Sunday, January 14, 2018

More on making Vinegar

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What Is Vinegar?

The French word vinaigre means “sour wine.” In Wild Fermentation, author and fermentation expert Sandor Katz writes that his experience with vinegar-making began as winemaking gone awry. “Vinegar is an excellent consolation for your winemaking failure,” he writes. (To avoid getting vinegar instead of wine, you should store your vinegar-making projects far away from your homebrew batches.)

If a liquid has fermentable sugars or alcohol in it, the liquid can be turned into vinegar. Wine makes wine vinegar, cider makes cider vinegar and beer makes malt vinegar. Your kitchen is well-stocked if you have wine, cider, and possibly malt and sherry vinegars.

When alcohol is exposed to oxygen, it is transformed by aerobic (oxygen-loving) acetobacter bacteria into acetic acid, more commonly known as vinegar. The ubiquitous acetobacter bacteria in the air find the alcohol in loosely covered wine, cider or beer and go to work. Katz says the simplest method — albeit sometimes faulty — to make both alcohol and vinegar is to let unpasteurized apple cider sit for a week until it becomes alcoholic, and then let it sit for another couple of weeks until it becomes vinegar.

To ensure your fermentation creates flavorful vinegar, however, use a “mother of vinegar.” The mother is a gelatinous mass of vinegar-making organisms that forms naturally in vinegar. You can order a starter of live vinegar containing particles that will clump together and form a mother during fermentation. Add the starter (or mother) to a new batch of alcohol — wine, cider or beer — and leave it there until the vinegar tastes right to you, at which point you may remove the mother and use it for a new batch.

Step-by-Step Process

1. Gather your vessel. Because acetobacter bacteria need oxygen to work, a wide-mouth crock, glass jar, food-grade plastic bucket, bowl, wooden cask or other non-metal container is best (vinegar corrodes metal). Do not fill the container more than about half-full to maximize the surface area ratio.
2. Gather your starter. You can get a mother of vinegar from a friend who makes vinegar. Or, order a starter from wine and beer supply shops or online from Adventures in Home Brewing, Leeners, Cultures Alive, or Etsy.
3. Gather your ingredients. To make wine vinegar, you want 1 part starter (or mother), 1 part unchlorinated water and 2 parts alcoholic beverage. Use unsulfited organic alcohols if possible, because sulfites kill acetobacter bacteria. If your wine contains sulfites, let the mixture sit for a half-hour. (If your water is chlorinated, boil it first and let it cool, or let the water sit out on the counter overnight.) For cider and beer vinegars, omit the water. Add alcohol and water, if using, to your vessel. Stir. Pour in the starter (or gently add the mother).
4. Cover the top. Place cloth or a few layers of cheesecloth over the container and secure with a rubber band.
5. Store the vessel. Set the vinegar pot where the temperature stays between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the container out of sunlight and drafts.
6. Monitor the vinegar. Over time, the mother on top of the vinegar will become thicker. It may develop a brownish cast, which is fine. If you see mold or smell a paint-thinner aroma, toss the batch. (This is rare.)
7. Taste the vinegar. After a couple of weeks, sample a spoonful of the vinegar. Simply remove or lift the mother out of the way. It’s OK if the mother sinks. If the liquid tastes like vinegar, it’s ready. You may want to leave it to ferment longer for a stronger flavor. In warm temperatures, vinegar may be finished in two weeks. In cold temperatures, it may take a month or more — it’s OK to let it go longer. Vinegar is stable for a long time, though it will begin to lose its potency in time.
8. Draw off your finished vinegar. Pour the liquid through a strainer. Decant almost all of it to a clean, glass jar with a narrow neck and a top with a tight-fitting lid or new cork to reduce further oxidation. The vinegar will continue to age and mellow in the bottle.
9. Save the mother. Put the mother back into the fermenting vessel and pour remaining vinegar over it. This is the mother of vinegar for your next batch. You can either start a new batch now or let your mother sit at room temperature for up to a month until you’re ready to use it again.
If you plan to share the mother, now is the time to split it.
10. Age the vinegar. Store the vinegar at 50 to 60 degrees for six months to mellow and let particles settle. The vinegar will improve for up to two years, then slowly decline. Use the vinegar as is, dilute it to your taste, or infuse it with herbs or other flavors.

Source 2:

Vinegar is an alcoholic liquid that has been allowed to sour. It is primarily used to flavor and preserve foods and as an ingredient in salad dressings and marinades. Vinegar is also used as a cleaning agent. The word is from the French vin (wine) and aigre (sour).

The use of vinegar to flavor food is centuries old. It has also been used as a medicine, a corrosive agent, and as a preservative. In the Middle Ages, alchemists poured vinegar onto lead in order to create lead acetate. Called "sugar of lead," it was added to sour cider until it became clear that ingesting the sweetened cider proved deadly.

By the Renaissance era, vinegar-making was a lucrative business in France. Flavored with pepper, clovers, roses, fennel, and raspberries, the country was producing close to 150 scented and flavored vinegars. Production of vinegar was also burgeoning in Great Britain. It became so profitable that a 1673 Act of Parliament established a tax on so-called vinegar-beer. In the early days of the United States, the production of cider vinegar was a cornerstone of farm and domestic economy, bringing three times the price of traditional hard cider.

The transformation of wine or fruit juice to vinegar is a chemical process in which ethyl alcohol undergoes partial oxidation that results in the formation of acetaldehyde. In the third stage, the acetaldehyde is converted into acetic acid. The chemical reaction is as follows: CH 3 CH 2 OH=2HCH 3 CHO=CH 3 COOH.

Historically, several processes have been employed to make vinegar. In the slow, or natural, process, vats of cider are allowed to sit open at room temperature. During a period of several months, the fruit juices ferment into alcohol and then oxidize into acetic acid.
The French Orleans process is also called the continuous method. Fruit juice is periodically added to small batches of vinegar and stored in wooden barrels. As the fresh juice sours, it is skimmed off the top.

Both the slow and continuous methods require several months to produce vinegar. In the modern commercial production of vinegar, the generator method and the submerged fermentation method are employed. These methods are based on the goal of infusing as much oxygen as possible into the alcohol product.

Raw Materials

Vinegar is made from a variety of diluted alcohol products, the most common being wine, beer, and rice. Balsamic vinegar is made from the Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes of Italy's Emilia-Romagna region. Some distilled vinegars are made from wood products such as beech.

Acetobacters are microscopic bacteria that live on oxygen bubbles. Whereas the fermentation of grapes or hops to make wine or beer occurs in the absence of oxygen, the process of making vinegars relies on its presence. In the natural processes, the acetobacters are allowed to grow over time. In the vinegar factory, this process is induced by feeding acetozym nutrients into the tanks of alcohol.

Because acetobacter bacteria need oxygen to work, a wide-mouth crock, glass jar, food-grade plastic bucket, bowl, wooden cask or other non-metal container is best (vinegar corrodes metal). Do not fill the container more than about half-full to maximize the surface area ratio. 

Mother of vinegar is the gooey film that appears on the surface of the alcohol product as it is converted to vinegar. It is a natural carbohydrate called cellulose. This film holds the highest concentration of acetobacters. It is skimmed off the top and added to subsequent batches of alcohol to speed the formation of vinegar. Acetozym nutrients are manmade mother of vinegar in a powdered form.

Herbs and fruits are often used to flavor vinegar. Commonly used herbs include tarragon, garlic, and basil. Popular fruits include raspberries, cherries, and lemons.


The design step of making vinegar is essentially a recipe. Depending on the type of vinegar to be bottled at the production plant—wine vinegar, cider vinegar, or distilled vinegar—food scientists in the test kitchens and laboratories create recipes for the various vinegars. Specifications include the amount of mother of vinegar and/or acetozym nutrients added per gallon of alcohol product. For flavored vinegars, ingredients such as herbs and fruits are macerated in vinegar for varying periods to determine the best taste results.

The Manufacturing

The Orleans method

  1. Wooden barrels are laid on their sides. Bungholes are drilled into the top side and plugged with stoppers. Holes are also drilled into the ends of the barrels.
  2. The alcohol is poured into the barrel via long-necked funnels inserted into the bungholes. Mother of vinegar is added at this point. The barrel is filled to a level just below the holes on the ends. Netting or screens are placed over the holes to prevent insects from getting into the barrels.
  3. The filled barrels are allowed to sit for several months. The room temperature is kept at approximately 85°F (29°C). Samples are taken periodically by inserting a spigot into the side holes and drawing liquid off. When the alcohol has converted to vinegar, it is drawn off through the spigot. About 15% of the liquid is left in the barrel to blend with the next batch.

The submerged fermentation

  1. The submerged fermentation method is commonly used in the production of wine vinegars. Production plants are filled with large stainless steel tanks called acetators. The acetators are fitted with centrifugal pumps in the bottom that pump air bubbles into the tank in much the same way that an aquarium pump does.
  2. As the pump stirs the alcohol, acetozym nutrients are piped into the tank. The nutrients spur the growth of acetobacters on the oxygen bubbles. A heater in the tank keeps the temperature between 80 and 100°F (26-38°C).
  3. Within a matter of hours, the alcohol product has been converted into vinegar. The vinegar is piped from the acetators to a plate-and-frame filtering machine. The stainless steel plates press the alcohol through paper filters to remove any sediment, usually about 3% of the total product. The sediment is flushed into a drain while the filtered vinegar moves to the dilution station.

The generator method

  1. Distilled and industrial vinegars are often produced via the generator method. Tall oak vats are filled with vinegar-moistened beechwood shavings, charcoal, or grape pulp. The alcohol product is poured into the top of the vat and slowly drips down through the fillings.
  2. Oxygen is allowed into the vats in two ways. One is through bungholes that have been punched into the sides of the vats. The second is through the perforated bottoms of the vats. An air compressor blows air through the holes.
  3. When the alcohol product reaches the bottom of the vat, usually within in a span of several days to several weeks, it has converted to vinegar. It is poured off from the bottom of the vat into storage tanks. The vinegar produced in this method has a very high acetic acid content, often as high as 14%, and must be diluted with unchlorinated water to bring its acetic acid content to a range of 5-6%.
  4. To produce distilled vinegar, the diluted liquid is poured into a boiler and

    brought to its boiling point. A vapor rises from the liquid and is collected in a condenser. It then cools and becomes liquid again. This liquid is then bottled as distilled vinegar.

Bascsamic vinegar

  1. The production of balsamic vinegar most closely resembles the production of fine wine. In order to bear the name balsamic, the vinegar must be made from the juices of the Trebbiano and Lambrusco grapes. The juice is blended and boiled over a fire. It is then poured into barrels of oak, chestnut, cherry, mulberry, and ash.
  2. The juice is allowed to age, ferment, and condense for five years. At the beginning of each year, the aging liquid is mixed with younger vinegars and placed in a series of smaller barrels. The finished product absorbs aroma from the oak and color from the chestnut.

Quality Control

The growing of acetobacters, the bacteria that creates vinegar, requires vigilance. In the Orleans Method, bungholes must be checked routinely to ensure that insects have not penetrated the netting. In the generator method, great care is taken to keep the temperature inside the tanks in the 80-100°F range (26-38°C). Workers routinely check the thermostats on the tanks. Because a loss of electricity could kill the acetobacters within seconds, many vinegar plants have backup systems to produce electrical power in the event of a blackout.


Vinegar production results in very little by-products or waste. In fact, the alcohol product is often the by-product of other processes such as winemaking and baker's yeast.

Some sediment will result from the submerged fermentation method. This sediment is biodegradable and can be flushed down a drain for disposal.

The Future

By the end of the twentieth century, grocery stores in the United States were posting $200 million in vinegar sales. White distilled vinegar garners the largest percentage of the market, followed in order by cider, red wine, balsamic, and rice. Balsamic vinegar is the fastest growing type. In addition to its continued popularity as a condiment, vinegar is also widely used as a cleaning agent.

Where to Learn More


Lang, Jenifer Harvey, ed. Larousse Gastronomique. New York: Crown, 1984.
Proulx, Annie, and Lew Nichols. Cider: Making, Using and Enjoying Sweet and Hard Cider. Pownat, VT: Storey Communications, 1997.
Watson, Ben. Cider Hard and Sweet: History, Traditions, and Making Your Own. Woodstock, Vermont: Countryman Press, 1999.


Alcoholic Drinks of the Middle Ages: Vinegar. December 2001. < >.
Sonomna Vinegar Works Web Page. December 2001. < >.
Mary McNulty

Apple Cider Vinegar

Save up any apples that are beyond their prime—not rotten ones of course, but pulpy or spongy apples that are no longer suitable for eating are great for making vinegar. Of course, you can use fresh apples that are absolutely perfect too but I find that making apple cider vinegar from older apples is a good way to use up older ones without sending them to the compost bin.

Push them through an electric juicer to make apple juice. If you don’t have a juicer, just cut the apples into quarters and puree in a food processor (you can leave the cores and skins on). Then, push the apple pulp through a muslin-lined sieve or muslin bag to remove the fiber from the juice.
Pour the juice into clean, dark, glass jugs or bottles without putting a lid on them. Cover the tops with a few layers of cheesecloth and hold in place with an elastic band. Store the bottles or jars in a cool, dark place for between 3 weeks to 6 months, depending on the level of tanginess you prefer in your apple cider vinegar.

The longer the juice sits, the more acidic the vinegar will taste, while shorter times taste more like juice and only mildly like vinegar. Keep in mind that some alcohol may develop during the process, so if you use your vinegar early on in the fermentation cycle, it may actually taste more like apple cider wine than vinegar. Simply leave the apple juice/cider to ferment for a longer amount of time until the alcohol converts into acetic acid, which means it is now ready to use as vinegar.
If you purchased apple juice or apple cider, you can simply secure the cheesecloth over the top in place of the lid and store in a cook, dark place until it becomes vinegar.

You may notice a thick substance that forms on the top of the juice/vinegar. That’s the “mother” as it is known—the collection of bacteria that form in the juice that are responsible for converting it to vinegar. You can save the mother to use as a starter culture for the next batch of apple cider or other type of vinegar if you’d like. Using an existing mother helps to slightly speed up the process of making vinegar. Once you’re happy with the level of acidity, simply cap the bottles and store until you are ready to use.

For more great common sense tips on how to use everyday household items instead of expensive chemical based products, see

For additional information see the following links:
Blog Table of Contents

Complete Sustainable Living Plan
Blog Table of Contents
Acorn Flour Pancakes
Pemmican Recipe
Hardtack Recipe
Corn Bread
Sour Dough Bread
Corn Fritters
Apple Cider Vinegar
More on making Vinegar
Backing Soda vs Yeast
Baking Soda uses

See similar topics by clicking on the labels below 

Baking Soda vs Yeast

Which ingredients you use and their combination will affect the taste and texture. But what is the real difference?

Yeast is a little organism called a fungus, that when activated, consumes the sugars in flour and releases carbon dioxide as waste. When making a traditional (“slow”) bread, you combine it with flour, sugar, some liquid and other ingredients. When you knead the dough, the proteins inside form a stretchy matrix called gluten. This matrix traps the little gas bubbles produced by the yeast. Without a leavening agent like yeast, you'll end up with a dense blob that works better as a building material instead of bread.

The yeast produces gas when you let the dough rest for a while after kneading, and then expands again once heated in the oven. Once your ball of gas-filled gluten gets hot enough, it sets into the spongy, fluffy structure we call bread.
You'll notice that baking bread takes a while due to all of this waiting for yeast to work. We have some faster alternatives that instead rely on a chemical reaction between an acid and base to produce carbon dioxide.

Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. It will react with a liquid, acidic ingredient to produce carbon dioxide. You can see this for yourself by adding a bit of vinegar to a little baking soda in a small bowl. It will start to fizz immediately after adding the vinegar. Because the reaction is so fast, foods made with baking soda must be cooked immediately after mixing. For instance, pancakes made with baking soda will come out tall and fluffy if you can get it onto the griddle right away. However, if you let the batter sit for a while, say 30 minutes, they'll come out dense with a gummy center since the gas was lost while sitting. Baking soda also adds flavor and color to pancakes, muffins, and cookies by hastening browning.

Baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate) is said to have an infinite shelf life, but after you've had it for a few years you should test to make sure it hasn't lost all its potency. Unlike baking powder, baking soda only reacts when you add an acid to the solution.

NOTE:  Store plenty of Baking Soda 

To test it, add half a teaspoon of vinegar to a cup of hot water, then stir in half a teaspoon of baking soda. Like the baking powder, if it produces a lot of carbon dioxide bubbles, it's still good.

Baking powder is essentially baking soda mixed with a starch and powdered acid. Activating the reaction to generate carbon dioxide requires adding a liquid, like water. Most baking powders are “double acting”, which means they produce gas when moisture is added, and again when heated. This means that goods leavened with baking powder tend to be lighter and fluffier compared to foods leavened with only baking soda. Substituting baking powder with baking soda is possible, but the final product won't have the same flavor since it won't have the extra acidic ingredient that baking powder brings.

Baking powder usually has a shelf life of about 9 to 12 months. Testing it is super easy. Just stir about half a teaspoon of baking powder into a cup of hot water. It will immediately start to fizz and release carbon dioxide gas if it's still fresh enough to use. This trick should work with both single- and double-acting powder.

For a homemade baking powder, you can substitute a teaspoon of store-bought baking powder for a ¼ teaspoon of cornstarch, ¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar, and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. This will not be double acting, so you'll need to be very quick about getting your batter or dough onto the griddle or the oven.

When baking bread, 2 cups of sour dough starter are the equivalent of one (1) table spoon or packet of modern dry yeast which is sufficient for a loaf made from 3-4 cups of flour.  To make waffles or pancakes, just use the proofed sour dough starter after it has risen to its peak.

For additional information see the following links:
Blog Table of Contents
Acorn Flour Pancakes
Pemmican Recipe
Hardtack Recipe
Corn Bread
Sour Dough Bread
Corn Fritters
Apple Cider Vinegar
More on making Vinegar
Backing Soda vs Yeast
Baking Soda usesSee similar topics by clicking on the labels below

Uses for Baking Soda

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Personal Care Uses for Baking Soda

1. Make Toothpaste
A paste made from baking soda and a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution can be used as an alternative to commercial non-fluoride toothpastes. (Or here’s a formula for a minty version.) You can also just dip your toothbrush with toothpaste into baking soda for an extra boost.
2. Freshen Your Mouth
Put one teaspoon in half a glass of water, swish, spit and rinse. Odors are neutralized, not just covered up.
3. Soak Oral Appliance
Soak oral appliances, like retainers, mouthpieces and dentures, in a solution of 2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in a glass or small bowl of warm water. The baking soda loosens food particles and neutralizes odors to keep appliances fresh. You can also brush appliances clean using baking soda.
4. Use as a Facial Scrub and Body Exfoliant
Give yourself an invigorating facial and body scrub. Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Rub in a gentle circular motion to exfoliate the skin. Rinse clean. This is gentle enough for daily use. (For a stronger exfoliant, try one of these great 5 Homemade Sugar Scrubs.)
5. Skip Harsh Deodorant
Pat baking soda onto your underarms to neutralize body odor.
6. Use as an Antacid
Baking soda is a safe and effective antacid to relieve heartburn, sour stomach and/or acid indigestion. Refer to baking soda package for instructions.
7. Treat Insect Bites & Itchy Skin
For insect bites, make a paste out of baking soda and water, and apply as a salve onto affected skin. To ease the itch, shake some baking soda into your hand and rub it into damp skin after bath or shower. For specific tips on bee stings, see Bee Stings: Prevention and Treatment.
8. Make a Hand Cleanser and Softener
Skip harsh soaps and gently scrub away ground-in dirt and neutralize odors on hands with a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water, or 3 parts baking soda to gentle liquid hand soap. Then rinse clean. You can try this honey and cornmeal scrub for hands too.
9. Help Your Hair
Vinegar is amazing for your hair, but baking soda has its place in the shower too. Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda into your palm along with your favorite shampoo. Shampoo as usual and rinse thoroughly–baking soda helps remove the residue that styling products leave behind so your hair is cleaner and more manageable.
10. Clean Brushes and Combs
For lustrous hair with more shine, keep brushes and combs clean. Remove natural oil build-up and hair product residue by soaking combs and brushes in a solution of 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a small basin of warm water. Rinse and allow to dry.
11. Make a Bath Soak
Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your bath to neutralize acids on the skin and help wash away oil and perspiration, it also makes your skin feel very soft. Epsom salts are pretty miraculous for the bath too; read about the health benefits of epsom salt baths.
12. Soothe Your Feet
Dissolve 3 tablespoons of baking soda in a tub of warm water and soak feet. Gently scrub. You can also make a spa soak for your feet.

Cleaning with Baking Soda

13. Make a Surface Soft Scrub
For safe, effective cleaning of bathroom tubs, tile and sinks–even fiberglass and glossy tiles–sprinkle baking soda lightly on a clean damp sponge and scrub as usual. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry. For extra cleaning power, make a paste with baking soda, course salt and liquid dish soap—let it sit then scour off.
14. Handwash Dishes and Pots & Pans
Add 2 heaping tablespoons baking soda (along with your regular dish detergent) to the dish water to help cut grease and foods left on dishes, pots and pans. For cooked-on foods, let them soak in the baking soda and detergent with water first, then use dry baking soda on a clean damp sponge or cloth as a scratchless scouring powder. Using a dishwasher? Try these energy saving tips.
15. Freshen Sponges
Soak stale-smelling sponges in a strong baking soda solution to get rid of the mess (4 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in 1 quart of warm water). For more thorough disinfecting, use the microwave.
16. Clean the Microwave
Baking soda on a clean damp sponge cleans gently inside and outside the microwave and never leaves a harsh chemical smell. Rinse well with water.
17. Polish Silver Flatware
Use a baking soda paste made with 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Rub onto the silver with a clean cloth or sponge. Rinse thoroughly and dry for shining sterling and silver-plate serving pieces.
18. Clean Coffee and Tea Pots
Remove coffee and tea stains and eliminate bitter off-tastes by washing mugs and coffee makers in a solution of 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart of warm water. For stubborn stains, try soaking overnight in the baking soda solution and detergent or scrubbing with baking soda on a clean damp sponge.
19. Clean the Oven
Sprinkle baking soda onto the bottom of the oven. Spray with water to dampen the baking soda. Let sit overnight. In the morning, scrub, scoop the baking soda and grime out with a sponge, or vacuum, and rinse.
20. Clean Floors
Remove dirt and grime (without unwanted scratch marks) from no wax and tile floors using 1/2 cup baking soda in a bucket of warm water–mop and rinse clean for a sparkling floor. For scuff marks, use baking soda on a clean damp sponge, then rinse. Read Natural Floor Cleaning for more tips on avoiding toxic floor cleaners.
21. Clean Furniture
You can make a homemade lemon furniture polish, or you can clean and remove marks (even crayon) from walls and painted furniture by applying baking soda to a damp sponge and rubbing lightly. Wipe off with a clean, dry cloth.
22. Clean Shower Curtains
Clean and deodorize your vinyl shower curtain by sprinkling baking soda directly on a clean damp sponge or brush. Scrub the shower curtain and rinse clean. Hang it up to dry.
ThinkstockPhotos-86532621 (1)
23. Boost Your Liquid Laundry Detergent
Give your laundry a boost by adding 1/2 cup of baking soda to your laundry to make liquid detergent work harder. A better balance of pH in the wash gets clothes cleaner, fresher and brighter.
24. Gently Clean Baby Clothes
Baby skin requires the most gentle of cleansers, which are increasingly available, but odor and stain fighters are often harsh. For tough stains add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your liquid laundry detergent, or a 1/2 cup in the rinse cycle for deodorization.
25. Clean Cloth Diapers
Dissolve 1/2 cup of baking soda in 2 quarts of water and soak diapers thoroughly.
26. Clean and Freshen Sports Gear
Use a baking soda solution (4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water) to clean and deodorize smelly sports equipment. Sprinkle baking soda into golf bags and gym bags to deodorize, clean golf irons (without scratching them!) with a baking soda paste (3 parts baking soda to 1 part water) and a brush. Rinse thoroughly.
27. Remove Oil and Grease Stains
Use baking soda to clean up light-duty oil and grease spills on your garage floor or in your driveway. Sprinkle baking soda on the spot and scrub with a wet brush.
28. Clean Batteries
Baking soda can be used to neutralize battery acid corrosion on cars, mowers, etc. because its a mild alkali. Be sure to disconnect the battery terminals before cleaning. Make a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water, apply with a damp cloth to scrub corrosion from the battery terminal. After cleaning and re-connecting the terminals, wipe them with petroleum jelly to prevent future corrosion. Please be careful when working around a battery–they contain a strong acid.
29. Clean Cars
Use baking soda to clean your car lights, chrome, windows, tires, vinyl seats and floor mats without worrying about unwanted scratch marks. Use a baking soda solution of 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart of warm water. Apply with a sponge or soft cloth to remove road grime, tree sap, bugs and tar. For stubborn stains, use baking soda sprinkled on a damp sponge or soft brush. Here’s how Sustainable Dave washes his car.

Deodorizing with Baking Soda

30. Deodorize Your Refrigerator
Place an open box in the back of the fridge to neutralize odors.
31. Deodorize the Cutting Board
Sprinkle the cutting board with baking soda, scrub, rinse. For how to more thoroughly clean your cutting board, see How To Clean Your Cutting Boards.
32. Deodorize Trashcans
Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of your trashcan to keep stinky trash smells at bay.
33. Deodorize Recyclables
Sprinkle baking soda on top as you add to the container. Also, clean your recyclable container periodically by sprinkling baking soda on a damp sponge. Wipe clean and rinse. Learn about how to recycle everything.
34. Deodorize Drains
To deodorize your sink and tub drains, and keep lingering odors from resurfacing, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain while running warm tap water–it will neutralize both acid and basic odors for a fresh drain. (This a good way to dispose of baking soda that is being retired from your refrigerator.) Do you know what you’re not supposed to put down your drains?
35. Deodorize and Clean Dishwashers
Use baking soda to deodorize before you run the dishwasher and then as a gentle cleanser in the wash cycle.
36. Deodorize Garbage Disposals
To deodorize your disposal, and keep lingering odors from resurfacing, pour baking soda down the drain while running warm tap water. Baking soda will neutralize both acid and basic odors for a fresh drain.
37. Deodorize Lunch Boxes
Between uses, place a spill-proof box of baking soda in everyone’s lunch box to absorb lingering odors. Read bout safe lunch boxes here.
38. Remove Odor From Carpets
Liberally sprinkle baking soda on the carpet. Let set overnight, or as long as possible (the longer it sets the better it works). Sweep up the larger amounts of baking soda, and vacuum up the rest. (Note that your vacuum cleaner bag will get full and heavy.)
39. Remove Odor From Vacuum Cleaners
By using the method above for carpets, you will also deodorize your vacuum cleaner.
40. Freshen Closets
Place a box on the shelf to keep the closet smelling fresh, then follow these tips to organize your closet in an eco-friendly way.
41. Deodorizing Cars
Odors settle into car upholstery and carpet, so each time you step in and sit down, they are released into the air all over again. Eliminate these odors by sprinkling baking soda directly on fabric car seats and carpets. Wait 15 minutes (or longer for strong odors) and vacuum up the baking soda.
42. Deodorize the Cat Box
Cover the bottom of the pan with baking soda, then fill as usual with litter. To freshen between changes, sprinkle baking soda on top of the litter after a thorough cleaning. You can also use green tea for this purpose!
43. Deodorize Pet Bedding
Eliminate odors from your pets bedding by sprinkling liberally with baking soda, wait 15 minutes (or longer for stronger odors), then vacuum up.
44. Deodorize Sneakers
Keep odors from spreading in smelly sneakers by shaking baking soda into them when not in use. Shake out before wearing. When they’re no longer wearable, make sure to donate your old sneakers.
Cat comfortably lies in a fabric linen
45. Freshen Linens
Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle for fresher sheets and towels. You can also make homemade lavender linen water with this formula.
46. Deodorize Your Wash
Gym clothes of other odoriferous clothing can be neutralized with a 1/2 cup of baking soda in the rinse cycle.
47. Freshen Stuffed Animals
Keep favorite cuddly toys fresh with a dry shower of baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda on and let it sit for 15 minutes before brushing off

Miscellaneous Uses for Baking Soda

48. Camping Cure-all
Baking soda is a must-have for your next camping trip. Its a dish washer, pot scrubber, hand cleanser, deodorant, toothpaste, fire extinguisher and many other uses.
49. Extinguish Fires
Baking soda can help in the initial handling of minor grease or electrical kitchen fires, because when baking soda is heated, it gives off carbon dioxide, which helps to smother the flames. For small cooking fires (frying pans, broilers, ovens, grills), turn off the gas or electricity if you can safely do so. Stand back and throw handfuls of baking soda at the base of the flame to help put out the fire–and call the Fire Department just to be safe. (And, you should have a fire extinguisher on hand anyway, here’s why.
50. Septic Care
Regular use of baking soda in your drains can help keep your septic system flowing freely. One cup of baking soda per week will help maintain a favorable pH in your septic tank.
51. Fruit and Vegetable Scrub
Baking soda is the food safe way to clean dirt and residue off fresh fruit and vegetables. Just sprinkle a little on a clean damp sponge, scrub and rinse. Here’s another way to clean your vegetables as well.

For more great common sense tips on how to use everyday household items instead of expensive chemical based products, see

For additional information see the following links:
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Complete Sustainable Living Plan
Blog Table of Contents
Acorn Flour Pancakes
Pemmican Recipe
Hardtack Recipe
Corn Bread
Sour Dough Bread
Corn Fritters
Apple Cider Vinegar
More on making Vinegar
Backing Soda vs Yeast
Baking Soda uses

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Rechargable Batteries

NO more batteries!!! Imagine what it would be like if our supply suddenly stopped.  We use them in just about everything.  In the next few days, notice how often, then try to go 24 hours without them.
Americans are addicted to batteries.

Things like:
  1. Cell Phones,
  2. Flash lights
  3. Radio's
  4. Smoke Detectors
  5. Clocks 
  6. Thermometers (kids have a fever)
  7. Outdoor Lawn Lights
  8. Walkie Talkies for Communication
  9. Motion detecting driveway alarms (Intruder Detection)
  10. Motion detecting game cameras 
  11. Motion detecting lights (where electricity is not available but light is needed)
  12. Home Security Alarm (backup power)
  13. Emergency Weather Alarm (backup power)
  14. Remote controls for TV's DVR's, Fans and more
  15. Toys of all kinds and more

Panasonic K-KJ17MC124A Eneloop Power Pack
Rechargeable battery technology has made great progress. Having rechargeable batteries and Solar Power could be a huge benefit in a Power Outage, or even worse, a Nuke or EMP detonation.

Above is a great starter kit with AA, AAA, C & D capability, but you can start with as few as four AA Batteries (top right) and a $5.00 Solar Battery Charger and slowly change your home over to rechargeable batteries. I would store my chargers and batteries in a metal Ammo can. After years of testing and transitioning, my home is 90% Rechargeable with mostly odd sizes still using disposables. 

I would first buy a good "Smart" charger that can charge many different kinds of batteries like the MrBatt (below) or the Eneloop Power Pack (above center). The two above are great, but only charge AA and AAA batteries.  The PowerX 8 is similar, but can charge 8 AA or AAA batteries or a combination of the two sizes as shown below; I use this one the most.  The Solar 11-1 would be my second choice charger, followed by the PowerX 8 and then an extra Mr.Batt.

I would store my solar powered charger (11-1), My extra Mr Batt and a mix of batteries in a metal MIL STD Ammo Can for weather and EMP protection.

Using rechargeable batteries cost more up front, but less in the long run, and they last much longer. 
Solar 11 in 1
PowerX 8 (above)

Mr. Batt

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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Best Prepper Transportation

Bug Out Vehicle Criteria
  1.  Reliable - Doesn't break down. EMP hardy with no electronics requires a pre 1970's vehicle in most cases, but that is only a factor if we are hit with a Nuke or Solar Flare.
  2.  Street and Off-road capable -  Ability to drive where most other vehicles cannot go.  Under normal vehicle use, you need to be able to cruse comfortably at 70 mph and under SHTF circumstances, able to handle the worst dirt roads you might encounter.  When being pursued, or trying to stay off the beaten path, you can drive through a field, the woods, a narrow alley, foot trail or down the train tracks which is a big advantage.
  3. Fast - speed to outrun most other vehicles; unfortunately this will consume a lot of fuel and is likely reduce the range and quietness, but could be a huge advantage trying to escape a large SUV full of gangsters.
  4. Quite -  No loud exhausts that will attract danger, the quieter the better.  Few modes of transportation are quieter than an electric vehicle.  Another huge advantage is to drive at night with the lights out.  To do this, we can install optional fog lights using infra red (IR) lights and use rechargeable Night Vision (plugged in to the vehicle) or Thermal Vision.  If no IR, we can use Red Infrared Light bulbs used as heat lights. Having a Look Out or Scout checking ahead and surroundings with with
    Thermal Vision can be a huge advantage.  Also see Group Movement.
  5. Carrying Capacity - Sufficient capacity for your needs.  More if traveling a great distance to a Bug Out Location, less if used for regional scouting. Extra fuel, ammo, water and food are heavy and can require a lot of space in addition to passengers. Ideally most of your supplies are already at your Bug Out Location (BOL) but you need to carry enough supplies to last double your expected travel time.  See Rule of 3's to prioritize the supplies you pack.
  6. Long Travel Range - Ideally you can get where you are going without refueling. More range is needed if traveling a great distance to a Bug Out Location, less if used for regional scouting. Fuel efficiency and/or fuel capacity can deliver the desired results.  For example, a 50 MPG Prius (or motor cycle) with an extra 20 gallon tank (31.9 total) will travel over 1,500 miles without refueling.  Los Angeles CA to New York NY is 2,800 miles. So this would get you half way across the United States. Make this a Plugin Prius (Hybrid) and add a few 150 watt solar panels and you can extend this range 10 miles per day as well as have fuel when there is no gasoline available. Its also quite, but likely not EMP compatible. Gasoline with government mandated ethanol has a shelf life of about 6-12 months so supplies could run out fast. An RV is good for a Nomadic life style while civilization holds up.
  7. Easily Maintained - Low maintenance, no maintenance, easy to work on with common tools and has spare parts available. This means no oddball or highly specialized vehicles. Low maintenance is a big plus as you won't have a lot of time to work on it.
  8. Intangible - that something special or extra that makes a real functional difference.  Solar powered, eat grass, able to reproduce, sea worthy away from crowds, are all examples.
 Ranking these for some potential vehicles, we come up with a score.  Below is my scoring, what is yours?  Suggestions are appreciated! 
Aosom Bike Trailer

Fuel is usually plentiful
In the end, you must select the best transportation for your needs, but this should help you make the best decision for your needs.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Surviving a Partial Collapse

Lets start by Categorizing Catastrophic Events to put them in perspective:

Level 10 - the entire planet earth is destroyed
Level  9 - 90% of the humans on planet earth are killed (Asteroid Strike)
Level  8 - 50% of the humans on planet earth are killed
Level  7 - 90% of the humans on a continent are killed (Nuclear Winter)
Level  6 - 50% of the humans on a continent are killed
Level  5 - 90% of the humans in a region are killed (EMP)
Level  4 - 50% of the humans in a region are killed
Level  3 - 10% of the humans in a region are killed
Level  2 -  5% of the humans in a region are killed
Level  1 - single digit % of the humans in a region are killed

An Asteroid Strike, Nuclear WinterEMP or a Solar Flare would likely cause a total collapse of our country civilization.  Such an event could be classified from Level 3 to Level 9, but a more likely scenario would be a temporary Partial Collapse that would be from an event in the Level 1 to Level 3 range and which might include things like:
  1. Large scale natural like a Super Volcano
  2. Man-made disaster or Terrorist Attack such as a small Iranian nuke in several US cities
  3. A global economic recession and Hyper Inflation
  4. Civil, political and religious unrest with Riots and Looting
  5. A nation wide Pandemic <- Click on Links for more info
More common events like Winter Storms, Hurricanes, Floods and Power Outages can cause regional breakdowns, but help will soon be on the way.  These are Level 1 events.  Where the really serious problem starts is when the domestic "Help" is also incapacitated and won't be able to come.  This quickly escalates an event classification by one or more Levels.

Realistically, most Preppers can only afford to prepare for things in the Level 1 to Level 4 scale.  The preparations or these events are similar except for how long you need to prepare for, how much water and food you need and how much seed & land for longer term events. 

This is where our Step by Step Prepper Plan comes in handy. The more you follow the plan and repeat the cycle, the better prepared you are for longer and more serious events.  Once you get to the point where you have a 1 - 2 year supply of food, seed, tools for a Prepper Garden, Livestock and extra supplies to Barter then you are ready to start working on an underground shelter with Solar Power. There are a number of sources on this, and some group retreats have them included.  The more catastrophic Level 5 and higher events will likely require a substantial investment to survive underground.  Nuclear preparations are well documented and information is readily available and not expensive. has lots of good nuclear info, products and links to even more.

Below is a picture showing the before (bottom) and after (top) effects of an 18 kilo tonne (kt) nuclear bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima Japan. The nuclear bomb sizes last published were 200,000 kt, or 11,000 times more powerful.  Likely nuclear targets for the US include Washington DC, Houston, New Orleans, New York, Chicago and Los Angles plus other large population centers.

The devastation is major but primarily on the surface.  Radioactive fall out is likely to kill just as many as the blast. 

After having your preps in order, getting to your retreat early is a key.  Recognizing the RED FLAG warnings that it is time to bug out is important.  Short term Level 1 events can be dealt with in the city, with a good Urban PlanSustainable City Survival is possible if well prepared, but chances are lower than in the country.  Knowing what to expect in urban areas will help.  Country dwellers should expect to be swarmed with city gangs desperately seeking food and water. 

Once you are well stocked, you need a security plan to protect your supplies and loved ones.  Here are some links to read about security:

Night Vision vs Thermal Vision
Investing for Preppers (Financial Security)
The Best Gun
Best Handgun Selection Criteria

Group Security Drills
Urban Survival Perspective
Urban Survival Plan
The right amount of Ammo

Passive Layered Security
Actionable Intelligence
PVC Survival Tube

Using your garden for cover
Security Patrol Pack (or Bug Out pack)
Country Home Security Plan
Home Invasion Response Plan

Guns in plain sight
Situational Awareness
Intruder Detection
Riot Preparations

Double Barreled Defense
Modern Home Security
Sustainable City Survival
BB Gun

Top 5 Combat Rifles
Best Prepper Dog

For additional information see the following links:
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