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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.

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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