The KISS Survival Food System

By W. David Goines
(Copyright 1999)

The KISS (keeping it simply simple) Survival Food System is designed to introduce and integrate fresh foods into daily living such that it becomes part of your lifestyle. In searching for an adequate "survival food", I was concerned for a number of elements: This food needed to have superior qualities of: storage, usability, economy, nutrition, and be manageable with minimal energy requirements. In other words - it needed to be simply SIMPLE. If it could also replicate itself would also be nice - just in case I could never buy any more of it in this lifetime.

In a "survival" or "emergency" sense, it seemed unrealistic, and almost incomprehensible that I could store a years supply of everything that I would like to have or that I am accustomed to in our everyday modern living standards. Likewise, I wanted my foods to be fresh, not canned, not frozen, and not require a lot of energy to either store or use/prepare. Further, I needed my food to be familiar, such that it would not require a drastic dietary change - which of itself could be a disaster. I would also like to be able to store a years supply in small containers - such that if I had to flee, I could easily take my food with me. I wanted a food that was good tasting and could be used in a number of ways providing a lot of variety. Lord - what could this food possibly be?

Indeed, I prayed about it and was told that only one food upon the earth would meet my requirements. This food is the humble "bean". In its dry state: it stores well, with virtually no energy requirements other than to be protected from moisture or extreme heat. It and its many cousins offer a profound variety of taste, texture, and nutrition for its incredibly low dry weight. Indeed, it is portable, economical, and it can replicate itself if necessary. While in its dry form, it can be ground into flours or meal with simple tools, mixed with water for a variety of breads & crackers using minimal energy (sun baked even). With soaking, the bean can be easily worked into a paste or eaten raw if necessary.

As a sprouted product - the humble bean becomes a live vegetable providing many times its own volume and nutritional value. A nearly complete food capable of replicating itself many times over when planted in soil, again with very minimal energy requirements i.e. beans fix nitrogen back to the soil instead of depleting it and have only minimal requirements of their own for fertility. The leaves of the bean plant can also be eaten as part of the crop while you are waiting for the beans to mature and return to the dry state. Harvesting is simple. The sprouting process can be carried out year round with very minimal requirements. No doubt - this is real "survival" food. Likewise, sprouted beans can easily be incorporated into your modern daily diet with measurable health benefits. The Chinese have long valued the sprouted bean as a mainstay food. Note that I am advocating sprouted beans - not just bean sprouts, as the sprouted beans represent a much superior food product than just eating the sprouts. Interestingly, sprouted beans contain all the enzymes necessary for proper digestion as a more complete food. When greened or allowed to leaf a little the simple bean becomes a nutritional powerhouse of incomparable value. A living fresh food.

I have researched and tested every bean I could find across common availability. Of the grocery store varieties, I found that the small varieties seem to work best for sprouting. These include: Navy bean, Black Turtle Beans, Red field peas (actually beans) and Lentils. All are legumes (beans) . They offer good taste, texture, and nutritional variety. Mung beans work well, but are usually more difficult to find outside of Asian markets. These varieties typically cost something in the range of 50 cents per pound (retail). In selecting a bag of beans, look for packages that contain very few broken beans. A broken bean definitely won't sprout and a large percentage of broken beans means that the beans have been poorly handled, are old, and might even be dead due to poor handling. Definitely, buy your beans from many sources (different stores) and plan to test and repackage each pound of beans that you buy. If indeed you get a package that does not sprout well, you can use it more immediately for either flour or as a cooked bean product. Even a dead bean has value - just not for sprouting. I buy beans nearly every week of the year, sprouting some from each batch for our weekly usage, repackaging and labeling with date in zippered plastic bags. Properly packaged and stored beans can remain "sprout" viable for up to 5 years. I prefer to keep mine in nearly constant rotation to assure annual freshness whenever possible. Otherwise, be sure that your beans are for human consumption as a food product - NOT seed. Seed for growing has most likely been treated with a pesticide and is not safe for consumption as a fresh food sprout product. For flour - I like pinto beans.

As a primary food source, figure approximately 100 pounds of beans per person per year. Two to four ounces of dry beans will produce a pound or more of sprouts. From a survival sense - a person could live on a pound of sprouted beans a day. As a supplemental food source in which you will add grains, seafood, game meats, or other food products, then 50 pounds of beans per year per person is probably adequate to have on hand. Likewise, some of this supply might possibly be planted, thereby fully replicating your annual supply in one 60 to 75 day growing season. One pound of planted beans could produce 50 pounds or more at harvest. I have opted for a supplemental supply system for our needs. Purchasing 2 to 4 pounds of beans a week, you will soon have your supply even with daily or "sprout test" quantities removed.

I use two plastic totes (10 gallon capacity). Each will hold approximately 45 to 60 pounds of beans, is easily portable, and requires only a small amount of storage space. (You could actually use your stacked totes as end or coffee tables if space is a premium.) I immediately re-package each pound of beans I purchase. I also sprout test a couple of ounces from each package/variety to check for viability. If sprout viability is poor - then I separate and use that package (s) as a cooked bean product or for flour as soon as convenient. Quart size zippered bags will easily hold one to two pounds of beans per. Press excess air from each bag as you seal them. Likewise, they may be reused as desired.

There are several so called "sprout farms" on the market today. Likewise, a "sprouter" can be as simple as a quart jar, topped with plastic window screen, the jar ring or a rubber band. I discovered however that beans sprout best in a lightless environment i.e. the sprouts will reach greater lengths if searching for light. I therefore developed my own "sprout farm" or "system" if you please. I use an opaque (cream colored) plastic dish pan measuring approximately 12 x 14 x 5 inches. I form a lid from heavy duty aluminum foil. Likewise, I found that mesh bags constructed from plastic window screen measuring approximately 7 x 10 or 8 x 12 (depending on gross measurement of raw material) worked best for sprouting beans. From a roll of plastic window screen - say 32 inches wide - I measure off 24 inches. Fold the fabric once to 12 inches. From this you can cut four 8 inch bags from the 32 inch width. With the fold being the bottom of the bag, then you only need to seam each side of the bag on a sewing machine using the longest stitch length - tacking at each end of the seam. You could also whip-stitch the edges with a hand needle and thread if you don't have a sewing machine. Even though the dish pan will hold up to 8 to 10 bags of fully sprouted beans - I typically use five bags - since I usually sprout 5 varieties of beans per run. For me, this system constitutes a simple, but very productive "sprout farm" that requires little more than a square foot of space. While sprouting - the "sprout farm" can be placed anywhere that is convenient in your (heated space) with a preferential temperature range of 65 to 85 degrees. (70 to 75 degrees being optimal). This sprout farm will produce approximately 5 pounds of sprouted beans a week (using 5 bags). This is very adequate as a supplemental food supply or for mainstay supply, I would operate two of these units. (For a family of 2 to 4).

Any food processing requires good sanitation practice. I like the above sprout farm because it is easy to maintain a sanitary environment. I use one part household bleach to 4 parts water in a spray bottle for all my kitchen sanitizing. This solution will kill all bacteria and viruses known even including HIV. Since beans come from the field and may contain soil borne contaminates, plus those they may have picked up in handling, I briefly wash all beans for sprouting in this solution - either dipping or spraying and rinsing in chlorinated tap water immediately.

Likewise, I choose the smaller varieties of beans because they sprout faster and more consistently with less risk of "souring" than do some of the larger varieties of beans. Into each bag, measure approximately two ounces of beans or about 1/3 of a cup or 1/8 of a one pound bag of dry beans. Sanitize each bag with either a through sanitizing spray or dip and rinse immediately. Place the bags in the dish pan and add enough tepid chlorinated tap water (99 to 100 degrees) to cover bags. Allow the beans to soak 2 to 4 hours to activate the dry beans. (Note: prolonged soaking as in overnight can drowned the beans and they will not sprout well).
If your tap water is not chlorinated, it is probably ok, but should be tested annually for un-friendly bacteria. Otherwise, you can chlorinate your sprouting water with about a half a cap full of household bleach per gallon of water.

After the initial soak, rinse and drain the beans twice daily (morning & evening) in tepid tap water right in the dish pan, draining each time just so water drains freely and stops running. Do not allow beans to dry out. We want a moist but not soggy environment. Cover the dish pan with a single or double layer of heavy kitchen foil to minimize light. Repeat this process daily for 4 to 6 days until beans have nice ¾ to 1 inch long sprouts. Yes they will have some roots too.

On the final day, complete a final rinse, then either using a salad spinner or just allowing them to drain very well in a colender , then spread the sprouted beans out on a towel and expose them to room light for two or three hours to allow them to "green" a bit. You will see the formation of a tiney leaf at the end of the sprout and this completes the nutritional explosion of the humble bean. The sprouted beans may now be mixed and stored in a zippered plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week - where indeed they continue to grow very slowly while you use them. You should use or discard them after about a week. Incredibly, this wonderful living food - is ready to eat! Simply wash/rinse the bags and dish pan using the sanitizing solution and hot water and start another batch.

As both a survival food and as part of a daily diet, sprouted beans are ready to eat. I love them fresh as a raw vegetable perhaps sprinkled with a little red or white wine vinegar. (Yes you may eat them with your fingers!) You can also use them fresh as a slaw or mixed with other salad greens dressed as you like. For their greatest food value (as a living food) do try them raw.

I eat 2 to 4 cups per day and even my grandchildren love them at meals and as a unique snack food. Indeed, you can live off of this product because it is very nearly a perfectly complete food. (Quite divinely appointed). You can also cook your sprouted beans by steaming, microwave, or added to soups, stews, stir fried, literally in any way that you would use a fresh cooked vegetable. Sprouted beans can be chopped or puree and added to breads, muffins, griddle breads for a big nutritional power boost.

They are wonderful fresh (raw) or steamed for cold or hot sandwiches of every description. I frequently saute them with onions basil, Italian herbs, garlic and fresh or canned tomatoes - then puree with a hand blender for an excellent pasta sauce that people swear has meat in it. A quick stir fry with bits of chicken or shrimp served over rice or pasta - a gourmet delight!

So, this is my KISS Survival Food System, consisting of a years supply of dry beans, a highly productive sprouting (sprout farm) device that requires very little space, is profoundly portable, requires virtually no energy to maintain, minimal maintenance, minimal storage space for the whole system, yet produces a profound amount of wonderful living food that I can use daily and as a survival food system even should I have to flee my normal living quarters. The whole system comes together for less than $100. and saves me a small fortune annually in fresh food cost while being very simple to maintain and manage. Likewise, since it is incorporated with my daily nutrition - I would have no difficulty should my nutritional needs suddenly become dependent upon it. Besides, this is what God told me to do - and I choose NOT to argue. KISS: (keeping it simply spiritual) and (keeping it simply simple). I'm just so grateful that I asked for a simple solution and got it! Interesting that this simple system could feed the world if necessary.

To enhance my Survival Food System, I also store simple flavorings such as onion powder, garlic flakes, red pepper flakes, whole black pepper corns and some dried herbs. I also have 25 pounds of brown rice and rotate an assortment of dry pasta. All fit nicely within the KISS system and three portable totes.

I hope that by my sharing this KISS Survival Food System you too will receive the blessings of good health daily and in the event of a crisis - you too will be prepared to survive very well. In a real crisis - a hand full of beans could also become your money to acquire something else that you need or desire. Indeed, the humble bean might well be God's greatest food gift for everyday and survival living.

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W. David Goines
Royal Publishing Company
413 Highridge Drive
Morganton, N.C. 28655

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