Damp storage area

Congrats on your upcoming nuptials and I wish you all of the future happiness possible.
My question is: I have a sizeable quantity of Nitrogen Packed storage food and I have always had them stored in my cool basement. Some time ago a hot water pipe broke in the basement and it turned into a sauna, I discovered this about three days after the event. Some of the cans #2½ and #10 got damp because of the humidity and there is some rust on the exterior but not too bad. Can I use the contents in the future without problems as I am worried about the reduction of the lifespan. Also could you suggest a good book for cooking my storage food, most is Nitrogen packed and some is dehydrated.

Ed Leckey
Montross, Virginia

Thanks Ed. We had a beautiful wedding and our honeymoon was at the Energy Fair in Wisconsin. (Well, a WORKING honeymoon, at any rate. We had fun.)

I’m pretty sure your Nitro Pack foods will be fine. The containers are very moisture proof. Make sure they get dried off and you should be fine. Of course, it’d be a good idea if you would open one or two of them and use that food first so you can be positive your stored foods are fine. A book? How about my new one? It’s packed full of recipes using not only foods from your storage pantry, but those from your garden, and homegrown meats, too. Jackie Clay’s Pantry Cookbook is available through both the website and the magazine. — Jackie

Reusable canning lids

Jackie – I’m a computer idiot (scared to death of the darn things) and after reading your past answers to questions I haven’t found an answer to my question. I’ve seen reusable canning lids for sale in several magazines, but you always say in every article and book of yours I’ve read that lids should never be used more than once. Do the reusable lids not work as the seller claims? Thank you for helping me.

Dinah Russell
Oviedo, Florida

Lids manufactured by Tattler are the only reusable lids I’m aware of. When I say to not use a lid more than once, I’m referring to using regular metal two piece Kerr and Ball type lids, not the Tattler lids. The Tattler lids are definitely reusable; I use them myself and have been very happy with them!  — Jackie

Drying onions

I could not find this on your blog, nor have I found it anywhere else, so far anyway. I am drying some onions (white) that I grew organically. I am going to grind these into a powder. My question is this: will drying and grinding destroy the vitamins and minerals found in the onions? If you don’t know, that’s okay. Everything you do is an inspiration to people like me. Some day I may be able to do the same. In the mean time I am doing small things to learn how to be more self-sufficient.

Robb Simer
Deer Park, Texas

Dehydrating and grinding will not destroy the nutrients in onions and other foods. Just be sure not to crank the heat on your dehydrator, trying to get done faster. This can reduce the nutrition in foods. Follow dehydrator instructions, use a simple solar dehydrator (keep watch of the temperature; you want to dehydrate between 140 and 160 degrees), or use your propane kitchen stove with only the pilot on.

Doing small things to learn self sufficiency results in huge results! Keep up the good work. — Jackie