The Enemies of Food Storage This is an article on food safety. In fact, I would encourage anyone who is truly interested in food storage, canning and other ways of growing, cooking and processing foods to take a course in food safety. It is great information for the smooth sailing of today or the rough …
Ask any non-prepper on the street what’s needed for survival, and you’ll probably get the answer, “food, clothing and shelter.” I’m not sure where that idea started, but I’ve heard it all my life. The sad thing is that way too many people think that it’s true, and while those three things are actually needed for survival, that little line leaves off some of the most important items — especially water.
Yet it does include clothing, which is something those in the preparedness community normally leave off a list of the highest survival needs. Instead, we use the term “homeostasis,” which refers to maintaining our body heat. Clothing is one of the things that helps us do that, in addition to shelter and fire.
We shouldn’t minimize clothing as a necessity for survival… yet we often do. You rarely find clothing listed on anyone’s list of things we need to stockpile, nor do you find it included in most bug-out bag lists. But it should be in both. Whether you’re bugging out or bugging in, you’ll need something to wear.
Of course, you could just say, “I have clothing, no problem” and I wouldn’t be surprised if you did. Considering that clothing is a durable item and that we all have closets full of the stuff, it really doesn’t seem much like an issue. But again, it is.
There are two ways that clothing could become a major issue in a survival situation. The first is that most of the clothing we own isn’t appropriate for survival. The second is that our children will easily outgrow their clothing if we find ourselves in a long-term survival situation.
Is Your Clothing Appropriate?
Let’s look at your closet first. Most survival situations are hard on the body, and therefore hard on the wardrobe, too. Yet the vast majority of the clothing in most of our closets is there because it is attractive, not because it is rugged. How much of it can you actually wear while hunting, gardening, digging a hole for an outhouse or trenching cross-country on a bug-out?
Unless you work in the construction trades, or some other job where you wear rugged clothing all the time, your wardrobe is probably lacking in that sort of clothing. Oh, you’ll have some blue jeans and T-shirts, and you’ll probably have some flannel shirts or sweaters for cold weather, but do you have enough?
Even worse than your clothing, how are your shoes? About the only shoes that you might have which will be appropriate for survival are tennis shoes, unless you have some hiking boots somewhere.
If you are forced to bug out, you’ll need both rugged clothing and rugged shoes. The stuff you wear to the office every day just won’t do. For that matter, I’d hate to try cutting firewood in work clothes and shoes. I wouldn’t even want to do it wearing tennis shoes. I’d want something that would protect my feet — hiking boots or some good work boots.
The good news is that it won’t take much to rectify the problem. Buy some rugged clothing and some good rugged boots. Either hiking boots or work boots will do. Make sure that you take the time to break them in, though. The last thing you need to do is head out on a bug-out with boots that you’ve never worn.
And Then There’s the Kids
The bigger problem really isn’t your clothing; it’s that of your kids. As we all know, kids go thorough clothing like crazy. They either get holes in it or outgrow it. Either way, they are in regular need of new clothing. That definitely could be a problem, especially in a long-term survival situation.
Of course, your kids will need rugged clothes and boots, just like you do. You really don’t want your kids trekking through the woods on a bug-out without some sort of footwear that will give them ankle support. Kids are just too prone to accidents.
So, how do you deal with the issue of clothing for your kids? Whatever you buy them, they’ll outgrow. It would seem you’ll never get ahead in this game, yet there is a way to get ahead, especially when your kids are smaller and less likely to complain about their clothing styles.
Here’s what my wife and I did: When our children were still children (they’re adults now), we bought their clothes ahead of time. In other words, we didn’t buy the clothes they needed now, we bought the clothing they would need in two to three years. We started this when they were babies and outgrowing their clothes every few months. We just kept it up as they continued to grow.
Part of what made this possible was that my wife is a world-class champion garage-saler. When our children were small, just about all their clothing came from garage sales, especially our girls’ party dresses. There was one time that each of the girls had over 30 fancy dresses they could choose from, in their wardrobe, as well as less elegant clothing. All of it came from garage sales, at a fraction of the original price.
As they grew older, less and less of their clothing came from garage sales. It seems that the older that kids get, the harder they are on their clothing, especially boys. They also wear it longer, so it has more time to wear out. Nevertheless, we kept the system going, switching from buying their clothing at garage sales, to buying their clothing at whatever sales we could find.
Clothing has the highest retail markup of nearly anything, often in the 80 percent range. That means that something you pay $100 for in the store is really worth $20 at wholesale. This huge markup explains how clothing stores can have such incredible sales and still not go out of business.
If you’re buying ahead of time, there’s no problem waiting for the sales. You’ll be able to find what you want, at prices that won’t break the bank. Then you can stash it away, in the attic or basement, in boxes marked by sizes. When it’s time for new clothing, all you have to do is take out the next size box rather than rushing to the store.
Running a system like this, you can have two to three years worth of clothing on hand for your kids at all times, without spending a ridiculous amount of money. Granted, the clothing you’ve bought ahead of time may not be the latest style, but they’ll have clothes to wear. You can always buy them a couple of “in things” to add to that, rounding out their wardrobe.
More importantly from a survival point of view, if a major disaster happens, your kids will have enough clothing to keep them going for several years.
Let’s Go One Step Further
Merely stockpiling clothing will go a long way toward ensuring that your family has what it needs, just like stockpiling food and toilet paper will. But let’s take that one step further. If we assume an event that requires long-term survival, your stockpiled clothing probably won’t be enough. In that case, it would be a good idea to be able to make your own.
Now, I realize that few people make their clothing anymore. It’s just not all that practical in our modern world, with so much commercially manufactured clothing available.
But learning to sew isn’t all that hard. I recently had to learn how to do it, because I was making a couple of bullet-proof vests. With a little knowledge and a sewing machine, you can make just about anything. Granted, you’ll also need a few other things, like fabric and thread, so you should probably buy some of them, as well (especially thread). You can always get fabric by cutting apart clothing that’s too big, to make clothing for smaller people.
Remember, we’re talking survival here. In such a situation, your children’s complaints about style won’t matter. They’ll need something to wear, regardless of what it is. I seriously doubt that their friends will keep pressuring them to wear the “in” brands when everyone is trying simply to survive.
One final point. If we assume a long-term event, then we’re probably going to be without electricity. That means that a sewing machine isn’t going to do you much good, unless you have a means of creating your own electricity. The other option is to buy an antique treadle machine and have that for your survival sewing. Turn it into a decoration in your home, and nobody will know that it’s actually a part of your plans.
What advice would you add on stockpiling clothing? Share your thoughts in the section below:
I remember taking a survival test some time back. They asked me about my preps, and based upon that, the test decided that I would be able to survive six months if everything went to pot.
While taking it was an interesting exercise, I really don’t put much stock in such online tests, especially when you consider that they are based upon the ideas of whoever created the test.
We should all take the time to analyze our family situation, our preps and our skills and take a guess on how long we will survive. Then, once we’ve done that, we should ask ourselves a very important question: “What do I need to do to make it so that I can survive longer?”
Keep reading to see how to answer this question!
The thing is, there are several different ways of surviving, not just one. So, while I might not meet all the requirements of their test, I might survive just fine. Likewise, meeting all the requirements that they laid out doesn’t guarantee my survival, as there are always unforeseen factors that affect our survival.
The basic premise of the test, that of determining how long we can survive if the brown stuff hits the rotary air movement device, is a valid one.
Nothing is promised to us. We don’t really know what sort of disaster we might find ourselves having to live though, nor do we have any real idea of how long it will take for things to return to some semblance of normal. So we have to prepare for the worst.
That means a disaster that takes out our entire infrastructure and supply chain and is bad enough that they can’t be rebuilt. In other words, a situation where we are forced to survive on our wits, our knowledge and our preps, for the rest of our lives.
Understand Your Priorities
Survival is about meeting your body’s needs. If you succeed in meeting them, you’ll survive. If not… well, we won’t go there. So, we must be prepared to survive, no matter what. That means meeting the basic survival priorities of:
- Maintaining body heat
- Clean water
In addition, we have to consider a few other areas:
- Starting a fire
We’ve all heard the “Rule of 3s” sometime or other. You know, you can only survive 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water and 30 days without food. Some people leave that first one off, but this is the basic rule. Why is it so important? Because it shows us what our priorities are in any survival situation.
Survival stockpiles, survival kits, survival caches and bug out bags are all developed with those needs in mind.
Countless books and articles have been written, showing the importance of fulfilling those needs and how to build a stockpile, bug out bag or whatever to meet them. I won’t dispute that list at all, because I know it to be true. But what I will dispute is depending on a stockpile to give them to you. Having a stash is not enough unless you know how to use it right.
So, What Do You Need?
There are three basic things you need to survive. No, I’m not talking about heat, water and food. I’m talking in much greater generalities. The three things I’m talking about take into account much more than just a stockpile or a short-term survival situation. They are what you need to survive for the rest of your life.
- Skills & Knowledge
While all three of those general areas are touched on by preppers, it is the third one that actually receives the most attention. That’s mostly due to the fact that we live in a society in which we are accustomed to buying everything we need. So we tend to look at survival the same way and buy whatever we need.
That idea works for a while, but you can’t depend on it for the rest of your life. I don’t care how big your stockpile is, eventually it will run out. When that happens, you’ll either have to have another means of keeping yourself alive, or you’ll die; plain and simple.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t stockpile supplies. What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t JUST stockpile supplies. Doing so puts you on a clock and none of us want that clock to wind down to the end.
Which One is the Most Important?
Of those three general areas, which one is the most important?
Don’t answer me just yet. For you see, how you answer that question will say a lot about your own ability to survive. It will also give a pretty good indication about how long you’ve been a prepper.
We pretty much all start out our survival journey by building a stockpile of supplies. This is the stereotypical first trip to Costco or Sam’s Club to buy 50 pounds of rice and 50 pounds of beans. Once we start along that road, we continue stockpiling, adding depth and breadth to our food supplies and even adding other needs besides food.
There’s nothing wrong with that. Having supplies on hand is a great way to get through the beginning of any disaster or disaster recovery. But how many supplies are you going to stockpile? When will you have enough? To be honest, you never will. As I already said, if your survival is dependent on those supplies, you will die shortly after eating the last of your food and drinking the last of your water.
That’s why knowledge trumps the list of priorities. Supplies can run out, but knowledge can be used over and over again.
Let me give you a simple example.
Let’s say you’re in a grid down situation and so you’re using wood to heat your home. In such a case, you’ve got the wood itself, that’s supplies. You’ve got a fireplace or wood-burning stove, that’s your tools. Finally, you know how to start a fire, that’s your skills and knowledge. Okay, how long can you survive? Once again, only till your supplies, in this case the firewood, runs out.
The obvious solution in this case is to cut some more firewood, so you can continue heating your home. But do you know how to cut firewood? Do you know how the different types of wood will burn? Do you have an axe or saw to cut it with? Do you have any idea of how long it needs to season, before you can burn it? Yes, something as simple as cutting firewood is actually quite complex, if you don’t have the necessary tools and knowledge.
On the other hand, a person who has enough skills and knowledge can usually make the necessary tools to come up with the supplies that they need. Maybe their tools won’t be the same as the tools you can buy in the store, but they will fulfill the need.
You’ve probably seen some survival show where the “expert” is dumped on a deserted beach (or other location) with nothing more than their clothes and their wits. Using nothing more than what they can find wherever they are, they are expected to not only survive, but entertain the audience with explanations and stories about how some piece of trash they find is going to save their life.
Granted, that’s television, but it’s at least based upon reality. In this case, the reality is that the survival instructor in the show is actually finding ways of using trash to make whatever they need to have in order to survive. They don’t have anything but their knowledge and wits to get by on, and they succeed.
Build Your Knowledge Base
This is where that test I took failed. It was based upon my stockpile, my vegetable garden and my chicken coop (as well as other preps); but totally failed to take into consideration my knowledge. As such, it gave me much less time to live, than what I actually could.
Knowledge trumps everything else when it comes to survival. Granted, you need the right sort of knowledge, as a PhD in marketing won’t help you survive. In fact, the things you need to know won’t be taught in any college I’ve seen.
More than anything, the knowledge you need for long-term survival breaks down into two basic categories:
- Growing, hunting or gathering food and water
- Making and repairing things
The first of those two will keep you fed, with plenty of water and if we extend it a little, might even keep you warm. But you won’t really advance. You’ll be stuck living as if you were in the 18th century, with a few small exceptions.
On the other hand, the ability to make and repair things will provide you with the possibility of restoring your life to something that at least vaguely resembles modern life. No, you probably won’t be able to restore the internet or cable television, but you will be able to do a lot.
More than anything, it will give you the ability to make the tools you need, in order to keep yourself warm, fed and with plenty of clean water.
Now, after reading all these, do you know how long will you survive?
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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.
When stockpiling supplies in your home for survival and disaster preparedness, there are certain items that may run out quicker than you realize.
Think about it: A large-scale economic collapse is going to last for months, if not years. An EMP attack will knock the power grid down on a national scale for an equal amount of time, if not longer.
Here are six items to consider buying more of:
1. Baking soda
This is truly one of the most overlooked survival items on the planet. It is one of the best all-around cleaning and personal hygiene product that you can buy – and it’s cheap. With baking soda, you can make soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, dishwashing soap, and a cleaning agent for floors and furniture.
Without batteries, how are you to power your electronic items and your flashlights? The best kinds of batteries to buy in bulk are common types such as AA or AAA, but you also will want to store plenty of more unique types, for any special devices. For example, many heavy-duty flashlights will require D batteries.
Fire is imperative in any survival situation, because it can provide you with warmth, light, comfort, security and a way to cook food or boil water.
Your best move will be to focus on purchasing a variety of fire-starters — lighters, matches and magnesium flint strikers — rather than just one type, so that you can have options.
Gone are the days of bows and arrows. Sure, you can build or use those kinds of more primitive weapons if firearms are not available, but you simply cannot call yourself truly protected in this society without guns.
Most prepping experts seem to agree that a minimum of 1,000 rounds stored per caliber is a good baseline. Nonetheless, even that much ammo may not last as long as you think it will. Consider storing more.
There’s a good chance that food was the first item you thought of when you started reading this article. Of course, it’s best to be self-sufficient, but the best kinds of foods to store for survival are ones that are both nutritious and long-lasting. Examples include white rice (avoid brown rice because it spoils), beans of virtually any kind, MREs (not the most tasty, but they still last a long time), canned meats and vegetables, sugar and honey.
Even though water is all around us in various forms, having access to clean and purified water for both drinking and personal hygiene purposes is an absolute must. Additionally, have plenty of emergency water filters. Store water in clean containers of various sizes and be sure to rotate it out at least once every six months to ensure it remains in good condition.
What would you add to our list? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Editor’s note: This is the second story in a two-part series about what the federal government says should be stockpiled. Read part 1 here.
Perhaps surprisingly, the federal government has been part of what has driven the prepping movement.
FEMA’s “ready.gov” website was developed with the idea of helping people to prepare for a natural disaster so that they would have a better chance of surviving it. While FEMA isn’t the definitive source for survival information, a number of things that are widely accepted in the prepping community trace their roots right back to Ready.gov.
The most glaring example of this is the three-day food rule, which defines that bugout bags, otherwise known as 72-hour bags, have three days of food in them. Just about everyone talks about having three days of food in their bug-out bag, without anyone taking about the “why” behind that figure. But here’s the why: because the government said so.
Personally, I carry five days of food in my bug-out bag, and have another couple of weeks worth in a secondary bag, with even more food in other portable containers. The idea is to take as much food with me as I can, and use the food from the other containers first, leaving what’s in my bug-out bag for last. That way, if I have to abandon my vehicle and the other food, I’ll at least have that five days’ worth.
So, where did FEMA’s idea of three days’ worth of food originate? It came from their master plan, which states that they will have relief services in place in three days. Forget that they haven’t been overly successful in accomplishing that in the past, but it’s still their plan.
We can extrapolate a very important point from this. That is: everything that the government says about disaster preparedness is based upon the assumption that the Nanny State government will be there to help you. If you trust the government, that’s fine; but if you don’t, then it’s not a good idea to put too much stock in what they offer as survival advice.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at FEMA’s list of “Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit.” This printable list is what FEMA recommends having on hand, mostly with the idea of surviving a natural disaster.
In addition to food and water, the list includes:
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- First-aid kit.
- Whistle to signal for help.
- Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air, and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place (better to use a medical grade mask to keep out pathogens, too).
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.
- Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food).
- Local maps.
- Prescription medications and glasses.
- Infant formula and diapers.
- Pet food and extra water for your pet.
- Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container.
- Cash or traveler’s checks and change.
- Emergency reference material such as a first-aid book or information from ready.gov.
- Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
- Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper. When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color-safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
- Fire extinguisher.
- Matches in a waterproof container.
- Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items.
- Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels.
- Paper and pencil.
- Books, games puzzles or other activities for children.
Before going any farther with this, we need to understand exactly what this list is. By looking at it, it is immediately clear that the items listed are for sheltering in place, in your home, while waiting for government relief. That, in turn, assumes that the government will be able to bring relief, that they will be able to do it in three days, and that they will physically be able to get to you. Those are some pretty big assumptions.
When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, one of the many problems that delayed the arrival of relief into the New Orleans area was the trees and other debris scattered on the roads. There were many places where the roads had to be cleared before the trucks carrying the relief supplies could make it to those who needed it.
FEMA’s inability to deal with the situation in a timely manner was obvious and examined in great detail. So, it would be natural to think that they would have been ready seven years later when Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast. But they didn’t even put out requests for quote (RFQs) for the supplies they needed until the day after Sandy hit. It doesn’t look like they learned a whole lot.
While there are many other examples we could use, I’ll just mention one other. In 2016 there was a massive flood in Louisiana, affecting about 30 parishes (what the rest of us call counties). In that case, it wasn’t FEMA that rescued people and brought relief, but rather the people of Louisiana helping each other. Some used their boats to rescue people stranded on their roofs, while others set up emergency shelters and cooked meals for those who were displaced by the flood. It was a great demonstration of community outpouring to help one another out.
Since it’s clear that there are many cases where the government can’t get in place fast enough to truly make a difference, accepting the idea that three days’ worth of food and water is enough, is ludicrous. But even if they could, that three-day figure doesn’t take into account any long-term or national disaster scenarios.
Long-term disasters are those that last anywhere from a few months to more than a year. In such a case, it’s clear that we’d need a whole lot more food than the three days mentioned in FEMA’s list; or, we need to grow our own food.
Situations like terrorism taking out the grid or bio-warfare would mean that we’d all have to be self-sufficient for months.
Many writers have undertaken to write complete lists of what you’ll need in these sorts of situations, myself included. Take a look at the article on “22 Things Besides Food and Water That You Should Stockpile” or “21 Surprising Items You’ll Need when the Grid Is Down.” The truth is, there is no way of knowing for sure everything we’ll need, so we need to plan for everything and hope that we didn’t miss anything.
But let me take a moment to make a quick case for what’s missing from the government’s list. To determine what we need, we always have to start out with the basics for survival. Those are:
- Ability to keep warm.
- Clean water.
- Nutritious, high-energy food.
To support that, we need to add:
- The ability to defend ourselves.
- First-aid supplies.
- The ability to start a fire.
Just looking at those seven areas, it’s clear that the FEMA list is missing a lot of things. They mention matches to start a fire, but they don’t talk about fuel for the fire. Their list assumes that everyone has a stock of firewood sitting behind their homes, as well as a government-approved wood-burning stove to burn it in? Incomplete answers to survival problems, like this one, get people killed.
They do mention the ability to purify water with bleach, but that’s the only water purification method they mention, and they missed the part about shaking up the water once you put the bleach in it to make the bleach dissipate, and then allowing it to sit for 20 minutes to kill the pathogens. But why not mention some other methods of water purification? Water is such an important part of survival, that depending on only one method is not safe.
Two of the “supportive” areas that I mentioned above are totally missed by FEMA: the ability to defend yourself, and tools. One of the things you can count on in the aftermath of any disaster is the criminal element coming out of the woodwork to take advantage of the situation.
The fact that they missed tools can be forgiven, if we assume that the plan is to shelter in place, in your home, awaiting the arrival of government aid. But then, if you were one of those people, you wouldn’t be reading this website. The fact is that many survival tasks, from building or repairing shelter to preserving food, are going to require tools of some sort. Of anything that FEMA has left off their list, this is probably the biggest omission. Yes, you can make it three days without those tools, but not a whole lot longer.
All in all, the only true value that the FEMA list has is as a starting point. For someone who hasn’t done anything about emergency preparedness, this list is an eye-opener. But the sad thing is that many will take this list as being the definitive word on survival and not go any farther.
Simply put, it is not wise to put our survival in the not-so-capable hands of the government.
What is your reaction to the FEMA list? Share your thoughts in the section below:
A good stockpile of food will go a long way toward helping you survive the aftermath of any disaster or life crisis, especially when grocery stores are emptied.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that there are people who are not preppers who nevertheless instinctively know to stockpile food. This really isn’t surprising when you consider that through most of mankind’s history, stockpiling food was essential to survival — specifically surviving the winter months. During those months, wildlife is bedded down trying to stay warm and plants are dormant. If one didn’t have a good stockpile of food, their chances of survival were pretty darn slim.
But knowing to stockpile food and knowing what to stockpile are two different things. The vast majority of what the average American family eats is unsuitable for stockpiling, because it falls into one of three categories:
- Junk food – Lots of carbs, lots of sugar, lots of salt and lots of chemicals, but not much nutrition.
- Fresh food – Foods that won’t keep without refrigeration.
- Frozen food – It will begin to spoil within two days of losing electrical power.
So we need to come up with other foods — foods that will give us a lot of nutrition and also have the ability to be stored for a prolonged period of time. Here are what we consider the 15 most important ones:
- Beans – This is one of the more common survival foods. Not only are beans plentiful and cheap, but they provide a lot of protein — something that’s hard to find without meat.
- White rice – The perfect companion to beans. An excellent source of carbohydrates, and it stores well. [Note: Don’t store brown rice, which contains oils and will spoil.]
- Canned vegetables – A good way of adding micro-nutrients to your survival diet. Canned goods keep well, long past the expiration date on the label.
- Canned fruit – For something sweet, adding canned fruit allows you a nice change of diet. Being canned, they keep as well as the vegetables do.
- Canned meats – Of all the ways of preserving meat, canning is the most secure in protecting the meat from decomposition. While it doesn’t typically have as good a flavor as fresh meat, it still provides animal protein at the most reasonable price you’ll find.
- Honey – As long as you can keep the ants out of it, honey keeps forever. Plus, it is beneficial during cold season.
- Salt – Nature’s preservative. Most means of preserving foods require the use of salt. In addition, our bodies need to consume salt for survival.
- Pasta products – Pasta is a great source of carbohydrates, allowing you a lot of variety in your cooing. Besides that, it’s a great comfort food for kids. Who doesn’t like spaghetti?
- Spaghetti sauce – Obviously, you need this to go with the pasta. But it is also great for hiding the flavor of things your family doesn’t like to eat. Pretty much anything, with spaghetti sauce on it, tastes like Italian food — whether you’re talking about some sort of unusual vegetable or a raccoon that you caught pilfering from your garden.
- Jerky – While expensive to buy, jerky is pure meat, with only the addition of spices. Its high salt content allows it to store well, making it a great survival food. It can be reconstituted by adding it to soups and allowing it to cook.
- Peanut butter – Another great source of protein and another great comfort food, especially for the kiddies. It might be a good idea to stockpile some jelly to go with it.
- Wheat flour – For baking, especially baking bread. Bread is an important source of carbohydrates for most Americans. Flour also allows you to shake up the diet with the occasional batch of cookies or a cake.
- Baking powder & baking soda – Also for making the bread, cookies or cakes.
- Bouillon – Otherwise known as “soup starter,” this allows you to make the broth without having to boil bones on the stove for hours. Soups will probably be an important part of anyone’s diet in a survival situation, as they allow you to eat almost anything. Just throw it together in a pot and you’ve got soup.
- Water – We don’t want to forget to stockpile a good supply of water. You’ll go through much more than you expect. Experts recommend a minimum of one gallon per person per day, but remember: That’s just for drinking.
While this doesn’t constitute a complete list of every type of food that you should stockpile, it’s a good starting point. You’ll want more variety than this, but in reality, your family can survive for quite a while with just the 15 things on this list.
As your stockpile grows, add variety to it. One way of doing that is to create a three-week menu, with the idea of repeating that menu over and over. If you have everything you need to cook everything on that menu, you’ll have a fair assortment of food, and enough so that your family shouldn’t grow tired of it.
What would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below:
Having an ample supply of food during an emergency is essential. But what do you do if all of your “regular” storage places are fully stocked and you’re running out of room? This is where creativity comes in handy.
Here’s 10 often-forgotten areas in your home where you can store food.
1. On wall shelves. Look around your home or apartment. Often, this is the best way to store extra food, even if it is in plain sight. Build wood shelves, low and high. Or buy shelves at the big box store. Either way, you often can double the amount of food you store.
2. In cloth closets. Do you really need 30 pairs of shoes? Twenty boxes of keepsakes? Our closets have plenty of space for storing extra food – if we only toss some of our clutter.
3. Under floor cabinets. There is typically a place known as a toe-kick beneath the floor cabinets between the cabinet and floor. Remove the board to reveal the empty space. Place back in a manner that looks natural.
4. Under couches and beds. Obvious, right? But lots of people forget this one. Yes, the same areas where you hid toys as a kid can be used to store food, too.
5. Inside a lamp. Be sure to buy a lamp with a hollow base. Remove the base and place food inside. If the lamp does not have a hollow base, you can sometimes manually hollow it.
6. Behind your headboard. The area between the wall and your bed can serve as a crafty hiding spot. Place buckets or boxes of food there and cover with a decorative blanket.
7. Inside the box spring. For those who don’t know, box springs are hollowed inside. You easily can fit multiple canned goods and bags of food without being noticed.
8. Under stair steps. To make it look organized and natural, you even can use an old dresser with several drawers.
9. At the bottom of potted plants. Make sure they are airtight. You don’t want dirt or water seeping into your food.
10. In a container buried in the backyard. This is for those who truly have run out of options. It requires a weatherproof container. One idea is to place sealed bags inside large buckets before burying them. Place a marker somewhere near so you don’t forget where they are.
Do you have any unique ideas for stockpiling food? Share your tips in the section below:
Wintertime is a wonderful season — full of holidays, resolutions and relaxation. However, it is also the time of the year when our immune systems are the most vulnerable.
Of course, it is best to prevent illnesses, but it’s just as important to be ready if an illness does strike. That means you need a well-stocked medicine cabinet. Here are 17 natural treatments you should stockpile:
Vitamins and Supplements
1. Vitamin C. This should be taken daily, as vitamin C is critical for boosting the immune systems, for preventing illnesses, and for fighting infections.
2. Vitamin B. It serves as a pick-me-up and helps the body generate energy. It is good to have on hand to combat fatigue.
3. Calcium and magnesium. Many of us suffer from a lack of essential nutrients, and calcium and magnesium are two important ones the body needs. Take a daily supplement if you do not get enough in your diet. Both of these are good for relieving cramps and for relaxing.
4. Cod liver oil. Cod liver oil is considered a superfood, a crucial omega 3 fatty acid, and is extremely high in vitamins A and D. Take it daily, but especially when you feel a cold or the flu coming on. It is also a healthy fat to help lower bad cholesterol levels.
Herbs and Tea
5. Mullein. This is an herb that is useful for treating a sore or scratchy throat. It can help to ease coughs, too. One good way to use mullein is to boil it and then inhale the steam. It can contribute to clearing congestion and blocked airways.
6. Chamomile. Chamomile tea is great for soothing an upset stomach, easing anxiety and tension, and for treating insomnia.
7. Peppermint. Peppermint tea can fight fatigue, ease nausea, battle congestion, open airways, and promote overall well-being.
8. Ginger. Ginger is a natural antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory qualities. Furthermore, it is good for heart health. It can boost your immune system, aid in indigestion, fight bacterial and fungal infections, and even help with the symptoms of diabetes. Ginger root is excellent as a tea, or it can be added to your food.
9. Turmeric root. Most people use fresh turmeric root to treat aches and pains, as it is a natural pain reliever and aids in blood circulation. You can add it to your food recipes, or drink it as a tea. Be aware that turmeric can be hard to absorb, so add black pepper or coconut oil to your recipes to aid in absorption. Here is a fresh, turmeric root tea recipe.
10. Tea tree essential oil. Tea tree essential oil is a natural antiseptic and is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. Use it in a vaporizer to purify the air in your home and to kill germs. Furthermore, you can add it to a spray bottle with water and spray all the surfaces in your home to disinfect them.
As a first-aid treatment, swipe cuts to prevent an infection. Tea tree oil is also a good treatment for acne and fungal conditions such as athlete’s foot.
11. Lavender essential oil. Lavender essential oil is an all-around healing agent. It treats cuts and wounds, rashes, insect bites and acne.
Since lavender is anti-inflammatory and analgesic, it is perfect for treating aches and pains and even headaches. Mix it with a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil and massage it into the affected areas.
Lavender is a calming oil and can help with deep relaxation. It’s a natural anxiety and depression remedy. It can treat insomnia, too. To use lavender essential oil, vaporize it in a diffuser, add several drops to a hot bath, or use it as a massage oil to receive all of its incredible benefits.
12. Rosemary essential oil. Rosemary is a natural warming oil and is anti-inflammatory. It is great for relieving fatigued, overworked, aching muscles. Use it in a carrier oil to create a soothing massage oil.
Rosemary essential oil also has stimulant properties which, when inhaled, can help to wake up the senses and help with concentration. Furthermore, it’s a natural stress-reliever. To use rosemary essential oil, vaporize it in a diffuser, use it in a hot bath, or create a massage blend.
13. Eucalyptus essential oil. Eucalyptus essential oil is a natural decongestant, so it’s perfect for treating colds and the flu. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, so it can ease aches and pains. Use it in a diffuser or steam inhalation to help clear the senses. Alternatively, use eucalyptus oil with a carrier oil as a chest or muscle rub.
14. Peppermint essential oil. Peppermint essential oil is good for treating nausea, for fighting fatigue, for relieving congestion, and as a warming oil. To acquire the benefits of peppermint oil directly, drop several drops on a tissue and deeply inhale. This oil is also good when used in steam inhalation, a bath, as a warming, massage rub, and in a room diffuser.
First-Aid Natural Treatments
15. Honey. It is a natural healer and an antioxidant. In first-aid, honey can act as a band-aid. It will protect the wound, prevent infection and begin the healing process.
Honey is also good for preventing and treating colds, relieving coughs and sore throats, and for easing nausea. You can add honey to your tea to help lower your cholesterol.
16. Activated charcoal. This is a good remedy for treating gas and upset stomachs. It is also great for fighting food poisoning.
17. Epsom salts. Epsom salts are good in baths when you are sick. They can help to lower a fever and reduce bodily aches and pains. They also can help to reduce tension and anxiety. If you have a headache, try to lightly inhale Epsom salts to help relieve it.
What would you add to our list? Share your stockpiling tips in the section below:
For the dedicated homesteader or prepper, stockpiling isn’t something with a beginning or an end, it just is. You start your adventure by building a stockpile of food and you never really end it. While the heavy push for stockpiling might come to an end, the reality of stockpiling never does. You just find more and more things that you should add to your stockpile, wondering why you hadn’t thought of them before.
The thing is, without knowing beforehand what sorts of emergencies we might be faced with, there’s really no way of knowing everything we are going to need. So, we have to make some assumptions and build our stockpile based on them. But those assumptions can change with time, which means that our need for certain supplies might change, as well. So, we just keep adding and adding, making sure we have what we’ll need, when the time comes.
There are countless lists out there of things you should stockpile. Most have more or less the same things on them — perhaps because we tend to learn from each other. That’s good on one hand, but it means that everyone is likely to be forgetting the same things.
That’s where this list comes in. I’ve been at this for a while, and I’ve collected some things in my stockpile which I’ve discovered others tend to forget. So, I’m going to try and plug those holes. Hopefully, you’ll find a few things on this list which you hadn’t thought of before. Even better would be to find that you’ve thought of the same things that I have, and you don’t have any holes in your stockpile. Either way, I expect this to be useful for you to check yourself against.
Food is where we all start, but have you thought of these?
1. Spices. Your meals are going to get awfully bland if you don’t have spices to flavor them. What you have in your kitchen might last a few months, but that’s about it.
2. Salt. Everyone has salt in their stockpile, but do you have enough? Salt isn’t just necessary for flavoring our food; it’s also for preserving meat. If you’re going to hunt at all, you need a couple hundred pounds of salt on hand for meat preservation.
3. Bouillon. Otherwise known as soup starter, mixed with water, this provides you with the stock. Somehow, I think soups are going to be a big deal in any post-disaster menu.
Most of us are planning on producing at least some of our own food, if not all of it, in the wake of a disaster. But do you have everything you need to expand your garden to that size? A 20-foot garden plot isn’t going to be enough; you’re going to need to turn your entire backyard into a garden.
4. Fertilizer. Few people bother stockpiling fertilizer, but if you’re going to have to expand your garden rapidly, you’re going to need a mountain of it. The best, of course, is a mountain of compost.
5. Animal feed. Those chickens, rabbits or goats you have are going to need to eat — or you won’t be able to eat them. Few people bother growing feed for their animals. So you’d better have something on hand.
6. Insecticides. The wrong bugs could cause you to lose your entire garden. I don’t want to think of how much I’ve lost to grub worms, let alone other types of pests. You probably won’t be able to find the insecticides – organic or otherwise — you need after a disaster.
We all know we need a first-aid kit, although most don’t go far enough in stockpiling replacement supplies for theirs. But there are a few other key items you might want to consider.
7. Vitamins. If your diet isn’t going to be as well-balanced as it should be, a good quality multivitamin might go a long way towards keeping your health up.
8. Spare glasses. For those who wear prescription glasses, this will be a necessity if they are going to do anything to help keep their families alive.
9. Reading glasses. Even if you don’t need them now, don’t assume you never will. Reading glasses are great for any close-up work or working with small things.
10. Activated carbon (sometimes called activated charcoal). This is useful for a variety of things, such as making your own gas masks and purifying water. It also can be taken for stomach problems.
11. Spares for your first-aid kit. I know I just said this, but it can’t be overstated.
We all have pieces of equipment that we’re planning on using to help us stay alive after a disaster. But what if something happens to that equipment? Are you prepared to make even simple repairs? If not, that wonderful tool or other gadget might just turn into a paperweight.
12. Coleman lantern pump rebuild kit. If you have the old style Coleman lanterns or their dual-fuel stove, you know about the pump in the fuel tank. These last well, but eventually need new seals. A rebuild kit doesn’t cost much and can keep that equipment working.
13. Small engine parts. If you’re planning on using any gas-powered tools, such as a chainsaw or a roto-tiller, you’d better have at least the basic parts, such as spark plugs, air filters and priming bulbs. That way, you can keep them running.
14. Specific parts for critical equipment. Everything has critical parts and short-life parts in it. The manufacturers should be able to tell you what those are and be selling spares. Make sure you put in a good supply.
15. Water filters. If you’re using any sort of water filtration system which has filter cartridges, figure out how many filters you need to have and then multiply it by about 10. You can’t have enough.
Few people think about stockpiling clothing — which means that there will be a lot of people wondering what to do when the time comes. A few specific things you need to think of are:
16. Kids’ clothing. Kids grow a lot, and you need to have larger sizes on hand than what they are using now.
17. Work gloves. I guarantee you, you’ll need them. But they tend to wear out, so have some spares.
18. Rough clothing. Most of us don’t wear very rugged clothing. If you don’t, stock up.
19. Work or hiking boots. Especially important if you have to bug out.
That’s our list – what would you add to it? Share your tips in the section below:
I stay prepped pretty much all year long, but I like to turn things up a notch during winter. Where I live, the nearest major store is an hour and a half round trip. The distance to town is merely an inconvenience in summer, but winter weather can turn the commute into something stressful and even potentially dangerous.
As with many situations in life, it is the little things that can make or break the success of stockpiling for winter. Sure, whole-house generators are a nice perk—and are understandably crucial in some circumstances—but it works for me to concern myself first with the small items. The problem is that small everyday needs can be all too easily overlooked. Here is a short list of must-haves to help you start your own winter stockpile, and a few hints about fine-tuning the list for the needs of your own household.
First, remember that it is about the basics: water, food, shelter, heat, safety, hygiene and comfort for the entire household. Humans, pets and livestock will need to eat, drink and be safe and healthy. Additionally, your location or relationships might mean that neighbors and relatives will be looking to you in the event of a winter emergency, and you will want to be prepared for whatever level of sharing you are willing and able to accept.
For me, winter stockpiles are at least as much about not having to go out when the roads are slippery as it is being ready for a catastrophic event. I focus most of my preparedness efforts on the occurrences that are likely to happen. My winter supplies are usually planned around the likelihood of inclement weather or finding stores sold out of what I need, or even run-of-the-mill unrelated emergencies such as a last-minute work deadline or having a sick animal.
1. Water. You will need some for drinking, some for cooking, and some for your animals. Additionally, you will need water for sanitation and hygiene—brushing teeth, washing, and flushing the toilet. People often do not realize how much water they go through in a day. When considering how much water to stockpile, spend a few days being aware of every drop of water you use. Every time you turn on a faucet, imagine instead having to get that water from a jar or bucket in an emergency.
I keep between six and eight half-gallon mason jars of drinking water tucked away in my cellar pantry at all times. As winter approaches I increase my stores of drinking water, and add at least 15 gallons in lidded buckets for flushing. During winters when I am keeping large livestock, my water stockpile multiplies exponentially. Cows drink a lot.
Your water use may be more or less than mine. If you are unsure, it is better to overestimate your water needs than to underestimate them. If you end up not using the stored winter water, no harm done. Just pour it out onto the garden in spring and start over next season.
2. Food. The important thing about food is to stick with what you will eat. Sure, there might be a sale on cans of anchovies at the liquidation center. But if your family would not eat anchovies unless you were literally starving, pass them by and spend a little more to stock up on what you will eat. Tailor your food supplies to that which can be cooked on whatever equipment you will have available to you if the power goes out, or food that can be eaten cold.
“Oooooh,” my brother messaged me one day last winter, “I have a quarter inch of snow! I better run to the store to buy bread and milk and eggs!”
The joke among those of us who stay prepared all the time is that everyone seems to be in desperate need of milk, bread and eggs whenever a storm is predicted. We watch the TV news and see shelves and milk coolers stripped bare, and long lines at the registers. Don’t get caught being one of those people. Buy a loaf of bread, a package of frozen egg products, and a box of shelf-stable milk the next time you shop for food, and make room for the bread and eggs in your freezer. But plan on never using them—instead, commit right now to staying ahead on all of your grocery necessities. Pick up a gallon of fresh milk a couple of days before the current one is gone. Don’t get down to the last crust before shopping for bread. Put pasta on your shopping list ahead of time.
Do not forget food for animals. Keep pet food, grain and hay stockpiled as much as you can for the winter. If your goats go through 200 pounds of grain or 20 bales of hay a month, keep that amount as a baseline, always buying new as soon as you dip below a month’s worth.
3. Medication. Winter is not the time to run out of over-the-counter remedies for colds, headaches and minor injuries. Whatever your go-to is, from multi-symptom nighttime cold syrup to St. John’s wort tincture, stock up now.
Prescription medications can be a little more challenging to stay ahead of. There is a specific window of time during which pharmacies can legally refill medications—in other words, they cannot refill your 90-day prescription just a month after filling it the last time—but there is often a week or so of leeway. Be diligent, and do not wait until you are down to your last day to go for a refill.
4. Equipment and supplies for handling ice and snow. Depending upon your geography and needs, this might be shovels, snow scoops, roof rakes, chemical ice melt, ice creepers, car windshield scrapers, and more. Buy it now, while it is available, instead of rushing out right before a big storm only to discover that the best quality and least expensive options are sold out, leaving you only the ones nobody else wants.
5. Alternative heating. This looks different in every home. If it is not very cold outside and your house was warm before you lost power, you might be able to get by overnight and even for a few days with only heavy clothing and blankets. Other contingency plans include a wood-burning appliance or another choice of heater run by natural gas or a generator and the fuel it needs to run. Remember that equipment which is designed to run outdoors can cause carbon monoxide poisoning indoors, so whatever you use, make sure it is safe and that you know how to operate it properly. But if you are going to burn wood or propane, or rely on down-filled sleeping bags to keep you warm, stockpile what you need now.
6. Flashlights, lanterns and the batteries to run them. Have an absolute minimum of one lighting appliance per household member, and keep at least two full sets of batteries for each appliance. Always. I keep a flashlight, a small battery-operated lantern, or both, in almost every room in my house.
If the wind is howling and I think power might be interrupted, I keep a flashlight on my person so that I can use it to access other lights and necessities. I do not rely on gas lanterns or candles for power outage lighting, but I do keep a few around for absolute emergencies.
7. Basic household supplies. This varies greatly from one household to the next, but almost always includes batteries, toilet paper, tissues, diapers, and women’s hygiene products. These are the other items that are almost always sold out quickly when a storm is predicted. The way to avoid this is easy—stockpile! Keep an absolute minimum of a month’s worth on hand at all times, and you will be glad you did.
Just like you did with water, assess your needs ahead of time as you go about your daily routines. If you need kitty litter, paper towels, cigarettes or coffee, stock up now.
A lot of winter stockpiling is more about peace of mind than actual needs. Having enough of everything on hand reduces anxiety. Whether the weather forecast is calling for a blizzard of epic proportions or a few inches of slush, you will rest easy knowing you have done all you can to keep yourself and your family from falling in between a rock and a hard place.
What would you add to this list? Share your tips in the section below:
Building your stockpiles is only part of the equation for survival. Once you have items stored up, you also must protect them all year long.
This winter, your reserves can be threatened in numerous ways. Are yours going to make it through until spring comes?
Here are five common threats that winter can bring. So you can adequately prepare, you’ll also find tips on how to avoid these threats. That way you can make it through the cold season with your supply stores intact.
1. Threats from Extreme Cold
Have you ever put a can of pop in the freeze to cool off and forgotten about it? I did once in high-school, and it’s not a fun mess to clean up!
When liquids freeze, they expand. This can lead to containers breaking, loss of supplies, and a mess.
Similarly, canned goods can bulge when frozen, breaking the seal. Water stored improperly can freeze and burst.
Additionally, any items you’ve stockpiled with a high liquid content can suffer changes in texture and may separate into different layers. This includes things like:
- Hand soap
- Shaving cream
- Foods with a lot of liquid like: condiments, evaporated milk, canned soup
To prevent damage and loss from extremely cold weather, make sure your supplies aren’t in an unheated area. If you must keep them where it’s cold, like in a garage or other outbuilding, take precautionary steps.
Run a small heater to keep the temperature above the freezing point. Or, add an extra layer of insulation to the area. You can even use straw bales to create a barrier around your stockpiles.
Here you can read more about protecting your water stores this winter. Do what you need to do to keep any items that could be damaged from freezing temperatures.
2. Threats from Flooding
Are your stockpiles in a room with water pipes running through? If your pipes freeze, they’re going to get soaked. Water can ruin many supplies quickly.
Mold is also a concern where there’s water damage. You definitely don’t want mold to get into your stockpiles.
To avoid any damage, ensure your pipes are ready for freezing weather. Insulate them. Run heat in the room. Keep some water flowing at night.
Video first seen on This Old House.
Patch any leaks before the dripping water freezes and causes problems. If you need a short-term solution, use plastic bottles to help.
You can also move your stores into containers that are more waterproof. For instance, large plastic totes can hold a lot, and will keep most of the moisture out if a pipe bursts.
Water pipes bursting aren’t the only threat water threat to your supplies. Check your storage areas. Be aware of other sources of water such as leaky cement walls, condensation and runoff from the thaw.
3. Threats from Pests
Do you know what the insects, mice, and other pests do when it gets cold outside? They typically try to find someplace warm to stay before winter sets in. That could be inside your home, outbuildings, or garage.
Stinkbugs and mice are more common to see indoors in the winter where I live. They start trying to get indoors in late fall, typically before the first snow. You might have different critters in your region.
No matter what pests are trying to get inside, you need to make sure your stockpiles are protected. Because it’s not fun to find a mouse nest inside your emergency go bag. Or mouse droppings on top of your food stores.
Those rodents can gnaw through so many things! You must store your stockpile properly to avoid spoilage.
Your stockpile should be pest proof year-round, but now is the perfect time to double check. Make sure the lids are tight on your containers. Ensure they are rodent and insect proof.
You might consider setting out traps for mice or other rodents as a prevention measure. Here is how to make a simple mouse trap.
Video first seen on Chris Notap.
If flying insects are a problem, hang up some fly strips to help eliminate them. That way you can stop the problem before it escalates.
After all, these emergency stores are for you and your family. Not to keep pests alive all winter long.
4. Threats from Loss of Service
Blackouts happen no matter where you live, especially in the winter. Entire cities have been left in the dark after damage to the grid caused by high winds. Damage from an EMP would be even more severe.
You must be prepared for loss of service. It’s a definite threat to your reserves.
Freezers Going Out
Are you relying on freezers to store most of your long-term food stores that you’ve prepared? In a power outage, your freezer won’t maintain the right temperature for more than a few days.
A generator can help. So can the great outdoors if your temperatures are below freezing. But you must have a plan in place to know where to move everything when the time comes.
When there’s no power, there’s no way to pump water. If you live in the city, you might not always lose your water for a short power outage, but those out in the country will. Regardless, you need water on hand.
Water freezes when it the temperature drops. But, you’ll still need liquid drinking water each day, along with enough water to take care of hygiene and everything else.
If you have a woodstove with a cooktop, you can melt your stored ice until it turns back into a liquid. But, that adds time and energy exertion to your day.
Keep at least a few days’ worth of water stored in your house where it won’t freeze. That’ll give you a few days to figure out your long-term plan. If you have animals, remember you’ll also need a way to keep them hydrated for the duration of the outage.
What’s your backup plan for heat? When services go out, you’ll need to make sure you and your stockpiles don’t freeze.
Ice buildup can cause problems even with your backup energy, so be sure to think through a winter plan.
Will you be able to find what you need in your stores if you’re working in the dark? You don’t want to knock over and break something while you’re pawing around.
To prepare, make sure you have a couple of flashlights or oil lanterns easily accessible. Along with those should be batteries or the fuel you need. Check on these a few times throughout winter and ensure everything is in good working order.
Then when the power goes out, you’ll know exactly where to go for light. You’ll be able to see your reserves clearly and avoid damaging anything.
5. Threats from Thieves
Not everyone believes in the necessity of building a stockpile. When times get tough, like they can over a long, hard winter, those unprepared people can quickly run out of needed items. If they know that you have plenty, or can see your supplies while driving by, you’re at bigger risk for thievery.
Thievery isn’t only limited to harsh weather, so take time now to secure your stores and make them harder to access. Here are some tips for keeping possession of your goods:
- Build your woodpile out of sight of the main road, along with any other items stored outdoors.
- Learn how to make your stores blend in naturally to their surroundings, hiding them in plain sight.
- Hide your valuables in unusual locations instead of places thieves commonly look
- Don’t tell your neighbors or anyone details about your stockpile. Stay silent.
- Stay under the radar when the power goes out. Don’t flash your powerful generator, your ability to prepare food, or anything else.
You don’t want everything you worked hard to prepare to be snatched. It can happen when you least expect it.
Also, make sure you check on your stores frequently. My family once had several cords of wood stolen out of our barn during the daytime, while we were out. We noticed it right away because we accessed the wood daily, and the thieves knocked over a good chunk of our woodpile.
It looked different, and we went over to investigate. A lot of wood was missing, and there were tire tracks all over the fresh snow.
Instead of just lamenting over the loss, we acted. We realized that our woodpile was visible to anyone who drove up the driveway. So we jumped in and moved it right away.
Learn from my mistake, and do your analyzing before a thief does. Keep your goods out of sight and safe, and check on them throughout the winter.
Click the banner below for a great offer for completing your stockpile!
This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia.
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When you’re living small and running out of space in your home, anything you buy raises the same big question: where am I going to store it?
A lot of people live in small spaces, and still buy a lot of everything, even if most of it finally goes to waste. Let’s be smart and buy what you really need and use, in or outside the kitchen. Think about how to use in multiple ways everything you buy, including food.
In other words, choose versatile food as much as you opt for multipurpose items when building your reserves. In the end, its about money, but also about space and resources.
Here’s what I chose!
First, there are a lot of grains that you can use to make flour at home: wheat, barley, rye, spelt, corn, oats, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, nuts (such as almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pecans, macadamias, and walnuts), seeds (such as sunflowers, hemp, pumpkin, amaranth and flax), potatoes, arrowroot, tapioca, coconut, soybean and others.
You have undoubtedly heard of cornmeal and possibly even almond meal, but what’s the difference between a meal and flour? Meals are ground more coarsely. To make meal, just don’t grind your product as long. When it starts to get a crumbly texture, you’re done. Compare it mentally to cornmeal.
Meals are great for several different uses because they add a heartier flavor and more texture to your goods. They’re bad, though, if you’re shooting for something nice and light to make a cake with.
Then you have pasta, and all those tasty dishes based on them: lasagna, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese or simple yet delicious rustic dishes made only from the ingredients in your garden. You won’t need many ingredients: flour, eggs (optionally) and salt. Some people like to add oil, but it’s not essential to making basic pasta.
All-purpose flour is just fine for a basic pasta mix. If you want to add texture and a bit of hardiness to your pasta, you can add some semolina flour to the mix. If you want silkier pasta for a more refined noodle, add some cake flour, or 00 flour.
Milk is packed with calcium and protein and is also a necessary ingredient in many recipes.
It’s something that you’ll want to have on hand in a survival situation.
Milk doesn’t keep long, but there are different ways to preserve it for later use. Read this Survivopedia article to find out more about how to preserve milk.
Also, there are about a million different cheese recipes out there that you can make depending upon your personal preferences and the type of milk (goat or cow) that you’re using.
Cheese is a lot easier to make than you’d think and you can keep it forever without refrigeration.
Coat the cheese in wax to preserve it. You’ll need a special cheese wax because paraffin wax will crack as it dries. Waxed cheese will last up to 25 years but remember that it will age and become sharper so if you plan to store it for an extended period of time, start with a mild cheese.
Another idea is to make butter or buttermilk. Or if you’d like, you can also make yogurt (here are a few recipes you might use for making yogurt), sour cream or cottage cheese but storage methods for those are just simple refrigeration. It will extend the life of the milk for a couple of weeks, though. And I’ve also heard rumors of canning buttermilk.
Let’s talk multipurpose! The main purpose of salt for most people is to add a bit more taste to their food. However, salt can be so much more useful in the kitchen and around the house, thanks to the many applications it has.
- Prevents the browning of fruits and vegetables. This is something that can be done with lemon juice or vinegar, but a bucket of salty water will also do the trick.
- Preserves food naturally for long term survival. Salt works by dehydrating the food as well as the microbes present in the food. Most especially, mold and yeast cannot grow in food pretreated with salt. Food preserved this way could last for years.
- Fresh egg test. You need a cup of water with two teaspoons of salt in them. Drop an egg in the cup. A fresh one should sink straight to the bottom while an older one would float. An older egg has more buoyancy because the air cell inside of it increases.
- Makes cheese last longer. Even when it is preserved properly in a refrigerated environment, cheese will inevitable spoil due to mold. This cannot be prevented with salting the cheese, but it can be delayed. Wrap the cheese before storing it in a damp cloth moistened using saltwater.
- Puts out grease fires. One thing to never do is to throw water on top of a grease fire. The water evaporates instantly and spreads the fire all over the room. Instead, throwing salt on top of the grease fire will create a crusty layer without oxygen, thus smothering the flames. Moreover, the salt also acts as a heat sink, dissipating the heat.
Salt keeps well in cool, dry places and you can prevent it from clumping by dropping a few grains of rice at the bottom of the shaker.
In addition to tasting delicious in tea and in baklava, honey has some pretty nifty health benefits. When you eat local honey, it’s said to help with allergies, which is great. The real use in an emergency though lies in the antibacterial, antimicrobial and emollient properties. It also has a ton of practical uses:
- Has vitamins and minerals so if you’re using a sweetener, honey is better than sugar
- Can be used as an antibacterial on wounds
- Is a great healing agent for wounds and helps keep the bandage from sticking
- Barter – sweeteners are going to be way up there on the list
- Excellent skin moisturizer (if your skin is so dry that it cracks, you’re going to have problems)
- Makes a great burn treatment because of the antibacterial properties and the moisturizing power
- Soothes sore throats
- When mixed with vinegar and water is an effective parasite remover
- Make fly/bug strips
Did you know that honey was found in Egyptian pharaohs’ tombs and it was still as good as new?
It only needs to be kept in a sealed container in a cool, dry place and it will last a lifetime. And don’t fret if your honey has crystalized; just place the jar in some warm water (without letting water enter the jar) and it will be smooth and good as new in no time.
Some of us throw away a ton of food scraps on a regular basis, but did you know that you can repurpose much of it? You can, of course, start a compost pile, but there are also many uses of kitchen scraps, and they would make your life easier if you are prepping or just homesteading.
First, use them to grow more food. In most of the cases, the roots will regrow if you plant them in the soil, just like bulbs of flowers do.
You can also use some of the scraps for filtering water. For example, grind the corn husk into dust and mix it with coffee grounds and clay. Add enough water to make it “clay-like” and shape it into a bowl. Allow to dry in the sun, then put your water in it and place it over another vessel. The water will soak through the bowl and into the other vessel, leaving contaminants behind. Rinse the corn husk bowl and reuse.
Onion peels, apple peels and banana peels also help removing pollutants from water. They attract and capture ions and pollutants because they’re adsorbent. This won’t purify the water or remove biohazards but it will help remove some of the dangerous pollutants.
And here are a few more examples on what kitchen scraps can help:
- Sooth stings – the end of the onion can be used to sooth stings. Just hold it on your skin.
- Use them to dye your hair a beautiful golden brown, or to color fabrics or Easter eggs a bright purple!
- Cook it up along with your garlic peels to make an organic pesticide. It stinks, but it works!
- Make baskets – braid or weave the husks into a basket.
- Protect delicate foods when grilling – if you want to grill your fish or other delicate food but are afraid it will fall apart and be wasted, wrap it in a wet corn husk while cooking.
- Treat bladder infections – boil the husks into a tea for relief. It also works as a pain reliever for some types of joint or muscle pain.
- Start fires – dried husks are extremely flammable so if you don’t have any good kindling, don’t pitch those husks!
- Fertilizer – your plants need the calcium and other minerals in the shells so you can crush them up and mix them into the dirt or you can soak the eggshells in the water that you use for your plants. You can even use the entire shell as a “cup” to start your seeds in if you crack them carefully.
- Pest deterrent – having problems with deer or cats in your garden? Crush the eggshells and scatter them around your garden.
- Calcium supplements – we all need plenty of calcium but in a survival situation, we may not be able to get enough. Thank goodness you thought to raise chickens! Just grind the eggs into a fine powder and mix it into your smoothie or other food once per day.
- Feed them to your chickens – that’s right – they need calcium to make more eggs so instead of using oyster shells, crush up the egg shells and give them back.
- Candles – if you crack the tops off carefully, you can fill the shells with beeswax, add a wick, and you’ve got a candle that you didn’t need to use another container on.
- Seed starter pots – again, crack them carefully and put your soil and seeds in them. You’ve got organic seed pots that are already rich in calcium and minerals that your plants need.
Add few more items to this list, and you’ll have a practical “To Buy” list for your kitchen, and your stockpile too. Less means more, and people living small can confirm that. Not to mention how easy and convenient is to carry a smaller bag when you are on the run for survival.
This article has been written by Gabrielle Ray for Survivopedia.
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You probably have seen at least a dozen lists pertaining to what you should be stockpiling just in case disaster strikes.
It is a little hard to fathom that reality, but imagine going to Walmart or a similar store and finding aisles and aisles of empty shelves. You won’t be able to shop at Home Depot or Lowe’s either, and all of those Internet stores will be out of stock, too.
This means you need a stockpile of food, water and other essentials in your home. But there are a few more things you will want to add to the shelves.
The list below may seem a little weird — like, “Why would I need to stockpile that?” kind of strange. Well, you don’t know what you need until it’s gone, and these are some of those things you just really don’t want to have to try and do without. They are so cheap, they may even appear inconsequential. They’re not.
Here’s seven things you should be stockpiling:
1. Shoestrings are probably not on your radar, but you need them. Survival is going to be a lot of walking and outdoor work. Tying and retying your shoes weakens the strings. A broken shoestring is actually a big deal when you are trying to get around and your shoe is falling off. They are cheap, so load up on them in varying sizes.
2. Duct tape is something that appears on most survival/prepper lists, but a single roll is just not going to do it. You will discover you will need duct tape for just about everything. You could easily go through a roll in the first week if you are using plastic to cover the windows, fix broken glass and so on. Duct tape to waterproof shoes is a common trend in, but what they don’t tell you is you can burn through almost an entire roll on one pair of shoes.
3. Nails and screws. These are not always cheap, but if you visit some yard sales or thrift stores, you can get them for fairly cheap. Big buckets and cans of screws and nails, even if they are used and a little rusty, will prove invaluable when you are starting over from scratch. They can be used to build new shelters, repair existing structures or fix fences.
4. Reading glasses. You can pick them up for a buck at the dollar store. Buy a lot. If you have a slight vision impairment, you will want to be able to see to read, do any kind of detailed work or to see in general. When there are no more eye doctors or the like, you will want to have the extra glasses on hand.
5. Ziploc sandwich bags. Generic ones are fine. These bags will make life a little easier and cleaner. Packing food for a scouting trip, keeping medical supplies dry, storing dried herbs and so on is easier when you have sandwich bags. If first-aid supplies are in short supply, wrapping a sandwich bag around a bandage will help keep the injury and bandage dry if you are going to be in the rain or snow.
6. Paper plates and plastic utensils. They are a bit of a luxury, but imagine when you have no water. You won’t be able to wash dishes very often. You don’t want to eat off dirty dishes (it could make you sick) and you don’t want to leave a sink full of dirty dishes that will invite unwanted guests. Paper plates can be used and then burned for fuel.
7. Safety pins. They also are so versatile! Using them to hold up your pants, replace a broken zipper or as a makeshift hem are just some of the uses. You also can use them as a fishing hook or to hold a tent door closed. In a worst-case scenario, they can even be used as a self-defense weapon.
8. Gloves of all kinds. Exam, rubber and work gloves are going to be a huge help. Putting on a pair of exam gloves when you are butchering an animal is a nice luxury, especially if water is in short supply. Rubber gloves can be worn when you are cleaning up nasty business, including the bucket toilet. Work gloves will protect your hands from blisters when you are taking care of outside chores.
These are just a few things we tend to forget we have until we need them. Each of these items is fairly inexpensive and worth putting on the shelf. Do a little home inventory, like checking the junk drawer or that one shelf in the hall closet. You will likely discover more items that should be added to your stockpile list.
What would you add to our list? Share your tips in the section below:
You want to build your stockpile in case SHTF, whether it’s for a small emergency such as a storm or for an event that changes the world as we know it.
There really isn’t one correct way to do this, but there are some common mistakes that many people make when shopping to stockpile supplies.
These mistakes can be costly, both in terms of money and in terms of food loss or inefficient storage space utilization.
Don’t worry though, today we’ll address some of those common mistakes people make when stockpiling so that you can avoid them.
1.Paying Full Price
This actually isn’t a mistake if you really want to spend a ton of money that you don’t have to. For most of us, though, saving money is just part of the way we live. It’s a form of reducing waste and making the most of what we have. Rarely is there a valid reason for paying full price for anything that goes in your stockpile.
The easiest way to save money is to take advantage of buy-one-get-one-free deals. If you only need one jar of spaghetti sauce, put one in your stockpile. If you need two jars, then pay for two and put the two free jars back. If you watch your local sales flyers, you’ll know what’s on sale.
Chain drug stores are great places to pick up BOGO first aid supplies, cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene items, so this doesn’t just apply to food.
Using coupons is another way to build your stockpile in a hurry, especially when combined with sales and BOGO offers.
Yard sales, Craigslist, Letgo, Freecycle, and other places to buy second-hand items are great resources for such things as generators, tools, blankets, ATV’s, building supplies, and just about everything else you may need.
2. Buying Just Because Something is Cheap
Many people make the mistake of scooping up things that are cheap just because they’re cheap. For instance, I saw what must have been an extreme couponer buying at least 20 tubes of hemorrhoid cream because it was on clearance and she had coupons.
Seriously, if you need that much hemorrhoid cream, you have a bigger issue than a coupon addiction. Because I enjoy couponing, I know many people like this, and even if you only pay 20 cents per tube, it’s a waste of money if you’re not going to use it.
I’ve seen the same thing with unpopular food items such as lima beans, hominy, and cranberry sauce. It’s all well and good to stock those items if you enjoy them, but the point of stockpiling food and personal items is so that you’ll have extra when you need it.
Why buy lima beans and hominy just because they’re cheap if they’re not something that you’re going to eat between now and the zombie apocalypse?
This is also a buyer-beware issue when it comes to first-aid supplies. Often, these items are on clearance for a reason: they’ve been on the shelf for too long and the store needs to get rid of them. Buying old items is a waste of money because the shelf life is already reduced.
3. Buying Stockpile-Only Items
This goes hand-in-hand with the lima bean issue above. Every item in your stockpile should be something that you use or something that has high trade value. Exceptions here may be first aid supplies, but even many of those items have a shelf life; bandage tape dry-rots or turns into a roll of goop after a few years.
Your stockpile should be fluid; though you’re certainly working to build volume, you should also be rotating it using the first-in-first-out method. This means that you use the oldest item (the first in) before you use newer, identical items.
The easiest way to keep track of this is to place new items behind old items, then use the ones in the front. This keeps your supplies fresh. Are you really going to eat 10 cans of hominy? If so, then buy them, but if you’re not a fan, then it will be more money-wise to buy items that you’ll use.
4. Buying the Wrong Types of Food
Many foods come in several different forms. For some foods, one item is just as good as the next.
For others, there’s a huge difference in shelf lives. A good example of this is instant rice and instant oats. Both of these items have much shorter shelf lives than their standard-cook counterparts. Do your homework.
Also, are you stocking a freezer full of vegetables, fruits, and meats? Remember that if you lose power, those foods will need to be eaten within a couple of days. Anything left after that will be waste unless you plan to can them quickly over an open fire or some other heat source.
It’s better when buying items for your stockpile to buy foods that don’t require refrigeration.
5. Not Buying in Bulk
While it’s true that I’m a big proponent of buying items with coupons, it’s often cheaper in the long run (unless you’re getting the item for next to nothing) to buy in bulk.
Though that 10 pound bag of rice looks huge, it’s probably only seven dollars or so. If you look at the cost of smaller bags, even when they’re on sale, it’s usually more cost-effective to buy in bulk.
Another advantage to buying in bulk is that you can store the item in a 5-gallon bucket or air-tight bin. Of course, you can pack the smaller bags in there, too, but you still have the cost to consider. Shop around.
6. Not Buying a Variety
You need to have a well-rounded food supply. This means stockpiling fruits and vegetables in all colors, because different colors have different nutrients. Make sure that you have plenty of every color stockpiled.
Another issue that will be a concern is that you can get so sick of eating one food that your brain will actually make you physically ill when you try to eat it. There are accounts of people in famine situations dying of starvation when they had a plentiful supply of rice, but only rice.
You can avoid all of this by simply stocking a wide variety of food.
7. Not Considering Nutritional Value
There’s no doubt that there are many delicious foods out there that can be purchased for very little money, but beware of the nutritional value.
Some foods, such as spaghetti rings, are full of fat, cholesterol, sodium, and artificial chemicals but have practically no nutritional value. Avoid these.
Before you buy a can or jar of food, look at the label and decide if that food is worth the space that it’s going to consume in your stockpile. If not, then skip it; you need to use that space judiciously for foods that will nourish your body.
8. Sacrificing Quality for Low Price
There’s most certainly something to be said for the expression, “you get what you pay for”. Some items, such as gasoline and canned foods, are what they are no matter what you pay for them. In these cases, you should definitely go for the lower price.
However, there are certain cases where it’s better to pay for quality, or to buy used. Tools and hardware (nails, etc.) are definitely in this category, as well as equipment such as chainsaws. Other items in this category are water barrels, weapons, and rope.
9. Not Having a Well-Rounded Plan
Everybody has the vague image of a stockpile that will get them through an emergency, but many people make the mistake of gathering stuff willy-nilly. If you do it this way, you’re going to end up with 42 cans of green beans with no can opener, a box of nails but no hammer, and some bandages without any tape.
Sit down and develop a list based upon what you’re prepping for. Figure out how much food and supplies you’ll need for each day, then think of other items that go along with those.
Items such as can openers, cooking utensils, and fuel for cooking, and then think of what you may need for first-aid and medicine, and for cleanup or survival.
Imagine yourself completing a task. If you’re going to cook rice, you’re going to need rice and water of course, but you’ll also need salt, a pan, heat, and maybe some vegetables. If you’re adding vegetables, you’ll need a can opener and you may want some other seasonings.
If you’re going to board up a window, you’ll certainly need wood and nails, but you’ll also need a hammer.
It’s these little details that you need to think of, but once your brain starts working that way, it will come more naturally to you.
It will take you days or even weeks to come up with your initial list but once you start it, you’ll be able to start stockpiling while you continue to work on it.
10. Don’t Put Stockpiling Off!!
This is absolutely the biggest mistake people make! Even if you can only set aside a few cans of food per week, do so. A box of bandages is only a couple of dollars.
Add something to your stockpile every time you go to the grocery store or drug store. There’s always something that you can get for $1, and every item makes you a bit better prepared than you were when you left the house that morning.
These are some of the most common mistakes that people make when stockpiling for an emergency; now that you know them, avoid them! This was just a starter list to get the conversation going, so feel free to add other mistakes or suggestions for stockpiling in the comments section below.
And if you want to discover the long-forgotten secret that helped our ancestors survive harsh times and will help you improve your life and survival skills, click the banner bellow!
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
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Depending on where you live, summer heat can be miserable, but the dead of winter can be lethal. Good thing we have autumn between, which leaves us enough time to prepare for the harsh time of winter.
If there is a blizzard or downed powerlines, it may be tough to get to the store. Even if you do, the shelves may be bare. That’s why you need to stockpile for winter weeks ahead.
I’ve composed a list of must-have items that you should have on hand before the snow flies, in no particular order (except the first 4). But first, you should know how to calculate your reserves, so read this Survivopedia article to determine how much food and water would you need to survive in the worst case scenario.
Remember that stockpiling on a budget IS possible, if you know how to make the most out of coupons. We put up a list with useful tips and over 100 companies that you can ask for coupons from, when building your autumn reserve. CLICK HERE to subscribe to our newsletter and get full access to this info, and the rest of our survival free reports.
The List you Need to Have When Shopping
- Even if you’re surrounded by snow that you can melt if necessary, there’s no way to tell what’s in it. Plan on 2 gallons of water per person per day, and don’t forget about your pets.
- Two fuel sources, plus vehicle fuel. Make sure that your primary sources for warmth and cooking are well-stocked, and have a back-up fuel source for both. If the power goes out, you still have to cook and stay warm. A back-up supply is especially critical if you heat and cook with electric. If nothing else, keep extra Sterno cans.
- Back-up light sources. Even if you’re lucky enough to have solar panels, there may not be enough light to charge them. Candles and camp lanterns are two good choices. Make sure that if you’re using camp lanterns, you have plenty of batteries or fuel for them.
- First Aid Kit. If you’re like me, you probably pick through your first aid kit throughout the summer; a band aid here, some tape or first aid ointment there. Make sure that it’s replenished with fresh items before winter. Items such as tape actually go bad after a while.
- Pre-cooked canned meat. Tuna, chicken and salmon are all nutritious choices. Some of the canned hams are OK too, but avoid the unhealthy processed “meats” such as potted meat. If possible, can your own meat. Plan for at least 1 serving per person, per day. 2 servings are better.
- A variety of canned vegetables, preferably home-canned. Go by color because in general, different colors contain different nutrients. Eat at least 2 different colors per person per day. Plan on at least 4 servings per person, per day.
- A variety of canned fruits and dried fruits. Follow the same color rule as above and shoot for 2 servings per person, per day.
- A variety of canned meals. You can make can your own, or you can buy them in the store. Soups are great and are often BOGO at the grocery store if you watch the ads.
- Powdered milk and canned milk. Both have a long shelf life.
- Powdered eggs. Great source of protein and can be used in baking and cooking just like fresh eggs can once you reconstitute them.
- Whole grains have a longer shelf life than flour, but I’ve used flour that’s 2 years old and it was fine. If it goes rancid, it will smell funny. Store flour in air-tight containers or dry-can it so that bugs can’t get in.
- This is probably the cheapest, most versatile, longest-keeping food you can get. Stockpile whole-grain rice though, because it has a longer shelf life than instant.
- You can prepare cheese so that it will store for years and it’s a great source of protein. It’s also a luxury food that will help the kids eat veggies.
- Your body needs sodium, and it adds flavor to food.
- Sugar and honey. Honey literally keeps forever. Perfectly edible honey has been found in tombs that are thousands of years old. Even if it crystalizes, heat it a bit and it’s good as new.
- I prefer cubes, but powder is available, too. It turns a few mixed veggies and some canned beef or chicken into soup.
- A variety of spices. You can stock up on store-bought spices, dry your own, or even keep fresh spices growing indoors year round.
- Coffee or Tea along with filters. Seriously. Enough said.
- Peanut butter. It has a great shelf life as long as it’s unopened and is another good source of protein.
- Cooking oil and lard/shortening. Did you know you can actually can butter?
- Baking soda. A great multi-purpose item, useful for cooking, cleaning, and first aid.
- Again, multipurpose. I prefer apple cider vinegar because of the health benefits. You can make your own if you have apples.
- Active dry yeast packets. There’s nothing like fresh-baked bread. You can make your own yeast if need be.
- Baking powder and cream of tartar. Quick trick – if you don’t have baking powder, you can make it by combining 1/2 tsp. of cream of tartar and 1/4 tsp. baking soda to equal 1 tsp. of baking powder in a pinch.
- Dried beans. Amazingly nutritious and are available in such a variety and can be prepared in so many ways that they won’t get boring.
- Extra can opener. Ever tried to open a can without a can opener? It’s easier to just keep a backup or two.
- Hay and grain for livestock. If you’re an experienced farmer, you know this already, but if you’re just starting out, store enough hay for the winter now, and at least a few weeks’ worth of grain. Trust me: the price of hay skyrockets once the snow flies.
- Weather radio with extra batteries.
- Extra blankets or sleeping bags.
- Toilet paper. Being trapped in the house for a week or so due to a blizzard just isn’t the same without it.
- These have dozens of uses, so they’re not just for girls. There should be a few in your first aid kit, and they make excellent fire starters.
- Laundry soap.
- Hygiene items such as soap, lotion, toothpaste, etc.
- Lighters or matches. Hard to light a candle without one.
- Spare cash. If the power goes out, your ATM card will be useless and the banks will likely be closed.
- Pain medication such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin. Personally, I go with the ibuprofen because it’s an anti-inflammatory as well as a fever reducer and pain killer.
- Alcohol that’s 70 proof or above has a variety of uses, including sterilizing needles or wounds, starting fires, and making merry when you’re stuck in the house. If you’re using it for the latter, see number 37.
- Baby wipes. They’re not just for babies.
- Extra equipment parts. Do you have a snowplow or tractor that you use to clear the driveway or to carry hay? Keep extra of the parts most likely to break.
- Garbage bags. If you need to leave the house, they keep the water and cold air out and the body heat in. They have several uses, so keep different sizes handy.
- Games, books and crafts. Board games, puzzles, puzzle books, and even Twister are good ways to kill time. Crayons, paper, scissors, coloring books (kids and adults), glue, and whatever else you need to perform your craft project(s) of choice.
- Rubbing Alcohol.
- Fire starters if you’re heating with wood.
- Fire-proof cookware if you’re using your grill or a fire as a backup cooking method.
- At least 1 5-gallon bucket with a lid. There are dozens of uses for them.
- Extra plywood, nails, and screws. If a window breaks during a storm, you can freeze to death quickly if you don’t get it sealed up. Plywood is also good for getting a car or tractor un-stuck.
- Rock salt. This keeps your walkway safe, but be careful. It melts the snow, but that water will refreeze again if the salt is washed away or absorbed into the ground.
- Duct tape. I through in an extra, because you always need duct tape.
This is a good list to use as a guideline but each situation is different. I’m sure that I’ve left off some important things, so if you have anything to add, please do so in the comments section below.
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
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The rich and famous are investing millions of dollars to build elaborate underground bunkers and safe houses in what has become a booming industry for the contractors that specialize in luxury survival accommodations, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“Bill Gates has huge shelters under every one of his homes, in Rancho Santa Fe and Washington,” Robert Vicino, the founder of bunker company Vivos, revealed. The Microsoft founder and philanthropist is considered the world’s richest man.
“His head of security visited with us a couple years ago, and for these multibillionaires, a few million is nothing,” Vicino said. “It’s really just the newest form of insurance.”
Gates is not alone, as movie stars, financiers, athletes and other wealthy celebrities are all so worried about the future that they’re investing millions in bunkers and safe houses, The Reporter discovered. The wealthy’s worries include terrorist attacks, riots, World War III, class warfare, economic collapse and political chaos stemming from the election.
“People are going for luxury [to] live underground because they see the future is going to be rough,” Mike Peters of Ultimate Bunker told The Reporter. “Everyone I’ve talked to thinks we are doomed, no matter who is elected.”
Sales at one upscale bunker maker, Rising S Bunkers, have increased by 150 percent in 2016, according to a Reporter article, and sales to upscale clients by 700 percent.
Story continues below video
Survival is the latest fad in Hollywood, with wealthy celebrities going to incredible lengths to preserve their lavish lifestyles. The bunkers that companies like Rising S build construct are a far cry from the air raid shelters of the 1940s and 50s.
Bunkers of the Rich and Famous
Some of the lavish survival precautions the wealthy are taking include:
- A 37-room, 9,000-square-foot bunker in California’s Napa Valley wine country that cost an “unidentified Academy Award winner” $10.28 million. The bunker’s amenities include a bowling alley, sauna, home theater, Jacuzzi and shooting range.
- A $9 million, 7,600-square-foot compound in Napa Valley that features hidden safe rooms, four escape tunnels and a safe house disguised as a horse barn.
- A $3 million bunker for a “major sports figure” who lives in Southern California.
- A 10-by-50-foot bunker that costs $112,000 and features its own power and water sources and air filtration systems. Rising S Bunkers reported those bunkers are being installed in homes throughout Los Angeles.
- A $10 million complex, located a few hours north of Minneapolis, that contains two 1,000-square-foot bunkers and 300 feet of tunnels. The same property has three guesthouses — each of which has its own $200,000 bunker.
- A $100 million subterranean residence for a venture capitalist that features a pizzeria and a day spa. That bunker’s builder, Al Corbi of Strategically Armored & Fortified Environments (SAFE), claims it can withstand a nuclear holocaust, electromagnetic pulse, solar flare and pandemic, among other threats.
Another company, Creative Home Engineering, specializes in building secret doors and panels. When company president Steve Humble started, most of his installations were novelties created for entertainment.
“Nowadays, 80 percent are used for security,” Humble revealed. “In the past year, I have performed installations inside two nuclear-protected complexes with more than 10 secret doors each, one in the L.A. area owned by a plastic surgeon.”
Humble added, “I can tell you that we’ve built secret doors for many of the most recognizable and highly awarded directors and celebrities in Hollywood. There are a lot of Oscars and Emmys tucked away safely behind my secret doors.”
What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:
Homesteaders and others in the preparedness community often dream about huge bunkers deep underground filled with a healthy stockpile of food, water and other essentials. It is all really nice in theory, but for many, living in an apartment or a small house eliminates the dream for that giant storage space.
But that doesn’t mean stockpiling food and water is completely out of the question. Even the folks who are not fortunate enough to have a lot of extra space or room in their humble abodes can still build up a nice stockpile. It may not look the same and it may not be quite as elaborate, but you can still build up at least 30 days’ worth of food and other necessities. The key is to get rid of clutter that is taking up valuable space you could be using for your stockpile. Have a yard sale and get ready to fill the space with valuable food and water.
Here are 10 ways to do it:
1. Look up. Every home has lots of space around the ceiling area that is empty space you could be using. Install shelving around the upper wall, 1 to 2 feet below ceiling height, depending on how high your ceilings are. These shelves can be filled with lots of food and essentials. It may not be wise to put heavy cans or bottles of water on the shelves above your head. You will want to store those items lower to the ground.
2. Get low. Hiding water and canned food under the couch and your other furniture is an option. Furniture that is hollow in the center, like end tables or coffee tables, can be filled with supplies.
3. Use over-the-door hangers that are meant for shoes to stash first-aid supplies and dry goods. The hangers can be used in closets and on the back of bedroom doors.
4. Pull the couch out about 4 to 5 inches from the wall. Stack canned food in that area. There is actually a rack you can purchase specifically for this reason or you can make your own. Place a piece of wood over the top to hide the rack. Add a couple of candlesticks or pictures to disguise your stockpile. You can easily fit 50 or more cans of food back there.
5. Stash items in the back of the linen closet. This tends to be a space that is either left empty or the linens are pushed back, leaving the front of the shelf empty. You can use a thin sheet of wood to create a false back to hide your stash.
6. Use totes designed to store clothes under the bed to hold food and water. You can also buy can holders that would normally go in a pantry, and slide those under the bed. You put in new cans on one side and pull out cans from the other to keep up with rotation.
7. Explore the crawl space. Houses that have crawl spaces above the ceiling provide you with a nice place to stash first-aid supplies and things like toilet paper. It is not an ideal place for water or food, because it is likely to get very hot up there.
8. Create a false floor in your closets. Putting one to two layers of cans across the bottom of the closet floor and then covering with a blanket or a sheet of wood and dropping your shoes on top is one way to take advantage of the space. You could also use boxes or buckets filled with food to create the false floor.
9. Fill 5-gallon buckets with food and create makeshift furniture. You could make a couple of nice end tables in the living room or a nightstand in the bedroom. Place a round or square piece of wood on top of the bucket lid, drape with a nice cloth and treat it as you would a normal table.
10. Try a false floorboard. These are one of the oldest tricks in the book, but they work. Hardwood floors are great for using the space underneath to hide food. You will want to make sure anything you put under the floor is sealed up tight to prevent it from being infested with pests and chewed on by mice.
Even though plastic bottles are far more common that glass ones, being able to reuse the latter is also an important skill to learn. Even if plastic bottles become rare quickly in the post crisis world, the permanent and more durable nature of glass bottles means you may have better access to them.
No matter whether you dig around in a smaller junk pile or turn up glass bottles while plowing a field, these bottles can still be cleaned and reused for many purposes.
By contrast, a plastic bottle in the same condition may not be of use at all. As you learn more about the ways glass bottles can be reused, consider adding them to your stockpile, and using them now for your prepping needs.
Here are a few tools to have on hand when working with glass bottles:
- Heavy work gloves – when scoring and breaking glass, heavy work gloves are extremely important. Even one shard of glass can cut deep enough to sever smaller nerves in your fingers or leave an open wound that will get infected easily. Never forget that cutting glass can be both fun and productive, however it can also be very dangerous if you don’t use the proper safety precautions.
- Goggles – if you though the risk to your fingers and hands was high, the damage to your eyes can be much worse. As with a number of materials that you might need to work with as a prepper, glass is valuable but it can also cause many injuries that you weren’t planning or thinking about.
- Glass bottle cutter – you can purchase a stationary cutter that will keep the bottle in place as it is being scored, or you can make one on your own. If you decide to make one, be sure to choose a good quality cutter so that you can avoid replacing it as much as possible.
- Handheld glass cutter – as you become better at cutting glass, there may be different shapes that you will want to cut into the glass. A hand held glass cutter does take some practice to master, however it is well worth the effort.
- Sanding blocks – glass is always going to have sharp, uneven edges along the scoring track. Use a sanding block to smooth out these rough areas and other dangerous edges. Do not use sandpaper without a good sturdy block behind it because glass can splinter easily and find its way through the paper backing.
- Wood for making scoring guides – even if you are an experienced glass cutter, a wooden guide can help keep the score marks on a precise track and enable you to work faster.
- Ruler ,paper, compass, protractor
- Lightweight oil – in order to get the most out of the cutting wheels, use a little bit of oil on the glass so that the cutter does not wear as quickly.
- A clean, perfectly smooth work surface – this is absolutely essential while you are cutting. Even a small bump or bit of debris can cause the glass to crack. Remember that glass is extremely brittle, and the scoring process will increase that problem.
Skills You Need to Master
Creating Score Lines
Good score lines aren’t necessarily deep, but they must be consistent. You should hear a crackling sound as the glass cutter moves over the glass. If you see white dust building up along the sides of the cut, then you are putting too much pressure on the cutter.
Snapping the Glass
Breaking glass after creating the score line is truly a fine art. If you don’t it with just the right amount of pressure on both sides of the cut, then the glass may break in places other than on the score lines.
You can try tapping the glass along the score more mark prior to snapping the glass, however that will not make up for poor snapping technique. In some cases, if you tap too hard in order to get a break through the the thickness of the glass, it will go off track worse than if you just snapped the glass without trying to create even breaks along the score line.
When snapping glass, do not forget to wear heavy gloves and goggles. As someone that has been cutting glass for many years, I can tell you that even the best will wind up with glass that breaks at or near the fingers or have shards fly into the air.
Video first seen on Shake the Future.
How to Reuse Glass Bottles
Here are a few ides for reusing glass bottles in the easiest way:
Not all reuses involving glass bottles involve cutting the bottle. In this case, you can ferment new wine easily enough in old wine bottles (gallon bottles work well). Just wash out the bottle, let it air dry, and then fill it up with the liquid when you are ready to separate it from the mash.
When you cap the bottle, leave it a bit loose so that air can escape. As the wine continues to ferment, white debris from the yeast will accumulate in the bottom of the bottle. This “debris” is Cream of Tartar, which is used as a leavening agent. It is especially useful in recipes that use eggs as a leavening agent because it stabilizes them better than flour (in cheesecakes, etc).
Video first seen on The One Minute Brewer.
Wide and narrow mouth glass bottles can be used for storing foods. You can store away dried herbs, soups, or just about anything else that can be poured out of the vessel. As with fermentation, you do not need to cut bottles in order to use them for food storage.
If the cap/lid is worn or does not seal well, just add a plastic bag over the mouth of the bottle and then put the cap on.
Smaller bottles can also be used as herb, salt, and pepper shakers. You can drill holes in the cap, and then use the bottle like any other shaker. Remember that if you are not going to use the herbs for some time, either replace the cap with holes with one that is solid, or place some plastic between the cap of the mouth of the bottle.
Plant Cutting Starters
There are several ways to use bottles as plant cutting starters. If the plant will root in water, simply clean the bottle thoroughly and let it air dry. Next, just put some water in the bottle and place the cutting so that the cut end sits in the water.
Depending on the species of plant, the cuttings may start showing roots in a matter of days, or it can take a few weeks. Just make sure that you put the plants in soil before the root system gets too big to pull from the bottle without causing breakage.
Remember that when it comes to plant root systems, it is the fine hairs at the end of the roots that are vital for pulling water and nutrients into the plant. If you damage those or cause breakages up the line, it will increase the risk of root rot, transplant shock, and poor growth.
Depending on the size and shape of the bottle, you may not need to cut it down in order to use it as a soap dispenser. All you need is a soap pump that has a tube long enough to reach to the bottom of the bottle.
You can cut a hole in the cap to fit the pump in, or make one from some other material. If you have to cut the bottle down in order to create a large enough open area for the pump, then you will need material other than the cap to make a platform.
Video first seen on Craft Innovations.
If the bottle mouth is small enough, it can be used as is for tapers. For other candles, such as votives, tea lights, and pillars, you may need to cut the neck off the bottle so that there is enough room to place the candle in the bottom of the bottle. If you are very good at cutting glass, you may also want to cut designs into the sides of the glass to create beautiful lighting effects.
Chimney style candle holders can also be constructed by cutting the bottom off the bottle. Put a fireproof tray under the candle, and then set the “chimney” over the tray and the candle. Unfortunately, if soot develops on the sides of the “chimney” you may wind up disposing of the bottle if you are unable to remove these deposits.
Video first seen on Saeid Momtahan.
To use a glass bottle as an electric lamp base, you will need to cut a hole on the wall of the bottle near the bottom so that the wire can go through. Since incandescent lamp sockets can get quite hot, it is best to build a platform from wood that will cover the mouth of the bottle, and then use a metal riser to accommodate the wire.
The riser will add some space between the socket and the body of the lamp, which will help reduce problems with excess heat.
Video first seen on HouseholdHacker.
Alcohol and Oil Lamps
Many glass bottles can be used “as is” for alcohol and oil burning lamps. Cut the cap of the bottle so that the wick fits through it (but will not fall down into the bottle), and make sure there is enough wick to reach the bottom of the bottle. You can also add an alcohol or oil burner top to he lamp so that you have an easier time adjusting the wick.
Video first seen on jiujitsu2000.
Upside Down Planters
One of the most productive forms of gardening involves hanging plants upside down to grow. In particular, strawberries, tomatoes and vine plants can be grown in much smaller spaces if you use hanging baskets, or upside down planters. Narrow mouth glass bottles are perfect because they are sturdy enough to take the weight of the soil in the bottle and they will not deform in the way thin plastic bottles would.
To use glass bottles as upside down planters, it is best to cut the bottom off the bottle so that you can water the plants easily from the larger opening. I do not recommend drilling holes in the glass for hanging hooks. Instead, you can use anything form yarn to wire to create a suitable harness.
Make sure that the harness will not stretch or corrode/weaken enough to allow the bottle to slip through as time goes by. When choosing a place to hang up these planters, remember that the water will drain through the mouth of the bottle. Keep a tray under the planter, but far enough away from the leaves so that you do not wind up with spilled water all over the place.
No matter whether you are feeding young chicks or want to attract other birds to your homestead, it can be very hard to prevent the seed from being wasted. There are several versions of the glass bottle bird feeder. You can choose from models that invert the bottle, or ones where you simply cut some holes near the bottom of the bottle for the food to escape through.
If you choose the latter versions, it will take some effort to get the knack of cutting holes in the bottle. You are better served by making DIY versions of a platform that will fit over the mouth of the bottle and then use the bottle in its upside down orientation.
Video first seen on UpcycledStuff.
When using glass bottles as greenhouses, you will use one bottle per plant. Basically, all you need to do is cut the bottom of the bottle, and then place the bottle over the plant. These mini greenhouses are perfect for plants that require a bit of extra humidity.
In particular, glass bottle greenhouses are useful for rooting cuttings from woody stem plants that must be placed in soil. The glass bottle covering gives you an easy way to control moisture and temperature. As the cuttings begin to generate new leaves, you can slowly allow more air in through the top of the bottle, and then allow more air in through the bottom.
Glass bottles offer many advantages to preppers that want a versatile vessel that will remain durable for years on end. Unlike plastic, if a glass bottle becomes contaminated, you can easily disinfect it by boiling or adding other cleaners that would destroy plastic. Plastic is best used for short term, disposable applications, but glass bottles are the ones that will withstand the test of time.
Adding a few glass bottles to your stockpile is as easy as buying different foods stored in glass, and then making sure that you don’t throw the bottles out. While glass bottles may need a little extra care when being transported from one place to another, they are well worth the effort.
This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.
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BERLIN – The German government, facing major terrorism threats, is set to order its citizens to stockpile enough food and water to last for several days, a German newspaper reported Sunday.
“The population will be obliged to hold an individual supply of food for ten days,” the newspaper reported, quoting the government’s “Concept for Civil Defence.”
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper story – translated by Reuters — quoted a government source and said the requirement also will obligate citizens to keep enough water to last five days.
The country has experienced two radical Islamic attacks in recent weeks.
An Interior Ministry spokesperson said the plan will be discussed this week. The plan also urges citizens to stockpile blankets, medicine, coal, candles, wood, torches, batteries, matches and cash.
The 69-page plan said the goal is to “prepare appropriately for a development that could threaten our existence and cannot be categorically ruled out in the future.”
Should the U.S. require stockpiling? What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:
Having a stockpile of food on hand for emergencies is essential. But, it’s not the only step to ensuring your family can eat if a food crisis arises.
You also need a pantry of food reserves intended for everyday use.
What’s the Difference Between a Pantry of Food Reserves and a Food Stockpile?
Some preppers might use the terms food reserves and food stockpile interchangeably, but in my mind they’re different. Let me explain.
My food stockpile consists of much food designed for emergency rations. It’s long lasting, and stored securely out of the way of pests. Some is packed in go bags, or directly in the car.
This stockpile is food that I know the family will eat, but it’s not something we eat all the time. Food in my stockpile typically costs more than I’m willing to spend on food for daily consumption. It’s truly for emergencies.
Conversely, my food reserves are in the kitchen pantry cupboards, ready to feed my family on a daily basis. They’re canned good, shelf-stable staples, and other items that we use routinely. They even include items in my fridge and freezer—things we use frequently.
My reserves aren’t stored to last for decades, because I plan on using them up well before then. It’s food that’s needed to create the meals on my annual meal plan.
These reserves are more short-term than long-term. They’re how I fight back against rising food prices, and save gas by not having to constantly drive an hour to the store. It’s how I can throw together quick meals to avoid the expense of going out to eat.
As long as my pantry is stocked, I don’t ever have to worry about my family going hungry.
How to Begin Building a Pantry
If you currently don’t have a lot of food on hand, the idea of creating a well-stocked pantry may be overwhelming. But, by taking it one baby step at a time, you can get to the point where you don’t have to go to the store every week. You may even stop going to the store for a couple months at a time.
Sit down for a bit and think. You’re going to want notes, so grab a piece of paper, your favorite notes app on your phone, or your computer. Once you’re ready, here’s what I want you to think about.
1. What Does a Typical Day’s Food Look Like in Your Home?
Are you currently cooking three meals a day from scratch? Are the kids eating lunch at school while you’re going out to eat? Does dinner come in a box?
There are no right or wrong answers right now, so answer honestly. What does your family eat in a typical day?
If you aren’t sure, you might need to spend a day creating a simple food journal. Just write down everything you eat all day long. Indicate if your family members joined you, or if you were on your own.
Once you have a general idea of what your family eats in a day, it’s time to do some analyzing.
2. How Much of that Food Was in Your Pantry?
Look over the list of consumed foods. Put a star next to everything that was in your pantry. Also circle anything that you grew on your own, or produced on your property.
3. What Does Your Family Enjoy Eating?
Now that you have a better idea of how much food from your pantry you’re already using, it’s time to think about food your family actually enjoys. This step is important because if you fill your pantry with food your family despises, you won’t use those food reserves. You’ll actually have wasted money on food that likely won’t be used before it expires. That sort of defeats the purpose.
If you’re already a meal planner, you can pull out several of your old meal plans and look over which meals your family enjoyed. If not, take a few minutes now to write down several meals that your family enjoys. Try to think about breakfast, lunch, and dinner to ensure you’re prepared for each meal of the day.
Once you’ve created your list, look for similarities. Are there several recipes that use oats? Or that use a particular type of bean?
Those items need to be in your pantry! They’re items you use in multiple dishes, and you know you’ll eat.
Is Building a Pantry of Food Reserves Expensive?
If you have nothing in your cupboards and plan on adding a month’s worth of staples, then yes—building a pantry can be expensive.
But, it doesn’t have to be. You can start slowly—adding a few extra cans or bags to your grocery cart each time you go shopping.
Look for bargains on what you know you’ll eat. If you find cans of tomato sauce marked down, buy as much as you can. Look for deals on flour, rice, and spices.
If you only buy items for your pantry when they’re at their lowest price point, you’ll save money in the long run.
How I Tackle Pantry Building
I live in the middle of nowhere, and it costs money to get to the store. This realization helped shape my current pantry building routine. I now try to shop only once a month. My goal of each trip is to ensure my pantry is well-stocked enough that I can go 6-8 weeks without visiting the store.
Though I usually shop more frequently, I love knowing that I don’t have to. It’s been especially helpful if the kids are sick when I’m planning on going to the store.
But how did I get to this point? Let me walk you through what works for me in hopes it’ll inspire you to create a plan that works for you.
An Annual Meal Plan
I hate meal planning. I know it saves money, but it’s not something I enjoy. So I learned how to minimize the amount of time spent meal planning.
The kids and I work every July to create an annual meal plan. We pick a breakfast for each day of the week. That means we eat the same breakfast every Tuesday for a year.
With seven breakfast options, it’s not nearly as boring as it sounds. We do the same process for lunch.
Dinner is planned around a theme; such as noodle night. We pick four or five meals for each theme. At this stage in my life, I tend to stick with simple meals as often as possible.
So for noodle night, we may have spaghetti and meatballs one week, and beef stroganoff the next week.
A Shopping List
Once our meals our planned, I begin creating my shopping list. By the time I’m done, I know how much of any one item I’m going to need for a month’s worth of meals. I know what I need to buy when I go to the store.
By using a little basic math, I can easily extrapolate how much I’ll need for a year. That means when spaghetti noodles go on sale by the case, I can accurately predict how much we’ll go through in a year. And I buy that many.
Now I don’t have to buy spaghetti for a long time. I can take the money I was using to buy spaghetti each month and put it towards another staple. Doing this allows me to continue to build a stockpile without spending an arm and a leg.
I’m buying what I know we’ll use before the expiration date rolls around. But more importantly, I’m buying food that already has a purpose.
That keeps me from stocking up on canned kidney beans just because they’re on sale. No one in my house really likes kidney beans. Before I figured out this food reserves thing, I had a dozen cans just sitting on my pantry shelf. I bought them because I knew I should have food on hand.
But just having food on hand doesn’t actually help feed your family on a daily basis if it’s food they don’t like. A shopping list will help you be wise as you build your pantry.
Building Food Reserves at Different Seasons
Because of the snow we get here, it’s much more difficult for me to go to the store regularly in the winter. That means I spend my summer and fall building even more of a reserve.
Conversely, in the summer I’m able to grow more of our own food. Our chickens are laying at their peak production. Our cow is putting out a lot more milk.
There’s also a ton of edibles growing in the forest. I don’t need to worry about having as much food on hand, because I know we can eat emergency meals based on what we produce if necessary. That’s why I picked July to redo our food plans.
I can let our stores get used up leading into summer. I make sure we use the last of things I won’t need again with the new menu. I’m able to save some grocery dollars this way.
Then, when I’m ready to start building a new year’s worth of reserves in August, I have extra money to use.
Spend some time thinking about the seasons where you live. Are there months when you’re without an income due to seasonal employment? Are there months where flu season is running so rampant that you don’t want to leave your house any more than necessary?
Do you visit a farmer’s market in the summer or participate in a local CSA? Do you grow your own food during some seasons?
Think about your year, and the highs and lows you have. You can prepare for these seasons by having food reserves on hand. A well-stocked pantry helps you make it through the rough patches in life.
Where Do You Live?
Where you live also impacts your needed reserves. Think through the amount of space you have on hand. You may have to get creative to store your extra food.
If you grow and preserve much of your food, your shopping list will be different than a family who lives in an urban setting.
Start Filling Your Pantry
You know now what kinds of food your family eats regularly. You have an idea of what meals you can make and know that everyone will eat.
You’re ready to start filling your pantry. Start slowly, and buy as much extra as your budget allows.
Try to buy food when it’s on sale, and only buy food that you’ll actually eat.
How did you start building your food reserves? If your pantry is ready to sustain your family in the midst of a mini-crisis, please tell us how you started in the comments section below.
If you haven’t yet started, is there a particular question you have about building your reserves? Chime in in the comments, and other readers can help!
And click on the banner below to find out how our ancestors planned their food reserves for survival!
This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia.
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It doesn’t take much to get a rumor started. Rumors can twist and turn and evolve into myths that are passed along between friends, family and even complete strangers. The rumor gains fuel and before you know it, it is taken as gospel.
In the homesteading and survivalist world, this happens often. Some of the myths have scared newbies away from stockpiling – and some of the myths are even held by experts.
We are here to debunk some of the most common myths surrounding stockpiling. Here are eight myths that simply are not true:
1. It costs a lot of money to stockpile. It does cost some money, but you can spend $10 to $20 a week and build up a pretty nice stockpile. It is all about shopping smart. Take advantage of sale prices and don’t be afraid to buy generic. You don’t have to only use commercially prepared food. You can save a ton of money by growing a garden and preserving what you have grown. If you are a hunter, then you have another option in finding meat.
2. Buying in bulk is best. Absolutely one of the worst myths out there. Who can use a five-gallon can of ketchup or sit down and eat a five-gallon can of chili in a single sitting? If you are stockpiling food for just you and your small family, you need to think in those terms. You are not feeding an army. During a crisis, you may not have a working refrigerator to store the unused portions. When you open that can of whatever, it needs to be eaten within a few hours to ensure it is safe and isn’t going to make anyone ill. Buying in bulk is OK if it includes individual servings, but don’t waste your money on bulk cans of foods that will require refrigeration after opening.
3. You need a lot of space to stockpile. This isn’t entirely true. People who live in small apartments or tiny homes can still build up a stockpile. It will just take a little creativity and ingenuity. It is all about maximizing the spaces we all have. You can stockpile food in the back of the closet, under the bed, in the voids in your furniture and in the space between your ceiling and roof. Adding shelves around the top one foot or so of your bedroom will also give you plenty of room to store supplies.
4. You will end up wasting a lot of food. Stockpiling means you will be constantly rotating your stock. When you go grocery shopping, pull out the food that has been on the shelf for a while in your stockpile, eat it and add the fresh food to the back of the pile. Constantly freshening your supply means you will never waste anything.
5. It takes a lot of time and energy to stockpile food. It takes about as much time and energy as it does to put away the groceries after grocery shopping. You will want to check on your stock occasionally and maybe do a little organizing, but it doesn’t take hours every week. If you have a system built in that allows you to add fresh supplies without moving everything around, that time will be cut in half.
6. Freeze-dried foods are the only option. Absolutely untrue. Freeze-dried foods certainly offer some benefits, but few people can afford only to stockpile freeze-dried foods. Other foods, like dried grains and beans, can last just as long as freeze-dried foods when stored right. They are about a fraction of the cost and provide more flexibility. There are certainly some perks to the huge buckets of freeze-dried meals, but you can use dried foods and still achieve the same variety. Ideally, you will want to aim for a nice combination of freeze-dried, canned and dried foods. This way you will always have an option for dinner that offers a little variety from the night before.
7. Your stockpile means you never have to worry about food again. Your stockpile of food is only going to last so long. If you are dealing with an event that completely upsets the world, it could take weeks or months (or longer) before commerce is built up again. You need to learn hunting and gardening skills. The longer you can stretch that stockpile of food, the better off you will be. Being able to add fresh fruits, veggies and meat to your diet is also going to be healthier for you and you will appreciate the flavors of the fresh food.
What advice would you add? Share it in the section now:
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!
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!
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
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In addition to your garden, if you have sugar, salt, and rice, plus some chickens and a milk cow (a few beef cows or canned meats would really put you up there), you have everything that you need to survive.
The thing about sugar, salt, and rice is that you can’t really produce it yourself without a lot of acreage, ideal conditions, and a ton of work, so you need to stockpile them.
Fortunately, all three of them are relatively cheap, especially if you buy in bulk. The problem is how to store flour, sugar, and rice for the long-term. All three of these items are sensitive to moisture and well-loved by critters of all sorts, so it’s imperative that you keep them sealed in a manner that won’t allow them to be eaten or ruined by moisture.
This point was driven home to me just the other day when I opened a new bag of flour to make biscuits. It hadn’t been on the shelf for more than a few months, yet when I dumped it into the bowl, I noticed little black bugs in it. Now I’m not a picky eater by any means, but I draw the line at bug biscuits. I guess I’ve just never been that hungry.
And if I have my say, I never will be. I learned my lesson – now all of my flour, even the smaller bags, go straight into a plastic container. That’s not the only way to store any of these items though. As a matter of fact, I’ve discovered a few pretty nifty tricks that I’m going to share with you!
Check flour, sugar, and rice before you store it
This is a big deal. I say so because I’ve bought both buggy rice and flour in the past, and ended up having to throw away most of the stuff in the cabinet because they infested all of my dry goods that were either boxed or open.
It would have REALLY upset me if I’d been pouring it into my storage bin with other flour or rice because then I would have lost all of it. Since those two incidents, I’ve been really careful about checking for bugs before I even put it in my cabinets. This is a concern for beans and pasta too, so take a look at them all before you toss them on the shelves.
You can check the rice and beans at the store before you buy it – just look for the bugs in the bottom of the bag. Flour, sugar, and pasta isn’t so easy. Pasta gets kind of a whitish, dry, brittle appearance when it’s buggy, so that my help you avoid buying buggy noodles.
If you’re going to pour a bag of dry goods into a larger container, I’d highly suggest pouring it into a big bowl and checking it before just tossing it in with the rest of your batch.
Store flour, sugar, and rice in plastic buckets
5 gallon buckets rock – that’s just all there is to it. When it comes to a great survival item, they rank right up there with duct tape as far as I’m concerned, at least when we’re talking about non-portable items. The great thing about 5 gallon buckets is that you can get them for free from local restaurants and bakeries.
If they happen to smell like pickles or whatever else was stored in them, scrub them good with some soapy bleach water and rinse well. If they still smell a bit weird, put a box of baking soda or some charcoal in it, put the lid on, and let it sit overnight. It’ll smell fine the next day.
When you’re getting your buckets, make sure they’re food-grade and make sure that they have a rubber seal around the inside of the lid. Most do, but check to make sure before you store your dried goods in them. If you have trouble getting the lids off, you can actually buy a tool specifically designed to help you with that.
You can also buy gamma lids, which seal, and then part of the lid screws on and off so that you don’t have to struggle with removing the whole lid. They’re a little pricey but if you get your bucket for free, then it may be worth it to you.
Dry-Can Flour, Rice, and Sugar
This is a good method if you want to store your dry goods in smaller containers that you’ll use quickly. I wrote an article about safe dry-canning a while back that gives you specific instructions on how to do it.
I think that vacuum packing is a great idea but, after having been raised in WV where the mice have no shame and in Florida where they’re actually armed, I’m not a huge fan of using vacuum packing as the only method of storage. We’ve written an article that gives you some great ideas to keep the mice away here.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s a great way to extend shelf-life but if you’re going to vacuum seal your dried goods, throw the in a 5-gallon bucket to keep the critters from eating through the plastic. Then you’d have the best of both worlds – small, lightweight, portable portions stored securely in one larger space that nothing will chew through.
I know that Mylar bags seem to be the direction that everybody is heading and I can’t deny that they’re a great way to store food, but the cost of them is prohibitive for me. However, if you don’t mind paying a bit more, then by all means, jump on it. They’re certainly more secure than just vacuum sealing. As a matter of fact, they can preserve food for up to 15 years, so that’s a definite check in the bonus column. Again, I’d use the buckets to store the bags.
Barrels and Drums
Since I’m typically the “if it’s free, it’s for me” type of girl, I didn’t realize until recently that there was such a great selection of food-grade barrels and drums that came in sizes other than 5 gallons and 55 gallons. I don’t mean to sound out of the loop, but it just never occurred to me to check it out until I was looking for smaller rain barrels.
It turns out that you can buy them in just about any size in between, and they’re made for both food AND water, so you have a wide array of fairly affordable options that suit your needs no matter how much space you have or food you want to store.
Shelf Life of Flour, Sugar, and Rice
This is probably something that you haven’t given a lot of thought to, but shelf life is pretty important when you’re talking about long-term storage. As always, practice the FIFO (First in, first out) method of stockpiling.
That aside, sugar and white rice (along with several other great foods discussed here) have a shelf lives of literally forever as far as anyone knows, but flour and brown rice are only good for about 15 months. After that, both will start to go rancid. Though both may last longer, especially if stored in airtight containers in cool, dark environments, you’ll know if either have gone bad because they’ll smell sour.
This lends credence to the ideas of canning, or to vacuum sealing, then storing in buckets because both canning a vacuum sealing keep out the air that facilitates spoilage.
Did I miss anything, or do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments section below!
And click on the banner below to learn how our ancestors used to store their food for survival!
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
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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:
- String beans
- Green tomatoes
- Sweet potatoes/yams
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fermented foods are acidic and need to have a pH of at least 4.6 or lower.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- A film of olive oil across the top of your brine lets gas out while keeping oxygen from getting in.
- 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.
- 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
Now 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.
- Choose your vegetables. Use only organic produce to ensure that there are no chemicals and the good bacteria can flourish.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Tightly pack the food into a fermenting crock or jar and cover completely with the brine.
- 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.
- 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!
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
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Even though you may not rely on newspapers as much as before, they are still an excellent material to store away and use during a crisis scenario.
No matter whether you store away regular daily newspapers, sales flyers, or even magazines, all of them can be converted into valuable survival aides.
Today, some preppers think of newspapers as obsolete and may even feel that plastic is a better material because it is stronger and lighter.
While there are some places where plastic and old newspapers overlap, there are also some key areas where plastic would do more harm than good.
Unlike plastic or Styrofoam, which does not breathe well, newspaper is porous enough to be used in more applications that expected.
Here are just a few ways to use newspapers now and during a major crisis scenario.
The Best Newspapers to Use Are…
First, a few tips for choosing the best newspapers.
As you may be aware, there are many different kinds of paper available in stores, as well as many different kinds of inks. In general, newspaper with only black ink on it can be used for all projects listed in this article.
If you have regular newspaper with color ink, do not use it for applications involving food, potable water, or weed control. Color inks can leave behind a number of toxins that you would not want in your food or in the soil used to grow plants for food.
Glossy magazine or flyer paper with colored ink has very limited uses. At most, use it for drawer liners, work area coverings, and anyplace else where you do not have to worry about toxins from the ink getting into food, soil, or the air.
The inks in these papers also make them largely unsuitable for burnable logs because of the heavy metals and other toxins found in the ink. If you must use them in a pinch, do so; but make sure you are in a well ventilated area, or better yet, outdoors and far away from soil and water that may be used for growing food and obtaining potable water.
10 Ideas on Repuporsing Newspapres
Let’s see a few projects that you can develop using newspapers.
There are several ways to make burnable logs. The easiest way to make them is to simply roll them up, tie them with some twine, and throw them into the fire. Rolls of newspaper will take longer to burn and produce more heat.
If you want to get the most heat from newspaper, you need to compress it as much as possible. Since newspaper turns softens and compacts well in water, you can make burnable logs or bricks using little more than bucket of water and a strainer. Here is a Survivopedia article about making paper logs if you want to know more about this project.
Burnable logs can be stored away for some time, or they can be used immediately. When storing away these logs, make sure they remain in a cool dry place in order to prevent moisture from creating mold and mildew on them.
Depending on the form you choose, it is possible to make different sized logs. While smaller logs will not last as long, they may form an excellent starter material that will help with drying out fire wood or starting a coal fire.
Video first seen on David The Good.
As porous as newspaper may be, it also offers a viable barrier to drafts and cold temperatures. Here are just a few ways you can use newspaper as insulation:
- to stay warm in cold temperatures, line your clothes with newspaper. Your body temperature will not rise as fast when using newspaper, and you will also reduce the risk of excess sweat buildup.
- If you are out in the elements and cannot build a shelter in time, line your sleeping bag or blankets with newspapers.
- You can also tape newspapers to the walls of your home and around window casings to reduce drafts coming in from these areas. When folding newspaper to use as an insulator, remember that the open end should always face where the draft is coming from. You can think of the paper as being like a cup that catches the draft and does not let it through.
- Drafts from doors can also be reduced by simply folding up some newspaper and placing it between the door and its frame.
Accelerate Food Ripening
Tomatoes, bananas, apples, and many other foods release gasses that accelerate the ripening process. Needless to say, if you are growing food outdoors in a time of disaster, more than a few people will be looking to steal from you as soon as the foods are ripe enough to consume. You can harvest several days early if you know how to ripen foods without the benefit of the plant doing the job for you.
To ripen foods, wrap them up in newspaper and let them sit for a day or two. The newspaper covering allows ripening gases to build up without causing it to rot. Once the foods are ripe enough to consume, you can place them in a refrigerator or consume them.
If you enjoy arts and crafts, then you may already know about paper mache and how much fun it can be to work with. As a prepper, you may also need an inexpensive and easy way to make several important items:
- Decoys or other objects used to lure prey, scare away predators, or for staging purposes.
- Making casts for broken limbs
- Paper mache can also be used much like plaster for many other applications. You can turn it into a clay like substance or simply use it as layers of sheets. Even though paper mache may not be as strong as plaster, it is much lighter in weight and can be made easily enough at a moment’s notice.
- Paper mache is also perfect for making bowls, cups, and other containers. For example, if you need to run water through a number of filtration media, you can use a paper mache container sealed with pine pitch instead of a plastic bottle. Since paper mache techniques can also be applied to dry leaves, you will have a natural, and steady source of cups, bowls, and other containers once the newspapers are no longer available.
Instead of buying conventional paper mache material, you can cut newspaper into strips and use it instead. To get the most from paper mache:
- Use wire, plastic, or cardboard frames that will allow you to build up layers of newspaper
- Use diluted white glue, pine pitch, or anything sticky enough to glue the pieces of newspaper to the object you are creating. If you are going to use paper mache as a body casting material, make sure that the glue will dissolve easily in water.
- If you happen to make areas that are too thick or need to reduce the shape for some other reason, you can cut the area down with a knife, or sand it for a smoother surface.
- Once the object is dry, you can paint it, stick feathers on it, or do whatever else you need to add texture, color, or anything else required for your purposes. This includes using waterproof sealants so that the finished object can be immersed in water.
Video first seen on Howcast.
As a prepper, you may be giving a lot of though to how you will disguise edible plants on your property, in the woods, or at some other location. Inevitably, keeping your secret gardens safe will entail avoiding visiting those locations as much as possible. But a few heavy rains, sunny days, and good growing temperatures can cause unwanted plants to grow faster than those you seek to use for food or medicine.
Since much of the battle between plants occurs below the soil, it is in your best interest to include weed barriers around plants of interest to you. Newspapers unfolded and arranged on the ground around important plants will prevent other plants from invading the space that your plants need for good growth.
As an added bonus, since the newspapers will be located below the surface, it is one gardening trick you can use easily enough without others realizing what they are looking at.
Video first seen on AnOregonCottage.
Drawer and Cabinet Lining
There is no such thing as a drawer or cabinet that stays perfectly clean. As time goes by, grease, debris from various objects, spills, and many other things can make shelves and drawer bottoms look like a mess. Lining shelves and drawers with newspaper will ensure they stay clean.
Even if you do not change the newspapers very often, don’t forget to take note of drawer or cabinet areas that may be damp or prone to moisture buildup. Newspaper is an ideal growth medium for mold and mildew. If you do not change the newspapers in time, these organisms will go on to attack wood or anything else they can grow on.
Wrapping Fragile Objects
At first glance, wrapping fragile objects in newspaper may seem very easy. That being said, if you wrap too tightly or do not take proper precautions with certain areas, then the object will still break apart. Here are some basic things to keep in mind:
- if you are wrapping something that is hollow, start off by balling up newspaper and lightly packing the hollow area.
- Next, if the object has handles or other outcroppings, very loosely ball up some more newspaper and place them on both sides of the handle until it no longer looks like an outcropping.
- Take another sheet of paper and cover over the entire object.
- Add more layers of paper as needed to form a soft, but firm cushion.
- Never wrap more than one object in the same piece of newspaper or fold the items over on themselves as you roll the paper around the object.
- Never wrap the object too tightly. Remember, the paper is there to absorb shock. If the paper is too tight, it cannot achieve that goal.
- Use tape as needed to hold the newspaper in place.
Work Area Coverings and Cleaning
As long as you aren’t working with anything flammable, you can use newspaper to cover a work area.
While you cannot use newspaper alone to protect surfaces from paint, water, or other liquid spills, it can be used to help with cleaning them up. Newspaper may not be as absorbent as paper towels or old rags, however, it still works well in a pinch and will reduce the need to use other supplies that may be put to better use elsewhere.
Stinky, damp shoes may seem like more of an inconvenience than a serious problem in the pre-crisis world. What happens when you don’t have powders to dry them out, or the luxury of a second pair of shoes to help with conquering dampness in your shoes?
No matter how strong and active you may be, shoes that are damp and stinky will inevitably lead to infections that can be hard to treat in a crisis situation. You can help alleviate this problem by putting newspaper in the bottom of your shoes. The paper will absorb the moisture, which will keep the shoes drier overall. Simply remove the paper, and replace it with fresh, dry sheets.
Protect Plants from Frost
If you don’t have plastic or other more permanent coverings, you can use newspapers to protect plants from frost. Take a few sheets of paper and form a “hat” for each plant so that it is insulated as much as possible. You can also create support system and drape the newspapers over that in order to cover multiple plants. Here are some basic tips for making sure you get the most out of using newspapers to cover plants:
- if you know that frost is expected, cover plants from the afternoon beforehand. Your goal is to trap in as much warmth as possible so that the temperature in side the paper tent remains warmer through the night hours.
- Use more layers of paper if the temperature is expected to get colder. This is not for the sake of keeping frost off the plants (which can be done with just one or two sheets), but to try and insulate the plants as much as possible.
- Remove the paper covering in the morning as soon as the frost is gone. The plants still need sun and airflow in order to grow, and avoid diseases.
Newspapers are still readily available, and may still be coming to your mailbox for free on a regular basis. Why not use them as part of your prepping supplies? From improving gardens to keeping valuable work area surfaces safe, there are many ways to use newspapers in the pre and post crisis world.
Storing away a few pounds of them in your stockpile can be a lifesaver, especially if you need to bridge gaps between supplies on hand and items that you may have to make from other materials.
Do you know other uses of newspapers for your homestead? Share them in the comment section below!
This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.
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Do you already reuse plastic shopping bags as trash liners? If you don’t use them for much else, than chances are you have hundreds of these bags laying around and relatively few ideas about how to use them for prepping.
As with many other forms of packaging that we “throw away” in our society, plastic bags have many purposes that make them very useful in an emergency.
When caught in a riot, a major natural disaster, or some other scenario, plastic bags can make surviving a bit easier. Instead of throwing all those bags away, or trying to give them away to friends and neighbors, start using plastic shopping bags in other ways.
Tools/Materials to Have On Hand
- Source of Heat – a steady, controllable source of heat can be used to shrink the plastic or make it easier to form fit over just about any surface. Hairdryers set on high, candles, and irons each have a purpose when reusing plastic bags. Ideally, you should have at least one of each onhand.
- Needle and Thread – use primarily if you decide to build up plastic bags into thicker layers, or you don’t have glue or duct tape onhand. A needle and thread are also some of the most versatile multi-purpose tools you can find.
- Duct Tape
- Crazy Glue – some glues that adhere to plastic may not work with plastic shopping bags. Be sure to test the glue out before using it in a project.
- Permanent Marker
How to Reuse Plastic Bags
Even though you may know that rope is a staple survival tool, there may be times when you don’t have enough on hand. If you do not have access to vines or plants with suitable fibers, you can make rope from plastic bags. Aside from being durable, plastic bag rope is also waterproof.
When making plastic bag rope, make sure that you know how to join the bags together, and also how to braid for the maximum amount of strength. As with other kinds of rope, remember that it friction will cause it to wear each time you use it. These ropes can also break unexpectedly because the plastic itself will wear and become weaker with each usage.
Video first seen on Kate Guray.
Braided Mats for Shelters
There are at least four ways to bake braided mats from plastic bags that can be turned into shelters.
- Take plastic bags and weave them into a flat surface much as you would a wide friendship bracelet
- Braid the plastic bags into rope, and then glue, tape, or use heat to hold the rope in a mat form.
- Use basic weaving techniques to create a mat. For added strength, you can also braid the plastic bags into rope, and the weave with the ropes.
Video first seen on Thomas Dambo.
- Use a crochet hook or knitting needles much as you would for regular yarn. You will need fairly thick knitting needles, or a crochet hook with a large enough hook on the end. Bone, wood, and other natural materials can be used for these tools,or you can try to buy jumbo sized tools at a craft store.
Video first seen on David Jones.
Waterproofing Important Items
Have you ever had to carry paperwork around, only to find yourself in the middle of a rainstorm? Chances are, you used a plastic bag to cover your papers and prevent them from being ruined. Plastic bags can be used as all kinds of liners from trash pails, to drawers, to just about any other place where you need to keep moisture out or prevent it from escaping.
When heat is applied to plastic bags, it will soften the plastic and also cause some shrinkage. Consider a situation where you make a wooden rack, but do not have polyurethane or other sealants to protect the wood from moisture. As long as the wood will not be near a source of heat, you can use plastic bags to make a watertight sealant. Just lay the bags flat over the surface of the wood and use a hair dryer to melt the plastic.
If you do not have airtight and water tight containers for emergency supplies, you can also use this method to seal them in. Even though the plastic wrapping will be ruined when you open the supplies, it will still prevent moisture related damage before the items are opened.
To get the most out of using plastic bags this way, try to seal items in such a way that you only seal up enough in each packet for one time use.
Body and Building Insulation
It takes very little in the way of effort to use plastic bags for insulation. If you are stuck in a blizzard or freezing weather, you can just ball up the bags and place them between your body and an outer jacket. Plastic bags also work well a shoe liners if the shoes have holes in the soles or you are in especially cold weather. In the latter scenario, do not forget to let your feet breathe from time to time in order to get rid of the moisture buildup.
You can also insulate tents, building walls, and other shelters with plastic bags. When using plastic bags for insulation, always remember to allow adequate ventilation. Moisture can build up faster than you realize because the plastic will cut off all airflow.
Condensation from all that water can easily rot wood or collect in other places where it can cause all kinds of problems. For example, if you decide to insulate the walls of your house with plastic bags, they will do a fine job of reducing the effects of hot and cold temperatures. On the other hand, as condensation builds up in the walls, it can easily build up on electric cables and cause them to corrode.
Make Plastic “Fabric”
There are bound to be many times and places in the pre and post crisis world where you will find plastic “fabric” very useful. While plastic bags can make a good temporary covering, plastic fabric can go much further because the the layers create a thicker material that will be more durable. In addition, when you make plastic “fabric” you will no longer be limited by the size of an individual bag.
Here are a few things you can do with plastic fabric:
- If you build up enough layers, you will have a material thick enough to use in the formation of a frame for a gas mask. Even though most people use plastic bottles, you can still use bags and create a perfect fitting mask. Custom masks can make it easier to use DIY masks with different cartridge types, and also make it much easier to create a custom fit for children or others that are difficult to get good quality gas masks for.
- Plastic fabric can be used for blankets and tents.
- If you are planning to start a new garden, use thicker plastic fabric to choke out weeds before turning the soil over.
- You can also use plastic fabric for making clothes, but bear in mind that moisture from sweat will build up and cause problems unless you account for ventilation.
Video first seen on Needlepointers.
Many people that have homes now may suddenly find them burned to the ground or rendered unlivable for some other reason. At the same time, getting wood from other parts of the country, or preparing it for building a new home will either be impossible or take a lot of time.
If you have plenty of plastic bags around and some sand, you can melt the plastic and make durable bricks. These bricks can also be used to create all kinds of platforms, walkways, or other structures.
Video first seen on New China TV.
Plastic can also be melted down and poured into molds for many other purposes. Basically, you would cast with plastic in much the same way that you would cast metal. For example, you can create a wax model for the object you wish to make, and then place it in wet sand. Next, simply pour the hot plastic into the sand.
As the wax melts and burns off, the plastic will fill in the cavity left behind. The wet sand will keep the form left by the model until the plastic dries. You can also use plaster molds for more intricate pieces.
From mason jars to eggs, plastic bags make excellent packing material. You can use them to absorb shock and also use them to prevent objects from rattling around in a box.
Aside from simply crumpling up plastic bags for packing material, you can also cut off the handles, blow some air into them, and then use duct tape to seal the bag so no air will escape. This is an ideal way to take up a good bit of space and still get the most protection from the bags.
You can make a greenhouse of just about any shape or size using plastic bags. The simplest way to use plastic bags for this purpose is to start off by making plastic fabric. Once you have enough fabric on hand, create a frame and then affix the fabric to the frame. Do not forget to leave areas of clear plastic so that plenty of light gets into to the greenhouse.
Smaller, table sized “greenhouses” are also ideal for indoor settings where you need to provide extra humidity for specific plant types. Unlike glass or plastic bottle greenhouses, you can make the greenhouse as large as you need and house multiple plants together.
If you are planting in the early spring, late fall, or started other crops too late, plastic bags can also be used as temporary covers to prevent frost from getting onto the plants.
When you have to bug out, there is a chance that you may wind up leaving a good bit of your stockpile behind. In these instances, containers suitable for plants and seedlings can easily be left behind in favor of food stores or other supplies.
If you have even one plastic bag on hand, you can still plant in it and start a “bag garden”. No matter whether you are in the woods, or even an inner city apartment building, just get some soil, put it in the bag, plant the seeds, and water as needed.
It should be noted that some plants will respond better to bag planters than others. In particular, plants that require good drainage may not do as well because water will tend to build up in the bag and drown the roots. If you have the bag planters in an outdoor setting, then go ahead and poke holes in the bottom of the bag to allow for good drainage. This can eliminate the need to turn over soil for a garden and cut back on the amount of time and effort required for pulling weeds and tending to other gardening matters.
Water Gathering Aide
No matter where you are or what is going on, plastic bags can be used to gather water. The easiest method entails simply digging a hole in the soil and putting a cup or other vessel in the hole. Place the plastic bag over the hole and put a rock or some other heavy object in the center of the plastic so that the bag bows down in the center. This water gathering aide will collect condensation as the temperature of the soil changes and releases water particles.
To get more water during daylight hours, take green leaves (from edible plant or tree sources) and add them to the hole. As the leaves wither, they will also release water which will then be trapped by the plastic.
If you happen to be in a rainstorm, plastic bags can be used directly to capture water. You can also unfold plastic fabric and suspend it high enough off the ground so that you can fit a larger container under the center.
Similar to collecting condensation from the ground, make sure that the center of the plastic is caved in. Add a few holes near the very center so that water can drain into the container. In this instance, the plastic fabric will act as a funnel and gather up any water that hits the area covered by it.
The next time you become annoyed because you have so many plastic shopping bags laying around, think about how useful they are for prepping and long term survival goals.
Start from now to learn how to fashion these bags into different tools and materials and you will be one cheap, and very useful step closer to being ready to survive just about any crisis scenario.
This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.
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It can be hard to imagine a looming food crisis when you can walk into your local grocery store and see shelves overflowing with abundance. You can find easily find everything you need, and plenty that you don’t.
You might even ignore those around you warning you to stock up on food while you still can. In fact, they might seem like Chicken Little desperately calling out, “The sky is falling!”
But don’t let the full shelves fool you. While the sky may not actually be falling, the world is facing a food shortage. It’s only a matter of time until it hits. Until then, the government wants you to keep walking into the stores, feeling like everything is fine.
The world’s food situation is not fine. Here are just eight of the many indicators that it’s time to stockpile food, and start growing some of your own.
1. Raising Food Prices
Have you noticed the price of groceries rising in your area? I sure have here, especially for basic staple ingredients such as butter, flour, and rice. Every time I head to the store, it seems like I have to stretch my food dollars a little further.
It’s not just in my neck of the woods where prices are creeping up. According to a study by the USDA Economic Research Service, supermarket prices are expected to rise .25-1.25 percent during 2016, and 1.0-2.0 percent during 2017. While those percentage points may seem low, they’re still moving up.
But, since the price of gas and food are intertwined, those numbers could soar past predictions if gas goes up again. Most of the food in the supermarket wasn’t grown in your local area. It was shipped there, requiring fuel.
As food prices continue rising, it’s getting harder and harder for families to buy what they need. That means the number of families now getting food assistance from the government continues to grow. It’s not a healthy outlook for our food supply.
Plants need water to grow and produce harvestable yields. As temperatures around the world rise, droughts are becoming more common.
Widespread droughts are hitting fertile cropland across the planet. From California to India, low rainfall and high temperatures cause devastation on crop production. Long-term forecasts indicate these weather patterns are likely to continue.
3. Diseases Wiping Out Crops & Animals
It’s not just the weather wreaking havoc on our food supply, it’s also disease. From the virulent Panama disease taking out bananas to African Swine Fever that can wipe out entire pig farms, diseases are running rampant in the food supply.
Modern food production techniques such as CAFOs create the perfect environment for peril. In a natural setting, you’d see a couple of pigs on farms across the landscape. They’d be interacting with nature, and have other animals and plant life around to help keep disease causing parasites at bay.
Instead, the majority of today’s pig farms are just pigs and concrete all around. When a disease comes in, it quickly moves through the whole herd. Often entire farms have to execute their animals to prevent the disease from spreading.
The loss of that many animals plays a role in rising food prices. Supply can no longer keep up with demand.
These issues aren’t just a problem for pigs. Cows, chickens, and other animals are being raised in conditions that make them prone for disease.
Crops are being raised in similar fashion. Instead of farmers growing a variety of crops, you see corn growing in huge fields for miles around. There are similar fields for soybeans, wheat, and other crops.
4. Food Safety Concerns
Have you noticed how often food is being recalled? From peanuts to frozen vegetables, meat to processed foods, it’s hard to trust the establishment to deliver safe food to your table. Listeria, e-coli, salmonella, and a host of other food borne illnesses are harming and killing people around the globe. Modern food handling practices have led to these food safety concerns.
Factories play a part in the production of numerous food products. When one factory has a role to play in the bulk of the food system, a containment can quickly spread.
Add transportation, storage, and unsafe handling, and you’ve got food that’s ready to play host to multiple strains of bacteria. Then there’s that whole GMO debate. Some countries don’t believe that genetically modified foods are safe for consumption. Others have drunk the GMO Kool-Aid and are pushing them on the marketplace at an astounding rate.
That’s another reason to grow your own food. You can pick heirloom varieties that haven’t been modified. No matter what you grow and preserve, be sure to inspect what you stockpile to ensure it’s safe.
5. Crops Being Used for Other Purposes
Crops aren’t just being grown to feed humans anymore. A huge portion of our food supply goes to feed cows. Cows were never meant to eat grains in the first place! Let them eat hay, and that’ll relieve a huge burden on our food supply.
Then there’s the whole ethanol thing. About a quarter of US corn is being used for fuel instead of food now. With a food crisis already in the works, using food for other purposes adds to the problem.
6. The Death of Small Farms
The family farmer is slowly become obsolete. Small family farms are being bought out by large mega-farms.
When single companies have their hands in so much of the food chain, a blow to one can cause huge problems. Conversely, when you have hundreds of small farms producing, it’s easy for the others to step in and make up the difference if one experiences loss.
But with rules and regulations definitely favoring mega-farms, it’s no wonder that small ones are selling out and shutting down. As governments continue persecuting small farmers, the number of farms producing your food will continue to shrink.
7. Mistreated Soil
The Fukushima crisis spewed nuclear material onto much of Japan. That soil isn’t safe to grow food in, and probably won’t be for a long time.
Nuclear disasters aren’t the only thing polluting our soil. Farming practices that strip all the nutrients out and dump chemicals back in also play a role.
Mega-farms don’t tend to care about the soil. They just like the money. Until sustainable practices are used in the ag industry, our soil will continue being mistreated.
Bad soil won’t grow as much food. However, it will keep bringing the food crisis closer to our reality.
8. Dependence on Processed Food
The majority of food on supermarket shelves is highly processed. This is the food that many people rely on to supply their nutrition on a daily basis. This boxed and packaged food hardly resembles real food. Because of this, people are becoming further removed from the source of their food.
Many don’t know how to make bread. They don’t know how to cut apart a chicken. They don’t know what animal hamburger comes from. For many people, food just comes from the store. That’s all they know, and this attitude is dangerous.
The further people get from their food, the easier it is for a crisis to occur. They’re totally dependent on other people to supply what they eat. When those farms or factories shut down, they simply won’t have a clue how to begin feeding themselves and their family.
How to Prepare for the Food Crisis
It’s not too late to begin preparing for the coming food crisis. You can begin taking steps to ensure your family’s survival when the grocery store shelves are empty. Here are a few important ones:
Ensure you know where your food comes from. If you are currently food ignorant, make friends with some farmers. Do some research. Learn all you can. Feeding yourself doesn’t have to be complicated!
To take it a step further, you can educate yourself about local food regulations. Be on the lookout for laws that are restricting your right to feed your family. Play an active role in the political process to end the regulations that are strangling small farms.
Source food that’s grown as close to you as possible. Not only will you be supporting your local economy and farmers, you’ll also be eating food that’s fresher.
Local sources of food are less likely to be affected by national food shortages. If you’re already used to finding food that’s not in a supermarket, you’ll be a step ahead when the time comes.
Start Producing Your Own Food
No matter where you live, you can begin growing your own food. If you don’t have much space, put a couple of containers in your windowsills. Learn how to grow food in small spaces.
You can continue to expand your survival garden as space allows. Try to grow some of the nutritious foods described in this Survivopedia article.
If you grow too much, learn how to preserve your harvest. Freezing, dehydrating, canning, and fermenting are some of the methods used to save food for later.
Producing your own food will help you lower your food bill and gain self-sufficiency. Everything you grow better prepares you for the food crisis.
Learn How to Cook
Stop buying processed food and take back your kitchen. Learn how to prepare simple, nutritious food that your family enjoys. Good food doesn’t have to be complicated!
Each time you go shopping, make it a point to buy some extra food. But, you shouldn’t just buy any food. You really need to stockpile what you actually eat.
Otherwise your family will have to adjust to both a crisis and new food when the time comes. It’s much better to have food on hand that you enjoy.
You don’t have to spend a ton of money to stock up. If your budget is really tight, try allocating just $5 or $10 a shopping trip. While it doesn’t sound like much, you’ll begin growing your reserves.
Be sure you store your stockpiles properly to keep pests and bacteria out. You also need to rotate your stores, which is why you should be eating what you’re storing. When I add to my stockpile, I put the new in the back. That way I use the older food first.
How Are You Preparing?
Have you noticed these eight signs of an approaching food crisis? Are there others you’d add to my list?
What basic steps are you taking to prepare? What advice would you give someone who is just starting to develop a preparedness mindset? Please share your tips in the comments section below so others can learn from you!
And click on the banner below to find out how our ancestors survived crisis and to learn their tricks!
This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia.
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Do you think of egg crates as useless junk that only a hoarder would save? Surprisingly enough, both Styrofoam and cardboard versions can be of immense value to preppers.
While you may not need to store away thousands of egg crates, they should definitely be part of your stockpile. You can also use them now as you test out different parts of your survival plans rather than buy more expensive items that are usually marketed for certain purposes.
Why Sterilizing Egg Crates?
Before you set egg crates away in your stockpile, make sure that you only keep ones that are already as clean as possible. Do not use crates that show signs of dirt, fluid from cracked eggs, or moisture that leaves a ring around the bottom of the carton. Each of these issues can spell an increased risk for coming into contact with salmonella and several other dangerous bacteria.
Once you have a set of what appear to be clean egg crates, your next step should be to sterilize them. Since commercial eggs in the United States are notorious for carrying salmonella and other diseases, you need to sterilize the crates before using them.
Here are some methods you can try:
- quickly dip the tray (use this for cardboard only, NOT Styrofoam) into bleach and then hang it up to dry. When the smell of bleach is gone, then you know it is no longer active. For Styrofoam, use a weak solution of bleach and wipe down the trays with a very small amount, then let them air dry. Never use full strength bleach or other solvents directly on Styrofoam, or it can result in melting, or worse.
- Try using hot (near boiling) water and soap to clean styrofoam egg crates.
- In small amounts, can also burn cardboard egg crates and then add the ashes to the compost pile.
- It should be noted that, unlike water (which offers no place for germs to hide), egg crates cannot be sterilized by placing them in the sunlight. This includes Styrofoam crates, since they will more than likely melt in the temperatures required to kill off bacteria commonly found in egg crates.
1. Seed Starting
Styrofoam and cardboard egg crates can both be used as seed starting trays, just make sure that they are clean and dry before planting.
To prepare each cell in the egg crate, punch one or two holes in the bottom so that water can escape.
Since Styrofoam tends to insulate better than cardboard, it may work better during colder months.
Usually, you will add just one seed to each cell. If the seeds tend to be poor germinators or the species is known to produce poor seedlings, then you may want to plant as many as 4 seeds to each tray.
Just remember that you will have to thin the seedlings to one per cup in order to avoid overcrowding. Alternatively, you can use thin cardboard strips or hard plastic to make a four mini-cells that will make separating the plants a bit easier later on.
When soil, time, and/or seeds are at a premium, this solution requires some extra work, but may still be well worth exploring.
Egg crates make even better seed starting trays when you add an egg shell to each cell. Without the egg shell, you would have to pull the cardboard or Styrofoam away from the soil before planting. When you use eggshells, all you need to do is crack the shell a bit and set it and the seedling into the ground. As the roots grow, they will get extra calcium from the shell, and also some protection from burrowing insects that will get cut apart by the sharp edges of the shells.
If you plan to fish, monitor pond or river water levels, or keep track of nets and fish traps, then you will always need buoys to help mark locations. Styrofoam egg crates offer a perfect way to make inexpensive buoys that can be used for this and other purposes. To use the egg crates as mini-buoys:
- Start by cutting each cell away from the others. In a dozen egg crate, you should have 12 cells when you are done. If you happen to have two Styrofoam egg crates, then you can also use the tops for larger buoys.
- Poke one hole in the bottom of each cell. The hole should only be large enough to allow the string or rope to pass through. (if you are planning to make larger buoys, you can poke holes in the sides of lid if those orientations will work better for your needs.
- Run the string or other material through the two cells so that the open end of each cell faces the other cell. (For making larger buoys with the cover of the egg crates, the open ends would still be facing each other.)
- Position the two cells so that they will be where you want them on the string or net.
- Use pine pitch or some other glue to seal the two halves together, and then make sure that the area around the strings is also sealed. This should keep the buoy in the desired location and also prevent it from becoming water logged.
Since cardboard egg crates come from trees, they are the perfect organic material addition to the compost pile. To use them for this purpose, tear them up into small pieces and mix them in with other contents of the pile. Try not to put inked outer casings into the compost pile as these dyes can be toxic.
Most people do not sterilize egg cartons before adding them to the compost pile. Even though you will not be using these egg crates directly for food or raising food, it is my contention they should still be sterilized so that you do not risk contaminating your compost pile with dangerous bacteria.
Remember that bacteria arriving on the crates from commercial farms have already been exposed to many kinds of antibiotics. As such, they may well survive in places where you would not expect them to, such as in your compost pile and garden. This is especially important if you are planning to grow raw edibles such as spinach, lettuce, or anything else that will not be well cooked before consumption.
4. Nesting and Shelter for Edible Insects
In many parts of the world edible insects are considered as much a delicacy as they are staple food filled with important nutrients. When you are stuck in one room, or you must rely on prolific, compact food sources, edible insects may wind up on your survival menu.
Unfortunately, if you were thinking about hunting for edible insects on an “as needed” basis, you could wind up getting very sick because of all the pesticides and toxins that may be found in them. Even if you are in the woods or other natural settings, normally edible insects may be contaminated with poisons. Growing your own insects for survival is practical, and can also help you improve your health while lowering your food bills well before a major food shortage occurs.
Crickets and many other edible insects can be housed in cardboard egg crates, or used as food for them. For example, even one egg crate can sustain several hundred crickets, and offer plenty of nutrient rich food. Since you will be consuming the insects, remember to avoid using the dyed or inked parts of the crates. These chemicals can easily build up in an insect’s body just as easily as pesticides and other toxins.
5. Fire Starters
You can pack just about anything into cardboard egg creates to make fire starters that will work in most situations. In general, you should choose materials that will act as tinder and last long enough to dry out secondary tinder materials before igniting them.
Video first seen on Loon Island Outdoors.
After separating the cells, consider the following packing materials:
- cotton balls soaked in Vaseline
- a tea light surrounded by appropriate tinder material (remove the tea light from the metal shell)
- tinder cloth that will be ignited using a mirror or other means
- drier lint soaked in wax (for this one, leave the carton intact until you have filled each cell.)
- sawdust saturated in wax
- instead of using wax, you can also try using vegetable shortening or animal fat.
6. Candle Molds
If you decide to use egg crates as candle molds, you will produce a candle that is about twice the size of a regular tea light. It is best to use Styrofoam egg crates for this purpose because there is less chance of the wax absorbing into the pores of the mold. Since Styrofoam may be melted by hot wax, you should position the wick, and then repeatedly fill and pour out the wax until the mold is filled.
As with other DIY candle molds, you should also put a hole in the bottom of each egg crate cell and then allow the “bottom” of the cell to be the top of the candle. This method also gives you a narrower top and wider base, which reduces the risk of the candle tipping over as it burns.
7. Sort and Store Small Objects
There are literally hundreds of ways to use egg crates to sort and store small objects. You can arrange the trays in platforms and label each cell, or simply spread them out to suit your needs. Depending on the size of the items, you may be able to simply close the lid and store the box away until you need the items in it. If the items inside are very small, you will have to seal off each cell so that they do not got jumbled up again when the box is shaken or moved. To seal off the cells, attach clear plastic to the edges of each cell using tape or glue.
8. Ice Cube Trays
Styrofoam trays make good sized ice cubes that can be used for many purposes other than adding to drinks. For example, if you do not have a freezer, simply add some ice to the salt in a chest and then bury anything that needs to be remain frozen in the mixture. Make sure that all items placed in the chest are double wrapped so there is no risk of contamination.
9. Packing Material
You can use egg crates in the bottom and sides of boxes to take up extra space, or cut up the cells to create more shock absorbers within the box. Remember that even though you may not be packing away food supplies or other sensitive items, it is still best to sterilize the crates before use. You could also seal the objects in airtight plastic so that you can avoid bacterial contamination as much as possible.
10. Yarn Organizers
When it comes to durable, stylish, comfortable clothing, garments made from yarn are some of the best you can find. In a similar way, rugs, wall hangings that act as insulators, blankets, and many other staples are best made from yarn. No matter whether you are in a crisis situation or not, there is always a desire to create patterns using multi-colored yarns or multiple strands to produce different textures and patterns.
As someone that has spent many hours weaving, knitting, crocheting, and braiding, I can tell you that keeping yarn organized can be a difficult task. Egg crates are ideal for this purpose because you can easily keep up to twelve strands of yarn sorted out using just one carton.
All you need to do is poke holes in the bottom of each cell in the egg crate. Do not separate the cells. Next, position the ball or skein of yarn so that the yarn feeds into the cup part of each cell. Use one strand of yarn per cell. Now all you have to do is start working on your project. The egg crate will keep the strands sorted out so that they do not get knotted up.
More than a few people feel that egg crates can only be used for disposable craft products or other projects that have little tangible survival. Others only see egg crates as a disease vector that should be discarded as quickly as possible.
Even if you do not want to use egg crates for prepping at this time, keep the suggestions listed in this article in mind. You will know a little bit about how to reduce the risk of having problems with them, and how best to use them.
Do you know other uses for egg crates? Share them into comment section below!
This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.
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In uncertain times, having a plan allows us to have a sense of security knowing essential details are covered. Whether the plan is designed to include the bare bones necessary for immediate survival or is intended to span years, every plan should include some measure of stockpiling.
Stockpiling, or accumulating a large quantity of goods, may often be viewed by onlookers as paranoia, especially in light of reality shows that highlight extreme shopping, but stockpiling is simply a wise practice for anyone when it is included as a part of life.
Homesteaders, of course, know that each year brings new challenges, with disease, drought and other disasters having a major impact on the homestead’s production. Having a stockpile to rely on in tight times, or when faced with difficult circumstances, is essential.
New homesteaders naturally will start accumulating foods and other goods that are routinely needed on the property. For homesteaders, maintaining a stockpile of goods becomes part of everyday life.
With any course of action, having a plan will only increase its effectiveness, and this can be as simple as adding a few items each week to your local purchases.
1. Space and location
What areas can be used for storage: both long and short term? Cool, dry rooms are traditionally thought of as the best areas because they reduce loss due to moisture, but other areas should not be overlooked. It depends what you’re stockpiling. Choose carefully for your intended location. If the electricity fails during heavy rains, could your stockpile be ruined in a flooded basement?
2. Containers and shelves
What about shelving, totes, boxes and other storage containers? But consider carefully the materials, especially plastics which have the potential to leach harmful chemicals into the stored goods. All shelving should allow the stock to be rotated easily to reduce waste.
3. Stockpile but don’t waste
Estimate the needs of those on the homestead. Only store what can be reasonably used before foodstuffs and medications expire, or other materials deteriorate. This may be as simple as marking the date you open a new bottle or jar, and recording the date it is completely used up for an entire month in a small notebook. Then calculate to find the amount used each year.
Only stockpile foods that are of good quality, or that are known to work well for the household. Many have stocked up on high-quality foods that were wasted, because no one ate them.
Perhaps the easiest way to start a stockpile is to set aside a specific amount in the household budget each month to put toward stockpile goods. With as little as $5 a week or even a month, a small accumulation will begin. This amount should be used to buy items that are not produced on the homestead. For those who want a large supply quickly, a fair amount of cash and a well-written plan can make it happen.
What stockpiling advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:
Medicine bottles seem to be another one of those things that you have around, have no secondary use for, and always need to get rid of. When you throw away these bottles, you may just be throwing away one of the most valuable prepping materials in your home.
Unlike many other materials, you need very little in the way of tools because medicine bottles can be reused exactly as they are. Just wash them out, let them dry, and they are ready to be used!
Have a look at these simple ways to reuse medicine bottles and see how you can use them to make reaching your preparedness goals cheaper and easier than ever.
Ensuring Medicine Bottles Will Work for Your Needs
Many applications for used medicine bottles require them to be air tight and water tight. Unfortunately, most medicine bottles will take on water and ruin anything inside. You will need to seal them up in Ziploc bags or some other water and air proof container.
Here are some other things to be aware of:
- Not all medicine bottles will work well for prepper needs. Some bottles will crack in cold weather while others will have problems in hotter temperatures.
- Some bottles are also very fragile and can be crushed easily.
- Using the “child proof” side of medicine bottle caps will not improve their ability to keep out water and air.
Bug Out Bag Organizers
I don’t know about you, but as a prepper, I go through some definite stages. There are times when I focus more on larger, stationary items that would be very difficult to move to another location. At other times, I despair because there never seem to be enough “mini” kits or multi-purpose “mini” tools to fit into my pockets. When it comes to bug out bags and mini kits, medicine bottles have an endless number of advantages.
If you use medicine as bug out bag organizers, you can make it very easy to find small items and keep them clean and relatively safe. Medicine bottles also make the perfect place to store away all those “mini” kits that you might want to put in an EDC bag. Here are just a few mini medicine bottle kits that you can build with stuff from around the house:
- first aid kit – band aids, pain killers, alcohol swabs, and many other items can be stored in a medicine bottle and kept onhand at all times. Make a kit for your backpack, car ,and even your pockets.
- sewing kit – a needle, some thread, and good quality pair of foldable scissors will go a long way for repairing clothes or even assembling fishing gear.
- fishing kit – be sure to include monofilament line, paper clips (for hooks), and a small knife in this kit.)
- seed kit – store away seeds for the most important herbs and crops that you might need at a new location. Even if you only store away 5 – 10 seeds from each plant, you can easily have enough room for several dozen species of plants in a single bottle. Just put each variety of seed in mini zipper bags (you can usually find them in the craft department) and label them so that you know what is in each bag.
- screwdriver, hex, socket, and star wrench bits)
- religious needs kit (you might store away special jewelry, holy water, or other small symbols associated with your faith.)
- electronics parts kit (this would include basics such as resistors, transistors, diodes, and wire).
- Field electronics kit (this would include items such as graphite, metal foil, wax paper, magnets, and a razor blade).
- Alkaline, acid tablets, chlorine, and iodine tablets that are safe to store in medicine bottles.
- water purification kit
- fire starter kit (you can store matches inside the bottle, and then tape a strike board on the outside. To keep this kit waterproof, it is best to encase a smaller bottle in a larger one so that the strike board remains dry.)
- Batteries – use one bottle for each battery size that you intend to have onhand. The medicine bottle will keep the terminals from coming into contact with each other.
- Custom all purpose kit – this kit should be small enough to fit into your pocket and take anywhere. My personal favorites include: a very small mirror (you can get square and round shaped ones at the craft store), paper clips, monofilament line, small knife, razor blades, foldable scissors, thread, needles, aluminum foil, wax paper, graphite, 3 fold top plastic sandwich bags, matches, a few pre-1970 pennies, a quarter, a sterling silver medallion, small magnets, alcohol swabs, aspirin, and screwdriver bits.
Video first seen on kipkay.
Smaller sized plastic medicine bottles also make perfect fire starters. All you need to do is pack them with cotton balls soaked in Vaseline.
If you are dealing with rainy weather, or damp conditions, just start the fire right in the medicine bottle. The plastic will fuel a hotter fire that will be better able to burn through wet or damp materials.
Chances are, you already know that heirloom seeds and the ability to store seeds is a must for all preppers. If you are looking for cheap, compact seed savers, medicine bottles will suit your needs. All you need to do is put seeds in a clean medicine bottle and then label the bottle with the seed type and date you stored them away.
Medicine bottles are also perfect for storing wild seeds that you happen to know will be of use. For example, during the spring months, you can always pick up dandelion and other seeds and keep them ready.
When gathering seeds, make sure that the area has not been treated with insecticide or GMO based herbicides. Even though the GMO agents are not supposed to cross over to other plant species, you never really know what scientists overlook in their quest to make money with little consideration for the long term consequences.
Needless to say, if you find a patch of several plants with seeds, you may want to harvest from a few of the healthiest plants so that you have added genetic diversity.
Essential Oil Storage
If you are serious about being healthy and living well in the post crisis world, there is a chance that you will wind up making and using essential oils. It is best to use glass medicine bottles with tight lids on them. You can also use these bottles to store away infusions that are already at therapeutic strength. While some oils may be safe to store in plastic bottles, others may corrode the plastic. When in doubt, use glass.
Candles are going to be a mainstay early on in a disaster scenario and well into the future. While tea light molds can easily be refilled, they also only give you four hours of light or heat. If you have medicine bottles, you can make taller and wider candles that will last a bit longer. When using medicine bottles as candle molds, use only enough heat to melt the wax.
Depending on the plastic used to construct the medicine bottle, it may still melt before the candle cools completely. Instead of pouring all the wax in at once and leaving it in place, pour the wax back out. Continue to do this until a series of shells builds up, and then fill in the center of the candle.
You will also need to drill a small hole at the bottom of the medicine bottle so the wick will fit through it. Remember, since wax always shrinks, you actually need to cast candles upside down so that the wick has a suitable placement.
Once the candle is cool, it should fall right out of the mold when you tap it. If the candle does not come out, set it in ice or a refrigerator so that the wax will shrink faster and pull away from the sides and bottom of the medicine bottle.
As much as you may hate tamper resistant caps on medicine bottles, they are necessary if you have children in the survival group. Bottles that contain sharp objects, medications, fire starters, or chemicals should all be sealed with childproof caps.
Never forget that hundreds of children die each year because they get into chemicals or drugs that should have had childproof caps on them.
In a survival situation, you are already going to be focusing on many things that may take your attention away from what children are doing. This is truly the perfect time for them to get into things that would normally be left alone. At the very least, if child proof caps are in the way, it will give you time to find out what is going on and put a stop to it before something worse happens.
Sharp Items Disposal
Bits of sharp glass, diabetes testing lancets, and many other sharp objects can wreak havoc at the worst possible moment. An empty medicine bottle can be used to store these items until you can dispose of them properly. Consider a situation where you are faced with the need to walk out of a major city and escape to a more rural area.
Now let’s also say that you must check your blood sugar levels on a daily basis. If you are concerned that someone may be following you, the last thing you will want to do is provide a “trash trail”.
In this case, you can keep the lancets in the medicine bottle until you reach a safe enough location. Why get your fingers stuck when digging around in your bug out bag when placing them in a medicine bottle will prevent the problem?
Parts for Outdoor Projects
Video first seen on RealtreeOutdoors.
Ink and Dye Dauber
In the early days of a disaster and during the recovery period, you may have some unexpected need for ink and dyes. For example, you may need to alter some of your garments so that they are harder to spot in a woods or other setting.
If you know how to make green, brown, and black dyes from local materials, then you can also use them to create crude camo prints. To get a more precise pattern to match your area, make an ink or dye dauber from a medicine bottle.
Later on, if you decide to make your own clothes, you can also use these daubers to mark fabrics with brighter or more interesting colors.
Desk and Drawer Organizers
If you thought medicine bottles were useful for organizing your bug out bag, then you won’t be surprised to see what they can do for organizing your desk and drawers. This includes organizing materials used for desk type weapons such as pen guns, clothespin guns, and other small weapons. BB, tooth picks, mini darts, and several other objects will fit perfectly in medicine bottles and be easy to reach at all times.
As you go through different junk drawers and assorted catchers, you are bound to find many items that can be grouped together for survival purposes. If you think you can use these items as customized mini kits, then go ahead and label those bottles and keep them in a separate container. No matter whether you store this kit in your car, or in a backpack, it will be right there when you need it.
During a crisis, it is entirely normal to remember that you have some item or other, but forget where you put it. If these objects happen to be very small, the medicine bottle organizer system can be a true lifesaver.
Plastic Patch Material
Leaks in PVC pipe or other plastic containers can truly spell disaster, especially when you cannot get a hold of replacements. In these situations, you will need to be able to patch the container and continue using it. Some medicine bottles are made of softer plastic and can easily be cut into useful shapes.
These softer plastics can also be melted with heat from a candle or hairdryer. To use the plastic as a patch, just set it in place and then use heat to melt the plastic and form a seal. You can also try melting the plastic in a separate container and apply it to the container that needs fixing. If you happen to have glue on hand, then you can also use that as a bonding agent.
When some preppers hear that medicine bottles are not airtight and water tight, they tend to overlook all the other ways these bottles can be used. If you are looking for inexpensive organizers, patch material, or ways to house mini-kits, medicine bottles are cheap, easy to obtain, and durable.
For situations where you want something a bit heavier or with other features, you can always buy dedicated containers that match some of your other concerns. At the very least, you can get started with assembling kits and move on with your prepping goals instead of putting “lack of containers” on your list of reasons to delay in certain prepping areas.
This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.
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The question here isn’t so much what you CAN buy at the Dollar Store for survival, but what you CAN’T buy. They have everything from bleach to charcoal and everything in between.
So, instead of talking about individual survival items that you can buy at the Dollar Store, I’m going to give you the top 13 multi-purpose items that you should stock up on, along with several ways that they can be used.
To make it interesting, I’m going to pick unlikely items that you may not even think about, or provide you with new ways to use the ones that are obvious. I’m also going to pick some of the ones that are the best deals so that you can REALLY get some bang for your buck.
1. Maxi Pads
You probably already know that maxi pads are great for stopping bleeding, packing wounds, providing insulation, and of course their intended use but they have many other uses as well. Did you think of using them to make hot or cold compresses? Since they retain water, they’re great for this. On the flip side, they’re great fire starters.
They’re also good to use to hold a poultice in place because the pad will absorb part of the poultice material and also absorb and leakage of blood.
Finally – are you ready? – maxi pads are good for starting seeds. They hold moisture extremely well and keep the seeds just moist enough to sprout.
Yes, it’s great for cooking and cleaning windows, but did you know that ACV has several medicinal properties? It’s a great antiseptic and also works to cure acid reflux. You see, the reason for acid reflux is often not TOO MUCH acid as many people think, but of too little acid. Reflux occurs when your stomach is churning to digest the food with what little acid it has.
Antacids reduce the amount of acid even more, which makes the problem worse. Try taking a couple tablespoons of ACV instead of an antacid and see how you feel.
Other uses of ACV? Use it to curdle cream and make cottage cheese, kill weeds in the garden, deodorize just about anything, and treat such conditions as warts, sore throats, and skin irritations. Finally, ACV may give you a bit of an energy boost and help prevent the buildup of lactic acid, which leads to muscle fatigue. You can also make apple cider vinegar at home.
You can get this stuff for crazy cheap at the dollar store. Packs of 3-5 are only a buck, and if you have a really good dollar store, you can get even more. The base of chapstick is petroleum jelly, but it’s in a handy little container that’s useful, too.
Here are just a few good ways to use chapstick for survival:
- Lubricate knives, zippers, strings, tools
- Prevent rust on saws, knives, or other metals
- Sunscreen – it doesn’t work as well as actual sunscreen but it will do in a
- Use it as a candle – dip one end of a cotton swab in it, then stick the other end of the swab into the tube. Light the top and you’ve got a candle that’ll last long enough to get a good fire going and then some.
- Use it along with a cotton swab or ball to make a fire starter
- Rub it in some ash and smear it under your eyes to prevent snow blindness.
- Stop small cuts from bleeding
- Lubricate your skin to prevent blisters
- Protect skin from the elements to prevent windburn or frostbite
- Use the tube to hold small items such as matches, bills, cotton swabs, or wire
4. Steel Wool
Sure it’s great to scrub your pots and pans, but steel wool is flammable and is great to use to strike sparks into in order to get your fire started.
Video first seen on wildernessoutfitters.
You can also sharpen knives with it, and hold a stripped screw in place.
We all love it and it can be 4 dollars a can or more at other stores, so WD40 definitely makes our list. Of course it’s good for lubricating things; that’s what it’s promoted as. There are literally hundreds of other uses for WD40 though.
- Removes sap and other goo from your hands or skin that could cause irritation
- Keep your fishing equipment, knives, and other metals from rusting
- Most fishermen swear that WD40 helps them catch fish, though the company denies these claims. Still, where there’s smoke…
- Waterproof shoes, boots, and clothing.
- Spray snow shovel with WD40 and the snow won’t stick to it as easily.
- Helps keep your axe or knife from sticking in the log when you’re splitting it
- Spray on kindling for a quick fire starter
- Clean your gun with WD40
Of course it’s good for a headache, but aspirin is also good for heart health, namely reducing blood pressure, because it thins the blood. That could be good in a survival situation for people with heart problems and strokes. It also:
- Works as a mild pesticide directly on your plants and as a fungicide in the soil
- Gargle with aspirin to help soothe a sore throat
- Crush it and rub it directly on your gums to get rid of a toothache
- Crush it and make a paste with water or honey to treat warts and pimple
Of course they make your legs look tan, but pantyhose have many different survival uses. Here are some of them, but you should also read our article to see why they deserve a place in your survival kit:
- Strains particulates out of water
- Acts as a fish net
- Adds a layer of insulation
- Prevents skin from rubbing together and chafing
- Holds gauze bandages on
- Acts as a sling
- Can be used to lash things together
- Can be used to carry light items
- Can be used as mosquito netting
8. Can of Coffee
This is probably the one survival product that you’ll save the most on at the dollar store. Coffee has the obvious benefit of mental alertness but it has several other uses, too. Buy the type that’s in a metal can. Use the coffee for:
- Relieving depression
- Grounds are good to add to your compost pile
- Sprinkle it around plants to deter pests such as ants and snails
- Mix it into mulch, grass clippings, etc. and add it to acid loving plants
- Clean your pots and pans with them
- Use it as a cloth dye
You can also use the can for:
- A hobo stove
- When cut, it’s extremely sharp and can be used in a pinch to cut just about anything, and the shards can be used as a makeshift weapon
Again, a huge money saver with numerous survival uses. Go for the unflavored kind if you can.
- Mouthwash is an antiseptic. That’s why it freshens your breath; it kills the bacteria in your mouth. Use it to clean wounds in a pinch
- Sanitize your pots and pans with it
- Put it on a blister – it numbs it and kills any bacteria that may cause infection
- Apply it to a tick that’s burrowed into your skin. The tick will back out and your skin will also receive a dose of the antiseptic
- Use as an antifungal for such ailments as athlete’s foot
- Relieves the itch from insect bites, bee stings, and poison ivy
10. Zip Ties
These are fairly cheap – around $3 or $4 – just about anywhere, but you’ll likely only pay a buck for them at the dollar store. If you buy 5 packs, you’ve saved at least $10. Not bad, and there are about a kazillion survival uses for zip ties.
- Use them for make-shift handcuffs – as a matter of fact, many police forces use them for that now
- Tie up a tarp for a tent for shelter
- Tie a tarp or garbage bag in a tree for water collection
- Strap gear to your bug out bag or backpack
- Mark trails with it so that you don’t get lost or go in circles
- Compress your equipment and clothes so that you can carry more
- Close off the bottom of your pant legs so that bugs and snakes can’t get in them
- Hold a splint together
- Lash together logs to make a raft or shelter
Video first seen on SensiblePrepper.
11. Clay Pots
Yes, you can put plants in them, but clay pots have several survival uses.
- You can make smokers with them
- You can make water filter systems with them
- Heating systems from clay pots work for emergency heaters
- Use them for temporary refrigeration, as we already mentioned in our article about building this pot-in-pot cooler.
12. Bungee Cords
They’re stretchy but strong and you’ve probably used bungee cords for a myriad of tasks during your life. They’re extremely versatile and you can buy them in packs of several at the dollar store for practically nothing.
- Strap your bug out bag to a tree so that animals can’t get in it
- Strap other items to your bug out bag or your body
- Use to hold a pressure bandage in place
- Hang up a tarp for water collection or shelter
- Use it as a belt
- Bundle your items together with them
- Use as fishing line in a pinch
- Replace broken magazine straps on your tactical vest
13. Crayons with Sharpener
I bought a big box of crayons for my nieces the other day and they were almost $10! I should have gone to the dollar store, but didn’t feel like going that far out of my way. I did notice, though, that the sharpener would come in handy and that the box of crayons with the sharpener would be going in my stockpile, along with a few other toys.
- Crayons are flammable and make great fire starters
- If you light the tip of a crayon and put it upright, it will burn for up to 30 minutes as a small candle
- You can use a crayon to mark trees so that you don’t get lost
- Wax is a great water-proofer in a pinch.
- The sharpener can be used to make either wax or wood shavings to start a fire with.
There are thousands of items at the dollar store that you can stockpile for survival and these are just a few that I found that were both multi-purpose, and could save you significant cash over buying them somewhere else.
Surely, you can think of other awesome survival items available at the dollar store, so please share them with us in the comments section below!
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
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There are 3 types of nutrients that your body can convert to energy: carbs, fats, and protein.
Carbs are the primary source for most of us but the problem is that they burn up quickly, leaving us hungry and run-down an hour or so after we eat them. Good fats and proteins, on the other hand, burn slowly so they provide level, sustained energy.
Obviously, there are situations that call for each type, but the big thing with carbs is that you need to choose the RIGHT ones, which is a topic for another day. Today, we’re going to talk about good sources of low-carb foods (aka, high protein/fat foods).
Just as with carbs, there are good and not-so-good sources of proteins and fats. The debate about this is hot, especially when it comes to saturated fats such animal fats.
Your body is hardwired to use carbs as the first source of energy because they’re quick and easy to break down. When it doesn’t have carbs (or during prolonged exercise), it turns to fat, and then protein. You don’t want to push yourself to the point that your body is using protein as a fuel source exclusively, because it’s literally eating your muscle away.
Instead, use protein to build and repair muscles, and use fat as your energy source. Your body needs glucose (sugar) for proper brain function, but it doesn’t need it in large quantities or from junk sources. Fruits and veggies provide the carbs your body needs.
We’ve all heard how eating too much red meat or eggs raises cholesterol and increases your risk of heart disease, but now there are studies that suggest that meat wasn’t necessarily the culprit – it was other foods that were eaten in conjunction with the meat.
No matter what you think about meat, you probably agree that there are far worse foods in the junk-carb category than steak and eggs. Anyway, now studies are showing that many of these proteins are good for you.
Since it takes your body longer to break down protein and fat, you won’t get that pop of energy that you get from carbs, but your energy levels will remain steady for much longer and you won’t suffer from the crash that you get from carbs. There are many great sources of low-carb foods to stockpile for survival.
(Fairly) Lean Meat and Poultry
Meats such as lean beef, venison, lamb, bison, rabbit, goat, and lean pork cuts provide are amazing sources of protein and vitamin B12, and generally have zero carbs. Sufficient amounts of this vitamin are found almost exclusively in fish and animal-sourced foods.
Vitamin B12 is critical to human health. It plays a role in the health of every single cell, including brain cells, in your body. Deficiencies are linked to Alzheimer’s disease, anemia, impaired brain function, mental disorders an even a decreased brain size.
Vitamin D3 is another vitamin that’s exclusive to animals. D2 is found in plants but isn’t as bioavailable as D3 is. Your brain needs this for proper function and it also plays a role in nutrient absorption. Typically you get all the D you need from the sun, but if you’re forced to hunker down, it may become an issue.
Add that to the energy that you get from the meat and it’s a no-brainer that these are necessary for your food stockpile. You can pressure can your meat, dehydrate it, or buy it in bulk freeze-dried containers. You can also farm your own or hunt for it so that you have fresh meat.
Fish is great for you. Even when red meat was the scourge of society, fish was still on the happy face list. It’s also basically carb-free and easy to source as long as you live near a water source and the water isn’t tainted.
All fish are good sources of protein but fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines provide Omega 3 fatty acids that are essential for numerous bodily functions, including brain function.
Be careful eating fish that are higher on the food chain, though, because they also likely have high amounts of mercury, which can poison you in high amounts. Shoot for wild-caught fish instead of farmed fish to help with this. Wild-caught fish also have a better Omega 3/Omega 6 ratio, which is also another article altogether.
You can pressure can fish (or buy it canned for fairly cheap), smoke it, catch it fresh, or buy it freeze-dried. It doesn’t last well when dehydrated because of the fat content. It’s probably easier to just buy the cans of tuna and salmon.
Eggs and Milk
Eggs are another excellent, low-carb (zero) source of protein, Vitamins D and B12, phosphorus and riboflavin. and they’re extremely versatile. Eggs are also a source of Omega 3s and the amino acid lutein, which your body needs to build muscle.
The best thing about them when it comes to prepping is that it’s available in three extremely user-friendly forms. You can either reach under your own hen and get a fresh one, or you can buy it powdered or freeze-dried.
Yeah, I know the counter-argument to this already – humans are the only mammals that drink milk post-weaning. Blah. I’m a farm girl – give me fresh cream in my coffee and a huge scoop of cottage cheese on my tomatoes any day, and for heaven’s sake don’t mention this argument to my dad unless you want to set him off on a 3-hour tangent.
High-fat dairy, just like anything else, is only bad for you if it’s ALL you eat. It’s low-carb and has some excellent nutritional benefits, including being a great source calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.
It also has amino acids in it that your body needs to synthesize muscle, and cultured dairy such as yogurt (unsweetened!) has probiotics that help keep your gut healthy. Omega 3s are also in there, though not in nearly the quantity that you’ll find in fish or nuts.
If you’ve looked into making cheese, you’ve probably noticed that many of them require rennet, which isn’t exactly something that most people keep on hand. There are, however, several cheeses that don’t require it, including mozzarella, cottage cheese, cheddar, and cream cheese. In fact, you can make these cheeses right at home in very little time.
The best part is that if you keep cows or goats, you can have a steady supply of milk. If not, you can buy it powdered or freeze-dried, or use the other methods in the article that I linked you to.
I’m not even going to touch on the health benefits of vegetables; otherwise we’d be here all night. Instead, I’m going to tell you which ones are the lowest in carbs and highest in nutrients.
Before I do that, though, I need to explain how the carbs in veggies and fruits affect your body differently than those from wheat or sugar. Vegetables and fruits are typically extremely high in fiber, which means that your body has to work hard to digest it. Because of this, the sugar is released slowly instead of all once.
A good rule of thumb is that if a veggie is green, it’s low-carb. Other veggies, such as yellow peppers, cabbage, and cauliflower are also good. Even if a veggie is higher in carbs, such as carrots and tomatoes, see above.
Root veggies and tubers such as potatoes and rutabaga are high in carbs, so if you’re shooting specifically for a low-carb diet, skip them.
I’ve written an article about the best way to stockpile veggies here.
Fruits are iffy when it comes to inclusion on a low-carb list. The general rule here is that the higher in fiber and the less sweet a fruit is, the lower it is in carbohydrates. Fruits are like veggies, though. The more fiber they have, the slower the body extract the sugar, so you don’t get the carb pop and crash.
Good fruits include apples, pears, berries, and citrus fruits.
Again, preserving fruits is fairly simple. You can water-bath can them, pressure can them, freeze dry them, or dehydrate them, but if you’re shooting for low-carb, don’t add sugar to them. They are another healthy foods to stockpile for winter.
Preparing fruits and vegetables, and even meat for that matter, all involve a similar process that just about anybody can learn to do.
Nuts and Seeds
These are great because they’re easy to pack and take with you if you need to bug out or even if you’re just going on a short hunting or camping trip. Many nuts, including walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds are rich in omega 3s too, so win-win!
Fats and Oils
Having a good supply of fairly healthy fats is necessary for a variety of reasons. They’re rich in omega 3s and they’re a necessary ingredients (well OK, you CAN substitute apple sauce in some baking recipes, but not for the good stuff like biscuits.
You can also can fats and seeds are simple to store. These definitely need to go on your list.
This article has ben written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
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Corn has a bad reputation today. Besides being genetically modified, corn today has been transformed into high-fructose corn syrup. It’s creeping into all kinds of foods and beverages where it never belonged.
The modern agriculture movement has taken this important crop and turned it into something to be avoided. The soil becomes so depleted it needs tons of fertilizer to continue producing. It’s been eroded, and completely disturbed. But a quick look at history will show that our ancestors depended on this staple crop.
It’s a calorie-dense food that’s fed countless people and animals throughout time. It grows six out of the seven continents, making it an ideal survival food in almost every climate.
Corn is a great addition to a survival garden. It’s fairly easy to grow, and is easier to harvest than other grains. There’s no need to thresh the corn crop after all.
Types of Corn
You just need to pick the right variety of corn. There are six main categories, but I’m going to focus on only three, sweet corn, field or dent corn, and popcorn. The other main types are flint corn, ornamental corn, and flour corn. Since these types have different uses, you’ll want to be sure and grow the kind or kinds that you need.
Harvested when the kernels are in the milky stage, sweet corn is what you find in the grocery store on the cob. It’s sweet, tender, and flavorful. Many gardeners plant varieties of sweet corn in their home garden.
Field (Dent) Corn
Field corn isn’t as sweet as sweet corn, but it has a multitude of uses. It’s used as animal feed, ground and turned into cornmeal, or prepared as grits. It’s perfect crop to grow for survival.
Before harvesting, field corn is allowed to dry a bit while still on the stalk. As the moisture leaves each kernel, a little dent appears.
If you have space to grow an extra variety of corn, consider popcorn. The kernels pop up fluffy and provide a nice snack.
After you’ve harvested your popcorn ears, you’ll have to dry out the kernels even more. Some growers prefer an oven, others let the sun do the job.
How to Grow Corn
No matter which variety of corn you decide to plant, make sure you find seeds that are open pollinated, heirloom varieties. These seeds haven’t been genetically modified, and they have a historical track record of helping nations survive.
If you plant more than one variety of corn, be sure to leave some space between them. At least 500 feet is recommended. Otherwise the different types of corn will cross pollinate and that can affect how each one tastes and grows.
Corn has a reputation of being a fairly needy crop. If you plant heirloom seeds, you won’t need to water it nearly as much as today’s popular varieties. After all, it survived all those years before irrigation was readily available. Mulch will help keep water in your soil.
However, this crop does require a lot of nitrogen. It’s known as a heavy feeder plant. In days past, each seed was planted on top of a dead fish. As the fish decomposed, it supplied the growing corn with the extra nitrogen it needed.
If fish aren’t in abundance where you live, you can also use compost and blood meal. You’ll want to give the soil an initial boost before planting. Once the corn reaches knee high, you’ll want to give it some more.
Corn thrives in soil that drains well. You should pick a location with full sun. You’ll want to know the length of your growing season, and plant a variety that does well.
Where I live, the growing season is on the short end. We often have killing frosts until Memorial Day or even a little past then. The locals recommend starting seed indoors and transplanting it to the soil in June. The saying here is that you want your corn, “knee high by the 4th of July,” but check with others in your area to learn what works best where you are.
Rotate Your Crops
Because corn pulls many nutrients out of the soil, it’s important to rotate your crops each year.
Many people plant a cover crop after corn, to help improve the soil.
Harvesting Your Corn
Sweet corn is ready to harvest when the tassel begins turning dark brown. You’ll want to open up an ear and check to make sure the kernels are milky. You also want to make sure the kernels are well developed and plump.
If the liquid from the kernels is watery, it’s too early to harvest. Let them continue to develop and test again later.
Field corn and popcorn need to be left on the stalks longer. They’ll begin the drying process before you harvest them.
To pick corn, twist the ear gently towards the ground. It’ll break off. Sweet corn is best picked on the day you’re planning on eating or preserving it. That’ll keep the flavor the best.
Preserving Your Corn
Once you’ve picked your corn, it’s time to eat it or preserve your harvest. You’ll need to shuck your corn, removing the silk and husks. But hang onto at least some of these—we’ll cover their benefits in a later section.
You can stockpile sweet corn in a couple of ways. You can dry it, freeze it, or can it. There are pros and cons to each method, but drying and canning are probably better for survival purposes. You might not always have electricity to run your freezer.
Field corn and popcorn are dried and stored either on the cob or as kernels. When you’re ready to cook field corn into cornbread, you’ll need to grind it into flour first. Be sure your grain mill can handle corn.
If you’ll be feeding corn to your critters, you can store it on the cob in a corn crib. The slats on this structure ensure that air can circulate around the cobs. This will keep them from molding.
Now that you have yourself some corn, what can you do with it? Corn can be used in recipes, to improve your health, and around the homestead. It’s a versatile crop.
Since corn stores so well, it’s an ideal addition to your food stockpiles. Once you’ve dried some kernels, you can easily roast it and turn it into parched corn. These original corn nuts will be handy to take on the road.
Cornmeal mush is another way to use your corn. Mix 2 cups of corn meal with 2 cups of cold water. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil, and carefully add the cornmeal mixture. After it returns to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer while you stir occasionally. It’ll take about ten minutes to thicken up.
Whole kernel corn is a popular ingredient in salsa. You can combine your corn with other produce from your garden to create a delicious dip.
You can pop your popcorn in a pan with a little oil. Put a tablespoon of oil in a cold pan, and add enough popcorn to evenly cover the bottom of the pan. You don’t want to add too many kernels or it’ll burn. Cover your pan, turn on your burner, and slowly heat the pan.
You’ll want to shake fairly frequently. This will prevent any from sticking and burning. When the popping slows, remove the pan from the heat. Let it sit for a minute or two in case any additional kernels pop. Serve with butter, salt, and any of your favorite seasonings.
Corn used in plenty of other recipes as well or you can turn it into flour or use it to feed your chickens. You can even use corn husks to wrap tamales in. Take time now to try some recipes and see what you and your family enjoy eating. That way survival foods won’t come as a shock to their system.
Corn silk tea has historically been used as a diuretic. It’s used to treat bladder and kidney ailments. You’ll want to finely chop your clean corn silk. Then, steep a tablespoon of this in a cup of hot water for ten or fifteen minutes. Strain out the silk before drinking.
In addition to its diuretic benefits, corn silk tea helps the body release extra fluid. It’s a gentle detoxifying agent.
Corn silk can also be used topically. It has some antiseptic effects, which helps promote wound healing.
Around the Homestead
Corn has been used as animal feed throughout history. If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to feed chickens or raise hogs, corn can help. Typically, you’d crack the corn through a grain mill once before feeding. The act of cracking the corn helps the animals to break it down better.
Saving Seed for Future Harvests
It’s important to save some of your crop each year to plant the following year. Not having to purchase seeds every year will help you become more self-sufficient. Saving corn seed is fairly simple.
You want to harvest your ears after the husks become dry. Then, you need to ensure the kernels are thoroughly dry. You can hang the ear upside down to help dry it out evenly.
Once dried, shell your corn. These seeds should be stored in a cool, dry location. They will remain viable for several years if properly stored.
Final Thoughts on Corn
Corn that hasn’t been genetically modified is a survival crop utilized throughout history. It’s beneficial as a food, for its medicinal purposes, and for feeding your animals.
Are you currently growing this essential crop? What varieties grow best in your neck of the woods? Please share your corn tips and tricks in the comment section, and click on the banner below to find out more survival secrets from our ancestors!
This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia.
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We tend to think that stockpiling food and supplies for an emergency is a modern invention. But it’s not. It actually started thousands of years ago, with people stockpiling food for a snowy day. Those ancestors of ours knew something that most of us today have forgotten: the fact that winter comes every year and you can’t grow crops or hunt game very effectively when the freeze hits.
In fact, the earliest recorded instance of stockpiling is in Chapter 41 of Genesis, in the Bible. Joseph, a son of Abraham, correctly interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and instituted a system of stockpiling grain in preparation for the seven years of famine.
To the pioneers, stockpiling had to be a way of life. When Old Man Winter came to call, the only thing that would keep them alive was the food and fuel they had stored. If they were not ready, chances were that they wouldn’t make it through the winter.
Those who stockpile are returning back to the roots that our pioneering ancestors established, taking matters into their own hands.
So what sorts of things did the pioneers stockpile — and why did they stockpile them?
We can really break down the pioneer’s stockpiling into two categories — things that they bought and things that they raised, hunted, preserved or prepared themselves. The things from the store were precious to many of these people, as they didn’t have much cash money to spend. It was only when they sold a cash crop that they were actually able to pay off their account at the local general store and buy themselves a few new items.
Things the Pioneers Bought and Stockpiled
A trip to the general store was a big deal in those days and something that a pioneer might only do once a month, or less. It might be an all-day affair, which took time away from working the farm. Nevertheless, they had to make it to town once in a while for supplies, or they were stuck with living solely off the land.
1. Wheat flour and other grains
While many farmers raised grain, they usually didn’t eat their own. Their grain would be sold and then they’d turn around and buy flour and other ground grains from the general store. A few people would have their own hand-operated mills for grinding grains, but those were for grinding cornmeal, rather than flour.
Going back in history, we find that grinding grain was a major part of a woman’s housework. In Medieval times, a woman might spend as many as six hours per day grinding grain so that she could make the bread of the day. Being able to buy ground wheat was one of the first true kitchen conveniences.
Bread was an important staple in the diet. It was a great source of carbohydrates, giving them the energy they needed to burn during the day. Of course, the breads they ate back then were very different than today’s, being much harder and heartier than our modern bread.
2. Baking soda
You couldn’t bake bread without baking soda, unless you happened to have yeast. Of course, many people made sourdough bread, always saving a bit of the dough to act as a starter for the next batch. But sourdough starter doesn’t work for biscuits, pies or bear sign (what they called donuts). So a stock of baking soda gave them much more variety in their diet.
Salt has always been highly valued. In fact, in the Roman Empire part of a soldier’s pay was given in salt. That became the root of the word “salary.” We need salt in our diets to survive, as well as to preserve meats. While some pioneers would harvest it themselves from salt licks, that only worked for those who had a natural salt lick on their property.
While not an absolute necessity, sugar was an important item to stockpile. Not only is it used as part of the process of canning fruit, but even the toughest of cowboys and miners wanted a sweet treat every now and then.
Like grains, rice was an important staple for many people. But it wasn’t grown in many parts of the country, making it an item pioneers picked up at the general store.
Bacon managed to become the default travel meat of choice in pioneering days. Cowboys would carry a chunk of bacon in their saddlebags, wagon trains carried it, and most families had a few slabs on hand. If you had bacon, you had meat to eat.
7. Coffee and tea
Who doesn’t like a good cup of coffee? Actually, coffee drinking in this country started with the Revolutionary War, in response to the Stamp Tax. Rather than pay the tax for British imported teas, many people switched over to coffee. Whereas before the revolution most people drank tea, after it the nation switched to coffee. By the time of the revolution, tea was mostly drunk only by the wealthy.
8. Dried beans
Just as it is for the average homesteader today, dried beans were a favorite staple for the pioneers. Chili con carne became a popular dish, starting in Texas and then moving north along the cow trails. Eventually, it was eaten all across the west.
Beans also could be eaten alone, or with tortillas. The Southwest culture had a strong Mexican influence, including the eating of refried beans as a staple. Many a meal was beans and biscuits or beans and bread. Even when they had meat, beans were often served on the side.
9. Dried and canned fruit
Some people grew fruit. When they did, they’d can it or dry it. But not all kinds of fruit can be grown in all parts of the country. Besides that, not everyone was a farmer. The general store would stock dried and canned fruit, making it possible for people to buy these foods.
Since it kept well, dried fruit was another popular trail food, both for wagon trains and for drifting cowboys. It helped give variety to an otherwise dull diet, as well as providing them something sweet to eat.
Things the Pioneers Grew, Hunted, Preserved and Prepared
Many pioneers were involved in farming and ranching. Those who were grew as much of what they ate as they could. Since cash money was so rare, being able to hunt, gather or grow your own food was a real advantage. Even townspeople would have a garden patch behind their homes, growing their own vegetables and herbs.
10. Smoked meats
One of the signs that you’d “made it” was to have a smokehouse on your property. While the ability to smoke your own meats was incredibly useful, not everyone could afford the time or expense to build one. Those who could were usually well-established families who already had their homes and barns built. By then, they were producing enough that it was worthwhile to be able to smoke meats when it was time to slaughter a cow or pig.
The pioneers learned how to make jerky from the Native Americans. While smoking was great, not everyone had a smokehouse. Plus, jerky lasts longer than smoked meats and is much more portable. Drifting cowboys and other travelers would often take jerky along just to ensure they had some meat to eat. A few strips of jerky and a couple of campfire biscuits made a pretty good lunch in the saddle.
Many pioneers grew their own corn, even if it was just enough for their family. They might grow wheat or some other grain for sale, but they’d put in a small patch of corn, as well. That corn was usually dried and kept for making cornmeal.
A vegetable garden alongside or behind the house was almost a requirement for pioneer families. Without it, their food would be bland and repetitive. Not only did they grow their own veggies, but their own herbs, as well.
Most vegetables were harvested and kept in a root cellar, not canned. Canning required owning a goodly supply of canning jars, something that most people didn’t have. It wasn’t until later, when towns were well-established and trade was more regular, that canning jars became common in the west.
14. Feed for the animals
Anyone who had animals had to consider their needs. Whether horses, cows or chickens, they were a valuable part of the homestead and needed to eat. Just like the family would stockpile food to get themselves through the winter, they’d stack hay and other feed for their farm animals.
Most hay was cut from wild grass growing near the farm. It would be cut by hand with a scythe and stacked in towering haystacks for the winter months. Some farmers who had larger barns with lofts would stack the hay in the loft. But that required hay bales, which meant having the equipment for baling hay. So that only happened in well-established areas on well-established farms.
The only heat that most homes had was from the fireplace or wood-burning stove. That created the need for a wood pile, which was started in the spring so the wood could dry through the hot summer. In some places, they would stack their wood to act as a defensive breastwork for the home, giving themselves a good firing position for any attacks from Native Americans.
What items would you add to our list of what the pioneers stockpiled? Share what you know in the section below:
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.
Hardtack 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.
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.
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.
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.
To your original recipe, just add 2 teaspoons of salt. Then, continue as directed above. It’ll help improve the flavor.
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.
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!
This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia.
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We live in a time when doctors prescribe antibiotics willy-nilly, any time somebody complains of the sniffles. It’s a cop out way to shut people up and make them feel as if they got their money’s worth out of the appointment.
Personally, I think that it’s also a CYA way for the doctor in case you keel over after you leave the office. Let’s get real though and talk about how your body can defeat bacteria naturally.
First off, we all know that antibiotics aren’t going to be readily available if SHTF and pharmacies and doctor offices shut down. You may have a supply hoarded but it would be unwise to use that except in the most dire of cases. There are many natural antibiotics that you can use, and I also wrote an article about making your own antibiotics.
Instead of getting to the point that you need antibiotics, the best thing that you can do is avoid getting sick to begin with. The second best thing to do is that if you do happen to get sick, don’t treat it with antibiotics unless you have to. But how to avoid the need for antibiotics?
The problem with bacteria is that it’s extremely resilient and can mutate into forms that are resistant to antibiotics. Obviously, that’s bad. You know those products that kill 99 percent of bacteria? Well guess what that other 1 percent is? That’s right – as with most situations in life, it’s a case of survival of the fittest. The strongest bacteria survive and pass that on to their offspring.
Frequent use of antibiotics poses two problems. First, they don’t discriminate between good bacteria and bad bacteria. They just go into your body and annihilate any bacteria it finds. Your body NEEDS certain bacteria in order to function properly, especially in the digestive system. When antibiotics wipe those out, your digestive system can’t operate properly and if the good bacteria are gone, it leaves room for the bad bacteria to move in before the good ones can repopulate.
Next, if the antibiotics don’t kill all of the bug that’s making you sick, a superbug can result. This is the name for that mutant strain of bacteria that we were talking about earlier; the one that’s resistant to antibiotics. There’s no way to absolutely avoid this, but it’s the reason that you should always take your full dose of antibiotics until they’re gone.
The Secret Weapon is Your Own Body
The best possible way to fight bacteria is to have a healthy immune system to begin with. This involves eating well, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, and avoiding stress. Forget all of the antibacterial stuff and don’t pop a pill every time you get the sniffles.
Why is this important? Because doctors and medicine don’t heal; they just help the body recover by itself. In a crisis situation, if you become sick or get injured, you don’t have any other tools or medicine other than your body so you need to act upon it first, and help it to get the healing process started.
There are times, such as when you have a major infection from a wound that you SHOULD take antibiotics, but those times are few and far between. Other than in those types of extreme situations, suck it up, eat well, clean your cuts and scrapes well and often, and take care of yourself in general. Oh, and wash your hands.
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by details that you probably don’t even think about. For instance, when you use a public restroom, do you turn off the faucet or open the door with your hands on your way out? If so, you probably just wasted your time washing your hands because – surprise – many people don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom.
After you wash your hands, turn the faucet off and open the door with the paper towel that you used to dry your hands.
Don’t touch your face unless you absolutely have to. We’ve already talked about the germs that you’ve picked up in the bathroom. Other people pick them up too, then carry them back and rub them all over their staplers, chairs, desks, door handles, counters, and everything else that you may come into contact with during the day.
Oh yeah, and they sneeze or cough in their hands (if they bother) and rub those germs all over everything, too. Gross but true. So, don’t touch your face and wash your hands frequently.
Stay Away From Hospitals
If you want to run into every supergerm on the planet, go to a hospital. Why do you think people get admitted? True, some are in there for injuries or diseases, but a great many are there because of a bacterial infection that ran amok. If the bacteria was so bad that it couldn’t be treated outside with standard antibiotics, then it’s probably not something that you want to come into contact with.
Since nurses, doctors, and other hospital personnel go back and forth between rooms and visitors go from patient rooms to other areas such as restrooms, cafeterias, and waiting rooms, germs spread like wildfire, again in ways that most of us don’t even consider: door handles, charts passing from hand to hand, sneezes, coughs, remote controls, magazines; the list goes on and on.
That’s not even your biggest worry, though. Hospitals use heavy-duty cleaners all the time to clean rooms, floors, and every other surface, right? Well this goes back to that 99 percent conversation that we had earlier, except on a HUGE scale.
The typical antibacterial ingredient is triclosan, and studies have shown that though it works, it doesn’t work well enough, and it poses other problems.
Many really bad bugs are killed by triclosan, but the few that are left behind to breed are downright NASTY superbugs. Also, triclosan has been linked to some nasty side stuff, including interruption of your endocrine system and a link to autism in kids.
Even a perfectly healthy immune system will have to put out a few fires after a visit to a hospital, but if you’ve already got an open cut or your immune system is weakened, you could be the next one in that bed. Now you see why having a good immune system helps a lot, don’t you?
Avoid hospitals like the plague and if you DO have to go, don’t touch anything more than you have to, don’t touch your face, and clean your hands on your way out with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, which is the one agent that kills most bacteria, viruses and even fungi on the spot.
Don’t Use Antibacterial Stuff
You’d think that using all the antibacterial hand soaps and sanitizers would be a good thing, right? Not really. Antibacterial soaps and sanitizers give you a feeling of false security. They do kill some bacteria, but they don’t kill viruses or fungi that cause other illnesses such as the flu or the common cold.
As a matter of fact, most antibacterial products use triclosan, which means you may now be breeding your own superbugs at home. Triclosan is just bad. Avoid it as much as you avoid the bacteria you’re trying to kill with it.
To further the argument against antibacterial soaps, studies show that most of them don’t remove any more germs than good old fashioned soap and water. Want to get something really clean? Use bleach, alcohol, or even apple cider vinegar.
Let Food Be Thy Medicine
Yup, Hippocrates got it right. There are tons of foods that have antibacterial benefits. One of the great things about getting antibiotics via your food is that you’re not disrupting the delicate balance of your body by flooding it with a pharmaceutical that’s going to mow down all of the good bacteria along with the bad.
Antibacterial foods typically have a ton of other amazing health benefits and if you eat them along with a variety of other healthy foods, you’re going to get everything that your body needs to stay healthy. Just a few examples of antibacterial foods include:
- Fermented Foods
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Oregano Oil
- Unrefined Coconut Oil
These ingredients, with the exception of Echinacea, can be used internally or externally to kill bacteria and this list only includes a few of the foods that I can think of just off the top of my head. I’ve listed a few more in this article, which also includes some other treatments used by Native Americans.
So, in summary, the best way to defeat bacteria naturally is to approach your battle from all sides. Don’t use products that create superbugs in the name of killing off 99 percent of the weaker bugs, don’t pop pills like they’re candy, eat well, exercise often, wash your hands, and do what it takes to relieve stress so that your immune system stays strong.
It sounds simple, and it generally is. Sure, occasionally something is going to slip through even the best defenses but in a SHTF scenario, you’re going to need to keep yourself healthy and your environment clean. With no antibiotics, preventing the spread of disease is going to be critical to survival, and the best way to do that is to avoid disease to begin with.
If you can think of anything I’ve missed or if you have anything to add, please feel free to do so in the comments section below! And click on the banner below to get more knowledge about surviving a medical crisis when there is no doctor around!
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
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If you ever want to start a debate on a survival or shooting forum, just ask, “How much ammunition is enough for an emergency stockpile?” Then take cover. You’ll be amazed at every single armchair general who comes out of the woodwork to offer his or her opinion on the matter. Some folks are minimalists: “Only what you can carry” is their cry as they announce their plans to survive by scrounging their way through the apocalypse. Others say, “Buy it cheap, and stack it deep!” These fellas are the ones who plan on getting into a gun fight every single day as soon as the power goes off.
Many folks out there don’t fall into either group, and they don’t believe there is any reason to stockpile rounds for an emergency. In fact, I know plenty of shooters who always say “buy only what you shoot.” I used to be that guy. But I had to be honest with myself that this isn’t the Pax Americana anymore. Turn on the news and each day we are confronted by the realities of our existence in an increasingly unstable world. Now, I’m a realist.
As a gun writer and firearm instructor, I have heard the question more and more: “Hey Zach, how much ammo should I have in case something happens?”
Well, I just ran out of battery power for my crystal ball. But I can say that you should have enough ammunition to protect your family and feed them with fresh game and meat if needed. Here is the amount I recommend and strive to keep stocked in my own closet.
There is no better tool out there to constantly bring home game than a .22. From squirrel to rabbit, a .22 can bring home the bacon. Every homesteader and survivalist should have at least one reliable .22. During the depression, .22s kept families fed, and they can do it again. I strongly recommend aiming for at least 1,000 rounds per .22 — ideally 2,500-5,000 rounds. Start where you can.
In addition to a .22, homesteaders and survivalists should have a .12- or .20-gauge shotgun. The shotgun can be used for small game like a .22 — for waterfowl and wild turkey, for instance. A round of 00 buck or a common deer slug can be used for much larger game. I cannot speak highly enough of the reliability of a good pump action over a semi-automatic shotgun.
I have two 12-gauge shotguns and a 20 gauge. I have two different barrels for each — one for slugs and 00 buck, and one for birds and small game. The slug barrels I keep are 21-inch barrels with a smoothbore and rifle sights. I have four-different chokes for each bird barrel.
At a minimum, I keep 200-400 rounds of game load for waterfowl, upland bird and small game, 100 rounds of 00 Buck and 100 slugs.
The Big Game Rifle
Although many claim that within months after a disaster there will be no wild game or anything to hunt, I think they are wrong. The person with a game rifle may be able to put more meat on the table over the person who does not.
I try to aim for around 200 rounds minimally for big game rifles. I shoot common calibers such as .30-30, .243 and.308.
The Semi-Auto Sporting Rifle
A modern semi-auto rifle can be a great all-around firearm. For hunting, personal protection and home defense, these rifles can put a lot of rounds on target with decent accuracy.
For my AR-15s and AKs, I have about 4,000-5,000 rounds each. These rifles shoot a lot of lead, and have the potential to be “bullet eaters.” If you are on a budget, aim for at least 1000 rounds per rifle as well as 10 magazines.
My wife and I carry common caliber handguns — mostly in 9mm. I carry a Glock 19 daily and she carries a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield. I always aim to keep about 400-500 rounds on hand for each handgun.
What type of stockpile do you keep? What advice would you add on stockpiling ammo? Share your advice in the section below:
What do you think of when someone says they have a stockpile room? Is it the zombie apocalypse or World War 3 that comes to mind? With me, it’s simple preparedness.
Maybe it was the seven years I spent associated with the Boy Scouts, but “be prepared” is something that has become ingrained in my philosophy of daily living.
In this article, you’ll find tips on how to choose where to store your own “rainy day” stockpile, or if building one is a better option for you.
Repurposing a Room or Basement
Maybe you have an extra-large house and want to use one of the rooms already available and not used on a daily basis. Perhaps your house has an unused basement that you think will make a great place for your emergency stockpile. Wherever you choose to place your stockpile room, there are at least six questions you should ask before beginning the fitting out of the room:
1. Is it above ground? The temperature in above-ground rooms is more difficult to regulate, due to the fact that at least one wall will probably be an exterior wall of the house.
2. Are there windows in the room? Windows can allow heat and insects to enter, which can damage your stockpile.
3. Is there adequate room for shelving and other storage? If there isn’t enough room for all of the shelves and plastic containers you will need to use for your stockpile storage, then the room is not a good choice to utilize.
4. Can you use an area of your basement? Basements are an optimal place to build a stockpile room, simply because the ambient temperature can remain between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.
5. Is your basement finished or unfinished? Finished basements usually have had waterproofing, so there won’t be a problem with moisture getting into your stockpile and ruining it. If you are working with an unfinished basement, you will want to be sure that any waterproofing is taken care of before investing in what could be something that could save your family’s lives.
6. Do you have an outbuilding that would work? Outbuildings are seldom used as stockpile rooms, although they are still a viable option if temperature and moisture can be controlled.
Building Your Stockpile Room From Scratch
Many people who are building a stockpile room “from the ground up” generally intend for it to be a multipurpose room from the beginning. Often, it is intended to serve as a storm shelter for those who live in tornado alley, as well as provide storage space for their emergency supplies. Granted, a basement works well for a storm shelter, but not everyone has one.
As with any other project that you might initiate on your private property, there are a few things that should be considered and looked into before you begin:
- Building codes and zoning regulations. Find out if you are allowed to put such a room/building on your property at all.
- What is the water table in your area? Not just the area of the state you are in, but under your property in particular. Water tables fluctuate somewhat, depending on how the bedrock runs beneath the land.
- Do you have an adequate space for building a storm shelter stockpile room?
- Determine what kind of materials you will be building your stockpile room out of, as there are many that you can use. I will offer some suggestions a little later in this article.
- How large will your finished room be? The size of the hole you dig may be twice as large as your finished room, depending on materials, due to safety reasons.
- How large of a stockpile do you intend to build? Do you want it to cover a matter of months or are you looking at a year or more in food?
Below are a few suggestions on what you can build your stockpile room out of, whether you choose to have it be multipurpose or not.
1. Natural stone. While a good idea if you have a lot of head-sized stones (and larger) on your property, it would take a fair amount of know-how to properly build such a room. More than likely, you would still need to either pour a cement floor or build a cedar floor on top of the stone for a flat surface.
2. Cement cinder blocks. This is the most popular material to use, since you can pretty much customize your storm shelter/stockpile room. This method also requires a bit of knowledge on how to put it all together properly so that the walls and roof don’t buckle beneath the weight of the earth pressing against them.
3. Earth-packed tires. This is a green method that could work well if you could get your hands on a large number of tires. Again, you would probably need to either pour cement or lay a cedar floor to keep out insects.
4. Whole cedar logs. While cedar planks may be easy to gather; whole logs may be more difficult to find.
5. Unused, faulty septic tanks. Believe it or not, you really can use a septic tank for either a storm shelter or a stockpile room, or both. Faulty septic tanks have cracks after they have been cast. These can be the results of poorly mixed cement or improper chemical mixtures; maybe the cast was too old and should have been replaced. Whatever the reason, the septic tank makers now have a tank that can’t be used AS a septic tank.
No matter what you choose to build a stockpile room out of, or if you choose to place it in your home, you are one step closer to providing for your family should difficulties come your way. It may not be the zombie apocalypse or a thermonuclear war, but you can be assured that you and your family will have plenty of food.
What advice would you add for choosing or building a stockpile room? Share your advice in the section below:
We all have at least one box of baking soda in the house. You probably use if for such tasks as deodorizing your refrigerator and making biscuits.
If that’s all you’re using it for, you’re missing out! Baking soda is one of the best multi-purpose products that you can have.
Today we’re going to discuss some other uses of baking soda for survival.
Baking soda is something that you should be stockpiling in large amounts. You’ll need it for cooking and for many other uses. Since it’s so versatile, it will be one of the first things to disappear off the shelves if supply lines are disrupted to stores. Best to stock it now.
You’ve probably noticed that many commercial whitening types of toothpaste contain baking soda. The main reason is because of the mildly abrasive quality but it also eliminates bacteria that cause bad breath.
In an emergency, you can use straight baking soda, or you can find some good recipes using more palatable recipes in this article.
The best things about using baking soda for deodorant are that it’s effective and odorless. Just pat a little on under your arms and you’re good to go. You can also get fancy and use base products such as coconut oil and essential oils if scents aren’t an issue.
If you’d like a couple basic recipes, check out this article. You’ll also learn how to make soap and laundry detergent.
3. Make soap
There’s obviously not enough room in your bug-out bag for all of your cosmetic products, so baking soda is the way to go. Just make a paste using three parts baking soda to one part water, rub it onto your body, then rinse.
Just as with deodorant and toothpaste, you can get fancy with it, but in a survival situation, this will do just fine.
4. Take the itch out of bug bites
Just make a paste with a bit of water and rub it onto the bug bite. The itching will be relieved within a couple minutes.
5. Get rid of heartburn or upset stomach
Baking soda is great for getting rid of occasional heartburn or sour stomach but it’s not recommended for regular use because it can actually cause conditions such as acid reflux to worsen because it messes with your acid production.
6. Remove the oil from your hair
Baking soda absorbs both moisture and odor. In a survival situation when you don’t have access to abundant water (or just a day when you don’t feel like washing your hair!), sprinkle some baking soda at your roots, work it onto your scalp and through your hair, then brush it out.
7. Fungal infections
Baking soda has been shown to kill fungal infections but I personally have had better success when mixing it with equal parts apple cider vinegar. ACV is another of those items that you should be stockpiling, or you can learn how to make it here. If you don’t have vinegar, make a paste with water and baking soda and rub on the fungus.
Some examples of fungal infections that you may have to worry about are yeast infections (men and babies can get these, too!), athlete’s foot, and jock itch. Baking soda will soothe it, too.
8. Sooth burns
Baking soda is wonderful for soothing minor burns, windburn and sunburns. Just make a paste and rub it on. Again, apple cider vinegar is great for this, too.
9. Soothe irritated or rough skin
Baking soda is great for helping with diaper rash or irritated skin so toss a couple of tablespoons into baby’s bath or a 1/4 cup into yours. It also softens skin.
Dehydration is a huge concern in a survival situation. Usually water will do the trick but if you’ve been sweating excessively, you need to replace that salt and other electrolytes or else you can get extremely sick, or even die.
Baking soda consists of sodium and bicarbonate, so it’s helpful with hydration. Use 2 quarts water, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda and on tsp salt substitute. You can throw some sugar or fruit juice in for flavor and glucose if you want, too.
Salt substitute is another great product to stockpile because it’s actually potassium chloride, and your body needs potassium to properly use salt.
11. General cleaning
If you decide to bug in, or just want a cheap, natural, effective cleaning product, baking soda will do the trick. Because it’s abrasive, it’s great for cleaning grout, tiles, sinks, ovens, stoves, and tubs. Just be sure to rinse it well.
12. Keep your latrine or septic tank working well
Baking soda helps balance the pH in your SHTF latrine or your septic tank, which helps the bacteria to break down the waste more effectively. It does, of course, also have a bit of deodorizing effect but not much in this situation.
13. Freshen bedding and carpets
Unless you’re an unusual prepper who doesn’t think about losing power, you probably aren’t stockpiling any of those powdered, scented carpet products. Here’s some news for you – most of those aren’t nearly as effective as plain old baking soda, and if you look, most of them CONTAIN baking soda.
Baking soda absorbs odors out of carpets, and it’s also great for freshening your bedding (camp or household). Just sprinkle it on your carpet or bedding, let it sit for a few hours, then vacuum or sweep it away.
14. Keep your coolers from smelly funky
You know that weird musty smell that hits you in the face when you open a cooler that’s been closed for a while? Baking soda will help with that. Either pop a box in it when you store it, or sprinkle some in it 24 hours before you use it, then rinse it out.
15. Help your laundry detergent work better
Whether you’re using homemade detergent or a commercial product, adding some baking soda to the wash helps balance the pH. It makes your soap more effective.
In a SHTF scenario, you can actually use just baking soda to clean your clothes. Make a paste and rub it onto dirty or greasy spots, then use a bit more (a quarter cup or so) in your wash basin to clean and deodorize the rest of your clothes.
16. Make great coffee
Even if (or especially if) you’re in the woods in a survival situation, coffee is likely on your list of “really, really want to haves”. Sprinkling a little baking soda or a small pinch of salt over your grounds will remove that bitter taste. No need to wait til SHTF though – try it tomorrow morning!
17. Making baked goods
If you’re in a pinch and don’t have any baking powder, you can mix 1 part baking soda with 2 parts cream of tartar.
18. Put out a fire
Unintentional fires are never good, survival situation or not. Keep a box of baking soda next to your stove or campfire to put out fires. Just sprinkle it on. It’s natural and unlike some products, it works on regular fires, grease fires and electrical fires.
19. Clean your iron skillets
It’s taken you forever to get your skillets seasoned and the last thing that you want to do is use harsh detergents or scrubbers to get food off of them. Baking soda is your friend here! Just empty your pan as well as you can and sprinkle some baking soda into it. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe it out and rinse if you have access to water.
If the food is really stuck on, you can make a paste.
20. Repel rabbits and other garden pests
I’ve never tried this but I have friends who swear that sprinkling baking soda around their beds repels rabbits that want to munch on their veggies. They also swear that it sweetens their tomatoes, too.
21. Repel roaches and ants
Keeping some baking soda under your counters and in your cabinets can help keep these pests away.
22. Make a fun clay for the kids
Toys may be at a premium if SHTF and you’re going to want to keep the little ones occupied. Mix 2 parts baking soda with 1 part corn starch then add enough water to make it a bit runny. Cook until it’s the consistency of mashed potatoes, let it cool, and you’ve got entertainment for hours or until the clay dries. T
his also hardens when it’s molded and is great for making those keepsake handprint plates.
There are, of course, a hundred more uses of baking soda in everyday life but I wanted to target survival purposes. I’m sure, as versatile as it is, that I’ve missed many good uses, so if you know of any, please share them with us in the comments section below.
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
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During the 70’s and 80’s the survival market could hardly support a magazine or two dedicated to the topic. Today, it seems like a new survival-related TV show is released every month.
And we have more than a dozen magazines, hundreds of blogs, websites, groups, and stores, some organizations with memberships numbering in the hundreds of thousands and now this emerging market has matured to the point that it has some great regional expositions.
This is great news if you are interested in survivalism or emergency preparedness, and attending expositions like PrepperCon has a lot to offer.
1. Hurricane Simulator
After I arrived and held my first Q&A to answer reader and attendee questions about EMP, a couple people asked me if I had seen the Hurricane Simulator. Honestly, that was definitely not the first thing on my list because when I think of simulators at emergency preparedness expo’s I am used to seeing things more along the lines of high end dioramas for kids. I was very wrong.
As I approached, I saw a line near one of the emergency exits of the exhibit hall where some people were strapping on climbing-grade safety harnesses and putting on goggles and hearing protection. Once outside, some twisted minds took a shipping container and hooked up a 500hp air boat fan that was just slightly smaller than the inside of the shipping container and capable of pounding out 140mph winds.
Inside the simulator, victims’ safety harnesses were strapped to positions along a padded safety bar in front of the massive fan. A wind velocity sensor sent readings to a screen that told attendees how many miles per hour of wind was howling through the shipping container so they could attempt to reach the wind velocity matching the hurricane category they desired to experience.
Video first seen on Survivopedia.
Even with the safety equipment, many tapped out. I will spare you any wind-related puns and just say, it was amazing … an incredible and effective demonstration of the fury of hurricane-force winds.
I experienced a micro burst last fall on a beach of Lake Powell. It was probably only around 65-75mph but it was more than enough to put plenty of tents in the lake and flash floods from the storm resulted in the deaths of several hikers in a nearby slot canyon. PrepperCon’s hurricane simulator reminded me of the experience and is a great lesson for anyone who does not yet understand how damaging high winds can be.
2. Kyle Bell & His Son
Ben from the reality TV series Mountain Men struck me as respectful, humble, down to earth people and I think it is especially good for children to be able to meet people that the see on TV.
3. Ms America 2016 Julie Harmon
She gave a moving speech about the importance of family and emergency preparedness. Her sincerity toward the importance of the cause was evident and it is good for people to meet survivalists who defy the “doomsday prepper” stereotype in every way.
4. MilSim City
This shoot house gave attendees the opportunity to defend against a home evasion using paint rounds and realistic training arms.
If you have not trained at this level before, I strongly recommend it. If you have, repetition in skill training is important.
5. Wild Edibles Presentation
World class primitive skills guru David Holladay fed competitors wild edibles and taboo menu choices to get them to tap out as he educated expo goers about edibles foods native to the area. After the class, students tried an array of foraged foods from Southern and Central Utah.
6. Midlife Survival Challenge
Four survivalists competed to win a pack full of survival gear. In the challenge, they ate raccoon, chose between poisonous and edible plants and started a fire with a hand drill.
The odds of taking home prizes in the competitions were very good because far more people choose to watch than to compete, so there are definitely some opportunities if you don’t mind competing in front of a crowd.
7. Vehicles, Trailers & Watercraft
I was surprised by the number and diversity of big ticket rolling stock offerings at the PrepperCon 2016. It is easy for businesses with a high average dollar sale to recoup their investment in a booth so it is obvious why you see them at survival expos.What was surprising, and pleasantly so, was how many companies are offering survival-specific products. Hopefully we will start seeing more grey modular survival-specific vehicles and trailers soon.
8. Taster’s Choice Table
Have you ever wished you could taste food storage products before buying them in bulk? Being able to try long term storage foods before you buy them is very beneficial to us consumers so this was a good idea.
9. Faraday Cage by GTEK
This product Tim Ralston was demonstrating caught my attention because GTEK got features right that most companies do not. If you look at the photo of the product, you can see that there is no non-conductive rubber gasket, paint or coatings where the lid mates to the box. In an ammo can, these impede the flow of electrons through the skin of the Faraday cage, reducing effectiveness.
Also notice that mating surfaces are wide and precisely machined and that lid clamps in place for a tight seal. The box can also easily be locked and fixed inside a vehicle and many law enforcement agencies and departments are doing just that.
10. Knife Fighting Competition
Competitors paid $15 to Urban Survivors to stab and slash their way through opponents with paint knives. The winner took home an engraved sword.
Carrying a knife does not make you a knife fighter. Competitions like this induce stress on the participants, which is helpful because it simulates some of the physiological reactions we experience when we are in danger.
They also get people thinking about that little piece of metal they carry every day. If that leads to seeking out competent instruction that involves cutting on analogs like pig carcasses, then it is making people safer.
11. Children’s Tsunami Tank
As you can see in the image, the tank was an effective interactive display where children could visualize the impact of a tsunami on a city by generating waves.
12. National Guard Rock Wall
PrepperCon 2016 was full of opportunities to practice skills or learn new ones and the towering rock wall that the National Guard set up was a good example of that.
13. Survival Cooking Cook-Off
This was a novel idea. Many people have food storage, but have few or no recipes that use only long term food storage.
Events like this, take participants through the process of using food storage or other preparations and that is very helpful in discovering things were left out.
This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.
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Stockpiling food and other supplies is central to being prepared for an emergency, but there are some foods – such as meat — that are harder to pack for long-term storage than others.
I’m sure there are some people out there who think that they can live off of rice and beans, getting all the protein they need from the beans. While that may be technically true, I, for one, don’t want to try it. Not only am I not a huge fan of beans, but I also am a huge fan of meat. So, I need to have ways of preserving that meat and ensuring that I’ll have it available when a disaster strikes. Fortunately, there are actually a number of ways of preserving meat which work quite well — ways our ancestors used.
The Key to Preserving Meat – Salt
If there’s any one key ingredient for preserving meat, it’s salt. Salt is one of the few natural preservatives, and it works ideally with meat. Salt draws the moisture out of the cells in the meat in a process known as osmosis. Essentially, osmosis is trying to equalize the salinity on both sides of the cell wall (which is a membrane). So, water leaves the cell and salt enters it. When enough water leaves the cell, the cell dies.
This happens with bacteria, as well. Any bacteria that are on the surface of the meat go through the same osmosis process that the cells of the meat do. This dehydrates the bacteria to the point of death. Unfortunately, the salt won’t travel all the way through the meat quickly, killing off the bacteria, so salt is usually used in conjunction with other means of preserving.
Probably the least complex form of preserving meat is canning it. Canning preserves any wet food well through a combination of killing off existing bacteria in the food and container, while providing a container that prevents any further bacteria from entering.
Canning uses heat to kill off bacteria. All you have to do is raise the temperature of the bacteria to 158 degrees Fahrenheit, and it dies. This is called “pasteurizing,” so named for Louis Pasteur, a French microbiologist who discovered the process in the mid-1800s. To kill viruses, you raise the temperature a bit more, to 174 degrees Fahrenheit.
The only problem with canning meat is that it has to be canned at a higher temperature than fruits and vegetables. This is accomplished by canning it in a pressure canner, essentially a large pressure cooker. The higher atmospheric pressure inside the pressure canner causes the water to boil at a higher temperature, thus cooking the meat.
Meats that are canned tend to be very well-cooked. You have to at least partially cook them before canning, and then the 90 minutes they spend in the canner cooks them further. That makes for very soft meats, but they do lose some of their texture.
Dehydrating takes over where salt leaves off, removing much more moisture from the meat than just salting it will. However, dehydrating of meats is usually combined with salting the meat with a rub or marinating it with a salty marinade. The salt on the outside of the meat attacks any bacteria that approach the meat once it is dehydrated. Meat that is dehydrated without salt won’t last, as the bacteria can attack it.
The American Indians used dehydrating as a means of preserving meat, making jerky. While a very popular snack food today, jerky is excellent survival food. Not only will it keep without refrigeration, but it can be rehydrated for use in soups and stews. That takes it beyond being a snack and makes it possible to use jerky for part of your meals.
Dehydrating can either be done in the sun, in an electric dehydrator or in a solar dehydrator. The American Indians used the sun, hanging strips of meat on poles. However, there is a risk in dehydrating meat as they did, in that the meat may start to spoil before it dries. All fat should be removed from the meat, as the fat can turn rancid.
3. Salt fish
Salt fish is another means of dehydrating meat, something like making fish jerky. It has been done for centuries and is still a popular dish in some countries. Salt fish uses the concept that the salt draws the water out of the fish, starting the drying process. This is accomplished by packing the fish fillets in alternating layers of salt and fish. Then, the fish is sun dried to complete the process.
Smoking is another method that combines salt with a secondary method of preservation. For preserving, one must use hot smoking, which cooks the meat, and not just cold smoking, which is used to flavor the meat. Typically, the process consists of three major steps: soaking the meat in brine (salt water), cold smoking and then hot smoking.
When meat is smoked, the proteins on the outer layer of the meat form a skin, called a pellicle. This is basically impervious to any bacteria, protecting the meat. However, if the meat is cut, such as to cut off a steak from a chunk of smoked meat, the open surface can be attacked by bacteria.
In olden times, this problem was solved by hanging the meat in the smokehouse once again. In some homes, the kitchen chimney was large enough to be used as a smokehouse, and meat was hung in it, where the constant smoke helped to protect it. Most of the fat was usually trimmed off the meat, so that it would not turn rancid.
One nice thing about smoking meats, besides that it adds that lovely smoke flavor, is that the smoking process is a slow-cooking process, much like cooking meat in a crockpot. This helps to break down the fiber in the meat, turning otherwise tough cuts of meat tender.
The deli meats we pay top dollar for today are actually cured meats. Curing is a process that combines smoking, with salt, sugar and nitrites. Together, these act as an almost perfect preservative, protecting the meat from decay-causing bacteria. Technically, smoking is a type of curing, but normally when we talk about curing, we’re referring to what is known as “sausage curing,” which is the method used for making most sausage and lunch meat.
The curing process is all about killing the bacteria and is done mostly by the addition of salt to the meat. For sausage curing, the meat is ground and then mixed with fat, spices salt and whatever else is going to be used (some sausage includes cheese). It is then allowed to sit, in order for the salt to permeate all the meat and kill the bacteria. Cooking or smoking is accomplished once the curing is done.
Curing meats, like smoking, tenderizes it. So, traditionally, the tougher, lower grade cuts of meat were usually used for the making of most of what we know today as lunch meats. One nice thing about properly cured meats is that they can be left out, with no risk of decay, even when they have been cut. That is, if it is properly cured. I wouldn’t try that with commercially prepared lunchmeats, as they are not cured with the idea of leaving them out.
What meat-preserving methods would you add to this list? Share your ideas in the section below:
With many Americans and homesteaders living from paycheck to paycheck, it’s often hard to find the extra money necessary for stockpiling.
One great help is the local dollar store. While not everything in the dollar store is actually cheaper than it is in big box stores, there are some things that are significantly less expensive. The trick is to do your research and know how much the same or comparable item costs elsewhere.
I recently took a run through a couple of my local dollar stores just to see what I could find. Here’s the smart buys I spotted:
1. Cardboard boxes for the fire
I’ve found the local dollar stores to be the best source of cardboard boxes. Many of their products come in low-quality cartons, which are actually better for my purposes than the rugged ones. Shredded and soaked in water, they can be compressed into bricks in a homemade mold, just like newspapers. This is a cheap way of coming up with fire-starter or fuel for your fireplace or wood-burning stove. The store may even thank you for hauling them off.
2. Anti-bacterial hand cleaner
I’m a big believer in anti-bacterial hand cleaner as a survival supply. In a situation where water may be at a premium, washing your hands before eating may seem like a luxury. But it’s much more than that; it’s a means of helping to halt the spread of disease.
If there’s not enough water around, then anti-bacterial hand cleaner may just be the way to go.Personal hygiene supplies
3. Personal hygiene supplies
Some personal hygiene supplies are much cheaper at the dollar store, especially when you buy their brand. I was shocked to find razor blades for about a third of the price they are in other stores. Granted, they don’t have a brand name on them, but they still work just fine. Another good find was toothbrushes. You can buy packs of cheap toothbrushes and similar personal care supplies cheaper at the dollar store than anywhere else.
4. First-aid supplies
Some dollar stores have a fairly good collection of basic first-aid supplies, especially adhesive bandages and medical tape. I was even able to find knuckle bandages in one local store, much to my surprise. First-aid supplies can be rather expensive, so it’s nice to find them at a low cost. I do suggest you buy a test box so you can try the bandages before stocking up. Some of those bandages don’t stick all that well.
5. OTC medicines
I think the dollar store is the only way to buy antihistamines, decongestants, cough drops and other over-the-counter medicines. These are generic products, which means that they are made of the same ingredients as name brand ones. But they are not made to such exacting standards. In other words, if something is supposed to have 50 mg of the active ingredient, the generic brand might have slightly less of that amount. But that’s close enough that it will still work just the same.
6. Duct tape
You can buy duct tape pretty much anywhere, and I try to buy the best. But there’s one thing I’ve found about dollar store duct tape that’s unique; they sell little rolls of it, rather than the big ones. Those little rolls are much better for survival kits.
7. Plastic dishes and cups
I’ve found some great survival gear in the kitchen section of the dollar store. They have cheap plastic bowls, cups and plates, which are perfect for camping as well as survival.
They also are the cheapest place around to buy Nalgene water bottles, which is what everyone recommends using instead of the cheap water bottles that you buy bottled water in. Nalgene doesn’t release chemicals into the water.
8. Plastic storage containers
I’m a big fan of storing my survival supplies in plastic bins and even plastic food containers. I live near the Gulf of Mexico, so one of the survival scenarios that is central to my planning is hurricanes. Storing things in plastic bins makes it water repellant and can even help it float. That helps protect my food and other supplies in case we have flooding.
Buying food at a dollar store is a bit of an iffy proposition. There are some products which are the same as you buy in the grocery store and others which are off brands. Some of those off brands can really taste kind of off too, in my opinion. But one thing I’ve found is that dollar stores tend to have pre-packaged meals or main courses, which don’t require refrigeration. These are usually very hard to find and make great survival food.
What would you add to the list? Share your advice in the section below:
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!
This article has been written by Alec Deacon for Survivopedia.
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You probably know that bleach is great for getting stains out of your soiled white laundry, but did you know there are many other uses for bleach? In fact, it is an item you should consider adding to your inventory of emergency supplies.
Here are seven reasons you should stockpile bleach (sodium hypochlorite).
1. Make water safe to drink. When boiling water is not an option available, and there is no other means of purifying water, bleach is an option.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends using about eight drops of bleach for each gallon of water for emergency water purification. Wait at least 30 minutes after adding the drops of bleach before drinking the water.
If you do not have a dropper, you can dip the corner of a piece of paper into the bleach, allowing it to form drops on the end. Then, shake the drops into the water.
Do not use scented bleaches for water purification purposes. These bleaches contain additional perfumes, dyes and additives that can be poisonous.
2. Sanitize surfaces and containers for food preparation and food storage. You can disinfect contaminated surface areas with a solution of one teaspoon of bleach per one gallon of water.
Use the bleach solution whenever any surface has been exposed to any raw meat or raw poultry to prevent the transferring of bacteria to other foods.
Also, use the same bleach solution to clean and deodorize plastic coolers and thermoses. Pour the solution into a cooler, washing the side and corners and letting the solution soak for about 30 minutes. Rinse well and then drain the solution. To clean a thermos, pour the solution into the thermos and let it soak for about 10 minutes before rinsing well.
3. Clean fruits and vegetables. In an emergency, fresh fruits and vegetables can become contaminated by flooding and by standing water. Clean the food’s outer layer by soaking it for 30 seconds in a solution of one teaspoon of bleach per one gallon of water. Rinse well with clean water and let the fruit or vegetable air dry.
4. Kill mold and mildew. Dangerous molds and mildews can grow quickly during many weather emergencies and/or power outages in hot weather.
To kill mold and mildew, mix together one cup of bleach with one gallon of water. Then spray or sponge the solution on affected areas. Let the solution work for at least 10 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing the area well.
5. Clean clothing and bedding. In many crisis situations, there is the danger of the spread of disease. You can clean and sanitize clothing and bedding with a bleach/water solution ratio of 1 to 100.
6. Sanitize hard surfaces. You may also use the one teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water solution to kill germs on any hard surfaces that you frequently touch in your home, such as doorknobs and light switches.
7. Disinfect toys. Kill germs on children’s hard, non-porous color-safe toys by soaking them in a solution of one-half cup of bleach per one gallon of water for five minutes. Then rinse with clean water and let the toys air dry, preferably in the sunshine.
Using bleach can be dangerous, so you do need to take some precautions. First, bleach works as a contact agent, so avoid spraying bleach into the air. Not only will it be ineffective in killing airborne viruses, but you will run the risk of getting bleach droplets in your eyes or on surfaces that could be damaged by the bleach.
Do not mix bleach with other cleaning solutions such as white vinegar or ammonia. You can create poisonous fumes by mixing these chemicals. Be aware that anyone who suffers from asthma or other breathing-related difficulties should stay clear of bleach.
Bleach is a dangerous, corrosive substance. Dilute it with water for most jobs, and wear heavy rubber gloves, eye protection and a facemask when working with bleach. Open windows to provide ventilation in any area in which you are using bleach.
Did you know bleach has an expiration date? Yes, bleach loses its potency after about six to eight months, so you will want to rotate your supply. You needn’t dispose of your expired bleach; it still can be useful for some cleaning purposes.
Here some other uses for bleach in and around your home:
- Kills slippery moss and algae on unpainted bricks, patio stone and cement.
- Kills weeds.
- Destroys insect eggs in standing water.
- Cleans and disinfects trashcans.
- Removes mildew stains from shower curtains and rubber shower mats.
Because of its corrosive power, bleach should not be your first option for daily cleaning. However, in a heavy-duty emergency, you will find that bleach can literally be a lifesaver. Plus, it is inexpensive and readily available at your local grocery or hardware store, often as inexpensively as $1 a gallon.
What are reasons you stockpile bleach? Share your tips in the section below:
A lot of us off-the-gridders don’t much believe anything the federal government says. That’s particularly true with statements like, “don’t worry, when Apple gives us their phone encryption key codes, we’ll protect your privacy.” Or, “we assure you that with this tax increase, we won’t increase spending.”
The federal government has a history of making promises it can’t or doesn’t want to keep. Unfortunately, even when it means well, we can’t rely on it. An example that illustrates this is the federal government’s recommendations about stockpiling food supplies in case of an emergency.
The Department of Homeland Security, on its website, recommends stockpiling three days of non-perishable food. This is clearly insufficient, considering that Hurricane Katrina left thousands without food and water for five days.
If you don’t like the Department of Homeland Security’s recommendation, then you can visit FEMA’s website. It does better, recommending storage up to two weeks.
With a conventional disaster, such as an earthquake, tornado, wildfire, tsunami, hurricane or small-scale terrorist attack, a two-week supply of non-perishable food may be sufficient.
But serious survivalists have a broader range of concerns that could disable long-term or destroy society entirely. These concerns include natural mega-disasters, a major war or terrorism, and health epidemics.
In 1908, an asteroid slammed into a remote region of the Siberian forest and damaged an area over 750 square miles. Considering that scientists are aware of only a fraction of asteroids screaming through our solar system, such a threat is real. Or consider the fact that a solar storm in 1859 wiped out telegraphs – the most advanced technology of the day – and that if such a storm hit today, it could take down the power grid for weeks or months.
(Listen to Off The Grid Radio’s in-depth report on threats to the grid here.)
Most survivalists have their “favorite” doomsday scenario. I’m no different. I’m worried about electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons. An attack such as this, easily transported by today’s planes, drones or intercontinental missiles, could send our country back to the stone age. With an EMP attack, an electromagnetic shock is created that pulses through electronic items and renders them useless.
After 911, the federal government commissioned several studies on combatting feasible terrorist attacks, and ann EMP was one of them. Despite the relative possibility of this type of attack, little has been done to protect against it. Most of our military and power generation infrastructure, as well as virtually all commercial products like airplanes, cars, generators and computers, are vulnerable.
With a widespread EMP attack, millions would die of hunger, and those who have stored food would be relying on their stockpiles for a long time.
In the 1300s, the plague killed millions of people — roughly a third of the population of Europe. Imagine if a similar epidemic occurred today. National governments would respond quickly and aggressively. Travel would be shut down and quarantines established. You could find yourself in a zone abandoned by government help, an area where most of the population has fled. It could be a long time before society stabilized.
Start Stockpiling Now
It doesn’t really matter whether you’re concerned about relatively localized, short-term disasters like a tornado or flood, or a longer-term event that severely destabilizes society. What’s important is that we don’t know what the future holds, but history and today’s armed hostile nations indicate that a major disaster could happen any time.
So start getting prepared. You can begin by purchasing a year’s supply of non-perishable foods. However, the true art of survival and prepping is about sustainability — not just having stored food, but having a homestead that provides food for the future, such as a sustainable garden and small animals for meat. Whatever you do, don’t believe the feds. Three days is not enough!
What is your opinion on stockpiling? How long is enough? Share your thoughts in the section below:
If you are in good health, or don’t go to doctors very often, you may not think much about prepping for extreme medical emergencies. In fact, most people thinking about the medical part of their stockpile tend to limit themselves to supplies related to wound care, basic medications, and a few herbs to manage some of the more commonly discussed illnesses.
There are reasons for adding an oxygen concentrator to your stockpile and keeping basic information about them in mind.
This includes knowing how to supply power to them in case of a major emergency in which conventional electricity may not be available for days or longer.
Why You Need an Oxygen Concentrator
At its simplest, an oxygen concentrator is a device that takes regular air in and then releases oxygen in a higher concentration that what is found in room air. This has an immense benefit to people who have lung problems that make it difficult for enough oxygen to enter the body. When there is more oxygen going in, then more gets into the blood, and then to organs and tissue.
Even though oxygen is not a cure for lung disease, it enables these people to live better lives, and also extends life as long as the lungs do not get worse or other problems elsewhere in the body do not develop.
If you are able to get enough oxygen from regular air, there is very little reason to need a concentrator. But a crisis situation can easily change your paradigm. Before using oxygen, make sure you understand how to measure appropriate levels for your needs, and remember that oxygen, like any other medication, can be dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing.
- Everything from earthquakes to major fires will cause enormous amounts of dust, light debris and toxins to enter the air, and cause damage to the lungs. Not having a viable respirator system may lead you to needing extra oxygen in order to survive and maintain a basic standard of living. Keep a portable oximeter device on hand so that you can find out how much oxygen is in your blood: as long as your numbers are over 93 – 96%, you should not need to use oxygen.
- Today, very few people talk about the hazards of biowarfare, despite the fact that more and more terrorists make their way into the United States, and use bioweapons into the air. If you are facing a major epidemic without getting help from trained medical professionals, access to oxygen remains one of the most important keys to surviving the situation.
- Throughout time, there are always people that believe the human world is going to end in a major crisis. In some cases, these people wind up being partially right because the nations they live in collapse or some disaster occurs that wipes out large numbers of people. On the other hand, the ancient equivalent of modern preppers may also wind up watching political and other events for decades before their plans actually need to be put into action. During the passage of time, you may easily go from a healthy, powerful young person to a fragile elderly person that may require more help than you may have ever dreamed possible. Failure to consider oxygen generation in your plans may be a serious problem that will be harder to correct later on, especially if you have not fully developed your energy generation plans.
- Given the way people are getting sicker at earlier stages in life these days, do not assume that you can get by without oxygen in a major crisis, or that you can wait a few years before working on this aspect of your plans. At the very least, if you start thinking about this now, you can keep some basic field information on hand to use to your advantage.
What to Choose?
There are basically two kinds of oxygen concentrators available to consumers today. While both utilize the same basic mechanism, they have different values in terms of survival and medical needs
- Home Oxygen Concentrator – basically, a home based oxygen concentrator comes in the form of a big box that makes a good bit of noise. While they are meant to be plugged into an AC wall outlet, they can also be powered by a DC battery in an emergency situation. If you decide to purchase a home concentrator, you will find they are relatively cheap compared to other kinds. Just be sure to buy several suitable batteries so that you can power the system up in time of need. In many cases, even if you cannot power the concentrator directly, you may still be able to charge up the batteries and then run the concentrator off that.
- Portable Oxygen Concentrator – not so long ago, when people needed oxygen at home, they could not go out unless they had a tank to dispense oxygen. These tanks would usually last for 3 – 4 hours depending on how much oxygen needed to be dispensed at a time. While tanks are still used as a backup system, there is no way to refill them at home. A portable oxygen concentrator is basically a much smaller version of a home oxygen concentrator. They are usually very quiet when operating and can fit into a pocketbook or shoulder harness. As may be expected, these devices primarily run on batteries, although some can also be plugged in. From a prepping point of view, these devices may seem more useful than larger home oxygen concentrators. It should be noted, however, that portable concentrators cost almost twice as much, and there is very little indication that they are as durable as larger units. That being said, if you are looking to build a mid-weight bug out bag, or want something to include in a vehicle based bug out system, a portable oxygen concentrator will definitely have advantages that cannot be obtained by purchasing larger units.
How Do Oxygen Concentrators Work?
Basically, an oxygen concentrator takes air in, and then runs the air through a canister of zeolite crystals before sending it to the recipient. At the start of the cycle, air is taken in and fed into a compressor. From there, the air is fed into a canister of zeolite crystals until the pressure inside the cylinder is almost 1 ½ times greater than room air. As the pressure increases, the zeolites absorb nitrogen, but not oxygen.
Since regular air is made up of almost 80% nitrogen and about 20% oxygen, removing this one gas element leaves a much higher amount of oxygen in the canister. The gas is released into a reservoir where pressure returns back to normal before being released to the recipient. As oxygen is released into the reservoir, pressure also drops in the first canister. It is then fed into a second canister and released back out into the environment.
Even though concentrators are very good at removing nitrogen from the air, they cannot remove carbon dioxide and other gases. As such, it is impossible for most concentrators to supply 100% pure oxygen. While modern concentrators are much more efficient, older ones that may be available at a lower price may not work as well or be as useful for other purposes. This includes using concentrators as a source of oxygen for oxyacetylene torches and other welding equipment.
If you are interested in using concentrators for alternative applications, do your research carefully and take the time to find someone that actually knows what they are doing before experimenting. Oxygen is a key catalyst for fire, and as such, you should always be extremely careful in its presence.
What Are the Alternatives on the Market?
Before modern concentrators became available, there were other ways to provide higher levels of oxygen in both home and other settings. Basically, there are two other ways to obtain oxygen:
- Pre-filled oxygen tanks – Welders, and even hospitals and other medical facilities still rely on huge tanks of oxygen as opposed to using concentrators. Typically, these tanks are also refilled from a larger tank that is filled up using some other method. Today, there are home based systems that can also be used to fill up tanks at home. Unfortunately, these devices are more expensive than home oxygen concentrators. It should also be noted that a concentrator is much safer to have around than a bunch of oxygen tanks. Among other things, if you are in a crash, a fire, or some other disaster, crushing or damaging an full oxygen tank can be very dangerous. That being said, if you need absolutely quiet oxygen delivery, it may still be of some use to make sure you have a few tanks on hand.
- Liquid oxygen systems – Basically, a liquid oxygen system compacts oxygen into its liquid form at an extremely cold temperature. When oxygen is needed, some of the liquid is passed through a tube and allowed to warm up. Since gaseous oxygen takes up much more space, the reservoir for breathable oxygen is much larger than the bottom reservoir. Usually, when people have a home based liquid oxygen system, then can also fill up smaller portable units that weigh a little over 10 pounds. Unlike concentrators, a liquid oxygen system cannot simply take oxygen from room air and compress it. Instead, the lower tank must be refilled by a service company on a regular basis. With regard to prepping, there is very little in the way of advantage to these systems. You cannot refill them, nor can the tanks simply lay around for weeks or months without maintenance. In fact, if you do not use a liquid oxygen system on a regular basis, it will simply vent oxygen into the air until all of the liquid form is gone.
Are Oxygen Concentrators Compatible With Social Collapse Survival Goals?
If you do not have a choice in terms of how your body gets oxygen, then there is no question that you will need to have a functional concentrator at all times. On the other hand, even if you can generate power for them, there are some distinct disadvantages.
- House oxygen concentrators tend to be noisy. There is no mistaking the boom whoosh sound of a concentrator, let alone the sound of the motor as it runs around the clock. If you live in an apartment building, or any other area where sound carry long distances, this can be a problem in a crisis situation. Without a question, anyone looking for a place to rob will hear the sound of the concentrator running and realize that you have electricity, and that you may also have other things of value. This problem can be overcome when you choose the quietest concentrators on the market. Typically, these are portable versions that will also take less energy to operate.
- In today’s economy, it is very hard to find 1500 to 3000 in extra money to pay for a concentrator and enough batteries to ensure the unit can run around the clock. As important as a concentrator may be, you are likely to put this as something in your advanced plan and acquisition category as opposed to something that you want to purchase while you are still looking for ways to meet basic food, water, and shelter needs.
- You will need to learn a number of diverse skills in order to get the most from a home concentrator. This includes knowing when you should use oxygen and how much. It is also very important that you know how the lungs work and how to manage oxygen generating equipment. Even though a good bit of this information is available in medical courses and some online locations, you have to put in at least some effort to make sure that you know what you are doing.
How Can I Best Prepare for an Oxygen Emergency?
Overall, the best thing you can do is start off by realizing that any crisis can generate a health emergency that requires oxygen either to help you get better or to simply keep you alive. This includes making sure that you know the symptoms of oxygen shortage as well as how best to treat them until you can gain access to more oxygen. Here are some common myths that you should do away with or be aware of in your survival plans:
- Healthy lungs mean you will not need to worry about oxygen. No matter how fit you may be and how efficient your lungs may be, bioweapons, dust, smoke, and all kinds of lung irritants can still make supplemental oxygen absolutely necessary. While good health is very important, this is one place where a excellent health won’t help you pull completely through the situation.
- Just because you require oxygen, that does not mean you are doomed in a crisis. No matter whether you have COPD, emphysema, lung cancer, or any number of other conditions, it is truly possible for you to survive a major crisis even if commercial power becomes unavailable. If you already have a concentrator, try to get the extra batteries that you need and focus on power generating systems that will enable you to survive the crisis.
Your next step will invariably involve purchasing at least one concentrator that works correctly plus enough rechargeable batteries to power it in time of need. Needless to say, you will also have to figure this device into any power generating plans that you may have been working on.
If you have a choice between reserving electricity for something like cooking or heating up water, you may want to reconfigure your plans so that you can run the concentrator if needed. Along with purchasing a functional concentrator, it never hurts to buy one that does not works so that you can experiment with making repairs as well as replacing newer parts with older, or vintage items that may last longer and have fewer problems.
You should also know how to generate oxygen without using a concentrator. In this step, you should know how to get all of the raw materials for electrolysis methods from natural settings. This will include scavenging for wire, different metal types for Earth batteries, and making sure that you can feed the oxygen into a suitable container.
Oxygen Concentrators and Respirators
It is very important to note that an oxygen concentrator cannot filter out other gases such as carbon dioxide or any number of other toxins. While there are special filters that can be used to filter out these impurities, they must either be placed over the concentrator inlet, your will need to feed the oxygen through a respirator mask.
There are a number of ways that you can achieve this goal. Just make sure that the inlet does not allow contaminated air to get inside the mask. When you are not wearing the respirator, you will still need some way to continue taking in air from the concentrator. If you can use a cannula, this may be better, since there will be less gear on your face. This, in turn, will allow the skin on your face to breathe and also help you remain more comfortable.
Depending on your budget, you may also be able to buy a respirator that includes a pumping system and a built in concentrator. As may be expected, these devices are very expensive, and may be hard to obtain for the general consumer. That being said, you can still do some research on these devices and see if they will be of more value to you than trying to assemble different pieces of gear into a workable whole.
Things You Should Build and Test Now
Overall, it can be said that when it comes to managing oxygen in a crisis your first job will be to provide electricity. No matter whether you choose to work with electrolysis to generate oxygen from water or you choose to power a generator, making sure that you can provide enough electricity is very important.
You can always get started with wind and solar systems, or better yet, water wheels. There is also considerable room to explore gravity motors and other “archaic” engines that can be used in conjunction with magnets and coils.
Since you may be in a very weakened state in a crisis, it may not be a good idea to think you can rely on body powered devices to keep your concentrator going. Do not forget that if you come down with a very bad cold, or your lungs get damaged because of inhaling various toxins, it may not be feasible to pedal a stationary bike or any number of other devices that might otherwise be very useful.
Once you know that you can generate enough electricity on a reliable basis, your next step will be to make sure that you can keep any concentrator up and running. This includes making sure you have good troubleshooting and repair skills.
It may also be of some help to keep some items on hand that can be bartered for repair services. Make it your business today to find out if any of your friends or neighbors is a hobby electrician or even capable of fixing small appliances. Also try to find someone that enjoys bringing old technologies from ancient cultures back to life in the modern world. You truly never know who or what skills you will find in people around you until you start asking.
As you can see, oxygen concentrators are very useful devices to have on hand. If you encounter an unexpected medical emergency, they can make a difference during a crisis period in which routine medical care may not be available.
No matter whether you are facing the aftermath of a fire, earthquake, or even nuclear fallout, rest assured that air quality will be a major problem to deal with. In situations where air quality is likely to cause damage or decreased lung function, it makes perfect sense to have an oxygen concentrator on hand. Needless to say, even if you do not need the concentrator for this purpose, you may still need the oxygen for other purposes such as welding or other industrial applications.
This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.
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So let’s take a look at these 5 articles and see what we can do to make our prepping even better and keep our food supply safe.
1. The 5 Seeds That You Need to Stockpile in Your Pantry
“The world is already struggling with food supply and managing crops. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted a general warming of the world climate over the next several decades. Growing our own food gives us control over our lives and independence.
The best seeds for you to store are those that are most suitable for the particular environment you find yourself in. And of course environments vary widely across the USA, from wet and warm, to cold and very dry. You should do some research for your particular area and work out what fits with your local weather systems. One of the best ways to do this is to observe what grows best around you and use that.”
Read more on Ask a Prepper.
2. Venezuela Is Out of Food: Here’s What an Economic Collapse Really Looks Like
“Venezuela is out of food.
After several years of long lines, rationing, and shortages, the socialist country does not have enough food to feed its population, and the opposition government has declared a “nutritional emergency.” This is just the most recent nail in the beleaguered country’s slow, painful economic collapse.
Many people expect an economic collapse to be shocking, instant, and dramatic, but really, it’s far more gradual than that. It looks like empty shelves, long lines, desperate government officials trying to cover their tushes, and hungry people. For the past two years, I’ve been following the situation in Venezuela as each shocking event has unfolded. Americans who feel that our country would be better served by a socialist government would be wise to take note of this timeline of the collapse.”
Read more on The Organic Prepper.
3. 5 Homestead Probiotics You Can Make at Home!
“Making Your Own Low Cost Probiotics
Well the science is in folks, and has been for some time! Probiotics are essential to maintaining a healthy gut, and a strong immune system. A properly functioning digestive system is the key to good health. You can grow, purchase, and eat all of the organic, mineral dense, beyond awesome food you want, but if you are not digesting and absorbing those nutrients then it is all for naught.
The same can be said for all of the fancy vitamin supplements, and even many of the probiotic supplements that are out there. There’s an old saying that goes something like: “garbage in, garbage out.” Anyway, there’s good news. You can grow your own probiotic nutritional supplements right in your homestead kitchen, or barn, or hallway closet… The point is you can be in control of your health and not have to depend on high dollar supplements grown in some lab someplace hundreds of miles away!”
Read more on Grow Your Own Groceries.
4. Getting the Most from Food and Water During a Disaster
“I recently read an article about what a woman learned from a weekend of surviving on stored water. Basically she learned to have her kids share their bath water and to store more so she could take longer showers and more baths.
In a disaster we all know water is going to be very precious. Water is also one of the hardest things to store. Now is the time to think about ways to get the most out of every drop. I want to stay clean but if it comes down to it and in a disaster we all know it will I’d rather have more for drinking and less for washing.”
Read more on The Prepper Journal.
5. Your Food Storage is USELESS Without THIS 1 Thing
“I hate to break it to you, but it’s very likely that you’ve rendered your food storage completely useless by ignoring this one, critical consideration. So take a deep breath…be ready to learn… and then repent. *grin*
Flint Michigan Water Crisis If you know nothing else about me, know this: I believe wholeheartedly in approaching preparedness with an “everyday focus”. I believe firmly that if you prepare for the everyday types of scenarios, then you’ll be prepared for the more extreme crises scenarios that may come up as well.“
Read more on Preparedness Pro.
This article has been written by Brenda E. Walsh for Survivopedia.
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Winter and sub-zero temperatures are just around the corner, but for many Americans, their wood-burning stoves are already lit.
Winter can kill you if you’re not prepared, and on this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio we talk to off-grid expert and author Rich Scheben, who tells us what he stockpiles to get ready for frigid Montana winters – and what you should stockpile no matter where you live.
Scheben has lived off-grid in Big Sky Country for two decades and employs unique homesteading methods that you won’t see used just anywhere.
Scheben tells us:
- How much wood he stockpiles and what types of trees he uses.
- Why he rarely burns wood unless it’s been seasoned for a full year.
- How he gets the most out of his wood-burning stove.
- Why he never “feeds the fire” in his stove during the middle of the night.
- How he uses his wood-burning stove to heat his water.
- Why he doesn’t own a freezer, despite being an avid hunter.
- How much food he stockpiles for winter.
- Why (and how) he uses greywater for several homestead chores.
Finally, Scheben tells the audience what steps they can take if they want to follow a similar path and go off-grid. If you’re a homesteader heading into a brutal winter, you’ll definitely want to listen to this week’s episode!
You would be surprised how many times I have been asked – especially by Christians — whether stockpiling is morally right. Or should we call it jealously hording supplies?
I have no doubt of the touchiness of this subject, and how it can really tick many folks off and offend others. I’m not going to dance around this subject, but I desire to hit it head on and answer the question as I have in the past.
I will be right up front and honest. I am a Christian. I do my best to filter the choices I make in my life through the lens of the Bible. So with that said, you can stop reading this article, or continue on at the risk of being angry and offended.
So, is stockpiling right? I believe if you have a family, you must care for them. Living in a world that grows increasingly unstable by the minute, I have come to believe stockpiling is vitally important. I look at the biblical example of Joseph in the book of Genesis. Joseph was the boy who was sold by his brother, jailed unjustly in Egypt, and then rose to prominence in Pharaoh’s court after interpreting Pharaoh’s dream about a future seven-year famine. Joseph built vast storage systems in the land of the Pyramids — so vast, in fact, that it allowed the Egyptians to eat heartily during the famine and sell surplus grain to foreigners. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul wrote that a man who didn’t take care of and provide for his family was worse than any unbeliever.
So, yes, I do believe stockpiling is morally right. In fact in many ways, I think it is very prudent for anyone who desires to ensure that his or her family weathers a major crisis.
I think the real dilemma is, do you help others who are in need during a crisis? I met a guy who was not going to let anyone ever have his rice, beans or MREs. I asked him if someone knocked on his door during a major disaster what would be his response. He scowled a bit and said, “If anyone steps foot on my land, they will be dead long before they reach my door”.
Undoubtedly, some people reading this article agree with him.
I am a gun owner, a huge Second Amendment advocate, and I would defend my family. However, I could not kill my elderly neighbors if they knocked on my door starving and asking for a handful of food. Could I kill the couple a mile down the road with three young children and a new baby? Could you?
I sure could stop someone with lethal force who wanted to kill my wife and kids, but morally can I kill someone who asks for food? No, I cannot. Nor should you. That is not justifiable self-defense. It is cold-blooded murder.
The moral dilemma of stockpiling is how to respond to people asking for help. For me, I will help who I can. But I must put my family first. I must be sure my children have food and water, my wife has the nourishment she needs, and my parents and siblings have what they need. But I will not employ lethal force unless my life and that of my family is in danger.
In closing, each of us must decide how we will respond in a crisis when people come asking for help. They will come. And while some may come looking for trouble and to take your family’s sustenance, many will not. Not everyone is going to devolve into a monster. How you treat those people may in fact determine if you stay alive.
Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Stockpiling medicine is not an easy task: it’s about money, it’s about making the best choice, it’s about availability. You should have at least a month’s medical supply, and the medications you stockpile can be easy to come by and are over-the-counter medications available at any large pharmacy.
But others you need are more difficult to get. They include narcotic medication and other prescription medications you have been prescribed by a doctor. Narcotics are good for severe pain but are potentially addicting so most doctors–even yours–won’t write a prescription for it without good reason.
That’s why we made it easy for you, and put up a list of those meds that you should not skip from your medical stockpile.
Tips to Follow on Buying Meds
In some cases, the prescription medications can be gotten from your doctor. For prescriptions, including narcotics that you can’t get at the doctor’s office try looking for an overseas pharmacy online, but it’s hard to predict which ones will be reputable or not. Try purchasing just one or two items from them and if they deliver reliably a medication that has the manufacturing label intact with the right medication name, you can continue to purchase from them.
You have to familiarize yourself with the generic names of medications because when you purchase over-the-counter medications or buy them online, even overseas, the generic forms are often much cheaper by far than the name brands. Knowing the generic names will help you determine what medications you’re getting online as well.
Often the labels are in another language but the generic name of the medicine is very similar or the same as the English version. These should be good substitutes for American-made medications.
But there are also other ways to get these medications. I myself needed an antibiotic, and I went to the drugstore and didn’t tell them I was a doctor. In some situations and in some places, you can get antibiotics and non-narcotic pain medication over the counter. You just have to claim that you are on treatment and you need to continue it, but that you’re not at home and that you need a dosage for one day. Chances are good nowadays that they’ll ask for your ID and your doctor’s phone number.
What if you don’t have access to what you need, though? Can these drugs be replaced with other substances, such as veterinary substances? Yes they sometimes can, if you keep the proportions, and with caution, but you have to check the dose because this is really important. Otherwise, if you take a dosage for a horse you will die. Look on the blister and see what it is, then divide it with the knife, in 2, 3, 4, 5, dosages as necessary.
As for the storage, stockpile medications nearby medications that are related to one another. For example, stock the respiratory medications together, the stomach medications together, etc. In a crisis, it pays to be organized.
Items past their expiration date may still work, however the will have a lesser potency. In rare cases, a medication much past its expiration date will have altered its components to contain something dangerous if you take it but it is rare. When in doubt and if in need, you can take something past its expiration date but it will have a lesser efficacy (effectiveness).
10 Categories of Medication that You Need
There are several categories of medications you’ll want to purchase, and you shouldn’t miss the following types of medication:
- Cold and flu medication: For congestion, cough, the pain of sore throat and body aches).
- Allergy medications: Include sedating and non-sedating types of medication.
- Pain medications: Include over the counter and prescription pain medications.
- Breathing medications: This especially includes inhalers.
- Gastrointestinal medications: For heartburn, stomach distress, diarrhea and constipation.
- Skin medications: These include sunscreen and medications for various rashes and skin problems.
- Antibiotics: Include those that cover for the majority of infections you might encounter.
- Birth control pills: A disaster is no time for a pregnancy, especially if nuclear radiation is present.
- Psychotropic medications. This especially involves medication for sleep and anxiety.
- Children’s medications: If you have a baby or young child, you’ll want liquid medications specially designed for their needs.
- Fiber laxative
- Aspirin as a blood thinner
- Atherosclerosis medication. Mevacor (lovastatin); Zocor (simvastatin)
- Blood thinners for stroke Coumadin (warfarin)
- Medications for arthritis Aleve (naproxen)
- Heart burn medications. Zantac (ranitidine).
- High blood pressure medication. (Lisinopril); Tenormin (atenolol).
A Few More Words on Cold and Flu Medication
The cold and flu are different viral infections but they share some of the same symptoms, so they are included together.
Cold and flu symptoms include congestion in the nose, sore throat, sinus pain, and cough.
The flu also has a great deal of body aches and malaise, where you just don’t feel good at all and need to lie down and rest.
Medications you’ll want to have on hand include the following (the brand name is capitalized, the generic name is in parentheses):
- Sudafed (pseudoephedrine): This is for nasal and sinus congestion. You have to ask for it behind the pharmacy counter even though it is not a prescription medication because it is one of the main ingredients in methamphetamine, and they don’t want people to purchase large quantities of it at a time. Follow package instructions for sinus and nasal congestion. Usually you take 1-2 pills every four hours.
- Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil (ibuprofen) or Aleve (naproxen): These are all good medications for fever, sore throat, and body aches. Take two every four to six hours.
- Robitussin DM (dextromethorphan): This comes in pill or liquid form and helps the cough. You need to be careful and just purchase plain Robitussin DM. Robitussin CF contains a decongestant that you already are taking when you take Sudafed. Robitussin DM also contains guaifenesin which breaks up the thick mucus in your system.
What About Pain Medications?
- Tylenol (acetaminophen): This is a simple fever and pain reliever that works on all sorts of pain. It is safe to take by anyone who does not have liver disease as it is metabolized by the liver. It is usually taken in adults as 2 500-milligram tablets every 4-6 hours. It has the added advantage of being able to be taken with anti-inflammatory medication in a pinch when the pain is severe and you want to take something more than Tylenol.
- Advil or Motrin (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen): These are anti-inflammatory medications that work best on pain caused by inflammation like arthritis. They also work on fever and generic pain. Some people will get stomach upset if they take these medications on an empty stomach so it’s best to take them with a small amount of non-acidic food. Try taking 2-3 tablets or capsules of ibuprofen every 4-6 hours. Take naproxen at 2 tablets every 8 hours.
- Narcotic pain relievers. These work for strong pain and include Vicodin (hydrocodone and Tylenol) and oxycodone. Give one to two tablets every 6 hours. Be alert for signs of confusion if the patient is taking too much. You can get this online or get a prescription from your doctor.
What You Need to Know about Antibiotics
Choosing a simple antibiotic is difficult because people have allergies and intolerances to antibiotics and there is no perfect antibiotic for every illness. Poll your family members for allergies before selecting one.
Any antibiotic must have several properties: it must be inexpensive, easy to administer, it mustn’t cause resistance and it must act on as many bacteria as possible, in as short a time as possible. A good choice is a broad spectrum antibiotic like cephalexin or Keflex. Two other choices include erythromycin (or azithromycin) and sulfa antibiotics like Bactrim or Septra (trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole).
If you have these five classifications of antibiotics, you’ll have covered for several kinds of infections including:
- Cephalexin: Respiratory and upper respiratory infections, skin infections
- Erythromycin or azithromycin: Upper respiratory infections and lower respiratory infections such as “walking pneumonia”, skin infections
- Bactrim or Septra: bladder infections, some gastrointestinal infections.
- Cipro or Levaquin: used for bladder infections, respiratory infections, or skin infections
- Flagyl: used for parasitic infections and some gastrointestinal infections
Antibiotics won’t cure the common cold and they will do nothing for influenza but it does wonders for sinus infections stemming from the cold, a case of strep throat, and certain cases of bronchitis, pneumonia, bacterial skin infections and bladder infections.
You need to use them judiciously, when you know that you’re dealing with a bacterial infection. This means you have a fever, yellow or green drainage from the nose or coughed up from the lungs and redness around a wound. Strep throat and bladder infections are hard to determine. You just have to guess.
Give the body, the limb or the spot in question where the injury occurred, time to recover. Do not immediately jump to drugs, don’t start pouring the entire reserve of drugs down the patient, because you won’t solve anything like that. Sometimes the simplest solution is to not do anything, not to force it.
If you dole out antibiotics before you give the body a chance to heal, you’re wasting valuable medical supplies that may be needed later. Wait and see, and only when things are going towards the worse end should you start with antibiotics.
Breathing Medications You Need to Stockpile
In some disaster situations, even people without asthma will have problems with wheezing and shortness of breath. The best choice for this is an inhaler containing a beta-agonist, which opens the breathing passages.
The trick is to use these medications in such a way that the medication gets in your lungs and not in the back of your throat. With inhalers, you take a deep breath with the inhaler in your mouth and when you’re in the middle of the deep breath, press the plunger and keep breathing in. The medicine should get sucked down into your bronchial passages.
This is the main medication you’ll need:
- Albuterol: This is available in an inhaler form but it can be given in liquid form to young children. It needs a prescription so get one from your doctor or on the internet. Take two puffs as directed above every four hours for wheezing and cough.
- Primatene Mist: This is a less effective over-the-counter medication containing aerosolized epinephrine. Take two puffs every four hours. Use it when you absolutely can’t get albuterol.
There are a large variety of medication choices for the gastrointestinal system and you’ll need to condense them down to just a few. You’ll need something for the upper part of your GI system—your stomach.
Medicines for excess stomach acid and heartburn include TUMS, a medication like Zantac, and a medication like Prilosec. TUMS is just calcium carbonate and it quickly neutralizes the burn of heartburn or the rumbling of an acid stomach. If you can’t afford to wait for a few hours, try Zantac, which is a histamine-2 blocker, blocking the production of stomach acid.
If you can afford to wait a few more hours but want all day relief, try Prilosec, which is a proton pump inhibitor. It more thoroughly blocks the production of stomach acid; it just takes a few hours to kick in. The medication or medications you choose for stomach problems and heartburn depend on your personal preference and on how much room you have in your stockpile.
For nausea, the standard treatment is Compazine, given as 10 mg tablets or 25 mg suppositories if the person cannot tolerate oral medications.
There are medications for constipation and diarrhea — problems that can befall anyone in a disaster situation. For constipation, you can choose Miralax, a medication that must be mixed with a glass of water, X-Lax, which contains natural sennosides, or Correctol, which contain biscodyl. Of the three, biscodyl is the strongest, which means it might result in diarrhea if taken to excess. Choose the medication you are most familiar with and stockpile it.
For diarrhea, you can choose Kaopectate, which is for use in adults and very small children. It is a liquid medication that doesn’t need water to use. You can also choose something like Imodium-AD (loperamide), which is a pill form of a medication helpful in treating diarrhea when the disease is not a result of an infection. It can be taken only by adults as 1-2 pills every 6 hours or closer together if the diarrhea is persistent. If space is an issue, select only one of these medications.
What You Need for Treating Your Skin
No medication stockpile would be complete without items for the treatment of wounds, sprains and strains.
There are a number of items to choose from. While no one might become injured, disaster situations put people in positions they can’t predict so make sure your injury kit is well stocked.
Items to stockpile include:
- Antibiotic ointment like bacitracin or Neosporin
- Antiseptic cleansing wipes
- Cloth or paper medical tape 1-2 inch wide
- 4 x 4 gauze; it can be folded over when the injury is small.
- Ace bandages — 3-5 inches wide for the lower and upper extremities
- Sling for the arm in adult and children’s sizes
- Splinter remover to remove foreign bodies
- Ice pack; you can buy chemical ice packs that turn cold on hitting it with a fist
You can get very elaborate with injury supplies, such as buying upper and lower extremity air splints and buying cervical collars for neck injuries but that may be overkill. The above list will cover the vast majority of injuries you’ll get in a disaster situation.
As for skin ointments and creams, there are several medications you need to have on hand for your skin. The first is antiseptic ointment. Use this for cuts and scrapes so they don’t get infected. Conditions may not be optimum for keeping a cut or scrape clean so using the ointment is the next best thing. Most antiseptic ointments contain either neomycin or bacitracin or even both. An ointment called Neosporin is good for all types of open injuries to the skin and contains both medications.
You might add a cream or ointment that contains hydrocortisone. The maximum over the counter strength of hydrocortisone you can get is 1 percent, which is effective for many different rashes. Rashes like poison ivy or other itchy rash can be managed with hydrocortisone cream. Allergic rashes can be treated with hydrocortisone cream as well.
These should be the basic when preparing your medicine supply. But don’t forget about the healing power of nature, and prepare yourself for replacing meds with natural remedies if needed.
DISCLAIMER: The data contained in this article are for informational purposes only, and do not replace by any means professional advice.
This article has been written by Radu Scurtu for Survivopedia.
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Winter months present a unique challenge in many parts of North America due to freezing temperatures. In fact, no other season is as deadly if the electricity goes out. So how do you prepare to survive the cold season? What should you stockpile? And if you’re tied to the electric grid, what do you do if the power goes out?
Heat is the Key
If there is no electric power you can always assume you’ll have gas. But many gas appliances from furnaces and water heaters to gas ranges have electric components. They also have compressors that are electric powered to force the air through your home. You could always light a gas range cook top with a match or flame, but don’t assume for a minute it can serve as a heat source unless you’re absolutely desperate. You can put some cast iron over the gas range cook top to act as a heat conductor after you have switched off the gas, but it’s not going to add much heat to you home.
If you have a fireplace, it can certainly help you stay warm. But be forewarned. Ninety percent of your heat is going up the chimney with the smoke. A fireplace will heat a room, maybe two. It will not heat a whole house. You can close-off sections of your house, but you’ll discover very quickly that a fireplace is a highly localized and inefficient heat source.
Buy a small cast-iron stove that you can quickly install into your fireplace. You’ll have to attach a stove pipe that exhausts up the flue, and some heavy duty aluminum foil affixed with foil tape to seal off the flue. Once you’ve done that, your cast iron stove will be a heat exchanger that will add significantly more heat than a traditional fire in a fireplace.
You could also have a wood-burning stove installed in your home to not only supplement your heating while on-the-grid, but to serve in an emergency off-the-grid.
Keep in mind that just because you have an efficient word-burning stove it doesn’t mean it will heat your entire home. It’s all a question of square footage and the design of your home, as well as the size and number of wood-burning stoves inside. While some people have installed “whole-house” wood-burning solutions, most people have just one wood-burning alternative.
Keeping a two-story home warm is the most challenging. Heat rises and cold descends. If the temperature outside is zero degrees, your house will quickly equalize to that temperature. A single, wood burning stove in the fireplace will not efficiently heat a two-story home. The temperature will rise, but you’ll be lucky to have an average temperature above freezing across your home.
As a result, you may have to rethink your living and sleeping arrangements during a particularly cold weather. Your first step is to abandon the second story. Close all of the doors upstairs and try to block off any hallways with a sheet that is tightly suspended or tacked around the wood framing to the hallway. You also might want to consider closing off rooms that are not critical, like a formal dining room.
A Special Note About Kerosene Heaters
Kerosene heaters give off significant amounts of carbon monoxide. You could always place one in the fireplace in place of a wood-burning fire, but unless you close off the flue to some degree and carefully vent the kerosene heater you’ll lose more heat up the flue than you generate.
Putting a kerosene heater in proximity to a fireplace could also encourage venting of the carbon monoxide. But manage it carefully and if you feel dizzy, nauseous or have a headache, know that you may be succumbing to carbon monoxide poisoning. If you have children, they will be affected more quickly due to being smaller.
Avoiding Frozen Pipes
If you cut off heat to the second floor of your home for any length of time, you’ll want to drain the water from sinks, toilets, showers and bath tubs throughout the house. Without electricity you probably won’t have running water and will be depending on local water supplies, your stockpile of water, or melted snow and ice.
You can still flush a toilet without running water. You just have to fill the toilet tank with sufficient water to effectively flush. This is a good argument for keeping a constant supply of melted snow or ice on hand in a large 5-gallon bucket or two.
Without electricity you’ll find cooking to be a continuing challenge especially in winter. There’s a remote possibility that a gas range may function, but you’ll need to light the flame manually.
You also can cook in your fireplace or on the surface of a wood burning stove. Make sure you have an ample supply of cast-iron cookware on hand including covered pots like a Dutch-Oven. Some people use a corner of the fireplace for cooking with a metal grate to support a pot or pan.
You also have the option of cooking over an open fire in the backyard or a kettle grill stocked with wood that has burned down to coals that are manageable for cooking. This is a cold proposition depending on outside temps, but if you have a covered grill you can hurry inside while the food is cooking outside. Here again, consider the cooking equipment you might need to cook a variety of dishes and meal types outside.
Bedding and Clothing
It’s obvious that winter clothing makes sense in winter but there are some items you want to make sure you consider. One is sometimes referred to as a “night-cap” and no, it’s not an evening cocktail. If you’ve ever slept in a tent in the winter you know how cold your head can become. In fact, we lose 40 percent of our body heat through our heads. You might want to consider sleeping with hat on.
Bedding should be ample with extra blankets, quilts or sleeping bags. If you’re sleeping on the floor in a family room or on a couch, having extra blankets on hand can not only keep you warm, but accommodate friends and family that may have joined you because they don’t have a fireplace or wood-burning stove.
In addition to the cold, it’s also darker in many parts of the world during winter. Candles are a primary consideration along with a few lanterns that burn a clean oil.
There are also flashlights that are cranked by hand to provide a light source without batteries. If you are going to depend on battery-powered flashlights to any degree, consider a solar recharger. Remember, however, sunny days in the winter are short and might be few and far between.
Laundry as a Humidifier
Laundry is a tough one in winter without electricity and ample supplies of water. Your primary focus should be on laundering socks and underwear and any other clothing that is obviously soiled.
A benefit of doing laundry in the house and hanging it to dry is the humidity that it creates. Just like on a hot summer day, the humidity will make you feel warmer. And if you are heating with wood you may find the laundry drying surprisingly fast due to the dryness of the air.
If you need humidity and the laundry is done, you can always use some dowels to support a towel in a 5-gallon plastic bucket filled with water. The towel should emerge above the water level to some degree and will act as a wick to add humidity to the air.
Creating a Winter Stockpile
If you want to prepare for a winter off-the-grid, you need to figure out some basics. One is the number of people you think you will be housing. This could go beyond your immediate family as extended family members seek shelter in a location with basic resources they may be lacking.
Here’s a checklist to serve as a reminder. It may vary depending on your circumstances and already assumes you have ample supplies of food and drinking water:
- A wood-burning stove with the necessary equipment to install it in a fireplace, including stove pipes, foil and foil tape, along with an ash bucket and ash shovel.
- Sufficient firewood to heat throughout the winter
- A kerosene heater if you can properly vent it. Make sure to have enough fuel, replacement wicks and filters to keep it operating.
- Lumbering tools for harvesting and stocking additional firewood.
- Cooking equipment and utensils for cooking on a wood stove, open fire or kettle grill.
- Sufficient candles, lanterns, lantern oil and flashlight options that are hand-powered or solar-powered, along with sufficient fire-starting materials like matches and lighters.
- Up to a dozen, 5-gallon plastic buckets for water collection of snow and ice and other needs.
- Sufficient winter clothing for you, your family and others who may join you.
- Sufficient bedding in the form of blankets, pillows, quilts and sleeping bags, plus sheets that also can be used to temporarily seal off hallways and stairways.
- Soap for washing and laundry.
- Rope to hang laundry to dry and act as a humidifying agent.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a good start. The key is to stop and anticipate your needs and do some estimates so you have enough on hand to get through winter and early spring.
What would you add to this list? Share your suggestions in the section below:
One of the biggest questions facing anyone who is trying to prepare for disasters is that of time. How long will the crisis last? How long will it take for society to get back to normal? This question drives everyone’s stockpiling efforts — most especially, the decision about how much to stockpile.
What do we do if the disaster and its aftermath outlast our stockpile? Wouldn’t that normally put us in the same boat as all those people who didn’t bother to stockpile anything? Once our supplies run out, we’ll be faced with the same problems that they have. It might even be worse, because they will already have used up any available resources.
That’s why more and more people are turning to homesteading. By homesteading, we’ll theoretically be self-sustaining – not needing any outside help.
The real question is, whether we can truly make ourselves self-sustaining. If we go back in U.S. history, we find that our ancestors who settled the west were at the most about 95 percent self-sufficient. They all had needs for which they had to go to town sometimes. Unless we plan for the same things that they needed their local general store for, we could fulfill that little bit of poetry that says for want of a horseshoe nail, the war was lost.
So, what are these things and what can we do about it? Let me answer the second part of that first. The obvious answer is to either create systems which don’t need to be renewed with purchased parts or to stockpile enough to last us the rest of our lives.
The first thing that most of us think of when we think of making ourselves self-sufficient is gardening. A good vegetable garden will go a long way toward providing us with something to eat. We’ve all seen stories about people who fed their families entirely off of what they grew in their backyards and we’re sure that we can do the same.
Heirloom seeds are the basic building block of that gardening. But did you know that seeds have a shelf life? The longer you keep them, the lower the germination rate. The solution to that is to use the seeds and harvest seeds from what you grow. That will give you an ongoing supply of fresh seeds.
Of course, we need more than just seeds to grow a garden. We need good soil, some way of keeping the pests under control, and water. I like keeping my garden as natural as possible, using carnivorous insects like lady bugs and the praying mantis to keep destructive bugs under control. My favorite fertilizer is a fish emulsion and I compost. By doing these things, I eliminate the need to buy fertilizers and other chemicals.
Raising animal protein is a little more complicated. We have to provide the animals with something to eat. That means either growing enough food for them or buying feed. Unless you have a lot of land to work with, it seems to me that the only livestock that is practical to raise is something that can be fed off the scraps of what you can grow in your garden, such as rabbits and chickens.
Then there’s the need to do something with all that great food you grow. As we all know, unless you live in a really warm climate, you’re not going to be growing much in the dead of winter. So, you’ll need to preserve the food. But are you prepared for several years of preserving food?
Fortunately, canning jars are reusable. But the lids for them are not, at least not usually. Some survivalists have done some experimenting and have succeeded in reusing their lids, but even if you succeed, how many times can you reuse them? That’s one of those items that you will need a mountain of, to last you through the years.
Here’s another item that few people think of – salt. Back in the pioneering days, there were still salt licks that animals used. Pioneers also would go to those salt licks and harvest salt for their use. I seriously doubt there are any left today, as most of our salt is mined underground. So what are you going to use for salt to cure or smoke meat and for your canning? Better stock up now, while you have a chance.
That pile of firewood you have in the backyard is hopefully going to be enough to get you through the winter. But what are you going to do next year? Do you have the capacity to cut and haul enough wood to heat your home for another year? Can you do that without gasoline?
Cutting firewood with a chainsaw and hauling it with a truck is bad enough. What about when you have to cut it with an axe and a saw? Do you have the tools for that? Do you have something you can haul it with that doesn’t require a gasoline engine? Unfortunately, few of us have horses so we won’t have their strength to help us.
Getting the right tools, along with a means to haul the cut wood, needs to be somewhere on your sustainability list. Otherwise, you’re going to face some really cold winters.
First-aid and Medicine
Few of us have the capability to do much about making our own first-aid supplies. Granted, any cloth can be used as a bandage, but that’s about as far as we can go. Medicines are even worse. And there’s no real way of knowing what you’re going to need, just that you’re going to need something.
I’m not sure it’s possible to stockpile enough medicine and first-aid supplies to last, but somehow we’ve got to try. At the same time, we should look for options which will allow us to get by without those supplies. Fortunately there are things in nature that will help our medical efforts.
Herbal medicine has existed far longer than modern medicine. In many ways, modern medicine is merely an offshoot of herbal. Many modern medicines are simply artificial synthesis of naturally occurring chemicals. Learning how to go back to nature on this, can give us the needed medicines when they aren’t available.
We’re so used to going to the store and buying clothes that few of us even think about making them anymore. Yet if we have growing children, we should be thinking about it. Granted, there will be clothing available for barter, at least for a while, but what about after that? Then what?
Making natural fibers into thread or yarn to make fabric and then turning that fabric into clothing is a long process, requiring special equipment and knowledge. But if the supply chain collapses and stays that way, that may be the only way of keeping ourselves and especially our children in clothes.
Spares for Critical Systems
The last item I want to mention is also the simplest on this list. That is to have spares for all your critical systems. What do I mean by critical systems? I mean anything and everything you need to have in order to survive, especially if it won’t be available in that time.
There are plenty of things we all have included in our survival strategy which are modern-day tools for survival. Take solar power, for example. That’s a great aid, allowing us to use at least some of our modern-day electronics. But what happens to your solar power system if it’s hit by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP)?
Supposedly, the panels themselves will survive, although their efficiency will be reduced by about 10 percent. But that’s not the big issue. That power won’t do a bit of good if your charge controller and your voltage inverter are dead. You better have spares stashed away in a Faraday Cage if you are expecting to use solar power after an EMP.
Obviously this list isn’t complete. I give you these ideas more to get you thinking than for any other reason. If you’re just starting out, get your basic stockpile of supplies in place first before starting on this. As you’re doing so, start thinking about long-term sustainability. How can you roll over from living off your stockpile to living in a self-sufficient way?
Take a look at each and every area of your survival plans. Do you have a sustainability plan for that item? If not, what can you do to make a change, making it possible to live many years past what your supplies will last?
What would you add to this list? Share your ideas in the section below:
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.
1. 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.
9. 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.
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:
Most municipalities have less-than-effective recycling programs, so is there a way to repurpose these containers? There certainly is. In fact, there are several ways. The secret, though, is to know how to clean them properly if you’re going to use them for food storage.
Stockpiling containers is a good idea in case SHTF because there are many different reasons that you’ll need them, especially if the disaster is long-term. How you should clean each container for safe re-use depends largely upon what the container is made of and what you’re going to use it for. Today, we’re going to discuss how to safely clean containers for stockpiling.
First, don’t buy any sort of plastic that has BPA in it. BPA, or bisphenol A, is an industrial chemical used in the production of plastics. This chemical has been known to leech out of the plastic and into the food or drink inside the container, especially when the container gets warm.
Even leaving your water bottle in the car can cause the plastic to heat enough to release the chemical, as can microwaving. Diseases such as cancer have been linked to BPA and it’s banned in many countries already.
Companies that produce plastic containers for the US have already started to address this issue because public awareness about the dangers of BPA has driven buyers to look for BPA-free plastics even if they have to pay more.
You can tell if a container has BPA in it by looking at the recycle symbol on it. If it has a seven inside the triangle, it likely contains BPA. Don’t buy it and if you do, don’t re-use it.
When I say “lightweight”, I mean plastic containers such as milk jugs, butter bowls and to-go containers. These plastics can’t really withstand much heat and bleach or other harsh chemicals can damage the plastic.
The best way to clean these items is to wash them in hot, soapy water. If you’re going to use the milk jugs to store water, drop a half capful of bleach into the jug after you’ve cleaned it with hot soapy water and refilled it halfway with warm water. Shake the jug thoroughly, then dump the bleach water out, turn the jug upside down and let it air-dry.
Heavy plastics consist of items such as juice jugs and buckets. These items can be cleaned thoroughly with hot, soapy water then bleached with a 10:1 water to bleach solution.
Be sure that if you’re using a bucket (i.e., a 5-gallon bucket) that it’s made of food-grade plastic and hasn’t contained anything other than food or water. It’s not a fabulous idea to store your bulk flour in a bucket that had motor oil in it, no matter how much you clean it!
Five-gallon buckets can be your best friend when it comes to food storage. You can get them for free from local restaurants because bulk food such as pickles, icing and sauces come in them.
Be warned though that if it’s a pickle bucket you may want to deodorize it before you store flour or other food in it so that it doesn’t pass the flavor on to other foods. You can do this by leaving the bleach water solution in it for an hour or so then let it air-dry.
If you want to store the containers for use later and don’t want them to smell musty, toss in a couple of charcoal briquettes after letting it dry completely. Then put the lid on and it’ll smell nice and fresh when you get around to using it.
Ceramic or Stoneware Containers
These types of containers are great for making pickled items or for fermenting foods and drinks such as sauerkraut and wine. They’re wonderful because they are insulating so they help maintain an even temperature within as long as the container is kept out of the sun.
To clean a ceramic or stoneware container, just use hot soapy water followed by a soak in the same bleach solution described above.
A couple of notes about using ceramic or stoneware: first, make sure that the container I glazed on the inside with food-safe glaze. Some glazes are made with minerals that will leech into food and aren’t suitable for food storage.
Also, ensure that there are no cracks or chips in the container before you use it because the surface is glazed to seal the container from germs and bacteria. If the glaze is chipped or cracked, bacteria will seep into the extremely porous ceramic or stoneware and can make you extremely ill.
Glass is easy to clean and care for as long as you inspect it closely for chips or cracks every time you use it. When you’re talking about Mason jars, a slight crack can cause the jar to burst when you heat it or cool it quickly.
Cracks can also cause air to slowly leak into the jar which lets bacteria into the food that’s stored inside. Chips along the rim will keep the jar from sealing properly and will also cause your food to spoil.
When it comes to re-using glass containers, don’t use them for canning, but if they have a seal, they may be great for storing items such as seeds, herbs, flour, rice or other goods that don’t require a seal but do need to be stored in an airtight container.
To clean glass containers, hot soapy water is the best bet. You can also follow with bleach water as described above if you really want to be sure that all germs and bacteria are dead. If you need to sterilize them for canning, place them in your canner and fill them with warm water to within an inch of the top. Fill the canner with water to that depth, too. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude as necessary.
There are certain benefits to stockpiling each type of container here. Plastics stack easily, don’t take up much space (if they stack), and are lightweight. However, they can’t tolerate heat. Milk jugs are great to store water in. Ceramic is great to stockpile if you’re going to be fermenting foods. Glass is universal; you can use it for just about anything, it tolerates heat and can be used over and over.
Regardless of what type of container you choose to stockpile, you need to make sure that they’re food-safe and free of damage. Follow cleaning directions in order to keep from getting sick. If you have any other suggestions for stockpiling containers, please let us know about them in the comments section below.
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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
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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.
Meats 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.
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.
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.
Eggs 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!
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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
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It’s easy to think that the modern preparedness movement is a unique phenomenon. Most of us grew up during a time when the economy was growing, the government seemed to be more responsive to the will of the people, and everyone was busy chasing the American Dream.
But if we go back farther, to the time of our grandparents or great-grandparents, we find that what some call “prepping,” they called life. They didn’t have a movement, they had a lifestyle. And that lifestyle assumed that bad things would happen, so they’d better be ready.
So it is useful to understand what others did before. After all, they had generations of experience backing up their actions, not just the voices of a few survival instructors and writers. Many of the things they did came out of years of experience, as generation after generation faced calamity and learned from it. So, when we learn from our grandparents, we learn from that accumulated knowledge.
1. Heating fuel
Anyone who heated with wood learned to start stockpiling it early. Felling, bucking, hauling and splitting trees for firewood is a long, difficult process. They couldn’t get by with having just a little on hand, either; they needed a lot. When wood is your only way to heat, you want to make sure you’ve got enough.
Working on the firewood pile was something that was done whenever there was time. Once the spring crops were in and there was a break in the farm’s schedule, they’d start cutting. That would continue, as their work schedule allowed. The earlier the pile could be built, the better, as the wood needed time to season and dry before it could be used.
This meant that they always had an ample supply of firewood available for their cooking and heating. It was rare to find a home without a stack of firewood behind it, and that stack was often piled up to the eaves of the home.
When your only light is coming from the fireplace or from candles, you don’t want to run out. Past generations largely relied on sunlight and went to bed earlier. And people slept more in the cold winter, simply because of the shorter days and lack of light. But there was still the need for additional light, and candles were important.
Candle making, like cutting wood for the fire, was something that was done whenever there was an opportunity. You never knew how many candles you needed. So in a sense, there were never enough. When you had the necessary materials, you’d look for an available opportunity to set aside time to build up your candle stock.
Some people would actually set aside a candle-making area, keeping their wax melted so that they could dip them every couple of hours, throughout the day. Dipped candles take time and by interspersing that task with others, they would get more out of their day.
This may not seem much like a stockpiling item, but it is. In our modern society, we are used to having other people do things for us. We call a plumber when we need one and hire a carpenter when the screen door is broken. And few of us know how to change the oil in our cars, instead asking a mechanic to do it for us.
In the generation of our grandparents, people did more for themselves. While there were plumbers and mechanics around, they were hired by the wealthy, not by the average person. They would try and do it themselves, unless the job was more than they could handle. Hence the joke among plumbers about charging a higher hourly rate for jobs where the person tried it themselves first.
It was normal for a boy to grow up learning a little bit of plumbing, a little bit of carpentry and a little bit of auto mechanics from his dad. By the time he reached adulthood, the average American boy had his own tool kit built, ready to tackle those jobs on his own. Then, when disaster struck, he was ready.
4. Scraps of stuff
I clearly remember my grandma and other women of her generation being hoarders. They would save all sorts of things, from scraps of fabric to candle stubs. It wasn’t so much that they wanted to have those things, but that they could still see value in them. That old shirt could be cut up and the good parts used in making a quilt, while the rest could be used for a rag. The candle stubs could be melted down and used to help make new candles.
Throwing containers away was almost unheard of. Few people bothered buying plastic storage containers for their kitchens. Instead, they would use a container that something else came in. Everything from barrels to burlap sacks had a use, making the containers almost as valuable as what had come inside them.
This also greatly eliminated the pollution caused by throwing things away. When old things can be turned into useful things, there’s no reason to throw them away.
Maybe you’re not old enough to say this, but my grandparents lived through the Great Depression. They were children then, but nevertheless it impacted them greatly. They knew what it was to be without and they knew how hard it was to live without money. So they were careful with its use, never wasting.
The idea of spending seven dollars for a cup of coffee would probably give most people of that era a heart attack. Even the dollar and a half or two dollars they charge in a restaurant for a normal cup of coffee is a lot. They’d order water and enjoy that, having their coffee when they got back home.
While this attitude of frugalness may seem a bit strange to people today, there was good reason for it. There also was great benefit from it. Those people always had money. Maybe they didn’t make a lot and maybe they didn’t live like kings, but they always had money. When a need came up, they had the money in the bank to pay for it. I’ve seen those people buy cars and pay cash for them.
The idea of stockpiling food is probably older than civilization itself. As long as mankind has been able, we have stockpiled food to get through the winter. In many parts of the world, one’s very survival depended upon having enough food stockpiled to make it through the cold and snow of the winter months, until game animals were out in abundance again.
All of our food preservation techniques were developed as part of this annual challenge. Food that couldn’t be kept was just about as bad as food that had never been found. While preserved foods may not be as tasty as fresh foods, they will keep people alive.
As far back as ancient Egypt we find evidence of people preserving food. The tombs of the pharaohs always contained food for them to consume in the afterlife. The Bible records this, showing how Joseph was promoted to Prime Minister of Egypt for interpreting the Pharaoh’s dream and his wisdom in knowing what to do to prepare for the oncoming disaster.
At a minimum, canning food was common in our grandparents’ day. They would can produce from their garden or produce that they had purchased at the store. Many also would smoke meats as well as making their own sausage. These were all means of preparing foods, so that they would have enough to make it through the winter or whatever else came.
Finally, the most important thing I remember my grandparent’s generation stockpiling was goodwill. What? That doesn’t sound like something to stockpile to you? Well it is. You see, when you stockpile goodwill, it’s like money in the bank. Then, when you befall a calamity, people run to help.
As a society, we have become more self-centered in general. We don’t bother ourselves with other people’s problems. We leave them to take care of themselves. Oh, occasionally we hear a story of a community gathering around someone who is hurting, but those stories are too rare. In my grandparent’s generation, that was common. When one person was hurting, everyone who could lent a hand.
Lending a hand like that is how you stockpile goodwill. Then, when you have a need, others remember what you’ve done for them. They are more likely to help you out, simply because you have done so for them.
What would you add to the list? Share your thoughts in the section below:
As a person who lives a gluten-free lifestyle out of necessity, let me tell you that I faced a few challenges in the beginning. I only learned that I was gluten-intolerant a couple of years ago and I had to take a serious look at my stockpile. Anything with grains had to go. That includes flour and anything that has flour in it; breads, gravies, many commercial seasoning mixes, pasta; it seemed my stockpile diminished to practically nothing.
I didn’t discard it because my family can still eat all of that but I needed to take a serious look in order to ensure that I have enough stockpiled for myself as well. Most gluten-free commercial foods are expensive but I’ve found ways around it in my everyday life. In my prepping closet, though, I’ve made a few adjustments.
There are many different flours that you can store in place of wheat flour. Unfortunately, most of those flours have a bit of a shorter shelf life than wheat flour and they’re different to cook with.
I have several different recipes that I use depending on whether I’m baking bread, cookies, cakes or cornbread. I suggest stocking the basic flours: almond, tapioca, cornmeal, rice flour, potato starch and maybe a bean flour.
For thickening, I keep cornstarch for milk-based products and arrowroot powder for non-dairy recipes because dairy tends to make arrowroot a bit slimy. Usually I just use cornstarch. It’s cheap and easy to store because a little bit goes a long way.
I also have bulk storage of oats (not quick cook) because it’s good to eat, it works as a binder in many recipes and it’s even good for your skin. Also, oat flour is great for many recipes including pancakes.
One of the first restrictions that I really felt was the absence of pasta. I was never much of a bread or cake eater, but I did love pasta. Back even a couple of years ago, there weren’t many gluten-free pasta options, at least not ones that tasted decent. Instead, I stocked bulk rice.
Over the last year or so, the major brands have developed pasta that tastes extremely similar to wheat pasta, due to the increase in gluten intolerance (don’t even get me started on my suspicions behind the cause of THAT!).
At any rate, I have now stockpiled gluten-free pasta in place of regular pasta – my family eats it and likes it, so there’s no need to store anything other than gluten-free pasta.
In recent months, it’s come to light that the fermentation process involved with creating sourdough bread breaks the gluten strands down to the point that it’s tolerable to Celiacs and people with gluten intolerance.
The jury is still out for some people but I can eat it with no problems. For that reason, I keep a sourdough starter on hand so that I can make it whenever I want to.
If you like to have the occasional cocktail, beer is off the menu. That’s about it, though. Wine, ciders and nearly all distilled alcohols are gluten-free. As a matter of fact, I have yet to find a distilled alcohol that has gluten in it. Feel free to stock your favorite beverage as long as it isn’t beer or malt beverages.
Foods on the go
For quick, light foods, I’ve made my own granola bars and vacuum sealed them so that I have a good source of nutrition already in my bug-out bag, ready to go.
Trail mix is another nutrient-dense food that I’ve added to my stockpile – just be sure to read the label if you’re buying commercial mix. Chex cereals are all gluten-free except for wheat checks so you can stockpile that as part of your trail mix if you want.
Watch your labels
Once I started paying attention to what foods had gluten, I was surprised to learn that it was found in many different foods. Perhaps I should explain exactly what gluten is, so that it will be easier to understand why it’s added to other foods.
Gluten is the protein found in wheat. It’s what gives dough its elasticity and helps to hold the dough together as it bakes into bread, cake, etc. Extra gluten is often added to cake and pastry flours to make the product lighter and fluffier.
Gluten is also added to many commercial spices and seasonings to keep it from clumping together. But wait – I’m not done yet. Gluten is also used as a thickener and a binder to keep ingredients from separating. Ketchup is a good example of this. Oh, and soy sauce is off limits, too. The first ingredient is usually wheat.
Well, at least we still have ice cream. Or not. Flour is often used in ice cream recipes as a thickener so check your labels before buying your favorite chocolate chunk or butter pecan.
Other foods that you need to watch out for include cereals, condiment, French fries, chicken wings and even non-edible stuff such as cosmetics including lip gloss and toothpaste.
The one thing that I did learn through this experience is that all of the foods that are actually good for me – fruits, veggies, meats, eggs, milk, etc. – are all still perfectly open to me. The substitutions that I’ve had to make were all good ones. Even when I use a substitute flour, it’s a nut flour and still better for me than nutrient-poor white flour.
As soon as I got the hang of it and learned to start checking labels, stockpiling gluten free foods became a piece of gluten-free cake!
The bottom line of it is that stockpiling gluten free is actually a healthy choice regardless of whether you have a gluten problem or not. It pretty much eliminates foods that you eat on a regular basis that are bad for you.
For the first six months, I lived on fruit, veggies and meat because I didn’t understand how many foods had gluten in them. I felt cheated when everybody else was eating pizza or pasta but now I’m used to it and healthier for it!
If you have anything to add about gluten free stockpiling or any questions that you’d like me to answer, please speak up in the comment section below.
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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
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You stock up on extra food when you go to the grocery store. You buy the bulk-sized bags of rice, flour and sugar. You dry your own spices and want to make sure that they stay fresh.
But what containers should you use? Is any old container good enough or are there ones that you should avoid? Are certain containers good for some foods but not others?
When stockpiling, there are a lot of questions to ask about containers for your own food safety, but they are easy to find if you read the following article.
The first thing that you need to know is that many plastics contain BPA, or bisphenol A. This is an industrial chemical that has been used in many different types of plastic containers, including water bottles and food storage containers, since the 1960’s. BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.
Epoxy resins are typically used to line the cans of canned foods, water lines and even reusable water bottle lids. This is one of the reasons that you should never use a can of food that has a dent; the epoxy lining may be damaged and leech the BPA into your foods.
Heck, it may do it anyway. This is also the reason that many people have switched to stainless steel water bottles. Fortunately, most stores now offer BPA-free water bottles. If you’re wondering if your plastic container has BPA in it, look at the plastic recycling code on it; if it has a 7, then the container likely has BPA in it.
Obviously, you want to avoid storing your foods in this container. BPA leakage is especially likely if the container gets warm, such as if it sits in the sun or is left in your car on a warm day. BPA has been banned in Canada as a toxic substance and the FDA is looking into it here in the states. However, it’s not banned yet so look at that code.
Food-Grade Plastic Containers
Some containers, especially buckets are perfectly fine for mixing cement in but aren’t safe to store food in. 5-gallon buckets are perfectly acceptable to use to store food such as dried goods in as long as it’s a food-safe container. You can often get these for free from restaurants. Foods such as pickles, flour, cake icing and other bulk food items frequently come in these and they’re food grade.
Even though plastic food containers such as the ones that you use to put leftovers in may be perfectly safe to store foods in short-term, most of them aren’t air-tight and therefore will let air and moisture in. That makes them unsuitable for use as a long-term stockpiling storage container. You want all plastic containers to be airtight.
Another question that we often get is about 50-gallon water storage containers. These, too, should be made of food-safe plastic and shouldn’t have ever had anything other than food (preferably water) stored inside of them. Old oil barrels just won’t cut it even if you clean them over and over again.
Plastic is, to a certain degree, porous and can absorb whatever is stored in it. Just take a look at that leftover container that held spaghetti sauce for a couple of days!
Re-using glass jars such as pickle jars is a great way to keep that item out of a landfill while keeping your food in an airtight container but remember that the epoxy in the lid may contain BPA. This might not be horrible if you’re storing dried goods in it but you probably should check to see if it DOES contain BPA before storing liquids in it.
Mason jars are a great choice for storing both dry foods and liquids in. Now that they have reusable seals, they’re an even better option for stockpiling because if SHTF, you can reuse the seals over and over. They’re practically indestructible as long as you follow the directions that come with them.
Many people worry that glass jars contain lead but manufacturers stopped that practice nearly 100 years ago. Unless you have some REALLY old glass jars, you’re good. However, crystal is another matter, but you’re probably not thinking about stockpiling any food in grandma Ellie’s punch bowl.
This has less to do about storing food and more to do with the PROCESS of storing food. Stainless steel ustensils are the best ones to use during canning because they won’t melt and they don’t leech anything into your food.
We’ve already discussed one reason why you shouldn’t use plastic, and here’s another. Plastic can only take so much heat before it melts. You probably don’t want plastic remnants in your strawberry jam.
Aluminum utensils can leech aluminum into your foods, especially if they’re acidic. Aluminum is pretty controversial now as some studies are linking it to everything from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. In most cases, the studies aren’t well built or are used on a limited amount of test subjects over a short period of time, but still, I recommend avoiding using aluminum utensils just because stainless steel is readily available, more durable and doesn’t add anything extra to any of your foods. At the very least, aluminum can leave a weird metallic taste in some of your foods.
Wooden casks are OK to store your homemade wine or liquor in as long as it’s untreated and made specifically for such a use. You don’t want to use any kind of lumber that’s been treated with chemicals to store your food in.
Be careful when using wooden cutting boards to prepare food that you’re canning. You don’t ever want to chop fruits or veggies on a board that you’ve chopped raw meat on because the bacteria in the raw meat can soak down into the wood and contaminate whatever you use on it next. Use bleach water at a 10:1 ratio (10 parts water to 1 part bleach) to clean these surfaces and let the bleach set on it for a few minutes so that it can seep into the wood to kill any bacteria. Then let the board air dry until it’s completely dry.
As a final safeguard, regardless of what you’re storing your foods in, keep them in a cool, dry location out of direct sunlight. This will keep any kind of condensation from forming inside the container and it will also help keep your jar seals nice and tight so that you don’t have to worry about losing your hard-earned canned goods.
If you have any other advice to offer about long-term food storage for stockpiling, please tell us about it in the comments section below.
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
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