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.

Heirloom Seeds: Why You Should Grow Them

organic emergency foodGrowing your own garden is becoming increasingly popular today due to the fundamental need for a vibrant food and a healthy lifestyle. It is essential that what we eat are free from chemical fertilizers, pesticides and contaminants that might put a risk on our health. Choosing the seeds to plant are one of the main factors to consider in gardening. It can be a little daunting, especially with the many choices of seeds, and choosing between modern hybrids or heirloom varieties. Heirloom seeds, or as gardeners often refer to as “Grandmother’s Seed”, are now the latest rage, thanks to its wide benefits.

 What is an Heirloom Seed? 

From the name itself, an Heirloom Seed is a plant variety (a cultivar) that has been nurtured, selected and carried down from one family member to another for many generations. It is genetically stable and will produce offspring with identical characteristics to the parent plant, meaning it is true to type. Hybrids, on the other hand, are created by crossing two selected varieties, sometimes resulting in vigorous plants that yield more than heirlooms. Heirlooms cost less than hybrid seeds but there are more reasons to choose these seeds than just the prices.

Seed-Packets-IMG_0879People grow heirloom seeds for a variety of reasons and for different motivations. While most are just interested in traditional organic gardening, some do it for historical interest, and others want to increase the available gene pool for a particular plant for future generations. Growing heirloom seeds is a great and effective way of growing, tasting and enjoying a variety of fruits and flowers from the past.

Advantages of growing heirloom seeds:

  • Greater Variety
  • Better Taste and Nutrition
  • Preserved Heritage
  • Sustainable
  • Renewable
  • Safer to the Environment & Eco-system
  • No Chemical Fertilizers
  • Open – Pollinated
  • Cost Less

Cultivating heirloom seeds in your home garden is a great idea to add exquisite taste, good nutrition and variety to your daily diet, while saving plant species. Creating an heirloom that is perfectly suited for your particular garden can take years of seed saving and planting out. If you want immediate gratification, you can do a little legwork before selecting the variety of heirlooms you want to use. Dig into your family or community tree to see if any of your elders can recall names of varieties that grew well in the region or were particularly memorable. You may stumble across a gardener still growing a family heirloom.

Where to get Heirloom Seeds?

Seed-Savers_ExchangeThe easiest and most traditional way to get heirloom seeds is from a friend or family member. If you don’t know anyone who has these seeds, you may obtain them from our heirloom seed store here or from the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, IA. They are one of the largest organizations that preserve, collect, grow, and distribute Heirloom Seed. These groups store heirloom seeds for future generations. For finding local heirloom seed resources, you may contact your local U.S. Department of Agriculture extension office.

 

Graphene – The New Solar & Miracle Material

Graphene Facts:

  • grapheneCreated in 2004
  • Created by Professors and Nobel Prize Winners Konstantin Novoselov and Andrew Geim at Manchester University
  • Made by chemically processing graphite — the cheap material in the ‘lead’ of pencils
  • Consists of a single layer of carbon atoms locked together in a strongly-bonded honeycomb pattern
  • Thinnest material ever made
  • Strongest substance known to mankind — 10 times stronger than steel and several times tougher than diamond
  • Extremely Flexible
  • Superb Conductor of Electricity
  • Applications
    • Solar Energy
    • Information Technology
    • Battery Power
    • Water Treatment
    • Optical Electronics
    • Biological Engineering
    • Energy Storage Continue reading

5 Survival Lessons to Learn From Bear Grylls & Man vs. Wild

 

Bear Grylls Eating Something Awesome

Bear Grylls Eating Something Awesome

Have you thought about what you would do in a survival situation? Most people know about the show Man vs. Wild. We love this show!

You can survive almost anywhere
With the right training & knowledge about your surroundings, you can literally survive almost anywhere you are placed. You don’t have to be a Bear Grylls to survive extreme circumstances, but training, experience & research can still help your chances.

You can eat more things raw than most people think Continue reading

4 Pros & 4 Cons to Solar Power for Emergency Preparedness

Should you have a solar power system for emergency preparedness situations?

Guide 10 Plus Mobile Kit Solar Power System 350 by Goal Zero

Solar electric power is a clean and inexhaustible source of energy. Though generating electricity power with solar panels can solve your electricity problems in an emergency situation, solar power is not for everyone and it also does have distinct disadvantages.

Taking the plunge into solar power generation has its advantages & disadvantages. Here they are:

4 Advantages to Solar Power Continue reading

10 Things You Should Have in Your Family Emergency Preparedness Kit

Keep your family protected and safe.

Keep your family protected and safe.

Is your family prepared for an earthquake? For a fire? What are you doing now to be prepared?

Preparation is critical to your family’s safety in the event of an emergency. This article will present 10 items that you should have to be prepared for an emergency.

There are two types of survival kits.

1. Wilderness Survival Kits

2. Family Emergency Preparedness Kits

We will be addressing the needs of the emergency preparedness kits for a family.

You should have your survival kit in an easily accessible location in your home. A backpack is a great place to have these items stored. This survival kit will include supplies and tools that are both helpful and often critical in an emergency situation.

In preparing a survival kit, you must consider the number of people that will be using them. For instance, in a traditional family of four individuals, these things are a must to have in a survival kit:

  1. First Aid Kit
  2. Water Filtration Device/Water
  3. 72 hours of food
  4. Fire Starters Continue reading