When Your Preps are Threatened

thunderstorm-567678_640We have all experienced the wrath of Mother Nature on some scale at one time or another. She can be a violent, temperamental beast and strike without warning. In some cases, we are fortunate enough to get a little inkling of what she is up to thanks to modern technology and various imaging tools. This week, it is Hurricane Matthew storming across the Atlantic and wreaking havoc as it goes.

For preppers along the south eastern coastline, it has to make you a little worried for your stockpile. For those not in the direct path of the hurricane, it should make you think a little harder about how you will secure your own stockpile in case a natural disaster heads your way. What happens if you have to evacuate? Do you have a backup plan?

Your stockpile is meant to be used in the case of a natural disaster, like a hurricane, so you need to make sure it will weather the storm with you. That means you need to do everything you can to make sure your stockpile is safe from the weather.

  • Store your food in 5-gallon buckets with lids that lock on tight. This will help protect your food from any water damage that may happen in a flood. If your roof is damaged in a hurricane, the buckets will keep your food dry.
  • Secure your shelving units to the wall with anchors. You don’t want your shelves to fall forward, possibly popping the lids off buckets, bursting cans or breaking jars.
  • Add a piece of 1×2 or a thick rope across your shelves to keep things from sliding off if there is an earthquake or even strong enough winds. If your home is seriously damaged, you want the majority of your supplies to be okay.hurricane-67581_640
  • Put your food storage somewhere that is fairly secure and well-supported. If you are using a root cellar or basement, make sure major flooding won’t be an issue. This applies to underground shelters as well. If it is in a spare room, put plywood over the windows, just in case the glass breaks.
  • If you can, put a tarp over your shelves stocked with food and secure with ropes or bungee cords. This is just another layer of protection for your supplies. It may also make it easier to find if you need to dig through the rubble.

While you can’t control Mother Nature, you can take steps to protect your investment. If you weren’t able to evacuate and an area is hard hit, you are going to need those supplies They will be extremely valuable. Every layer of protection you add will help.

 

13 Staples You Need in Your Emergency Food Pantry

file0001706313190When you are shopping around for things to put on your shelves for a rainy day or after a major collapse, it can all seem a little—messy. You add a little of this, a little of that and look around the grocery store to find a few other odds and ends to fill the shelves. If you are stockpiling food without a plan in place, you need to stop. You have to have an idea of the meals you will make after SHTF. It may seem trivial, but it is important.

When you have some basic staples, you can prepare a variety of meals. You won’t have to worry about getting bored with the same food every single day. Eating canned foods for a month will get old and can make you ill. Adding freeze-dried foods to the mix is a good idea. There is no rule that says you can’t have a variety of quick meals, like freeze-dried and a variety of staples that allow you make some good old fashioned home-cooked meals.240serving-cat

The following 13 staples should be included in your pantry. This way you always have options.

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Cornmeal
  • Coconut oil (vegetable oil goes rancid)
  • Raw honey
  • Pasta (variety of noodles)
  • Seasonings
  • Cocoa powder
  • Instant milk
  • Rice
  • Dried beans (pinto, kidney, navy)
  • Coffee

With these basic ingredients, you can make filling meals that taste great and offer the family a lot of variety. It is amazing what you can create with just a few ingredients. You will have the ability to mix things up and create some new recipes that are sure to please your family. Adding a can of corn to a pot of rice or adding some canned fruit to a homemade biscuit can help change things up.

Each of the items on this list can be safely stored for decades without spoiling. You will want to make sure you seal the food in Mylar bags and store within a sealed bucket. Between your freeze-dried foods, canned foods and these basic staples, you will be set.

5 Must-Have Staples for Your Prepper Storage

file0001706313190Every prepper will have their own idea about what should be put on their food storage shelves. That is okay. That is actually very good. No family is going to enjoy the same foods. We all have our preferences and by now you probably know the rule about only stocking what you eat today. With that said, there are a few foods that every prepper should have tucked away for a SHTF situation. These are foods that provide the necessary nutrition needed to stay alive. Not all foods contain the protein you need to keep going. With fresh meat limited and an inability to run to the grocery store, you must have these foods on hand to keep your body in good shape.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a comfort food as well as packed with protein. A little goes a long way. It is filled with a variety of vitamins and minerals that will help keep your body strong as you get used to taking on more manual labor.

Brown Riceteriyaki rice rice-315239_960_720

Brown rice is healthier than white rice, but if you can only get your hands on long-grain white rice, it will suffice. Rice will give you the energy you need to keep going. It is rich in iron as well as protein and the calories you need, which will help keep you healthy and strong.

Dried Beans

Pinto beans are an absolute must. They store for decades. They are very filling and high in protein and fiber. Again, it is all about getting the biggest bang for your buck when you are eating for survival. Empty calories are not going to help you.

Nuts

Lots and lots of nuts are an excellent source of protein, fiber and good carbs. They are filling and so easy to eat when you are on the move. Before you head out on a hunting trip, fill your pockets with some mixed nuts, almonds, cashews and sunflowers are ideal.

Sprouting Seeds

Alfalfa sprouts or broccoli sprouts are nutritious and can make a plain old sandwich taste spectacular. A tiny bit will go a long way and they are super easy to sprout. All you need is a paper towel and a few days.

These are five things every prepper will want to start stocking up on. Rice and beans can be prepared in a variety of ways so you don’t get bored. The sprouts add flavor to a dull piece of bread. Nuts are great for satisfying that need to snack and peanut butter, is just good all the way around.

What’s In Your Emergency Food Storage?

food pantry-1It never hurts to recheck what you have stockpiled in your emergency food storage. If you are new to prepping, you may be trying to figure out what you should be stocking up on. It can all be a little overwhelming. Do you stick with a lot of canned food or do you invest in lots of dried foods? There is no right or wrong answer. Every family will eat differently. The key is to stock up on food that your family eats today. Don’t waste your money buying a bunch of food that your family would turn their nose up at should you put it on the table for dinner tonight.

Survival mode in a chaotic situation is not the time to experiment with the tastebuds of your family. They need the food they know and love. They need their comfort foods to help make them feel at ease and even a little normal. Look at your pantry and start making notes. When you go grocery shopping, look at the stuff in your cart. THAT is what you are going to put on your shelf.

The following list includes some of the things you should add to your stockpile. These are items that are inexpensive and can store for very long periods of time, decades even. They are rather generic and can be used to thicken up soups, stews or even make casseroles. You can certainly get your family to eat that.healthy freeze dried food

Beans—pinto, white, black
Rice
Oats—great for thickening up soup
Freeze-dried dairy products—butter, cheese, milk; this is the only way to store these items long term
Variety of spices and seasonings, a little salt goes a very long way to making a bland dish edible
Peanut butter
Jam
Flour
Pasta noodles—go for a variety and not just spaghetti
Wheat—only store this if you know how and are willing to grind it up to make flour
Canned fruits and veggies
Canned meat—Spam will be very popular, don’t forget tuna, chicken breast and sardines
Jerky
Dried fruit and veggies

This is a basic list. Don’t store a bunch of canned food and ignore the dry stuff. Canned food is typically high in sodium and there is that certain mush quality that will get old very quick. Freeze dried foods are a little more expensive, but they give you a lot more options.

Different Ways to Store Water for Survival

stackablewaterWater is life. Plain and simple. Humans need water to live. An average person can live three days without water. However, after the first day or even the first 12 hours without water, things are going to get very rough. Nobody wants to experience the consequences of dehydration, especially when in order to survive you are going to have to have physical as well as mental strength to get through.

You have to do what you can to store enough water to last you a minimum of three days. That is one gallon of water per person in your family per day. Storing water is a problem because it is so darn heavy and takes up a lot of room. You need options.

Here are a few ways you can store water around your home to use in case of emergency.

1-Rain barrels. Set the things up outside so they can catch the rain water off of your home’s roof. Once the barrels are full, use a hand truck to put them inside a shed or against a side of the house that gets lots of shade. 50 gallons of water will last you several days.

2-Bottle your own water in old juice bottles, pop bottles or even iced tea bottles. Don’t use plastic milk jugs. Store the jugs in your root cellar, pantry or even under your bed. Storing the bottles outside may not be a good idea if you live in an area prone to extreme temperatures.water

3-Invest a few hundred dollars in a large 250-gallon cistern. This can be placed in the corner of your yard and filled up with the hose or set up a rain catchment system. You can buy bigger cisterns if you have the funds and the room.

4-Stackable water containers are perfect for setting against a wall in the basement or even in the back of your pantry. You can save space by stacking up and against the wall and save your shelf space for your food. The portable containers are easy to carry to a watering hole to refill.

Don’t assume you will find water after SHTF. Do what you can to store water today so you do not have to worry about water those first few days following a disaster.

Prepper Gardening During a Drought

self-sufficient gardensWith droughts gripping a large portion of the nation, preppers are struggling to keep their gardens green and growing. A prepper garden plays a pivotal role in establishing a food storage. Without a garden, you are forced to rely on the grocery stores and pay ridiculous prices. It is only going to get worse considering many of the farms that supply that grocery stores are caught in the nasty droughts as well.

Preppers can keep their garden going by changing up the way they do things. Even the oldest dogs (preppers) can learn new tricks. These tricks will come in handy when the tap is dry and watering your survival garden isn’t as easy as turning on the faucet.

1-Put in a serious effort to keep the weeds down and away from your plant base. Weeds are water hogs and the little water your garden does get will be stolen by the weeds who are just as thirst as your plants.

2-Use pine needles, dead leaves, compost and even old newspaper around the base of your plants to keep the ground moist. The sun bakes the earth and evaporates the water quicker than your plant roots’ can absorb it.

3-Use soaker hoses or make your own out of an old garden hose. Poke a few holes along the defunct hose and lay it on the ground. The water will go right to the roots and not spray out and evaporate before it ever hits the ground.

4-Don’t waste water by over-watering. Set a timer or pay attention to the clock. Typically, 15 to 20 minutes is plenty of water for your veggies.drought-84611_640

5-Obviously, only water during the early morning hours or late at night. If you are a night owl, water throughout the night. Take advantage of the sun being down and it’s evaporating rays put away for the night.

Keeping your garden watered will help you control the bug population as well. When your plants are weak and thirsty, they are prone to disease and pests. Have you ever seen a lot of grasshoppers in a lush, green area? Not so much. They thrive in the dry areas.

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.

3 Ways to Dry Food without Electricity

Part of prepping is learning skills that you will need after SHTF. There is a very strong possibility electricity will be extremely limited or completely non-existent following a major disaster. It could take months or years for the world to be righted again. You have to be able to preserve the food you grow and hunt in order to carry you through the months where it is difficult to garden or find game to hunt.chili

These are 3 ways you can dry food to store for long periods. Drying food will be one of your only options of food preservation as the world relearns the old way of our ancestors.

1-Hanging your fruits, veggies and meat out in an the open sunlight is one way to dry food enough to put it in storage. It is important you string your rope in an area that gets direct sunlight. It cannot be somewhere that is shaded half of the day by a building or trees. It can take a full day, possibly 2 days to get the food completely dry. You can help ensure the drying process is successful by cutting the food thin enough to help speed drying. At night, put the food in a cool, dry place to keep it from spoiling and put it out again the next day as soon as the sun rises. This will keep the food from developing moisture from condensation.

2-A solar dryer is something you will want to build today. There are plenty of designs available on the internet. Use an old window from a junkyard or second hand store. You can use the screen from the window or buy some screening material at your local hardware store. Stretch the screening material over a frame so that it is tight and will hold your food slices. The glass window should mount over the top of the screen. It is a good idea to build your solar dryer on legs so that is off the ground. This is a preferred method as it will keep your food from being littered with debris in the environment as well as protect it from birds and other animals.

car3-It is easy to imagine there will be a lot of broken down cars following a disaster. If those cars have all their windows intact, they will make excellent dehydrators. Push the car into a sunny place and roll up all the windows. Place your sliced food on window screens or cookie sheets. Place the sheets in the front and back windows of the car. The car will become hot as an oven—literally, which is perfect for dehydrating your food. The car will also protect your food from animals and stuff in the environment falling into it.

Supplementing Your Food Supply After SHTF

dandelionYou have been busy stockpiling food and are probably pretty comfortable with what you have amassed thus far. Maybe you are one of those who has calculated your food stores right down to the serving and the amount of days you have on hand. Or you may be one of those who just kind of eyeballs your shelves and guesstimates how many days you have on hand. Both methods are really estimates because you never know who is going to be home when it hits the fan. What if you happen to have relatives visiting or a portion of your food supply is damaged? You need to have a backup plan to supplement your food supply after disaster strikes.
Foraging

Foraging is going to be your best option. You may envision yourself as the great white hunter, but hunting large game is not easy. It is time-consuming and zaps your energy. Energy is not something you can afford to waste when you are low on food. You need to learn what plants you can eat that will help sustain you while you set traps or go fishing for a bigger source of food. There are literally thousands of plants you can munch on. However, nearly every edible plant has a doppelganger that just happens to be poisonous or will cause some nasty side effects. You need to spend some time learning what is safe and what to avoid. It doesn’t hurt to have a manual with your food stores to use as a reference tool. Going through the testing process to determine what is safe to eat and what isn’t can take a full day. You don’t have that kind of time.

Trapping

You may be short on ammunition and unless you have spent time learning how to use a bow and arrow, you are going to have to rely on setting traps. Traps are best used for small game, but you can certainly attempt to trap deer, bear and wild hogs. Small game is easier and more prolific than the large beasts we are used to putting on our dinner tables. Every little bit helps. Along with your book about edible plants, download and print a few instructional guides about how to build various traps with the items you find in your surroundings.fishing

It doesn’t matter if you have enough food to last a year. You have to be prepared to supplement your existing food supply just in case things go wrong or the disaster completely turns the world upside down and you will be forced to survive on your wit and skills for longer than a year. Prepare and practice today to make your uncertain tomorrow a little easier.