’s a “top priority.” It isn’t. In fact, out of the 10 Keys to Preparedness, in order of priority, financial preparedness comes in at number 9. That’s right. There are 8 other more important aspects for you that will aid you in being better prepared for a disaster than having your mortgage and credit cards paid off. That’s not to say that getting out of debt isn’t important. But it’s not as important, for example, as making sure that you have food, water, shelter, and medical supplies in the event of a disaster. I assure you, your mortgage payment is the last thing on your mind if your child comes down with cholera, or the ground opens up all the way down your street due to an earthquake.

Overwhelming Temptation  Photo c/o southdacola.com

Debt Temptation Photo c/o southdacola.com

Also, as I’ve written about time and time again, it doesn’t always take money to increase your food, shelter, medical, and water supplies. There’s so much that’s simply given away at garage sales or by friends and family, and I can’t even begin to list all of the quality goods I’ve received for free or dirt cheap via coupons.

Another reason why financial preparedness mistakenly gets overrated is that folks tend to forget about the viable “fit hits the shan” scenario. One of the developing scenarios that I’m watching very closely is the possibility of an all out financial collapse—meaning that your money isn’t worth anything any more. And yet, if you had the necessary goods of sustenance in your home, regardless of what you paid for them, they will still be worth a great deal to you and your family. A case of tuna, regardless of whether you paid top dollar for it or got it for a steal will still give you 12 quality servings of protein in a pinch. I firmly believe 100% that there will come a time when a bucket of wheat is worth more than a bucket of gold. Why? Because currency will forever have its REAL place in the pecking order amidst a survival scenario—and that place is secondary to almost all others. You can’t feed your family on gold. You can’t even exchange gold for vital supplies if those supplies are limited in households across America. If you have a savings account plump full of money but no necessary supplies to survive an emergency it does you little good, right? What if there’s a serious power outage? How do you expect to access that hefty savings account, IRA, or checking account so that you can buy supplies? Oh, and let’s not forget about the fact that thousands of other people will have had that same idea just before you get to the store. (Going to the store at the first sign of trouble isn’t a plan. It’s a suicide wish.)

BXP27956

Just groceries or bargaining tools? Photo c/o motherjonesfoodpantry.com

When things go south, yes, some cash on hand will serve you well immediately—like in the first 24 hours if you’re lucky–but expect to see that acceptance quickly disintegrate into a non-currency environment. Commodities such as food, ammo, tents, diapers, etc. are what will be worthwhile. Having said that though, remember that being prepared has a great deal to do with being INDEPENDENT regardless of what comes your way. So, yes, being out of debt is a worthwhile goal for you to be focused on. Just don’t let the other aspects of preparedness suffer as a result. When compared with all else that’s more vital to your family’s survival, financial independence just doesn’t hold a candle to spiritual, mental, physical, medical, clothing/shelter, fuel, water, and food preparedness.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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Slow and steady wins the race! Photo c/o redbrownandblue.com

Slow and steady wins the race! Photo c/o redbrownandblue.com

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

Time’s a wastin’. Getting prepared takes a concerted effort on a regular basis. However, it doesn’t take require loads of money or fancy contraptions. It takes action. The good news is that even though I’m not surrounded with a particular need for preparedness right now, I’m still amply rewarded when I do a little something to improve my family’s state of readiness. I find that each activity I do and every effort I make in this regard increases my level of peace, confidence, and assurance substantially. Here are some ideas as to what you can do this weekend to be better prepared. Just pick one or even a couple of these activities and improve your readiness factor!

  • Organize an area of food storage. Just one area, such as soups, pastas, wheat, sugar, etc.
  • Run your family through a fire drill in the home 
    Fire Drill photo c/o njfamily.com

    Fire Drill photo c/o njfamily.com

     

  • Learn how to grow sprouts
  • Learn how to use a solar oven
  • Try making dinner on your butane stove
  • Learn how to use a pressure cooker
  • Bottle butter
  • Go fishing (Yes, ladies, that IS a preparedness skill)
  • Learn how to make a candle out of a tuna can
  • Make fire without a match (preferably NOT in your home.) :)
  • Cook in your Dutch Oven
  • Learn CPR
  • Fill those water barrels
  • Make notes on your laundry detergent, toothpaste, and toilet paper so that you know how long they actually last your family. (This way you know how much you need for a year)
  • Burn/cut up a credit card
  • Learn how to make bread
  • Sanitize your home including doorknobs, cupboard doors, refrigerator handles, air vents, and telephones
  • Try some powdered milk and find one that you like
  • Read for a half hour on Preparedness Pro to learn something new
  • Preserve your favorite dry foods with a FoodSaver 
    FoodSaver photo c/o foodsaverblog.com

    FoodSaver photo c/o foodsaverblog.com

     

  • Do a financial analysis of how you can allocate a bit more money each month towards eliminating debt
  • Make sure your family knows how to turn off the gas line to your home
  • Identify where all of your other water sources are
  • Attend a self-defense class
  • Attend a couponing class
  • Read the U.S. Constitution (Yup, becoming familiar with this is an act of preparedness in defense of foreign or domestic enemies.)
  • Practice target shooting at a range
  • Teach your family a “gathering plan”
  • Get your Concealed Firearm Permit
  • Learn how to use come common essential oils
  • Learn how to put up your tent all by yourself :)
  • Wax some hard cheese
  • Preserve some eggs
  • Go camping
  • Go for a 5 mile walk with the family
  • Learn a new recipe that you can make from what’s readily available in your pantry.

Bacon Potatoes in Garlic Cream Sauce

1 C. evaporated milk

1 ½ T. cornstarch

1 T. minced garlic (I prefer mine from the jar that’s in oil)

1 T. butter

1/8 t. salt

1 t. dried rosemary

1 T. of real bacon bits, or bacon flavored TVP

Two 15-ounce cans of whole potatoes, drained

Whisk the cornstarch into the milk until it is dissolved. Add the butter, salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary and bacon. Bring to a low boil and stir until thickened (This will take about 3 minutes.) Add the canned potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes—or until no longer hard. This side dish serves 4 nicely or you can also add some fried Spam and a drained can of corn and make it a main dish.

So which preparedness activity are you going to do this weekend?

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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By Kellene Bishop

Is there a better way to store fruits and vegetables? Are there better kinds or times to purchase them? Is there one preservation process that’s more nutritious than others? The answers to these questions all depends on what you are ultimately more concerned about. Taste, texture, freshness, appearance (familiarity) or nutrition. What I’m going to provide you with today is simply a rule of thumb as to the hierarchy of the condition of the fruits and vegetables to obtain in terms of nutrition and cost. Then you’ll need to decide, as always, which type really fits your family.

Fresh Produce photo c/o Wiedmaier

Fresh Produce photo c/o Wiedmaier

The first choice for most people when obtaining fruits and vegetables is to get them fresh–either they grow their own or they purchase them from the store. However, you should be aware that the nutritional content does vary dramatically dependent on what types of pesticides and other chemicals are used and WHEN the fruits and vegetables are harvested. Obviously, harvesting them at their peak time in an organic setting will be the most enjoyable and nutritious for your family. The downside to fresh produce is that you don’t know if they were harvested at the ideal time. And even if they were, how long did they travel before they got to your store? How much will you end up having to toss as a result of spoilage? These types of mostly unanswerable questions make the top dollar you pay for fresh produce a bit of a gamble. I wonder if fresh really does belong at the top of the produce hierarchy?

Having said that tough, I’m all for making my own FRESH produce by growing my own sprouts. Sprouts have significantly more nutrition in them than just about any produce you can purchase anywhere. Not only that, but they are economical and they contain no nasty chemicals. Remember, you can easily sprout any whole grain, nut, legume, or seed. (Stay away from the flowers on tomatoes and potato sprouts. They are toxic.) I can’t believe I’m saying this, but my husband actually got me hooked on having sprouts on my sandwiches instead of lettuce. In fact, at the end of this article I’ve got a GREAT Orange Marmalade Sprout Salad recipe for you. Yum!

Blue Chip Freeze Dried Products photo c/o utahdealdiva.com

Blue Chip Freeze Dried Products photo c/o utahdealdiva.com

So, if not fresh, then what’s next on the hierarchy? Freeze-dried. Not to be confused with dehydrated. Freeze-dried produce typically contains 90-95 percent of the same nutrition as picked-in-their-prime fresh produce. And there are no contaminants with freeze-dried produce. I’ve not kept it a secret that I’m in love with all of the freeze-dried fruits and vegetables that Blue Chip Foods manufacturers. They truly are my favorite. I can do just about anything with freeze-dried produce as I can with fresh. They take very little, if any, time to reconstitute. The taste packs a punch of REALISM that you wouldn’t expect. The fruit doesn’t taste soggy like frozen, defrosted fruit does and I’ve also discovered that it’s actually quite economical. I don’t end up throwing away ANY freeze-dried produce despite the fact that my hubby isn’t a veggie fan. I find myself eating the strawberries, raspberries, bananas, and peas right out of the #10 cans. Dollar for dollar, the purchase price is the SAME between fresh and freeze-dried when you get the cans at regular price—even better when they go on sale. That’s right. I can pay $35 for about the same amount of raspberries at a farmer’s market right now as I would get freeze-dried in a #10 can. Yet there will inevitably be some waste with the fresh produce. That’s just how Mother Nature works. Whereas the freeze dried product I purchase is guaranteed to maintain its nutrition, taste, and texture for a full 18 months AFTER I’ve opened the can, and for years and years when prior to opening. This is why I use the freeze-dried versions as much as possible, everyday. I use the peas in my tuna casserole, the apple slices in my apple crisp, the strawberries in an easy jam made with clear gelatin and water, etc. etc. etc. I love how I never have to cry over cutting an onion. I just open the can, scoop up the amount I need, sauté it, and I’ve got carmelized onions or whatever the recipe calls for. I never have to slice or dice peppers, spinach, mushrooms, broccoli—well, you get the point. (I AM a bit zealous when it comes to my freeze-dried produce, aren’t I? I sometimes even get goosebumps just telling people about it in my classes. Too bad you aren’t close enough to get a sample of these yummy raspberries right now.) :)

Dehydrated fruits and vegetables photo c/o yes-green.com

Dehydrated fruits and vegetables photo c/o yes-green.com

Next in the hierarchy are dehydrated fruits and veggies. This level of nutrition is at approximately 70-75 percent of the same nutrition as fresh produce—even when you dehydrate your own.  You can enjoy dehydrated produce easily as a snack and they make easy additions to slow cooking dishes. Otherwise you need to reconstitute them and that may take a while and a bit of water. (You can also dehydrate meat successfully, but that’s another article.) When you dehydrate produce you don’t have to use your oven to do so. You can simply use the good old sunshine by itself or make use of a great solar oven. Dehydration is quite simple to do yourself, however, most dehydrated foods sold commercially are about the same cost as freeze-dried. If you have the choice, pick the freeze-dried version. Here’s a tip. When you’re rehydrating your foods, instead of using water to do so, use broth, juice, milk, or the water from the cans of other ingredients—whatever is already a part of your recipe. It will give your dish a much greater flavor. When I reconstitute apple chips, I use this yummy “Apple Delight” drink I get from Blue Chip. When reconstituting vegetables, I’ve also been known to use the water from the cans of other veggies I may be using in order to no throw any more nutrients and flavor out than necessary. I’ve also used the pasta water, potato water, etc.

Next, and definitely last in the hierarchy is canned. Canned produce keeps about 40-45 percent of the same nutrition as fresh right off the bat. Even when you do it yourself, you’re not likely to obtain more than 50 percent of the nutritional value as you would a fresh piece of produce. Obviously, the longer you store it, the more of its nutrition you lose. I personally do not can my own fruits and vegetables. Why? Because I can purchase the canned goods for a much better price than what my time and energy are worth—especially with coupons! And considering what all I get in return, in terms of nutrition, I just don’t think it’s worth the money. I’d rather pay more for the other options.

One point I do want to make. When you purchase fresh produce, such as the oversized bags of spinach at Costco, don’t hesitate to freeze it. The frozen produce is great and you don’t need to do anything special with it. Just seal it and throw it in your freezer. (The frozen spinach makes for great healthy smoothies or a lightly blanched spinach salad.) Of course you know that tomatoes, lettuce, and other high water content produce don’t freeze so well. So use your best judgment on that.

Hopefully you’ve learned a thing or two about what produce to select for your family for long and short term storage. While it may be more important that your family see something familiar at mealtime as opposed to something freeze dried, at least you can now make an educated decision.

Orange Marmalade Sprout Salad

Orange marmalade photo c/o notecook.com

Orange marmalade photo c/o notecook.com

Dressing:

Combine the following ingredients in a small bowl with a whisk

2 T. Orange Marmalade

4 T. Olive Oil

1 T. Balsamic Vinegar

1 pinch of red pepper flakes

 Drizzle the dressing over about 4 to 6 cups of fresh sprouts of your choosing. I also like to lightly toast some nuts and put these on the salad as well. This is yummy and something you can easily make with food storage ingredients.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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By Kellene Bishop

expiration-date-browniesIf you’ve read my articles in the past, then you know that I usually take issue with folks who are naïve and spread their ill-informed opinions around—usually to the demise or hindrance of other’s preparedness efforts. Well, yesterday I was commenting on a couponing forum to a gal about how her addiction to brownies no longer needed to be hindered by the expiration dates on her mixes if she was properly equipped with a FoodSaver. Unfortunately, a naïve, very ill-informed person got after me and claimed that it was unethical and just plain wrong for me to tell anyone that they could store any food product for that long. She even went so far as to present the grid that FoodSaver publishes which is their official claim in terms of how long food can be preserved with the benefit of a FoodSaver. (Obviously, the claims were nowhere near the time periods I had expressed.) So, today’s article is in honor of those who have been duped into believing that the expiration dates printed on a food product are some kind of a Cardinal rule to live by. And I’m even going to tell you exactly why they are not.

In a previous article I shared with you that “expiration dates are created for one reason and one reason only” and that was to protect the food manufacturers from any legal liability. It’s not liability from food poisoning so much as it is false advertising. For example, if you store your cereal that claims it has 100% of a days worth of Vitamin C, well, that won’t be accurate if you store it forever, right? Eventually the nutritional value will be lost and yet they will still have printed on the box an assertion regarding the Vitamin C content. With this article however, I’m also going to show you a couple of other darker sides in the use of expiration dates.

One of my food storage heroes, Wendy Dewitt

One of my food storage heroes, Wendy Dewitt

First of all, let’s face it. Food doesn’t poison a person. Germs and molds IN the food do. So let’s make sure we’re battling the correct culprit here. If you can store a food in such a way that you inhibit the growth of “critters,” then you will outlast the deadline of any expiration date on the planet. Oxygen, light, and heat are your enemies when it comes to preserving food. If you can control the exposure your food has to those beastly enemies, then you can control the longevity of your foods. One of my personal food storage heroes, Wendy DeWitt, has successfully stored Snickers candy bars for eight years by adhering to this battle plan. (How she refrained from eating it that long is beyond me.) The Snickers tasted just as wonderful as it did the day she bought it. I have successfully stored brown sugar, brown rice, oats, Keebler Fudge-Striped Cookies, nuts, chocolate chips, Peanut M&Ms, pudding mixes, Rice-a-Roni, and other packaged foods (even with hydrogenated oils) successfully in my cool, dry, basement for over 10 years by eliminating oxygen, light, and heat!

Of course there’s no manufacturer on the planet that is going to say “You can store this $2 box of cake mix for 10 years, so stock up when they are on sale and never think about buying them again for 10 years”, right? Think about this for a moment. You can store sugar for years and years. You can store cocoa for years. You can store spices for years. And you can store oils for years. So what makes a package of brownie mix exempt from being stored just as long? Oh. It’s that mean, ole’, ugly, expiration date on there, eh?

Rotting macaroni. Photo c/o wichita.edu

Rotting macaroni. Photo c/o wichita.edu

This leads me to another one of the dirty little secrets of the food manufacturing industry. Another key reason for issuing an expiration date on a particular product (and in some cases their 1st consideration) is for marketing purposes. They don’t want you to take advantage of that special at the grocery store in which you can get a box of brownie mix for only .47 cents, stock up, and not buy their brownie mix again for years. Their strategy, when they work with retailers to create a special sale, as well as print and distribute coupons, is that you will TRY a product that you may not have tried otherwise, and/or to increase their sales by 3-12% in order to keep stockholders happy. But darn it. They can’t combat the savvy couponers out there who will stock up on products when such deals come along and who then buys 10 boxes of brownies, or cereal, or pasta sauce, etc. So what counter measures do they employ in order to force even the coupon crazies to fall in line and buy the product again and again? They convince the consumers that the food will be rotten, disgusting, and just plain scary after the expiration date. This isn’t about rationing food or keeping you safe, folks. This is about selling more product. Tell me you haven’t fallen for it before? Sure the cereal tastes stale after it’s sat in your pantry for too long. But you didn’t repackage it, did you? Sure you’ve had salad dressing that goes rancid after being stored too long. But that doesn’t make the expiration date rule the be all and end all for every food. (Note: I haven’t found a way to make salad dressing last much longer than 6 months outside of refrigeration past the expiration date. So instead I like to also store items that I can successfully MAKE dressings with to use on my sprouts.) 

Also, here’s another little secret to let you in on. When the coloring changes in a food, it does NOT mean that the original nutritional value has been altered yet.

About 8 years ago I read a study that the Army had done to determine the expiration of MREs. (I WISH I had known that I would be writing like this professionally many years later so that I could provide it to you. But even a lengthy look on Google didn’t turn up anything—yet.) While MREs are indeed created to undergo more extreme storage conditions, the key results of the study were interesting. The Army study discovered that despite the intended expiration date of 3 years the meals continued to provide their original nutrition value for 25 years and only then began to have coloration variances.

Just in case some of you are wondering what the heck a FoodSaver has to do with significantly extending the life of your foods, I’ll remind you of one of my well-used tactics.

Foodsaver lid. Photo c/o cabelas.com

Foodsaver lid. Photo c/o cabelas.com

You can stuff a Mason jar with any dry ingredient such as rice, nuts, chocolate chips, granola, etc. Place the lid, no ring, on the jar. Connect the air port from the FoodSaver to your Mason Jar attachment with the hose that comes with the FoodSaver. Place the jar attachment on top of your jar. Turn on your FoodSaver, and bzzzzzz…a moment later you have successfully sucked out the oxygen from your jar. After doing so you should store it away from heat and regular light. As such you will win the battle against expiration dates.

Foodsaver Canister

Foodsaver Canister

Here’s some really good news. As it turns out, if you have the canisters that typically come with the FoodSaver, you don’t need the Mason Jar attachment. All you have to do is put the jar with the lid on it inside the canister and then seal the canister like you would with anything else inside. Doing so actually sucks the air out of your jar. Simply remove the seal to the canister once you’ve done the seal process and then store your jar. Pretty cool, eh? (To be on the extra safe side, I would use the jar sealer though if I had my druthers.) The nice thing is WHEN you do get into that jar of Peanut M&Ms, so long as you don’t ruin the lid trying to dig in feverishly, you can simply reseal the jar again and again. In fact, since your seal is not reliant on the rubber ring getting hot, you can even use old lids that you may have left over from other canning projects. Simply make sure they are nice and clean when you use them.

Just in case any of you are looking for the jar attachments, FoodSaver isn’t offering the regular sized one right now, only the wide-mouth. But a Google search will easily pull up several options for you.

Well, I hope that clears up expiration dates for you. And I hope that you are never duped by them again.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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food-challenge

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Don’t forget, folks, that you still have one more week to participate in the Preparedness Pro Food Challenge! The Preparedness Pro Food Challenge goes through the entire month of August and constitutes going an entire two weeks without going to the grocery store for any food or household supplies.

Even if you haven’t started yet, or this is the first you’ve heard of the Preparedness Pro Food Challenge, I would challenge you to jump in with both feet and see how you do without any preplanning or hitting the grocery store to “stock up” on the way home.  As you accept and experience this challenge, visit the original Preparedness Pro Food Challenge blog and document your experiences. Each comment will count as an entry to win AMAZING emergency preparedness prizes! There is no limit to the amount of comments you can leave. We have 12 gifts that will go to randomly drawn winners on September 1st.

ALSO, here are 3 easy ways to enter the contest and increase your chances of winning great prizes! Become a fan of Preparedness Pro on FacebookFollow @preparednesspro on Twitter or subscribe to Preparedness Pro – these will each count as an extra entry! Does it get any easier than that?!

Leave your comments on the original Preparendess Pro Food Challenge blog HERE!

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

Every once in a while it’s good to bring the “what if” scenarios a little closer to home. Sometimes an emergency doesn’t need to be brought on by Mother Nature, or a major financial collapse. Sometimes it can be brought to the forefront by a lack of common sense. So today I thought I’d share this clip with you regarding a very real, man-made water crisis in California. This is indeed a man-made disaster. But it is real nonetheless, with real consequences, dire in nature. It gives us just one more reason to remind us that we need to be prepared with appropriate stores of food, water, and financial strength. We also need to be more adept at recognizing the domino effect of situations. This particular water crisis in California actually affects the food supply of ALL Americans. And I’m certain that this type of stupidity is just the tip of the iceberg of what more can come. 

One final thought on this, I feel that the only anti-venom to such a scenario as this is for us to be prepared and to be more involved in what goes on around us. Where in our Constitution does it state that we are to protect the lives of wildlife at the risk of protecting our own? Where do we give Congress or anyone else the authority to put the life of a two inch fish over the strength of our commerce, our crops, and our livelihoods?

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

Subscribe to Preparedness Pro today and never miss a thing!

This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

Italian "Wheat Meat" Dish by notonlypizza.com

Italian "Wheat Meat" Dish by notonlypizza.com

Wheat Gluten, commonly called “wheat meat” or Seitan, is a great staple to your food storage. As I addressed some of the whys and wherefores of “wheat meat” yesterday, today I’m going to share with you HOW to create your own wheat gluten. Just to get your imagination going here, you can make countless WONDERFUL dishes with “wheat meat” in place of your traditional fare. “Meatballs,” “ground chicken or beef,” “steak slices,” “ham,” “sausage”, etc., can all be deliciously created from your wheat storage. 

12 cups of whole wheat flour will yield about four cups of raw gluten, varying slightly based on the quality of your wheat and its protein content. Hard red wheat or wheat from cold climates will produce the most amount of gluten. Four cups of raw gluten will then bake into about nine cups of ground gluten which is equivalent to about three lbs. of cooked hamburger, 150 “meatballs”, or 20 “steak slices.”

For my meat loving readers, a good way to introduce “wheat meat” into your diet is to add it to your ground beef/chicken dishes at present. Start with half meat and half gluten. (This works well to indoctrinate not only into the meal, but also into the digestive system if you’re not already eating wheat.) Being married to a major meat eater, I’m confident that you’ll easily be able to go to a ¼ meat to ¾ gluten ratio in no time, with little or no resistance. And then of course move on to full fledged meals with the “wheat meat” as your only source. The nice part about “wheat meat” is that it doesn’t have a definitive taste or color. It readily takes on the appearance and flavors of what you cook with it.

Keep in mind that I’m not writing about using commercial wheat gluten.  You prepare commercial wheat gluten differently than when you use your own whole wheat/flour. The last thing I want to do is put one more thing on your list to store, such as commercial gluten. Good news is that storing commercial gluten is not necessary if you’ve got a good supply of wheat. Your flour contains raw gluten. All you have to do is extract it from the flour. Fortunately, that takes very little effort on your part. 

Photo c/o Herbi Ditl

Photo c/o Herbi Ditl

To begin preparing your “wheat meat”, simply mix 12 cups of whole wheat flour (you can use white flour as well, but you won’t get as much gluten) with 7 cups of water. You can do this in a mixer, or you can do it by hand. If you use a mixer, this process will only take you about 5 to 10 minutes. The consistency you want to end up with is flexible. It’s going to look a lot like your bread dough does before being completely kneaded. You don’t want dry, or watery. You want it to look a bit rubbery. You can adjust the amounts of flour or water after your initial mixing in order to get the consistency you need. When you’re finished mixing this together, set it aside and cover the surface with plastic wrap or a towel to ensure that it doesn’t dry out. Let it rest for about 20-30 minutes. If you have to ignore it longer than that, then I would refrigerate it.

Now, place your dough in a colander/strainer over an empty bowl in the sink. I prefer a metal colander. For about 5 to 7 minutes, run lukewarm water over your dough. You want a slow flow on your water and you want to be sure that you have a bowl underneath your strainer to collect the water. (There are a whole lot of uses for this precious mineral/vitamin rich water. So don’t throw it out.) As the water is running you want to continue squeezing the dough and working with it in order to squeeze out all of the starch. You will know that you’re done squeezing the dough when the water coming through the strainer is no longer coming out a milky color. Rather it will be clear. As you’re working with the dough, you will begin to create a rubbery ball. Continue to work the gluten into a ball as the starch separates from the gluten. Your final ball won’t look very beautiful. It won’t look like a ball of bread dough because it doesn’t have any air in it. It will simply be a dense, rubbery ball of gluten mass. (Sound appetizing yet? Don’t worry. It gets better, I promise!) Here’s one thing I do want to share that I had to learn the hard way. Just before your dough is the right ball consistency when you’re rinsing it, it gets a bit stringy. It’s easy to think that you’ve messed up. But actually this is just the “storm before the rainbow.” Once the stringy-ness occurs, you’ll know you’re close to being finished with perfect gluten! Once you’ve got your ball of gluten, you’ve done the “hard work.”

Cutting your wheat glutten into pieces. Photo c/o toptrailchef.com

Cutting your wheat glutten into pieces. Photo c/o toptrailchef.com

What you want to do at this point is to cook the gluten prior to adding it into your preferred dish. There are two ways to cook your gluten at this point—steaming it and simmering/boiling it. 

The steam method is ideal for shaping your gluten into familiar shapes and textures. You simply form it into the shape that you want by hand, or wrap it in cheesecloth, and then place it in a vegetable oil-sprayed steamer. (Just like the instrument you would use to steam your vegetables in.) You can cook the entire ball of “meat” this way, or you can shape it into smaller portions. Place the steamer in a pot of boiling water and steam your gluten for about 30 minutes.

You can boil wheat meat. Photo c/o toptrailchef.com

Boiling "Wheat Meat". Photo c/o toptrailchef.com

The boiling method is also easy and it adds extra flavor to your “meat.” In this instance I prefer to cut my gluten into smaller pieces so as to season them well.  Simply drop your strips or pieces of gluten into a pot of boiling, flavored broth. Simmer for about 30 minutes. It will just about double in size in this method. You can simply use a broth made with bouillon cubes, or you can create your own. Here’s my favorite broth to start out with.

  • 10 cups of water
  • About a cup of soy sauce or Braggs Amino Liquids
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A t. of garlic powder
  • A t. of onion powder

Slice your gluten into small pieces, about the size of chicken nuggets. Place them in the hot water and continue to simmer for about 30 minutes.

"Wheat Meat" Stir Fly photo c/o when-mia-cooks.blogspot.com

"Wheat Meat" Stir Fly photo c/o when-mia-cooks.blogspot.com

From this point you’ll discover the fun of creating “meat” out of “wheat”. You can now chop, grind, slice, steam, marinade, sauté, smoke, BBQ, or fry your “wheat meat”. The “trick” is all in how you prepare it visually and how you season it. It’s that simple—REALLY! (You can store your “wheat meat” in the fridge for the same amount of time that you would “regular” meat.) You’re now ready to cook the gluten as you would any of your other protein sources. I like to fry it in a bit of oil or butter until it’s golden brown on both sides, and then add a bit of BBQ sauce and let it simmer for a few minutes. It tastes like tender chicken or beef. I also like to grind up my steamed “meat” and use it instead of ground beef or chicken in my meatloaf, soup, burger, casserole, or chili recipes. I especially like how the “ground sausage” turns out.

I also like to bread it with Panko bread crumbs, salt and pepper, and then serve a yummy, brown gravy over my “wheat meat”, just like chicken fried steak.

I also enjoy sprinkling slices of Monterey Steak Seasoning on it and then grilling it. It’s even better after I let the “wheat meat” marinade in a steak marinade first. 

Dang. I’m getting hungry. I’m going to sign off for now and go make some “wheat meat” for myself. I’ll share some detailed recipes for “wheat meat” with you on Monday, and I’ll also share some great ways to use the left over starch water with you next week as well! In the meantime, give this a try by making your own “wheat meat” this weekend. 

Wheat Meat Series

  • Part I: Discovering Wheat Meat
  • Part II: Preparing Wheat Meat
  • Part III: Great Wheat Meat Recipes
  • Part IV: Working with Gluten Water
  • Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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