Survival Gardening Indoors

Survival gardening when the SHTF is problematic. Thefts from a backyard garden or small farm will be rampant, and with each theft, you lose food, there’s damage to the garden, and you’ve lost labor and other resources. One alternative is to move your survival gardening indoors.

Of course, indoor gardening cannot be a complete solution. The limited space and the need for light and nutrients makes indoor gardening expensive. And the amount of food you can produce will always be very limited. Even so, it can be a useful adjunct to stored food, outdoor gardening, and bartering for food.

What To Grow

Among the easiest indoor plants to grow are container herbs: thyme, basil, oregano, chives, cilantro, marjoram, mint, rosemary, dill, and parsley. Stevia leaves can be grown and used as a sweetener. Parsley is a
particularly good choice as it can be used in greater amounts than many other herbs. Meals prepared from stored food can be rather monotonous. Herbs and spices help make your meals more palatable.

Micro-greens, as they are called, are simply leafy vegetables, such as lettuces, spinach, radish, mustard, arugula, kale, turnip tops, beet greens, amaranth, and others, which are harvested when young. You can get a crop of micro-greens in only two to four weeks after planting. After cutting the greens down to the stem, you can sometimes get a second or third crop to springs up from the stems.

Micro-greens add flavor, fiber, and some nutrition to stored food. They add variety, color, and taste to otherwise boring meals. Today, you can go into any grocery store and choose from thousands of different foods. When the modern food production and distribution system fails, we will all be eating from a much small set of choices. The variety you can get from your own herbs and greens will make a difference to nutrition and taste.

Can you grow anything more substantial? Yes, you can. Certain varieties of tomato are designed for containers, even for small windowsill sized pots and hanging planters. These can be grown on a patio outdoors, or near a window inside that gets plenty of sun. Now you are not going to produce enough food, in this way, to provide a major amount of protein, fat, or carbohydrates for your diet. But take some stored rice and beans, and add tomatoes, herbs, and greens and then you have a much improved meal.

Peppers can also be grown in containers. The smaller containers can produce enough peppers to flavor many meals. A larger container might produce enough peppers to add to a salad or a stir-fry meal, once in a while. Colorful hot peppers can be grown in abundance. Some smaller sweet bell peppers will add to the bounty.

Where To Grow It

A sunny windowsill is perfect for small pots with different herbs. A bay window facing south is probably best for larger plants, such as greens, tomatoes, and peppers. Hanging pots give a plant more room, so that the stems and leaves can spread out and get more sun. Then, if you are a little more ambitious, you could enclose a porch or patio, to make, in effect, a little greenhouse attached to your home.

Another option is to use artificial lighting. On a small scale, the cost and amount of space and electricity is a modest investment. The most expensive thing is the lighting. LED lights are best, as they produce the most light from the least electricity. But they are pricey. I would suggest a few grow-lights used as an addition to light from a sunny window. Once you go whole hog with indoor growing, using hydroponics and lots of LED lights, the benefit-to-cost ratio falls dramatically.

I’ve heard that some people grow cannabis, surreptitiously, indoors. If the food economy collapses, growing food, even indoors, might need to be done in a similar stealthy manner. But again, costs, space, and resource use would be high. It will always be more economical to store food while it is cheap, than to try to grow it when food becomes scarce.

Raising Livestock in SHTF Situation: What You Should Raise and Why

In the case of a SHTF event, we could live without internet, cars and gadgets. We could survive without electricity, air conditioning, heating systems and hot water. But we couldn’t make it without enough food supplies. Canned tuna, frozen beans and boiled potatoes can only last so far. All these supplies are bound to end sooner or later, leaving us exposed to starvation. So how can preppers improve on this aspect and ensure their food supply doesn’t run out after three days? The answer is raising livestock. Our ancestors didn’t have supermarkets, had never heard about take-away, fast-food, processed food or preservatives.

Their survival depended on livestock, fruits, vegetables, plants and seeds. Nowadays you can learn about all of these by getting an agriculture degree. But back then, knowledge was passed down from generation to generation and people had to learn from trial and error rather than from a YouTube tutorial. If you want to make sure you are truly ready for anything read all about the livestock you should raise and why. It’s never too late to start researching livestock and becoming an expert in the field.

Chickens

If we would have to advise you what livestock you should raise and why, based on rate of growth criteria, chicken would win by far. They manage to double their number with every year and they don’t require a complicated set up or high maintenance. They are great because they yield plentiful supplies of meat and eggs in relation to how much food they require. For example, a hen could supply you with 10 to 12 eggs for each five pounds of food. Another great benefit of raising chicken is that the birds are not picky about what they eat. They will happily peck on anything that they can find, from insects and weeds to leftovers from your dinner. The only drawback with this is that they can easily damage your garden, so you might want to fence them in to keep that from happening. Another pro for raising chicken is that they don’t need a lot of space or sturdy fences. However, you should keep in mind that these fowls will learn how to fly, so you might want to build a six-foot fence or add a top to their pen. You should also watch out for predators: foxes, owls, rats and opossums will all try to take a swing at your chicken if they’re not protected enough.

Pigs

Also dubbed the best garbage disposers, pigs will munch anything you put in front of them: kitchen leftovers, greens, roots and grains, just to name a few. In exchange for these, in return, they will give you bacon, ham and plenty of meat. Not only unpretentious eaters, pigs don’t need too much room either, despite their great size. The best time to buy a piglet is in the spring in order to give it time to grow and develop to more than 220 pounds over the summer. All the maintenance pigs require is feeding and watering two times a day as well as cleaning their pens every few days. Butchering a hog that weighs over 200 pounds is no easy task. But you’ll only be reaping the benefits. Almost every part of the pig is edible and ready to be turned into steaks, broths, aspic, bacon, ribs, sausages, pork loins and trotters. Even the skin is edible, although most people are reticent to eat it because pigs are not among the cleanest animals. Bear in mind that they might test your olfactory tolerance before you manage to fatten them up and transform them into pork chops.

Rabbits

Not only pretty faces, rabbits are clean, quiet and prolific. Ideal for small spaces, rabbits will thrive in modest sized cages and as long as their manure is cleaned out regularly, they will remain odor-free. These furry animals are extremely rewarding for the amount of care and food they require. Rabbits feed on hay, which should be cut in three-inch lengths and stacked into the hay-racks that must be kept full at all times. They will also eat dried bread or crusts and, as it may be expected, they enjoy nibbling on carrots and roots. A buck and two does will yield as much as 50 rabbits per year, which translates into roughly 170 pounds of meat. Not too shabby for the effort you have to put in every day. Rabbits can be consumed as soon as they are seven or eight months old, but you can wait and make a more consistent stew from a three-year old buck. While they can withstand harsh cold weather, they are not big fans of wet or hot conditions. Keep in mind that they will need a cool place in the summer that has plenty of ventilation and fresh water supplies.

Goats

Most people would prefer to have cows’ milk rather than goats’ milk. However, there are many reasons that goats make a better survival animal. They are much less expensive to purchase, they eat a lot less and will happily eat brush instead of pasture, and they take up a lot less space than a cow. A good doe will give birth to 2 or 3 kids and will go on to produce milk for up to two years. A dairy cow will give milk for up to a year and normally has one calf. Plus, keeping a bull around is not a fun prospect. A buck is much easier to handle. When your goat wears out, it will provide you with a more manageable amount of meat, whereas a butchered cow will take a lot of work to can or dehydrate. In addition, goats produce milk that can be used to feed orphaned foals, pigs, rabbits, dogs, cats, and baby humans. Cow’s milk is not as easy to digest for these youngsters.

Keeping livestock is not a decision to be taken lightly. These animals will depend on you for their food, water, and shelter. During drought conditions it will be difficult, if not impossible, to care for your animals. In that case you will need to butcher or trade them. Do you have what it takes to chop off a chicken’s head, or slit the throat of a pig? You may be surprised what you can do when put to the test.

If you can handle the responsibility of caring for animals, they will make your life much easier when there’s an economic collapse or worldwide disaster. Any animals that you do not need for food can be used to barter for other supplies. There will be a huge demand for eggs, milk, and meat after the stores close. So consider keeping a few easy care animals now, for survival in the future.

Prepping 101 – Food Preps: 30 Days Worth Of Food

When you start to consider prepping, one of the first things you need to start prepping for is food. Simply put, food is one essential you need to live and your family must have a supply of food on hand regardless what the day or your situation is. Because of our just in time supply chain model, most grocery stores do not have more than 3 days’ worth of food stocked. In any type of emergency or disaster situation, the store shelves are cleaned quickly. You do not want to be one of those people who realize you have nothing in the house for dinner and a major snow storm, hurricane or  other event is imminent. You will go to the grocery store and find bare shelves like they did during hurricane Sandy. This happens in every instance where people could face the possibility of going hungry. The stores are cleaned out and the larger your city, the quicker the shelves are bare.

Not only will there be no food on the shelves, but the shelves could stay that way for a long time. What if the roads are impassable? What if there is some supply disruption. You could be out of food for a long time and this should never happen. You eat every day and so does everyone else. Running out of food should not be an option for your family at least for a reasonable amount of time.

FEMA recommends 3 days’ worth of food and water to last most common emergencies and I would say 30 days is a better goal to shoot for. If you have a month of food stored in your house you can worry about other things like getting back to your family if you are away from home or not going out in the first place to fight the lines of panicked people who waited until the last-minute.

Storing food can be complicated and costly but it is possible to start with a very simple list of items that you can purchase from your local grocery store or big-box chain like Wal-Mart, Pick N Save, or Sam’s Club. I have compiled a simple list of common foods that you can go get today that will allow you to feed a family of 4 for 30 days. If you have more or less people or giants in your family tree then you would need to adjust accordingly.

Basic Foods

I shop at Pick N’ Save or Sam’s, but you can get all of these at your friendly neighborhood grocery store. You may have to adjust the quantities. I like Pick N’ Save and Sam’s because I can buy larger containers and have to worry about fewer items, but you can also use Amazon or our website. At a store, you can also throw these into your cart and nobody is going to look at you like you are a deviant. If anyone does ask you what you are doing, just tell them you are having a big Chicken Stew or some other neighborhood type of event.

  • Rice – First off, buy a 50lb. bag of rice. These contain 504 servings and I don’t know too many people who won’t eat rice. It is simple to cook and stores for years if you keep it cool and dry. This bag at Sam’s costs about $19 now.
  • Beans – Next buy a bag of dry beans. This will check off the Beans part of your Beans, Bullets and Band-Aids list. A good size bag is about $5 and makes 126 servings. Buy two if you think your family would like them.
  • Canned meat – Cans are great for fruits and vegetables and anyone can find something they will eat. For canned meat, I recommend tuna or chicken because it tastes a heck of a lot better than Spam and you can easily mix that into your rice. For the meat you will need approximately 35 cans. Each can has about 3 servings and this will be the most costly, but they last over a year usually and your family probably eats chicken or tuna on a semi-regular basis anyway so restocking this should be simple.
  • Canned Vegetables – you will need about 40 cans of vegetables and again this can be whatever your family will eat. Expect to pay around a dollar each so $40 for veggies to last your family a month.
  • Canned Fruit – again, simple fruits that your family will eat. These can even be fruit cocktail if that is the safest thing. At Costco they have the #10 cans of fruit like pears or apple slices and each of these has 25 servings. 5 of these will cost about $25 and give your family their daily dose of fruit.
  • Oatmeal – Good old-fashioned oatmeal is simple to cook and store. A normal container has 30 servings each so purchase about 4 of these and your family won’t starve for breakfast. At $2 each that is about $8 for breakfast for a month for a family of four. Could you exchange Pop-tarts? Maybe, but I find oatmeal more filling and less likely to be snacked on.
  • HoneyHoney is a miracle food really as it will never go bad if you keep it dry and cool. Honey will last you forever and Sam’s has large containers that hold 108 servings. You can use this in place of sugar to satisfy the sweet tooth. Honey even has medicinal properties and you can use this to add some flavor to your oatmeal for breakfast.
  • Salt – Same as honey, salt will never go bad if you keep it dry and helps the flavor of anything. You can buy a big box of salt for around $1 and that will last your whole family a month easily.
  • Vitamins – I recommend getting some good multivitamins to augment your nutrition in the case of a disaster or emergency. Granted, rice and beans aren’t the best and you won’t be getting as many nutrients from canned fruit and vegetables so the vitamins help to fill in the gaps and keep you healthy. One big bottle costs about $8. You will need to get a kids version too if you have children small enough that they can’t or won’t swallow a big multivitamin.

All of the list above will feed the average family of 4 for right at 30 days and makes a great start to your food preparations. The meat was the most expensive part but the bill comes to around $500 give or take but this will vary by where you live. Should you stop there? No, but this is just a good starting point and you should expand from here. I would keep all of these items in your pantry along with your regular groceries and rotate these to keep the contents fresh.

What Next?

Once you have 30 days of groceries in your pantry I would recommend looking into storing larger quantities in Mylar bags or purchasing freeze-dried foods and bulk grains to augment your supplies. You would also need to plan for basic necessities like hygiene (hello toilet paper!) and different food items.

What else should you have? I would recommend several large candles (we make emergency candles that burn for 140 hours plus) or a propane powered lantern, matches or lighters, batteries for flashlights, a good first aid kit, radio and plenty of water. You should also add bullion cubes and spices in to make the meals more palatable. Is this going to be as good as some toaster strudel or 3-egg omelets from your chickens in the morning? No, but this list above will keep your family alive.

Water is another post, but for a month you will need 120 gallons at a minimum. Storing this isn’t as easy as groceries but there are lots of options.

This should get you started on your food preps and you can build on from here. One important thing to do is rotate your supplies. A good rule to remember is go through all your supplies every seasons. Let me know if you have other ideas I missed.

No Excuse for Starving

A Colorful History

There is no excuse for starving, especially in Florida. They have citrus of all kinds (orange, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon, lime, cumquat, and loquat), mango, grape, guava, bamboo, banana, plantain, sugarcane, avocado, acorn, dandelion, purslane, podocarpus, papaya, lychee, lemon grass, garlic grass, hickory, chestnut, coconut, cattail, coontie, cactus, cassava, Jimaca, and cabbage palm. They are all edible, all delicious, and each can be found growing throughout much of the Sunshine State, if you just know where to look. Nope, there’s no excuse for starving in Florida.

Florida has been home to many colorful characters throughout its history, from the pre-Columbian Chatot, Timucua, Tocobaga, Tequesta, Ocali, Apalachee, Asi-Jeaga, and fierce Calusa tribes to formidable Spanish Conquistadores like Hernando de Soto and Ponce de León to blood thirsty pirates like Jose Gaspar and Caesaro Negro to the wily Seminole and Miccosukee warriors like Osceola and Holatta Micco to Confederate blockade runners like Captain Archibald McNeill.

For me, the most interesting aspect of Florida’s history has always been the Seminole Indian Wars, partly because the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes are the only Native American tribes to never lay down their arms in abject surrender to over whelming Federal forces. Even the indomitable Comanche and Apache ultimately surrendered, but not so the Florida tribes who melted into the Everglades where Federal troops dare not follow. These two tribes were part of the Civilized Nations; they wore spun calico shirts, smoked clay pipes and were fond of their smooth bore muskets. They survived forty years of warfare (1817-1819, 1835-1842, 1855-1858)1 against a modern and well equipped army, not because of any technological superiority—although the Seminole and Miccosukee were excellent marksmen with bow and musket—but because they were adaptable and were able to live off the land in the wilds of Florida’s untamed swamps, wetlands, mangroves, and hammocks. As it was for the Seminole and Miccosukee, living off-grid in a SHTF scenario means having to live off the land.

Long-Term Scenario

We all pray that SHTF events never happens in our lifetime, but we prepare for them anyway. The Seminole and Miccosukee survived their own SHTF; will we survive ours? Our SHTF, when it comes, may come upon us slowly or suddenly. Regardless of the cause, we owe it to our children to survive, so we pray for the best and prepare for the worst.
I don’t have a cabin in the mountains. I don’t own a cattle ranch. I don’t have a fortified bunker with motion sensors and early warning systems. I am forbidden by our home owners association from installing claymores in my yard. Heck, I don’t even own any night vision optics. I just a private citizen who wants to see his family to survive. Faced with a SHTF event, I know that the acquisition of Water, Food, Shelter, and Security will be imperative to ensuring my family’s survival.

Most coastal Floridians have already faced SHTF scenarios—we call them hurricanes, and we take our hurricane preparedness seriously. Since Hurricane Andrew destroyed the southern tip of Florida in 1992, many households have maintained a family sized “hurricane box” containing enough gear and supplies for the home team to survive for at least a few of days. That may not seem like a lot by Prepper standards, but the hurricane box is not part of our Prepper provisions. It’s just a seasonal precaution. We stock the hurricane box in spring, watch the Weather Channel from May (Caribbean hurricane season) through October (Atlantic hurricane season), consume our hurricane supplies through winter, and restock the following spring. This rotation keeps stock fresh and it beats having to run to Publix for a last-minute can of green beans so my wife can whip up one of her tasty casseroles.
Preparing for the future requires forethought; the more you accomplish before an emergency event, the less you’ll need to accomplish during or after one. Stockpiling alone, however, can only carry you so far. You must be able to find renewable food sources. Once the SHTF, it will be too late to harvest Ramen at Walmart. Even if you could get your hands on that last brick of tasty noodles, fighting a gang of thugs for looting privileges is not sound tactical advice. If the gangs control your local Walmart, what then? Wouldn’t you rather be able to safely feed you’re your family from home than having to wander the means streets of some post-apocalyptic city scavenging for a nice clean dumpster? So, let’s assume you’ve already taken care of your short-term physical needs. You’ve got plenty of Evian and MRE’s on hand, your storm shutters are up, and everyone on your team who’s tall enough to ride the bog roller-coaster is strapped. No gun fight at the OK Walmart for you, but what about long-term survival? What about replenishment provisions? Have you considered that once your MRE’s run out, you will need to restock your larder with what you can hunt, fish, or grow?

Florida waters are teeming with fish, crabs, shrimp, crawdads, and turtles, not to mention the abundant squirrels, and various fowl that populate our area—with the notable exceptions of birds of prey and carrion eaters, pretty much most fowl are edible. For deer and hogs, we would need to go further afield. Barring a catastrophic decimation of wildlife, protein will most likely not be a problem for Floridians, especially for those of us living along the Coast. Carbs, however, will be much harder to come by.

The average healthy adult requires approximately 200-300 grams of carbohydrates daily.1 My favorite carb is rice, but what we’ve stored won’t last forever. We could try growing our own, but growing rice is a complete mystery involving paddies and some kind of water buffalo. We could try going native by harvesting acorns—a good source of carbs: 1 oz dried acorn (2-3 acorns) contains 14.6 gr. of carbs—but the acorns in South Florida tend to be rather small, and harvesting them is labor intensive, requiring patience and lots of water for blanching out the tannic acid. Acorns are a great supplement—make acorn-raisin cookie—but they are not a staple food.

The Lowly Sweet Potato

To resolve to the how-to-get-enough-carbs-so-I-don’t-starve dilemma, I would recommend the same carbohydrate-rich staple that was grown by the Seminole and Miccosukee and helped them survive as a people while they waged a forty-year long guerilla war.
Even if you’re able to fight off the first wave of spam-starved zombies, a single-family dwelling can suffer an extensive amount of damage from a break-in, let alone a firefight. During a SHTF event, we must be able to survive off-grid inconspicuously. This means living under-the-radar. It’s your choice; you can hang a “Welcome” sign over your green house door, or you can hide your food source in plain sight. Because they are so well camouflaged, the only true enemies of these delicious uber tubers are mice, floods, and weed whackers. It grows wild in many parts of the South, not just in Florida. The sweet potato is not a magical cure-all food, but it does have many dietary and strategic qualities that American Preppers may find advantageous. A store-bought sweet potato weighing approximately 7 oz. contains about 3 gr. of carbs while the same amount of rice has almost three times as many carbs (11 gr.), rice is labor intensive. Have you ever tried hitching a water buffalo to a rice plow? Though it lacks the carbs of rice, an average-sized sweet potato does possess many other essential nutrients including: potassium (48 gr), Vitamin A (2,026 IU), and Beta-carotene (1,215 mcg).3

The Growing Process

When germinating sweet potatoes, I employ the “science project” method. It is the skin that produces the buds or “eyes” that become roots, so all you will need is the outer portion of the potato. Slice out one-inch wide slips of skin from the potato. Make them about as half as thick as a pencil (1/8 inch) to lend support to the skin. Suspend—do not submerge—the inch-wide slips of skin in cool tap water by using string to form a “hammock” or tooth picks spears to hold the slips at water level, skin side down. Each slip should have its own container; too many slips in a confined space can cause the delicate sprouting roots to tangle. Direct sunlight can quickly bake young sprouts, so store them in indirect sunlight.

In about two weeks, you should see several healthy root tendrils sprouting downward from the slips into the water. When the tendrils grow to about six inches in length, it’s time for planting. Gently remove the sprouted slips from their containers and plant them about 4-6 inches deep and about 12 inches apart.4 Much of the soil in South Florida tends to be sandy and poor, so you may need to prep your soil before planting. My property is sandy and wonderful for growing sandspurs—they are the reason Floridians don’t walk around bare-footed. I do not prepare my soil before planting sweet potatoes. The whole point of the exercise is to establish a renewable food source that will grow well without any help from me. After about three to four months—depending on the variety of sweet potato, rainfall, soil, soil prep, pests, etc.—the crop will be ready to harvest. You’ll know it’s time to harvest when the leaves turn yellow on the vine, and the growing tubers cause the ground to bulge as though there were moles tunneling beneath the soil. I live in Hardiness Zone 10 (South Florida); your results will definitely vary.

Sweet potato vines can cover ground almost as quickly as kudzu and drop roots at the nodes their entire length. The potatoes grow close to the surface and can be harvested easily with bare hands. I don’t use my bare hands because Florida is home to the dreaded Brazilian Fire Ant, six different venomous serpents, and an ever-growing population of pythons. This is a genuine concern when weeding or harvesting because sweet potatoes attract rodents which in turn attract snakes, and the ground cover from the leaves can be so dense that you would never notice a coiled pygmy rattler until too late. All the prepping in the world won’t save you from a coral snake bite either—they are part of cobra family—with no way to refrigerate rare anti-venom serum during a SHTF scenario. “Don’t stick your hand in there!” is a good rule to live by in Florida, so use a little common sense and employ a small cultivator rake carefully to avoid damaging your crop.

For my first attempt at sweet potato gardening, I cut eight slips, but two failed to germinate. I planted the remaining six slips in a three-foot by five-foot patch of well-drained sandy soil. My little garden yielded 14 medium-to-large sweet taters. These were germinated from one store-bought potato. Not too bad for a first attempt considering the small size of the plot and the fact that I did not water at all. The Florida August monsoons did the watering for me. The rains come so regularly in late summer, between 3:00PM and 5:00PM, that you can practically set your watch by them. That particular crop of even survived a record-breaking three-day freeze just prior to harvest. A three-day freeze might not impress most Northerners, but it is big news in South Florida.

After my first crop, I let the vines continue to grow on their own, hoping for a second picking from the same planting. Unfortunately, the potatoes did not survive my wife’s attempt to clean up the back yard with the weed whacker. The best sweet potatoes are the large ones near the original slip planting. The further away from the original plant that the nodes take root and become potatoes, the smaller the tuber will be. The stunted golf ball-sized sweet potatoes, though still technically edible, are rough and not very tasty. These became seed crop for the next planting.

Another nice thing about the sweet potato is that it can be grown almost anywhere: apartment window boxes, small backyard gardens, empty lots downtown, power line easements, around the edges of county parks, or the woods behind your house. With their dramatic purple blossoms, the attractive broad-leafed vines are used as an ornamental plant. They make such great ground cover that they are regularly incorporated into landscaping around buildings, mailboxes, lakes, canals, trees, and other shrubbery.

There is a storm canal easement behind our property. Like Johnny Apple Seed, I’ve started planting germinated slips on this property. Several plantings have taken root and are growing well. When the summer rains begin, they should really take off. The early success of this off-property experiment has encouraged me to try other locations. I’ve germinated and planted sweet potatoes at my mom’s house, my brother’s house, and at a friend’s house. They’re going to enjoy the attractive ground cover around their shrubs, and I will enjoy helping them establish a prolific and renewable emergency food source.

I’ve started scouting other areas as well for strategic planting locations that will be self-sustaining. Anticipating future fuel shortages, I’ve kept my scouting to within bicycling distance from my property. There is a long tract of scrub woods along the river near our home which will make a good planting zone as the average non-agricultural zombie wouldn’t know the difference between potato vines and kudzu. My plan is to hide a strategic and productive potato pantry in plain sight. Nope, there’s no excuse for starving in Florida.

Back to Basics: How to Stockpile Food for Emergencies

Today I wanted to share tips for how to stockpile food for emergencies that anyone can use. I will focus on preppers who are just starting out, but I think some ideas in the topics below could be useful to anyone looking to ensure their family has food and does not go hungry. This article will also have dozens of links to other content on the subject for additional reading.

I believe there are 5 main components to survival that everyone needs to consider. They are simply Water, Food, Shelter, Security and Hygiene.  The need for water and how you can easily store water for emergencies that render your traditional methods of obtaining water impossible. Water is more important to life than food or at least you can live longer without food than you can water, but they are both important.

Why do you need to stockpile food for emergencies?

If you are new to prepping, you may have something that triggered your awareness of the subject. Preppers have many reasons for doing what they do and no two preppers are alike. Some are preparing for the end of the world, but most see situations in our daily lives that give a perfect reason to stock up supplies. You have only to look at the recent winter storm that affected large swaths of the Eastern Seaboard to have a perfect example of why you don’t want to be left without a means to feed your family.

It seems almost cliché at this point, but invariably it always happens when a winter storm is forecast. Everyone rushes out to the store and certain food supplies are wiped out. Images of empty shelves are shown on practically every newscast and eventually prepper websites. Food shortages during simple storms are common if not expected. We don’t really even blink anymore because we are so used to this practice of waiting until the last-minute and then hitting the local grocery store on the way home from work to grab some basic necessities or comfort food.

If you can’t live for more than 3 days without going to the store, it’s time to reevaluate your family’s readiness. The statistic we hear most of the time is that the average home has only 3 days’ worth of food in it. If this is true, where would you be on day three if you had not been able to make it to the grocery store before the storm? What if instead of a snow storm, a virus outbreak had occurred and everyone was told to stay indoors to prevent infection? Each of us should have more food on hand that our families and friends will eat than is absolutely necessary to prevent surprises from leaving you hungry.

How much food do you need to store?

In the example above I used a virus outbreak as the condition that would prevent you from getting to the store. There are others though and weather could certainly be one of them. Some storms where I live have left roads impassable for upwards of a week. Could we walk to the store? Sure, but what if the stores having already been cleared of just about all of the food were closed? What if power outages prevented them from conducting any transactions? These are things you should consider.

Prepping is not something I ever consider you can accomplish. By that I mean, you are never going to be fully prepared. You may be much better prepared than some or all of the people around you, but you will never be 100% self-sufficient. Prepping should be done incrementally even if you have more money than you know what to do with because as you start to stock up food you learn lessons.

A good rule of thumb for me is to start small when you are beginning to stockpile food for emergencies. You don’t need a year of freeze-dried foods to start with. Try just having a week or two of extra groceries that your family already eats. This is accomplished without any exotic storage needs usually or 5 gallon buckets of grains you have to figure out how to prepare.

What are the best types of food to stockpile?

My wife purchases the groceries and I started out by giving her extra money to simply buy more food. I did this in the beginning because she is a much better shopper than I am and will always save more money than me. This worked great because she was easily able to fill our pantry and had plenty of meals planned to last us well over 30 days. Sure, at the end of that 30 days of food we would be getting into more exotic cans of mushrooms and soups that are better left as part of a recipe as opposed to your entire meal, but we wouldn’t starve.

Once we had a month worth of food and water stored up, I started looking at other options. I think each person should have a layered approach to food storage. This gives you flexibility and more importantly variety that as you go out to 6 months or 1 year or 2 will be important. My own personal goal is 2 years’ worth of food stockpiled for my family but that isn’t made up of only food from our grocery store. That can certainly be done though with a very good rotation plan.

Food storage should ideally cover the following:

Short Term Food Storage – The best and simplest foods are like I said above, what your family eats every day. One thing to consider is that the bulk of this food should be non-perishable in case you lose power. Canned foods are great as well as pastas, drink mixes and staples. These usually last at least a year.

Medium Term Food Storage – For the 5 – 10 year range MRE’s are a great option although they are heavier and their convenience comes at a higher price. I have several boxes of these and I like MRE’s because they are self-contained and don’t really need any water. Freeze dried camping foods like Mountain House are another great option to just add hot water to. Rice and beans make great additions to this category because you don’t really have to do anything crazy to store them as long as they are kept cool and dry.

Long Term Food Storage – When you start to look at foods that will keep for many years you get into stored grains like Hard Red Winter Wheat that you store in sealed 5 gallon buckets. Freeze dried food from any one of many suppliers out there keep for 20 years usually and are individually wrapped Mylar packets. They require water to re-hydrate but the taste can be surprisingly good. Make sure you have seasonings though….

Renewable Food Storage – This is when you have to get your inner farmer working. Renewable foods are an intensive garden, small livestock like chickens or rabbits and the occasional wild game caught either through hunting or snares. In the worst disasters, your food will run out so having a plan for that ahead of time will help you prepare.

How do you plan for your food eventually running out?

I have a mix of the food storage options above. We eat on our grocery store items every day, but I also have MRE’s and a pretty large amount of freeze-dried foods stored. We also have the grains I mentioned and the all-important grain mill to grind them into flour. Several hundred pounds of rice and beans round out the equation.

Stockpiling food is only the start. We have a garden and small flock of chickens. The stored food is just to get us through the worst of the disaster. Hopefully before our food runs out whatever disaster has happened will be mitigated and life will have returned to some sense of normality. If not, we have a huge leg up that will allow us to further harvest our garden to put away food like the pioneers had to do. It is an approach that gives us some sense of security and prepares us to come out on the other side still alive.

What is your plan to stockpile food for emergencies?

Outdoor Ice Cache for Frozen Food Storage in Winter

The cold winter air has a remarkable power–the power to freeze things. This can be our nemesis if we are stuck out in the cold, but it can also be used to our advantage. Winter is nature’s fridge and freezer, and if you get caught without power, you can allow the cold to preserve your food through freezing. A simple way to do this is to place your frozen food in a cooler full of ice and set the cooler outside in a shady area or an unheated shed.

Or you can do what our ancestors did to store their food by freezing it in an outdoor ice cache. Here’s how.

1. Pick the Best Spot
The ideal spot for an ice cache is someplace near your dwelling, on the north side of a large structure. This northern orientation will keep the southerly sun from warming up that spot during the day, and in the shade. As a result, your ice will last much longer. The paleo Indians made their ice caches in pits dug on the north side of boulder outcroppings. This provided both shade to preserve the ice and a marker to find the spot again, even in a snow covered landscape.

2. Build Your Box
Once your site is picked, lay out some ice blocks to create a small ice platform. Your food will sit on top of this, rather than the bare ground. Then, using blocks of uniform thickness, build a wall around the foundation. Carve or saw the ice to make each block fit tightly. If you need something to act as “chinking” to fill any gaps, apply slush while the air is sub-freezing. The slush will freeze and fill the gap. Finally, make a slab of ice that will cover the entire structure like a lid. Check the lid for fit, load in your food, and seal the lid on there like some kind of frosty sarcophagus.

3. Have A Security Plan
The hungry scavengers of winter will be very interested in the “abandoned” food they’ve found. Yes, some critters can smell it through the ice. And while most creatures won’t be able to scratch or bite through your icy storage locker, it’s still a possibility. For extra security, bury the ice box in slushy snow and allow it to freeze into one solid block. Then, only humans with tools can break the ice and retrieve the food. If you find that certain creatures keep visiting the box, you could also set up traps to take advantage to the draw.

How you ever tried anything like this?

Dehydrated Food versus Freeze Dried Food

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Are you curious to know the basic differences between dehydrated food and freeze dried food?

Lots of preparedness-minded people who have a so called ‘deep pantry’ and will often have a variety of foods for longer term storage including dehydrated foods and freeze dried foods.

Here are the basics regarding each process:

 

DEHYDRATED FOOD

Dehydration is the process of removing water from a substance, in this case – food. Dehydrated foods have much of their water content removed.

Many preparedness food-storage vendors sell dehydrated foods, however it also a process that you can do right in your own home with either a low-temperature oven or a purpose-built food dehydrator, similar to this one… Excalibur.

During the process, moisture is removed from the food by slowly heating it at temperatures which may range from 115-F to 155-F depending on the recommendations for the food type itself. Typically a fan circulates the air within the food dehydrator to evenly distribute the heat. The process time may range from 8 hours to 12 hours or more, depending on the moisture content of the food and other factors.

When finished, typical ‘dehydrated food’ moisture levels are reduced to levels in a range from 10 to 20 percent – depending.

Home dehydrated foods may have a ‘typical’ shelf life ranging from six months to a year, however it is fairly easy to obtain much longer shelf life for many dehydrated foods by drying them longer, keeping them in a cool-dry storage environment, and properly packaging the food (vacuum sealer).

Dehydrating at home is a great way to store extra food from your garden, or vegetables and fruits you have purchased at the market at a great ‘sale’ price.

Advantages of Dehydrated Food

No waste
Lightweight
Low moisture
Do it yourself
Long shelf life
Not easily spoiled
Costs less than freeze dried food

 

 

FREEZE DRIED FOOD

Freeze drying is also a dehydration process – with some differences which enable the food to become MUCH DRIER than dehydrated food.

The freeze-dry process is a professional process which is very expensive to reproduce at home.

The foods are processed / frozen, and during the freezing process the surrounding air pressure is reduced in a vacuum chamber to enable the (frozen) water in the food to change from a ‘solid phase’ to a ‘gas phase’ in order to remove even more moisture.

Freeze drying removes more water from foods than dehydrating (down to just a few percent!), so it lengthens the shelf life. Many vendors of freeze dried foods claim shelf life as long as 25 years.

Freeze-dried foods can taste amazingly delicious due to the unique process which retains even more flavor and nutrients.

Advantages of Freeze-dried Food

Very long shelf life
Very lightweight
Very low moisture
Reconstitutes quickly
Best way to dry meat items
Generally tastes better than dehydrated
Retains original shape, texture, color after reconstitution
Both dehydrated and freeze-dried foods have a place in one’s diversified food storage. Freeze-dried foods are more expensive although very light weight with a long shelf life. Dehydrated foods can be processed at home, albeit with a shorter shelf life.

Linked from: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/survival-kitchen/dehydrated-vs-freeze-dried-foods/

Build your own Underground Bunker

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Okay, so you might not be able to do all this by yourself, but this might get you started on your way to having your very own, very quiet and thick skinned underground bunker.

Why would you want one?

Well, that’s the question, isn’t it. Most people don’t do the whole underground thing, unless they’re mad dictators or something of the sort. The problem with this is that none of us are reallyready, if you catch our drift. If something were to happen, where you would need an underground, reinforced hideout, you’re out of luck now, aren’t you? Yes you are.

 

Whether you build this thing as a standard panic room or a separate shelter, it would be a good addition to your home, it’ll raise the property value (considerably) if you ever want to move away, and if the day should come when “they” decide to drop the big one on your local town, you’ll be up and about along with the cockroaches in no time, while everyone else are so much dust in the wind. Nice, huh? Yes it is.

What to do first.

According to BunkerBuilders.com, you have to find a suitable place for your bunker. They’ve got a nice checklist which we will take the liberty of reproducing here.

Things to consider when deciding where to build your underground shelter:

  • As deep underground as possible to protect from radiation, flying projectiles and debris.
  • Outside of areas known to be flood prone, including areas within the 100 year flood plain.
  • The bunker should be placed so that the evacuees have a short route to the entrance.
  • Away from any potential debris field and its emergency exits and air inlets can be extended on several sides of the building into zones that are free from debris and fire.
  • The bunker should have as much of its external walls against the ground as possible for protection from heat and for support provided by the surrounding soil.
  • Away from potential fuel concentrations, flammable materials, vehicles and hazardous materials.
  • Away from large objects and multi-story buildings, light poles, antennas, satellite dishes or roof mounted mechanical equipment.
  • The bunker should be made easily concealed.

Most sane people who decide to build themselves a bunker or a hardened part of their house to use as a panic room won’t fall in this trap, but we’re going to warn you anyway; If the people you’re looking to buy a shelter from (yes, some come pre-fab) has 2012 “Planet X” propaganda on their website, you should probably look elsewhere. “Stealth Installation” (yes, there are companies advertising this) isn’t really a viable option either, since a genuinely safe underground bunker will be noticed during construction. Also, you’ll probably need permits to build them, unless you live on a remote farm or on a huge property in the middle of a forest somewhere.

Ready-Made, perhaps?

We’ll mention one other alternative before we go on, however. There are a lot of read-made, nuclear-proof homes out there. It’s true! They’re on the market, too – readily available for purchase by anyone (who has the money). Granted, they can be expensive, but if you

have 400,000 – 4,6 million dollars just burning holes in your pockets, then this could be just what you’re looking for. What about a beautiful home built on top of an Atlas F missile silo with all the trimmings? 2000 lbs blast doors, several stories of hardened housing down into the earth, all the comforts of a top-notch residence on every level.

This probably isn’t for everyone, however, even if you’ve got the money and the financial planning for it. Most of these sites are pretty dreary – location-wise, at least. You pretty much have to choose between living in the middle of some desert or other (there’s one smack in the middle of Texas, for example) or deep in some woods where you actually need that private airstrip (like in the picture, there).

So we’ll go on to how you should go about building your own – slightly-smaller-than-a-missile-silo underground bunker. Should be fun.

Get your Permits, mister.

Make sure you’ve got the permits you need to dig and build in the place you found while following the list up above there. If you can’t meet all of the requirements, that’ll probably be okay, but you do need to come close, however. Also, you need to make sure that you’re not going to dig through your neighborhood’s watersupply, cables, drainage tunnels and all of those nasty things that seem to do nothing but cause trouble once they see daylight.

Once you know you’re allowed to dig, and you won’t cut off the nation’s internet access by severing a fiber cable down there, you’re good to go. Now you either get yourself a machine, or you hire someone to dig your hole for you. If you’re not in construction and you haven’t dug a hole like this before, hiring someone to do it for you is probably a great idea.

If you want to try doing this yourself, eHow has a nice write-up of a (very) basic shelter, which is probably possible to pull off on your own. It does require a lot of concrete work, which can be trying unless you have a lot of experience, but not impossible at all.

If you want something more than a basic shelter with four concrete walls and a bucket to do your business in, however, you should leave the construction itself to a professional contractor.

What you should do yourself is designing the place, making sure that you get it exactly the way you want it.

Bunker Design

One of the most fascinating bunker designs out there is the Vivos approach. This company is building bunkers all over the US, and will also build one for you, based on their own designs, but customizable to no end, apparently. Even if you don’t buy a bunker off them, it’s a good idea to check out their specs here (be patient with that pdf – their site is as slow as cold molasses).

As futuristic as anything out there, these bunkers will apparently be able to save you from anything – tsunamis, anarchy, radiation, blasts, heat, fallout – they’ll apparently save humanity when 2012 runs out too… yes, we said something about that up above, we know, but still. These bunkers are seriously neat.

The military has been building bunkers for a long time, and they’re probably the best people out there when it comes to making secure, timeless and useful bunkers, functional to the bone and efficient on top of that. You would do well to read one of their survival guides, for example, before you start prioritizing your bunker design. Basing your design on the army’s specifications is a very good idea, but you might want to add some more comfort to your hole – after all, you don’t know how long you’ll be in there, and if you plan on using this space as an addition to your normal living quarters, then you might want more than four concrete walls and a wooden bunk bed.

Sitting down and drawing up your bunker is a good idea – remember that you don’t necessarily need to reinforce every single wall in there, as long as the structure is sound and strong. Plan for drywalls inside the shelter, so you can hide air filtering, wiring and pipes, just as you would in a regular home.

Some things to consider when designing your new underground shelter:

– Light.There’s not going to be any windows, so plan for more light sourcesthan you would in a regular house. Make sure that you have emergency lighting on separate curcuits – you never know when that might come in handy.

– Air. Filtration systems aren’t cheap, but the most common flaw in private bunkers is a lack of adequate ventilation. Spring for the bigger one, if in doubt.

– Water. Again, filtration systems aren’t cheap, but they’re necessary if you’re going to use an outside source as a water supply down in your bunker. The alternative is to get a water tank, but depending on the size, that won’t keep you for long. Plan to have more resources than you think you’ll strictly need.

– Food. Stock up with emergency stuff, and get the fresh meats and fruits down there when there might be a need for them. Storage of food is what drains the most energy, so plan for this. Use ground cold/heat to store your food, and go for high-quality dried foods (such as MREs) and canned goods. That will get you a long way.

Linked from: http://snallabolaget.com/?page_id=1343

How to Survive a Hurricane

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After Hurricane Katrina took over 1,800 lives and left a trail of devastation, you’d think that people would have learned their lesson. But, when Hurricanes Ike, Irene, Eresto, and Sandy struck (amongst the many other hurricanes and tropical storms which have hit the United States in the past decade), the local residents and governments were overwhelmingly unprepared. Take a lesson from history and learn how to survive a hurricane – before it is too late!

Truth: You Aren’t As Prepared As You Think

Many people of coastal towns think that they have done a good job of preparing for a hurricane. But, in reality, they often haven’t done more than stock up some non-perishable foods.

Unless you plan on making a floatation device out of your boxes of Cheerios, this isn’t going to save your life!

Disaster planning requires a multifaceted approach. If you want to really be ready to survive a hurricane, then you need to ask yourself questions like:

  • How will my family and I evacuate? Where will we go?
  • What will we eat and drink during and after the hurricane?
  • How will we go to the bathroom? (the plumbing won’t be working during a flood!)
  • How will we treat injuries?
  • How will we stay clean?
  • How will we pay for cleanup and restoration after the hurricane?

If you can’t answer all of these questions, then you aren’t prepared to survive a hurricane!

Truth: You Don’t Know What to Expect

When hurricane winds of 75+ miles per hour hit, you can expect broken tree branches, downed power lines, and large tidal waves. But, with any disaster, there is a lot that we can’t predict.

For example, 6 unarmed people were shot by the police at Danziger Bridge in New Orleans as they looked for food and supplies. The police said they were protecting the community from looters. But, in the chaos, the police were strained and opened fire on civilians – the very people they were supposed to protect.  This is just one example of how disasters can spiral out of control and create other disasters.

Truth: You Are More Vulnerable than You Think

If you live on the coast, then you are probably aware of the risk of hurricanes and have taken some effort to prepare. But it is actually the people who live inland who suffer the most casualties from hurricanes. Yes, that’s right: 60% of hurricane deaths occur inland and away from the ocean!

The deaths occur because of flash flooding, mudslides, and tornadoes which are caused by the heavy rainfall and winds. So don’t think you are safe just because you are away from the coast.

Truth: Most Hurricane Deaths Occur Are Avoidable

Even though hurricane winds are above 74 mph, it isn’t the wind which kills most people. It isn’t even drowning which kills most people.

The majority of deaths from hurricanes occur because people did something careless.

Or they did something downright stupid. Like taking a “walk” to the coast to see how big the waves are.

For example, during Hurricane Sandy, 8% of deaths were due to carbon monoxide poisoning. This occurred when people used generators in their homes, but without proper venting or a carbon monoxide detector. Use of propane heaters and lamps can also cause carbon monoxide.

Some common “careless” causes of death in the aftermath of hurricanes include:

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Electrocution from touching downed power lines
  • Drowning in car because attempted to drive through flood water
  • Falling off roofs during cleanup

How to Survive a Hurricane: What You Should Do

FEMA has a decent guide on what to do to survive a hurricane. However, here is the more in-depth guide on how to survive a hurricane so you can be ready. Click the links to learn more about the steps.

Preparation Steps before the Hurricane

  1. Stockpile emergency food and water
  2. Stockpile emergency supplies
  3. Gather evacuation documents
  4. Make an evacuation bag
  5. Learn how to turn off the gas, electricity and water safely (and teach everyone on the family)
  6. Create an emergency communication plan with your family
  7. Create an evacuation plan (plan where you will go and map out routes)
  8. Get a generator and learn how to use it safely
  9. Get flood insurance if you can afford it
  10. Install a flood water pump
  11. Put equipment higher up in your house (such as moving breakers from the basement to the first floor)
  12. Reinforce your doors and latches
  13. Install wooden storm shutters on windows
  14. Install sturdier shingles on roofs
  15. Buy an reliable inflatable raft and life jackets

Steps When a Hurricane Watch is in Place

  1. Bring in all outdoor furniture
  2. Check your survival supplies. Fill up more water if you need to.
  3. Listen to the news of the hurricane.

Steps When Hurricane Warning is in Place

  1. Evacuate! Do NOT wait until it is too late. And do not wait until an evacuation order has been issued. By then, the traffic will be very bad.
  2. Board up windows and doors with plywood. Tape will not protect windows.
  3. If you cannot evacuate, then get into a safe room in the house.
  4. Turn off the electricity and gas at the mains.
  5. Do not look out windows or go outside
  6. Do not drive. If you must drive, do not drive through water. Just 6 inches of water can carry away a vehicle.
  7. Do not use candles or unprotected flames during the hurricane

Steps After the Hurricane Has Passed

  1. Do not exit until authorities say the threat is over. The sudden calm might just be the eye of the storm.
  2. Stay out of rooms which could be hit by falling branches
  3. Do not drink water without sanitizing it first. Sanitation facilities don’t work during power outages. Listen to hear if “boil alerts” are in place.
  4. Use text messages only to contact loved ones. Do not tie up the phone lines as these are needed for emergency calls.
  5. Do not walk through flood water in your home. Many drowning deaths occur from slip-and-fall accidents.
  6. Do not walk through flood water outdoors. It is often contaminated with sewage, or may be electrified from downed power lines.
  7. Do not perform any repairs unless you are 100% you can do it safely.

Linked from: http://www.primalsurvivor.net/how-to-survive-a-hurricane/

5 DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DEHYDRATED AND FREEZE-DRIED FOOD

When it comes to storing food long term, the age-old question keeps coming up: freeze-dried or dehydrated?

Both can work as part of your emergency food storage, but there are key differences between the two that could make one better than the other for your particular circumstances. Check out these differences and then choose the option that’s best for you.

 

Shelf Life

IMG_4120 - Dehydrated and Freeze-driedMoisture content plays a huge impact on shelf life. The more moisture, the less amount of time it will last. With that in mind, it’s time to compare the moisture content of dehydrated and freeze-dried food.

Dehydrated food can lose quite a bit of moisture–up to 95 percent! However, do-it-yourself home dehydrators may only remove 70% or a food’s water, leaving it with a shelf life of only one year on average. However, most top end dehydrated food will still maintain a shelf life of even longer, up to 15 years or more.

Freeze-dried food, on the other hand, is much more suitable for long-term storage. Getting rid of 98-99 percent of moisture gives freeze-dried food a much lengthier shelf life. Our freeze-dried food has a shelf life of 25 years or more.

While both dehydrated and freeze-dried foods can have long shelf lives, freeze-dried food is definitely superior when it comes to long-term storage. In both cases, however, cooler temperatures will help lengthen their shelf life. We recommend storing your food in temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

Preparation

Water_poured_in_5 - Dehydrated and Freeze-driedFreeze-dried meals prepare easily. Since everything is pre-cooked, all you need to do is add water, wait a few minutes, and your food is ready for eating! Best of all, it tastes just like it did the day it was created (which might very well have been 25 years ago).

Dehydrated food is a touch different in the way it’s prepared. Instead of letting your food soak for a few minutes, it needs to be cook—boiled, even—in order to rehydrate enough to become the food it used to be. This can take upwards to 20 minutes, depending on the food. While it’s not a huge issue, it can make a big difference if you’re in a hurry.

 

Nutrition

According to a food science professor at UC-Davis, freeze-dried food maintains most of its nutrients throughout the process, and once rehydrated, is very similar in nutritional value to its fresh counterpart. This is in contrast to dehydrated food which, although much of the nutrients remain, only around 50% – 60% of the original nutrients are left over. In freeze-dried food, there is about 97% of retained nutrients. In this area, freeze-dried food comes out on top.

 

Taste

Lasagna_image - Dehydrated and Freeze-driedLasagna with Meat Sauce, previously freeze-dried

Flavor is important in your food. If it doesn’t taste good, why would you even want to eat it? Fortunately, both freeze-dried and dehydrated foods taste great, but there is a difference in the way it’s prepared that makes one taste better than the other.

According to the Wild Backpacker, the taste of freeze-dried food is essentially held in the food, as the process involves very little heat. This keeps in the flavor, retains original texture, and secures the natural scents. This is why many believe freeze-dried food tastes better than dehydrated food, which uses heat to lose moisture, thus forfeiting flavor, original texture, and smell.

 

Weight

If your food intends to stay in your pantry or with your emergency food storage until used, then weight won’t really be an issue. However, dehydrated and freeze-dried food are delicious treats and meals to take on camping trips, hikes, and even in your bug-out bag, which in turn makes weight play a crucial role.

Dehydrated food is heavier than freeze-dried food, so if you are planning on taking one of these types of foods with you on a hike, freeze-dried food is your best option in terms of being lightweight. If you’re planning on getting a meal out of your food, you’ll want to make sure you either bring enough water or have access to it so you can rehydrate your meals. Many freeze-dried foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and even meats, can be snacked on without rehydrating them, making them a nice, lightweight option for snacking.

 

There are pros and cons to both dehydrated and freeze-dried food, so in the end it all boils down to what you’re looking for in a food, and how you intend to use it. When it comes to long-term storage and nutrients, however, freeze-dried food reigns supreme. So when you’re looking to invest in an emergency food storage, freeze-dried may very well be the way to go.

Linked from: http://beprepared.com/blog/20659/5-differences-dehydrated-freeze-dried-food/

 

Portable Solar Powered Aquaponics Greenhouse Can Grow Food Year Round

Solar Powered Aquaponics Greenhouse Makes Year Round Growing Possible – Here’s another Off Grid World original design concept.

It’s a modular aquaponics greenhouse made from converted recycled shipping containers. Each of the shipping containers are converted into mini-greenhouses which also makes the whole thing portable.

A large pond (fish tank) is constructed in the ground, or in a large water tank, the repurposed shipping container greenhouse modules are stacked two levels high, and arranged in a hexagon shape around the pond, and a geodesic dome is placed on the top to cover the whole unit sealing it off from the weather outside creating a self sustainable garden biome.

First, take a standard ISBU 40′ “high cube” (extra high at about 9″ tall vs 8 feet tall for the standard 40′ container; this adds approximately 344 cubic feet of space inside) shipping container and cut out the sides and the ends. The square footage remains the same at about 320sft per 40′ container.

Add Reinforced Welded Steel Framing

Since you’re removing the majority of the structural support when removing the sides, the sides and ends must be reinforced welded steel beams.

How to survive in the wilderness and mountain-military techniques

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Necessary elements of life

One of the most important things to survive is water.

The human body contains 70% water, and the loss of 15% of this amount causes death. Without water you can not survive more than 4-5 days, the body loses fluid due to heat, stress, colds and fatigue, fluid to be topped up. Even in cold places you need at least 2 liters of water a day to be effective. Almost anywhere in the globe there is water in one form or another (snow, ice, dew, etc.)

Do not substitute water with the following liquids:

Alcohol – dehydrate the body even more

Urine – contain substances hazardous to organisms

Blood – is salty and is considered food, but require additional liquid to be digestible, can transmit diseases

Seawater – accelerates dehydration, can cause death

There are many ways to acquire water (meaning the cases when there is a river, stream, lake or other natural source of water) depending on the city where you are in the wilderness act one way in jungle otherwise, etc. I will describe several methods of gaining water in forest areas or where there are trees.

Sweat method

You need a plastic bag that you dress a twig with leaves (make sure the tree is not poisonous otherwise water is not drinkable), the bag must be tightly tied with a rope or you around the branch, after several hours leaves sweat and water accumulates in bag.In  hot summer day you can gather up to 300-400 from a bag. You must to use your bags to accumulate the required amount of water

Dew gathering: early morning or late evening tie a piece of cloth clean on foot, walking or on a stick and walk through iarba. Cloth will gather water (dew) from grass, periodically drain into a bowl, certainly is the slowest way, but safe.

Food = ENERGY

30 days is the maximum period that can withstand a man without food.

In an extreme situation you will need every drop of energy, food being the only source. Natural resources can save in any case only have to know how to use them. I have several recommendations in this case, some more important than others but the main rule is:

Do not eat if you do not have WATER

how to survive 1

Human digestive organism needs water, if water is a problem eating you will become dehydrated and harder, which can cause death. Few are places on earth where you have to go more than 30 days without going to civilization .Calculate the distance and time to the place where you arrive, the food divided as follows: 1/3 2/3 in the first half and in the second half of the road.

Make a regular habit to eat every day  (lunch at noon ex.o), chew food well as the organisms they support it.

In the wild can eat what nature gives mushrooms, nuts, fruits, herbs and roots of edible plants, small animals or large (if you manage to catch them), fish, lizards, snakes, snails and will advise if you have insects. If you have not experienced hunter I will advise you not to try to catch animals, you spend useless energy.

Careful with mushrooms and fruits, if you are not sure do not eat, the result can be fatal.

Shelter

The shelter must protect you from rain, sun, wind, help to survive; -in some parts of the world you need to shelter more than food or water.

For example prolonged exposure to cold can cause fatigue or weakness and a weak person has no desire to survive.

The most common mistake in the construction of the shelter is that you do too much body heat and fails to heat it;

how to survive 2

Shelter should be large enough to protect you but also the need to be small enough to preserve your body heat, especially in cold climates.Different types of shelter after the place where you are for example, the arctic or desert, jungle or forest, every time you build something else.Different also the seasons, winter snow or summer heat are so many types of shelter types cite season.

The importance of fire. Types of fire. Methods and tools for fire ignition

Modern man does not like fire. Fire historically has become more of a tool than salvation.In dawn of human civilization killer fire was the most important thing in human life, loss of fire was a tragedy for the tribe and punishable with death who had to take care of the fire, and fail.

how to survive 3

The principle of ignition-fire is to start with small twigs and slender, gradually passing on higher. began ignite paper, dry bark, moss or fir branches on a short time they give a strong flame to ignite the branches of 3-5 mm thickness and then the thickest. The secret is to put the wood gradually from the smallest to the thickest. Paper or branches are lit from the bottom up, not vice versa, because fire spreads from the top down hard.

Fire with fire is used for drying clothes, heating and preparing food; the flame for light and food preparation and the smoke is used for signaling. Division is relative, you can turn any fire in fire smoke if you throw him green grass and branches, if a fire with embers increase the distance between him turn wood fire flame converts into large, etc.

Weapons

The knife is king arms without knife is no survival with a help of a good knife can do everything or almost everything, can build shelter, can make weapons, you can defend yourself or you can hunt without it you’re dead in the wild, so if you have not – the important thing to know how to do one of the materials that are found around you.

Glass, tins, hard stone, bone, pieces of metal – are all possible materials to your future personal knife. Personal I would not go anywhere without one in my pocket …

I could not tell you the exact name of it ideal knife, but there are a few requirements; a knife to be:

RESISTANT

BIG

SHARP

If you go into the mountains for a long time you need two knives. One to be great, the type layout, replacing the ax and one smaller for peeling potatoes, etc.

Each of survival as on the website or its praise his wares or merchandise company that has a contract to report. American and options in Bowie until you can tangle easily mock. A high price does not always look good quality. There are several criteria in choosing a knife: blade length, knife or blade stable miner, double tais or not, it is made of metal (steel, titanium, nonferrous metals, etc.)

how to survive 4

The knife that you take with you in the wild is the most priceless object that you possess. Regardless of the nature of the trip that you always need to have a knife on you. It can be used in different situations, not only in extreme situations.

Sun tracking, star tracking and compass tracking

The simplest way of finding the direction is sit back to 12 day in the sun, the north is exactly the direction that shows your shadow.

There are a few rules that must be remembered:

Winter sun rises southeast

SOUTHWEST sets in

Summer sun rises northeast

sets northwest

Spring sun rises at EST

sets in the west

Of course these rules are valid if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere.

If you have good sense of observation, then you know that: more snow melts in the south, all in the southern part of the tree is more pitch. Ants make their anthill in the south of trees or house. Birch bark is darker in the north and more open to the south. Tree trunks, stones, rocks in the north are covered with moss.

Survival in mountainous terrain

Survival in the mountains involves techniques and procedures characteristic.

Mount, as we know and the people, has its unwritten laws, which if not respect them, pay, and the price in such a situation can be even life.

Preparing to survive in the mountains must focus on that mountain environment is extremely unpredictable.Weather has special features: in a single day, the mountains may fall several types of precipitation (rain, drizzle, sleet, snow); temperatures are much lower and rainfall more abundant than in other areas; the higher the altitude, the colder temperatures. Therefore, when such actions envisaged in the village, the soldiers must have their protective equipment against the cold and rain, even if they are planned to take place in summer. An extremely important piece in the mountain environment is sleeping bag. A good sleeping bag will give the military the necessary comfort for rest and strength to take it to an end the next day. If there is a sleeping bag, it can be improvised from dry leaves, pine needles, Parachute material. survival are necessary: a waterproof jacket, a knife, matches kept in a bag not to wet a quality compass, a map, a flashlight, rations for emergencies and signaling means (mirror, smoke grenades etc. ).

Nature term is another important factor that influences the chances of survival of the military in the village. Large level differences, rugged terrain covered with dense vegetation, specific mountain environment, hinder much movement. Moving the mountain environment requires permanent existence of the risk of injury. Sprains, fractures, sprains could and limbs are the most common. Also, observation and orientation are more hampered. This could cause delays in movement military and fallacies. Lack of landmarks for orientation can cause frustration and irritation, and these negative feelings contributed to the worsening military situation. Therefore,  to survive in the mountain, the military must observe a few rules:

– “Equip yourself properly” in the mountains !: survival requires appropriate equipment;

– “Do not go in the dark” means !: If you do not have night vision do not move in the dark because it will increase the risk of injury;

– “You do not build shelter the valleys‘ !: As I mentioned, the weather in the mountain environment can change very quickly and after rainfall forming torrents may surprise you;

– “Moving up the line share ‘!: Try to stay on the same altitude to ease your moving.Any survival situation involving the purchase of food and water. Characteristic mountain environment temperate and tropical areas offer plenty of opportunities for procuring food and water. However, the military must be cautious when choosing a certain plant or animal to feed. Most nuisances disappear once boiling or cooking with their fire. However, there are no toxins that disappears with cooking (see mushrooms) and they can endanger the life and health of the military. A plant consumed by animals is not necessarily an indication that it would be edible and humans. To be sure food is edible, it should be cooked very well. Before you consume, the military must taste the food and wait a few minutes to see if any side effects, then you can proceed to power. Water is preferable to be boiled before being consumed.

Linked from: http://www.blacklistedprepper.com/survive-wilderness-mountain-military-techniques/

How To Make Survival Foods For Your Dog

A dog is a man’s best friend, or at least that’s what they say. It’s one of those popular wisdom kinds of things. If you ask me, a man’s best friend is his own conscience and set of skills, but we’re not trying to be philosophical, so let’s stick to dogs.

So, what do dogs and survival have in common? Well, dogs were domesticated thousands of years ago and they helped humanity a lot in terms of survival. In this case, by dogs I mean big ones, not Chihuahuas or cat-sized companion dogs, but the real deal, like a German Shepherd or a Rottweiler.

Dogs were used as avant la lettre alarms and early warning systems for protection(against wild animals for example or even in combat) and for herding and hunting. Naturally, in a SHTF situation, having your dog close, alive, happy and well-fed would be a great achievement.

Dogs can help with finding victims in the aftermath of a disaster, they can help you find food and water and they have an acute sense of orientation, so they can lead you home if you get lost. Dogs also keep you company, preventing loneliness and so on and so forth.

Basically, dogs are cool to have around, especially when it comes to survival situations. Okay, I am aware about a school of thought in the prepping community, a survival debate about “to dog or not to dog”.

Truth suffers if it’s over-analyzed, soyou’ll have to decide for yourself if a dog would be too much in a survival situation; if it would be another thing to take care of or vice-versa (if you ask me, Ithink that the advantages of having a real dog in a SHTF situation outweigh the disadvantages).

In a SHTF scenario, you’ll be confronted with a lot of your own problems, so, what about your furry friend?

Today’s article will explore some options and scenarios involving survival foods for your dog. If you think that dog food is irrelevant in a survival situation, check this out: you can eat dog food if S really HTF. So, prepping with food for your precious companion is a double bang for your buck in terms of surviving. I bet you didn’t think of that before, did you?

Now, that we’ve established a clear premise, i.e. that you’ll still own a dog in the aftermath of the apocalypse, let’s explore a few possibilities in terms of survival dog food.

How and What to Feed Your Dog when SHTF?

The question becomes how and what to feed your dog when there’s no food at the pet-stores or in the groceries.

You have to realize that there were dogs around a long time ago, before Purina started making billions of dollars selling pet-food. Your grand-grandfather still had dogs and he fed them on a daily basis (hopefully). Therefore, so can you.

Dog nutrition is not rocket science, I mean our ancestors fed their dogs mostly with table scraps or they cooked their dog food using their own “recipes”. Back in the day, there weren’t hundreds of varieties of dog food at Wal-Mart for different types of dogs. For example, there was no special food for grumpy, lazy, fat, or thin specimens, like there are in present times.

Where am I going with this rationale, you may ask? Well, there are two possibilities for prepping with dog food for when SHTF; that’s what I am talking about.

The first option:  You can prepare for a bleak future with commercially available dog food. Stock it up to make provisions for your dogs. Dried dog food has up to ten years of shelf life, not to mention those “deluxe dog survival kits” and what not which can outlive the pyramids.

If you store the dried dog food properly, in a well-sealed container and in an optimum environment (stable temperatures, low humidity, no sunshine) I bet it will be still edible after more than a decade. The best thing about storing dried dog food is that you can eat it too, in case of emergencies. I mean, it’s better to eat dog food than to eat your dog or starve to death, isn’t it folks?

You can also prepare with specially formulated survival dog food, which is usually packed for long term storage in special Mylar bags that come in rodent-proof, water proof, stackable plastic buckets. It will cost you a few hundred dollars, but you can consider it an investment in your future (yours and your dog, that is).

The second option: Play it old school, like the founding fathers did. Making your own dog food is so simple that you’re going to ask yourself why you spent thousands of dollars until now on specially formulated, heavily processed, specially designed pet-chow instead of this.

How to Prepare a Complete Meal for Your Furry Friend

The most important thing to remember in this business is that dogs are omnivores just like us, not carnivores. That means they can be fed with virtually anything you eat. Okay, maybe except chocolate (it’s toxic for dogs because they lack an enzyme to digest it properly), coffee and cigarettes.

Dogs can be fed using all sorts of stuff beside meat. If you take a look at the listed ingredients in a dog food bag, you’ll understand the concept behind dog food. It’s a mixture of heavily processed meat (scraps, I bet) and veggies, plus synthetic vitamins and minerals. Feeding a dog with a protein-rich diet (meats mostly) will make him more aggressive and hyper active, so you must try to achieve an optimum balance of protein, carbs and fiber.

The most simple and nutritious recipe for DIYing dog food at your home is a mixture of rice (brown or white), protein (pork, chicken, game, tuna, beef or even eggs) and vegetables (peas, beans, carrots, or a mixture of these). The ingredients can be mixed roughly in thirds; I mean one part protein, one part veggies and one part rice. If you have a very active dog, you can put more rice in the mix.

The cheapest rice (also suitable for storing a long time) is available in places like Costco or other retail outlets (Amazon.com is a good idea too) and you should buy 25-50 pounds at once because it’s the most inexpensive solution.

Another reason to buy in bulk is that you can eat rice too. It’s quite nutritious, especially brown rice.  Rice and beans cooked together make for a complete protein i.e. a highly nutritious survival-food and, just like rice, dried beans can be stored for a long time and they’re dirt cheap if bough in large quantities.

The meat part is a tad more difficult; I mean if you want to store meats long term, you have two possibilities: to can them or to freeze them. The latter doesn’t have much to do with survival, as I imagine electricity would be the first thing to go when SHTF, so you’ll end up with large quantities of defrosting meat which will be inedible in a matter of hours or a couple of days.

Therefore, you’ll have to resort to canned meat, which is not as hard as it sounds. And you can make your own supplies in the process, that’s the “bang for your buck”  part I was talking about in the preamble of the article.

For my dog, I would try to can organ meats, as they’re highly nutritious and also very cheap. There’s another possibility: prepare large quantities of dog food using the aforementioned recipe, and can it for long-term storage.

Canning implies having a lot of glass-jars filled with the respective stuff (meats/prepared dog food) and using one of the two methods: boiling water bath or pressure caning. The boiling water method is the most simple and cheap, and boiling kills all the food induced illnesses and microorganisms that are abundant in most of the regular foods.

The pressure canning method requires a special device and it does basically the same thing, but using higher temperatures and pressures than the first method.

Obviously, in case of an emergency you can always feed your dog with leftovers or food scraps from your dinner; he won’t mind a bit, assuming that you actually have ingredients to make your own dinner.

If you have other ideas or methods about making or storing survival dog food, feel free to share them in the comment section below.

Electricity-free Groundfridge Lets You Store Produce Without Traditional Refrigeration

Meet the GroundFridge. Modern day technology combined with a traditional root cellar to create a practical and beautiful well designed way to keep food fresh. Temperatures in the GroundFridge remain a cool 50 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit, year round. The design is so simple, all you need is to dig a hole, place the unit in the ground and recover with earth. You can even plant a garden on the top and around the sides if you like the decorative landscape, and double the use by planting fruits and veggies.

“The Groundfridge is an innovative take on the traditional root cellar. It meets the requirements of people with their own vegetable garden, who choose to live in a modern and self-sustaining way. Floris Schoonderbeek (founder of Weltevree) is continuously discovering and exploring new angles, chances and materials that he puts to good use in improving and enriching our habitat. With the Groundfridge, he presents a means for new world citizens who want to handle their food in an autonomous, independent way. ~ GroundFridge

“20 refrigerators, zero electricity – The Groundfridge has a storage capacity of 3,000 litres. This equals the contents of 20 refrigerators, that store 500 kg of food (the harvest of a 250 m2 vegetable garden) to prepare 350 meals – enough to feed a family of 5.
On average, 20 A grade EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) Refrigerators combined, use 6,620 kWh per year, whereas the Groundfridge performs the same feat completely without any electricity.~ GroundFridge

This is one of the first real-world design improvements on the old fashioned root cellar traditional farms used.

So… Who wants one!?

How to Make PVC Ice Packs for Coolers

When camping, tailgating or going on a picnic, keeping food and drinks chilled is top priority. Instead of using ice, which melts and creates a slushy mess, make your own ice packs using PVC pipe. This is a more efficient method for transport and cleanup, and you can personalize the ice packs with your own signature style, such as your favorite team colors.

Things You’ll Need

  • Tape measure
  • 2-inch PVC pipe, 10 feet
  • 2-inch PVC end caps, 8
  • Chop saw or 2-inch PVC cutter
  • Clear PVC cement
  • Paper towel or rag
  • Spray paint (optional)
  • Clear sealant (optional)

Step 1: Cut the PVC Pipe

Measure the inside of your cooler to determine how long you want the ice pack to be. Subtract 3 inches off that measurement to make room for the end caps.

Use the chop saw or PVC cutter to cut your PVC pipe into the desired lengths. In this project, we cut two 18-inch pieces for a large cooler and two 10-inch pieces for a smaller backpack cooler.

If using a chop saw to cut the pipe, be sure to clean off any debris inside or out.

Step 2: Close One End of the Pipes

Seal off one end of the PVC pieces with end caps. Apply a liberal amount of PVC cement on both the inside of the cap and the outside of the pipe. Push the end cap firmly onto the pipe, and use a damp paper towel or rag to clean up any extra cement that may have seeped out. Allow the cement to dry completely, about one hour.

Be careful not to get any PVC cement on your skin, and refer to the warnings on the canister.

Step 3: Fill Pipes With Water and Seal Other End

Once the PVC cement is dry, fill the inside of the pipes with water — fill them only about three-quarters of the way up, since the water will expand when frozen. Seal off the other end of the pipe the same way you did in the last step. Place the pipe upright while it’s drying, so the water doesn’t mix with the cement

Step 4: Paint the Pipes (Optional)

Spray paint the pipes any color you’d like. Be sure to do this in a well-ventilated area (ideally, outdoors). Allow the paint to dry completely.

You can also use a clear sealant after the paint has dried to help keep the paint looking pristine over time.

Step 5: Freeze the Pipes

Place the pipes in your freezer and let them stay there overnight. Presto! You now have your very own ice packs to use on camping trips, tailgating parties or picnics on the beach

Food/Water

First – Why store food? There are many reasons why it is beneficial to store extra food. Numerous life events can impact the ability to provide for your family. These events can include unemployment, inflation, sudden unexpected expenses, and of course some catastrophic disaster (man-made or natural). The bottom line is – you will always need food. Period.

What follows willfocus on short-term, medium-to-long term, and long-term food storage options.

First – Why store food? There are many reasons why it is beneficial to store extra food. Numerous life events can impact the ability to provide for your family. These events can include unemployment, inflation, sudden unexpected expenses, and of course some catastrophic disaster (man-made or natural). The bottom line is – you will always need food. Period.

What follows willfocus on short-term, medium-to-long term, and long-term food storage options.

Getting started: Short-term food storage

Much of what sits in your cupboards and pantry right now are foods that can be stored for the short-term (3 months to 2 years). If you are beginning a food storage program – the bulk of your food should sit in this category. There is a saying – “Store what you eat and eat what you store.”I am a big believer in this as common everyday foods – compared to many specialty long-term foods – are relatively inexpensive and readily available at your local grocery store.

Virtual grocery store trip – Since I can’t go to your local grocery store with you – I went to mine and snapped a few photo’s (and received some very strange looks!). The purpose of this was to show you some food storage items that are available and inexpensive.

One note on shelf life: I will be discussing shelf life in terms seen on the packaging of the food. My experience as well as numerous others is that the actual shelf life of most food is MUCH longer that indicated on the packaging. With today’s lawsuit friendly environment as well as to increase sales – expiration dates are very conservative.

 

Soup

 Soup.  Does the body good. Right?

Canned soup has been a mainstay of family pantries for decades. Relatively inexpensive and having a pretty good shelf life (2-3 or more years). One great thing about soups is the huge variety of flavors. Bean & Bacon is my personal favorite from Campbell’s – but there are probably more than 50 varieties to choose from.

I typically stock up on Campbell’s Chicken Noodle and Tomato for as little as .20 cents a can when bought on sale and also using coupons.

This is a excellent place to take your shopping cart first during our virtual shopping trip.

 

Stuffing…..great side dish and decent shelf life

 Side Dish. Stuffing isn’t just for Thanksgiving! These dry boxes of stuffing store well as long as they are kept in a location where critters cannot reach them. Shelf life is usually around 1 year. Dry stuffing requires the addition of a little water to prepare and then heating. Excellent to add variety to your “Store what you eat and eat what you store” program.

Next.

Coffee!!!!!!!A great morale booster and barter item

Coffee.Who could forget coffee. I could because I hate the stuff but I know that most everyone can’t get their day started without it. Excellent barter item and morale booster. Coffee can be purchased on sale and using coupons very inexpensively. Shelf life should be literally forever.

Throw a few in your shopping cart.

Canned Pasta

Pasta. Pasta is a great source of carbohydrates which provide energy. Canned pasta comes ready to eat right out of the can. Like other canned foods – shelf life is around a couple of years. Often can be bought on sale and using coupons to maximize savings.

Moving on.

Beef Stew, SPAM, and canned Ham…….oh my!

Beef Stew, SPAM, and Canned HAM!!

Solid ingredients to a well rounded food storage program right here on these shelves. These items are a little pricier however this is where protein comes in (and a whole lot of salt with the SPAM). Beef stew contains a many ingredients to add variety to your post-SHTF diet. Shelf life similar to soup. SPAM is one “kinda-meat-like” substance that can store for many year. Of course a canned ham would be a welcome addition to the dinner table deep into a grid-down situation. Shelf life for canned ham is several years – minimum.

Just imagine – many people struggling to figure out what they will be eating after SHTF, and pop open a canned ham. Feel bad for them…..don’t be one of them.

Start filling that cart up here……

More soup – such a huge variety…..

More soup. Ok…..I got lost and ended up back at the soup. Just look at this……more and more soup of all kinds of flavors and varieties. Especially in colder climates – soup is a welcome meal when it is cold out.

Go ahead…..you know you want to….throw a few more cans in the cart. (Don’t dent them!)

Hormel Compleats Meals……poor man’s MRE

Hormel Compleats. These are great as they are all pre-cooked and taste very good. These meals come in a plastic tray with some type of thick Mylar top. Often referred to as a poor-mans MRE as it does come Ready to Eat. These cost around $2.00 each – cheaper with coupons.

Stack ‘em up….

Canned Chicken

Canned Chicken. There are not that many sources for storage-grade meat from the grocery store. Canned chicken (as well as tuna) is one of them. Not very cheap – but stores well and would be very valuable when food sources are scarce.

Add some to your cart……..

Beans, beans………and more beans

Dried Beans. Dried beans are super cheap and very versatile. There are so many things you can do with beans. Years ago beans used to be called the “poor mans meat”. They are high in carbohydrates, low in fat, and contains protein as well. Do some research on bean storage and recipes – you will be happy.

Stack ‘em high!!

Rice…..a food storage basic

Rice. Combining rice and beans in a meal provide a “complete protein”. Rice, like beans, is very inexpensive. Buy it and store it in bulk. There is a tremendous amount of ways that rice can be prepared. This one food can and should be a major part of your food storage program. Shelf life? If properly stored – forever.

Load up about 20 pounds right now in your shopping cart……

Canned Beans

Canned beans. One of my favorite foods. I love to open up a can of Bush’s Baked Beans. Good shelf life (2+ years) and inexpensive considering the amount you receive in a can.

Stock up…….you can’t have too much.

Ramen Noodles…..gotta have ’em

Ramen Noodles.A common food item discussed in preparedness forums. Ramen Noodles are popular due to their lightweight, decent taste, and very very inexpensive. These do require a decent amount of water to prepare. Cost runs less than .25 cents per serving. Shelf Life? If properly stored more than 2 years.

Get another shopping cart and fill it up with just Ramen Noodles.

Instant Potatoes

Instant Potatoes. Potatoes have to be one of the most used and consumed foods – next to corn. Instant potatoes which are prepared generally with water, milk and butter is very inexpensive. Coupons are often available. Shelf life on the package is usually a little over 1 year.

Buy a bunch – along with some powdered milk.

Oatmeal & Grits

Oatmeal & Grits. If you like this stuff (I don’t) stock up on it. Inexpensive – you can get a lot for your money. Another good candidate for storing what you eat and eating what you store. There is a lot you can do with both of these as far as preparing them in different ways.

Grab a few…….

Peanuts

Peanuts. An all-time favorite snack. As a survival food – peanuts contain a high amount of energy in a small amount of food. After SHTF – calories will be valuable. Peanuts are high in calories. Shelf life is a couple of food.

Throw a few varieties in your shopping cart……..

Pancake Mix & Syrup

 Pancake Mix & Syrup.  Obviously these go together. There are several varieties of pancake mix available that need only water to make. This would be the best kind for storage. Easy to prepare and a great morale booster. Shelf life…..like many others – up to 2 years or more.

These are cheap……go ahead and get a few boxes and a couple bottles.

Hot Cocoa Mix………cheap “smiles in a cup”

 Cocoa Mix. Got kids? Being able to make hot chocolate….especially in the cold….will be of great comfort when things are not the best. Shelf life is a good couple of years.

  Get at least 3 boxes……get the ones on sale.  

 

That’s it……that’s the tour.

Summary: Buy lots of your favorite foods on sale and using coupons when you can. From there……store what you eat and eat what you store.

Medium – Long Term Food Storage: This food category is often stored in larger quantities in easy to stack pails.  Military MRE’s are generally stored in boxes by the case.

Here are a few examples of typical bulk-packed food items in this category:

  • Wheat
  • Rice
  • Beans/Legumes
  • Oats
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Instant Milk

Many when considering these types of foods for storage think of wheat, milk, honey and salt (Mormon basics). For variation and to reduce monotony – additional items need to be included.

What is critical for proper preparation of these bulk foods are additional supplies/equipment such as grain mills, spices/seasoning, and oil. Eating bowls of boiled beans and rice will not be very satisfying day after day.

Properly stored foods from this category can have a shelf life from 7 to 20 years. Several of my sponsors carry these products so take a look around.

This is one subject that I must pass the torch to the experts.

  • Wheat
  • Honey
  • Breads and Cereals
  • Beans

One significant advantage of these foods is the cost. It is possible to establish a years supply of bulk packed food for one person for less than $500. Not bad at all. 

MRE’s (Meal, Ready to Eat): The MRE was developed for the military for use in a combat environment where full cooking facilities may not be available. These meals come fully cooked and are – as the name suggests – ready to eat right out right out of the package. Each bagged meal contains approx 1200 calories which come from the main entree as well as snacks, a side dish, and a dessert.

Typical contents of a Meal, Ready to Eat

MRE’s are a very popular food storage item due to their dense caloric content, ease of preparing, cost, and decent taste. MRE’s made specifically for the military are not easy to find and in my opinion the least desirable type of MRE. I prefer MRE’s made for the civilian market which is often manufactured by the same companies that make them for the military. The advantage of civilian MRE’s is you have better knowledge over how they have been stored. You never know if the case of military MRE’s that you just purchased might have sat in the 120 degree sun in Iraq.

Shelf-life is reported to be in the neighborhood of 7 years – more if stored in cool conditions.

Cases of MRE’s are available through several of my sponsors – so check them out

Long-term food storage – 25+ years
Freeze Dried Food is known for being lightweight, have a very long shelf life, and are great for activities like backpacking and hunting. Freeze dried foods are easy to prepare – generally needing only water and a heat source to warm. Due to this these foods are often used for survival kits, bug out bags, and of course as an ingredient in long-term survival preps.

This category is exciting to me due to the incredible shelf life and variety of foods available. Many of my sponsors carry a variety of freeze dried foods in multiple packaging methods. One very important factor with freeze dried foods – is taste. I have tried quite a few varieties and for me – taste is hit or miss. Some are great – some are not. I must admit I am a picky eater so for you this may not be much of an issue. Small foil packs can be purchased for taste tests.

Bottom line – freeze dried food is an excellent food storage solution for pretty much any disaster situation. They are more expensive than every day grocery store foods – but of course they have several advantages over them to justify the cost.

There you have it folks. Now – check your inventory and make a plan to add to it. The reality is….your and your family’s life just may depend on it.

How to Raise Chickens Cheaply – Small Budget? No Problem.

How to raise chickens cheaply? 

That’s what I needed to figure out.  I got the idea to raise chickens while unemployed for several months. Times got a little tight (to say the least!) and I thought that if I had a coop and a garden at least my family and I would have just a little more in the pantry. So I set out to learn as much as I could before spending any little cash. Here are a few lessons learned…..

raise-chickens-cheap

How to raise chickens cheaply?

That’s what I needed to figure out.  I got the idea to raise chickens while unemployed for several months. Times got a little tight (to say the least!) and I thought that if I had a coop and a garden at least my family and I would have just a little more in the pantry. So I set out to learn as much as I could before spending any little cash. Here are a few lessons learned…..

Build an Inexpensive Chicken Coop

Before dropping a lot of cash on one of those fancy chicken tractors you see in the back of poultry magazines, keep in mind you can spend your cash a little wiser. It depends on your living situation of course. If you are a city dweller, then you might have to put a lot more into your chicken operation than us country folks. City folks have zoning regulations and neighbors to deal with – problems I didn’t have to deal with. My thoughts contained here are more for those of us who have a little space between us and the neighbors.

Chickens need a place to get out of the wind and rain and a dry and safe space to roost at night and somewhere to lay eggs. Keep these very simple requirements in mind when building a coop.  I have seen coops built out of an old truck cap, pallets and plastic sheeting, old yard sheds, etc. You are only limited (out in the country) by your imagination.

As for my coop, I had a friend who had an old camping trailer. He wanted the frame for an ice shanty and was going to rip off the camper and junk it. I asked him for the camper body and helped him cut the bolts off… and I was on my way to raising chickens!

After cutting the bolts, we towed the camper into place and proceeded to “slide” it off the frame. It turned out to be an interesting time but we got it done.

raise-chickens-cheap2

Choose Coop Placement Carefully

This brings me to my first lesson: Location, location, location! My Wife had a few “rules” that I had to follow to stay in her good graces.

Rule #1: she wanted it out of sight.

Rule #2” she didn’t want to smell it!

Very valid points! I wanted it close enough to the house so I could easily go out to tend to the birds. I have a detached garage situated across the yard from the house, out near the gardens. We agreed that that was the best place for a coop. Far enough for her and close enough for me! Once the coop was in place, it was time for the next decision.

Should You Let the Chickens Free Range or Keep Them in a Run?

Having chickens free ranging is great. It gives the place a “country” look and they will eat bugs out in the yard. Keep in mind, they will also eat your young plants in the garden, flower beds, get out on any roads nearby, wander over to the neighbors, etc.

I also took into consideration that I live very close to a highway in a heavily wooded area. My chance of losing birds to coyotes, hawks, coons and cars was very high. I chose to build a run for my flock and not spend money feeding the local wildlife or seeing my investment flattened on the road.

For my run, I looked around for anything that might work before spending any money on something fancy. I was lucky enough to have an old dog kennel set up behind my house sitting empty. I used the chain link panels to construct a run behind the coop. I even had enough panels to construct a top for my run to keep the hawks and coons out. (The “dog coop” would also make a perfect pig shelter, but that’s another story!)

Now that the coop was in place, the camper gutted, it was time for some work to make it easier on the birds and myself. First, I built nesting boxes out of existing shelves inside the coop. Then I used saplings to build a roost inside the coop.

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Then I built an interior wire wall and door into the laying area thus creating a space to store feed and supplies.

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The camper windows allow me to control ventilation and I added a passive roof vent (the Restore $3.00).

I buried wire around the coop and run to keep out tunneling varmints. Once all this was done, it was time to get birds!

What Breed of Chicken is Best?

What breed you get is your personal decision. Why are you keeping chickens? Meat? Eggs? Both? What climate?

I chose White Leghorns. Why? Because they are cold tolerant (it gets cold in Northern Wisconsin!) and they are EGG LAYING MACHINES!

This is where I made my first mistake. I ordered too many! I ordered 14 hens and one rooster. I got 14 hens and 2 roosters shipped to me. I was not ready for the sheer amount of eggs they could lay!

Now, I know what you are thinking: “Great, I can sell the extra eggs and make money!”. All I will say is, don’t even think about it. There are a TON of people trying to sell eggs. Competition is fierce! The thought of making money raising chickens is a pipe dream conjured up by writers at Mother Earth News or Backwoods Home magazines. On good months, you might break even. Most months you won’t!

I was lucky enough to have a local feed mill sell my eggs for me – but it’s hit-and-miss some months. During the winter, egg production drops like a rock but feed consumption goes up. During the summer, feed consumption goes down but egg production goes up. You will either have so many eggs that you just can’t get rid of them, or so few any steady customers you do have will not get eggs year round. It’s just part of raising chickens!

Now, when I ordered my flock, I ordered pullets (8weeks old). Due to some miscommunication at the feed mill, I got 1 week old chicks.

This leads me to my next point:

Be flexible!

The day comes, and I get the call that my birds are in. I was surprised to find baby chicks and not pullets! Now what??? I wasn’t set up for chicks! Well, I took them anyway. They are animals and you can’t send them back to the hatchery.

When I got home, I made an impromptu brooder out of a cardboard box and a heat lamp. I had to set it up in the living room for the first 2 weeks. Then the noise and smell prompted me to move them to the coop. It was getting warm enough outside and with the help of the heat lamp in one corner of the coop the chicks would be fine.

I was a few weeks behind schedule but I was raising chickens!

How Much Time and Effort Does it Take to Raise Chickens?

People ask me: “How much time out of your day do you spend taking care of your birds?” My answer: not a whole lot. I set aside about 10 minutes in the morning to feed them, check their water and adjust ventilation for the day. In the evening, I do the same. It’s not a lot of work keeping chickens. You will fall into a routine. I find that I have a summer and winter routine. It takes a little longer in the winter but it’s not a lot of trouble at all. In the summer, I spend a lot of time in the garden so I look in on them more, especially during hot spells. They are very easy to take care of!

Another point I want to make. If you are gathering eggs, please do so EVERY DAY! I hear of people buying “farm fresh eggs” only to crack them open to find a developing chick inside! GROSS! Who wants to see that when cooking breakfast? That tells me that some people are not gathering eggs every day and getting them in a refrigerator soon enough. It’s a sign of laziness on the part of the chicken farmer!

Winter Care for Chickens

During the winter, the waterers WILL freeze. It’s a fact of life here in the North. I got a second waterer and keep it in the house. I fill it with warm water and bring it out to the coop in the morning and swap out the waterer from last night. I do this every 12 hours. A heated waterer is nice and I will get some for next winter but it’s not necessary to get started.

I also create a draft shield to stop that blast of cold air from hitting the birds when I open the coop door. I staple up some feeds bags on the wire wall next to the door to protect the birds. Also, give the flock some scratch in the evening inside the coop, they will love it and it will help keep them warm on cold nights.

I also leave a red light on inside the coop 24/7 to help keep down incidents of picking.Chickens get “Cabin Fever” just like we do in the winter so give them something to do. Scratch blocks in the coop work well, as does enclosing the run in plastic sheeting so they can still get out side even on cold snowy days. Throw in a head of cabbage once a week or a bale of hay into the run so they can pick it apart during the winter.

It’s important to still have good ventilation during the winter as well. I close the windows on the north side of the coop but keep a window open for air intake between the coop and garage. I put down extra bedding on the coop floor and stuff the nest boxes thicker during the cold months as well.

Create a “dust bath” for your chickens. I did this by taking a cat litter box and filling with a mixture of 1 part play sand, 1 part sifted (cold!) ashes from the wood stove and 1 part food grade DE. It helps them clean themselves.

Summer Care for Chickens

During the summer, I keep all the windows open. During the day, I leave the outside door open. The camper has a screen door so I leave that closed allowing air flow but no varmint access. I keep a closer eye on the water, they will drink a lot more in the heat of summer and I like to keep the dust bath full as well. I take the plastic sheeting off the run and replace it with a tarp on top will help keep the sun off of the birds and give them a dry place to sit when its raining. I cut my grass and bag the clippings. Then I dump the clippings into the run. The chickens love it! As long as you don’t spray your lawn for weeds, it’s okay.

It’s been a year now and I will say that it’s been worth it! I have learned so much and continue to do so. You will get advice from EVERYONE! Keep in mind, there are a lot of so-called “experts” out there who will try to tell you that you are doing it wrong. All I can say is when you get some advice, research it yourself. The internet is a great tool for this or better yet, get to know the folks at your local feed mill. Go to “small animal swaps” and get out a meet others in the chicken business.

10 Foods You Need To Survive

10 Foods You Need To Survive

The end of the world is something that has been a topic of debate for as long as anyone can remember. Some claim to know exactly when it will happen while others claim to know how it will happen. One thing is however certain; that disaster and the end of the world are unpredictable and unstoppable events. The best thing you can do is make sure that you are prepared in case anything like it happens when you are alive.

If you happened to survive a major catastrophic disaster such as a nuclear bomb, a major earthquake or something of the sort, the most important thing you will need is food. Getting food to grow after a disaster is tricky and you could die before your first harvest. Below is a list of foods that you can get now and store for long and food that grows fast and well under poor conditions.

1. Maize/Corn

This is one of the best food types you can have if you hope to survive after a disaster of apocalyptic proportions. The reason is because it is one of the few on this list that can both be stored for long and can grow under harsh conditions. The practice of storing corn for emergency dates back centuries and was practiced as a way to survive draught. Corn can stay for up to eight months when boiled and frozen. When freezing is not an option, drying allows you to have your corn for up to four months. The other reason that lands corn on the survival for end times food list is its resilience in harsh conditions. All it needs to grow is good soil and water. This is the reason why you can find it growing well in any climate and region on earth. Maize is important as it is a carbohydrate which is the main source of energy for humans. And you better believe that if you end up alive during the end times, you will need as much energy as you can get.

2. Beans

Beans share corn’s resilient nature. Storing beans for long term purposes can be done in three ways. The first is by drying. Sun drying beans removes moisture from them making them safe from pest, bacterial and fungal infestation. In this state you can have beans safe for human consumption for up to three years according to food scientists. The second way in which beans are stored is through nitrogen treatment and hermetical sealing. This means that the beans are cleaned, treated with nitrogen to remove oil and sealed in the absence of oxygen (hermetically). This allowed them to last for a whopping8 years. Finally, beans are stored by canning. They are cooked and put in sealed cans with preserving chemicals. Depending on the brand and the bean species, canned beans can last between 3 and 5 years. They are popular in the army and are a great source of protein.

3. Radishes

Radishes are the fastest growing crops known by man. They take a mere two weeks to mature and be ready for harvest. If you were a survivor of a major disaster or a world ending catastrophe, a fast growing crop would be the equivalent of gold. The entire plant is edible but the root has the most uses. It can be used to make soups, stews and in salads. Radish roots are rich in carbohydrate sugars, fat and proteins. The leaves are rich in vitamins especially the vitamin B group and vitamin C. Its growth speed and nutritional value make it ideal for survival.

4. Tomatoes

Tomatoes have a spot on this list due to the fact that they are multi-nutritional, require little space to grow and ripen really fast. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and D, carbohydrate sugars, fats, minerals, fiber and water. They can be eaten raw as fruits or used as vegetables to make rich stews and soups. Tomatoes take between 20 and 25 days to ripen and be ready to eat. This short growth time makes it a great crop for surviving in case of disasters where food stores are destroyed or used up.

5. Flour

Flour is a great food to have in store in case of emergency. What is super awesome about it is the fact that it can be stored for a very long time without going bad. When stored in a cool dry place brown flour can stay for up to five years while white flour can stay up to seven years. The difference is due to the fact that brown flour has more oil which tends to speed up the process of food going bad. Flour from wheat, corn and oats is useful in making filling pastries that should see you through your until you figure out another way of finding food. Sorghum and millet flour are good for porridge.

6. Tea and coffee

Ground tea leaves and coffee beans can stay for up to four years depending on the brand. They belong on this list due to the ability to stay for long without getting spoilt. Tea and coffee will come in handy on cold nights after disasters helping to warm you and calm you down.

7. Canned meat and fish

This is a great source of protein. Canned meat can be anything from chicken and beef to turkey and lamb. The meat is cooked or dried, treated with preservatives and sealed in cans that have air suctioned from them. Cooked meats can last for up to six years canned whereas the free-dried variety of canned food can last for up to twelve years. So if you believe that there is a chance that you might survive an upcoming disaster, stock up on canned meats. They are real life-savers.

8. Rice

Brown rice can stay for up to five years when dried and kept away from moisture. This makes them a great food option in case of disaster. The other great thing about rice is that the grains are small and light making them easier to store and if need be, carry around. Rice also makes nice filling meals full of energy giving carbohydrates.

9. Salt and sugar and honey

These three food items can last indefinitely and therefore deserve their spot on this list. Salt is a rich source of iodine which is good for your blood. It also has medical advantages being used as an antiseptic and a stomach relief remedy. Sugar is a carbohydrate and is a great source of energy. It can be used when baking bread and when mixed with water make an energy drink.

10. Powdered milk

Finally, having powdered milk is useful for survival in the end times. An unopened can of powdered milk can last from between two and ten years. Milk is a great source of proteins, vitamin D as well as minerals.

These foods are awesome for the end times because of their ease of availability, speed of growth and resilience in bad conditions. If you chose to set up an emergency store of food remember to include water and medical supplies. Whether or not you believe that you might be caught up in the end times and disasters, it wouldn’t hurt to have a back-up stash.

If you happened to survive a major catastrophic disaster such as a nuclear bomb, a major earthquake or something of the sort, the most important thing you will need is food. Getting food to grow after a disaster is tricky and you could die before your first harvest. Below is a list of foods that you can get now and store for long and food that grows fast and well under poor conditions.

1. Maize/Corn

This is one of the best food types you can have if you hope to survive after a disaster of apocalyptic proportions. The reason is because it is one of the few on this list that can both be stored for long and can grow under harsh conditions. The practice of storing corn for emergency dates back centuries and was practiced as a way to survive draught. Corn can stay for up to eight months when boiled and frozen. When freezing is not an option, drying allows you to have your corn for up to four months. The other reason that lands corn on the survival for end times food list is its resilience in harsh conditions. All it needs to grow is good soil and water. This is the reason why you can find it growing well in any climate and region on earth. Maize is important as it is a carbohydrate which is the main source of energy for humans. And you better believe that if you end up alive during the end times, you will need as much energy as you can get.

2. Beans

Beans share corn’s resilient nature. Storing beans for long term purposes can be done in three ways. The first is by drying. Sun drying beans removes moisture from them making them safe from pest, bacterial and fungal infestation. In this state you can have beans safe for human consumption for up to three years according to food scientists. The second way in which beans are stored is through nitrogen treatment and hermetical sealing. This means that the beans are cleaned, treated with nitrogen to remove oil and sealed in the absence of oxygen (hermetically). This allowed them to last for a whopping8 years. Finally, beans are stored by canning. They are cooked and put in sealed cans with preserving chemicals. Depending on the brand and the bean species, canned beans can last between 3 and 5 years. They are popular in the army and are a great source of protein.

3. Radishes

Radishes are the fastest growing crops known by man. They take a mere two weeks to mature and be ready for harvest. If you were a survivor of a major disaster or a world ending catastrophe, a fast growing crop would be the equivalent of gold. The entire plant is edible but the root has the most uses. It can be used to make soups, stews and in salads. Radish roots are rich in carbohydrate sugars, fat and proteins. The leaves are rich in vitamins especially the vitamin B group and vitamin C. Its growth speed and nutritional value make it ideal for survival.

4. Tomatoes

Tomatoes have a spot on this list due to the fact that they are multi-nutritional, require little space to grow and ripen really fast. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and D, carbohydrate sugars, fats, minerals, fiber and water. They can be eaten raw as fruits or used as vegetables to make rich stews and soups. Tomatoes take between 20 and 25 days to ripen and be ready to eat. This short growth time makes it a great crop for surviving in case of disasters where food stores are destroyed or used up.

5. Flour

Flour is a great food to have in store in case of emergency. What is super awesome about it is the fact that it can be stored for a very long time without going bad. When stored in a cool dry place brown flour can stay for up to five years while white flour can stay up to seven years. The difference is due to the fact that brown flour has more oil which tends to speed up the process of food going bad. Flour from wheat, corn and oats is useful in making filling pastries that should see you through your until you figure out another way of finding food. Sorghum and millet flour are good for porridge.

6. Tea and coffee

Ground tea leaves and coffee beans can stay for up to four years depending on the brand. They belong on this list due to the ability to stay for long without getting spoilt. Tea and coffee will come in handy on cold nights after disasters helping to warm you and calm you down.

7. Canned meat and fish

This is a great source of protein. Canned meat can be anything from chicken and beef to turkey and lamb. The meat is cooked or dried, treated with preservatives and sealed in cans that have air suctioned from them. Cooked meats can last for up to six years canned whereas the free-dried variety of canned food can last for up to twelve years. So if you believe that there is a chance that you might survive an upcoming disaster, stock up on canned meats. They are real life-savers.

8. Rice

Brown rice can stay for up to five years when dried and kept away from moisture. This makes them a great food option in case of disaster. The other great thing about rice is that the grains are small and light making them easier to store and if need be, carry around. Rice also makes nice filling meals full of energy giving carbohydrates.

9. Salt and sugar and honey

These three food items can last indefinitely and therefore deserve their spot on this list. Salt is a rich source of iodine which is good for your blood. It also has medical advantages being used as an antiseptic and a stomach relief remedy. Sugar is a carbohydrate and is a great source of energy. It can be used when baking bread and when mixed with water make an energy drink.

10. Powdered milk

Finally, having powdered milk is useful for survival in the end times. An unopened can of powdered milk can last from between two and ten years. Milk is a great source of proteins, vitamin D as well as minerals.

These foods are awesome for the end times because of their ease of availability, speed of growth and resilience in bad conditions. If you chose to set up an emergency store of food remember to include water and medical supplies. Whether or not you believe that you might be caught up in the end times and disasters, it wouldn’t hurt to have a back-up stash.

Salt. I never really knew you.

salt

Beside making food delicious, it’s believed there are more than 14,000 uses for salt, and our grandmothers were probably familiar with most of them. A number of these uses were for simple things around the home before the advent of modern chemicals and cleaners. Many of these salt uses are still valid today and can be much cheaper and more environmentally-friendly than more sophisticated products. We make no guarantee about the results if you try any of these uses and tips, but there must be something to them since they have been handed down over the years in many households. Most of these salt uses have stood the test of time.

The most familiar use of salt undoubtedly is in the kitchen and on the dining table. Salt accents the flavor of meat, brings out the individuality of vegetables, puts “oomph” into bland starches, deepens the flavor of delicate desserts, and develops the flavor of melons and certain other fruits. No other seasoning has yet been found that can satisfactorily take the place of salt.

But, there are many other uses for salt around the home, as well. Salt is an excellent cleaning agent, either on its own or in combination with other substances. A solution of salt and turpentine restores the whiteness to yellowed enamel bathtubs and lavatories. A paste of salt and vinegar cleans tarnished brass or copper. A strong brine poured down the kitchen sink prevents grease from collecting and eliminates odors.

Salt helps destroy moths and drives away ants. A dash of salt in laundry starch keeps the iron from sticking and gives linen and fine cottons a glossy, like-new finish. A thin paste of salt and salad oil removes white marks caused by hot dishes or water from wooden tables.

A box of salt is also an important item in many bathrooms. In mild solutions, it makes an excellent mouthwash, throat gargle or eye-wash; it is an effective dentifrice; it is an effective antiseptic; and it can be extremely helpful as a massage element to improve skin complexion.

Salt Uses & Tips: In the Kitchen

(Click to view our Gourmet Sea Salts available for cooking and kitchen use)

Boiling Water – Salt added to water makes the water boil at a higher temperature, thus reducing cooking time (it does not make the water boil faster).

Peeling eggs – Eggs boiled in salted water peel more easily.

Poaching eggs – Poaching eggs over salted water helps set the egg whites.

Testing egg freshness – Place the egg in a cup of water to which two teaspoonfuls of salt has been added. A fresh egg sinks; a doubter will float.

Preventing browning – Apples, pears and potatoes dropped in cold, lightly salted water as they are peeled will retain their color.

Shelling pecans – Soaking pecans in salt water for several hours before shelling will make nut meats easier to remove.

Washing spinach – If spinach is washed in salted water, repeated cleanings will not be necessary.

Preventing sugaring – A little salt added to cake icings prevents them from sugaring.

Crisping salads – Salting salads immediately before serving will keep them crisp.

Improving boiled potatoes – Boiled potatoes will be given a fine, mealy texture by sprinkling with salt after draining, then returning them to the pan and shaking them back and forth quickly to get rid of the excess moisture.

Cleaning greasy pans – The greasiest iron pan will wash easily if you use a little salt in it and wipe with paper.

Cleaning stained cups – Rubbing with salt will remove stubborn tea or coffee stains from cups.

Cleaning ovens – Salt and cinnamon take the “burned food” odor away from ovens and stove burners. Sprinkle spills while oven and burners are still hot; when dry, remove the salted spots with a stiff brush or cloth.

Cleaning refrigerators – Use salt and soda water to clean and sweeten the inside of your refrigerator. It won’t scratch enamel either.

Extinguishing grease fires – Salt tossed on a grease fire on the stove or in the oven will smother flames. Never use water; it will only spatter the burning grease.

Improving coffee – A pinch of salt in coffee will enhance the flavor and remove the bitterness of over-cooked coffee.

Improving poultry – To improve the flavor of poultry, rub the fowl inside and out with salt before roasting.

Removing pinfeathers – To remove pinfeathers easily from a chicken, rub the chicken skin with salt first.

Cleaning tarnished silverware – Rub tarnish with salt before washing.

Cleaning copper pans – Remove stains on copper pans by salting area and scouring with a cloth soaked in vinegar.

Cleaning coffee pots – Remove bitterness from percolators and other coffee pots by filling with water, adding four tablespoons of salt and percolating or boiling as usual.

Removing onion odors from hands – Rub fingers with salt moistened with vinegar.

“Sweetening” containers – Salt can “sweeten” and deodorize thermos bottles and jugs, decanters and other closed containers.

Cleaning sink drains – Pour a strong salt brine down the kitchen sink drain regularly to eliminate odors and keep grease from building up.

Brightening cutting boards – After washing them with soap and water, rub cutting boards with a damp cloth dipped in salt; the boards will be lighter and brighter.

Fixing oversalted soups – If soup has been oversalted, cut up a raw potato or two and drop into the soup. The potato will absorb the salt.

Cleaning dried-on egg – Salt not only makes eggs taste better, but it makes “eggy” dishes clean easier. Sprinkle salt on dishes right after breakfast; it makes them a whiz to clean when you have time.

Preventing food from sticking – Rub a pancake griddle with a small bag of salt to prevent sticking and smoking. Sprinkle a little salt in the skillet before frying fish to prevent the fish from sticking. Sprinkle salt on washed skillets, waffle iron plates or griddles, heat in a warm oven, dust off salt; when they are next used, foods will not stick.

Preventing mold – To prevent mold on cheese, wrap it in a cloth dampened with saltwater before refrigerating.

Whipping cream and beating egg whites – By adding a pinch of salt, cream will whip better and egg whites will beat faster and higher.

Keeping milk fresh – Adding a pinch of salt to milk will keep it fresh longer.

Setting gelatin – To set gelatin salads and desserts quickly, place over ice that has been sprinkled with salt.

Salt Uses & Tips: Cleaning

Cleaning brass – Mix equal parts of salt, flour and vinegar to make a paste, rub the paste on the brass item, leave on for an hour or so, then clean with a soft cloth or brush and buff with a dry cloth.

Cleaning wicker – To prevent yellowing, scrub wicker furniture with a stiff brush moistened with warm saltwater and allow to dry in the sun.

Cleaning grease spots on rugs – Some grease spots can be removed with a solution of one part salt and four parts alcohol and rubbing hard but carefully to avoid damage to the nap.

Extending broom life – New brooms will wear longer if soaked in hot saltwater before they are first used.

Removing wine stains – If wine is spilled on a tablecloth or rug, blot up as much as possible and immediately cover the wine with salt, which will absorb the remaining wine. Later rinse the tablecloth with cold water; scrape up the salt from the rug and then vacuum the spot.

Removing rings from tables – White rings left on tables from wet or hot dishes or glasses can be removed by rubbing a thin paste of salad oil and salt on the spot with your fingers, letting it stand an hour or two, then wiping it off.

Restoring sponges – Give sponges new life by soaking them in cold saltwater after they are washed.

Settling suds – If a washing machine bubbles over from too many suds, sprinkle salt on the suds to reduce them.

Brightening colors – Wash colored curtains or washable fiber rugs in a saltwater solution to brighten the colors. Brighten faded rugs and carpets by rubbing them briskly with a cloth that has been dipped in a strong saltwater solution and wrung out.

Removing perspiration stains – Add four tablespoons of salt to one quart of hot water and sponge the fabric with the solution until stains disappear.

Brightening yellowed cottons or linens – Boil the yellowed items for one hour in a salt and baking soda solution

Removing blood stains – Soak the stained clothing or other cloth item in cold saltwater, then launder in warm, soapy water and boil after the wash. (Use only on cotton, linen or other natural fibers that can take high heat.)

Removing mildew or rust stains – Moisten stained spots with a mixture of lemon juice and salt, then spread the item in the sun for bleaching; and finally, rinse and dry.

Color-matching nylons – Good nylons that don’t have a match can be made the same color by boiling them a few minutes in a pan of lightly salted water.

Fixing sticking iron – Sprinkle a little salt on a piece of paper and run the hot iron over it to remove rough, sticky spots.

Cleaning fish tanks – Rub the inside of fish tanks with salt to remove hard water deposits, then rinse well before returning the fish to the tank. Use only plain, not iodized, salt.

Salt Uses & Tips: Health & Beauty

(Click to view our Scented Bath Salts and Wholesale & Bulk Bath Salts available for health and beauty use)

Gargling – Stir 1/2 teaspoon salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water for use as a gargle for sore throats.

Cleaning teeth – Mix one part salt to two parts baking soda after pulverizing the salt in a blender or rolling it on a kitchen board with a tumbler before mixing. It whitens teeth, helps remove plaque and it is healthy for the gums.

Washing mouth – Mix equal parts of salt and baking soda as a mouth wash that sweetens the breath.

Bathing eyes – Mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a pint of water and use the solution to bathe tired eyes.

Reducing eye puffiness – Mix one teaspoon of salt in a pint of hot water and apply pads soaked in the solution on the puffy areas.

Relieving tired feet – Soak aching feet in warm water to which a handful of salt has been added. Rinse in cool water.

Relieving bee stings – If stung, immediately wet the spot and cover with salt to relieve the pain.

Treating mosquito and chigger bites – Soak in saltwater, then apply a mixture of lard and salt.

Treating poison ivy – Soaking the exposed part in hot saltwater helps hasten the end to poison ivy irritation.

Relieving fatigue – Soak relaxed for at least ten minutes in a tub of water into which several handfuls of salt has been placed.

Removing dry skin – After bathing and while still wet give yourself a massage with dry salt. It removes dead skin particles and aids the circulation.

Applying facial – For a stimulating facial, mix equal parts of salt and olive oil and gently massage the face and throat with long upward and inward strokes. Remove mixture after five minutes and wash face.

Removing tattoos – Called salabrasion, this technique involves rubbing salt on the tattoo and requires several treatments. Healing is required between sessions, but there is virtually no scarring. CAUTION: This is a medical procedure that can be done only by a physician.

Salt Uses & Tips: Household

Extinguishing grease fires – Keep a box of salt handy at your stove and oven and if a grease fire flares up, cover the flames with salt. Do not use water on grease fires; it will splatter the burning grease. Also a handful of salt thrown on flames from meat dripping in barbecue grills will reduce the flames and deaden the smoke without cooling the coals as water does.

Drip-proofing candles – Soak new candles in a strong salt solution for a few hours, then dry them well. When burned they will not drip.

Removing soot – Occasionally throw a handful of salt on the flames in your fireplace; it will help loosen soot from the chimney and salt makes a bright yellow flame.

Invigorating goldfish – Occasionally add one teaspoon of salt to a quart of fresh water at room temperature and put your goldfish in for about 15 minutes. Then return them to their tank. The salt swim makes them healthier.

Cleaning flower vases – To remove deposits caused by flowers and water, rub with salt; if you cannot reach the deposits to rub them, put a strong salt solution in the vase and shake, then wash the vase with soap and water.

Keeping cut flowers fresh – A dash of salt added to the water in a flower vase will keep cut flowers fresh longer.

Holding artificial flowers – Artificial flowers can be held in an artistic arrangement by pouring salt into the container, adding a little cold water and then arranging the flowers. The salt will solidify as it dries and hold the flowers in place.

Keeping patios weed-free – If weeds or unwanted grass come up between patio bricks or blocks, carefully spread salt between the bricks and blocks, then sprinkle with water or wait for rain to wet it down.

Killing poison ivy – Mix three pounds of salt with a gallon of soapy water and apply to leaves and stems with a sprayer.

Keeping windows frost-free – Rub the inside of windows with a sponge dipped in a saltwater solution and rub dry; the windows will not frost up in sub-freezing weather. Rubbing a small cloth bag containing salt that has been moistened on your car’s windshield will keep snow and ice from collecting.

Deicing sidewalks and driveways – Lightly sprinkling rock salt on walks and driveways will keep snow and ice from bonding to the pavement and allow for easy removal. Don’t overdo it; use the salt sensibly to avoid damage to grass and ornamentals.

Deodorizing shoes – Sprinkling a little salt in canvas shoes occasionally will take up the moisture and help remove odors.

References: http://www.saltworks.us/salt_info/salt-uses-and-tips.asp

CANNED FOOD GONE BAD – DO YOU KNOW ALL 8 SIGNS?

Do you know the signs to watch for to avoid eating canned food that might be deadly?  There are several ways harmful bacteria can contaminate canned food.  “In the United States, about 110 cases of botulism are reported each year“.  A person can’t see or smell if a can is contaminated with botulism spores, however, there are other contaminates that can be seen and smelled.  The good news is that most of the signs that canned food has spoiled are fairly easy to recognize once you know what to look for.  Below is a quick review of what to keep an eye out for.  See if you know all the signs to watch out for.

1. A Lid that Bulges Moving Up & Down

This unsafe can of whole potatoes had been exposed to extremely cold temperatures and relatively hot temperatures in my garage, over a 6 month period.

2. Food Projecting or Exploding When Opened

This YouTube video was made by TheModernSurvivalist. Check out some of their other informative videos here and don’t forget to subscribe!

3. Rusting / Corrosion of Can

This was pulled out of a house fire and it was covered with soot.  Soot and moisture corrodes metal.  Corrosion will eventually create holes that let in air and bacteria.

4. Leaking

This YouTube video was made by Mrs. Crosby. Check out some of their her informative videos here and don’t forget to subscribe!

5. Dents

Dents compromise the integrity of the air tight seal which can expose the food to harmful bacteria.

6. Acrid Smell

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If it smells pungent, acidic, chemical, or has a unnatural smell don’t eat it!

7. Rising Bubbles or Unnatural Looking Colors

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The picture above is of a well shook can of safe bubbles.  I didn’t have an example of unsafe bubbles so I thought I’d show you safe bubbles.  The bubbles to be watchful of are small rising gas bubbles.

8. Hisses Loudly When Opened

A soft quite hiss when the air rushes into a can you are opening is normal but a can that hiss loudly when opened is a warning sign.

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So if a can is bulging, projecting, rusting, leaking, is dented, has a weird smell, looks funky, or hisses loudly DON’T taste it and handle it carefully!  “Contact with botulinum toxin can be fatal whether it is ingested or enters through the skin. Take care to avoid contact with suspect foods or liquids.”  Carefully dispose of the contaminated food.

  • How do I safety clean up and dispose of spoiled canned food?  Find the answer at the National Center for Home Food Preservation
  • Do you have food safety questions?  Find answers at USDA Shelf-Stable Food Safety