Water—Difficult, but Necessary Component of Survival Storage

Water is likely going to be your biggest challenge when it comes to creating a healthy emergency survival supply kit. Water is big and bulky and is just kind of obnoxious to store. But, it is absolutely crucial to your survival. You need to store at least 1 gallon of water for each member of the family per day. If you are building up a 30-day supply, things can get out of hand pretty quick. There are a few options that we will discuss here.

Stackable Containersstackablewater

These are huge space savers! You can store a little or a lot with these individual containers that are constructed to stack together neatly. Each container holds just over 3 gallons of water. There are several different options to use when it comes to building up your supply. Start out with a few containers and buy a few each month to create a wall of water or spring for the large waterbrick container kit that holds 112 gallons of water. The best part about these containers is they have handles. Once a container is empty, you can carry it to a lake, river, stream or wherever to fill it up again. Carrying 3 gallons of water is manageable so you won’t have any trouble getting the water back to your retreat.

Jerry Cans

jerrycanLtBlue_lg_200These look a lot like gas cans, but they are foodsafe, meaning you can carry water in them. Sometimes it simply isn’t feasible for you to store a month’s worth of water in your home. If you live near water, you can use it to supply your family with their necessary water. However, carrying it home can be a huge problem. Using pots or empty water bottles is inefficient. The jerry cans are perfect and since they have lids, you won’t have to worry about the water splashing out.

Filters/Purifiers

All water you collect or manage to draw from your tap after a disaster of any kind is considered dangerous. ALL water. You must filter and/or purify it before drinking. Deadly bacteria and viruses are hiding in most water sources. If you have collected water, you need to purify it by boiling it or using a chemical treatment (water purification tablets) or run it through a filter. Don’t risk your life by drinking tainted water.

Water is tough to store in the house, but using the proper containers can make it easy and keep you from having to walk miles to the nearest water source on a regular basis. Investing in water containers is one you won’t regret.

Top 10 Things To Disappear After a Disaster

firewoodIf you are preparing for some disaster that will leave you forced to rely on yourself and what you have stored away, you are ahead of the game. Storing food and water is important for survival, but there are other things people tend to overlook when building up an emergency supply of food and water. It isn’t all about the food! There are some other items that are going to fly off store shelves within hours and days of a major disaster. You are probably going to be surprised to see the top 10 things that are going to be in high demand.

Check out this list and consider adding these items to your emergency preps.

• Generators. We love our electricity! Electricity is one of the things that makes us feel normal and somewhat safe and secure.
• Water purifying methods are going to go next. Water is crucial to survival and people will be scrambling to get their hands on tablets, filters and purifiers.lifesaver bottle
• Toilets—those little portable toilets available in the camp section of stores will be in high demand. People have to use the bathroom and when the sewer system is out, they have to go somewhere.
• Dry wood for burning is going to be at a premium. You can’t just run out and chop down a tree and expect it to burn. Wood needs to be dried for at least 6 months or up to a year to make it suitable for wood heat.
• Oil for lanterns and lamps goes next. People need light and when the generators are gone, it is going to be all about lanterns. Stock up on oil for your lights.
• Fuel for your campstove is fairly inexpensive today. Those little propane tanks will be invaluable when there is no electricity. Buy them now before they are gone.
• Guns and ammunition are the seventh item to disappear. People are not immediately going to start raiding the stores for guns, but they will eventually. If you need a gun, it is something you will want to purchase before a disaster.
• Little kitchen tools like manual can-openers and manual beaters are going to be pretty important. Canned food will be in great supply, but if people can’t open it, it doesn’t do any good.
• Sugar! Anything sweet will soon be gone. We all have a sweet tooth and when things are rough, cravings for sugar will be in full swing. Sweets give us comfort and when things are haywire, that is going to be important.sugar
• Dried foods finally make an appearance. Wheat, rice and beans are all going to become very valuable.

Now that you know the top 10 things that are going to disappear first, it is time to take a look at your food storage and adjust accordingly.

Heirloom Seeds—Does It Really Matter?

self-sufficient gardensIn the survival world, you will hear a lot about people storing seeds in their long term emergency storage. It isn’t just seeds they are storing. No, people are storing what are known as heirloom seeds. If you have ever gone to the store to buy these seeds because it seems like the thing to do, you have probably noticed they cost twice to three times as much as the cheap seed packets that are sold for about a dollar. You may think it seems silly to spend that much money on seeds when they basically all produce the same veggies. They don’t!

seedsHeirloom seeds are more expensive because you will have a steady, renewable food source with those particular seeds. Unlike the more common and less expensive seeds on the market, heirlooms seeds produce vegetables with seeds that can be replanted. You may not have realized this, but the common seeds produce veggies with seeds that are not suitable for replanting. The seeds will either not sprout or will produce plants that don’t produce actual vegetables.

Heirloom seeds are typically defined as those that were used before World War II or basically, before scientists got their hands on the seeds and created various hybrids that were easier to grow by the average gardener and produced a lot more. While this is a win-win for most, the hybrids may be plentiful, but they are not quite as delicious as their heirloom counterparts. Taste was not a big factor when those hybrid seeds were being created. Sure, a homegrown tomato from a typical seed is probably still better tasting than one you would find in the grocery store, but a homegrown tomato from an heirloom seed is absolutely fantastic.

The bottom line is this—in order to grow a garden that will produce year after year, you need heirloom seeds. After things have gone sideways, you won’t be able to run to the garden store to buy new seeds for the new growing season. You need to have a way to keep your family fed with fresh fruits and vegetables. Heirloom seeds truly do matter. Don’t settle for anything less.

Securing Your Emergency Survival Food

Making your food storage area safe and steady in case of a bomb blast, earthquake or even high winds should be a priority. It would be devastating to have bags of food split open when it was tossed from the shelves. Canned foods could become dented and possibly allow botulism to form if they fell off an emergency food storage shelf. You are storing your lifeline on those shelves so it just makes sense you would want to secure the food to ensure it is still there when you need it.

food pantry-1Securing the Shelves

You don’t want your shelves falling forward and becoming a major safety hazard. If you are walking by or are taking refuge in the area the shelves are, like the basement, a shelf that tips over can trap you or even fall on you. Drill a long screw, about 3 inches, into the back of the shelf and into a beam in the wall. Use a wall anchor to make the holding more secure. If you are dealing with cement walls, there are anchor screws designed to go through the cement. You can add a little more security by putting shims at the bottom of the shelves to slightly push the shelf against the wall. These wouldn’t do much in an earthquake, but would hold the shelf up in the event of some minor vibrations or wind.

Securing the Cans and Jarsstocking up

You don’t want glass jars from home canned goods all over the place. You need to create blocks that will hold the cans and jars in place on the shelves. You can use a piece of 1×1 wood nailed across the front of the shelves or use metal strips. It is important to place the strips about halfway up the tallest can or jar to keep the items from tipping right over the top of your locking mechanism.

Buckets

If you are storing food in 5-gallon buckets, be careful not to stack the buckets too high without securing them. These can be tipped over fairly easy. It could be something as slight as somebody running by and brushing along the bucket, knocking it over and your food spills out everywhere. Tie a sturdy rope, like the stuff used for clotheslines around the rim of the bucket. Tie the ends of the rope around hooks mounted to the wall. If you are stacking several buckets on top of each other, you may want to tie a rope around the top and bottom of the buckets.
These are quick fixes you could do as a weekend project. Securing your food stores is an important step in creating a food storage that will keep your family alive in the event of an emergency.

How to Use Freeze-Dried Food

240serving-catYou have done an excellent job stock piling a variety of freeze-dried foods, but do you know what to do with them when it is time to serve them to your family? In a survival situation, you will probably not have running water, a stove or a microwave. This can make heating water a little tough, which is what is typically needed to rehydrate food. Check out the following tips below that will help you turn your food storage into a delicious meal.

How Much Water?

Surprisingly, you don’t need as much water as you probably thought. In fact, it takes very little water to turn a bowl of freeze-dried survival food into something edible. For your fruits, veggies and powders, you need very little water to rehydrate them. A couple of tablespoons of room temperature water will do the trick. It does take some time. Allow at least an hour for fruits and vegetables to become soft and pliable. It can take a couple of hours. Generally if you have two cups of freeze-dried food that you are going to eat without cooking or doing anything else, you will need 1 cup of water. For stews, soups, chili and other meals that you will cook over a campfire or on a propane stove, you will need less water. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions when possible. It is better to have too little water than too much water that will make a food soggy and nearly inedible.water

Cold or Hot Water?

Cold water or room temperature is always best for most foods. Boiling water is going to cook the freeze-dried food. If you are rehydrating meats, this could end up in the meat being overcooked and tough. The best way is to use cool water to reconstitute the meat and then heat it with the rest of the meal or plain. Hot water does reconstitute the food faster, but it does not do anything for the taste.

No Salt

Do not add salt or other seasoning to the freeze-dried foods while they are reconstituting. The salt will absorb the water during the process and result in the food being tough or make it take longer to soften up. Salt or season the food after it has gone through the rehydration process.

As Isdried fruit

If water is in short supply, you can always eat the foods as they are. You don’t technically have to reconstitute them to eat. Freeze-dried fruits are actually pretty tasty and make an excellent snack if you are on the move.

Don’t Forget the Little Things for Your Food Storage

If you have been working hard to build up your emergency food storage supply, you may need to take another look at your supply. There is a good chance you have been diligently storing your food, but have forgotten a few key things that are necessary to actually putting food on the table. You can’t exactly serve a bowl of whole wheat grains to your child for breakfast. It can be hard to plan for living out of your house or in another location without electricity, running water or the conveniences of your kitchen. This list will serve to remind you of all those little details.

• Manual can opener-You likely have a lot of canned food in your food storage, but it won’t do you any good if you can’t open it! It wouldn’t hurt to have two can openers just in case one gets lost. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
• Grain mill-You can find whole grains for a lot less and they will often store longer. But, in order to use those grains, you need a grain mill. These can be picked up for relatively cheap. Make sure it is a manual grain mill and not electric.
• Disposable utensils are extremely useful. Your water is going to be very precious and you want to conserve as much as possible. Disposable utensils can be used and set aside until you have more water available to take care of cleaning the dishes.
• Avoid stocking foods that are overly salty. Things like saltine crackers, jerky and other foods that are high in salt will make you thirsty. Again, water is going to be a precious commodity.
file0002004128265 Don’t stock foods you and your family have never eaten. If you don’t like canned spinach today, you are not going to like it in a survival situation. Before you make a decision to stock up on a particular food, taste it first.

You also need to remember any dietary restrictions for family members. Although you would certainly not want anybody to get sick, it is a fact of life and with limited water, cleaning is likely going to suffer. Viruses and germs are going to be prolific. A good supply of chicken noodle soup, canned juices and drink mixes are all good to have on hand.

To help keep your food storage organized, it helps to keep your can opener, mills and utensils in a small tote. This way, if you do need to bug out, the tote makes it easy to grab everything you need without worrying about where the can opener is.

How Much Food Do You Really Need to Store?

You are looking at your pantry or if you are lucky, your basement, and thinking, how much food do I really need to store? Only you can answer that question, but there are some guidelines for you to follow to help you plan a food storage to last as long or as little as you want. The absolute bare minimum for a healthy emergency food storage is enough food to last your entire family 30 days. Many preppers will shoot for three months up to a year. 120-serving-emergency-food-supply (1)

The number of people in your family and the amount of calories each person needs to maintain a healthy body will definitely affect the amount of food you need to store. Obviously children need fewer calories than adults. However, an easy way to calculate the amount of food is by caloric content. Assume each person in your family needs 2,000 calories a day to maintain their muscle function and overall healthy body. A family with four members would need 8,000 calories a day. Check the labels on some of your canned foods and freeze dried foods. Identify the calories per serving of a particular food. For example, a freeze-dried stew mixture contains 500 calories per serving. If that was the only food your family ate on a given day, you would need 16 servings. How many servings are in the can? Typically, you will find the smaller cans of freeze-dried foods contain 16 servings. That means you would need 30 cans of a particular food to last your family of four one month.

Another formula you can use involves evaluating your family’s eating habits during a typical week. If you do the grocery shopping, you probably have a pretty good idea how much food and the kind of food your family eats. How many cans of soup do you typically open for your family’s lunch? Is it two or three? Multiply the number of cans of soup used for an average meal by the number of days you want to have on hand. That may be 30, 180 or 365 days. 2 cans of soup x 30 days would be 60 cans of soup for 30 days of lunches. wood

When you think about your food storage plans, it is important to keep in mind that a survival situation is not the time to be cutting calories and eating enough to simply stay alive. You will be expending a lot more energy, which translates to using a lot more calories than you normally would. In order to survive, your body needs to be in the best condition possible. You will likely have to walk everywhere you need to go, hunt for additional food, carry water and chop wood. These are major energy users. Don’t skimp on food storage and assume you can lose that extra 20 pounds you have been trying to get rid of for years.

5 Creative Ways to Store Your Emergency Food Supply

If you have been considering food storage for survival, you may think you can’t store more than a few days worth of food due to a lack of space in your home. That is not the case at all. There are plenty of ways you can store freeze-dried and other foods that do not require refrigeration. With a little creativity and ingenuity, you can store enough food to last your family for several months without moving to a bigger home!food for storage

Under the Beds

You can buy plastic totes that are designed to slide under the bed to store your food. Freeze dried bagged foods can be stashed in these containers along with dry soup packages, pastas and a variety of other staples. Under your beds is also a great place to put canned food holders. You can find these at your local home improvement store. Instead of putting the can holders in the pantry, stick them under your bed. Load from one end and pull from the opposite end. This is a great way to keep up with rotation.

Bottom of the Closets

If you have 5-gallon buckets, place 2 or 3 on the bottom of your closet. Put a piece of plywood over the top to create a new floor. This makes reaching for your shoes more convenient while giving you space to store your food. If you are not using buckets, you can do this with canned food as well. Stock the cans one to two high to create a sturdy platform for your shoes and what not.

Behind the Couchcanned food

You can create a functional table behind your couch by using the can holders mentioned above and a 2×6. Put the can holders (stack one to two high) between the wall and the couch. Place the wood over the can holders and add knick knacks or whatever you like to dress it up. The 6 inches of space between the wall and your couch is minimal and you won’t even notice it, but you will have a large place to store canned goods.

Shoe Organizers

Over-the-door shoe organizers are great for storing single serving freeze-dried meals and MREs. You can store dehydrated spices and other sealed bags of dehydrated fruits and vegetables in the pouches. The organizers hang over the door so they do not take up any space at all.

Makeshift Furniture240serving-cat

You can use buckets of freeze-dried food to create functional coffee tables and end tables in your living room or in your bedroom. If you don’t have 5-gallon buckets of freeze-dried foods, you can still stack canned goods inside an empty bucket to save space. Place a piece of wood over the bucket and drape with a pretty tablecloth. Nobody will know your furniture is also a food storage.

There are likely plenty of spaces around your home that could be transformed into a food storage area. Get creative and you would be amazed at how much space you truly have in your home!

How to Store Dry Foods for Survival

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Your emergency food storage is not complete without an assortment of dried foods. Because you know electricity is probably not going to be an option when things get rough, you need to have food stored that does not require refrigeration. Grains, rice, flour and beans are often the basis of many meals in a survival situation. There are hundreds of different ways to use grains and beans and you will want to have a large amount on hand. There is another major benefit to storing dried foods like grains and legumes, they are incredibly inexpensive. Unfortunately, despite the long shelf lives that accompany dried foods, there are some storage mistakes that can destroy a person’s food supply.

Enemies of Dried Food

• Oxygen
• Moisture
• Pests/rodents
• Temperature
• Light

Where to Store

To get the longest shelf life on your dry foods, you will want to choose an area that is relatively cool. You don’t want anything below 50 degrees if possible. On the flipside, you don’t want your dried goods to be exposed to temperatures over 70. Basements are often ideal because they tend to stay cool. However, moisture can ruin your dried foods. Cool and dry is your main goal. Avoid storing in an outdoor shed that has no temperature control. The floor of your closet will work or a food pantry that is away from windows that will let in a lot of light. Avoid placing your food near heating vents and ceiling ducts or near appliances, like a refrigerator in the basement. Appliances put off heat when they run.

Buckets

240serving-cat

If you buy bags of dried food, you will want to invest in food-grade buckets with lids. You can often find these at bakeries and delis for just a couple of dollars. Restaurants are another excellent place to inquire about buckets. The buckets will keep out rodents while keeping ingredients dry. You can add another layer of protection to your dried goods by adding several bay leaves to the bottom of the bucket before adding your rice, grains and what not. This will help deter pests and keep your food fresh. For a 5-gallon bucket, you will want to add 5 to 10 bay leaves.

Rotation

Your food stores should not be left alone and forgotten about until a true emergency strikes. You don’t want to rely on them for your dinner every night, but you are paying good money for the food and you don’t want it to go to waste. If you have been storing food for a year or more, you need to slowly start using the older stuff and replacing it with fresh items. There is a rule of thumb you will want to use, First In, First Out. Most food items have dates on the packaging. Arrange your food so the oldest items are up front and will be used first. If you are using buckets, label the buckets with the date you stored them. When disaster strikes, you don’t want a basement full of food that is so outdated it is inedible.

These tips will help extend the life of your dried food stores. Failing to store your food properly is akin to burning the money you spent buying it. Your most important goal when it comes to stocking up your emergency food stores is finding a place where the temperature will not fluctuate too much. Heat is your number one enemy in the art of food storage.

Canned or Freeze-Dried Food–What’s Best for Food Storage?

Preparing to survive some kind of catastrophe, whether it is a natural disaster, an act of war or financial collapse has become very mainstream as of late. People have seen what happens to those who are not prepared to survive in their homes for days or weeks without running to the grocery store or are forced to rely on the government for help. Basically, it is every man or family for himself. You need to keep a pantry stocked with food, water and other essentials in case of an emergency.

What do you stock?

If you are new to the prepping world, you probably have a few questions about what you should stock in your food pantry. Non-perishable foods are your best bet or foods that have long shelf lives. Your goal is to build up a food storage that will feed your family for a minimum of 30 days. Some ambitious preppers will shoot for a 6-month or even 1-year food store. It is up to you.

Canned Foodsfood pantry-1

Canned foods are typically the first thing you think of when it comes to food you can store in a pantry for a long time. You would be thinking right. However, there are some things you need to know about canned food.

• Canned food can spoil over time. When it does spoil, it can become lethal to consume.
• High temperatures can cause cans to swell and botulism is a strong possibility.
• Canned foods are heavy and difficult to transport
• Canned foods take up a great deal of room and require a very sturdy shelving system

With that said, one of the major bonuses to canned food is price. It is extremely cheap and you can stock a great deal of food for very little money.

Dehydrated/Freeze-Dried Foods

healthy freeze dried foodYou have seen these packs of food that are often used on backpacking trips. Any outdoor store will have a variety of these meals that are easily stowed away in a backpack or bug out bag. They have long shelf lives, with some extending up to 10 to 15 years. All that is required is a little water and a short wait and a meal complete with meat, vegetables and noodles are ready to eat. Military have been using meals like this for decades. They are often referred to as MREs or Meals Ready to Eat.

Lately, these freeze-dried and dehydrated foods have made the transition from single-serve packages to bulk cans and 5-gallon buckets. If you have seen the price tag on these items, you may initially cringe and quickly head back to the canned food aisle. Before you do, check out the benefits to storing dehydrated or freeze-dried foods.

• Lightweight and easy to store on shelves
• Long shelf lives when stored correctly
• Bulk cans can be resealed after use for up to 30 days
• No risk of food becoming spoiled or potentially deadly if consumed
• Large variety of meals including dairy, fruits, vegetables, meats and pasta

When it comes down to it, freeze-dried and dehydrated foods are the best choice for your food storage needs. The cans and buckets do cost more up front, but when you consider the price per meal, these foods are much less expensive than canned foods. The dehydrated foods are more nutritional and you will be amazed at the variety of food available. When you are preparing to survive a situation, living off of canned veggies and beans is certainly an option, but if you could eat scalloped potatoes covered in cheese with a delicious chili, what would you choose? You can supplement your food stores with canned foods, but ideally, you will want to spend your money on the freeze-dried and dehydrated foods.