Compact DIY Emergency fishing kit

No one can predict when an emergency will happen. It can be anything from as simple as having your vehicle break down, to a natural disaster that effects the entire area you are living in. One thing that is good to keep in a vehicle just for an emergency is a small kit filled with basic fishing supplies. For this kit I use a small metal altoid can. But any container that is small enough to fit in a glove box will work. The nice thing about these little metal boxes is that they can be used for several purposes once you have removed the fishing supplies. This also makes a great 5 minute craft to put together with children

Simple kit with basics in it. I do recommend more hooks and weights then what is shown in the picture.

Possible list of what you can put into your box:

Still some room that more weight and hooks can be added and a small folding knife

This list is for a very basic kit and can easily be customized to whatever works for you. As you can see from the pictures there is still lots of space inside the tin to add some other things to the kit. One additional thing that would be good to have in this kit is a compact knife. I always carry a belt knife so it is not needed for my kit. this would be very useful for gutting any fish and cutting a pole to use as a fishing rod.

The best way to store the line is to wrap it around the box and then secure it with tape. For this kit I am using 100lb nylon braid. Very strong and can also be used as cordage for any needs.
Wrap multiple layers of tape around the kit to secure the line and also to use in an emergency.

If making your own mini kit is not something you would like to put together then there are several pre-built kits available on Amazon that can be purchased.

This is a good list of books that are fairly compact and can be carried in the glove box or in an emergency bag.

All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms by David Arora (smaller pocket guide that is excellent to use)

The Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants

Pacific Northwest Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Alaska Blueberries to Wild Hazelnuts (Regional Foraging Series)

SAS Survival Handbook, Third Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere This is the go to guide for most people looking into survival

And some good survival gear

There are also several E-books that can be found on Kindle unlimited

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Cold smoked jerky

All of my jerky recipes normally ask for putting liquid smoke into the brine.  So in an experiment to make something a bit different I am going to brine the entire flank steak then use my cheese cold smoker and cold smoke it for two hours to add in the smoky flavor then slice and dry it.  I have never cold smoked meat so this by itself will be something new.  It is going to be a different brine also.

  • 4 lbs london broil beef or 4 lbs flank steaks
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, more if you like it hot
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s red-hot sauce

I am using hickory chips in my cold smoker to smoke the meat.  60 minutes per side of the beef, with a refill of the chips at the 60 minute mark.

Skirt steak layed out in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the cold smoker.  I am seeing how much smoke flavor I get if I smoke them whole then slice and put in the brine
Skirt steak layed out in a single layer on a cookie sheet in the cold smoker. I am seeing how much smoke flavor I get if I smoke them whole then slice and put in the brine after.

Brining marinade all mixed up and ready to have some sliced meat put in it.
Brining marinade all mixed up and ready to have some sliced meat put in it.

Sliced meat added to the brine.  After it is mixed up it is covered in plastic wrap an put in the fridge over night.
Sliced meat added to the brine. After it is mixed up it is covered in plastic wrap and put in the fridge over night.

The meat smelled nice and smokey while I was slicing it up.  Hopefully it will retain the smokiness tomorrow when I put it in the drier and finish it up.  So far it is very promising.  I have a 2nd batch brining also where I used liquid smoke in it.  This way I can compare the two.

Buttermilk and buttermilk cheese

Buttermilk is almost to easy to make.  If you use buttermilk a lot in cooking then making your own can save you a little money. The process to make sour cream is the same as buttermilk with the same bacteria culture used.  The only difference is that instead of milk you use cream.


  • Buttermilk culture (you can use store-bought buttermilk as long as it has live cultures in it)
  • 1 gallon whole milk for butter milk or cream for sour cream

Heat the milk for buttermilk or cream for sour cream to 185 degrees, and hold for 45 minutes. (For added body you can add 1/2 cup of non-fat powdered milk before heating). If you can, please do this in a double boiler.  It is extremely easy to scorch the bottom of the pan.  I have done it more than once when I first started making cheeses

Cool the milk or cream down to 77 degrees and add 1/8 tsp. of culture to it.  If you add the culture before it hits 77 you will cook your bacteria.  Stir gently until dissolved. If you are using store-bought buttermilk with a live culture use ¼ of a cup

It is recommended to hold at 74-77 degrees for a minimum 16 to 18 hours. But I use normal room temperature of 72 degrees for it to incubate (love that word, reminds me of the movie Aliens) At room temperature it takes it about 20 hours to thicken up and be ready.  When it is done refrigerate and use as you like

If you like to make Labneh (yogurt cheese) then you can make a similar cheese from butter milk.  Line a colander with a large, sterilized handkerchief and pour your buttermilk into it.  Then tie the corners together and let it hang to drain out all the whey for around 12 hours.  After it is drained scoop into a sealed container and use as you would cream cheese.  The flavor you get from this is amazing on a bagel sandwich.

The joy of making Romano

Romano is good cheese to make if you are looking for a step up in difficulty in your cheese making.  Not to say that it is a hard cheese to make it is still not difficult to make.  The major change is that you will be switching from the lower temp Mesophilic bacteria to the higher temp Thermophilic.


  • 2 gallons 2% milk (in the Willamette valley the best kind is from Lochmead farms aka Dari-mart)
  • 6 ounces Heavy cream
  • 1 packet direct-set thermophilic starter
  • ¼ teaspoon lipase powder (gives it the flavor of goats milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet (or 1/2 rennet tablet) diluted in 1/4 cup cool, unchlorinated water
  • 1/4 teaspoon calcium chloride diluted in 1/4 cup cool water
  • non-iodized salt for brining

If you do not have a local brew store that has cheese supplies you can get them online at the New England Cheesemaking supply company  they also have a good selection of other cheese making recipes and kits that you can buy.

Steps to make your cheese

  1. If you are using lipase add it into your milk now.  You can leave it out but it tastes much better with it included. For best flavor from the lipase add it to the water and let dissolve for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Gradually heat your milk to 88 degrees in a double boiler or a water bath.  If you set it directly on a stove top you risk the chance of heating it unevenly and scorching the bottom.
  3. Once the milk is to temperature sprinkle the thermophilic starter over the top of the milk.  Let it re-hydrate for 5 minutes before you stir.  Then stir for several minutes.  Cover and let sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.  To keep the heat in, you can cover the pot with a kitchen towel while you wait.  The starter will multiply and divide and acidify the milk slightly during this stage
  4. Add in your calcium chloride.  Since we are using store bought milk this will allow the curds to form.  If you are lucky enough to have fresh un-pasteurized milk you do not need to add any.
  5. Make sure you milk is still near 88 degrees.  If not heat it for a short time to bring the temp back up.  Now add your rennet to the milk and stir in an up and down motion.  No making whirlpools in the milk.  Then let sit and let the curd form for 60 minutes. If you don’t get a clean break after 60 minutes let it sit and check every 15 minutes for it. A clean break means that the curds will hold their shape after you cut them.  If you do not know what this looks like there are several videos on youtube that give a great guide to telling you when they are at the right spot.  As with most things the more you do it the better you will be at seeing the correct curd formation.                                        2012-12-29_14-32-10_280
  6. Once your curd show a clean break cut into ¼ inch cubes.  You can use a knife or a stainless steel whisk.  I prefer a whisk since all you need is tiny curds for Romano.
  7. Now comes the tricky part of making Romano.  You need to heat your curds up to 116 degrees over 45 minutes.  For the first 30 minutes raise it 2 degrees every 5 minutes.  When you get to 100 degrees you want to start raising it 1 degree a minute for 15 minutes.  This is the time that you don’t leave your cheese while you are making it.  If you do there is a good chance of getting off temperature very easily and changing the flavor of your cheese.
  8. When you hit 116 degrees turn off the heat and keep at this temp for 30 minutes.  Stir every 5 minutes or so. Your curds will be very small at the end of this time.  Small curds make a nice hard compact cheese.
  9. Now you can drain off the whey and separate out your curds.  I use a cloth lined colander to get as much whey out as I can.  There is no reason to pour the whey down the drain.  Whey can be used in place of buttermilk in any recipe, or you can feed it to acid loving plants like blueberries and roses. And my favorite use.  Feeding it as a treat to my puppy is my favorite use of it.
  10. Line a 2 pound mold with cheese cloth and scoop your curds into it. (your mold and liner should be ready before you finish heating your curds.  Cap and press with 5 pounds for 15 minutes.
  11. Remove the cheese from the mold re-wrap and flip then press at 10 pounds for 30 minutes
  12. Re-wrap and flip and press at 20 pounds for 2 hours
  13. Re-wrap and flip and press at 40 pounds for 12 hours
  14. Add your finished cheese to your salt brine and let soak for 12 hours flipping once.   Keep your brining cheese in the fridge. The standard cheese brine is 2 pounds of salt per gallon of water.  You can also use the whey to make your brine.  It will give a slightly different flavor then using just water.  I prefer to use the whey mostly because I hate wasting any part of the milk.
  15. Remove the cheese from the brine and pat dry.  Then place on your drying mat and let it dry for 2-3 days or until it is dry to the touch.  Then move it to your cheese fridge and allow it to form a rind while it ages. Turn it over frequently and check for mold often.  If you see any mold form on the outside of your cheese just take a cloth and dip in vinegar and wipe it off.  The molds that grow on cheese are easily killed and won’t harm you even if you eat them.  For all of my cheese aging I use a wine fridge with the rack pulled out. It makes it easier to keep the temp at the right spot.
  16. At two months take a couple teaspoons of olive oil and wipe it over the rind of your cheese. This will prevent your cheese from drying out too much.  Then continue to age for another 3-10 months.


History of Pecorino Romano cheese:

Pecorino Romano is a hard, salty Italian cheese, often used for grating, made out of sheep milk (the Italian word pecora, from which the name derives, means sheep). Pecorino Romano was produced in Latium up to 1884 when, due to the prohibition issued by the city council of salting the cheese inside their shops in Rome, many producers moved to the island of Sardinia.[1] It is produced exclusively from the milk of sheep raised on the plains of Lazio and in Sardinia. Most of the cheese is now produced on the island, especially in Gavoi.

Pecorino Romano was a staple in the diet for the legionaries of ancient Rome. Today, it is still made according to the original recipe and is one of Italy’s oldest cheeses.  Production was first described by Latin authors like Varro and Pliny the Elder about 2,000 years ago. It was first created in the countryside around Rome. Pecorino Romano cheese is used mostly in Central and Southern Italy.