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If the Freezer Goes Off

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Posted on : 9:37 AM | By : Nic | In : ,

(This image is from hardworkinghippy's photostream on Flickr)
We got paid and I invested in quite a bit of food for the freezer and the pantry and managed to get a month's worth on this paycheck. I figured that even though I have not totally bought into the fear mongering, everyone is saying January will be bad and my food storage was dwindling so I had better get it back on track.

The biggest investment was a whole bunch of meat that is now in the freezer - several whole chickens, chicken breasts and hamburger. I also have lots of bread frozen in there. So supposing the power was going to go out for a long time... what would I do with all of that? The first thing I would do would be to build an outside refrigerator using our cooler. You simply dig a big whole in the ground, stick the cooler in and insulate it with materials like straw and bricks and then cover it up with something very heavy so animals don't get in. I would also move lots of stuff from the fridge into the cold storage. If you have a running stream you can try to create a waterproof container for food, which would be even colder.

The meat is the only problem. The first thing you would have to do is use a fire or your barbecue to cook some of the meat that you plan to eat in the next week. Cooked meat will stay good just being refrigerated much longer than raw meat, probably 5-6 days. The rest of the meat I would salt and dry. Alternatively I would smoke the meat, but to do this properly takes a smokehouse and several weeks of time and constant vigilance. If I was suddenly trying to take care of all my meat, I'm not sure I would trust myself.

The first thing to do is clean the meat, and cut off anything you don't like. I would leave the fat because that can be valuable later. Dry it off thoroughly and you can leave it whole, but I would cut it into smaller strips to make it more likely to preserve in the middle. Rub spices into them, and then rub tons and tons of salt into them. When you've rubbed in as much salt as you can, then cover it in a layer of salt to coat it. Hang it up somewhere that is about 59 degrees F for at least 3 weeks, checking often for spoilage. A basement or cold storage is ideal. When you are ready to cook it, wash off the salt.

The way this works is that the salt dissolves into the water in the meat and prevents bacteria from growing if that balance is greater than 3.5% salt to water. You want it to be over 10%, which you can't really control but if you rub just tons of salt in there you can be pretty sure you've got it.

Comments (2)

I just wanted to take a moment to tell you that I love your blog! You would not believe how often I take information that you've posted in an attempt to incorporate it into my life. I spend a lot of time digging through your archived posts and printing or writing bits I find quite useful. I find you to be very intelligent, insightful and pleasant to read. Thanks for all the great posts.

How lovely to see this photo in your great blog.

Thanks for the credit and keep posting your experiences.


hardworkinghippy