Monday, February 18, 2013

Expired Evaporated Milk

I was digging around in the freezer looking for some chicken legs when I found two bags of pureed pumpkin in the fridge that got the corners busted off of them. Since I haven't grown pumpkins in the garden since 2010 so I figured I should go ahead and use them. The chicken legs eluded me but there were several packs of pork chops within reach so I decided to do braised pork chops and pumpkin soup.

Except I didn't have the mushrooms for the pumpkin soup. Never mind, pumpkin casserole worked just fine. One of the ingredients was a cup of evap milk.

You know where I'm going with this.

Yep, little over a year out of date. What can I say, I got a lot on sale and then kinda forgot to use 'em. Anyway, from extensive previous experience I knew two things.

1) It would be slightly darker than what it would have been had I opened it back before Nov 2011, and
2) It would be just fine.

I probably could have shook it a bit more, but I get thick crap like that from new cans sometimes too.

No rust, no bulges, no dents. Looked fine. Smelled fine. Tasted fine. Cooked fine. 

And, because I'm feeling all sorts of share-y today, here's the link to the recipe I used it in. :D

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pickled Eggs

Few things disgust my husband more than the sight of me eating a pickled egg. It isn't because I'm slobby about it, or chew with my mouth open.

It's because of what pickled eggs do to ya.

Gas masks on please. I'm about to lay out my pickled egg recipes. You can, if you wish, can these. I've seen people can them, both water bath and pressure. I'm not going to tell you how long because frankly I have no idea how long it takes to get the center of a hard boiled egg to reach 212F OR 245F so you're on your own there. All I'm gonna do is tell you how to do 'em for the fridge.

Easy Redneck Pickled Eggs
1 big can La Costena jalapenos
hard boiled eggs

Put your peeled, boiled eggs into a quart sized mason jar. Dump the juice from the jalapeno can over 'em. Throw in some jalapenos if you like, or not.
Done and eatable in 3-4 weeks.

Pickled eggs with ginger
16 hard-boiled eggs 
2 pints of vinegar (malt or cider)
½ oz of ginger
½ oz of black pepper
½ oz of allspice

Whilst the cooked boiled eggs are cooling, prepare the pickling liquid.
Place all of the ingredients into a medium sized saucepan, stir them together and heat to boiling.
Once the liquid reaches boiling point, reduce the heat and let the liquid simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and leave to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, place the peeled hard-boiled eggs into a very clean large jar.
Once the pickling solution has cooled, pour it over the eggs in the jar and seal the jar tightly with the lid.
Store the jar in a cool and dark cupboard for at least a month. The eggs will be ready to eat then.

British pub pickled eggs
12 hard-boiled eggs 
4 cups of malt vinegar (this is British malt vinegar, not that loathsome crap Heinz pretends is malt vinegar, so get the real thing or skip entirely)
1 finely chopped chilli pepper
10 black peppercorns
10 whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
2 tsp of allspice

Pretty much all pickled egg recipes are the same in terms of preparation. Mix this stuff, bring to boil, simmer for 10, then let cool to room temp and pour over the eggs. No sense in me retyping it every time.


Beet pickled eggs with cardamom and anise
1 beet, peeled and roughly chopped into 1 to 2-inch sized pieces, cooked*
1 cup beet juice*
1 cup cider vinegar
1/4 onion, sliced
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 cardamom pods
1 star anise
6 hard cooked eggs, peeled
*Simmer the chopped beets in a cup of water, covered, until tender, 30-40 minutes, or used canned beets. Use the beet juice from the cooking water, or the juice from canned beets.

Peel the eggs and place in the bottom of a clean glass jar, quart sized.
In a medium saucepan, add the vinegar, water (or beet juice if using), the onion (and jalapeno if using), sugar, and spices. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, until the sugar has dissolved and the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes.
Pour the vinegar onion mixture over the eggs in the jar, covering the eggs completely. If you are making the beet pickled eggs, place some or all of the cooked beets in with the eggs in the jar (this will help to bring color to the eggs, and you will have pickled beets as well.) Secure close the jar's cover. Refrigerate up to a month.
The pickled eggs will be ready to eat after a few days. The longer the eggs sit in the pickling juice, the more the pickling juice will penetrate the eggs.


Curried pickled eggs
1 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/4 onion, sliced
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
3 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon mustard seeds (yellow or brown)
1 Tbsp yellow curry powder
6 hard cooked eggs, peeled

Jalapeno pickled eggs
3/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp white granulated sugar
6 cloves
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds removed and discarded
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano
1/4 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled
6 hard cooked eggs, peeled

Tarragon pickled eggs
3/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup water
1/4 onion, sliced
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon herbs de provence
6 hard cooked eggs, peeled

Friday, February 8, 2013

More "expired" food

I finished off the six month out of date can of grits the other day when I was showing off how old and perfectly fine it was. Wouldn't you know, I was in the mood for more cheesy bacony grits this morning and discovered that behind it was a much OLDER can. This one is over two years past it's expiration date!

Hey I'm the haphazard prepper, not the fully organized and meticulously rotating prepper. Deal with it.

So I opens it up, and all it has is cardboard all around and a little half wrap of clear plastic along the edge of the lid to protect it, and what do I find? Bugs? Mold? Mothra?

Eff no all I found was boring old grits. They weren't even discolored. Frankly I'm disappointed in all those folks who promised me legs and wings by not properly sealing up my foodstuffs. Perhaps it's because this batch was Quaker Oats and not that Walmart generic crap?

To celebrate the lack of eyes staring back at me in my two-years-past-date grits, I broke out my cheese powder (over six months out of date) and some very processed bacon bits (not at all out of date) and had me some cheesy bacony gritty goodness for my noon o'clock breakfast.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Rice Done Wrong

Back in 1998 I got caught up in the Y2K hysteria that was just starting to roll, not because I really believed everything was going to come to a grinding halt on 01/01/00 and we'd all be back to using mules and wiping our collective asses with corncobs. (I still wonder what happened to those folks who quit their day jobs and moved to ten acres in the Arizona desert). Mostly I got caught up in it because I made a LOT of money selling chit to panic buyers. I could pick up one of those mylar "survival blankets" from Walmart for $1.49, put it on Ebay with photos and a full, accurate description, and when the bidding war finally came to an end, sell the dang thing for $8-9.

Good times.

Which is not to say I simply cashed in on my fellow man's paranoia and continued my usual, decadent Western nation ways. I stocked a few things up myself, namely 5 gallon buckets of rice, beans, flour, pasta, etc, and did it in the very way everyone OMG OH NOZ about today.

Dumped it all into Homer buckets and called it good! :D

The one thing I did do, that I think is the real reason everything emerged unscathed (except for the pintos, which turned into rocks after the second year and that's just pintos for ya), was I froze everything for two weeks prior to bucketizing them. The freezing kills off any hitchhiking bug eggs, which are your biggest concern.

I don't have photos of those original buckets, sorry. I could take pics of the ones I have now though, since I still store things the same way, with the same results. In fact, I think I will. Here's my bucket 'o pasta! Note the bright orange Homer bucket! Note the lack of O2 absorbers and mylar! Note the date! I had a regular paint bucket lid on it until about three months ago, when I drug it out of the garage and slapped a gamma lid on so I could get in and out easier. Eating it now, veggie spirals and egg noodles underneath, and they're fine. No bugs, no funny colors (other than the original funny color on the veggie pasta), tastes fine.

I got those plastic liners from US Plastics, which is something fairly new for me as I've only been using them for the last two or three years. It started because I was getting free buckets from a restaurant and couldn't get the pickle stink out. The liners were supposed to keep my food from smelling like pickles. Yes I know the horrors of using non-food grade plastic buckets, but you know what? It won't kill me nearly as fast as starvation so I don't lose sleep over it. If I can get food grade, I do, otherwise it's Homers, and since _no one_ who disses them has ever been faced with the decision to starve to death or eat what was stored in 'em...... I'm just sayin. People who were dying of starvation in Poland during WWII found themselves sucking the grease from their combs and eating their fingernails. In Mao's China, they boiled leather belts for lack of anything else to eat. Keep that in mind when you hear someone yammering about only storing all organic, non-GMO food in approved containers with angel sprinkles and kitten kisses to seal it with.

The point of this post (yes I'm finally getting to it) is that while 4 mil mylar and O2 remover packs and food grade buckets and organic wheat is all clearly blessed by Jesus when it comes to long term storage, don't let it be the reason you put off putting food away. I promise you, that bucket of rice will last a _lot_ longer than the naysayers insist, provided you give it the two week freeze. I have a bucket in the garage now that's four years old and just fine to prove it. Don't freeze it longer than two weeks, as the bag will get ice crystals in it and then when it thaws it'll be damp. Moisture is the biggest threat to your food, even worse than those bugs coz if you were really starving you could eat the bugs. You can't eat molded food without some unpleasant consequences.

Set a goal for a year's worth of staples. I don't mean the canned stuff, though you should put aside a good bit of that as well, but the basics that cost nothing and make everything. If you can afford to package them all the way the "experts" tell you do, go for it, but if you don't it's ok. This post has gone well beyond windy, so I'll save that for another day.