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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Herbs and Spices for TEOTWAWKI

A mixture of black peppercorns from the Malaba...
Chefbear58 has come through again with more great ideas for your TEOTWAWKI pantry.  This time he’s got some great advice on what spices to store and what they’re used for.  Read on…
-Jarhead Survivor
Hello again everyone in SHTFblog land! Today I am going to walk you through some herbs and spices you will probably want to bolster your foodstuffs with. After each Herb/Spice I list, I will offer a brief explanation of its usefulness. So let’s get started, the sooner some of these items are on your shelves, the sooner you can start counting on them!
***Just so we are clear, some of the items are not technically herbs/spices, however because of their multiple uses and the fact that they are edible, I include them in my herb/spice inventory***
Item       Flavoring Uses       Secondary Uses -
Rosemary – good for meats and fish, tames “gamey” taste of wild animals, soups/sauces used in cures/brines
Mint- Accentuate and amplify fruit flavors, some savory uses. Can soothe sore throats/headaches
Thyme- good flavoring for veg, meats and seafood, soups/sauces
Parsley- adds a fresh flavor to many dishes, accentuates other seasonings.  Romans- used for oral hygiene
Stevia- ~1000x sweeter than sugar(by weight), takes limited space, can be used in teas and some other cooking
Sage- one of the best all around flavorings for meat, offers some preservation options.  Used in cures/brines
Juniper Berries- used for cures, especially for fish (i.e. nova-lox, grav-lox)
Peppercorns- GREAT flavoring for almost anything.  Used in cures/brines/rubs
Salt- Flavoring, preservation, wound cleaning/sterilizing.  The MOST important ingredient used in cures/brines
Nutmeg, WHOLE- flavoring savory/sweet, helps soothe cough/cold.  Mild topical anesthetic properties
Cloves, WHOLE- flavoring sweet/savory, helps w cough, sore throat, headache.  STRONG topical anesthetic
Chili Peppers, dried & Smoked- VERY flavorful, food preservation; Can be made into improvised “less than lethal” weapons, can be used as a topical muscle soother-CAREFULLY
Cocoa Powder, regular and DARK- mix with water and powdered/canned milk- Instant hot cocoa, can be added to many different recipes or everyday items like oatmeal/grits, possible improvement to morale
Bay Leaves, WHOLE- Flavoring for boiled/braised/stewed dishes.  Add a few leaves to flour to keep out bugs
Paprika, Smoked SWEET- Base in making many spice blends, flavors small game well, a little goes a long way!
Mustard, SEED- a little goes a long way, good for flavoring meats, soups, sauces (especially cheese sauce)must grind
Transglutaminase- THIS ONE IS COOL!! This chemical is used to “restructure” protein, if you only have the meat you could scrape off the bones of whatever game you managed to get, add a little touch of this, then you can form that “glob ‘o’ meat” into a “steak” with VERY similar taste/texture! Will also allow you to form 2 different pieces of meat into 1 (I have used this on a piece of Ahi tuna and a piece of Chilean Sea Bass, the result was like a mutant fish steak, they were completely bonded together like it had come off of 1 fish!)
Horseradish, POWDERED- AKA Wasabi powder, flavorful and can mask unpleasant flavors.  Use in rubs/cures
Alum- used in pickling and some other preservation methods ; Can be used to stop minor bleeding, fight infection
Garlic- DELICIOUS, helps with even the worst tasting items! Sulfites in the garlic can kill some pathogens in foods
Cardamom Seed, WHOLE- lemony pepper flavor, savory/sweet applications.  Can soothe coughs/colds
Cream of Tartar- used to “stabilize” whipped foods, like frostings ; Can be added to white vinegar to form a disinfectant/cleaning paste
“Grains of Paradise”- used by the Romans, before they found peppercorns.  Used in cure/brine/rub. Tastes like black pepper and citrus, slight floral flavor/smell
Vanilla Beans, WHOLE- They can be split and seeded, the seeds can be used in baking, the hull can be used to make vanilla extract by soaking in alcohol (bourbon/vodka), hulls can then be used to flavor sugar
Sugar, WHITE- good for baking and some savory cooking, sweeten beverages.  Used in cures/brines/rubs
Sugar, BROWN- adds moisture and extends shelf life of baked goods.  Used in cure/brine/rubs
Sugar, RAW- Best of both worlds between brown and white, easier for the body to process, pleasant texture
Powdered HONEY- NEVER crystallizes, good choice for LTS sweetener, difficult to rehydrate properly
Arrow-Root- Thickening agent, requires only water to use, allergies are RARE, cheap, lasts forever if kept dry
Corn Starch- Thickening agent, adds crispy texture to breads/cookies, SOME allergies have been reported
Glycerin- can be used in production of candy and baked goods; studies show it allows people to “super-hydrate”
Prague powder- AKA Pink Curing Salt- GREATLY increases the shelf life of meats cured with it, meats can be cured in a simple brine, cheap- I can buy enough to cure 100lbs of meat and it costs about $2-$2.50… ESSENTIAL if refrigeration is unavailable/unreliable!
So that is a simple list of some Herbs/Spices you may wish to stock in your pantry and why. Now it’s your turn! Do you have any of these items in your preps? Have you considered any of these items that you may not currently have? Is there anything important that you think I missed? Do you have anything to add to this BASIC list? Are there any items you know of that may replace or work better than an item or two on this list?
Hope everyone found this informative, please if you have any questions, simply ask them in the comments below and I will answer them to the best of my abilities! Thanks Guys!
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  1. Good list. I think turmeric deserves a mention. Essential for curries and many spice blends, it also has tons of health benefits.

  2. Celery seeds were used in recipes traditionally where 'pink salt' (nitrate powder) is used. Because it is high in nitrate content, so it could be used if needing substitute if necessary.