Survival Bug Cuisine: 4 Steps To Eating Insects

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Insects are eaten in many parts of the world as a simple, everyday snack; sometimes as a delicacy. The survival_bug_eatingpractice of eating insects is referred to as entomophagy, and fair amounts of research has already been done to look at insects as a healthy alternative to the world’s heavy consumption of other protein sources such as beef.

By Alex Coyne, a contributing author of Survival Cache & SHTFBlog.com

Survivalists and food enthusiasts alike might be curious about trying their first bug – and be well aware of the fact that they might have to do so for necessity. Here’s more information about bug cuisine and why it matters…

The Nutritional Value of Insects

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released a document entitled Eating eating_bugs_for_survivalInsects: Future prospects for food and feed security exploring the history and current facts behind insect-eating; it’s definitely worth a read, and even manages to tell us a little more about the nutritional value of insects. According to their guide, a large, adult mealworm has 206 kcal per 100g; a dried de-winged adult termite has 535 kcal per 100g and a whole raw red legged grasshopper has 160 per 100g.

Also Read: Survival Eating

It’s clear that insects aren’t lacking in nutritional value – and, prepared right, they could be delicious.

Insects to Avoid

Most insects are edible as a general rule of thumb, though you might want to avoid anything that’s brightly colored, spiky or hairy or emits a weird smell as they are likely to be outright poisonous or just not good to eat. For scorpions, you might want to remove the stinger first – and most guides to bug cooking recommend that you cook most bugs, though some – mealworms being one – can be eaten raw.

Ways to Eat Bugs

So, you want to eat bugs? Whether you’re camping, doing it for fun or being forced to seek out bugs for food in a survival situation, here’s our guide to how to find them and what to do with them then…

Step One: Harvesting

Many insects can be attracted with simple bait. A mixture of brown sugar and yeast will attract anythingHydro Flask Water Filter from ants to beetles; fermenting fruit, wine or beer is another option for attracting all sorts of critters. The Insect Sciences Museum of California notes that bugs like to seek shelter in or under fallen trees, plants, leaves, stones and near ponds and streams. Look for them there and take along a jar for collection – accessories like a knife (for separating bark from trees, for example), gloves (for spiky plants) and a net (for flying insects) might also come in handy.

Step Two: Cleaning

Not all insects need to be cleaned before preparing; again, it depends what kind of insect you ended up with. Termites, for example, might need to be ideally de-winged before frying; scorpions can be cooked with the stinger, though it’s generally recommended you remove it. Certain caterpillars and worms might have to be cleaned beforehand, too, by removing their internal digestive systems.

Step Three: Drying, or –

Some insect snacks are dried. A great example is mopane worms, the caterpillar of an Emperor moth found in Southern Africa and traditionally dried and eaten as-is or rehydrated and used in cooking. You can make your own dried insect snacks by cleaning them – in the case of mopane worms, they are squeezed to “pop out” their guts – and placing them on a drying rack, with salt.

Step Four: Frying

The majority of insects will be best fried – at its simplest, in butter or oil and with salt and any accompanying herbs and spices you have on hand. This will, of course, depend on your situation and what you are able to harvest around you. Our best recommendation is to experiment with this, as your taste in bugs could turn out to be as varied as many people’s tastes in vegetables or steak – would you like your caterpillars crispy?

Extra Resources: Articles and Books

Take a look at these links for some more information and great bug recipes. Know of any more great links, recipes or bug-eating stories? Send them our way in the comments below the article!

The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook: 40 Ways to Cook Crickets, Grasshoppers, Ants, Water Bugs, Spiders, Centipedes and their Kin on Amazon.com

Edible: An Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet on Amazon.com

The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet on Amazon.com

Bugs for Lunch on Amazon.com

Eating Bugs: Bug Recipes and Insect Recipes from Chefs on Time.com, April 22, 2015

Awesome Insect Recipes on Bug Vivant

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Making Maple Syrup

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2_tappedinsnowMaking Maple syrup is an annual celebration of spring, as it is one of the first wild plant foods of the year and the rising of the sap marks the beginning of the spring harvest.  For the do-it-yourself tapper, it is not so much about calculating (the work to syrup ratio turns many a woodsman to purchase rather than boil, and perhaps even to the manufactured, corn syrup based, imitations) as it is about experiencing the full spectrum of early spring weather while communing with the forests and partaking in one of the most quintessentially American traditions.

By Nathaniel Whitmore, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

For me, cooking sap is a way of remembering my first mentor who taught me of wild edibles and medicinal herbs.  It is also a time to remember the Native Americans who taught early colonists how to tap Maple trees and boil the sap into syrup and sugar.  It is also a great way to start off a new year with an act of self-reliance.  Even if you don’t have the time or lifestyle to make syrup every year, you should be familiar with the basic principles and practices in the case of necessity.  The process is rather simple, but there are several things to know and be aware of.  This article will explain the basic steps of making syrup, including some information you should know about trees, the season, and the process of cooking.

When to Make Maple Syrup

When the dormant sap of trees first rises in the late winter and early spring, its sugar content is high and it is free of many of the stronger tasting constituents of the sap of a fully awakened tree.  It is this sap, that rises and descends back to the roots with the warm and cold of early spring.  Once the trees bud, the sap takes on bitter flavor and remains suspended in the tree, while the hole you drill to receive the sap through starts to heal up.

This year, because of regular warm spells, the sap is very watery.  I have not counted the gallons I boiled or the syrup resulting from it, but I have heard a couple people say that a local paper reported that the ratio was around 70 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.  Good cold winters followed by ideal spring conditions (such as a March, in my area, with lots of warm days well above freezing alternating with cold nights well below freezing), produce much sweeter sap than warm winters.  We had sap flow all year and by mid February people were tapping trees and getting good sap flow.  Often, it is still much too cold in February for much sugaring.  Generally, a good year starts off with Sugar Maple yielding around 1 gallon of sap for 35 gallons of syrup.  The average for Sugar Maple is said to be 40 to 1.  The average for Red Maple is 60 to 1.  In spite of the watery sap, the syrup still tastes delicious!

Which Trees to Tap

Generally, syrup is made from Maple trees.  However, many other types of trees were tapped by Native Americans, including Birch, Ash, Hickory, and Black Walnut.  The ideal tree is Sugar Maple.  Quite a lot of syrup is made from Red Maple.  Silver Maple, Ash-Leaf Maple (Box Elder), and others can also be used.  

9_maple_leaf_imageMaple trees are relatively easy to pick out.  One distinct characteristic of Maples is that they have opposite branching.  When looking at the buds or branch silhouettes, you can see that the buds are formed directly opposite each other and the branches tend to remain that way (of course, here and there one of two opposite branches breaks off, but overwhelmingly the opposite branch arrangement is obvious).  Most other trees have alternate branch arrangement, where the branches come from one side then the other, or spiral around, so that they are alternating, rather than opposite.  A third type, such as is seen in many evergreens, is the whorled arrangement, in which several branches spread out from a certain point, or node.

The only other trees in my area besides Maple that have opposite leaves are Ash trees.  Ash are easy to tell apart because, having compound leaves, the branches are rather stout (the smaller branching taking place in the deciduous stem of the compound leaf).  Since Maple have only simple leaves, they need more finely divided branches.

Maple bark is distinct, but difficult to describe and highly variable.  Red Maples develop a much more shaggy appearance in older specimens, while Sugar Maple has its distinct folds.  Red Maples have large red buds, while those of Sugar Maple are smaller and brown.  Sugar Maple prefers upland, more exposed areas.  Red Maple prefers moist areas and is also known as Swamp Maple.  (Sugar Maple is known as Hard Maple and Red as Soft Maple because of the density of the wood.  Sugar Maple is good firewood.)

Besides the sugar content of the sap, Red Maple often doesn’t flow as well as Sugar because of the cooler shady areas it tends to grow.  Generally, people try to tap on the south side of the tree of trees with good southern exposure.  This is because on an average year, the trees that warm up the easiest run the best for syrup productions.  However, if you are tapping the same trees year after year, you will want to spiral around the tree with the taps each year to avoid damaging the “sweet spot”.

Tapping the Trees

9_dropofsapI use a non-electric drill to make the holes for my spiles.  It is a traditional tool, works well, is much more peaceful than a power drill, and doesn’t run out of battery power.  The holes are drilled so that they are a little deeper than the spile will need to go (you don’t want to smash it into the back of the hole) and at a little bit of a downward slant so the sap doesn’t stagnate in the back of the hole. When you hammer the tap, or spile, into the hole, take care not to split the tree.  If you split the tree, sap will run out of the crack and less through your spile into the sap bucket.  I listen for a change in tone as I tap.  When the hollow thud turns to a crisp note, I know the spile is seated tightly.

Hang your bucket, cover with the lid, and, if the weather is right, enjoy the pings of the drops of sap landing in the empty buckets.

Boiling Maple Sap

Cooking of the sap is best done in a shallow pan, for surface area.  Bring the sap to a good boil.  As it gets cooking and for a little while after it is boiling impurities will rise to the top in the form of foam.  Use a sieve to scoop the foam from the boiling sap. Repeat this until it is cooking well without abundant foam production.  Every time you add sap, you will need to repeat the process of removing impurities as they foam to the surface.

3_3_goldenelixerAnother type of foam marks the end of the process.  Once the sugar concentration gets to a certain point, which depends also on the temperature, it turns to foam.  This is a very important point, for if you are not carefully watching towards the end, you could miss this stage as the syrup all turns to foam and bubbles out of the pan.  Many people like to finish the process inside.  It is particularly dangerous to leave almost finished syrup unattended in your home.  It could foam over and cause some problems.  This second foam, which marks the sugar concentration of syrup, is not to be removed with the sieve – it will simply calm back down to syrup once taken off the flame.

Finishing Steps

Once cooled, the syrup should be poured into large jars and let settle so that the sediment can sink to the bottom.  You can then pour the clear syrup off the top.  It might then be left to settle again, to remove any more sediment or sugar sand.  Often, people like to filter the syrup.  It can then be jarred.

With time, and sometimes quite quickly with watery syrup, mold can develop.  In order to recover moldy syrup simply bring to a simmer again and skim the mold off the top.  Let it simmer for a bit, being careful not to let it foam over, and skim repeatedly to make sure the syrup is heated up well and the impurities are completely removed.

Equipment

4_buckets on Red MapleI use the old fashioned galvanized buckets.  Many people today use plastic equipment, including plastic hose linked together to replace buckets at each tree.  I have often wondered about ways to make syrup without these specialty spiles and buckets.  Natives would sometimes collect sap through “v” shaped cuts, rather than holes with spiles.  It is, of course, possible to fashion spile with wood, bamboo, or other plants.

The process of cooking becomes much more challenging without metal.  The large, flat, pans used for sap boiling are perfect for the job.  I can’t easily imagine trying to boil without it.  Native people used hot rocks to boil sap, and apparently for making sugar.  I am sure they had ingenious ways for doing so, but any quantity of production will be much easier (and still plenty of work) with metal.

Drinking Sap

5_maplesyrupWhen I first began making Maple syrup, I was warned not to drink the sap.  However, this old knowledge was either misguided or the wisdom, for better or worse, has been forgotten.  Today, there are many companies bottling the sap itself for commercial sale.  It is being promoted as a sort of northern version of Coconut water. Sap, especially the first of the season, is indeed delicious.  It has a noticeably sweet taste and is otherwise clean and crisp like water.  Besides sugar, it has significant mineral content. It is also enjoyable to use the partially concentrated sap for making tea and oatmeal.  So, really, there are many ways to enjoy Maple sap, straight from the tree, during the cooking process, and as syrup.

Even if making Maple syrup is not much of an option, sap is a potentially important clean water substitute.  Weather permitting and without a good water source, it could be possible to tap a tree in the spring and collect the sap for cooking and drinking.  I mostly use 3 gallon buckets on the trees and on good days they can overflow.

One year I made some syrup from Black Birch when boiling from a stand of Red Maple.  The Maple ran for a couple weeks before the Birch started.  The Birch continued after the Red Maple had stopped.  The Black Birch produced copious amounts of sap.  Similarly, the Black Walnut that we tapped this season, though it dripped a little when first drilled it did not run much at first, when the Sugar Maple were productive, but then started to run well.  So, the staggered timing of the various tree’s sap flow is significant.  Knowing when which trees tend to run could help you collect sap beyond the season of any one species.

Pancake Ideas

pancakes_syrupOne final thought about Maple syrup- pancakes!  Since much of the delight in Maple syrup is in gathering food from the trees, I especially like to include other ingredients from the trees when eating it.  One of my favorites is acorn pancakes.  Properly prepared acorns are delicious and make very tasty pancakes.  I also like to use Slippery Elm powder as an ingredient.  (Sometimes, I simply make a gruel with Slippery Elm and Maple syrup.  It is very delicious.)  Walnuts can be added for additional flavor and nourishment from the trees.

The obvious drawback to Maple syrup is its high simple sugar content.  For this reason, I also like to use Cinnamon at times in my pancakes.  Cinnamon is known to help with blood sugar problems.  Blueberries (and other dark-colored fruits) are also good, as their high antioxidant content helps offset the sugar concentration.  Using such healthy ingredients makes enjoying Maple syrup a more wholesome and nourishing experience.

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Acquiring and Managing Survival Gear and Equipment

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gear_equipment_survivalFor the sake of excusing any semantical argument over words here, we are going to basically equate the terms gear and equipment as the same.  I suppose one could separate the two.  For example, equipment might be an electric generator while support gear might be a gasoline can, electrical extension cords and connectors.  But, why bother?  

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

The important part for preppers and survivalists is to have the proper gear and equipment to overcome any kind of a disaster scenario.  But, certainly not just to have all the essential survival stuff, but to organize it and know how to use it when the time of necessity arrives.

However you approach the acquisition of gear and equipment, have an organized plan to do so including a system of categorizing what you are gathering in support of your survival efforts.  Organization is essential.  This is to avoid just buying gear and equipment willy-nilly, this or that, and chunking it all into the garage in a heap of stuff.  You know, like it looks the Monday after you get home from a weekend long camping trip?  Begin the process with an organizational system.

The Prepper Notebook

plan_active_shooterWhen it comes to prepping and most other phases of life demanding a sense of organization, I tend to be a bit anal retentive.  That is, I have to have a plan, and an on-going record of everything to do with the entire process.  This helps me track all the efforts, intents, goals, objectives and not to mention the actual acquisition of gear and equipment as with prepping.  At my age it pays big time dividends to have it all written down where it can be consulted, changed, or updated regularly.  

When asked by wannabe preppers how to get started, my first recommendation is to start a prepping notebook.  This helps organize everything for everybody.  You devise the book however it works best for you, by gear category, equipment type, bug in emphasis, bug out concentration, or whatever.  Develop chapters, lists, files, or any form of organization that is simple for you to follow and keep up.  This notebook becomes your Prepper Bible so to speak.  

Sure the notebook can take many forms.  Mine is a simple three-ring binder that allows me to update it with new pages, re-do or replace old pages as lists change or new ideas come to the forefront of the overall organizational plan.  Some do this but use a separate binder for each prepping survival category.  As the system grows over time, this might be a workable approach.  You decide what works best for you.

The Foundation Categories

survival_garden_forage_foodCommon sense and logistics vary from person to person.  The goal is simply to find a system you understand and that works for you.  Everybody’s does not have to be the same.  However, if you happen to be working with a team, several families, or even a neighborhood, then standardization would be the most plausible way to go.  

As you review survival information and planning guides, you may begin to see familiar terms and references to the most logical ways to organize survival gear and equipment.  I use a set of basic foundations to organize everything for me.  

My own basic survival foundations or essentials include (1) food, (2) water, (3) shelter issues, (4) hardware gear, (5) software gear, (6) security and weapons issues, (7) communication modes, and (8) health and sanitation.  Your categories may be different as you develop your own unique working organization system.  But create one and use it.  

Now let me go through each to briefly describe what kinds of items ought to be included in each survival foundation.

canned_miscellaneous_prep1) Food. This encompasses everything you will stock up to eat for 3-6 months.  It should cover both options of staying home or escaping to an alternative site.  Survival food kept at home could be considerably different than foods hauled to a bug out site.  At home you can keep bulky, heavy, high volume space items like canned goods, and big bags of rice, beans, wheat flour and such.  

Related: Preppers and Survivalists Must be Hunters and Gatherers

If you have not already pre-stocked a bug out site, then you may be limited to easier to handling foods to carry out of the house.  This might mean MREs, freeze-dried foods, or classic pre-packaged survival foods commercially purchased.  

Try to vary your menus by adding a balanced diet of meat proteins, vegetables, and fruits.  Watch your plan to keep lots of carbs and starches under control.  As with an everyday diet now, try to mix things up not only for nutritional value, but variety as well.  

glass_of_water2) Water.  If you are lucky, you’ll have access to continued water service or a private well even if it has to be hand pumped.  Calculate ahead to plan for at least one gallon of water per person per day.  That is a lot of water.  A water purification system will be needed for essential daily water needs but also as a backup way to purify any available nearby water source.  There are chemical ways to purify water, so look into those methods, too.

winter_shelter_survival_fire3) Shelter Issues.  Bugging in or out, make sure you have shelter and that it is sound and secure.  Deal with maintenance issues or be prepared to.  In storm areas you may want to pre-plan for window and door covers.  Beef up security with locks, bars, or other security efforts.  If the power grid is down, think ahead for ways to cool, heat, and light your shelter.  This may mean an outside generator and fuel supplies to power the basics if not only for short periods of time.  Have a plan for shelter security, monitoring and observing areas surrounding the shelter.  

4) Hardware Gear.  This includes everything from common mechanical tools, to construction tools, and everything thought of as hardware.  Add an AM-FM radio, weather alert radio, lanterns, flashlights, knives, utensils, cookware, cook stoves, hatchets, axes, machetes, gardening tools, chainsaws, sledge hammers, jacks, storage boxes, tote boxes, and such.  Have a thorough diverse selection of hardware repair items including nails, screws, bolts, nuts, and you name it.  Supplying hardware gear probably never ends, but is easier to organize for a permanent home than perhaps a bug out location, but try.  Even if you are forced to bug out, you will still need most all of this gear.  

5) Software Gear.  Software is basically anything canvas or nylon or such for bags, cases, packs, backpacks, fanny packs, sleeping bags, all garments for all weather conditions and seasons, and the same for shoes, and boots.  Also think of software in terms of gear that supports your weapons arsenal including cases, holsters, gear totes, ammo bags, magazine pouches, slings, and all else.  

300_blackout_blk_rifle_with_supressor_silencer_outdoors_hunting6) Security and Weapons.  A selection of weapons will be needed for self-protection, property protection, thwarting external threats of all kinds, two and four-footed, and for securing additional foods for survival by hunting and foraging.  A well rounded weapons arsenal will include handguns, rifles, and shotguns.  Acquiring the appropriate guns is a study of its own and requires much consideration, thought, comparisons, and planning.  Seek out professional advice at gun shops, gun ranges, and through a host of information sources available these days.  Shop carefully and buy prudently.  

Check Out: The KISS AR-15

Owning weapons also means everything that goes with it including an extensive ammunition supply of ammo types for both self-defense and hunting.  You will need storage capacity, boxes, or ammo cases.  Guns will need safes, or lockable cabinets.  Maintenance supplies will be needed including gun cleaning kits to handle every firearm and the consumables that go with it.  See also software above for weapons uses as well.  

Security plans and firearm’s training will be needed.  This should be a regular on-going activity to support all other survival training and activities.  Security should include both for the physical residence or bug out shelter, but also for vehicle escape during any SHTF scenario.  

communications7) Communications.  During a SHTF  scenario, communications will be important between you, family or other survival team members and or with the outside world.  IPhones may or may not be operational.  Hand radios can help for short range talk at home, or in the neighborhood, or bug out property.  Having a HAM radio is not out of the question as well. Emergency communication devices may be needed too including lights, flares, bonfires, signal mirrors, beacon strobes, message flags, PLBs (personal locator beacons) or anything else to draw attention when you need help.  Know the Morse Code SOS signal of 3 dots, 3 dashes, and 3 dots as a universally recognized emergency rescue signal.  That could come in handy, too.

8) Health and Sanitation.  This is a big one and not covered last because of a lack of importance.  Just the opposite.  During any SHTF or disaster of any kind, personal hygiene and sanitation is paramount.  Plan ahead how you will attempt to stay as clean as regularly as possible, and how to handle human waste issues.  Look into a variety of options for a porta-potty on site.  

medical_bag_packedPersonal health is critical especially if you take regular medications.  Be absolutely certain you maintain ample supplies of all required medications.  In this day and age of Obamacare or whatever the next plan is to be, it can be difficult to secure much more than 90 days of most prescription medicines.  Talk to your doctor about this.  Maybe you can find a pro-survivalist physician to help out.  Also keep a full supply of every kind of OTC meds you might use.  Have a comprehensive first aid kit, and backups for all frequently used items.  

Gear and equipment is a big issue in the survival movement.  You have to devise a plan to acquire everything that is needed, next, keep it organized and then to manage it for both long term storage and use.  The process never ends, so get started as soon as you can.

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Preppers and Survivalists Must Be Hunters and Gatherers

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empty_grocery_shelvesIt just isn’t realistic to think all of our prepping supplies will hold out forever. My family, friends, and I may have devised the best survival plan there is, even better than most of the selection of “you can make it” books at the big box book store.  But, as time dwells on, the supplies will dwindle. Maybe our Bug In survival scheme has enough food stocked for the millennium.  Good for us.  Tell me again how long that is?  Not unlike the Lord’s return if you believe in that survival book, we know not when the end comes.  So, how do you plan for it?  

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Likewise, my loved ones and I had the forethought and the financial commitment to branch out to secure a designated Bug Out backup survival location.  This comes complete with a farmhouse, water well, and rural power.  A backup generator with a 1000 gallon fuel tank surely ought to last long enough until stability returns.  Well, we hope so anyway.

At the Bug Out, our panty is chocked full of long term foods, a mix of food types, and tastes.  With the available water we can mix up just about any variety of menu concoctions for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a few snacks thrown in.  We are among the lucky ones to have provisioned so well for the long haul.  

Time Bears On

We’re six months into the SHTF and doubt is starting to creep in.  The food stocks have gone past the first three rows in the cabinets, and now variety selections are waning.  Everybody is getting tired of canned meats, and if they eat another helping of tuna, they may start to grow gills.  Everybody’s eyes are not green with envy, but green from all the green beans and green peas.  Sure we are fine, but we all want something more, something different.  

Our Bug In residence is only two blocks away from a wooded area, and open sage fields teeming with natural life, both plant and animal.   The Bug Out escape house is near a huge forested area.   So far, neither area seems to have been approached by anybody else in the immediate area.  Scouting hikes provides good Intel that nobody seems to be using these available resources.  It’s time to take advantage of this situation.  

Hunting Becomes Necessity

squirrel_hunting_meatThis section is not so much about how to hunt, but more emphasis on the why we should.  Apart from whatever food supplies we laid by in store, we should be mixing in available game meat to supplement our diets.  Actually this should be done from the get go.  This makes our pantry supplies extend further well into a longer period of unrest or instability, or no new food supplies at the usual outlets.  We have to learn to supply some of our own food resources. The argument here too is for the value of this supplemental food source.  I am not a nutritionist, but everything I read about food recommends that protein is a good thing.  In a SHTF survival situation, adding meat to a diet would seem to be a very wise move.  

Read Also: Fallkniven Professional Hunting Knife 

What will you hunt?  If you have never hunted before and nobody in the group if there is one has never hunted, then you need to start to learn how now.  Books, videos, hunting television, seminars, and other participation activities can bring you up to speed fairly quickly.  I highly recommend a good library of hunting books, and everything to do related to the subject.  

Now, if you are an experienced hunter already, then you know what to do.  Generally this activity is initiated by on the ground scouting to inventory what game might be available to harvest.  This can be done by simple stealth hikes into prospective hunting areas.  Maintain as secret and as low a profile as you can.  Once you fire a gun to hunt, then you have given notice of your presence.  Archery is also an option to consider.   

Scouting can also be accomplished to a certain degree by observing via optics from a distance away.  You must have good binoculars and or a spotting scope to do this part well.  You are looking for obvious signs of game movement, tracks, deer rubs, and other game sign.  Visual confirmation of game in the areas is a really good start.  

hog_hunting_survivalWhat game might you expect to find?  Naturally this essentially depends on where you are in the country.  The United States is very blessed with a long list of wild game species available for pursuit via hunting.  The short list is white-tailed and mule deer, elk, antelope, goats, sheep, big bears, big cats, wild hogs and wild turkey.  Small game could be rabbits, squirrel, raccoon, and such.  Upland game will include all kinds of bird species from quail, dove, woodcock, pheasant, grouse, and the list goes on.  If water is around, you may find waterfowl in ducks and geese.  Find out what is normally available where you live and where your Bug Out site is located.  Your state wildlife agency will have a web site and likely pamphlets for this information.    

For hunting you will likely already have the necessary firearms including a decent, accurate, scoped rifle, one of at least .30 caliber, but a .223 or others can be used with the correct hunting type ammo.  Small game can be hunted with a rimfire rifle or handgun.  A shotgun will be useful for birds, waterfowl and small game.  Have a variety of shotshells on hand besides self-defense type loads. Certainly, you can add all types of hunting gear and accessories including hunting clothing, camouflage, knives, game bags, and everything else to help you secure the game meat you need.

Sport Fishing for Sustenance

fishing_survival_nutritionWhen we highlight hunting, we do not mean to slight or ignore the freshwater or saltwater fishing opportunities where you might reside during a SHTF.  As you have prepared for hunting, also prepare for fishing.  Fish are a high priority, good quality food to add to the menu. As with game animals, research what fishing opps are available to you and which types of fish can be caught.  I won’t list all the possibilities here, because the variety is so regional.  You should know your area well enough to know about fishing lakes, rivers, streams, and even small rural farm ponds, any water source that might hold edible fish.  Take the same advice on fishing as with hunting, if you do not know how.

Stock up on basic fishing tackle, rods, reels, line, lures, tackle supplies, hooks, weights, etc.  Have the whole shooting match on hand.  Again, a good book on general fishing will describe what to buy, and how to use it.  You may find also like hunting that fishing is a good recreational activity as well.  You’ll need that as well to support mental health during trying times.  

Gathering

survival_garden_forage_foodThis is my own weakness beyond knowing how to grow a garden.  By all means make plans and provisions for growing a garden of any size.  As you know Mother Nature also provides many sources of plant life that can be eaten raw, added to salads, or cooked. Again a good regional resource book will be valuable for finding greens, flowers, seeds, legumes, mushrooms, wild fruits, and other plant-vegetable life that is indigenous to your area.  This resource will be valuable so you’ll know what to gather and how to process it for food.  

Related: Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

So, obviously this was a quick treatise just skimming the bare essentials of food harvesting skills you will need to acquire and practice.  Ideally, you have stored up enough food stuffs to grind it out over a long period of time.  However, it is just smart to learn to supplement these supplies with fresh foods found in your local habitats.  Learn now what these resources are in your area, how to harvest or gather them as supplemental food sources.  

Photos Courtesy of: 

John Woods
OakleyOriginals

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Survival Garden & Greenhouse

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I am often asked, how much work is it to grow your own food?  The answer is, it is not that much work if survival_garden_survival_greenhouse you are worried about eating.  With a little planning and a little bit of elbow grease, you can grow food almost anywhere in the lower 48.  I live at 9,000 ft in the Rocky Mountains and I have found a way to supplement my family’s food supply in the spring, summer, and fall.  Of course, I have to do with with a greenhouse.  The weather is just to extreme where I live.

By Murphy

With a little bit of planning, this spring could be the year you finally plant your survival garden.  I found some free guides online that do not require you to enter you email address (click here) and here are some links to resources that are publicly available to you (click here).  My advice is to start small and start with a conversation with some of your neighbors who grow gardens.  Find out what grows well in your climate.

If you live in an apartment in the city, you can either find a meet up online, check out some youtube videos for apartment gardens or just search the web.  Of course, everyone is trying to sell something on most of the videos so buyer beware as you search the net.  Check out my video below (I do not sell anything!!!), like our channel when you have a chance and maybe stay tuned to The Survivalist Podcast as I am going to be a guest very soon with more survival gardening tips.

Video – Survival Garden & Greenhouse

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Tree Bark as an Emergency Food

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bark_piecesAn almost forgotten food from the wild is that which comes from the bark of trees.  Once a staple, now it is barely known even as a coarse survival food.  I myself have been slow coming to it even with wild edible plants as a major preoccupation since my teens.  An obvious possibility for why tree bark has not been found much in modern cuisine is that it doesn’t taste good.  The modern imagination easily responds to the notion of tree bark as food with images of gnawing on trees – not exactly as exciting as fishing, hunting, picking mushrooms, or picking berries.  However, perhaps that assumption is wrong.  Maybe delicious foods can be prepared from tree bark.

By Nathaniel Whitmore, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache

I have in front of me eleven books on wild edibles.  At first glance at the table of contents of each book, or the text or index if the plants weren’t listed there, I found nothing in ten of the books  related to tree barks as edibles.  Euell Gibbons (Stalking the Wild Asparagus) and others discuss Black Walnuts and Hickory for nuts.  Lee Allen Peterson (Edible Wild Plants) discusses the leaves of Basswood.  Bradford Angier (Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants) discusses the seeds of Maple and, of course, that the sap is boiled into Maple syrup.  …And the list goes on of other foods from the trees.  Only in one, A Naturalists Guide to Cooking with Wild Plants by Connie and Arnold Krochmal, did I find that the authors went on to discuss harvesting and preparing Maple bark.  They have a recipe for Maple bark bread that uses, along with other typical ingredients for bread, only ½ cup of all-purpose flour to 2 cups of ground Maple bark.  Another recipe for porridge is a typical porridge recipe with only Maple bark (cooked like farina, grits, or oats), along with a suggestion to spread it out to chill and thicken before browning in oil.

Cuisine and Nutrition

maple_treeI have not yet tried Maple (Acer spp.) porridge.  I have made porridge from Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) but only because I have acquired out-of-date stock from herbs stores here-and-there that I worked for.  The powdered bark is quite costly to eat like a breakfast cereal.  It is sold mostly for home-made lozenges and to add to smoothies.  Because the bark is quite mucilaginous, it is a great ingredient for do-it-yourself lozenges for sore or dry throat.  I like to always keep some in a convenient storage spot.  When I have plenty, I like to cook the powdered Elm bark with Maple syrup (and a little salt) for a real breakfast from the trees.  I have not yet attempted to powder the bark itself, though I do intend to.  Powdering bark is one of those things that is high up on my list of things to do that I never get around to doing.  Again, a survival situation might just re-prioritize that list.  The shredded bark is also readily available through commercial sources and is prepared as a cold infusion to produce a thick, moistening drink or ingredient.

Related: Food to Stock for Emergencies      

According to Daniel Moerman in Native American Food Plants, Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) was cooked by the Ojibwa.  Apparently they believe it tastes like eggs.  I have chewed it and infused it for “tea”, but will certainly have to try to prepare it like scrambled eggs!  I doubt it is all that similar, but I do not doubt that it can be prepared so that it tastes good.  Remember, much of foraging is about timing.  Not only is bark easier to peel off the tree in the spring (when the sap is flowing), but it also is thick, juicy, and milder tasting than other times of the year.  Certainly, timing is important for Ash bark and the others.  Though, if starving to death you might eat tree bark even if it wasn’t the ideal harvest season and even if it didn’t taste like eggs.

white_pine_barkWhite Pine (Pinus strobus) and other evergreens were vital survival foods for Native Americans in cold areas.  Although they often have too much astringency and pitchy consistency to be ideal foods, they also have vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and many important medicinal constituents.  It would be interesting, and potentially important in a survival scenario, to look into the nutritional constituents of various barks.  It shouldn’t be too difficult to understand that Pine bark has lots of vitamin C, but what about the macronutrients?  Are barks able to provide sufficient sugar, protein, or fat?  Sugar seems the most notable macronutrient from bark, but I still wonder how much is there.  Certainly, Maple bark can taste remarkably sweet, like Maple syrup.  Clearly it has sugar in it.  The benefits of bark as a survival food are at least partially illustrated by the Natives formerly feeding Cottonwood (Populus spp.) bark to horses.  Certainly, humans have different nutritional requirements than the four-legged grazers, though I still think it says something that the deer, other wild animals, and horses can glean nutrition from bark.

Basswood (American Linden, Tilia americana) is unique as a food tree in that it produces large broad leaves that are edible right off the tree.  Young twigs and buds were cooked by Chippewa.  By this I would assume that the bark is also mild and edible.  However, I turned to Moerman’s book Native American Medicinal Plants to learn that the Cherokee used the bark for diarrhea and the Iroquois used as a diuretic, which has me wondering if the bark is too astringent and drying to use as food.  Of course, many such remedies are mild enough to eat or can be prepared to be more food quality and less medicinal.  Generally though, diarrhea remedies are astringent and can cause constipation when not needed for runny stool.  Moerman did also report that the Cherokee used during pregnancy for heartburn and weak stomach and bowels.  If it was used during pregnancy, I imagine it is mild enough to eat.  Basswood bark is now bumped up to the top of the list of wild foods to try out this spring.

Medicinal Uses of Tree Bark

Medicines from tree barks are many.  Though this article focuses on edible barks, it would not be complete without mention of medicinal uses.  In addition to those already discussed above, the medicinal barks included many categories, such as astringents, cough remedies, blood-moving medicinals, and pain relievers.

aspirin_vintage_advertisement_willowWillow (Salix spp.) was an original source of a well-known medicine known as salicylic acid (named after Willow).  Like the drug Aspirin (which is named after Meadowsweet which is currently Filipendula, but formerly Spiraea), Willow is used for pain, to thin the blood, and for fevers.  Salicylic acid is commonly used for acne, dandruff, and warts.  Poplars (Populus spp.) are closely related to Willow both botanically (though many people confuse Poplars and Birch, or Betula spp.) and medicinally.  Poplars have largely fallen out of use in modern times, but formerly were commonly employed as medicinals – the bark used like Willow, and especially the resinous buds used for coughs.

Oaks (Quercus spp.) and many other trees have bitter-tasting astringency.  Astringents tone tissue, remove inflammation, and stop discharge.   They are important medicines that are indicated for damp, inflamed conditions like diarrhea, rashes, bleeding wounds, and sore throats.  Astringents are also used for daily maintenance like washing the face and brushing teeth.  In small quantities, they are used to maintain tissue integrity of the gums and digestive system.

Read Also: Bushcraft Mushrooms

Like Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.), our Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is used to stimulate circulation and clean the blood.  The bark is delicious as tea, and can be combined with other root beer ingredients like Black Birch (Betula lenta).  The leaves of Sassafras are mucilaginous as well as spicy and can be prepared as food.  They are used in gumbo.  As an aromatic, blood-cleansing medicinal, Sassafras is used to treat skin disorders, arthritis, and to warm up the body.  The FDA has a controversial ban on Sassafras and the oil derived from it, safrole.

cherries_cherry_treePerhaps one of best-known cough remedies, Cherry Bark (Prunus spp.) has been used for ages.  My guess is that Cherry became a standard flavor for cough syrups largely because the bark was a standard medicine for coughs, even though the bark does not exactly taste like the fruit.  It does have a distinct Cherry flavor, but even more distinct is the cyanide flavor, especially in the fresh bark.  Because of the toxic properties, the use of fresh Cherry bark has been discouraged in the literature.  Though, the fresh bark is used medicinally and is significantly stronger than the dried bark.  The dried bark is available through commercial distributions.  Especially the wilted leaves have been known to cause poisoning in farm animals, so it seems the toxic properties spike during drying.  There are also various ideas about the best time to harvest.  Since I am not a chemist, I cannot say much with authority about cyanide content.  Consider yourself warned, however.  I encourage you to do your own research (before you find yourself starving or coughing to death in a Cherry forest).  Since this is such a valuable medicine I do indeed recommend learning about Cherry bark.  In my experience it is a top remedy for coughs and I assume it has many other uses in line with how Peach (Prunus persica) is used in Chinese medicine, which is extensive.  If the medicinal barks were not strong-natured and somewhat toxic, they would have been discussed earlier as edible barks.  It is precisely because they are strong that they are medicinal.  

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) bark is very medicinal.  It is one of the strongest antifungal herbs and is well-known as a remedy for intestinal parasites.  The inner bark stains yellow, as do the green hulls and leaves.  These parts also give off a distinct aroma that can help with identification and are doubtlessly related to the medicinal virtues.  Of course, Black Walnut is also known for its nuts, which are important survival food.     

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Home Remedies for a Toothache

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leo-animal-savannah-teethTeeth are one of the most important parts of the human body, but they are also unfortunately very vulnerable to wear and tear. Regularly in use, teeth are exposed to substances that cause damage, and, can eventually lead to toothaches. It is important to know how to take care of a toothache in the absence of medical professionals and prescription drugs. Fortunately, there are many home remedies for toothaches and plenty of preventive care you can take to avoid toothaches all together.

By Derrick of Prepper Press

First, brush and floss. Doing so now can prevent problems you might not be fully equipped to deal with in an emergency situation down the road. Brushing at least twice a day is the most effective and efficient way to prevent toothaches before they start. Commercial toothpastes can be effective nearly two years after the expiration date listed, and there are ways to make your own toothpaste so you do not have to be dependent on commercial products in the case they are not available or have passed their effective date. A simple paste made out of baking soda and water can make an effective toothpaste, and add some crushed peppermint leaves to flavor it if you prefer.

Essential Oils, Herbs, and Spices

peppermint_tooth_ache_remedyPeppermint does a lot more than add flavor – it can also serve as an effective way to ease a toothache. You can use peppermint essential oil to remedy for a toothache simply by rubbing a bit on the area where the toothache is. A q-tip works well for this application. You can also make a tea of mint leaves, and depending on how severe the toothache is and how you know temperature affects it, drink it either cold or lukewarm.

Related: Five Best DIY Toothache Remedies

Cloves are another effective way to ease a toothache in the absence of dentists and painkillers. Like peppermint, you can use either the essential oil or plant form to treat your pain. Apply clove oil directly to the hurting area with a q-tip, cotton ball, or other like product, or just chew on clove buds to release their healing properties. Cloves are an especially good home remedy for toothaches because they are a source of eugenol, which is an anesthetic and anti-bacterial. If your toothache is being caused by bacteria, cloves and clove oil can not only ease the pain, they can help eradicate the source of the toothache. However, be careful not to put too much clove oil on at once, as it can cause side effects when swallowed. For this reason, if you are treating a child’s toothache, be sure to carefully apply a minimal amount yourself. Don’t let them apply the oil as it would be easy for them to accidentally ingest some of the oil if too large an amount is applied and there is excess to swallow. Like cloves, vanilla extract contains eugenol. If clove oil is too strong for you to handle, try using vanilla instead.

Oregano oil and oregano leaves are another natural remedy for toothaches that is easy to have on hand when medical care might not be available. Oregano has both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that help to soothe and combat toothaches. As with other herbal oils, apply it topically to the toothache area using a q-tip or cotton ball.  You can also use crushed up leaves as a paste to apply topically. A mortar and pestle works well for making a paste out of oregano leaves.

garlic_toothache_remedyGarlic also has anti-bacterial properties, and so is useful in fighting a toothache. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it soothes the pain while it is helping to heal what is causing the pain. And, as an extra bonus, garlic can also help fight tooth decay. Garlic can be used by simply chewing it. Before you chew the garlic, though, you should rinse it off to ensure it is clean and will not transfer anything into your mouth that could potentially cause further infection or damage. When you have chewed the garlic enough to get juice out of it, at which point you may feel your mouth or tooth go slightly numb, spit out the garlic and rinse with water. Your breath might not be great after chewing on garlic, so you can also try chewing on a peppermint leaf right after the garlic. This will not only freshen your breath, but give you a double-dose of toothache remedies.

For another slightly unpleasant smelling, but effective, toothache remedy try chewing on onions. Like garlic, onions are anti-bacterial. Prepare and chew the onion in the same way as the garlic to treat your toothache.

Ginger is another commonly available spice that can help you deal with the pain of a toothache. It’s also generally helpful to have on hand in any medical supply kit you are compiling, as it also helps with everyday health issues such as nausea and headaches. Ginger can be used as a home remedy for toothaches that have not yet progressed to the point where it is too painful to chew. In order to use ginger for a toothache remedy, you should cut a piece of ginger root, peel the brown skin off, and chew on the peeled piece of ginger. Try to focus your chewing on the tooth where the pain is centered so that the juice from the ginger root gets on and around the tooth and gum area that hurts. You can also try brewing a cup of ginger tea, waiting until it is lukewarm, and swishing it around.

Like ginger, apple cider vinegar is effective both at calming nausea and soothing toothaches. As a result, it is a valuable addition to any medical prep kit. Apple cider vinegar also has a long shelf life – up to five years for peak effectiveness, but is still safe to use, albeit less effective, after that time. To ease a toothache with apple cider vinegar, apply it with a cotton ball or q-tip as you would for essential oils.

If you have it available, a sip of alcohol that you swish around in your mouth before swallowing can help with your tooth pain. Not only will it help you tolerate the pain, but alcohol’s antiseptic properties will help to attack the toothache itself.

Essential oils, bottled goods, and dried herbs and spices need to be stored in a cool, dry place to ensure they are at peak effectiveness. You also need to be aware of the length of time they have been sitting in your stores. After a period of time, the effectiveness of these products can wear off. Thankfully, you can grow many herbs and spices that are useful for toothache home remedies either in a garden or indoors with the proper light. A garden or indoor pots that are carefully maintained to encourage the healthy growth of plants means that even in an emergency you can have fresh food, and a supply of plants that are useful in easing the aches and pains of your body.

Simple Remedies

pexels-photo-30492In addition to essential oils, herbs and spices, there are some simpler home remedies for toothaches. One is as simple as an ice pack. Ice is easy to make if you have a freezer, or even if you simply live in a cold environment. There are also many ice packs available for purchase that you can store and activate when needed if you are in a situation where electric freezers are not an option, if water is at a premium, or if the climate isn’t cooperative. Ice can ease swelling and numb pain, and so is good for easing pain as you fight a toothache caused by bacteria with garlic, oregano, or another plant. When you are using ice, though, you must wrap the ce pack or ice cubes in a cloth or towel before holding it against the painful area. Applying ice directly to the skin can cause burns. When you’re trying to solve one health issue, there’s no need to cause yourself another unnecessarily! You should also be careful not to apply ice for more than 15 minutes at a time, but after a break in the application you can reapply it several times throughout the day.

Read Also: Top 5 Worst Incidences of Martial Law in the United States

Another simple home remedy for a toothache is rinsing your mouth with saltwater. Dissolve a small amount of salt, a teaspoon or so, in warm water, then swish it around in your mouth and spit it out. Repeat a few times until the glass of water is gone, and then repeat again later in the day. Saltwater is effective for fighting toothaches because it’s alkaline, and as such discourages the growth of bacteria that thrive in acidic areas and can cause toothaches. Salt also has healing properties, so if your mouth also has sores or other discomfort, the saltwater will help to expedite the healing process of those and increase the overall health of your mouth.

Take Care of Your Teeth

toothbrush-toothpaste-dental-care-cleanMany of the home remedy options for toothaches are based in supplies that are useful for other medical or health issues, and so should be kept at hand anyway in order to ensure you are prepared for any eventuality. However, toothaches should not be taken lightly as they can lead to infections and further problems. As such, in a situation where professional medical and dental care is not readily available, it becomes especially important that good dental hygiene is practiced in order to stave off tooth decay and tooth pain as much as possible.  You need your teeth to keep the rest of your body healthy, so take care of your teeth, be prepared, and know how to deal with a toothache appropriately.

Derrick Grant is the founder of Prepper Press, a publisher of post-apocalyptic fiction and survival nonfiction. Follow his Facebook writer page for all things dystopian and apocalyptic.

 

Food to Stock for Emergencies

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canned_miscellaneous_prepFor experienced preppers or survivalists, this is a no brainer, but for those just getting started down the road of preparing for worst case scenarios, this may be all new stuff.  Really, it is not rocket science, but for some it could be overwhelming or intimidating.  Let’s try to simplify things for you. I am amazed though at the frequency that inquiries come in about what foods to stock up for a bug in situation plan or to larder up a pantry at a secondary bug out location.  Emergency foods are important. It is crucial to stock up on these materials. How long are you going to be able to sustain yourself from gathered materials? 

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

There are plenty of choices and considerations to make with emergency foods. This is part of the challenge in prepping. If you have limited space at a bug out site, then sheer volume limitations might dictate to have these foods as a primary option instead of canned goods.  You decide what works best for you.

Stock What You’ll Eat

snack_shtf_prepRight now if I go through my own bug in pantry, I am going to find some items in there that either we decided we did not like or they just got shoved to the back of the drawer for one reason or the other.  I see three cans of black beans.  Black beans are OK, but not a favorite.  If I were hungry or starving that would be different.  I probably will not buy any more any time soon.

Related: Mountain House Review

So, look through your cabinets and take a poll of the family likes to decide what you eat most regularly.  That is a starting place.  Common sense then tells you to stock up on items that the family will consume without picky issues.  Things will be stressful enough without hearing, “yuk, I don’t want that junk.”  Do yourself a favor ahead of time and avoid those arguments.  

Remember, too, the power grid may be down.  You may lose everything in the fridge and freezer.  Cook what you can of meats and such, but plan on not having fresh or frozen foods for a while.

Proteins, Proteins

One of the more common food stocks mistakes is going heavy on carbohydrates.  You need some, but balance the pasta and such with foods high in energy sustainable proteins.  These can be meats, fish, and even protein bars for in between meals or snacks.  

protein_prep_food_shtfSome or many of the prepared canned meat products are very high in fats and salt.  Try to avoid those if these give you other troubles.  It just goes with the territory of most canned foods these days.  If you can find more healthy alternatives, then go for it. Try to balance any SHTF diet with fish such as canned tuna or salmon.  These are good sources of nutrients and would be easy to prepare or easily eat in a hurry.  I know there are many other options, so shop around.

I am not a nutritionist, but I know what my family and I will eat.  My plan is to not add on extra stress by having to eat some foods we simply don’t like or may avoid.  That would be a waste of time and money, both crucial during a SHTF event.  

Veggies

vegetables_prep_shtfBy all means plan to add a whole selection of vegetables to your SHTF diet.  Mostly these will be canned items.  If you have access to a fresh garden, then great.  Variety is indeed the spice of life.  Nobody wants green beans five days in a row and there is no need to do that.  Selection at the grocery is wide.  Beans of endless kinds, greens, corn, tomatoes, asparagus, beets, mushrooms, hominy, and so much more.  It would be cheaper of course to buy by the case, but be sure to monitor the expiration dates carefully on all foods.  

Fruits and Desserts

fruit_prep_shtfBe sure to add canned or dried fruits to your stores.  Fruit can add a tremendous variety food and can be eaten almost like a dessert or snack.  Select a wide variety from peaches, pineapple, apple sauce, fruit cocktail, pears, strawberries, and cherries for example.  Fruits are a bonus. Think about some snacks too that have some shelf life.  We like puddings and the little fruit cups as well.  Some candy bars might be OK, but also have a selection of snack bars with nuts, chocolate, and caramel or whatever.  Bags of hard candy make occasional special treats. Boxed crackers and cheese sandwiches can last for a while.

Quick and Easy

Sure, I like my share of the easy to pop open items that can be quickly heated or eaten right out of the can.  There is a wide selection here, too.  Such items include all types of pasta with or without some kind of meat, along with a tomato sauce.  There is canned mac’n’cheese and other cheese concoctions.  Then there are hordes of canned soups, and chili.  Just shop the grocery aisles to supplement other foods with these items knowing their nutritional value is dubious, but then you likely already eat some of these items anyway now.  

Canned or Pouch

If you have the space at either your bug in or out locations, then canned goods are long lasting, durable to handle, and easy to utilize.  Ironically, the empty cans have many other uses as well, and the paper labels can be removed and used as fire starter materials.  Make sure you have a manual can opener.

Read Also: Choosing the Best Survival Food for Your Bug Out Bag

pouch_food_prep_shtfOf course the down side on cans is the weight and volume, so they are not easily transportable in an emergency.  That is why pre-event stocking is good planning at home or at an alternative evacuation site.  Clearly it is best to have these tasks done ahead of time for the most part.  Keep rotating and resupplying as time goes on. Pouches, foil bags, and other such food containers have many advantages for storage and long term use.  Rip off the top, and eat or pour into a pan for heating if you want.  They are simple and most of the packaging can be consumed in a fire and not a waste dump.  The overall food variety is not that great with items in this type of packaging compared to conventional cans.  

Now, if you are lucky enough to have electric power that can change a lot of things, but don’t plan to count on it.  That is why I skipped baking, breads, and such on purpose, but there are other cooking options, too.  Again, variety is best, maximize shelf life, and buy items that could be eaten without adding water or having to cook or heat it.  Stock up enough for at least a month at a bare minimum.  More is better.  

Fail to Prepare Fail to Live

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insurance_policy_prepDoes it make sense to be a prepper?  Should you spend time and money on things that will help you survive a potential disaster that might never happen?  I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about these questions and always manage to circle back to the same answer:  prepping is your auto, life, and house insurance all rolled up into one. Would you drive around without insurance?  You could, but if you get into an accident you’ve got the potential to be paying expensive medical and vehicle bills the rest of your life.  In my opinion it’s hardly worth it.  Even if you’re not the one causing the accident you might still wind up footing the bill if the other person is uninsured.  Life is a crap shoot and you need to stack the odds in your favor as much as you can.

By Jarhead Survivor, a Contributing Author of SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog

ice_storm_98_trees_line_noaa6198Sure, paying insurance premiums sucks.  I hate to see a portion of my hard earned pay check go out the window on payday to pay for something that might never happen, but I do it.  I look at prepping the same way.  You don’t know when a natural disaster or any other kind of disaster is going to happen.  For example:  winter is coming and we might get another ice storm like we did in ’98.  Some people lost power for two weeks during that time and it was really something to see how people reacted to it.  A few years ago we had a storm go through Maine and I lost power for three days.  Not too bad, but then again I have a generator and my house is wired with a transfer switch.   I had running water, cooked on a camp stove, used my grill, had lights, TV for the kids, and refrigeration. Although it was a pain putting gas in the genny every day or so, it would have been far worse without it.

Get Prepared

What I found interesting is that during that time people would say, “Man, you’re lucky you have a generator.”  Hmm, not really.  I show up for work every day, have a side gig writing for a blog, and stay busy doing wilderness survival training for myself.  I don’t consider myself lucky.  I just show up for work every day.

Related: Toughen Up and Take The Pain 

tv_wasting_time“I don’t have time to prep!”  Is something I hear from people who spend hours binge watching The Walking Dead.  If you’ve got time to watch TV, you have time to do some prepping.  I quit watching television back around the time MTV started airing that first “The Real World” series.  I watched two episodes and felt like I’d lost a little piece of my life I’ll never get back. I turned off the cable and never looked back.  After the cable is gone and there’s plenty of time I hear, “But I don’t have the money!”

You don’t need to go out and buy a huge stockpile of food, weapons, and ammunition the first day.  This can be a game of little wins.  Check out this post about how to buy a little more every week to get some extra food in your pantry.  Within a reasonably short amount of time you can have a pretty decent amount of stores in and ready to go in case of emergency.

What about firearms?  My personal opinion is that firearms should be down the list of things you need to start prepping, but I guess that depends on where you live and who you might be expecting for company after TSHTF.  I know this flies in the face of traditional prepper thinking and I’ll probably take some heat for it, but I’d rather have food to eat and keep out of sight then to have a large supply of guns and ammo, but little or no food to feed the family.  A single well thought out firearm should do the trick for most people.

But let’s say you do want a gun and don’t have a bunch of money to throw at it.  Check out this post from Road Warrior about how to spend your hard earned money on surplus firearms.  If you decide to get a gun and take from someone else who’s prepared, that makes you an armchair commando.  It’s also a good way to get yourself killed or branded as someone who needs to be locked away.  Chances are good that the SHTF event – whatever it may be – will not last forever and there will be a day of reckoning for those who went down the wrong side of the law, or moral code, or whatever may be in place at the time.

Ask yourself what’s the downside of having some extra food and water on hand?  If you’re doing it right there shouldn’t be a down side.  You should be eating the oldest part of your rotation and moving the new stuff to the back just like they stock groceries at the super market.  If the lights go out for whatever reason, you’ll have food and water for awhile.  That’s being smart, but you’d be amazed at how many people only have a few days food or less in their pantry at any given time.  A lot of city folk out there like to pick up dinner on the way home so it’ll be fresh.

Taking Care of Number One When The Lights Go Out

generator_prep_liveI don’t think everybody will be a bad actor, but there are definitely a few out there that will act badly during an SHTF event or even a short range crisis.  One of my favorite examples is during ice storms in the Northeast.  There have been reports of people stealing generators while they’re still running and even death threats to line crews if they didn’t get electricity out to someone’s home!

Think about how important electricity is to us.  It’s literally the blood that flows through the nation’s arteries keeping our food fresh, our lights on, helping to heal our sick people, and keeping us warm.  When the power goes out many people band together and help each other out, but there’s always those few who aren’t prepared and will do anything to help themselves.  You need to be prepared for those people as well.

Also Read: Urban Survival

If you can’t afford a full generator, or it doesn’t make sense because of where you live, you might also try a back up solar generator.  It’s small, quiet, relatively inexpensive, and good enough to power lights and small appliances.  It’s also renewable as long as the sun is shining!  What could be better than that?

My first responsibility is to my family.  I have a wife and two young children still living at home and I want to make sure they are safe and as comfortable as possible during any emergency.  I’ve spent some of my hard earned money to ensure that happens and you probably have too.  Part of that planning is protecting your equipment from those who haven’t and feel justified taking what is yours.  My generator is in a small shed and bolted down.  Someone could get it if they really wanted it, but it would mean some time and effort on their part.

Priority List

tent_sheter_rule_of_3Here’s a simple priority list based on the Survival Rule of Three’s.  This is off the top of my head, so if you have anything to add leave a comment at the bottom of this post. The Rule of 3’s looks like this: You can survive 3 minutes without air. You can survive 3 hours without shelter. You can survive 3 days without water. You can survive 3 weeks without food. I translated the rule like this:

Air – People die every year during blackouts because they have their generators in the basement or somewhere not ventilated properly.  Make sure your generator is in a place where it doesn’t build up carbon monoxide.

Shelter – You already have shelter and now it’s a matter of staying warm.  Wood stoves, propane heaters, and kerosene heaters, are all ways you can keep your family warm during those times when the grid is down.  You can also “huddle in place” by getting under some blankets if none of those options work for you.

Water – Have enough water stored in your house for at least three days or have a way to filter or clean it if you have a pond or other water source nearby.

Food – As you can see food is down the list as far as survival needs go; however, try telling that to your four year old when she gets hungry.  Stock up on food so that if something happens you can at least feed them for three days or a week.

Conclusion

Aim to be self-sufficient. To answer the question at the beginning of this article:  yes, it makes sense to be a prepper.  I dislike the show “Doomsday Prepper” because the producers always have them say something like, “I’m preparing for a solar flare,” or some such drivel.  Most preppers I know are preparing for anything.  To say you’re preparing for one specific event is absurd.  Prepare as broad and deep as you can and no matter what happens you’ll be ready when the time comes. Questions?  Comments? Sound off below!

Photos Courtesy of:

Pictures of Money
B Bola
Drew
Insomnix
Matt Davis
Glen B. Stewart 

The Mission Drives The Gear

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gear_drives_mission

Preppers are notorious for caching stuff. Gear is our life. We can’t seem to get enough of it and at the same time we could camp_bugout_gearprobably all have a huge garage sale and never miss half of it. Have you ever really thought what you are going to do with all that stuff?  If you are not a list person, I recommend you become one. Gear management is just as big a part of survival prepping as planning for it in the first place. With a comprehensive inventory, you can not only get a handle on what you have amassed in terms of survival gear, but you can review it, refresh it, and begin to task it for specific missions.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Achieving a balance between too much and just enough is the difficult part.  You want to be mobile but at the same time, you must be thoroughly prepared.  This guide will help you achieve this balance and fine-tune your bug out bag.

Re-Do Your EDC

What do you keep stashed in a daily carry bag?  Is it designed to sustain you for a day in case of an emergency or a longer time frame?  Is there a weapon and support supplies in that bag?  Where is it stowed, in the vehicle, or do you carry it into the office each day?  How discreet is its carry and your protection of it?

How often do you recycle the supplies in this bag? If you keep several loaded magazines for a pistol, these should be rotated, beretta-pico-3unloaded for a time, and then put back in service again.  Every 6 months ought to be about right so spring tension does not memorize.  The gun itself should be wiped down with an oil cloth every couple weeks especially if you live in a high humidity region.

Related: Knee Deep in Bug Out Vehicles

Life sustaining supplies in this bag should be used regularly and replaced, too. Drink the water on the way home, then replace it with fresh bottles every week or so.  If you have energy bars, GORP, or other eats, then keep them fresh. Nothing is worse than opening a zip lock bag of raisins and M&Ms only to find them melted into a slurry.

Essential, too, is keeping this daily carry bag as efficiently stocked as possible.  If you find, upon opening the bag, that it contains items never or rarely used, then reconsider the necessity of these items.  Don’t over weigh a bag you have to carry or may have to tote for miles during a SHTF.  Occasionally lay everything out on the floor and reassess each item’s usefulness.

Revise Your Escape Plan

In the same vein, if you travel out of town with the family either on business or a combined vacation, the stuff you take to supply might be different. You might want more gear for personal defense including a more powerful long gun.  This may mean packing a half dozen mags each for a self-defense pistol and perhaps an AR.  You may find you have other stuff rarely used that you could sell or trade for needed items.

Overnight stays will mean more clothing, more personal care items, and regular medications for the longer time frame. Double check your packing lists to make sure you have everything you need. If you are driving, consider taking a supply pack with extra food and water.  Be sure to have a cell phone charger. Kids along? Have more stuff for them, too.

Before you leave, let your neighbors know where you are going, give them phone numbers, notify police you will be gone, and secure your domicile.   Suspend newspaper deliveries and mail or better yet ask a trusted neighbor to bag them for you.  That way, other outside sources do not know your travel plans. Put lights on timers so it appears like people are home.  Double check locked doors, set the alarm and be sure the garage door closes.

Prioritize the Bug Out Plan

Be sagacious: assess your plan. If it is to escape a severe storm threat like a hurricane, estimate the time out of the area and pack accordingly for what you hope will not be a terribly long time. This then assumes your residence is not damaged or outright destroyed. Ask yourself if your redundancy is over extended having accumulated too much stuff or several of the same kinds of items.

Also Read: More Tips for Your Bug Out Bag 

Put your plans to escape in action. Ideally you are going to family or friends or a predetermined hotel location. Execute your bug out plan that you worked out well in advance of any incident. Pack and take only the items you need for this scenario.

For a worst case scenario, hopefully you have a plan. Maybe it is an escape to another house in the country, or a spot where you have set up a permanent trailer for housing or even a dedicated camping trailer. Ideally you have cached and stashed essentials at this location including food stuffs, water, fuel, tools, gear, and everything else you might need to stay for several months. This situation may finally mean to grab all those bug out bags you have spent years packing and fine tuning. This gives you important time to choose what gear is needed for the mission. Excess stuff can be contributed to a team effort or sold off for revenue to buy other more essential gear.

Mission Drives the Gear and the Plan

Again, the specific mission drives what gear to pack and take.  As a prepper, try to avoid just buying all kinds of stuff that looks great but is not really purposed as it should be.  Prepper budgets are usually stretched enough without buying extra neat stuff that is never used. This goes for every category of gear, too, including weapons, and ammo.  If you go overboard, then do it on water, food, and medical supplies. Lighten your load of unnecessary gear.

All Photos Courtesy of:
Dr. John Woods

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How To Field Dress A Pheasant In Under Two Minutes

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pheasant_clean_how_to

When calamity strikes and grocery stores become barren, it will be imperative for people to produce their own food. Many individuals who have never hunted will be forced to learn quickly. In my own experience, I’ve found field dressing, not shooting, to be the most challenging part of the hunt. Among those who have never hunted, the prospect of cleaning a bird is probably intimidating.

By D-Ray a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

Thankfully a YouTube user, Shawn Woods, has an informative video on how to clean a pheasant in under two minutes.  Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or a novice, this video is impressive. Novice hunters will learn how to expertly field dress and more seasoned hunters can appreciate a speed run.

A Breakdown of the Process

To begin, it is important to understand you are working with six components for removal: head, tail, two wings, and two feet. First, let’s take a look at the legs of your pheasant. The lower, scaled half of pheasant legs connects to the feathered top at a joint. In a circular motion, cut just below this joint and snap the leg of the pheasant back. At this point, the leg should be hanging on by a few tendons. Cut any excess tendons and remove the lower portion of the leg.

Related: Compound Bow Choice For Archery Deer Hunting 

Next, you’ll want to focus on the wings. Pheasant wings are separated by a joint dividing primary and secondary feathers. Grab pheasant_feathers_cleanthe primary section of the wing and bend back sharply breaking the joint. Once the joint is broken, pull back to reveal any connecting tendons. In a similar fashion to the legs, cut these connections to remove the primary  section from the secondary. With the primary section off, you can leave the secondary section to wait for later. This will addressed during the skinning process.

Now for the good part. Grab the base of the pheasants neck and cut. Without too much effort, this will come right off. Remove the pheasant head and use this opening to peel back skin and feathers. With the exception of the remaining secondary feathers, removing this skin should not be too difficult. For the most part, this should be a quick process.

To conclude, cut the pheasant tail at the base and remove. Next, make a small cut along the lower breast portion; this will create clean_pheasant_process_easya hole underneath the breast to allow for access to intestines, heart, gizzard, liver, and other organs. Insert two fingers into this hole, get dirty, and pull out the pheasant guts. In a couple of tries, you should have a pheasant largely removed of all organs.

At the end of this process, Shawn Woods produced a cleaned Pheasant in 1:44 seconds. Perhaps the most impressive part of his process is meat retained. Very little was wasted in this process. Although he did not mention it, pheasant liver and gizzard can be consumed as well. In a survival scenario, you will want to hold on to these for consumption.

What the Video Missed 

While I was impressed with this video, I must throw in a few caveats. You should not emulate the haphazard process of organ removal used in this video. Take a bit of time to carefully remove intestines and other internal organs. Rupturing these inside the pheasant is messy, unhygienic, and smells god-awful. Nobody wants to clean pheasant meat that has been covered in bird feces.

Also Read: Survival Shotgun Selection

A less important note: when removing the legs, don’t sever the tendons outright. Take a bit more time to pull them out of the cooked_pheasant_how_tobird. While this process will make the cleaning more time consuming, it will expedite your cooking process. Speaking of which, the skinning process used in this video could have been a bit more thorough. Rather than frantically pulling at feathers, a slower approach on skinning yields a cleaner, more hygienic bird.

It’s also important to mention that a thorough cleaning process involves looking for shot embedded in the meat. You don’t want to start digging into your pheasant meat to chew down on a mouth full of metal. The bird in this video seemed to be killed in a pretty clean fashion. This isn’t always the case. From time to time, you will kill a pheasant that is, at points, too mangled by shot to be consumed. In these instances, you will be forced to toss ruined meat.

Wrapping It All Up

As this video demonstrates, cleaning a pheasant isn’t an overly difficult or time consuming practice. If you remember to cut your six components and take time to skin, you will produce a cleaned pheasant ready to cook. Also, if you’ve never been hunting, I recommend you go. Bird hunting is a great deal of fun and a valuable skill in survival scenarios.  If you need an excuse to take a few days off and shoot a shotgun, bird hunting is the perfect activity. I challenge you to find an unhappy hunter after a trip out to the woods. The old adage ‘a bad day of fishing beats a good day at work’, is also applicable to hunting.

For the seasoned hunters out there, what is your process? While I think a two minute clean is a little hasty, I was still impressed with the speed clean. Let me know what you think in the comments. Also, feel free to share your hunting experiences.

Photos and Video Courtesy of:
Shawn Woods 
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Lukasz Lukasik

 

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The UBER Guide to DIY Food Storage with Mylar Bags, O2 Absorbers and Buckets!

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Uber Guide to Food Storage

We all NEED food!  In any real disruption, whether that be short or long term, people realize that they need or will need food.  If you doubt, or need a reminder, just think back to pictures of grocery store shelves during winter storms or hurricanes.  The problem with “ordinary” people (or maybe we should call them irresponsible), is that they wait till the disruption is right at their doorstep!

I knew when I started in preparedness that I didn’t want to be irresponsible.  I have a family and I wanted to make sure that their needs are met if I can help it.  So to me, as a father and husband, it is a no brainer to have long term food storage!

My good friend Gaye Levy of Backdoor Survival says it well in her book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage

When most people start thinking about preparedness, they focus on food. Not shelter, gear, sanitation, power, self-defense or the myriad of other concerns that need to be addressed following an emergency or disaster situation. Quite simply, food is the number one concern people have second only to their concern for having an adequate supply of water.

 

What type of food should you buy, where should you buy it, and how should you store it? You are going to learn that acquiring food for the preparedness pantry does not have to be overwhelming. Furthermore, long-term emergency food storage is something you can do over the course of a week, a month, or even longer, if that is what it takes.

 

Perhaps even more important, when you have filled your storage pantry, you will be secure in the knowledge that if a disaster strikes, you will have plenty of food to feed your family, along with a few treats and surprises along the way.

 

My Long Term Food Storage Dilemma

 

After doing my due diligence and researching long term food storage, I soon realized that I wouldn’t be able to afford to purchase those big pallets of food for my whole family.  It would have been nice and easy to place an order online and then just park all that food in a room, but it wasn’t happening for my budget, and I bet it isn’t happening for your own budget either.

There is also the issue with what your family will eat.  Many of those long term food packs come with food that your family might not like and won’t eat.  Yeah, I know.  In an emergency, if they were starving, they would eat it.  But still…why push it.

I knew I wanted to store long term food for my family, the issue was how and how much.  It wasn’t long that I found that you could store food long term in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers inside of plastic 5 gallon buckets.

Side Note: Now, I will tell you here that I think the easiest form of food storage is buying canned foods at your local grocery store.  You can easily create a 30 day menu by using cans.  I wrote the article, Anyone Can Do It – Fool Proof Food Storage, which provides information to an old Y2K website with a ton of recipes…no guessing!  Below that article, you will find a ton of links to other types of food storage from many of my friends who also blog about preparedness.  BUT – canned foods aren’t meant to last for the “LONG TERM.”

The only thing that worried me about making my own long term food storage buckets was ME!  At that time, there wasn’t as much information about making your own food storage buckets like now!  What if I screwed something up and the food that my family depended on went bad and we were caught without any food during a long term crisis?  It’s kind of scary if you think about it, but you have to GET OVER IT!

Making your own long term food storage buckets is very easy.  I’m going to list out the steps in a 1,2,3 format.  But if you need more encouragement, I’m going to include so many links after my steps that you are going to OD on information and feel like a long term food storage expert!

 

Steps to Making Your Own Long Term Food Storage Buckets

 

1.  Acquire Your Supplies. 

You will need mylar bags, O2 absorbers, 5 gallon buckets w/ lids, a mallet, a pail or bucket opener, an iron, a 2×4 board and the food you want to store.

Mylar Bags – Here you have a few options.  You can go with big 5 gallon bag sizes or you can go with 1 gallon bag sizes and place 4-5 in each 5 gallon bucket.  You really want to purchase mylar bags that have a decent thickness.  I usually get 4mil thick bags from Amazon.

I have a big family, with big boys.  I chose to use the big 5 gallon size bags.  I figure that we are going to eat!  If you are putting together buckets for just two people, you might want to use the 1 gallon size bags and place various types of food in one bucket.

O2 Absorbers – O2 absorbers will absorb the oxygen that you can’t push out of the mylar bag.  Various sizes of bags require various cc’s of oxygen absorbers.

To take the guess work out of it though, you can purchase packs of mylar bags with O2 absorbers.  Like I said, I purchase them from Amazon already put together.

5 gallon buckets – You don’t really NEED buckets, but you should use them!  The buckets are  there to protect the mylar bags from being punctured by accident or by little fury critters.  They will also serve as an easy place to store your food when you open up your mylar bags.  I purchase the orange buckets from Home Depot.  I purchase the lids there too.  Home Depot has also started selling gamma lids, lids that easily screw off.  But you can also purchase them on Amazon.

Mallet – You will need this to hammer down the lids on the buckets after you finish sealing your bags.

Bucket/Pail Opener – This isn’t necessary, but will save your nails and fingers when you try to open your buckets.  They are cheap and you will be glad you have one.  You can purchase them on Amazon too.

Food – If you are doing this on the cheap, you probably want to stick with white rice, beans and pasta.  All of these foods will last for a very long time.  This will get you started, but you might want to add more.  Like for example, you might want to store sugar.  You can put that in a mylar bag, but don’t include an O2 absorber.  It will turn your sugar into a hard block.  For other examples of foods that you can store, see the links below.

Iron and 2×4 board – When you get ready to seal your mylar bags, you will place the top of the bag on the board and then iron over it.  I used an old iron we didn’t throw out and I had a 2×4 just laying around in the garage.

2.Fill Up the Bags

First thing – Do not open the package that the O2 absorbers come in until you are ready to start sealing your mylar bags!  Once you open the O2 package, the absorbers start working.  You want to wait until you are really ready.

Setup your buckets in a line or in a work area that will allow you to move easily.  Turn on your iron, connect with an extension cord if it makes it easier, and set it on high.

Place your mylar bags inside the buckets and pour your food inside. You might want to go ahead and label your lids with a Sharpie and place it under the buckets of food so you don’t forget what is inside each bucket…in case you are the forgetful type! 😉  Make sure you leave some space at the top of the bag so it can seal easily.

Shake the buckets to make sure you don’t have any air pockets.  Once all your food is in mylar bags, inside of the buckets, open up your O2 absorbers and drop the appropriate size of O2 absorber inside each bucket.

Grab the 2×4 board, lay it across a portion of the mylar bag, at the top, and run the iron over it.  You don’t have to hold it over too long.  You will see it seal. (see the Yeager vid below)  Again, this is easier than it might sound.  You want to leave a portion of the bag unsealed, like at the end.  The reason is that you want to push out as much air as possible.  I have heard that you can get a long tube/straw and place it on one side of the mylar bag to help get the last bit of air out.

After you are comfortable with pushing as much air out of the bags that you can get, then completely seal the bag.  You might want to make a diagonal seal at the end of the bag to close it off.  (The first tutorial link I link to below will show you what I mean)

At this point, you can wait till the next day to make sure that the bags sealed before you hammer on the lid.  You will notice that the bags will become “tight” and firm as the O2 is absorbed.

Any O2 absorbers that you have left can go into a mason jar.  I don’t really know how long this would work because I have always used all of mine!

3. After you are comfortable with your sealed bags, you can place the lid on them and use the mallet to set the lids in place.  You will notice that the lids from Home Depot have a rubber seal around the bottom.  This makes for a very tight seal.

4.  Your buckets should already be labeled, so just find a cool, dark place to store them, like in a closet or an unused room.  Your buckets should last for many, many, years.

The above list of steps is what I did to make my long term food storage buckets.  It is very easy to do.  However, I know that I wanted to see pics and video.  Again, you want to feel comfortable that you did everything correctly, your family is depending on you!

Below you will find some of the best tutorials and links that you will want to read/watch to help you feel more comfortable.  All of these articles were linked on Prepper Website, so you know they are good! :-)

Search Amazon for Great Deals on Purchasing Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers!

 

DIY Long Term Food Storage Tutorials

How to Seal a Mylar Bag in a 5-gallon bucket (Modern Survival Blog) – This tutorial has the pic of using the diagonal seal I spoke about above.

Supersizing Food Storage with BUCKETS  (Prepared Housewives) – Good info. with a lot of pics!

VID: Long Term Food Storage (Survive2Day) – If you are looking for a video to walk you through the process, you might want to watch this one!

VID: Beginners Guide to Food Storage (James Yeager) – Yes, that James Yeager, often does videos on preparedness.  He walks through putting together food buckets in this video along with other food storage basics!

How to Seal Food in Mylar Bags (Backdoor Survival) – Good tutorial with a lot of pics!

Sealing Food in Five Gallon Buckets is an Important Skill for Preppers (Preparedness Advice Blog)

VID: Long Term Food Storage: Dry Pasta in Mylar Bags (The Modern Survivalist) – This is a short video where Ferfal uses a hair straightener to seal a small mylar package.

Food Storage: Packing pails for long term storage ( Candian Preppers Network)

 

Tips & Tricks You Want to Know About Your DIY Long Term Food Buckets

 

Food Storage Demystified – (Ready Nutrition) – Lots of great tips to help you understand more about your food buckets!

Food Grade Buckets – (5 Gallon Ideas) – Understand the difference between food grade and non-food grade buckets!

Oxygen Absorbers For 5-Gallon Food Storage (Modern Survival Blog)

FREE – Food Storage Inventory Spreadsheets You Can Download For Free (Prepared Housewives) – Who doesn’t like FREE stuff?

A Food Storage Tip When Using Mylar Bags (Ed that Matters) – A great tip for storing rice and beans together in the same 5 gallon bucket!

Survival Basics: Using Mylar Bags for Food Storage (Backdoor Survival) – Some great tips!

Guide to Long Term Food Storage (The Daily Prep) – A graphic resource with links to specific topics and questions you might have.

The 15 Commandments of Food Storage (Survival Mom) – Just good info.

How Many Buckets of Freedom Do You Have? (The Organic Prepper) – Some thoughts on why it is important to have buckets of food!

Food Storage (Peak Prosperity) – There is a ton of info. here regarding food storage of all types.  I’m including it because it does discuss long term food buckets.

8 Tips For Storing Food in Mylar Bags  (Food Storage & Survival) – Great tips!

How Much Food Will Fit in a 5 Gallon Bucket? (Preparedness Advice Blog) – Good info.

12 Staples of Long Term Food Storage (US Prepper’s) – A good list of food to have.

 

3 Great Resources

 

The Prepper’s Cookbook (Tess Pennington) – This book is one of the best when it comes to cooking with your food storage.  The book contains a ton of recipes, charts, how-to store food for long term food storage (various ways), food calculator and more!  Read the review hereThe book has 4.5 stars and 209 reviews on Amazon.  It is definitely one you want in your preparedness library!

The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage (Gaye Levy) – This ebook is concise and packs a powerful punch.  You can read my review here.  The book has 4 stars and 33 reviews on Amazon.  You can often find it for $.99!

The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget (Daisy Luther) – I haven’t done a book review on this book.  But knowing Daisy and reading all the articles that she puts out on her website, I know it is going to be good.  The book covers building your pantry, cutting costs, storing food and also contains recipes.

 

Spices & Herbs?

 

I’m sure that your family will be very appreciative of all your efforts to provide food for extended emergencies.  However, with all the bulk food that you store, you might find that eating becomes boring.  Since food is so important to us, why not prepare a little bit more to have “good food” that your family would eat.

One thing that you will want to do is to store spices and herbs to make your food storage have various tastes.  Spices, seasonings and herbs usually store very well.  You might also want to grow your own herbs.  Having fresh herbs is easy, frugal and can be done in your big garden or even in containers.  Below you will find some good articles to reference.

Long Term Storage for Spices (Florida Hillbilly)

Food Storage: Storing Herbs and Spices for Long Term Storage (Self-Reliant School)

The Spice of Life (Paratus Familia Blog)

Food Storage, Bulk Spices, And My Must Haves (New Life on a Homestead)

10 Spice Blend Recipes (The Mountain Rose Blog)

Drying Herbs? Here’s what you do with them next (I Am Liberty)

How Do I Store That? Dried Herbs (Preparedness Mama)

Herb Gardening Basics (Simply Living Simply)

 

Closing

 

Food storage makes sense!  You know it does or you wouldn’t have read this article.  If you are looking for other ways to store food, including more tips, tricks and cooking ideas, take a look at the “Food Storage” tag on Prepper Website.  There you will find pages and pages of great food storage articles.  Just a note – at the bottom of each tag page, there is a link to take you to the next page!

Do you have a favorite food storage article or tip?  Link it below in the comments!

Peace,
Todd

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