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Thursday, October 29, 2009


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Cooking over an open fire doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite baked and roasted foods. You might even find that your old favorites are greatly enhanced when cooked in a Dutch oven. When cooking over an open fire, use a Dutch oven with a lipped lid and three feet on the bottom.

Don’t use a metal utensil on a properly seasoned cast iron pot or pan. Use wooden utensils as metal will remove the nice coating you’ve worked so hard to put there.

For Dutch oven cooking, use hard wood to build a hot fire at least an hour earlier than your cooking start time. Don’t use ‘soft’ resinous wood or commercial charcoal. Soft, resinous woods (like pine) tend to burn cool and produce a lot of black soot. This is bad for your fireplace and it makes a mess on your cookery – and it’s not so great for the cook, either. Because commercial charcoal is often filled with chemicals and additives that bind them into uniform lumps and increase their flammability, I don’t use them for my cook fire. Learn to build a nice fire with hard wood and you won’t be bothered with either of these. Make sure a good bed of red coals has been laid. Use an oven mitt or cloth to protect your hands as well as a curved iron tool to lift the lid from your pot.

If needed, wipe the inside of your pot (including the lid) with a paper towel and olive oil. While you prepare your ingredients, place the lid on your Dutch oven and set it near the fire to warm. This is similar to pre-heating your standard oven. Pre-heating your pot will allow the oil to penetrate as the iron warms and allows the food to properly cook. The lid keeps ashes from flying into the pot. If your recipe calls for peppers, onions, or carrots, I add them to the oven at this point to simmer a bit and to provide a cushion between the bottom of the pot and the rest of my ingredients.

Prepare your ingredients to be added to the pot. Don’t forget your seasonings. Move your heated Dutch oven a comfortable distance from your fire. Use a curved piece of metal to remove the hot lid.

Add layers of your other ingredients. If you are cooking rice, this is when you would add your water/broth and the rice. Add any additional vegetables. The last ingredient I add is my meat as the juices from the meat will help season the vegetables/rice/potatoes beneath it. Be mindful of the depth of your pot at this point as you don’t want your food to touch the underside of your pot’s lid. If you are baking bread or a desert, place the batter/dough/ingredients into the pot just as you would before placing it into a regular kitchen oven. Replace the lid.

Use a shovel to move some hot coals to the edge of the fire into a small pile. I find that this makes things much more manageable than trying to place the Dutch oven into the fire. Set your Dutch oven on onto this small bed of coals and then begin to shovel hot coals onto the pot’s lid. Once you’ve evenly covered the lid with hot coals, and made sure there is a good bed beneath, shovel a bit of ash over the live coals. This is called banking your fire. It allows the coals to retain their heat as they burn slowly because they aren’t exposed to too much oxygen.

Allow your food to cook about the same time as you would in a conventional oven (assuming you have a good bed of coals), possibly 10 minutes more. Use your shovel to remove the live coals from the top when finished. A whisk broom can remove any ash dust. Using a pad, lift the pot by the handle, protecting your hand from the heat. Move the vessel off of the live coals and set it away from the fire. Lift the lid with a sturdy piece of curved metal and set it to the side. Check your food. If done, serve with a wooden serving spoon. If not, replace the lid, return the pot to the small bed of coals it sat on previously, replacing more coals onto the lid. Wait a few more minutes and check again.

If your first try results in a bit of burned crust, that’s fine. You will soon get the hang of it. The wonderful aroma of hot food will soon silence the critics that will gladly eat around the burnt edges. There aren’t often leftovers. They are ready to eat!

For cleanup, gently remove any food residue from the pot with a soft sided scrub pad or wooden spoon. Eventually, you’ll likely find that a clean towel will easily do the job. If there is baked on residue, simply set the emptied pot next to your fire again and allow the remaining bits to cook to ash. Never put your Dutch oven through a dishwasher or immerse it in soapy water. This will strip it of its protective seasoning. Simply wipe the pan and recoat it with oil. You should be able to see your reflection in the bottom of your Dutch oven. Replace the lid for storage.

>>--->WANT TO LEARN MORE?<---<<

Learn about HARD CORE survival in the wilderness with PRIMITIVE WILDERNESS SKILLS, APPLIED. This DVD is offered by the Bulk Herb Store and would make a GREAT gift for the survival skills enthusiast in your life. Additionally, the new best-selling book by Debi Pearl THE VISION offers a wealth of information on herbal medicine. Why not combine the two and purchase THE VISION during the upcoming Barnes & Noble Blitz November 3rd & 4th? If you purchase THE VISION on those dates from Barnes & Noble, you’ll receive free gifts and 25% off coupon off of ANY product offered by The Bulk Herb Store. That means you could get PRIMITIVE WILDERNESS SKILLS, APPLIED at a deep discount! Additionally, you’ll be able to shop at five other vendors with that same discount. Just purchase THE VISION on November 3rd or 4th from Barnes & Noble, email melcohen@hughes.net your receipt (showing the date of purchase) and you’ll get all the details. Plan now to save when you buy THE VISION from Barnes & Noble, November 3rd or 4th -- NEXT WEEK!

The following video is a demonstration of bread-making using a Dutch oven. While the footage shows use in a conventional oven, the technique is the same -- except for the fact that you'd be using fire as your heat source as described above:


Wednesday, October 21, 2009


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If you find yourself without access to currency, bartering is a method by which you may secure items in trade. Bartering can also be used to generate goodwill and secure services from others. Being prepared to barter is the first step towards a successful trade.

As you consider which items you may wish to collect, here are some guidelines that I think may be helpful.

Remember that goods purchased for trade are not for your own personal use. Trade items are an investment designed to get you a good return – a maximum profit. This means you want to purchase bargain items, but not junk.

An example of this may be tools. For your own personal use, you want the best tools you can afford, but for trade, a discounted or used item will do just fine. You won’t be able to trade junk, but you can find good bargains at flea markets, consignment shops, pawn shops, garage sales, yard sales, estate sales, and other discount stores.

Take into account your unique skills as you invest in trade items. If you have carpentry, metalworking, leatherworking, sewing, or other skills it may be possible for you to purchase items that need repair at an even deeper discount.

Consider investing in items that have multiple uses. This will save storage space and increase your opportunities to trade. Items such as duct tape, tarps, string or twine, blankets, rubber bands, buckets, basins, soap, and assorted cloth fall into this category.

Rather than stockpiling an assortment of items, consider learning a skill set that enables you to produce valuable items. The ability to create your own ammunition is a valuable skill. For further information on the tools required for this you should research bullet swaging. Skills in metalworking, sewing, pottery, masonry, soap making, candle making and foraging will be beneficial for bartering as well as for your own personal use.

Select books which will serve as a resource for those looking for ways to become self-sufficient. Consider books that provide individuals with entertaining ways to pass the time. Valuable literature will be that which offers both an entertaining story AND an education. Shop for used books offered at a discount.

Of course, your creative mind is your most valuable resource. The ability to use something and then refit that item for other uses will serve you well. These things can be practiced now, training your brain to spot opportunities. THE VISION by best-selling author Debi Pearl is one of those books which will help spur your creative juices. An adventure novel, it is set during a time of social, economic, and political unrest where the main characters must draw upon all they’ve learned in order to survive. Get your copy today and consider the possibilities.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


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Goldenrod is the common name for Solidago virgaurea. This plant grows in Europe, Asia, and North America. This plant grows in open areas, along hillsides, and mountain ranges, reaching a height of 2 to 3 feet, with alternate leaves, and branches of golden flowers when in bloom.

The plant blossoms in the fall of the year when it is ready for harvest. In most areas, you will know goldenrod is ready as you notice the feathery yellow blossoms beside the roadway. Don’t harvest these plants as they’ve been exposed to the exhaust of cars.

The best places to find goldenrod are areas near water that have good sun exposure. I was able to find a small open span near an abandoned foot bridge. The area was filled with leggy grasses, pokeweed and goldenrod. To harvest, use sharp garden shears and cut the top 2 to 3 feet with blooms. The smell of wild carrots or a faint citrus aroma comes from the aromatic bruised parts of the plant. The flowers can be used to produce a pleasant yellow dye.

To preserve your herb, secure the cut stems with twine in small groupings (5 to 10 stems). Leave a loop in the string and hang them upside down (flowers pointing downward), with a box lid beneath them. You can hang them in a closet, spare cabinet, from a beam, in a storage room, or on a wall where they will not be disturbed. Even coat racks and hooks can be used. If the herbs are small enough, you can place a paper bag over the leaves and blooms to catch any loosened plant parts as they dry. The plants will dry in 1 to 3 weeks. You can also preserve flower arrangements in this same way.

Once dry, remove the blooms and leaves from the stem and store in a clean glass jar with a lid.

Goldenrod is a medicinally beneficial herb classified as detoxifying, regenerating and symptom regulating.

DETOXIFYING HERBS are those which help clear blockages and remove excesses. Goldenrod contains tannin and is classified as a bitter. A bitter promotes the secretion of the digestive juices as it is tasted. This herb helps the body remove excess fluid (diuretic). Traditionally, this herb was used to help remove stones in the bladder. Thick phlegm and deposits of hardened mucus (catarrh) are reported to be removed by goldenrod. Because it has antioxidant properties, goldenrod tea is useful for urinary tract infections. A digestive, goldenrod strengthens weak digestion. By promoting the perspiration (diaphoretic), this herb helps remove toxins from the body.

REGENERATING HERBS build and tone overwhelmed tissues and functions. As an astringent, goldenrod helps to shrink inflamed tissues. Its volatile oil gives goldenrod its aromatic properties. In powder form, it is used to help speed wound healing and produce scar tissue known as cicatrization. This was once commonly used to treat ulcers. The ability to promote the healing of damaged tissue classifies goldenrod as a vulnerary.

SYMPTOM REGULATING HERBS promote the relief and comfort of pain and other troublesome symptoms. Because it prevents and counteracts decay, goldenrod is classified as an antiseptic. Goldenrod tea can be used for an oral rinse. A stimulant, goldenrod increases the activity of other herbs when added to a remedy. A carminative, goldenrod helps remove gas (and the related pain) from the digestive tract. A tea infused with goldenrod, can help reduce fever. This same application can be helpful in the treatment of painful menstruation.

To make a tea, place 2 teaspoons of dried flowering stalks into a container. Pour boiling water over the herbs and cover for 10 minutes. Drink a cup three times daily until symptoms are allieviated. This tea is considered helpful in the treatment of seasonal allergies (one half cup four times daily). However, if I found it helpful, I would drink as often as I desired.

In addition to drinking the tea, it can be administered as a nasal spray. This helps with upper respiratory tract illnesses which have characteristic sore throat and low fever, accompanied by inflammation.

Strains, sprains and sore muscles respond favorably to a soothing oil infused with goldenrod. Apply this liberally and repeatedly as often as every ½ hour if needed (every three hours or so usually). This has been known to ease chronic pain and stiffness. While this will not help structural damage, it does ease inflamed and painful tissues. Wounds, cuts, and scratches are also soothed and healing is aided with the application of a salve or oil made with goldenrod because of its vulnerary properties.

The symptoms of allergies are helped with tincture of goldenrod. When formulating a tincture, you can combine goldenrod with other herbs as it increases their beneficial properties. Nettle and elderberry work well with goldenrod in this application for some individuals, but as with all herbs, the individual response (and any underlying conditions) must be taken into account when determining the best treatment. Blend goldenrod with Echinacea, yarrow and elderberry to make a tincture which can be effective in alleviating kidney and urinary tract infections. A dropperful is administered every hour until the discomfort subsides. Thereafter, several drops are taken 3 to 4 times daily for about ten days. Ten days is a good trying time and one used in Scripture to prove that healing had (or had not) taken place.* A tincture can also be used as a linament.

In later articles we will cover how to create your own oils, salves and tinctures. In the meantime, if you’re interested in learning more about herbs (and a lot of other topics) I recommend THE VISION by best-selling author Debi Pearl. Nestled neatly among an intriguing plot are tidbits and tips about the everyday use of herbs. Get your copy today.

*A study of the phrase “ten days” in the Bible can prove interesting.

This article presents ideas and information designed to enrich the reader. This is NO substitute for personalized professional care. The opinions and ideas expressed are fallible and that of the author. Readers are encouraged to be well-informed and draw their own conclusions.


Kay is . . .

a perpetual student of things I find interesting and (I hope) helpful to others. Feel free to use and apply all information with a healthy dose of common sense. :-)

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