Category Archives: Food Recipes

Cooking Skills: Tamale Making Tips and Techniques


Homemade tamales are the best. If you have not made them in your own kitchen, here are a few tips and tricks.

The taste of tamales made at home is almost beyond description. It’s quite a process, however, and should be planned over a two-day period. The second day will be a long one. Tamale – or tamal – cooking will go much easier if you can round up two or more friends or family members to pitch in.

Since making tamales is a bit tedious, it’s best to go ahead and make a bunch. They freeze and reheat well and you’ll always have some handy for readymade meals.

About the corn husks

If you can’t find corn husks, or hojas, locally, purchase them online. Basically, it’s not worth the trouble without corn husks. It is their flavor that adds so much to a true tamale.

Second, you can save quite a bit of money if you have access to a local, small, Mexican market. Buying husks by the pound instead of pre-packaged in larger stores is much cheaper.

There are tradeoffs with husks by the pound and from small markets. They may have a few bugs and you’ll certainly find bug holes. Remember, these are corn products and it is no different than finding a bug in a bag of flour or similar product. It is best to freeze the husks for at least 24 hours and that will eliminate any living creatures. Let the husks come to room temperature.

You may also find a few husks with traces of old mold in some spots. Toss the worst of them; the majority of these husks should be fine for use.

A pound of hojas equals about 110 corn husks. You will get approximately 86 usable husks out of this batch. That excludes the husks you will need to tear into strips for tying the bundles (if you choose to use that method).

If you do use the tie-down method, save back some of the longer husks. The longer the string, the easier it is to use as a tie.

Soak the husks for a couple of hours. You should use a large pot as you will need the sink for other preparation.

Rinse really well and remove any silk – there shouldn’t be many strings. Even after a thorough rinsing, don’t be surprised if the husks still feel lightly gritty. Lay out on paper towels. You can stack the paper towels/corn husks in several layers.

The meat

It’s better to have too much meat than too little. Any leftover meat can be re-frozen or used in enchiladas or any number of other recipes. We had nearly a double batch with: 7 pounds pork shoulder butt, 2 three-pound hens, and 5 pounds of legs and thighs. We used a heaping tablespoon of meat for each tamale. If the corn husk was large, we used more masa mixture and more meat.

Remove as much fat and skin as possible after the pork and poultry has been simmered. Do not allow to boil for any length of time as that breaks down the proteins. Use a meat thermometer to determine when the pork and poultry are done (approx. 160/180 respectively).

Use latex gloves and the de-fatting/shredding process will be much less messy.

When shredding, use a fork with the tines facing “up.” In other words, press the fork face up into the edges of the meat and you should get a good shred. Plowing into the meat with the fork upside down is not as effective.

The process

You’ll need about 3 pounds of masa flour for 1 pound of husks. That’s about 3 tablespoons of dough per husk, give or take. Keep spare masa on hand in case you need to make a quick batch.

You will use quite a bit of broth to bring the dough up to peanut butter texture. We found that the broth from the pork and the whole chickens was easier to skim. While our broth from the legs and thighs (cooked separately) look really good just off the heat, when it was refrigerated it gelled. The other two types of broth were easy to skim after overnight refrigeration.

For the broth, you will need approximately 2 quarts. Mix one quart chicken broth and one quart pork broth together in a large bowl and warm in the microwave. Then pour into the masa a cup at a time as you mix.

You’ll want to mix up the dough with bare hands. It will be like playing in thick mud and you need to sort out all the balled-up bits of masa flour. That’s why it’s best to have a second pair of hands that can pour the broth as you squeeze and mix.

Make sure you have plenty of steamer space ahead of time. The recipes I found for tamales stated from 1-2 hours. Our tamales usually take about 3 ½-4 hours for steaming. You won’t have time to do several batches.

One large turkey fryer with a deep steamer basket should hold the tamales (bundle-style, not open-ended). Just place corn husks in between the layers. A super-sized turkey roaster with warming trays will hold about 46 tamales.

Add as much or as little salt as you wish. The same for chili powder. It will not affect the process of cooking tamales and you can adjust these to your own tastes. The same goes for garlic powder.

We use the double-string method of tying bundles. They look pretty and hold up well when stacking in a steamer. Bring the two sides together and fold them over together as tightly as you can. Bring one end up over the fold and tie it; the repeat by folding the opposite end and tying around the tamale. Takes a little longer and other methods.

As with any recipe, you’ll find so many variations on the recipe. Apply these techniques and you will be the most popular tamale-maker in the neighborhood!

This article was originally posted at

About The Author: Erica M. is the Managing Editor of Radical Survivalism Magazine.

Sour Dough, Sweet Dough, But We All Love Yeast

Jamie from Weed, California writes, “If the end of the world as we know it will happen in December, how to I stock up on yeast?”

Great question Jamie. Yeast is a not a bacteria, it is a fungus. A plant. So if you are going to stock up on carrots for a collapse, you can stock up on yeast seeds. Wait, you’ve never heard of yeast seeds? Well, they don’t exist. As we use seeds to restart a new generation of plants, we can do the same with yeast. And the best way, the yummiest way, is to make yeast. There are many ways of doing it, but the best way I think is from the Amish Friendship Bread recipe. Here is the starter:


  • 1 (0.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup milk


In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes.

In a 2 quart glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added.

Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture.

Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. For the next 10 days handle starter according to the instructions for Amish Friendship Bread found here:

  • Day 1:
    • Do nothing with the starter.
  • Days 2-5:
    • Stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Day 6:
    • Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk. Stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Days 7-9:
    • Stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Day 10:
    • Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Stir. Take out 3 cups and place 1 cup each into three separate plastic containers. Give one cup and a copy of this recipe to three friends. To the balance (a little over one cup) of the batter, add the following ingredients and mix well.

Note: When you make a starter from scratch, you can sometimes end up with a much greater yield than 4 cups depending on the temperature of your kitchen and eagerness of your starter! If this happens, reserve one cup for baking and divide the remaining batter into Ziploc baggies of 1 cup each to freeze or share with friends.

As long as you continue to “feed” your starter, it can stay at room temperature indefinitely. One of the wonderful things about the starter is that you can bake almost anything with it, pancakes, bread, biscuits. It is a sweet dough, not a sour dough because of the sugar.

Just give it a bit of flour every week or so and it will continue to survive and you’ll have a lifetime of yeast. Run out of flour? Then dry some acorns, and ground them up fine to be a flour substitute. Any carbohydrate like flour, rice flour, will work.

See the original article here:

About The Author: TheCovertPrepper is the editor of,, the host of the PPRN News Show podcast, and is a Contributing Columnist for Radical Survivalism Webzine.


After searching literally hundreds of recipes on the internet to find the best biscuit recipe, I decided to create my own. It’s a winner. Don’t believe me? Just try it. Recipe is below. The biscuits tripled in size, light and airy, but not doughy in the slightest. With a light buttery taste and just the slightest hint of sweetness, these are a perfect complement to sausage gravy, your favorite breakfast protein, or preserves.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Sift together dry ingredients.  Prepare buttermilk by combining vinegar and milk (see below) if you don’t have any of the ‘real stuff’ available. Let sit five minutes. While the milk is souring, cut in the butter and shortening with a pastry knife until the flour has the appearance of a fine ground meal. Combine honey and buttermilk with whisk until honey is dissolved. Add the buttermilk/honey mixture all at once and stir until just combined. Turn out onto a flour covered board and knead with extra flour 15 or 20 times until dough has reached desired consistency. Do not over-knead as this will cause the biscuits to be tough. Roll out until dough is approximately ½ thick. Cut with biscuit cutter or glass, placing biscuits on cookie sheet with sides touching. Bake for 10 -13 minutes until golden brown. Brush tops with additional butter if desired.

2 cups all purpose white flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup shortening

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup buttermilk (see below)

1 tablespoon honey

To make one cup of buttermilk, measure one tablespoon of vinegar into a measuring cup. Add enough milk to make one cup.  Let stand five minutes.

My two favorite preparedness items I added this year: A pastry cutter and a rolling pin. You will save time by simplifying your effort, and by virtue of that, you will enjoy your time in the kitchen more. You may not use them very often, but when you don’t have them, wow, what a hassle! Also, don’t forget a rolling pin and a pastry cutter can also be used as weapons as well. Enjoy!

About The Author: MOTH (Mother Of The House) is the Co-founder and Editor-In-Chief of Radical Survivalism Webzine.

Survival Skills: Meat Preserving – Jerky

Modern store bought jerky is not real jerky. It is too thin, too small, too soft, and is often preserved with chemicals. Real homemade jerky is thicker, longer, and very stout! It is tough! To eat real jerky,  you “worry” off a chunk with your teeth — if you can — or cut off a “flake” with a pocket knife, then soak the “flake” in your cheek for awhile until it finally softens. If jerky isn’t that tough, it won’t keep!

Meat for jerky is prepared from lean, trimmed strips about a half inch, to an inch and half wide, and as long as practical. Normally the larger muscles are cut into jerky, and are cut with the grain rather than across it as for steaks. All tendons, gristle, fat, etc, that can be removed should be trimmed off. The meat strips are then lightly powdered with coarse, freshly ground pepper (if available) to keep away flies, and lightly salted to help with taste and salt craving. Once prepared, the pepper can be brushed off the iron like chucks easily, if desired.

The meat strips should be dried in the sun about four (4) feet above a slow fire. Non resinous hardwoods should be used for the fire, and the flames kept very low. The smoke from the fire is to keep away birds and flies, NOT used for drying the meat! Use a low fire, with little flame or heat. Green hardwood works fine, but resinous softwoods such as Douglas fir will impart a bad taste to the jerky. Fruit woods (except wild cherry) impart a nice, mild taste to the jerky.

The drying rack can be made from forked sticks pounded into the ground, and the cross sticks that hold the meat made from thin, green wood such as willow or vine maple. A sharpened end on the cross stick should be pushed through one end of the meat strips, which will allow them to hang down. Allow at least an inch of separation between meat strips. The cross sticks may be carried indoors if rain threatens, and at night to protect from dew. Do not dry in the sun before 9:00 in the morning, or after 6:00 at night to avoid getting dew on the meat. Just the dew from a single morning may saturate the meat sufficiently to require an additional day of drying time!

Jerky can be used as is, always having a little flake in the pouch, or cooked in stews. If cooked, it is best to soak the jerky overnight prior to use, then slice across the grain into chunks before cooking. If possible, fat should be added to the stew, as well as tubers and corn meal. If any mold on the meat is detected, it can be washed off before use with vinegar.

Really hard jerky will keep for a long time, but should be stored in a dry place. If you live in an area of high humidity or frequent rains, the jerky can be stored by using the same techniques listed previously for pemmican.

As you can see, preparing dried meat products requires the expenditure of lots of energy — yours! Cutting and stripping the meat, cutting the hardwood and hauling it to the racks, keeping the fire going, bringing in the racks at night, etc, does require time, but it is certainly not hard work. If you have the meat available to make large batches, your effort per piece is reduced considerably.

In a real survival situation, without electricity for refrigeration or freezing, a large supply of meat can best be preserved by drying or smoking. The alternative is to do without, and that is a poor alternative indeed.

About The Author: iSurvivalSkills is the editor of and a contributing columnist for Radical Survivalism Webzine

Simple Sweet & Sour Sauce

Food storage doesn’t have to be bland or boring! Simple sauces can bring life to simple sides when served over rice, noodles, or even pasta. Add steak, chicken, beef, pork, shrimp or your favorite protein, and in a matter of minutes you have a fantastic main dish meal that your family will love.

This homemade sweet and sour sauce can be prepared very quickly and easily doubled or tripled for larger groups. It is also lacking that weird orange-pink color that you get with the stuff in the jar. It’s not too tangy, and not too sweet. Try it as a marinade or sauce on your favorite barbeque item!

  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Place the sugar, vinegar, water, soy sauce, ketchup and cornstarch in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Stir continuously until the mixture has thickened.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 43 | Total Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg


About The Author: MOTH (Mother Of The House) is the Co-founder and Editor-In-Chief of Radical Survivalism Webzine.

Recipe: Canning Traditional Bread & Butter Pickles

From the Ball Beginner’s Guide To Canning

• 6 cups sliced, trimmed pickling cucumbers (1/4 “ slices)
• 2 large onions, thinly sliced
• 1/3 cup Ball preserving & Pickling Salt
• 1 ¾ cups white vinegar
• 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
• 1 ¼ Tbsp mustard seed
• 2/3 tsp celery seed
• 2/3 tsp ground turmeric
• Ball Pickle Crisp Granules

1. COMBINE cucumber, onions and salt in a glass or stainless steel bowl. Mix well, cover with cold water and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Transfer to a colander placed over a sink, rinse with cool running water and drain thoroughly.

2. PREPARE stockpot/canner and jars as directed in step-by-step instructions.

3. COMBINE vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed and turmeric in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Stir in vegetables and return to a boil.

4. PACK vegetables into hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Add rounded 1/8 tsp Pickle Crisp Granules. Ladle hot pickling liquid over vegetables, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and re-measure headspace. If needed add more cucumbers to meet recommended headspace. Wipe rim, center lid on jar. Screw band until finger-tip tight.

5. Process filled jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove stockpot lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

About The Author: Erica M. is the Managing Editor of Radical Survivalism Magazine.

Recipe: Cheddar Cheese Beer Bread

Cheddar Cheese Beer Bread

Cheddar Cheese Beer Bread

* This recipe does not require yeast!


– 3 Cups Flour
– 1 Cup Shredded Cheese (Cheddar)
– 2 Tbsp Baking Powder
– 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
– 2 Tsp Salt
– 1 Cup Beer
– 1 Egg (Beaten)
– 2 Tsp Garlic Powder
– 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
– 1/4 Cup Water
– 3 Tbsp Olive Oil

1) In large bowl mix all dry ingredients.
2) In small bowl, mix all wet ingredients.
3) Add wet mixture into dry mixture & stir.
4) Pour into greased & floured loaf pan.
5) Bake at 350° F for 45 to 50 minutes until loaf is lightly browned.

About The Author: Erica M. is the Managing Editor of Radical Survivalism Magazine.