Category: Food Storage


Tess Pennington
Ready Nutrition

Being well-nourished during a disaster can mean the difference between powering through the event with strength, stamina and energy or plodding through the situation barely able to put one foot in front of the other.

One often overlooked component of the prepper’s pantry is protein.  This vital nutrient:

  • Helps with the repair and building of muscle tissue
  • Helps the body heal from injuries
  • Provides long-lasting stamina
  • Helps boost the immune system

Protein is stored throughout the body. It can be found in muscles, bones, hemoglobin, myoglobin, hormones, antibodies, and enzymes. In fact, protein makes up nearly 45% of the human body. Without a steady supply, body functions will cease to operate effectively.

Protein is often thought of as one of the more challenging items to stockpile for an extended period of time. Most people think of a freezer full of juicy steaks and roasts when they contemplate protein. They feel that the next resort is tins of highly processed meat pieces.  The good news is, there are many ways to add muscle-building nutrients to your long term food storage without resorting to a sodium laden closet full of Spam.

To see a breakdown of protein amounts in food sources, click here.

Although pantry basics such as dry non-fat milk powder and powdered cheeses offer protein for the diet, there are other food sources to consider. Here are the top 5 healthy (and tasty) protein sources to add to your stockpile:

Beans

Beans are more than just a vegetarian staple.  While beans can stand on their own as a delicious protein source, adding beans to a dish that contains meat can stretch your budget by providing lots of protein while using less meat.

Due to their high fiber content, beans prevent blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making this food source an excellent choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. Having a high fiber food source also helps to slow the rate of absorption of carbohydrate thus making it a more energy efficient food source.

Dried beans provide the most bang for your food storage buck. They are one of the most low cost food sources on the market. The canned variety will prove to be more fuel efficient. Canned beans can often be purchased on sale. Plain canned beans and beans in barbecue sauce can provide instant nutrition in the event of a power outage.  If you don’t want to eat beans that have been processed, it’s easy to can your own.  Click here for directions on preserving homemade pork and beans.

Store dried beans in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers, then placed the sealed bags inside large plastic food grade buckets for added protection.  Click here for details.

Chia Seeds

The Chia seed is a tiny little powerhouse that can add a lot of benefits to your long-term food storage while only taking up a small amount of space. The word “Chia” is actually the Mayan word for strength. In ancient cultures, they are considered the food of the warrior because of their nutrient density and ability to sustain running messengers for long durations without other food.

Chia seeds have double the amount of protein found in other seeds, as well as many other nutritional benefits.

  • 2x the protein of other seeds
  • 5x the calcium of milk
  • 2x the potassium of bananas
  • 3x the antioxidants of blueberries
  • 3x the iron of spinach

Chia seeds can be sprinkled dry on top of other foods, they can be sprouted or they can be soaked to create a tasteless gel to stir into soups or sauces.

Chia seeds can be stored for 2-4 years in a cool, dry place. They can be stored in large glass jars or Mylar bags.

Click here to learn more about the nutritional value and uses of Chia seeds.

Read More Here

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Article Written by Lee Flynn

Former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once said, “I am prepared for the worst, but hope for the best” (Quotery.com). Some people falsely believe that being prepared is the sort of thing that is only reserved for fear mongerers and doomsday enthusiasts. However, being prepared does not mean that you want the worst to happen. On the contrary, it means that, although you hope for the best, you are simply ready for anything that might come your way. In the same way that you get insurance in case your health declines, it is important to take out your own “insurance policy” for every area in your life. This might include food storage, home repairs, budgeting, or any number of tasks.

Large-Scale Disasters

The most common motivator for people when it comes to preparedness is the type of disaster that gains international attention. Hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and all manner of natural disasters have a habit of igniting the prepping spark in many people. Such occurrences are often unpredictable and can leave hundreds of people without homes or even, sadly, their loved ones. However, even those on the outskirts of a disaster can suffer dire consequences. At the very least, they may be trapped in their homes for days on end, perhaps without power or water. This is where your emergency food and water comes in handy.

Smaller Catastrophes

However, although these are the ones which gain the most attention, natural disasters are not the only, and certainly not the most common, reason for needing to keep certain emergency items in your home. You might not have considered it before, but a sudden job loss could come from nowhere and make it extremely difficult to feed yourself and your family.

Read More Here

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Could Prepping Become Illegal Here Too? Venezuelan Govt to Detain “Hoarders”

Posted by: | on October 4, 2013

could prepping become illegal

As people who spend a lot of time focusing on preparedness, we can learn a lot about our future by watching as the economies and civilizations of other Western countries crumble.

Today’s lesson is that when times get tough, the government can and will persecute those who have planned ahead.

The Attorney General of Venezuela, Luisa Ortega Díaz, called on prosecutors to target people who are “hoarding” basic staples with serious sanctions.

She called on prosecutors to seek their detention.

The attorney general called on people to remain calm, not to fall for provocations, and not to be afraid of the “alleged” food shortage.

Based on the figures provided by the Central Bank of Venezuela, shortage hit 20% in August; in other words, 20 out 100 items are missing from the shelves.

According to a press release, the Attorney General Office has designated an ad hoc group of prosecutors to work nationwide with other authorities and cope with the threats against food security and, consequently, against the State. (source)

So basically, the Venezuelan government intends to treat those who prepared ahead of time like domestic terrorists…sound familiar?

Last February the South American country responded to soaring inflation with some crippling economic strategies.

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner responded to her country’s sky-rocketing inflation rates by freezing prices on food, a move Forbes magazine says will soon lead to widespread corruption in the business community and government.

In Venezuela, where President Hugo Chavez has attempted to control all aspects of his country’s economy, price freezes instituted on essential goods like diapers and cleaning products over a year ago failed to curb soaring inflation which registered at over 22% last year. In response, with their quiver out of arrows, the Venezuelan government announced today that they are devaluing their national currency, the Bolivar, by over a third. The announcement had the immediate impact of increasing the price for a US dollar in Bolivar by nearly 50%. (source)

There’s Already an Executive Order in Place

The game pieces have already been moved into place to ban “hoarding” in America.  In 2012, our Fearless Leader signed an executive order that gives the federal government authority over every resource and infrastructure element in the United States.  Mac Slavo of SHTFplan warns:

It should be clear from the laws that are already in effect that the government has given itself a legal pretext for confiscating anything they so choose in the midst of an emergency.

Should an emergency befall the United States, the military, national guard, and local police operating under orders from the Department of Homeland Security will have carte blanche to do as they please.

In a widespread emergency where supply lines have been threatened and millions of Americans are without essential resources because they failed to prepare, the government will swoop in and attempt to take complete control.

They will enter our homes and search them without a warrant. They will confiscate contraband. And they will take any ‘excessive resources’ that you may have accumulated. This includes food, toiletries, precious metals and anything else emergency planners and officials deem to be a scarce material. (source)

The Importance of OPSEC

By all means, don’t stop preparing.  But be aware that everything you do online leaves a trail. Every purchase you make that is not a cash transaction can be traced right to your doorstep.  It is vital to practice OPSEC (Operational Security) by keeping your preparedness related activities on the down low.  Preparedness and self-sufficiency author Tess Pennington warns that in a crisis situation, things you said months or years ago could come back to haunt you.

A person should think twice about telling others about any prepping investments they have made.  If a SHTF scenario occurred, anything said previously can be used against that prepper.  For example, if you tell your neighbor you have silver coins stashed away, if times were desperate enough, that neighbor could turn on you.  Keeping quiet about what one does is second nature to some.  But for others that are new to the idea of prepping, they do not see the whole SHTF picture.  If one person tells another about their preps, one person could tell another person about what preps their neighbor has.  Then, the word spreads throughout; especially when a severe situation occurs.  People will remember what you have told them, and come to you for help (if they are unprepared).  Helping a neighbor or family member in need is a noble deed.  However, those preparedness items are an investment for you and your family; and therefore, no one outside of the family should know what you have (unless you want that person to know). (source)

Time is short.  Our economy is collapsing before our very eyes.  We’ve been blatantly warned about the potential for total grid failure. If you aren’t prepared, there is little time left.  Maintain your freedom by becoming self sufficient. Get started now to put together a one year food supply – but be discreet because you just don’t know when that supply may make you an outlaw.

The following links are to articles on OPSEC:

http://americanpreppernation.ning.com/profiles/blogs/prepper-opsec-operations-security-or-opsec-is-an-important-topic-

http://graywolfsurvival.com/how-to-be-a-prepper/opsec/

http://readynutrition.com/resources/mums-the-word-using-opsec-with-preps_21032010/

http://uscrow.org/2013/05/24/opsec-for-preppers-and-survival-groups/

http://reluctantprepper.blogspot.com/2012/07/opsec.html

http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/2012/02/importance-of-opsec-for-preppers-when.html

http://readynutrition.com/resources/prepping-on-the-down-low_23082013/

Thank you to NinaO for the links!

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Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, where this article fist appeared,offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca
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kirstendirksen

Published on May 20, 2013

Erik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne have been farming their yard in Los Angeles for over a decade. In addition to a mini orchard and extensive veggie garden, they have all the instruments of an urban homestead: chickens, bees, rainwater capture, DIY greywater, solar fruit preserver, humanure toilet, rocket stove, adobe oven. But they don’t like to talk about sustainability of self-sufficiency, instead they prefer the term self-reliance.

“I don’t like the goal of self-sufficiency, I think it’s a fool’s errand to chase that goal,” explains Knutzen. “I think we live in communities, human beings are meant to live, and trade and work together. I think self-reliance is okay, in other words, knowing how to do things.”

Knutzen and Coyne share their tinkering, DIY and small scale urban agriculture experiments on their blog Root Simple and in their books “The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City” and “Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post Consumer World”. They believe in the value of shop classes and old-school home economics (back when you learned how to make things, not shop for things).

For the couple, their true goal with all of this self-reliance is freedom to live as they please. By growing their own and canning, pickling, preserving, freezing and baking their own breads and beans, they live frugally. They also only own one car (plus a cargo bike), one cellphone and no tv. “I think a lot of it has to do with our overdriving ambition to be free,” explains Coyne, “makes being cheap fun, because it means you can be free”.

Root Simple: http://www.rootsimple.com/

Original story: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/…

*Cameraman Johnny Sanphillippo also films for the site Strong Towns: http://www.strongtowns.org/

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Vegetables. Image by Hans Hillewaert, Wikimedia Commons

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MOTHER EARTH NEWS

Freezing Vegetables From Your Garden

Round out your food preservation regimen! Use these great tips for freezing vegetables to turn your garden harvests into delicious, off-season meals.

By Barbara Pleasant
August/September 2013

Freezing vegetables is a fast and easy form of food preservation, and most crops, such as asparagus, broccoli, green beans, peppers, summer squash, dark leafy greens and all types of juicy berries, will actually be preserved best if frozen. Part of the beauty of freezing vegetables is that you can easily do it either in small batches — thus making good use of odds and ends from your garden — or in one big batch of your homegrown harvest or peak-season, discounted crops from the farmers market. Unlike with canning, you don’t have to pay attention to acidity or salt when freezing vegetables. Instead, you can mix and match veggies based on pleasing colors and flavors — for instance, using carrots for color, bulb fennel for texture, and green-leafed herbs for extra flavor. You can include blanched mild onions in your frozen combos (a good use for bolted onions that won’t store well), but don’t include garlic, black pepper or other “seed spices,” which can undergo unwanted flavor changes when frozen.

The greatest amount of space in my freezer belongs to vegetables, mostly in freezer bags that stack nicely because I first freeze the vegetables flat on cookie sheets. I also allot freezer space for odd-shaped packages, such as those for cabbage leaves that have been blanched and frozen flat for making cabbage rolls in winter. I even steam-blanch and freeze an assortment of hollowed-out, stuffable veggies, such as pattypan squash, zucchini, small eggplant and peppers. By season’s end, the contents of my freezer reflect the full diversity of my garden.

Freezing Vegetables: The Basics

Only use fruits and veggies in excellent condition that have been thoroughly cleaned. Most vegetables you plan to freeze should be blanched for two to five minutes, or until they are just done. Blanching — the process of heating vegetables with boiling water or steam for a set amount of time, then immediately plunging them into cold or iced water — stops enzyme activity that causes vegetables to lose nutrients and change texture. The cooled veggies can then be packed into bags, jars or other freezer-safe storage containers. Fruits or blanched vegetables can also be patted dry with clean kitchen towels, frozen in a single layer on cookie sheets, and then put into containers. Using cookie sheets for freezing ensures that the fruits and vegetables won’t all stick together, thus allowing you to remove a handful at a time from the container.

Unless you’re freezing liquids — which require space for expansion — you should remove as much air as possible from within the freezer container. With zip-close freezer bags, you must squeeze out the air by hand, whereas a vacuum sealer will suck out air as it seals the bags. Vacuum sealing reduces freezer burn (the formation of ice crystals that refreeze around the edges of the food and damage its taste and texture) because the crystals have no space in which to form. To read more about freezer-safe container options, see “Can You Freeze in Canning Jars?,” later in this article.

Read More  Here

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pantry

STOP! Before throwing any of these items away, read this post about repackaging food!!

Based on my own personal experiences and mistakes, I do not recommend storing these foods in large quantities, long-term. Let me know what you think of my list and what other foods you would add.

I discuss this list in today’s episode of The Survival Mom Radio Hour.

1.  Any canned vegetable or fruit that you do not like. Don’t assume you will fall in love with slimy, aged canned apricots five years from now if you detest apricots now! Canned veggies and fruits aren’t nearly as tasty as fresh versions, so if you decide to store them, make sure you really like them.

2.  Tuna. I know that canned tuna is a staple in many food pantries. However, I’ve discovered that after a couple of years, canned tuna becomes mushy. Now, if you love the taste of tuna, you may not mind the mushy version, but for me, I really didn’t like it. Also, reports from a year ago found that every single bluefin tuna caught in the Pacific Ocean, in a study, was contaminated by radiation from Fukushima. I don’t know what the current status is of radiation in bluefin tuna, but I’d rather not store it in our food pantry.

3.  Flour. As flour ages, it can develop a stale, rancid smell. Additionally, it likely contains the microscopic eggs of flour weevils, which will hatch at some point. To get the longest possible shelf life out of flour, first place it in an airtight container and freeze it for about a week. This will kill the insect eggs. Then, before storing it, add an oxygen absorber or two, depending on the size of the container. Still, you can expect a shelf life of 18 months or so from flour, which is why most preppers prefer to store wheat.

4.  Saltine crackers.  Just for fun, take a sleeve of saltine crackers out of the box and set them aside, at room temperature, for 3 or 4 months. You’ll never get over the stench of rancid saltines! If you must, you could store them in an airtight container with oxygen absorbers, or learn how to make them from scratch. Buy and enjoy saltines but do rotate through them and don’t depend on a giant stash staying fresh a year from now.

5.  Graham crackers. I didn’t think our family favorite, graham crackers, could go bad, but they do go rancid with time. Again, you can repackage them in an airtight container  using oxygen absorbers, but that’s a lot of extra work. You can also store the ingredients to make homemade graham crackers. Have an extra 3 or 4 boxes around is quite fine. Just remember to rotate and use up the oldest crackers first, while storing the newly purchased crackers for later.

Read More Here

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image by Elana's Pantry

image by Elana’s Pantry

As a follow-up to my blog post about which foods you shouldn’t plan on storing long-term, here’s a list of foods typically found at grocery stores that can be stored but must be repackaged.

Keep in mind, that by repackaging these foods you will also be protecting them from oxygen, pests, and humidity, three of the five enemies of food storage. (The other 2 are heat and light.)

  • Raisins and other dried fruit
  • Oatmeal
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Any type of cookie or cracker
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Bread crumbs
  • Cornmeal
  • Candy
  • Pancake mix (Sometimes these are packaged directly inside the cardboard box without any type of inner plastic bag.)
  • Pasta, rice, and potato convenience mixes, such as Rice-a-Roni, Pasta-Roni, instant potatoes, scalloped potato mixes, etc. (These may either have microscopic insect eggs inside the package already and/or be invaded by insects and rodents from the outside.)
  • Tea bags (Repackage for best flavor and longest possible shelf life.)
  • Dried, instant milk (If not already in a sealed can.)
  • Spices and herbs packaged in plastic bags
  • Shortening
  • Chocolate chips, baking chips of any flavor
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • Sugar, brown sugar and powdered sugar
  • Any type of mix to make bread, cornbread, pizza dough, etc.
  • Most anything else that is packaged in flimsy plastic bags and/or cardboard. This type of packaging is not intended for long-term storage, but that doesn’t mean the food inside can’t have a longer shelf life if repackaged correctly.

Repackaging instructions

Most everything on this list will do very well packaged by any of these procedures:

 

 

Read More Here

 

 

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Tess Pennington
Ready Nutrition
July 11th, 2013

Several ingredients food in cloth bags

One of my favorite phrases that I tell new preppers is that “your preps are your lifeline.” We must put measures in place before a disaster is upon us in order to have these lifelines available to us when we need it the most.

Building an emergency pantry is one of those lifelines that takes both time and planning to make it fully functional. Ideally, you want to store shelf stable foods that your family normally consumes, as well as find foods that serve multiple purposes.

A few other points to consider when starting an emergency food pantry are:

  • To store emergency foods that will not require refrigeration, and should require little electricity or fuel to prepare.
  •  The food should have a long shelf life.
  • It should provide ample nutrition and contain little salt.

In my book, The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals,  I use the following essential food staples as the basis for the recipes. The following foods are all popular food staples that should be considered as “must haves” for your emergency pantries. The advantages to storing these items, is they encompass all of the key consideration points listed above. Best of all, these items are very affordable and versatile, thus making them worthy of being on your storage shelves for extended emergencies.

Keep in mind, that water is your most important prep. You need water for consumption, food preparation, and for sanitary needs. Ensure that you have a large quantity of water stored away for emergency use.

Stock up on the following items today to get your prepper pantry ready for the next extended emergency:

1. Canned fruits, vegetables, meats, and soups
2. Dried legumes (beans, lentils, peas)
3. Crackers
4. Nuts
5. Pasta sauce
6. Peanut butter
7. Pasta
8. Flour (white, whole wheat)
9. Seasonings (vanilla, salt, pepper, paprika, cinnamon, pepper, taco seasoning, etc.)
10. Sugar
11. Bouillon cubes or granules (chicken, vegetable, beef)
12. Kitchen staples (baking soda, baking powder, yeast, vinegar)
13. Honey
14. Unsweetened cocoa powder
15. Jell-O or pudding mixes
16. Whole grains (barley, bulgur, cornmeal, couscous, oats, quinoa, rice, wheat berries)
17. Nonfat dried milk
18. Plant-based oil (corn oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, olive oil)
19. Cereals
20. Seeds for eating and sprouting
21. Popcorn (not the microwavable kind)
22. Instant potato flakes Instant potato flakes
23. Packaged meals (macaroni and cheese, hamburger helper, Ramen noodles, etc.)
24. Purified drinking water
25. Fruit juices, teas, coffee, drink mixes

Use this list as a starting point on beginning or extending your preparedness pantry- and don’t feel handcuffed to only stocking up on these items. Always keep your family’s food preferences and dietary needs in mind when investing in your food supply. It would be extremely advantageous to have a two week supply (at a minimum) of these shelf stable food items on hand to care for your family. To see how much your family would need, click here.

We never know when disasters or emergencies may strike, so why not be prudent and be ready for them before they effect our livelihood and well being.

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple


Contributed by Tess Pennington of Ready Nutrition.

Prepper's CookbookTess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years.

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How basic can you get? List #1 for beginners

 

 

beginner How basic can you get?  List #1 for beginners

image by laura_h_knight

 

This weekend some very good friends of ours spent several hours at our house.  At one point over dinner, the husband, James, began asking about food storage.  How did I know what to store?  How long would it last?  His wife, Dawn, had questions of her own and I began making a simple list of how to start with preparedness.

 

I asked them both what their concerns were.  Dawn mentioned the news about the solar flares that might cause problems with electronics on Earth and James said his main concern was a war developing in the Middle East.  Since we had never talked about preparedness before, I was surprised that those concerns were on their radars.  Previously, we had just chatted about work schedules, homeschooling, and whether or not our kids should go to church camp this summer.

 

After James and Dawn left, I started writing out a list of the most simple steps we had talked about and then decided to post them here.  If you are new to the  idea of preparing for an emergency or worst-case scenario, here’s where you can start!  I’ll be posting additional lists throughout the year, all titled, “How basic can you get?”

 

Here is List #1.

 

Continue Reading  List  #1 Here

 

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How Basic Can You Get? List #2

 

beginner How Basic Can You Get?  List #2

image by laura_h_knight

Just getting started with prepping?  Has some piece of news scared you to death for the future and that of your family?  You can become better  prepared for …whatever…by just jumping in and doing something proactive today.  I posted List #1 here.

  1. Track down a source for free, white plastic buckets.  Bakeries, restaurants, delis and grocery stores all have them, often for free.  I get mine from the bakery counter at my grocery store.  You’ll use these to store larger amounts of dry food and for organizing smaller items that you begin to accumulate, such as toothpaste and bars of soap.
  2. Watch for sales on canned goods, and then buy as much as you can afford.  Focus on canned soups, canned meat (tuna and chicken), canned beans, and canned veggies.  Also, cans of ravioli and beef stew come in handy.  Generally, canned food has a very long shelf life and, once opened, doesn’t require any cooking in a dire emergency.

 

Continue Reading List # 2 Here

 

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How Basic Can You Get? List #3

 

beginner How Basic Can You Get?  List #3

image by laura_h_knight

 

For beginning preppers, here are more simple ideas for getting started.  Experienced preppers might even find a few useful reminders!

 

  1. Shop ethnic stores for basics like varieties of rice and beans.  A grocery store in my area is advertising 5 bags of elbow macaroni for $1 and cans of shelf-stable table cream for just 79 cents!
  2. Make an appointment for a physical for everyone in the family over the age of 18.  Health care will be more expensive and less accessible in a collapse scenario, so deal with health issues now.
  3. On a related note, start getting in shape.  I’ve taken this advice and have lost 40 pounds, and so can you!  A physically fit body at a normal weight will be less inclined toward dozens of health issues.  It also makes survival and preparedness a whole lot easier.
  4. Identify your top 3 events to prepare for by answering these questions:

 

Continue Reading List  #3 Here

 

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How Basic Can You Get? List #4

beginner How Basic Can You Get?  List #3

 

Here’s another list of simple, basic steps for getting started as a Survival Mom or prepper.

 

1.� Find a source of inexpensive spices, herbs, and seasonings and begin stocking up on those you use most.

 

2.� Buy a Food Saver vacuum sealer. You’ll find these on Craigslist and eBay, Walmart, Target, and even Cabela’s. This machine will vacuum seal the Food Saver bags as well as jars.

 

3.� Be on the lookout for canning jars. The lids and rims of these jars provide a tighter seal than the lids of jelly or other jars.

 

4.� Once you have a Food Saver and canning jars, invest in one final item: a Food Saver jar sealer. This will allow you to fill those canning jars with foods that would melt or otherwise be spoiled in the canning process, vacuum oxygen from the inside of the jar, and have those foods ready to store long-term.

 

5.� Wherever you have food stored, be on the lookout for insects and rodents who might chew through food containers. You’d be surprised at what a diligent mouse with a lot of time on his hands can do!

 

Continue Reading  List # 4 Here

 

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How Basic Can You Get? List #5

beginner How Basic Can You Get?  List #3

Here are ten more tips to help a newbie get started and a seasoned Survival Mom stay on track!

 

1.  Start looking for both tarps and rope. As long as they aren’t worn out or frayed, they will be useful for making shelters, wind breaks, and even for water collection. They can provide a quick patch to a roof, a wall, or a broken window. Six tarps and a few hundred yards of rope would be a good start, and both are inexpensive.

 

2.  Even if winter weather isn’t a major issue where you live (Wave if you live in Phoenix or Honolulu!), you should still have a few cold weather clothing items for each member of the family. It’s so easy to pick these up at thrift stores, yard sales, and estate sales, and end-of-the-season sales at department and sporting goods stores. Warm waterproof boots, wool socks, long underwear, heavy jackets, waterproof gloves and warm caps should be a minimum. If you have kids, buy these in larger sizes when you find them at great prices.

 

3.  Make a rice and beans meal 3 or 4 times a month. These two foods combined create a complete protein, they’re very cheap, and have long shelf lives.

 

4.  Add one method for cooking food and heating water when the power goes out. If you already have a propane camp stove, make or buy your own solar oven or rocket stove. The BioLite stove is a great option because it requires so little fuel, is lightweight, and very portable.

 

5.  Begin to acquire camping equipment even if you don’t camp. A tent, sleeping bags, a camp stove, etc. will come in handy in case of an evacuation or if your home is damaged and unlivable.

 

Continue Reading  List #5 Here

 

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How Basic Can You Get? List #6

 

 

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beginner How Basic Can You Get? List #6

image by laura_h_knight

 

Are you ready for more? Did you work your way through Lists 1-5? This next list should keep you busy and out of trouble for a while!

 

1.  Learn how to use a compass and a map. It’s a lot harder than you might think, but it’s a skill that just might make the difference between you or a loved one wandering around in the wilderness, lost, and finding your way back to civilization. Look for classes at stores like REI or Cabela’s. This video does a pretty job explaining the skill.

 

2.  Do your kids know what to do if your home’s smoke alarms ever went off? Have a family meeting and make sure everyone knows these basic rules of home fire safety and where everyone should meet if there ever is a fire.

 

3.  Have pets? Stock up on a month’s worth of extra food for each one. If you buy dry food, be sure to store it in a heavy-duty plastic bin with a tight fitting lid. Rodents, insects, and even the dogs and cats themselves will find a way into this stash. Trust me!

 

4.  Hit a few garage/estate sales this month and buy some extra blankets. Thesealways come in handy! Be sure to keep a couple in the trunk of each car.

 

5.  Make a mini-survival kit for each kid or grandkid in the family. Here are some super-easy instructions.

 

Continue Reading List #6 Here

 

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The Jamaica Plain New Economy transition town has found that pie parties are a good way to get more people interested in disaster preparedness.

In his forthcoming book, Prepared Neighborhoods, social entrepreneur Scott James writes, “the neighborhood is where sustainability meets preparedness. It is one step beyond caring for your own family, and one step back from what the emergency professional does best at a national level. Self-sufficiency for every citizen is not only unattainable but also undesirable. The answer is resilient community.”

How do we build resilient communities? Is there a way to organize around preparing for “short term emergencies” to build neighborly relations and also strengthens us for other systemic economic and ecological challenges ahead?

This summer, our local “transition town,” the Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition, is experimenting with “preparedness pie parties.” It may be a way to bridge some of the race, class, and political differences in our neighborhood.

Neighbors meet each other, share information, and identify elderly and disabled neighbors to check in with. Neighbors take a few minutes to look at an “emergency preparedness checklist,” like the one FEMA puts out. Maybe one subgroup volunteers to coordinate the bulk purchase of flashlights and supplies. Another puts together a simple contact list with everyone’s name and basic information.

If neighbors are motivated, they could look at the “Map Your Neighborhood” process, piloted in Washington State and now adopted in other states. They have a nine-step process for neighbors responding to disasters, including urging neighbors to put “OK” signs in their windows—and visiting neighbors who haven’t put up a sign.

Some people might dismiss such organizing as fear mongering, a local version of the National Geographic series “Doomsday Preppers.” This is why the tone of such organizing matters: respectful, informed, friendly and hopeful. The message is “our individual security is linked to the well-being of our neighbors.”

The history of recent northeast ice storms and hurricanes such as Sandy and Irene underscores that neighbors are our true “first responders,” and that a modest amount of networking and preparation makes a huge difference. Many of my neighbors view this as common sense.

Rebecca Solnit, in her remarkable book, A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster, reminds us that adversity unleashes extraordinary community spirit and generosity among neighbors. The fearful images of looting and selfishness are well publicized, but they are not the norm.


Chuck Collins wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Chuck is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good.

Related Links

Melodeego: The Hippest Bike-Powered Band in Town

Sticking Together in Tough Times

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When Prepping Just Isn’t Enough

Daisy Luther
There’s a sense of urgency in the prepping community lately that is at an all-time high. Between the global elite warmongers, the impending financial collapse as the government makes plans to attach pension funds, the new viruses, Monsanto’s GMO seeds running amok and threatening the world’s food supply, and Big Food’s toxic food-like substances in the grocery stores with no regard for actual nutrition, it is clear that we are going downhill fast. The soothing ”everything-is-just-fine” propaganda is so blatant that even the most die-hard zombie is beginning to see that something is amiss and that a massive change is soon to take place.

Many of us have stocked our homes to the rafters with beans, rice, bullets, and band-aids. Each trip to the store adds more to our stockpiles as we try to get what we need before time runs out. Newbie preppers are feeling even more frantic, wondering how to prepare when each week it takes more money to put less in the grocery cart. (If you’re new to preparedness, here’s a little primer with some great links.)

With the situation looking more grim by the day, it is very clear that stockpiling is not enough. No matter how many cans of green beans you have stored away, one day they will run out. We have become so dependent on the “buy it as you need it” lifestyle that despite our food storage, there are still gaps that must be filled.

And the only way to fill these gaps is through that which is a step beyond prepping…self sufficiency.

Self sufficiency is defined as the ability to provide for oneself without the help of others. No amount of stockpiling gives you true self sufficiency. It is a combination of skills, supplies, attitudes and habits that mean the difference between a person with a great pantry and a true survivor.

Self-sufficiency is for…

  • The day the grocery stores close their doors or become so expensive that people cannot afford to shop
  • The day that the FEMA Camp gates open in only one direction
  • The day that the banks go on an indefinite holiday, after draining depositor savings accounts and pension funds
  • The day that electricity and heat on demand become so expensive that only the wealthy can afford them
  • The day that medical care no longer exists for the average person, or is directed by government death panels
  • The day that a natural disaster or false flag locks down the country and completely, irrevocably changes our way of life

The list could go on and on. These things are hurtling towards us and we must be ready. Self sufficiency, unlike prepping, doesn’t cost a lot of money – it’s about planning and acquiring basic skills and tools. It is about putting your plan into practice before you have no other option but to do so.

What would you do if you could never go to a store again? If you could never have utilities provided by a supplier again? What if you were truly on your own, forever?

For some situations, prepping just isn’t enough. If you don’t have plans for the following, you cannot consider yourself to be truly prepared.

WaterClean drinking water is one of the most important requirements for survival. Now is the time to figure out how you will get water if your stored water runs out. Some ideas might be:

  • Rain barrels (which are beginning to be illegal in some states)
  • Less obvious water collection containers like pools and ponds (don’t forget the roof if you live in an apartment building
  • Water purification methods
  • Locate nearby lakes, rivers and streams
  • Wells (including non-electric pumps)

Food production

Many people believe that they will just be able to stick some seeds in the ground and feed their families year round. It isn’t that easy. You can only learn the foibles of your bit of ground through trial and error. It takes a lot more veggies than most people think to feed a family for a year. Anything from a blight to bad weather to a horde of hungry bunnies can wipe out all of your hard work and leave you without a bite to store away. Look into some of these methods:

  • Gardening in your backyard or on a balcony
  • An aquaponics or hydroponics system
  • Raising chickens and other micro-livestock
  • Sprouting
  • Hunting and foraging (a nice supplement to your diet but a risky plan for long term survival when everyone else has the same idea)
  • Full-scale farming
  • Rooftop gardening
  • Greenhouses and cold-frames

Food preservation

Not all of us are lucky enough to live in a place where we can grow food outdoors all year long. For the rest of us, food preservation is a lifeline in the winter. A few basic supplies and tools are needed. Just like food production, it’s important to practices food preservation and work out the kinks now, while you still have moderately affordable groceries as a back up. As well, this allows you to rely on healthy, non-GMO foods instead of the inexpensive, highly processed garbage at the stores. Learn the following skills:

  • Canning
  • Freezing
  • Dehydrating/drying
  • Pickling
  • Fermentation
  • Salting and curing
  • Root cellaring

Reduce dependence on utilities

Whether you live in the country or in a high-rise apartment, you need to take steps to reduce your dependence on electricity at the flip of a switch, water from the tap, heat from the thermostat, and cooking at the turn of a dial. As the divide between the rich and the poor widen, there could one day be a choice between food and electricity. Your priorities are:

  • Water
  • Sanitation
  • Heat
  • Electrical power
  • Lights
  • Refrigeration or other method of safe food storage
  • Cooking methods

Every situation is unique so start now to amass the necessary tools to meet your needs should the lights go out on a long term basis.

Personal defense
This is the sticking point for many people. But if you can’t defend your supplies, your home, and your garden, you don’t really have them at all – you are just using them until someone better armed or tougher comes and takes these things away from you. Look at Argentina’s economic collapse as an example of what could happen – violent crime there increased by 35% in one year. One study went so far as to call property crime a tool of redistribution: ”Overall, these results suggest that property crime has been used as a redistributive tool for the poorest to compensate for their impoverishment during the last decade and in particular during the ultimate crisis in Argentina.Some solutions for personal defense:

  • Arm yourself and learn to use your weapon of choice
  • Stock up on ammo while it is still available
  • Have secondary methods of defense in which you are proficient
  • Learn basic hand-to-hand self-defense skills

Home security

Not only should you be prepared to defend your home, but you should try to avoid the fight in the first place by securing your property.

  • Make your property less accessible by fencing it
  • Install heavy doors in reinforced frames
  • Install sturdy brackets to hold a bar in place on either side of the doors
  • Growing thorny inhospitable plants under windows and on fences
  • Place alarms on windows and doors
  • Install security cameras (even if they are fake and just have a blinking light)
  • Keep a low profile – if no one else has lights or power, cover your windows thoroughly so that they cannot see that you have them
  • Don’t be ostentatious – keep your property looking similar to everyone else’s in your neighborhood
  • Keep all windows and doors securely locked
  • Consider the potential necessity of standing watch in shifts if the situation has thoroughly devolved

Change your perspective on finances

Devastating financial changes are coming to a location near you. Wouldn’t you prefer to make the cuts now and adjust accordingly, instead of having them forced upon you through evictions, foreclosures, repossessions, and other painful methods? Making some difficult changes now can provide a stable standard of living in a world that is going downhill at breakneck speed. By decreasing your monthly output, you can hang on to necessities.

  • Redefine what necessities mean to you
  • Get your money out of the banks
  • Convert fiat currency to tangibles like seeds, ammo, food, medical supplies, real estate, and precious metals
  • Don’t be in debt
  • Reduce your monthly expenditures to the bare minimum
  • Spend more time at home 
  • Learn to enjoy productive hobbies
  • Prepare for a potential barter-based economy – what skills do you have that could be traded for essential goods and services?

The economic collapse is not some far-fetched, end-of-the-world fantasy. It is the reality that is occurring all around us, incrementally. The collapse that has been occurring since 2008 has been one of 1000 small cuts as income goes down and expenses go up.

No matter how much food you buy, it may not be enough to get you through these difficult times. You must learn to be self-sufficient in order to remain free from the control of those who would offer you sustenance and shelter in return for your fealty.

Instead of a huge, life-changing calamity, consider that it may be the culmination of many small events, rising prices and lower incomes, and the deliberate erosion of our self-sufficiency by those who would control us that cause TEOTWAWKI. (The End Of The World As We Know It).

The lists above aren’t comprehensive – they are jumping off points to apply to your own situations. Wherever you are planted, you need to come to grips with the fact that the world as we know it is undergoing massive changes. Figure out now how to make the best of it and not only survive with your family, but thrive.

Ask the people in Greece whether they regret not having stocked up on food supplies when those items were abundantly available. Ask the people in Argentina whether they feel the need to be armed against roving gangs and home invaders.

Hunger, cold, crime and fear are the daily realities in many countries that once enjoyed a similar standard of living to that of the average North American. Our debt-based standard of living is unsustainable, and you must be able to connect these trends with what is happening in your own country in order to see the need for preparation.

Today, you still have stores at every corner, reliable utilities, and social safety nets in place. These may soon become a thing of the past and if you wait before preparing, your window of opportunity may slam shut.

I’m not suggesting that you stop prepping – your stockpile is vital insurance that can help to cushion you when things go downhill. But along with your food storage and your rocket stoves and your medical supplies, begin creating a self-sufficient lifestyle that will carry you far beyond what mere prepping ever could.

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor. Her website, The Organic Prepper offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

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