Self-Sufficiency for everyone

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Isabell Shipard's Self-Sufficiency and Survival Foods Book - How can I be prepared with Self-Sufficiency and Survival Foods?
Isabell Shipard’s Self-Sufficiency and Survival Foods Book – How can I be prepared with Self-Sufficiency and Survival Foods?

How can I be prepared with Self-Sufficiency and Survival Foods?

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Excerpts from Isabell’s book 
How can I be prepared with Self-Sufficiency and Survival Foods?

Planting a garden with food potential is one of the most worthwhile things we can do …

Plants most suitable for tougher times should meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Plants that have proved hardy and adapt to a wide range of soils and low rainfall.
  2. Can be harvested throughout the year, or have a long cropping period.
  3. Produce that has a long shelf life or can be dried or used in some other form.
  4. Plants that are little known as a food source and are unusual … if times get tough; with jobs and food scarce (or highly priced in the shops) our gardens could be raided and food stolen, so grow some obscure food supply …

Survival plants that are hardy have a long cropping period or a long shelf life.
These, can be prepared in various ways, or even dried for later use – and are rare or somewhat obscure – and, therefore, valuable for your edible garden. In this section I will highlight a few practical plants to grow …

Levi and Flour Gourd
Levi and Flour Gourd

Flour gourds Benincasa hispida keep well for 12 months or more. (No doubt, this is because the coating of white flour-like substance provides a protective shield on the skin of the gourds.) The white flesh of the gourd has little flavour. However, as a bulking food it is ideal to add to stews, soups, stir-fries, roasts, casseroles, pickles and jams. Small seeds may be eaten, too. … When the garden produces lots of flour gourds feed some to your hens; cut the gourd in half, length-wise, and these will be eagerly devoured by laying hens. …

Arrowroot Canna edulis, is a versatile survival food; a hardy deciduous perennial, 2 metres high, with thick stems and large leaves. This fast-growing plant is useful for a quick windbreak or to create a microclimate. Foliage can be used for garden mulch and as poultry and stock fodder (protein 10%). The large rhizomes/ tubers can grow bigger than a clasped fist and develop many side shoots to form a large clump. Tubers are easily dug and are best used when young, as older tubers tend to develop a fibrous texture. Arrowroot can be eaten raw, steamed, roasted or diced and added to casseroles, stir-fries, soups, stews, and made into chips. The root, when pulverised, rinsed, drained, and dried, provides real arrowroot flour, ready to use as a thickener in sauces, gravies and fillings. …

Sweet fruit root Polymnia sonchifolia, due to its sweet taste and crunchy texture has been called ‘apple of the earth’. The large tubers that grow underground may weigh from 200g to 2 kg, and are eaten raw and cooked. It is a hardy bush 1-2 metres tall, and deciduous in winter (except in very warm climates). Tubers can be fossicked over many months of the year, which makes it a valuable survival food plant. Slices can be dried, to add to your supply of stored foods. Dig, wash, and eat tubers, fresh in hand, after lightly peeling. Dice root and add to fruit salads or stir-fries, curries, sweet and sour dishes, pickles, or juice for a refreshing drink. Tubers are over 9% protein, very high in potassium (2230mg per 100g), calcium (143mg per 100g), iron (55mg per 100g), and are a good source of inulin. …

Taro Colocasia esculenta, and many other Colocasia species are hardy food plants, for warm to tropical climates. Large leaves that look like elephants’ ears stand on thick stems 1 metre tall. Tubers develop at the base, and some may grow to over 10kg in weight. The tubers, stems and young leaves are eaten as a cooked vegetable, steamed, roasted, fermented, added to stir-fries, soups, meat and savoury dishes, and prepared with coconut cream. Before cooking the tubers, peel thickly, and soak the diced tubers in cold water for an hour, then drain water, put on fresh water and cook approximately 15-20 minutes until soft. Caution: never eat any part of the taro raw. Since oxalates occur in the leaves, stems and tubers, cooking is required to neutralise these crystals. …

A delicious desert: Taro Fantastic is made, by blending cooked taro with eggs, coconut milk, vanilla and palm sugar. Use your personal preference for sweetness to estimate quantities, as the texture should be a thick pouring consistency. Bake in a moderate oven, until set …

Carob Pods
Carob Pods

Carob Ceratonia siliqua, a legume evergreen tree, suitable for acreage land, provides a valuable survival food. Trees adapt to a wide range of climates and soils, including salinity. Hardiness and longevity are two features of the carob. The dark brown carob pods, to 15cm long, are a high-energy food, and an excellent source of protein and calcium. Mature pods, when thoroughly dry, will store for many years. Taste is similar to dates but with a harder texture, and need to be chewed well. When pods are slow roasted, they have a similar flavour to chocolate. During times of war in Europe and when food was scarce, many people were sustained by eating carob pods and a few wild foods. Carob has also been used during wartime to feed cavalry horses, as animals do very well on just a few pods a day. Pods provide excellent fodder for grazing animals, and can be collected and stored for times when fodder is scarce. Trees are ideal for providing shade, screening, noise barriers and windbreaks. …

Preservation and storage of foods

The human body requires over 40 essential nutrients to function perfectly. We need to eat a variety of foods to provide these fundamentals that are vital to wellbeing. As the majority of the essential nutrients are not stored in the body, good health does depend on taking these nutrients in our foods, daily. We need to plan and execute a well-balanced diet under usual conditions, however, it could be more difficult if emergencies occur and foods are limited …

Food stacked in a kitchen cupboard would provide a margin of safety for a few days and would carry most people through brief blackouts. A month’s supply of food, carefully stored away, would provide time for adjustment. In circumstances of major dilemmas, a year’s stored food would give enough time for readjustment or a complete transition …

Commendations for Isabell’s book 
How can I be prepared with Self-Sufficiency and Survival Foods?
Once again, Isabell has put together a very helpful book. A book that will help us to act together, for survival in emergencies, such as surround us today. Many of us have tried, at all levels, to alert people to the critical state of the nation , due to global warming, low levels of all fuels and drought. To grow our own food always has taken us less time than to shop for it! People, in the end, get what they choose, and to me at least, chasing life and food seems only sensible. As usual, Isabell has put in your hands, a manual that helps that aim. She has all my support.
Bill Mollison
Founder, The Permaculture Institute
This is an essential book for everyone who intends to make a serious effort to survive any food crisis. It is full of the most detailed and valuable information on a great diversity of survival foods, and how to produce them. Isabell has the greatest knowledge of reference and experience on this subject that I have ever known or met in all my travels, teaching and consulting on permaculture around the world. You need to buy this book for the security of your family.
Geoff Lawton
Director, Permaculture Research Institute, The Channon, NSW, Australia
I have an interest in self-sufficiency and well-being; for me this book is worth its weight in gold. Your book is a whole combined package, unmatched by other books. I have found the book very captivating, covering so many useful plants. One can get a very good picture about the garden of Eden and the gifts that mankind was given to use and enjoy.
Fred, Vic
Congratulations Isabell! Your book is inspiring! It has challenged me to grow a useful garden again, a heritage I grew up with in this wonderful land of Australia, but, sadly, something I had neglected the last few years. Since reading the book, I have started a new garden, and in the school holidays, when grandchildren come to stay, I will teach them the importance of self-sufficiency, nutritious foods, herbs and edible weeds with medicinal properties, and the joy of planting and growing an edible garden, with the plants that our Creator has given us for our health and healing. 
Mary, NSW
A. pink dragon fruit B. dragon fruit in a smoothie blended with millet sprouts C. millet seed.
A. pink dragon fruit B. dragon fruit in a smoothie blended with millet sprouts C. millet seed.
Ever wondered how to grow dragon fruit? Or miracle fruit? Ever wanted to incorporate more herbs in your diet for health reason or flavour? This herb book is wonderfully inspiring, jam packed with information on how to grow herbs and many edible plants, giving their medicinal value and how to use them in your daily life. For anyone with an interest in herbs, health or self-sufficiency, this book is a real TREASURE. 
Christine, Qld


wishing you health and well-being
Ricky Shipard


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