Canned Food 101 for the Beginning Prepper

If you are interested in stocking up food to use in the event of an emergency, you may canned foodhave some questions. When you talk to other experienced preppers or do some research online, it is easy to panic and think you can’t possibly build up a supply of food that will last you for months. It can seem like an impossible feat, especially when you think of the cost involved.

It isn’t nearly as difficult as it seems. These are some tips that preppers have been using to get their supplies built up. Yes, it does take time. Yes, it does take money. However, slow and steady wins the prepping game.

Set a Monthly Budget

Before you head to the store and start shopping, set a budget. You don’t want to buy too much, too soon. You will burn out. You will also end up spending more money than you need to. Part of prepping is doing what you can to get yourself in a good financial spot. Spending a lot of money on food that you are storing away could result in financial hardship.

Pick the Right Foods

Don’t buy foods your family will not eat. It is a waste of space and money. Do what you can to diversify your food storage, but keep it to the foods you eat. If your family isn’t a fan of tuna or peas, skip them and spend your money on foods they do eat.

Use Coupons and Shop the Ads

Don’t be afraid to be a bargain shopper. Have some money set aside so you can buy big when a canned food sale does hit. Learn some of the tricks mega-couponers use. Buy one get one free sales are an excellent way to beef up your pantry at half the price.cans

Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

Buying in bulk is generally the best way to save money. You will still need to do the math and make sure the bulk price is a good bargain. It isn’t a wise idea to buy bulk cans or family size cans of foods. You have to assume you won’t have refrigeration. Can your family eat a huge can of tomato sauce in one sitting or a big can of chili? You don’t want it to go to waste. An option is freeze-dried foods. This allows you to use a portion of the can, seal it up and it will be good for several weeks or longer. The freeze-dried foods have longer shelf lives and will taste just as good in 20 years as they do today. Canned food will lose flavor and does run the risk of spoiling.

Prepping is a great way to give yourself peace of mind. You will sleep better knowing you have a supply of food to sustain your family should there be a disaster or a financial collapse that leaves the budget stretched thin with no room for groceries. A supply of food is smart. Start with these simple tips and get started building up your food supply today.

Plant Your Garden with Heirloom Seeds This Year

seedsIt is already that time of year again to start planning your garden. A prepper needs a garden for several reasons. The food it provides will give your family something to eat today, while the extra produce that is common is preserved and put on the pantry shelves for the future. Gardening today also helps teach you the ins and outs of gardening so you are an expert when the garden is the only thing you have to feed your family.

While you are thinking about your garden this year, think about using heirloom seeds. Heirloom seeds are the only kind that will produce vegetables that you can harvest the seeds from to use next year. This means you always have new seeds to use for the following year. In fact, you will probably have more seeds than you can use, which means you can sell, trade or barter your heirloom seeds for different seeds or other things you need.

Heirloom seeds do cost a bit more. However, you only have to buy them one time. You will save money in the long run by paying a little more up front and not ever have to worry about buying seeds again. The investment can pay off once you learn how to harvest, dry and preserve the seeds to sell or trade.Seed-Packets-IMG_0879

When you are shopping for heirloom seeds, keep in mind you are going to be getting vegetables that are very natural. They haven’t been crossbred or genetically modified to be disease resistant, have shorter growing times or produce larger than life crops. You will have to learn how to garden without the benefit of these traits, which isn’t all that hard. And, you will LOVE the delicious produce you harvest.

Start shopping for your heirloom seeds today so they are ready to put in the ground when planting season arrives. If you can’t afford to buy all heirloom, start with a few packs and slowly build up your supply.

Could You Survive in Your Home for Days without a Trip to the Store?

riotingWe have seen it happen a few times in the last year. Civil unrest and rioting prompts police to shut down entire neighborhoods and even rural areas. Blockades are put in place and people are not allowed to come or go. Sometimes the stipulation is if you leave, you cannot come back in. An impending disaster like a fire, snowstorm or hurricane can also result in a complete shutdown. Could you survive without leaving your home on the supplies you have right now? You wouldn’t be able to run to the store for toilet paper, milk, bread or any other necessity. What you have is what you got.

That is a scary scenario for some, but it does happen more often than you think. Residents are forced to decide to take anything they think is valuable and flee their home; not knowing if it will be standing when they get back. Or, they choose to hunker down and ride out whatever is coming their way until the last minute. Many people have poured their entire life savings, energy and their very soul into their homes and can’t imagine leaving it to chance. If you are one of those people and you want to stay to protect what is yours, you need to be prepared.food pantry-1

Having at least a week’s supply of food, water and basic necessities on hand at any given time is a must. Ideally, you should aim to have at least a month’s supply. If it is a disaster that is coming your way or the civil unrest is especially bad or violent, leaving your home after a week to get supplies could be futile if there is nothing left in your local area.

Don’t get caught off guard. You just never know when the next riot or natural disaster will force you to stay in place with the supplies you have on hand. The recent snowstorm along the east coast is a perfect example. Supplies were wiped out and those who didn’t plan ahead were left without. Get started prepping for any disaster, big or small.

Prepare for Winter, Today–Before It’s too Late

snow WVWith winter coming in quick, it is important you spend some time preparing for violent winter storms that may lead to power outages and freezing temps that can ruin a food storage. It depends a lot on what part of the country you are in, but the risk of having a colder and snowier winter are pretty high for many regions. This is the time you want to prepare for winter storms; not a day before one is expected to hit.

If you already have a food storage in place, you will want to do what you can to protect it from the cold and from mice who are going to be wanting to get out of the cold. If your food storage is in a basement, make sure it will not get below 50 degrees. If you need to, cover the windows in the basement with plastic. You will want to make sure it is still properly ventilated and will want to have a fan running to keep the air from becoming too moist and threatening your food products.snowy sidewalk

Do an inspection of the area and look for any cracks or quarter-sized holes or bigger that will allow mice entry to your food storage. Fill the spaces with caulking, foam insulation or use steel wool reinforced with chicken wire. Do yourself a favor and put food in buckets for extra protection. This will help keep it dry and keep out the mice.

Once you have secured your food storage, you will need to take inventory. Ensure you have enough food and supplies to carry you through a harsh winter storm that could leave you holed up in your home for days. Don’t put off getting things like toilet paper, bottled water and batteries for your flashlights. These are going to be some of the first things that are wiped off store shelves when the threat of a winter storm is issued. Take care and get ready to ride out another winter.

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.

Is that Plant Safe to Eat? The Edibility Test

chickweedIf you ever find yourself stranded or out in the wilderness with no food to speak of, you need to know what you can eat that you find growing in the wild. There are hundreds and hundreds of plants that are edible. It is extremely difficult to try and remember what every one of those plants are. If you are traveling, you will notice that the terrains vary and so do the plants that naturally grow in the various environments. It would be tough to memorize every edible plant in every terrain. You need to know how to test a plant to determine if it is safe to eat.

These quick steps will help you determine what is edible and what should be avoided.

1-When you have identified a plant that looks like something you could eat, separate it into three main parts. Put the flowers, stem and leaves in separate piles. You could also set the roots aside.

2-Rub the portion of the plant you are planning on eating on the inside of your arm. Wait 15 to 30 minutes to see if there is a negative reaction. Itchiness, redness or burning would all be negative reactions. If no reaction, go to step 3.weeds

3-Rub a portion from the same pile on your lips. Wait another 15 minutes to see if there are any signs you are having a bad reaction. If no reaction, go on to step 4.

4-Put a portion from the same pile under your tongue. If you notice any burning, bitter taste or swelling, spit it out and avoid the plant. If no reaction, go on to step 5.

5-Eat a portion of the plant and nothing else. Do not eat anything for at least 8 hours. Wait to see if you have a bad reaction. Vomiting, diarrhea or cramps are all signs you don’t want to eat the plant.

If you do not have any negative reactions, you can eat the plant in moderation. Do not test more than one plant in a 24 hour period.