The Best Sweet Pickle Recipe – Quick, Easy and Delicious

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This is the absolute best sweet pickle recipe that I have ever made or eaten! When tasting this recipe some people guess that they are bread and butter pickles. That is because they are a sweet pickle. However, in reality,

The post The Best Sweet Pickle Recipe – Quick, Easy and Delicious appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

Book Review: Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving

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The Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving is a great little guide to keep with your canning equipment. It makes a great gift for those new to food preservation and has lots of great (and easy) recipes for those getting started in canning. There really isn’t a lot to say about Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving, it is rather small, but packed with information, has good illustrations, and covers what you need to know to can foods in a safe manner. This book is what I used to get started canning, While I made some mistakes when I started

The post Book Review: Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving appeared first on Dave’s Homestead.

Crispy Dill Pickle Recipe – 7 Tips and Tricks For Making Crisp Pickles

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Because we get lots of questions on how to make pickles we decided to share our favorite crispy dill pickle recipe. We love to make our own pickles from our garden cucumbers. But how disappointing when you open a jar

The post Crispy Dill Pickle Recipe – 7 Tips and Tricks For Making Crisp Pickles appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

Food Supplies. Tomatoes, Picking & Preserving.

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We have started harvesting our tomato crop & preserving them. We may dry some like last year, but for now we are bottling them.
We always put stakes in for our tomato plants, but sometimes they get away from us! One day they don’t seem large enough to tie, & the next time we check they have gone beyond tying! I am never game to try tying them once they have got to a certain size, because invariably the stems break.
Then there are the volunteers from last years crop, we could pull them out, but we never do. We can always use more tomatoes. These volunteers grow madly all over the garden & the paths until the paths are impassable! Stakes do make the picking easier, but I find it no great hardship to pick from the sprawling plants on the ground.
12 jars so far, this is the product of 4 baskets as at the top of this page, & we still have a lot to pick, & the crop is still ripening.

Pressure Canning Meat For Food Storage

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Canning meat for food storage is one of the most important skills for preppers. Canned meat is surprisingly easy, tasty and safe. These aren’t your grandmother’s pressure canners.

The post Pressure Canning Meat For Food Storage appeared first on Just Plain Living.

Back To Basics: How To Preserve Food In Lard

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When I was growing up, it was a given that the bacon grease would be sitting by the stove in Grandma’s tin canister. Or maybe it was aluminum.

Whichever it was, that grease sat out forever. We used it to fry potatoes or season beans, or just about any other time we wanted to add flavor.

But, knowing what we know today, shouldn’t that grease always be kept in the fridge? My personal answer is “Meh.” It hasn’t killed me yet, and I’m reaching the age where death by bacon grease is the least of my concerns. I mean, if I have to go, at least I know I got one flavorful last meal, right?

Seriously, though. Does animal fat, including lard, have some sort of preservation properties? Sort of.

Meats like bacon have two things going for it. First, it’s cured in salt. And in the case of modern, store-bought bacon, nitrates and nitrites are often in there as preservatives, too. We know that salt is an effective preserving agent. It creates an environment where bacteria can’t thrive.

Add that to the grease, which isn’t a great environment for bacteria growth either, and you’ve got a decent preservation method. The fat essentially seals out the bacteria, much like waxing your jellies.

But recently, I heard about meat being preserved in just lard. Lard has no salt or other chemicals in it – just fat. Specifically, pork fat.

So is there some magic quality to this that makes it keep meat from going bad? Can you preserve meat in simple lard? If so, that could be great for those of us who are worried about survival when SHTF.

Plus, lard is easy to make.

From what I discovered, storing meat in lard or another fat would be effective for the same reason that waxing it is – it keeps the bacteria locked out of the food.


In researching this question, I found that it’s been a common practice for centuries, in various forms. In French, the word confit means preservation.

You’ve probably heard of duck confit because it’s a delicacy. The traditional confit method involves salt-curing the meat – usually duck, goose, turkey, or pork – then poaching it in its own fat until it’s tender and storing it covered in that fat.

Back then, they didn’t refrigerate it at all. They just trusted the meat fat to preserve it.

You can do that if you want, but we don’t live in medieval times anymore. Take advantage of the modern conveniences and refrigerate it, at least until you can’t anymore.

A properly confited bird will store in a cool, dry place for 6 months, then you can repeat the process and extend it by another six months, though you should eat it in the first six months to get the best flavor.

The process is the same for pork or beef. Today, many people skip the whole sat-curing step and just preserve it in the lard, suet, or schmaltz (bird fat). I wouldn’t recommend that, though. Salt is a powerful preservative that adds flavor as well as protection.

So, can you just cut off a slab of meat, stuff it in lard, and leave it alone? Absolutely not. For a few reasons. First, the meat may have bacteria in it already. That’s why cooking, or even better, salt-curing then cooking, is important. Also, if you’re storing food, you should probably make sure that the container you’re using is free of bacteria before you put the lard in it. And just to be safe, heat that lard up, too.

For that matter, cook the meat in it in the traditional confit manner.

Madeleine Kamman, author of The New Making of a Cook, offers up this recipe for making a salt-cured duck confit. Because of the curing, it is at least a two-day process. But if you want to have prime duck legs five months from now, that may be a small price to pay.

Confit of Duck

  • Ingredients:
  • Six duck legs
  • 36 garlic cloves
  • 8 cups of rendered duck fat
  • kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp finely crumbled dried thyme
  • 1 Turkish bay leaf, finely crumbled


Mix all the spices together and sprinkle them evenly over the legs. Measure out enough kosher salt to have 1/3 ounce for each pound of meat, and sprinkle it evenly over all sides of the legs. Set them in a flat, glass baking dish with the garlic cloves, cover with plastic wrap, and cure them in the refrigerator for 36 hours.

Preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C;). Drain all the liquid from the baking dish. Pat the legs, garlic cloves, and dish dry. Return the legs and garlic to the dish and cover with the duck fat.

Bake until the garlic cloves have turned a deep golden color, which will take 2 to 2-1/2 hours. Let the meat cool in the fat until it can safely be transferred to a large canning jar.

Strain the fat through a cheesecloth, and pour enough over the meat to cover it by at least an inch. Cool it completely, seal the jar, and store it in a cool, dark place such as a cellar or refrigerator for up to six months.

Straight Lard Preservation

According to Frank G. Ashbrook in his book, Butchering, Processing, and Preservation of Meat:

“Good lard has so many uses, it is so digestible, and forms a foundation for so many tasty dishes that it pays to render and store it with extreme care. It is also a satisfactory preservative for meat if only fresh meat is used and if precautions are taken to keep everything clean and sterile.

Cook meat as you would cook it for serving. Place it in a dry, sterilized crock and cover immediately with hot lard. Cover with clean wax paper and place on this a crock cover or plate. Store in a cool, dry place. Do not keep meat packed in lard during hot weather unless the storage place is always cold.

When meat is removed from the crock, be sure to pack down the remaining meat and cover it again with melted lard so that no air will reach it. It is better to store this meat in small crocks than in large ones, for then it will not be disturbed so often.

Roast pork, pork chops, pork steaks, and sausage patties can be cooked and preserved in lard.”

To touch on this for a minute, I do know that all of our canned meats always have a nice layer of fat on top of them and people cooked their meat, stuffed it in a jar, covered it in fat, then put the rings and seals on while it was hot.

If you have any tips or information on curing meats or survival in lard or other fats please share them with us in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Grid Down Figgy Pudding

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Grid Down Figgy Pudding

Grid Down Figgy Pudding
Micheal Kline “Reality Check” Audio player below!

In this show we will be getting completely smashed with holiday cheer…well I might be anyway.

Almost everyone loves alcohol in some form or fashion. Food preservation generally evokes visions of pickles, jellies, canning, dehydrating, dried garlic strung on a decorative braid, or even fruits and vegetables preserved in oils. Did you know that fruits and vegetables can also be preserved

in alcohol – spirits such as vodka, cognac, brandy or even wine?

Continue reading Grid Down Figgy Pudding at Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Freezing and Food – Do They Go Well Together?

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One of the biggest problems we have with our food supply in the summer is that the heat makes storage of fresh meat almost impossible for any length of time because it spoils.

In the winter, we don’t have that problem, but we do have a host of others. So, how do you keep food safely frozen in the winter, how do you store it, and what foods freeze well?

We’re going to talk about that right now. Keep reading!

First, if you’re in a survival situation and hoarding a food supply, you’re probably in fine shape as long as you’re in a place where you can store the food.

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As a matter of fact, your freezer that runs on electric is still a fine place to store meat without power as long as it’s outside and well below freezing out for most of the time. If it gets warmer than that consistently for more than a couple of hours per day, then you need to pack the freezer with snow or ice.

That being said, if you keep the freezer closed after the temperature goes above freezing, it’ll keep everything frozen for another couple of days.

Regarding ice, it stays frozen longer when it’s in large chunks, so use soda bottles or milk jugs, then pack them in your cooler. That way, you’re killing two birds with one stone – you have ice to keep your food frozen and you also have drinking water when it thaws out.

Another way to keep food frozen if you don’t have an outside freezer is to pack it in the snow. This is kind of remedial and you run the chance of losing it to predators, but it’s better than nothing.

Just as your ice stays frozen longer when it’s in bigger chinks, so does our meat. Either cut it into large chunks when you butcher it, buy it in roasts, or pack all the smaller pieces into one larger bag so that it’ll freeze together.

Don’t freeze it into chunks bigger than you and your family can eat in a couple of days so that you don’t waste it.

If you have a place outside such as a storage building, you can improvise a cooler by building a cupboard, or even by hanging the meat whole in carcasses, covering it, so that the animals or bugs can’t get into it. That’ll work as long as the weather stays below freezing.

Food That Freezes Well

Just as there are some foods that can well and some that don’t, there are also foods that freeze better than others. Meats, of course, freeze well, as do most vegetables and fruits. You can even freeze your jams and jellies as long as you don’t have them in sealed containers.

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Just about all proteins freeze. You can even freeze eggs as long as you take them out of the shells first. Here is a partial list of foods that freeze well:

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Bread
  • Bread dough
  • Most fresh vegetables except the list below
  • Most fresh fruits
  • Fruit juices
  • Vegetable juices
  • Flour
  • Rice, cooked or raw
  • Beans, cooked or raw – cook a bit al dente so they won’t turn to mush
  • Pasta as long as it’s cooked al dente. Don’t overcook it or it’ll get mushy
  • Herbs
  • Prepared foods such as soups and sauces
  • Most condiments
  • Sour cream – most people say no, but I freeze mine all the time. The only thing I notice is that it separates a little bit, but I just stir it up and it’s fine.
  • Sugar, as long as it’s in an airtight, moisture-tight container. If not, it will absorb moisture and turn into a giant sugar cube.
  • Dried foods as long as they’re in airtight containers.

Foods that Don’t Freeze Well

These foods may freeze okay as part of a prepared dish such as a soup, but they don’t do so well raw.

  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers
  • Endive
  • Lettuce
  • Radishes
  • Potatoes
  • Cooked egg whites get mushy
  • Icings made from egg whites
  • Mayonnaise, though only because it separates. You can always mix it back up. It may not be as pretty but it should taste fine.
  • Canned foods
  • Pressurized foods such as canned whipped cream

Protecting Your Stockpile

Now that we’ve discussed how well most food freezes, we need to talk about how to protect those foods that can’t be frozen. Of utmost importance are your canned goods. These are likely going to be staple items and if you lose them, you’ll likely go hungry.

So how do you protect such foods? Well, the best answer is that you keep them inside. That sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many people new to canning try to store their foods outside in the storage shed or other such places.

Industrial-canned foods will burst, as will home-canned goods, though home-canned foods are more likely to blow the seal than actually explode. Either can happen though.

Another great way – an idea way, actually – to store your canned goods in a way that will keep them from getting either too cold or too hot is to keep them in a basement or, even better, a cellar. Both maintain a fairly constant temperature, but if you’re going to use a basement, make sure that it’s heated a bit, but not so much that it’s above 70 degrees or so.

Another real danger to your stockpile that’s secondary to freezing is moisture. When ice melts or when one side of a wall is cold and the other is hot, condensation can form that will run down onto shelves and soak your boxes, paper goods, and dried goods. Wet toilet paper sort of defeats the purpose and pasta that’s absorbed pantry-shelf water isn’t the best, either.

To combat this problem, it’s always a good idea to store everything in airtight containers. The boxes are great, but they provide ready access for bugs, moisture, and anything else that would like to crawl in there. Also, varying temperatures will make pasta and rice go bad much faster.

The secret to protecting your stockpile is to know which foods freeze well and which ones don’t. For the most part, no food is ruined by the process of freezing, at least nutritionally. Typically, it’s just the texture that’s damaged. It’s another story if the container is damaged, such as it is when canned foods burst.

The best thing you can do for your stockpile is to keep everything in airtight containers if it’s going to be exposed to temperatures that are going to be below freezing. If you’re planning to use nature to keep your meets and other perishables frozen, store them in airtight containers too, so that animals can’t get into them.

You have to make smart choices about your storage so your foods would freeze well, and you would safely preserve your food supply!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

9 Tips To Smoking Meat Any Prepper Should Know

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Oh the delicious flavor of smoked ribs, brisket, or even fish and seafood…

It’s a distinctive flavor, but varies significantly based on your methods. It can be sweet and fruity, or deep and woodsy, or anything in between. The beauty is that you can mix and match and blend to find your favorites and make them your own.

Smoking used to be used as a preservation method but that fell out of use with the invention of refrigeration and isn’t a great method anyway, as it requires a smokehouse and another preservation technique such as salting to ensure food safety that changes the taste and palatability of the meat.

There are also seven ways to Sunday that you can ruin meat while you’re smoking it, too, and that’s not only expensive, but disrespectful to the animal. In a survival situation, it may also mean the difference between eating and going hungry.

Old Days. Old Ways. But The Food Never Tasted Better.

The main issue that you may run into is that you’re going to burn it up. Until you get the hang of it, it’ll be easy to go from not-quite-done to oops-I-made-leather.

So, to save you time and money, and to save wasting perfectly good meat, we’ve gathered some tips to help you get started.

Choose the Right Smoker

There are four basic types of smokers, and the first decision you need to make is which one’s best for you.

Electric Smoker

Electric smokers are probably the easiest to use because all you have to do is plug it in, put the meat in it, and forget about it until the timer goes off.

It’s basically a crock-pot for smoking meat. There are a couple of downfalls, though. It’s pricey, and you don’t quite get that deep smoky flavor.

Gas Smoker

This is the next step in easy smoking. Using a gas smoker gives you the safety measure of controlling your temperature while still being able to add wood chips for flavor, though it won’t permeate the meat and give it that deep, smoky flavor. Also, you have to have gas (propane) to run it, so it won’t be much of an option if SHTF.

Charcoal Smoker

Now you’re getting into an area that requires skill. Charcoal smoking is a favorite even among professional meat smokers because charcoal burns long and steadily and you can add wood to imbue the flavors that you want. You have to know what you’re doing if you’re going to successfully use a charcoal smoker, but it’s nothing you can’t pick up with practice.

Wood Smoker

Cooking with wood is the most difficult method but also imparts the biggest, purist smoky flavors. It’s tricky to cook only with smoke because it burns at different speeds depending on the type of wood you use and how seasoned it is.

You need to tend a wood smoker closely because you want to maintain an even temperature that’s hot enough to cook but not so hot that your meat will be charred on the outside and raw in the middle. You’ll use a combination of chips and blocks to maintain the temperature and you’ll also need to watch the airflow closely so that you’re not getting gusts that cause fluctuations in the temperature.

Choose Your Wood

OK, now that you’ve chosen your method, you need to choose your wood. Different woods imbue different flavors, and some go better with certain meats over others. In other words, match your meat to your wood, or even to the occasion and what other sides you’re going to be using.

  • Hickory will add a strong smoky flavor so it needs meat with big flavor. It goes well with lamb and beef. I like it with venison, too.
  • Cherry has a sweet, mild flavor. It’s good for meats that you aren’t going to be seasoning heavily because the seasoning will cover the delicate flavor of the wood. Cherry’s great for poultry, red meat, and pork, as long as you’re just highlighting the flavor of the meat.
  • Apple and Alder are kind of like cherry. It’s sweet and mild. I like it with fish because I’m not a fan of heavy smoke flavor on my fish. It’s also good for poultry and pork.
  • Mesquite is probably the most recognizable, along with hickory. Many barbecue sauces use these in their labels. Mesquite is great for big flavored meats like beef or pork, specifically ribs or steak, because mesquite is super strong and smoky. Use it when you’re grilling something quickly rather than smoking for a long time.
  • Maple is sweet and smoky. It’s not light like apple or cherry; it adds plenty of flavor and is great with poultry or pork.

Soak Smaller Chips in Water

You can either toss them in and they’ll burn up quickly, or you can soak them in water for several hours so that the wood doesn’t burn up quickly. Wet wood also smokes more. Remember, smoking is meant to be a long process.

The standard with the pros is to use logs and larger pieces dry and smaller pieces and chips wet. Another advantage is that if the wood is wet, it helps prevent flare-ups.

I have a friend who’s big into smoking and he soaks his in Guinness, which gives the meat a little extra something, and he says he’s also soaked it in wine, but I haven’t tasted it when he’s done that. Chances are good that if he did it, it was delicious.

If you soak your chips, wrap them loosely in foil and poke holes in it.

Pick Your Meat

Ahhh … the meat of the matter! The entire process that we just discussed depends largely upon personal taste and what type of meat that you’re going to use. Remember that smoking is usually long and low, or at least medium, so you can get away sometimes with using a larger cut of meat, and sometimes a tougher cut, though you don’t want to go too cheap on the meat.

  • Brisket
  • Ribs
  • Corned Beef
  • Ham
  • Venison Roasts
  • Brisket
  • Pork Roasts
  • Trout and other sturdy white fish
  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Turkey

Marinade or Rub?

Fights have been started over this question in parts of the country where smoking is a point of pride. If you decide to use a marinade, whether yours or one you buy, score your meat a little so it’ll soak it up better, and leave it in the fridge for at least 8 hours.

Find the Right Temp

Smoking is a low and slow game. You don’t want it to get over 220 degrees except in the very beginning before you put your meat on. As soon as you put your meat on, get it back down then keep close track of the temperature after that.

If you’re using a charcoal or wood smoker, you can use a pan of water to help keep the temperature regulated and keep the meat moist.

Too Much of a Good Thing is Bad

The general rule of thumb is that smoking shouldn’t take up more than half of the cooking time. Also, you want the smoke to be a steady stream, not huge and billowing.

White Smoke is Good, Black is Bad

White smoke means that everything – wood, meat, ventilation, temperature – is good. Black smoke means that you don’t have enough ventilation or your meat is dripping onto the wood and burning the fat. That’ll make your meat taste burnt.

Leave it Alone!

Leave the lid shut. When you open it, you let the smoke out and you mess with the temperature inside the cooker. If you want it to be awesome, leave it alone.

Respect the Meat!

The star of this show is the meat, not the marinade, the rub, or the smoke. Everything you do is to enhance and complement the flavor of the meat. Respect that. Don’t use anything that’s so strong that it covers up that natural deliciousness.

Now that you have a general idea about smoking, what are you waiting for?

Are you a long-time smoking pro? Share some of your tips with us in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Q&A On Storing Meat Without Refrigeration In Hot Areas

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You work hard to stretch your grocery dollars, but there’s no way around it – meat is expensive. When you find a good deal, or if you’re preparing for an emergency, you stockpile. Also, if you’re a hunter like most of the people in my family are, you probably bring in game meat.

Regardless of how much meat you have in the freezer – a lot or a little – when emergency strikes, you don’t want it to go bad.

“How can I store meat in Florida with no refrigeration? Your attic is not cool, your storage building is not cool, and if you go underground it is still only about 68°F if you are lucky. Can you please give me some ideas?

Thank You.

Frank “

Yes, Frank, you got it right! This isn’t much of an issue if you lose power because off a blizzard in Connecticut in February. That’s an entirely different set of worries, but keeping meat cold isn’t one of them. But if you lose it because of a hurricane in Florida or Texas or the Bahamas in September, you have a problem. I know it because I live in Florida too.

Once meat defrosts, you’re on a pretty strict time-clock, especially if you don’t have a fridge. There are, of course, refrigeration units that you can build that don’t need power, but chances are good that if you’re reading this, you’re probably a little too far behind the eight ball for that kind of info to do you any good.

Here are some tips that may help you get a bit more mileage before your meat goes bad. None of them are long-term solutions to refrigerating meat without power, but they’ll help you get through a little longer.

Freeze Jugs and Baggies of Water

If you know the emergency is coming and you have meat stored in your refrigerator, prepare. Block ice melts much slower than bagged, cubed ice, plus you’re probably not going to be able to lay hands on a bag of ice for two hundred square miles.

I save milk jugs and juice jugs (a couple of different sizes) and fill them with water. I usually fill some quart-sized baggies, too, then I freeze them. Typically, it takes a day or a day and a half for the milk jugs to freeze all the way through, and less for the smaller containers and baggies.

I realize you may not have much room in your freezer to hold the jugs, but since you’re only a few days away from the storm, Throw the frozen ones to the back of the top shelf of the fridge where it’s coldest and throw a few more in the freezer.

Basically, what you’re doing here is creating the elements for an old-fashioned ice box that will keep the inside of your fridge and freezer cooler for longer. For Irma, I froze 5 gallons of water one half-gallon and several baggies. You can also use them in coolers, and when it melts, you have drinking water. Double duty!

For that matter, freeze your milk, juice, and other perishable liquids to extend their lives and to have additional “ice” to keep the inside of the freezer, fridge, or cooler cold.

Use the Igloo Effect

Group food together into piles in your fridge or freezer. Doing so will keep it all colder longer. This is something you can do before a major storm as part of your preps.

Make a few smaller clusters that you’ll use in one day, then you can just pull them from the freezer all at once and close the door for the rest of the day.

Dry Ice

Dry ice is -140 degrees F. That’s cold enough to freeze your skin instantly, but it’s a good thing when it comes to power outages because 50 pounds of dry ice will keep a fully stocked 18-cubic-inch freezer cold for two days and it’s not that hard to come by.

I know that there are places in Miami and Tampa in Florida that sells it, and I’m sure that there are other places, too. Plus you can order it and have it delivered. May be a worthy investment if you have a ton of meat.

Make a Clay Pot Cooler

This is actually a really good idea and can be made pretty much on the fly if you have two unglazed terra cotta pots – one bigger than the other.

It works no matter the size of the pots; as a matter of fact, it’s based on the same premise as modern refrigeration: evaporative cooling.

Video first seen on GlobeAware.

Here’s also a Survivopedia article that walks you through it, even though it’s a simple project, I would hypothesize that if you used extremely cold water, the temp inside the pots would drop significantly, too.

Don’t Freeze it to Begin With

Yes, I realize this is a case of pointing out the glaringly obvious, but it’s only glaringly obvious because you’re sitting there with a freezer full of thawing meat and no idea what to do with it.

The bottom line is that without refrigeration, your meat is going to be bad in a few days, and in the heat, there aren’t many viable options for keeping meat cold other than electric refrigeration. Store meat in other ways – can it or dry it – if you want to have it for emergencies.

You can find a lot of helpful info in this article about canning meat, and you can also get the proper way to dry the meat if you read this article.

If you’re worried about wasting it, the only real solution is to cook it up and what you don’t eat, give away.

For Irma, a bunch of us got together and had a huge barbecue. Not only did it keep us from wasting meat, it gave us all a much-needed morale boost and some leftovers to throw in the cooler. Also, keep your coolers in the shade to extend what little bit of cold you have left for as long as possible.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of options for keeping meat cold for longer than a few days in hot regions without refrigeration. Heat trumps ice every time.

But there are ways to do it, same as our ancestors used to do it. Check the banner below for more!

However, I hope that some of these tips helped at least a little bit, and if you’re in this situation, please share it before you just let it go to waste. In those situations, there’s never a lack of people who could use it.

If you have any other suggestions for keeping meat cold in hot climates without refrigeration, please share them with us in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

When Canning Goes Bad: 9 Common Mistakes To Avoid

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If you’re like me, if you see something you like, you wonder how to make them instead of just buying it from somebody else. This is how many of my friends have gotten into home canning – they’ve tasted something that I’ve made (I regularly give away my jellies, jams, and salsas as gifts) and then they want to learn how to make it.

When I tell them, I also teach them how to avoid several common home canning mistakes, and now I’d like to share them with you.

Whether you’re making peach preserves or entire meals in a jar, don’t make the following mistakes!

Not Wiping the Rims

This is one of those rookie mistakes that a person only makes large-scale once. It’s common even for an experienced canner to have a jar or two not seal, especially when canning greasy foods like meat or sauces.

Having just one or two not seal is fine; you just throw it in the fridge and eat it soon. Losing a whole batch, or at least several jars, is a disaster. It’s a waste of food, time, and money and is terribly discouraging.

But you can avoid it. My approach to canning is that you can’t be too careful with any step. It’s a precise process, sort of like baking. You need to complete each step properly if you want a successful end product.

In that vein, I wipe all of my rims with a clean, damp cloth, then go back and wipe them with a dry cloth just to make sure.

Not Sterilizing the Jars

While it’s true that the food inside the jars boils, you run the risk of locking pathogens in the jar if you don’t sterilize them first. Trust me – if there was a way to skip this step, I would. But there’s not. As a matter of fact, you can’t skip any of the steps in this article – that’s why I’m emphasizing them.

All you need to do is scrub them well in hot, soapy water and rinse them well. Now you know that there are no pathogens and there are no traces of oils or any remnants of food left from whatever you used the jar for last.

Even if it’s new, you still need to wash it. I’d venture to say, especially if it’s new!

Over-filling or Under-filling the Jars

It’s important that you leave enough room – called head room – in a jar to allow for expansion and boiling, but it’s also important that you fill it enough that the jar will seal properly. If you have a lot of air left in the jar, it may be tough to get the jar to seal or stay sealed. Usually a half-inch is about right.

Your recipe will tell you exactly how much space to leave, so follow that. If you have a little left over, instead of using a jar, throw it in the fridge.

Not Processing Correctly

If you don’t take anything else away from this article, this is the one to hold on to. Non-acidic foods such as meat, some fruits and most vegetables MUST be pressure-canned. Unless of course you fancy a raging case of botulism, which attacks your neurological system and kills you and stuff. Personally, I’ll use the pressure canner.

Seriously, though, the reason that this is necessary is because botulism is anaerobic, meaning that it thrives in low-oxygen environments. It doesn’t do well in an acidic environment, but when you get a low-acid, low-oxygen environment, you’ve basically built it a beach house and rolled out the welcome mat.

Each recipe will call for a different time and pressure, so it depends on what you’re making and what type of machine you have. Don’t let this intimidate you; I know a lot of people that don’t use pressure canners or pressure cookers because they’re scared of them. Follow the directions and you’ll be fine. Plus, you can cook a roast in a pressure cooker in forty-five minutes or so. Bonus!

Signs that your canned goods are contaminated with botulism are bubbles at the top (after it’s been sitting for a few weeks or months), a popping sound when you open it, a leaky lid, and a slimy white film on the food. If you have any of these, don’t risk it – toss it. A jar of green beans is not worth dying for.

Not Releasing the Air Pockets

You need to use a spatula or wooden spoon to release the air pockets in the jar so that it will seal properly. There’s actually a tool designed specifically for this if you want to buy it. You want all of the air out of the jar for a couple of reasons – first, it seals better when there’s very little air. Second, botulism that we talked about above.

Once you fill your jars, run the spatula or spoon down the sides of the inside of the jar and just wiggle it around a little so that all of the air pockets release. Do this right before you wipe your rims so that you can add more water or sauce if you need to.

Putting Cold Jars in Boiling Water, or Vice Versa

Canning jars are known for their durability, but be careful mixing temperatures. Even the best glass can only take so much. You need to be especially careful going from hot to cold. Never put a hot jar in cold water.

As a matter of fact, when you take it from the canner, handle it carefully because there’s still quite a bit of pressure in there. I’ve pretty much blown up a jar a time of two because I knocked it on the edge of the counter pulling it out of the bath. You want them to cool slowly, too, so cover them with a towel when you take them out of the bath. That’s not a requirement, but I’ve found that my stuff seals a little better if I set them on a towel, then put another towel over them.

Using Damaged or Non-Canning Jars

It’s perfectly fine to reuse Ball or Mason (or whatever) jars that are made specifically for home canning, but using commercial jars like pickle jars that aren’t meant for home canning aren’t acceptable. Now that you have the right jars, check them for cracks and run your fingers along the rim looking for chips. If there’s even the smallest one, don’t can with it.

Re-Using Lids

I know a few people who re-use their rubber-sealed lids and to be honest I’ve done it myself when I was in a pinch and was one shy of having enough. But don’t. Seriously. There’s no way to make sure that they’re free of bacteria and the rubber is only made for one use so there’s no way to guarantee that it will seal. If you have a thing about throwing stuff out like I do, keep it to use on jars that aren’t going to be used for canning.

There are now reusable canning lids available though. They appeal to my sensibilities and in the long run are cheaper than single-use lids.

Using Over-Ripe Fruit

You want your produce to be ripe, but if it’s too ripe, it’ll cook to mush. On the other side of the coin, if it’s not ripe enough, the flavors won’t be fully developed. There are different guidelines for every fruit and vegetable, but in general, you don’t want it to be so ripe that it’s soft. At that point, it’s either time to eat it or turn it into jelly or sauce.

Canning is a pleasurable, satisfying end to all of your hard work, as long as it works out well. It’s a relatively easy process as long as you follow the basic guidelines and avoid the home-canning mistakes made above.

And the most important thing is that you’ll be able to make your own food for long term survival, so you won’t rely on what you may or may not find on the shelves!



I know that there are all kinds of mistakes that you’ve made if you’ve canned much, so please share your experiences with us in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

10 Foods That You Should Never Stockpile

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It seems that there’s always some kind of disaster, either natural or manmade, that prove the value of being prepared. Even if it’s not a Red Dawn scenario, there are hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, droughts, and even job losses that just make stockpiling food smart.

But, there are some foods that you shouldn’t try to stockpile.

Some of these are foods that you just shouldn’t stockpile at all and some of them are foods that you have to stockpile in a certain way to keep them from going bad. It’s important to optimize your space, so don’t waste it on food that’s just going to go bad.

I’m going to skip listing fresh fruits and vegetables because that’s kind of a no-brainer. Bananas obviously aren’t going to store long-term. The exception is, of course, root vegetables if you have a cellar.


This is one food that you just can’t store in raw form. You can’t can eggs or freeze them, and they only have a shelf life of a month or so, maximum, even if they’re fresh and refrigerated.

However, there are great dried-egg products that you should stockpile because eggs are so versatile.

These products are real eggs – they’re just powered using special equipment that just isn’t practical (or sometimes even possible) to use at home. That means you can use them in recipes or even to make scrambled eggs for breakfast.

Of course, it’s always a good plan to have chickens, too. That way you have fresh eggs and meat.

Dried Goods in Original Packaging

While sugar, flour, cornmeal, and rice are staples in your stockpile, you need to store them properly. All of them come from the store in packaging that’s definitely not air-tight, and are therefore susceptible to bugs and spoilage.

Most people don’t realize that flour has an expiration date, but it does; it goes rancid. This process is expedited when the flour is stored in the bag that it came in. Also, there are about a dozen bugs including flour weevils that will get into your dried goods, especially in flour and pasta.

And here’s something that I learned the hard way: roaches and other pests are attracted to the bags, especially the glue, just as much as they are the contents.

To combat this, store all of your dried goods in airtight containers such as 5-gallon buckets. Also, if you can, store wheat instead of flour and white rice instead of brown because brown rice contains more oil.

Finally, a word about brown sugar: it doesn’t spoil, but it does get hard because it draws moisture. Store it in an airtight container that’s appropriate for the amount so that there’s not a lot of empty space.

Bulk Oils

This is another food that many people may not realize spoils, but it does. If you think about it logically, vegetable oils, or animal fats for that matter, are organic, so therefore they go rancid. There really isn’t a good way to store oils so that they keep indefinitely but you can actually home-can butter and lard.

Oils that aren’t open usually keep for a couple of years, but once they’re open, they’re only good for a few months, tops. Therefore, if you’re going to stockpile oil, do so in smaller bottles that won’t result in waste.


Nuts, too, go rancid. You’ve probably experienced this if you’ve had a jar of peanut butter open for a while—it starts to smell strong and taste funky. In raw form, they’re the same way. Though they may not make you sick up to a certain point before they actually rot, they will taste bad long before that.

The same goes for nut butters such as peanut butter, as we just mentioned, though as long as they’re stored unopened, they’ll usually last in that form for a couple of years.

What many people don’t know is that you can home-can nuts, too!

Saltine Crackers

If you’ve ever opened up a sleeve of old saltines, you understand what I’m saying here. They smell weird and taste even worse. That’s because they’re basically just flour and water, and flour goes rancid. If you have to store saltines, store them in airtight containers and rotate them out every few months.

Oxygen absorbers help too, if you really want to use them on storing crackers.

Breakfast Cold Cereals

Cereal is another food that’s stored in cardboard boxes and therefore don’t store well for long periods of time without spoiling or attracting roaches and other bugs.

I realize that they’re often cheap, especially if you coupon, but in a true emergency, you need to get the most nutrient bang for your buck, and when you combine the poor nutritional quality with the storage issues, you’d be better off storing foods like rolled or steel-cut oats.

Would you rather take up 3 square feet of your food storage space with 6 boxes of frosted fruit rings or canned  meat and vegetables?

Store-Canned Tomato Products

I have home-canned tomatoes that have lasted for years but store-canned tomato products tend to start to leak eventually. These aren’t necessarily something you shouldn’t stockpile, but be careful with them and rotate through them. Home-can them if you can.

Foods You Don’t Eat

I know this sounds like an odd thing to say, but I’ve volunteered for a few canned food drives, and a few of the top foods donated are stuff like lima beans, chick peas, canned spaghetti sauce and cranberry sauce because these aren’t typically foods that people buy.

My guess is that people comb through their cabinets and find foods that they’ve had forever and that’s what they donate. Which is fine, but from a stockpiling standpoint, it’s wasteful.

It’s easy to get carried away by coupon specials and deals in bargain bins, but don’t buy something just because it’s dirt cheap or even free if you’re not going to eat it. It’s a waste of space and money. It’s great to save money on stuff you use, though.

Junk Food

Bags of potato chips and packs of cookies take up a ton of space and don’t keep for as long as you think.

While comfort foods such as these will be nice, don’t store more than you’ll eat in a couple of months. Save the space for food and supplies that you’ll really need.

Dented Cans

These are the ones that you’re going to find in a bargain bin. You’ll also find them on the shelf, but if the can is damaged, there’s a good chance that the seal or the internal safety lining in the can are damaged, too. It’s not a deal if it makes you sick when you eat it. Or if it leaks all over your food storage pantry.

Be careful and pay close attention to what you buy. Buy smart – that real estate in your stockpile pantry is precious and you need to make the most of it!



Regardless of what you have, organize it so that the newest buys are in the back and the older ones are in the front. Use the First In First Out method to cycle your food so that your stockpile stays as fresh as possible.

Can you think of any foods that shouldn’t be stockpiled, or do you have anything to add? If so, please share in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Urban Prepping: How To Plan Your Fall Canning

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You have to love autumn. The leaves are changing, the air is cooling down, and the joy of the holiday season is right around the corner.

Fall is also a time to do your canning in preparation for winter. Now, if you live on a farm, you have to harvest what you have and can it, but if you’re an urban prepper who has to buy produce, then you have to plan a little better.

Unlike a farm garden that likely provides months, if not years, of food, urban preppers have to decide how much food will be necessary to get through the winter.

Then they have to decide how much you need to can based on how much space you have, how much money you have to spend on produce, how much time you have, and how much you want to invest in store-bought goods.

Then of course, you have to figure out what’s available.

So, let’s talk a little about what you need to do to optimize your fall canning plan.

These Are The Ingenious Recipes That Helped Our Ancestors Stay Alive!

Determine What’s Available

This is the first step that you need to take before making any kind of plans at all. Are you planning on making blueberry pie filling or strawberry jam? If so, you’re out of luck if you’re planning on sourcing your produce locally. Both of those are spring and summer crops and are already done for the season.

Blueberries peak in the spring in Florida, so I can’t find them locally now. Even though strawberries grow in some places as late as November, they’re a summer fruit and peak season for them is May and June, so you may have problems finding them locally. My point is to keep an eye on the seasons for the produce that you want to can.


As awesome as it would be to have unlimited space to store canned goods and unlimited funds to buy the produce, that’s not the reality for most of us. So, we have to decide what you want to can and what you’re willing to buy.

I would suggest making a list of foods that you eat the most during the winter months. Spaghetti, salsa, jalapeno peppers, pickles, vegetable or vegetable beef soup. Apple pies, apple sauce, strawberry jelly. Green beans, chili. Choose what you eat the most. Then decide how often you eat them.

Say you eat spaghetti once a week and there are four people in your family. You need at least a pint, if not a quart, or sauce for each time. It’s easy to figure – do you use the whole jar of Prego when you make spaghetti? If so, you use a quart.

Now, knowing that, go through and organize the foods you eat the most and figure out how much of them you need to get you through three months, six months, and a year.

Now that you know that eat a quart of spaghetti sauce a week, that’s four a month, which means 12 quarts in 3 months, 24 quarts in 6 months, and 48 quarts in a year. Remember that this is planning to eat it every single week. If there’s a pretty decent likelihood that you’ll skip a week here and there, then dial those numbers back by a few jars.

Now do the same with each of your top foods. And don’t forget the apple pie filling. As a matter of fact, include enough to give away few jars at Christmas! J

After you know what and how much you eat, it’s time to do a space analysis. Do you have enough space to store all of that for the amount of time that you want to cover? If not, it’s time to do two things. First, pick the ones that you absolutely want to can.

Maybe you have a favorite peach crisp recipe and store-bought peaches just won’t do. Nor, for that matter, is it easy to find canned peach pie filling. You have to buy canned peaches and it’s just not the same. Maybe you can’t stand the taste of mushy store-bought green beans. Put these must-have items at the top of your list.

Now that you’ve pared down the list, you have two options. You can make enough of those favorite items to get you through till next fall, or you can pick some items off of the non-must-have list to fill in some spaces to get you through a shorter time period. This is a good plan if you’re stocking up for a set amount of time, for instance, you want to have three months of food stockpiled.

Finally, you need to go through the non-essential list and decide which items are cheaper to buy at the store. I do love home-canned green beans, but unless they’re on your must-have list, I’d buy them at the store. It’s cheaper, especially if you use coupons, and it’s more efficient for you. It leaves you time to peel all those apples or blanch the tomatoes.

That’s one of the primary skills that you need to develop as an urban prepper – the value of store-bought over home-canned. You have limited space and, unfortunately, can’t grow thirty tomato plants for $20 like a rural prepper can so you have to take cost into consideration. That’s going to vary by location; for instance, I can buy cheap citrus fruits and strawberries dirt cheap because they’re grown right here.

Most of the non-citrus tree fruits, on the other hand – peaches, apricots, apples, cherries – are crazy expensive because they don’t grow down here.

Personally, I always choose to can tomatoes and apples if I can find them in bulk (sort of) at one of my local farmers markets because tomatoes are versatile – soups, sauces, salsas – and apples are expensive.

I also can entire meals in a jar, including vegetable soup, so that all I have to do is pour it in a pan and heat it up on nights that I don’t feel like cooking. As a matter of fact, a lot of my canned goods are either ready to eat or close enough.


Now that you have an idea of what you want to can and what’s in season, you need to find a source. Honestly, I found my favorite two farmers markets and my U-Pick blueberry/strawberry farm on Facebook and by Googling “farmers markets near me.” A lot of times, you can also find them under community events if you go to your town’s website.

Look around at other towns that are within driving distance. If you live in a city but more rural places are within an easy drive, search those places too. It’s a guarantee that food is going to be cheaper at rural, local farmers markets. And you may find a food co-op, too. Score!

Finally, the best source of organic, safe food is … you. Do some container gardening. You’d be surprised by how many tomatoes you can grow right on your porch or balcony, and strawberry hangers are adorable. Plus, that’s basically free food.

Urban prepping is tough – a lot tougher than being a country prepper. I know, because I’ve been both. I worked harder when I lived on the farm, but I was also in better shape and had a real sense of accomplishment every time I popped open a jar of jam or sliced up a fresh jalapeno pepper for my homemade salsa. And those fresh eggs and milk!

But, that’s not my life right now, so I, like you, do the best I can to eat healthy foods and prepare myself for emergencies given my current living arrangements. And I look at it this way – I’ve learned a ton because I’ve had to be resourceful, and even when I make it back to the country, I won’t be doing things the way I used to! Raised beds, container gardening – yeah, those tricks are going with me for sure!

Good luck with your fall canning and if you have any questions or comments, please share in the comments section below.


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

7 Tips for Saving Garden Leftovers

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Your summer garden is winding down, what can you do with the last bit of the harvest? Saving garden leftovers is a cost saving idea every grower should embrace | PreparednessMama

Your summer garden is winding down, what can you do with the last bit of the harvest? Saving garden leftovers is a cost saving idea every grower should embrace. Gardening is fun, but it also requires a lot of work. There’s planning, planting, weeding, watering, and of course the harvest. At the end of the […]

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15 Ways to Become Self-Sufficient

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Here at SVP, we talk quite a bit about self-sufficiency, but if you’re living in a tiny apartment and making very little money, or even if you’re a CEO at a big company and are stuck living in the city because of your job, it can seem like an impossible task.

The thing is – self-sufficiency is a frame of mind. It’s right there. All you have to do is reach for it. That’s the first step to regaining self-sufficiency.

There are two types of people: those who are happy letting somebody else run the show and those who like to run the show. That’s a bit simplistic, but it’s close enough. If you’re reading this, you’re probably the latter, and you won’t have any problem putting in the effort to make yourself self-sufficient.

We’ve talked about how to become self-sufficient in broad strokes but we’ve never really approached it from the beginning. We’ve never discussed how to change your state of mind from dependent to independent, and that’s really the most important step of all.

Most people have this hugely vague idea of what it means to be self-sufficient. You probably picture the guy on the Alaska show that lives in a hut, kills his own food with a homemade bow and arrow, and camps under boughs of pine trees when he’s stuck away from his hut. Yeah, that’s pretty much extreme self-sufficiency.

Relax – swimming naked across a semi-frozen river in 5 degree weather didn’t even come close to making this list! Settle in, pick a few steps that sound good, and get started. Anything you do will put you closer to being self-sufficient than you are now.

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

Learn to Grow Food

There’s more than one reason to grow plants. Sure, you’re going to get delicious herbs, fruits, or vegetables out of the process, but that’s not the biggest benefit – knowledge is. That’s going to be a theme throughout this article, because knowledge is what will separate those of us who can from those who can’t. We’ll know what to do and they won’t.

So, start a few plants. You don’t have to go whole-hog right off the bat. If you don’t have much space, grow some herbs and maybe a few container plants, then move up to trying some upside-down plants after you get the hang of that. You’ll learn how to grow your own food and even if you can’t do it on a large scale now, you’ll know how to if you ever need to, and can grow the skill as your situation changes.

Learn how to Save Seeds

After you’ve got your plants growing, learn how to collect and preserve the seeds. After all, they’re there and there’s no need to waste them. It’s important for you to start with heirloom seeds because they’re the only ones that grow true every year. We’ve written about that here.

Saving your seeds now serves two purposes. First, in the short-term and assuming no SHTF scenarios occur, you won’t have to pay for seeds next season. Second, you’ll know the process, which will be critical if a SHTF situation ever arises. And if it happens between now and next year, you have seeds!

Learn to Cook and Eat at Home

Big deal, here. You may be a candidate for the Next Food Network Star, or you may have trouble boiling water, but there’s always more you can learn, especially about using good equipment. I admit to being partial to one piece in particular – a Dutch oven. That’s because I can use it at home to make an amazing roast, or I can take it camping and make biscuits, stew, or seriously just about anything else, baked, stewed, or brewed.

That’s just one suggestion, though. The idea is to get used to cooking your own food, for two main purposes. First and foremost, if you don’t know how to cook, and how to tell if your food is spoiled, you’re never going to be self-sufficient, and if SHTF, you may actually not survive. Starvation or food poisoning will get you.

Second, cooking at home is more nutritious, much less expensive, and super satisfactory, especially if you’re cooking for yourself.

Learn to Preserve Food

You don’t have to have a full-blown garden to make a big batch of spaghetti sauce, salsa, or soup and can what you have left over. As a matter of fact, you’re serving a few purposes by doing that – you’re stockpiling food in case of emergency, you’re learning how to preserve food, and you’re stocking your pantry in case you’re lazy one night and want something homemade but don’t want to invest the time in it.

Learn how to dehydrate, too. After all, who doesn’t love jerky? It’s the perfect snack just because it’s delicious, but also if you want something you can take with you camping, or to have a quick protein boost after a workout or to get you through that afternoon slump.

Learn how to Compost

You can buy small compost buckets that fit right under your kitchen sink, and let me tell you, it’s great for your plants! You don’t have to have a huge pile in a ginormous back yard to do this, and if something happens, you’ll already know how to do it and will be able to transfer the skill to a larger pile.

Stop Wasting

This is huge step toward getting into the self-sufficient state of mind. How much food do you think you throw away in a month? Or how many half-full sodas or juices do you pick up around the house? Stop it. You’re throwing valuable money down the drain. Estimate how much you’re going to use and don’t buy extra, and don’t impulse-buy. Eat before you go to the store so that you aren’t tempted to buy everything that looks good and stick to your list.

Collect Rainwater

This is a simple thing to do and can be done even with a pail on the balcony. Even if you’re only collecting enough to water your plants, it’s getting you in that frugal, thinking-outside-the-box way that will lead to self-sufficiency.

Learn to Make Your Own Cheese, Butter, or Ice Cream

Have you ever had homemade ice cream? If not, you’ve been deprived of a glorious treat. We used to make it when I was a kid. Mom would make it, then the kids would take turns cranking the bucket. And oh-my-goodness was it amazing! You can also make butter in a jar, and you can make several different kinds of cheeses in no time at all. And you’ll have the skill if you need it.

Use a Clothesline

This is probably the easiest step to take toward self-sufficiency. I have to admit that I’m not a fan of line-dried towels, but there’s no reason that you can’t hang your jeans and t-shirts to dry. And you’ll save quite a bit on your electric bill, too. After all, even a few bucks saved is a few bucks, right?

Be Thrifty

This doesn’t mean be cheap, but it does mean to watch your pennies. Check sales catalogues, use coupons if you’d like, and don’t spend money that you don’t have. It’s always good to have a rainy-day fund rather than a huge barrel of debt. Also, fix things instead of throwing them away if you can, and cut off your old jeans for cute shorts this year instead of blowing money you may not have on new ones. There are a million ways to save money; again, it’s all about building the mindset.

Reuse and repurpose everything that you can. Turn that old sweater into a pillow case. Use the cottage cheese tubs as planters. Look at something and imagine what you can turn it into. That’s a self-sufficient way to think.

Get out of Debt, then Avoid It

You’ll never be self-sufficient if you’re in debt to your eyeballs. Develop a plan to get out of debt as much as possible, then live within your means to stay that way.

Make Your own Soap and Hygiene Products

This is a fun project that I’ve written about elsewhere. The upsides to making your own soap, toothpaste, lotions, and deodorant is that you know what’s in your products, you know how to make them if you ever have to, and you aren’t dependent on the store for it.

Learn CPR and First Aid

There are many classes taught, but the Red Cross offers the most common classes. You’ll learn how to carry people, make splints, treat wounds, and perform resuscitation. This is never a bad skill to have, survival or not. Heck, there could be a car wreck or a kid in the neighborhood could wreck his skateboard. You’ll know how to handle the scene.

Overcome Addictions

Nothing says dependent like, well, dependency. Smoking and chewing are the two biggest ones that pop into my head, but there’s a huge opioid crisis in our country right now, too. Kick what habits you can on your own, and get help for the others. If SHTF, or if you ever want to be able to live a completely self-sufficient life, you’re never going to be able to do it if you have an addiction.

Get Healthy

And the final step on the list – get healthy. Eat right, exercise, meditate. A healthy mind and body are required to be self-sufficient. By treating your body well, you’ll be better prepared to survive in an emergency, and you may also be able to get off of many of the medications that you’re currently on, such as blood pressure meds, insulin, or even pain meds. If you lose weight and have strong muscles, many of your problems will go away.

So, what’s the take-away? Self-sufficiency is, first and foremost, a state of mind. Once you learn how to think like somebody used to solving their own problems, you’ll become a person who can solve your own problems. It’s as easy (or as difficult) as that.

If you have any other tips to becoming self-sufficient, please share them with us in the comments section below. Also, check out my book, Forgotten Lessons of Yesterday, to get more information and instructions on many of the skills that we’ve just discussed as well as recipes.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Food Storage and Freeze drying!

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Food Storage and Freeze drying! Ray Becker “The Ray Becker Show” Audio player provided! On this show, I have a guest with me: Stephanie from Harvest Right. We are going to cover Freeze Drying food for long term storage. Along with freeze drying, I will address other methods of storing your food. Long term storage … Continue reading Food Storage and Freeze drying!

The post Food Storage and Freeze drying! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

What Preppers Are Storing That Will Kill Them!

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What Preppers Are Storing That Will Kill Them Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Audio in player below! Could you be stockpiling something that will ultimately kill you after SHTF? Odds are, you have been storing this stuff for years. What is this potentially deadly and exceedingly common prepping item? If you guessed prepackaged food storage, … Continue reading What Preppers Are Storing That Will Kill Them!

The post What Preppers Are Storing That Will Kill Them! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Prep Blog Review: Gardening With Canning In Mind

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As spring is coming, I am already thinking about my healthy and beautiful garden and I am getting ready for the new preserving and canning season. One of the best things of growing your own food is that you and your loved ones will enjoy healthy and tasty food, fresh or canned, for a long time.

With this thing in mind, for this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered 4 articles on this topic to help you plan your garden with canning in mind.

  1. 22 Ways for Growing a Successful Vegetable Garden

“Spring is fast approaching, so are you planning to grow a healthy and beautiful vegetable garden that will help beautify your home’s outdoor and be a place of relaxation?

Growing your own fruits and vegetables in the yard lets you spend more time outside, at the same time saves your money for buying organic food.

So if you have the space to grow your own vegetables, you should definitely take advantage of that.

Even if you only have a small space, it isn’t an obstacle anymore in your effort to vegetable garden. In the following projects you will find a lot of vegetable garden designs to help you start your neat and tidy veggie garden that produces fresh and tasty food for you.

Take a look and get started!”

Read more on Backdoor Prepper.

  1. 7 Secrets to Successful Canning – How to Preserve This Year’s Harvest

“Now is the time to get ready for a successful canning and preserving season!

One of the best things about growing your own food is keeping it the year around for great homemade taste!

For an individual who wants to start canning for the first time, or for the seasoned veteran, here are a few secrets to help you have a successful canning season this year.

The results of our canning efforts one summer.

The most important thing to remember about canning is to simply not be afraid to try!  Maybe you have only water bathed before and never uses a pressure canner. Whatever it is, if you are feeling a little nervous, ask someone to help you or try it out with you.”

Read more on Old World Farms Garden.

  1. More Thoughts on Canned Goods and Food Storage

“Several weeks ago we established that canned goods are safe to eat far past their expiration date thus a great choice for food storage programs.

I received an email from someone saying that they felt tremendous pressure to prepare right now and due to their budget just could not afford to stock up on freeze dried food for the long term.

This motivated some additional words on the subject.

Every tragic disaster that takes place ultimately causes the question of “What now?” to be asked. More often than not “What are we going to eat?” and”How are we going to get food?” are also asked.

This doesn’t have to be in a Third World country as most anyone who has experienced the loss of a job or some other major financial personal SHTF has asked similar questions.”


  1. How to Store Food Storage In a Small House

“Have you sometimes wondered “how can I store food storage in a small home?”

Well, I have a fairly small home, it’s only 1900 square feet.

I am going to show you my home in small doses because otherwise, the post would take too long to load.

I have a three car garage, if you can call it a three car garage with the narrow one car section. You can barely fit two very small cars in the double garage and one car in the third stall.

Mark and I use the third garage section for our emergency preparedness items that can withstand the heat in the summer.

Everything else is stored inside my home.”

Read more on FoodStorageMom.

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

Announcement: The Prepper’s Canning Guide Is Now Available

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I’m excited to announce that my new book is out. The Prepper’s Canning Guide: Affordably Stockpile a Lifesaving Supply of Nutritious, Delicious, Shelf-Stable Foods is now available on Amazon.


Read the rest

The post Announcement: The Prepper’s Canning Guide Is Now Available appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Dehydrated Cranberries

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The cranberries were finally marked down at the store (although not as cheap as they usually are) and I bought three bags thinking I would make cranberry sauce again but then never had time for it. When you buy produced marked down here it is usually perfectly good if used soon…so I needed to use these. I decided to dehydrate them thinking they would end up like dried cranberries I had seen in the stores…kind of like raisins. That isn’t what happened when I dehydrated them however.

They did not shrivel up, most of them kept their shape but feel hollow inside and they are brittle and break up when crushed. It is very odd and not at all what I expected. 

So I have some experimenting to do with these cranberries to see what I can make with them. I am thinking of rehydrating them in water and using them in bread or muffins. I also suppose there could be the option of making cranberry powder of some kind and using that in recipes but I am thinking I likely won’t use it so I will try the first option and let you all know how it goes.

4 Key Tips To Create A Garden For Canning And Preserving – Grow Your Food This Year!

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More and more people are planting backyard gardens every year for canning and preserving! Beyond the simple joy of getting to play in the dirt and experience the great outdoors – gardening has become more popular than ever as people

The post 4 Key Tips To Create A Garden For Canning And Preserving – Grow Your Food This Year! appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

Food Storage with Katzcradul and Peggy Layton!

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Food Storage with Katzcradul and Peggy Layton! Host: Katzcradul “The Homestead Honey Hour” Can you think of anyone better to talk to about long-term food storage than someone who’s a home economist and licensed nutritionist, has written a series of books on the subject, and has raised seven children utilizing her food storage? She’s out … Continue reading Food Storage with Katzcradul and Peggy Layton!

The post Food Storage with Katzcradul and Peggy Layton! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Prep Blog Review: Freeze Drying Or Dehydrating?

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When it comes to food preservation for survival, I am always trying to find the best technique. I want to preserve not only the taste of the, but also the nutrients. Freeze drying and dehydrating are easy techniques that you can do at home.

Are you curious to discover the differences between freeze drying and dehydrating food for survival? In this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered 4 articles on this topic.

  1. How To Freeze Dry Food, With And Without A Machine


“Learning how to freeze dry food is something that’s gaining popularity.

It doesn’t come as a surprise to us, because many preppers are now simply discovering the “long forgotten” art of freeze drying their foods at home.

In truth, freeze drying has been in constant commercial use for generations. Applying it in your home is quit easy, with or without a special machine.”

Read more on BeSurvival.

  1. How To Freeze Dry Your Food In Your Home


“Learning about the common methods of food preservation is important. When we find ourselves in a situation where food scarcity is on a large scale and the number of people dying because of starvation is rising at an alarming rate, having stocked or preserved food is definitely a life saver.

There are food preservation methods and one of them is through the process of freeze drying. Through vaporization, this process removes the moisture from the food. One of the awesome things about this method is you can save freeze dried food for a lot of years.”

Read more on Survival Life.

  1. How To Freeze Fish For Long-Term Survival


“Living in a world where supermarkets are out of business is certainly no easy task. In order to survive in such world, you will be forced to hunt or fish for your food. Fishing for long-term sustenance requires for you to know various methods of preserving fish.

Of all flesh foods, fish is the most susceptible to tissue decomposition, rancidity and microbial spoilage. To prevent your fish from going bad there are some popular solutions that people have been using with great success. Preserving fish can be done through freezing, canning, pickling and smoking.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

  1. 6 Rules To Follow When Dehydrating Foods


“Before you go crazy dehydrating, keep in mind that there are a few rules to follow to ensure food longevity, freshness and prevention of discoloration.

You can dehydrate any fruit or vegetable, regardless of quality or ripeness. If something is too ripe and soft, you can always puree it and dry the puree. Although using the best quality fruits and veggies will result in the best quality dried goods, remember that the goal here is preservation, not perfection. So don’t be afraid to dehydrate the bruised, overripe, and slightly damaged goods. Just make sure not to put mold in the dehydrator as it can spread and infect the rest of the foods.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.


This article has been written by Drew Stratton For Survivopedia. 

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Slicing the Homemade Bacon

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Phil found another hunk of our homemade bacon in one of the freezers and took it out to thaw but because he was helping Michelle move furniture in her room last week, he never got around to slicing it so that was one of my jobs today.
I still use that cheap little Oster slicer that I got at the thrift store and it still works great. This hunk of bacon was a bit fatty so it must have been from that second hog who got too big. I sure could smell that plum wood we used to smoke it with from that plum tree that died in the yard. I don’t think I’ll ever look at a dead fruit tree the same way again, that wood will always be something to save for smoking. That wood from the plum tree had a much better taste than any wood smoking chips that we could get from the store.
This made several packages of bacon for us. I believe we will have breakfast for supper tonight and use some of it up.

In other news, I am still crocheting and knitting and selling what I can…and maybe a little ribbon embroidery just because I had never done it before. These are some fingerless gloves that I made.

Let’s see what else….Miss Suzie…well, she turned into Poozie..and that just stuck and no one remembers that her name was Suzie now. So Poozie has gotten big and she is definitely the most challenging of the dogs we have. She manages to get out of the fenced in backyard all the time…either by jumping higher than we thought she could or fitting through smaller spaces than we thought she could. How I wish I had known about Jack Russell behavior when I got her…though I am sure I would have still taken her. the other three dogs are fine as well, just growing older and dealing with what comes with that. 

My chicks have all grown into adults now and all are laying. There are roosters to give away and hens who are stealing nest (viciously!) again. I believe I will have chicks to sell this spring but that will be an interesting venture too, I’m sure.
Spring is coming though this winter has been so mild, it is as if we never had winter. I’m hoping we can find house to buy this year. Will keep you all informed on that as we go along.

Survival Food: 5 Hearty Soup In A Jar Recipes

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Soup in a jar

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t Overcook

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

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

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

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

Sterilize and Clean Everything

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

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

Video first seen on Marjorie Vangenewitt

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

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

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

5 Delicious Soups in a Jar

1. Italian Rustica

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

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

2. Ham and Bean Soup

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

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

3. Beef Stew

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

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

4. Cabbage Stew

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

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

5. Southwest Stew

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

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

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

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


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

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Old Fashioned Preserving: Grandpa’s Recipe for Cured Smoked Ham

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Old Fashioned Preserving: Grandpa’s Recipe for Cured Smoked Ham A century ago most of the hog’s meat was cured and smoked to preserve it. This process is still used today by some, but curing hams it’s becoming a lost skill. Nowadays we rely too much on refrigerators. You can buy a hundred pounds of meat, …

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Our 2017 Garden Plan – Growing Incredible Flavor In The Garden

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It’s time for our 2017 garden plan! To an avid gardener, creating a garden plan is like trying to paint a masterpiece. Or perhaps, attempting to write a prize-winning novel. For us, it has always been a great way to look

The post Our 2017 Garden Plan – Growing Incredible Flavor In The Garden appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.

Prep Blog Review: Let’s Talk About Survival Food

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Survival Food

As I remember, survival food was one of the top resolutions for preppers in 2017. From planning your stockpile, to cooking the best survival recipes, food should be a priority for every prepper. And, no matter how many times I’ve talked about food, there is always something interesting to share with you.

So, let’s talk about survival food!

For this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered 5 useful articles on this topic.

1. One Plan Is Not Enough: 7 Tips to Create a Successful Food Plan

Farmer“Every prepper has his/her own food plan for acquisition or storage of food for a crises scenario. Many might be homesteaders who rely heavily on their gardens and animal husbandry skills. Many of us store food either by canning, dehydrating, or stocking up on freeze-dried goods and MREs. Most of us include emergency rations in our bug out bags. Others plan to rely heavily on their ability to fish, hunt, trap, and forage for food.

The various preferences and vast differences in food prep styles are often largely based on what exactly the individual is preparing for. Whether you are planning to be snowed in and without power for the worst winter storm of the century, extensive layoffs, or putting together a militia for an imminent invasion, everyone can agree on one thing: Food must be accounted for. So where do we start? What are the most important things to consider? In this article I cover some of the requirements of creating your master food plan.”

Read more on The Prepper Journal.

2. 3 ‘Survival Crops’ That Store Naturally More Than 1 Year

“If you’re growing or foraging your own food for winter storage, there are plenty of options for keeping your family fed in the early days of winter. Many root crops, fruits and greens can keep for a field-852242_640few months cool and out of direct sun, even without a proper root cellar.

As the winter presses on, though, options start to dwindle and there are fewer and fewer choices in dependable home-raised crops that will take you all the way through the hunger gap into the first productive days of late spring and early summer. Nonetheless, humans survived millennia without refrigeration and long-term food shipments, so there’s plenty to get your family by.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

3. A Beginners Guide to Sausage Making

Food, meat. Delicious sausages on the table“My grandfather was a large influence on my passion for homesteading. He was an avid gardener, hunter, made his own wine and sausage; and was always generous about sharing.

He made use of the plethora of meat he would get from hunting or deals he found at the grocery store. Once he was loaded up on meat, he would get his meat grinder out and carefully cut his meat for grinding and make some of the best sausage you could ever have. I grew up on his homemade sausage and could never get enough. I am a big believer in sharing family recipes and did so in my book, The Prepper’s Cookbook, so I had to share some of my favorite sausage recipes too.

Sausage making is a great way to use up an abundance of meats in the home freezer. I use an assortment of cheap meats. My grandfather’s secret was using equal amounts of brisket and pork butt.”

Read more on Ready Nutrition.

4. 5 Recipes to Make Your Own Survival Protein Bars

“Survival protein bars are becoming more and more popular among preppers and survivalist, but you can also find a few of them in any type of survival kit you can think of. These small snacks are5-Recipes-to-make-your-own-survival-protein-bars ideal for emergency kits because they help you control hunger, they provide proteins and fats, but they also keep your calorie intake in control.

These survival protein bars contain the right amount of protein and fats to keep you energized after intense activity even in the harshest of environments. There are many brands you can chose from and the flavors vary from chocolate to berries.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

5. Kitchen DIY: How to Nixtimalize Corn

Recipe-Hominy-300x200“This project looks deceptively simple, but it is one that I had to try a couple times to get right. I only stuck with it because Nixtamalization is a vital process for people that use corn as a staple food.

This is because the nutrient niacin is unavailable in unprocessed corn, and by cooking dried corn with a strong alkali (nixtamaling it), Niacin becomes available thereby preventing nutrient deficiency diseases like pellagra.”

Read more on Dave’s Homestead.

the lost ways cover

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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16 Facts You Should Know Before Dehydrating Food

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16 Facts You Should Know Before Dehydrating Food

Dehydrating food is one of my favorite ways of preserving; I love it so much I’m teaching a class on dehydrating foods! So if you’ve got a dehydrator in the closet that you bought for just making jerky–get it out! Because let me tell you, it can do so much more than make jerky! There are 25 lessons in the dehydrating eCourse and only one of them is about making jerky. Yes, you read that correctly–25 classes, and I keep trying to make them short and sweet but they all at least 20 minutes long, most are a little more. Not to worry, they are not too long, most are under 30 minutes. I only mention this because there is so much more to dehydrating than jerky.

Maybe you don’t even have a dehydrator yet and are wondering if dehydrating is for you. I hope I can convince you to give it a try because it’s fun, easy and so versatile. You can build a complete food storage easily, quickly and safely.

Dehydrating is a very old method of food preservation. If you remove 90 to 95% of the water content from food then bacteria that aids in the decomposition process can’t survive. Your food is preserved in a sort of suspended state waiting for you to add the water back in order to nourish your body. Here are some important facts you should know about this great food preserving method.

Facts About Dehydrating Food

Easy To Do
Dehydrating is fun and easy. Most foods can be dehydrated and there aren’t a ton of rules you have to remember like other food preservation methods. There are techniques that help your food be at its best through the dehydrating process but it’s really hard to “mess up” when dehydrating.

Risk Factor Is Low
There is a risk factor with all preserved foods. After all, they are not fresh, so something had to make them safe to eat at a later time. The risk of your food not being safe to eat after you have preserved it is very low with dehydrating. There is also a low risk of your food not tasting good after you’ve dehydrated it, provided you’ve used the correct pre-treatment.

Dehydrating preserves more of a food’s natural enzymes than other forms of food preservation. Dehydrated food can be as nutritious as fresh food provided the food is dehydrated at low temperatures. This is especially handy for preserving herbs for natural remedies, since all of the herb’s healing properties can be preserved.

Light and Portable
Dehydrated food is light and portable. All the heavy water content has been removed so the food is super light. This makes stuffing it in a backpack, a bug out bag or a 72 hour kit a great choice. You can carry considerably more dehydrated food than fresh or other food preserved by a different method.

Easily Add Food To Your Food Storage
Since dehydrating is such an easy process you can quickly build up a food storage for whatever emergency might come along, or just for a rainy day.

Takes Up A Smaller Amount Of Space
Since dehydrated food is missing the water content, not only is it light and portable, but its size is greatly reduced. So your food storage takes up less space. This is great for people who don’t have a lot of storage space. Also, it can be stacked, unlike home-canned food.

Preserve Your Organic Garden
You worked hard on that organic garden. Dehydrating is a great way to preserve your harvest. You can simply put things in your dehydrator as they become ripe. You can dehydrate in large or small batches.

Unique Recipes
You can create some great-tasting recipes even if you’re not trying to build a food storage. Have you ever had homemade crunchy spiced corn or kale chips? They make great healthy snacks.

Less Running To the Grocery Store
This one is kind of a no-brainer if you have a food storage. But the thing is that sometimes you’d rather run to the store before opening a case, jar or can of something in your food storage. But when you dehydrate you can open almost any container, take a little out, and seal it back up with little or no trouble.

Uses A Minimum Amount Of Energy
Other forms of food preservation use a lot of energy either for the process itself (C

) or to maintain the environment (freezing). Dehydrating takes very little energy to process food and none to store it.

Dehydrated Food Is Easy To Cook With
Dehydrated foods are really easy to cook with. Most of the time you can throw them into soups or stews without even reconstituted them. Even if you need to rehydrate them for a recipe it usually only takes a quick soak in a bit of water.

Save A Ton Of Money Making Powders
Not only can you save a ton of money by preserving things from your garden but you can save a ton of money by not having to buy so many items from the spice isle. You can make your own garlic and onion powder. Dry your own basil and rosemary. You can even make some of your own spice powders like ginger and turmeric powder.

Equipment Is A Good Investment
A good dehydrator is not super cheap but it’s probably not the most expensive thing in your kitchen either. The thing is if you buy a good dehydrator (I recommend an Excalibur) then you’re likely to have it for years. They are excellent dehydrators and mine has paid for itself many times over.

Can Be Done In Any Location
You can dehydrate most any place on earth. All you need is either a bit of electricity or the sun. Sun Oven makes a dehydrating kit for their solar oven, and you always have the option of making your own solar dehydrator. So dehydrating is a great off-grid food preserving option.

Children Love It
Kids love bite-sized snacks, and dehydrating different foods can give them a variety of healthy snacks. They are no longer limited to just raisins. You can dehydrate most any food and kids love the sweet (most fruit is sweeter once it’s dehydrated) chewy bites.

Dehydrated Foods Can Be Stored At Room Temperature
Although any food will last longer the cooler, darker and dryer it stays, dehydrated food will last a good long while at room temperature as long as it stays dry. So that means you can store it in a closet or bedroom.

Did I leave any dehydrating facts out? What’s your favorite reason for dehydrating food?


Source :

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How To Wax Food For Long-Term Storage

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How To Wax Food For Long Term Storage

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

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

Using Wax to Preserve Fresh Produce

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

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

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

Using Wax to Preserve Jams and Jellies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Using Wax to Preserve Cheese

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Cheese Can I Wax?

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

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

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

Video first seen on Linda’s Pantry

What Kind of Wax to Use?

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

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

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

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

What do I Need to Wax Cheese?

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

Waxing Cheese

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

Methods to Wax Cheese

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

1. Dipping

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

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

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

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

Now, using tongs  or your fingers (use tongs!), dip your cheese in the wax as far up as the tongs or your fingers, then pull it out and let it drip for 10 seconds or so until the wax dries.

Place it on the parchment paper and move on to your next piece. Pick it up by the part that’s already been waxed, and dip the uncoated part, holding it up for 10 seconds or so just like you did the first side.

Repeat this process so that the cheese has two coats. Make sure that you get all of the little air bubbles or pin holes covered so that the cheese is completely covered.

2. Painting on Wax

The next method is exactly what it says – you paint the wax onto the cheese. Heat the wax the same way as above and lay your cheese out.

The main benefit of painting wax is that you can cover any size piece of cheese that you want. After you’ve coated the first side with the first layer of wax, flip it over and do the other side. Add two coats.

Now your cheese is ready to store, and you no longer have to worry about facing the end of civilization as we know it without cheese.

There are so many things you can learn from our ancestors about preserving your food for survival. Click the banner below and discover how to keep your loved ones well fed when SHTF!


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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We have leftovers from two turkey’s this year. One from our Thanksgiving dinner at home and one from our family Thanxmas dinner with the family. I didn’t really realize how much was left until I looked at it today and realized I really needed to can some of it or we were just going to waste all that good turkey.
The spare room is kind of full right now. The big fish tank/brooder is still in there and several rather large presents, bags of smaller presents, empty boxes to send presents in or sent of Etsy orders, just a lot of stuff but I managed to reach the canner and find jars enough.
Canning meat is no more difficult than canning anything else. I did the ‘hot pack’ method with the turkey where you boil the meat first. I then packed it in the jars using the same liquid, added a little salt,  and pressure canned it for 75 minutes in pint jars.

I ended up with 7 full pints with some leftover. The leftover meat was in all that good juice too and there was no reason to let all that go to waste either so I poured it in the crock pot, added some onions, salt, pepper, a little sage and a jar of canned carrots. I will add some kind of pasta- maybe egg noodles– later when it is close to time to eat so the noodles don’t overcook.

Harvest Time the right time to Preserve!

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Harvest Time the right time to Preserve! Bob Hawkins “The APN Report” Listen in player below! Now that we’ve reached the Fall season, we’ve reached the time to harvest & preserve foods for the coming winter… or at least that’s what people have done from the dawn of time. Today, normal folk now count on … Continue reading Harvest Time the right time to Preserve!

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Fall Food Preservation!

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Fall Food Preservation James Walton “I Am Liberty” Listen to this show in player below! That smell is in the Its also getting colder, bacteria, flies and the like are getting slower and less prolific. On the East coast Fall is an incredible time of the year with apples to be picked, cider to be had … Continue reading Fall Food Preservation!

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FAQ On Survival Food: How To Pressure Can Bacon At Home

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How To Pressure Can Bacon

It’s bacon. Who doesn’t love it? Bacon for breakfast, bacon bits, bacon grease, bacon for your beans … bacon is awesome.

But it’s one of those foods that, unless you have a pig and a smokehouse, you may have given up on for survival because it needs refrigeration.

We’ve had some questions about canning bacon, and we’re going to address them now.

“A question about canning the bacon. How long do you pressure can the bacon? Do you also add 1/2″ of water to these jars? Does the pressure canning melt wax paper? Can parchment paper be used instead?”


Though you can purchase canned bacon, it’s extremely expensive – the cheapest I found was about $15 USD for a 9-ounce can. That’s out of the range for many of us, but don’t throw in the towel yet! You can home can bacon so that it will be there to comfort you no matter how bad things get.

Until recently, the only way that I’ve ever heard of home canning bacon was raw and dry; in other words, you don’t cook it, and you don’t add anything to the jar. However, I recently watched a video that documented how to can cooked bacon.

There’s some merit to this because cooking it before you can it may reduce the chance of botulism. Some people believe that the meat doesn’t get hot enough in the middle to kill the toxin. However, I’ve spoken to many people who swear that they’ve canned bacon raw forever with no problems whatsoever.

My suggestion would be to roll it a bit looser if you’re canning it raw than if you’re canning it cooked so that the heat can circulate better through the roll. The key is to pressure can that bacon regardless of whether you can it raw or cooked.

I’m going to outline three different methods of canning bacon. Let us know which ones work for you.

But before we begin, let’s go ahead and get the ever-present government warnings out of the way. None of these methods have been approved by the USDA as safe. As a matter of fact, the USDA hasn’t approved ANY methods of canning bacon.

Now, let’s can bacon.

Ingredients and Tools for Canning Bacon

There are only a few tools and 1 ingredient that you’ll need. Of course, you need bacon! The thick-cut cans better than the thinner slices because they don’t tend to stick to the paper as much if you’re going to use the rolling method.

You can also home-can bacon ends and pieces (the cheaper kind of bacon that you can often buy in 3-pound packs for just about the same price as 1 pound of strips. That requires a different method, though.

Next, you’re going to need wide-mouth quart canning jars, rings, seals, and jar tongs, a pressure canner, and the divider for the bottom of the canner. Finally, if you’re using the rolling methods described below, you’ll need parchment paper or masking paper, which you can buy at your hardware store for less than ten bucks for a decent-sized roll. Do not use waxed paper because the wax will melt.

Before you start any of these processes, prepare your jars by sterilizing them, and get your seals in hot water if you’re using standard seals.

1. Canning Raw Strips of Bacon

Each quart jar will hold about a pound and a half of bacon, or maybe a bit less. Lay out an 18-inch piece of parchment paper. Lay out the strips of bacon side by side as close as you can get them without touching. Cover with another layer of paper.

Fold each end of the paper over the first and last strips of bacon. Next – and this is a little tricky – fold the paper in half lengthwise. Just to be clear, fold it so that each strip of bacon is folded in half. It may help to use a yardstick or something else to help you flip it.

Now it’s time to roll the bacon so that it will fit in the jar. Start at one end and roll the bacon strips into a log. Remember, if you’d like, you can roll it a bit loosely if you’re worried about raw packing, but you won’t get as much bacon per jar. Stuff the log into a quart jar. If you can’t get it in, remove a few strips of bacon until you can.

Clean the mouths of the jar well so that there’s no grease on them or else you won’t get a good seal.

We’re dry canning the bacon, so you don’t need to add water.

Once you have the seals on, screw the rings on finger-tight. Place your jars in your canner, making sure you have the divider in the bottom. Add 2-3 inches of water to the bottom. Put on the lid, but leave the weight off so that you can allow the air to escape. Bring the water to a simmer and let it simmer so that all the air is out. Place the weight on and cook at ten pounds pressure for 90 minutes.

Allow it to cool on its own. It’s fine to leave it in for a couple of hours to cool after you’ve turned off the heat source.

Remove the jars from your canner and set them on a towel on the counter. Let them cool for 48 hours so that you can make sure that they seal properly before you store them. It’s not uncommon for some of it to “unseal” a few hours after the seal because of a bit of grease or some other problem.

You’ll have some juice in the bottom, then the grease will be on top, so you’ll have the bonus of having bacon grease, too! Date your jars and store.

Video first seen on BexarPrepper.

2. Pressure-Canning Cooked Bacon

This method is absolutely identical to the one above, except you cook the bacon before you put it on the paper to roll it. You can bake it at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Baking is a bit better because the bacon cooks more consistently. Don’t add the grease from the pan to the jars.

Cook the bacon until it’s done but still pliable before you wrap it, then pressure can it for 90 minutes. You’ll have less juice and grease but there will still be some.

One advantage here is that your bacon is ready to eat straight from the jar.

3. Pressure-Canning Bacon Ends and Pieces

Packs of bacon ends and pieces are something that I stumbled upon several years ago at Wal Mart. They’re kind of a pain because the bacon is all lumped together and there are some pieces that are just fat. However, the 3-pound pack is often just about the same price as one pack of sliced bacon.

Since I use bacon fat in my beans and to cook potatoes, and even in some of my sauces, I don’t mind having the extra fat. I look at it this way – I’m getting a pack that has slices of bacon to fry for breakfast or a BLT, I have pieces of bacon fat to add to my beans, and I have crumblies of meat to fry up for bacon bits or to add to a salad or something.

Considering the cost, it’s a win, especially if you’re canning (or living) on a budget. Each 3-pound pack is going to yield about 3 quarts of meat and fat. Simply take the meat out of the pack and stuff as much into the jar as you can because it’s going to shrink up. Leave a half-inch or so headspace. There’s no reason why you couldn’t do this with regular packs of strips, too.

This is a raw packing process, so don’t add any liquid to the jars. When you have your jars stuffed, clean the rims thoroughly because they’re going to be greasy. If you don’t get that grease off, the jars won’t seal.

When they’re clean, add your seals and rings, finger-tight, and put them in the canner. Process as described above. 90 minutes for quarts, 75 minutes for pints.

Tip: If you have hard water, add a tablespoon of vinegar to your water to keep that white film off your jars.

If you’re in a survival situation, don’t throw away the paper because it’s an excellent fire starter with all of that grease!

Raw-packed bacon stores well for up to five years. After that, the fat starts to break down and the bacon won’t be the same. This is one good reason to rotate your canned goods, so that you don’t have meat going bad.

Video first seen on BexarPrepper.

Nobody has really shared any information on the shelf life of cooked bacon, but I would imagine that it’s about the same. It would be interesting to hear from any of you that have done it.

When you open your cans of bacon, don’t just rely on the seal to tell you if it’s good. Just in case, give it the sniff test. If it smells off, throw it away. If it’s got a greenish tint, throw it away.

Now you have three different ways to can bacon so that you don’t have to go without that deliciousness even if things go south.

Click the banner below to discover how to make the ultimate survival food plus other survival secrets that helped our ancestors survive hunger and deprivation!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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PANTRY: Long Term Food Storage

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PANTRY: Long Term Food Storage Bobby Akart “Prepping For Tomorrow” Audio in player below! On this week’s episode of the Prepping for Tomorrow program, Author Bobby Akart continues his discussion about stocking your Prepper Pantry. Last week, the program focused on growing your own food and heirloom seeds.  This week, we’ll focus on food storage … Continue reading PANTRY: Long Term Food Storage

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Pantry Checklist: 6 Ways To Preserve Tomatoes

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One of the first things many people think of when they hear the word ‘garden’ is fresh tomatoes. They come in all shapes and sizes, from the aptly-named cherry tomato that is great in a salad or to just pop in your mouth, to the giant heirloom steakhouse tomatoes.

But now that you’ve got a garden full of them, what do you do to preserve them? You have many options!

First, it’s important to know what you’re going to use the tomato for. There are so many varieties that it’s impossible to say, “This is how you should prepare any tomato”, so we’re going to talk about options, and you can decide which ones are right for your crop.

Before we talk about preserving them, you need to know that tomatoes will continue to ripen even after they’ve been picked. You can actually pick them when they’re nearly green, set them in the windowsill, and they’ll ripen on their own. That’s important to know, so that you understand that you have a limited window to prepare them for storage.


This is, of course, the most common way of storing tomatoes that you’re going to eat within a week or so.

I always clean mine and pop the stems off if possible before I put them in the fridge, but that’s just to save a little time later. To keep them the longest this way, put them in the crisper drawer.


Most people don’t think about freezing tomatoes, but it’s a good way to go as long as you have the freezer space. If course, they aren’t going to be the same as a fresh tomato, but frozen tomatoes are great in sauces and soups.

You can blanch them, peel them, then freeze them, or just freeze them whole with the skins on. You can also puree them first, or even just chop them into chunks. If you’re going to use that method, peel them first.

This is my preferred method because if something happens and you don’t get to them in time, the skin helps protect them from freezer burn. The downsides here are that they take up so much space, and if the power goes out, you have to use them immediately.

Can Your Tomatoes

I’ve found that canning tomatoes is my preferred method. Since tomatoes are acidic, you may safely can them using the water bath method. If you have smaller tomatoes, you could can them whole, or if you’d rather, you could quarter, chop, dice, or puree them first. Again, it all depends on what you want to use them for.

When canning tomatoes, you don’t just have to can plain, whole or quartered tomatoes. You can mix in some cilantro, onions, or other goodies to make salsa or chutney. They’re also great juiced, pureed or cooked down into tomato sauce or paste.

Don’t forget about spaghetti sauce, either! You can even throw in some meatballs if you’d like, though I personally find canned meatballs a little weird.


You should skin your tomatoes before you can them but that’s not as hard as it sounds. Just bring a pot of water to boil, then dip the tomato in for a few seconds, transfer it to a bowl of ice water, and the skin will slide right off.

Sun-dried Tomatoes

Though most people refer to any type of dried tomato as a sun-dried tomato, you can also use your oven or dehydrator. Most people don’t live in a climate that’s dry enough and warm enough to actually dry them completely in the sun. Regardless of which method you use, preparation for preserving your tomatoes in this manner is the same.

Wash the tomatoes then remove the stem, core, and any bruised or bad spots. If you want, you can scald them to remove the skins. That’s completely optional. Cut them in half, or quarter them if they’re longer or wider than 2 inches.

If you’d like, gently squeeze the seeds out without losing the pulp. You can scrape them out if you’d rather. Sprinkle them with salt and any other seasoning you’d like to add. Remember that you’re drying them, so a little salt goes a long way.

Some people prefer to soak the tomato slices in vinegar for a few minutes before dehydrating in order to kill germs. I don’t, but feel free to do so if you want.

Drying them in the sun requires hot days with little humidity, and will take about 3-4 days. Make a box with nylon netting on the bottom. Lay your tomato pieces on the netting with the cut side down. Cover with cheesecloth or some other breathable material to keep the bugs out.

After a day and a half or so, flip the tomatoes over so that the cut side is up. If you live in a place that has heavy dew at night, or if it’s going to rain, bring the tomatoes into a dry place at night or until it quits raining.

dried-tomatoesDrying tomatoes in the oven is easy. Place the tomatoes cut side up on a baking sheet and set your oven to 175-200 degrees F.

Put your tomatoes in the oven, leaving the oven cracked a little.

After about an hour and a half, turn them over and gently squish them flat with a spatula.

Leave them in the oven for another hour and a half or so, then check to see if they’re leathery to the point that they aren’t sticky, but aren’t so dried that they get tough.

At this point, you have a couple of options. If you’d like, you may can them in oil and seasonings. If that’s your plan, you don’t have to be quite as careful of the moisture content. If you’re going to completely dry them, leave them in the oven until they’re about as leathery as a dried apricot. If you don’t dry them long enough, they’ll mold.

Drying your tomatoes in a dehydrator is basically the same process except it will take several more hours. When I dry mine in the dehydrator, I like to flip them every couple of hours to ensure even drying.

Just like with any other dried food, the shelf-life isn’t as long as if you can them, but you can dry-can them, freeze them or vacuum seal them to extend shelf life.

Make Tomato Powder

Tomato powder is absolutely delicious and stores fabulously so this is a great way to preserve tomatoes. Just add a couple of tablespoons to whatever you’re making (adjust the amount according to taste).

You have a couple of options; you can either make them from whole, dehydrated tomatoes, or you can dehydrate the skins that you’ve removed while canning and make the powder from them.

When I’m making tomato powder, I prefer to dry my tomatoes (or peels) until they’re nearly completely dry instead of just leathery, but either way will work. After you dry them, freeze the dehydrated tomatoes for a day, then remove them and put them in your blender or food processor and pulse until you have a powder.

Since the tomato powder tends to clump, you may want to add a teaspoon of arrowroot powder or corn starch per every few cups of dried tomatoes.

I recommend dry canning or vacuum sealing the tomato powder if you’re not going to use it quickly.

Pickle Your Tomatoes

canned-tomatoesThis isn’t a method that you’ll often see used for tomatoes but I think they’re delicious, and it’s crazy simple.

They’re delicious in salads or to chop up for salsa or chutney. I recommend using pint jars, and cherry tomatoes are the tomatoes of choice for this.

First, clean your tomatoes and remove the stem and leaves. Run each tomato through with a skewer so that the pickling can penetrate them.

Stuff the tomatoes into pint jars and add a sprinkling of fresh herbs (dried will work, too) of your choice in on top. I prefer basil and oregano. Feel free to add onions, a few cloves of garlic, or any other spice or vegetable that you like.

Though I prefer to keep it more Mediterranean flavored with the ripe tomatoes, pickled green tomatoes taste wonderful and make great gifts. Here are a few ideas for pickling spices for green tomatoes.

Basic Pickling Spice

  • 2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp celery seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp whole allspice

Garlic Dill Pickling Spice

  • 1 tbsp. dill seeds
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled

Spicy Pickling Spice

  • 1 tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes

Combine these spices and divide them among the jars evenly, either before or after you add the tomatoes.

Next, combine the following ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Note that this is enough for about 3-4 pints so double or halve as necessary:

  • 5 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 5 cups filtered water
  • 1 tbsp. salt

Pour the pickling juice over the tomatoes, leaving a half-inch or so of headspace after you’ve gotten all the bubbles out – use a small spatula or spoon to do that. Add rings and properly prepared seals, then process in a water bath for 15 min. Store in a cool place.

Now you know of six different ways that you can preserve tomatoes! If you have any ideas or comments, please feel free to share them in the comments section below.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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4 Ways To Preserve Food In A Solar Oven

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There are many ways to preserve food, but how many of those methods transfer to your solar cooker? I decided to check things out and see whether or not you can even use it for food preservation; after all, the temperatures can be a bit erratic and heat is dependent on the sun.

It turns out that you can use your solar oven for more than just one way to preserve your food. It’s possible to can your food and dehydrate it using your solar oven. If you don’t have one, we can take care of it, just read this article to the end to find an offer you can’t miss!

Before we get into that, I’m going to quickly explain how a solar oven works. There are a variety of different ways to trap the heat, but the general idea is that you trap the heat of the sun in order to heat up your “oven” enough to cook foods.

Most solar ovens only reach 325 degrees F, maximum, on a sunny day so you do have some limitations. Also, since it’s tough to maintain a consistently high temperature, you can’t really pressure can in your solar oven.

You can cook in it, you can roast in it, you can dehydrate in it, you can even can high-acid foods in your solar oven, but it’s not safe to can low-acid foods in it. There’s no way to guarantee that the temperature will stay high enough long enough to kill the botulinum toxin that causes botulism.

Canning High-Acid Foods in a Solar Oven

Now that we’ve established that you can’t pressure can, that narrows down the list of foods that you can preserve in your solar oven. High-acid foods such as most fruits and tomatoes are safe to can in your solar oven, but you can’t can most vegetables or any meats. Unless of course you’re willing to die for it! Trust me, botulism is no fun.

If you’re canning tomatoes, it’s still a good idea to add a bit of vinegar or lemon juice just to boost the acid content. Fruits that are low-acid include:

  • Figs
  • Pears
  • Melons
  • Bananas
  • Dates
  • Papaya
  • Ripe pineapple (I know – this one surprised me, too!)
  • Persimmons

These fruits shouldn’t be canned in your solar cooker because there’s not enough acid in them to kill the bad bacteria.


To use your solar oven to can, it’s important that you start in the morning on a clear day so that you have plenty of time to get it warmed up and give your cans plenty of time to process.

Start by sterilizing your jars and equipment so that you reduce the risk of contaminating your canned goods with bacteria. Prepare your fruit just as you would for regular canning.

Just as you do when canning in a water bath, fill your jars with fruit, sugar (if you want) and water or juice. Slide your spatula down the sides to get as much air as possible out. Leave the head room at the top of the jar as recommended by the instructions for your particular fruit. You may want to leave a quarter of an inch or so more than recommended.

Place your jars in your solar oven and close the lid. Once the proper temperature has been reached, the fruits will begin to boil in the jars. Process according to the recommended time for what you’re canning, starting at the time that it boils.

Remove your jars carefully as they will be hot. Not only are you in danger of burning yourself, but the jars are also more fragile because they’re hot and pressurized. Set them somewhere where there won’t be a draft, cover them with a towel, and let them cool naturally.

To test if they sealed after the jars are cool, gently press down on the center of the seal. If it pops back up, your jars didn’t seal. You need to re-can them, or eat that jar within the next few days. I hate re-canning fruit because it gets soggy, so unless I’m making jam or jelly, I usually just eat it or give it to family or friends.

Personally, I would recommend starting with a small batch so that if things go wrong, you don’t lose a whole batch of fruit. I do this any time I try something new with canning because, even if I grow my own, it’s still labor-intensive and I don’t want to waste all my hard work. In this case, the heat source isn’t costing you anything, so what do you have to lose.

Note: I’ve seen some instructions on the internet that say it’s OK to allow your food to boil out of the jars, but as a long-time canner, that goes against what I’ve always been taught. Follow that advice at your own discretion, but I wouldn’t do it.

Dry Canning

I haven’t seen anything yet about dry canning in a solar oven, but it seems to me as if it would work, if you’re a person that dry cans in the oven.

Personally, I’ve used the oven method and it worked just fine, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in a solar oven. Just keep the temp low – below 250 degrees or so.

Dehydrating Food in a Solar Oven

A solar oven is excellent for dehydrating food – the only trick is to keep the temperature low enough that you don’t cook it instead of dehydrating it. Prepare your meat, fruits, or vegetables just as you would for the dehydrator and place them on a sheet or, even better, on a drying wrack.

Put the pan or drying rack in the solar oven and leave it in there at a low temp of no more than 150 degrees until it reaches the crisp phase. Remember that your meat or produce needs to be sliced thinly before dehydrating. Flip your product from side to side every couple of hours so that it dehydrates evenly. Turn your dehydrator accordingly, too.

After you dehydrate your food, you could also dry can them in order to extend the shelf life.

Fruit Leather

Your solar oven would be a good way to make fruit leather, too. Prepare your fruit by creating a smooth paste. Add sugar to the mix if you’d like, but if you’re using super-ripe fruit, which is the best type to use for fruit leather, you probably won’t need any.

Again, you don’t want to cook the fruit; you want to dehydrate it, so you don’t want to let your solar cooker get too hot. Spread parchment paper on a cookie sheet, or whatever type of pan will fit in your cooker, then spread the fruit puree in a thin layer on the paper. Dry as long as needed to make it like leather. It will still be flexible and slightly sticky, but should stay together in a sheet.

The only downside to making fruit leather in a solar oven is that you can only make a small amount at a time unless you have a way to stack the racks. Since we’re preppers and homesteaders, that shouldn’t be a problem, though!

You can only use your solar oven for a couple of food preservation methods, but even if you only can your jellies in it, you’ll be saving a ton of wood if you’re canning openly in a SHTF situation.

All you need now to get started is your solar oven, so we have for you this incredible offer that you shouldn’t miss! Click the banner below to grab this opportunity!


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Drying Food – Everything You Wanted to Know

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You have wondered about drying food, haven’t you? Otherwise you wouldn’t be here. Get ready because this 5000+ word post should answer all of your questions and get you well on your way to dehydrating like a champion. I’m not kidding – this is the ultimate guide to dehydrating your own food at home. We’re going […]

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Prep Blog Review: We Start Our Autumn Prepping

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Autumn Prepping

Autumn is here, we can feel it in the air. Just because it is getting cold outside does not mean that we have to stop prepping, on the contrary.

September is one of the best months to start preparing for the cold days and take your prepping skills to another level. You can start canning and preserving foods for winter and for long-term survival, you can start your own autumn garden or you can even learn new skills.

Here are a few ideas for your autumn prepping that we have found for you and are happy to share in this Saturday s Prep Blog Review.

  1. How To Grow Potatoes In Buckets


“One of the most important vegetable crop around the world is the potato. Despite the constant health reminder that potatoes can cause diabetes, weight gain and heart disease, most of us continue to love the processed version of potatoes. French fries, hash browns and mash potatoes equate to comfort food and snacks.”

Read more on Survival Sullivan.

  1. How To Make Homemade Wine


“It’s been a heck of a day on the ‘ol neighborhood homestead… I woke up this morning hearing a ruckus out back where the chicken coops are located, just past the root cellar. I ran outside just in time to see the tail end of a fox carrying off one of my best egg laying hens. SOB dug under the fence… That’s not the way I like to start off my mornings. Sometime around 3pm we had an unknown, heavily armored dump truck come down the road and do a slow drive by scoping out the neighborhood.”

Read more on Prepped For SHTF.

  1. How To Preserve Your Garden Bean Harvest


“Green beans can be grown in your own garden, local farmers market or roadside stand, Farms or Orchards where you can pick for yourself,  or CSA  Community Supported Agriculture. I personally recommend finding them local if you can’t grow them in your own back yard.”

Read more on Simply Canning.

  1. How To Store Food Underground



“Underground food storage is not a new trick. In fact, it’s one of the oldest survival tricks in the book. But is utilizing the earth for food refrigeration still necessary? In America, who needs to store their food underground when we have highly modernized food storage devices?”

Read more on Skilled Survival.

  1. What To Plant In The Fall


Gardening isn’t just for the spring and summer months. If you’ve already harvested the majority of your crops and are now left with an empty gardening space, you may be wondering if you should do something with it. If you don’t take advantage of the fertile soil, the weeds certainly will. The weather is still nice during the day and the nights aren’t too cold yet, so why not plant another round of crops?

Read more on Urban Survival Site.


This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

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4 Ways To Preserve Vegetables For Long-Term Survival

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Preserve Vegetables For Long Term Survival

You’ve worked hard in your garden and now you have a ton of beautiful vegetables ripe and ready to eat. What should you do with them, though? Preserve them, of course! There are many ways to prepare your produce so that you can store your vegetables long-term and enjoy them for months, and even years, to come!

Can Vegetables

This is probably the most common way to preserve your vegetables for long-term storage because canned veggies can be eaten up to a decade (or longer) after they’re preserved. There are a few methods that you may choose depending upon the type of vegetable that you are canning. For some vegetables, you may choose the water bath method, and for others, you’ll need to pressure can them.

The reason that canning preserves your food is because, during the process, bacteria are killed and most of the air is released out of the jar. The jar seals because air shrinks as it cools, causing the rubber around the seal to create a vacuum in the jar. Thus, air and bacteria can’t get into the jars and spoil the food.

How long you have to boil the jars in order to kill the bacteria depends upon the type of vegetable that you’re canning.

Water Bath Canning

Water bath canning is great for canning fruits, high-acid vegetables such as tomatoes, or for vegetables that are canned in a high-acid juice or sauce. We’ll get into the reason behind this when we talk about pressure canning in a minute. This manner of canning is relatively easy to do and only requires a few pieces of equipment that you likely have on hand including:

  • A pot large enough to hold your jars and tall enough that you can fill it with enough water to cover your jars to the neck.
  • A rack that sits on the inside bottom of the pot to keep your jars from coming into direct contact with the bottom of the pot.
  • Canning jars
  • Canning rings
  • Canning lids with seals
  • Tongs (preferably canning tongs) to remove the jars from the pot
  • A spatula small enough to slide down the inside of the jar to release air pockets

You can buy a pot specifically designed for water bath canning. It comes with the rack for the bottom and the size is already adapted to hold a certain amount of jars. If you don’t have one, though, you can use a stock pot or pressure cooker pot.

Pressure Canning

This procedure requires a pressure cooker and is required for canning low-acid vegetables and meats. Since most veggies are low-acid, this is the method that you should use in order to avoid botulism. The botulinum toxin that causes botulism thrives in low-acid, low-air environments such as in canned, low-acid veggies.

Botulism affects your central nervous system and can easily kill you, especially if you’re young, old, or have a weak immune system. Even if you’re healthy as a horse, botulism will still make you extremely sick and the damage to your central nervous system can be permanent.

Some signs that your canned food contains botulinum toxin are bubbles in the jar, food or juice oozing out of the jar, a big release of air and possible spewing of juice or veggies when you open the jar, or a slimy white or cloudy discoloration in the jar. If your canned goods show any of these signs, throw them away. It’s not worth the risk.

The only equipment that you’ll need to pressure can that’s different from water bath canning is a pressure cooker. You don’t have to can vegetables separately, so get creative. You can actually can entire meals, such as vegetable or beef stew. I’ve created some pressure canning recipes in this article to get you started.

Dry Canning

This method is often used for vegetables that you’ve dehydrated in order to significantly extend shelf life. There are a couple of different methods of dry canning, but the most reliable is probably to use oxygen absorbers. Dry canning only works for dried foods, including vegetables, flour, sugar, and dried meats, pastas, and dry mixes such as cake mixes.


Dehydrating your vegetables is another great way to preserve them, especially if you dry-can them after you dehydrate them. You can use a food dehydrator or oven, hang them in a cool dry place, or dry them in the sun. Which way you choose depends upon the type of vegetable and your personal preference. You can even make your own food dehydrator!

To use dehydrated food, you can either eat it as-is or rehydrate it and use it in its (almost) natural form. Dehydrating preserves most of the food’s nutrients, so it’s a good way to go and provides a delicious, nutritious food that’s lightweight and space-efficient.


Pickling food is another way that you can preserve vegetables for long-term storage. Many people confuse pickling and fermenting but there’s definitely a difference that we’ll discuss in the next section. Pickling your vegetables simply consists of soaking them in brine, typically made of vinegar, until they’re preserved.

You’ve probably eaten pickled cucumbers, cauliflower, banana peppers, jalapenos, beets, beans, or even carrots. Just about any vegetable can be pickled, though not all taste so great when preserved this way.

There are old styles of pickling that don’t call for canning, but to ensure that all bacteria are killed, modern pickling involves cooking the pickled vegetables, usually using water bath canning in order to make them practically non-perishable as long as they’re pickled and canned properly.

Here is a nice infographic from about how to pickle anything like a pro.

How To preserve Vegetables



Do you love sauerkraut and yogurt? How about vinegar (which, by the way you can make at home)? They’re all made by a process called fermentation. Fermentation is a chemical process that occurs naturally. Since we’re talking about veggies, it occurs when salt is added to a vegetable. It’s a simple process that we cover in this article.

Many people add water and a starter to hasten the process, but most vegetables will ferment on their own with just salt. This is because the bacteria needed to start the fermentation process are on the skin of all organic vegetables.

Note that I said “organic”. It’s important that you use organic vegetables when fermenting because they don’t have chemicals such as pesticides on them, and the natural bacteria haven’t been washed away.

Fermented foods are packed with enzymes, probiotics, and lactic acid. They don’t lose vital nutrients such as vitamin C during the process; in fact, some nutrients are actually enhanced by the fermentation process. The nutrients in fermented food are also more bioavailable than in the raw product. Though canned foods retain many of their nutrients, the heat kills the enzymes and probiotics that are so good for you.

In order to preserve your vegetables long-term for survival, it’s always best to use fresh, ripe produce that has no bad spots. You don’t want it to be overripe, but you don’t want it to be green either; not in most cases anyway.

How you choose to preserve your food depends on the type of food, how long you want to preserve it for, how you plan to use it, and how much space you have. Sometimes it comes down to personal preference! Remember that all of these methods can be performed without electricity should you need to do it.

We have the sun for drying, fermenting only requires salt and a cool place, and pickling and canning only require a fire. If you’ve preserved food in any of these manners and have something to add, or if you’d just like to talk about food preservation a bit more, please do so in the comments section below.


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 


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Secrets Of Dehydrating Fruits For Long-Term Storage

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Survivopedia dehydrating fruits

There are several good options for preserving food for long-term storage, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Dehydrating foods is one of the skills that you should acquire in the event that SHTF. Fruits, along with several other foods, are perfect candidates for dehydration.

There are several advantages to dehydrating foods for both homesteading and prepping purposes. The most obvious advantages, at least from a storage and survival point of view, are that dehydrated fruits take up very little space, pack a ton of nutrition in a handful of food, and is so light that it adds very little weight to your bug out bag.

You can, of course, buy freeze-dried fruits if you’re looking for lightweight foods, but it’s nearly impossible to make them at home. The equipment required is extremely expensive and the environment is difficult to duplicate.

Dehydrating is a good option to freeze-drying for home-preserving lightweight food.

The primary problem with dehydrating fruits is that if they’re left open to air, they will absorb moisture. Along with the moisture that they absorb and the sugar content of the fruit, dehydrated fruits are extremely susceptible to spoilage. There’s a few different fixes for that, though.

Choose and Prepare Your Fruits

The only fruit that doesn’t dehydrate well is avocados because of their high fat content. Otherwise, have a ball. Choose fruits that are ripe because as they dehydrate, all that delicious sugar will make the end product delicious. Unripe fruits can be bitter or tasteless when dehydrated.

To prepare your fruit for dehydrating, clean them, remove stems or leaves, peel them and slice them into small slivers when possible. The exception to this is citrus fruits. It’s best to slice them into wheels instead of peeling them. Though they may not be as tasty whey dehydrated, they are excellent to use as flavorings or in medicinal teas.

I like to spritz all off my fruits with lemon juice to add the extra preservation and vitamin C, but it’s critical that you do it with apples, peaches, apricots, bananas, and pears to keep them from oxidizing, thus turning brown. You can also soak them in a solution of ascorbic or citric acid. For the ascorbic acid, you don’t have to buy anything fancy. Just crush up 20 vitamin C tablets and dissolve them in 2 cups of water.

Don’t slice more fruit than you can dehydrate at one time because it will turn brown.

Another option is candying your fruits. This doesn’t work so well with bananas, at least for me, but it works for other fruits. Make a simple syrup of 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water (some people also add 1 cup of corn syrup), then blanch – simmer – the fruit slices in it for 10 minutes, then let it set for a half hour or so. Drain it well, rinse it, let it drain again, then dry it.

Methods of Dehydration

There are several different methods of dehydrating the fruit. The most important consideration is that the fruit needs to be thoroughly dehydrated before it starts to spoil or oxidize. This timeframe varies by the water content of the fruit, the humidity in the air, and the method of dehydration.

You want to remove as much water as possible. Your goal is 4 percent moisture or less. At this point, the fruit will snap when you try to bend it and will store for much longer than if you dehydrate it to that leathery state where the fruit is still pliable – at that point, it still has about 35 percent moisture. That’s not good for long-term storage.

You need three things to dehydrate food: dry air, movement to wick away the moisture, and heat that’s warm enough to draw out the moisture, but not so hot that it cooks the food.

Using a Dehydrator

If you have a food dehydrator, then great. It will work for now, but if you lose power, it won’t work. Until then, though, it’s an awesome tool. Drying times vary using dehydrators depending upon the wattage of the machine. How many trays you use alters the time, too. Or you can build one yourself, and read this Survivopedia article to find a few ideas that might work.

solar dehydrator

As a long-time dehydrator, I like to switch the trays around so that the food dries evenly. I also remove dehydrated fruit as it’s finished and consolidate trays. You don’t have to do that, but I like to get it done faster. No fruit should take more than 16 hours or so to dry.

Using the Oven

You can most certainly use your oven to dehydrate fruits. Lay the fruit out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and set the oven to its lowest setting, usually 150 degrees, and let the fruit dry. For apples, you may want to bump the temp up to 200 or 225.

After a few hours, check the fruit and flip the pieces over so that it dries evenly. Once it snaps when you try to bend it, it’s done.

Sun Drying

Sun drying isn’t that great for some foods because they require higher temperatures but it’s a good method for dehydrating fruits. You need warm weather – the temperature needs to be at least 85 degrees F and the humidity needs to be less than 60 percent.

You’ll need clean racks or screens to place the fruit on and to cover it with. I use screen-covered racks because then I don’t have to worry about bugs getting it from the top or the bottom, and I can flip it over so that each side is getting an equal amount of sun.

If you have a fan that you can place in front of it (without blowing sand or dirt over the food), then that’s great. Place the racks on cinder blocks, point the fan on it if you have one, and let the fruit dry.

Bring it in at night before the dew sets, and set it out as soon as the sun is out the next morning. You won’t be able to get the fruit past leathery using this method unless you live in an extremely dry, hot environment.

drief fruits

Extending Shelf Life of Dehydrated Fruits

Even though you’ve removed as much moisture from the fruit as you can, the problem is that there is more than 3 percent moisture in the air pretty much regardless of where you live. Your fruit will reabsorb that moisture and spoil.

In order to prevent that, you need to store your dehydrated fruit in an airtight container, preferably one in which as much air as possible has been removed. You have a few options. You can vacuum seal it using a home vacuum sealer, you can use Mylar bags, or you can dry-can them. Any of these methods will extend the life of your fruit by several months.

Vacuum sealing is good because it keeps the fruit lightweight. If you opt to do this, store the individual bags in a 5-gallon bucket in order to keep bugs and rodents from chewing through the bags. For directions on dry canning, check out our article here.

Rehydrating Fruits

Sure, your fruits are great to eat dehydrated as a snack, but you can also rehydrate them to use in recipes such as pies, sauces, baked goods or anything else that you want to make.

Essentially, you just need to reverse the process by soaking them in water. Different fruits require different times, but for some ideas, we go into a bit more detail here.

Dehydrating those delicious summer fruits is a great way to bring back a bite of summer when the snow gets deep and the days are cold. Because the heat is low during the process, much of the nutrition in the fruits is maintained. You can eat them dry or rehydrate them; it’s up to you.


If you’re a seasoned dehydrator and would like to add something, or if you’re new to the game and have questions, let us know in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Important Tips For Home Canning Sweet Foods

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Who doesn’t love jams, jellies, pickled beets and other sweet goodies, especially if they’re homemade? As homesteaders and preppers, we’re all about storing our own foods.

Different types of foods require different techniques. Home canning sweet foods is no different.

The thing about sweet foods is that they’re likely acidic. Nearly all fruits are high in acid, which makes them easy to can, even over an open fire. You don’t have to use a pressurized canner like you would with meats or low-acid vegetables, but you do need to take some extra precautions because mold and bad bacteria like sweet stuff.

Since you may want to can sweet foods in different forms (whole, jellied, etc.) we thought it might be a good idea to touch on some of the special needs of these particular foods.

The most important key to successfully canning anything is to hygiene. All utensils and jars have to be thoroughly cleaned and as sterile as possible so that your products don’t go bad. With fruits, you always want to use a ripe product, with no bruising.

Canning Jellies and Jams

There are two primary concerns when you’re canning jellies and jams: getting them to seal, and getting them to thicken. The sealing part is an easy fix, though if you’re a first-time canner, you want to be extra careful so that you don’t ruin all of your hard work just to find that you didn’t get a good seal.

Getting Canned Jams and Jellies to Seal

The first key is to use good quality jars that have no chips or cracks on the rim, or on any other part of the jar for that matter. You can check this off by visually inspecting the jars.

The second reason that your jars may not seal is because you didn’t get all of the juice off of the rims of the jars before you put the seals on. This is a bit harder to fix, but you just need to be thorough.

Use a clean damp towel to wipe each rim well. I usually do this twice, with two different towels, to make sure that I get them clean, then I follow up with a dry towel. My mom, whose been canning for upwards of 50 years now, calls it overkill, but after one time of re-canning an entire batch of jam so that it wouldn’t go bad, I’d rather take the extra steps.

Finally, to make sure that you get a good seal, heat your seals in warm water, if you’re using the standard kind. This makes the seal a bit gummy so that it adheres and seals to the jar better. Make sure that the water that you heat them in is clean.

Note: Completely off topic, sort of, but I recently discovered how to make rose jelly, which is absolutely delicious as well as beautiful. I didn’t even know that roses were edible until I stumbled upon the information via a friend.

How to Make Jams and Jellies Thicken Properly

This is another stumbling block for many new home canners. Nothing is more disappointing than to open up a beautifully sealed jar of jelly to find that it’s more juice. You can also go the other direction and cook it too long so that it’s more like taffy. There are two components to thickening: sugar thickens it and pectin gels it. Getting your jams and jellies just right is easy as long as you use the right amounts of sugar and pectin and you pay attention.

  • Pectin is a natural fiber found in fruits and vegetables that give the cell walls structure. Some fruits, such as blueberries, cranberries, and apples have enough pectin in them that you don’t need to add extra. Low-pectin fruits such as strawberries and pears either need to be canned with high-pectin fruit or have pectin added to them so that they gel.
  • Use the spoon method to tell when your jams and jellies are done. While you’re cooking your jellies, do the spoon test. If your sauce runs off of your spoon easily, it’s not done. If it drips slowly off and forms a drip off of the bottom of the spoon that drips off slowly, it’s either done, or super close to being done.
  • Use the freezer method. This isn’t one of my favorite methods because if your jelly is done, you’ve overcooked it by the time the test is done, but here’s how to do it. When you put your fruit on to cook, put a couple of saucers in the freezer.

When you think that it’s almost done, pull the plate from the freezer and put a blop of jelly on the plate. Stick it back in the freezer for a couple of minutes and if it’s jelly consistency, it’s done. Cut the heat on your jelly while you’re waiting.

  • Use a candy thermometer. This is my preferred method because it keeps me from overcooking my jams. Sugar is able to bind with pectin, both naturally present and added, at 220 degrees F. Use this in conjunction with the spoon method and you’re much more likely to end up with a good consistency.
  • Don’t freak out if your jelly isn’t firm as soon as it comes out of the canner. It can take a few days for it to set properly.
  • Don’t go the other direction and cook it too much either, remember, sugar is the main ingredient in candy and the last thing you want is strawberry candy instead of strawberry jam!

info jelly

Canning Whole Sweet Foods

Jams and jellies are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to home canning sweet foods. What if you want to preserve those beautiful peaches and pears so that you can eat them or bake with them throughout the year? Again, it’s a lot of hard work but the process isn’t difficult.

Tip: Stone fruits are much easier to peel if you blanch them first. That just means dipping them in boiling water for a few seconds. Peaches, apricots, nectarines and plums that are blanched will slip right out of their skins, saving you time and waste.

There are a couple of different ways to can fresh fruit. You can hot pack them, or raw pack them. Which method you choose depends largely on the type of fruit and what you want to use it for. Usually, it’s just a matter of personal preference.

Raw packing is easier, but your fruit may turn brown because there’s a greater chance of air. Just peel them, remove the seed, and slice them (or halve them), then stuff them in the jar and add sugar water. Some people sprinkle sugar over them as they layer them in the jars, then just add hot water. It’s a matter of what you prefer to do.

Hot packing is more work but may end up with a fresher tasting, prettier product. Cooking the foods for a few minutes releases the air from the fibers of the fruit, shrinks the fruit, and helps with the seal.

If you want to make apple pie filling, you’ll want to hot pack them because you want to cook the apples so that the syrup thickens and the spices soak in. This means that you cook the apple pie mixture, then put it in the jars hot.

Here are some tips to help you successfully can whole fruits:

  • If you’re packing the fruit in syrup, make sure that it’s a light or medium syrup because when canned in heavy syrups, the fruit will float to the top. This will also happen if the jars aren’t packed tightly enough.
  • Another problem that you may encounter when raw packing is trapped air. We all know that air is not a good thing when canning. As a matter of fact, it contributes to several different situations in canned foods that can kill you. To help avoid this, slide a spatula or spoon down the insides of the jars to release any air pockets.
  • As your fruit processes, the syrup is going to expand, so you need to leave a half-inch or so of headspace to allow for that.
  • On the other hand, your syrup may cook down so that there’s not enough in the jar to cover the fruit. To combat this, make sure that you get as much air as possible out of the jar before sealing, and keep the jars covered with water while processing.

I hope that you’ve learned a bit about canning sweet foods that are delicious, nutritious, and beautiful. If you have anything to add, please feel free to do so in the comments section below.

And click on the banner below for more old tips on food preserving for survival!

the lost ways cover

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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The Secrets You Need To Know About Fermenting Food

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Survivopedia food fermentation

Foods have been fermented for centuries. It was used originally for preservation but modern knowledge about nutrition has revealed that fermentation provides several nutrients including probiotics, or good bacteria, that helps keep your GI tract healthy.

For survival purposes, this makes it a no-brainer but there are some things that you need to know to safely and effectively ferment foods at home.

What is Fermenting?

Fermenting is actually fairly similar to wine making, except it’s easier and you don’t need as much specialized equipment. Fermentation takes place during a process called lacto-fermentation, in which natural bacteria feed off of the sugar and other carbohydrates in the food to create lactic acid. All you need is the produce, the starter, water, and an anaerobic (air-free) environment.

Some foods are fermented using sugar as a starter, and some are preserved using salt, whey, or even seaweed. Obviously, sauerkraut is salty, but wine is sweet. In a pinch, most foods don’t need the starter because they will eventually create the starter themselves. It’s already on the skin of the produce. Salt does, however, speed up the process and help keep the food crunchy.

Fermentation preserves the nutrients in the food. It also creates other nutrients including essential Omega-3 fatty acids that your body needs but can’t produce, B vitamins, and enzymes that help with digestion. The probiotics created during the process help keep the bacteria in your GI tract in balance.

Fermentation creates a unique, pungent flavor that you may initially find overwhelming (think sauerkraut) but once you get past that, you’ll find that the flavors are actually quite delicious.

What’s the Difference between Fermenting and Pickling?

This gets bit confusing, especially when you think about the fact that salt is used in the fermentation process. So, simply put, the difference between pickling and fermenting is that pickled foods are preserved in an acidic medium such as vinegar. Fermented foods create their own acidic liquid during the fermentation process.

This process is why fermented foods have the wonderful probiotics and other enzymes that pickled foods don’t.

Also, there is no heating or canning process necessary for fermentation. In fact, heating fermented foods in order to can them will likely kill the enzymes.


What Foods Can Be Fermented?

When you think of fermenting, foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, ginger, and kimchi probably pop into mind. You may be surprised to learn that cheese, salami, bread, vinegar, and olives are other examples of fermented foods. Wine is included in there, too.  Just about any vegetable or fruit can be fermented, but not all of them, such as leafy greens, taste good.

Today, we’re concentrating on fermenting vegetables. Here are some examples of foods that ferment well:

  • Cabbage
  • Cucumbers
  • Okra
  • String beans
  • Green tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Parsnips
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Beets
  • Peppers
  • Sweet potatoes/yams
  • Ketchup

You don’t have to use just one vegetable at a time; you can combine them to create chutneys and vegetable blends.

When it comes to fruit, you can most certainly ferment them, but they need to be consumed quickly before the fermentation process turns the sugar to alcohol. You probably don’t want the kids to get drunk off the strawberries.

What Vessels Are Good for Fermentation?

Two of the best vessels to allow your food to ferment in are glass canning jars and stone crocks. You absolutely do not want to use plastic because chemicals can leach into you foods. Metal aren’t good either because the salt corrodes them.

If you choose to use canning jars, use the wide-mouthed variety. You need to use your hand or a tool to pack the veggies tightly. Self-sealing jars are ideal because they lock the air out.

If you use stone crocks, use ones that are glazed inside and, preferably, have airlocks with a release system. You can buy these online and they help you control the fermentation process by making the environment anaerobic. That being said, you can use a standard stone crock. Just make sure that the vegetables are weighted so that they stay submerged so that they ferment, and covered so that bugs can’t get into the brine.

Tips for Fermenting Food at Home

Though fermenting food is almost bulletproof, there are some steps that you can take to make the process more successful and ensure that the food is properly preserved.

  1. How you slice, dice, or cube your veggies doesn’t really matter as long as you keep the pieces fairly uniform so that they ferment at the same pace. Dense vegetables such as turnips, carrots, and beets should be sliced, diced or chopped so that the lactic acid can reach the center.
  2. Keep food submerged in the brine. This is important because food left above the brine will spoil instead of ferment and will ruin the batch.
  3. Fermented foods are acidic and need to have a pH of at least 4.6 or lower.
  4. Though botulism found in home-fermented tofu and other bean products is one of the top causes of food-borne illnesses in china, there’s only been one reported case in the US. Still, follow refrigeration and preservation protocols to avoid this. Botulism is not your friend!
  5. If your food has slime, mold (yeah, some people say it’s fine, but experts say don’t risk it for home fermenting), a creamy white film, a yeasty smell, or your cabbage is brown or pink, it didn’t ferment correctly and isn’t safe to eat. A white film on top is OK as long as there’s no slime.
  6. Be careful if using sealed containers because the fermentation process releases gases that can cause your container or seal to blow. Using airlock devices helps with this.
  7. A film of olive oil across the top of your brine lets gas out while keeping oxygen from getting in.
  8. Though many recipes may call for a starter, you may not want to buy one, or you may not have access to a retailer in a SHTF situation. You don’t really need one – it just hastens the process that will occur anyway.
  9. Don’t forget to sterilize everything that comes into contact with your food, including the jars, utensils, table top and weight. Wash your hands well, too.

How to Ferment Your Food

plumsNow we’re getting down to the good stuff.

There is no blanket recipe for fermenting foods because some veggies obviously already have a lower pH than others.

These foods won’t need as much salt. You’ll also see recipes that call for whey or a starter.

Both of these are to add extra bacteria to get the fermentation process started.

The veggies will do this on their own if you ferment them correctly, so you don’t necessarily need them. Salt is used for preservation.

There are a couple of different ways to begin the fermentation process: You can make salt water brine, or you can salt the produce and use the natural juices from the produce to make the brine.

If using salt brine, simply add 1-3 tablespoons of salt per quart of water. Pack veggies tightly into container, cover with brine, weight the veggies with a heavy plate (you can add a freezer bag full of water to the plate to help weight it if you need to, or a sterilized rock), then let it ferment as follows.

Here are the steps for using the natural juices.

  1. Choose your vegetables. Use only organic produce to ensure that there are no chemicals and the good bacteria can flourish.
  2. Begin by chopping or slicing your food in whatever manner suits you, as long as the brine can penetrate. Are you going to eat it as a relish or in the form of slices on a sandwich? Prepare you food according to what you’re going to use it for.
  3. If you’re using whole vegetables, pack them into your jars or crock. If not, salt your vegetables in layers as you slice them to draw out the moisture, then squeeze, knead, or mash the juice out of your produce and place it into your fermentation container. This will be your brine.
  4. The amount of salt you use depends on the product, but a good rule of thumb is to use 1-3 tablespoons per quart of food or brine. Any type of course sea salt (gray, black, pink, or red), or Himalayan Salt is a good choice if you don’t want the food to taste super salty.

You can use whatever salt you like as long as you make sure that it’s pure salt – no anti-caking agents or any additives. As long as you reach the proper pH, the level of salt is a matter of personal taste. Salty sauerkraut may be fine, but you don’t want your chutney to be so overpowering. Experiment to find what you like.

  1. Tightly pack the food into a fermenting crock or jar and cover completely with the brine.
  2. Add the airlock lids or, if you’re using another type of container, weight the food with a plate or whatever you want to use (not plastic) so that the food stays under the brine. The liquid, and even the veggies, will likely expand during the process, so prepare for that.
  3. Let the veggies ferment and ripen for 7-30 days in a dark place at room temperature. When they process is complete, refrigerate, vacuum can, or store in a cool, dark place. Fermented foods can keep for months.

The Three Fermentation Stages

As I said above, the fermentation process can take anywhere from 3-30 days. This varies depending upon room temperatures and vegetables. During the first stage of fermentation, you’ll notice bubbles. Next, you’ll notice a pleasant, sour aroma. It shouldn’t be yeasty, exactly.

Finally, you’ll notice a sour, tangy flavor. Smell and taste your fermenting veggies daily if you can so that you know when they’re to a stage that you like. If you smell anything rotten, the process has failed. Throw it out.

After your fermented veggies are finished, store them in the fridge, or at least in a cool, dark cellar.

Now you know how to ferment foods at home! But wait, there are more survival secrets to learn from our ancestors! Click on the banner below to discover them!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Preserve your medicinal herbs the right way!

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Preserve your medicinal herbs the right way! Cat Ellis “Herbal Prepper Live” Learn how to properly preserve your medicinal herbs on this week’s episode of Herbal Prepper Live. Just like food storage, your herbs can be preserved and stored for later use. But, if you don’t choose the right preservation method for the right herb … Continue reading Preserve your medicinal herbs the right way!

The post Preserve your medicinal herbs the right way! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

A Guide to Making and Canning Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Like an Italian Grandma

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Do you have tomatoes running out your ears?  Get more. Once you taste genuine homemade spaghetti sauce you will definitely want enough that you never have to resort to … Read the rest

The post A Guide to Making and Canning Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Like an Italian Grandma appeared first on The Organic Prepper.

Pressure Canning: 7 Survival Meals In A Jar

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Survivopedia 7 meals in a jar

OK, I’m a huge fan of fast food. By that, I don’t mean the golden arches; I’m talking about something that I can warm up and eat without putting forth much effort. I also like the idea of having ready-made meals that can be heated up in case of emergency.

Since I have to can my food at the end of the season anyway, and I always go home to help my parents since they still run the farm, my mom and I have developed some pretty delicious recipes. I also admit that I’ve snagged and adapted my share from the ‘net.

Since we all know that pressure canning is a must for low-acid food, why bother just canning green beans when you can make an awesome soup or stew instead? We just make up a huge pot of the meals, then ladle them into the jars before we cook it. The pressure canning will cook it, so cooking it in advance will just give you a jar of mush.

A couple of tips – always use a spoon or bubble remover to get the bubbles from inside the jar. Clean your rims with vinegar before placing the seals on them. Add the rack to your canner before putting your jars in. Add 4 or 5 inches of water to the canner after your jars are in the canner, or refer to your pressure canner for specific instructions. Have the water simmering when you add the jars to prevent bursting hot jars in cold water.

Without further ado, let’s get to the recipes. I’m including a bit of everything to get your creative juices flowing. Remember that anything that you cook can be canned, so there’s no need to rough it when the lights go out. You can eat easily and deliciously by candle light.

Grandma’s Chicken Soup

chicken soupPersonally, I like to add pasta to this when I’m warming it up, but you don’t want to can the pasta or else you’ll have mush.

To add it later, just toss in a handful of egg noodles when you’re warming up the soup and cook long enough for the noodles to get done.

Yields about 6 quarts.

  • 4 quarts water or chicken broth
  • 4 chicken bouillon cubes if you’re using water
  • 4 cups of chopped raw chicken
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper

Place broth (or water and bouillon) and chicken into a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil again. Ladle into quart jars, leaving 1 inch head space.

While soup is cooking, get your seals hot. After you ladle your soup into jars, clean the rims very well and add the seals and rings. Process for 90 minutes at 10 pounds.

Traditional Chili

There’s nothing better than a good chili on a cold night, or a warm one when there’s no power! You can make this a vegetarian chili by leaving the meat out, obviously. Yields about 6 quarts.

  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2 lbs. dried kidney beans
  • 2 quarts tomato juice
  • 3 tbsp. chili powder

Rinse your beans and soak them overnight. Brown the hamburger and drain well. Bring the water to a boil and add all ingredients. Boil for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat your seals in hot water. Ladle chili into jars and clean the rims well. Place in the pressure canner and cover with hot water to the bottom of the rings. Process for 90 minutes at 10 lbs.


16 Bean and Ham Soup

This one says it all. Make up a pan of cornbread and you’ve got a delicious, nutritious meal that will stick to your ribs. We don’t add all of the extra vegetables but if you’d like, feel free to toss in carrots, tomatoes, or whatever you’d like. This is the traditional, simple ham and bean country recipe. Yields about 9 quarts.

  • 2 lbs. 16 bean mix
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 4 cups chopped ham
  • Large hambone – DON’T use the neck bones because you’ll have chunks of bone. That sucks to pick out.
  • 14 cups water
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. black pepper

Soak beans overnight. Add all ingredients to a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Boil for an hour and remove the ham bone. Meanwhile, prepare your seals. Ladle soup into jars, stirring and scooping deep to make sure you get an equal amount of ham and beans in each jar. Leave 1 inch headspace and process for 90 minutes at 10 lbs.

Chicken Corn Chowder

Use a mix of brown and white chicken to add flavor to this soup. Here’s the thing – I love chowder, which means I need to use flower to thicken it. The rub here is that you can’t can with flour because it prevents the heat from getting to the center of the jar. Therefore, add a couple of tablespoons of flour mixed with enough milk to make a thick slurry when you’re warming up a quart of the soup.

  • 4 quarts water or chicken broth (use 4 bouillon cubes if using water)
  • 4 cups cubed chicken
  • 1 cup diced green onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 5 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 cups corn
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. salt

Bring the water/broth and chicken to a boil in a large stock pot. Add remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil again. Boil for 5 minutes. While it’s coming to a boil, heat your rings. Ladle the soup into quart jars, leaving 1 inch of head space. Process for 90 minutes at 10 lbs.

Sloppy Joe Filling

Who doesn’t love a good sloppy joe? It’s easy to heat up and the kids will eat it, especially if you throw a slice of cheese on it! Delicious! This yields about 6 pints.

  • 4 lbs. ground chuck
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 1 cup diced green pepper
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt

In a medium stockpot, brown the hamburger and onions. Drain. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes. While it’s simmering, get your canner and seals ready. Ladle into pint jars and wipe the rims clean. Add seals and rings and place in the canner. Process for 75 minutes at 10 lbs.

Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

It’s not a good idea to can whole cabbage rolls because it’s tough for the heat to get to the center, but you’re just going to chop it up on your plate anyway, right? So why not just can all the ingredients and call it something fancy, like “deconstructed”? It’s still delicious! This yields about 5 quarts.

  • 2 lbs. ground chuck
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium cabbage, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • 1/2 lb. mushrooms
  • 4 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. black pepper

In a medium stockpot, brown the ground chuck and onions. Drain. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for a few minutes until cabbage wilts. Meanwhile, prepare canner and seals. Ladle into jars and clean rims. Add seals and rings. Process for 90 minutes at 10 pounds.

Vegetable Beef Soup

Another stick-to-your-ribs meal. Yuuuumm. This yields about 6 quarts.

  • 3 lbs. stew meat (it doesn’t have to be expensive because the canning process will make it tender)
  • 2 quarts beef broth
  • 2 cups chopped onion (large chop)
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 cups sliced celery
  • 4 large potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups corn
  • 2 quarts canned tomatoes or 4 cups fresh chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning mix

In a large stockpot, brown the meat with 1 tsp olive oil. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 10 min. While it’s simmering, prepare your canner and seals. Ladle into jars and clean the rims well. Add seals and rings. Process for 90 minutes at 10 lbs.


Now that you have a general idea of some great pressure canned meals, get started on your own! Do you have any favorites that you’ve created or that have been in your family for generations? If so, please feel free to share them with us in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Surviving Deliciously: 5 Dry Canned Meals In Jars

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Survivopedia 5 meals in jars

You know those cool brownie mixes in a mason jar that some people give as gifts? Well, let’s take that one step further and apply the concept to prepping.

Dry canning entire meals has several benefits, and today we’ll take a look at them, and I’ll share some recipes, too.

In my article about dry canning, I discuss the methods of dry canning in detail but to sum it up, it’s canning dried foods instead of wet foods using dry heat or oxygen absorbers. The process is much easier wet canning but if you plan to use meat, you’ll want to use freeze-dried instead of dehydrated to really extend the shelf life. There are several reputable places to purchase all sorts of dehydrated and freeze-dried foods online.

5 Reasons to Dry Can Meals in Jars

You have your stockpile neatly organized. Green beans with green beans, pasta with pasta, etc. The boxes are lined up and the bags of flour and sugar are stacked, so why in the world would you want to throw a wrench in the spokes?

Better and Easier

Well, because dry canning an entire meal makes your stockpile better and easier. You can make several of the same meal all at once so that you don’t have open containers.

Keeps Bugs Out

The lights are out and the grocery stores are empty. Fortunately, you stockpiled plenty of sugar and flour, so all you have to do is build a fire and mix up some biscuits or pancakes, right? Sounds awesome, until you pour out about 100 little bugs along with your flour and sugar. Dry-canning seals out the bugs that can get into boxes and bags.

Take the Guesswork Out of Meal Planning

It’s tough for many to plan how many boxes of spaghetti, cans of peas, or cups of flour you’ll need per person per week, but if you have one meal for 4 in a quart jar (that’s about average), then that’s one meal you don’t have to worry about. No dividing cups of flour by number of people.

Keep Meals Interesting

One of the hardest things that many people who have survived catastrophe report is the need to eat the same foods over and over again. Yes, beans and rice will nourish you (sort of), but do you really want to eat variants of it daily? That may be your only option if you store food separately and have to bug out.

You can dry can soups, chili mixes, a variety of breakfast and dinner dishes, and even desserts so that you have wide variety of meals pre-made and ready to go. Many of these only require water. If you decide to bug out (or are forced to), you can always pour the contents of the jar into a plastic bag along with the recipe and toss it in your bug-out bag so you’ll have complete meals along the way. Lightweight, easy, delicious, and nutritious.

Great Way to Save Money

The cost of these recipes varies from $1 to $8 per quart jar full, not counting the price of the jar. Compare that to the cost of MREs made for camping and it’s almost mind-boggling how much you can save just doing it yourself! Once you get the hang of things, start making your own recipes and come back here to share them with us.


5 Recipes for Dry Canned Meals in Jars

OK, now that we’ve talked about some of the benefits of dry-canning meals in jars, let’s get down to the recipes. 

Penne with Mushrooms and Sausage

  • 2/3 cup tomato powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup freeze dried onion
  • 2 tbsp. freeze dried spinach
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. marjoram
  • Small pinch of thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. dried cheese blend
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup sausage crumble
  • About 1 cup penne (or whatever pasta you like)
  • 1/3 cup freeze dried mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp. diced carrots

If you have extra room, stuff more pasta in. Remember to keep gently shaking/tapping the jar to settle the ingredients as you add them to the jar.

Directions: Pour the contents of a jar into a large skillet and add 4 1/2-5 cups simmering water. Simmer for 15 minutes or until pasta is cooked and the sauce is thickened, stirring frequently. Add a bit more water if necessary.

Cheesy Hamburger Macaroni

You can make this cheesy if you want, or you can skip the cheese and just make it cream of soup – style. You can also substitute a couple of cheese sauce packets from mac and cheese for first 4 ingredients. You can also add some freeze-dried veggies if you’d like, if there’s room or if you’re using Mylar bags.

  • 2 tbsp. sour cream powder
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 cup freeze-dried cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp. dried onion
  • 1/4 cup instant non-fat dry milk
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • ½ cup freeze-dried ground beef
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric (adds color and nutritional value)

Directions: Pour contents of jar along with 6 cups of water into a large skillet. Bring to a boil and cover. Reduce to a simmer for 12 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring frequently. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Universal Bread Mix (or Cinnamon Roll Mix) in a Jar

Bread really helps you stretch portions and this recipe yields about a 10-inch loaf of bread or a dozen rolls. It’s great for breakfast cinnamon rolls, too. When sealed, this mix will store for at least 3 years.

  • 2 tbsp. instant potato flakes
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. instant non-fat dry milk
  • 1tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp. powdered butter
  • 3 cups + 2 tbsp. bread flour (feel free to substitute 1/2 cup whole grain flour for ½ cup of the bread flour if you’d like)
  • 1 packet rapid-rise yeast

Pour the bread mix into a bowl and add the yeast. Add 1 cup warm water stir until it’s kneadable (is that a word?). You’ll need to add a bit more water, but do so slowly until the dough is elastic – neither dry nor sticky.

Knead for 5 minutes then shape into round ball and cover, rubbing a tsp or so of oil over the top to keep it from drying out. Allow to rise until double in size (60-90 min). Punch down, knead for a couple more minutes and shape into loaf or rolls. Allow to rise again.

Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes. To make cinnamon rolls, just roll the dough out after the first rise, slather with butter, sugar and cinnamon, roll it up, slice it, and follow the directions listed above, though baking time may be a bit less.

Breakfast Sausage and Egg Hash

We all need breakfast, and this one is hearty and delicious. Keep the egg mixture separate from the meat and potatoes because they only take a few minutes, whereas the meat and potatoes will take several minutes to rehydrate.

I like to add a pack of sausage gravy mix to the jar, too. I just slide it down the side of the jar and press it to the glass so that it doesn’t take up much space.

Place directly in jar:

  • 1 packet country gravy mix (use mix that requires water, not milk)
  • 2 cups diced dehydrated potatoes
  • 1 cup freeze-dried sausage (the real stuff)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Put in small fold-top sandwich baggie on top of potatoes and sausage in the jar:

  • 1/3 cup powdered eggs
  • 1/3 cup freeze dried cheddar cheese or cheese powder
  • 1/3 cup freeze dried bell peppers (optional but nutritious)
  • 2 tbsp. freeze dried mushrooms (again, optional)

Directions: Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large skillet along with 4 cups of boiling water. Let them rehydrate, then drain any extra water. Cook for 10-15 minutes.

While the potatoes/sausage mix is cooking, combine the egg baggie with 2/3 cup cold water (only 1/3 if you didn’t add the veggies) and whisk together well. Let it rehydrate for 5 minutes, then cook in a separate skillet, or pour right in over the potatoes and sausage when they’re nearly done and cook them all together for the last few minutes.

Make gravy as directed on packet and pour over the sausage/potatoes/eggs.

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham Skillet Meal

Tip: Substitute 2 boxes of scalloped potatoes along with the cheese mix for the first 3 ingredients. Of course, if you buy in bulk, making the recipe as written will be much more cost-effective.

Tip: To make it vegetarian, substitute other veggies for the ham. Good choices include broccoli, peas or other greens that will add nutrition.

  • 2 1/2 cups dehydrated potato slices
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup powdered cheese sauce
  • 1/2 cup instant milk
  • 2 tbsp. dried onion
  • 1/2 cup freeze dried ham (no substitutions)
  • 2 tbsp. freeze-dried carrots
  • 1/2 cup freeze dried mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. butter powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Pour ingredients of jar into a large skillet and add 6 cups of water. Stir to mix while bringing to a simmer. Simmer for 12 minutes or until potatoes and ham are tender. Sauce will thicken as it cools.

And here’s another one:

Video first seen on Linda’s Pantry.

3 Tips to Remember 

And here are some tips to do it right:

Tip: Once you have the jar sealed, label the lid and place the recipe inside of fold-over sandwich bag and tape it to the outside of the jar. I do this for two reasons:  it keeps the directions from fading or smearing, and if I want to pour the meal into a large zipper bag to take with me on the fly, I can peel the directions off and toss them in the bag, too.

Tip: For pasta dishes, I add the pasta first, then add the spices so that they settle through the pasta instead of taking up space at the bottom.

Tip: Instead of using jars, you can always use Mylar bags if you’d like, though that can get expensive and the bags aren’t rodent-proof.

These are just a few recipes to get you started and in the right frame of mind. I wanted to include some go-to recipes that include breakfast, pasta, potatoes, and bread so that you have a good base. I really recommend using oxygen absorbers instead of the oven method, especially in meat or egg dishes. That way, you know that the oxygen levels in the jar are nil or almost nil so that bacteria can’t grow.

There is much more to find out about long term food storage. Click on the banner below for more knowledge on homesteading and survival!

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Now, start thinking and experimenting so you can share some ideas with the rest of us! If you’ve already made up some meals in a jar, please tell us about your experience (and share your recipe!) in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Hardtack: A Simple DIY Survival Food From History

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Survivopedia homemade hardtack

With only two ingredients and a little time you can stockpile a survival food that’s been used for centuries. Let’s take a lesson out of the history books and learn from various soldiers, sailors, and explorers throughout time.

It’s time to look at hardtack.

Hardtack is a simple survival food. It’s really inexpensive to create, and lasts for years. In fact, there’s still some on display from the Civil War that’s still good.

The most basic of recipes call for only two ingredients: all-purpose flour and water.  Other recipes call for additional ingredients, but the basic recipe has stood the test of time. We’ll start with that one.

Hardtack provided nutrition for hard times throughout history. It’s a good source of carbohydrates. If you keep it and protein-rich pemmican in your bug out bag, you’ll have sustenance to keep you alive for a while.

It’s also a good addition to your supply of emergency food. You just have to ensure you keep it away from pests and moisture. If the bugs get it, you’ll find weevils living in your stored food. If the hardtack gets wet, it’s prone to mold.

Making Hardtack

corbis imagesHardtack is simple to prepare. Before you begin, turn your oven on to 350 degrees.

It won’t take long to mix your hardtack up and you want your oven ready when you are.

Now, get yourself a big bowl. Measure out two cups of all-purpose flour and dump in.

Next, slowly add a half-cup of water and stir.

Keep adding water, a tablespoon or two at a time.

Your goal is to achieve a thick dough that’s just slightly sticky. A thick playdough type consistency.

While many recipes tell you exactly how much water to add, it really varies quite a bit. Your humidity, the dryness of your flour, and the type of flour you’re using all play an important role.

A rough estimate is ½ the amount of flour. So for two cups of flour, you’d need about one cup of water.

If you accidentally add too much water and your dough is pasty, just add some more flour. Once it’s the right consistency, mix it for a couple of minutes. This will ensure your moisture is evenly distributed throughout the whole batch.

Now it’s time to roll out your dough. A rolling pin works best, but in a pinch you can just pat it out with your hands. You’ll want to roll the dough until it’s somewhere between ½ an inch and a ¼ of an inch thick. Any thicker, and it’ll be even harder to eat when it’s dried.

Once it’s thin enough, you can cut the dough. A pizza cutter works really well, but so does a sharp knife. If you want your hardtack to look uniform, you can pull out a ruler and cut it into 3X3 pieces. Or use a biscuit cutter and have round pieces. Otherwise, just cut it into rectangles that are roughly the same size.

Grab a chopstick or a clean nail, and dock each piece. Docking means you poke holes in it, but don’t go all the way through. You’ll want to poke about sixteen holes in each piece, with four rows of four. It’ll resemble a modern day saltine cracker.

Then flip over each piece and dock the other side. Docking your hardtack will keep it from puffing up in the oven. It’ll also help ensure the moisture gets out by allowing the steam to escape.

Place your docked hardtack pieces on a cookie sheet. You’ll want to bake them for 30 minutes. When the time is up, remove and flip over each piece.

Bake them for another 30 minutes before removing them from the oven. They should be fairly hard at this point.

You’ll want to set your hardtack pieces on a rack to continue drying. Let them sit out at room temperature for a couple of days. They’ll be hard as bricks when they’re fully dry.

Storing Hardtack

Proper storage is essential for optimal shelf-life. You can pack the hard tack into glass Mason jars, or metal tins. These will keep the moisture out better than regular Ziploc style bags.

You can also store them in vacuum-sealed bags. No matter how you keep them, you want to prevent moisture and bugs from getting in.

Video first seen on SNO Multimedia.

Eating Hardtack

Now that you know how to make and store hardtack, let’s talk about storage. While hardtack will help your belly feel full in an emergency situation, it can be difficult to eat. That’s because it’s so hard.

Back in the day, this survival food was commonly called “tooth-breakers.” Make sure you don’t bite into it directly with your front teeth. They can break.

Of course if you’re a parent to a baby, you’ll find a benefit from the hardness. A chunk of hardtack makes a good teething biscuit. Just be sure to provide supervision with it to ensure a small chunk doesn’t break off and become a choking hazard.

If you don’t desire to simply gnaw on a chunk of hardtack all day, there are other ways to eat it. Here are a few common methods:


As hardtack sits in moisture, it absorbs it and becomes softer. You can soak your piece in just about anything. Coffee, soup, and water have all been used historically.

Another benefit of soaking the hardtack is bug removal. During early wars, proper storage wasn’t always possible. Weevils became prevalent in this grain-based ration.

Once placed in liquid, the bugs began to float to the top. Diners could easily scoop them off the top and discard them before eating.


After cooking up salt pork, soaked hardtack can be fried in the grease. This adds flavor and fat, helping to make it more palatable.

As a Thickener

You can crumble your hardtack with a pestle and mortar. If you don’t have one accessible, you can take a lesson from soldiers and hit it with the barrel of your rifle until it breaks. Once it’s powdery, you can stir it into a stew. It’ll act as a thickener and add some caloric bulk to your recipe.

As a Holder for Spreads

Many people have used hardtack as a bread of sorts. When you add a moisture-rich spread like soft cheese, honey, or peanut butter and jelly, the moisture will slowly soften your hardtack.

Using Hardtack Creatively

You don’t have to be limited to the above recipes when eating hardtack. With a little creativity, you can turn these hard squares of dried flour into many dishes. Here are two more ideas for you to try.

Slather it with pizza sauce and toppings and make yourself a mini-pizza. Just be sure to cut it before consuming so you don’t break a tooth.

Soak your hardtack overnight in buttermilk. In the morning, fry it up in butter or bacon grease. Serve with maple syrup and call it a pancake.

Recipe Variations

Since basic hardtack tastes a lot like flour, many variations of the original recipe have crept up. While the addition of salt, seasoning, oil, or protein powder may improve the taste, they do have an impact on long-term storage ability.

If you decide to make a batch of one of these recipes, inspect your hardtack closely before consuming. Make sure it’s still hard and hasn’t started to go soft. Be on the lookout for any mold growth. You might even decide to make a new batch every year or so, just to ensure your supply is good when you need it.

Adding Salt

To your original recipe, just add 2 teaspoons of salt. Then, continue as directed above. It’ll help improve the flavor.

Adding Seasoning

Hardtack is pretty bland. You can add some other seasonings like garlic or onion powder to the original recipe to enhance the flavor. Feel free to add your favorite seasoning blends as well.

You can even experiment a bit within a single batch. Before you roll it out, break your dough into smaller chunks. Add different seasonings to each, and then continue with the recipe. This will allow you to take notes on what you like or don’t like before committing to making an entire batch.

Adding Fats

Several recipes online call for the addition of about a tablespoon of shortening, butter, or oil. While the added fat would help improve the texture, it is prone to becoming rancid. This addition is better served for short-term storage.

Substituting the Flour

All-purpose flour is not the most nutritious flour out there. But, it stores well since most of the oil from the bran has been removed. By simply experimenting with the flour you use, you can change up your hardtack.

Give whole-wheat flour a try to increase the nutrients. Try substituting a cup of flour for a cup of cornmeal. Or a cup of protein powder to add protein to your emergency ration.

Hardtack is an excellent DIY addition to your survival food stores. When properly stored, it can be added to this list of foods that’ll last longer than you do!

Have you made hardtack? With the endless variations, I know I didn’t cover them all. What are your favorite additions or ways to use your hardtack?

Leave a comment below and share your tips with all the readers. And click on the banner below to get more tips on how our ancestors survived!

the lost ways cover

This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia.

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Canning Peaches!

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So the peaches on my one tree finally got ripe and it was time to pick them. Phil and I picked the ones we could reach and then we used the can (although we use the bottom of a Poweraid bottle) on a stick trick to try to get the ones we couldn’t reach. It worked but not well so there was still a lot of peaches left even after we had a big basket and grocery bag full.
That problem was solved yesterday when some storms came through.

Yeah, half the tree just bent right over. Too many peaches, then water weight on the leaves and it was way too heavy. It did not break the tree but I will have to cut it back pretty good this year because those branches aren’t going back up even though I have picked the peaches now.

Yes, three more bags of peaches.

It sounds so simple to can peaches when you read it on a website. Just pop them in boiling water, then cold water and the skins will just peel right off…….LIES! Ha, yeah, that only worked for the larger, riper peaches, the smaller, harder peaches (which was 75% of them) have skin that just doesn’t come off and you spend forever peeling them. Then the website said just look for the line already on the peach and cut on it and most of the peaches will just break in half….LIES! I had one that broke in half…..some had oddly shaped pits, some had pits that weren’t entirely in the center…most would not come away from the pits at ALL! In the end, once the big peaches were done and I was stuck with the smaller ones, I just sat down and peeled them with a paring knife and cut off all the good peach parts I could.  I used Fruit Fresh to keep the peaches from turning brown while I peeled (forever! a whole large bowl for ONE quart!).
I made a sugar syrup of 1 cup sugar to one quart of water and put the peeled peach pieces in the jars, added the syrup, made sure to remove the air bubbles but running a knife through it, cleaned the rims and then water bath canned for 20 minutes.

Yup, a whole 8 quarts for 5 hours (5 HOURS!) worth of work. Tomorrow I will have to do some more (I am thinking about peach jam ) because there are still 2 1/2 bags of small peaches left.

How To Dry Can Food For Survival

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Survivopedia dry canning

Wouldn’t it be great to just reach for a jar and know that all you had to do was add water, juice or broth and everything would be ready to cook? Dry canning is also a good way to extend the life of some dehydrated foods and to keep your dried goods fresh and bug-free.

I have some great tips and instructions to help you get started with your own dry canning projects.

What is Dry Canning?

Dry canning, also referred to as dry packing, has essentially the same purpose as traditional water bath canning: you want to extend the life of the food by storing it in sealed jars so that bacteria that can cause illness or spoilage can’t get in. Dry-canned foods can be good for 30 years or more as long as the seal remains intact.

The difference, as the name suggests, is that you’re not going to be using any type moisture; not in the food or in the process. In fact, the idea of dry canning is to keep moisture OUT. There are a couple of different methods that you can use to dry can your dried goods.

Note to Keep You from Drying Painfully

Yeah, the heading got your attention, didn’t it? Because we’re dealing with canning dried goods, we have to talk about botulism. I’ve talked about it in other articles, including my one on canning meat, but it bears repeating. Botulism spores thrive in high-moisture, low-salt, low-acid environments.

Any food with a pH lower than 4.6 is considered low-acid. This includes most vegetables, some fruits such as pears and bananas, and all meats. Drastically reducing the risk of botulism is one of the main reasons that most water traditional canning recipes call for adding lemon juice, vinegar, or citric acid to the food when you can it.

Dehydrating is a good way to preserve low-acid foods too. The key to doing it safely is to dry it until it has less than 10 percent moisture; a good rule of thumb is that the food snaps in half when it’s done. Grains will be hard and unable to bite.

freezing vs drying

Dry Canning Using Oxygen Absorbers

This is the preferred method for a lot of preppers because it’s easy and it’s thorough. Basically, you have two options.

First, you can use standard mason jars. Sterilize your jars and seals, add the dried food, then toss in an oxygen absorber before you put the seals and lids on. Make sure that your jars and seals are dried well after you sterilize them. You don’t need the seal to be hot when you put it on the jar; the oxygen absorber will seal it cold.

You can also use Mylar bags and food-grade buckets. Put your food and oxygen absorbers into the bags, seal them, then store them in the bucket.

The oxygen absorber isn’t edible but it’s not toxic, either. The active ingredient is iron oxide, so it doesn’t release any type of harmful gas and doesn’t affect the taste or smell of the food. It’s a great way to preserve any type of dried food from flour to cold cereal. You can use these to preserve your dried meats, too.

Just remember that if you’re dry-canning dehydrated meat, your shelf life still isn’t going to be as long as other foods because usually meat still contains enough moisture or fat to spoil or go rancid eventually. Trimming as much fat and tendon off the meat and dehydrating it after soaking it for 24 hours in a high-salt, high-acidic marinade helps extend the shelf life of your meat, too.

Some sites will tell you that it’s OK to use hand warmers to dry-can your food, but it’s not. That’s fine to use with your guns, ammo, and other non-food items that need to stay dry, but it’s not food-safe.

You can also store foods in PETE plastic bottles using oxygen absorbers. They’re lighter and less bulky than mason jars. Make sure that the bottles have screw on lids with plastic or rubber seals in them. To test to see if your bottle will seal, screw the lid on and submerse it in water. Squeeze. If air rushes out of the bottle and you get bubbles, the bottle won’t work. Just make sure that the bottles and lids are sterile before you pack them.

Dry Canning Using Vacuum Sealers

Did you know that you can use your vacuum sealer to seal dried foods in mason jars? Well, now you do. You can get a jar sealer for your vacuum sealer and suck all of the air right out. The jar will seal and you’ll be good to go. This isn’t great for powdery substances but is OK for foods such as beans, pasta, etc. The powdery stuff gunks up your machine.

One word of warning here: this is a good method if you’re just shooting for storage of foods such as flour that you don’t really have to worry about spoiling, but it doesn’t necessarily get enough air out to prevent the growth of mold. You need less than .02% oxygen for that and there’s not really any way to know how much oxygen is left in the jar with vacuum sealers.

Many people assume that as long as the jar is sealed, the food is safe, and usually that’s correct but there’s always that one-in-a-thousand chance that it’s not. Oxygen absorbers, when used as directed, take oxygens levels down to about .01 percent.

Dry Canning in the Oven

This is one of those topics where people stand on either side of the creek and throw rocks at each other. There are those who swear that they’ve safely preserved their dried goods using this method for years without a problem. On the other side, there are those who say it’s dangerous and should never be done.

As with everything, both sides are right. You can dry can in the oven for years with no problems, but there’s always the chance that the jars are going to explode in the heat.

Now I will lean slightly in the direction of the naysayers in one area: foods that have more than 10% moisture or have any significant fat content (including nuts) shouldn’t be dry-canned because the chance of bacterial growth or rancidity. You also can’t dry-can brown sugar and you absolutely CAN NOT replace water bath or pressure canning wet foods with oven canning.

Personally, I’ve dry-canned flour and some blended recipes in the oven and haven’t had a problem. Of course, I’m super cautious and use common sense. Besides the whole fat and moisture thing, I also never let my jars heat or cool too quickly, but then again, I do the same thing when I’m canning wet foods.

The theory that the jars will explode because of the heat bemuses me a bit because I put them in a pressure canner and expose them to an environment that, to me, is much more severe than a 200-degree oven. However, you’re on your own here. Do it at your own risk, as you do everything.

If you decide to dry can using your oven, here’s how to do it:

  • I’m weird about bacteria and you should be, too. I always sterilize my jars before I do anything with them; even dry-can. Just let them dry for several hours because they need to be thoroughly dry.
  • One of the biggest issues that many naysayers have about dry canning is that oven temps vary so the food may not reach a temperature high enough to kill bacteria. I’m pretty sure this one’s covered by using my oven thermometer. You should probably do the same.
  • Place your clean jars on the counter with a cookie sheet at the ready. Using a funnel if you’d like, fill them with your dry food of choice (beans, flour, brownie mix, pasta, whatever), leaving about 1/2 inch of head space.
  • GENTLY tap the jar on the counter when you think that it’s full to help the product settle so that you can pack them as tightly as possible. This also helps remove air pockets.
  • Wipe the rim with a dry (or SLIGHTLY damp) cloth to get any crumbs or dust off of the rim and set the jar on the cookie sheet.
  • Repeat until all jars are full.
  • Place in the oven and set it at 200 degrees. Note that I didn’t say to preheat the oven – you want the jars to heat gradually, remember?
  • Watch your oven thermometer. When it reaches 200 degrees, set your timer for 1 hour.
  • At the end of the hour, remove the first jar. Don’t take them all out at once for 2 reasons. First, if you’re like me, you’ll drop the sheet and waste all of your work. Plus, you’ll likely end up with all of that broken glass that you’re trying to avoid. Second, you want each jar to remain hot until you’re ready to put the seal on it.
  • Lay a dish towel out where you’re going to be cooling the jars. Wipe the rim of the jar again, gently, and place the seal on it. Put the band on securely but not overly tight. Set it on the dish towel.
  • Repeat with each jar, then turn off the oven.
  • Cover the jars with a lightweight towel and let them cool for several hours or overnight. (I use the same method with my water-canned foods. It was just the way I was taught in order to prevent the glass from cooling too quickly. Again, this may be overkill on my part, but I do it anyway.)
  • If you made a mix, such as biscuit mix or soup mix, attach a recipe to the jar. Otherwise, just label and date it like you do your other canned goods.

Test your jars to make sure that they’ve sealed. Just as with water canning, you may hear the ping or you may not. Touch the top to see if the seal is pulled in and can’t be pushed in with your finger. Store jars that don’t seal in the pantry and use them first.

If you have a problem with the seal, you likely didn’t get the rims clean enough.

Storing our food long-term is critical to our survival if SHTF and we lose our modern sources of food. Dry canning food is also a good way to save money because food is almost always cheaper when you buy it in bulk. Oh, and don’t forget bugs. Maybe it’s just me, but weevil pancakes are gross even though they are a source of protein.

If you’ve dry canned using any of the methods above or have any other ideas or questions about dry canning, please share it in the comments section below! And click on the banner to get more about ancient ways to preserve food and water!


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.


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How To Rehydrate And Prepare Your Preserved Food

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Survivopedia canning preserved food

You’ve stockpiled your heart out and have a great variety of foods to get you through if there’s a short-term emergency or a real disaster scenario.

Now, the problem is figuring out how to actually use these foods. You have dehydrated, freeze-dried, canned and dried foods, but how do you make them edible?

Today we’re going to talk about how to use the preserved food in your stockpile.

What You Need to Know about Your Canned Food

Before we start talking about actually cooking, there are a couple of details that we should discuss.

First Rule: Check if Your Canned Food has Spoiled

There’s a wicked little bacteria out there called Clostridium botulinum. It’s a neurotoxin that causes cramps, nausea, vomiting, double vision, difficulty swallowing, breathing or speaking, weakness, and/or paralysis. Symptoms appear 12-72 hours after you consume it and it only takes the tiniest bit (umm, 2 BILLIONTHS of a gram) to make you horribly sick or even dead.

If this happens now, call 911 as soon as you suspect it. If you don’t have access to a hospital, you’re basically depending on luck and a good immune system. There are also some natural remedies that may help but even the standard treatment is an antitoxin that blocks circulation of the toxin in your bloodstream to keep it from getting worse.

If you’re lucky, you’ll feel better in a week to 10 days, but complete recovery can take three months to a year and most people afflicted with botulism never fully recover. Symptoms still present after a year will most likely be permanent. So, avoid it. It’s worse than the plague.

Botulism spores thrive in low-acid, low-oxygen, high moisture environments, which includes most canned vegetables and meats. If you look at your jar and see bubbles in it before you pick it up, be concerned. If the seal is bulging, leaking or there’s a decided release of pressure when you open the jar, pitch it. If it looks cloudy when it should be clear, pitch it.

8 signs of canned food

Check out my article here if you’d like to learn to safely can low-acid foods. Number one goal of survival is … survival. Don’t get botulism. Period.


The first and most important part of maintaining a good stockpile is to rotate your stock. When you’re choosing a product, make sure that it’s the oldest in the bunch. The easiest way to do this is to practice FIFO – First In, First Out. The first foods you buy are obviously the oldest, so they should be the first foods you use.

I use most of my stockpile as my regular pantry foods in order to make sure that my stockpile stays fresh, so this is easy. I just put the newest products in the back of the row when I’m putting away your food. That way, the oldest product will always be in the front.

This is super important because it would be a shame to lose the back half of your stockpile because it goes bad. Even if it’s still edible, most foods lose at least some of their nutritional value over time. This is a problem that’s too easy to solve – just practice FIFO!

Now, let’s talk about what to do with all of this food that you’ve invested so much time, effort, and money into stockpiling

How to Cook Rice

Whether you stockpiled instant rice or standard rice, it’s an extremely simple dish to prepare and you can eat it plain or flavor it with just about anything. It’s also a great source of carbohydrates.

Rice is, of course, a grain so it’s dry. The basic ratio of water to rice is easy to remember: 1 part rice to 2 parts water. In other words, use at least twice as much water as you do rice. Doesn’t matter what you use to measure, it’s nearly always 1:2. The difference is in the preparation of instant or standard.

To cook instant rice, bring the water (and a pinch of salt) to a boil, then add the rice, remove from heat, and cover for several minutes while the rice rehydrates. For standard rice, rinse it first if you have enough available water. Then put the rice, salt and water over heat and cover with a lid. Boil for 10-15 minutes at a slow boil/simmer until it’s tender and the water is gone.

Rehydrating Dehydrated and Freeze-Dried Food

You can dehydrate just about any food and it’s a great way to preserve food long-term as long as you do it right and get all but about 10 percent of the moisture out. It doesn’t store as long as canned foods or grains but it’s lightweight and versatile.

To rehydrate food, you need to soak it in liquid. You can do that in one of three ways:

  • Soak in water
  • Boil in water
  • Cook in another liquid such as broth or juice

The great thing about dried foods is that you can combine them to make just about anything. For example, you can rehydrate dried onions with dried potatoes, then sauté them for some delicious hash browns. Toss in some dried herbs and the dish is even more delicious.

Soak your dried food in water for 20-30 minutes or until it’s soft. If you’ve chosen to rehydrate your food as you cook it, such as you would when making a spaghetti sauce with dried peppers, onions, and herbs, just toss them into the tomato juice and let it cook.

If you’d like, store some dried ingredients for dishes such as these together when you dry them, then seal them in a Mylar bag and label it. Then it’s ready to toss into your bug-out bag as a ready-mixed meal.

Here are two tips to help you best rehydrate food.

  • Don’t add salt or sugar during the first several minutes or rehydration because either one will inhibit the process.
  • Foods that take longer to dehydrate take the longest to rehydrate. Diced onions will rehydrate much faster than jerky.

Check out my article on how to make jerky from beginning to end – it’s delicious!

How to Cook Beans

Beans are packed in protein and store forever. They also contain a mild toxin that causes gastrointestinal issues such as gas and bloating. Kidney beans contain a more extreme toxin and eating raw or undercooked kidney beans can make you extremely ill, and can even kill you.

By soaking beans and cooking them correctly, you can avoid this, and it also makes it easier for your body to digest them and absorb the nutrients from them. Fortunately, the process is easy but beans aren’t something you’re going to be able to cook quickly unless you’ve already pre-cooked them and canned them.

Start by washing your beans after picking out any rocks or debris that may be in them. Cover them with water and a cloth and let them soak overnight. When you’re ready to cook them, put them in an appropriately-sized pot. Beans will double in size by the time they’re ready to eat.

Add about twice as much water as beans, then add salt and pepper. Toss in a ham hock or some ham chunks or bacon if you’d like – it makes them delicious! Cook the beans for 2-4 hours or until they’re tender, adding water as necessary. I generally put a lid on them but tilt it so that the steam can escape just to keep the stove clean.

One forgotten trick for cooking beans properly (especially kidney beans and white beans) is to change the water three times during preparation. Cook the beans in a pot with water and let them boil for 10 minutes. Use a colander to drain the beans, put them back in the pot, add water and cook again for 10 minutes before repeating the operation. After changing the water three times, you may add vegetables or bacon and season on your own choice, while boiling the beans for 1-2 hours.

canning beans

Preparing Frozen Food

As long as you have power, you may also have stored food by freezing it. It’s a great method as long as you’ve stored it well and you use it before it goes bad. How long food stores frozen depends upon how well you wrapped it before you froze it. Vacuum sealing is definitely the best way but plastic freezer bags work, too.

Most foods will stay good for up to a year or longer if it’s vacuum packed, though vegetables tend to freezer burn faster. Also, foods keep longer in larger chunks.

To properly defrost food, it should be done in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave.

To use the fridge, move the food from the freezer to the fridge several hours to a day before you want to use it. A good rule of thumb for larger items such as turkeys is that it requires 24 hours in the fridge to defrost for every 5 lbs. of meat. Use within 24 hours.

To use cold water to thaw it faster, submerge the plastic-covered food in cold tap water and change the water every 30 minutes. You want to make sure that whatever you’re defrosting is sealed. If it isn’t, bacteria from the air can get into the meat, or water could damage the flavor and texture of it. Cook within 24 hours of defrosting. If you’re not cooking it immediately, refrigerate it immediately.

To use a microwave to defrost food, cook as directed on your microwave. Because this method can bring the meat to the temperature that allows for bacterial growth but doesn’t kill it, you need to cook food immediately after you defrost it in the microwave. Before refreezing food defrosted in a microwave, cook it first.

Now that you have some basic ideas about how to make delicious foods with items that you’ve stockpiled in an altered form, get cooking! It’s always best to know how to use these methods BEFORE you actually need to know. Practice makes perfect! If you have anything to add, please feel free to do so in the comments section below.


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Survival Secrets From Your Garden: How to Use Roses

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SVP roses for survivalThey’re beautiful, they smell great, and they’re the chosen gift for everything from saying, “I love you”, to “I’m  sorry”.

Roses are probably the best known of all flowers, but there is much more to them than just a pretty face. They’re a great plant to grow for survival. Read the article so see how many survival uses they have!

Plant Roses as a Defensive Measure

As you know, every rose has its thorns! In this case, that’s a great thing. If given a plain fence to jump over, or a hedge of thorny roses, raiders are going to choose the easy path.

Also, roses provide great cover. You can plant trellises of them around your garden and people will assume that you have a flower garden and be less likely to sneak in to take a peek around. You basically have an edible defense system!

Both rose petals and rose hips, the little berries that show up on the rose bush in the spring, are edible. It’s likely that you’ve heard of rose hip tea but you probably never thought of popping a petal into your mouth. Before we get into some of the great ways to use roses, let’s set some guidelines.

You’ll want to grow roses that are great for creating cover and for use in recipes, so choose carefully. Heirlooms are great, but base your decision on roses that suit your needs for flavor, scent, and defense.

Find Roses that Smell Good

Likely, if you like the way a rose smells, you’ll like the way it tastes. Some roses, such as red roses, tea roses, or endless blooming roses have very little flavor or smell but yellows, whites, and pinks usually have pleasing scents and tastes.

rosa damascenaAnd the most renowned for its scent is Rosa Damascena, which has been brought from Central Asia a thousand years ago.

These roses were traditionally used for making jelly, oil, and cosmetics.

The tip of the rose petal where it joins the base of the flower is often bitter, so you may want to avoid eating those.

Make sure that your roses aren’t coated in fertilizers or herbicides. That would obviously be bad.

The best time to pick your rose petals are in midmorning after the dew has dried up but before the heat of the day has settled in. You can store them in the fridge for up to a week.

Rose Petal Vinegar

This may not exactly be the first thing that you think of when you hear the word “roses”, but rose petal vinegar is relatively easy to make and has some pretty amazing health benefits.

To start, consider the benefits of the base. You can use any type of vinegar that you’d like but apple cider vinegar has a ton of health benefits too, so you’ll get more bang for your buck using it.

Internally, rose petal vinegar is purported to be good for stopping bleeding, discharging phlegm, and relieving PMS, hot flashes and inflammation. It’s also calming and good for relieving depression and mental and physical fatigue.

Externally, it’s good for toning and refreshing your skin, evening skin tone, relieving skin conditions and blemishes, and preventing or reducing wrinkles. Gargle it for relief of a sore throat. Rose vinegar is good for soothing sunburn and relieving the itch of bug bites.

Oh, and it makes a delicious salad dressing! Depending on your preferences, there are many ways to work this into recipes. To make rose vinegar, simply follow these steps:

  • place 3 ounces of rose petals in a jar,
  • cover with 16 ounces of organic ACV (or whichever vinegar you prefer),
  • cover, then let it sit for at least 5 days.

The longer you let it sit, the better. Store in a cool, dark place and it will last 6 months or more.

Rose Petal Oil

Many of the benefits of rose vinegar are found in rose petal oil, but without the smell of vinegar. The thing about making essential oils is that it typically requires a distillation process which is a bit complicated for a beginner. Instead, you can make an infusion by using an oil base.

Good oils to start with include olive, coconut, jojoba, and almond so just go with what you prefer. Use roses that have just begun to open and pick the petals midmorning.

To make the oil:

  • Pick 1/4 cup rose petals and place them in a plastic storage bag. Use a small mallet or can to gently bruise them to release the oil.
  • Place the bruised petals in a small jar and add 1/2 cup oil to them. Seal the jar up and let it set overnight. Strain the petals from the oil and add another 1/4 cup crushed petals and repeat the process until the oil is scented strongly enough to suit you.

Health benefits include nervous system rejuvenation, relief of depression or anxiety, inflammation relief, fever reduction, and antiseptic qualities.

Homemade Soapsoap-635391_640

Rose petals and rose petal oil are great ingredients to include in your soap.

It’s wonderfully relaxing when used in a relaxing bath and it makes you smell great, too.

You can either place the petals directly into the soap, which also makes it pretty, or you can use the oil that you made before.

Rose Petal Syrup

This syrup is delicious to use with everything from pancakes to tea, and it’s easy to make, too. The color and flavor of the rose will determine the flavor and color of the syrup so choose a rose petal that you love. Here’s the recipe:


  • 1 cup rose petals, tightly packed
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 cups sugar


Put the rose petals and water in a wide, deep pan and let it sit overnight. In the morning, add the sugar to the water and cook the mixture at a simmer until it thickens to syrup consistency. Allow to cool. Strain the rose petals out and pour the syrup into a bottle with a snug lid.

Rose Jelly

Ahh…one of the most delicate signs that spring has arrived is the blooming roses in the yard. That brings to mind my grandma’s rose jelly. She always left a few of the petals in the jelly to make it pretty.

In other words, canning is very effective as a means of storage and, when canned properly, fruits and even flowers will last for a decade or longer.

You want to use really fragrant roses for this, and the color will, of course, determine the color of the jelly. Choose roses that are almost fully open but not fading.


  • 2 pints tightly packed, cleaned rose petals
  • 14 oz. granulated sugar
  • 3.5 oz. super fine sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 pint water
  • 2.5 fluid oz. liquid pectin


Combine both sugars and the water in a large pan. Heat it until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the petals and allow to cool. Let the petals steep in the syrup for 3-4 hours. While you’re waiting, sterilize your jars and get your seals and rings ready.

Strain the petals from the liquid. Add the lemon juice (the color will sharpen), then return to heat. Bring to a slow boil and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the pectin. If you’d like to add a few petals back in for aesthetic reasons, now would be the time. Return to a boil and boil slowly for another 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to rest for a couple of minutes. Pour your brand new rose jelly into your jars and clean the rims. Add the seals and rings and allow to cool.

rose jellyRose jelly makes an absolutely beautiful gift as well as a delicious addition to breakfast!

Scenting Pillows

As we’ve already discussed, roses have a calming, mentally boosting effect that makes them great for scenting pillows. My grandmother used to store rose blossoms in her towel closets and may sometimes even throw a few into the dryer as she dried the pillowcases.

This is only the beginning of a very long list of great uses for rose petals. You can make rose tea, rose honey, and even rose shampoo or just hair rinse. Hopefully, I’ll be writing more on this soon!

If you have any good rose-related tips or recipes you’d like to share, please do so in the comments section below.

the lost ways cover

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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How to Make Yeast For Long-Term Storage

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big yeast

Bread, beer, and wine are all foods that have been part of history for eons, but they all require yeast to make. What if SHTF? Packaged yeasts are great, but they have a shelf-life and in order to make your own bread daily, you’d have to stockpile way too much to get you through.

Isn’t it better to know how to make your own?

Read on, and you’ll have the yeast to make bread, alcoholic beverages and other goodies no matter what happens!

What is Yeast?

First, you need to know what yeast is. Essentially, it’s a leavening agent that made with “good” fungus during a separation and fermentation process. Yeast spores live on most plants so vegetables, fruits and grains can be used to obtain yeast for a variety of uses. Different yeasts are used for bread and alcoholic beverages – baker’s yeast and brewer’s yeast – and they’re not interchangeable.

Brewer’s yeast is and inactive (dead) yeast used to encourage the fermentation of fruits or vegetables into alcoholic beverages. Baker’s yeast is an active (live) yeast used for leavening. It’s what makes bread rise and gives it that fluffy lightness.

Salt and sugar are both necessary to make yeast but too much of either is a bad thing. The salt acts as a preservative. The sugar is actually the food that feeds the yeast. Once it’s consumed, the byproducts are carbon dioxide and alcohol in different proportions depending upon the strain of the yeast.

Baker’s yeast is made from yeast strains that make more carbon dioxide so that the bread rises. Brewer’s yeast is made from strains that make more alcohol.

Making Baker’s Yeast

There are a few different ways that you can make baker’s yeast. If you have a pack of dry yeast, you can use it to make a starter that you can keep going. To me, that seems to defeat the purpose of learning to making yeast from scratch, so we’ll concentrate on other methods.

I’ll include a recipe for using yeast, just so you have it if you want it, but let’s concentrate on doing it without the crutch! Finally, you may want to check out my article about making bread once you’ve got your yeast made.

How to Make Yeast from Potato Water

This is probably the easiest kind of yeast to make, because potatoes are always around. The yeast is great for making a nice loaf of bread, hot rolls, or even cinnamon rolls. Plus, it’s easy to keep as a starter so you don’t have to start from scratch every time you want to make bread. There are a couple of ways to do this.

Potato Yeast Method 1

All you need is potato water, flour, and sugar.

Cook your potatoes as you usually would, except save 3 cups of the water. Divide the water in half. Stir a tablespoon of sugar and about a cup of flour into a cup and a half of the water, or until the mixture is sort of stiff. Cover and leave overnight in a warm place and it should be bubbly and yeasty-smelling the next morning. If not, you’ll need to start over. This is why you should save some of the water back.

Potato Sourdough Yeast – cheater method

  • 1 pkg. (1 tbsp.) dried yeast
  • 1 cup warm (110-115 degrees F)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp. instant potato flakes

Mix ingredients in a jar and cover loosely, then let it out at room temp for 24 hours. If you close it too tightly, you’re making a yeast bomb. OK, maybe not that bad, but the jar can crack or blow the lid off because of all the carbon dioxide that’s going to be released.

Refrigerate for 3 or 4 days. On the fourth day, stir in 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tbsp. instant potato flakes and a cup of water. Leave it at room temp for another 24 hours and take out a cup of it to make your bread. Feed it with another 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tbsp. potato flakes and a cup of water. You need to remove a cup of starter and feed it once a day if you leave it out or every 4 days if you refrigerate it. It just comes down to how often you want to bake.

Potato Starter 3

This is another take on the first starter but it uses the whole potato instead of flour.

  • One medium potato, peel on
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Boil the potato in the water until it’s soft. Mash it well then add the sugar and salt.

Cool til it’s just barely warm, then add to the water.

Cover and put it in a warm place so that it can ferment. If it doesn’t ferment, you can cheat and add a packet of dried yeast. If you don’t want to do that, give it a day or two and if you still don’t get fermentation, you’ll have to start over. This makes enough starter to make a few loaves of bread.

Video first sen on North Carolina Prepper.

Grain Starter

Yeast is present in all grains and this starter was used for centuries by people who couldn’t run to the grocery store and buy a packet of yeast. Fresh ground grain is, of course, the best to use but regular unbleached all-purpose flour will work, too.

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (white or wheat)
  • 1 cup warm (not hot) water

Mix the flour and water then pour it into the jar. Cover and let stand in a warm place until it starts to bubble and rise. Depending on the temperature and humidity, this may take anywhere from 1-7 days. Take out a cup of starter for each loaf of bread, then add back in equal amounts of water and flour. You can toss dough scraps back in, too.

Grape Starter

Grapes are a great fruit to use to make yeast but you can use just about any fruit or peels to do it as long as it’s unwashed and organic. You can also use organic unpasteurized juice.

  • 3-4 cups grapes
  • 2 cup unbleached wheat flour
  • 1 cup water

Crush the grapes well and put the juice, pulp, and peels in a jar and cover with cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Put it in a warm place and leave it alone for 3 days. It’s kind of fun to check it every day because you’ll see the bubbles start to form. That means that the yeast is growing.

On the 4th or 5th day, strain the mixture and discard the peels and pulp. Don’t put them on your compost pile. Stir 1 cup of whole wheat flour into the juice. Let the starter set for 24 hours. Take out one cup and add another cup of flour and a cup of water. Leave it in a warm place for a couple of days. By this time, you should have a bubbly starter.

Remove up to 2 cups (enough to make 2 loaves of bread) and leave at least 1 cup as a starter. Feed it with another cup of water and cup of flour. Let is sit for at least 24 hours before removing more, and as long as you always leave a cup behind and add the feed, you’ll always have bread starter!

Just a side note: according to my sources, you can use fruit juice to make yeast starters for making alcoholic beverages, too. Yum…wine! Read my article to learn how to make wine.

9 Tips to Successful Yeast Making and Drying

  1. Don’t use too much salt or sugar when working with baker’s yeast. Both are necessary but too much of either, especially salt, will dry out the yeast.
  2. Make sure that all of your equipment is clean to the point of sterility. Any stray bacteria will ruin your yeast.
  3. To dry your yeast, simply spread your starter in a thin layer on baking sheet and dry either in the sun, in a warm (NOT HOT!) oven – about 100 degrees will do, or use your dehydrator. Don’t let it get too hot or you will kill the yeast.
  4. Store the dried yeast in an airtight container.
  5. To substitute your yeast for store-bought yeast, use 1 cup of wet starter for 1 pack of yeast, or twice the amount of homemade dried yeast as what’s recommended in the recipe.
  6. Do not put yeast or starter in your compost pile because the bacteria can grow out of control and upset the delicate balance of your pile.
  7. When you feed your starter, which we will explain in a bit, you need to throw away one cup of the original starter to keep the ratios even. That is, unless you feel like making a delicious loaf of bread or some cinnamon rolls instead of wasting it!
  8. Don’t wash your fruits or vegetables because you’ll wash off the yeast spores. Just take off any stems or leaves.
  9. Use homegrown or wild fruits or veggies because the store-bought ones will likely have chemicals. At the very least, they’ll have gone through a washing process which will have washed off the yeast. The exception here is a potato. Still, use organic to avoid the chemicals.

So you have one more recipe to add to your survival TO DO list, next to pemmican, lard, and other basic survival foods that our ancestors used to cook. Click on the banner below to find these secrets that our grandfathers were probably the last generation to practice for survival!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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How To Make Pemmican, The Ultimate Survival Food

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I’ve got a confession: I’ve wanted to make Pemmican ever since I found the recipe for it in The Lost Ways, an awesome compilation of survival information edited and published by Claude Davis.

Invented by the natives of North America, pemmican was used by Indian scouts as well as early western explorers. These people spent a great deal of time on the go and depended on having portable, high-energy, highly nutritious, and filling foods that would last for long periods of time.

My friend Alan had mentioned on other occasions that he, like me, wanted to enhance his food reserves with this nutritious food. So, last weekend I cancelled all my awesome plans of staying at home and watching TV, in order to surprise him by showing up with the necessary ingredients to make a DIY pemmican video.

I grabbed my camera and headed out the door. On my way, I stopped at a local supermarket and purchased what we’d need to make a batch of pemmican. It’s super simple; here’s all you need:

  • 6 lbs. Beef
  • 2 lbs. Rendered Beef Tallow
  • 3 oz. Blueberries

When I arrived, Alan was pretty excited about the idea. We decided that he’d do all of the talking and I’d do the filming. So here it is:

I wanted to film this so that all of our readers here on Survivopedia can use this video tutorial to make their own pemmican. In addition to being nutritious enough to be a stand-alone survival food, you may be surprised to learn that pemmican doesn’t taste bad, either. In fact, with time, it will grow on you.

I hope you’ll enjoy the video and that it inspires you to try making pemmican yourself. And remember that many other survival secrets of our ancestors are still to be discovered if you get The Lost Ways book! Click the image below for more!

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This article has been written by Alec Deacon for Survivopedia.

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Back To Basics: How To Make And Preserve Lard

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lardLard, or fat from a pig’s belly, has been used for centuries for everything from greasing skillets to waterproofing boots. It’s one of the easiest fats to work with and it can be made with very little effort.

Though saturated fat has been scorned for the last couple of decades because of its purported ill effects on health, lard still has a place in the home, especially if you’re living off the grid or are in a situation where you have to live off of what you have.

Why You Need It

Before we go into how to make lard, you need to know a bit about why it’s not the demon that the medical community has made it out to be. The fact is, lard isn’t as bad for you as butter is and it’s a good source of vitamin D as long as it’s from a pastured pig. Lard is only about 40 percent saturated fat, while the other 60 percent is unsaturated.

You’ll notice that I stipulated that the fat needed to come from a pastured pig. That means that store-bought lard or the fats from store-bought bacon likely don’t have the same health benefits of naturally raised pigs. The lard from grain-fed commercial pigs doesn’t have the omega-3’s found in pastured pigs, either.

Oh, and lard doesn’t make you fat or kill your heart, despite what you read or what your traditional doc may tell you. It’s all about balance and recent research proves that natural animal fats doesn’t deserve to be vilified nearly as much as margarine or that other can of stuff that replaced lard in the 50s or 60s.

The key point that you need to take away from this is that there is a huge difference between commercial lard and locally sourced, pastured lard. The fat content is the same, but the health benefits can be vastly different. Of course, if you’re using fat from your own pigs, this is a non-issue if you’re raising them as most small farmers do, in the pasture.

In addition to using lard to grease your skillet, there are many other uses for it. Lard is great to use to waterproof your coats or shoes, and you can make candles from it. It will make the flakiest pastry crust you’ve ever eaten, and it’s been used for centuries to make soap. It’s great to use as a lubricating oil on mechanical equipment and will help prevent rust.

Lard is a great moisturizer and is often used in folk remedies as the base for balms. As a farm-raised girl, we used lard all the time, and still do. These are just a few uses that I can think of off the top of my head.


How to Make It

Now, let’s get down to the business of the lost art of making lard. I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised at how easy it actually is, and pleased to learn that there’s a crispy, tasty treat that you’re going to get out of the process.

As I’ve already stated, finished lard is made by rendering pig fat. Rendering itself is a simple process; by that, I mean that there aren’t many steps to it and it doesn’t require any fancy ingredients or equipment. As a matter of fact, all you need is good fat, clean water, a heavy-bottomed stock pot, a sieve with some cheesecloth (or a really fine sieve) and a quiet afternoon to dedicate to the process.

I’m even going to touch on how to do it in a slow cooker; that‘s how simple it is. That doesn’t mean that rendering is always easy, because it’s not. For example, rendering bear fat is labor-intensive and stinky. Rendering lard is much less painful, and the results are worth it.

The first thing that you need to do is acquire high-quality pig fat. There are two different areas of the pig that you can make lard from. The first type of fat is called leaf lard; it’s located inside of the pig near the kidneys. Back fat is from – yup, you guessed it – the back of the pig.

Back fat is a richer-flavored lard that may not be as suitable for some tasks such as baking because you don’t really want pork flavored peach pie crusts. It’s great for cooking meat and vegetables in. Also, since it comes from the back, it’s probably going to have some meat still attached to it.

Leaf fat tends to be more pure, without the added meat, and isn’t strongly flavored. This is what you want to use for your pie crusts and other types of cooking that require lard that doesn’t taste like fat.

Next, you need to figure out how much lard you want. You’ll need just under a pint of lard per pound of fat rendered. Now you’re ready to start making lard!

Trim and Cut Your Chilled or Frozen Fat

You’re basically melting the fat, so you’ll have to cut it into small pieces if you want it to render evenly and in a timely manner. Because the fat tends to be a bit soft, it’s easier to work with if it’s frozen, or at least chilled. Some people grind it, which is labor-intensive on the front end but makes the rendering a bit easier. You don’t need to do this, though. Just trim off as much meat and blood spots as you can and then cut the fat into 1/2-inch cubes.

Add Your Fat and Some Water to Your Stock Pot

You only need a 1/2 cup or so of filtered water. This doesn’t have to be an exact amount because it’s going to evaporate. The only purpose of the water is to keep your chilled fat from burning until it starts to melt. Put the lid on the stock pot and bring the lard to a simmer over medium-low heat.

Wait for the Rendering!

All you need to do now is let the fat melt with the lid on, stirring it occasionally. After 45 minutes or an hour, the water will be evaporated and the fat will be melting nicely. You’ll start to notice little bits of meat floating to the surface of the fat. These are called cracklings and are the delicious little surprises that I mentioned earlier. They’re also a good indicator of when your lard is done. Keep stirring periodically.

Strain Your Lard

As the fat continues to melt and reaches the point where it’s mostly liquid, you’ll notice that the cracklings are settling to the bottom of the pot. How long this takes depends on how much lard you’re rendering and is also affected by the humidity. This is your sign that the lard is done.

Turn the heat off and line a sieve with cheesecloth. You can use a fine-mesh sieve but this step is kind of important because you want to get all of the cracklings out of the lard for preservation purposes, and for purity, too. You don’t want cracklings in your pie crust.

Finishing Your Lard

If you only rendered a bit of fat, you can just pour the fat through the sieve into another kettle. If you rendered more than a quart or so, use a ladle because the liquid lard is going to be hot and hot grease makes for a nasty burn. Be careful. I prefer to use the ladle because it helps to keep the settled stuff on the bottom of the pot, too.

Once you strain it, you can pour the lard into your prepared jars. You don’t have to do this immediately; you can let the lard cool for 15 or 20 minutes so that you don’t have to worry so much about burning yourself.

Rendered lard will be a light golden color in its liquid form but it will cool to a creamy white color.

Video first seen on Health Nut Nation

Finish Your Cracklings

This is the delicious reward for your hard work. Cracklings are protein-rich, crispy, and delicious. They’re great as a snack or to put in your green beans or salad. Just let them fry down a bit until they’re crispy.

Storing Your Lard

Lard will store for a few weeks on the counter top, a few months in the fridge, or almost indefinitely in the freezer or canned. It’s important to boil all of the water out of your lard, but if you only use 1/4 or 1/2 cup in the beginning and you cook it low and slow as directed, this won’t be a problem.

Using a Slow Cooker

If you want to do this in the crock pot, the process is essentially identical except you should leave the lid on for the first hour or so. Start on high and if it seems that your fat is going to singe, turn it down.

After the fat starts to melt, remove the lid. After most of the fat is melted, start removing the lard from the slow cooker so that the rest of the lard will melt faster. The main difference is that you’ll need to bake the cracklings for a few minutes when you’re done in order to get them crisp.

Now you know how to make your own lard at home, and even if you don’t have your own pigs, you can sweet-talk your local butcher or farmer and you may even get it for free! Score! Then start preparing other recipes that were basic things that our ancestors used to make. Click on the banner below to find these secrets that our grandfathers were probably the last generation to practice for survival!


This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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If or When TSHTF Part Two.

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Long Term Wilderness Living/Survival.

In a TEOTWAWKI situation, in my opinion, the towns & especially the cities are not going to be a good place to survive for decent people, especially those with families. My reasoning is. 1) How are you going to be able to defend yourself against gangs which are prepared to burn you out if they can’t get you any other way? 2) Food is only going to last a short time. The gangs will get the majority of the equipment and food, and it will be very dangerous for anyone else out in the open on the streets or in the stores. 3) Your ammunition for your modern firearms will not last long if you are continually have to fight off raiders. You can of course for a while reload your own ammo if you have the gear and have managed to secure a store of powder, primers and lead. 4) There will be no clean water, no electricity unless you have a generator indoors and plenty of fuel. There will be no toilet facilities and you can not risk going outside. Yes there are toilet systems available that do not require water, but these are not designed to be used only in house.

So, the wise survivalist or prepper will leave the city and move to a place in the bush, be it your own property, or just a suitable place with running water, shelter and a food source. If you travel early, you will be able to use some form of transport, but if you leave it too late, the roads out may be blocked. Few people will already be living in the bush. If you are one of the lucky ones, and you have the money, then you will be able to set yourself up for a long term stay. But if you have to move to your retreat when TSHTF, then again your supplies will be limited to what you can transport.

If a survival situation big enough to warrant leaving the city arises, many people will not know until it is too late. Ask yourself now, what will be the signs? How will I know when to leave? If this is the situation you find yourself in, you will have to be prepared to ditch your vehicle if A) it breaks down, or B) the roads are blocked and you can’t get around it. This will mean having to travel on foot. How much of your gear and supplies can you carry on foot? What will you take with you? What are you prepared to leave behind?

A sensible person will have thought of this already, and what they will be packing in the vehicle will be back-packs, and only the stuff they can carry on their backs. There may be other separate supplies, just in case they can get through, but if they have to walk, these separate supplies will be left behind. This preparation will take a lot of serious thought. Remember, you are not military; there will be no back-up supplies when you run out. You are on your own, group or individual so choose your equipment and supplies wisely.

Something else to think about.

It is my belief that if you start off with all modern equipment and tools, sooner or later these items are going to start to wear out or break, and when they do, you are going to have to resort to a very primitive lifestyle. Most of the equipment we carry is solely for comfort and ease of living. When these items are no more, then our lifestyle will be radically changed. If however you choose a period lifestyle pre 19th century, then it is highly unlikely that you will ever have to drop below this level of comfort. I chose the mid 18th century, mainly because I am a living historian and this is my chosen period of interest, but also because I soon came to realise that this period’s technology is not too modern, and not too primitive. For survival purposes it gives me a level of ease and comfort I am happy living with.

Equipment and Tools.

For every piece of equipment you intend to take with you, ask yourself these questions: Will this add significantly to my comfort? Do I really need it? How long will it last? How versatile is it? Is there some better alternative? If it malfunctions or breaks, can I fix it?

Let’s look at some typical examples of good and poor choices. One of the most important tools you will need is something for cutting wood. Even if you do not have to construct a shelter, you will need to construct animal traps, some form of fencing for gardens, possibly splints and crutches if someone is injured, maybe fishing poles, spears, pikes, defenses, drying racks for food preservation, frames for scraping animal skins, and possibly more besides. Saws are good but limited in their use. A good strong pruning saw could be useful and it is not heavy, but you will need more than this. Many people choose the machete or a similar tool. This may be okay in a jungle, but it is still limited in its use. Only a fool would use a good knife for cutting wood, especially if it was the only tool you had. A knife is a very useful tool to carry but it has specific uses, and they do not include cutting large pieces of wood.

A tomahawk on the other hand is light, versatile and very efficient for all the tasks mentioned earlier. It can also be thrown for recreation and hunting if needs be. The head can easily be removed if it has a tapered eye and be used for fleshing skins. A new helve is easier to make and fit for a tomahawk than for a modern belt axe. The poll can be used as a hammer for driving in pegs and stakes, and it is a good fighting tool.

Now how about your firearms? If you only have modern firearms and no bows, then your ammunition will not last long if you have to use them for hunting and defence. Brass shells are heavy and you will need to carry a lot of weight in ammunition and possibly a reloader. A modern firearm is a good idea for use in defence if you have people to carry them, but the weight of the ammunition can make it unpractical to carry too much ammo. There are many other important supplies to be carried by someone. If your modern firearm malfunctions, can you repair it?

A flintlock muzzle-loading gun or rifle on the other hand is far more versatile than a modern gun. It can be used to create fire without using precious gunpowder; on the other hand the gunpowder can itself be used to make fire in certain circumstances. The flintlock is easy to repair with just a few simple tools & spare parts, and even if you do not have any spare parts, the lock can easily be converted to a matchlock or tinderlock for continued use. Lead is retrieved from shot game & remoulded, so there is no need to carry a lot of lead. Also there is the option of using other projectiles besides lead. Extra gunpowder can be carried in place of the extra lead, which means that your supplies will last longer.

Before you go spending your hard earned dollars on a custom knife or some Bowie look-alike, think about the use to which your blade will be put. Your knife or knives need to be able to field dress, skin and butcher game. They may also be needed for defence. A good butcher knife will serve you well in this regard, which is why the butcher knife was the most commonly carried knife by woodsmen and Indians alike back in the 18th century. A legging knife can be carried as a back-up to your hunting knife, and a good clasp knife will serve well for camp chores and making pot hooks and trap triggers. All three of these knives can be purchased for the cost of a modern camp or hunting knife.

Made From Scratch!

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The Made From Scratch Life
Josh “The 7P’s of Survival

Made From ScratchTired of all the processed unhealthy ingredients filling our food, our homes, and even our minds. We seem to be constantly running from one thing to the next, trying to get everything done and in. The world tells us to hurry up, do more, keep up, strive harder, all the while shoving more at us. Return to simple. With life changing stories, step by step tutorials, how-to’s, real life examples and recipes, The Made-From-Scratch Life, will inspire and teach you how to get back to the basics, not just in a from scratch kitchen and home, but in your mind and soul. It looks at the things that shape us and how you can apply old-fashioned traditions to your modern life and savor what really matters.

Here’s a sneak peek at just a few of the topics covered:

Create your own custom heirloom garden with planting and harvesting charts. Trouble shoot common gardening problems with natural solutions. Discover the many benefits of growing your own food, with solutions if you don’t have a large yard or any growing space.

Eliminate the processed unhealthy foods in your kitchen with easy but delicious from scratch recipes. Learn what ingredients to watch out for and how to save money by making them yourself. Time saving tips so you can spend time on the things that matter and still have nourishing home cooked meals.

Save money and increase your self-sufficiency by learning how to preserve food at home. Step by step instructions and tips so you can safely preserve your own homemade jams and jellies without store bought pectin and line your shelves with home canned goodies. Create your own food storage and fill your pantry with real food.
Visit 7P’s Survival Blog HERE! 
Join us for The 7P’s of Survival “LIVE SHOW” every Tuesday 9:00/Et 8:00Ct 6:00/Pt Go To Listen and Chat

Listen to this broadcast or download “Made From Scratch” in player below!

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Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation

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See larger image Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation Typical books about preserving garden produce nearly always assume that modern “kitchen gardeners” will boil or freeze their vegetables and fruits. Yet here is a book that goes back to the future—celebrating […]

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The Best Way To Stockpile Vegetables Off-Grid

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Canning veggie off gridThough many of you may be considering using solar panels or other sources of energy when you go off-grid so that you may have refrigeration and electric, that’s not going to be the norm if SHTF. For most of us, we’re not going to have refrigeration or a freezer to preserve our foods. For that reason, I think that it’s important to discuss ways to stockpile vegetables off-grid.

Stockpiling Store-bought Veggies

This is, of course, the easiest way to stockpile most vegetables but it does cost more in the long run that growing and preserving your own vegetables.

Though methods such as canning may have a hefty cost up front, you’re going to be able to re-use the jars so each season, your cost per jar just keeps going down. However, if you don’t have space to grow a garden, stockpiling store-bought canned foods is the best way for you to prepare.

Canning Your Vegetables

canningWe’ve discussed canning vegetables in several other posts but there’s a reason for that: it’s effective as a means of storage and, when canned properly, vegetables will last for a decade or longer. I think that it bears repeating that you need to do this safely. Again, we’re assuming in this article that there is no power source.

That means that canning over an open fire (or in an enclosed fire pit) is going to be your only option. The single most important part of canning your vegetables this way is that you ensure that the water remains boiling the entire time.

This is because one of the primary reasons that you must boil your jars of vegetables for a set amount of time is to kill the bacteria that causes botulism. Botulism causes damage to your central nervous system and can quite realistically be fatal.

Vegetables that have a low acidity, which encompasses just about every vegetable except tomatoes (yes, I realize that tomatoes are technically a fruit), must be boiled at temperatures higher than most boiling water baths reach.

You need to use a pressure canner for most vegetables and all meats in order to kill the spores that cause botulism. Doing that over an open fire is certainly possible but you’re going to need a tremendous amount of fuel to do it. You can read more about that here.

Of course, if you’re operating with solar panels or other sources of off-grid power that enables you to cook inside, fuel won’t be an issue.

If you notice that your jar isn’t sealed, has bubbles inside before you open it, has foam on top when you do open it, or is under a lot of pressure when you open it (food may blow out), don’t eat it. These are all signs that the food is contaminated with the botulinum bacteria.


dehydratingDehydrating is a wonderful way to preserve vegetables. It preserves most of the nutrients in the foods and also makes them lightweight and reduces the size by at least half.

It’s also simple to do even if you don’t have a dehydrator. For example, if you string peppers, green beans or peas (to name a few) on a string and hang them in the sunlight, they will dry perfectly well just like that over the course of several days or a couple of weeks.

All of you have likely heard of sun-dried tomatoes. The best way to dry your tomatoes in the sun is to cut them into quarter-inch strips or wedges and lightly salt them. Just set them out in the sun and let them dry out, turning occasionally to hasten the process. Onions could probably be dried like this too, but I’ve never tried it. If you have, tell us about it in the comments section.

The thing to remember about dehydrating is that it doesn’t preserve your food long-term. It simply preserves them a bit longer because it removes most of the water content. Since there’s still water in them, they’ll spoil eventually.

Many people counter this by canning the vegetables after dehydrating them. The main reason for doing this instead of just canning them is that you can get much more dehydrated food into a jar than you can hydrated foods.

Smoke Your Veggies

Yes, you can smoke vegetables for long term storage, though you should probably can them afterwards just as you would dehydrated foods. You’ve probably heard of smoking meat; you’ve undoubtedly even eaten it!

The same process applies to vegetables. Cut the veggies in strips and put them in your smoker. Smoke them until they’re dried just as you would if you were dehydrating them. There are now indoor smokers but that would require electricity. Of course, if you want to get a head start, you could smoke them inside now and preserve them for later!

One of the biggest advantages to smoking your vegetables is that it adds tremendous flavor that adds a wonderful layer to soups, stews and other dishes that you may make.

Since seasonings may be at a premium if SHTF, this added flavor will be an advantage. There’s nothing that boosts morale more than well-flavored foods and smoking infuses such a unique taste that fond memories of barbeques and parties are sure to follow.



Herbs are best dried or fresh. The good thing about most herbs is that you can grow them in pots even indoors and can just pinch some off as you need them. Most continue to grow and replenish and even if they don’t, herbs tend to grow quickly and are usable practically from the time that they sprout.

drying herbsTo dry your herbs, all you have to do is hang the plant upside down in the sun and let them wither and dry.

It’s easy and will preserve your herbs for months. The secret here is to make sure that they are completely dry.

You’ll know that they’ve reached that point when the leaves crumble when you roll them between your fingers.

If you don’t get them completely dry, they’ll mold and then all of your hard work will be wasted.

There are many different ways for you preserve your vegetables off grid. Experiment with each and see which one you like best. It’s probably a good idea to become proficient in each method now so that it won’t be a challenge for you if something does come to pass that causes you to live off grid.

Just be sure to do it properly because mold or bacteria can make you extremely ill and can even kill you. Become proficient now!

If you have any more suggestions for preserving vegetables off grid, lease share your knowledge with us in the comments section below.

Interested in surviving off the grid? CLICK HERE to find out how!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Home Canning is Making a Comeback!

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Get Started! Home canning is making a comeback | PreparednessMama

People are discovering this money saving tool once again. Many of us remember our grandparent’s rows of mason jars, or avoiding the kitchen as a youngster in order to maintain freedom on canning days. If you do process your own food then you know the feeling of accomplishment it brings after a long day of […]

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15 Grocery Store Foods You Can Stockpile Virtually Forever

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15 Grocery Store Foods You Can Stockpile Virtually Forever

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Preserving and stockpiling food is a cornerstone of homesteaders and off-gridders. Not all foods, though, preserve well, no matter what you do to them. Some are just bound and determined to deteriorate with time. But there are enough foods that will last and last extremely well, if we take the time to select and pack them in the right manner.

Part of the problem is understanding what enemies are out there – the ones that want to destroy our foods. Once we know that, we can prevent them from having access to our food stocks and thereby can prolong the life of those stocks. The enemies I’m referring to include:

  • Critters – Rodents, insects and especially bacteria, all of whom want to eat our food before we can get to it. The best solution is a combination of killing any that might be in the food (especially for bacteria and insect eggs), while making sure that more critters can’t get in.
  • Heat – Heat, even minimal, will cause many foods to start breaking down. Keeping foods in a cool area helps preservation.
  • Oxygen – Some nutrients in our foods will oxidize when given the chance and enough time. Ensuring that the foods are packed without oxygen or with oxygen absorbers is the best protection against oxidation.
  • Light – Yes, light can damage foods as well, although mostly it is by discoloring it. Light also has an effect on changing the chemical composition of some vitamins. That cool storage place needs to be dark as well.

There is some good news in all of this. And that is that ancient people were successful in storing foods for very long periods of time. Many ancient tombs more than 1,000 years old have been opened to find useable grains and other foodstuffs.

The World’s Healthiest Survival Food — And It Stores For YEARS and YEARS!
Foods That Naturally Keep Forever

There are some foods that just naturally keep pretty much forever. Those are always a good starting point if you want to make sure that your grandkids get to eat your survival stockpile.

beans1. Dried beans – A great staple and a source of protein, beans are a cornerstone food for survival. It is important to keep insects out of them, but with that one precaution, they are unlikely to be bothered by anything else.

2. Coffee & tea – While coffee and tea will both lose some of their flavor with time, they are still usable after years of storage. Coffee does best if left unground until use. Tea stores best for long-term if it is loose leaf tea and not bagged tea. The more airtight the container, the better it will preserve the flavor.

3. Dried corn – This is probably the most common preserved food of ancient people and the most common to find in their tombs. Dry corn is pretty much impervious to attacks by bacteria and insects will generally leave it alone. But rodents love it, so you have to have it in a thick enough container to keep them out.

4. Cornstarch – As long as it doesn’t get any moisture in it, cornstarch will last forever. Keep it in a cool, dry area.

5. Corn syrup – High in sugar, corn syrup will last for many years. Like pretty much all liquids, it needs to be kept in a well-sealed container to prevent evaporation. Believe it or not, there is organic corn syrup.

6. Honey – Honey stores indefinitely, as long as it’s stored in a sealed container. Keep it in a cool, dark place. If it crystallizes, simply heat it up to melt it again.

7. 100 percent pure maple syrup – Left in a sealed container, pure maple syrup holds up extremely well. If it should get mold on it, simply skim off the mold, boil the syrup and re-can it.

8. Powdered milk – Yes, that powdered milk that nobody likes to drink is one of the longest lasting foods around. While it may not be our favorite now, when we don’t have any other milk to drink we may find that we like it.

Rice9. White rice – White rice will last a good 30 years if stored in a container without any air in it. Pack it well with an oxygen absorber and you can be sure that you’ll be able to eat it later… much later.

10. Salt – Must be kept free of moisture. Salt is a natural preservative, so it makes sense that it will last well too.

11. Soy sauce – Due to its high salt content, it is virtually impossible for bacteria to grow in soy sauce. Just make sure that the container stays sealed so that it can’t evaporate.

12. Sugar – Like salt, sugar is another natural preservative. You will have to protect it from bugs though, who are attracted to it. But if the bugs don’t get to it, it lasts forever.

13. Pure vanilla extract – Since vanilla extract is alcohol based, it lasts forever. About the only difference you might notice is a slightly stronger flavor, caused by evaporation of the alcohol.

14. Vinegar – Vinegar is another natural preservative, due to its high acid content. It is often used in making pickled foods. As such, it keeps forever. If a film develops over the surface, don’t worry, that is merely the vinegar “mother,” which is the bacteria used to create more vinegar. You can filter it out or use it to make a fresh batch.

15. Unground wheat – Wheat flour doesn’t have a very long shelf life and can attract insects. But unground wheat will easily keep for 20 years or longer. Wheat has even been found in ancient tombs, left there for the dead king’s spirit to eat.

Packaging Makes the Difference

While these foods naturally last for an incredibly long time, packaging is an issue. You probably noticed that I mentioned special packaging and storage requirements for just about everything on the list. Ultimately, the packaging you use – more than anything else – will determine how long your foods will last.

Canned foods are among the very few foods that you can buy that are truly packaged for long-term storage. While they all carry an expiration date on them, those dates are based upon worst-case situations. Nobody really knows how long properly canned and stored foods will last. As long as the can’s integrity is intact, you can assume that the food within is still safe to eat.

Make “Off-The-Grid” Super Foods Secretly In Your Home

This goes for foods that we can ourselves, too. It doesn’t matter if the food has been professionally canned in a cannery or canned in mason jars in your kitchen, the results are the same.

There is one exception I have found to this. Foodstuffs that have been canned in plastic jars, rather than glass ones, don’t seem to keep as well. Apparently, some small amount of oxygen can make it through either the plastic of the jar itself or the lid. In either case, that causes the food inside to start oxidizing.

There is some evidence that certain canned foods will lose nutritional value over time. This is specifically referring to the vitamins in the food. However, that doesn’t mean that these foods no longer have value. Canned vegetables and fruits are high in carbohydrates, the most important survival micronutrient. Losing some quantity of micronutrients doesn’t ruin their usability.

Considering that dried grains have lasted several centuries when packed away in clay vessels, I think we can safely say that we too can store those grains for about as long as we want. The only problem is keeping them protected from insects and rodents. If we do that, then we can count on them literally forever.

What foods would you add to this list? Share your suggestions in the section below:

Discover The Trick To Saving Thousands At The Grocery Store. Read More Here.


3 Necessary Foods That Are Tough To Stockpile

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StockpileYou’ve got a ton of vegetables canned. Your jellies look beautiful in their jars and you have a good variety of fruits. That was all a ton of work but it wasn’t hard to figure out.

The question now is how do you stockpile the hard stuff like meat, butter or even eggs? There are plenty of necessary foods that you need to stockpile that may prove to be a challenge if you don’t have access to a freezer and refrigerator. Don’t worry though. You can do it, and we’re going to tell you how.


canning meatMeats are actually pretty easy to stockpile and there are several methods of preservation that you can use. Because it’s a low-acid food, you may can it but if you do, you need to use a pressure canner and make double sure that your jars are intact and your seals are good. There are two ways that you may can meat. You can dry can it or you can pack it in water.

Dry canning is great for meats such as hamburgers, crumbled hamburger, sausage links or patties and even bacon. The best way to determine what meats you want to dry can is to decide whether or not you want them to be wet when you take them out of the jar.

For instance, stew meat or chicken gets tender when it sits in water and goes through the wet canning process. You don’t want that for hamburgers or bacon.

To dry can burgers, crumbled burger or sausage, it’s best to use large-mouth jars. You can fit about four hamburger patties in a pint jar and eight in a quart jar. The only time you really need large-mouth jars is when you need to fit burger or sausage patties without mushing the patty into the jar. For everything else, standard-mouth jars are fine.

To determine the right size of the patty, use a seal as a guide. Pat them out so that they’re the same size as the seal then brown them on each side. You don’t have to cook them all the way; just brown them.

Pack them in the jars, add a half-inch or so of water to act as steam to keep the meat moist, clean the rims and put the prepared seals on them, along with the rings. This method even works with balls of sausage that you can later use to make sausage gravy.

To dry-can bacon, simply put the bacon strips in a row on wax paper, lay another piece of wax paper over the bacon, then roll up the paper in the direction of the strips. In other words, the strips stay straight instead of being curled up. If necessary, trim the ends of the wax paper to match the length of the bacon. Pack it into jars, put the seals and rings on, and pressure can.

Wet canning means that you cover the meat in water. This is good for canning chicken, stew meat that you want to be extremely tender. You can season it before you put it in the jars.

For wet canning, standard-mouth jars will be fine. Don’t pack the meat in too tightly because you want the water to be able to get into the middle of the meat and cook it at the proper temperature for the length of time necessary to kill all the bacteria in the meat.

For meats such as beef, pork, venison, and other red meats, pressure can for 90 minutes with 10 pounds of pressure. For chicken, turkey, fish and other similar meats, pressure can for 70 minutes with 10 pounds of pressure.

You can also dehydrate your meat beforehand if you’d like, then dry-can them to extend the preservation period.

Canning Butter

This is a process that I only learned about a year or so ago but I’m glad that I did! Canning butter is extremely simple; the hardest part is making sure that the rims are completely clean. I use large-mouth half-pint jars to make it easier to get the butter out and to can a small enough amount that it won’t go rancid before I use it.

Make sure that your jars are clean then preheat your oven to 275 degrees F. Put your jars in a cake pan and place them in the oven for 20 minutes. While your jars are heating, put your butter in a saucepan or pot, depending upon how much you’re canning, and melt it. Bring it to a simmer for 10 minutes or so in order to cook some of the water out of it.

Remove the jars from the oven and ladle the butter into it. I like to use a funnel to keep the rims of the jars as clean as possible. Fill to within a half-inch of the top of the jar and clean the rims well. I use a wet cloth dipped in vinegar to help clear all the grease off.

Put the seals and rings on your jars. Put about 4 inches of water in your pressure canner then place your jars in the canner. Process at 10 pounds for an hour after the canner reaches pressure.

Easy peasy.

This process works for just about any fat, including bacon grease, which would be a great thing to have an adequate supply of! For that, skip the simmering process because it’s already cooked. Just melt it before you put it in the jars.


eggsEggs are tough. I have some powdered eggs in my stockpile but I also have pickled eggs canned. Personally, I like to pickle mine with beets, vinegar, water and pickling spices, but you can also just use vinegar water. Eggs can also be stored at temperatures lower than 55 degrees F without doing anything at all to them.

There’s also a process called oiling that extends that time even further because it makes the shell air-tight so that the egg doesn’t dry out. You need to use mineral oil because vegetable or seed-based oils will go rancid.

Oiled eggs will last for several months in a dry container in a cool place as described above. There’s a catch though – the eggs have to be oiled within 24 hours of being laid and they need to be free of cracks.

Heat your oil to 180 degrees and keep it at that temp for about 20 minutes in order to kill the bacteria in it. Using a ladle, spoon or tongs, dip each egg in the oil and place on a rack. Let the eggs drain for 30 minutes then put them in the carton and put them in the cool, dry place described above.

Now that you have some ideas to get started, what are you waiting for? Get to preserving! If you know of a way to store “difficult” foods, please share with us in the comments section below. We all benefit from sharing info!

Interested in becoming food-independent? CLICK HERE to find out more!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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How to Grow, Harvest & Use Rosemary

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How to grow, use and harvest rosemary | PreparednessMama

Rosemary Hair Rinse & Rosemary Vinegar Rosemary is one of those easy herbs. It is easy to grow, easy to use and easy to preserve. Plus is smells wonderful! No yard or patio should be without it. Most people know to use Rosmarinus officinalis as a spice when cooking. According to the University of Maryland […]

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8 Jars of Organic Carrots

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As some of you who are friends we me on facebook know, we finally bought a new, larger air conditioner that actually keeps the house nice and cool so now I am able to do more things inside…like canning…that I have been wanting to do but it was too hot to do before. Anyway, today was a canning day. I had gotten these bags of organic carrots this week marked down to $ .99 each plus I had gotten two vegetable “party” trays that also had two sections each of carrots in them (for $2.50 each. They also had a section of celery, broccoli and podded peas that I will use for other things). I took them all out of the bags and sliced them up mainly because Phil likes them this way.

That pan wasn’t quite large enough and I had to switch to a bigger one. 

I brought them to a boil and boiled them a few minutes. Meanwhile the jars were put in the canner and were sterilizing.

Then I packed the carrots into the jars, ran a knife around the edges to remove air bubbles, added about a 1/4 tsp of salt to each jar and then into the pressure canner for 25 minutes.

After all eight jars were filled there was some left…

..I put it in a freezer bag. Just the right amount for a meal.

And here are all the jars. The tops have all popped down and they are ready to be dated and labeled and put on the shelf.

Is It Possible To Can Banana?

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This is a guest post from long-time reader Exile. Before he begins, I need to make it very clear that there is no USDA approved method of canning banana. Use your own judgment. Bananas are a dense, low acid food, which opens up the risk of botulism. Certainly, there is no way to process them […]

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Cranberry Juice Again

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If you have been following this blog for years now you may remember me making cranberry juice and jellied cranberry sauce from marked down cranberries. The post is here.  Well, yesterday the bags of cranberries happened to be $ .50 in the store and I got 8 bags of them. However I didn’t get started until 3:00 in the afternoon because Phil and I had to go to town and then went to visit with my brother. Plus after we returned I noticed I didn’t happen to have any pectin so the jellied cranberry sauce will have to wait until tomorrow or the next day but the juice did get made today.
You start with picking through the berries. These bags have sat in the store since Christmas it is only common sense that they aren’t ALL going to be good. If they were all good, they wouldn’t be selling them for $ .50. I pick out any of the berries that have any brown in them, because those I know have some kind of rot going on inside and any that are mushy and soft.
Then you add the water and they go in the pot to boil and pop.

Eight bags is a LOT of cranberries. 

After they cook I strain them. It is a messy job and I was running out of big pans so had to strain some in a pan then transfer it to a bowl and then strain more in the pan. Then you add the sugar (1 cup per bag) and they are put in the canning jars. 

Last time I boiling water bath canned these for 10 minutes but some of the jars didn’t even make it a year before they started to become cloudy so this time I canned them for 20 minutes, just to be on the safe side.

I did a canner full of 7 quart jars then there was a whole pitcher (the same 2 quart pitcher in the other post) and 1 1/2 quart jars left which will go in the refrigerator to be drank in the next few days.

How To Can Meat For Food Storage

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Do you know how to can meat? Many people are used to canning jellies, jams and pickles, but did you know that you can use a pressure canner to put away tasty, tender and convenient jars of meat?  Canning meat with a pressure canner is a fabulous way to store large amounts of food in the […]

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Canning – Get the Basics Right – High Acid vs Low Acid

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Have you ever heard the expression “Oh, no, someone is WRONG on the Internet”? Shocking, of course, but it does happen some times.  That is why it is important to occasionally review the basics of SAFE canning, both pressure canning and boiling water bath canning. This post contains affiliate links. Before I do so, let […]

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No Sheeple Here

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Where does a “prepper” end and self sufficiency begin?
When one realizes that prepping is all well and good, but unless you have the incredible fortune to have 5 years worth of supplies squirreled away, you’re going to have to learn how to be self sufficient.
In fact, many advocates of self-sufficiency started  on the path to prepping.

When I say “prepping”, I’m not talking about tinfoil-hat-wearing-rifle-toting-live-underground types.
Generally, I’m talking about the folks who put food and basic supplies aside in times of just-in-case.
Just-in-case could be shortage of work, extended power outages, store shortages, road closures, natural disasters, and the list goes on depending on geography, financial climate, etc.

Digital Journal explains it like this;
“The heart of the prepper message: No power, no stores open. No stores open, no food. During the Los Angeles riots, truckers refused to deliver to supermarkets because it was too dangerous. People living day-to-day who have consumed the limited amount of food they have begin to get desperate, and, in the case of a massive or multiple disasters, government assistance may or may not be forthcoming. Indeed, the government itself may be the problem.”

It’s an easy stroll from a “prepper” mindset to one of self sufficiency.
For example, one day I can be thinking about buying freeze-dried fruit online and three days later I’m planting my own strawberry beds so that I won’t have to buy strawberries online next year. The money I save not buying the fruit online can be diverted into a dehydrator.
See? No message of doom and gloom, but rather, think ahead.

It’s an engaging, a creative use of the grey-matter between our ears. One that takes responsibility for ourselves. One that says we can think for ourselves, no sheeple here, thank you very much.

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Pressure Canner Maintenance

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If you have been canning for any amount of time, and want to do more than jams and pickles, you’re going to need a pressure canner. (Affiliate links ahead) Here in Canada, you have two options, and both are great: a Presto 23-Quart Pressure Canner an All-American Cooker Canner You might have a Mirro, but […]

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Safety of Traditional Food Storage

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Frequently the argument is heard that a certain method of food storage was traditional, used for centuries, and clearly we are all still here to tell the tale. Therefore, they say, it must be safe. It is very easy to scoff at the necessity of modern methods of food preservation. Our grandparents or at least […]

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Canning Basics: Tools of the Trade – Pressure Canning

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Whenever you start something new, there are tools. Canning’s the same. Let’s start with my favorite – Pressure Canning.  I know that plenty of people are scared of pressure canning or feel that it’s harder than Boiling Water Bath canning. It’s not. It’s easy, it’s fun and it’s practical. Practical? Yup. How often do you […]

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Canning Basics: Types of Canning

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Despite what you might have heard, there are only two safe methods of canning food. Neither is better than the other, but both are used only for certain types of food. What foods do you want to can? Pickles, jams and jellies? Meat, vegetables and other low acid foods? The food you want to can […]

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