Guest post: by Christine Coburn
The SHTF 3 months ago and the grid has been down with no end in sight. You had 3 full months of canned food put up for your family which now you are down to items like vegetables, barley, flour, etc. All of the Vienna sausages, tuna and canned chili are long gone. Let’s say you have never hunted but you bought that 22 rifle “just in case”. With civilization down the wildlife (creatures) have been finding their way in closer to suburbia and you have noticed lately that there have been some rabbits and squirrels in your yard. Or maybe you live in a more rural area and the rabbits, squirrels and other wildlife have been there all along but you have just never shot any. After you get one what do you do with it? Wild rabbit or any other wild game can be very tough if it is not cooked properly.
Soup has long been a way to cook food for multiple people at a minimum of cost and difficulty. Soup is a very easy meal to prepare and you do not need frozen or box mixes from the stores to make it (Contrary to popular belief). The limit to the kinds of soup you make is only limited by your creativity and availability of food stuffs to put in the pot. You can make it with meat or without, with grain, pasta or rice or without, or even with or without vege’s. The art of soup making has literally been around since we discovered fire and started cooking our food. It really is just a matter of putting various foods into a pot of water and cooking it together. It can be served hot or cold. It can be preserved by canning it or freezing it. It can be cooked on any heat source including a camp fire. If using an open fire then place the pot over rocks or bricks set over a bed of coals. Placing it directly over the flame would be too hot.
Remember that in a survival situation Soup has many advantages over canned, store bought ready to eat foods:
1. It can be made with anything you have on hand, can catch, shoot or forage
2. It provides liquid at the same time as the meal to decrease dehydration
3. The salt content of home made soups will be a lot less than that of store bought (excess salt consumption will increase you water requirements)
4. It provides a nutritionally balanced meal that is filling and warming.
5. It can be eaten hot or cold
6. It can be preserved by canning or freezing
7. It can be kept warm on the back of a wood stove or camp fire for your whole family to eat at will.
1. You have to cook it
2. You need heat to cook it
Large soup pot with a lid (Mine holds 5 gallons), the thicker the bottom the better
Long wooden spoon, you want to be able to stir and scrape the bottom when the pot is full
Any kind of meat, vegetables, grain, seasonings
You will need:
1 large soup pot
1 long wooden spoon
A heat source for cooking (camp fire or wood stove will work just fine)
1 creature killed, cleaned and cut into pieces (any small mammal: rabbit, squirrel, raccoon, or even a piece of a larger creature such as a deer shoulder, etc)
Water to fill your pot
Vegetables (any kind will do) or cat tail shoots cleaned and cut up
Grain (any kind barley, steel cut oats, cracked wheat, rice etc)
Beans if you want
Spices (what ever strikes your fancy and is available IE: Onions, celery, peppers, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, thyme, rosemary, etc)
Pasta if you want
Place your creature, seasonings, beans (if desired) and water into the pot. Make sure there is enough water to thoroughly cover the creature by several inches. Cook slowly over a low heat with the lid on. In order to make a rich broth and have tender meat you will need to simmer it (not boiling) on low for several hours. Keep adding water as necessary to keep water over your meat by several inches. Once you notice the meat falling off the bones take it out and set it aside. By now the broth should smell yummy and have a nice rich color to it. If it is too weak for your taste you can add some bouillon. Tomatoes make a nice broth also. Add your grain to the pot at this time. Continue cooking slowly at a simmer. Stir frequently, as the grain cooks it will have a tendency to stick on the bottom and burn.
When the creature is cooled enough so that you can handle it remove all the meat off the bones, cut it into small pieces, across the grain of the meat and replace the meat into the pot.
Watch the grain. It will take a couple hours at a simmer to cook the grains until they are soft. If you are using fresh vegetables, add them when the grain still has a bit of a crunch to it. If you are using canned vegetables then add them when the grain has cooked to a soft texture and continue to simmer only to heat them up. Add pasta last as it only requires a few minutes of boiling to cook.
Left to right: Chicken broth, turkey vegetable (noodles to be added after opening, vegetable barley, French onion, Venison with vege’s and barley, Bean soup and Beef and barley (no vege’s). Notice the white lids with tape. Those are the Tattler reusable canning lids. You can see the edge of the red gasket under the white plastic lid. When I open those jars I will wash and reuse the lid the next time I can something.
This soup will provide a filling nutritious meal. Any leftovers may be frozen or canned into quart jars for eating at a later time. Always process your jars for the recommended time for the ingredient requiring the longest processing. If you are cooking it on a woodstove the soup pot can be kept on the back corner so as to keep it warm for several hours. Stir and add water as needed to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot or drying out.
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