How To Disinfect Water With Household Bleach As everyone knows, many municipal water systems use chlorine to disinfect water. Often, the use of chlorine is combined with other purification systems such as filtration and ultraviolet treatments. All you have to do is sniff your water tap water – it’s no secret. Why chlorine? Simple – …
How To Get Water, Filter and Purify 101 Water is essential for surviving more than a few days and will be your #1 priority in a survival situation. On average we can survive around 3 days without water. If SHTF and you don’t have a source for water or the means to purify it, you …
Water Is Life! Forrest & Kyle “The Prepping Academy” Listen in player below! One of the most important aspects of prepping, water. It is a life giving fundamental we take for granted every day. Whether you’re at home or work you always have ease of access to it. What happens though when the power goes … Continue reading Water Is Life on Prepping Academy
Whether it is due to drought, pollution, lack of conservation efforts or simply a burgeoning population, the scarcity of clean drinking water is a looming problem for our country and for our world.
According to The Water Project website, one in nine people in the world currently does not have access to safe drinking water. In addition, as much as 80 percent of illnesses in developing countries are linked to unsanitary water conditions. Some experts estimate that by 2050 there will simply not be enough fresh water to sustain the world’s expected 9.1 billion population.
These numbers do not even consider the shortages of clean water that can result from natural disasters or other calamities that would limit an otherwise functioning water supply system. Nor do they take into account that deteriorating city infrastructures are delivering contaminated water to many people throughout the world, including the United States.
Although all these statistics are startling and worrisome, there is some good news. During a survival situation, there are some natural ways to reduce the contaminants in your drinking water. And the best part is that they are low-tech or no-tech solutions. In fact, they come from nature itself and involve fruit peels.
National University of Singapore Researcher Ramakrishna Mallampati was not the first person to use fruit peels to purify water, but his studies have given scientific backing to what many cultures have passed down from generation to generation.
Findings from a two-year study were published in the American Chemical Society’s journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces in 2013. Since then, other studies have replicated his research.
How can you put this knowledge to use in your own drinking water supply? Here are four fruits that can be used to purify water. Please note that these processes usually do not remove disease-causing organisms, or pathogens, such as viruses or bacteria — from the water, and it is recommended that you use a water filter, such as a portable Paratrooper Water Purifier, to completely clean the water so that it is safe.
Such a filter even would allow you go drink lake and river water.
Apple and Tomato Peels
Mallampati’s study found that peels from apples and tomatoes work like sponges in contaminated water, absorbing and thereby reducing levels of metals, pesticides and dyes.
The peels of eight tomatoes were able to remove several different contaminants found in one liter of water within one hour. These contaminants included heavy metal ions (such as lead), dissolved organic and inorganic chemicals, pesticides and dyes.
Since apples and tomatoes are two of the most widely consumed fruits in the world, this study finding has the potential for inexpensively helping hundreds of millions of people.
To try Mallampati’s water purification in your own home yourself, follow these simple steps:
- Peel your apples and/or tomatoes and place them in a rubbing alcohol solution
- Let the peels soak well in the solution
- Remove the peels from the solution and let them dry out.
- Place the peels in a container of water
- After two hours, remove the peels from the water
- The water is ready to drink.
Banana peels also can help purify water. In a separate 2011 study conducted at the Bioscience Institute in Botucatu, Brazil, researchers found that banana peels removed lead and copper from river water.
How does it work? Banana peels contain nitrogen, sulfur and carboxylic acids. These acids can bind with polluting metals in the water.
In an article published on Scidev.net, Dimitris Kalderis, a wastewater treatment expert at the Technical University of Crete, wrote: “The results are very promising, and the banana peel process has proven to be a cost-effective and quick alternative to conventional methods … I think that a small automated system to use either at home or at a central point for multiple families could be developed. The knowledge is there, what we need right now is innovation and construction.”
Sunlight and Lime Juice
Often called solar disinfection, this method is quick and effective. The solar disinfection method involves placing a clear glass container filled with contaminated water in direct sunlight for a minimum of six hours.
A study conducted by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine found that when lime juice was added to the water during this solar disinfection process, harmful bacteria – including E. coli – was removed significantly more quickly than with solar disinfection alone. In fact, the process took only about 30 minutes.
This amount of time is similar to the treatment time involved with boiling water. However, this method was not as effective as other methods in removing viruses from the water. In addition, researchers noted that the purified water had a pleasant taste.
If fruits are not readily available, another exciting trend in water purification involves seaweed. Seaweed needs nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous in order to survive, so it absorbs them. Some scientists, including University of Connecticut biologist Charles Yarish, have theorized that seaweed could help clean polluted coastal waters and rivers.
With almost 800 million people worldwide lacking access to clean water, the studies of these easy inexpensive means of purifying water are promising. Since many fruit peels just go to waste, researchers are investigating other fruit peels – especially fruits that are local to certain areas of the world — and other natural fibers for their ability to clean water.
Again, these methods won’t remove all dangerous pollutants, and it is recommended that you use something like a Paratrooper water filter to make the water fully safe. But in a survival situation, they are worth trying.
What advice would you add on purifying water? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Have you ever heard about the Moringa plant? I’ll be honest – I had never heard of such a thing until fairly recently. At first I dismissed it as a fad, but after some extensive research, it looks as though it is here to stay because of its genuine benefits.
Very simply put, Moringa oleifera is a plant that has recently come into the public consciousness because of its high nutritive value. It has many culinary uses, is easy to grow, and can be used to purify water to boot! It goes by other names as well: some call it the “drumstick tree” and in the Philippines it is known as “malunggay.”
I haven’t had the opportunity (yet) to try out any of the many things you can do with the moringa plant, but the more I’ve researched the more intrigued I have become. I haven’t been this fascinated by a plant since I heard about soapwort and vowed I would grow it in my garden and use it as shampoo. But that’s a subject for another day.
Basic nutrition facts about moringa
Moringa has joined the exclusive club of “super foods” that also counts among its members kale, quinoa, and acai berries, for some very good reasons. Moringa is extremely high in over 90 nutrients, including 8 essential amino acids that our bodies need but cannot produce, such as vitamins B, B1, B2, B3, D, and E. It has three times as much iron as spinach, four times the calcium of milk, four times the vitamin A of carrots, and is higher in vitamin C than oranges.
Moringa is one of the highest naturally occurring sources of chlorophyll, the health benefits of which could be the subject of its own article. Because of this, many international NGOs are encouraging the use of moringa as a treatment for malnutrition.
Because of its amino acid profile, moringa is considered to contain a complete protein, which makes it of particular value to vegans and vegetarians. With all these nutrients, one or more moringa plants would be a great asset to your garden, in addition to the foods in your food storage pantry.
The leaves, flowers, seeds, and seed pods are all edible. The flowers must always be cooked, however slightly, before eating to neutralize certain toxic compaounds found therein. WebMD recommends avoiding the flowers entirely during pregnancy because they can act as an abortifacient. WebMD also recommends staying away from the roots and bark, as the same toxic compounds found in the flowers are present in the roots in much higher concentrations, and can cause paralysis and death. The threshold for such a dismal fate is not known, so to be on the safe side, don’t eat the roots.
Young and tender seed pods, also referred to as “drumsticks,” can be cooked as green beans and have a flavor that is reported to be not unlike asparagus. Interesting fact: they call them “drumsticks” because they resemble the things you use to hit drums, not because they have anything to do with a certain favored part of a chicken. They kind of look like really long okra pods, to me. Older trees produce seed pods that are tough and bitter in addition to tender ones; for this reason moringa trees are often grown as seasonal crops even in places where they can thrive year-round. Why not try this drumstick sour soup recipe from Myanmar (Burma)?
The leaves can be found in many traditional South Asian dishes, whether they are dried and added as a garnish, or added to soup, omelettes, or curry. As for the taste, one source said that the leaves tasted like a “pecany spinach” when cooked, and slightly pungent like radishes or watercress when raw. It has become popular in the Philippines to make a pesto dish from moringa leaves. A delicious recipe/ tutorial for such a dish can be found here.
Seeds can be roasted like nuts when mature or cooked like peas when young. Unless you are eating seeds grown yourself, use caution when ingesting seeds. Only eat seeds meant for human consumption, as seeds intended for cultivation are sometimes sprayed with insecticides.
As for the flowers, they can be used to make tea, or can be battered and fried like squash blossoms.
Using Moringa Seeds To Purify Water
As a prepper, this is the thing about the moringa plant that most piques my curiosity. You can not only eat it, but can purify water with it, too? It sounds almost too good to be true. In fact, I am pretty sure I once saw an episode of “I Dream Of Jeanie” that featured some kind of magic seeds that could be used for water purification. Unlike that ridiculous made-for-TV plotline, this looks pretty legit. According to this tutorial, two spoonfuls of dried, powdered moringa seeds can be used to purify as much as 20 liters of water!
Not only does this sound like a practical solution to the widespread problem of water accessibility in the third world, trying this out would be an extremely educational homeschooling activity!
The seed powder bonds with particulates in the water and make them sink to the bottom, so the purified water can be poured off through a simple cloth filter. This method also takes care of most (but, as a caution, not all) of any bacteria present in the water. It doesn’t take care of 100% of all possible water contaminants, but it appears to do a pretty decent job. In a SHTF scenario when bleach drops could be impossible to come by, this could be a legitimate option.
Growing Your Own Moringa
Moringa is a tropical tree native to Northern India and the Himalayas. It loves heat, and does very well in zones 9, 10, and 11. The seeds germinate easily, and the plant grows quickly. Many gardeners report that it can grow up to 20 feet in a single season! If, like me, you live in a colder climate (zone 6 here in the Intermountain West), it is still possible to grow this plant in a greenhouse or as an annual.
Karen Coghlan of Blue Yonder Urban Farms suggests:
GROWING IN A GREENHOUSE
If you have access to a greenhouse Moringa seedlings could be grown in a greenhouse, with temperatures kept well above freezing.
GROWING IN POTS
Moringa grown in pots can be moved inside when the weather changes. Just be sure to provide warmth and light to keep it alive.
GROWING AS AN ANNUAL
If you grow a vegetable garden you are probably aware of the practice of growing vegetable as annuals. Most vegetables are grown in one season and replanted again the next year.
I don’t have a lot of garden space in my backyard these days, but I think next year I will give moringa a try, just for fun. Do any of you have experience with the Moringa plant? We would love to hear all about it.
Win a packet of Moringa seeds!
Karen of Blue Yonder Urban Farms is donating packets of 25 Moringa seeds to 4 lucky Survival Mom readers! Enter the giveaway using the form below. Winners will be selected at random on October 26, and notified by email no later than October 27. Winners have 48 hours to respond.