Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century

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DK Publishing
4.00 star(s)
4.00 star(s)
4.00 star(s)
Written by Pam Grant

The Wal-mart probably won’t close down within a few weeks, and your local grocery store will still carry all the items you have come to count on, but just imagine for a moment that those places were no longer there.  What would you do?  How would you eat? Could you survive without that weekly or in some cases daily trip to the store?  So many of us have come to rely solely on technology and mass merchandisers for all our edibles these days, and would not be able to live without them. 

Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century is just the book you would need should the supermarkets all close or if you just want to shave a little off your weekly grocery bill.    This book covers a wide range of topics spanning from back yard vegetable gardens to making Elderflower champagne.   This is not as some might think a “survivalist” manual.  This is a comprehensive how to guide to living closer to nature.  This book would enable you to, if all ideas in the book were implemented, live virtually without benefit of modern retail establishments.  Anyone who has been to one of the big box stores on a weekend can appreciate the need NOT to spend an inordinate amount of time there.

The writers , a father and son team, have cleverly set up the book such that it takes you from planting your own produce, fertilizing it, perhaps using a self-composting toilet created using the instructions also found in the book, preserving the harvest, and using the bounty in the kitchen.   Although all the chapters are interesting , the In The Kitchen chapter is definitely the highlight of the book.

In the kitchen chapter is a wealth of unique information ranging from expected topics such as jelly and jams, pickles and chutneys, but also gives instruction to the reader on making more eclectic topics like making beer, mead, wine, hard cider and champagne, hand making butter and cheeses, how to build and smoke meats, making earthen ovens and bread recipes that work well in them.  I found this chapter to be a delight of ideas I might have considered undoable before reading this book. 

I must mention that in the kitchen chapter, as well as chapters throughout the book, there are highly detailed drawings and step by step pictorials that assist the reader in getting a true to life look at what their attempt at the project or recipe will or should look like.  In some instances the pictures are far more descriptive than the words but the combination of both are unsurpassed.

One of the other chapters I also found of interest was the chapter listing the planning, caring and implementation of a medicinal herb garden.  The recipe for a calendula salve I found most interesting and hope to plant and harvest some this summer and give making this salve a try.  There are many other areas of interest contained in this book as well, right down to how to carve your own wooden spoon.  I can never seem to find exactly the size I am looking for in the stores.  Now perhaps I will give making my own a shot.

Over all, I found this book not only a wealth of unique perspectives, but a truly fine example of a well rounded how-to guide to self sufficiency.   If you are even the slightest bit curious about how it can be done without the big boxes, buy this book.

Nettle Beer
2 pounds young Nettles
2 lemons, rind and juice
1 pound turbinado sugar
2 Tablespoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon brewer’s yeast
Large pan
Plastic funnel
1.  Cut off the tops of the nettles and throw away any roots.  Rinse briefly to get rid of any bugs. 
2. Boil the nettles in about 1 gallon of water.
3. Strain the liquid into a large container and add the lemon rind and juice, sugar, and cream of tartar.  Make up to a volume of 1 gallon with water and then stir virgorously. 
4. Transfer to a demijohn.  Then, when the brew is cool, add the yeast.  Allow 3-4 days for fermentation to take place and then strain the been into clean, sterilized bottles.
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