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Ask Jackie headline

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Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
on any aspect of low-tech, self-reliant living.

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Jackie Clay

Q and A: Pinto beans, storing pasta, and home insurance while building

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Pinto beans

I am interested in purchasing a brand of pinto beans called Navaho Pinto Beans. Are you familiar with this variety, and where I might purchase a few pounds? This variety is supposed to cook quicker.

Paulding, Ohio

No, I’m not familiar with Navajo Pintos. The Navajo nation grows a variety of pinto called Navajo Pride. You can Google this variety and find contact information. Otherwise, Native Seeds/SEARCH carries dozens of native beans, many of which cook very quickly. I can up my pintos so when I want a mess of pintos or refried beans, I just dump out a jar. Now THAT’S quick cooking! — Jackie

Storing pasta

Recently you had a question about storing pasta. You said to be sure the pasta was dry before putting it into jars. My question for you is, Can I dry my homemade pasta in the excalibur dehydrator and if so, about for how long?

Second question, have you ever dehydrated cooked rice for a “minute rice” type instant rice? I have read it can be done but haven’t tried it yet.

Lee Galloway
Redding, California

Yes, you can. You want to dry pasta until it snaps when bent. Don’t dry it so long that it begins to discolor though.

No, I don’t dehydrate cooked rice to make “minute-type” rice. I don’t want to bother; rice doesn’t take all that long to cook, and I don’t want to lose the nutrition by cooking it twice. — Jackie

Home insurance while building

What do you do about Home Insurance when you are building or remodeling your self-sufficient house? We bought a lovely acreage with an old farmhouse that we are working on steadily as cash allows. I cannot get or keep homeowners insurance on it because all the companies want this and that done before they will allow it and gosh darn I have other projects more important than new siding, say a ceiling in my bathroom! I am very frustrated but it makes me nervous not having insurance when I don’t have the cash to replace what I have invested so far. How have you dealt with it in the past?

Michelle Plamondon
Thompsonville, Michigan

To tell you the truth, we have faced this situation and just did not have the cash to pay for high priced insurance on a place we were building. We could get it, but the cost was extreme. So we built and we prayed and sweated, especially when a forest fire was within half a mile of our place. Finally, we were done enough to get insurance for a reasonable price.

In Minnesota, when you’re turned down by several insurance companies, there is a pool of insurance companies through whom you can get insurance. I think it’s a state-run program. I’d check with an insurance agent in Michigan, as the states vary a lot regarding laws. — Jackie

3 Responses to “Q and A: Pinto beans, storing pasta, and home insurance while building”

  1. CBP Says:

    I just discovered a recipe for some “seasoned” pinto beans, so I tried just canning a couple of pounds. Oh My Goodness!! Its soooo much better than the store bought.

    Jackie you are a true inspiration. Without your knowledge and encouragement that you offer us, I never would have canned a dried bean!!

  2. C Phelps Says:

    Michelle P.
    My wife and I live in 1972 “double wide” trailer on 1.5 acres. We heat with a wood stove. Everything is paid for, and we pay cash (check, debit card for the Web) or don’t buy.
    We have no insurance – none.
    We don’t have the problem of forest fires, but we check that wood stove whenever we feel uncertain how it is. I’ve gotten up in the night and checked it.
    Caution equals safety for us.
    I also cut a hole in the side of the trailer in the bedroom so we can get out if a fire happens. Otherwise, we would have to pass by the wood stove to get out. Yes, we live in Michigan, yes, there is a hinged and insulated door for the opening that can be opened only from the inside. The hole is two by two feet and about two and one-half feet off the ground with nothing in front of it outside.
    Perhaps this might help you think up your own way of coping with uninsured fire.

  3. Michelle Says:

    Thanks C Phelps. We have new windows put in that will be easy to escape through. I’m worried about losing evrything I have invested in a fire…or being sued by someone that comes on my property and gets hurt.

    Anyone: Any thoughts on having just a liability policy…in case someone on my property hurts themselves and sues?

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