5 of the Most Popular Survival Kits You Can Find

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We’ve done some digging and come across some of the best survival kits offered on Amazon, making the purchasing of prepping gear easy. Depending on your needs and the size of your family, consider adding a small kit to your car or splitting up these kits to upgrade your bug out bag or add to your home prepping stash.

When preparing for a disaster, many overlook the possibility of something happening while in a car and away from home.  That’s why some of the kits below can be purchased and left in your car so you’ll never be left without at least some survival gear.

The peace of mind offered once you’ve got your car outfitted is difficult to describe, that’s why some of these kits offer bags that are light enough they can be moved around (in and out of a car if you choose to not store survival gear in your vehicle) or stored neatly under a bed.

1. Tianer Survival Gear 11 in 1 Kit

Tianers Professional Outdoor Emergency Survival Gear Kit offers 11 tools, including a military compass, survival (multi-function) knife, saber card, fire starter, whistle, wire saw, flashlight, signal mirror, scraper, tungsten steel pen, and a box to keep it all in. 

At only $23.99, this little survival kit is inexpensive considering what’s in it and perfect to toss in a vehicle or set on the shelf with your other prepping tools.  You could also take several of the items and add them to your bug out bag if you happen to be missing a few of the essentials, and for the price, wouldn’t have to worry about splitting up the kit.

If you don’t want to split this kit up, don’t worry.  It’s small and easy to carry. The dimensions of the box containing the other ten items 4.1 x 1.8 x 6.3 inches and it weighs only 0.65 pounds. The box is touted as “sturdy enough to be waterproof and protect the products inside.”

2. Emergency Case Premium Family 4 Person 4 Days Emergency Kit 

This kit will set you back $800, but it has everything you need for a family of four to survive for four days.  It comes in an easy to pull waterproof, durable, and lockable container.  This kit is perfect to grab and toss in the car in the event of an immediate natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane.

It can be stored anywhere and decreases evacuation time to 60 seconds. Easy rolling, mobile, highly durable, lockable, and waterproof case contains a 5 kit emergency system. In that system are a food & water kit, sleep & shelter kit, advanced medical kit, tools & safety kit, and health & hygiene kit.  It contains a tent and sleeping bags and includes a water filtration system.

If you live in one of the nation’s “disaster zones” and are ill-prepared for a quick evacuation, though a little expensive, this kit could be a lifesaver.

3. Emergency Zone Family Prep Emergency Survival 72 Hour Kit

Available in both a two-person and a four-person kit, the survival gear comes in a discrete red backpack and all supplies are conveniently packaged in a discrete and nondescript red pack.  This kit is only $179.99 for a four-person kit and $139.99 for the two-person version. 

The items come well-organized ziplock bags to keep everything organized and dry and the convenient backpack includes a 48-page emergency preparedness guide.  It also comes with a hygiene kit and some basic medical supplies and a flashlight. This pre-made bug out bag could be the perfect solution to the previous more expensive kit and would be excellent for the beginning prepper. 

4. Get Ready Now Deluxe Car Emergency Kit

 This compact, convenient sized kit is designed to fit under the front seat, in door panels, or backseat pockets.  Basically, you could toss this thing in any vehicle without losing too much space, and at only $125.99, you could feel confident in having at least some survival gear should you get lost or break down.

This kit will offer you the best supplies for a worst-case scenario. The kit includes critical gear often omitted in DIY kits including light, first aid, utility tools, warmth & cooling, sanitation, and food and water products.

5. Survival Frog All-in-One LifeShield Survival Bug Out Bag

At $299.99, this kit certainly is not the cheapest on the list, but it’s a good one for those with minimal prepping under their belt. Even though this kit contains a wide selection of essential survival gear, it still weighs less than 15 lbs. This means that preppers who purchase with this pack will get the best of both worlds – a complete bug out bag that you can actually carry around comfortably.

Purchased individually, the items included in this kit would retail for over $500, but Survival Frog wanted to eliminate any barriers that would prevent customers from being fully prepared. The lifeshield bug out pack is incredibly spacious, offers 2,400 cubic inch survival gear capacity in six organized compartments, and is also insanely durable.

The options are endless, but good and lightweight supplies should be at the forefront of a prepper’s mind. Remember, these kits are great on their own or they can be broken up to make the perfect bag or kit for your personal situation.  You are limited only by your imagination! The important thing to remember is you must consider your personal situation.  Many may not desire a bug out bag, preferring to “bug in” but can use the individual items in some of the kits to add to a car kit or enhance a home prepping stash.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Simple, No-Knead, Artisan Bread

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Food is always a concern when it comes to preparedness. We all have those thoughts about what the world looks like when we start scraping the battle of the barrel in terms of resources. What are we going to be capable of? That all comes down to how well you can manipulate ingredients into edible …

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Best Canned Cheese For Emergency Survival

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canned cheese

You don’t need to give up all your favorite comfort foods in emergency situations. With a little forethought and smart prepping, you can have staples like the best canned cheese on hand to satisfy your cravings during tough times. Here are some of the best options. Whether you’re planning for a natural disaster, a pandemic, or another […]

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Legacy Food Storage Gluten Free Meals

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To many people, food storage is having 20 cans of Pork N Beans in the pantry or Military Meal Packs (aka MREs). These are great options for short-term food storage but both items have a shelf-life of up to 5 years. They may still be eatable after 5 […]

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Foraged Food : How to Safely Enjoy Wild Edibles

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There is a mountain of knowledge the average person must overcome if they are going to start foraging wild foods. When you know nothing about the natural world, looking for food in the woods is a serious struggle. Don’t be disheartened. Little by little the more you read and study edible plants the more they …

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7 Smart Ways To Preserve Fish For The Hard Times Ahead

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Putting up fish is something a lot of fishermen don’t even consider. They may eat a lot of fish at certain times of the year but go without at others. With all the different ways to preserve fish, you can experiment to your heart’s desire with exotic recipes and flavors, all the while stocking up for your family’s future.

Preparation

 how to preserve fish

Learning how to preserve fish for future consumption could be a life-saver.

Start your preparation by cleaning your fish as soon as possible after you catch it. Fish meat is said to deteriorate 200 times faster than beef, so the fresher the better. Some things to do to keep fish fresh include: keeping them in the live well or on a stringer until you are done fishing, keeping the cleaned fish in a creel that is dipped into the water occasionally to keep them cool, or putting the fish on ice in a cooler after they are cleaned.

Scale your fish with a plain old spoon and decide if you want the skin left on or not. For catfish and bullheads, you will want to skin them. Generally the heads should be removed from all fish you wish to preserve.

After they are cleaned and you are ready to work on them, decide if you will want to put them up whole or as fillets, steaks, or chunks. The method you wish to use will sometimes dictate how they should be cut.

Salting

Salting is an ancient practice fishermen used to preserve their catch while at sea and a long way from the market. Salt draws out moisture, drying out the fish and creating an environment where microorganisms can’t function and the fish are preserved. Most of the methods listed will use salting in one form or another.

Always use pickling salt if possible because it contains no iodine or additives to keep it from clumping and is of a finer grain than other types of salt. In a pinch you can use Kosher or sea salt, but they will not perform as well. Table salt with iodine will turn everything dark and can influence flavor. It should be avoided in all but survival situations.

Brining

Brining is preserving fish in a salty liquid. It is also a flavoring step (similar to a marinade) in most of the other types of preservation.

There are two methods used to brine fish. One is using salt to draw out the fish’s own moisture to create brine. A crock works well for this. First, put a layer of salt covering the bottom of the crock, and then place a layer of fish on top of it. Next, place another layer of salt, then fish again. Continue until you are out of fish or your crock is getting full. Put in a layer of salt on top and cover with a plate that fits inside the crock. Place a weight on top of the plate to hold the fish down.

The salt will draw out the liquid in the fish and create a brine. The weight on the plate will hold the fish down in the liquid. If the fish fail to make enough liquid to cover them, salty water can be added until the top layer is under the liquid. This should keep the fish for several weeks.

The second method is preparing a solution of salt and water or vinegar (or even wine) and using it to cover the fish. This brine should be at least ½ cup of salt to the gallon of water; one cup per gallon would be better. You can even use more, depending on your recipe. If you are using this brine as a marinade, other spices and flavors can be added. Soaking in this brine can last anywhere for ½ hour to a week, depending on your preference.

Smoking

When you smoke fish, you are drying it out, similar to salting, to make an environment where bacteria can’t multiply. Usually, smoking uses heat to drive off the moisture without cooking the fish. You are also adding a distinctive flavor to the fish that many find quite enticing. Smoked salmon, anyone?  Some recipes and techniques call for enough heat that the fish is cooked at the same time.

Smoking works best with fillets, but it can be done to steaks or whole fish also. Smoking can be a one or two-step process. The one-step process involves taking the fresh cleaned fish and smoking it as is. The two-step process brines the fish for a time before the smoking. This can be to add salt for better preservation or more flavors for better palatability.

If you use a commercial smoker, follow your manufacturer’s directions. If you are using a homemade smoker, remember to use only hardwoods, with hickory and fruitwoods being the best. Evergreens will leave a tarry coating on the fish and ruin them.

Canning

Canning fish is generally discouraged since the meat deteriorates quickly. Fish is a low-acid food and thus has a long processing time. If it is attempted, you should cut your fish into chunks and can smaller pint-sized portions to be sure all the meat reaches a safe processing temperature. Canning fish should always be done with a pressure canner, and you should consult the most up-to-date information available regarding processing times. That being said, home-canned salmon can be very good.

Drying

Drying fish on a wooden rack just like our forefathers did can still be done. Fish should be salted and filleted if possible, or if small, opened up so they lay flat. They can be skewered with wooden spikes to aid in this if need be. They should be hung in a place out of the sun with good air circulation. They should be turned several times a day. They should be brought in at night and sprinkled with salt if they are still damp.

Drying will take several days and an effort should be made to keep insects and weather away. Sometimes a smoky fire will be burnt upwind to aid in this. Again, hardwoods only.

Freezing

Freezing fish, while requiring the least amount of work, will preserve your fish at the highest quality. If you have the room in the freezer and like fresh fish, this is the route you should take. For best results use, a deep freeze and not the freezer compartment on your refrigerator.

You can freeze them in a block of ice by putting your fish in a container, then filling it with water and freezing the whole thing. This works well for bulk storing.

Another method is to dip your fish in cold water and wrap it in plastic or foil and freeze without draining. A third method is dipping. Put your fish on a tray in your freezer.  When frozen, take them out and dip them in water and return to the freezer. Repeat the process until you have the desired thickness of fish-sicles.

Pickling

For a real adventure in putting up your fish, you can try pickling them. Most pickling recipes take a two-step approach. First, you either brine or cook your fish, and then you immerse them in a pickling mixture and allow them to soak. There are so many different recipes and advice it is hard to recommend just one.

Since you are being adventurous, you should try the recipe in Bull Cook and Authentic Historical Recipes and Practices by George and Berthe Herter. George prefers brining the cleaned fish for about a week in a solution of salt and white vinegar, and then he gives the recipe for the pickling liquid, with a couple of options to suit your taste. (You can even turn it into a wine sauce.) Once the fish are in this pickling liquid for three days, they are put in the refrigerator for one more day. They are then ready to enjoy.

Even people who don’t care for fish find they sometimes like it when it is put up in one of these ways. In hard times, putting up fish will be a valuable skill to possess.

You may also want to read Natural Mosquito Bite Cures!

©2018 Off the Grid News

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In this case White is Right!

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In this case White is Right!
Lynna “A Preppers Path ” Audio player below!

Now before you get all excited and or angry with White is Right. The show has nothing to do with political correctness but rather what we put in our bodies. Many have heard of the diet where basically you just don’t eat anything white, such as sugar, flour, pasta, rice and on and on, however there is one white that is most definitely right in the food world.

Continue reading In this case White is Right! at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Building a Hand Made Butter Churn From Scratch

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There are some pieces of equipment that just speak to self sufficiency in a way that others do not. One such piece of equipment is the butter churn. Now, I will preface this intro with: If you do not have a dairy cow or if you do not plan on getting one, the building of …

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How To Best Prepare Yourself For The Coming Financial Crisis

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Many financial analysts believe the United States economy is in a dire situation.  Peter Schiff, who accurately predicted the 2008 recession has come out and declared we will all live through another Great Depression, only this time, it’ll be much worse than before.  But there are ways to prepare for such an event, and we’ve gathered some helpful tips and tricks to help make the process a little more smooth.

“The bad news is, we are going to live through another Great Depression and it’s going to be very different. This will be in many ways, much much worse, than what people had to endure during the Great Depression…This is going to be a dollar crisis.”

When you are talking about the magnitude of the debt we have, that extra money [raising interest rates] is big. That’s going to be a big drain on the economy to the extent that we have to pay higher interest to international creditors…a lot of this phony GDP is coming from consumption, while the average American who is consuming is deeply in debt and they are going to impacted dramatically in the increase in the cost of servicing that debt…given how much debt we have, and how much debt is going to be marketed the massive increase in supply will argue for interest rates that are higher.” -Peter Schiff

According to Financial Times, it is becoming clear that the global monetary policy is now caught in a debt trap of its own making. Continuing on the current monetary path is ineffective and increasingly dangerous. But any reversal also involves great risks. It stands to reason that the odds of another crisis blowing up continue to rise.

So how can you forecast this economic disaster and best prepare?  For starters, you should pay off as much debt as possible. There are many reasons for this, the obvious being if it truly belongs to you and you have the title in hand, no one can take that property from you.  Pay off your unsecured debts first and as quickly as possible, however.  Credit card debt will become more expensive as interest rates rise, making those already only able to make a minimum payment stuck choosing between a credit card payment or another bill. Make sure you stop putting things on a credit card in order to pay it down with the goal of eliminating that debt. Cut things out of your budget if you must to pay things off. A good tip from Surviopedia is to tackle your debts one at a time starting with the smaller ones. Once the smaller one is paid off, apply the money for those payments to the next biggest debt, paying it off early. Once things are paid off, you’ll also have the added benefit of having extra money to buy things of value that can be used as currency during a crisis, such as gold, food, or ammunition.  Remember, when paper money is of no value, food or ammunition could very well be a powerful form of currency as bartering for goods and services inevitably returns.

Everyone knows they should store a little extra food “just in case,” even if it’s only to wait out a harsh storm. But accumulating ammunition is a great way to prepare for a post-apocalyptic world, especially one in which no one has money (or money is worthless) and grocery store shelves are empty. This is a great primer article to learn more about SHTF Firearms. Rifle and pistol cartridges will always have value if you store them right because ammunition could mean the difference between life and death.  An unloaded gun is merely a club, while a loaded gun can kill an animal for meat or protect one’s life from a violent attack.  Hoarding ammunition and having a safe and dry place to store it could be almost seen as a “savings account.” Even if you don’t own a gun capable of shooting a cartridge you are storing, someone else likely will. One strategy to use, though is to arm yourself with firearms and ammunition using very common cartridges. This will increase the chances that someone else, will have a gun that can shoot what you are offering. The most common pistol cartridges are 9mm, 38 Special and .45 ACP. The most common rifle cartridges are .22 Long Rifle, 7.62x39mm, and 5.56x45mm.  Ammunition is often overlooked as a possible form of currency during a financial crisis but it will be necessary and difficult to come by making it a highly valued currency.  Make sure you have a safe place to store your ammunition and keep its availability quiet to prevent theft or violent attacks against yourself. Rifle cartridges will represent months worth of food, even if you don’t own a rifle. The trick is to find someone who does and trade them for something of equal value.

The final tip to best prepare yourself for a financial crisis is to learn how to make things, such as biodiesel or vegetable oil. Vegetable oil can be extracted by the proper processing of corn and other seeds of your choice and during Venezuela’s collapse, this was one of the first staples that disappeared from the market. Most of the oil producing companies were seized and nationalized. Now their production is a small fraction of what it was when they were private, and the military controls the supply and sales in the black market. Once the vegetable oil has been used for cooking, it could be used as fuel, to improve the heat output of wood stoves, or even as a makeshift a water heater that runs with WVO (waste vegetable oil).  But you should also consider learning to make biodiesel, especially if you own a vehicle or a generator that will run on diesel fuel. It is possible to make biodiesel using vegetable oil too.  If you’d like to try it, Thoughtco has put together a helpful guide that will walk you through the process. 

Remember the three things that will be the most impactful during an economic collapse: having no debt, having items that will serve as a currency, and being able to produce things of value.  If you can accomplish all of those, your chances of survival will go up.

 

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Survival Nutrition: Live longer and healthier

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If you don’t have a nice stockpile of rice and lentils by now, you haven’t been listening. You should look into sorting that out as soon as possible.

I’ve posted over the years about how rice and lentils can keep you not only fed but healthy.

You don’t need much more than that really. It’s not only enough, its actually some of the healthiest food you can eat.

This brings me to this video I wanted to share with you folks and why a plant based diet is so important. The health benefits have been proven ad nauseam. Soy bean boy and vegan joke aside, this is a survivalism website. If CVD and some of the most common causes of early death can be fought with a specific diet, then that’s our business too.

Take the time and watch it. Better yet my friend, give that stockpile of rice and lentils a go, think of it as a test run for SHTF. 30 days of rice, lentils and pasta with a good bit of fresh fruits and vegetables. Maybe a tiny tin of tuna if you get bored in the mix.

FerFAL

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”

10 Reasons Why you Should be Canning Your Own Meat

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Food preservation has all but disappeared in the modern world. Well, I should say home preservation. This is an important thing to consider. There was time when preservation meant the difference between life and death or even just a good life and near starvation. What most people fail to understand is that Spring is a …

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Build A Vintage-Inspired Egg Rack

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Wood working is a valuable skill and while this project is not something that will require lots of skill, it will make something beautiful and effective. One of the things we rarely consider in this life is what job we would do after the collapse. You would still need to make money, in most cases. …

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Canning Jams, Jellies, and Other Preserves (And 100+ Recipes to Get You Started!)

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The days of preservation will be here before you know it. It may seem like we are a long ways away from canning and preserving but if you have food in the ground or fruit trees and bushes, you better be sure that you are ready for when that fruit starts dropping. The thing about …

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Prepping With Perennials: Asparagus and Strawberries

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You know, its very interesting to consider why we aren’t all laden with perennial food producing gardens. Now we would not be able to get foods like tomatoes and peppers if we were only growing perennial foods. Still, I would never suggest that we only go perennial but why are so many Americans spending all …

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Vegetable Consumption Increases When Children Learn To Garden

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Most of us know by now that increasing our consumption of fruits and vegetables and limiting processed foods will lead us down a path of nutritional sustenance and health for years to come. Now studies are even suggesting that simply teaching a school-aged child about the importance of gardening and growing your own food can cause them to make the choice to eat more vegetables.

Any parent knows that children are often reluctant to eat their vegetables, especially considering the processed yet flavorful foods they are surrounded with anymore.  But teaching them to grow food in a garden can help change this trend. They can’t grow a Cheeto!

In a study conducted by Parmer et al., second graders who participated in school gardening as part of a nutrition education class increased their selection and consumption of vegetables at school, compared to second graders who did not participate in gardening. In addition, students who gardened demonstrated a higher preference for the fruits and vegetables that they had sampled.  This suggests that children want to actually try the foods they grow themselves leading them to make healthier choices even at a young age.

But that isn’t the only study that looked at the effects a vegetable garden can have on our children. In another study, which was conducted by Ratcliffe et al., middle schoolers with garden-based nutritional education demonstrated a higher preference for vegetables than the students who were not exposed to garden-based nutritional education. Students who gardened were also more willing to taste vegetables and increased the variety of vegetables they ate at school. Since most Middle schoolers have more freedom when it comes to making food choices than elementary school students, they often tend to eat fewer vegetables as they approach their adolescent years.

A garden for your school may serve as an effective way to increase vegetable consumption in young kids and maintain higher levels of vegetable consumption in adolescents.  If you homeschool, it could be highly effective to garden at your home and teach your children about healthy food choices.  Personally, I often allow my children to try to read the ingredient list on a bag of Cheetos (for example) just to see their reaction as they attempt to sound out the chemicals listed.  Then a simple explanation as to why Cheetos are more of a “food-like” substance rather than a nutritional food goes a long way to nourish the body and mind.

“If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t,” says the author of Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, Michael Pollan.  “It’s not food if it’s served through the window of your car. It’s not food if it’s called by the same name in every language. Think Big Mac, Cheetos or Pringles.”

Gardens can be used to teach many subjects and they do serve as a reminder to parents to reinforce health messages students receive in other activities at school and at home. If a garden is not possible for your family, consider alternative ideas, such as beginning a gardening project at your kids’ school which could include school family nights. You could also consider a community supported agriculture (CSA) programs. Many of these programs increase families’ access to fresh produce by offering shares families can purchase. Some even provide adults with ideas for preparing produce in ways most children can enjoy. Plus, these programs often give children and their parents a way to interact with the farmer who actually grew the food they will be eating.  Since children are naturally inquisitive, the questions they ask the farmer could serve as very important gateways to eating right.

It is also important that the parents eat the food grown as well.  Even if your child’s school has a garden, nutritional education shouldn’t stop when the child gets home.  Making healthy choices for dinner at home can also have a positive impact on what your child chooses to eat for themselves. But this isn’t limited to school-aged children, meaning it is never too late to learn to garden!

College students who garden, or who learned to garden as children, eat more fruits and vegetables than their peers who do not or never learned to garden. The findings were based on a survey of 1,351 students conducted for the “Get Fruved” project, a collaboration between eight American universities aimed at improving the health and diet of students across the country. Anne Matthews, Ph.D., wanted to know how much gardening had affected the eating habits of college-aged kids. She and her team found that 30 percent (of the college-ages kids in the study) had gardened as a child, and 38 percent gardened at the time of the interview. Compared to students who said they never gardened, those “green-thumb” groups reported eating more fruits and vegetables: an average of 2.9 cups a day, versus just 2.4.

The bottom line is to help children understand gardening and how to grow their own food.  Making it fun and getting children involved helps them understand where their food should come from.  Gardening also serves to give kids a variety of vegetables to try in new ways and has shown to be successful in helping them make positive food choices as they age. Teaching them to grow their own food may also help in getting them interested in tasting new and different vegetables too.  They may even want to help in preparation of the vegetables for dinner.

Try a garden, or work with your school to add one and watch your children learn how to eat better seemingly on their own!

 

 

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Are Air Cookers and Oil Less Fryers Any Good?

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Most of us love fried foods. Fried Chicken… Blooming Onions… French Fries… Shrimp… Pork Chops… You name it, there are favorite fried foods in every culture in the world. But. The problem is that fried foods aren’t as good for your body as they are for you tastebuds.   The Bad on Fried Not only …

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Olive Oil Is A True Mediterranean “Health And Healing” Miracle

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olive oil

Olive oil is well known among chefs, but it has a number of other fantastic off-the grid uses.

Homer the Greek poet coined olive oil “liquid gold,” and that label is just as apt today as it was centuries ago. Now, though, modern science has “discovered” that olive oil can enhance the health and appearance of your skin, improve your long-term memory, lower your blood sugar and blood pressure, and cut your risk for just about every chronic disease under the sun. And that is just the tip of the olive branch!

Toss A Toothache Away. Mix 3 drops of olive oil with 1 drop of clove oil, and use a cotton swab to dab the mixture onto your aching tooth. Leave it in place until the pain is gone, and then rinse your mouth with clear water.

Lubricate Your Plumbing. Just take 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil first thing in the morning and a second tablespoon an hour after eating dinner. Within a day or so, things will be moving right along.

Soothe Sunburned Skin. Olive oil can save the day by reducing sunburn pain, keeping your skin hydrated, and helping prevent peeling. For best results, apply the oil immediately after you’ve been exposed to the sun. Make sure you wait at least a few hours before you wash, so the lubricant has plenty of time to penetrate your skin.

Ease Eczema Flare-Ups. Olive oil is packed with important antioxidants that reduce inflammation. It’s a key ingredient in many commercial products that are designed to relieve eczema and other skin irritations. Gently rub on about 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil per square inch of affected skin, and let the oil penetrate before putting on any clothing. For an extra-intensive treatment, cover your oiled skin with plastic wrap, and leave it on overnight. Wear old pajamas and be sure to cover your bed with a large towel to protect your bedding.

Rub Away Aches and Pains. No matter what’s causing the discomfort in your muscles, joints, and tendons – a sports injury, arthritis, or simply a long day of working in the yard – extra virgin olive oil can help ease the pain. Just heat 1 cup of it in the microwave, or in a pan over very low heat, until the oil is comfortably warm to touch. If you like, add 3 or 4 drops of appropriate essential oil. Then massage the healer into your ailing body parts.

Strike Oil for Sinus Relief. Is sinus congestion driving you up a wall? Pour 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil into a bowl, and mix in 3 or 4 drops of peppermint oil. Massage the mixture onto your nose, cheekbones, temples, and forehead. Almost immediately, you should feel your sinuses beginning to clear up. Repeat 2 or 3 times a day as needed, until you are breathing freely again. Note: You can substitute eucalyptus, lavender, or rosemary oil. If you have not used it before, test a drop or two on your wrist to make sure you aren’t allergic or hypersensitive to it.

Fade Scars. A small amount of oil can be placed onto the marks every day. You won’t see results overnight, but with time they should vanish, or at least greatly diminish in appearance.

Minimize Wrinkles.  Each night at bedtime, massage oil into the lined areas of your face and neck. Then, in the morning, just wash the oil off with lukewarm water, then splash your skin with cold water and gently pat dry.

Olive oil has many more uses and no known side effects or drug interactions. But oil is also very slippery, so use caution when getting into and out of tub or shower if you are using an oil treatment.

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Summer Kitchen In A Suitcase?

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During last year’s Home Grown Food Summit, the president of SUN OVENS International, Paul Munsen, very kindly donated not one, but two SUN OVENS for us to give away as prizes.

But it was a bit crazy: Nikki, who manages all of our incoming e-mail, was bombarded with inquiries about this particular prize.

Easy outdoor kitchen: cook with the sun using a sun oven!

(And about the Survival Still . . . but I’ll come back to that in another post.)

Anyway, people were asking Nikki so many questions about how the SUN OVEN works, that I contacted Paul and asked him to ship me one so I could create my own video review of it!

You can watch me unbox a SUN OVEN and cook with it for the first time here:

Once I tried it, I could immediately appreciate why SUN OVENS have been on the market for more than 30 years now.

This is a quality product.

And in the middle of a Texas summer, I gotta tell you, I really appreciate being able to cook outdoors with it.

Easy outdoor kitchen: cook with the sun using a sun oven!
Easy outdoor kitchen: cook with the sun using a sun oven!

If you’re interested in learning more about the SUN OVEN and how it can benefit your family, Paul will be hosting a really great workshop for our TGN Community next week:

Review of the Sun Oven

Spring Into Summer: Harness the Sun to Save Money & Live Naturally

Thursday, June 21, 2018

6:00 p.m. PST / 7:00 p.m. MDT / 8:00 p.m. CST / 9:00 p.m. EST

A 60-minute online class with live Q&A

FREE TO ATTEND . . . but you must register here:

https://www.sunoven.com/grow-network-registration

Hope you can make it!

Easy outdoor kitchen: cook with the sun using a sun oven!

P.S. Don’t forget . . . . Paul has spoken at the last two Home Grown Food Summits, so if you’d like to geek out and prepare some questions IN ADVANCE for him, you can always rewatch the presentations if you purchased lifetime access to these events (Lifetime access is no longer available, but if you already own them, you can rewatch them!):

  1. “Harnessing Solar Energy on the Homestead” was his presentation at the 2017 Home Grown Food Summit.
  2. And “Cooking With the Power of the Sun” was his presentation at the 2016 Home Grown Food Summit.

P.P.S. You won’t want to miss this webinar. Paul has promised to cover topics that will include how to:

  • Use a SUN OVEN in ways that go beyond just cooking, like pasteurizing water, dehydrating, and sterilizing potting soil.
  • Bake, boil, steam, and roast complete meals (that’ll never burn!).
  • Naturally dehydrate fruits and vegetables, or make jerky.
  • Reduce your utility bills (and keep your kitchen cooler!) while enjoying baked roasts and breads all summer long.
  • Naturally kill bug infestations in grains or dried foods.

And so much more.

Again, you can register for this FREE class here: https://www.sunoven.com/grow-network-registration

Plus, you’ll see on the registration page that Paul is giving everyone who registers a FREE COPY of his e-Book “Emerging from the Emergency,” a 120-page disaster preparedness guide that helps you plan to survive any tragedy or disaster.

So make sure you download a copy of that, too!

(This review of the SUN OVEN was originally published on July 17, 2017—but the 2018 workshop really is happening next week! 🙂

 

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12 Yummy Meal In A Jar Recipes

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I got to thinking about my dry food I have stockpiled and how I could utilize some of that to save money. I searched high and low for great recipes but couldn’t find any decent ones my family and I would actually look forward to eating until I came across rainydayfoodstorage.blogspot.com. There isn’t many but the …

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Landscaping With Food To Save Money And Live Healthier

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It’s easy to go crazy buying flowers and shrubs to add beauty to your landscape. Curb appeal is important, especially if you’re planning to sell your home.  But by landscaping with food you can have a bit of both worlds: a beautiful lawn and food for the family. There are many benefits to edible landscaping. …

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How to Pickle Garlic Step by Step

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The powerful allium that flavors so much of our food is actually pretty easy to grow. You can have tremendous success with growing garlic if you dedicate a space and focus on saving some of the cloves in a cool dark place. Of course, your garlic will eventually run out in the winter months, unless …

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11 Gross Animals You Can Eat in a Survival Situation

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One of those strange but deep realities about survival is that you might find yourself in a dense wood fertile soil and be surrounded by food. However, it could be food that is less desirable to you than a warm roasted squirrel. To some that might even sound like a bad idea. Still, we have …

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Growing Loofah For Food And Sponges

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Did you know that loofah gourds taste just like zucchini when they’re picked young? And when they mature, they make wonderful natural sponges you can use to clean around the house. Many of us used one of these sponges at one time or another without knowing you can grow your own in the backyard garden. …

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Simple Survival Bread With Just 4 Ingredients

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If you ever end up in a situation where you have to cook food without electricity, you’ll need some easy, simple recipes that work well over a fire. One thing you’ll definitely want to make is bread. Everyone loves bread. It’s great comfort food, but it’s not something you can store long term. In this […]

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Filling in the garden.

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I have about 120 days of growing season before the frost date of October 10th, so I’m sowing seed of plants and herbs in the new beds.  This next week I want to add some herbs, onions, chives along with some root veggies in the ‘cole’  crop bed. So far I have added brussel sprout starts, but it looks like some of my celery died. The lettuce looks okay after watering though I may need to adjust the cloth to protect the plants from the afternoon sun.

This year’s garden is not about production, though I want to have fresh veggies. My focus is making an easy to maintain garden for the future.  I will be adding a user friendly sit down ledge around all of the raised bed.  The new fence is not ‘Tucker the peke’ proof as  he is going under the fence.  At least Tucker has not dug up any of the new plants! Heck, I may just surround the garden area with 2 layers of cinder blocks to keep the little dog from digging until I can build a proper fence.

Repairing Mom’s little chicken house: I added a little WD-40 to the bolts that are rusted that need to be removed.  The manufacture of this little chicken house was poor not because materials though they went cheap.  It would have been simple to paint all sides of the wood and seal it against weather and insects.  Why use 2 inch long bolt and wing nut in wood framing is less than an 1/2-3/4  inch thick?

While I  doubt the manufacturer thought about anyone taking a pattern or learning how to repair or learning how to use a spray paint gun.  That is my ‘project’ for this little chicken house.  I will learn how to make the house rigid,  try and repair flaking wood,  fix some bad stuff and give Mom a great little chicken house.  I get to practice on something that is basically considered a throw away project.

The front lawn is weed whacked and 1/2 is mowed. I can finish up the rest this weekend and if things work out I’ll get the alley way weeds cut down and the cheat grass bagged.

Over all a good day of work and I’m not ‘toast’.   If i’m physically up to it  this weekend I’ll add some onions and herbs to the garden beds, finish up cutting the grass and then attack the alley way weeds.  At worst I think I can get at least one of those jobs finished.

25+ Foods With More Sugar Than You Think

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Are the negative health effects of sugar starting to freak you out?

Maybe you’ve tossed your candy, cookies, and daily desserts aside in the interest of eating healthier. That’s a great start, but in all likelihood, it’s only making a dent in your overall sugar consumption.

The truth is, most processed foods have far more sugar than you would expect from their taste alone. Sugar is used both as a preservation agent and a flavor mask when companies pull the fat content out of food, meaning that even seemingly savory dishes like tomato soup can be loaded with a full day’s supply.

Today, the average adult consumes almost 32 teaspoons (126 grams) of added sugars a day, much of it in seemingly healthy foods. In contrast, the American Health Organization1)http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Sugar-101_UCM_306024_Article.jsp#.WgH1KWhSxPZ suggests that adults eat no more than 6 to 9 teaspoons (36 grams) a day. This means that most people are eating four or more times the sugar they should—and much of it comes in forms they aren’t even aware of.

Navigating this world of added sugar is anything but easy, as most food manufacturers are keen to keep you in the dark about what their products genuinely contain. Understanding where added sugar lurks in your daily diet is the first step toward cutting it out for good, and this article is designed to show you how.

But first, why is sugar so dangerous in the first place?

Why Is Sugar Bad for You?

It might be hard to think of your daily candy bar as devastating for your body, but health research consistently shows that sugar might be one of the most damaging substances you can consume. Because the human body evolved during a time when sugar was scarce, it’s hardly surprising that our bodies haven’t adjusted to the plentiful portions available today.

This means that the approximately 300 to 500 empty calories from sugar you eat daily may someday lead to a variety of negative symptoms, including type 2 (and 3) diabetes, cancer, cavities, broken bones, general malaise, and more. Sugar has been linked to most chronic diseases, and cutting down your consumption is one of the best things you can do for your long-term health.

Creating Marketing Tactics in the Sugar Industry

It’s wrong to assume that the added sugar in processed food is an innocent mistake; in contrast, it’s part of a concentrated effort by the food industry to get us comfortable consuming more of their products.

In many ways, parallels can be drawn between sugar lobbies and the tobacco industry2)https://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/a-big-tobacco-moment-for-the-sugar-industry, as both invest billions of dollars to circumvent scientific research and find new ways to convince consumers that their products aren’t as dangerous as they seem.

For instance, during World War 1, sugar was advertised as a quick energy builder that could build muscles in minutes, making it a practically patriotic item to ration for America’s soldiers.3)https://food.avclub.com/how-wwi-food-propaganda-forever-changed-the-way-america-1798259481 Later, it was advertised almost exclusively as a “chemically pure food” because of the lack of other ingredients contaminating its chemical structure—that these missing components were essential vitamins and minerals was conveniently left out.4)http://www.businessinsider.com/vintage-sugar-as-diet-aid-ads-2014-10.

Finally, rebranding sugar as a “carbohydrate” moved it from the realm of dessert to the largest food group. Most people know that they are supposed to eat several servings of carbs each day, and putting refined sugar into the same nutritional category as brown rice makes it seem significantly less threatening.5)https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/refined-sugar-toxic-to-your-health/

Thanks in part to this clever marketing, Americans have moved from consuming 60 pounds of sugar a year in the 1920s to over 130 pounds annually today.6)https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/refined-sugar-toxic-to-your-health/ And in most cases, this sugar isn’t coming from homemade cookies—it’s found in a pernicious variety of hidden forms on supermarket shelves.

Where Is ‘Hidden’ Sugar Most Common?

It’s usually bad for business if companies let on about how much sugar their products contain, so the food industry has devised clever ways of concealing the sugar content in food. Today, there are almost 40 industrial names for sugar, including brown rice syrup, carob syrup, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, high fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, sucrose, and more.7)https://www.rodalewellness.com/food/scary-sugar-statistics A cursory look at a food label often isn’t enough to track all these sugar references, which is what companies rely on to get their product in your shopping cart.

These 25 foods may shock you with their sugar content, and finding ways to quarter your daily consumption might come down to addressing their role in your diet today.

Remember: your daily sugar consumption should be around 30 grams, meaning many of these foods can put you close to the limit with a single serving.

#1. Barbeque Sauce

While this savory seasoning is synonymous with picnics and roasted meats, it packs a punch of sugar that will likely surprise you. Just one tablespoon contains at least 6 grams, and even a modest plate of ribs will quickly pile on 20 grams or more.

#2. Flavored Yogurt

Though touted as a health food, overly flavored yogurt can contain as much sugar as a candy bar. Fruit-filled flavors and brands marketed toward children tend to be the sweetest, and beware any advertised as “low fat.” It’s common for companies to make up for lost flavor in low-fat varieties by filling the void with added sugars instead, meaning the “healthier” product often has the same number of calories as the full-fat version. Many yogurts contain between 19 and 33 grams of sugar per 8-ounce serving, making your “healthy” snack little better than a scoop of ice cream.

A better option? Buy your yogurt plain and add in your own fruit.

#3. Pasta Sauce

Few people think of spaghetti sauce as a sweet topping, but processed tomato products are notorious for being off the charts with their sugar content. While some of this sugar comes naturally from the tomatoes, it’s also added as a preservative and flavor enhancer. A single half-cup serving can contain 12 grams of sugar or more, and the damage is multiplied when you pair it with a starchy pasta that quickly breaks down into simple sugars in your digestive system.

#4. Soda

You know that soda contains tons of added sugar, but the overall amounts may still be shocking. A single 8-ounce can of Coca-Cola contains 29 grams, and a medium-sized fast food drink has 44 grams.

Even worse? Energy drinks.

These caffeinated cans are veritable sugar bombs, and some brands pack in 83 grams of sugar per serving.

#5. Agave

Being found in “healthy” foods doesn’t make this natural sweetener any better for your body than traditional table sugar. In fact, agave is 85 percent fructose, meaning that it strains your body when the liver metabolizes it. Despite convincing marketing by agave suppliers, your body is better equipped to handle sucrose-based cane sugar (though neither form has many redeeming qualities for your health).

#6. Instant Oatmeal

Oatmeal can be an ideal health food, but instant packets are usually stuffed with added sugar—as much as 15 grams per serving. For a healthier option that still has enough sweetness to keep you satisfied, opt for plain oatmeal and add fresh apple slices and cinnamon.

#7. Granola Bars (and Granola in General)

More often than one would prefer, granola bars are merely rebranded candy bars. Their chocolatey coatings can quickly add up to 12 grams or more of added sugar, and even “naked” varieties usually contain concentrated servings of fruit mixed with honey, corn syrup, brown sugar, and other sweeteners.

A bowl of granola can be equally damaging with 10 grams of sugar or more per half cup, and it’s all too easy to eat multiple servings in a single sitting. If you simply need to satisfy your sweet tooth, toss a small handful into your plain yogurt to ensure you maintain a healthy serving size.

#8. Breakfast Cereal

As with granola, almost all cereal brands are bad news for your sugar levels. Even “adult” brands like Raisin Bran contain 18 grams per cup (with about 9 grams of that coming from the raisins)[ https://www.huffingtonpost.com/hemi-weingarten/raisin-bran-deconstructed_b_552981.html], meaning that you can easily get much of your sugar content for the day within an hour of waking up.

#9. Salad Dressing

What’s the easiest way to compromise the nutritional content of your salad? Coat it in sugary dressings. Sweet, fruity vinaigrettes can pass on 5 to 7 grams of sugar in just two tablespoons, turning your healthy salad into an unexpected sugar bomb. To avoid the threat, use a light homemade vinegar dressing and toss in some fresh fruit instead.

#10. Dried Fruit

As healthy as it sounds, dried fruit can quickly cause you to overload on sugar. Most brands list sugar as their second ingredient, and a 1/3 cup serving can quickly top 24 grams. You aren’t much safer if you stick to brands without added sugar, as the drying process concentrates fruit sugars in each piece, meaning that a half cup of dried apples can contain the same amount of sugar as two to three fresh ones, or 40 to 60 grams of sugar.

#11. Coleslaw

It turns out this supposedly healthy side dish is often anything but. A standard serving can contain at least 15 grams of sugar, usually because of the sugary vinaigrette that the cabbage gets drenched in. The good news? Making your own lets you control the sugar content and can let you keep this dish in your food repertoire.

#12. Bottled Tea

Staying away from juice and soda might be second nature for you, but it’s easy to forget that bottled sweet tea can be just as damaging. Many brands contain upwards of 32 grams per bottle, maxing out your sugar quota for the day in a single carton. A better choice is brewing your own and adding lemon juice for flavor instead of sweeteners.

#13. Ketchup

French fries’ favorite companion boasts an impressive sugar content. At 4 grams per tablespoon, it’s best to keep in mind that those squirts add up. For sugar-free flavor, stick to mustard or malt vinegar instead.

#14. Sushi

What could be unhealthy about rice and vegetables? In truth, cheap supermarket sushi contains much more than these wholesome ingredients. Sushi rice usually contains added sugar, and the imitation crab meat, sweet and sour sauces, and rice vinegar all lead to 2 to 4 grams of sugar per piece. If you wish to indulge, stick with high-quality sushi and sashimi instead.

#15. Smoothies

The term “smoothie” can refer to anything from a wheatgrass blend to pureed frozen yogurt, so making comprehensive statements about their sugar content is close to impossible. To keep yourself from sipping on a sugar trap, stick with homemade varieties that rely on plain yogurt and fruits and vegetables for nutrition. Otherwise, you risk having your “health drink” really be a fruity form of ice cream.

#16. Most Bread

It’s no surprise that white bread is filled with sugar, but the amount in most “healthy” breads may astound you. Many wheat breads are only brown because of caramel coloring, and a single sandwich can give you 3 to 5 grams of sugar from the bread alone. Be especially careful with premade sandwiches in the supermarket deli—many contain sugary dressings to remove bitter tastes. Bagels, muffins, and English muffins are even more sugar prone, especially if you top them with jam or peanut butter.

#17. Canned Baked Beans

Most canned foods have the potential to be a disaster for your health, but baked beans are especially notorious for their sugar content, which can top 30 grams per can. The good news is that making your own is easy, and the results are far more tasty and nutritious than their canned counterparts.

#18. Fruity Muffins

Despite its name, an apple-oatmeal muffin is rarely a health food. Many commercial muffins have quadrupled in size in the past decades, and their sugar content has increased to the point that they are basically personal-sized cakes. Treat these muffins like the dessert they really are by eating them in moderation.

#19. Alcohol

Mixed drinks pack a major punch of added sugar into your daily life, and overindulging on Friday nights won’t do your body any favors. One pint of hard cider can contain 20 grams or more of sugar, and sweet white wines can top 6 grams per glass. If you must imbibe, stick to dry red wines, as they tend to have less sugar—or fully fermented white or red wines[http://www.dryfarmwines.com/thegrownetwork], which are statistically sugar free.

#20. Canned Soup

It goes without saying that canned soup is high in sodium, but this classic processed food also contains more than its fair share of sweeteners. Like salt, sugar works as a preservative to extend soup’s shelf life, and a single can often contains 15 grams or more. In fact, canned tomato soup easily tops 25 grams per serving, so you might be better off leaving it on the shelf.

#21. Frozen Dinners

Who knew meat and veggies could be so sweet? It’s shocking how much sugar can be found in these classic convenience foods, but one look at labels reveals that 30 to 40 grams of sugar per serving isn’t uncommon, WITHOUT counting the dessert.

#22. Natural Fruit Juice

It’s clear to most that it’s best to avoid high fructose corn syrup, but even natural sugars can have negative effects on your body. Eating a piece of fresh fruit provides your body with fiber, but just drinking the juice gives your system a rush of sugar that’s hard to process. Just one cup of unsweetened apple juice provides 25 grams of sugar.

#23. Canned Fruit

Canned fruit companies seemingly never got the memo that fruit is naturally sweet, because most forms are loaded with sugar-filled juices and syrups that act as preservatives. A single cup of canned fruit contains 30 grams or more of sugar, meaning you might as well eat seven Oreos and be done with it.

#24. Instant Gravy

Does your meatloaf really need an injection of extra sugar? Then stay away from instant gravy. In fact, since many types also contain palm oil and artificial colors and preservatives, sugar might be the safest ingredient in this side dish. Even so, it doesn’t hurt to skip out on the 2 grams of sugar per serving it contains.

#25. Peanut Butter

Though peanut butter sandwiches are a staple of childhood, many brands contain over 3 grams of sugar per serving. To avoid any added ingredients, stick to natural brands, and top your sandwich with fresh fruit, not jelly.

Bonus: #26. Infant Formula

Does your newborn baby need sugar? Then why on earth is it an ingredient in many infant formulas? Many U.S. formula brands contain corn syrup and sugar, but these companies often aren’t required to list their nutritional information.8)http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/target-5-sugar-baby-formula-139339308.html However, research shows that many brands include around 3 grams of sugar per serving.

Because sugar addiction starts young and can last for life, it’s important to think twice before feeding sweetened formula to your infant.

Less Sugar = Better Health

Hidden sugar is found in almost every processed food available today, but there’s a lot you can do to keep your levels in check and avoid the chronic disease it causes.

By avoiding these 25 sugar bombs in the grocery store, you can dramatically lower your daily consumption … and enjoy the sugar that you do you consume with more gusto—and better health.Save

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References   [ + ]

1. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Sugar-101_UCM_306024_Article.jsp#.WgH1KWhSxPZ
2. https://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/a-big-tobacco-moment-for-the-sugar-industry
3. https://food.avclub.com/how-wwi-food-propaganda-forever-changed-the-way-america-1798259481
4. http://www.businessinsider.com/vintage-sugar-as-diet-aid-ads-2014-10
5, 6. https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/refined-sugar-toxic-to-your-health/
7. https://www.rodalewellness.com/food/scary-sugar-statistics
8. http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/target-5-sugar-baby-formula-139339308.html

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Grow Lavender This Summer And Harvest Some Amazing Benefits

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grow lavender

The intoxicating smell is just one of the reasons to grow lavender this summer.

There are many reasons to grow lavender. Lavender is a beautiful plant, most often known for its intoxicating smell. The small purple flowers and the leaves both emit the fragrant perfume that the plant is famous for. With lavender in your garden, you can expect to catch the scent on a breeze as long as the plants are flowering. But is lavender as easy to grow as other herbs? And what can you do with it aside from enjoying its perfume in the garden? Armed with the right knowledge, you can successfully grow lavender in your garden and put it to good use as a scent, in foods, and for medicinal purposes.

How To Grow Lavender

Lavender is the common name for an entire genus of perennial plants called Lavandula. The name comes from the Latin for “to wash,” probably because lavender has long been used in baths as a way to purify the spirit and to scent the body. Lavender is native to the Mediterranean mountain zones. There it grows in the hot, dry sun and in rocky soils. All species of lavender plants are small to medium woody shrubs with silvery-green, narrow leaves. The flowers appear on tall spikes and are small and usually purple.

In spite of lavender’s origins in the desert-like climate of the Mediterranean, it can be grown in a range of areas. In fact, lavender is well known as a garden element in England, with a cool, wet climate that is the opposite of the southern homeland of the plant. Select a spot in your garden that gets the most warmth and sun. Full sun is best. Lavender can grow in many soil conditions, but to get the most oil in the flowers, which is the origin of the scent, the soil should be well-drained, poor, slightly alkaline, and chalky.

Lavender plants are very hardy after you have gotten them established. In fact, if you live in a drought-prone area, plant plenty of lavender. You can expect it to survive and even thrive in your harsh conditions. Until the plants are established, however, give them a little compost and a regular watering. After one year, you should have hardy shrubs that can be given less attention.

You can grow lavender as far north as zone 5. What is more deadly to a lavender plant than cold is dampness and moisture. Having soil that drains well is very important to the success of your plants. If your lavender will be staying outside for the winter and you are in a cold climate, a layer of mulch will help. You might also consider growing lavender in containers and bring it inside for the winter. The roots of the lavender actually prefer a tight space.

Pruning in the spring is a good idea for lavender shrubs. For the taller varieties, take them back to about a third of the original height. For smaller species, trim back a couple of inches. Whatever you do, though, do not prune until you see new growth developing in the spring. If you prune too early, the plant may not come back to life.

New “Survival Herb Bank” Gives You Access to God’s Amazing Medicine Chest.

Types Of Lavender

There are hundreds of varieties of lavender out there from which to choose, so the options can get a little overwhelming when you first make your decision to grow lavender. They are roughly categorized as English, Spanish, and French, but there are also plenty of other varieties not included in these groups.

  • English. The English lavenders are of the species L. angustifolia. The varieties of this species are hardier than others and are better suited to colder and wetter conditions. They grow to a height and width of approximately one and a half to two feet. They bloom twice in the growing season: in June and again in August. These plants are best started from cuttings rather than seeds. Varieties include Hidcote, Rebecca Kay, Munstead, Cedar Blue, Blue Cushion, Melissa, and Richard Grey. Another group of varieties called the lavandins are sometimes classified as English lavender, but they are really hybrids.
  • Spanish. Spanish lavender varieties are from the species L. stoechas. They originate in the hot, dry Mediterranean region and are not hardy. The Spanish varieties are very dense and can be thinned down in July to keep air circulating through the branches. There is a great deal of variety in the size of these plants.
  • French. The name is misleading, as French lavender is not necessarily from the country of France. They are varieties of the species L. dentata. The word dentata refers to the tooted nature of the leaves. These varieties are not very hardy and should be grown outside only in warm climates. Otherwise, the varieties, like Green Fringe, Grey Fringe, and Linda Ligon, can be grown in containers and brought inside for the winter. The plants are a little bit shorter than English lavender.

Harvesting Lavender

When harvesting the flowers, wait until they bloom. As soon as you see the full color of the flowers, you can cut the entire stalk off of the plant. Do this in the morning after the dew has dried. If it can be done, harvest on a dry day. If you are using the flowers fresh for their fragrance, get them to a cool location quickly. The cooler they are, the more fragrant oil they will release. If you want to dry the flowers for potpourri or cooking, you can hang bunches of flowers upside down in a dark location or you can lay them out flat in a sunny spot.

Uses For Lavender

The most obvious reason to grow lavender is to capture its intoxicating scent. You can set fresh flowers in water to enjoy the smell or dry the flowers to use in potpourri, wreaths, and other crafts. One of the unique aspects of lavender is that the flowers retain their fragrance even after they have been dried.

Lavender oil can also be used for its fragrance. It is made by extracting the oil from the flowers of the plant. The oil is also used medicinally. The scent is thought to help relax you and get you to sleep at night, so a sachet in your pillow is a great use for the flowers or the oil. Smelling lavender is also believed to be helpful for treating headaches, while the oil may help with skin issues such as fungal infections, eczema, wounds, and acne. It may help relieve pain as well as heal.

What surprises many people when they decide to grow lavender is that in addition to its delightful scent, you can eat it! Both the flowers and leaves are edible. If you use too much in a recipe, however, you can give your food a perfumy and bitter taste. In other words, a little bit goes a long way when it comes to lavender. English lavender varieties are the best for culinary uses. Other types can be overwhelming in flavor. Try some of these ideas with your lavender harvest.

  • Use the leaves of lavender, fresh or dried, in the same way you would use rosemary. The two plants are very similar, but you will get a nice surprise when you substitute lavender leaves for rosemary leaves when roasting meat, potatoes, or vegetables.
  • Toss a few fresh flowers in a salad for an interesting flavor twist. Just don’t use too many! If the flavor is overwhelming, take a few out.
  • Make a simple syrup by boiling lavender flowers and leaves with the sugar and water. Strain the herbs out before using. The syrup is especially tasty in lemonade and in tea.
  • You can also infuse your sugar or salt with the taste of lavender. Mix in lavender flowers and let the salt or sugar sit in a closed container for a week or two. Use the sugar or salt as you would normally.
  • Add dried flowers to recipes for cookies, breads, cakes, and practically any dessert. About one tablespoon of dried, crushed flowers per typical dessert recipe is appropriate.
  • When following a recipe that calls for lavender, you can use fresh or dried flowers. If the recipe calls for fresh flowers and you have dried, use one-third the amount.

You may also want to check out Companion Planting:  Vegetable “Buddies” That Actually Thrive Together!

©2018 Off the Grid News

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Cancer’s #1 Favorite Food

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There’s a lot of controversy surrounding cancer and what causes it, but everyone seems to agree on at least one thing:

Treating cancer is expensive. Preventing it can be a lot cheaper.

Nearly 1.6 million Americans faced a cancer diagnosis in 2014 (the most recent year for which numbers are available),1)https://nccd.cdc.gov/USCSDataViz/rdPage.aspx with a cost of care that, in some cases, ranged upwards of $115,000.2)https://costprojections.cancer.gov/annual.costs.html

Yet, while study after study has shown that diet plays a major role in whether a person gets cancer, and that people tend to make healthier food choices when they’re eating at home,3)https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2014/01/16/american-adults-are-choosing-healthier-foods-consuming-healthier Americans allocate less money toward food consumed at home than pretty much anyone else in the world. For example, according to the USDA’s Economic Research Service,4)https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-expenditures.aspx we spend 6.4 percent of our income on eating at home, while the Finnish spend twice that and the Venezuelans spend triple that percentage.

And it’s not just people in other countries who spend more of their income on food. Our grandparents did, too. Back in 1960, Americans spent about 17.5 percent of their income on all food—including what they ate at home and what they ate out. Now, we spend about 10 percent of our income on eating, regardless of where it takes place.5)http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/03/02/389578089/your-grandparents-spent-more-of-their-money-on-food-than-you-do

These numbers represent a disturbing shift in our national mindset. We’ve moved from a time when soils were healthier and food was more nutritious and generally less processed—but more expensive—to the present day, when the soils used in commercial agriculture are more depleted, the produce grown in them is less nutritious, and widely available foods are more processed—but also more affordable.

Simply put, Americans are not used to paying what high-quality food costs anymore.

Even people with access to sustainably produced, locally grown food via a farmer’s market, natural grocery store, or CSA often struggle with the cost. These products are more expensive to grow or raise—and therefore more expensive to buy.

But even though processed, packaged foods are sometimes cheaper than their sustainably produced, whole-food alternatives, their true cost can be astronomical.

According to Dr. Raymond Francis, author of Never Fear Cancer Again, disease has only two possible causes: toxicity and malnutrition.

The foods that increase cancer risk often contribute to both.

The bottom line is that we can pay more now for healthier foods and the deeper nutrition and reduced toxicity that come with them—whether we’re paying financially or, if we’re backyard food producers, through an investment of time and energy—or we can pay more later to treat the diseases that can stem from malnutrition and toxicity. As one young TEDx speaker, Birke Baehr, put it back in 2011, “We can either pay the farmer, or we can pay the hospital.”6)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvVZwJbs54c

In the end, one of the best ways to reduce your risk of cancer is by eating the diet we all know we should—filled with high-quality vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats.

If you’re not quite there yet, and you’re interested in reducing your risk of cancer by cleaning up your diet, the following list of carcinogenic (or potentially carcinogenic) foods is a good place to start. You can improve your health even further by replacing them with foods from our list of 30+ Cancer-Fighting Foods.

One final note: As you read this list, remember the old adage that “the dose makes the poison.” Even water, which everyone would agree is absolutely essential for life, can kill you if you drink too much at once.7)https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-drinking-too-much-water-can-kill While it’s best to avoid these foods on a consistent basis, most of them probably won’t hurt you if they’re consumed every once in a while. After all, what’s a BLT without the bacon?

  • Sugar: Cancer has a favorite food. It’s sugar. Without it, cancer cells can’t grow and spread—in fact, they need almost 50 times more sugar to function than regular cells, according to Dr. Nasha Winters, author of The Metabolic Approach to Cancer. In addition, up to 80 percent of cancers are fueled by glucose and insulin, in one way or another.8)http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/recent-observations-indicate-cancer-cells-readily-utilize-fructose-support-proliferation-and It’s easy to see why too much sugar in the diet is a very bad thing. In fact, the less refined sugar, the better!
  • Alcoholic Beverages: Our bodies turn the ethanol in alcoholic drinks into acetaldehyde, a known carcinogen. In addition to damaging the body’s DNA and keeping cells from being able to perform repairs, alcohol also increases estrogen levels in the blood (a contributor to breast cancer), prevents the body from absorbing several nutrients, and may contain carcinogenic contaminants.9)https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/alcohol/alcohol-fact-sheet#q3 It should be noted, however, that red wine contains resveratrol, a substance that has been shown to have anticancer properties.10)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28123566 While the substance itself has been widely studied, only a few studies have looked at whether drinking red wine reduces a person’s cancer risk.
  • Tobacco: This one’s no surprise. While tobacco is lovely when used for plant gratitude, and Native American cultures believe it offers its own gift of interpretation to help with disputes, it can wreak havoc on a person’s body when it’s smoked or chewed. Smoking tobacco, inhaling secondhand smoke, or using smokeless tobacco—whether chewing tobacco or snuff—all put loads of carcinogenic chemicals into your body.11)https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/tobacco/cessation-fact-sheet
  • Processed Meats: Defined as any meat that’s been preserved through curing, being salted or smoked, or by other means, processed meats include bacon, hot dogs, sausage, and lunch meats including corned beef, salami, pepperoni, capocollo, bologna, mortadella, and ham. They are categorized by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as “carcinogenic to humans.”12)https://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2015/pdfs/pr240_E.pdf Scientists suspect that the nitrite preservatives contained in processed meats are what causes the harm. The body can convert these nitrites into N-nitroso compounds (NOCs), which damage cells in the bowel lining. To heal the damage, cells replicate more often, which in turn provides more opportunities for DNA replication errors.
  • Red Meat: Beef, lamb, and pork contain heme iron, a naturally occurring red pigment that helps form carcinogenic compounds in the body and has toxic effects on cells and genes.13)http://cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org/content/4/2/177 It’s important to note that, in their research, scientists are lumping industrially produced red meat together with meat from animals raised on a natural, healthy diet. There’s no discussion in the scientific community on whether meat of healthier animals—such as cows fed and finished on grass—has the same negative effects.
  • Charred Meats: Grilling meat at high temperatures can produce heterocyclic amines and polycyclic amines, both of which can increase a person’s risk of developing cancer.14)http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/diet-and-cancer/how-healthy-eating-prevents-cancer
  • Salt-Preserved Foods: In addition to the processed, salt-cured meats mentioned above, this category includes salted fish and some pickled vegetables. The IARC lists Chinese-style salted fish as carcinogenic, but hasn’t yet made a determination on whether other types of salted fish increase the risk of cancer in humans.
  • Coffee: Is it, or isn’t it? Thanks to a recent lawsuit, coffee’s been in the news lately. At issue is the fact that roasting coffee beans causes the formation of acrylamide, a naturally occurring substance that has the potential to interact with DNA.15)http://www.newsweek.com/fear-coffee-causes-cancer-prompts-california-add-warning-labels-672831?yptr=yahoo Coffee isn’t the only culprit, though. Acrylamide develops in many foods when they are cooked at high temperatures for a long time (think baking, frying, and toasting, in addition to roasting). This year, the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency launched a “Go for Gold” campaign to encourage people to avoid overcooking foods—thus minimizing the creation of acrylamide—by aiming for a finished color of golden yellow or lighter.16)https://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2017/15890/reduce-acrylamide-consumption Despite the fact that coffee contains acrylamides, the popular beverage offers several other health benefits. So many, actually, that the American Institute for Cancer Research includes coffee on its list of Foods That Fight Cancer.
  • Areca nuts: About 10 percent of the world’s population still chews this addictive berry. It’s been shown to have several ill effects on the body, and is linked to numerous cancers.17)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4080659
  • Artificial Sweeteners: According to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the link between artificial sweeteners and cancer is inconclusive—but possible. Since some studies have shown a correlation between the two in lab animals, the current recommendation is to avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame and saccharine altogether.18)https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/may-2015/FOH-cancer-love-sugar.html[/note]
  • Toothpaste: Okay, so, technically toothpaste is not a food, but it made this list because it’s ingestible and some formulations may contain disperse blue 1, a dye that’s listed by the IARC as possibly carcinogenic to humans—and that’s also used as a hair and fabric dye.19)https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/roc/content/profiles/disperseblue1.pdf Worth keeping an eye on!
  • Very Hot Beverages: Studies in cultures where people typically drink their tea or mate at about 149°F (70°C) have found a correlation between very hot beverages and the risk of esophageal cancer. But, unless you keep a thermometer handy when you’re drinking your morning Joe, how are you supposed to know how hot is too hot? Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you have to sip it to be able to drink it, let it cool a bit first.

What about you? What’s your take on what causes cancer—and what you can do to prevent it? Leave us a comment below!

(This article was originally published on October 2, 2017.)

 

References   [ + ]

1. https://nccd.cdc.gov/USCSDataViz/rdPage.aspx
2. https://costprojections.cancer.gov/annual.costs.html
3. https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2014/01/16/american-adults-are-choosing-healthier-foods-consuming-healthier
4. https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-expenditures.aspx
5. http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/03/02/389578089/your-grandparents-spent-more-of-their-money-on-food-than-you-do
6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvVZwJbs54c
7. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/strange-but-true-drinking-too-much-water-can-kill
8. http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/recent-observations-indicate-cancer-cells-readily-utilize-fructose-support-proliferation-and
9. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/alcohol/alcohol-fact-sheet#q3
10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28123566
11. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/tobacco/cessation-fact-sheet
12. https://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2015/pdfs/pr240_E.pdf
13. http://cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org/content/4/2/177
14. http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/diet-and-cancer/how-healthy-eating-prevents-cancer
15. http://www.newsweek.com/fear-coffee-causes-cancer-prompts-california-add-warning-labels-672831?yptr=yahoo
16. https://www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2017/15890/reduce-acrylamide-consumption
17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4080659
18. https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/may
19. https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/roc/content/profiles/disperseblue1.pdf

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Installed solar lights, shopping and Tucker is getting though the garden fence

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I added a couple of small motion activated solar lights around my back door.  It seems that I got the position just about perfect for the lights to activate as a person walks up but the lights don’t go off when my pekes go outside.  It took me a long time to install these lights because you should not drill into vinyl siding as it might deform plus you provide water and insects access to the under lying wood. One of the biggest reasons I added new siding was to protect the ‘bones’ of my house and make the upkeep easier for me to manage. If I start making holes in that siding I’m defeating the original purpose of  installing the siding.

Since I have been watching so many boat refits and sailing videos I have become more knowledgeable about keeping water from getting to wood.  If I can seal against water, the house frame should be safe from insects.  I have the solar lights ‘wedged’ along the roof line cap and the metal part of the siding just to make sure I got the placement correct and the lights charge plus light up the back door entrance.  After a couple of weeks of testing that the lights are placed correctly.  I’ll screw the lights in place and add a sealant to keep out water.

I stocked up a lot last paycheck because there were a lot of great buys on meat and gardening/landscaping items I wanted.  I got a pretty great deal on mulch but I could not afford all the mulch I wanted for filling in the garden and the front yard beds.  The main garden area is mostly done around the raised beds but there is one section I want to build my green house that is bare ground and morning glory that needs to be dealt with this year.  My idea is to layout the greenhouse foundation with concrete piers and build up a layer of small stone for good drainage.  For food shopping I got a lot of meat stocked up and frozen.  Now that I have the new pressure cooker I want to try out a quick ‘bone broth’ recipe. one of the nice things this cooker can be use as a slow cooker for that recipe.

Arrgh! Tucker the peke is getting under my little garden fence.  Actually I may pull down the fence because he is digging into the mulch and not the garden beds.  He is a smart little dog and thrives on praise.  I have scolded him on digging in the garden beds, but let him go on digging in the mulch. Once I finish the install of the ‘frost cloth’ Tucker should have all his digging areas marked out.  Hopefully it won’t be in the garden beds!   Tucker is a great little digger. I need to find a a way for him to dig and turn the compost pile!

New pressure cooker and more mulch!

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I bought an electric pressure cooker from newegg.com last week and today I tried it out.  The pressure cooker is an Ewant Model BD-QJ . 7 in 1 programmable for everything from yogurt and a slow cooker to a pressure cooker for beans,  rice even sauteing in the stainless steel pot/liner.  There are 3 reasons I bought this  new pressure cooker: #1 I needed a new pressure cooker for my kitchen. #2 It was on sale for $45.00 at newegg.com, which isn’t a bad price for a large 12 cup pressure cooker. #3  I have been cooking a lot of grains (brown rice/barley) for the homemade doggy food and wanted something that cooked grains  faster and meats ‘fall apart’ tender.  I made my first batch of brown rice, chicken thighs with peas and carrots doggy food and it worked out great!

Recipe: Brown rice, chicken thighs with peas and carrots, doggy food.

3 cups of water

2 cups brown rice

4-5 chicken thighs

8 oz. frozen peas and carrots

Optional 2 tablespoons of Coconut oil

Add the 3 cups of water, 2 cups of brown rice and the coconut oil, place the small steamer grate on top of the rice and add the chicken thighs. Select Multi-grain or the Brown rice setting for 20 minutes and walk away… At the end of the 20 minutes release the pressure. While the rice and meat are still hot,  add the frozen veggies then stir so the residual heat thaws the veggies. This also helps stop the cooking process and cools the pot of dog food quickly.

The rice has a creamier consistency and the chicken thigh meat almost fell off the bone. This recipe makes cooking up a batch of dog food easier and much faster compared to cooking the brown rice on the stove top and then baking and cutting up the chicken thigh meat.

I also tried out a new white long grain rice recipe that is awesome!

White rice recipe:

2 cups of white rice

3 cups of water

1 table spoon of coconut oil (Replaces butter)

Rinse off the rice until the water runs clear. Place the water, rice and coconut oil in a large 6 quart pan and bring it to a boil.  As soon as it boils place a tight lid or tinfoil over the pot and turn the heat down to a low simmer then walk away for 12-15 minutes. When the is no standing water in the pot, set the rice off the heat, leave covered for 10 minutes and walk away again. Fluff the rice with a fork or wooden spoon and you will have great white rice.

I made good white rice before adding the coconut oil but that oil really makes a huge difference with the rice’s look and mouth feel.  The individual bits are soft and chewy without any gluey/starch affect.  I did not add any salt or stocks as these test were for doggy food but I taste test these recipes.  They are a little bland, but you could easily add herbs and spices and make a good human meal from these basic recipes.

Things I have learned so far making homemade dog food:

  • The internet is a great resource and it is also full of bad info for making dog food so check with your Vet. and always start with what you know is safe and introduce the food over time.  Also dogs have likes and dislikes so one dog may love white rice, some like beef or like chicken. Peas and carrots seem like the most popular veggie for my dogs but broccoli or green beans will do in a pinch.
  • Adding herbs for flavor,  Many herbs are safe and very beneficial to dogs such as oregano or mint.  Garlic, onions and chives are not doggy friendly flavoring so keep those away from your dog food.  White flour is very bad for dogs and wheat flour is not much better but many dog foods use wheat grains.  Think of your dog being somewhat ‘Gluten-Intolerant’ when you make the dog food.  Corn, rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, steel cut oats can make would be a better carb. than any wheat product. Barley and I have read that corn meal are safe to feed dogs but I have not confirmed using corn meal.
  • Using coconut oil in place of butter for cooking rice is something I never considered but there is some preliminary research that coconut oil ‘might” reduce the bad bacteria that causes tooth decay/gum disease in dogs.  Since coconut oil is safe for dogs I have added it into the rice for dogs but it made the white rice so much better I have added coconut oil instead of butter to my white rice recipe as a safe fat to add to doggy food.

More mulch needs to be added to get a deep layer to kill out weeds. I went out the other day to prep the Three sisters beds and I used the D-shaped hoe to get a few weeds in the beds and around then and that tool worked very well weeding the mulch pathways.  I’m not so sure about the garden beds.  I’m not sure I’ll see more production for this year’s garden as I’m trying so many new beds and money and timing has been a bit problematic.  I think I’ll be okay if I get everything in by the weekend of June 2-3 and the latest with starts by the 9-10th of June.  That still gives me 120-150 days till harvest planting from seed.

 

How To Clean and Eat Skunk

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The Wooded Beardsman

My survival buddy Jeremy, who goes by One Wildcrafter on YouTube, and I, may be one of the few people who best way to catch a skunkhave ever totally consumed skunk, and I mean, not just one bite, but the whole animal!  And while we’ve only just eaten the one, we may be considered experts because near as I can tell, there is no other living proof documented of the total edibility of skunk, and how to prepare it for a meal, anywhere!  While some historical records from the 1800’s mention skunk in cursory manner, none go into enough detail to properly perform the skinning operation successfully.

By The Wooded Beardsman, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache

So buckle up, I’m about to show you how to bring a skunk to the table! First you may wonder why anyone wouldhow to catch a skunk bother with a skunk, and it’s a fair question.  The simplest answer that I can provide is that in an SHTF scenario, skunk might be one of those few species that remains untargeted, leaving those of us with iron stomachs free reign.  In fact, skunks have very few natural predators, and for good reason – they are generally considered unpalatable to anyone unskilled and patient enough to correctly wield a sharp implement to diffuse natures original scent bomb.

Related: A Project Squirrel Pistol

First Step

First you need to know how to trap them.  Thankfully, that’s the easy part.  My go to for trapping live animals is peanut butter – that will get you anything from a raccoon (if you are lucky) to a possum.  But if you really want a skunk, just try your luck again, eventually you’ll get one!

Approach the trap with care and pick the critter off with a .22 LR and be done with it.  If you agitated the skunk, itcan you eat skunk may spray and render the operation a failure.  You really don’t want them to spray.  If you get a docile member of the species, you can sometimes approach with a blanket held in front to conceal your silhouette, move slowly, and cover for transportation. After the animal is dispatched, clean it well.  Wash with warm soapy water with rubber gloves, paying attention to the crevices and anal region.

Next…

Next, pat and hang the animal to dry by both hind legs.  With your knife, work as any other animal, cutting up the legs and ringing the feet.  Now comes the tricky part.  You’ll want to free to entire gut system – the whole “train.”  Rather than sever the tube, work between the anal canal and the pelvis (not in the canal – the outside area) freeing the tract of connective so that it slips in and out easily within the pelvis.  Use your finger for this only.

When the connective tissue is free, you can then tie the intestines using string in two places and cut in between sobest way to cook skunk that no liquid is spilled (this is much easier to demonstrate rather than explain so be sure to watch the accompanying video).  Be careful not to play around with any of the tissues around the anus anymore than necessary as spilled liquid will end up on the meat giving it that distasteful flavor we associate with skunk – burnt tire and garlic.  You’ll get immediate feedback on this as the more you move the tissues, the more smell is released.

Also Watch: Eating Bone Marrow

Once you have the anal glands removed, you can work the rest of the skin off easily as any other animal. You may best way to cook skunkthink you are home free now, but there’s more.  Carefully inspect for any fat tissues that may conceal other scent glands.  We found some in the pits of the legs, around the neck and various other locations.  These look like small light colored beans.  Remove all of these or you may end up with more off flavors.  If you’ve deglanded raccoon before, you know how to do this already.

In the final product, we noticed only a very minor hint of skunk smell with most of the flavor simply sweet meat. I prefer cooking as a stew since this is a lean meat.  If you’ve done things correctly, you need no special methods of preparation, season to taste and enjoy!

Watch Video: How To Clean and Eat Skunk – The Only Living Proof of Skunk Edibility

 

Sea Salt Benefits For A Healthy Body And Mind

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sea salt benefits

Whether it’s body, mind or soul, it’s easy to enjoy sea salt benefits.

Where does your salt come from? Do you know what type of salt you’re using? Are you really getting sea salt benefits? You might think your kitchen salt is from the sea. Nevertheless, you may or may not be right as salt can also come from the land, and yes, even mountain ranges! Also, before it reaches your dinner table, sea salt is treated to take out its impurities. The primary procedure eliminates iodine, magnesium, and minerals. You should also know that companies add dextrose and iodide along with a bleaching agent to sea salt.

Before you puke, you have to understand that this is done to make it easy for you to add salt to your food. Also, all of the mentioned chemicals make salt more durable and attractive. That’s not all, however, as research has shown that salt has positive effects on the body.

Sea Salt Benefits Include:

#1: Strengthens The Immune System

The minerals that salt (particularly sea salt) preserves can improve the natural defenses of the body. This benefit means that it is a great idea to start using sea salt, especially when summer is about to end. As you may already know, this is the time when viruses, flu, and colds are rampant. Salt, surprisingly, can offer protection against the many effects of sudden weather and temperature fluctuations.

#2: Helps Fight Depression

Melatonin and serotonin are the two hormones that your brain secretes for it to control the stress that your body experiences. As you go through depression, your brain won’t secrete these hormones. As a result, anxiety and sadness will overcome you. By consuming foods added with salt, it will be easier for you to preserve these happy hormones.

#3: Improves Blood Circulation

Salt (particularly sea salt) facilitates the flow of blood throughout your body. Your blood transports oxygen to several regions of your body to perform their respective functions. In the case of poor blood circulation, your energy levels will diminish and you’ll quickly get tired. You’ll also experience a loss of appetite. Sodium is necessary for improving your blood circulation, but it has to be limited as well. Excessive amounts of salt will cause uncomfortable bloating and will also raise your blood pressure.

Other Uses For Salt

#4: Natural Dandruff Treatment

Yes, you heard that right. You can use salt as a replacement for anti-dandruff chemicals. Try salt as your pre-shampoo treatment, as it will work well in scrubbing out those flakes from your head. You can also clean your hair more thoroughly with the use of salt. All you need to do is sprinkle a bit of salt into your scalp. Afterwards, massage your scalp for five minutes and then shampoo as you would normally.

#5: Exfoliates Skin

The weather is getting hotter by the day. This fact means that it’s time for you to make sure your skin is ready for the hot summer season. When removing dead skin cells, use salt as your scrub and exfoliant. You’ll be happy to know that it’ll also boost your blood circulation!

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Supercharge Your Garden! 4 Steps to Vibrant Soil Using Compost and Crop Rotation

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Pest management and pathogen control are great reasons to use crop rotation. For me, though, nutrient management is my most important reason.

Our soil was devoid of organic matter when we moved to our homestead. I sheet-mulched, piled my beds with fresh compost, cover-cropped, chopped and dropped, trench-composted, and spread worm castings like I was icing a cake.

In short order, we had incredible yields. I thought I was a gardening genius…

Parsnip - Crop Rotation

The first clue that I’d run up against diminishing returns on compost applications was my parsnips. The tuber-tops peaking from the soil were 5 inches wide. The greens were shrubs. I expected a lifetime supply of parsnips. Then I harvested. My parsnips were only 2-3 inches long and looked like parsnip pancakes.

That’s when I learned about nitrogen overload from compost. I yanked my disappointing parsnips and planted corn. My corn was supposed to grow 6 feet tall and have 1 large ear and 1-2 small ears. I got 3 full-sized ears on 10-foot stalks.

With the magic of crop rotation revealed to me in that experience, I studied it and experimented extensively to create optimal crop rotations. Here’s what I learned.

1. Start with a Soil Test

If you haven’t had a comprehensive, professional soil test recently, get one. You’ll be surprised by how much they can tell you about your soil and gardening practices.

Mineral Content

Soil tests include listings of mineral content. If you have deficiencies, they will include application rates for minerals to bring your soil up to par.

They’ll include the phosphorous and potassium (the PK in NPK) content. If you are a regular compost user, it’s easy to overload soil with phosphorous and potassium. This test can let you know if your compost habits put you at risk for excesses.

Soil pH

Soil tests divulge soil pH. Unless your pH is right for what you plan to grow, you might as well be planting on the moon. Most vegetables like a pH around 6.5.

You may have to add lime to make soil alkaline (e.g. raise the pH). Alternately, you may have to add sulfur to acidify soil (lower the pH). A soil test should include recommendations for this, too.

Organic Matter Content

Tests also tell you how much organic matter is in your soil. Less than 3% and you need to add a ton (or tons) of organic matter to get your soil into shape for growing healthy vegetables.

Nitrogen

Nitrogen level is the one thing a good soil test will not tell you. Or, it should warn you that nitrogen results are unreliable. Nitrogen, in the soil, is inherently volatile.

Nitrogen changes based on what you plant (or your weeds), tilling and harvesting practices, amendments used, weather (e.g., lightning adds nitrogen), and water sources. Heavy rain can leach nitrogen, while acid rain adds it.

This volatility is why nitrogen is one of the most difficult forces to manage in a vegetable garden. It’s also why professional growers tend to use slow-release fertilizers, or multiple applications.

If you are like me, though, you want to use stuff you can produce at home without spending a fortune. In that case, consider rotation plans that include rotating your food crops, cover crops, and homemade amendments for nutrient management.

Start by making the adjustments determined by your soil test. When you have a good soil-health baseline, start using crop rotation for long-term nutrient management and soil improvement.

2. Rotate Food Crops by Nitrogen Needs

Nitrogen is like candy to plants. They love it. Some plants can eat all the nitrogen they want and grow better. Others eat too much and end up sick. And just like people sometimes do with candy, plants are prone to eat too much nitrogen when it’s available—even when it’s not good for them.

Plants do need some quantity of nitrogen to grow. The right quantity is good for them (I can’t say the same about candy for people). Still, this analogy offers an easy framework for understanding nitrogen and its use in crop rotations.

To manage plant consumption of nitrogen, the first thing you do is load up the nitrogen in your soil. Then start the rotation party!

  1. Start with plants that thrive on nitrogen—a.k.a. heavy feeders.
  2. After the heavy feeders, bring in plants that benefit from moderate nitrogen. These are your medium feeders.
  3. When the nitrogen is nearly depleted, bring in the candy addicts. These plants can’t handle much nitrogen, but they love it so much they’ll suck every speck of it out of your beds. We call these light feeders, but they are really more like the cleanup crew.
  4. Once your bowl is empty, refill it and start the progression again. Grow nitrogen-fixing plants or add nitrogen-heavy amendments like fresh compost. Or do both.

Real Garden Crop Rotation

In a real garden scenario, this would look like adding a whole bunch of compost and fertilizer to your beds. Then, plant corn, followed by cucumbers, and finally turnips. Next, add more fertilizer and/or bring on the beans (or peas, or clover…).

If you spread this cycle over a four-year period, you have also created a rotation schedule that works for pathogen management by using four different families of plants.

Identify Heavy, Medium, and Light Feeders

When I tried to find a good list of plants by feeding type, I found a lot of discrepancies. I recommend you make your own lists based on what you actually plan to grow and on your own experience in your garden.

Whether you like big agribusiness or not, they sure know how to manage nitrogen for optimal production. Checking nitrogen application rates for commercial fertilizers is a great way to identify your feeder type (even if you won’t be using their products).

Here’s the list I used to glean this information. It’s geared for Wisconsin, but the general reference tables have universal utility.

Page 43 starts a table of nitrogen application rates for many common crops. Those rates change based on the amount of organic matter in soil. Compost-rich beds need less nitrogen than tilled dirt because the biological life in the soil continues to make nitrogen if soil is kept moist.

A table on page 30 tells you how much potassium and phosphorous plants need—as well as which plants will remove it from the soil—which conveniently brings us to our next topic!

Cover Crop - Crop Rotation

3. Rotate Cover Crops for Healthy Soil

In addition to rotating food crops, rotating cover crops is important for nutrient management. Different cover crops serve different functions.

Cover Crop to Remove Excess Potassium and Phosphorous

Compost adds humus and fertility to your garden. However, without good crop rotation, compost can overload soil with phosphorous and potassium in the long run. To prevent this, you need to rotate in plants that are effective at extracting those nutrients.

Alfalfa and red clover are exceptional at extracting potassium and good at extracting phosphorous. Hairy vetch and field peas are excellent for removing excess phosphorous. These plants are also potential nitrogen fixers.

For phosphorous and potassium removal, harvest the above-ground greens to feed your greens-eating livestock or add them to your compost pile for later application. Do not use them as chop-and-drop, or they will just end up right back in the soil. Always leave the roots in the ground, though, for nitrogen-fixing benefits.

Cover Crop to Add Nitrogen

Nitrogen fixers are plants that pull nitrogen from the air and store it in nodes on their roots. When the plants die, the nitrogen nodes decompose and release that stored nitrogen into the soil. Nitrogen fixers add more nitrogen when they are killed before they flower. If they set fruit (e.g., peas or beans), they are more like “nitrogen neutral.”

Nitrogen fixers work best when inoculated with a beneficial bacteria that encourages them to store more nitrogen. Planting rates are different for nitrogen fixing than for food production. To kill plants being used as nitrogen fixers, scythe or mow them to the ground. Leave roots in the ground and greens on the beds.

Cover Crop With a Biofumigant

Mustard is a beneficial biofumigant to break up soil pathogens and pest problems. Mustard also scavenges minerals in deeper soil and makes them available to plants that don’t root as deeply.

When using mustard as a biofumigant and mineral source, you need to purchase cover-crop mustard seeds (not edibles). Before the plants flower, cut them to the ground and gently turn them into your soil.

Cover Crop to Preserve Nitrogen

Grasses like wheat and annual rye are used as cover crops because of their ability to protect soil and scavenge nitrogen. While they don’t technically fix nitrogen like legumes, the biological organisms in your soil will quickly decompose those grasses if they are cut while green and allowed to decompose in the beds they were grown in. As the grass decomposes, it releases nitrogen into the soil at the surface, making it more readily available to next-round crops.

Choosing Your Cover Crop

Cover crops work best when selected based on either what you plan to grow next or on what you harvested, to correct for deficiencies. For example, corn is a heavy feeder. It sucks up nitrogen like a vacuum—as in, everything easily in reach.

After corn, wheat would be a good option. Wheat will pull nitrogen from all the areas the corn missed. If chopped and left on the bed, it decomposes and disperses that nitrogen more uniformly for the next planting (e.g., cucumbers).

Alternately, if nitrogen depletion is suspected, Austrian peas or clover used as a nitrogen fixer would work better than wheat. Rather than having a set schedule for cover crop rotation, make decisions based on the needs of your beds. There are fewer pests and pathogens in cooler weather, so strict rotations are not as necessary with winter cover crops.

Compost - Crop Rotation

4. Rotate Your Homemade Amendments by Crop Needs

If your main amendments are of the homemade variety, you also want to consider rotating the kinds of amendments you put on your beds along with your crops.

4 Types of Compost and Their Uses

Humus Compost

Humus compost is the stuff made by layering browns and greens at a ratio of 25 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen, making a large pile that heats to at least 130°F, turning it a few times, and then allowing it to age for 2 years. Humus increases the air- and water-holding capacity of soil and allows biological life to thrive. This kind of humus compost doesn’t have a lot of nitrogen.

Fresh Compost

The biological life that makes compost also creates nitrogen through their digestive processes. The longer a pile ages, the more nitrogen and other nutrients leach out by way of rain, air, etc. Fresh compost is made by the same process as humus compost. It’s just been aged less than six months and so has more nitrogen.

Composted Manure

Composted manure—i.e., a pile of manure mixed with fallen feed and bedding materials not necessarily at a rate of 25:1—can radically vary in nitrogen and nutrient content. Store-bought chicken manure has a 3-2-3 rating for NPK. Meanwhile, uncomposted chicken manure could have an NPK rating of 40-60-40, 55-55-47, or other variations.

Personally, I use a mix of chicken and goat manure that’s been aged for 3-6 months as a nitrogen source. I don’t know the exact nitrogen content, but it doesn’t burn my plants and it grows huge corn and cabbage.

Mystery Compost

Mystery compost happens when you throw a bunch of stuff together and wait. The nitrogen content will vary by what’s in the pile and what decomposed it. You could just throw it on your beds fairly fresh and hope you get lucky! Or, you could age it and use it for humus.

With these compost definitions out of the way, on to when to use them for nutrient management crop rotation.

Rotating Compost Applications for Nutrient Management

Here’s what my amendment rotations generally look like:

Year 1: Apply 4 inches of fresh or manure compost.

The risks from E. coli and other bad bacteria are minimized if your compost materials are 6 months old when your food is harvested. If you are growing lettuce, aim for 6-month-old compost to start. If you are growing vegetables like winter squash, aim for 3-month-old compost, because it will be over 6 months old by the time you harvest.

Year 2: Apply 2-4 inches of humus compost

Humus compost will still provide some nitrogen and other nutrients. Mainly though, it will help preserve any leftover nitrogen from the fresh compost in year 1 and replace the organic matter you harvested.

Year 3: Apply 2 inches of mulch to preserve moisture.

By year 3 in this plan, you are organic-matter heavy. You may also have extra potassium and phosphorous. For light feeders, just use mulch to protect your soil and preserve moisture rather than piling on compost.

Mulch is essentially browns with no greens. Straw, leaves, or wood chips work well. Mulch will eventually decompose and add nutrients, but not within the planting period that you apply it.

Year 4: Add nitrogen; remove phosphorous and potassium.

This is when you want to plant your nitrogen-fixing, phosphorous- and potassium-extracting cover crops.

Personally, I like to eat some peas and beans, too. I plant peas and beans to eat in early spring through mid-summer. I cover-crop from late summer through winter. I mulch the plants I grow for me and leave them on the beds. I remove the greens and leave the roots from my cover crops.

Year 5: Soil test and repeat.

Start the cycle again. But first, get another soil test and make adjustments as necessary. That second soil test is like a report card on how you are doing with your crop rotations for nutrient management.

Be Flexible in Your Use of Amendments

Just like with cover-crop rotations, if your beds seem depleted, then you may need to add fresh compost rather than humus compost. You may want to add humus compost rather than mulch if your beds feel dirt heavy and humus short. You may also need to up your game at times and apply worm castings or other stronger amendments. Use the health of your crops as your guide.

Crop-Rotation Conversation—What Do You Think?

To do crop rotation really well, you need to make it specific to your soil, pests, pathogen risks, crops, and amendments. There’s no canned crop-rotation plan that is going to work well for every garden.

Personally, I love the challenge of figuring out effective crop rotations. Gardening could get boring really fast if you weren’t taking your skills to the next level, paying attention to your plants, and improving your processes.

My intent with this series has been to inspire you with some of my crop-rotation concepts. Now, I’d like to hear from you!

What kind of rotations are you thinking of, what are you using now, and what is your intuition telling you? What works? What doesn’t?

(Also, include your growing region and soil type (loam, sand, clay) if possible so others can decide whether your ideas will work for them. I started with clay, but now have what I call clay-loam.)

Please join the conversation on crop rotation and share your comments below!

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The post Supercharge Your Garden! 4 Steps to Vibrant Soil Using Compost and Crop Rotation appeared first on The Grow Network.

5 Ways to COOK INDOORS During a Power Outage

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Most people will eat cereal, ice cream, and sandwiches in a power outage. It’s smart to use up the milk and finish off other perishable items. But what if you want a real meal… options to bake bread, cook pasta & rice, and pan-sear steaks even when the electricity is […]

The post 5 Ways to COOK INDOORS During a Power Outage appeared first on Preppers Survive.

6 Methods to Cook Indoors Without Electricity

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Most people will eat cereal, ice cream, and sandwiches in a power outage. It’s smart to use up the milk and finish off other perishable items. But what if you want a real meal… options to bake bread, cook pasta & rice, and pan-sear steaks even when the electricity is […]

The post 6 Methods to Cook Indoors Without Electricity appeared first on Preppers Survive.

email change over and spring cleaning

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Changing email address is tedious but now I have to get rid of the 22 year old yahoo email address.  Verizon just bought yahoo and they want to give access to AOL and Huffington Post to my emails.  Nope, not going to do that, heck I have a Verizon cell phone plan with a dumb phone that I don’t share my internet/email data.  The move should be seamless as I didn’t use my yahoo address for comment moderation. Nor do I get many direct emails via this blog. Eventually I want to setup my own email server that is not beholden to the internet gatekeepers but that is a project for next winter.

Ugh! The house smells bad and no amount of scented candles can rid the house of the funky aroma.  When Mom was living here her dog Jackson and my dog Tucker seemed to engage in literal “pissing contest”.  I understand that dogs do that sort of thing but it creates a bad smell as well as bad things happening to carpets.  I got out my Hoover carpet shampooer and started cleaning the living room carpet.  Guys the Hoover carpet cleaner is on sale for $88.00 at Home depot and it crushes any Bissel type carpet cleaner for ease of cleaning the machine.  The rotating brush heads are much better scrubbers compared to a single beater bar on the Bissel and much easier to clean and replace.  If you have carpets that will need cleaning get this “cheap” Hoover carpet cleaner as it is simple, it works and so far has lasted 3 years rather than dying after a year of use.

Using a carpet cleaner:  The Hoover recommends doing 2 passes with soapy water and then a rinse/ pass using only hot water on very dirty carpets.  I’d agree, if your carpet feel a bit sticky after running the carpet cleaner 2x over the carpet. A hot water rinse may be needed to pull up any residual carpet detergent.  I was a little surprised as my cleaned carpet area did not feel sticky and dried fast after the cleaning.  If you want to clean carpets get this little Hoover on sale at Home depot for $88.00! You will get a great little carpet cleaner that has last few years (unlike bissel)  for me, cleaned rental carpets beyond our wildest expectations and the cleaner is still going strong.   I can’t tell if I have eliminated the odor long term.  Just getting 1/2 of the living room seems to have cut the funky aroma by a 1/3rd.

Huzzah! I got the font yard mowed before the thunderstorms moved in. I did the weed eating on Saturday so mowing was pretty easy.  The great elm is dying and must be taken down safely, before it falls down in a storm.  This tree is huge and could smash into my neighbor’s home and that would be very bad.  It is so sad as I tried my best to save the elm but it was to far gone.

If I’m not whimpering and whining in bed after all the work done this weekend I’m going to attack the south side garden beds.  LOL

I have major pet peeve and that is all the people say why don’t you buy….. or hire a contractor for….. I’m poor and don’t make much money.  My income is below paying many property taxes but I don’t get food stamps or energy assistance and those sort of things. Growing my own food is great. installing a wood stove has been awesome. I want to add in some more solar power in the future but tax breaks is not what is making solar attractive to me.  Being independent of the grid is what I want long-term.

Personally I think small Solar/wind system are a good idea on the block to keep things semi powered.

 

It’s crazy but many people have decided what I must do to have a garden a shop or RV.  All I have to is die and God will take care of it in his good time.  I won’t tell you how to you, grow your garden.

I’ll see you on Monday as people need an explanation of the simple raised beds.

Avocado Benefits Most People Should Know But Haven’t Been Told About

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avocado benefits

Studies show avocado benefits to be “off the charts” when it comes to healing and fighting off aging. The truth is, this fruit is one of the healthiest foods you can eat.

Avocado benefits are many. In fact, they are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. They are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, a type of fat your body will burn for energy instead of storing. Avocados also contain loads and loads of absorbable vitamins and antioxidants. These super-fruits have numerous health benefits that might surprise you.

Avocado Benefits: Potassium Rich.

Avocados provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins, and folic acid. Potassium plays a critical function in heart health, bone health, digestive function, and muscle density maintenance. Potassium is essential for the proper function of all cells, tissues, and organs in your body.

Despite the fact that it is available in many foods, only 2 percent of adults in the U.S. get the recommended daily amount. This fact is particularly troubling because potassium offsets hypertensive effects of sodium. Imbalance in your sodium-potassium ratio can not only lead to high blood pressure but may also contribute to many other diseases, including heart disease and stroke.

About two and a half avocados provide the daily recommended amount of about 4,700 milligrams (mg) of potassium a day. Additionally, an average avocado contains about 40 mg of magnesium, which is about 10 percent of the recommended daily value.

Avocado Benefits: Healthy Fat Super-Charger.

Because avocados are incredibly rich in healing fatty acids, they assist your body’s ability to absorb certain fat-soluble nutrients from other food sources. One facinating study first published in The Journal of Nutrition noted that eating a whole fresh avocado with an orange-colored tomato sauce significantly enhanced absorption of the various carotenoids. It also converted the carotenoids into a bio-active form of vitamin A.

Avocado Benefits: BIO-Available Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Avocados are one of few foods that contain significant levels of both vitamins C and E and are high in fiber, with about 4.6 grams in half an avocado. So when you eat avocados, you’re providing your body with a wide-spectrum package of nutrition.

Avocado Benefits: Cancer-fighting.

Avocatin B, an amazing type of fat found in avocados, has been found to combat acute myeloid leukemia, a deadly form of cancer. The cancer-fighting fat in avocados was able to shut down the leukemia stem cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed. Avocados are also rich in cancer-fighting carotenoids, which are most plentiful in the dark-green portion of the flesh that’s closest to the skin. Studies also show promising results for prostate cancer.

Avocado Benefits: Weight Loss.

According to a published research study in Nutrition Journal, those who ate half an avocado with their standard lunch reported being 40 percent less hungry three hours after their meal and 28 percent less hungry at the five-hour mark compared to those who did not eat avocado with lunch. The study also pointed out that avocados appear helpful for regulating blood sugar.

Be Certain You Lock-In Your Avocado Benefits:

To preserve the area with the highest concentration of antioxidants, you’ll want to peel the avocado with your hands just like you would a banana. Pretty darn easy.

1. Cut avocado lengthwise around the seed

2. Holding each half of the avicado, twist them in opposite directions to separate them from seed

3. Cut each half lengthwise

4. Next, using a teaspoon or your thumb and index finger, simply peel the skin off each piece

Avocado Benefits: Pesticide Safe. While no crop in the modern world is 100 percent pesticide free, Avocados have been rated as one of the safest commercial crops concerning pesticide application. The fruits thick outer skin protects the inner fruit from large pesticide concentrations.

As readers already know, its important to consider all aspects of healthcare. This is especially true for those who want to stay healthy off-the-grid.

The post Avocado Benefits Most People Should Know But Haven’t Been Told About appeared first on Off The Grid News.

How to Make Butter In An Emergency

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how to make butter

Many families are learning how to make butter as a “just In case” strategy as well as good ole fashion fun.

You’re proud and secure in the fact you’ve stored weeks’ or even months’ worth of food for the inevitable collapse. But what happens if the grocery stores don’t reopen, and you’re living indefinitely off your own resources? There are some things you’d miss quite a bit – including butter. Here’s how to make it, plain and simple.

The ingredients are simple:
1 pint of heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
Salt (to be added at the end of the process)

The equipment list is even more simple:
A glass jar

The directions:
1. Pour the heavy cream into the jar, tighten the lid, and shake! After about 7 minutes, the cream becomes whipped cream. After about 3 more minutes of shaking, the whipped cream begins to separate into butter and buttermilk.

2. Pour the buttermilk into a separate container. You can drink it or save it for cooking.

3. Now wash the remainder of the buttermilk off the butter by pouring enough clean water into the jar with the butter to cover it completely. Swish it around enough to rinse and then drain the water from the jar.

4. Place the butter in another container (such as a small bowl) and mix it around with a fork or knife to release any additional buttermilk and pour it off again.

5. Add salt to taste. You’re done! You’ve made your own butter. One pint of whipping cream yields almost exactly 1 cup of butter, equal to 2 sticks.

Interestingly, shaking works faster than a hand-held electric mixer, which can make whipped cream in about a minute, but take about 14 more minutes to turn it into butter.

One final consideration is where to get the cream, if the grid collapses. Heavy cream is simply the cream that floats to the top of the milk (straight from the cow, that is). If you’re lucky enough to live near a dairy farm, you’ve got that option. Or you could get your own cow and make butter truly from scratch!

Learn other tips including Tips For Canning Meat!

The post How to Make Butter In An Emergency appeared first on Off The Grid News.

10 Easy and Delicious Camping / Bugout Recipes

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I like a strawberry millennium bar as much as the next guy, but there are times when you need hot food and meat-based protein. The more arduous the task and the more stressful the day, the more you want those fatty, warm, and filling meals. Bugging out can have many hang ups, but food is […]

The post 10 Easy and Delicious Camping / Bugout Recipes appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

5 Coffee Substitutes to Forage When The SHTF

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Recently I got on a bit of a health kick, and I decided to stop drinking coffee. I’m sure a couple cups a day is no big deal, but I was drinking it all day long and was starting to wonder what it might be doing to my health, so I quit cold turkey. Big […]

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A Tomato a Day Keeps You Healthy…and Full!

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When you’re living at the mercy of nature, (whose bounty can be very fickle), you need access to smart foods.  You’ll want to keep some foods around that are not only nutritious, but that will also make you feel full on a modest portion.  If it also happens to ward off a myriad of dread diseases, so much the better.  Say hello to what might be a survivor’s best friend: the tomato.

Evidence is emerging that suggests our plump red pal contains a mystery compound that suppresses hormones that trigger our appetite.  Preventing those pesky snack attacks has a lot of obvious advantages for us, whether we are living under normal circumstances or under the austerity of survival conditions.  Staying slim by not overeating may be a great benefit now, but think of those longs days and nights of rationing out a diminishing food supply, and nothing seems to satisfy your continual hunger.  A filling bite of a tomato to take the edge off would be heaven sent.

A French study compared the filling effect of sandwiches made with a tomato-enriched bread, carrot-enriched bread, and plain white bread.  Women of average weight between 18 and 35 were the subjects.  Amazingly, the fiber-rich carrots were not the winner.  Only the tomato bread kept the women satisfied and full.  So, if you only have a slice of cheese or a share of a can of tuna for today’s rations, a couple slices of tomato might be just the thing to turn those few precious bites into a fulfilling meal.

The results are incomplete, and it remains to be determined if tomatoes lower the level of the hunger-producing hormones, like ghrelin.  The part of the tomato that curbs the appetite has not been isolated yet either, though some suspect that it may be the red pigment, lycopene.

Regardless of lycopene’s connection to appetite, it is another reason to plant plenty of tomatoes in your survival garden.  Lycopene is linked to a reduction in a host of cancers including prostate, breast, cervical, skin, pancreatic, and even lung cancer—plus it slows down the progression of some cancers that have already occurred as well.

But wait!  There’s more…

Tomato juice and ketchup have been shown to significantly reduce levels of cholesterol, thus promoting heart health as well.  Tomatoes also keep skin healthy and looking young, and actually help to minimize sunburn.  They have a ton of vitamin C, which has healing, preventative, and nutritional properties—like warding off colds, promoting wounds to heal more quickly and completely, and allowing the body to absorb iron.  Tomatoes are rich in fiber, and they have lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to keep you young and energetic.

Tomatoes are easy to grow, and will grow under many diverse conditions. One plant yields many fruits, and one fruit has enough seeds for a hundred new plants.  They can stay on the vine for a long time; they can ripen and survive after picking for a long time; and they don’t require refrigeration.  With all of these benefits, I’m thinking that a good share of my garden will be dedicated to this versatile vegi-fruit.  You can eat it raw, on a sandwich, in a salad, grilled, boiled, or in soup.  You can juice it, make ketchup, salsa, tomato sauce for spaghetti sauce or chili, and it can be sundried too.  Is there anything I’m leaving out?  Oh…and it tastes pretty good too.

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Rainy day good excuse for a rest day

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I thought I stopped in time but I seemed to pulled a muscle along my neck and shoulder.  I took this rainy day off to rest that area and while it is not 100% it does feel 100% better than it did yesterday so it should heal up with a couple of easy days to get it loosened  up.

Speaking for myself I find that doing little things to keep the pulled muscle area moving a little bit with light weight work helps with the healing process. So I have just been doing some puttering around the house rather than any heavy lifting jobs. I finished getting the lawns watered and then a light rain came through to help finish up the job.  I made up a big batch of dog food this time using chicken quarters, green beans and brown rice.

No rain today (Saturday), the pulled  muscle is stiff and twinges occasionally but overall it seems to be healing up quickly.  I started the day with pulling the weeds out of the front rose beds.  With the mulch that covers these beds the weeds are very easy to pull out.  Then a split the rest of the day getting the house vacuumed,  clothes washed and finish building the last garden bed.  Having the shop cleaned up made the bed go together quicker than the first two beds. Putting the supporting 2x4s end pieces of wood first made adding the 10 foot long 2x6s much easier, plus having the work space to clamp the boards together, drilling the screw holes saved much wailing and gnashing of teeth.  I did not add the soil or till the new garden bed as moving the big bags of soil are a bit to much for my shoulder muscle until it gets healed up.

One of the best things for me building these garden boxes is I have learned how to follow simple building plans, use all of my tools and that trial and error is not a bad way to learn. One of the worst aspects I have is doing ALL of the work and not getting inpatient doing all the measuring, fitting and drilling out the screw holes, because I wanted the project done quickly rather than taking the time to make sure everything is done correctly.  Even a stacked concrete brick wall can be strong using re-bar and sand as a filler in the cavities of the block wall. I don’t think I’d use it as a house foundation but for a base for fence I think it would be good enough.

Good fences make good neighbors or unless you protect your property rights no one else will protect them, via precedent or squatters rights.  We need to get up some fencing and post more signs around Mom’s property.  Mom can be as nice or nasty as she chooses but her property lines must be respected.  Even a temporary fence is better than nothing as it proves you are protecting your property.  I fought a long hard legal battle about property rights.  Not good, so it is best nip these thing in the bud.  Even a temp. fence declares your right to your own property.  No one will ever care about your property than you. Do all you can to protect that property!

Dandelions: 31+ Medicinal and Culinary Uses for the King of Weeds

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This article is part of a series on weed gardens and identifying and using the plants you’ll often find there. For other articles in the series, please click here.

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

As you can see, the weed garden is really starting to come to life. I’ve got henbit, sedges, dayflowers, wood sorrel, pokeweed, and a few other visitors. But one weed I would gladly welcome has yet to show up. Dandelions!

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

Dandelions are pretty much the unofficial mascots for foraging and herbal medicine. They can be found on every continent (except Antarctica) and have tremendous value as food and medicine. They invade lawns, fields, and waste spaces despite every effort to control, contain, and kill them.

Dandelions are survivors, and they pass on a little of that to us when we consume them.

Identifying Dandelions

While dandelions do have a few look-alikes, none of them are toxic. Among the common fakers, you’ll find cat’s ear, chicory, shepherd’s purse, and hawksbeard. Here’s your guide to telling the real thing from the fakers.

Dandelions are perennials1)Perennial: Any plant that lives for more than 2 years. that grow in a basal rosette.2)Basal Rosette: A circular arrangement of leaves at ground level. You’ll never find leaves growing from the stem. Leaves are anywhere from 2 inches to over a foot (5 to 40 centimeters) long and have jagged teeth.

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

The jagged pattern of the leaves can vary quite a bit. On some plants, the indentations will go nearly to the midline of the leaf, while others will have fairly shallow teeth. The tips of the teeth tend to point backward, toward the center of the plant. Leaves are virtually hairless at all stages of growth.

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

By the way, the name “dandelion” is said to come from “dent de lion” or “teeth of the lion.” And depending on who you ask, this either refers to the jagged leaves or the flower petals.

The scientific name, Taraxacum officinale, could be translated as “the official cure for every disorder.”

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

The yellow blooms are composite flowers. That is, they look like one flower, but are technically a cluster of tiny flowers. The ends of the petals tend to be flat, rather than tapering to a point, and they overlap all the way to the center of the flower. Blooming happens mostly in spring, and again in fall, with sporadic blooming at any time.

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

These flowers turn into the puffballs that kids love to blow on to make wishes. A single dandelion plant may produce many stems and flowers, but each stem will have only a single flower. The stems are hollow and can range in length from 2 to 18 inches (5 to 45 centimeters).

All parts of the plant contain a white, milky sap. This would normally be a warning sign, but dandelions are an exception to the rule.

Read More: “How to Not Die While Wildcrafting: 15 Rules for Foraging Safely”

There are even some rather useful applications for this sap, which we’ll get into below. Be aware that dandelion sap has occasionally been reported to cause contact dermatitis in some individuals.

Dandelions can be found throughout the U.S., Canada, and most of the rest of the world, especially around people. This is another plant that loves us and wants to be near us. You can find them in lawns, fields, pastures, waste spaces, and disturbed ground. They seem to survive everything from drought, to over-picking, to digging, to mowing, to herbicides. But why would you want to get rid of these happy little guys? They’re beautiful, and they’re trying so hard to help us.

Edible Uses and Dandelion Recipes

If you do an Internet search for dandelion recipes, you’ll find page after page of preparations for this versatile vegetation. Recipes abound!

I, myself, have only scratched the surface of dandelion delicacies. There are just so many!

Nutritional Value

And why shouldn’t there be? Every part of the plant is edible, raw or cooked. And not only are dandelions plentiful, they’re very nearly a perfect food. Dandelions are rich in potassium; magnesium; manganese; phosphorus; sodium; copper; choline; calcium; iron; lecithin; biotin; inositol; chlorophyll; fiber; and vitamins A, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, B12, C, D, and E.3)Foster, Steven, James A. Duke, and Steven Foster. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.,4)Peterson, Lee Allen, and Roger Tory Peterson. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999.,5)Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London: DK/Penguin Random House, 2016.,6)Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.,7)Gladstar, Rosemary. The Beginners Guide to Medicinal Herbs 35 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use. Storey Books, 2012.,8)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.

That’s quite a mouthful. Literally.

They have more vitamin A than any other green plant—six times more than carrots—and a single cup of fresh greens will meet your daily requirement of beta-carotene, iron, calcium, and potassium!9)Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.

That tap root really reaches down to bring up the good stuff. You can see why I call them the king of weeds.

Furthermore, when eaten as a whole (roots to flowers/seeds), the dandelion forms a complete protein, with all 9 essential amino acids.10)Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014. That’s a pretty good trick for a plant.

Dandelion also seems to help with the absorption and balance of minerals.11)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

Overcoming the Bitter Taste

But let’s address the elephant in the room. Dandelions are bitter. Very bitter. Involuntarily-spit-them-out-and-go-wash-your-mouth-out-with-ice-cream bitter.

Perhaps I exaggerate. But how is one to get past the bitterness to access those amazing nutrients? I’ve got you covered.

First, you should select the best dandelions. The best-tasting leaves have had the easiest life. Don’t pick any sunbaked, twice-stepped-on leaves. Harvest from a plant in a shady, well-watered location. Harvest younger greens, earlier in the year. Leaves toward the center of the rosette also tend to be less bitter.

Next, choose the right preparation. It’s the rare individual who enjoys eating a handful of dandelion greens raw. It’s a lot easier to moderate their taste by chopping them up and mixing them with other greens. They also pair well with savory dishes.

Of all the cooking methods, boiling does the best job of reducing bitterness. Drop the leaves into boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. If you’ve picked a good plant, it shouldn’t take much more than this. If not, you can always boil them longer. Use plenty of water so the bitterness has someplace to go.

Eating the Roots: Stir-fried, Pickled, and as a Coffee Substitute

The root can be eaten raw, but tastes better when cooked. Try them sliced and stir-fried with other veggies. Cooking breaks down the root’s inulin into fructose, bringing out a much sweeter taste. They’re also a fine addition to soups and stews, and—although I’ve never tried it—they are reportedly quite tasty when pickled.

Dandelions - Uses, Eating. Medicine

Dandelion Coffee Recipe

The root is typically harvested from late fall to early spring. Second-year roots are preferred, but good luck on guessing how old a dandelion is by looking at it. If it’s too old and woody to eat, you can still use it to make a caffeine-free coffee substitute. Slice up the root and slow-roast it in your oven until it turns dark brown and becomes brittle. This should take about 30 minutes at 350°F (175°C). Let it cool, and then grind it up to use like coffee grounds. I’m usually not a fan of coffee substitutes, but this is one I really enjoy.

Dandelion Mocha Recipe

If you’d like to take your dandelion coffee to the next level (and who wouldn’t?), you can turn it into a dandelion mocha. This recipe comes from Rosemary Gladstar, and it is delightful.

Use 1 tbsp each of dandelion coffee grounds and cacao nibs. Simmer in 3 cups of water for 30 minutes. Then strain and add ½ cup milk (or milk substitute), ½ tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. vanilla extract, 1 tbsp. honey (or other sweetener), and a dash of ground nutmeg or cloves.

It’s excellent. I highly recommend you try it.

Eating the Flowers: Sautéed, Fried, and Infused

The flowers make a colorful addition to salads, soups, ice creams, or just about anything else. Two of my favorite ways to eat them are sautéed in butter and as an ingredient in dandelion lemonade.

  • Sautéed blooms are easy. Just melt some butter and sauté away. (Alternately, you could make a simple egg-and-flour batter and fry them. Yum!)
  • To make dandelion lemonade, just add about a quart of dandelion flowers to a half gallon of lemonade. Let the mixture infuse in the fridge overnight, then strain out the blossoms and enjoy.

The less green you have from the base of the blossoms, the less bitter they will taste. Here’s a brief clip demonstrating a super easy way to separate the petals from the bitter greens:

https://youtu.be/fWyA35Cs5e0

The last way to get past the bitterness is simply to build up an appreciation for it. Sure, it’s not the most popular option, but you really can develop a taste for a food by consistently consuming small portions of it. Gradually, your aversion turns into tolerance. And then tolerance can even become a craving. It really works. Try it!

Medicinal Uses for Dandelions

Dandelion’s medicinal effects are not limited to its impressive nutritional profile. It sports a bevy of benefits. Let’s dive in!

As a Digestive Aid

Dandelion’s bitter taste is likely also its best-known medicinal property. It’s a bitter. Bitters are plants that encourage optimal digestion by stimulating the secretion of enzymes and digestive juices.12)Gladstar, Rosemary. The Beginners Guide to Medicinal Herbs 35 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use. Storey Books, 2012.,13)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

Dandelion stimulates appetite, aids the liver in its detoxification duties, helps to regulate the release of pancreatic hormone, is stimulating to the spleen, supports correct bile duct function, and even helps to repair the gut wall.14)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.,15)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.,16)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. It may even help to resist the progression of cirrhosis of the liver.17)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

Dandelion is a remarkable plant!

To Treat Colitis

In one experiment, participants with non-specific colitis were given dandelion along with calendula, lemon balm, and St. John’s wort. Complete relief from spontaneous and palpable pains was reported by 96% of participants, and stools were normalized in those with diarrhea symptoms.18)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

As a Spring Tonic and Diuretic

Dandelion is also well-known as a spring tonic. It helps to flush and tone the body after enduring the rigors of winter.

The entire plant is diuretic, flushing excess water from the body and generally giving us a good cleansing. The leaf is more powerful than the root, and is comparable to the drug furosemide in terms of strength.19)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. Don’t take it right before bed or you’ll be up all night. Trust me. I know.

Dandelion’s diuretic properties help to relieve fluid retention.20)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. It is also used to dissolve calcium stones and to prevent new ones from forming, and can be used safely over long periods.21)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.,22)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

Dandelion’s diuretic nature may also help to explain its effectiveness in relieving arthritic complaints.23)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

With conventional pharmaceuticals, as the body flushes out water, it’s also flushing out our supply of potassium. This can be rough on your heart and cause problems for anyone with a heart condition.24)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. Dandelion, on the other hand, is so rich in potassium that even while it flushes out the body, it still provides a net gain in potassium.25)Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London: DK/Penguin Random House, 2016. This makes it an ideal diuretic herb for people with heart issues.26)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.

For Skin Health

The natural latex in its sap is helpful in getting rid of warts.27)Gladstar, Rosemary. The Beginners Guide to Medicinal Herbs 35 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use. Storey Books, 2012. However, this is not a quick process. The sap must be applied several times a day for 2 to 3 weeks. Direct application of the sap can also help with moles, pimples, canker sores, and other skin blemishes.28)Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014., 29)Grossberg, George T., and Barry Fox. The Essential Herb-drug-vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medications and Supplements Together. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.

To Fight Cancer and Harmful Bacteria

Dandelion may have anti-tumor/anti-cancer properties, though it is not clear whether this would be from a direct action or indirectly through its ability to cleanse and support normal body function.30)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.,31)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. Dandelion also appears to have selective antimicrobial properties, supporting healthy gut bacteria while discouraging unhealthy ones.32)Foster, Steven, James A. Duke, and Steven Foster. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.,33)Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.,34)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. It even helps prevent plaque buildup on teeth.35)Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.

Other Medicinal Uses

Dandelion is also cooling and drying, and can be used as a fever reducer.36)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. It’s a mild laxative and has an alkalizing effect on the body.37)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.,38)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.,39)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013. Dandelion may also help some people with allergies and food intolerances.40)Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

In animal studies, dandelion has been shown to have hypoglycemic activities.41)Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003. This may make it a helpful plant for those with diabetes, but could be a contraindication for those with hypoglycemia.42)Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.,43)Grossberg, George T., and Barry Fox. The Essential Herb-drug-vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medications and Supplements Together. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.

Medicinal Formats and Dosages

You can use dandelion via any of the normal methods: fresh, dried, tincture, decoction, infusion, etc. The dried leaves make an excellent addition to green powders.

Outside of some very specific circumstances, dandelion is widely considered to be safe. Recommendations vary from herbalist to herbalist as to how much you should take.

I will present some amounts that I think are reasonable, but you should view them as suggestions, rather than rules. Other quantities/frequencies could be equally valid, depending on your situation.

Root Tincture

1:5 ratio in 60% alcohol. Use 2.5–5 ml, 3 times daily.

Root Decoction

Use 2–3 tsp of root material in 1 cup of water. Simmer for 10–15 minutes. Drink this 3 times a day.

Leaf Tincture

1:5 ratio in 40% alcohol. Use 5–10 ml, 3 times daily.

Leaf Infusion

Pour boiling water over ½ tsp of dried leaf and allow to steep for 10–15 minutes. Drink this 3 times a day.

Long Live the King!

Dandelions are so impressively versatile that I could never fit everything into a single article.

For example, did you know that the sap can be used as glue, or that the stem can be fashioned into a working flute?

What else did I leave out? What’s your favorite recipe or medicinal use? Do you have any dandelion stories (or horror stories about the bitter flavor)? Are dandelions really the king of weeds, or should that title belong to a different plant? Let me know in the comments!

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Psst! Our Lawyer Wants You to Read This Big, Bad Medical Disclaimer –> The contents of this article, made available via The Grow Network (TGN), are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information provided by TGN. Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk. And, of course, never eat a wild plant without first checking with a local expert.

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References   [ + ]

1. Perennial: Any plant that lives for more than 2 years.
2. Basal Rosette: A circular arrangement of leaves at ground level.
3, 32. Foster, Steven, James A. Duke, and Steven Foster. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000.
4. Peterson, Lee Allen, and Roger Tory Peterson. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999.
5, 25. Chevallier, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London: DK/Penguin Random House, 2016.
6, 9, 10, 28, 33, 35. Blair, Katrina. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014.
7, 12, 27. Gladstar, Rosemary. The Beginners Guide to Medicinal Herbs 35 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use. Storey Books, 2012.
8, 14, 21, 37, 42. Elpel, Thomas J. Botany in a Day: Thomas J. Elpels Herbal Field Guide to Plant Families. Pony, MT: HOPS Press, 2004.
11, 13, 15, 19, 23, 24, 26, 30, 38, 41. Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2003.
16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 31, 34, 36, 39, 40. Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2013.
29, 43. Grossberg, George T., and Barry Fox. The Essential Herb-drug-vitamin Interaction Guide: The Safe Way to Use Medications and Supplements Together. New York: Broadway Books, 2007.

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Comparing Home Grain Mills

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The home grain mill is something that might not fit every prepper. Or it might not fit every prepper today. In the future we could see that change as things get more bleak and food prices keep rising. The idea of storing unmilled grain is one that very few people outside of preppers understand. I …

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Crop Rotation for the Home Garden, Part 2: Pathogen Prevention

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Pathogen…. That just sounds like a creepy, scary word. And when you are talking about pathogens in your soil, it really can be.

Crop Rotation for Pathogen Prevention and Control

Irish Potato Famine

You’ve all heard of the Irish Potato Famine, right? A million Irish people died and another million emigrated because the Irish potato crops were decimated by a pathogen called Phytophthora infestans.

When it happened, Irish farmers were growing potatoes about like the rest of us grow weeds. They were so good at it, that the diets of the Irish poor revolved around that one calorie crop. Little did they know that a vicious pathogen was lurking in their soil, biding its time until it had the numbers to totally decimate the Irish food supply.

OK, in reality, the pathogen itself is not quite that menacing. The real reason this was such a big deal was because more diverse food options were not available for a large percentage of the Irish population. (The wealthy had diverse diets; the poor relied on potatoes.)

Additionally, because potatoes were planted prolifically, the pathogen spread quickly through the sharing of seed potatoes (like the way a cold spreads through an office). Once in the soil, it stayed dormant until significant rains sent it into reproductive overdrive and allowed it to infect and thrive in sopping wet potato plants. Heavy rain is to fungal pathogens what dry wind is to an open fire.

Crop Rotation for Pathogen Prevention and Control

How Pathogens Spread

If you grow tomatoes, you are probably familiar with two well-known pathogens commonly called blight and wilt. These pathogens are similar to the Irish potato plant killer. They spread slowly in the soil—usually transmitted by transplants, compost, soil mixes, or even your shoes.

In relatively dry conditions, these pathogens may be present in the soil, but have no impact on your plant. Then one day, you get 2 inches of rain, your soil compacts and doesn’t dry out for days, and leaves turn yellow and drop off. Then, on the next sunny day, your tomatoes get ugly sun scald spots and rot before you can eat them.

Here’s the thing: Pathogens alone present no risks. Many of them are plant specific, which means that unless they come into contact with a suitable host plant, they are harmless. Even when you have the pathogen and the plant in the same place, this will not necessarily result in plant damage.

It’s only when you get a trifecta of conditions that include the right plant, the right pathogen, and environmental conditions suitable for incubation and infestation that problems happen. Here’s a simple mathematical expression for how that works:

Pathogen + Susceptible Plant Host + Optimal Environmental Conditions = Disaster

Remove one of these pieces from the equation, and you can avert disaster. Since you often don’t know the pathogen is present in your soil and you can’t control things like the weather, the most logical way to avert disaster is to take the host plant out of the equation.

Crop Rotation for Pathogen Prevention and Control

Rotate Plants by Family to Reduce Risk

This is where the idea of only planting one family of plants in the same plot once every four (or more) years comes into play. By rotating your plants, you limit the risk for having a trifecta. Also, depending on the life cycle of your pathogen, sometimes without a host plant, the pathogen will disappear over time.

Crop Rotation Slows the Spread

Additionally, with good plant-rotation plans, even if you do occasionally get small infestations of a pathogen, you can slow the spread by not offering host plants in close proximity year to year. Many pathogens are soil bound. They must make their way around on the bodies of soilborne critters, through transplants, on your garden tools, by catching a ride with an airborne insect, etc.

If they can move from host plant to host plant year after year, they can build up more quickly. With no nearby hosts, they remain dormant and pathogen populations remain in check.

Crop Rotation Gives you Time to Identify and Solve Pathogen Problems

Four-year rotations improve your odds by limiting a buildup of pathogens and spreading risk. Longer rotations are even better, since many pathogens can persist in the soil for 10 years or more. However, this can be more difficult to achieve in a small garden.

Luckily, if you do have plants that become infected with a pathogen, four-year crop rotation plans give you time to research and remedy your pathogen before you plant that family in that location again.

Start by identifying the pathogen. Aim to understand its life cycle and avoid planting the susceptible host plant again until you are sure the pathogen is gone.

Depending on your pathogen, there are different strategies you can follow to make your soil safe for planting again. For example, you can plant certain kinds of mustard and till them in. This practice is called biofumigation.

You can solarize your soil. This will kill all the biological life in your soil, too. You’ll need to then build back up your biological life with organic matter inputs.

With some pathogens that have long life spans, you may also need to consider more drastic measures. Replacing your soil, installing equipment to improve drainage, and developing alternate garden areas may be necessary in some instances.

Rotate by Families Prone to Similar Pathogen Problems

Because pathogens tend to affect entire plant families, rotating by family is the most common way to avoid pathogen problems. For example, tomatoes and potatoes might seem like very different plants to us. However, even if they have a preference for tomatoes over potatoes, opportunistic pathogens will take what they can get.

These are the family categories I use in my vegetable plant rotations:

  1. Nightshade Family: Tomato, Potato, Pepper, Eggplant
  2. Grass Family: Corn, Sorghum, Wheat
  3. Lettuce Family: Lettuce, Sunflowers, Dandelion, Chicory, Radicchio
  4. Beet Family: Beets, Spinach, Chard
  5. Cole Family: Cabbage, Mustard, Turnips, Arugula, Broccoli, Cauliflower
  6. Curcurbit Family: Squash, Cucumbers, Melons, Pumpkins
  7. Legume Family: Peas, Beans, Clover, Alfalfa
  8. Umbel Family: Carrots, Parsnips, Parsley, Fennel, Celery
  9. Allium Family: Onions, Garlic, Chives, Shallots
  10. Miscellaneous: Buckwheat, Okra, Sweet Potato

This is a lot to try to rotate in a small garden. Personally, I lump a few families together to create rotational pairings.

  • The nightshade, allium, cole, and sweet potato families tend to take up more space in my garden than the other families. They each get their own rotation.
  • I lump the grass, legume, and curcurbit families together in my rotations. I use that grouping because I tend to only need one row of space for those three plant families to one row of sweet potatoes based on how we eat. Sweet potatoes are a calorie crop that we need a lot of. Corn, cucumbers, and even beans (which are hard to grow enough of in useful amounts) are things we grow for fun to add variety to our diets.

Create Interplanting or Seasonal Plant Groupings

As long as you are consistent in your crop rotation methods, you can mix and match your families to get down to a four- or five-year planting rotation cycle.

If you use interplanting in your beds for soil protection, you may want to plan your family rotational groupings using this information. For example, if you grow carrots, radishes, and lettuce in the same bed at the same time, then one of your rotations would include the umbel, cole, and lettuce families.

Once you establish that grouping of families as a rotational pattern, then you can use that information to plan other rotations. You could grow early cabbage, followed by summer sunflowers, and then over-wintering parsnips. Using that same family grouping in different ways, you can achieve more food production while still having distinct rotations geared at preventing pathogens.

If you are following this series, you now have information to help you plan your crop rotation schedules to prevent pests and pathogens. However, there is one more really big reason why you may want to use crop rotation, even in a small garden. It’s for nutrient management. In the next post, we’ll cover that in more detail. Then you can take these three concepts and apply them to growing a more problem-free garden at home.

Read More: “Crop Rotation for the Home Garden, Part 1: Pest Control”

In the meantime, start thinking about what you grow, and the kind of pathogens that are common to your area. Are there any you are particularly worried about? Talk to your local agricultural office and find out what risks may apply to your garden.

If you have any tricks or tips you’ve learned that might help with crop -rotation planning, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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Prepper Food Is The Best Investment For A Lifetime

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Is Stockpiling Prepper Food A Good Idea?

Prepper Food

When I was a little boy, and we ran out of peanut butter, my mother would send me downstairs to get another jar off the shelf.

Usually, there would be two more jars behind that one.

My mother, just like her mother before her, always had months of food on hand at any given moment.

I grew up assuming this was normal, yet as a young adult, I didn’t shop this way.

After buying “BIG”, I might have two weeks of food on hand, but never three jars of peanut butter, eight cans of pork and beans or ten loaves of frozen bread.

I once asked my grandmother why she always had so much food in the house, and her answer was, “Just In Case.”

Now middle-aged, with children of my own, I fully understand her answer.

My grandparents grew up during the Great Depression and World War II.

They and their peers saw our fragile economy collapse in 1929, the market plummet, banks folding, and an entire way of life threatened.

During World War II, they experienced rationing of sugar, gasoline, and consumer goods. Of course, the war effort required sacrifice, and they lived in constant fear of an Axis victory.

When the war and rationing ended, they continued stockpiling prepper food and never stopped.

Not all that long ago my family relied wholly on the ability to go to our local grocery store and pick up whatever we needed on a moment’s notice.

I’d drive around with my tank on empty, knowing I could stop and get gas anytime I needed it. The gauge on my grandfather’s old Buick?

It never fell below half a tank.

I used to rely solely on my utility company to bring gas and electricity directly into my house, without which my family would freeze to death in the cold Upper Midwest winters.

These are all typical modern day expectations; citizens are completely relying on others for basic survival, the assumption being the dollar will always be able to buy these goods and services.

We assume money is as close at hand as the nearest ATM. And the value of the dollars we withdraw will remain stable; both dangerous assumptions.

On September 11th, while New Yorkers were pulling together for the common good and fire and police agencies all over the country were sending people and equipment to Ground Zero.

What was the rest of the country doing?

Many were sitting in their cars, in long lines, waiting to fill their tanks with $4.00 gasoline. Price gouging occurred all over the country as some store owners saw a chance to capitalize on people’s fears.

Luckily 9/11 was a one-day affair, and no follow-up attacks occurred and the price gouging didn’t spread beyond gasoline.

If we had endured another day or two of massive attacks, would it have spread to food or other consumer goods?

If there had been a sudden run on banks, would the ATMs have been shut off?

US Natural Disaster Map

Imagine The Aftermath Of A Real Catastrophe…


Imagine a man whose family lives paycheck to paycheck finds himself standing in line at the local grocery.

He’s got a single ten-dollar bill in hand while watching the food disappear from the shelves and prices rise before his very eyes.

He has maybe two days of food in the house, and he has to do something.

So he throws the ten dollars on the counter, overfills up his cart with whatever he can find and runs from the store.

A chain reaction sets off, mass looting begins, followed by men carrying the only currency still honored, firearms.

The store empties within hours and will not be restocked. Because what store owner wouldn’t board up the windows after his inventory is looted?

Couldn’t happen?

Just look at the looting that occurred after the Rodney King trial in Los Angeles, during the power outage that swept the Northeast a few years ago, or that occurred during Hurricane Katrina.

Government Shutdown

Civility Vanishes Along With Power, Water, and Food


For a brief time, it must have felt to those in New Orleans that they had seceded from the Union.

Words on paper (even disaster response plans) cannot feed the masses, illuminate the dark, or purify water.

The City Officials of New Orleans learned the real value of their emergency plan was less than the paper it was printed on.

Relying on a faceless Federal Government headquartered a thousand miles away, to swoop in and save us in times of disaster is a fool’s strategy.

Even the most stable, civilized nation on earth is only three days from anarchy, at any given moment.

Our constitution, our laws, and our public institutions are the framework that binds this nation together.

However, when the power goes off, the water is polluted, and food becomes scarce, we are divided and divided we fall.

Technology Dependent Society

More Technology = More Vulnerable


We rely heavily on computers, electricity, petroleum, and vehicles for all aspects of our daily lives. And when those technologies fail or are unavailable, our system breaks down.

Nowadays, in this country, we expect others to pick up the pieces for us when disaster strikes.

It’s not that we’re lazy. It’s just the way we’ve been conditioned to have the expectation “Big Brother will rescue us”.

For the majority of us, disasters and our survival are in the hands of others: the City, the State, the National Guard, FEMA, the utility companies, etc.

old farm

What Our Ancestors Did


When our ancestors moved west to tame a new frontier they took no government promises.

But they did take horses, covered wagons, casks of water and food, rifles and ammunition for hunting and protection, axes for chopping wood, etc.

They provided for themselves and their communities, come hell or high water.

We must recover some of that pioneer spirit.

The desire to accept responsibility for ourselves and others, rather than expecting someone else to tow the line.

During times of crisis, the human condition can lead to behaviors as destructive as any terrorist’s bomb. We laugh when Homeland Security gives us tips such as keeping jugs of water on hand or fresh batteries in our flashlights, but when disaster strikes it is no laughing matter.

The unprepared citizen will find himself in that grocery store line, amongst the looters, risking his life for scraps to keep his family alive.

We will have more power outages, earthquakes, tornados and hurricanes and, yes, terrorist attacks.

Now is the time to prepare, to plan, to ensure our family’s survival, and, yes, maybe those extra jars of peanut butter would be a good place to start.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Family First Food Planning Guide. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Canned Tuna

Best Prepper Foods For Stockpiling


After some quiet reflection, you, like many of your fellow citizens, have decided that maintaining a healthy food stockpile is not crazy paranoia and is in your family’s best interest.

Good for you!

  • Which preppers foods?
  • What other kinds of supplies?
  • Just how big do you want your stockpile to be?

If you are relatively new to prepping for survival you may be excited by this new endeavor we call food stockpiling.

But after the initial excitement is over, do you really want to invest in prepper food that requires constant attention?

One that takes constant food rotation and occupies half your basement?

food stockpile decision time

Prepper Food Decision


How long do you want your prepper food stockpile to last?

A week? A month? Three months? Six months? How about a year?

Sure, a year supply of stockpiled food may be overkill for most survival situations short of an apocalyptic event (i.e. TEOTWAWKI). However, maybe that’s what helps you sleep better at night.

Knowing you have a year’s worth of prepper food on the premises, what’s that investment worth to you?

One can’t underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep.

What’s truly sad is the average U.S. family doesn’t even have at least one week of food in their homes.

Food Stockpile Statistic

This is just the nature of living in 21st Century America. Where the grocery store has replaced the basement pantry and the underground root cellar.

Most natural disasters will not require survival stockpiling food beyond a few weeks, a month at the outside.

If you are talking political upheaval, revolution or some other Third World intrusion into our ordered American lifestyles, you may want to stockpile food for up to six months.

By that time society should be regaining some semblance of order. However, if you think society will collapse into anarchy, you may want to stockpile for a year or longer.

One thing to keep in mind is that continuous anarchy is an unnatural vacuum. Human politics abhors a vacuum.

Somebody or some group will fill the void. Perhaps it won’t be as altruistic as our current politicians (if you can imagine that). Still, humans are pack animals and will band together.

Society in one form or another will return. This means if you do have a massive stockpile of prepper food, these “friendly” folks may just relieve you of it, anyway.

But let’s assume you decide on stockpiling food in the mid-range of options. A six month supply of prepper food on hand at any given time for your family.

• So what prepper food should you stockpile?
• What prepper foods are stable in storage?
• What are human nutritional requirements?

Reseal Strip and Uncooked Freeze Dried Food

Freeze Dried Prepper Food


For the serious prepper who wants a significant food stockpile (one that will last for a couple of decades with very little hassle), you should purchase freeze-dried, prepackaged meals from a reputable emergency food supplier.

These emergency meals are designed to meet your families basic nutritional needs.

The best thing about this option is how fast and simple it is. Just figure out the amount you need, order it online, find a good place to store it in your home, and sleep better at night.

You can order a year’s worth today or buy a smaller amount over time, it’s up to you.

The Bottom Line: Freeze dried prepackaged meals are the easiest, fastest and foolproof way to build your food stockpile.

Or for those who prefer MRE meals, you could go that route as well. Not my first choice but to each their own.

grocery store

Prepper Food Via The Grocery Store


The human body needs fuel. Otherwise known as calories, namely: fat, protein, and carbohydrates.

In the long run, the body also needs certain vitamins and minerals to function properly.

Some of the vitamin and mineral requirements will be met by your prepper food stockpile, but adding a couple large bottles of a good daily multi-vitamin is a good insurance policy against scurvy and other vitamin deficiencies.

Your real concern is choosing storage-stable prepper foods that are dense in calories: fat, protein, and carbs.

Storing rice and dried beans are great sources of carbs and protein and in their nearly zero moisture condition, can last almost indefinitely if stored in a dry location.

Foods spoil in the presence of bacteria, fungi, and mold, all of which require water.

Many prepper foods are naturally preserved not by chemical preservatives, but by their packaged moisture levels.

Remember that microorganisms simply cannot grow without water. Stored in a dry, enclosed container, inside mylar bags, dried beans, and rice will last for many years.

Furthermore, they are easy to prepare.

Boil them in water until soft, add a little salt, or other dry seasonings. They even taste pretty good, especially when hungry.

Another great source of fat, protein, and carbs is peanut butter.

Stored in sealed jars, peanut butter has very low moisture and very high oil and fat content, which prevents spoilage.

It is also very calorie dense.

You should also learn how to make hardtack, which is a simple survival cracker that can last decades.

What about dried or smoked meats for protein?

Jerky, beef, chicken or turkey, will last a very long time.

Again due to good food packaging, low moisture, and high salt content. However, jerky is not high in calories or fat and is very expensive unless you make your own.

My personal favorite super survival food to make is pemmican.

It’s dried meat mixed with tallow. If packaged properly it can last several decades.

Here’s our step by step – How To Make Pemmican guide. Or check out the below video for a quick overview:

This brings us to a whole other topic: prepper food preservation.

There are several good methods for preserving meats and fish: drying, smoking, and salt-curing, however, we’ll save those topics for another day.

How about canned fruits?

Modern cans do have a plastic coating inside, but the high acidity of many fruits can still cause the cans to corrode from the inside over time.

I’ve seen this phenomenon with applesauce.

In a real food emergency, the fruits can still be eaten but may taste metallic or rusty. However, if you are starving you won’t even notice.

Just be aware – the grocery store prepper pantry method is not easy or simple. It takes a lot of time, energy and dedication to do it right. 



So what about other prepper supplies?

If I’m preparing and stockpiling food for my family, food won’t be my only concern.

Here are some others: aspirin, prepper antibiotics, bandages, prescription drugs, OTC cold/flu medicines, survival knives, tools, matches, and ammo to name a few.

Some of these may already be included in your emergency survival kits – also a good idea, by the way.

follow the stockpiling food rules

Rules For Stockpiling Anything


Rule-  We don’t talk about our stockpiles with anyone.

If you choose to ignore this simple rule and share your stockpile with others outside your family, well, it’s great that you’re doing the good Christian thing.

However, realize you are sacrificing your family’s security when you do. Be prepared to lose it all if things go bad.

If your heart tells you helping others is just as important as helping your loved ones, then follow your heart, let your love light shine but prepare to accept the consequences.

Your 4 Step Stockpiling Food Action Plan

Your Prepper Food Action Plan


Action 1 – Decide on how many months of prepper food you want in the case of an emergency.

This is a personal choice and I cannot make this decision for you. However, if you’re a regular reader of this site, you know I believe our modern society is a fragile proposition at best.

I’m not sure in which form the ultimate catalyst will be but pick your poison: EMP (natural or coordinated), global financial meltdown, droughts, government tyranny, you name it…

The bottom line is there are many possible disaster events and if you add up the odds of one of them occurring in your lifetime…well, you become very motivated to get prepared ASAP.

Action 2 – Figure out how many calories your family needs per day to survive.

This one is relatively straightforward with the right tools – which we’re giving away for free – see below.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We’re Giving Away Our Family First Food Planning Guide. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Action 3 – Purchase the right amount of prepper food from a reputable dealer.

I recommend buying from Valley Food Storage.

Their prices are the best when factoring everything in such as shipping, quality sealing/containers, ingredients.

Plus, their products are tasty (my Valley Food Storage review post), the food bucket containers are high quality and easily stackable (making storage much easier and less intrusive).

Here’s Valley Food Storage’s comparison chart for your review and proves its the best on quality, price, and shelf life.

And just to see how easy it is – here’s a short video of me buying some food online from Valley Food Storage for my family:

Honestly, prepper food may end being the best investment you’ll ever make for your family.

Even doubling of the stock market value can’t protect you from starvation if society collapses and grocery stores go empty overnight.

Prepper food stockpiles and survival gear are the only things that can protect from that level of crisis.

Action 4 – Store this food in a cool, dry location, secure location and don’t tell anyone!

That’s it…4 easy steps that you can complete today.

dollar bill

Prepper Food IS The Best Investment You’ll Ever Make


In my opinion, stockpiling prepper food is THE BEST investment you can make. Why? Because the alternative (a.k.a. the downside) is too scary.

Unlike your typical dollar investment (where the worst-case downside is losing all your money), the downside we are talking about in regards to a stockpiling food investment is your family starving.

But Jack, what if my food stockpile investment never pays off? Great, life continues as normal…enjoy!

But I ask you, what if stockpiling food does pay off?

Thank goodness you took action today.

Don’t wait, start right now because remember, there are no do-overs in survival. When all the grocery store food is gone, you get to live on what you’ve stockpiled.

Prepare, Adapt and Overcome,
“Just In Case” Jack

P.s. Do you know where the closest nuclear bunker is from your home?

There are a lot of natural nuclear shelters in the US that are absolutely free. And one of them is near your home.

Click on the image above to find out where you need to take shelter.

Photo Credits Top / Barn / Tracks / MRE / Grocery

The post Prepper Food Is The Best Investment For A Lifetime appeared first on Skilled Survival.

Top 3 Volcano Grills

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volcano grill

Volcano grills have been around for a while, and their products are only getting better. One You Tuber who posted a how-to video using her original Volcano grill said it was 20 years old and had seen a lot of use. Guess what, it still works. With a legacy like that, the newer models of Volcano […]

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DIY Hanging Herb Garden

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Growing is growing. America is gripped by the idea that they can grow food that is better than anything else available. Its an old idea that has caught on again. Its great to see this. The community gardens are incredible testaments to what is possible when people abandon their divisive self and get to work …

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6 Easy Vegetables for Beginner Gardeners

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Will this be your first year of growing your own food? Well, if that’s the case you deserve a round of applause.  There is a tremendous amount of responsibility that goes into taking the reigns back on food production. We now know better than ever that the food systems we depend on are either failing …

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Cooked Food in the Compost Is Bad?

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D wasn’t happy with the free composting guide I give away to newsletter subscribers:

“You say in your compost guide to use cooked food!!! Isn’t that just asking for rats and maggots to come and invade, giving them a invitation?”

You can’t win them all.

Yet why would you not use cooked food in your compost? Do you think rats are particularly attracted to cooked vs. non-cooked food? No, rats love just about anything you throw their way, as do maggots.

Soldier fly larvae are maggots, and they are great composters!

And rats? Come on. Bury things deeply, as I do in my “melon pits:”

Other gardeners are picking up the melon pit idea as well:

Melon pits are an easy way to add cooked food to your compost if you’re really afraid of rats and other vermin.

Or you can just compost in a closed bin.

I mean, really … why throw potential soil fertility away? Compost everything!

Nature was designed to break down organic material, and she’s really good at it. Cooked food isn’t a problem; meat isn’t a problem; paper isn’t a problem! You can keep problems at bay by burying the really nasty stuff or by building bins that are animal-proof (provided you don’t have bears or Bigfoot in your neighborhood).

Quit worrying and compost on.

 

The post Cooked Food in the Compost Is Bad? appeared first on The Grow Network.

Do lemons have legs?

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Do lemons have legs?
Lynna “A Preppers Path ” Audio player below!

The punch line to the old joke is do lemons have legs! Don’t get squimish on me, of course they don’t have legs but canaries do. I know bad! Bad! However, lemons have many other attributes that have gone unrecognized for far too long. That sunny bright yellow orb in the grocery produce aisle or if you are lucky hanging from the tree in your yard is a powerhouse!

Continue reading Do lemons have legs? at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

101+ Dehydrating Recipes for Food Storage, Hiking and Paleo Diets

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If you think that dehydrating is limited to fruits and raw vegetables, you are wrong. Dehydrating is just one part of creating a vast and effective food storage program. You will find that you can create any number of recipes for eating at home or on the go if you become accustomed to dehydrating and …

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How to Cook Inside, with No Smoke, without Gas or Electricity

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Following a true collapse of society, giving away your position could be the difference between life and death. Remember, your best asset is your preps. They also make you a serious target. If no one has any food but your family is eating every night, that’s  something you will want to keep a secret. I …

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Growing Kale in the Home Garden for Dark, Leafy Greens

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We hear it from our doctor and everyone else who claims to know anything about health. The dark leafy greens are the key to eternal life lately. Hopefully you enjoy eating these leafy greens because they are linked to tons of benefits in the operation of the human body. Even if you don’t like it, …

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Fatty Coffee for Gets More Mileage

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I love “fatty coffee”, also called butter coffee or bulletproof coffee.  But the best part is that fatty coffee actually has health benefits and gets more mileage from the caffeine, so less does more if you love even more of peppy caffeine. Even more than a powerful energizing effect, the butter coffee helps the coffee …

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DIY Maple Syrup, a Simple Guide to Making Your Own

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Is there anything better than mixing up some pancake batter, adding a little vanilla and cooking those flap jacks in a cast iron pan.  Then you place those steaming pancakes onto a plate and smooth some butter around that breakfast treat. There is only one way this gets better. Out of the cabinet comes a …

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Food Storage Done In Phases

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Food storage can be very important

Long term food storage is best done in phases.

Do you already have a short-term food storage plan or stockpile that will last you a week, a month, or three months?  Are you ready to now plan for an even longer period of food storage?  Long-term food storage is a form of stockpiling food meant to sustain you for months and even years.  With a long-term stockpile of food, you will be able to weather events ranging from job loss to a large-scale catastrophe without going hungry.

When you begin your preparedness plan for a long-term food storage stockpile, you want to know what items you should select for storage, in what amounts, and how to best store these food items (not only in what sort of container but also where).  This article will address suggested items for long-term storage, containers and storage locations, and how to estimate your long-term needs so that you have the most useful stockpile possible.

STEP ONE: ARE YOU READY TO BEGIN LONG-TERM FOOD STORAGE?

When should you begin long-term food storage?  Before beginning, you should have a shorter-term stockpile in place.  If you are just beginning to put together a food supply, begin with a very short time period, such as a week, and then double that to two weeks, and from there a month, and increase until you have a two to three-month supply of stored food. The long-term stockpile planning and supply comes when you already have a good shorter term stockpile in place, and you now want to extend your supply to ensure survival for much longer time periods.

STEP TWO: WHAT TO STORE

Grains and dried beans are the main items you will need for long-term storage. Rice, pasta, dried beans, nuts, & flour and other grains can last for decadesunder the right conditions.

Is your long-term stockpile sustainable? Can you plan for meat to be available “on the hoof” by raising it now, and having a sustainable breeding herd or flock?  Will you fish as part of your long-term stockpile? If yes, plan to lay away extra hooks and a rod or two, and develop fishing skills now if you don’t already have them.  While beans and nuts, livestock and fish can provide protein, also consider peanut butter, and freeze dried meats, items which are probably already a part of your shorter term stockpile.

Another consideration for long-term sustainability in your stockpile or food storage plan is to plan edibles into your landscape with plants like blueberries, raspberries, apples, pears, mushrooms, and nut trees. Edible landscaping is an investment in time and plants that you can enjoy now, and may help to sustain your stockpile in a time of great need—and it won’t take up space in the same way your main stockpiled food does.  You will need sources of fruit and vegetables to meet nutritional needs.  For example, scurvy can be deadly, but it is easily prevented with the vitamin C found in fruits.

Plan to include leavening agents like yeast, baking powder, baking soda, a sweetener such as sugar, and oils.  Salt is essential: do not forget to include a supply of salt in your stockpile!

Don’t forget about non-edible essentials: water treatment (such as bleach), toilet paper, buckets, jars, and bags to store items, seeds, mix, and planting trays, canning and drying supplies, cooking & food preparation tools and a source of heat, and any supplies needed to care for livestock or pets.

What about coffee?  Is it a luxury, or will you make room for it in a long-term stockpile?  While the long-term food supply is meant for survival, you need to determine what you actually need, and something like coffee might be ok to skip for you, but not for someone else. Similarly, you may choose to store powdered milk, but others may skip it.  You need to plan for your individual tastes, and your budget.

Buying items you will not eat is a waste. In some ways, the long-term readymade food kits available for purchase may not be right for you.  Why? They have an expiration date, and might consist of foods you don’t currently eat, or would not eat unless in an emergency.  A well planned stockpile is made up of items you eat now, but that store well.  You can keep a stockpile up to date by cooking from it, and then shopping to replenish your stockpile instead of shopping to replenish your kitchen cupboards. With a readymade kit, unless you plan to use it and replenish, you are essentially purchasing a time capsule of food that will have lost all nutritional value once it ages to a certain date.

Similarly, don’t buy items you can’t prepare, and plan to have needed tools for preparing what you do store.  It does no good to have ingredients without the tools and means to prepare and cook them.  For example, if you are storing canned items, is your can opener electric, or do you have at least two manual can openers (two because they do break)? Do you have a plan for how you will heat or cook food without electricity if needed?  Do you have the equipment needed to do so?

STEP THREE: WHERE TO STORE IT

For the longest storage, your stockpile should be in a relatively cool and dry location. Items will store longer if they are stored between 50 and 70 F. A cool cellar or basement may be ideal if you can store food in airtight containers to prevent dampness from spoiling your supply. Pests are another consideration, which will be discussed under with containers in step four, below.

Your stockpile should be accessible for rotating and replenishment of items.  Rotating items is a term for using items in your stockpile before they expire their useful life, while replenishing your supply with a similar fresher item.

You also may want to test your stockpile, by using it for a week or longer, and seeing what planning gaps you come up with, or items that you need to consider adding, or removing, or substituting.

Visibility of your food supply is another consideration.  You want your stockpile easily accessible to you, but you may not want to have it readily visible to all visitors.  Take some time to consider the best location for your long-term and short-term stockpiles.

STEP FOUR: HOW TO STORE IT

For long-term food storage, you have to consider preserving your supply against the enemies of moisture, air exposure and temperature, and finally: pests.As mentioned above, a cool cellar or basement may be ideal for your long-term stockpile if you can seal food items away from moisture and pests.

Do you have shelving? Clean and reuse glass jars with tight lids, or even store grains in clean soda bottles.  If you need to buy jars, Mason jars are great, and Weck jars are amazing.  Buy extra in the event you need them for canning or pickling.

Use food safe PETE plastic lidded buckets to store, sort, and stack items.  These buckets are available for from local bakeries or an online supply.  If you have used a food sealer, toss sealed items in a lidded stackable bucket to further protect them from vermin or sudden environmental changes, and to organize foods by type or time period.

Be sure your containers are food safe, or that you have protected your supply from contact with a potentially toxic item.  For example, if you are using a non-food safe container, line it with a food safe bag or use a food sealer to package items before storing them.  Consider using Mylar to create packets (it heat seals quite easily).

Dried foods will last longer the less they are exposed to oxygen.  Consider adding oxygen removal packets with airtight containers to reduce or eliminate oxygen in stored foods.  Note that plastic 5 gallon buckets are not airtight, and that any food stored with these packets must be at a 10% or less moisture content or you risk contracting illnesses such as deadly botulism.

STEP FIVE: ESTIMATE AMOUNTS

There are food storage calculators that you can make use of, as well as spreadsheets to track your current food use. One estimate is that one adult will need 25-31 pounds of grains (such as wheat, barley, oats, rice, corn, pasta) and 5 pounds of dried beans or nuts per month.  For that same time period, about a pound of salt, two pounds of fats, and up to 52 gallons of water will be necessary. Consider running a test from your food supply for several days or a week to determine storage levels per person.

When you are estimating amounts, don’t forget to also calculate for non-edible essentials: water treatment (such as bleach), toilet paper, buckets, jars, and bags to store items, seeds, mix, and planting trays, canning and drying supplies, cooking & food preparation tools and a source of heat, and any supplies needed to care for livestock or pets.

STEP SIX: ORGANIZE FOR LONGEVITY AND USE

Your long-term stockpile needs to be effectively labeled, so that you know not only the contents but when the items were stored. It is important to rotate stock out and replenish it. Consider cooking from your stockpile, and then replenishing it when you grocery shop rather than cooking from your grocery shopping. In this way, you have a consistently updated and fresh stockpile rather than a time capsule.

These first steps for long-term food storage should help you develop and build your own food stockpile, and ensure that it is as useful as possible.  Keep your eye out for forthcoming articles about how to begin a short-term stockpile, and how to stockpile fresh produce.

Do you have any stockpile favorites?  Let us know in the comments below!

The post Food Storage Done In Phases appeared first on Off The Grid News.

13 Ways To Use A Food Saver

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We all know that vacuum seal food savers are fantastic for saving left overs, however, vacuum seal food savers and the bags can be used for far more than just saving food, and are a must have item for any household but especially for someone who prepares. Here are just a few ideas that you can use a […]

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Easy Stinging Nettle Recipes You’ll Love

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7 minute itch was little more than a barrier between most of us and the creek or stream we were looking to get into. It was a nightmare when you had shorts on and you saw the fields of the bold and feather stinging nettle. Much later in life I found out that nettles were …

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EWG’s 2018 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Lists (and Why “Experts” Are Telling Us to Ignore Them)

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It’s that time of the year again! EWG has announced it’s annual “Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen” list of the foods that are the most contaminated with pesticides. Meanwhile, nutrition … Read the rest

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How to Make Dandelion Wine, Step by Step

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Now you may think that dandelion wine is just for the enjoyment of the creator. You may think its some antiquated method of making alcohol that doesn’t stand up to modern production methods, therefore it doesn’t have value.  Well, you are not thinking like a prepper. You are not considering the collapse. You can really …

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Pros & Cons Of Various Survival Foods

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Food is a very important necessity, we all know that and it’s safe to assume that most of us also know that food is not always easily available when you need it. It is entirely possible that there will come a time when you will have to face a shortage of food and for that …

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Peanut Butter as a Survival Food: Protein Packed in the Pantry

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One of the best survival foods is widely available and probably already in your pantry! Peanut butter is an excellent and nutritious way to stay fed during an emergency, disaster, or SHTF. It has plenty of nutrients and protein to carry you over for short periods, or it can supplement a long-term food storage supply. …

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27 Foods That Last For Decades

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Food storage is a big and complicated topic, and for newbie preppers it can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why my advice to anyone stockpiling food for the first time is to start simple. Focus on foods that will last for years without any special preservation methods. For example, you could get some beans, sugar, …

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5 Keys to Food Security in Extreme Weather, for Home Gardeners

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Back in August 2015, I wrote a post about the findings of a joint task force of experts from the U.K. and U.S. The group had released recommendations for Extreme Weather and Resilience of the Global Food System. You can read the original post on food security here: 

Read More: “Extreme Weather and Food Resilience for Home Growers”

Quite frankly, that report was pretty scary. It detailed all sorts of reasons why our global food supply was in serious jeopardy. When that report was released in 2015, I had noted how relevant it was in light of a number of catastrophic weather events going on at the time, wreaking havoc on crops and raising food prices in some areas.

Now, just a couple of years later, the situation has become even worse. Hurricanes, mudslides, drought-related fires, disrupted weather patterns, wars, and more have caused crazy fluctuations in food supplies around the world.

In March 2017, the Food Security Information Network (FSIN) released a Global Report on Food Crises 2017.1)http://www.fao.org/3/a-br323e.pdf In that report, they indicated that the number of people suffering from severe food insecurity had increased by 35% since the release of the 2015 report.

Quite a bit of that lack of food security was related to conflict. However, catastrophic weather events like droughts had also driven up the costs of staple foods, making them unaffordable for large groups of people.

If you think this can only happen in poor, war-torn countries, then consider this. In the U.S. in 2017, there were at least 16 weather events that cost over a billion dollars each and resulted in losses of crops, livestock, and other resources, as well as of homes, businesses, personal property, and lives.2)https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/events/US/2017 In 2016, there were 15 of these weather catastrophes; in 2015, there were 9; in 2014, there were 8; and in 2013, there were 9.

It might be too early to say that 15-16 catastrophic, billion-dollar weather events is the new normal for the U.S. However, new data modeling shows that there are real risks that both the U.S. and China might simultaneously experience catastrophic crop losses that could drive up prices and send more countries into food famine in the coming decades.3)https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/15/climate-change-food-famine-study

In 2017, due to a weakened dollar, food prices in the U.S. increased by 8.2%.4)https://www.thebalance.com/why-are-food-prices-rising-causes-of-food-price-inflation-3306099 That trend hopefully won’t continue in 2018, but between weather and world volatility, isn’t it better to bank on building your own food security independent of global markets and events?

We think so, too! So, we want to give you some ideas to help you build your own food security at home.

Food Security Recommendation #1: Understand Your Risks

Building on the ideas from our earlier post on “Extreme Weather and Food Resilience for Home Growers,” it’s really important to know the risks for your area and plan your gardening practices to be resilient even when disaster hits.

Many  governments and global non-governmental organizations have made predictive models for the likely regional effects of climate change available. You can use these models to identify trends in your area. Here are a few example models available:

Even if you don’t live in one of these areas, a quick Internet search for “climate change impacts” for your area should give good results. This search may link to articles about impacts as well as to modeling tools. Focus on search hits from government or academic websites for more comprehensive, peer-reviewed climate change data.

Food Security Recommendation #2: Consider Using Permaculture-Based Landscape Design

There have been so many weather-related disasters recently that it is hard to know what to prepare for anymore. In California, extreme dry weather and winds made for a devastating fire season. Then, the loss of vegetation from the fire season led to severe mudslides during torrential rains. Parts of Australia have also been suffering similar catastrophic cycles of drought and flooding.

In Western North Carolina where I live—a locale that we chose specifically because it is expected to be less impacted by climate change (e.g., sea levels rising, coastal hurricanes, etc.)—we’ve had extended dry periods followed by heavy rains that led to lots of vegetation losses in our area.

Drought-flood cycles are extremely damaging to plant life. In dry periods, plant roots dehydrate and shrivel. Soil also shrinks from water loss. Then when heavy rains come, the soil and roots no longer have the water-holding capacity they once did. Rather than the rain being absorbed, it sits on top of dry, compacted soils in flat areas, causing flooding. Or it moves downhill, taking topsoil and vegetation with it as it goes, causing mudslides and flash flooding in other areas.

When you use permaculture design in planning your foodscapes, you take into account these kinds of cycles of drought and heavy rain that would otherwise be damaging to vegetation. In fact, you make them work for you. Simple solutions like catching and storing water high on your land can help you better weather the cycles of drought and flood.

By applying permaculture principles, you can help safeguard your food security by making your landscape more resilient to weather extremes and diversifying your food supply to ensure you get good yields regardless of weather.

To get an idea of how permaculture works, check out this tour of Zaytuna Farm given by Geoff Lawton.

Also, if you want a short but powerful introduction to what permaculture can do in extreme landscapes, check out these titles by Sepp Holzer:

Food Security Recommendation #3: Manage Your Microclimates

Every property has microclimates. For example, in North America, it will almost always be a bit warmer along the edges of a south-sloping blacktop driveway. This is because the path of the sun will cast more sun on southern-facing slopes. They are literally like sun scoops, catching its rays.

food security - blacktop asphalt

“Closeup of pavement with grass” by User:Angel caboodle is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Additionally, dark colors absorb more heat than light colors. If you painted that same driveway white, it would still be warmer due to its southern slope. However, the white paint would reflect light and heat away from the driveway and would keep that same area cooler than with a blacktop driveway.

The physical mass of blacktop asphalt material also acts as a heat sink. It draws in heat during the day and releases  it back into surrounding areas as air temperatures cool at night. The same driveway made with light-colored concrete might not absorb quite as much heat as an asphalt driveway due to its color. However, it would still act as a heat sink by virtue of its mass.

The shade of a large oak tree creates a cooler area than the dappled shade of a pruned fruit tree. Large bodies of water will help regulate extreme temperatures. A wide, stone knee wall around a raised bed will insulate the soil inside better than thin wood boards because of its mass. Boulders in your landscape are also heat sinks. Even things like black trash cans can impact temperatures directly around their vicinity.

Gaining a basic understanding of how colors attract light waves, learning how different kinds of mass (rocks, soil, trees, etc.) store heat and divert wind, and knowing the path of the sun at different times of the year in your area can help you use microclimates to moderate the effects of extreme cold and heat. Using your slopes, like north-facing slopes to keep things cooler and south-facing slopes to heat things up, can also help. Working with shade patterns to minimize or maximize sun exposure can help moderate hot and cold temperature extremes.

For example, I live in USDA planting Zone 7a. With the extreme cold weather we’ve had this year, our conditions were closer to Zone 5.  Some of my plants—like rosemary, which is hardy to zone 7—were killed by the cold. After our last risk of frost passes, I plan to replant rosemary bushes in front of our south-facing house and mulch them with dark stones. In that location, even if we have Zone 5 conditions again, my rosemary should make it just because the heat mass from our house and the stones, the southward orientation, and the wind protection give it the right microclimate.

Cold frames, greenhouses, and underground areas (e.g., walipinis) are also good ways to create microclimates on your property to ensure longer and more secure food production in extreme conditions. Check out this post from Marjory to learn about building your own underground greenhouse.

Read More: “Underground Walipini Pit Greenhouse Construction”

Food Security Recommendation #4: Go Big on Organic Matter in Your Soil

If I pour a bucket of water over some of the heavy clay soil in my landscape, water runs off on slopes. In flat or cratered areas, it sits on top, eventually making a big muddy mess that becomes algae-covered if we don’t have enough wind or sun to dry it out.

If I pour a bucket of water over the same approximate amount of area in one of my vegetable garden beds, loaded with compost, the bucket of water soaks in. Even on sloped beds, the water sinks and stays put rather than running off.

Soils that are high in organic matter are more porous and spacious than compacted soils.

If you try the same experiment with sand, the water will also soak in as it did in my garden bed. Unfortunately, it won’t stay there. Come back a few hours later and that water will be gone, which means it is not stored in the root zone for later use by plants.

Soils that are high in organic matter also preserve moisture better than sandy soils.

In order to hold water in your soil during droughts and catch it during heavy rains, you need a lot of organic matter in your soil. Here are a few easy ways you can up your organic matter quotient at home.

  1. Add compost.
  2. Mulch with things like wood chips, straw, old hay, grass clippings, and mulched leaves.
  3. Plant, then chop and drop cover crops like grain grasses, clover, mustard, or chicory.
  4. Use no-till or minimal till practices and leave decaying roots and plant matter in the soil.

Check out these TGN posts to learn more about these methods.

“No Till Gardening: Homesteading Basics (VIDEO)”

“Build Your Compost Pile Right On Your Garden Beds!”

“From Weeds to WOW: The Weed Island”

“No Bare Soil! Vegetable Garden Cover Crops”

Adding organic matter not only slows the flow of water in your landscape and sinks it deeper into plant roots, but it actually sinks carbon dioxide, too.

Yes! Building soil that is higher in organic matter can actually help solve our CO2 problem. And solving our CO2 problem will moderate the disastrous effects of climate change and can mitigate future weather extremes. (No, this one answer won’t solve all our problems—but if lots of us do it, it will help!)

Food Security Recommendation #5: Remember ABC—Always Be Cover-cropping

Plant roots are like plumbing for your soil. They create little channels that help divert water down into the earth so it can be accessed by the plant and other biological soil inhabitants. By growing something in your soil at all times, you keep those pathways open for water to filter down into the soil.

For annual growing areas, planting cover crops in off seasons is critical. However, even for the rest of your landscape, having some sort of cover crop is necessary for extreme weather resilience.

Many of us grow lawns as our primary perennial cover crop. Traditional lawns, though, are shallow-rooted and do not contribute much to soil health. Growing grasses with deeper root systems like perennial rye and other prairie- or meadow-type grasses can be even more beautiful and give you deep roots to help sink water further into your soil.

Using vegetative perennials (i.e., that die back in the winter) with expansive root systems is also a great way to prevent soil erosion and build biomass in your landscape. Yarrow, Russian comfrey, curly dock, burdock, vetches, and even invasives like mints are useful for covering bare soil in a hurry. Since these plants lose their leaves each year and can be heavily pruned in the growing season, they make great green manure or mulch plants, too. Tap-rooted trees like black locust and paw paw also drill water and air down deep into your soil.

In addition, having a continuous cover of plants (or leaves from those plants) keeps your soil cooler on hot days and warmer on cool days. This protects all the biological life in your soil like bacteria, fungi, worms, and more so that they can work year-round. Their continued hard work means that your soil will get better year after year so that your plants will have more disease resistance and resilience during bad weather streaks.

Bare soil  = No biological life = More pests, more diseases, and greater weather sensitivity for your plants

Covered soil = Year-round biological workers = Healthier plants better adapted to your weather extremes

If you are willing to do the research and the work, there are plenty of things you can do to mitigate your risks from a changing climate and more volatile weather patterns. These ideas are barely the tip of the iceberg (which is lucky for us since glaciers are now melting at an alarming rate)!

What about you? What other ways are you safeguarding your food security against extreme weather patterns?

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References   [ + ]

1. http://www.fao.org/3/a-br323e.pdf
2. https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/events/US/2017
3. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/15/climate-change-food-famine-study
4. https://www.thebalance.com/why-are-food-prices-rising-causes-of-food-price-inflation-3306099

The post 5 Keys to Food Security in Extreme Weather, for Home Gardeners appeared first on The Grow Network.

No Work Gardening – Ruth Stout Method

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Growing vegetables for your family is smart these day: you can be sure to have balanced and nutritious meals and food that has no nasty chemicals added for “better’ growth. But gardening is hard! Old fashion gardening takes digging and weeding and watering and keeping up with a good size garden can take its toll …

Continue reading

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300,000 People Are Joining This Online Event—Are You?

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The modern diet is making billions of people sick and fat.

If you’re fed up with toxic food, and hungry for a change, then I have wonderful news. My friends John and Ocean Robbins are getting ready to bring YOU one of the most powerful free events in the history of food. Have you signed up yet?

Learn the truth about food at the 2018 Food Revolution Summit.

Our current diet is leading to heart disease, dementia, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases.

But the truth is, you can beat disease, and step into great health — starting with the food on your plate!

From April 28-May 6, John and Ocean are interviewing 24 of the world’s top medical and food experts you can trust, including Joel Fuhrman, MD; Kris Carr; Michael Greger, MD; Vani Hari; Neal Barnard, MD; Dale Bredesen, MD; Mark Hyman, MD; David Perlmutter, MD; and many more.

During this weeklong, online event, you’ll gain the latest insights on food and nutrition. And you’ll learn about specific foods that can enhance brain health, prevent cancer, and put you solidly on the path to lasting wellness.

This isn’t time for fewer pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, added sugars, additives, colorings, and processing. If we truly want health, now is the time for a food revolution.

If you know that food matters, and you want to do the best for your body and your planet, then this is THE place to be.

Join the Food Revolution Summit and get the resources you need to stand up for real food.

I’ll see you there!

 

The post 300,000 People Are Joining This Online Event—Are You? appeared first on The Grow Network.

Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?

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Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?

Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?
Lynna… “A Preppers Path” Audio player provided below!

Can she bake a cherry pie Billy Boy Billy Boy; can she bake a cherry pie? Fast as a cat can wink it’s eye! Can you, can your spouse, family members or friends? The question on A Preppers Path is can you cook? I mean more than pouring water in a styrofoam cup and putting it in the microwave for a dinner of noodles.

Continue reading Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? at Prepper Broadcasting Network.

Short Term & Long Term Food Supply

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Food storage is an essential part of being self-reliant. It allows us the freedom to be far less dependent on grocery stores in an emergency. Researchers believe that the average American goes to the grocery store 1.5 times per week. If there is a war, major disaster, crop […]

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