Don’t Get Caught in the Canned Food Trap

cansThere are plenty of preppers who put a great deal of faith, money and time into stockpiling cases upon cases of canned food. They shun other options like freeze-dried or dehydrated for various reasons. This is a dangerous practice. A good food storage will have a variety of foods in varying forms. Eating the same thing day in and day out isn’t only boring and repetitive, it can also make you sick.

There are some downsides to canned food that should be noted.

  • Most canned foods are high in sodium and nitrates that can increase risk of dehydration
  • Canned foods are heavy and require sturdy shelving
  • You are limited to certain foods
  • Once you open a can, you have to eat it all if there is no refrigeration

Now, to be fair, canned food is probably the most easily accessed and can be purchased anywhere and everywhere. It is also relatively inexpensive.

Freeze-driedhealthy freeze dried food

Freeze-dried food is a viable option that should be considered. Yes, it is more expensive, but it will last for decades or longer. You can buy freeze-dried food in full meals. Things like beef stroganoff, spaghetti and meatballs and chicken and rice are just a sampling of the meals available. You can also purchase a variety of freeze-dried products like sliced sliced potatoes or freeze-dried egg powder that can be used to create a delicious meal.

Freeze-dried food needs very little water to transform into a typical meal. In fact, you need less water to reconstitute freeze-dried food than you do dehydrated food. Freeze-dried food is a little harder to find and will often need to be ordered online. Many companies will offer free shipping if your order reaches a certain dollar amount.

Dehydrated

Dehydrated foods are popular with preppers because they can be eaten as is if it isn’t possible to reconstitute the foods with water. Dehydrated foods are also much cheaper than freeze-dried, but are more expensive than canned. However, plenty of preppers have learned the art of drying their own food at home to save money.

Fruits, meats and vegetables can all be dehydrated. While you would typically buy dehydrated foods individually, you can put together soups and stews that are made up of a variety of dehydrated ingredients and store those on the shelves. Keep in mind, dehydrated foods take hours to reconstitute and do best with hot water. Dehydrated ingredients are best used in stews and soups where they can cook slowly and absorb the other flavors.

Don’t get caught in the trap of only stocking one type of food. Diversify your food storage and you will be happier for it when it comes time to rely on it after a disaster.

Keeping Your Food Storage Cool this Summer

food pantry-1As you continue to build up your preps, you need to take special care to ensure they are being stored properly. With summer temperatures expected to be hotter than ever, it is even more important you take precautions to keeping your food at an ideal temperature. Canned food that gets too hot will spoil. All of your hard-earned money that was spent buying the food will be wasted. Freeze-dried food may not spoil, but it will certainly not hold up as well in extreme conditions.

Here are a few ways you can help keep your food storage from being spoiled by a hot summer.

1-If your preps are in a room in the house, install a ceiling fan or put a couple of oscillating fans in the room to keep the air moving. Opening a window at night will allow a cool breeze in to help keep the room cool.

2-Cover the windows in the room with heavy curtains. Putting aluminum foil on the windows will also help reflect the heat keeping it from heating up the room.

3-Consider building a root cellar to hold your preps. The earth tends to hold around 50 degrees, which is a perfect temperature for your food. The best part about using a root cellar is it can be used year-round and is also a great place to store your root vegetables like potatoes and onions.air-2260_640

4-Basements will typically remain fairly cool, but they can get humid. Keep a fan running to help circulate the air and prevent condensation from building up on your food. Moisture is not something you want in your food storage area.

Your food storage area doesn’t have to be kept as cool as the rest of the house, but you do want to try to keep it under 80 degrees Fahrenheit. A fan can help circulate the cooler air from the rest of the house into your pantry to keep it at an ideal temperature. Your food storage is too important to let go to waste because of a little heat.

Practice Survival Skills this Spring

camping foodIt is time to dust off the gear and head out into the woods, prairie or wherever you live nearby and put your survival skills to the test. Think of survival as training for a big race or marathon. Marathon running requires endurance and you must be in shape. You need to know what to do if you get a cramp and you need to be prepared to deal with bad weather, unsportsmanlike conduct and so on. Survival is basically the same thing. You have to be prepared to deal with rain, bad guys on your tail and a whole host of other scenarios that could come your way. The only way to truly practice is to get out there and do it.

Take your bug out bag with you and experiment with some of your survival gear. Learn how to use that magnesium stick or try and put together a tinder bundle with the stuff you find in the environment—even if it is all been under snow for the past several months. It isn’t like you are going to be thrust into a survival situation in perfect conditions. While it would be great if the weather was a perfect 70 degrees and there wasn’t a rain cloud in the sky, it is just too good to be true.

Get out there and camp overnight. Take the family with you. Do some hands on training and teach the kids how to collect firewood and build a fire. Show them how to properly use the restroom when living outdoors. These are all skills that will be honed the more you do it. Try your hand at some primitive fire-making methods like using a bow drill. You will likely discover it is very difficult and it will reinforce your desire to make sure you always have a way to start a fire with you.scouts

Reading books and listening to experts cannot replace the value of learning and doing with your own two hands. This is the time to start planning some weekend trips and really putting your knowledge to the test.

Droughts Increase Risk of Wildfires–Are You Prepared?

fireWith the very real possibility of drought in areas all across the country, it is important you prepare to deal with a wildfire that has spun out of control. With a lack of snow and rain, the open country is going to be akin to a giant tinder bundle. A spark from a passing car or a strike of lightning could set off a devastating wildfire that threatens homes and lives. Fire is incredibly unpredictable and can change directions at anytime. You need to be prepared and ready to flee should a wildfire threaten your home.

When you hear about or see a fire in your area, you need to pay attention. Listen to the radio and check in with the news every hour or so to check the progress of the fight. Firefighters will give containment numbers. This means they have the fire a certain percent contained. Fires that are burning out of control and have a 0 percent containment are the most dangerous.

If an evacuation advisory is issued, it would be best to listen and get out before it becomes a mandatory evacuation. If there is not an order to leave the area, you still may want to consider doing so anyways, especially if you have anybody in the home that has any kind of respiratory problems. Wild fires contain toxins in the smoke that can make it difficult to breathe and may cause adverse reactions. It is best to get away from the area and let the firefighters do their thing while you watch from a safe distance.firefighters

Keep a bug out bag ready to go at all times. It is a good idea to keep family keepsakes in a single bin that can be grabbed and tossed into the car on a moment’s notice. You don’t want to waste time trying to hunt down grandma’s wedding ring. Have a credit card available to use to rent a room in a nearby town. Make sure you have at least half a tank of gas in the car to get you far enough away from the fire as well.

Don’t assume a wildfire will never happen in your area. They can happen anywhere at anytime. Be prepared to deal with one.

Emergency Makeshift Survival Water Filter

pollution-359014_640Every prepper knows one of the most important elements of survival is to have enough water stored to sustain you for at least 30 days. If you can’t store that much water, than you need to store water purification tablets or be prepared to boil the water you collect to make it safe to drink. Drinking water, even if you think it looks clean, could be deadly. You simply cannot take the risk. However, you may find yourself in an extreme survival situation without your gear. You still need to be able to drink water. You can construct a makeshift water filter that will eliminate some of the contaminants in water you collect. It is not a sure fire method of purifying water, but it can keep you going until you come up with a way to boil your water.

The makeshift water filter can be built from things that are typically in any environment.

1-Your first step is to find an old water bottle or plastic soda bottle. Unscrew the lid and cut off the bottom.

2-Look around for an old campfire or a tree that has been hit by lightning. You need the charcoal. If you have built a fire and can get charcoal from there, you are in luck. Put a handful of charcoal in the bottom (which was the top of the bottle) and pack it in.

3-Next, you will want to add a layer of sand on top of the charcoal.

4-Add a layer of small rocks/gravel on top of the sand.rocks-698504_640

5-Add some leafy green grass, dandelions or even tree leaves.

That is your water filter. Pour the water through the opening at what was the bottom of the bottle. The water should move slowly through the filter. If it goes straight through, pack the layers a little tighter. Each layer filters some of the contaminants. You can certainly run the water through the filter a few times to help get it clear. Adding a piece of cloth over the top can help filter out any large pieces of debris that may be in the water.

This filter will work in a pinch, but it is not a guaranteed method of removing bacteria and viruses from contaminated water. Do your best to find water that is clear and moving.