11 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Moving Off-Grid

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I don’t know about you, but I would love to own about 25 acres of land in the middle of nowhere and live solely on what I develop from the land itself.

The sad fact is, most of people caught in a crisis will either live in bands of scavengers or wind up dead.

Even those fortunate enough to live on a homestead or in a dedicated survival group are apt to find themselves being attacked by anyone desperate enough to try and steal from them.

If you can afford to purchase land and live off grid, it offers a better standard of living and added peace and comfort in a time when just about everything else is falling apart. If you intend to succeed at moving off grid, there are 10 mistakes you must avoid at all cost.

Not Accounting for Weather Conditions and Radiation Threats

Even though you may rarely hear about nuclear events, there are ongoing situations like Fukushima, as well as potential ones that can make your homestead as dangerous as it is worthless.

For example, if you purchase or have land in California or anywhere along the western coast of the United States, including Canada, ionized radiation from Fukushima is more than likely contaminating the land, air, and water already.

While it may not seem like much now, or at “low levels”, the fact remains that the leak at the Fukushima reactors is still releasing radioactive waste into the ocean, and the currents are still bringing that radiation to the western shore of the United States.

Aside from Fukushima, every location within 100 miles of a nuclear power plant or nuclear waste facility should be avoided at all cost. If there is a major waterway such as a river that connects one nuclear are to within 100 miles of your planned homestead site, it is best to avoid the area or consider how you will best escape problems caused by nuclear contamination.

Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and droughts are all becoming more common. Make sure that you pay careful attention to how the weather patterns are changing. It does not matter what the media says is causing these changes or what they say they mean.

All that matters is you pick a safe location or know how to handle changing weather patterns in the area that you choose.

Not Having a Means of Income

Taxes, emergencies, and adapting to an off grid life can all cost a good bit of money. Even if you can meet basic needs from the land itself, it never hurts to have enough contact with the rest of the world so that you can make some money.

Together with this, you also need to diversify your currency stockpile. While cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin can be very dangerous, it may still come in handy to have some money in this form of currency.

Just make sure that you never put so much into these currencies that it will cause problems if the currency fails.

Lack of Experience with Growing Food Underground

If there is one common factor in all ultimate survival shelters and homesteads, building underground is it. Not only will an underground shelter protect you from nuclear radiation, it can also shield you from just about everything except earthquakes. When built correctly, an underground homestead can last for generations and remain in good condition.

The lack of light and free moving air underground can be fatal. If you do not have sufficient experience with growing foods and herbal remedies underground, then you will need to gain these skills as well as make sure that you can repair or replace every part of the lighting system used to grow plants.

Make sure that you also have a good grounding in disease management.

This old forgotten secrets helped our parents survive!

Inability to Generate Power or Communicate

Today, far too many people think that they can follow the traditions of the Amish or other groups that have never become accustomed to electricity and petroleum based fuels.

While these people do have some valid ideas about many important areas of off grid living, they do not know how to manage the kinds of waste that exist in the world today. Without electricity, it will be harder than you expect to deal with environmental toxins.

Because we have become a “global economy”, and a “global human environment”, what happens in one part of the world cannot be ignored. You will still need radios and other communications systems so that you can find out about larger scale threats and then find ways to manage them as the situation develops.

No matter how much you may want to think you can make it in the world alone, the fact remains just as many others may have the same idea. Unless you know where they are and what they are doing, you will be in very serious danger of building a false utopia that will crash around your ears.

At the very least, make sure that you know how to generate electricity underground and using solar and wind based methods.

You should also know how to build a foxhole radio and a spark gap transmitter. It is also very important to know how to build electronic communications devices with or without solid state technologies.

Lack of Knowledge and Ability to Manage Sanitation Issues

Chances are, if you have been doing your research on prepping and off grid issues, then you already know that poor sanitation can lead to serious disease outbreaks.

While a composting toilet may seem very useful, you must still consider what to do with bathing water, kitchen garbage, disposal of old paint or other chemicals, and managing nuisance insects if you are not able manage sanitation properly. In addition, if you decide to build a septic system, then you will still have to pump out the tank or find some other way to manage this aspect of sanitation.

Overall, you should focus on systems that recycle as much as possible without the use of dangerous or toxic chemicals. Always remember that the land you have is all that you have. If you ruin it, there won’t be a way to replace it, and there may not be a way to fix the problem.

You can try composting toilets, compost generators for kitchen waste, and conversion of other waste into some kind of fuel.

For more ideas on other kinds of waste, look to Sweden, where less than 1% of household waste winds up in landfills. Reducing your reliance on the local rubbish company is also something you can start doing now.

As you become more proficient in this area, you will have at least one part of your off grid skills in good order.

Lack of Medical Knowledge and Skills

Considering the rampant and continuous scandal around modern health care, it should come as no surprise that people are becoming more nervous about every aspect of treating diseases. While there are some parts of modern medicine that are valuable and cannot be replaced or duplicated, there are still some very important things you can do for yourself.

Perhaps most important, as an off gridder, you will need to understand and take advantage of the relationship between good health and lifestyle choices.

While your “national pride” may say have another hot dog that may have human remains in it, or your mouth may water for cheeses and meat filled with pesticide and antibiotics, in the end these decisions can cost your life and your well being.

By the same token, not getting enough exercise, not paying attention to air quality, smoking, drinking alcohol in excess, and using “recreational drugs” will all take a toll on your well being.

If you are going to live off grid, you won’t have the time to deal with health problems from these choices let alone live comfortably.

It is also very important to educate yourself as much as possible about emergency medicine, herbal remedies, and any side effects that may come from the drugs you are using right now.

Do what you can to use holistic methods and lifestyle improvements. Aside from learning a lot about how your body works, you may also gain enough improvement to reduce your reliance on drugs that will eventually stop working or cause more harm than expected to organs outside of the system being treated.

Lack of Self and Property Defense Equipment and Skills

I must admit there are definitely days when I wish I could go live on a few acres of land and never need to worry about all the crime and other hazards that come with living in a more populated setting. Quite frankly, believing that safety will automatically come when you isolate from others is a huge mistake.

Among other things, you may have to deal with criminals passing through the area looking to hide out, as well as others looking to commit some kind of crime. Unless you can defend yourself and your property even in these times, there is every chance you will wind up dead.

Inability to Store and Prepare Foods

As simple and obvious as it may sound, many people that plan to live off grid don’t know how to store and prepare foods. For example, many people think canning is easy because they see many recipes online, and the standard supplies are available in the department store each fall.

The truth is, canning takes a good bit of practice and skill. You must carefully time the water baths, and also know how to manage the hot bottles at the precise moment when they are ready to be sealed down.

Unfortunately, as with many other areas of off gridding, there is a lot of wrong and outright unsafe information around. While you can give things like oven canning, dehydration, and and vacuum sealing a try, it is still best to know how to smoke and dry foods.

It is also very important to make sure you have an effective and efficient food inventory system so that you don’t wind up eating something that is too old and may have become contaminated because of improper storage. This is especially important to consider if you are planning to use oxygen absorbers or other systems that will lead to different kinds of bacterial growth.

Perhaps it can be said that you would be better off taking a risk of a discernible mold or fungus growing rather than a deadly botulism strain that won’t be as easy to pick up on.

Inability to Obtain and Purify Water

People that go camping or spend a lot of time outdoors may think they know all there is to know about obtaining and purifying water. While there are many valid methods for both tasks, the fact remains modern “potable” water supplies are incredibly dangerous.

Aside from medications, fluoride, and nuclear waste being found in most surface level water, heavy metal contamination is also a serious problem. In fact, unless you go down to the south pole and melt off some glacier ice, chances are you don’t have access to clean, let alone safe water.

For some people, the short answer is to distill all water used for drinking and cooking. Even though distilling will get rid of pathogens and most chemicals, it will not get rid of tritium.

In addition, drinking distilled water over weeks or months increases your risk of electrolyte and mineral depletion. Therefore, you will need to know how to compensate for this loss using foods and other beverages.

Today, many people also give very little thought to the safety and cleanliness of the water they wash with. Many chemicals can be absorbed by the skin, or wind up being absorbed through mucus membranes.

It may take a lot more work to purify all water that you use for bathing and washing, however it will be well worth the effort in the long run.

Inability to Make Clothes

Even if you normally go to the goodwill store for second hand clothes, chances are you have more garments than you know what to do with.

When you have to tend your own farm, or carry out a lot of intensive physical labor chores, your garments are bound to wear out much faster. To add insult to injury, the detergents you use to wash you garments can also spell disaster. Sadly, there are many recipes online for “natural laundry detergent” that can actually ruin your clothes in a very short period of time.

The best thing you can do to solve this problem is make sure that you know how to make your own clothes from the ground up. Learn how to grow cotton, sheer sheep, and spin these fibers into fabric or yarn.

At the very least, even if you do make a mistake on washing and garment care, or your clothes get ruined for some other reason, you will be able to make new ones.

There is no question that off grid living comes with many rewards and opportunities. If you are going to live comfortably and peacefully, however, there are a number of common mistakes that you need to avoid. Take the time to learn and practice as many skills as possible so that you are ready for any situation that comes up. Even if you wind up needing to rely on goods and services for a short period of time, make it your business to learn what you need to know so that you don’t wind up having to look to others because of repeated failures.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

Forgotten Lessons Of Yesterday: Who’s Behind The Book

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Want to avoid the premium store prices and horrible, toxic food chemicals that can make you sick?

Start by reading a homesteader handbook that will help you become food independent. My choice would be a book called “Forgotten Lessons of Yesterday“, written by Theresa Crouse. I was surprised at the wide array of topics that she covered.

I’ve collaborated with Theresa Crouse via Survivopedia for several years now and, though we’ve emailed back and forth hundreds of times, we’d never met in person.

I finally met her and found out her story from zero to hero. Now I’m sharing her story it with you!

The interesting thing about Theresa is that she’s not your typical prepper. She lives a lifestyle that’s a motley collection of modern homesteading, common sense, and resiliency – exactly what her writing reflects.

She regularly covers topics ranging from growing medicinal plants to tanning hides. She is, indeed, resilient and independent, and the topics that she covered in the book reflected her diverse collection of skills.

We both agreed that, since I was going to be in the her state for a business conference, it would be a great time to finally meet in person.

Instead of meeting somewhere for lunch, Theresa invited me to meet her at her home so that I could meet her husband and see in person the gardening and homesteading techniques that she proudly shares with her readers.

Because her favorite articles tend to revolve around farming, I expected her to live on a farm, or at least a couple of acres. I was surprised to find that she currently resides in a suburb of Orlando, or, more correctly, a suburb of a suburb of Orlando.

When I pulled up, it looked like any other house on any other residential street, though I do have to say that the neighborhood had more trees than average and her yard had an abundance of tastefully arranged ornamental plants. When we went around to her enclosed backyard, however, it was as if we’d stepped right into the country. Well, as much as you can when you can still see rooftops.

She had several citrus trees and vertical gardens were arranged around nearly her entire fence line. Even the ornamental plants on the patio turned out to be edibles – chili peppers, squash, kale, and strawberries. There were four 10×10 raised beds with a path that wandered through them to a barbeque area, complete with a brick oven, that husband had built. As I expected, she and her husband were both relaxed and welcoming.

I didn’t go there for an interview, but after a great lunch on her patio – including a salad made with lettuce and vegetables from her garden and a fresh salsa that she’d just made that morning, it seemed that it would be a great time to ask her some questions about her book and her way of life in general to share with you.

Me: Looking at your book, “Forgotten Lessons of Yesterday“, it seems like you’re encouraging people to turn back to the days when people were healthier, by making our own food or living close to nature. In recent times, and in your writings, it’s like the pioneers are coming back to life and calling themselves homesteaders. Do you consider yourself a modern pioneer?

Theresa: I don’t know if I believe that “modern pioneer” is exactly what I’d call myself. I think I’m just a person who likes to live simply and be as independent as I can be. I guess, since most people have gotten away from living that way, you could call me a modern pioneer for encouraging it. I believe that, as our ancestors proved, the land will give us everything that we need, but we need to start taking care of it.

Me: Learning the old lessons of homesteading may seem pretty hard for somebody coming from an urban civilization. How hard is it to get the knowledge? How is that to you?

Theresa (laughing): It’s not hard, but there will be some bumps and lots of learning experiences. It’s funny you should mention that because we recently tried growing sweet potatoes – a crop we’d never grown before. Suffice it to say that there’s more to it than just sticking it in the ground. But now we know, and it was fun. I even wrote an article about it afterwards!

Seriously, though, the main thing is that you’re willing to learn. Just like anything else that you’re new at, there will be some mistakes, but you’ll learn from them. Trial and error. And you’ll always mistakes, just like you do in everything else.

For instance, see all of those tomato and pepper plants over there? I made the mistake of assuming that because I bought seeds from the Dollar Store – 50 cents each – that I’d be lucky if a quarter of them grew, so I planted them ALL.

Now we have 70 tomato plants and 40 pepper plants! I’ll never plant unknown seeds without sample germinating again! But, the upside is that we’re selling most of them, which will cover our gardening and canning costs for the entire year. Not all of my mistakes have been so cheap, though!

 Me: Would it be possible for a person like you to change how he or she lives – to go back to being a consumerist? And could you?

Theresa:  You know, I actually did for several years, though it never felt right to me. It was convenient to just buy everything from the store, but it didn’t take us long to realize that that just wasn’t the life for us.

As you know, I was raised on a farm, so I was used to eating everything – meat, veggies, milk, butter – fresh, without any chemicals. Once I started buying everything from the store, I noticed that the food just didn’t taste as good. The most noticeable things for me were tomatoes and milk. The tomatoes always seem to be mealy and flavorless, and the milk tastes like chemicals. Plus, there’s just nothing like fresh cream in your coffee. But still, it was convenient, so I pushed on.

Then John and I both started feeling just … yuck. We both gained weight (me more than him, of course!) and we had some other problems. I had brain fog and my skin was rough and splotchy. I was sick to my stomach a lot. Even though John was in the military and has always been pretty fit, his cholesterol shot up.

I started paying attention to what we were actually putting in our bodies, and knew that we had to get away from all of that garbage and start eating chemical free, taste-good food again. And once we did, we never looked back.

It was like slipping on a favorite pair of slippers – I was just comfortable again. And our health problems went away. I guess you can take the girl off the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the girl. It’s a core part of who I am and I can’t just NOT think and live that way.

 Me: Reading your book feels very much like a journey that the reader takes along with you, in a very personal area of knowledge. Why is this book so personal?

Theresa: The easiest answer is that it’s personal because I’m sharing a core part of myself. In my heart, this is who I am. It’s not just how I was raised.

The more complicated reason that it probably feels more personal is that writing it brought back a lot of memories. I mean, I know how to do all of the things in my book, and so I just do them without investing much thought into it. When I actually sat down and explained how to do it, it made me think back to canning with my mom, or hunting with my grandfather. I realized that I’m not just teaching methods, I’m sharing my heritage.

Me: What would you tell to somebody who would like to turn to self-sufficiency but he or she doesn’t have the courage or doesn’t know where to start?

Theresa: I’d tell them that you start at the same spot that you start any new task – at the beginning. Start small. Don’t plan to be completely self-sufficient by next fall! Pick something that you’d like to do – for me, a big part of being self-reliant is growing my own food. If that’s the case, then maybe start out with some herbs, or if you’ve already grown herbs, start some vegetable seeds.

Buy books for beginners – for instance, mine breaks every task into small steps because I was writing on the assumption that the reader has never done it before. Find books like that. Do searches on the internet. Go through websites – Survivopedia is great, and that’s not just because I’m biased. There are several other sites out there, too. Just suck up the knowledge. There’s nothing like hands-on experience, but if you read about it, you’re already a step ahead because you’re not going in blind.

Me: I know we’ve been talking for a while now, and I need to get back, but for my last question, let’s address those folks who don’t live on a farm, or even in a single-family house. I’m looking around your yard and see that you’ve been really creative with a relatively small amount of space. What would you say to other people who want to be self-sufficient but don’t have much space?

Theresa: I’d say what my grandmother used to say – can’t never could. In other words, don’t find reasons why you can’t become self-sufficient; find ways that you can. Everybody has room on a counter for some herbs. That will save you quite a few bucks right there. You don’t need a ton of space to become at least partially resilient. You just have to find them.

There are other ways to go about it than just growing food, too. I didn’t write about this in the book, but it’s something that mirrors how I was raised – yard sales. They’re a great way to find good deals, get away from the big stores, learn how to barter, and how to upcycle/reuse just about anything. I watch Flea Market Flip and was hooked from the first episode. I’ve been trying my hand at that, in addition to finding cool clothes and stuff that I need. It’s fun!

Being self-sufficient shouldn’t be painful – don’t t make it something that you do because you have to. There’s a real sense of pride that accompanies eating food that you’ve grown or setting your glass on a coffee table that you’ve made or repurposed with your own hands.

Find the joy in being able to take care of yourself, even if it’s in small ways. Because, trust me, once you start, you won’t want to stop!

This interview has been taken by Alec Deacon for Survivopedia.

How To Build A Rabbit Coop

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Food and water are essential survival items in every imaginable survival scenario.

Buying and stockpiling most of your emergency food may be the only option for urban dwellers, while learning how to grow and raise your own survival food, provided you have the possibility i.e. you live in “flyover America”, is an essential skill to master for any prepper.

However, there are numerous other reasons why you should learn how to grow/raise your own food. Food that is easy to grow and breed, and multiplies like rabbits.

The cost factor comes into play more often than you may think, and that’s why many preppers are starting to farm at least a portion of their (decorative) gardens in order to grow fruits, vegetables, herbs, and medicinal plants. And even if you’re an urban dweller, you can grow something using containers on your balcony and things of that nature.

Moreover, if you live in the countryside, the possibilities are almost endless, and that brings us to today’s article, which will teach you a thing or two about how to build a rabbit coop.

Why rabbits, one may ask?

Well, to begin with, rabbits breed like, well, rabbits. And their meat is exceptionally tasty and healthy, i.e. low in cholesterol, low in fat and a great source of high quality proteins. Truth be told, rabbits are the multi-purpose tool for any twenty-first-century homestead.

Learn from our ancestors the old lessons of growing your own food!

Rabbits are awesome for numerous reasons: besides being a quasi-infinite source of survival food if SHTF, they breed fast, their fur is great for DIY-ing survival clothes and making wool, and they also make for an excellent source of manure for your survival garden. Also, rabbits are terrific pets for your kids and they require minimal space, time and relatively little money to raise.

Not to mention that if you’re getting serious about raising rabbits, you can sell what you can’t eat and make extra money for your homestead. With rabbits, it’s a win-win situation.

What Kind of Rabbit to Grow?

There are many different breeds of rabbits and each one serves best for a different purpose.

For example, Angoras are great for their wool, while Giant Chinchilla, New Zealand, and Californian are the best choice if you want high-quality and tasty meat.

Also, regardless of the breed, rabbits will provide you with 1 pound of potent, seed- and weed-free manure per week for your survival garden, which makes for an awesome fertilizer, especially for demanding (as in heavy feeding) plants.

When it comes to raising rabbits, the breeding part is the easiest, as they are very enthusiastic about fornication. Female rabbits will breed at any given moment, as long as they meet a buck, i.e. there’s no set estrous period for female rabbits (they’re just like humans in this regard).

The rabbit’s pregnancy period is approximately a month (28-30 days tops) and within hours of giving birth, the female rabbit will be ready to mate again and spawn another “batch” of little darlings! One buck will take care of up to thirty does, but to keep the gene pool in tip-top shape, you should use one buck to “service” 5 does max. A mature and healthy doe (female rabbit) will give birth to 5 -10 young 4-6 times a year.

The ideal meat breeds are New Zealand and Californian, or a combination of the 2.

But don’t worry; the rest of the “deal” is equally hassle-free, as rabbits only have basic needs in order to flourish—food, water and shelter—together with a cozy place to nest.

As per food, rabbits thrive on high-quality hay. High-quality hay has a nice sweet smell, but watch out for water damage, i.e. make sure there’s no mold (your rabbits may get sick). Besides hay, rabbits love to eat birds-foot trefoil, red clover, Kentucky bluegrass, alfalfa, timothy and basically every type of native grass you can put your hands on.

Besides food, your rabbit coop should be furnished every day with clean water, but be extra careful so your rabbits don’t contaminate the water source (the same goes for the food!) with their body waste, as they’ll get sick pretty quickly and die in droves.

Keeping your rabbit coop clean is essential for the well-being of your rabbit population.

How to DIY a Rabbit Coop

And here’s where the rabbit coop comes into play. DIY-ing your own rabbit coop/hutch will cost you less than purchasing pre-made, commercially available models and the building process is not very complicated, regardless of one’s skill levels with regard to basic carpentry.

Building a decent rabbit coop will only require some elbow grease on your part, along with some time, a little bit of money, and readily available tools. Very basic carpentry skills would be sufficient for building the nesting box, the feeder, the watering device and eventually a wire hutch.

And if you’re asking why use wire, well, the answer is simple: wire is cheap, durable, light, and, unlike wood hutches, rabbits can’t soil/gnaw through wire hutches.

Standard rabbit coops are built using wire and wood and depending on your preferences, they can vary greatly both in terms of shape and size. Also, the number of rabbits you’ll be keeping is a factor.

Obviously, there are many ways for designing/building a rabbit coop (or hutch, which is actually the more common name), but there are some things to remember regardless: the rabbit must have enough room to literally stretch out, and to sit up on its back legs.

The cage itself should be (at least) approximately 4x the size of your rabbit. Rabbit coops are typically separated into (at least) 2 compartments or sections, in order to provide separate sleeping areas for the rabbits.

Outdoor coops should be built on 4-feet tall legs as a method to repel predators. Rabbit tastes just as good to them as they do to us!

Here’s the first video tutorial on how to build a rabbit coop/hatch.

Video first seen on amybrett95. You could also check Part 2 and Part 3 of this video.

The lesson to be taken home is this: wire flooring is preferable to wood flooring in rabbit coops, as a rabbit living/walking around in its own body excrements (feces and urine accumulate  quickly on the wood flooring) will quickly become sick and will probably die.

Wood flooring is extremely hard to keep clean. The only issue with wire flooring can be elegantly resolved with resting pads for your rabbits.

Here’s a cheap and easy version, i.e. how to build your rabbit hutch nice and easy without breaking the bank in the process.

Video first seen on Great Cove Adventures.

Easy DIY for Your Rabbit’s Water and Food

Here’s another video tutorial about a simple DIY rabbit feeder.

Video first seen on Stan Sullivan.

 And here’s how to make the best DIY rabbit waterer.

Video first seen on Martin Olivares.

Or, if you like, a DIY gravity-fed water feeder using plastic bottles.

Video first seen on High Standards Everything Poultry.

I hope this article helped give you some ideas for how to build your rabbit hutch. It will help you take one more step to your food independence, and live the healthy life our parents used to live.

Click on the banner below to discover more of their secrets!

If you have any suggestions, idea or comments, feel free to use the dedicated section below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

10 Foods To Eat And Grow For Nuclear Prepping

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Radiation cancer treatments, nuclear bombs, nuclear power plants, and nuclear waste dump exposure seem very different, but they all emit ionizing radiation. No matter where radioactive particles come from, they will still do predictable damage to the cells, tissues, and organs of your body.

Today, there is a growing field of interest in which foods can be used to shield cells from the effects of nuclear radiation and perhaps even speed up healing after exposure.

Here are ten foods that you should consider eating more of, and growing to reduce the damaging effect of radiation.

Potatoes

Your thyroid is one of the most sensitive organs when it comes to radiation poisoning. This occurs mainly because radioactive iodine is taken up very quickly by the thyroid. You can get potassium iodine tablets for use after exposure to ionizing radiation, but make sure you get plenty of iodine in your diet too.

Surprisingly, potato skins carry high amounts of iodine, and potatoes are also rich in potassium and other important key nutrients for overall good health.

Potatoes are one of the easiest crops to grow. You can use conventional methods, or grow them in containers. For example, a 4′ x 4′ square area will yield over 100 pounds of potatoes if you continue to pile soil up as the potato roots develop. Read our article about how to make a potato pot to find out more about growing this vegetable.

You can grow potatoes in everything from trash cans to old washing machine tubs as long as you have enough soil and good drainage. Make sure you have access hatches in the container so that you can harvest potatoes once they are big enough and ready to consume.

Strawberries

Strawberries are also a good source of iodine and carry other important nutrients, and they are very easy to grow in hanging baskets, on a windowsill, or out in the garden. When choosing strawberry plants, there are three kinds you can buy:

  • everbearing strawberries – as long as the temperature and conditions are right, these plants will produce several crops of berries per season.
  • June bearing strawberries – as their name implies, these plants produce only one crop; usually in June. The berries are usually bigger and you will get more at one time.
  • Wild strawberries – these are usually small berries that are produced just once a year. They are truly second to none in terms of sweetness, however they are much smaller than the June and ever bearing berries.

Cranberries

Cranberries have the added benefit of being a good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin E, which can help protect cells from ionizing radiation. Cranberries are also rich in other antioxidants and phytonutrients that are known to help fight cancer.

Contrary to popular belief, cranberries can grow well in raised beds, if the soil is acidic, and that the plants get enough water. If your goal is growing cranberries in a container, try the raised beds first so that you know more about what to expect in terms of how this plant will grow in your geographic location. Once you know the basics, transfer what you learned to other growing methods.

Navy Beans

When combined with other beans, navy beans provide almost all the different amino acids and proteins required for good nutrition.

Navy beans also carry a good amount of iron, which your body needs to make blood. This is especially important if you do not have read meat available or other sources of easily digestible iron.

As with other legumes, beans are important for any garden because they help fix nitrogen into the soil. If you are interested in a sustainable garden geared towards nuclear survival, navy beans should be at the top of your list. Here’s a Survivopedia article on how to grow beans for survival.

When choosing seeds for Navy Beans, buy only heirloom, non-hybrid, non-gmo, certified organic seeds. Beans tend to grow quickly, which makes them an ideal test plant for long term survival needs. If you can propagate navy beans from one generation to the next, you will be a long way towards ensuring that you can keep viable seed supplies going without having to buy them.

Oranges

For decades, a great deal has been written on whether or not Vitamin C can fight cancer.

Newer research on people undergoing radiation therapy for cancer suggests that Vitamin C actually shields healthy cells from the toxic effects of radiation.

This finding was used to treat workers at Fukushima before they went into the damaged reactor as well as during their active working time.

Follow up research indicated that workers at the plant who received intravenous Vitamin C had less DNA mutation. In addition, those who were not treated beforehand, but received therapy after showing evidence of DNA mutation experienced a reduction in mutation.

Even though many foods contain Vitamin C, oranges are the best source. A single orange each day provides approximately 90% of the recommended daily allowance. Since oranges are rich in many other nutrients, it is also an ideal prepper food.

Oranges can be grown indoors and in containers in just about any climate. Just make sure they are kept warm enough and receive plenty of sunlight. If you must purchase hybrid trees, learn how to propagate from cuttings so that you can keep them going for as long as possible.

Red Peppers

If you are hesitant about growing oranges, red peppers are an excellent alternative for your nuclear prepping garden.

Red bell peppers also contain a good amount of Vitamin C, as well as Vitamin E. Aside from grape seeds, they also offer higher amounts of quercetin than many other plants, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent and fight cancer. Newer research also suggests that the ability to bind free radicals is key to reducing the effect of ionizing radiation within cells. Therefore, when you consume peppers, you are getting at least three important cellular shields.

Here’s a comprehensive Survivopedia article about growing peppers.

If you already know how to grow green bell peppers, just let them ripen a bit longer and you will have red peppers. They can be grown outdoors, in containers, and also in hydroponic setups. Since peppers are also easily propagated from seeds, you can also practice pollination methods and creating good seed stores from one generation to the next.

When growing peppers, do not forget that the germination and flowering stage can be tricky. Peppers are notorious for germinating slowly, especially if the soil temperature is too warm or too cold. You will also have to pay careful attention to soil temperature and moisture when the plants flower. If it is too hot or cold, the plant will drop the flowers even if they have been pollinated.

This is what you need to know for survival when there’s no doctor around!

Sunflower Seeds

While many people focus on Vitamin C as a cancer fighting and radiation shielding agent, Vitamin E is also very important. Even though researchers say that Vitamin E must be paired with Pentoxifylline (a drug used to make blood more liquid in order to reduce muscle cramps) for maximum effect, it may still be useful by itself.

Many other vitamins can be consumed at higher than the recommended daily allowance, Vitamin E can be toxic at higher levels. That being said, making sure you get the recommended amount each day can still give your cells an important cellular shield against radiation.

It will only take ¼ cup of shelled seeds to meet your daily needs. In addition, sunflower seeds are also packed with other antioxidants and important nutrients that will improve overall health. Aside from being a good food to have on hand for nuclear prepping, sunflower seeds also yield more oil than other plant sources. If you are looking for a safe alternative to other vegetable oils, learning how to make sunflower oil will be of use to you.

If you are looking for the easiest, fastest growing plant for Vitamin E, sunflowers will be your best option. There are many different varieties of sunflowers, as well as many sizes.

Even though these plants grow best outdoors and in the ground, you can try large, deep containers. Sunflower plants can also act as a good support for climbing bean plants as long as their roots still have plenty of room to spread out.

These huge, furry-leafed plants can be very hearty; however they will droop quickly without sufficient water. Make sure they also have plenty of sunlight and good air flow around the plants.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a key source of Vitamin E, while the pumpkins are an excellent source of B vitamins, A, C, and Potassium. If you also tend to favor fried squash flowers, these easy to grow plants will provide you with a tasty, nutritious treat at every stage of growth.

Pumpkins grow quite well in containers, if the vines have plenty of room to spread, and that they will not be disturbed. If a vine has a pumpkin on it, do not touch it. Even moving the vine a few inches will cause the pumpkin to die off. You can also try growing pumpkins in hanging baskets if you don’t have enough ground space for the vines.

Turmeric

This delicious, spicy root is a member of the ginger family, and has an excellent reputation for fighting cancer, and as an anti-inflammatory. It also has several nutrients in it that shield cells from ionizing radiation, while others can reverse DNA damage caused by radiation and promote cell healing.

Overall, if there is one plant that you should learn how to grow and propagate, turmeric is it. This plant is an excellent herb for treating and preventing illness created by nuclear exposure as well as other problems.

You will find that turmeric is not that hard to grow. If you choose to grow it in a shallow container, make sure that there is good drainage. Since the roots tend to grow sideways instead of down, they favor a wider pot as opposed to a deeper one. Save roots with rhizomes on them so that you can propagate them.

As useful as turmeric is, it is not easily absorbed by the body. You will also need to grow black pepper, as this herb contains a molecule, Piperine, which helps reduce the speed at which turmeric is flushed from the body. Piperine can also increase the absorption of other herbal remedies and nutrients. You can  purchase black pepper seeds, however it will take some time and practice to grow this plant.

Spirulina

Today, just about everyone interested in a healthy diet option has heard of spirulina. Aside from being filled with important nutrients, it has molecules in it that can bind to heavy metals and other toxins. Even if you are exposed to radioactive dust or other debris, spirulina can help your body get rid of it faster.

All you need to grow spirulina is some alkaline water, a good source of light and some dry spirulina to get the colonies started. While growing algae is one of the easiest things, there are many different kinds, and some are poisonous or may produce toxins. Make sure that you can tell the difference between spirulina and other algaes that may decide to colonize your growing area.

Plenty of algae will grow on fish waste; just be sure to choose fish that are safe for human consumption. Many fish available to hobbyists can carry dangerous diseases including tuberculosis and intestinal parasites. It is best to purchase fish from a trusted source and then do all you can to make sure they remain free of infections that can easily harbor in the algae beds as much as within the fish.

Cocoa

If you love chocolate, you will be happy to hear that it contains reservatrol, a molecule that has a proven track record for preventing radiation damage to chromosomes. Much of the chocolate available to consumers has little, if any nutritional value, so you will have to grow cocoa plants and then harvest the cocoa beans.

As long as you can provide humid, tropical conditions, these plants will grow well enough in an indoor setting. If you are new to gardening, practice with easier plants until you are a master of controlling temperature, humidity, and air flow in just about any setting.

As we learn more about the effects of ionizing radiation in cancer therapies, many foods are proving to shield healthy cells from damage. You can use this information to help select plants that will be part of your prepper garden as well when choosing the best foods for staving off radiation sickness.

No matter whether the radiation comes from a power plant nearby or a nuclear bomb, you can survive the nuclear threat and thrive.

Survival

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

5 Tips To Stop You From Wasting Your Budget At The Supermarket

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How self-sufficient are you? Do you grow any of your own foods, or at least cook your own meals from scratch?

If not, you’re dependent on the grocery store for survival and you’re eating foods that may be killing you.

And you’re definitely spending way more than you should be on food.

But how can you change all of that?

The following scenario probably describes many people’s day, at least part of the time:

They come home from work, drop their stuff on the couch, grab a bag of chips and a soda, and relax on the couch. Later, they have a microwaved TV dinner, then, before bed, a few Oreos and a glass of cold milk that you didn’t have to extract from the cow. As a matter of fact, they have no idea where that cow even lives.

Sounds familiar? Of course it does. I just described at least one day in many people’s life, if not an average day. None of that would have been possible before 1910, because that’s when food started being processed commercially. And they would have been healthier because of it.

I’m not saying that we have to – or even should – give up all modern foods, unless we want to, of course. But I am saying that we can save a ton of money – a hundred dollars a month or more per person – and be much healthier, even if we just make simple changes in our shopping and cooking habits.

Delicious, home-cooked food shouldn’t be a treat that you indulge in, or are lucky enough to have cooked for you sometimes. It should be a regular part of your daily diet. It should actually be the other way around – you should eat fresh, homemade food most of the time and, if you must, eat processed foods occasionally.

It’s not nearly as hard as you might think to eat tasty, chemical-free food, and you can even grow it if you want, no matter where you live!

How? Glad you asked. Let’s talk about seven ways that you save money, eat better-tasting foods, and take a few more steps toward food independence.

Discover the golden days’ practice for getting all you can eat food without buying from the supermarket

1. Don’t Buy Too Much

How many times have you thrown away an entire package of meat of box of strawberries because they went bad before you ate them? Maybe they got lost in the back of the fridge, or you just bought way too much food.

Either way, you may as well have thrown that money right out the window on the way home from the grocery store.

You can avoid this by shopping smarter.

  • Only shop for a few days at a time. Buy a week’s worth of food per trip, maximum.
  • Make a list, especially for perishable foods and stick to it.
  • Eat before you go to the store. Whatever you do, don’t go shopping when you’re hungry because everything will look delicious and you’ll over buy.
  • Don’t impulse-buy. Placing delicious-looking temptations at the ends of aisles and beside the register is a marketing ploy used to trick you into buying things that you weren’t planning on.
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. There are very few good things to be found in the center aisles other than oils and maybe canned fruits and vegetables.

2. Skip the Convenience Foods

It’s great to buy shredded cheese and pre-cut veggies but it usually costs a whole lot more than if you did it yourself. This isn’t always the case because sometimes, such as in the case of broccoli bunches versus crowns, you’re paying per pound, and you can’t really eat the entire stem, so the crowns may work out to be cheaper.

However, the bagged broccoli is always going to be more expensive than either the crowns or bunches.

3. More Isn’t Always Better

Another marketing trick that grocery stores use is to reduce the price if you buy more.

For instance, something may cost 3.99, but they’ll put it on sale at two for $7. If you’ll actually use two of them, then buy them both, but if you’re only doing it to “save” money, then pass. You’re actually spending more money for food that will go bad.

Use that money to buy another item on your list.

4. Learn How to Make Food for Yourself

Did you know that you can make butter and cottage cheese from cream, or that you can a few different cheeses and yogurt at home for a fraction of the cost of what you’ll pay for it at the store?

Cheese and butter are both crazy expensive, so by learning how to make it for yourself, you’ll save money, eat a higher quality food, and be one step closer to food independence. Plus, making cheese is fun!

Rediscover the sweet, delicious taste of healthy, natural food just like we used to get in the old days!

5. Shop at the Farmers Market

We have several farmers markets around here, but only a couple of them are really worth going to. The others have gotten so commercial that you may as well buy stuff in the grocery store. You’d think that if I went to a farmers market here in Florida, then the produce would be from Florida, right? Not always.

That being said, the produce that I buy in the grocery store isn’t typically from here, either, so I’m still saving money if I pay less for it at the farmers market. Plus, I get to meet local artisans and pick up a trick or two from them.

Now that we’re done with the tips, I’d like to go the extra mile here and give you some simple, and extremely useful ideas that can help you cut processed foods out of your diet starting today.

Make Food from Scratch

This isn’t as hard as you may think it is. Delicious sauces may seem mysterious, but believe it or not, most of them are simple – and cheap – to make.

For instance, a rustic Italian sauce can be as simple as a can of tomatoes (or freshly chopped ones), some mushrooms, garlic, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cheese sauce is just flour, milk, salt, pepper, and cheese.

See, that’s not so hard, right? And both of them are cheaper, tastier, and healthier than their processed counterparts.

Consider Growing Your Own Food

This doesn’t mean that you have to grow a 5-acre garden, but just growing a few of your own vegetables can save you an enormous amount of money.

For instance, I just started 30 bell pepper plants for about $3. That’s less than I’d pay for three peppers at the store. I’ll eat them fresh and I’ll use more to make sauces and salsas. And that’s just one vegetable!

And if you live in a small place, you can still grow at least some of your food. For instance, you can grow almost any vegetable in a container. You can vertical garden, and you can even get the most out of your space by growing food upside down.

With all that being said, how much money you should be spending on food? The answer is – only as much as you absolutely have to. If you can make it yourself, then do so. Processed foods didn’t become widely popular until the 40s or 50s, so our grandparents or great-grandparents grew to adulthood without ever eating a bite of “processed cheese food” or cheese curls.

I’m certainly not telling you to give up cheese curls (though you really should), but make processed foods a smaller part of your diet. Get back to the way our ancestors ate. Learn the skills that you’ll need to feed yourself and take control of your wallet, and of what you put into your body.

Even if cooking isn’t something that you particularly enjoy, you have to eat. And it’s entirely possible that even if you don’t like to cook, you may learn to love it once you figure out how easy it is.

If not, maybe you’ll enjoy gardening, or making cheese, or whatever else you decide to do to save grocery bucks, eat more healthfully, and gain food independence. You can find them all in a book on going back to eating the way that our ancestors did!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Are We Headed For A Financial Collapse?

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I’ve been hearing predictions of a financial collapse for a long time now. It seems that every few months, a new “expert,” either real or manufactured for marketing purposes, is making their own prognostications about our economy and none of them are good.

I’ve even made a few of my own, based upon my own understanding of our country and its economy, later fining that my understanding isn’t as great as I think.

Nevertheless, the sheer volume of reports about our country’s economy going down the tubes tends to lend credibility to the possibility. Of course, we have to watch out about accepting repetition as grounds for proclaiming something as true. After all, if we believed all the polls and pundits, Hillary Clinton would be occupying the White House now.

Currently, there is little possibility of any country in the world catching up with us economically or militarily. So, that leaves us only two possibilities:

  • the United States is taken out by hostile action
  • the United States self-destructs.

Either of these are possible. While there is no country or two countries in the world which can match us for military might, there are still several other ways that we could be taken out by hostile action.

All of those revolve around the vulnerability of our electrical grid. Take down the grid and you take down the USA, plain and simple. That can be accomplished either by an EMP or by cyberwarfare; either of which could be accomplished even by smaller countries, with the right sort of planning and resources.

Why Are We Close to Self-destruction

It is the possibility of self-destruction that I want to talk about today. Democrats, as well as those who are part of the “deep state” want to see the presidency of Donald Trump destroyed and for him to resign in disgrace.

The hatred of the liberal left for anything and anyone conservative has reached a fever pitch in recent years. While they constantly accuse those on the right of partisanship, it is the left who is practicing that partisanship on a daily basis.

We saw that throughout the presidency of Barack Obama and we see it in the way they have changed to being the party of opposition since Donald Trump took office.

The whole “Russian collusion” narrative being pushed by the liberal media is aimed at destroying Trump’s presidency and they don’t care about the fallout. As we saw when President Nixon was impeached, the process of impeaching a president is hard on the country.

Yet they are willing to put the country through that, just to get their way. Likewise, they are willing to work hard at doing everything they can to obstruct the appointment of Trump’s cabinet and other presidential appointments, even if it hurts the country, just to make things more difficult for the President.

Trump might win that war, although going through it will be hard on the country. But he will need some support out of Congress, if he is going to fulfill his campaign promises, especially that of draining the swamp.

The Budget Battle

As we saw in the recent budget battle, Republicans in Congress are not willing to support the President. Trump’s budget proposal could be seen as a radical shift from business as normal; but he didn’t get any of what he asked for.

Rather, the Republicans, who control Congress, gave the Democrats everything they wanted, and blocked Trump on all points. The only concessions they received were a little more money for Homeland Security and about 2/3 of the increase that Trump asked for in the military’s budget.

Video first seen on Fox News.

Trump’s budget proposal wouldn’t have done the one thing that it really needed to do, reduce federal spending, although by reducing the operating budget of several regulatory agencies, it was a step in the right direction. But as passed, the federal debt will continue to rise, which I’m sure will be “solved” by raising the debt ceiling once again.

But how far can the debt ceiling be raised? Currently our country’s debt is being carried by a combination of selling the debt to other countries and some complicated maneuvering by the Federal Reserve Bank.

Essentially, the Fed, as it’s known is buying up a lot of that debt, which basically works out to the government loaning itself money that doesn’t exist, to fund ongoing government operations.

The only reason our government can get away with this is that the other countries of the world are allowing us to.

Since the American Dollar is the world’s reserve currency, countries need dollars to do business. They get those dollars by buying our debt. But what will happen if they choose to stop buying it? How will our government be able to come up with the money it needs to operate?

China and Russia have already started moving away from using the dollar for their transactions, signing an agreement between them to use their own currencies in trading. Both countries are actively seeking such relationships with other trading partners, spreading those types of agreements. If enough countries sign such agreements, ending their use of the dollar, our economy would suffer.

The tipping point in all this is when the government reaches a point where paying the interest on our outstanding debt takes so much of the government’s revenue (tax dollars), that it becomes unsustainable. In other words, in order to keep functioning and paying the bills, the government will have to keep creating money that nobody buys. This will continue to devalue the dollar around the world, moving more and more investors to avoid purchasing dollars.

When we reach that point, the government will not be able to continue functioning as it is now. They will either have to make some massive spending cuts or they will have to continue printing “funny money” to pay the bills. That, in turn, will create a hyperinflation cycle, with the associated damage to our economy, the closing of businesses which can no longer make a profit and the layoff of massive numbers of people.

That’s where we are heading, and it looks like Congress is either blind to that possibility or they don’t care. Perhaps they are all truly blind to the economics of the situation, thinking that they can continue adding to our nation’s debt, without any repercussions. Regardless of the real reasoning behind their intentional blindness, if they continue operating as they are, reality will eventually come crashing down.

Are We Ready for a Financial Collapse?

So the question for you and I is, are we ready for it? Are we ready for when the economy hits the wall and finally collapses? Unlike the current crop of financial gurus, I can’t tell you when it’s going to happen. All I can tell you is that unless things change in Washington, it’s coming, and when it does, it will be you and I who suffer, not our “political masters” in Washington.

What that means is that many of us who are middle class today, will suddenly find ourselves numbered amongst the poor. But unlike the poor who are around us today, it’s unlikely that we will be able to dip into the government’s coffers and receive all the “entitlements” that the poor receive today. If those programs survive at all, you can just about bet they will be closed to the newly poor.

When Argentina’s economy collapsed in ’99, the unemployment rate topped out a touch over 25%. Runaway inflation was common. Throughout the course of the collapse, prices rose an astonishing 1590%. But salaries only rose 230% during the same years.

Food, one of the necessities hardest hit by inflation, rose by 200 to 300 percent almost immediately, and continued to rise from there. Food shortages were common in the cities, although there was abundant food being grown in the farmlands.

Of all the shortages the collapse produced, the biggest was the shortage of food. The food that was grown was not making it to market and even what food did make it was so expensive and inflation was pushing the prices up so rapidly, that people couldn’t afford it. Retailers often held off putting their wares on display, knowing that they could be more for them by waiting a day or so.

Most of the newly unemployed had worked in manufacturing and sales of “luxury” items, like new cars. With the economy in such a mess, few people could afford to buy a new watch, let alone a new car. Since people weren’t buying those goods, the factories closed, laying off their entire workforce.

These people who lost their jobs were hit the hardest, with many of them resorting to gathering cardboard and selling it for recycling as a means of feeding their families. But even those who still had their jobs struggled to feed their families. Between the loss of value of their currency and the scarcity of goods to buy, many turned to bartering for food.

We can expect the same when a financial collapse hits here. Food, more than any other commodity, will become scarce, especially in the big cities.

Many preppers will find themselves forced to turn to their food stockpiles, just to feed their families. While that will be beneficial for them, few have a large enough stockpile to make it through the crisis. They will find that they run out of food, long before the economy returns to some semblance of normal.

Preparing for a financial collapse is a complex undertaking, but it is one that we all need to do.

Stockpiling food – the more the better

  • Build a barter stockpile – this could mean more food, as that will be the number one item that people will be looking for
  • Eliminate debt – this is a biggie, as it will become impossible to pay off that debt
  • Develop a business that will survive – the best businesses to have during a financial collapse are repair businesses, as people will keep items longer and look to have them repaired, rather than replacing them
  • Fortify your home against attacks.
  • Become self-sufficient – while this is a goal of many of us, a financial collapse is one of the places where it will be the most useful.

While not everyone will lose their jobs in a financial collapse, everyone will be affected. To get an idea of what it will be like, just look back to the 2008-2009 housing collapse. That affected pretty much the whole nation. A true financial collapse will be ten times worse.

Think about our grandfathers. They survived famines, wars, economic crises and everything life threw at them. Uncover the secrets that will help you survive if America collapses.

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia. 

5 Common Foods That Are Slowly Killing You

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It’s a confusing time to try to be a healthy eater. One government agency says that a product is heart-healthy, while another is terrible for you, but then other sites, that aren’t dictated by the whims of Big Ag say just the opposite. So who’s right?

I was raised on a farm. We had our own garden, our own fruit trees, and livestock to provide us with meat, dairy products, and eggs. We ate a reasonable portion at each meal and we exercised.

We didn’t sit inside playing video games all day. Most of the people in my family have lived well into their 80s (and many into their 90s), remaining robust and healthy until they died. Obviously, butter and meat fats must not be THAT bad for you.

Recently I wrote a book about why it’s important to go back to eating the way that our ancestors did and to describe in detail how to do that, and this is the reason why I did it. People are finally figuring out that manmade food isn’t as good for you as the natural nutrition that nature provides us.

I admit that I got away from my roots for a while and I was living on processed foods and soda. I was towing the government line and eating margarine because it was better for me than butter, and wheat bread because it was supposedly better for me than white. The problem was that I felt like crap.

Then I started really thinking for myself again and here’s what I’ve learned about these top five “healthy” foods that are actually killing you.

I’ve gone back to good old butter (it tastes better anyway), and I drink water or tea instead of sugary or fake-sugary sodas. I cook for myself most of the time and I eat real foods instead of processed junk.

In short, I’ve gone back to the ways of my ancestors, and I feel so much better for doing it! And now I’m sharing it with you, as I gathered all this knowledge in a book about how to kick unhealthy, expensive, store-bought food out of your kitchen and get healthy food for life! 

Now, let’s start with perhaps the government’s biggest “healthy” hoax – non-butter.

Margarine

Ahh, that supposedly heart-healthy option to good old-fashioned, fat-laden butter. Oleomargarine was created in 1869 but didn’t really gain footing in the US until the 40s-ish. That’s because the dairy industry pushed for so much regulation that importing it was too expensive to be worth the effort.

When saturated fats were linked to heart disease in the 50s, doctors and nutritionists pulled the dairy equivalent of Chicken Little and told people to avoid butter like the plague and make the switch to the unsaturated-fat fake version of butter – margarine.

Back when it was first becoming a household thing, it came in a bag with a yellow capsule because without dye, margarine is a whitish-gray color. The dairy industry fought for the product to be sold uncolored to make it less appealing. The dye was squeezed into it and then squished around and distributed so that the margarine more closely resembled the beautiful naturally-golden color of butter, though it was much darker.

Margarine is made from purified vegetable fats. Until very recently, it was then hydrogenated to make it solid. This means that hydrogen is pumped through the runny oil to change the carbon bonds in the oils. Not all of the molecules are hydrogenated – only enough of them to give it a firm consistency. Fully hydrogenated oil would be almost like rubber.

The original vegetable oils are non-saturated, but once it goes through the hydrogenation process, those molecules that that were hydrogenated become saturated fats. And not just any saturated fats – the bad-for-you kind that cause heart disease because they lack the good, LDL cholesterol that balances the bad cholesterol.

So, when you combine that with the fact that the natural saturated fats in real butter have been shown to have some health benefits in limited quantities, your choice comes down to butter, a completely natural, delicious product, or its lab-created ugly, weird-tasting cousin, margarine. Pass the butter, please!

Processed Foods and Flours

This is kind of an umbrella title because there are so many different types of processing. The type that we’re talking about here is the type found in boxed and frozen foods. For instance, take a look at the contents of macaroni and cheese.

It’s a kid’s favorite and most of the commercials for the name brands show chunks or real cheese or other hyperbole that implies that you’re getting the good stuff. In reality, it’s a cheese-flavored artificial flavoring at best – just take a look at the ingredients.

Another example of processed food is chicken nuggets. Take a gander at the ingredients on that box! Even the best one that advertises all-natural ingredients still has “natural flavor.” What does that mean? It’s chicken. Should that be enough? It’s also breaded in spices and different types of processed flours. I’d argue that white whole wheat flour isn’t a natural ingredient because it’s processed to the point that it lacks any real nutritional value.

Other concerns with processed foods include additives, preservatives, and artificial flavors and colors. There are hundreds of these ingredients have been shown to cause everything from digestive distress to cancer.

Finally, everybody seems to have jumped on the wheat bread bandwagon. Wheat bread that’s made from processed wheat flour is no better for you than processed white flour. If you want to eat bread, eat the kind made from sprouted wheat, or from flours made from healthier ingredients such as almond or coconut flours. That way, you boost the nutrition without getting a ton of garbage.

If it comes in a box or out of a freezer (with the exception of most frozen vegetables), take a look at the ingredients. Even many frozen fruits have added sugar and preservatives. You gotta stay on top of what you’re eating and actually look at the ingredients instead of buying the advertising on the box that says, “all-natural.” Arsenic is all natural, but do you really want to eat it?

If you can’t pronounce it, skip it. For that matter, if you can pronounce it and you know it’s bad for you, skip it.

Fruity fat-free yogurt

Nooooo … run! Though this sounds good for you, it’s not. Though there’s no fat, it’s likely still packed with sugar and artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. There are healthy yogurt options out there, but most of them aren’t. Look at your label.

You’re looking for yogurt and fruit. Period. Greek yogurt is better for you, but it has a stronger taste. Yogurt has probiotics that are good for your gut – they add healthy bacteria that aid digestion – but if you’re throwing a ton of sugar in with it, you lose a lot of that benefit. Go organic and real fruit, no sugar or other garbage added.

Refined Sugar

I feel like this one has been beaten to death to the extent that I don’t even have to mention it, but I will anyway. Refined sugar is an anti-nutrient. That means that, not only is it empty of nutrients, it actually leeches nutrients out of your body over time because your body has to bind it to other minerals in order to void it.

When consumed in excess, it also exponentially increases your risk for metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, and even cancer.

You’ll hear many people touting the benefits of “natural sugars” such as honey and maple syrup. While it’s true that they are a much better option than sugar because they’re not processed and they do have minerals, your body still breaks it down into sugar, albeit digestible sugar.

In other words, in quantity, it can still make you fat and increase your risks for the diseases listed above.

When you want a sweetener, go with organic honey or maple syrup, but consume them in moderation.

Diet Drinks and Artificial Sweeteners

Oh how the world rejoiced when our favorite soft drinks were magically converted so that they no longer added pounds. You could drink as much of it as you liked without increasing your jean size.

If I were to go into great detail about how horrible artificial sweeteners are, I’d be here all day. Suffice it to say that they’re poison, plain and simple. They’re not “natural” as some of them claim and they don’t really decrease your chance of obesity because the fake sweet taste makes your body expect sugar and when it doesn’t get it, it increases your craving.

Oh, and most of them have been shown to cause headaches and have been strongly linked to cancer and/or other diseases and illnesses.

A cool bit of trivia – in the early 1900s, saccharin, the first artificial sweetener, was declared unfit for human consumption by the FDA. Then the war came along and sugar became a rare commodity enjoyed mostly by the rich. Suddenly, saccharin, which could be imported for very little money or made here, became fit for human consumption so that working class Americans could have those sweets that they craved.

Pay attention, because artificial sweeteners are pervasive in today’s world of “fitness and health.” If it says “lite” or “low-calorie,” It’s almost a guarantee that it contains an artificial sweetener. Look on the label. If it lists saccharin, neotame, acesulfame potassium, aspartame, sucralose, Equal, Stevia, Truvia, PureVia, SweetLeaf, stevia rebaudiana, Splenda, Sweet ’N Low, Sweet Twin, Sugar Twin, Nutrasweet, Sunnett or Sweet One, then it has an artificial sweetener.

You’ll hear people argue that Stevia products are natural and have been recognized by the FDA as generally recognized as safe (GRAS), there hasn’t been enough research on it to confirm that for my comfort, anyway. Also, it’s not natural. It’s processed, chemically extracted product that’s nearly every bit as artificial as the rest of them once it’s in the packet and headed out of the factory.

There are dozens, or even hundreds, of other foods that I could have added to this list, but what it comes down to is that if it’s not fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, or meat grown without hormones and chemicals, it’s bad for you.

Now, is it realistic to expect everybody to eat 100% healthfully 100% of the time? No. But you can make an effort to do it more than you’re doing it now. Shoot for your goal to be 80% healthful and 20% treats. That’s a good ratio that most people have no problem adapting to.

Remember – the best thing you can do for yourself is read the labels!

Our ancestors didn’t depend on Monsanto, Walmart or Wendy’s to feed themselves in good times or bad and they didn’t eat food filled with disease-causing chemical, like we do.

Click the banner below to uncover their secrets!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Prep Blog Review: How To Cook From Scratch

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It isn’t as hard as it seems to cook delicious and nourishing food from scratch. Learning how to cook using natural, unprocessed ingredients is the first thing to do if you want to start homesteading, no matter where you live. Your family will love it!

Plus, cooking from scratch is super easy, as you will see in the following 4 articles I’ve gathered for you for this week’s Prep Blog Review.

  1. 35 Basic Ingredients You Need For Cooking From Scratch

“One thing anyone can do to start homesteading no matter where they live is cooking from scratch. It can help you eat healthier, save money, and reduce your dependence on the grocery store. However, it can be hard to make homemade meals all the time, especially if you don’t know what to keep on hand.

If you keep these simple ingredients stocked in your pantry, you’ll be much better prepared to cook all kinds of wholesome, simple meals with ease. Note: I included links to some brands I’ve tried myself, but for most of these, there are plenty of other great options.”

Read more on Homestead Survival Site.

  1. Mississippi Pot Roast Recipe

“The Mississippi Pot Roast craze is almost as big as the Instant Pot craze. If you haven’t heard of Mississippi Pot Roast, just take a moment on Pinterest and you will!

Mississippi Pot Roast ready to be shredded.

This recipe has gone viral and after taking one bite, I totally understand why.

This isn’t you standard pot roast. The tangy flavor of the pepperoncinis combined with the ranch dressing flavor and mouth watering buttered meat makes this a family favorite.

Serve with buttered noodles or alongside of mashed potatoes and you have a new classic comfort meal. “

Read more on Old World Farm Garden.

  1. DIY Bone Broth For Nourishment During Hard Times

 

“Bone broth has been enjoying a resurgence in popularity in the last little while, but it’s actually been around for a while.

Some people refer to it as stock, but according to culinary experts, while stock and broth are related, they are distinct liquids with different characteristics.

Functionally, though, they are so similar that I’ll be treating them as though they are the same thing in this article.

One of my favorite meals growing up was my mom’s turkey noodle soup, made from the little bits of meat and bones of our leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

My mom would make a huge pot of it every year, which we would then keep in the fridge until someone felt a little peckish.

The broth would set up like Jell-O, so if we wanted some we’d have to gouge out a portion with a measuring cup; it would melt into a liquid in the microwave.”

Read more on The Survival Mom.

  1. How to Make and Can Vienna Sausage

“I stockpile a lot of canned goods, from tomatoes to chicken, to beans and beef. But my favorite canned goods are Libby’s chicken Vienna sausages (see picture).

So I tried to make them at home and believe it or not, they are more delicious than the ones I bought.

The ones I stock have a 3 year expiration date. I have eaten lots of things that were expired. These will still be good years after that. So in the title I mentioned a 2 years shelf life for my sausages, but it can actually be much more. We’ll find out.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

Best Ideas On Growing A Garden In 5 Gallon Buckets

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Container gardening – growing plants in 5-gallon buckets, for example – is usually discussed in the context of (not enough) space.

The idea is that if you don’t have a “real” garden because you live in an apartment or your backyard is too small, container gardening would make for the best option. And-5 gallon buckets are the ultimate containers both in terms of availability and shape.

Also, they’re highly mobile, meaning that you can put them in the best spots to catch the sun and so on and so forth. Due to their versatility, resilience and low cost, 5-gallon buckets are already famous in the prepper community and they’ve also captured the imaginations of home gardeners.

Now, if you have enough buckets and you’re ready to put them to good use, just keep reading folks!

Eeven if you don’t have them yet, just poke around a little bit and you’ll discover that 5-gallon buckets are the definition of “readily available,” “dirt cheap” items. Just go cruise your nearby stores and restaurants or check out Craigslist.

Getting back to business, gardeners are doing remarkable things with 5-gallon buckets, things that you can’t even imagine actually. This humble piece of plastic is a tool of a thousand uses, which makes it extremely valuable to a prepper.

However, keep in mind that you must stay away from secondhand buckets that were used to held toxic stuff, like paint or what not. The ideal 5-gallon bucket to use for gardening purposes should be made out of food grade plastic, at least in a perfect world.

Now, if you’re going to grow flowers (as in non-edible stuff), you can forget about the food grade thingy, but keep an eye on toxic materials just in case.

Speaking of bucket supply, you have 2 choices: to buy brand new 5-gallon buckets from building supply stores or hardware stores, or to go scavenging bakeries, local restaurants, grocery stores, and similar places. These buckets often come with plastic fitted lids, so remember–it never hurts to ask, alright?

Now and then, you may be asked to cough up a couple of bucks for a sturdy, clean, used 5-gallon bucket, but that’s definitely worth it if it’s the right type. Even if they smell a little weird (they are used often for storing pickles and/or frozen products), don’t worry – the smell will go away relatively easy if you clean them right.

This proven-to-work portable device provides clean fresh water 24/7! 

With all these considerations taken care of, let’s see about some projects involving 5-gallon buckets, shall we?

Project 1 – DIY Alaska Grow Bucket

If you’re already scratching your head, an Alaska Grow Bucket is the scientific term for a bottom watering container. There’s nothing complicated, just fancy talk. These are the easiest DIY watering containers anyone can make to grow their own food at home.

The materials required are cheap and easy to acquire. Besides the famous 5-gallon bucket, you’ll need a fabric shopping bag and a plastic kitchen colander – you know, that piece of gear used for draining rice or pasta.

You’ll have to drill some ventilation holes (the more the better) and another irrigation hole for the water feed line. Ideally, you should use a power drill, but you can always improvise if you’re a meat eater. The irrigation line should be drilled as low on the bucket as possible, and then you’ll insert a plastic, T-shaped connector.

Video first seen on devineDiY

Project 2 – The Hanging Bucket Planter

If you don’t have much space, e.g. you’re living in a condo, you can DIY a hanging bucket planter for growing organic tomatoes. Obviously, you can use hanging bucket planters for growing a large variety of stuff, not only tomatoes, those are just a suggestion because tomatoes are a popular choice.

Also, if you have a small yard, this type of project will suit you like a glove. Making the best of one’s available space is next to Godliness for a true prepper, right?

For making tomato gardening great again, you’ll need:

  • a hook
  • a 5 gallon bucket
  • steel cable (galvanized utility wire)
  • a wall (the bucket will hang by the hook hammered/drilled in the wall).

The idea is that hanging a bucket planter outside your condo’s wall will provide your plants with plenty of sunshine, which is a necessary ingredient for growing big fat tomatoes (along with water and carbon dioxide).

Video first seen on Peter P.

Project 3 – The Raised Bed Bucket

Here you’ll learn how to grow veggies successfully in a raised bed garden using the famous 5-gallon bucket, thus making for a garden within a garden or something along these lines.

With this cool technique, you’ll be able to grow more food in less space and that’s the definition of efficiency and sustainability (don’t worry, I hate Agenda 21 too).

Here’s an interesting video about the reasons for growing vegetables in raised bed gardens.

Video first seen on Learn Organic Gardening at GrowingYourGreens

The concept behind this project is that plastic buckets are used for providing more soil depth for the plants thus allowing for more nutrients, more space for root growth and less frequent watering. This technique makes for a cool hack which will enable you to grow deep-rooted plants in a shallow garden.

Project 4 – The Self-watering Planter

This DIY job makes for the easiest way to build sub irrigated self-watering planters using PVC pipe, a 5 gallon bucket, and a milk jug for practically next to zero costs. You’ll have to cut some holes in the bottom of the bucket that are large enough for the water to drain through, so you’ll not flood your plants. It’s easiest to use a drill for this.

The jug must be placed inside the bucket with the PVC pipe stuck on the top of the milk jug. The jug gets filled with water (you’ll have to drill some holes in the upper part of the jug too) and then the bucket must be filled up with dirt, then you put a plant in it. Pretty simple and highly efficient.

Video first seen on Growing Little Ones for Jesus

Project 5 – The Hydroponics

Finally, here’s a cool idea about how to build a hydroponic DWC system with a trellis-type system for growing cucumbers, and obviously it involves a 5-gallon bucket. This project is a little bit more complicated, but it’s doable with a little bit of research and elbow grease.

The supply list includes a 5-gallon bucket, a 6” bucket lid net pot which can be bought online or at a local hydroponics store, a small airstone and air-pump (from Walmart), black hose for the airline, vinyl tee fittings, clear vinyl tubing, rubber grommets and wire green border fence.

Video first seen on Jksax914.

Now that you know how to grow a garden in a 5-gallon bucket, you could learn how to DIY your own portable device for an endless water supply.

Click the banner below and find out how to build your own portable device which provides fresh water 24/7!

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

How To Make A Potato Pot

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I love potatoes. Boiled, mashed, fried, baked – it doesn’t matter how they’re served, I’ll eat them. They help stretch your food supply and provide energy when you need it the most.

Unless you have a place to grow a traditional garden, you may have discarded the idea of growing them, but you can make a potato pot and grow them wherever you want – and you can even take them with you if you need to bug out.

If you’re shooting for the “potato” that offers the most health benefits, shoot for yams or sweet potatoes. Though the names are often used interchangeably, they are not the same vegetable, nor do they have the same nutrients, though they’re both high in vitamins, particularly vitamin A. Technically, neither one are even potatoes but that’s outside the scope of this article.

How to Store Your Potatoes

If you were raised in the country, you likely remember the root cellars. Ever wonder why they’re called that? Me too, and the best explanation I can come up with is that they were used to store root vegetables – traditional white, yellow, or red potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, etc. All of these will store all winter if kept at the right temperature. The important thing is to not wash them because the dirt extends their shelf lives.

Unlike other potatoes, sweet potatoes love the warmth – unlike traditional spuds, room temperature is great for them. They’ll keep up to a year! Again, don’t wash them. And if you’re growing them yourself, as you’re going to be after you make your pots, do your best to leave them somewhere warm – 80 degrees is great – for 10 days or so after you harvest them. This promotes the growth of a chemical on the skin that protects them from rot and also “cures” them to make them sweet.

Another advantage to growing sweet potatoes is that you have a tremendous yield. Believe it or not, you can yield as much as 130 pounds of sweet potatoes from just 3 potatoes.

You can grow both sweet potatoes and “regular” potatoes in pots, but the process is different. We’ll take about the easiest and fastest way first, then tell you how to grow sweet potatoes.

Now, are you ready to get your hands dirty and make a potato pot that will produce a great crop of potatoes? Good. Let’s get started.

These lessons of yesterday will teach you the basic skills for survival cooking! 

Making a Standard Potato Pot

First off, I have to say that this is the perfect  idea for a prepper because once you get it going, you’ll have potatoes literally forever without even needing to add dirt or fertilizer. It’s absolutely brilliant, but so simple that anybody with 1 potato, soil, water, and access to clover can do it.

Of course, any potato crop is self-perpetuating, but with this one, you don’t need fertilizer and you won’t have to dig in the garden.

Expect to yield about 10x (perhaps just a bit less) the weight of potatoes that you plant; that’s ten pounds for every pound, so you don’t have to do math.

  • First, choose your container. You can grow them in anything from a 5-gallon bucket up. Use a bucket or container that has never been used to store any type of chemical or poison. A great place to get food-grade buckets is local restaurants and bakeries. They usually buy in bulk, and items such as pickles, lard, sugar, flour, and frosting often come in 5-gallon buckets.
  • Fill your container with a mixture of potting soil and compost. I’ve even heard of people using sand and sawdust, but for this method, use the potting soil and compost.
  • Let your potato sit long enough to start growing eyes. That way you know that it will grow because some are treated with chemicals that keep them from sprouting in order to extend shelf life. While you’re waiting, prepare your bucket and get your clover growing.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of your bucket for drainage and make sure that you have a place to put the bucket so that it’s not in direct contact with something such as dirt that can clog the holes and prevent drainage.
  • Put a few inches of gravel (and sand if you’d like) in the bottom of the bucket and fill it with soil to within several inches of the top.
  • Sprinkle white clover seeds across the top of the soil and just run your hand over them to get a bit of soil over them.
  • Once your potato sprouts eyes and you know it’s good to grow, your clover should be starting to grow, too. Dig a hole 12 inches deep or so in the center of the bucket. Don’t worry if you have to dig through the clover – it will grow back.
  • Plant your potato at the bottom and cover back up with dirt.
  • You’ll see a plant within just a couple of weeks, then all you have to do is water it once or twice a week and let it grow. After 3 months or so, the plant will die back. When it does that, your potatoes are ready to harvest.

Video first seen on Hollis & Nancy’s Homestead

Making a Sweet Potato Pot

This has several steps and takes quite a bit of advance wait time, but your yield will be awesome. Plus, sweet potatoes are delicious and nutritious just as they are. Not to say that a good old regular potato isn’t delicious, too!

Because the yield is so high, you may want to use 20 gallon buckets for this. That’s what was used here – if you’re only using 5-gallon buckets, just put one slip per bucket. You’ll know what that means in a minute.

  • Start with a single sweet potato. Unless you want to be overrun with them, or intend to sell them or trade them, you don’t need more than a couple because one potato seriously can yield forty pounds or so.
  • Find cups, jars, or containers that are wide enough and deep enough to accommodate one half of the potato, lengthwise.
  • Stick 3 toothpicks into the potato at equal distances around the middle so that you can dangle one end of the potato (half of it or so) into the glass or jar and have one end sticking out. You want to have at least a half-inch or so all around the potato between it and the inside of the container.
  • Put the potato into the container so that it’s suspended by the toothpicks.
  • Now it’s time to wait for the slips to grow. Slips are basically shoots that grow into individual plants, and one potato can yield up to 50.
  • The slips will begin to grow off of the bottom and up around the potato and will be ready to separate after a couple of months.
  • Once they are, separate them out into different jars, and you can even cut and root new slips off the first ones as they grow. Once you have the slips that you want and they’re at least 12 inches tall, it’s time to plant them.
  • You’ll want a trellis behind them because sweet potatoes vine, and they root where they touch the ground, so if you’re using containers, you don’t want them vining all over your yard.
  • Fill the buckets with equal parts potting soil, peat moss, and compost to about 6 inches of the top.
  • Ramp the dirt so that one side of the container (the one furthest away from the trellis) is 8 inches or so more shallow than the side closest to the trellis and soak it with water.
  • Place 3-6 slips in each bucket so that the tops are facing the trellis and the roots are at the side of the bucket that’s furthest away from the trellis.
  • Add soil mixture to cover the roots and make the dirt level. It’s OK if you cover up some of the leaves and only just the tops are sticking out.
  • Water it again a bit and cover with straw or mulch to keep weeds from growing.

Video first seen on OFF GRID with DOUG and STACY

They love hot weather and take about three months to mature. They’ll get super bushy, so try to encourage any long vines to grow up the trellis. The plants will also grow really pretty flowers, which makes them great for ornamentals. Since the good stuff isn’t visible, if people don’t know what they are, they’ll just think they’re bushes – hiding your garden in plain sight.

The leaves will start to turn yellow. After that, leave them for another week or so and test a part of the bucket by digging down to see if they’re ready. Or, you can just dump a bucket and see how they are. Though remember – you only get one shot if you do it that way.

Now you know how make a potato pot.

Potatoes are the ultimate survival crop and they were included almost in every meal during the Great Depression.

Discover more about how our forefathers handled their survival food.

Click the banner below and uncover their secrets!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

How To Repackage Foods in Mylar Bags With Oxygen Absorbers For Long Term Survival

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Shelf life varies, depending on the storage conditions and the food. You will usually see a range indicated for shelf life. For example, rice is listed as 15-30 years, and

The post How To Repackage Foods in Mylar Bags With Oxygen Absorbers For Long Term Survival appeared first on Ask a Prepper.

How To Can Chicken (Step By Step Guide With Pictures)

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Canning chicken is something our great-grandparents knew all about.  Preserving game and surplus meat for the leaner months or for your prepping reserves is a technique that’s well worth getting

The post How To Can Chicken (Step By Step Guide With Pictures) appeared first on Ask a Prepper.

Prep Blog Review: The Good & The Bad Food In Your Pantry

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You probably already have a well-stocked pantry for survival, but have you checked the foods lately? While some foods from are a bless and you can use them for several purposes in a survival situation (e.g. honey), there are other foods that you are stockpiling without knowing how dangerous they are.

Since there are good foods and bad foods in your pantry, for this week’s prep blog review I’ve gathered four articles on this topic to help you check your stockpile and make sure the food you choose for a survival situation is healthy, nutritious and won’t put your life in danger.

  1. 23 Survival Uses for Honey that You Didn’t Know About

“Whether you enjoy the sticky amber manna that is honey or not, there are a ton of potential uses for it in survival situations, or simply to maintain your everyday health. It has been a popular remedy for centuries, and with good reason.

Types of Honey:

While you may be thinking solely of the little grocery store bears, there are literally thousands of different types of honey. We’ll go over some of the varieties noted for their health benefits.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

  1. How to Avoid This Dangerous Preservative Found In Dried Fruit

“If you opened up a pantry belonging to any prepper, you’d most likely find a veritable cornucopia of dried foods within.

It’s pretty much a staple for preppers. Unfortunately, dried foods of all kinds often come packaged with preservatives that aren’t so healthy.

It can be a real challenge to find long-lasting foods that you would want to eat during an emergency, that aren’t also filled with toxic preservatives.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

  1. What Refrigerated Foods are Safe to Consume after a Power Outage

“Time is not your friend when the power goes out and your refrigerator stops cooling. Typically, if the door is not opened food should stay within a safe temperature for four hours.

What is a safe temperature for fresh meats, and other perishables?

Forty degrees Fahrenheit or below, if raw ground beef, for example, is stored for longer than two hours above 40° F it must be discarded, it is simply not safe to eat because of the growth of possibly harmful bacteria.”

Read more on Preparing For SHTF.

  1. Wise Food Storage for Long-Term Survival

“I’m certainly no stranger to dehydrated and freeze dried field rations. As a United States Marine, I lived on Meals Ready To Eat (MRE) for weeks at a time. So I understand the need for wise food storage.

The value of these MRE meals were that they provided a heavy dose of calories with very little, if any, preparation time required.

When time allotted, we would use heat tabs to warm up our meals in order to make them more comforting.

But regardless of how much tabasco sauce, salt, or pepper that we added to these MRE’s, the outcome was usually the same…the taste was horrible and our digestive system paid one hell of a price!”

Read more on Survival Life.

 

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

Product Review: Plug & Farm Tower

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I waited until I had a chance to actually grow some plants in the tower before writing this review. Because I live in a warm area of the country (zone 9b) I’m able to have a year-round growing cycle, but I don’t have a lot of space.

This seemed perfect for me, so I’m recommending it to any prepper interested to grow its own food and save some space and money.

And here’s why!

Building the Tower

The tower itself was easy to assemble and get started and came with all of the necessary tools and parts, as you can see in the unboxing video below:

The drip system was logical and was organized in such a manner that it worked with gravity.

With a standard soil-based drip system, this usually means that the bottom plants don’t get as much water as the top plants, but since this system is made in such a way that it recycles water from top to bottom and uses a planting medium that’s much less dense than dirt, the water flows freely through it so that the bottom plants get just as much water as the top ones.

All in all, with the exception of the instructions, I’ve had a good experience with the tower.

Save Yourself $24,000 Instantly Using This One Easy Prepper Hack!

Each section is well-constructed, as is the base, though I did mount it to a wall for stability. It’s easy to use and easy to assemble, and works with gravity.

It also uses very little water, which is, of course, a huge deal, especially in a drought or survival situation. I can even see where it would be perfectly good for indoor use if you were so inclined.

What to Plant

I chose to plant strawberries, green peppers, tomatoes, basil, and lettuce. I sprouted the seeds and grew them to seedlings, then transplanted them into the tower.

I had a mishap a few weeks after I planted my seedlings and lost the whole crop, so I had to start over. I’m now starting to see the beginnings of fruit from the new batch, so I’m excited to see what happens.

I also reevaluated the positioning of my plants the second time through. Originally, I’d place the tomatoes in the middle because I thought that it would be easier to stake them using the side of the tower and letting them grow down, but I rethought that and decided it would be better to have them on the far left so that I can use lattice to support the plants if need be.

If you’re looking for a great way to grow vertically in small spaces using very little water, this tower is a great option.

Click the banner below to grab this offer now!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

How To Feed Your Family Without Any Soil Or Space

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Growing hydroponically sounds complicated and expensive, but it’s actually neither. All that it means is that you’re growing your plants without soil. I’ve seen examples of hydroponic systems made out of our favorite tool ever – a 5-gallon bucket.

I’ve also seen systems that are exactly what you imagine – tables and tables full of fancy equipment and mysterious-looking tools and chemicals.

Just like anything else, it’s just a matter of how complicated you really want to get.

Let me give you a quick rundown of what it’s all about though, and why you should consider it, then we’ll talk about why it’s a great partner for vertical gardening.

As we already determined, you don’t use soil. The entire system is based on the concept that the roots are freely flowing in the water. They’re not packed tightly in soil. Hydroponic plants grow 30-50 percent faster than their soil-grown sisters, are generally healthier, and produce more fruit.

This is likely because the extra oxygen in the water helps the plant absorb nutrients better, and the nutrients are readily available in the water/solution and the plant doesn’t have to work to extract it from soil. It uses the extra energy to grow and produce.

Use it Inside

Hydroponic growing is also good to use inside because you don’t have the dirt mess and the plants don’t have to struggle so much to get the nutrients that they need, so it’s easier for them to grow in a semi-challenging environment. It’s a great way to grow food in small spaces.

Save Water

Vertical gardening and hydroponics also pair well because the drip-down system is an effective method of watering, and if you’re using a hydroponics system to catch the runoff, you’re saving a ton of water.

In a situation where fresh water is limited, that’s a huge benefit. As a matter of fact, in a world where soil is becoming depleted and water isn’t as plentiful as it used to be, vertical hydroponic gardening is seen by many as the method of future mass food production. Of course, their plans for world garden domination is a bit more complex, but it’s based on this theory.

Save Yourself $24,000 Instantly Using This One Easy Prepper Hack!

Stack it Up – The Foundation of Both Ideas

Also, and this takes us to our next point, hydroponics systems are commonly used in a stacked fashion so that the water is drawn up from  catch basin at the bottom and is released via drips onto the plants below. Then it drips from the top layer to the layer beneath, and so on until the water is back in the catch basin.

This makes hydroponics a great partner for vertical gardening.

Lighter and Portable

One problem that you often face with regular, dirt vertical gardening is that the wall is heavy and bulky, in large part because of the weight of the wet dirt.

With hydroponic vertical towers, you get rid of that.

There’s still some water weight, but unless you’re using gravel or sand to secure the roots, the weight is less.

This makes it more portable, too, especially if you use a well-contained system like Plug and Farm Towers. Portability is good for a couple of reasons.

If you need to move your vertical gardening wall or tower so that the plants are getting more or less light, or so that looters won’t know that you have food, then you want to be able to quickly and easily move the wall.

Know What You’re Eating

Another huge benefit is that you know exactly what’s going into your plant. Though you can buy bags of soil to grow your plants in, there’s no way for you to know what’s in that dirt. The same goes for using plain old yard soil. There could be residual fertilizers, pesticides, or acid rain in it and you’ll never know.

When you use hydroponics, you know exactly what your plants are coming into contact with. Enough said about that.

Best of Both Worlds

Finally, the “piece de resistance”, so to speak, about combining vertical gardening with hydroponics is that you get the benefits of the expanded growing space that comes with vertical gardening with the faster growth and higher yield of hydroponics. Bam! That’s what does it for me.

Vertical gardening and hydroponics are like peas and carrots – different, but when you bring them together, they’re a delicious combination that just works!

Start growing your own survival food without soil or space! You only need 10 minutes per day to take care of your fresh food.

Click the banner below and grab this special offer!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Why Vertical Gardening Works for Preppers

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As preppers, we all share the common goal of being able to take care of ourselves and our families in worst-case scenarios.

Having a ready supply of nutritious food is most certainly at the top of that list. And since we don’t all have the acreage (or even the yard) to grow a huge, traditional garden, enter vertical gardening!

Vertical gardening is exactly what the name implies – you’re growing your plants vertically instead of on a flat surface (the ground). This is great because it allows for growing fresh produce even if you don’t have any space other than a wall or a porch. You can even grow a vertical garden inside!

Grows Anywhere

Whether you have a fence around your yard or you only have a space on the porch or even a wall inside your house, you can grow a vertical garden. Living in urban areas doesn’t mean that you can’t grow your own food – it just means that you have to get creative about it.

If you have even a little bit of a yard, you’ll be surprised how much you can grow using the vertical gardening method – the options are practically limitless. You can even grow plants out the top AND bottom of the planters!

If you only have a single closet or small wall in your apartment, you’re still in luck, though you’ll have to make sure that you have plenty of light either in the form of sunlight or grow lights. Herbs are great to grow vertically, as are tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, onions, and green leafy vegetables.

Can be Used for Privacy

If you have a porch or yard, build your vertical garden in such a way that you block vision of your house. If you use a solid back that faces out from your house, people won’t even know what you’re doing!

Of course, you may not want to advertise what you’re doing, so grow it somewhere that people can’t look over your fence.

Works Well with Hydroponics

Growing plants hydroponically is a great way to increase your produce yield while decreasing your water consumption. It also takes the guesswork out of what you’re exposing your plants to, and how many nutrients the plant is getting, because you control both of those conditions.

Plants grown hydroponically, such as in the Plug and Farm Towers we tested, and have been shown to be healthier, grow faster, and produce a bigger yield. This is likely because water is oxygen rich, which helps the plants absorb nutrients, and they don’t have to harvest the nutrients out of the soil, so they can use that energy to grow instead.

You can Grow without Sharing What You’re Doing

Because you don’t need to lay everything out in the yard, you can grow in places that your neighbors won’t know about. You can grow a ton of vegetables on vertical growing racks inside your house. If you decide to go with a hydroponics system, you won’t have a dirt mess, but you can grow them in soil just as well.

Other places that make good hiding places include old sheds or barns that back up to a place in your yard that’s out of site. Just remember that you need plenty of light no matter where you plant them.

Grow Year Round

If you decide to grow a vertical garden inside, you can have year-round fresh herbs, veggies, and fruits. They do well in greenhouses, too. This is yet another advantage you’ll have over your neighbors if stuff goes south in the winter.

You’ll have access to fresh produce right there in your guest bedroom. Don’t be shy about putting a vertical garden in your living room, either. They look beautiful and make the house smell good, especially if you’re growing herbs.

You can Grow a Variety of Produce

The good thing about growing up instead of out is that you can have 7 or 8 different types of plants in an area that’s only 8 feet long and a foot or so wide. Nearly everybody has that much space!

An advantage to this is that if you don’t have access to a good food supply, having several different types of plants growing in what space you have will allow for you to have a variety of nutrients. Go for different colors because each color has different nutrients – red, yellow, orange, green – they all provide different nutrients that will help keep you and yours well-nourished.

Easy to Care for by Anybody

It’s hard to get down on your hands and knees to root around in a garden, pulling weeds in the sun and making sure the soil stays loose. With vertical gardening, it’s all right there in front of you. You can sit on a chair to take care of your plants if you need to. And harvesting is easy, too. For that matter, if you plan it right, you can make your vertical garden portable.

Another way that vertical gardening is easier is that, especially if you’re growing hydroponically, there are minimal weeds and you don’t have to worry about squatting over to take care of your vining plants.

Less Waste

This is one of my favorite reasons to grow vertically – the plants aren’t dragging on the ground and the fruits aren’t sitting in dirt, so they aren’t as prone to disease and rot.

There’s nothing worse, in my opinion, than working hard to nurture plants all the way from seed to harvest just to lose part of it because it was tucked under leaves where we couldn’t see it, and rotted. That’s not a problem with vertical gardening.

I’m obviously a fan of vertical gardening because of where I currently live and have benefited from it myself.

Remember that every survival plan should have food at its core. With only 10 minutes per day you’ll never have to worry about feeding your family again.

Click the banner below to grab this offer and start growing your own survival food!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Delicious Recipes Using Cattails – “The Supermarket of the Swamp”

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Cattails (Typha latifolia) are one of the most versatile plants on Earth. It is called the “Supermarket of the Swamp” for good reason since it can be used throughout all

The post Delicious Recipes Using Cattails – “The Supermarket of the Swamp” appeared first on Ask a Prepper.

What You Need To Know For Hunting During Winter

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Winters can be harsh and if hunting is a hobby you enjoy, it is important to be aware of the equipment requirements, hunting laws, gun certifications and proper apparel necessary to have a successful hunting trip in the winter.

Hunters aren’t required to have a degree, ACLS certification or CPR training, but they should be familiar with the basic demands of hunting.

This sport in the winter can be enjoyable, if hunters prepare by studying the different types of animals and birds, know the right clothing and equipment they should use, and understand other important techniques of hunting.

Any activity is dangerous if the participants are not aware of or do not understand rules and regulations surrounding that activity. Hunting, specifically, can be a very dangerous game if you aren’t aware of its basic guidelines and procedures.

Here are our top tips for understanding the do’s and don’ts of hunting when it comes to the winter hunting season.

Licensing and Certifications

We know it’s basic, but let’s state it again. All states require a hunting license or a tag that allows people to hunt. Whether they are using a gun or traps, all hunters need licenses in order to go out and hunt. Certain states also require licenses to set out traps for different animals.

Before leaving for a weekend trip, hunters must gain a license or certification showing they are able to own a gun and/or set a trap. Getting the correct paperwork can prevent hunters from paying hundreds of dollars in fines.

Animal and Bird Seasons

As winter continues, it’s important that hunters know the rules and regulations regarding animals and their hunting seasons. Depending on the state, specific animals and birds aren’t allowed to be hunted during certain months of the year.

Each state has different regulations when it comes to the hunting of animals, so it’s important that hunters are familiar with state regulations wherever they are.

Never leave for a hunting trip without having a hunting license and knowing which animals are in season. Before starting a weekend of living in tents and hunting food, hunters should do their homework and find out what animals and birds they are allowed to hunt to avoid paying a few hundred dollars in fines.

Fighting the Weather

Keeping warm is essential in the winter, especially for those who spend hours tracking and hunting animals. The cold can make it harder to concentrate. When it is bitterly frigid outside, the weather is often all people can think about.

Focusing on the weather instead of the gun in your hand can be dangerous to yourself and those around you. When planning hunting trips, look at the weather forecast. It is best to be flexible and adjust your plans when there are clear signs of a storm.

Think about the Donner Party and how that brutal snow storm found our forefathers trapped in the mountains. They learned the survival lesson the harsh way, but you can prepare now and don’t repeat their mistakes.

Discover the secrets that helped our forefathers survive in the wild! 

If you do need to hunt during a storm, there are three time periods that are safe for hunters: before the storm, mid-storm, and post-storm.

Hunting ahead or behind the storm will allow hunters to know if they need to stop or if it is safe to keep going. Mid-storm can be a more dangerous time to hunt in, but if you watch the storm you can track where it is going or when it starts to lighten up.

A mistake many hunters make on their winter hunting trip is thinking they need several layers. The more layers a hunter wears, the more they will perspire and the harder it will become for the hunter to move about quietly and efficiently. Adding layers will keep you warm, but the layers can often add unwanted bulk.

Mobility while operating any type of weapon is essential. If you cannot move efficiently, the risk of someone getting hurt increases. As important as dressing warm is, it is good to keep in mind the question whether you can move efficiently or not.

There are several options of clothing that keep you warm without adding bulk. Below are listed six useful pieces of clothing that provide warmth and protection while still giving hunters the mobility that they need.

Parkas

Purchasing a parka that is designed to keep in the warmth, but also cut down the bulk, will help the hunter stay warm without having to worry about cutting out mobility. Proper insulation doesn’t have to mean a bulky jacket. A simple layer of fur on the inside of the jacket can keep a hunter just as warm as if they were wearing several layers.

A parka will help keep out the cold without adding resistance to the hunter’s movements.

Elevation jacket

At any elevation, weather can change and fluctuate drastically. In addition to keeping warm, hunters often need to find ways to keep dry. An elevation jacket is a lightweight jacket that can stay that way even in the pouring rain. With water-repellent fabric, it is able to keep heat in while keeping water out.

An elevation jacket will allow the hunter to stay warm, dry and able to still move without limiting mobility.

Coldfront Bib Pants

Legs need just as much coverage as the upper body. Hunters need pants that use the same technology and fabrics as their jackets to keep them warm and dry without preventing mobility. Coldfront Bib pants are meant to do just that. With micro-grid fleece lining, these pants administer an extra layer of insulation to keep a hunter’s legs warm. This material also helps keep legs dry in snow or rain.

Not only do coldfront bib pants keep legs warm and dry, they also have the ability to shield against harsh winds.

Hunter Extreme Overalls

Hunters looking for clothing that covers their whole body and helps keep them warm should look to the 70’s trend of overalls. Hunter Extreme Overalls are built to trap body heat, keeping the hunter warm even in extreme weather conditions. They give the warmth needed and also the room needed for hunters to move properly.

Some overall designs contain removable hoods, removable hand muffs, and hand warming pockets designed to withstand rain, snow, and wind.

Wooltimate Ninja Hood

Covering the mouth and nose is important for keeping a person warm and preventing frostbite. A Wooltimate Ninja Hood covers the head, mouth, and nose. With a blend of wool and fleece, a ninja hood has the abilities to block out rain, snow, wind, or any other extreme weather condition. The hood also covers the neck so a hunter is truly covered top to bottom. Due to the eyes being left uncovered, pairing a Wooltimate Ninja Hood with goggles or glasses can provide the best results.

Infrared Scent Control Gloves

With jackets sporting extra layers, pants to keep out the wind, and a hood to cover the face, all that is left for a hunter to keep warm as they hunt is protection for their hands. Hunters need gloves that keep their hands warm without taking away mobility.

Infrared scent control gloves take it one step further. Animals can detect a human from several miles away based on their distinct human scent. Scent control gloves eliminates natural body odor which can allow hunters to sneak up on their target. These gloves also absorb body heat and radiates it back into the gloves to keep hands warm.

Tracking Tips

When tracking animals, hunters can find them by their footprints, broken twigs and places where they have slept. Another way hunters can find a group of animals is by looking for water. Wherever there is water, animals are not far from the source.

An animal’s main goal in the winter is to stay warm. This means wherever the sun is shining is where animals tend to be. They can often be found on hills or ridges facing the sun to keep warm. Hunters should try to hunt in sunny areas and avoid shady spots.

Snapping twigs in the woods is unavoidable. When it happens, hunters should wait a full minute before continuing their hunt. By waiting a full minute, it will give the animal time to forget about the noise and go back to what they were doing.

When deciding on a location, keep in mind that putting yourself in a single location and expecting animals to come to you is unrealistic. Moving about will increase your possibility of coming across an animal to hunt, especially in cold weather.

Animals don’t stay in one place and neither should you. Animals also tend to shift to different resting places every day. When deciding where to hunt or when, hunter’s should study the animals they’re tracking and take notice to how they react to the cold.

Winter causes many animals to switch into survival mode where they begin to find food more carefully. If hunters study different animals and how they behave in the winter, they can find ways to catch the animal without scaring it off.

Whether you’re hunting ground consists of green trees or snowy mountains, learning game-scouting techniques will help the hunter find animals in any type of environment.

Click the banner below and discover how to prepare traps and hunt wild animals, the old way!

This article has been written by Ryan Thompson for Survivopedia. Follow Ryan on Twitter – @ryan_thompson03

References

https://acls.com/

http://www.fieldandstream.com/node/1006033160#page-2

Start Growing Your Own Food Using Hydroponics

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Hydroponics, the process of growing plants without soil, is gaining momentum throughout the gardening community for many different reasons.

The water requirements are stupendously less than growing in soil, you don’t have to worry about what chemicals have leached into your soil, and you can grow healthier plants that yield more fruit in less space, both indoors and out.

Though many people are vaguely interested in the concept, most people write it off as being too technical, difficult, or expensive. The truth is that none of those terms apply, or at least they don’t have to.

You can start a hydroponic garden for very little money and it takes practically no effort to maintain it, at least in comparison to a soil garden.

Start Your Seeds

Regardless of whether you are planning to grow your plants in soil or in a hydroponic system, starting them from seeds is basically the same process. You need to choose a medium to start the seeds. You can use just about anything that you want – rockwool, grow cubes, or even plain dirt. The important thing is that you get your seeds to grow to seedlings.

There are also mediums that support starting your plants right in the system from seeds. In that case, don’t worry about the seedlings! The only problem that I’ve heard about from folks that do this is the same one that I’ve experienced when starting my garden using only seeds – they’re not all going to sprout, so you may have dense areas and sparse areas.

Regardless of whether you’re putting seeds or seedlings in your system, it’s a good idea to start your own seedlings.

Seeds are cheap, you can choose what you want to grow instead of depending on what plants the store has available, and your system won’t be contaminated with chemicals, pests, or diseases that may accompany commercial plants.

Choose a System

You also need to choose a system. For your first time, it’s probably a good idea to start small so that you can make your mistakes and learn the ropes on a small, manageable scale. There are several different types of systems, but the one that we’ve found to be most efficient on a small scale is a drip system.

Drip systems use a submersible pump placed in a basin on the bottom that pulls the water up to an irrigation tube above the plants. The water drips down into the pan(s) and trickles back down into the catch basin and is then recirculated. It’s efficient and simple to use.

NOTE: Very few commercial hydroponics systems (or DIY ones for that matter) operate without electricity. In the case of an EMP or a complete grid failure, your system will require manual watering, so choose carefully if those situations are a concern for you. You’ll want to choose a system such as a vertical gardening tower that makes it easy to water without an operational pump.

We tested the Plug & Farm Tower system that’s great for both beginners and experienced growers and works well indoors or out, though it does require electricity. There are many different options out there, or you can build your own.

What Can You Grow Hydroponically

Well, just about anything, in theory. After all, you’re providing everything any living plant needs to thrive – water, nutrients, light.

However, there are some plants that are more challenging than others. For instance, root vegetables are a challenge and require a system that’s deep enough to grow them. You may want to get a bit of experience before you jump off that particular log.

Vining plants and light-weight fruits grow well hydroponically, too, and did well in the tower we tested. You can even start fruit trees, then plant them into soil when they’re big enough.

Now, for the system that we tested, vining plants, herbs and green leafy vegetables worked, but not root vegetables.

Transplanting Seedlings

If you’re starting your seeds outside of your system and transplanting it as a seedling, it’s a simple process. Germinate your seeds. You can do this by placing them in a grow cube or in a paper towel or baggy.

If you use the grow cube, just keep it damp with water or your hydroponic solution until your seedling pops through – anywhere from two to four weeks.

If you’re germinating the seeds before putting them in a growing medium, put them in a damp paper towel on a plate and keep the towel damp. Your seed will germinate in just a few days.

Now that you have your seedlings, you’re ready to transplant them to your system so that they can grow into delicious plants.

This process is going to be determined by the system that you’re using but will consist of placing the seedling so the roots are in the water/solution and the plant top is not.

A Note about Growing Mediums

You can use many different mediums in your hydroponics setup including gravel, sand, coconut shells (they don’t break down easily) or just about anything else that is food-safe and won’t decompose.

If you choose to use gravel, be sure to choose stones that won’t leech minerals into the water, because then you’re affecting the nutrients available to your plants.

The entire purpose of the medium is to support the roots in a way that water can flow freely around them, so don’t use mediums such as mulch that are going to break down to, well, soil.

Growing Your Plants

Now, your plants are in your hydroponics system, so what next?

Make sure that they stay hydrated and are getting the nutrients that they need! They should be watered thoroughly several times daily to prevent the roots from drying out, and the automatic drip system is great for this.

Once your plants begin to grow in earnest, you’ll need to provide support for vining plants. Trellises are great for this.

Keep your plants from dragging the ground in order to avoid rot and exposure to disease. Prune them properly and watch them grow!

Click the banner below to grab this offer and start your own survival farm!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Prep Blog Review: Food Lessons For Survival

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It’s survival food time again! From how to grow your own vegetables, to how to stockpile correctly, this topic never gets old, and it’s one of my favorites, too.

Starting with a few food lessons from the Great Depressions, and continuing with some emergency food preparedness basic, for this week’s prep blog review I’ve gathered five useful articles on this topic.

  1. 10 Food Lessons From the Great Depression

“A time wracked with suicide and fear the great depression was a holly terror on the nation.

Many people exclaim that the crash of 2008 cost them everything. The truth is that the “everything” of 2008 was very different than the everything of 1930. Mothers left alone by their husbands to feed children while living in doorways. Losing children to disease or hunger and not having a dime to help them, nor a way to procure one.

All that terror aside the emulsification of cultures and despair in America during the depression created everlasting practices in the management and creation of food. The type of meals that remind you of your grandmother and her dinner table. Many of these meals are still popular today. Many of the methods are used widely as well.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

  1. Emergency Food Preparedness Basics Every Prepper Should Know

“Emergency Food Preparedness is essential for every prepper to have. In this video we will be talking about the 3 different types of emergency food preps that essential for survival.”

Video first seen on Smart Prepper Gear.

  1. 13 Direct Vegetables to Direct Sow

“To direct sow your seeds just means to plant your seed outdoors in the garden where it will grow instead of starting the seeds indoors in containers under lights.

If you live in a warm climate, you can direct sow almost any crop. Those of you who garden in colder areas either begin sowing seeds indoors under lights or purchase seedlings form a green house that can be transplanted into the garden after all danger of frost is past. If we don’t start some crops ahead og time, there isn’t enough time to produce a harvest before our first fall frost.”

Read more on Grow A Good Life.

  1. How to get Your Chicken to Lay More Eggs

“Does it seem that your egg collection is decreased or that your hens aren’t laying as they once did? Or the yolks are pale and lackluster, lacking the nutrients they should provide? When the chickens are part of a plan for independent living or as a structured food supply, this can put a damper on things and thwart being able to rely on them as a nutritional resource.

It can be a catastrophic event in a survival situation to have your chickens stop producing a crucial food source.”

Read more on Survival Sullivan.

  1. Perennial Plants that Produce Food Year After Year

“A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. Perennials, especially small flowering plants, grow and bloom over the spring and summer, then die back every autumn and winter, and then return in the spring from their rootstock, are known as herbaceous perennials”.

Below are a few of the more common food plants that are known to live and produce for over two years, and some like asparagus, for example, can produce for literally decades if the asparagus bed is well taken care of.”

Read more on Prep for SHTF.

 

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

Take The Advantage Of Growing Hydroponic Plants!

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Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve probably heard of hydroponic planting. Even if you did live in a cave, you probably saw an example of it when you saw that little plant growing in a puddle of water in the rock. That’s what hydroponic growing is – it’s simply growing plants without soil.

But why should you try it? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.

When you think about hydroponically growing plants, you probably get this vision of complicated systems and expensive grow lights, but that’s not the case. Growing plants using a hydroponic system is actually easier that using a soil-based system, as you’ll see in a bit.

You can use water alone, gravel, sand, coconut husks, or even artificial materials to secure the roots of your plants, but the idea is to choose a medium that allows the water to flow freely around the roots of the plant.

Here are just a few advantages of growing hydroponic plants.

Plants Grow Faster and Yield More Fruit

Studies show that plants grown hydroponically grow 30-50 percent faster than soil-grown plants and also yield more fruit. This is probably because there is a constant supply of water and the nutrients are delivered straight to the roots throughout the day.

Since the plant doesn’t have to search through the soil and break the nutrients down in order to absorb them, it’s free to use that extra energy to grow and produce.

Also, there is generally more oxygen in water than there is in soil. This helps the plant absorb nutrients faster and it also promotes root growth.

No Weeding

Since you’re controlling the medium and you only plant what you want in it, you’re not going to be dealing with weeds, and if you do manage to get a couple weed seeds blown or carried in, they’re easy to pluck out, roots and all.

This saves you time, and prevents the plant from fighting with weeds for nutrients and water.

You Control the Nutrients and pH

One of the biggest problems that we face when we grow plants in dirt is that we’re often at the mercy of the quality of the soil. Without sending it off to be tested, it’s tough to tell what nutrients are in your soil and how acidic it is.

Since some plants prefer a more acidic soil and others prefer neutral or base soil, you’ll find that some plants grow better in your soil than others.

With a hydroponics system, you take all of the guesswork out of the growing process because you control the amount and type of nutrients as well as the pH. This is another reason that plants are healthier and more productive.

You Know What you’re Eating

You really don’t know what’s in your soil even if you’ve lived there for 20 years because pesticides, chemicals, and even acid rain can contaminate it with all sorts of harmful materials. When you grow your plants using the hydroponics method, you know exactly what’s in the food that you eat.

Year-Round Fruit

Because there’s no dirt to mess with, hydroponic systems are exceptionally easy to manage indoors or in a greenhouse, which means that you can have fresh produce year-round.

If you get sick of growing tomatoes, just switch them out and grow some basil to go with them. Since your plants will also yield more fruit, you’ll really ramp up your production.

Indoor/Outdoor Options

We just mentioned that hydroponic systems are easily adapted to indoor growth, and there is more than one reason why that’s a good thing. First, you don’t have to go out in the rain or heat to tend your plants, or look at a snow-covered, barren garden in the winter.

That’s great, but what about security? If you’re growing plants inside, nobody will know what you’re doing. In hard times, when you’re trying to survive, this can be a deal-changer. And you don’t necessarily need much room for an indoor hydroponics system, either.

As a matter of fact, we’ve tried on, the Plug & Farm Towers can be mounted against a wall and only extends about 6 inches from the wall. It’s only a few feet wide and tall, but is designed so that you maximize your growing space. You can use it in an apartment or even a slightly large closet as long as you have the necessary lighting.

Less Space

Unlike traditional soil growing techniques, hydroponic systems lend themselves nicely to growing in stacked trays. I’ve seen many setups that range in size from the Plug & Farm Towers to ones that consist of 5 or 6 layers of trays that are several feet wide with a couple of feet between each layer.

If you use a gravity system, you can get quite clever with your angles so that each layer trickles down to the next, then is fed back up to the top again. Even using a hydroponics system that large, you’ll still be using very little water in the scheme of things.

Vertical crops

Soil Quality Doesn’t Matter

This one sort of goes without saying since you’re not using soil. To drive home the point, though, I live in Florida and the soil is extremely sandy, with just a bit of loam on the top. Tomatoes grow OK here in that, but they’re merely compared to ones that I grew in the rich soil of West Virginia.

However, if I use a hydroponics system, I don’t have to worry about soil quality. If you pair this with an indoor growing system, you can grow pretty much anything.

Lower Water Requirements

Any plant needs water because that’s how it absorbs nutrients.

Now, of course we can’t give an exact number here because the US has such a wide variety of soils and rainfall amounts, but in soil that’s not too wet or too dry, and grown in conditions that aren’t miserably hot with low humidity, it will take about 20 gallons of water per week to water a 32 square foot garden. That’s a garden that’s roughly 5 feet x 6 feet.

Now, if you have to water an area that large using a hydroponics system, you’re going to use as little as 1/4 of that. Maybe less if you’re filtering and oxygenating the water, because it’s a re-usable source.

In other words, with a soil garden, you’re going to be using 80 gallons per week, but in a hydroponics garden, you’re going to be using that initial watering (5 – 7 gallons) over and over again.

When you’re in a survival situation, that’s a huge difference in the amount of something that you need to live! In essence, that saves you an extra 15 gallons just in the first week, and, even assuming you lose a couple of gallons to evaporation weekly, you’ve still saved at least 40 gallons. That’s enough water for almost two people over a month!

Diseases and Pests are Easier to Get Rid Of

The way that many diseases and pests attack your plants to begin with is via soil. So, since you’re eliminating soil, you’re also eliminating much of the risk of your plants becoming infected. And one of the main reasons that pests and diseases are so hard to get rid of if you DO get them in soil-grown plants is because they hide in the soil and keep reinfecting your plants.

With a hydroponics system, there is no dirt to hold the pest or disease, so they’re easier to get rid of if you are unfortunate enough to contract them in the first place.

Greater Variety

Since you’re no longer dependent on soil quality or large land areas, and you can easily use a hydroponics system to grow year-round in a greenhouse or indoors, you can grow basically whatever you want.

You can also experience three or even four growth cycles (depending on what you’re growing), so even if you have a smaller growing area, you can grow one plant this cycle, and another plant the next cycle.

Physically Easier to Grow and Harvest

You can grow your plants at whatever height is comfortable to you – just build your system accordingly. That means that you don’t have to bend over on your hands and knees like you do when growing a traditional garden.

You don’t have to weed the garden, either, at least not on any serious level. If you do need to pick out a few, they pull out easily because their roots aren’t buried in dirt.

Now that you have a few really good reasons to try a hydroponics system to grow your fruits and vegetables, get started! We’ve provided a link to one that we’ve personally tested. It’s efficient, easy to assemble, and simple to use.

It’s also big enough to make a nice wall garden outside, but small enough to use inside even a small apartment. And with only 10 minutes a day you’ll never have to worry about feeding your family again.

Click the banner below to grab your own survival farm!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

This Is The Smart Way To Invest In Food!

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The Smart Way To Invest In Food

Remember when Mom or Grandma would send you to the pantry or down to the basement to grab another jar of pickles or peanut butter? There were probably at least a couple of extra jars behind the one that you grabbed.

That’s because they lived through times when having backup food meant the difference between eating and going hungry. They had it “just in case.” Do you practice this? If not, you should.

We live in unsure times. The United States economy is by far the largest in the world; more than twice that of China, the world’s second largest economy. US money and goods support the global economy to the point that if we suffer an economic collapse, we take the rest of the world down with us.

But there’s one solid way to hedge your future – a basic commodity that everybody will always need: food.

Considering the state of the nation right now, an economic collapse is just as likely as not – maybe even more likely. The crazy explosion in the US monetary system and the instability of our government doesn’t just make it possible that we’ll face hyperinflation in the near future – it practically guarantees it.

Food costs are going to keep increasing and in the case of an economic collapse, will quickly increase to the point that foods that are barely affordable to many households now, such as meat, will be completely out of reach. The price of many “affordable” foods such as sauces, pasta, rice, sugar and flour will likely increase to the point that they’ll barely be affordable, assuming they’re available.

Until recently, the primary concern for most of us was economic collapse, with governmental collapse being a peripheral concern. Now, in these uncertain times, either – or both – is increasingly likely. Both would bring about life-altering circumstances that would dethrone the current money-based system in favor of a barter system.

Guess what that does to all those stocks, bonds, and savings accounts (and for that matter, cash) when that happens: they become worthless. But do you know what gains value exponentially? Food. And to a lesser extent, hygiene products. Investing in both will give you the tools you need to barter, survive, and even thrive.

No matter how poor somebody is, they’ll always need to eat. That doesn’t mean that you should gouge them. It just means that you’ll have a commodity that will be of value to everybody.

So, investing in food is the way to go. Even if you only invest in it passively, without ever selling a single noodle of it, you’ll still be saving much more by buying food for tomorrow at today’s prices than many investments that most of us can afford would yield. The longer you eat food bought at today’s prices, the more money you’ll save.

Food costs, with the exception of fresh fruit, decreased for the first time in years from December of 2015 – December of 2016, but that isn’t anticipated to continue. The USDA anticipated a hike in 2017 based on stable conditions – in other words, before the political climate changed so radically. Essentially, you have the chance right now to buy at bargain basement prices and put off buying when the prices go up.

So, how do you invest in food? Well, there are several different ways, and you can do it, at least to a certain degree, no matter where you live or how much money you have.

Considerations to the Return on Your Investment

Unless you have a huge farm with numerous gardens and storage spaces, and a lot of money to feed livestock and grow fresh produce, you have some challenges. That’s OK. You just need to work with what you have and find a proper way to secure your future.

Save Yourself $24,000 Instantly Using This One Easy Prepper Hack!

Space

This is probably the biggest limitation that you may face. If you live in a 1-bedroom apartment in an urban environment, the only space you may have is a closet and some cabinets. That’s fine. Make the most of what space you have by stockpiling a variety of staple foods and hygiene items.

Even the cabinet under your bathroom sink will hold more hygiene products than you might think. The more you can buy now at a lower price, the more you’ll save. Utilize your space well, buying products that you’ll use, and that will last.

Shelf Life

No matter how much space you have, shelf life is always a consideration. If you buy enough food to meet your needs for five years but it expires in two, you’ve wasted your resources.

Allocate your money responsibly and with forethought. Know how much you and your household eat monthly/annually. Use the FIFO (First In, First Out) method and store food in a way that will preserve it for as long as possible.

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What Types of Food You Can Store

While you can save a ton of money on buying extra boxes of cereal and jars of peanut butter, there are some types of foods that will save you more than others.

For instance, meat, eggs, and dairy prices are anticipated to increase significantly more than cabinet foods but they don’t have much of a shelf-life. Consider your resources and storage capabilities when you plan your shopping.

Methods to Help You Invest in Food

Now that you know what you need to consider when you’re investing in food, let’s talk about ways to help you invest better so that you get the most bang for your buck.

1. Buy a Freezer

Milk, meat, and eggs just aren’t shelf-stable as-is, but they’re the top foods that increase quickly in cost. You do have some options. All of these products have canned or powdered options that have excellent shelf lives.

You can also can your own meat and butter, and you can buy a freezer to store up to a year’s worth of food. Believe it or not, all dairy is freezable.

Many people are worried about lack of electricity in the event of a collapse and avoid freezers, but the odds of complete electric failure are pretty slim if you have an alternative power source. Most meats and dairy store frozen for up to six months, or even a year. Also the cost of a freezer, if you have a proper place where you can put one, will be covered by the savings in a short time.

2. Build a Food Storage Space

If you have the space, build or buy an extra food/supply shed. The money that you save in food and necessaries will pay for it in very little time.

3. Use Coupons and Sales

If you combine coupons and sales, you’ll be amazed how quickly you can build a stockpile for next to nothing. It’s a matter of paying attention to what’s on sale.

For instance, today I bought 6 bottles each of ketchup, shampoo, and laundry detergent for $13 total. My total savings was $24. And that doesn’t even count what I’ll save by not buying later when the price is higher.

All three are products that I use and that would be valuable if something happens and I need to barter, so there’s no way I can lose.

4. Buy Popular, Necessary Products

There are some foods and products that everybody just has to have. Examples: flour, green beans, tampons, deodorant, etc. Don’t buy a ton of lima beans if they’re on sale unless you really love them because they’re not a popular food. Sometimes there’s a reason things are on clearance – nobody else wanted to buy it!

Also, if you’re preparing for a bartering situation, alcohol and tobacco are going to be premium, in-demand products. Cigarettes are brutally expensive, but loose tobacco and rolling papers are fairly inexpensive and, as long as they’re sealed in air-tight containers, have a long shelf-life.

Regarding alcohol, remember that it’s not just for drinking – you can make tinctures and clean wounds and first-aid tools with it, too. Having extra vodka or bourbon is never a bad thing.

5. Buy Healthy Products

For some reason, people seem to want to pile in the boxes of cookies and cans of spaghetti-o’s because they’re cheap and delicious, but have no (or little) dried eggs, milk, canned meats, or meal stretchers such as flour and rice.

Think healthy. It’s important that you buy foods that you like – and cheap is good, too – but remember that you may be depending on your stockpile for survival. Stock up with healthy foods, too.

Also, canned milk, eggs, flour, rice, and other similar products are extremely versatile. You can eat or drink them as-is, or you can use them in recipes to make other products such as bread, cakes, side dishes, etc.

6. Buy in Bulk

This is our final point today, and it’s a big one because you may not need 20 pounds of flour or sugar now, but will you use it eventually? Of course you will, and it really doesn’t go bad as long as it’s stored properly.

A 20-pound bag of sugar often costs only a few bucks more than a 5-pound bag. Same with sugar. Compare cost per unit instead of just thinking of one being more expensive than the other. Dollars to donuts, bulk is almost guaranteed to be cheaper than smaller portions.

Now that you have some ideas about how to invest in food, start planning, then start buying. You can have a great stockpile built up in no time even if you just buy stuff that’s on sale buy-one-get-one-free and put back the extra. It adds up quickly, and you’ll have a nice nest egg sitting in your pantry or basement!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

10 Long Shelf-Life Canned Foods Every Prepper Should Consider Stockpiling

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Stockpiling food is a key part of being prepared. Even if you have the skills and space to grow your own, you can’t be sure that a disaster will leave

The post 10 Long Shelf-Life Canned Foods Every Prepper Should Consider Stockpiling appeared first on Ask a Prepper.

Prep Blog Review: Best Practices For Storing Survival Food

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Disasters can happen to anyone, anytime and hence you can’t prevent them, you can prepare for them. I want you to answer to one question: if disaster strikes tomorrow, do you have the basics covered? And when I say basics I mean food and water.

Water and food are at the top of the list when it comes to storing for survival if you want to have a healthy, ever-lasting, super-diversified diet when SHTF. But storing food for survival becomes overwhelming when you keep buying, and buying without a plan in mind.

That is why, for this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered 4 articles that sum up the best practices for storing survival food.

  1. Top 10 food Storage Myths

TOP-10“The internet is full of websites that give information on survival topics, including food storage. There are dozens and dozens of books that will teach you “the right way” to store food and YouTube videos galore. Most contain valid, trustworthy information, but mixed in with that are a number of food storage myths that many people accept without question. Here are 10 that I take issue with, and I explain why.

Myth #1:  You should stock up on lots of wheat.

When I was researching foods typically eaten during the Great Depression, I noticed that many of them included sandwiches of every variety. So it makes sense to stock up on wheat, which, when ground, becomes flour, the main ingredient to every bread recipe.”

Read more on The Survival Mom.

  1. The Best ORAC Foods to Stockpile

“ORAC stands for ‘oxygen radical absorbance capacity.’ It is a unit of measure to determine the antioxidant capacity of a particular food. The higher the ORAC unit value, the more antioxidants a food will have.food Storage

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and therefore play a role in overall long-term health. Of course, you may think: why should I care about my long-term health when SHTF? No, you probably shouldn’t. But, if you are like me, you’re probably rotating your food stockpile. So when your cans are about to expire… instead of throwing them away you can eat a healthy balanced meal.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

  1. 50 Food Items To Keep Stocked for Emergencies

food-storage“Emergencies happen every day. We are faced with everything from a broken-down car on the freeway, medical emergencies, financial difficulties and natural disasters on a pretty consistent basis. Over the last 16 years, our country has been faced with some major events. We were attacked on 9/11 and many other terror attacks followed, we were faced with the devastating effects of Katrina, school shootings, our officers being shot, economic difficulties, and even rioting in our streets. All of these things are red flags that remind us to be prepared for just about anything.”

Read more on The Well Prepared Mama.

  1. How To Dehydrate Herbs for Long-Term Storage

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“Herbs are one of the first plants we put in our garden. There is nothing like fresh culinary herbs to intensify the flavors of food. As well, herbs are hardy garden plants that don’t have to be watered as much as vegetables and can serve more than one purpose by being used as natural medicine. For instance, did you know that a sage leaf can be used instead of a band-aid because it has natural healing qualities? Some of these popular culinary herbs are oregano, thyme and sage and can grow year-round in many parts of the country.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.  

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Survival Food: 5 Hearty Soup In A Jar Recipes

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Soup in a jar

We’ve already discussed how to preserve many foods, and even entire meals, by canning them using either pressure canning or water bath canning. Canning entire meals in a jar provides both convenience and nutrition; both of which will be to your advantage in a survival situation.

The difference between the two types of canning is that any food that is low acid, which is most vegetables and all meats, needs to be pressure canned in order for the food in the jars to reach a temperature that will kill all microorganisms such as botulism that will make you sick.

The general rule of thumb is that you process pint jars for 60 minutes and quart jars for 75 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure for vegetable soups, and 75 minutes for pints/90 minutes for quarts for meats. Leave 1 inch of headspace in the jars.

If you’re canning something with dried beans, put them in a pan and cover them with a couple inches of water. Simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and let them soak in the hot water for at least an hour. Bring back to a boil, remove from heat, drain, and add to the soup.

The general rule for canning soups is that you have half small cubed solids and half liquid. This may sound like a lot of liquid, but by the time the other ingredients absorb the water and swell, it will be nice and hearty.

You want that much liquid in the beginning so that heat can circulate evenly, but when it’s finished, you’ll find that it’s about 3/4 solids to 1/2 liquid. Just enough to soak some bread in!

Don’t Overcook

The main thing to remember when canning soups is that you don’t want to cook it until it’s mush. You lose both flavor and nutrients at that point. This means that you’ll likely pack everything into the jars nearly raw. You can make soup and then can it, but if you do that, just know that many of your veggies will be pretty soft, and some will cook away altogether.

Bring everything to a rolling boil for 5 minutes or so, just long enough to get everything good and hot, then pack it into your jars and process. Let it cook in the jars.

With the long cooking times, you may find that rice (not instant) is better in your recipes than pasta, which cooks to goo.

These lessons of yesterday will teach you the basic skills you need for survival cooking! 

Sterilize and Clean Everything

This is the key to successful canning. Your jars need to be sterilized before you put food in them.

Do this by washing them in hot, soapy water. The same thing goes for all of the equipment that you use, including lids, rings, spatulas and anything else that will come into contact with the inside of the jar, or the food.

Video first seen on Marjorie Vangenewitt

Now, without further ado, let’s get to the recipes!

And remember – you can adapt any of your favorite recipes so that you may can them and have your favorite meals anytime that you want.

Canning isn’t just about planning for the apocalypse. In fact, that’s just an added bonus. Canning is a means to preserve healthy food that you’ve grown yourself, so that you know what you’re putting in your body. If you have some left over, then even better!

5 Delicious Soups in a Jar

1. Italian Rustica

  • 2 gallons tomato juice
  • 3 cups cubed carrots
  • 2 cups chopped green beans
  • 2 pint canned tomatoes, rough chopped, not drained
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons chopped or dried oregano
  • 2 cups dried rice

Combine all ingredients except the rice in a soup pot. Bring to a rolling boil, then add the rice. Pack into jars and process. Yields about 12 quarts.

2. Ham and Bean Soup

  • 2 gallons water
  • 4 cups dried northern or cannelloni beans
  • 4 cups chopped ham
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

Soak your dried beans as discussed above. Bring them to a boil, along with the salt, pepper and ham. Pack in jars and process accordingly. Yields about 12 quarts.

3. Beef Stew

  • 4 pounds beef tips
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 4 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups celery, diced
  • 1 pint canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 gallons beef stock

Braise beef tips with the onions and celery in a skillet just until rare but browned on all sides. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil. Pack and process accordingly. Yields about 16 quarts.

4. Cabbage Stew

  • 4 pounds ground meat, your choice
  • 1 head cabbage, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 1 pint canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 3 gallons water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste

Brown your meat in a skillet and drain. Add it along with all other ingredients to your stockpot and bring to a boil. Process accordingly. Yields about 12 quarts.

5. Southwest Stew

  • 3 cups white rice, not instant
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 quart diced tomatoes with juice
  • 4 pounds chicken breast, chopped
  • 3 cups corn
  • 3 15 oz. cans black beans, drained
  • 2 tablespoon dried cilantro
  • 2 packs taco seasoning
  • 1 small can green chilis, diced
  • 2 gallon chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Put all ingredients in a stockpot and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Pack and process accordingly. Yields about 12 quarts.

All of these soups are both delicious and healthy, and fairly easy to prepare.

Do you wonder what where the cooking secrets that helped our grandfathers survive the Great Depression? Click the banner below to uncover them!

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If you have any recipes that you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Surviving Off-Grid: 4 Recipes To Cook In A Haybox

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Haybox cooking

I have to admit, this was a new one for me, and I thought that I’d tried every method of outdoor cooking invented since cavemen sporked frogs and roasted them over an open fire. As it turns out, haybox cooking is a combination of two of my favorite cooking vessels – a Dutch oven and a slow cooker.

This method came about during WWII when cooking oil was rationed for the war effort. The air spaces in the hay trap the heat, as will anything similar, such as shredded newspaper or corn husks. You want the hay to be fine, though, so that you can pack it tightly. You don’t want stems and brambles.

The basic premise is that you heat the food in its own juices, or water, and then once you bring it to a boil, you put it in the haybox, which insulates it, and let it finish cooking all on its own. Of course, this is a method that requires food that is in a broth, but that’s about the only limitation that I can think of.

You can use it for roasting, boiling, simmering, or steaming; as long as there’s liquid to hold the heat.

This would serve you well if you were traveling and couldn’t cook along the way, or if you don’t want to use a ton of fuel by cooking it over heat all day. For that matter, it’s great just to help you save on your electric bill! All in all, it’s an extremely efficient way of cooking.

Learn the secrets that helped our grandparents survive the Great Depression! 

What Is a Haybox Cooker and How to Build One

HayboxA haybox cooker is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a box full of hay that you cook in.

The idea is that the hay is packed around a Dutch oven that has food in it that’s already cooked to boiling. You transfer it from the heat source immediately to the haybox, pack the hay around it, close it up as tightly as you can, and go about your business.

It’s a natural slow cooker, and just like cooking with its electric-dependent sisters, it takes several hours for food to cook. How long exactly, depends on the initial cook time of the dish, how long it’s already cooked, how tightly the hay is packed, and how air-tight the box is.

As you can imagine, it’s hard to give an exact time, but a good haybox will hold usable heat for up to 8 hours.

If you already have a trunk or old military locker/box that’s about 30 inches cubed, then you’re already good to go. If not, build one.

Start by building a sturdy wooden box that’s as airtight as you can get it – try to score some scrap tongue and groove from your local mill or home-improvement store.

Build a box with a sturdy, tight-fitting lid. Line the box with sturdy paper or cardboard to seal any cracks that remain so that the heat can’t escape.

To cook in your box, pack it with about 3/4 of the way full of hay, then form a little nest in the center for your Dutch oven and pack it as tightly as you can get it.

How to Cook With a Haybox Cooker

Bring your food to a boil or simmer, then transfer immediately to the hay box. Pack the top and remaining sides with more hay as tightly as you can pack it and shut the lid. Let it cook, and you’re good to go.

Note: You can even make you haybox in a hole in the ground – how handy is THAT for living in the woods in a survival situation? In that case, you could use dried grass and leaves, or whatever you could find lying around as insulation.

Oh, and did I mention that you can also use the haybox to make frozen treats such as ice cream?

Just make your favorite ice cream recipe and pour it into a coffee can with a lid. Find a bucket that’s 4 inches deeper and 8 inches (total) wider than your can. Put 4 inches of ice and coarse salt in the bottom of the bucket, put the can on top of the ice, and pace more ice and salt around the can. Put it in the haybox and seal it up. You’ll have ice cream in about 4 hours! 

Video first seen on Organikmechanic. 

4 Delicious Haybox Recipes

1. Hearty Beef and Cabbage Soup

This soup is especially filling and comforting. It’s a great meal-in-a-bowl for busy weeknights – just turn it on in the morning and come home to a wonderful-smelling pot of soup.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped red cabbage
  • 2 cups chopped green cabbage
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 dry bay leaf
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large heavy skillet, cook the ground beef over medium-high heat, just until browned, breaking up with a spatula periodically until meat is crumbly. Drain all but 1 teaspoon or so of oil/drippings and return to heat.

Add the cabbages, onion, carrots, garlic, celery seed, paprika and cumin and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it reaches a rolling boil.

Add all to the Dutch oven and add bay leaf and broth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes. Transfer to hay box for 8 hours.

2. Steak Chili

Sometimes nothing hits the spot quite like a good chili!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds top sirloin steak, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 12-oz cans dark red kidney beans
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 2 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 10-ounce cans beef broth or 2 ½ cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder

In a heavy skillet, heat olive oil and then brown the steak (in batches if necessary) on all sides for about 4-5 minutes.

Add all of the vegetables to the Dutch oven, pour in the broth and add the seasonings. Stir well to mix. Add the steak, cover and bring to a rolling boil. Transfer to haybox and leave there for 8 hours.

3. Slow Cooker Beef or Venison Stew

There are few things that say “comfort food” better than a hearty beef stew. Slow cooking means the meat is always succulent and tender and you’re welcomed home with wonderful aromas.

  • 1 ½ pounds beef or venison stew meat
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut on 1-inch pieces
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh kale, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 cups beef broth or stock, with ¼ cup reserved

Trim the stew meat of visible fat and cut into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large heavy skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat and brown the stew meat, in batches if necessary, about 4-5 minutes until browned on all sides.

Add carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, bay leaf and parsley to Dutch oven, then add meat. Pour 2 3/4 cups broth over all. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes, then transfer to haybox for 8 hours.

4. Vanilla Ice Cream

Delight your loved ones with this classic and delicious frozen treat you can make in a haybox.

You will need:

  • 1 can sweetened milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Add fruits or nuts after it’s frozen.

Have you tried haybox cooking? If so, please share your experiences with us in the comments section below!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Survival Lessons From The Old: One Pot Meals

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For eons, entire meals from stews to casseroles have been made in one pot.

The cowboys and settlers did it because they only had the luxury of one pot on the trail, and we do it today because of the convenience and simply because there are so many recipes out there that are delicious as well as fast.

We follow their example, and learn from their knowledge. Here’s what we should know about this old way of cooking!

As preppers, it’s important that we know how to cook without electricity, and though I’ve included slow cookers in this article, the rest of them don’t require anything other than fire and the vessel.

There are some rules for cooking in a single pot if you want the meal to be delicious and safe to eat, but for the most part, they’re quick and easy to prepare and clean up.

Adjust Cooking Times of Veggies

First, you want your vegetables to cook evenly, so if you’re standing over the pot, you may want to throw hard veggies like carrots in 15 minutes or so before you add the rest.

For soft veggies such as cabbage and broccoli, put them in at the last minute since they only take 10 or 15 minutes to cook in a pot. This isn’t a necessity, if you’re throwing something in the crockpot and leaving, so just know that some veggies may be a little mushy if you put them in all at once.

Sear Your Meat

Next, searing your meat adds flavor to the meal. This is especially true of large pieces of meat such as roasts, pork chops, beef tips, and other meats that are thick and solid. You don’t have to do this, but if you do, it will add an extra layer of flavor. Hamburger and Salisbury steak has a crispier texture if you sear it beforehand.

Beware of Pathogens

You must make sure that your meat cooks all the way through, especially if it’s poultry. This isn’t such a big deal with red meat as long as you don’t mind it a bit rare in the middle, but birds carry salmonella.

Trust me – one bout of food poisoning from that and you’ll make sure it never happens again! USDA guidelines say that red meat should be cooked to 145 degrees F, ground meats should cook to 160 degrees, and poultry should be 165 degrees.

When you’re finished eating, make sure that you refrigerate it. Bacteria begin to grow quickly between the temperatures of 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F, so too avoid the risk of food poisoning, refrigerate your food within 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees) after it comes off the heat.

Cold foods, especially ones that contain mayo or eggs, should be kept at 40 degrees, so just put them in a bowl of ice if they’re going to sit out, and stir it frequently to keep the entire dish cold.

Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days as long as their stored in containers, and can be frozen almost indefinitely, but they’ll begin to lose flavor after a month or so depending upon the food.

Types of Cookers

There are several types of cookers that you can use depending upon the dish and the circumstances. Especially if you’re cooking over a fire, you’ll want to cook as efficiently as you can, and one pot meals are certainly the best way to do that.

Since our primary concern is cooking in a survival situation, we’ll start with those methods.

Dutch Ovens

This is one of my favorite ways to cook outside because you can quite literally cook anything that you want to in them. Whether you want to make stew, chopped steak, or breads, a Dutch oven will do the trick. They steam the food internally, which keeps it moist and tender. You can buy aluminum and cast iron Dutch ovens, though the cast iron, in my opinion, is far superior in nearly every way.

The history of the Dutch oven is believed to date back to Holland in the early 1700s, and was brought to America with the first settlers. They were popular with settlers and other people, such as ranch trail cooks, and were used in work camps during WW1. Paul Revere improved the design by adding a flanged lid and made some other modifications, likely to improve the strength and consistency of the cooking.

Joseph Lodge built a cast iron foundry in Tennessee that still produces arguably the highest quality Dutch ovens and iron skillets available today.

They come in different sizes and two primary designs – the bean pot or kitchen oven, best for use indoors or placing on a rack over an open fire, and the camp or outdoor oven, which has a flanged lid that can also serve as a skillet. It also has legs, a flat bottom, and a sturdy wire handle so that you can hang it or lift it from the coals.

They’re great for cooking indoors or out and can be used in the oven, over a campfire, or buried in the coals, depending upon your needs and what you’re cooking. Cooking with a Dutch oven is simple, too, once you get the hang of it.

Solar Oven

Cooking with a solar oven is a great alternative when you don’t have (or don’t want to use) electricity. Though you can convert many of your own personal favorites and use them with your solar oven, here’s a recipe written specifically for that cooking method. You will surely love this pot roast cooked on your solar oven.

Ingredients for this tasty recipe are:

  • 3 pound rump roast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 5 carrots, cut into 2 inch chucks
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 c beef broth (or 2 cups water with 2 bouillon cubes).

Put the roast in a roasting dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Add the veggies around the roast and then pour the bouillon in. Place in your solar oven and bake for 3 hours or until tender.

Stop asking yourself if the solar oven works during winter, because it does, and here’s the proof!

Video first seen on jnull0.

Let’s celebrate the Winter Solstice with a special offer for Survivopedia readers!

Use the promocode SurvivoSolstice and get 10% discount to boost your cooking! 

Iron Skillets

Thank you again, Joseph Lodge for making iron skillets of the highest quality readily available in the US. The original iron skillet dates back to 1707, when Abraham Darby invented a process to make cast iron in large quantities so that they could be produced for common use.

Iron skillets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, often with lids, and are great for cooking one pot meals in smaller quantity. They’re not quite as versatile as the Dutch oven, but certainly have value, especially for cooking quick meals such as breakfast scrambles and meals that don’t require a deep pot or long cooking times, such as Salisbury steaks, cornbread, camp biscuits, and fried chicken.

Slow Cookers

Ahh, possibly one of the best cooking inventions of modern times. Just as with man, the slow cooker started as something quite a bit different than what it is today. In 1952, West Bend came out with the electric bean pot, which was just a ceramic pot that sat on top of an electric heating element. This wasn’t much different than cooking on a stove, but was perhaps the first commercial attempt at a portable cooking vessel.

Enter Irving Naxon. He had developed the idea of a portable cooker that would have a crock sitting inside a casing that contained a heating element, thus providing even heating. He applied for the patent on May 21, 1936 and received it in January of 1940.

Naxon credited the idea to his Lithuanian grandma, who told him about how she used to cook dish called cholent after hours at a local bakery. She would prepare the meal, then place it in the oven so that the fading heat would slowly cook it overnight. This provided his inspiration for “low and slow” cooking.

He brought his idea, called the beanery, to market in the 50s and in 1970, Rival manufacturing hired Naxon, rebranded his product as the Crock Pot, and put it on shelves across America for $25. Surprisingly enough, that price hasn’t increased by more than a few dollars for a standard version since then.

There are, of course, improved versions with fancier technology and higher capacity that cost more.

Slow cookers are absolutely fabulous for all sorts of meals from stews to ribs that you want to cook slow and low while you’re away from the house or busy doing other things.

Canning

As survivalists, we would be remiss to leave out this method of preparing one pot meals.

We’ve discussed in another article how to put these together and, like our other cooking methods, canning is a great way to prepare both meals and desserts. You can also dry-can meals using dry ingredients that only require that you add water.

The one benefit that makes canning stand out is that you can eat the meal right out of the jar. It is, of course, more delicious if you heat it up, but if you’re without power and don’t want to draw attention to yourself with a fire, eating straight out of the jar may be your only option.

Another benefit here is that you can prepare the meals years in advance as opposed to cooking them on the spot. In a survival situation, that’s a huge plus.

The Beauty of One Pot Meals

There are a ton of reasons why a one pot meal is so appealing, but from a survival perspective, the ease of cooking is probably the biggest one.

You can cook a pot roast complete with all the fixings in a Dutch oven and you can even cook such meals as chicken and dumplings. They’re not just for soups and stews.

Having a variety of delicious meals is a huge morale booster as well as a way to get all of your nutrition out of one pot. Though beans and cornbread are delicious and filling, it gets old after a few days and isn’t a well-rounded meal.

One Pot Cooking Ideas

A quick internet search will net you a ton of great ideas for one pot meals, but you can always just use your imagination. There are also some recipes that you should know by heart. They aren’t necessarily one pot meals, but they are essentials that will help you keep your crew full and nourished.

  • Want fried potatoes, eggs, and sausage for breakfast? Toss your potatoes in first, then add your sausage and cook both til they’re done and throw in your eggs. Scramble them all together, and you’ve got a delicious one pot meal.
  • How about beef tips with gravy and a baked potato? Toss your beef tips into your crock pot or Dutch oven, wrap your potatoes in foil and toss those in with it. When they’re done, remove the potatoes and add some flour and milk to the beef tips. Cook it for a few minutes until the gravy thickens and you’ve got dinner.
  • Soups and stews, of course, are obvious, but how about ribs with corn on the cob and roasted potatoes? Easy peasy. Cut your potatoes into cubes and toss them in your seasoning. Wrap them in foil packs. Do the same with the corn after you break the ears into halves, or cut it off the cob. Put your rub or sauce on your ribs and toss them all into your Dutch oven or crock pot and you’re good to go. You can also do the potatoes and corn in the coals.

One pot meals are, for the most part, only limited by your imagination. They’re easy to throw together, toss into your cooking vessel of choice, and forget about. Also, you’re getting many more nutrients than you would if you only cooked a single item. That makes them a great survival food.

There is a great opportunity for Survivopedia readers to prepare for cooking in the sun, so grab this offer available only for a few days!

Use the promocode SurvivoSolstice and get 10% discount to boost your cooking! 

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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3 Ways To Add A Rooster To Your Flock

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Rooster Flock

Roosters. These beautiful birds often earn a bad reputation. But, when carefully selected and introduced, a rooster can be a blessing to your hens, not a curse.

I’ll jump into the how-to part of adding the rooster a little later in this post. Keep reading to find out more!

But first, let’s talk about some basics behind adding a male bird (or birds) to your flock.

How Many Roosters?

If you have too many roosters, they’ll spend more time fighting than doing their job. A good way to calculate how many roosters you need is to count your hens. You want one rooster for every six-ten hens.

That way every rooster can have his own little flock of hens to care for and breed with. Your hens will be happy because there won’t be three roosters trying to mate with each one. It’s a good ratio to try and maintain.

When deciding upon the number of roosters, take into account the following factors:

Space

Are your chickens confined to a pen and a run? If so, you’ll need significantly more space per bird if you plan to keep multiple roosters in there. Each one needs plenty of space for his flock.

If your chickens free-range, you’ll be able to get away with less space in the coop. But, you’ll want to make sure you don’t go below the minimum recommended space of four square feet per bird.

Having multiple, small coops available also helps minimize rooster squabbles. Or maybe you’ll have some of your birds roost on the barn roof at night like mine do.

No matter where they are, make sure each rooster has roosting space to enjoy at night with his hens. They will enjoy being together night and day.

Rooster

Feeders and Waterers

Many rooster fights originate over a battle for resources. If you have multiple roosters, you may need multiple feeders and waterers too. You definitely want to keep an eye on your flock, and if there are meal time problems add some additional options.

You’ll want them to have plenty of food and water for their ladies. Roosters will eat whatever your hens are eating, so you won’t need to worry about separating food.

Chicken feeding tips

Noise

Roosters are roosters. And they make noise. Contrary to popular belief and many movies, roosters don’t just crow when the sun comes up.

They crow pretty much all day, or at least mine do. When a hen lays an egg? They crow. When they sense danger? They crow.

Roosters are loud. So if you have a backyard flock in the city, be sure to check out your town’s ordinances before introducing a male. They aren’t as easy to hide behind a privacy fence as hens are.

How to Pick a Rooster

There are so many breeds of chickens available, so you’ll have plenty of choices for your rooster. While there are breeds that are known for being more docile, each rooster will have a temperament all his own.

That means you can pick a docile breed and still end up with a mean rooster. Likewise, you can raise a rooster from an aggressive breed, and wind up with a sweet, docile boy.

So basically, there are no guarantees when buying a rooster when you buy one as a baby.

I’ve had the best luck with banty roosters. My Ameraucanas, Australorps, and Blue Andalusians were all aggressive. While Ameraucanas are typically aggressive, Australorps are supposed be more docile.

The banty roosters have been fine. So have all of our new cockerels since the initial banty, that are half banty.

There’s been a little fighting, typically when a new batch matures in the summer, and they establish a new pecking order. Thankfully, there’s been no aggression towards myself or my children with these smaller roos.

Since breed isn’t a reliable indicator of a rooster’s personality, here are some characteristics to watch for when buying a rooster that’s full-grown. Hopefully you’ll have a chance to see him in action at his current residence before purchasing.

  • What do the backs of the hens this rooster is with look like? (You don’t want a rooster that tears up the backs of his ladies.)
  • Has the current owner noticed any aggression?
  • Is this rooster the dominant one at the top of flock, or a beta male?
  • Does the rooster share food with the hens, or does he keep it for himself?
  • How old is the rooster? (Young roosters who are just figuring out the mating thing are typically the roughest on hens.)
  • Is the rooster healthy?

Be careful buying roosters sight unseen unless you’re prepared for your new rooster to end up in the stew pot. Many people who get rid of their roosters are getting culling a problem bird. It’s not always the case, but is common enough that you should always be aware of it.

3 Ways to Introduce a Rooster to Your Flock

Over the years, I’ve introduced roosters to my flock in three different ways. They were all successful, but each had their pros and cons.

1. Buying a Rooster Initially with Baby Hens

The easiest way to introduce a rooster to your flock is to do it before your flock is established. When you’re buying baby chicks for the first time, just add roosters to your order to maintain the proper hen to rooster ratio.

This is how I started off. I ordered my chicks, added a couple of cockerels to the order and raised them all together. They established their pecking order from the time they were small, and I didn’t have a problem with fighting.

The chickens and roosters knew each other. I didn’t have to worry about isolating new birds, or introducing illness. It was simple.

But, you really don’t know the temperament of roosters until they are bigger. The roosters I ordered as cockerels turned mean. They were a risk to the children, and those roosters are no longer on the farm.

2. Adding a Full-Grown Rooster to Your Hens

About the time I got rid of my other roosters, a friend of the family had given my mom a small flock of banty chickens that included two roosters.

At first, she kept her flock in her coop across the road, though the long-term goal was always for them to move over here to join my flock.

Isolation: It Takes Time

The new birds were kept them in their coop for three weeks. This isolation time allowed for illnesses to be displayed. The birds were healthy.

Whenever you introduce a new bird, it’s important to not just stick them into your flock and hope everything goes well. A quarantine period allows you to check for mites and disease. That way you don’t inadvertently expose all your chickens.

If you don’t have a separate coop, you can create a smaller coop inside your existing one with chicken wire. Or you can use a shed or barn on your property. It won’t be forever, so as long as the space is predator proof it’ll work.

For introducing a single rooster, you can also use a large dog crate. I did this when introducing a batch of chicks, and it worked well for the birds to get to know each other.

Just be sure to keep an eye on food and water in the isolation unit, and make sure you don’t let the birds get too cramped.

Rooster ans chickens Start with Face to Face meetings in Large Spaces

Once you know your new rooster is healthy, you still don’t want to just add him directly to your flock. Give them time to get to know each other in a less territorial space.

My chickens and the new chickens free ranged together at my house. They had plenty of space, and at first both flocks stayed separate. They each foraged over a different section of land, and all went to their known coops at night.

After a few days of this distant meetings, the birds began to mingle. This mingling was repeated every day, and became more frequent.

Let the Rooster in at Night

Now that all the birds knew each other, it was time for the next phase of the assimilation. One evening after all the birds were roosting, I began to move the new ones. Since they were roosting, they were calm and easy to move.

I walked each bird across the street and into my coop. In the coop, I placed them on an extra roosting pole. That way they weren’t directly touching any of my existing flock.

By introducing the birds to sleeping together at night, the birds will be more likely to accept the new member. Then you can just let them all out in the morning.

Don’t Let Your Chickens Be Bored

Many problems with roosters arise when they’re bored. To solve this problem, provide your chickens with some activities they can do together.

Provide a spot for them to take dust baths. Toss out some grains and let them scratch. Give them your food scraps.

These things are simple, but will keep your chickens engaged and busy. They’ll be less likely to fight.

Know a Pecking Order Will Be Established

Even when you take precautions to introduce your new rooster, there will be changes in your flock. Each rooster will want his own girls, and there will be a new pecking order established.

There might be some squabbles while this occurs, but they should be minor. If you notice severe fighting, or injury, the rooster might not be a good fit for your flock. Slow down and go back to isolation at night.

Once my flock had its new pecking order figured out, one rooster took his hens to the barn to sleep at night.

Since they could get up high on the rafters, they were impossible for me to get back down and bring into the coop. So they still sleep there at night.

You might notice your chickens and roosters sleeping a little differently as well.

3. Letting Hens Hatch New Roosters

The final way that I’ve introduced new roosters into the flock is to have my hens do it for me. One benefit of having a rooster around is the fertile eggs. If you have a hen that will brood, you can have a self-sufficient flock.

When the chicks hatch, the mother hen will take care of flock introductions. By the time the hen leaves her chicks, they are grown enough to know their spot in the flock.

But, there will be a new pecking order established. I’ve seen the most problem as the new roosters begin to become interested in mating. They will always try to claim hens for himself.

In that process, he will almost always step on the toes of an established rooster. There’s a bit of squabbling, but the older roosters help the young ones learn their place.

The downside of this method is you can end up with too many roosters. So be prepared to cull some for the stew pot to keep there from being many problems. Then you’ll get both meat and eggs from your flock!

Adding a new rooster can take time. But, having one around can bring plenty of benefits to your flock.

A chicken flock is  as crucial for your homestead nowadays as it was for our grandparents in the past. Discover the secrets that helped them survive during harsh times.

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This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia. 

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How To Make a Mini Root Cellar In Your Backyard With $10 In One Hour

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Once upon a time, root cellars were commonplace. They were the only way people had to preserve their food. These wonderful cold-storage areas became less common when refrigerators became affordable.

The post How To Make a Mini Root Cellar In Your Backyard With $10 In One Hour appeared first on Ask a Prepper.

How To Wax Food For Long-Term Storage

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How To Wax Food For Long Term Storage

You’ve probably noticed how shiny your cucumbers, apples, or other smooth produce looks when you buy it. That’s because it’s coated in a wax.

Though they pretty appearance is one of the benefits of waxing food, the main reason for waxing food is for preservation. Wax is also used for jellies and cheese.

Using Wax to Preserve Fresh Produce

The wax that commercial producers use may contain fungicides, bactericides, growth regulators, anti-sprouting agents, or other preservatives so that the food stays good as long as possible. The wax itself helps hold in moisture and slows oxygen penetration that causes ripening.

Another reason that wax is used on produce is to reduce the use of disposable, non-biodegradable packaging such as sleeves and plastic wrap.

Though waxing fruits and vegetables slows down the ripening process, it doesn’t extend it for long enough to be considered a viable long-term preservation method. There are better ways to preserve your produce long-term.

Using Wax to Preserve Jams and Jellies

For many years, paraffin wax was also used to seal the top of jams and jellies. This was meant to be more of a temporary preservation method of a food that didn’t spoil quickly anyway.

Consider it the precursor to Tupperware – it just formed a physical seal that prevented mold from growing for a couple of months until it was eaten.

The technique for this was fairly simple. You sterilized your jars and lids, and made your jellies just like you do now.

Instead of adding the lid and water-bathing it, though, you would have poured a quarter-inch or so of melted paraffin wax over the hot jelly, then stirred it just a bit to completely cover the top.

The wax is lighter so it stays on top, and as the wax and jelly cools, the wax forms a seal. Then you add your lid.

Since the advent of canning, waxing jelly has pretty much gone by the wayside because canning preserves your spreads for years instead of months.

The acid and sugar in preserves are pretty decent preservatives, anyway – the wax just extended that by keeping water from settling in dips and wells on the surface. That’s what promotes mold growth.

Using Wax to Preserve Cheese

Now, another food that’s still preserved with wax is cheese. You’ve likely bought those little individual bites of cheese that are covered in red wax. You just peel the strip back and the wax opens up like a lid, revealing the cheese inside.

If SHTF, cheese will be a luxury item, so learning to make it and preserve it now is the way to go. Even if you just buy cheese from the store and wax it, it’ll keep in a cool dry place nearly indefinitely.

We all know that everything’s better with cheese on it, and if you have a stockpile of it, you’re going to have a delicious way to keep food interesting. You’ll also have a valuable trade item.

Now, you should know from the outset that the government warns against eating any type of dairy product that hasn’t been refrigerated because of the risk of botulism.

They actually spend millions of dollars a year fighting the bacteria that afflicts 160 or so people a year. Don’t get me wrong – botulism is nasty business. It’s just that I couldn’t find a single case of real cheese-induced botulism.

Wax is great for preserving cheese because it keeps the moisture in and the bacteria and molds out that cause spoilage.

I like the thought of waxing for a couple of reasons – it allows the cheese to age and develop flavor, and it preserves one of my favorite foods in a manner that doesn’t require refrigeration.

What Cheese Can I Wax?

Great question. Because of the high moisture content, soft cheeses aren’t good candidates for waxing. Harder cheeses such as cheddar, Swiss, parmesan, Colby and Gruyere are all good for waxing. If you start checking deeper into the USDA thing, many extensions say that it’s OK to store hard cheeses without refrigeration.

Choose cheeses that have a 40 percent or less moisture content. After all, moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria, and you don’t want your cheese to spoil inside the wax.

Remember that your cheese will continue to age after you age it. I think that’s a good thing, because I like those sharp flavors.

Video first seen on Linda’s Pantry

What Kind of Wax to Use?

Before you pull out your chunk of paraffin, you need to know that you can’t use it for cheese. It’s not pliable enough and it doesn’t get hot enough to kill bacteria. You need to buy cheese wax specifically. This is easy to find online by running an internet search for cheese wax or cheese making supplies.

Word of caution: wax explodes at high temperatures, so once you heat it to 180 degrees F (the temperature that kills bacteria), turn the heat off. It’s a good idea to use a double broiler, too.

Another benefit of using cheese wax is that you can strain it through cheesecloth to get the cheese off of it and re-use it. Finally, it dries faster than paraffin, which cuts down on your processing time and gives bacteria less time to reach the cheese.

Oh, and don’t forget about gravity – your cheese is likely going to be sitting on a rack so that moisture can’t pool under it, so it’s going to sink a bit. Cheese wax will shift with it, but paraffin won’t.

What do I Need to Wax Cheese?

In order to wax your cheese, you’re going to need three things, at minimum: cheese wax, a cheese wax brush, and a can to melt the wax in. A metal coffee can is great because you can just put the lid on when you’re done and store the wax right in it until you want to wax your next batch of cheese.

Waxing Cheese

The reason that you need a special cheese brush is that regular nylon brushes will melt when you dip it into the wax. That’s never a good thing. So, buy a good brush.

Methods to Wax Cheese

Ahh. Now the rubber’s going to hit the road. There are two different methods that you can use to wax your cheese. You can dip it or you can paint it on. Either way, remember that two thin layers is better than one thick layer, so plan on going over your cheese twice, regardless.

1. Dipping

Dipping your cheese in the wax is a much prettier way to wax your cheese but it has one major downfall: you can only dip cheese chunks as big as your container, and as deep as your wax.

Still, if you’re waxing store-bought cheese in the small bricks, dipping will work just fine. So, let’s get started.

Before you wax your cheese, it’s best to let it rest at cool room temperature for a few days and get a bit of a harder rind on the outside. That also helps it dry out a bit more.

Now that you’re ready to dip, heat your wax up in your can or container until it’s 180 degrees and remove from heat. Have parchment paper ready to put your cheese on after you dip it.

Now, using tongs  or your fingers (use tongs!), dip your cheese in the wax as far up as the tongs or your fingers, then pull it out and let it drip for 10 seconds or so until the wax dries.

Place it on the parchment paper and move on to your next piece. Pick it up by the part that’s already been waxed, and dip the uncoated part, holding it up for 10 seconds or so just like you did the first side.

Repeat this process so that the cheese has two coats. Make sure that you get all of the little air bubbles or pin holes covered so that the cheese is completely covered.

2. Painting on Wax

The next method is exactly what it says – you paint the wax onto the cheese. Heat the wax the same way as above and lay your cheese out.

The main benefit of painting wax is that you can cover any size piece of cheese that you want. After you’ve coated the first side with the first layer of wax, flip it over and do the other side. Add two coats.

Now your cheese is ready to store, and you no longer have to worry about facing the end of civilization as we know it without cheese.

There are so many things you can learn from our ancestors about preserving your food for survival. Click the banner below and discover how to keep your loved ones well fed when SHTF!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Why Vertical Gardening Is The Way To Go For Survival

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Vertical Garden Survival

One of the biggest problems for many of us when it comes to gardening is space. Not everybody has a few acres to spare to grow a full, standard garden.

Another problem for many people is physical limitations. A regular garden requires a lot of labor that some people just can’t handle.

Many of us also worry that people will find our food source if SHTF.

An open garden planted on flat earth is painfully obvious to just about anybody passing by, but if you can build a vertical garden that is out of sight or even portable so that you can move it out of sight if you need to.

Vertical gardening solves many problems.

4 Benefits of Vertical Gardening

We just touched on a few of the benefits of vertical gardening but let’s get into it a bit further, because this is seriously great way for just about anybody to grow food.

Demands Much Less Physical Labor

When you’re growing a garden, you already know that it’s going to be a ton of work. You’re going to need to till the space, then plant the seeds or plants. You have to weed the gardens so that your plants thrive, and you have to keep the soil loose around them. Then, of course, you have to harvest your crops.

Nearly all of this requires a lot of bending, kneeling, and twisting. That’s great if you’re 25, fully healthy, and WANT to do that much work.

However for many of you, that level of physical labor is difficult or even impossible. Growing a vertical garden eliminates all of these issues.

It’s Easier to Hide

Another benefit is that, even if somebody happens to glance at your back yard, they’re not necessarily going to pay attention to something growing on a wall, especially if you’ve planted flowers among your vegetables.

Looters won’t be prone to look too hard because they’re in a hurry looking for an easy mark.

Vertical gardens are a bit easier to camouflage than an acre-wide garden. Also, you can make your garden so that it faces the back of your house, which would make it virtually impossible to see.

Finally, you can always make your vertical gardens portable so that you can move them out of the line of sight of looters.

Covers Plain Walls with Beautiful Plants

There’s nothing particularly pretty about a blank wall, so cover it up with a beautiful, and possibly edible, wall of plants! Don’t want to look at that privacy fence between you and your neighbors? Cover them in plants.

There’s just something cozy about a backyard with vine-and-flower covered fences and walls. It gives the whole place a homey feeling.

Easier Quality Control

When your plants are growing in pots or planters that you’re managing, you know exactly what’s in the dirt and you’ve possibly made your own fertilizer so chemicals aren’t an issue.

There’s no need to worry about the quality of the nutrients in your dirt; you put them there. You also control the amount of moisture and can feel when the plant needs more or less because all you need to do is stick your fingers into the dirt.

Plants that are off the ground are easier to inspect for insects and fungi that can wipe out all of your plants before you get to taste even one morsel of them.

You can also nip the sucker leaves off and provide all the care that your plants need from a much more comfortable position. When you’re comfortable, you can take your time and care for your plants properly.

Different Types of Vertical Gardens

A vertical garden is exactly what it sounds like – a garden planted vertically instead of on the ground. There are many different ways that you can do this depending upon your space, what you want to grow, and how you want to do it. Your garden, your decision!

Aquaponics System

Aquaponics is the art of growing plants and fish together. The plants provide the fish with nutrients that they need and the fish byproducts provide nutrient-rich fertilizer for the plants.

The system can be as simple or as complex as you’d like to build it. You can use dirt or start an aquaponics system. As a matter of fact, you can build an aquaponics system that’s very nearly a vertical garden itself, and it gives you fish AND plants.

Latticework with Baskets or Boxes

Another way to build a vertical garden is to use hanging baskets and latticework. This type of garden is good for plants that don’t grow out or get too tall.

Plants such as peppers, strawberries, onions, garlic, lettuce, and spinach are great for  the baskets. To help your space do double duty, use the lattice work to grow vining plants such beans or tomatoes.

An alternative to baskets is to hang planters from the latticework. This will allow you to grow plants that vine out a bit or need more room to grow, such as potatoes, carrots, or squash.

You can stagger the boxes as needed to accommodate the space requirements of the plant. Again, you can grow vining or heavy plants on or at the base of, the latticework.

Gardening Walls

If you have an empty wall – it could be the side of your house, an outbuilding, or a garden wall – then you have a place to put a vertical garden. Plus, you’ll be covering up a plain wall with beautiful plants.

Be sure when you use a wall that you allow space for the extra moisture so that you don’t damage your wall.

You can use just about any construction material that you want. Chicken wire, lattice work, and trellises are all good choices.

You can also use gardening bags, which are made from a variety materials including burlap and canvas. One of the good things about using bags is that the extra moisture drains right out the bottom. You can use this system to water the plants below if you’d like.

Gutter System

I saw this in a magazine and fully plan on making it my next project. The problem is that I don’t have access to old gutters. It’s a simple yet brilliant design.

Just drill drainage holes in the bottom of old gutters and hang them on a wall of some sort. The holes will keep the moisture content at a good level and will even allow for trickle-down watering.

Vertical Towers or Walls

I love these systems. I’m currently using one right now and even though I’ve just started, I absolutely love it. It’s easy to use and has an aquaponics watering system that makes my life much easier while keeping my plants happy, too.

Usually I build my own stuff, but this one looked too good to pass up, so I bought it. It’s a tower farm wall and the short video above was made while unboxing the package.

Possibly the best thing about  the wall is that it’s easy to put together regardless of your skill level, and it’s easy to take care of.

The trays are set at heights that are easy to reach regardless of how tall you are and if you were to anchor it, it would be free-standing with very little modification. Low maintenance is always a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

Towers are always a fun way to go. For instance, you can cut out holes from a length of PVC, fill the pipe with dirt, then plant strawberries or other similar plants in the holes. You can also make a tower using round planters.

Use a large one on the bottom, then use two mediums – 1 turned upside down inside the big one for support, and the other one upright to hold dirt. Repeat this step with 2 smaller pots. Fill with dirt and you have a 3-tier plant tower. You can add to the levels if you like.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Though making your own vertical gardening structures is awesome, it’s not always practical. If not, then consider the Tower Farm Wall that I discussed above. I really am having a good time with it and the customer support is great.

Start growing your own food right now and you will not have to worry if SHTF. Click the banner below to discover how to provide as much food as your family needs in a crisis, with only 10 minutes a day.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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4 Easy Solutions For Lighting Your Indoor Plants

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Lighting Your Indoor Plants

Whether you’re trying to start your seeds so that you have healthy seedlings or young plants to set out when the weather warms or you’re growing all of your plants inside, lighting is an integral part of growing.

Finding the best indoor lighting options for your plants can be a challenge, though.

It would be ideal if you could place all of your plants by windows so that they can get their natural source of light: sunshine. However, that’s not always possible, especially if you’re growing a lot of plants and you want to keep them under the radar.

There are plenty of great options and, thanks to technology, they won’t all cost a fortune. We’ll discuss that as we go.

Choosing the Type of Light

Before we start discussing bulbs, you need to understand a bit about growing plants and what type of light they need. Many newcomers to the scene think that, like owning a guinea pig or a snake, the light is used to keep the plant warm, but that’s not the case.

light

Plants require light to grow and flower, but not all light is equal. For that matter, not all light is necessary and the types of light that plants need are actually dim to human eyes.

The sun offers a full spectrum of light colors that range from blue to red. It’s actually those two colors that plants need the most. Blue light enables the plant to grow bushy and full. Red light causes the plant to produce a hormone that makes it flower. As you’ve probably already figured, you want both for your edibles.

The colors in between, particularly green, are completely unnecessary; green light is purely for aesthetic purposes. It just makes your plants appear green and glossy because the plant reflects it back. That may be useful information if you want your plants to look pretty as they grow.

Another factor that you need to consider is heat. Unless you’re growing your plants in a cold room, standard room temperatures are more than enough heat to grow most plants. You really don’t need heat from your bulbs. Too much heat will burn your plants and many high-heat bulbs burn out fairly quickly, too.

You’ll see watts, which is how much energy the bulb produces, and you’ll also see Kelvins. Kelvins are the basic unit of color temperature that’s used to measure that whiteness of a bulb’s output. In other words, it’s the best description of the visual warmth or coolness of the bulb.

The higher the degree of Kelvin, the bluer the light. The lower the Kelvin, the warmer, or redder, the light looks. Shoot for 4000-6000 Kelvin because that level of light borrows from all parts of the spectrum including the blues and reds that you need for growth and flowering.

Some plants, such as peppers and lettuce, may not need as much red light because they don’t flower quite as much.

Now that you understand the basics of what you need to make your plants grow, let’s talk about the different types of light and whether they’re best for your needs.

1. Incandescent Lights

These are the types of bulbs you probably already have in your fixtures. They’re pretty much standard bulbs. Incandescent bulbs put off a ton of heat and don’t really produce the type of light that your plants need to grow.

Only about 10 percent of the energy that they produce goes toward light; the rest is heat. They’re OK for growing low-light plants such as vines, but they’re not much good for growing anything seriously.

2. Fluorescent Lights

These lights put off mostly blue light, which means that you’ll have bushy plants. These are OK for growing plants that you don’t need to flower such as lettuce or cabbage. They’re also good for starting your plants inside. Fluorescents come in different lengths and are shaped like tubes.

One of the biggest downsides here is that you have to hang them is special ballasts. Regular fluorescents are great for at least starting your seeds, and they’re good for plants that don’t need so much of the red light such as herbs.

If you opt to go with fluorescent lights, you should know that the narrower the bulb, the more efficient the light is. They also use 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent lights.

Now there’s a new fluorescent system out called the T5 system. They put out double the amount of light per tube as regular fluorescent tubes and they’re full-spectrum. That means that instead of just having the blue light like regular fluorescent lights have.

If you’re using a T5 system adjust the proximity of the light to the plant as it grows. Since the bulb isn’t insanely hot, you don’t have to worry about burning the plant.

Video first seen on katie phibbs.

3. High Intensity Discharge Solutions

These are great options for growing your plants but they’re expensive. High-intensity discharge lights are extremely efficient and produce a lot of light. There are a couple of types that emit different spectrums of light.

The Metal Halide, of MH, light emits the blue light that will encourage the leafiness, and the High Pressure Sodium, or HPS, lights produce the reds that you need to make it flower.

You could use the MH light to get it started and full, then swap it out for the HPS to get it to flower, or you could use them in tandem. These bulbs are expensive but one 1000-watt lamp can produce the same amount of light as fifty 40-watt fluorescent bulbs. They come in different sizes.

Just to give you an idea, one 400-watt bulb can produce enough light to cover a 15sf growing area, or a 4’x4’ garden. The 1000-watt bulb covers about a 7’x7’ area. Figure that each 25 watts covers 1 square foot of garden.

4. LED Lights

We’ve been using them for Christmas lights for years but LEDs are relatively new to the agriculture scene. They produce practically no heat and don’t use hardly any power, either. Remember how we discussed the Kelvin measurements? Well LEDs can be programmed to 5700K to mimic the light spectrum of the sun.

Right now, LED grow lights are expensive but they’ll likely become cheaper as they develop the technology and the method becomes more popular.

Figuring Costs

Remember that you’re going to be in this for the long run. If you’re only growing a few plants, it’s probably fine to go with a cheaper bulb or system but if you’re going to grow a significant amount of plants and plan to do it for the foreseeable future, you’ll probably be better off to invest a bit of money in the beginning and let it pay off in the long run.

To figure the cost of your system, add up the combined wattage of all of your lights and divide that by 1000. That will give you the kilowatts used. Multiply that by how much your power company charges you per kilowatt hour. Multiply that by the number of hours the lights will be on per month and you have your monthly energy cost that you can compare to the original cost of the system.

If you’re fortunate enough to live completely off the grid and you are powering your house by solar or some other sustainable method, then you can go with the best system for your situation that’s within your price range. If you notice, though, the more expensive systems use relatively little energy.

Every survival plan must have food at its core. Click the banner below and discover how you can grow your own food with just 10 minutes a day!

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How To Make Bannock For Survival

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Bannock for Survival

Do you need a quick bread that’s easy to cook over a campfire? Your very own instant baking mix of sorts that just needs water added?

Then you need some bannock!

Like hardtack, bannock has a long history. It’s believed to have been brought to North America by Scottish explorers. In Scotland, bannock was cooked over an open fire on a bannock stone.

Once in North America, the love of bannock spread quickly. Indigenous tribes from coast to coast adapted the method and created their own versions of this survival food.

Today, many outdoor enthusiasts rely on bannock to accompany their meals. It’s easy to prepare before heading out, and simple to cook over a campfire. This portability makes bannock a wonderful addition to your survival stores.

The ingredients of bannock are very similar to those of hardtack. Like hardtack, you can make a simple bannock out of just flour and water. However, to get the best tasting bannock, you’ll want to add a few additional ingredients.

A Variety of Bannock Recipes

There are bannock recipes with just two ingredients, and others with a lot more. At the heart of every bannock batch is flour.

The Scotts traditionally used oat flour. As the recipe grew in popularity in North America, corn meal and wheat flour were used. Obliviously, bannock works with a variety of flours. So use what your body can tolerate, and what you can easily store.

Besides water and flour, you can add some additional items to improve the taste of your bannock. Here are a few common additions, and how much to use of each.

To keep your bannock light instead of dense, add baking powder to your flour. A teaspoon for every cup of flour is an appropriate amount. Adding salt improves the flavor of the final product. Use ½ teaspoon of salt for every cup of flour.

Cutting a tablespoon of fat for every cup of flour into the dry ingredients helps improve the taste and texture of your bannock. If you use a shelf-stable fat like lard or shortening, you’ll still be able to store your dry mix for several months at a time.

You can adapt the recipe to use what you have on hand, which makes this bread an ideal survival food. Here’s how I tweaked the recipe. It created a flavorful bread when baked, pan-fried, or cooked over an open fire.

For each batch, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of white wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 TSB. unrefined coconut oil

You’ll also need some water when you’re ready to cook the bannock.

Begin by preparing the dry ingredients. I mixed them in a small bowl, and used a fork to incorporate the oil. My end mixture looked a lot like commercial Bisquick or other baking mixes.

Once you’ve prepared your bannock mix, you can store each batch in a sealable bag. Throw a couple of these bags into your bug out bag, along with a bottle of water, so you can always be ready to make bread.

Here’s a picture of a bag of bannock mix I made, along with a bottle of water and a green stick. All I need is a fire and I can have freshly made bread! Since each batch doesn’t take much water, that single water bottle is enough to make a couple of bags.

Bannock stick

How to Cook Bannock

The ingredients aren’t the only thing you can vary when making bannock. This bread can be cooked in several ways.

No matter how you cook it, you’ll need to add water to your mix. Just pour in a little water into the bag, and start gently squeezing the bag. You’ll distribute the water throughout the mix.

The dough will begin to form a soft ball. If your mix is too dry, add a tiny bit more water. It’s much better to add the water slowly than to add too much. Once your dough is a soft sticky ball, stop working it. You’ll make the bannock tough if you handle it too much.

Here’s a picture of what my dough looked like when it was ready to go.

Bannock dough

There’s many ways to cook your bannock. Here are three popular methods:

Pan Fry

Heat a little bit of oil in a cast iron skillet. Once water droplets dance, it’s time to add your bannock. You can just squeeze it directly from the bag to the pan. Or you can break it into smaller pieces to speed up the cooking. That’s what I did.

Let it cook a couple of minutes, shaking the pan gently. Once the bannock comes loose from the bottom of your pan, it’s time to flip.

You can either grab a spatula like I did, or grab the frying pan tightly and toss your bannock in the air. It’ll flip over and you can catch it. Then cook the other side.

Bake in an Oven

In a survival situation, you probably won’t have a traditional oven. But if you have a solar oven set up, or are just making bannock for supper, you can bake it.

Before putting it in the oven, dump your prepared bag out onto a greased pan. Then flatten it out a bit with your hands.

I baked my bannock at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes. It came out nicely browned, and cooked all the way through. Here’s a picture showing pan fried bannock (the small ones) and baked bannock.

Cooked bannock

Over an Open Fire

If you’re in the wilderness, find yourself a green stick from a tree. You’ll want to strip the bark from the end you’ll cook the bannock on.

You’ll also need a fire. Similarly to roasting marshmallows, you’ll want a fire that has plenty of hot coals. That way the bannock cooks all the way without burning on the outside.

To prep your stick, hold the peeled end of the stick over the coals for a couple of minutes. This will heat the stick and help the dough to cook on the inside.

When you’re stick is hot, it’s time to wrap your dough around it. Just pretend the dough is playdough and make it into a long snake. Then, wrap the snake around the peeled portion of the stick. Remember it’s hot, so be careful! You want the dough to be thin on your stick so it can cook.

Here’s what my wrapped stick looked like. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just as long as it’s on tight enough not to fall off while over the fire.

Raw bannock on stick

It took me a couple of tries to get my bannock cooked correctly, and not burn it. Then I discovered it was very similar to roasting a marshmallow, and adjusted the distance from the coals accordingly.

It should take a couple minutes to cook. When I thought it was done, I pulled my bannock away from the fire and broke off a little piece to test the center. After the center was no longer doughy, it was ready to eat.

Here’s my finished fire roasted bannock on a stick. The kids thought it’d make a fun hot dog bun substitute the next time we have a cookout. I agree.

Cooked bannock on stick

Add-In Ideas

We just tore this bannock into pieces to eat. But, you don’t have to eat your bannock plain. You can doctor up the final product with butter, jam, cheese, or some meat.

You can also stir many different ingredients into your dough to mix it up a bit. If you’d like a sweeter bannock, consider adding a teaspoon of sugar into your dry ingredient mix. Honey would also be a good sweetener, added at the same time as the water.

You can also add some shelf-stable ingredients to your dry mix that’ll add some texture and flavor to your bread. Here are some ideas to try. You can either use a single add-in, or make up your own favorite combination.

  • Chopped, dried fruit
  • Chopped nuts
  • Spices (such as cinnamon or nutmeg)
  • Seeds
  • Mini chocolate chips

Storing Your Bannock

The shelf life of your bannock mix will depend on what ingredients you include, and how you store it. A basic mix with flour, baking powder, salt, and oil will last at least a couple of months when stored in a sealed plastic baggie. If you remove the oil, the mix would have a longer shelf-life.

Mixing up a batch of bannock mix takes just a couple of minutes. You won’t have a large time-commitment ensuring you always have a fresh batch on hand.

If you’re storing plastic baggies in your bug out bag, or even just for a camping trip, be sure that they aren’t going to get punctured. You might consider keeping the smaller bags inside a stronger, larger freezer bag to offer more protection.

Once your bannock is cooked, you can keep it for several days. That means you can cook up a big batch and use it to help give you strength if you’re on the move to another bug out location. You’ll notice the texture will change a bit as the bannock dries out, but it’ll still taste fine.

Want to learn how our Grandparents survived through the Great Depression? Click the banner below and download your own collection of real American survival wisdom!

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This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia. 

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7 Ways To Prepare For An Economic Crisis

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Using the past economic collapses as an example, we can see that people’s lifestyles changed dramatically. Even those who managed to keep their jobs and businesses have to make radical adjustments in their lies, just to be able to survive.

There is no reason for us to think that things will be any different here in the United States, than they were in Argentina; in fact, they could very well end up being worse.

The reason I say it could be worse is that there will be nobody to bail out the United States, as has been done with other countries. We know from the 2009 housing collapse that anything negative that happens in the U.S. economy has a worldwide effect.

Since other countries will end up suffering as well, there is no way that they will be able to help us.

Liberals have touted the idea of redistributing the wealth of the wealthy in order to take care of our country’s woes. I’m not going to discuss the morality or ideology of that right now; but I will say this: if you were to take all the wealth of the 100 richest people in the United States and add it together, it wouldn’t pay our federal government’s bills from January 1st till tax day.

Of course, since their wealth isn’t really in cash, but rather in ownership of properties and companies, there’s no way of using it to pay the government’s costs or debts.

The other thing that could make the collapse worse here in the United States is that most Americans aren’t prepared to live without all of our comforts. If you go to other countries, people are more accustomed to doing things themselves, instead of expecting society to do them. They know how to do basic things like slaughter a hog and pluck a chicken; things that the average American hasn’t had to do for generations.

Here are a number of lifestyle changes which can help your family to be ready to survive the meltdown:

Pay off Your Home

Home mortgages are dangerous in a financial crisis. If you don’t have enough income coming in to make the payment on your home, then you could very easily lose it. No matter how prepared you are, if you don’t have your home, you’re going to be in trouble.

There are a number of strategies around for paying off your home mortgage early. I won’t go into them here, because this really isn’t a book about personal finances.

You can find the necessary information on how to pay off your home early in a number of places. I highly recommend looking into Dave Ramsey’s teachings on the subject.

Another option you may want to consider is downsizing. By selling your existing home and moving into something smaller, you might be able to reduce your mortgage payments or even the length of your mortgage. That would help you to get rid of your mortgage sooner.

In the case of the financial crash coming before you manage to pay it off (which is very likely), your payments will be smaller, making it easier for you to keep making those payments.

Pay off All Other Debts

Any debt is a liability, enslaving your family’s finances to others. By paying off your outstanding debt, you eliminate the risk of lenders coming to take what you have. While other debt is not as important as your home mortgage, paying it off can make it easier to pay off your mortgage quicker.

Paying off your debt also reduces your monthly cost of living, freeing up more money for use in preparing for the pending crash or some other activity your family wants to do.

The vast majority of Americans have too much debt, which greatly limits their options and the decisions that they can make.

Learn to Do Things without Electricity

So much of our modern lifestyle depends upon electricity. We are used to using it for literally everything; from preserving our food to entertaining us. However, loss of electricity is a common problem during times of economic meltdown.

Oh, the electricity probably won’t go out and stay out, but you can count on a lot of service interruptions.

When service is lost, many of the things which we take for granted are lost as well. Our ability to store and cook food is compromised, as well as our ability to work. Lighting is gone, as well as most of our communications. For many people, the loss of electricity means the loss of being able to work as well.

For everything you use in your life that is electric powered, you need an alternative. That means having something that you can use to do the same job, should the power go out. In some cases, you might be able to do without that thing, but you need to analyze that and make that determination, not just accept it as an assumption.

Re-do Your Budget

Probably one of the best things you can do to prepare for a financial meltdown is to re-do your budget, establishing a more frugal lifestyle. Chances are, when the economic collapse happens, you’re going to have to be living that more frugal lifestyle.

By establishing it ahead of time, you not only train yourself and your family to be more careful of how you use your money, but you also save money which you can then use to buy and stockpile necessary supplies.

Many people today live from paycheck to paycheck. That doesn’t mean that they’re using their money wisely though. Their budget may include eating out three times a week, spending $400 per month on their cell phones and another $300 per month on entertainment. Yet they complain about not having enough money to buy some basic emergency supplies.

There are a lot of places where the average family spends more than they need to. Buying new cars is another one. Banks and the auto industry make a lot of money off of families who are making payments on two cars at a time. For some, their combined car payments are higher than their house payment.

While reliable vehicles are a necessity, having two car payments every month isn’t. It would be better to buy older cars and not have those high payments to make.

Eat Healthy

How can eating healthy be part of preparing for a financial meltdown? Easy; the most expensive things that most of us eat are junk food. As a nation, we spend a fortune on prepared foods, snack foods and sweets.

When the financial meltdown comes, you probably won’t be able to afford all that junk. You’ll end up eating much simpler foods, which carry more nutrition.

At the same time, eating all that junk food is not good for your health. Medical expenses can be extremely high, especially for those who have ignored eating healthy.

While it may sound a bit extreme, eating healthy can make the difference between life and death, by helping protect you from a life-threatening medical problem.

Vitamins

Get in Shape

This one goes hand-in-hand with eating healthy. People who are in good physical condition are much less likely to have medical problems, especially high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol; all of which can become life-threatening.

However, there’s another part to this as well. That is, preparing your body for the physical rigors of survival.

Living without all the modern conveniences requires much more physical work than living with them. That’s why so many of us are out of shape. We’ve become accustomed to allowing machines to do the things that we used to do ourselves. We’ve become softer.

Many of us can’t do the physical work necessary for surviving without all those modern machines.

Find Like-Minded People

Many experts on survival and preparedness recommend banding together with other like-minded people and forming a prepping community. The idea is that in the wake of a disaster, the community would gather in one place to live and work together. Each member of the team would have their assigned area of responsibility, based upon their unique skills.

There are many advantages of working together in a prepping community. The right community can increase your chances of survival.

However, the wrong one can cause severe problems, with people leaving the group and taking most of the supplies with them.

Be careful what group you join, investigating the morals and personalities of the people first, to make an informed decision about whether the group will stick together to help each other, or become selfish and steal from each other.

Our ancestors survived harsh times and their secrets can help you survive during the most treacherous conditions if the world is struck with a tragedy.

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia. 

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Senior Preparedness: What Types Of Food To Store?

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Senior Preparedness

The great thing about modern technology and food industrialization is that there are now all types of food commercially available.

That’s great news for those of us who aren’t exactly spring chickens anymore because it makes building a diverse stockpile extremely simple.

What to Stock?

When you’re making your list, be sure that you include the following groups in order to have a full supply of foods that will meet your dietary needs:

  • Vegetables: These are most easily bought canned. If you have high blood pressure, watch out for the sodium content because salt is often used as a preservative. Be sure to get a variety of colors because each one offers different nutrients. For example, oranges and reds are high in vitamins A and C and greens offer iron, vitamin C and, often, the B vitamins. Veggies also offer protein as well as fiber that will keep your digestive tract healthy.
  • Fruits: Fruits can be purchased canned, freeze-dried or dehydrated. All forms of preservation maintain high levels of the nutritional value of the fresh fruits. Be sure to buy ones canned in juice instead of ones canned in syrup. Again, go for different colors for the nutritional range that the offer. Fibrous fruits such as peaches are great for long-term energy because the fiber slows the absorption of the natural sugars in the fruit.
  • Meats: Thanks to modern technology, well-preserved meat can be purchased dehydrated, smoked, or canned. Each way is nutritious and delicious. Again, watch the sodium levels if you have blood pressure issues and shoot for nutritious meats such as jerky and canned tuna and chicken instead of fatty, processed meats such as Spam or potted meat.
  • Beans: You can purchase beans canned or dry. They’re a great source of protein and B-vitamins as well as carbohydrates. If you have digestive problems with beans, try soaking them first and cooking them with an onion. That sometimes helps get rid of the “gassy” properties.
  • Dry Goods: Flour, sugar, pastas, rice and other dried goods will be good for two reasons: they’ll help round out your meals with delicious, filling sides and sauces and they’ll make great barter items.
  • Spices: Dried spices last for years and are easy to store. You can also opt to grow your own indoor herb garden, which we’ll discuss in a bit. Spices will make a great barter item as well as help you add flavor to meals.
  • Desserts and Treats: Sometimes eating is about more than nutrition. A nice piece of apple pie can boost morale and give people the mental boost that they need to get through tough times. Adding some pie filling or some chocolate chips to your stockpile will add a welcome burst of comfort to life if SHTF. Don’t depend on treats for nutrition, but storing some for treats or trading is a good idea if you have the room.
  • Fats and Oils: Healthy fats such as olive oil and coconut oil deliver nutrition and a good backup source of energy. They also help flavor meats and are necessary if you want to make such dishes as biscuits or sauces. Your body needs omega-3’s in order to function and since it can’t make them on its own, you need to eat them. Fish and olive oil are both good sources but olive oil doesn’t have the risk of mercury poisoning that you may encounter by eating too much canned fish.
  • Energy Bars: Because they’re portable and often contain all of the nutrition that you need for an entire day, energy or protein bars make great additions to your stockpile. Since they’re lightweight and take up very little space, you should toss a few into your bug-out bag so that you have some quick energy and nutrition should you need to evacuate.

Stocking Up with Store-Bought Foods

Though growing your own food and being completely independent of outside food sources is great, it’s also extremely difficult to do if you live in an urban area or have physical limitations. There are numerous reasons why purchasing your food supplies from the store may be your best option, especially as you get older. Here are just a few:

  • The food is safely preserved.
  • You can buy a wide variety all at the same place.
  • There’s no manual labor involved.
  • You don’t have to learn any special food growing or preservation techniques (though we recommend that you learn how to do it in case you need to in a long-term survival situation!)
  • You don’t need garden space or special equipment.
  • Purchasing your food is by far the easiest way to build your stockpile. If you watch for sales and use coupons, it’s extremely affordable as well. Even just taking advantage of BOGO sales will save you a tremendous amount of money.

Not only can store-bought foods save you time, many of us don’t have the space or the physical strength to manage a large garden anymore.
Growing a small one for fresh foods is fabulous but growing one large enough to produce extra for canning can be taxing when you get older. Heat stroke is no fun at all, and picking beans sure is hard on the back muscles.

Foods Shelf Life

If you’re nodding your head in understanding and agreement, store-bought supplies may be the way to go.

A Bit About the Types of Foods Available Commercially

You’ve been buying commercially prepared foods all of your life but you probably haven’t ventured far beyond the standard canned foods aisle in your local supermarket. A trip to a hunting goods store or a military surplus store will open up the doors to a few more options. Here’s a brief rundown on the major preservation methods available to you:

  • Canned Food: This one doesn’t need much of a description because unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve eaten it in mass quantities throughout your life. Food is sealed in plastic or glass jars or in steel or aluminum cans in such a way that air can’t get in to cause spoilage.
  • Dehydrated Food: Again, this one doesn’t need much of an explanation because you’ve surely had jerky or dried fruits. Food is seasoned and cooked in an oven or a dehydrator to remove the liquid. It’s then typically sealed in a bag or jar in order to keep out moisture that will cause spoilage. With the moisture removed, dehydrated food is lightweight, takes up very little space, retains nearly all of its nutritional value and is good practically indefinitely as long as no moisture gets to it. Great for your bug-out bag. You can add water to dehydrated foods to rehydrate them and cook with them.
  • Freeze-Dried Foods: This is a method that you may not be so familiar with. Freeze-drying is a 3-step process sort of similar to dehydrating, except the food is first frozen. Then it goes into a warm vacuum chamber where it remains for several hours. Instead of turning to liquid, the vacuum causes the liquid to leave the food in a frozen form that vaporizes. Finally, the food is dried to remove the rest of the water and sealed to keep moisture out.
    Most freeze-dried foods have a recommended shelf-life of 25 years. It’s also extremely light and can be eaten as-is or rehydrated and cooked. You can buy single products such as fruits or complete freeze-dried meals.
  • Meals Ready to Eat (MREs): These are meals created originally by the military to provide nutrition to soldiers in the field. Nowadays, they’re available from military surplus stores if you want the real thing. Companies also produce them for the private sector and you can buy them at sporting goods stores. As with freeze-dried or dehydrated foods, MREs are available as single foods or entire meals.
  • Dried Foods: Spices and beans are great examples of foods preserved by drying. It simply involves allowing the product to hang and dry naturally. Unlike dehydrated foods, the process doesn’t involve heat. Otherwise, it’s the same idea; remove the water and bacteria can’t grow.

With all of these options available, there’s no reason why you can’t stock your pantry and eat well even if disaster strikes.

Here are a few tips for buying supplies that will help you store what you need while getting the most mileage for your buck:

Buy foods that you eat. Yes, canned asparagus may be on sale but if you hate it, don’t buy it. There’s a reason that you still have 2 cans of it in your pantry from 1972 – you think it’s gross and would rather go hungry than open that can and ingest the contents. Not a great way to stay in good spirits in a tough situation.

Buy in bulk. Food is often cheaper if you buy large quantities of it. For instance, a 50lb bag of flour is going to cost much less per pound than a 5lb bag will. You can always separate it out into manageable proportions. Since a bag that large is difficult to handle, check to see if any of your local grocers deliver. Many of them do today and that will make it easier and safer for you to buy items that are difficult to handle.

Buy extra when you can. This is a great way to build your stockpile with foods that you enjoy. If you’re buying a can of clam chowder, buy two instead. If they’re BOGO, buy four! You’re accomplishing two things here; you’re building your stockpile and you’re ensuring that what you stock is what you like. Plus, you’ll have an extra can of soup on hand if you feel like sharing or if you forget to get it the next time.

Seal your dried goods. Just because your flour may be good for a year or more, it’s not going to be that appealing with bugs in it. When you get it home, store it in plastic containers or bags that bugs can’t get into so easily. This will keep it fresh longer, too.

Don’t buy damaged cans. If a can has a dent, don’t buy it. It’s entirely probable that the safety of the food has been compromised because if the can’s damaged, air could get in. Also, cans have a protective lining that keeps the steel or aluminum from seeping into your foods but if they’re dented, that protective lining could be damaged. Don’t risk it even if you’re going to eat it that night.

Building your stockpile with purchased food offers a safe, simple way to ensure that you’ll have what you need to get you through a survival situation.

It’s time to go back in time and learn valuable survival secrets and skills from our ancestors.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Top 5 Versatile Foods To Survive Nowadays

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When you’re living small and running out of space in your home, anything you buy raises the same big question: where am I going to store it?

A lot of people live in small spaces, and still buy a lot of everything, even if most of it finally goes to waste. Let’s be smart and buy what you really need and use, in or outside the kitchen. Think about how to use in multiple ways everything you buy, including food.

In other words, choose versatile food as much as you opt for multipurpose items when building your reserves. In the end, its about money, but also about space and resources.

Here’s what I chose!

Flour

First, there are a lot of grains that you can use to make flour at home: wheat, barley, rye, spelt, corn, oats, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pecans, macadamias, and walnuts), seeds (such as sunflowers, hemp, pumpkin, amaranth and flax), potatoes, arrowroot, tapioca, coconut, soybean and others.

You have undoubtedly heard of cornmeal and possibly even almond meal, but what’s the difference between a meal and flour? Meals are ground more coarsely. To make meal, just don’t grind your product as long. When it starts to get a crumbly texture, you’re done. Compare it mentally to cornmeal.

Meals are great for several different uses because they add a heartier flavor and more texture to your goods. They’re bad, though, if you’re shooting for something nice and light to make a cake with.

Then you have pasta, and all those tasty dishes based on them: lasagna, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese or simple yet delicious rustic dishes made only from the ingredients in your garden. You won’t need many ingredients: flour, eggs (optionally) and salt. Some people like to add oil, but it’s not essential to making basic pasta.

All-purpose flour is just fine for a basic pasta mix. If you want to add texture and a bit of hardiness to your pasta, you can add some semolina flour to the mix. If you want silkier pasta for a more refined noodle, add some cake flour, or 00 flour.

Milk

cheese bucketMilk is packed with calcium and protein and is also a necessary ingredient in many recipes.

It’s something that you’ll want to have on hand in a survival situation.

Milk doesn’t keep long, but there are different ways to preserve it for later use. Read this Survivopedia article to find out more about how to preserve milk.

Also, there are about a million different cheese recipes out there that you can make depending upon your personal preferences and the type of milk (goat or cow) that you’re using.

Cheese is a lot easier to make than you’d think and you can keep it forever without refrigeration.

Coat the cheese in wax to preserve it. You’ll need a special cheese wax because paraffin wax will crack as it dries. Waxed cheese will last up to 25 years but remember that it will age and become sharper so if you plan to store it for an extended period of time, start with a mild cheese.

Another idea is to make butter or buttermilk. Or if you’d like, you can also make yogurt (here are a few recipes you might use for making yogurt), sour cream or cottage cheese but storage methods for those are just simple refrigeration. It will extend the life of the milk for a couple of weeks, though. And I’ve also heard rumors of canning buttermilk.

Salt

Let’s talk multipurpose! The main purpose of salt for most people is to add a bit more taste to their food. However, salt can be so much more useful in the kitchen and around the house, thanks to the many applications it has.

  • Prevents the browning of fruits and vegetables. This is something that can be done with lemon juice or vinegar, but a bucket of salty water will also do the trick.
  • Preserves food naturally for long term survival. Salt works by dehydrating the food as well as the microbes present in the food. Most especially, mold and yeast cannot grow in food pretreated with salt. Food preserved this way could last for years.
  • Fresh egg test. You need a cup of water with two teaspoons of salt in them. Drop an egg in the cup. A fresh one should sink straight to the bottom while an older one would float. An older egg has more buoyancy because the air cell inside of it increases.
  • Makes cheese last longer. Even when it is preserved properly in a refrigerated environment, cheese will inevitable spoil due to mold. This cannot be prevented with salting the cheese, but it can be delayed. Wrap the cheese before storing it in a damp cloth moistened using saltwater.
  • Puts out grease fires. One thing to never do is to throw water on top of a grease fire. The water evaporates instantly and spreads the fire all over the room. Instead, throwing salt on top of the grease fire will create a crusty layer without oxygen, thus smothering the flames. Moreover, the salt also acts as a heat sink, dissipating the heat.

Salt keeps well in cool, dry places and you can prevent it from clumping by dropping a few grains of rice at the bottom of the shaker.

Honey

In addition to tasting delicious in tea and in baklava, honey has some pretty nifty health benefits. When you eat local honey, it’s said to help with allergies, which is great. The real use in an emergency though lies in the antibacterial, antimicrobial and emollient properties. It also has a ton of practical uses:

  • Has vitamins and minerals so if you’re using a sweetener, honey is better than sugar
  • Can be used as an antibacterial on wounds
  • Is a great healing agent for wounds and helps keep the bandage from sticking
  • Barter – sweeteners are going to be way up there on the list
  • Excellent skin moisturizer (if your skin is so dry that it cracks, you’re going to have problems)
  • Makes a great burn treatment because of the antibacterial properties and the moisturizing power
  • Soothes sore throats
  • When mixed with vinegar and water is an effective parasite remover
  • Make fly/bug strips

Did you know that honey was found in Egyptian pharaohs’ tombs and it was still as good as new?

It only needs to be kept in a sealed container in a cool, dry place and it will last a lifetime. And don’t fret if your honey has crystalized; just place the jar in some warm water (without letting water enter the jar) and it will be smooth and good as new in no time.

Kitchen Scraps

Some of us throw away a ton of food scraps on a regular basis, but did you know that you can repurpose much of it? You can, of course, start a compost pile, but there are also many uses of kitchen scraps, and they would make your life easier if you are prepping or just homesteading.

First, use them to grow more food. In most of the cases, the roots will regrow if you plant them in the soil, just like bulbs of flowers do.

regrow

You can also use some of the scraps for filtering water. For example, grind the corn husk into dust and mix it with coffee grounds and clay. Add enough water to make it “clay-like” and shape it into a bowl. Allow to dry in the sun, then put your water in it and place it over another vessel. The water will soak through the bowl and into the other vessel, leaving contaminants behind. Rinse the corn husk bowl and reuse.

Onion peels, apple peels and banana peels also help removing pollutants from water. They attract and capture ions and pollutants because they’re adsorbent. This won’t purify the water or remove biohazards but it will help remove some of the dangerous pollutants.

And here are a few more examples on what kitchen scraps can help:

Onion Peels

  • Sooth stings – the end of the onion can be used to sooth stings. Just hold it on your skin.
  • Use them to dye your hair a beautiful golden brown, or to color fabrics or Easter eggs a bright purple!
  • Cook it up along with your garlic peels to make an organic pesticide. It stinks, but it works!

Corn Husks

  • Make baskets – braid or weave the husks into a basket.
  • Protect delicate foods when grilling – if you want to grill your fish or other delicate food but are afraid it will fall apart and be wasted, wrap it in a wet corn husk while cooking.
  • Treat bladder infections – boil the husks into a tea for relief. It also works as a pain reliever for some types of joint or muscle pain.
  • Start fires – dried husks are extremely flammable so if you don’t have any good kindling, don’t pitch those husks!

Egg Shells

  • Fertilizer – your plants need the calcium and other minerals in the shells so you can crush them up and mix them into the dirt or you can soak the eggshells in the water that you use for your plants. You can even use the entire shell as a “cup” to start your seeds in if you crack them carefully.
  • Pest deterrent – having problems with deer or cats in your garden? Crush the eggshells and scatter them around your garden.
  • Calcium supplements – we all need plenty of calcium but in a survival situation, we may not be able to get enough. Thank goodness you thought to raise chickens! Just grind the eggs into a fine powder and mix it into your smoothie or other food once per day.
  • Feed them to your chickens – that’s right – they need calcium to make more eggs so instead of using oyster shells, crush up the egg shells and give them back.
  • Candles – if you crack the tops off carefully, you can fill the shells with beeswax, add a wick, and you’ve got a candle that you didn’t need to use another container on.
  • Seed starter pots – again, crack them carefully and put your soil and seeds in them. You’ve got organic seed pots that are already rich in calcium and minerals that your plants need.

Add few more items to this list, and you’ll have a practical “To Buy” list for your kitchen, and your stockpile too. Less means more, and people living small can confirm that. Not to mention how easy and convenient is to carry a smaller bag when you are on the run for survival.

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This article has been written by Gabrielle Ray for Survivopedia.

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How To Survive Eating Wild Winter Edibles

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Recently, we’ve been asked a question about what types of foods are good sources of carbohydrates in the winter.

The reader was specifically worried about his son, who is going on a military survival retreat in Maine and can’t afford to lose the 20 pounds that the program has warned him that he will likely lose. His question was about sources of carbohydrates.

My son will be sent to Maine in the winter for a 3 week military survival course. Others who have experienced this say that the participants will lose an average of 20 pounds during that time. He can ill afford to lose 20 pounds, so I was wondering if you knew a good source for carbs that can be found in abundance in the winter? I think he is fairly good at locating small game for protein. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
Best regards,

Everett

Though there are many great wild sources of carbohydrates to eat in Maine, I’ve had a problem finding exact nutritional values of wild plants. Go figure. Since the main goal is preventing weight loss, we’re looking for plants that can be found in a great enough quantity to thrive, versus simply survive.

Therefore, we need plants that are both high in calories and found in enough quantity to make a substantial meal. The first part was easy, the second part, not so much. So, I’ll share what I’ve found.

Cattails

It turns out that these plants are considered a pest by many because they grow so prolifically in marshy areas and around ponds.

Fortunately for somebody foraging, cattails are a great source of carbohydrates and nutrients year-round. In the winter time, the best parts of the plant to eat are the rhizomes, or roots, and the corms, the little shoots that are the beginnings of next year’s plants.

You probably won’t be able to just rip the cattail out of the mud; you’re likely going to have to dig for it a bit. Just run your hand down the stalk of the cattail and into the mud. Feel for the roots, then follow them down a bit and PULL!

Don’t stop with just one plant; grab several at a time because they’re not that heavy and you can carry them or store them in camp. No need to get wet more than once if you don’t have to.

Now, you’re going to notice little shoots around the base of the plant, which are older corms and are the beginnings of next year’s plant.

You’ll also find little pod-like pieces on the rhizomes and around the bottom of the stalks. These are less mature corms and are also edible. You can eat both types of corms raw. Just peel off the outer fibrous part and eat the delicate interior.

The rhizomes are going to look sort of hairy. Wash them as well as you can, then peel them just like you would a potato. Your goal is to extract the starch from the rhizome and there are a couple of ways to do this.

You can break up the rhizome and then put it in a small bowl of water and squeeze the rhizome pieces in the water until the starch is remove. The water turns a milky white. Let the water settle for a couple of hours and the heavy, starchy flour will settle to the bottom. Pour off the water and spread the flour out to dry.

The second way is to use your knife to squeeze the starch out onto a rock. Just lay the rhizome flat and slide your knife down the rhizome, sort of like you’re squeezing toothpaste from a tube. The starchy paste will collect on the rock.

Either way, you can let the paste dry and smash it with a mortar and pestle into a flour, or you can toss it in the pan and toast it as-is, toss it into a soup along with the corms, or you can eat it raw.

Of course, you can always make a bread with it by mixing it with other ingredients, but in a survival situation, you’re probably not going to have access to yeast and all that good stuff.

rose-hips

Rose Hips

These pretty berry-like plants not only add a pop of color to the winter landscape, they’re also a good source of nutrition and can be found in enough quantity to be worth the effort. Rose hips are the fruits of the rose plant and are usually red or orange but can also be dark-colored. Just open them up, pop out the seed, and eat the flesh.

One cup of rosehips has 206 calories, 49g of carbs, and 31g of fiber. It also provides 110% of your RDV of vitamin A, 901% of your RDV of vitamin C, and more than 20% of your RDV of calcium and magnesium. Eat more rose hips!

Pine

They’re not just for Christmas anymore! Pine trees provide a couple of different sources of food. If you’ve ever eaten pesto, you’ve eaten pine nuts, which are found in pinecones. There is some work involved for the amount of food that you get, but there’s also a tremendous amount of calories and nutrition in them.

Just one cup of pine nuts has 909 calories, 92 grams of fat, 23% of your RDV of potassium and 84% of your RDA of magnesium. They’re also a good source of fiber, so that you have a slower digestion process. You’ll feel full longer.

All pine trees have edible nuts tucked into the pine cones, but only about 20 species produce seeds that are large enough to warrant the effort. Still, in a survival situation, something is better than nothing. Fortunately, there are often many different types of pine trees in the same area, so if you don’t get decent-sized nuts from one, try another.

Wild Berries and Fruits

Even if there’s snow, it’s still possible to dig through the snow to get to fruits, and if you’re lucky, you may even find some grapes or berries, especially cranberries in Maine, above the snow.

One of the advantages of having thumbs is that you can dig through the snow a bit if you find a bush to see if there are berries buried. Apples are another great resource that you can find under the snow.

Yes, they’ll be frozen, but they’re delicious, nutritious, and packed with carbs. They also drop late, so it’s probable that they were frozen before they rotted. Other fruits to keep an eye out for include peaches and pears.

Grass and Grains

Believe it or not, most (99%) of all grasses in the US are edible. They’re often tough for your body to digest, but they’re better than nothing. This includes wheat, oats, and wild meadow varieties. The best part to eat in the winter is the starchy base and the seed heads.

1% of the seeds are toxic and need to be cooked before being eaten, and if seeds are blackish or purple, avoid them because that’s a sign of poisonous fungus. Eat them if they’re green or brown.

I often consult a man very close to me when I have questions such as these, because he’s actually been there, done that as part of his army survivalist training. He made it all the way through the training and has described in great detail (and to my dismay) exactly what a bug feels like when you eat it. He says the trick is this – crunch (chew), crunch, crunch, crunch, swallow!

Aside from his advice about how to eat a bug with minimal “biting back”, he also says that the most crucial step to survival is knowing the plants, animals, and insects of your area. Know what’s edible and what’s not, and most importantly, know what will kill you if you eat it.

If you have a problem with being too thin, it’s important to realize that your body uses more than just carbohydrates for energy – it can also use protein and fat. The bottom line is that your weight isn’t dependent upon eating carbs. It’s a matter of calories in versus calories out. It doesn’t matter if those calories are in the form of carbs, fat, or protein.

There will likely be some energy dips while you’re transitioning from carbs to protein, so if you’re planning to use protein as your main source of energy during a retreat, you may want to do that before you leave. In real life, of course, you won’t have that luxury, but until then, do what you can to survive the survival training.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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FAQ On Survival Food: How To Pressure Can Bacon At Home

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How To Pressure Can Bacon

It’s bacon. Who doesn’t love it? Bacon for breakfast, bacon bits, bacon grease, bacon for your beans … bacon is awesome.

But it’s one of those foods that, unless you have a pig and a smokehouse, you may have given up on for survival because it needs refrigeration.

We’ve had some questions about canning bacon, and we’re going to address them now.

“A question about canning the bacon. How long do you pressure can the bacon? Do you also add 1/2″ of water to these jars? Does the pressure canning melt wax paper? Can parchment paper be used instead?”

Cheryll

Though you can purchase canned bacon, it’s extremely expensive – the cheapest I found was about $15 USD for a 9-ounce can. That’s out of the range for many of us, but don’t throw in the towel yet! You can home can bacon so that it will be there to comfort you no matter how bad things get.

Until recently, the only way that I’ve ever heard of home canning bacon was raw and dry; in other words, you don’t cook it, and you don’t add anything to the jar. However, I recently watched a video that documented how to can cooked bacon.

There’s some merit to this because cooking it before you can it may reduce the chance of botulism. Some people believe that the meat doesn’t get hot enough in the middle to kill the toxin. However, I’ve spoken to many people who swear that they’ve canned bacon raw forever with no problems whatsoever.

My suggestion would be to roll it a bit looser if you’re canning it raw than if you’re canning it cooked so that the heat can circulate better through the roll. The key is to pressure can that bacon regardless of whether you can it raw or cooked.

I’m going to outline three different methods of canning bacon. Let us know which ones work for you.

But before we begin, let’s go ahead and get the ever-present government warnings out of the way. None of these methods have been approved by the USDA as safe. As a matter of fact, the USDA hasn’t approved ANY methods of canning bacon.

Now, let’s can bacon.

Ingredients and Tools for Canning Bacon

There are only a few tools and 1 ingredient that you’ll need. Of course, you need bacon! The thick-cut cans better than the thinner slices because they don’t tend to stick to the paper as much if you’re going to use the rolling method.

You can also home-can bacon ends and pieces (the cheaper kind of bacon that you can often buy in 3-pound packs for just about the same price as 1 pound of strips. That requires a different method, though.

Next, you’re going to need wide-mouth quart canning jars, rings, seals, and jar tongs, a pressure canner, and the divider for the bottom of the canner. Finally, if you’re using the rolling methods described below, you’ll need parchment paper or masking paper, which you can buy at your hardware store for less than ten bucks for a decent-sized roll. Do not use waxed paper because the wax will melt.

Before you start any of these processes, prepare your jars by sterilizing them, and get your seals in hot water if you’re using standard seals.

1. Canning Raw Strips of Bacon

Each quart jar will hold about a pound and a half of bacon, or maybe a bit less. Lay out an 18-inch piece of parchment paper. Lay out the strips of bacon side by side as close as you can get them without touching. Cover with another layer of paper.

Fold each end of the paper over the first and last strips of bacon. Next – and this is a little tricky – fold the paper in half lengthwise. Just to be clear, fold it so that each strip of bacon is folded in half. It may help to use a yardstick or something else to help you flip it.

Now it’s time to roll the bacon so that it will fit in the jar. Start at one end and roll the bacon strips into a log. Remember, if you’d like, you can roll it a bit loosely if you’re worried about raw packing, but you won’t get as much bacon per jar. Stuff the log into a quart jar. If you can’t get it in, remove a few strips of bacon until you can.

Clean the mouths of the jar well so that there’s no grease on them or else you won’t get a good seal.

We’re dry canning the bacon, so you don’t need to add water.

Once you have the seals on, screw the rings on finger-tight. Place your jars in your canner, making sure you have the divider in the bottom. Add 2-3 inches of water to the bottom. Put on the lid, but leave the weight off so that you can allow the air to escape. Bring the water to a simmer and let it simmer so that all the air is out. Place the weight on and cook at ten pounds pressure for 90 minutes.

Allow it to cool on its own. It’s fine to leave it in for a couple of hours to cool after you’ve turned off the heat source.

Remove the jars from your canner and set them on a towel on the counter. Let them cool for 48 hours so that you can make sure that they seal properly before you store them. It’s not uncommon for some of it to “unseal” a few hours after the seal because of a bit of grease or some other problem.

You’ll have some juice in the bottom, then the grease will be on top, so you’ll have the bonus of having bacon grease, too! Date your jars and store.

Video first seen on BexarPrepper.

2. Pressure-Canning Cooked Bacon

This method is absolutely identical to the one above, except you cook the bacon before you put it on the paper to roll it. You can bake it at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Baking is a bit better because the bacon cooks more consistently. Don’t add the grease from the pan to the jars.

Cook the bacon until it’s done but still pliable before you wrap it, then pressure can it for 90 minutes. You’ll have less juice and grease but there will still be some.

One advantage here is that your bacon is ready to eat straight from the jar.

3. Pressure-Canning Bacon Ends and Pieces

Packs of bacon ends and pieces are something that I stumbled upon several years ago at Wal Mart. They’re kind of a pain because the bacon is all lumped together and there are some pieces that are just fat. However, the 3-pound pack is often just about the same price as one pack of sliced bacon.

Since I use bacon fat in my beans and to cook potatoes, and even in some of my sauces, I don’t mind having the extra fat. I look at it this way – I’m getting a pack that has slices of bacon to fry for breakfast or a BLT, I have pieces of bacon fat to add to my beans, and I have crumblies of meat to fry up for bacon bits or to add to a salad or something.

Considering the cost, it’s a win, especially if you’re canning (or living) on a budget. Each 3-pound pack is going to yield about 3 quarts of meat and fat. Simply take the meat out of the pack and stuff as much into the jar as you can because it’s going to shrink up. Leave a half-inch or so headspace. There’s no reason why you couldn’t do this with regular packs of strips, too.

This is a raw packing process, so don’t add any liquid to the jars. When you have your jars stuffed, clean the rims thoroughly because they’re going to be greasy. If you don’t get that grease off, the jars won’t seal.

When they’re clean, add your seals and rings, finger-tight, and put them in the canner. Process as described above. 90 minutes for quarts, 75 minutes for pints.

Tip: If you have hard water, add a tablespoon of vinegar to your water to keep that white film off your jars.

If you’re in a survival situation, don’t throw away the paper because it’s an excellent fire starter with all of that grease!

Raw-packed bacon stores well for up to five years. After that, the fat starts to break down and the bacon won’t be the same. This is one good reason to rotate your canned goods, so that you don’t have meat going bad.

Video first seen on BexarPrepper.

Nobody has really shared any information on the shelf life of cooked bacon, but I would imagine that it’s about the same. It would be interesting to hear from any of you that have done it.

When you open your cans of bacon, don’t just rely on the seal to tell you if it’s good. Just in case, give it the sniff test. If it smells off, throw it away. If it’s got a greenish tint, throw it away.

Now you have three different ways to can bacon so that you don’t have to go without that deliciousness even if things go south.

Click the banner below to discover how to make the ultimate survival food plus other survival secrets that helped our ancestors survive hunger and deprivation!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Which One Of These 22 Awesome Foods Do You Have in Your Stockpile?

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Looking for something to add to your stockpile this weekend? How to Make Homemade Bread in a Can How to Make 2400 Calorie Emergency Ration Bars Designed to Feed You

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5 Survival Recipes You Should Know by Heart

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Survival Recipes

What do you do now if you want a recipe for something you don’t know how to make? You go to the internet, or perhaps to a cookbook, though that’s becoming a rarity.

However, if you’re faced with an emergency where you have no power or no access to your cookbooks, you’ll have to know how to make some basics from memory.

Today, I’m going to tell you about 5 foods that will help you fill bellies in an emergency situation. Memorize them!

Pemmican

This is crazy simple to make, and was a staple food for Native Americans. It stores well and contains enough nutrients that you can effectively survive off it for a long time. It’s also easy to carry and doesn’t require refrigeration, which is why it was a staple for nomadic tribes or for hunters.

Traditional pemmican has three primary components: fat, lean dried meat, and dried fruit. That’s it. Add some flavor, nutrition, and texture by adding honey and nuts.

Tip:

Don’t use pork or bear for this recipe due to high fat content of the meat. Use any other lean meat, including beef, venison, caribou, or moose. Here’s how to make it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried crushed meat
  • 2 cups dried crushed berries or dates
  • 1 cup melted fat
  • 1/2 cup crushed nuts
  • 1/4 cup honey

Instructions:

Trim all of the fat off the meat, then dry in a dehydrator until it cracks and breaks. If it bends, there’s still too much moisture in it. Do the same thing with the berries. Render the fat into a liquid form and crush your nuts. You can grind them if you want, or leave them a bit chunky to add texture.

Crush the meat and berries into a fine powder. Using your blender or food processor for now will work better but if you’re making it without power, just grind them with a pestle. If the meat is a challenge, use the pestle or a hammer, or even your fingers to get the meat as finely ground as you can.

Add enough fat to the meat and berries (and the nuts if you’re using them) to make it stick together; no more. Add enough honey that it’s sweetened but not overly sticky.

Roll it out and cut it into bars, or do it as the Native Americans did and roll it into balls. Store in a bag in a cool, dry place.

In the video bellow you can discover the great Pemmican recipe inspired by The Lost Ways guide. You can prepare right now this delicious pemmican.

Many other survival secrets and recipes that helped our ancestors survive gloomy days are about to be discovered in “The Lost Ways” book. CLICK HERE for more information about this awesome survival book!

Hardtack

If you’re like me, when you hear the term hardtack, you might think of candy, but traditional hardtack is basically a cracker that will last practically forever as long as it stays dry. Cowboys carried hardtack with them to eat when they had nothing else. It was a staple for soldiers on long military campaigns.

It’s not as nutritious as pemmican, but it will fill the hole in your belly and provide you with carbs that you need to keep moving. It’s extremely hard, which explains the nickname “molar breakers”, and is easier to eat if you dip it in your coffee or water or add it to your soup.

Hardtack is extremely simple to make and consists of only three ingredients. You can cook it on the trail, too. Some recipes call for milk, sugar, and butter, but those ingredients significantly reduce the shelf life.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the salt and flour, then add the water. The dough shouldn’t stick to your hands, so either add the water a bit at a time, or add a bit more flour if it’s sticky.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle until it’s no more than 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough twice lengthwise and twice across the width into 9 equal squares, then use a nail to poke 12 holes (a 4×4 grid) into each square.

Place each square onto a cookie sheet or into your Dutch oven or covered iron skillet if you’re cooking on the trail. Bake for 30 minutes on each side. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.

How to Make Hardtack

Beans and Rice

Though this recipe is extremely simple, it’s packed with nutrients and is a complete meal. If you’d like, throw in some bacon or some cayenne to taste to spice it up.

Ingredients:

  • Equal parts beans and rice (not instant or quick-cook). Any type of beans will work, but pintos, great northerns, or black beans are exceptionally good.
  • Salt and pepper to taste – start with a teaspoon per cup and add until it suits your taste.
  • Three times as much water as you have beans and rice

Instructions:

Rinse the beans and let them sit overnight. The next day, bring to a simmer and let them cook until the beans are still slightly crunchy, but starting to get tender – about 2 hours. Add rice and cook for another 30 minutes. If you’d like, throw in some bacon when you start cooking the beans. Add spices such as cayenne pepper, onion (fresh or powdered) or garlic to suit your tastes.

Trail Biscuits

You can make biscuits in your oven or in your Dutch oven or a skillet on the trail. Though ingredients such as buttermilk make them fluffier and more delicious, you can make biscuits with much simpler ingredients. These are heavier, but still soft and go great with gravy.

This is a stick-to-your-ribs food that will help stretch rations or fill bellies. The egg and lard is optional, but if you’re not using lard, substitute the baking powder for a couple of teaspoons of baking soda.

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg (optional if available)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or lard
  • 1 – 11/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 370 degrees F. or stoke your coals so that they’re hot enough to cook in.

Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl, then cut the cold butter or lard (bacon grease actually makes them delicious, but heavy) into the flour mixture until you have pea-sized pieces. Add milk until dough is barely sticky. Don’t overmix or your biscuits will be tough.

Drop about 1/4 cup at a time into a greased pan or Dutch oven.

Cook for 20 minutes or so until biscuits are brown. If using a Dutch oven, put the biscuits in, then put the lid on the oven and bury in the coals for 15-20 minutes.

Sausage Gravy

This recipe can be modified to use bacon, hamburger, or just about any other meat, but you will need a fat source. That means that venison is likely out unless you have some bacon grease or other flavored grease because that’s where the flavor comes from.

Though this recipe calls for milk, I’ve made gravy with only water. It’s not nearly as good, but it’s edible. It’s better to carry some dried milk than to skip the milk altogether. You can also use all milk, but when it’s in short supply, the amount listed will do just fine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sausage
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups water

Directions:

Fry the sausage, crumbling it up with the spatula as you cook it.

Sprinkle flour, salt, and pepper over the sausage and allow to brown, stirring as you go. Smash it with the back of the spatula to keep it from clumping.

Add the water a 1/2 cup at a time, stirring and smashing with the spatula well to prevent lumps. Once you have it smooth and it’s turning from a thick paste into a thin paste, pour the milk in, stirring vigorously as you do.

Gravy is easy. You don’t have to use exact amounts. Just add enough flour to make the grease a thick paste, then add enough milk and water to bring it to a gravy consistency. If it starts to get thin, stop adding liquid. If it’s too thick, add more. Remember that it will thicken slightly as it cools.

Sausage Gravy

There are many different easy recipes that you should learn so that you can make them off the top of your head. Fried cornmeal mush is one that I can think of. Cornbread is another.

Remember that in all recipes, dried milk, dried eggs, and dried butter are all perfect substitutes for fresh ingredients and will make your recipe better than if you don’t have it at all.

Eventually, you’ll have to make it up whatever you have on hand, just like our ancestors did in times of need. Click on the banner below to find out more about the way they survived during hard times!

 

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Wilderness Survival: How To Catch Edible Frogs

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How To Catch Edible Frogd

Frogs are considered a delicacy or as a routine food in many parts of the world. Remember that fact when forced to survive in the wilderness and the idea of hunting frogs for eating gives you chills.

Even though many frogs are on the verge of extinction, there are others with so many members that they can serve as a food source in time of need. Read the following article to learn which frogs are safe for eating, and how to catch and turn them into a tasty meal.

Frogs to Avoid

As a rule, most of the frogs in the United States are safe to eat. That being said, as global weather patterns shift, it is entirely possible that poisonous frogs will move into areas where they don’t normally live.

Poison Frog

Here are some frog characteristics that may indicate they have poisonous skin or other body parts that make them unsuitable for eating:

  • Blue, red, yellow, orange, or other brightly colored frogs. As with many other animals in nature, one that is brightly colored tends to signal danger. They are not trying to hide or camouflage themselves because anything that may try to eat them will see the colors and leave them alone.
  • They tend to be active during day hours. Most frogs that are safe to eat will be out during dark hours when their predators are more likely to be asleep or would have a harder time seeing them.
  • They are observed eating prey that consume plants with high alkaline content.  For example, if there are poison ants in the area, and you see frogs consuming them, these particular frogs may be able to take the poison and store it in their skin. With the exception of one species of frog in South America, known poisonous frogs do not make their own poison. Instead, they consume plants with high alkaline content and then store the poison in their skin. It should be noted that the muscle meat from these frogs may still be safe to eat as long as you know how to get the skin and poison sacs off without contaminating the meat.
  • You should also be aware of the differences between frogs and toads, since toads can be poisonous without showing indicators that you would see in frogs. In order to tell the difference between frogs and toads, remember that frogs have smooth skin, while toads will have bumps on them. Frogs also have longer, narrower faces while toads have shorter, wider ones. If you watch a frog capturing its prey, you will notice that it has a sticky tongue that extends easily. By contrast, a toad will actually have to capture its prey in its mouth. Finally, if you watch their motions, frogs will only hop (they also have longer legs than toads) while toads can run and jump as well as hop.

Parts You Can Eat and Parts to Avoid

Typically, most people only eat the back legs of the frog because that is where you will find the most meat. If the frog is especially large, you might also try for the front legs. Even though frogs have a good bit of skin, it is best not to eat it for the following reasons:

  • If the frog is poisonous or going to cause you to get sick, the greatest concentration of poison will be in the skin.
  • Since frog skin is always moist, it is also a prime breeding ground for bacteria. You can easily come into contact with salmonella and several other diseases.  If you must eat frog skins and know that the species is safe, be sure to cook the skins at a high enough temperature.
  • Many people feel that frog skin is a bit strong tasting and a bit hard to swallow. Needless to say, if you are very hungry and very little food is available, you can find ways around these issues.

Insofar as the frog’s internal organs, remember that they consume all kinds of insects. You can be exposed to all kinds of poisons and diseases if you ingest the digestive and related organs. In addition, you will also find that frog organs aren’t very large. You are likely to be wasting more time and effort trying to consume the organs than it’s worth.

Testing to See if the Frog is Edible

Consider a situation where you are an experienced camper, have seen the world, and feel that you know just about all there is to know about living off the land. Perhaps you have eaten frog meat as a delicacy, and have even captured and eaten them on your outdoor adventures. To you, it may make perfect sense to consume frogs in the post crisis world, and it is likely that you will look to them as a valuable source  of nutrition. Now, let’s add one more point in your favor and even say that you know the local species of frogs quite well in many areas of the United States and feel confident that you know which ones are safe to eat and which ones aren’t.

Under these circumstances, you may feel that you don’t need to perform a modified Universal Edibility Test in order to determine if the meat is safe. You, and anyone that you are traveling with that trusts your judgment on these matters can become very sick or even wind up dead for the following reasons:

  • As with any other species on this Earth, offspring can be produced between species that may or may not produce offspring. In this case, as poisonous frogs move from one region to another, they may just produce poisonous offspring that aren’t as colorful or have traits that cause you to mistake them for safe frogs. If you do not run some kind of Universal Edibility Test, you will have no chance to find out the truth before consuming too much of the meat.
  • Nuclear attacks aside, there are many other sources of man made nuclear contamination in the environment. Aside from causing all kinds of mutations, the nuclear material may also have a large impact on insects and other food sources for the frogs you are planning to eat. Even if the frog is from a non-poisonous species, that does not mean it isn’t harboring increased levels of radiation that will pose a risk to your health.
  • Heavy metals, pesticide runoff, fertilizer runoff, and many other industrial poisons find their way into the water where frogs spend most of their lives. As a result, if you don’t pay careful attention to the area where the frogs are living, and the quality of the water, you may wind up consuming all kinds of hazardous materials that have nothing to do with the species of frog you are trying to consume.

When evaluating the safety of frogs (and many other kinds of game) it is best to do a modified form of the Universal Edibility Test that accounts for modern hazards. Bear in mind that there may still be other factors that you will need to consider and account for in adaptions to this basic method:

  • Start off by making sure that you know what region  you are in. Find out if there are nuclear facilities, industrial dumping grounds, old factories, or factory farms within 100 miles of the area where you plan to catch frogs. If any of these factors apply, then be extra careful when evaluating each animal that you are planning to consume.
  • Next, study look at the soil, water, grass, trees, insects, and animals in the area where the frogs are living. Does the water or soil have an unusual odor to it? Dig into the soil and see if there is an unnatural or chemical smell to it. Is the vegetation healthy, or does it show signs of plant tumors, unusual growth patterns, or sickly development? Are there a lot of dead birds, animals, or other insects around? Do you see signs of unusual growth, deformed limbs, erratic behavior, or anything else that might indicate chemical or nuclear poisoning?  If you see sick animals, insects, or plants in the area, you can rest assured the frogs are also contaminated.
  • Now study the frogs. Are they healthy and active during their normal hours of being awake? If so, then you may have a safe, viable source of frogs to hunt.
  • After capturing one frog that you believe safe to eat, study the bones, skin, flesh, and organs for signs of abnormal growth or poisoning. Make sure that you know enough about frog anatomy and diseases so that you can spot the kinds of illness that might indicate the animal and those in the surrounding area may have been exposed to heavy metals or other toxins that might be harmful to you and other survivors. If you see signs of these illnesses, do not capture any more frogs unless you intend to use them as bait.
  • Once you have determined the frog is safe from an environmental perspective, it does not hurt  to make sure you haven’t captured a frog that is a poisonous hybrid. For this, you can follow the more conventional points of the Universal Edibility Test. Carefully skin the frog and separate it into hind legs, front legs, organs, and skin.

If you only intend to eat the hind legs, then just use them fully cooked for the test. Just remember if you decide to try and eat frog organs or skins later on, you will need to the Universal Edibility Test all over again.

Where to Find Frogs

Almost all edible frogs will be found in or near a pond or other shallow bodies of fresh water.  If the body of water has a muddy bank, reeds, or logs dipping into the water, look in these spots first for frog hiding places.

If you are scouting an area at night, listen for the sound of something jumping into the water, as this is likely to be frogs. To draw frogs to your area, you can try making waves in the water to mimic insects or other prey that would be of interest to frogs.

3 Ways to Catch Frogs

With the exception of making a trap for frogs, the other two methods for capturing them usually have to be done at night when the animals are out and searching for prey of their own.

Method 1:  Catch Frogs By Hand

As surprising as it may sound, catching frogs by hand is actually the easiest of the three methods. Once you have spotted a frog, start moving towards it. As you approach the frog, move one hand in circles.

Keep moving your hand with a circular motion, and then simply grab the frog with the other hand when you are close enough. It is best for your catching hand to come from behind the frog since it won’t be able to see your hand that way. You can also aim a flashlight at the frog to stun it temporarily.

Just make sure that you act quickly to grab the frog or it will get away on you.  Once you have hold of the frog, be sure to hold it by the hips and let the rest of your hand support under its armpits. The frog will be unable to get out of your hands.

Method 2: Catch Frogs in a Net

After locating a frog of interest, you can use a flashlight or the circular hand motion to slow down the frog’s attempt to escape. Instead of putting your hands around the frog’s body, use the net to capture it instead.

As with catching frogs by hand, the net should come from behind the frog and swish under it. If the frog is on land, the hoop of the net should fully surround the frog. Try to get your hands onto the frog’s body as quickly as possible.

Do not forget that frogs are strong jumpers. If you have one captured in a net, it can jump around quite a bit and make its escape before you know what is happening.

When choosing a net for catching frogs, make sure that the holes in the net are small enough to prevent the frog from through it. It is also better to choose a net with a shorter handle because you will be less tempted to rely on the mesh of the net to hold the frog until you can a better hold of it.

Method 3: Make a Frog Trap  

Since you may need several frogs to make a good meal,  it is likely that you will want to use traps as well as hunt for them. There are many different ways to make frog traps.

One of the most common ways is to simply get them to fall into a pit or waiting tin that they cannot jump out of easily. In this case, you may set a bucket or something else into the mud bank of a pond, and then cover it over with twigs and leaves. When the frogs land on the twigs, they will fall through and be unable to get out of the pail.

You can also try making a frog trap similar to the way you would make a mosquito catcher. Simply take a plastic bottle, cut the top off, and then invert it into the bottle.  Set a cricket or some other suitable bait inside the bottle. Even though the frog will be able to squeeze into the bottle opening, it will not be able to get back out.

Video first seen on Amber Haines.

How to Prepare Frogs for Cooking

Unlike a fish out of water, a frog won’t simply suffocate and die in a matter of minutes. No matter whether you capture a frog by hand, in a net, or in a trap, you will have to kill the frog and then do a bit of work to make what little meat there is ready for eating.

Dispatching the Frog

As fragile as frogs may seem, they can actually be difficult to kill. The fastest and most humane method is to behead the frog. Some people prefer to pith the frog (basically stick something sharp through the brain case so that the brain is destroyed). Other people crush the frog’s skull by bashing it into something hard or using a hammer.

Skinning the Frog

Skinning a frog is actually much easier than it looks. Follow these steps:

  • Start off by taking a sharp pair of scissors and cut off the feet at the ankles.
  • Next, cut across the lower part of the frog’s belly. Continue cutting until you have made a line all the way around the frog. If you want, at this stage, you can also sever the spine and remove the legs. It is easiest to take them off in pairs so that you do not lose any of the valuable muscle meat. Set the legs aside so that you can check the internal organs for signs of disease.
  • Cut from the bottom of the abdomen up to the throat, and then across the shoulders. Open the flaps and observe the organs.  Do you see signs of tumors, abnormal swelling, or anything else that might indicate the frog had some kind of disease or exposure to hazardous chemicals?
  • If it seems that the frog was healthy, go back and look at the skin from the belly area on the part that is still attached to the legs. You should be able to see a clear color difference between the skin and the flesh beneath it. Take the sharp point of a knife, or even a scissor and gently pry between the flesh and the skin. It will loosen fairly easily. Keep prying until you find something like threads that hold the flesh and the skin together. They will pull apart easily, or snip them with the scissors.
  •  Once you have enough of the skin pulled away from the flesh, just go ahead and pull the skin straight down over the frog’s legs.  Even though frogs skin can be slimy and moist, you should be able to pull the skin with your bare hands. If you are having problems, go ahead and use a pair of pliers.
  • Before cooking the legs, you can cut between them. If there are any organs or other material besides bone and muscle, remove it before cooking.
  • Do not forget to wash the frog legs in clean water to remove bits of the organs or other unwanted residue that may have come from the skin or other parts of the frog.

Video first seen on Crawdaddy Kings

Basic Ways to Cook Frogs

You can cook frogs just as you would any other kind of meat. They can be fried in oil, boiled as for soup and stew, roasted, or baked. Do not forget that frogs also carry bacteria just like any other animal. Make sure that the flesh cooks thoroughly, especially in areas near the bone.

Does it Pay to Grow Edible Frogs?

If you have a homestead or are planning to raise smaller animals for meat, you may be very tempted to try raising frogs instead of fish. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to consider:

  • Even though frogs are fairly easy to care for, it can take several years for them to grow large enough to eat.
  • Since frogs are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world, you can purchase frogs that are specifically bred for human consumption. Depending on your needs, you may want to start off with about 6 or 7 pairs of frogs and then calculate how many you will need for routine nutritional needs.
  • If you have a homestead and outdoor ponds, you can keep edible frogs around to control the insect population. In fact, if you also have larger animals that tend to draw flies and other insects, a few frogs may be quite useful.
  • There are few, if any municipal codes that would prevent you from keeping frogs as pets. As such, you can more than likely keep several dozen of them indoors without may problems. Just remember that you will have to keep a fairly large number of if you expect to have a steady diet of frog legs.
  • When it comes to alternative meats, frogs taste like chicken.  Once they are skinned and cooked, they also don’t look all that different from conventional meat. As a result, adapting to frog meat may be easier and more palatable than trying to adjust to insects. You use them as a “gateway” alternative food if you already know that you will need to make the jump to indoor insect farming.

Right now, there are many species of frog that are plentiful to the point of being a nuisance in some areas. This, in turn, leads more than a few people to believe they will make a viable source of food in a crisis situation.

Even if you are an experienced hunter or camper, and have consumed frogs before, it is important to exercise caution. In these times, our society is not the only thing that is changing. There are subtle, and not so subtle changes happening to the climate and temperatures on this planet. Animals, including frogs, will adapt as quickly as they can. These adaptions may include mating with neighboring poisonous species that will make it harder to determine which frogs are safe to eat.

When consumed with care and awareness, frogs can make a valuable and nutritious meal that should not be overlooked. You may also want to consider the advantages and disadvantages of raising frogs so that you do not have to hunt them or be as concerned about consuming poisonous or diseased specimens by accident.

If I missed something in this post or you’ve tried this wild delicacy, leave a comment in the section bellow and share your experiences and tips with all the readers.

Our ancestors’ experiences serve as a great lesson for those planning to survive any hard times to come. Click on the banner bellow to discover more lost pioneer survival skills!

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

https://www.reference.com/home-garden/build-frog-trap-6735e7119bb5979b

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50 Things To Stockpile On A Budget This Fall

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2016_10_03-stockpiling

Depending on where you live, summer heat can be miserable, but the dead of winter can be lethal. Good thing we have autumn between, which leaves us enough time to prepare for the harsh time of winter.

If there is a blizzard or downed powerlines, it may be tough to get to the store. Even if you do, the shelves may be bare. That’s why you need to stockpile for winter weeks ahead. 

I’ve composed a list of must-have items that you should have on hand before the snow flies, in no particular order (except the first 4). But first, you should know how to calculate your reserves, so read this Survivopedia article to determine how much food and water would you need to survive in the worst case scenario.

Remember that stockpiling on a budget IS possible, if you know how to make the most out of coupons. We put up a list with useful tips and over 100 companies that you can ask for coupons from, when building your autumn reserve. CLICK HERE to subscribe to our newsletter and get full access to this info, and the rest of our survival free reports.

The List you Need to Have When Shopping

  1. Even if you’re surrounded by snow that you can melt if necessary, there’s no way to tell what’s in it. Plan on 2 gallons of water per person per day, and don’t forget about your pets.
  2. Two fuel sources, plus vehicle fuel. Make sure that your primary sources for warmth and cooking are well-stocked, and have a back-up fuel source for both. If the power goes out, you still have to cook and stay warm. A back-up supply is especially critical if you heat and cook with electric. If nothing else, keep extra Sterno cans.
  3. Back-up light sources. Even if you’re lucky enough to have solar panels, there may not be enough light to charge them. Candles and camp lanterns are two good choices. Make sure that if you’re using camp lanterns, you have plenty of batteries or fuel for them.
  4. First Aid Kit. If you’re like me, you probably pick through your first aid kit throughout the summer; a band aid here, some tape or first aid ointment there. Make sure that it’s replenished with fresh items before winter. Items such as tape actually go bad after a while.
  5. Pre-cooked canned meat. Tuna, chicken and salmon are all nutritious choices. Some of the canned hams are OK too, but avoid the unhealthy processed “meats” such as potted meat. If possible, can your own meat. Plan for at least 1 serving per person, per day. 2 servings are better.
  6. A variety of canned vegetables, preferably home-canned. Go by color because in general, different colors contain different nutrients. Eat at least 2 different colors per person per day. Plan on at least 4 servings per person, per day.
  7. A variety of canned fruits and dried fruits. Follow the same color rule as above and shoot for 2 servings per person, per day.
  8. A variety of canned meals. You can make can your own, or you can buy them in the store. Soups are great and are often BOGO at the grocery store if you watch the ads.
  9. Powdered milk and canned milk. Both have a long shelf life.
  10. Powdered eggs. Great source of protein and can be used in baking and cooking just like fresh eggs can once you reconstitute them.
  11. Whole grains have a longer shelf life than flour, but I’ve used flour that’s 2 years old and it was fine. If it goes rancid, it will smell funny. Store flour in air-tight containers or dry-can it so that bugs can’t get in.
  12. This is probably the cheapest, most versatile, longest-keeping food you can get. Stockpile whole-grain rice though, because it has a longer shelf life than instant.
  13. You can prepare cheese so that it will store for years and it’s a great source of protein. It’s also a luxury food that will help the kids eat veggies.
  14. Your body needs sodium, and it adds flavor to food.
  15. Sugar and honey. Honey literally keeps forever. Perfectly edible honey has been found in tombs that are thousands of years old. Even if it crystalizes, heat it a bit and it’s good as new.
  16. I prefer cubes, but powder is available, too. It turns a few mixed veggies and some canned beef or chicken into soup.
  17. A variety of spices. You can stock up on store-bought spices, dry your own, or even keep fresh spices growing indoors year round.
  18. Coffee or Tea along with filters. Seriously. Enough said.
  19. Peanut butter. It has a great shelf life as long as it’s unopened and is another good source of protein.
  20. Cooking oil and lard/shortening. Did you know you can actually can butter?
  21. Baking soda. A great multi-purpose item, useful for cooking, cleaning, and first aid.
  22. Again, multipurpose. I prefer apple cider vinegar because of the health benefits. You can make your own if you have apples.
  23. Active dry yeast packets. There’s nothing like fresh-baked bread. You can make your own yeast if need be.
  24. Baking powder and cream of tartar. Quick trick – if you don’t have baking powder, you can make it by combining 1/2 tsp. of cream of tartar and 1/4 tsp. baking soda to equal 1 tsp. of baking powder in a pinch.
  25. Dried beans. Amazingly nutritious and are available in such a variety and can be prepared in so many ways that they won’t get boring.
  26. Extra can opener. Ever tried to open a can without a can opener? It’s easier to just keep a backup or two.
  27. Hay and grain for livestock. If you’re an experienced farmer, you know this already, but if you’re just starting out, store enough hay for the winter now, and at least a few weeks’ worth of grain. Trust me: the price of hay skyrockets once the snow flies.
  28. Weather radio with extra batteries.
  29. Extra blankets or sleeping bags.
  30. Toilet paper. Being trapped in the house for a week or so due to a blizzard just isn’t the same without it.
  31. These have dozens of uses, so they’re not just for girls. There should be a few in your first aid kit, and they make excellent fire starters.
  32. Laundry soap.
  33. Hygiene items such as soap, lotion, toothpaste, etc.
  34. Lighters or matches. Hard to light a candle without one.
  35. Spare cash. If the power goes out, your ATM card will be useless and the banks will likely be closed.
  36. Pain medication such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin. Personally, I go with the ibuprofen because it’s an anti-inflammatory as well as a fever reducer and pain killer.
  37. Bleach.
  38. Alcohol that’s 70 proof or above has a variety of uses, including sterilizing needles or wounds, starting fires, and making merry when you’re stuck in the house. If you’re using it for the latter, see number 37.
  39. Baby wipes. They’re not just for babies.
  40. Peroxide.
  41. Extra equipment parts. Do you have a snowplow or tractor that you use to clear the driveway or to carry hay? Keep extra of the parts most likely to break.
  42. Garbage bags. If you need to leave the house, they keep the water and cold air out and the body heat in. They have several uses, so keep different sizes handy.
  43. Games, books and crafts. Board games, puzzles, puzzle books, and even Twister are good ways to kill time. Crayons, paper, scissors, coloring books (kids and adults), glue, and whatever else you need to perform your craft project(s) of choice.
  44. Rubbing Alcohol.
  45. Fire starters if you’re heating with wood.
  46. Fire-proof cookware if you’re using your grill or a fire as a backup cooking method.
  47. At least 1 5-gallon bucket with a lid. There are dozens of uses for them.
  48. Extra plywood, nails, and screws. If a window breaks during a storm, you can freeze to death quickly if you don’t get it sealed up. Plywood is also good for getting a car or tractor un-stuck.
  49. Rock salt. This keeps your walkway safe, but be careful. It melts the snow, but that water will refreeze again if the salt is washed away or absorbed into the ground.
  50. Duct tape. I through in an extra, because you always need duct tape.

This is a good list to use as a guideline but each situation is different. I’m sure that I’ve left off some important things, so if you have anything to add, please do so in the comments section below.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Prep Blog Review: How To Eat Right When SHTF

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Eat Right When SHTF

As a prepper, you constantly ask yourself what you and your family are going to eat when the store shelves will be empty. You need foods high in calories, proteins and nutrients to stay alive.

Having a balanced diet is pretty much of a challenge considering the limitations one has to face in a survival situation.

Here are some useful tips I found this week, on this topic. If you have any other suggestions, let me know in the comment section.

  1. Key Facts: Protein Deficiency

Protein “Even though many people have a medical kit that an accident and emergency department would be proud to own, that alone will not be enough to guard against dietary deficiencies.  As our life-styles get ever more fast moving and the need for instant-everything grows by the month serious deficiencies caused by bad diet are becoming far more commonplace.

Most of these issues are remarkably easy to sort out by simply adjusting what we eat but you wouldn’t think that as the incidences of malnutrition in the wealthiest First World nations are rising to levels never seen before.”

Read more on UndergroundMedic.

  1. Food Storage Smarts: Stock Up On Meal Stretchers

Meal Stretchers

“For many of us, buying food specifically for food storage is an additional expense that can, sometimes, become too burdensome.

When money is tight, it’s hard enough to cover the groceries for our main meals, much less add another few day’s worth of food to the grocery cart.

One solution to this dilemma is to stock up on meal stretchers. Foods like rice, beans, potatoes, pasta, and other grains have always formed the core of most food storage plans. First, they are inexpensive foods, like these potato dices.

Purchased either from the grocery store or in large multi-pound packages, it’s a lot of food that will go a long way in your meals.”

Read more on TheSurvivalMom.

  1. Survival Food – What To Eat When SHTF

Survival Food

“Unless you’re a zombie, you’ve probably thought about how you’re going to feed yourself and your family when the grocery store shelves are empty. You’ve shopped around on the survival food websites, priced how much it would take to keep everybody fed for a year.

If you haven’t started already, now is the time to start taking action, to make sure you and yours have enough food for survival. There are different routes you can take, but the safest would be to incorporate as many of the actions I’m about to discuss as possible. Redundancy just might save your life.”

Read more on EXXOGEAR.

  1. How To Make Jerky For Your Stockpile

Make jerky

“When you decide what types of food to keep stocked for bug-in or bug-out situations, there are dozens of good choices. Canned goods are great for bug-in situations, but nobody wants to carry all that weight in their pack if they are on the move. Another option would be MREs (meals ready to eat). These are nice to have because they give you some variety in your diet, but they can take up a lot of space in a pack and add a good amount of weight. The cost can add up quickly as well.

Meal replacement tablets do a fine job of providing all the nutrients you need to survive, but they do not taste all that great and can be expensive as well.”

Read more on Survival Sullivan.

  1. How To Make Delicious MREs at Home

MRE

“When it comes to emergency food supplies a lot of people think military-style MREs are the gold standard. They do have some advantages – they’re rugged, easy to prepare and can be eaten cold in a pinch – but they have drawbacks too.

They’re not designed with food intolerances or other special dietary needs in mind. They don’t always taste great. And, to get good ones with a lot of life left, you can end up spending a lot of money.

One way to get the advantages of MREs without the drawbacks is to make your own. This isn’t all that hard, and gives you a lot of options. Military MREs come in a couple of dozen menus, but if you’re making your own the choices are almost infinite.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

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How to Make 2400 Calorie Emergency Ration Bars Designed to Feed You for a Full Day

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Across the table from a government worker I was discussing the importance of emergency food. The discussion was centered on freeze dried meals and canned foods. We were discussing the

The post How to Make 2400 Calorie Emergency Ration Bars Designed to Feed You for a Full Day appeared first on Ask a Prepper.

Secrets Of Dehydrating Fruits For Long-Term Storage

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Survivopedia dehydrating fruits

There are several good options for preserving food for long-term storage, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Dehydrating foods is one of the skills that you should acquire in the event that SHTF. Fruits, along with several other foods, are perfect candidates for dehydration.

There are several advantages to dehydrating foods for both homesteading and prepping purposes. The most obvious advantages, at least from a storage and survival point of view, are that dehydrated fruits take up very little space, pack a ton of nutrition in a handful of food, and is so light that it adds very little weight to your bug out bag.

You can, of course, buy freeze-dried fruits if you’re looking for lightweight foods, but it’s nearly impossible to make them at home. The equipment required is extremely expensive and the environment is difficult to duplicate.

Dehydrating is a good option to freeze-drying for home-preserving lightweight food.

The primary problem with dehydrating fruits is that if they’re left open to air, they will absorb moisture. Along with the moisture that they absorb and the sugar content of the fruit, dehydrated fruits are extremely susceptible to spoilage. There’s a few different fixes for that, though.

Choose and Prepare Your Fruits

The only fruit that doesn’t dehydrate well is avocados because of their high fat content. Otherwise, have a ball. Choose fruits that are ripe because as they dehydrate, all that delicious sugar will make the end product delicious. Unripe fruits can be bitter or tasteless when dehydrated.

To prepare your fruit for dehydrating, clean them, remove stems or leaves, peel them and slice them into small slivers when possible. The exception to this is citrus fruits. It’s best to slice them into wheels instead of peeling them. Though they may not be as tasty whey dehydrated, they are excellent to use as flavorings or in medicinal teas.

I like to spritz all off my fruits with lemon juice to add the extra preservation and vitamin C, but it’s critical that you do it with apples, peaches, apricots, bananas, and pears to keep them from oxidizing, thus turning brown. You can also soak them in a solution of ascorbic or citric acid. For the ascorbic acid, you don’t have to buy anything fancy. Just crush up 20 vitamin C tablets and dissolve them in 2 cups of water.

Don’t slice more fruit than you can dehydrate at one time because it will turn brown.

Another option is candying your fruits. This doesn’t work so well with bananas, at least for me, but it works for other fruits. Make a simple syrup of 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water (some people also add 1 cup of corn syrup), then blanch – simmer – the fruit slices in it for 10 minutes, then let it set for a half hour or so. Drain it well, rinse it, let it drain again, then dry it.

Methods of Dehydration

There are several different methods of dehydrating the fruit. The most important consideration is that the fruit needs to be thoroughly dehydrated before it starts to spoil or oxidize. This timeframe varies by the water content of the fruit, the humidity in the air, and the method of dehydration.

You want to remove as much water as possible. Your goal is 4 percent moisture or less. At this point, the fruit will snap when you try to bend it and will store for much longer than if you dehydrate it to that leathery state where the fruit is still pliable – at that point, it still has about 35 percent moisture. That’s not good for long-term storage.

You need three things to dehydrate food: dry air, movement to wick away the moisture, and heat that’s warm enough to draw out the moisture, but not so hot that it cooks the food.

Using a Dehydrator

If you have a food dehydrator, then great. It will work for now, but if you lose power, it won’t work. Until then, though, it’s an awesome tool. Drying times vary using dehydrators depending upon the wattage of the machine. How many trays you use alters the time, too. Or you can build one yourself, and read this Survivopedia article to find a few ideas that might work.

solar dehydrator

As a long-time dehydrator, I like to switch the trays around so that the food dries evenly. I also remove dehydrated fruit as it’s finished and consolidate trays. You don’t have to do that, but I like to get it done faster. No fruit should take more than 16 hours or so to dry.

Using the Oven

You can most certainly use your oven to dehydrate fruits. Lay the fruit out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and set the oven to its lowest setting, usually 150 degrees, and let the fruit dry. For apples, you may want to bump the temp up to 200 or 225.

After a few hours, check the fruit and flip the pieces over so that it dries evenly. Once it snaps when you try to bend it, it’s done.

Sun Drying

Sun drying isn’t that great for some foods because they require higher temperatures but it’s a good method for dehydrating fruits. You need warm weather – the temperature needs to be at least 85 degrees F and the humidity needs to be less than 60 percent.

You’ll need clean racks or screens to place the fruit on and to cover it with. I use screen-covered racks because then I don’t have to worry about bugs getting it from the top or the bottom, and I can flip it over so that each side is getting an equal amount of sun.

If you have a fan that you can place in front of it (without blowing sand or dirt over the food), then that’s great. Place the racks on cinder blocks, point the fan on it if you have one, and let the fruit dry.

Bring it in at night before the dew sets, and set it out as soon as the sun is out the next morning. You won’t be able to get the fruit past leathery using this method unless you live in an extremely dry, hot environment.

drief fruits

Extending Shelf Life of Dehydrated Fruits

Even though you’ve removed as much moisture from the fruit as you can, the problem is that there is more than 3 percent moisture in the air pretty much regardless of where you live. Your fruit will reabsorb that moisture and spoil.

In order to prevent that, you need to store your dehydrated fruit in an airtight container, preferably one in which as much air as possible has been removed. You have a few options. You can vacuum seal it using a home vacuum sealer, you can use Mylar bags, or you can dry-can them. Any of these methods will extend the life of your fruit by several months.

Vacuum sealing is good because it keeps the fruit lightweight. If you opt to do this, store the individual bags in a 5-gallon bucket in order to keep bugs and rodents from chewing through the bags. For directions on dry canning, check out our article here.

Rehydrating Fruits

Sure, your fruits are great to eat dehydrated as a snack, but you can also rehydrate them to use in recipes such as pies, sauces, baked goods or anything else that you want to make.

Essentially, you just need to reverse the process by soaking them in water. Different fruits require different times, but for some ideas, we go into a bit more detail here.

Dehydrating those delicious summer fruits is a great way to bring back a bite of summer when the snow gets deep and the days are cold. Because the heat is low during the process, much of the nutrition in the fruits is maintained. You can eat them dry or rehydrate them; it’s up to you.

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If you’re a seasoned dehydrator and would like to add something, or if you’re new to the game and have questions, let us know in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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How To Build Up Your Food Reserves For Everyday Use

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Having a stockpile of food on hand for emergencies is essential. But, it’s not the only step to ensuring your family can eat if a food crisis arises.

You also need a pantry of food reserves intended for everyday use.

What’s the Difference Between a Pantry of Food Reserves and a Food Stockpile?

Some preppers might use the terms food reserves and food stockpile interchangeably, but in my mind they’re different. Let me explain.

My food stockpile consists of much food designed for emergency rations. It’s long lasting, and stored securely out of the way of pests. Some is packed in go bags, or directly in the car.

This stockpile is food that I know the family will eat, but it’s not something we eat all the time. Food in my stockpile typically costs more than I’m willing to spend on food for daily consumption. It’s truly for emergencies.

Conversely, my food reserves are in the kitchen pantry cupboards, ready to feed my family on a daily basis. They’re canned good, shelf-stable staples, and other items that we use routinely. They even include items in my fridge and freezer—things we use frequently.

My reserves aren’t stored to last for decades, because I plan on using them up well before then. It’s food that’s needed to create the meals on my annual meal plan.

These reserves are more short-term than long-term. They’re how I fight back against rising food prices, and save gas by not having to constantly drive an hour to the store. It’s how I can throw together quick meals to avoid the expense of going out to eat.

As long as my pantry is stocked, I don’t ever have to worry about my family going hungry.

How to Begin Building a Pantry

If you currently don’t have a lot of food on hand, the idea of creating a well-stocked pantry may be overwhelming. But, by taking it one baby step at a time, you can get to the point where you don’t have to go to the store every week. You may even stop going to the store for a couple months at a time.

Sit down for a bit and think. You’re going to want notes, so grab a piece of paper, your favorite notes app on your phone, or your computer. Once you’re ready, here’s what I want you to think about.

1. What Does a Typical Day’s Food Look Like in Your Home?

Are you currently cooking three meals a day from scratch? Are the kids eating lunch at school while you’re going out to eat? Does dinner come in a box?

There are no right or wrong answers right now, so answer honestly. What does your family eat in a typical day?

If you aren’t sure, you might need to spend a day creating a simple food journal. Just write down everything you eat all day long. Indicate if your family members joined you, or if you were on your own.

Once you have a general idea of what your family eats in a day, it’s time to do some analyzing.

2. How Much of that Food Was in Your Pantry?

Look over the list of consumed foods. Put a star next to everything that was in your pantry. Also circle anything that you grew on your own, or produced on your property.

3. What Does Your Family Enjoy Eating?

Now that you have a better idea of how much food from your pantry you’re already using, it’s time to think about food your family actually enjoys. This step is important because if you fill your pantry with food your family despises, you won’t use those food reserves. You’ll actually have wasted money on food that likely won’t be used before it expires. That sort of defeats the purpose.

If you’re already a meal planner, you can pull out several of your old meal plans and look over which meals your family enjoyed. If not, take a few minutes now to write down several meals that your family enjoys. Try to think about breakfast, lunch, and dinner to ensure you’re prepared for each meal of the day.

Once you’ve created your list, look for similarities. Are there several recipes that use oats? Or that use a particular type of bean?

Those items need to be in your pantry! They’re items you use in multiple dishes, and you know you’ll eat.

Is Building a Pantry of Food Reserves Expensive?

If you have nothing in your cupboards and plan on adding a month’s worth of staples, then yes—building a pantry can be expensive.

But, it doesn’t have to be. You can start slowly—adding a few extra cans or bags to your grocery cart each time you go shopping.

Look for bargains on what you know you’ll eat. If you find cans of tomato sauce marked down, buy as much as you can. Look for deals on flour, rice, and spices.

If you only buy items for your pantry when they’re at their lowest price point, you’ll save money in the long run.

How I Tackle Pantry Building

I live in the middle of nowhere, and it costs money to get to the store. This realization helped shape my current pantry building routine. I now try to shop only once a month. My goal of each trip is to ensure my pantry is well-stocked enough that I can go 6-8 weeks without visiting the store.

Though I usually shop more frequently, I love knowing that I don’t have to. It’s been especially helpful if the kids are sick when I’m planning on going to the store.

But how did I get to this point? Let me walk you through what works for me in hopes it’ll inspire you to create a plan that works for you.

food storage

An Annual Meal Plan

I hate meal planning. I know it saves money, but it’s not something I enjoy. So I learned how to minimize the amount of time spent meal planning.

The kids and I work every July to create an annual meal plan. We pick a breakfast for each day of the week. That means we eat the same breakfast every Tuesday for a year.

With seven breakfast options, it’s not nearly as boring as it sounds. We do the same process for lunch.

Dinner is planned around a theme; such as noodle night. We pick four or five meals for each theme. At this stage in my life, I tend to stick with simple meals as often as possible.

So for noodle night, we may have spaghetti and meatballs one week, and beef stroganoff the next week.

A Shopping List

Once our meals our planned, I begin creating my shopping list. By the time I’m done, I know how much of any one item I’m going to need for a month’s worth of meals. I know what I need to buy when I go to the store.

By using a little basic math, I can easily extrapolate how much I’ll need for a year. That means when spaghetti noodles go on sale by the case, I can accurately predict how much we’ll go through in a year. And I buy that many.

Now I don’t have to buy spaghetti for a long time. I can take the money I was using to buy spaghetti each month and put it towards another staple. Doing this allows me to continue to build a stockpile without spending an arm and a leg.

I’m buying what I know we’ll use before the expiration date rolls around. But more importantly, I’m buying food that already has a purpose.

That keeps me from stocking up on canned kidney beans just because they’re on sale. No one in my house really likes kidney beans. Before I figured out this food reserves thing, I had a dozen cans just sitting on my pantry shelf. I bought them because I knew I should have food on hand.

But just having food on hand doesn’t actually help feed your family on a daily basis if it’s food they don’t like. A shopping list will help you be wise as you build your pantry.

Building Food Reserves at Different Seasons

Because of the snow we get here, it’s much more difficult for me to go to the store regularly in the winter. That means I spend my summer and fall building even more of a reserve.

Conversely, in the summer I’m able to grow more of our own food. Our chickens are laying at their peak production. Our cow is putting out a lot more milk.

There’s also a ton of edibles growing in the forest. I don’t need to worry about having as much food on hand, because I know we can eat emergency meals based on what we produce if necessary. That’s why I picked July to redo our food plans.

I can let our stores get used up leading into summer. I make sure we use the last of things I won’t need again with the new menu. I’m able to save some grocery dollars this way.

Then, when I’m ready to start building a new year’s worth of reserves in August, I have extra money to use.

Spend some time thinking about the seasons where you live. Are there months when you’re without an income due to seasonal employment? Are there months where flu season is running so rampant that you don’t want to leave your house any more than necessary?

Do you visit a farmer’s market in the summer or participate in a local CSA? Do you grow your own food during some seasons?

Think about your year, and the highs and lows you have. You can prepare for these seasons by having food reserves on hand. A well-stocked pantry helps you make it through the rough patches in life.

Where Do You Live?

Where you live also impacts your needed reserves. Think through the amount of space you have on hand. You may have to get creative to store your extra food.

If you grow and preserve much of your food, your shopping list will be different than a family who lives in an urban setting.

Start Filling Your Pantry

You know now what kinds of food your family eats regularly. You have an idea of what meals you can make and know that everyone will eat.

You’re ready to start filling your pantry. Start slowly, and buy as much extra as your budget allows.

Try to buy food when it’s on sale, and only buy food that you’ll actually eat.

How did you start building your food reserves? If your pantry is ready to sustain your family in the midst of a mini-crisis, please tell us how you started in the comments section below.

If you haven’t yet started, is there a particular question you have about building your reserves? Chime in in the comments, and other readers can help!

And click on the banner below to find out how our ancestors planned their food reserves for survival!

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This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia.

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Important Tips For Home Canning Sweet Foods

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jelly

Who doesn’t love jams, jellies, pickled beets and other sweet goodies, especially if they’re homemade? As homesteaders and preppers, we’re all about storing our own foods.

Different types of foods require different techniques. Home canning sweet foods is no different.

The thing about sweet foods is that they’re likely acidic. Nearly all fruits are high in acid, which makes them easy to can, even over an open fire. You don’t have to use a pressurized canner like you would with meats or low-acid vegetables, but you do need to take some extra precautions because mold and bad bacteria like sweet stuff.

Since you may want to can sweet foods in different forms (whole, jellied, etc.) we thought it might be a good idea to touch on some of the special needs of these particular foods.

The most important key to successfully canning anything is to hygiene. All utensils and jars have to be thoroughly cleaned and as sterile as possible so that your products don’t go bad. With fruits, you always want to use a ripe product, with no bruising.

Canning Jellies and Jams

There are two primary concerns when you’re canning jellies and jams: getting them to seal, and getting them to thicken. The sealing part is an easy fix, though if you’re a first-time canner, you want to be extra careful so that you don’t ruin all of your hard work just to find that you didn’t get a good seal.

Getting Canned Jams and Jellies to Seal

The first key is to use good quality jars that have no chips or cracks on the rim, or on any other part of the jar for that matter. You can check this off by visually inspecting the jars.

The second reason that your jars may not seal is because you didn’t get all of the juice off of the rims of the jars before you put the seals on. This is a bit harder to fix, but you just need to be thorough.

Use a clean damp towel to wipe each rim well. I usually do this twice, with two different towels, to make sure that I get them clean, then I follow up with a dry towel. My mom, whose been canning for upwards of 50 years now, calls it overkill, but after one time of re-canning an entire batch of jam so that it wouldn’t go bad, I’d rather take the extra steps.

Finally, to make sure that you get a good seal, heat your seals in warm water, if you’re using the standard kind. This makes the seal a bit gummy so that it adheres and seals to the jar better. Make sure that the water that you heat them in is clean.

Note: Completely off topic, sort of, but I recently discovered how to make rose jelly, which is absolutely delicious as well as beautiful. I didn’t even know that roses were edible until I stumbled upon the information via a friend.

How to Make Jams and Jellies Thicken Properly

This is another stumbling block for many new home canners. Nothing is more disappointing than to open up a beautifully sealed jar of jelly to find that it’s more juice. You can also go the other direction and cook it too long so that it’s more like taffy. There are two components to thickening: sugar thickens it and pectin gels it. Getting your jams and jellies just right is easy as long as you use the right amounts of sugar and pectin and you pay attention.

  • Pectin is a natural fiber found in fruits and vegetables that give the cell walls structure. Some fruits, such as blueberries, cranberries, and apples have enough pectin in them that you don’t need to add extra. Low-pectin fruits such as strawberries and pears either need to be canned with high-pectin fruit or have pectin added to them so that they gel.
  • Use the spoon method to tell when your jams and jellies are done. While you’re cooking your jellies, do the spoon test. If your sauce runs off of your spoon easily, it’s not done. If it drips slowly off and forms a drip off of the bottom of the spoon that drips off slowly, it’s either done, or super close to being done.
  • Use the freezer method. This isn’t one of my favorite methods because if your jelly is done, you’ve overcooked it by the time the test is done, but here’s how to do it. When you put your fruit on to cook, put a couple of saucers in the freezer.

When you think that it’s almost done, pull the plate from the freezer and put a blop of jelly on the plate. Stick it back in the freezer for a couple of minutes and if it’s jelly consistency, it’s done. Cut the heat on your jelly while you’re waiting.

  • Use a candy thermometer. This is my preferred method because it keeps me from overcooking my jams. Sugar is able to bind with pectin, both naturally present and added, at 220 degrees F. Use this in conjunction with the spoon method and you’re much more likely to end up with a good consistency.
  • Don’t freak out if your jelly isn’t firm as soon as it comes out of the canner. It can take a few days for it to set properly.
  • Don’t go the other direction and cook it too much either, remember, sugar is the main ingredient in candy and the last thing you want is strawberry candy instead of strawberry jam!

info jelly

Canning Whole Sweet Foods

Jams and jellies are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to home canning sweet foods. What if you want to preserve those beautiful peaches and pears so that you can eat them or bake with them throughout the year? Again, it’s a lot of hard work but the process isn’t difficult.

Tip: Stone fruits are much easier to peel if you blanch them first. That just means dipping them in boiling water for a few seconds. Peaches, apricots, nectarines and plums that are blanched will slip right out of their skins, saving you time and waste.

There are a couple of different ways to can fresh fruit. You can hot pack them, or raw pack them. Which method you choose depends largely on the type of fruit and what you want to use it for. Usually, it’s just a matter of personal preference.

Raw packing is easier, but your fruit may turn brown because there’s a greater chance of air. Just peel them, remove the seed, and slice them (or halve them), then stuff them in the jar and add sugar water. Some people sprinkle sugar over them as they layer them in the jars, then just add hot water. It’s a matter of what you prefer to do.

Hot packing is more work but may end up with a fresher tasting, prettier product. Cooking the foods for a few minutes releases the air from the fibers of the fruit, shrinks the fruit, and helps with the seal.

If you want to make apple pie filling, you’ll want to hot pack them because you want to cook the apples so that the syrup thickens and the spices soak in. This means that you cook the apple pie mixture, then put it in the jars hot.

Here are some tips to help you successfully can whole fruits:

  • If you’re packing the fruit in syrup, make sure that it’s a light or medium syrup because when canned in heavy syrups, the fruit will float to the top. This will also happen if the jars aren’t packed tightly enough.
  • Another problem that you may encounter when raw packing is trapped air. We all know that air is not a good thing when canning. As a matter of fact, it contributes to several different situations in canned foods that can kill you. To help avoid this, slide a spatula or spoon down the insides of the jars to release any air pockets.
  • As your fruit processes, the syrup is going to expand, so you need to leave a half-inch or so of headspace to allow for that.
  • On the other hand, your syrup may cook down so that there’s not enough in the jar to cover the fruit. To combat this, make sure that you get as much air as possible out of the jar before sealing, and keep the jars covered with water while processing.

I hope that you’ve learned a bit about canning sweet foods that are delicious, nutritious, and beautiful. If you have anything to add, please feel free to do so in the comments section below.

And click on the banner below for more old tips on food preserving for survival!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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How To Store Flour, Sugar And Rice For Survival

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Survivopedia store rice

In addition to your garden, if you have sugar, salt, and rice, plus some chickens and a milk cow (a few beef cows or  canned meats would really put you up there), you have everything that you need to survive.

The thing about sugar, salt, and rice is that you can’t really produce it yourself without a lot of acreage, ideal conditions, and a ton of work, so you need to stockpile them.

Fortunately, all three of them are relatively cheap, especially if you buy in bulk. The problem is how to store flour, sugar, and rice for the long-term. All three of these items are sensitive to moisture and well-loved by critters of all sorts, so it’s imperative that you keep them sealed in a manner that won’t allow them to be eaten or ruined by moisture.

This point was driven home to me just the other day when I opened a new bag of flour to make biscuits. It hadn’t been on the shelf for more than a few months, yet when I dumped it into the bowl, I noticed little black bugs in it. Now I’m not a picky eater by any means, but I draw the line at bug biscuits. I guess I’ve just never been that hungry.

And if I have my say, I never will be. I learned my lesson – now all of my flour, even the smaller bags, go straight into a plastic container. That’s not the only way to store any of these items though. As a matter of fact, I’ve discovered a few pretty nifty tricks that I’m going to share with you!

Check flour, sugar, and rice before you store it

This is a big deal. I say so because I’ve bought both buggy rice and flour in the past, and ended up having to throw away most of the stuff in the cabinet because they infested all of my dry goods that were either boxed or open.

It would have REALLY upset me if I’d been pouring it into my storage bin with other flour or rice because then I would have lost all of it. Since those two incidents, I’ve been really careful about checking for bugs before I even put it in my cabinets. This is a concern for beans and pasta too, so take a look at them all before you toss them on the shelves.

You can check the rice and beans at the store before you buy it  – just look for the bugs in the bottom of the bag. Flour, sugar, and pasta isn’t so easy. Pasta gets kind of a whitish, dry, brittle appearance when it’s buggy, so that my help you avoid buying buggy noodles.

If you’re going to pour a bag of dry goods into a larger container, I’d highly suggest pouring it into a big bowl and checking it before just tossing it in with the rest of your batch.

Store flour, sugar, and rice in plastic buckets

5 gallon buckets rock – that’s just all there is to it. When it comes to a great survival item, they rank right up there with duct tape as far as I’m concerned, at least when we’re talking about non-portable items. The great thing about 5 gallon buckets is that you can get them for free from local restaurants and bakeries.

If they happen to smell like pickles or whatever else was stored in them, scrub them good with some soapy bleach water and rinse well. If they still smell a bit weird, put a box of baking soda or some charcoal in it, put the lid on, and let it sit overnight. It’ll smell fine the next day.

When you’re getting your buckets, make sure they’re food-grade and make sure that they have a rubber seal around the inside of the lid. Most do, but check to make sure before you store your dried goods in them. If you have trouble getting the lids off, you can actually buy a tool specifically designed to help you with that.

You can also buy gamma lids, which seal, and then part of the lid screws on and off so that you don’t have to struggle with removing the whole lid. They’re a little pricey but if you get your bucket for free, then it may be worth it to you.
storage

Dry-Can Flour, Rice, and Sugar

This is a good method if you want to store your dry goods in smaller containers that you’ll use quickly. I wrote an article about safe dry-canning a while back that gives you specific instructions on how to do it.

Vacuum Packing

I think that vacuum packing is a great idea but, after having been raised in WV where the mice have no shame and in Florida where they’re actually armed, I’m not a huge fan of using vacuum packing as the only method of storage. We’ve written an article that gives you some great ideas to keep the mice away here.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s a great way to extend shelf-life but if you’re going to vacuum seal your dried goods, throw the in a 5-gallon bucket to keep the critters from eating through the plastic. Then you’d have the best of both worlds – small, lightweight, portable portions stored securely in one larger space that nothing will chew through.

Mylar Bags

I know that Mylar bags seem to be the direction that everybody is heading and I can’t deny that they’re a great way to store food, but the cost of them is prohibitive for me. However, if you don’t mind paying a bit more, then by all means, jump on it. They’re certainly more secure than just vacuum sealing. As a matter of fact, they can preserve food for up to 15 years, so that’s a definite check in the bonus column. Again, I’d use the buckets to store the bags.

Barrels and Drums

Since I’m typically the “if it’s free, it’s for me” type of girl, I didn’t realize until recently that there was such a great selection of food-grade barrels and drums that came in sizes other than 5 gallons and 55 gallons. I don’t mean to sound out of the loop, but it just never occurred to me to check it out until I was looking for smaller rain barrels.

It turns out that you can buy them in just about any size in between, and they’re made for both food AND water, so you have a wide array of fairly affordable options that suit your needs no matter how much space you have or food you want to store.

Shelf Life of Flour, Sugar, and Rice

This is probably something that you haven’t given a lot of thought to, but shelf life is pretty important when you’re talking about long-term storage. As always, practice the FIFO (First in, first out) method of stockpiling.

That aside, sugar and white rice (along with several other great foods discussed here) have a shelf lives of literally forever as far as anyone knows, but flour and brown rice are only good for about 15 months. After that, both will start to go rancid. Though both may last longer, especially if stored in airtight containers in cool, dark environments, you’ll know if either have gone bad because they’ll smell sour.

This lends credence to the ideas of canning, or to vacuum sealing, then storing in buckets because both canning a vacuum sealing keep out the air that facilitates spoilage.

Did I miss anything, or do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments section below!

And click on the banner below to learn how our ancestors used to store their food for survival!

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The Secrets You Need To Know About Fermenting Food

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Survivopedia food fermentation

Foods have been fermented for centuries. It was used originally for preservation but modern knowledge about nutrition has revealed that fermentation provides several nutrients including probiotics, or good bacteria, that helps keep your GI tract healthy.

For survival purposes, this makes it a no-brainer but there are some things that you need to know to safely and effectively ferment foods at home.

What is Fermenting?

Fermenting is actually fairly similar to wine making, except it’s easier and you don’t need as much specialized equipment. Fermentation takes place during a process called lacto-fermentation, in which natural bacteria feed off of the sugar and other carbohydrates in the food to create lactic acid. All you need is the produce, the starter, water, and an anaerobic (air-free) environment.

Some foods are fermented using sugar as a starter, and some are preserved using salt, whey, or even seaweed. Obviously, sauerkraut is salty, but wine is sweet. In a pinch, most foods don’t need the starter because they will eventually create the starter themselves. It’s already on the skin of the produce. Salt does, however, speed up the process and help keep the food crunchy.

Fermentation preserves the nutrients in the food. It also creates other nutrients including essential Omega-3 fatty acids that your body needs but can’t produce, B vitamins, and enzymes that help with digestion. The probiotics created during the process help keep the bacteria in your GI tract in balance.

Fermentation creates a unique, pungent flavor that you may initially find overwhelming (think sauerkraut) but once you get past that, you’ll find that the flavors are actually quite delicious.

What’s the Difference between Fermenting and Pickling?

This gets bit confusing, especially when you think about the fact that salt is used in the fermentation process. So, simply put, the difference between pickling and fermenting is that pickled foods are preserved in an acidic medium such as vinegar. Fermented foods create their own acidic liquid during the fermentation process.

This process is why fermented foods have the wonderful probiotics and other enzymes that pickled foods don’t.

Also, there is no heating or canning process necessary for fermentation. In fact, heating fermented foods in order to can them will likely kill the enzymes.

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What Foods Can Be Fermented?

When you think of fermenting, foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, ginger, and kimchi probably pop into mind. You may be surprised to learn that cheese, salami, bread, vinegar, and olives are other examples of fermented foods. Wine is included in there, too.  Just about any vegetable or fruit can be fermented, but not all of them, such as leafy greens, taste good.

Today, we’re concentrating on fermenting vegetables. Here are some examples of foods that ferment well:

  • Cabbage
  • Cucumbers
  • Okra
  • String beans
  • Green tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Parsnips
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Beets
  • Peppers
  • Sweet potatoes/yams
  • Ketchup

You don’t have to use just one vegetable at a time; you can combine them to create chutneys and vegetable blends.

When it comes to fruit, you can most certainly ferment them, but they need to be consumed quickly before the fermentation process turns the sugar to alcohol. You probably don’t want the kids to get drunk off the strawberries.

What Vessels Are Good for Fermentation?

Two of the best vessels to allow your food to ferment in are glass canning jars and stone crocks. You absolutely do not want to use plastic because chemicals can leach into you foods. Metal aren’t good either because the salt corrodes them.

If you choose to use canning jars, use the wide-mouthed variety. You need to use your hand or a tool to pack the veggies tightly. Self-sealing jars are ideal because they lock the air out.

If you use stone crocks, use ones that are glazed inside and, preferably, have airlocks with a release system. You can buy these online and they help you control the fermentation process by making the environment anaerobic. That being said, you can use a standard stone crock. Just make sure that the vegetables are weighted so that they stay submerged so that they ferment, and covered so that bugs can’t get into the brine.

Tips for Fermenting Food at Home

Though fermenting food is almost bulletproof, there are some steps that you can take to make the process more successful and ensure that the food is properly preserved.

  1. How you slice, dice, or cube your veggies doesn’t really matter as long as you keep the pieces fairly uniform so that they ferment at the same pace. Dense vegetables such as turnips, carrots, and beets should be sliced, diced or chopped so that the lactic acid can reach the center.
  2. Keep food submerged in the brine. This is important because food left above the brine will spoil instead of ferment and will ruin the batch.
  3. Fermented foods are acidic and need to have a pH of at least 4.6 or lower.
  4. Though botulism found in home-fermented tofu and other bean products is one of the top causes of food-borne illnesses in china, there’s only been one reported case in the US. Still, follow refrigeration and preservation protocols to avoid this. Botulism is not your friend!
  5. If your food has slime, mold (yeah, some people say it’s fine, but experts say don’t risk it for home fermenting), a creamy white film, a yeasty smell, or your cabbage is brown or pink, it didn’t ferment correctly and isn’t safe to eat. A white film on top is OK as long as there’s no slime.
  6. Be careful if using sealed containers because the fermentation process releases gases that can cause your container or seal to blow. Using airlock devices helps with this.
  7. A film of olive oil across the top of your brine lets gas out while keeping oxygen from getting in.
  8. Though many recipes may call for a starter, you may not want to buy one, or you may not have access to a retailer in a SHTF situation. You don’t really need one – it just hastens the process that will occur anyway.
  9. Don’t forget to sterilize everything that comes into contact with your food, including the jars, utensils, table top and weight. Wash your hands well, too.

How to Ferment Your Food

plumsNow we’re getting down to the good stuff.

There is no blanket recipe for fermenting foods because some veggies obviously already have a lower pH than others.

These foods won’t need as much salt. You’ll also see recipes that call for whey or a starter.

Both of these are to add extra bacteria to get the fermentation process started.

The veggies will do this on their own if you ferment them correctly, so you don’t necessarily need them. Salt is used for preservation.

There are a couple of different ways to begin the fermentation process: You can make salt water brine, or you can salt the produce and use the natural juices from the produce to make the brine.

If using salt brine, simply add 1-3 tablespoons of salt per quart of water. Pack veggies tightly into container, cover with brine, weight the veggies with a heavy plate (you can add a freezer bag full of water to the plate to help weight it if you need to, or a sterilized rock), then let it ferment as follows.

Here are the steps for using the natural juices.

  1. Choose your vegetables. Use only organic produce to ensure that there are no chemicals and the good bacteria can flourish.
  2. Begin by chopping or slicing your food in whatever manner suits you, as long as the brine can penetrate. Are you going to eat it as a relish or in the form of slices on a sandwich? Prepare you food according to what you’re going to use it for.
  3. If you’re using whole vegetables, pack them into your jars or crock. If not, salt your vegetables in layers as you slice them to draw out the moisture, then squeeze, knead, or mash the juice out of your produce and place it into your fermentation container. This will be your brine.
  4. The amount of salt you use depends on the product, but a good rule of thumb is to use 1-3 tablespoons per quart of food or brine. Any type of course sea salt (gray, black, pink, or red), or Himalayan Salt is a good choice if you don’t want the food to taste super salty.

You can use whatever salt you like as long as you make sure that it’s pure salt – no anti-caking agents or any additives. As long as you reach the proper pH, the level of salt is a matter of personal taste. Salty sauerkraut may be fine, but you don’t want your chutney to be so overpowering. Experiment to find what you like.

  1. Tightly pack the food into a fermenting crock or jar and cover completely with the brine.
  2. Add the airlock lids or, if you’re using another type of container, weight the food with a plate or whatever you want to use (not plastic) so that the food stays under the brine. The liquid, and even the veggies, will likely expand during the process, so prepare for that.
  3. Let the veggies ferment and ripen for 7-30 days in a dark place at room temperature. When they process is complete, refrigerate, vacuum can, or store in a cool, dark place. Fermented foods can keep for months.

The Three Fermentation Stages

As I said above, the fermentation process can take anywhere from 3-30 days. This varies depending upon room temperatures and vegetables. During the first stage of fermentation, you’ll notice bubbles. Next, you’ll notice a pleasant, sour aroma. It shouldn’t be yeasty, exactly.

Finally, you’ll notice a sour, tangy flavor. Smell and taste your fermenting veggies daily if you can so that you know when they’re to a stage that you like. If you smell anything rotten, the process has failed. Throw it out.

After your fermented veggies are finished, store them in the fridge, or at least in a cool, dark cellar.

Now you know how to ferment foods at home! But wait, there are more survival secrets to learn from our ancestors! Click on the banner below to discover them!

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Stories To Learn From: WWII Survival On The Home Front

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SVP one nation

Life in Detroit back in the early 40s was idyllic for most—far different than it is today.

America was clawing its way out of the Great Depression and President Franklin D. Roosevelt calmed fears with his homey fireside chats on the radio. Americans were hardy and most exhibited strong work ethic. They had little money, but families stuck together—helped each other, and helped their neighbors as well.

From Promise to War

Kids didn’t have cell phones, IPads, computers, notebooks, X-boxes, video games, cable TV—they didn’t even have TV back then—radio was their communication medium. They played outside with their friends. And they made up most of their games. Marbles and “hide-and-seek” were popular. They walked or rode bikes to see their friends. And no-one locked their house doors. All the kids could play outside until the street lights came on. Then they had to return home.

Parents sat on porches, visited with passing neighbors, and watched children play in the neighborhood. Everyone felt safe and secure. If a child disobeyed, any parent in the neighborhood could discipline the child—including spanking. Then when the child got home, they were given another spanking by their own parents.

They didn’t sue each other at the drop of a hat. They learned discipline and respect for adults and the law. And they learned how to survive as a group.

The year 1940 was a good year for America—full of promise. The country was getting back to work, and the Great Depression was fading into history. The window to the world was the radio and families crowded around the big box in the front room every night to listen to their favorite programs—Jack Benny, The Lone Ranger, Fibber McGee and Mollie, and The Shadow.

Every Sunday afternoon, a radio announcer would read the comic section of the local paper—people called them “the funnies.”—imitating the voices of the characters as the children laid on the floor and read along. And most families were poor but content.

Then came Pearl Harbor and suddenly our country was thrust into a long, bitter, and violent war. My older brother remembers when the president announced to the world that America had been attacked and uttered his famous statement: “December 7th, 1941, a day that shall live in infamy …” My brother doesn’t remember what was said, but at one year old, he felt the anger and fear that filled our home.

Video first seen on War Archives.

Soon over a million young Americans were putting on uniforms and going off to fight the Germans in Europe and the Japanese in the South Pacific. Eventually almost 14 million would serve. Our dad joined the fight and spent almost two years in action in the Pacific—particularly Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

We were no longer Catholic or Protestant, Jew or atheist. We were no longer Republican, or Democrat, and our skin color or where we grew up didn’t matter. We were all Americans. We were all in this together, and we intended to win. We were at war.

As American involvement increased, the government soon realized we were rapidly expending vital resources sending men, machines, supplies, and food overseas. Washington knew our resources were limited—although manufacturing immediately ramped up, and 3.5 million women went to work—so an Office of Price Administration was established with directions to ration vital resources. Production of new cars was halted during the War so plants could manufacture planes, guns, tanks, and ships.

food stamps

When President Roosevelt announced to the country that America would begin rationing, my mother knew instinctively what to do. As a Canadian who grew up on a Mennonite farm where the family grew its own food and scrimped and saved, it wasn’t difficult to repeat this lifestyle.  Her family in Detroit joined other Americans—mostly immigrants like her—and cut back on the use of meat, fuel, sugar, coffee, shoes, rubber, and other consumer goods so the troops “would have enough.”

The federal government established War Price and Rationing boards in every community to verify and certify households and issue ration books to buy certain commodities. All heads of households were required to register for ration books containing ration stamps. Each stamp had a simple drawing of a plane, ship, gun, tank, wheat stalk, fruit, or alphanumeric lettering, and a serial number.

The stamps were printed in color—red for meat and butter, blue for processed foods, and gray for general commodities. People could purchase rationed products by using ration stamps or compressed wood fiber token representations of ration points and cash. Tokens were used as change for ration stamps because metal was in such short supply.

Sugar was rationed first—one half pound per person per week—half what people normally consumed. One #30 stamp from book 4 plus cash would get you 5 pounds of sugar. Then chocolate was rationed. Chocolate was being used to make chocolate candy bars for the military. Even coffee was rationed—one pound every 5 weeks.

The national speed limit was reduced to 35 mph to minimize tire wear. The Japanese had taken over all the rubber plantations in Indonesia so rubber was very difficult to obtain. Nylon was needed for parachutes and gun powder bags so sale to civilians was quickly banned. Even after the war in 1945, women’s nylons were not available until late 1947.

Gasoline was carefully rationed based on five levels of need.

  • A letter sticker on the windshield identified the level of need. “A” stickers had the lowest priority. The car owner could purchase up to 4 gallons a week. Gas cost 12¢ a gallon back then.
  • “B” stickers were for people working in the defense industry. They could buy up to 8 gallons a week.
  • “C” was reserved for doctors, who were deemed essential to the war effort.
  • “T” stickers were on trucks. They could buy all the gas they needed.
  • An “X” sticker gave the holder unlimited access to gas. This sticker was for defense workers, fire fighters, police officers, and ministers. A scandal erupted when about 200 members of Congress were found to be illegally using X ration stamps. Some felt they were above the law.

To help fund the War, children purchased 10¢ victory stamps and pasted them in Victory Book albums that were exchanged for $25 War Savings Bonds when all the stamp spaces were filled. Schools and veteran groups conducted scrap paper drives to extend our supply of paper packing material, and others collected scrap metal for recycling.

Even bacon grease was saved and donated to butchers who collected it and provided it to rendering companies that processed it into glycerine, a substance used for explosives. Some families also used the fat in bacon grease to make soap. My mother did this and used this soap to clean the floors. Because meat, oil, and butter were rationed, she re-used the fat for frying as much as possible before pouring it into a can and turning it into our butcher.

The Lessons We Learned

We became accustomed to shortages and soon more vital commodities were rationed. Adults were allowed 2-1/2 pounds of red meat each week (if it was available). Hamburger cost about 43¢ a pound plus 8 points in ration stamps. Pork chops cost 37¢ a pound plus 7 points in stamps.

Americans found ways to cope. And we found creative ways to make meals. Very few people complained. We considered shortage an inconvenience but not devastating. We shared, we re-purposed old clothes, we handed clothes down to younger kids, we made clothing out of feedbags, we used rags to make warm quilts, and we put cardboard in our shoes to make them last longer. We made do with what we had or made what we needed. This included much of our food.

As the War dragged on, access to even more goods became restricted. In 1943 the government began rationing canned goods. Each person was allocated 48 points of ration stamps per month to buy canned, dried, and frozen food. And people were encouraged to plant gardens in every back yard. President Roosevelt urged all Americans to start “victory gardens” to grow enough fruits and vegetables to help sustain a family through the winter. Posters hung on walls and buildings saying “Plant a Victory Garden – A Garden Will Make Your Rations Go Further.”

A Victory Garden Institute handbook was created with a patriotic red, white, and blue cover. It told people how to start and maintain a home garden. Over 20 million Americans planted gardens in backyards, empty lots, in flower beds, and on rooftops. My mother fell back on her Mennonite upbringing and began to improve soil, compost, and journal her gardening successes and failures.

Today my mother’s journal is a treasure trove of good sage advice for optimum planting, harvesting, and bug control. People talked with their neighbors and like my own parents, millions of Americans grew gardens to produce as much food as they could. If they could produce over five percent of their own food, they felt good. If they could grow over 20% of their own food, they became ecstatic. They shared garden harvests and they taught others how to replicate their success.

Victory-gardenBy 1944, about 40% of food for America came from Victory Gardens. This program was a huge success—many emigrants were doing this before the government acted and established policies.

Many of them were drying and canning foods from the time they arrived in this country. So when Roosevelt urged all Americans to preserve foods, many thought, “Yes, we already are.”

Then they expanded their food preservation operations.

Home canning became a major food processing industry, and canning was occurring almost every day. By the end of the War, my mother was canning about 200 jars of food each summer. The family constructed a pantry to hold food stuffs, and we never went hungry. By agreeing to produce four quarts of canned fruit per pound of sugar used, she and other like households could receive extra sugar allotments. We ate well.

Americans are highly adaptable, and we survived rationing and victory gardens quite well. Today the victory garden concept is growing popular once more as people realize that the healthiest foods available are those grown at home.

Just like our grandparents who found ways to survive the Great Depression, adults living when WWII ended carried with them valuable lessons for the future. They hoped for the best, but prepared for the worst.

They identified with their local community, and they learned who had the skills they may need. One skilled person welded and repaired most of the vehicles, wagons, and toys in our neighborhood. My mother conducted canning classes where she taught other women how to safely preserve garden produce and fruits. Before being drafted and shipped out, my father taught how to repair vehicles to get the most miles out of each gallon of gas.

Kids entertained themselves building forts and reading comic books playing together in groups of friends. No one was barred from joining the fun.  In the evening, neighbors gathered to play cards and board games. Everyone knew everyone else and all felt safe and secure in their close neighborhoods.

As Americans we respected faith, family, and community. We didn’t flaunt our religion. We respected all religions. And we accepted a duty to help others while living within our own means. We learned and taught new skills and we worked together to develop capabilities that would benefit all.

We never knowingly left any family without food, water, or shelter. But we expected each person to do everything they could for the benefit of all—to help carry their own load. And we corrected our own problems. There were those who abused the system, but because they lacked character and integrity, we moved beyond them and they were soon left behind. For us, we never felt alone. And we survived as a community.

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This article has been written by Robert Brenner for Survivopedia.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_garden

http://www.genealogytoday.com/guide/war-ration-books.html 

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How To Build A Portable Survival Garden

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survivopedia portable garden

There are several reasons why you’d want to build a portable garden, but today we’re going to focus on building a portable garden for bugging out.

Some of you may only have space in the back of your car or truck, and some of you have a hitch that can pull an entire shed or trailer.

If you’re planning on building a large portable survival garden, it should probably have walls for two reasons: you don’t want to damage your plants when traveling and you don’t want others to know that you have a truckload of food.

Weight and Size

The first thing that you need to consider when planning your portable garden, besides the space you’ll have available, is weight. How many people are going to be available to help you load up and how strong are they? Raised beds can get heavy fast when you factor in the weight of dirt along with the weight of the plants.

If you have access to a forklift or have plenty of people to help you load, then larger raised beds may not be an issue. If you’re going it  alone or with people who aren’t so strong, then you should probably go with small beds or some of the other options that I’ll discuss.

Size, of course, depends on how much space you have and how you’ll be transporting the plants. You won’t want to plan portable trellises or large beds if you’re going to put them in a truck bed, car, or low-roofed trailer. As with everything, think ahead when planning your portable survival garden.

Types of Portable Survival Gardens

There are several different methods  that you can use to grow your garden so that you can take it with you if you bug out. You can also combine methods so that you  can take more of your garden with you.

Potted Plants

poted plants

If you have limited space, you can always plant your veggies and spices in pots and hanging baskets. Since you can adapt the sizes of the pots to the size of the plants, this is a great way to make your plants portable, and to use space efficiently.

You can put the smaller planters in between the larger ones while transporting, or even put them in the floorboard of your car.

Portable Raised Bed Survival Gardens

There are a couple of different ways that you can make your raised beds portable. You can adjust the size to meet your needs and capabilities.

Portable Raised Beds on Stilts

First, you can make your raised bed survival garden small enough that you can pick them up and move them. This works great for plants that grow low to the ground or for short plants that can be grown close together such as peppers. Here’s an inexpensive, easy plan for building one.

The idea is similar to window boxes except they’ll be on the ground. Build them on stilts so that they’re easy to pick up. If you plant them on the ground, they’ll likely sink and be difficult to pick up. A huge advantage here is that you can load them into the back of the truck.

Larger Portable Raised Beds on Casters

If you go with a larger raised bed, you can put casters on the bottom to make them portable. If you go this route, it needs to be built on concrete or on placed on 2x4s so that the castors don’t sink in. Here’s a great instructable for portable raised beds. You can adjust the size to meet your needs.

raised bed

Vertical Gardening Made Portable

We’ve talked about vertical gardening before, but most types of plants grown vertically would travel well in the back of a truck or in a closed trailer. If you’re using potted plants, you can always pull them right off the latticework and carry them with you as described above.

diy vertical gardenThe only adjustments that you’ll have to make when planning a portable vertical garden versus a stationary one is ease of movement.

Of course, this isn’t an issue if you’re using potted plants but if you’re using vining plants, you need to make the vertical structure so that it’s easy to disassemble, or small enough that it will fit into whatever method of transportation that you’re using.

You should also use durable material to build the structure.

PVC works great because it’s light and can be built to disassemble.

Panel  grid wire is also a good choice because it’s light, sturdy, and comes in a variety of sizes. You can always cut it down to meet your needs.

Ladders are also another good option.

Portable Survival Garden Houses

I absolutely love this idea, but you’ll need a hitch and a vehicle with enough power to pull it. If you’re travelling on level roads, you won’t need as much horsepower as if you’re traveling on mountainous or hilly terrain.

Portable Greenhouses

greenhouse

You can buy or build a greenhouse fairly inexpensively and they’re multi-purpose. You can use them to extend growing periods in good times, but if things go south, you can always pack them up and go with them.

Portable greenhouses need to be a bit sturdier than the average greenhouse, so I’d recommend using Plexiglas instead of plastic sheeting. Buildeazy offers a free plan that is not only versatile, but you can also modify it to suit your size. It provides several different options for building materials, so that’s good, too. Remember that you’ll need a solid floor if it’s going to be portable.

If you really want to make a greenhouse portable, build it on a trailer base so that all you have to do is maintain the tires and hitch it to your truck if you need to go in a hurry. It’s also easy to load your vertical gardens, potted plants or gear into this, so you can use the space efficiently.

To add to the internal stability of the plants, I would probably modify the shelving so that the pots can be attached, or make them so that the plants sit down in the shelf. Just off the top of my head, I’d either cut pre-sized holes in the shelves or use some sort of sturdy wire mesh shelving that can be adapted with different size holes since most planters come in standard sizes.

Finally, this structure could actually serve as a shelter for wherever you’re going after you unload the plants. My imagination is running wild with the possibilities here; solar panels, rainwater collection systems, etc.

Tiny Homes

This idea kind of feeds off of the last one. If you really want to get the biggest bang out of your portable survival garden idea, then this is the way to go. There are many tiny homes that are built in such a way that many of the inside structures fold up to make them easier to transport.

You could, of course, transport small vertical plant structures, potted plants, window planters and even small raised beds inside of them and unload them when you arrive at your bug out destination.

tiny houseOne idea that I have, though, is to make a tiny house with a covered porch  that can be enclosed with hinged doors that open to provide a really cute serve as storage for such items as pots and pans, hanging plants, garden tools, or just about anything else that you’d want to hang.

In the meantime, when traveling, the doors would be closed and serve as additional storage for gear or plants.

Another house with this theme is shown in the article that I wrote about tiny houses.

The one in the picture is a bit pricey, but you could build it yourself for much less and adapt the size and insides to suit your needs. I even like the idea of the window planters on the outside, modified so that they can be covered for travel, of course.

Once you get to your bug out destination, you’d be ready to quite literally unpack an instant house and garden. Again, build it on wheels and add a hitch so that you can load up, hook up, and head out.

There are many different ways to make a portable survival garden; you just need to think a bit ahead and plan according to what transportation you have and what plants you want to take.

Think about the old ways our ancestors used for survival and click on the banner below to learn more of their secrets!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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How To Build Your Own Irrigation System

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Survivopedia diy irrigation system

In the summer time, when the weather is hot (actually scorching hot in some places), what can be more important than knowing how to build your own irrigation system for your garden?

DIY irrigation systems will save you some of your hard-earned dollars, and they also make for an interesting learning experience. They help you with acquire new skills and that’s a big part of a prepper’s way of life, isn’t it?

Now, irrigation systems are essential whether you’re growing roses in your back yard for winning prizes or what not, or, more importantly, for your survival garden. Hose-watering your plants is quite a chore. You’ll have to move the hose around every 30 minutes or so and then store the hose in your yard afterward etc.; basically it’s a waste of time and resources.

Today’s article is built around a few ideas about DIY drip irrigation systems, as they’re very efficient and simple. As a matter of fact, their beauty is their simplicity, like a Swiss watch. Oh, and they’re also dirt cheap and easy to build using readily-available materials. That’s a huge plus in my book.

Soaker Hose vs. Drip Irrigation System

Taking into account that not all irrigation methods are created equal and obviously, there are quite a few systems of irrigation available, let’s begin with the basics.

While soaker hoses are the most common irrigation method for “amateurs”, i.e. home gardeners, they’re rarely used in commercial gardening for several reasons. One of the reasons is they will end up costing quite a lot. They’ll also cause you more problems than they solve.

The biggest problem with soaker hoses is that they don’t water your garden evenly. Due to their intrinsic design, i.e. they seep water all along the hose’s length, the water delivered at the beginning of the hose will always be considerably more than the quantity delivered at the end of the line; that’s a law of physics folks. Basically, there’s no way of delivering the optimal amount of water for all of your plants using soaker hoses.

Long story short, that’s inconsistent watering and it’s a big no-no for your survival garden, as it leads to rotting in some places (too much water) and your plants dying of thirst in others. Also, soaker hoses don’t function properly on slopes because they’re not pressure-compensating. The maximum length of such a system is less than 200 ft.

Another disadvantage of soaker hoses is that they’re prone to clogging easily and that leads to even more inconsistency over time. When left in the sun, soaker hoses are also prone to damage, as they’ll harden (rubber doesn’t cope too well with UV light) and get brittle in time, breaking over when you’ll need them most.

To make things worse, the soaker hoses are also prone to bursting, making a huge mess and leaking large amounts of water. And yes, a burst soaker hose is pretty hard and expensive to repair if needed, especially if it’s hardened and brittle from sun exposure.

Just check out this cool video about soaker hoses vs drip irrigation; you’ll see with your own eyes what I’m talking about. On the good side, soaker hoses are cheap and fairly easy to install compared to drip irrigation systems.

Video first seen on CaliKim29 Garden & Home DIY.

Now, talking about drip irrigation, these babies are built using flexible plastic tubing that features tiny emitters (holes basically) that allow water to drip slowly into the soil.

There are a few advantages of using drip emitters over soaker hoses: they are not wasting as much water as the latter, they’re totally fixable when they break, and even if they require some maintenance, many of the parts are re-usable. They’re one hundred percent repairable, which is very important in my book.

Besides the almost–zero waste of water, a drip emitter puts the water directly where it’s needed, with pinpoint accuracy so to speak. For example, you will be able to space them (the drippers) so the water drips exactly over the root zone of your plant.

How to DIY The Drip Irrigation System

Project #1

Now, let’s see about how to DIY a PVC-made drip irrigation system. Here’s an extremely interesting video depicting the advantages of a homemade drip irrigation system compared to regular flood irrigation.

Video first seen on Utah State University Extension.

This PVC-made drip irrigation system will help you save money, time, and water. A fabulous advantage of using this design is that you’ll be able to reduce water use by up to 75%, and that’s quite a lot, especially in a survival situation. All you’ll have to do is turn it on and forget about it, as it doesn’t require monitoring or supervision.

This system uses water wisely and you’ll end up with a beautiful garden that will provide you with fresh veggies for you and your family all summer long. Also, this project is not expensive: the estimated cost for a 15ftx15ft garden is under $50 and the time to build it is approximately 5 hours. You’ll only need ¾-inch PVC pipe, a drilling machine, and connectors/fittings. These are intuitive to use, user friendly, easy to set up, and lots of fun.

Project #2

The next project is about a small-scale DIY gravity-fed drip irrigation system. The complete plans for the project can be downloaded from here. Here’s a video tutorial depicting the system working and most of the DIY details.

Video first seen on Ross Lukeman.

The materials required for this project are dirt cheap and readily available; you probably already have them lying around your property somewhere. You’ll need a 5 gallon bucket for the reservoir, a drill, garden hose fittings, irrigation tubing, some planks of wood for building the structure that holds the bucket in place (you’ll have to cut them), and that’s about it.

For added precision, you can throw in a digital irrigation timer, which gives you a lot of flexibility because it allows you to do whatever you want. For example, if you want to water your plants every morning at 8 AM with a predetermined amount of water and so on and so forth, you can arrange it; just take a look at the video.

Project #3

Now, let’s talk about the easiest way to DIY a rain-drip watering system for keeping alive a relatively large garden. This DIY project is very efficient. It uses an electronic timer, a back-flow system, and a water filter to prevent clogging. It will help you with your bills and also with conserving water if you’re living in a remote area.

Thanks to the electronic timer, this irrigation system will save you a lot of physical labor, as it will basically automate the whole process and you’ll not have to water every plant by yourself. Also, this system is expandable, adaptable and relatively cheap, and it can be used with basically anything: flowers, veggies or hanging baskets. Take a look at this video and start working.

Video first seen on RedneckResponder.

Project #4

Last but not least, here’s an interesting idea about DIY-ing a self-watering container garden. The main benefit of a container garden is its efficiency, as the plants will draw the exact amount of water required from a reservoir placed below the soil; no more, no less. Also, there’s no loss of water through evaporation.

Video first seen on XoletteLife.

This project will provide you with better-tasting veggies and fruits, as the plants are free to use as much water as needed for optimum growth. The main benefit of a self-watering container garden is its relative self-sufficiency, i.e. you can go on vacation for extended periods of time. As long as you set the hose on a timer, the plants will take care of themselves.

The total cost of this project is about $50, so you’ll not have to break the piggy bank either. Materials required:

  • Commander 27-Gallon Tote
  • 10′ Orbit Polyethylene Riser Flex Pipe,
  • FLEX-Drain Corrugated Pipe with Filter Sock 4″ x 25′
  • Apollo 3/4″ Polyethylene Drip Irrigation elbow
  • Miracle-Gro 64 qt. Moisture Control Potting Mix
  • Apollo 3/4″ PVC Drip Irrigation Female Adapter

The rest is up to you.

I hope the article helped. If you have any other ideas or questions, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below. And click on the banner below to discover one amazing tool that any prepper should have for building what he needs for survival!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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