We can survive on rice and beans without any problems, but it will get tiresome after a few days. Having a well-stocked pantry is important for anyone, regardless if you are a prepper or if you live off-the grid. Having energy foods and a good amount of protein sources will assure a tasty and complete diet. Here are a few hints on some things we can do to boost our protein supplies.
It doesn’t really matter how you can equip your pantry, if you buy all you need or if you grow your own food, the final goal is the same: you need to have a complete pantry that will provide all the food and comfort in a time of need.
Here is what you can do in order to add protein rich foods to your pantry:
Buy cheap meat
Buying cheap meat and can it at home for future use it’s a good plan and you should keep your eyes open for any sales. Buying cheap meat doesn’t mean you have to get poor cuts, such as chuck roast. No, you have to look for the lean cuts that you can buy on a sale. You can pick up family packs of boneless, skinless breasts and thighs when they are on a big sale. You can buy cheap “holiday” meat to can and Easter is a good time to get some ham and pork loin. You can ask your local meat manager if you can buy outdated meat at a good price since they often freeze any meat that out-dates. The idea is to buy as much meat from time to time as you are able and preserve it for later use. You could can it, make jerky, pemmican and so on, it’s all up to you. If you are not into canning you can buy your meat already canned and even though it could be more expensive than home canning, it will do the trick. Just make sure you take advantage of sales and coupons.
Even with a super pantry you will eventually eat all the meat that you have stockpiled, what happens then? The answer is: you grow your own meat!
Raise your own poultry
Having poultry is a good idea when times get tough because it doesn’t require much work and it sure isn’t rocket science. A small flock of chickens only need a small coop, slightly larger than a dog house and some room to roam outdoors. They can even be allowed to free range during the day if you have room available. A flock of six hens will produce about four eggs a day on average, year around. They lay fewer eggs during winter months so you need to take this into account once you decide how many hens you should get. You can also raise a batch of meat chickens along with your layers, to make sure you also have meat when you pantry supplies run out. The best part about raising poultry is that you can increase your flock without extra costs, just let the hens sit on their own eggs and they will do all the work. If you have additional room you can also keep a small flock of turkeys. They are kept almost as chickens, only their nests have to be on the ground. Raising your own poultry will provide a sustainable source of protein for you and your family.
Raise your own rabbits
Rabbits are another great source of protein that can be raised just about anywhere since their housing needs are minimal. They are cheap to feed and they reproduce like rabbits! The meat is tender and delicious and is something you want to have in your pantry. When raising rabbits, most people start with two does and a buck to have meat for an entire year. It takes around two months for a litter of bunnies to grow from babies to large meat rabbits. A good doe will have at least two litters a year. When it comes to housing, it all depends on the breed you chose, but you should have at least three cages. One cage for the breeding doe, one for the buck and another for growing fryers. If you live in a cold climate you will need to protect the cages against heavy snows, stiff wind and bitter temperatures. If you live in warm climate you need to provide shade for your rabbits as some of the bucks can become sterile if they get too hot. Rabbits are easily fed and they will eat grass, clover and produce from the garden, they also need rabbits pellets, salt and a clean source of water. For a good meat stock you should raise large rabbit breeds such as Californians, Flemish Giants and New Zealand Whites.
Raise your own dairy goats
A dairy goat is an extremely useful animal and it is preferred by many preppers and off-gridders. You can start with two does and a buck if you want to have year-round milk and an ongoing source of meat from the kids you choose not to keep. Some people will argue that goat meat tastes funny and it’s different that cow milk, but it all depends on the health of the doe, the food you fed it and the raising conditions. You should have two does because you can alternate the breeding and have a constant source of milk. Goats are very smart animals and they are masters of escape, they will get out and eat everything they can find, your flowers, fruit trees and your entire garden. You can find them on the hood of your car, on the porch or even worse on the roof. You have to do a little research before you decide how you can fence them in. If you have a good supply of milk you can use it to make cottage cheese, yogurt, hard cheese and even ice-cream for the little ones. Some farmers give goat milks to their poultry and other animals in order to increase their protein intake since it’s cheaper and it does the trick. Chevron (goat meat) has an excellent flavor and it’s really tender. You can use the meat for various dishes, can it or make jerky from it. There are many breeds you can chose from and the most popular ones amongst preppers are the Nubian, Boer, Alpine and Kinder.
Hunting wild meat
For some hunting it’s a sport and just like in every sport, there are cheaters everywhere (you’ve noticed the current scandal with Cecil, the lion), while for others hunting is just a mean to put some meat on the table. Hunting can keep your pantry full and a deer or two will provide a good quantity of meat and protein. If you live in an area where there are elk or moose available to hunt, you are really in luck because you have a good source of meat, it is free and you don’t have to house, feed or care for it. Not to mention that wild meat it’s much healthier than beef or pork because it is lower in fat and cholesterol. Hunting is an art and if you don’t know how to do it, you should start learning. Whether you chose to hunt with a rifle or a bow and arrow, make sure you practice until you are accurate under different conditions and distances. It’s a skill that will become useful when supermarkets will be empty. Don’t wait until the SHTF to begin to hunt. When times are really tough, everyone will be out there hunting and your chances of bagging an animal will be close to zero. Make sure you read the game regulations from your area because in some parts it is illegal to have home game above the limit.
Non-meat protein – a good alternative for your pantry
I know you love meat and it’s tasty, but not everyone agrees with you and you might not always have meat available. This is why you need to know what your alternatives are and what can you do to have a good source of non-meat protein.
When it comes to non-meat protein many people go with the textures soy protein (TSP) or soy meat and you probably know it best as “fake” bacon. TSPs come in all varieties, from sausages to hamburgers and you have plenty of alternatives to choose from. They are dry and remain good as long as you keep them in an airtight container. TSPs come also in granulated form and many people use it in everyday cooking. You can be creative and use it for all sorts of recipes to make sure you get a good intake of proteins. When it comes to soy products, tempeh is a good choice because it is the most nutritious of all soy products. Just four ounces of this fermented food provides 41% of the daily value for protein and only 3.7 grams of saturated fat. It also tends to lower cholesterol levels.
Beans, lentils and peas
These tasty and versatile sources of protein are very filling and good for you. Store up dry beans, peas and lentils for darker days and you won’t be sorry. You can even grow your own and can it yourself to cut down expense. They will be already soaked, soften and ready to add to your recipes in minutes.
Why mushrooms? Because mushrooms are rich in minerals, vitamins, oligomers and antioxidants, and mushrooms are producing chemical-free vegetable protein without toxic additives, without sodium and fat free. Mushroom protein is second in the world after that of soybeans. But as you may know, soy has been genetically modified and its long-term consequences are unknown while mushrooms are natural, without any laboratory interventions. For example, dried shiitake protein content is comparable to poultry meat, pork and beef, but the number of fat units is much lower and the number of dietary fiber is considerably higher than in meat. You can grow your own mushrooms or you can forage for them in order to equip your pantry.
The peanut contains more plant protein than any other legume or nut. It may not match the amount of protein in a giant turkey leg, but at eight grams per serving it provides an economical way for those on a shoestring budget to get their fill. It’s a good item for your pantry due to its protein content, it’s tasty and it keeps the kids happy. It has a shelf life of over a year and you can easily tell when it has gone bad because it changes texture from soft and creamy to hard and dry.
I hope you will enjoy preparing your pantries and stocking them full of nutritious, tasty high protein foods. And hopefully, you will also consider stocking your yards with small livestock to meet your continuing needs and to provide you with self-sufficiency.
Stay Safe and God Bless!
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