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Prepare and Pray Lesson 14: Storing the Harvest

In chapter 14 of Swiss Family Robinson, the Robinson’s spend most of their time hunting, planting, harvesting and foraging for food. They did all of this with a cheerful attitude and a thankfulness for the bounty of their harvest. I know how overwhelming the task of harvesting, food preservation, seed saving, and gardening can be, but I am always reminded of God’s faithful provision and try to always set about my tasks in a cheerful manner. I am just so thankful that He is my provider! The authors of Prepare and Pray make some really good points - one is that He gives us what we need when we need it. I wholeheartedly agree and it was a good reminder to always trust Him to supply all of our needs. Also in this lesson, we talked about the importance of seed saving. We covered this pretty well in Lesson 6. We also talked about how to store seeds and we organized and packed our seeds (in a cool dry location free from moisture and warmth). We also learned a few techniques for removing pests from garden plants and learned how to make bug traps.

Our Square Foot Gardens and Container Gardens in our small back yard.

We read about how to harvest grain without farm equipment and how to harvest corn the old fashioned way. Our corn is not ready yet, but I am hoping it will be before Summer is over! We are growing a Sweet Heirloom variety called Ashworth Corn, and it is only a 69 day variety, but I planted late! Truly it will be a miracle if we get corn. I thought this was an interesting quote from the book:
“From time to time the animals took mouthfuls of the tempting food they were beating out; we thought they well deserved it, and called to mind the command given to the Jews, `Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.'”
I never paid much attention to this verse before but now it makes perfect sense! The animals are doing a lot of hard work and they deserve to benefit from it as well. Without them, our work would be much harder! Another project was to set up a food storage system. We have already been working on this for a few years now and here are some of the suggested things to store:
  • Commercially Canned foods (tuna, salmon, etc)
  • Home canned garden produce
  • Grains, beans and rice
  • Dehydrated foods
  • Nonfat dry milk
  • Canned fish/meat
  • Dried Jerky
  • Salt, herbs and spices
  • Vitamins and medicinal herbs
  • Saved seeds
We named some methods of food preservation:
  • Water bath canning - jams, jellies, fruits, pickles
  • Pressure canning - veetables, low acid foods, meats
  • Drying Dehydrating - fruits, vegetables, meats, herbs
  • Smoking - meats and fish
  • Freezing - fruits, vegetables, meats, herbs
We talked about the advantages and disadvantages of each and determined which method would be best for preserving nutrients, easy storage and transporting And we talked about what would happen if we lost electricity long term - all of the food in the freezer would spoil.
This past month we made pickles, cherry jam, and sauerkraut, picked chokecherries, canned butter, packed food for storage, cooked a few new recipes from our food storage, and dehydrated produce!
Dehydrating cucumbers, squash and beets.
I was asked what you can do with dehydrated cucumbers. Well, you can make pickles! Dehydrate 2 Store has a recipe and a video on making pickles and pickled beats from dehydrated cucumbers and beats. This site has a lot of great info on dehydrating and was also what inspired me to start dehydrating.

You can also soak them for use in salads. The other day, I soaked them in water for a few hours and then added them to a Greek salad - very good! and crunchy!


Dehydrating peas.

We packed food for storage using mylar and oxygen absorbers. We worked on organizing our storage for optimal use (labeled with a rotation system) and as a family we are committed to eating regularly from our storage and maximize our efforts in this area.

We examined our attitude as a family and a culture towards food and compared it to the Hebrews in Exodus. Would we murmur and complain at the same food over and over or would we long for “leeks and onions?” I especially like variety in my diet hope that in a survival situation we would be grateful for what we have. We also read Toddler Tales to the little ones and talked about the character qualities of the Robinson’s and and wondered if we could be as creative in their situation!

9 comments

Anna said...

This looks like a really great study! Sounds like you and your family are enjoying it.

A Touch of Country said...

What can you do with dried cucumbers? I have a ton of cucumbers that I don't know what to do with? Any other ideas?

Susana said...

Seriously, when you read this post aren't you just amazed at all you accomplished in this area this past month? You should be, and I know I am.

Unbelievable, and what wonderful life lessons your kids are learning. I LOVE all that your family does in this area!

Nadia@FunWithMama said...

that ice treasure looks amazing.. it reminds me that I wanted to try this but now looking at the way you did it i am dying to try it lol

Gingerbread Mommy said...

Mmm, your garden looks gorgeous, and delicious! What study are you using for this?

Michelle said...

We are using Prepare and Pray - a preparedness curriculum. Here is a link to it: http://www.prepareandpray.com/detail.tpl?sku=1002

*Ü*

Andi said...

We use it too! The Prepare and Pray curicula - it is great! Chel - love it - the post and lessons and all you have done! God bless ya!

Sierra Mama said...

This may be an odd question but.. where did you get the stand and bag you are using to drain the herbs in the picture?

Thanks!

Michelle said...

To strain the herbs (lesson 15), we used a jelly strainer that is used in making jelly. I picked that one up at a specialty kitchen store.