MoneySaving for Doomsday

Preparing for the apocalypse

Preparing for the apocalypse

I’ve discovered Doomsday Preppers, a programme about American families so concerned the world is going to end at any moment, they are preparing now to survive the fallout.

But while most of their actions are utterly incomprehensible, a lot of what they do is MoneySaving. They concentrate on being self-sufficient and preserve what they get, which makes MoneySaving sense to me.

I’ve watched so much of the show, I’m pretty sure I’m now a survival expert, which is handy, as according to the Mayans, we’ve only got a couple of weeks left.

So, if like me, you’ve left it late to start up a farm, don’t worry. I’ve picked up a few ‘recipes’ from Doomsday Preppers. Get ready for the oddest cookery lesson you’ll ever have.

1. Make meat last three months

I had jerky for the first time in Arizona last year. Honestly, it was disgusting – but people like it. So here’s what you need to do:

First, get some meat with no fat. You can use beef, venison, bison, turkey, chicken, ostrich (don’t know where you’ll get that from) or salmon.

Cut long, quarter-inch strips across the grain as thin as you can. Next, marinade in something, such as soy sauce or pepper. Then heat the meat to 160˚F to destroy bacteria. Then lay the strips across clean wire racks and cook in the oven at a low temperature (150˚F) for 6-8 hours. Afterwards, freeze-dry it (if you can) and put it in the freezer – it will last a few weeks once defrosted.

2. Make eggs last a year

When a chicken lays an egg, it has a natural coating on it known as ‘the bloom’ to keep out oxygen, harmful bacteria and germs. You need to recreate the bloom.

Warm a cup of mineral oil for about 10 seconds, put some gloves on and dab the warm oil over a fresh egg completely. Then, put the egg in the carton with the small pointed side end facing down, and store in a cool, dry place (about 68˚F ). Flip your eggs once a month to maintain the integrity of the yolk.

You’ll know if the egg has gone bad because you’ll smell it (trust me). Another trick to check if it’s still OK to eat is to put it in a glass of water – if it floats, don’t use it.

3. Make cheese last 25 years (yes, you heard right)

Just because it’s the apocalypse, I don’t intend on becoming a savage, eating nothing but weeds and vermin. Luckily, I’ve found out how to preserve cheese for up to 25 years. All I need now is some wine and I’m set.

First, you can only preserve hard cheese using this method – so put that Brie down.

Again, the enemy of food preservation is bacteria and mould in the air. To stop moisture getting in, dip your cheese in cheese wax and let it harden – you’ll need to do this three times. Cheese treated with cheese wax will store for up to 25 years at a mild to cool temperature.

A quick tip before you start – don’t use paraffin wax, it cracks. Cheese wax warms slower and heats to a higher temperature, and importantly, it’s reusable.

Please remember I got these recipes from a doomsday TV programme. It would be unwise to follow these cooking tips without doing your own research first, but let me know your thoughts in the MSE Forum or in the discussion below.