Introduction to Greg West: The following article is written by Greg, a friend who started a new life on an Island Jungle Plot he purchased over a year ago where he currently runs an internet business from a dish and lap top. He has plenty of solar panels, and a 6/1 PMG to get him through those cloudy days on his jungle plot. I hope Greg will contribute more articles, especially tips like the one that follows… “I never thought of this!” I’m looking forward to visiting the islands soon, I’m hoping to drop in on Greg and try some of his jungle cooking 🙂
All the best
While perusing the internet I stumbled on a blog where a blogger mentioned that for survival rations, you should not count on storing dried beans or rice as they take too much energy to cook. Instead, the blogger suggested buying prepared and freeze dried foods.
My thoughts on this are that you can buy an awful lot of beans and rice for what a few “meals, ready to eat” cost.
We certainly have to give consideration to how much energy we use to prepare our food. When you can’t get your hands on propane and you have gained appreciation of the work and time involved in chopping, drying and splitting wood you’ll want to use as little as possible.
Enter the soak and pressure cook method.
Think of your pressure cooker as a low tech micro wave. Dried beans (pinto**) can take hours to cook and never seem to get done especially if you are at altitude or if the beans are old (too dry). Without soaking the beans you can knock out a batch with a pressure cooker in about 45 minutes but, if you’ll soak those delicious little frejoles, they’ll cook in as little as 15-20 minutes. (Theoretically, the energy used is equal to the potential methane produced by eating said beans.)
Other types of beans besides pinto; navy, butter, kidney, et al have different cooking times so, you will want to follow the instructions that came with your pressure cooker for the particular bean you are cooking.
Lintels cook so fast in a pressure cooker that you don’t have to soak them.
Rice can be cooked quickly in a pressure cooker (5-6 minutes). However if you soak your rice for 24 hours, it will be ready to eat after 10 minutes of cook time just in a cover pot.
If you don’t already have a pressure cooker, you may want to consider getting at least one. They come in various sizes; 4, 6, 8, 16, 18 and 23 quart. You can’t go wrong having both a 6 and an 8 quart cooker. The larger ones are great for canning.
Here are a few brands;
Presto, Mirro, Fagor
This website pushes the Fagor brand and has a good deal of information on the subject.