Saturday, February 25, 2012

Manual Washing Machines & Long-Term Dairy Storage

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The title may seem odd, but that is what my life was all about the past few days.  It was a time of experimentation with food storage theories, and also a household mini-disaster where my emergency preparedness came in handy.  I took a class at Honeyville Grain last summer taught by a sister team, Afton & Jenee, and they had some interesting ideas on how to preserve eggs, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, and cottage cheese. (click HERE to see that post) I tested some of their ideas and so far so good!!  I also had a slight disaster when our washing machine died.  Of course the minute we can't do laundry all my kids were insistent they HAD to do laundry right now!  

One of the ideas that I learned in that food storage class last summer is if you store your yogurt, sour cream, and cottage cheese containers upside down in the fridge they will stay fresh for months.  I may have taken this too literally, but I wanted to make quiche for dinner the other night and it called for cottage cheese, and lo and behold look at what I found in the back corner of the fridge....
 The date I used this in our dinner was February 22, months after putting this container in the fridge, upside down.  And you know what?? We are all alive today to tell you that turning your containers upside down WORKS!!!  I was convinced that just because my washing machine was broken that we were all going to be up all night with food poisoning and I would have no way to wash the sheets :)  But I was almost doing a happy dance when I opened the container and smelled it and it was exactly like fresh cottage cheese from the store!!  (I also have a post on storing cheese and eggs on the shelf for next week, so stayed tuned for that one!)

Now onto the washing machine broke and we are now waiting for a new one to be delivered (in maybe a week).  I have a potty-training 3 year old who goes through 3-4 pairs of underwear a day. (she's 3 so don't worry about her being embarrassed, maybe in 10 years :)  And of course she is now out of clean underwear and I was very close to buying new ones when I remembered my manual washing machine.  
Notice the pull-up and no pants :) They were all dirty.
 I have had a manual washer in my storage room but hadn't put together the whole contraption.  Today was the day we put it together and used it!  
We first drilled a hole in a gamma lid.
See how it all fits together.
I added a few drops of detergent and the clothes.
We started with the lid on but it was actually easier to use the suction of the plunger with the lid off.  My 2 youngest LOVED this job!!
 I drained and rinsed the clothes in the same bucket and wrung them out and then we dried them in the dryer.  What really caught my attention was how much water I would need to do laundry every week.  We used a 2 liter bottle and counted how many it would take to fill the bucket to be able to do a load of laundry.
 It took four 2-liter bottles to fill the bucket half-way with enough water to wash 6 pairs of child size 4 pants. And that was only to wash, more water would be needed to rinse the clothes.  I have quite a bit of water storage but I am adding to it everyday now!!  We had fun washing the clothes in a bucket but it was actually kind of hard.  It hurt my hands to hold the plunger after awhile and after ringing out the clothes my hands were so dry from the detergent.  I am working on  making a clothes ringer out of buckets, but I had to do it with my hands.  The bucket also doesn't hold that much.  My son is 8 and it held 4 pairs of his pants and we left the lid off the bucket to move them around with the plunger.  My 12 year old did her laundry in the bath tub and used the plunger.  I actually think that was a better way to do a large load, but it was hard on her back to bend over for that long.  (Imagine my back after doing that) 

We learned so much from doing this simple task of washing our clothes in a bucket.  I can also watch for food sales and stock up on sour cream, cottage cheese, eggs, and cheese and have the knowledge to be able to store them for months, while saving my family money!!  Learning NOW before a disaster is what I think is so important!!  Don't wait for an emergency to try out your sun oven, or porta potty, or manual washer.  You'll deeply regret not learning skills now when you have the time and energy to do so.  

(Click HERE to view a previous post on washing clothes without electricity)


  1. whats the theory behind storing cottage cheese and sour cream upside down??? what is it about doing that, that makes it last longer???

    1. I was told that the air goes to the other end of the container and seals the lid so air can't get in. It works and helps me stock up when they are on sale.

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