In The Trenches: Combat Food Storage Tips From a Pro

by David Morris on June 7, 2012

Welcome to this week’s Urban Survival Newsletter, brought to you by FastestWayToPrepare.com, the step-by-step online course that will get you prepared for short, medium, and long term breakdowns in civil order as quickly as humanly possible.

(David’s note: This week, I want to introduce you to Barbara Fix, A.K.A., “The Survival Diva.” You’re going to be seeing a lot more of her, including a novel that we’re working on together that will be released within the next few months. Barbara adds a strong female been-there-done-that prepper voice to the site and I’m excited to be working with her.

Barbara grew up in Alaska, and you guys are going to appreciate her no-nonsense approach to life and prepping. All of my female readers are going to appreciate having a little more of a female perspective and if you’ve got women in your life who have shied away from prepper sites because they’re testosterone fests, please “like” this week’s newsletter on Facebook and share it with them.

With that intro, here’s Barbara)

I enjoyed the recent post Do People STILL Think You’re Paranoid For Preparing? and found myself nodding my head in sympathy while I read it. As the author of Survival: Prepare Before Disaster Strikes, I’ve received my share of strange looks and whispers over prepping. Actually, I’ve come to view being called a Debbie Downer a term of endearment. If you’re struggling with backlash over your prepping at least you can take comfort in the knowledge that the prepper movement is gaining momentum at breakneck speed. Yet staunch naysayers remain surprisingly vocal in calling us out…but don’t let it get you down. Should calamity strike, you can bank on these same people making a B-line to your door at the first sign of trouble. In fact, many of you may have already heard the dreaded words, “I’ll just come to your place if things get bad.”

Well before the meltdown, I began prepping for twenty-three immediate and extended family members on a punishing budget (Northern Idaho is not known for income potential). I’d grown increasingly uncomfortable over having only a few days food in the pantry and no means to survive a grid-down scenario. Since that time, Mother Nature continues to give the globe a one-two punch that has lead to crop damage and centralized mayhem. On the economic front, things have only grown worse while the true unemployment numbers are being misreported–once displaced workers reach the end of their benefits, they are no longer counted. In 2012 home foreclosures exceeded what folks suffered during the Great Depression. And food prices continue to skyrocket with no end in sight due to crop failure, escalated oil prices (agricultural overhead and transportation of crops), and demand for commodities from emerging nations that far exceeds supply. With these events actually making it to the news, even naysayers have had to grudgingly admit it’s not a terrible idea to set aside food, water and basic preparedness goods. It only makes sense to prepare when the alternative leads to the devastation we witnessed during Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti and the tsunami in Japan to name a few.

If you are determined to prepare, there is good news. Preparedness can be done on a budget, without fear, and it can be done with stealth, so you can get on with your life, knowing you and your loved ones are covered in an emergency. If you have doubts about your budget having enough wriggle-room to prepare, please know that you can! I did; a single woman on a punishing budget. The only home-town advantage I had was being raised on an Alaskan homestead without electricity and running water, where an independent mindset was necessary for survival and an accepted way of life for Alaskans, even today. It didn’t hurt to be raised by a mother who hunted walrus from the Bearing Straight who was so frugal, she’d wrestle a nickel to the ground, squeezing every last ounce of value from it before she let go.

Here are a few tips on how I prepared for twenty-three on a punishing income. (David’s note…PLEASE re-read that sentence and let it sink in.  ANY financial excuses that you’ve had up to this point should be put in their due place.)

First Have a Game Plan

You must have a workable game plan to succeed; meaning you must keep your surroundings, income, and abilities in mind–preferably before you start setting aside preparedness items. If you’ve already started prepping only to discover your plan needs revision, no worries. What may not work for your situation can be manna from Heaven for another and those items can be used for barter later on down the road.

Surroundings should be considered before setting aside food storage. Do you believe your area will remain relatively safe should food and water become scarce? If the answer is no, your best food storage plan is likely to be MRE’s, dehydrated, and freeze-dried foods because of their portability should you suddenly need to relocate. Another big plus is they generate fewer cooking odors that can draw looters and worse to your safe haven.

On the flip side, those of you living in a rural area, where looting is less likely, have a wider choice of food storage options such as bulk foods and canned goods.

Tip: We can survive for three days without water, and three weeks without food. When water is scarce and you cannot relocate, consider trading out traditional beds for water beds and keep a siphon on hand. Keep in mind that you won’t want to use traditional waterbed conditioner, you’ll need to drain and refill your bed more often, and you’ll want to run the water through a PURIFIER like a Berkey or a Pur .02 Log purifier before drinking it .

Ability includes having an alternative cooking method. Can you vent to the outdoors, or throw open a window for ventilation when using a camp stove, and if so, will it be safe to do so? Having 300 lbs. of dry beans in the basement won’t do you much good if you don’t have the ability to cook them–dry beans take up to two hours to cook! If you plan to use a camp stove, you should store plenty of propane canisters, or things will go downhill fast! Many die-hard preppers are set up for wood-burning cook stoves. This is how I set up my cabin because I’m on treed acreage that provides plenty of wood for fuel. In more southern locations, a large propane tank is a viable alternative for fuel needs.

Finances is something too many of us have become painfully aware of lately. Where once we may have had enough disposable income for food storage and preparedness goods, our efforts have been diverted to cope with skyrocketing food prices. This may be where sacrifice is called for, where high ticket items can be liquidated and used for prepping—basically converting them into an insurance policy against hunger.

How to Save On Food Storage

Preparedness isn’t limited to food storage, of course, but it’s an excellent place to start. The following are tips that allowed me to purchase a combination of canned, bulk, and MRE’s, dehydrated and freeze-dried foods for 23 people in record time.

MRE’s, Dehydrated and Freeze-Dried Foods:

MRE’s are pricier per pound than bulk or canned goods, but when penciling in the costs of alternative cooking, it isn’t as drastic as it may seem on the surface. For the most part, MRE’s are fairly close in price between one provider and another. Where you can really save is shopping sales and searching for the lowest shipping costs. Some vendors offer free or reduced shipping.

Think about dehydrating your own food and storing it in zip-lock bags away from light, moisture and extreme temperature. Growers and pick-your-own farms are an excellent source for the do-it-yourselfer who wishes to dehydrate fruits and vegetables.

Bulk Foods

Bulk foods are a route many households choose to offset the rising cost of food, saving up to 50% or more. The Grocer Association reports an over 35% increase in bulk foods sales over the past several years and grocers have responded by beefing up their bulk foods, offering everything from spices to pastas to staples. The tradeoff is you forgo the fancy packaging and must store your bulk foods in opaque buckets, away from light, moisture and high or below freezing temperatures (the enemies of shelf life).

Another approach is contacting local growers for bulk foods such as beans, wheat, and corn (to be ground into corn meal). It isn’t unheard of to save upwards of 80% going this route.

Canned Goods

Shop the dollar stores. They’re aware of the consumer’s need for affordable food and most are allotting more and more shelf space for canned goods. Dollar Stores are also one of the best sources for storage items such as toothpaste, shampoo, dish soap, bleach, zip-lock bags, paper plates and other preparedness goods. Purchasing at warehouse stores and grocer’s annual or semiannual flat sales can cut your costs in half or better. And don’t forget to watch for grocery store grand openings. Using these easy methods you’ll have your shelves stocked in no time.

Tip: Rotation is a good food storage choice for families. You simply stock up, and once you’ve put aside what’s needed, start consuming and replacing canned goods before they’ve reached their shelf life, which is typically two years (keep in mind this is optimal shelf life—the actual storage life can be years longer).

Pinch Those Nickels

Most of us are busy and clipping coupons or going online for weekly grocer circulars is on par with getting a root canal. But if you want to get those shelves stocked so you can get back to every-day life, you should make time for combat shopping. In the end, you won’t regret it.

Do you have money-saving tips that have worked for you? If so, please share them!

-Barbara (The Survival Diva)

 

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{ 116 comments… read them below or add one }

+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Ronda
June 8, 2012 at 5:19 am

You’ve done a great job of preparing and I applaud you. However, I’m a city woman, 70 years old, and I have NO idea where to start with propane tanks and dried foods. Never cooked on one in my life. In addition, I have nowhere to store it! Guess I need to start cleaning out “don’t needs,” to make room for this stuff. Honestly, it makes me ANGRY that our government continues to put us in this position. I won’t last 10 minutes when the going gets rough

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-1 Vote -1 Vote +1Doug
June 8, 2012 at 9:27 am

Ronda,

Where are your family, friends and neighbors? I know that I have a responsibility to those that are close to me. Fortunately, or unfortunately, my family are all passed and I live in the boonies where neighbors are almost non-existent. Most friends live many miles away.
I’m sure you have something to contribute. There must be a prepper network where you live. Can anyone help with this info?

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Vote -1 Vote +1david
June 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm

i had the same problem and solved it by just looking at the adds on craigslist and found several people in same boat and have had a couple meets.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1TZ
June 8, 2012 at 9:35 am

Ronda, you can start looking at the camping department of a store such as Walmart. You can easily get a propane camping stove on top of your electric one when there is no electricity. A 5-gal propane tank is small enough and will last for very many cookings. The same with dried foods (at least to get you familiar with them) the camping dept….and…since you are on the internet…you can keep reading this column where you will get more answers than you hoped for. 🙂

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+5 Vote -1 Vote +1Karen Isaacson
June 8, 2012 at 10:36 am

Ronda, there are little one-burner butane stoves that come in their own plastic storage containers that don’t take up much room and work nicely for small meals. Soups and stews are easy and filling and cook-able on one burner. You don’t need a lot of room for just one person’s food; just make absolutely, totally sure you store what you eat and eat what you store (rotate your food storage). There is space under a bed, behind a couch (bringing to a reality my solution when I’ve moved and have a lot of boxes still unpacked and people over: I joke I’ll toss a tablecloth over a stack of boxes and call it furniture), back of a closet, you name it.

As for your age and gender, my mother’s 84 and keeps a full pantry; I even got her some cans of Sterno for emergencies (used a clean used sock as the ‘wrapping paper’ as a joke because people used to think you could strain Sterno though a sock or similar material and drink it).

Start with an extra day’s food. Add a day. Keep at it and pretty soon you have an extra week’s food. Keep at it, make it a habit. I don’t have much income to work with, but I shop the specials whenever I can and have put food by that way. Look at grocery store ads, drug store ads, shop stores that cater to restaurants, and so on. You can usually beat dollar store prices at the grocery store – right now one store in my area has veggies on sale for under 60 cents a can. That extra 40 cents adds up.

You CAN do it. Just start with one step at a time. And don’t forget the toilet paper. : )

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Gouchybear
June 8, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Ronda, if you live close to San Francisco, in the East Bay, you can come to my house. We’ve got provisions for several months, and a bug out plan to go to Oregon to an enclave if things get bad enough.

As for propane tanks, because of your age and physical strength you would want to stick with the small propane cylinders you find in the sporting goods stores. larger tanks, like for b-b-q’s weigh upwards of 30 – 40 pounds and would be too heavy for you to lift safely. If, on the other hand, you have a friend or neighbor who can set one of these tanks in place and you won’t have to move it, it would be ideal and would last quite some time if just using a single burner stove. What ever you decide on just make sure you shut off the propane AT THE TANK to prevent leaks when not it use. And make sure the area where any gas cook stove is used is well ventilated.

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Vote -1 Vote +1gena
June 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I have wondered if you could use a large propane can with a regular camp stove. From what you have said, apparently you can. I have a double burner propane stove and would like to have two or three of the larger cans of propane on hand. I have several small canisters, folding stoves, with sterno and fuel tabs, and firewood for campfires and my fireplace.
I am 65 and not able to lift or carry one of the big cannisters, but do have friends who could carry them in for me, and I could, I presume drag them if necessary to where I could safely use them. You cannot use propane indoors unless you have adequate ventilation, right? Propane, used without adequate ventilation burns up all the oxygen or something like that, correct, produces carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide or something else that will do you in.
I’m curious about finding if I can buy a wood stove just large enough to cook on. If you have one of those, you have to have a method for exhaust fumes also, do you not? I’m buying up as much firewood as I can as it is offseason for firewood down here so stores that still have any on hand are selling it at a pretty good price. Plus if worst comes to worst, the area I live in is surrounded by trees, and there is a lot of dead tree limbs all around here. I bought one of those JawSaw things which is about the only chainsaw type thing I would not be too terrified of to use.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Lyn
June 8, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Hi Gena, you asked about a small wood stove on which you can cook. I have one. A local hardware store here carries them but you can also check online for retailers. Mine was a gift from a now-deceased friend. His wife cooked many meals on the top (veggies, cornbread, etc using ceramic-coated pots and iron skillets). They stoves are made of iron and EXTREMELY heavy and require a vent pipe to the outside and will not draw the smoke out if installed improperly. So, be prepared to have a heavy-duty fire-proof floor beneath it (cement board or bricks will do. Check Lowe’s or Home Depot) and fire-proof walls that are close to it can be covered with cement board. Perhaps when you locate a stove, the company will deliver/install for you. They also are great for heating in winter. As with a fireplace, you will need a fire poker, ash shovel, and fire tongs for turning wood or removing ashes. Good luck on your search.

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Vote -1 Vote +1JCM
June 9, 2012 at 6:12 am

Gena,

You can use a big propane tank with a camp stove, but it requires a $20 or so adapter that you can find in just about any camping section (incl. WalMart) or online.

The danger with burning indoors is that carbon monoxide is produced as a byproduct of an incomplete burning. A perfect burning reaction produces only two byproducts, carbon dioxide and water, but the reaction is seldom perfect and you almost always get some carbon monoxide produced. Blue flame means a more complete (“cleaner”) burning than orange or red. Propane tends to produce less than burning wood or coal, etc., but there is still some there so you have to be careful. As a rule, NEVER use any propane or kerosene appliance indoors without reading and following the instructions, including ventilation. And always keep a carbon monoxide detector (with 9V battery backup) on hand as part of your preps.

Hope that helps!

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Vote -1 Vote +1Ernest
July 31, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Very good information being shared. When young and going to college the house we lived in did not have safe wiring so we couldn’t use many electric appliances. We bought an air tight stove to heat the house and did warm many meals on it as well. An air tight stove gives more complete combustion of the wood so they get hotter and burn longer thus getting more heat from your wood and less smoke to boot. Some of them will safely burn coal which gives of even more heat longer. I am only in my mid 50’s but disabled and could not handle splitting and caring wood very much so I will have to use gas cylinders and sleeping bags to stay warm. My big concern is that I know I will have to prep for my daughter and her children because they are not the least bit ready for any ripples in the supply system and I have heard from many people if it gets bad I’ll come see you.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
July 31, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Ernest,

Those dreaded words…yep, “I’ll just come to your place” means we need to get ready ( : One tip…teach your daughter to chop wood. It’s good for the soul.

Using a pressure cooker was pointed out in comments and it’s a great way to shorten cooking time. Just remember not to include split peas.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Peter
June 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Hi Rhonda, you can check online places like The Ready Store http://www.thereadystore.com/ also you can Emergency Essentials http://beprepared.com/ just to a name a few they have great prices awesome customer service and great products ready to be shipped. Also you can check places like Walmart, Sams Cluns, BJ’s, Costco warehouses and you can buy in bulk and save, hope this help at least a little.

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Vote -1 Vote +1jim 28th reg
June 11, 2012 at 3:37 am

Ronda don’t despair girl God look out for us geezers as well as those little snots that follow Him. You can still store food under your bed. Wallys has some not to expensive camp stoves as well as what we used to call pocket stoves and they ‘re all fairly easy to use.
I’m fortunate to live in a rural area surrounded with hunters and while not all shareing like minds we do look out for eachother –well there’s one group but they’re pretty much kept in check. Your church should be a good source for aid perhaps you could speak to the other women with your concerns since the men seem to be more wworried right now about where the bass are biting.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Subee
July 13, 2012 at 9:38 am

I too am 70 and live in an urban setting and you can learn. Survival is an instint. Think …is the main thing..We can last, but it is going to take craftiness and a positive thinking outlook. I asked the Lord to give me decernment and He is always right on time.
Next is trust in Him.

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+8 Vote -1 Vote +1Tonya
June 8, 2012 at 5:23 am

By grinding your dried beans into a “flour” you can cook them quickly (for a “creamy” soup in about 3-4 minutes) or use as a thickener with other soups. Additionally, you can use them to replace up to 1/4 of the amount of wheat flour in many recipes.

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+5 Vote -1 Vote +1Griz
June 8, 2012 at 10:05 am

You’ve been playing bean roulette. Eating certain types of beans (e.g. kidney beans) after cooking for only 3-4 minutes can kill you dead.

Wikipedia: “Kidney beans, and some others, are poisonous if not pre-soaked and subsequently heated to the boiling point for at least 10 minutes. This toxic agent, Phytohaemagglutinin (Kidney Bean Lectin), is found in many beans, but the highest concentration of the lectin is found in kidney beans. Undercooked beans are known to contain five times the toxicity of raw, soaked beans, so boiling for an extended time is required.”

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Vote -1 Vote +1MontanaLoki
June 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Griz,
What about pinto beans? I have some of those buckets of bulk ’emergency food’ pinto beans from Costco. Do those need to be cooked for a long time? How long do you think? Thanks!

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Linda n Texas
June 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Cooking beans is so simple and quick using a pressure cooker. There is no reason to be afraid of pressure cookers, I have been using them since I was a small child. Just look at the times, and pressure required required for the amount and type of food and cook away. Most bean dishes can be properly cooked in about 40 minutes with the pressure cooker. Saves a lot of fuel too.

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Vote -1 Vote +1shirley
June 8, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Griz, I found your information to be an eye-opener. I had never heard of this. But, I will tell you what I know. I traveled with my husband, a few years back, on a truck. We worked it together. We had a nice sleeper, fridge, and microwave on it. I fixed a lot of food that way. One thing I tried out before we took this job and did this, was to fix macaroni and cheese and then spaghetti at home with the microwave. It worked. This is what I did. I placed a bowl of water, measured out, in the microwave to get hot. I opened the door and put in the macaroni or spaghetti. I let it sit there, in the bowl, inside the micro for about 20 minutes. It was great! The water was not boiled. But it was quite hot! The food was great as if I had boiled it. SSo, I figured I could do this with a pan of water heated on the grill, with rice, or even, beans. I tried it with Navy beans, I think it was. It took a lot longer and I had to keep reheating the water, but it worked. So now, I feel I should redo that experiement and write down the time, exactly, but I am concerned now that if I don’t do it exactly right, especially with kidney beans, we could die! Do you, or anyone have suggestions?

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Peter
June 9, 2012 at 3:09 am

I would seriously refrain from quoting anything from Wikipedia..
Its is my understanding that it is one of the biggest dis-info campaigns on the web..
Is this the only place u can find this information??

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1kirbs
June 9, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I’ve read that feeding any kind of uncooked beans to chickens is deadly for them. If they are cooked, that’s fine. I was reading up on how to make my own chicken feed when I ran across that tidbit of info, but didn’t know it applied to humans also. Don’t think I’ll be eating any undercooked kidney beans again …..

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Vote -1 Vote +1Ernest
July 31, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Look into a pressure cooker to speed the time it takes to cook some foods. The pressure cooker can also be rigged up to distill water with a little plumbing. If you plan to use a generator to provide electricity don’t run it in the house the exhaust fumes can kill you. looking ahead I set up my shed with heavy wiring solid floor and an exhaust system that helps direct the noise and fumes out the roof of the shed. This way most noise and fumes and fuel are under look and key out of sight out of mind. I covered the inside of the shed in sound absorbing egg cartons. If you use wood or some other method that takes a while to build cook the meals for at least a whole day if not the next so that all you have to do is warm them up not fully cook them each meal.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Joyce
June 9, 2012 at 4:02 pm

There are a few cookbooks published that show you how to use bean flour. There are a lot of delicious receipes out there. I have also used it to make pancakes and waffles. It works and tastes delicious. It is like a wheat flour. My next try will be homemade bread.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Michele
June 8, 2012 at 6:01 am

A solar oven is another great alternative cooking source.
Check out my blog for solar oven recipes, & more details on coupons for food storage. Using coupons you can often get food free!

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+4 Vote -1 Vote +1martha
June 8, 2012 at 6:02 am

a couple of quick notes: canned and frozen vegetables can be dehydrated to reduce space, avoid loss (of frozen) d/t power outage, and to add to “mixes” saving weight. As frozen veggies are already blanched, simply place on dehydrator trays and dry as usual. When stores had their big frozen food sales, I would dry peas, corn, carrots, etc. I also dried canned beans to allow longer storage in less space. Not ideal, but electricity was the big question mark, and having the foods dried would allow preparation of a small amount without the entire can or package spoiling — a factor to consider as I am prepping for one person.
Also, don’t forget to prep for dogs and cats — they will need to eat, too.

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Vote -1 Vote +1gena
June 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Question which will likely make you think I’m a moron, when you dehydrate food, when you are ready to eat it, do you then hydrate it again? And if so, how? How much water does it take to rehydrate veggies you have dehydrated? How long do you need to soak it if you do so.
I was glad to hear you can dehydrate stuff like that, I’ve been concerned about what might happen to the frozen food should and/or when the power goes out. and if you can dehydrate frozen food, I will then buy a whole lot more frozen food.
I’m buying a nonelectric dehydrator from MyPatriotSupply.com next week. It says you use the old fashioned methods of dehydrating which uses air somehow to dehydrate stuff without using any power.
I have no upper teeth due to an abscessed tooth that ended up infecting all the upper teeth and the VA made me upper dentures that I was never able to use. So I cannot eat anything that is hard enough to hurt the gums. Other than nuts, some crackers, chips, and some raw veggies I can eat just about everything. I can eat fruit for the most part if I peel apples and/cut things into small pieces. I love raw carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, but no longer can eat them. Miss nuts, chips and the raw veggies the most.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Purivar
June 9, 2012 at 11:57 am

I dehydrate veggies that I will cook with: carrots, onions, tomatoes, celery, etc. When I cook I just toss a handful of dry into the pan with lentils or rice or similar stuff, and in about 20 minutes on the stove or an hour in the solar cooker it’s stew. The lentils take longer than the veggies do.
Fruit I either eat dry (might be too crispy for you though) or I cook it the same amount of time as the veggies in steel cut oats. Just letting it sit in enough water to cover it for 20 minutes or so should be enough to eat it straight.
How long it takes to rehydrate depends on how big your pieces are, smaller rehydrates faster. Figure out what you plan to do with it, and cut your pieces to size accordingly. I generally dice things about the size of my fingertip, and it is done when the lentils or grains are, which is what I want.
Best is to do a small batch in your dehydrator, test it for useability, and adjust your technique to work for the results you want. My advice is start with fingertip sized pieces and see how that works for you. If you have never dehydrated before, being consistent with the sizes of pieces will help it dry evenly, you don’t need to measure them or anything, but big pieces dry slower, and it’s not fun to have to sort out the dry stuff from things are not done yet. I really like a salad shooter for slicing carrots and beets etc all to the same size. Another trick is to toss things in the blender and make mush, then dry the mush into powder. Apple powder sprinkles on oatmeal wonderfully 🙂
Re the bean discussion above: I cook beans in the solar cooker, (or any way, I just have a good solar cooker) blend them up, dry them, and store that flour for cooking. Takes up almost no space and is ready to use. Add spices and a bit of water and you have a spread for bread, or eat it straight. Excellent backpacking food. I make hummus and dry it into powder, add a bit of water and it’s quite yummy. Any spice mix you like works in dried bean powder paste (I’m partial to Old Bay seasoning.) You’ll be amazed how much it compresses beans to cook them, mash them, and dry them. A big pan full ends up about 1 cup of bean flour. Great for maximizing your storage space.
I had some beans that got old and had to be cooked a LONG time to make them edible, I cooked up the whole batch in the solar cooker, a pan full at a time, left them out in it for 2 days or so, then blended and dried them. Used up the whole 25 pound bag now, when I have more options rather than store them and have to deal with them later when I might not have power for the stove or blender.
Do your experimenting with drying things now, while you still have options, so when you need to know how to do it, it’s easy for you. Using the salad shooter now is great, but I know what size to cut things with a knife if I can’t use it, it’s not a requirement for me.
Next up for me is to build a solar dehydrator…

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Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
June 14, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Gena,
Dehydrated vegetables and fruit can be hydrated with 3 parts water, 1 part fruit or vegetables for 20 minutes.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Ernest
July 31, 2012 at 7:35 pm

You might check into a hand operated food processor. I have to run that hard stuff through a food chopper then I add nuts, carrots, and such to my salads. Look for a place where you can pick berries they are excellent for your health and well being.

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Vote -1 Vote +1MontanaLoki
June 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Martha,
You’re awesome! Thanks for the idea about drying canned foods! And people don’t usually remember the dogs and cats like I do. The Honest Kitchen dehydrated raw is great for them – rotate through for camping and vacations – the rest is for preps. Made in a food grade facility with organic components. I have thought several times that it smells good enough for me to eat.

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+3 Vote -1 Vote +1samnjoeysgrama
June 8, 2012 at 6:28 am

I was in Detroit during the Aug 2003 blackout. Although Wikipedia says it lasted up to 24 hours, they were clearly in California! We had no power or water for almost a WEEK. The first thing to do in a blackout is to fill your bathtub. You will probably have pressure for an hour or so. Most pumps in cities are electric. Even if you can see a water tower near you, it has to be replenished by a pump. There are products on the market that are essentially large plastic bags. You put it in your tub and fill it there, but even water from a dirty tub can be put through a filter. You may be filling the tub and the power might flicker back on, but do it anyway. There is no way to tell how long it will be out. BTW, NO GOV HELP OR WATER TRUCKS EVER ARRIVED!!!

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+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Gouchybear
June 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Good info. For those who live someplace with a swimming pool you can use pool water after it is run thru a filter to remove the chlorine and other things in the water. We live in a single family home with a 25k gallon pool and will use a backpacking water filter when the time comes.

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+4 Vote -1 Vote +1JR
June 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm

As will most of the neighbor hood that doesn’t have a pool…..be prepared for that. You will need to either give water away, barter with it…or defend it with lethal force…be prepared…others will have the same idea and will try to take it…most likely by force.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Ernest
July 31, 2012 at 7:41 pm

We bought a medium sized PUR water filter the fits in the fridge and are using it now to get excess chlorine and fluoride out our water now. Many times the water supply can be jeopardized long before anyone reports. On city water we get about 3 months out of each filter cartridge. I buy extra cartridges when on sale. Think of materials you can use to filter the turbid mater out before filtering. This will stretch the amount of water your filters can filter.

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+3 Vote -1 Vote +1tim
June 8, 2012 at 6:32 am

thank you tonya, I did not know you could grind beans and veggies to make a cream type of soup. I want to try this to see how it comes out. any recipes ? hit roadside stands on sunday, alot of these are willing to bargain on sunday because nobody really stops during the week. also buy in bulk, they will give you a bulk discount. flea markets are great places to buy veggies and fruit. again right before closing time is best.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Rex
June 8, 2012 at 7:17 am

Shopping at garage sales, flea markets, thrift stores, gun shows and internet classified ad sites are also a great means of stocking your larder inexpensively. You would be surprised what people throw away, or sell at low prices. Be careful of sites like E-Bay where people bid on items. They tend to pay more than they would if they bought the item new.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1phylm
June 8, 2012 at 7:36 am

The tip to grind beans for flour is a good one. As a “Prep Freak” and prep nag, i advise my classes to remember that a legume and a grain make a complete protein, so that meat is not absolutely necessary. Bean flour added to your wheat bread recipe. Soups with legumes and a slice of hot corn, rye, wheat or corn bread = a nutrious meal. A peanut butter sandwich = same thing. And just think–add bean flour to your recipe, and chocolate chip cookies are now a survival food!

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Karen Isaacson
June 8, 2012 at 10:39 am

You don’t have to have a complete protein in a single meal to get the protein, either. Diet for a Small Planet and the recipe book that followed were done on the premise that you had to have lentils and peanut butter (or whatever) in the same meal but studies have shown that as long as you eat two different complimentary proteins within a short time of each other (within a few days) you will get the complete protein.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Ernest
July 31, 2012 at 7:48 pm

I have just started to raise sprouts. Sun flower, radish, and many other seeds can be sprouted so you actually get more digestible food value for your money and variety. You can find all of the info you need to start this. I grow bamboo for many reasons now I need to find out if the shoots are edible and how to prepare them for food. The stalks are getting up to 45 feet and will make great materials to reinforce my fence, make Atlatal darts and so on.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Jean
June 8, 2012 at 7:55 am

Question: I rent, and while my landlady is extremely generous on what she is letting me do, (I tore up half the backyard for a garden after I had the utility lines marked,) the house is not in the greatest repair, (built in 1902), the cellar is actually halfway walled and mostly dirt. It still has the piping and the support for the old-time coal furnace! lol The home-canned stuff I put down there last year is covered with dust. I’m fairly sure if the New Madrid fault lets loose I won’t have a cellar, so where would I store the supplies with limited closet space? I am using an old entertainment center for extra stuff from the store and the TV area for the canning paraphernalia storage. I have also been filling used 2 and 3 liter pop bottles with water and putting a drop of bleach in them, how often should I rotate out the water? I have been dehydrating veggies as I am terrified of using my pressure cooker (I use it as a water bath canner only), how long will the veggies last if placed in a canning jar and a vacuum sealer applied to the lid? The jar sealer instructions say not to rely on the sealer for storing fresh, it has no recommendations for dehydrated. Know I am disorganized, I am trying to do everything at once.

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Vote -1 Vote +1James
June 8, 2012 at 9:53 am

Water does not need to be rotated. I have used the 2 litre water bottles for years filled with tap water and not added anything to it. The water has already been treated and is safe to drink, so by putting it into bottles and sealing them, nothing can get into the water so it will be good until shtf and you have to use it.

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Vote -1 Vote +1shirley
June 9, 2012 at 12:01 am

Has anyone filled their bottles with filtered water? We have rented a water filter from Culligan. The water is filtered with reverse osmosis. So, the chlorine is gone. Therefore, I will be adding a drop or so of bleach until the water is clear after shaking. That reminds me; before opening the stored water, I would suggest you shake it. This will put the oxygen, which probably has gone to the top, to go back into the water. I think this would be important to make sure our bodies get the water as it should be. Has anyone noticed that the bottle caps are all made cheaper now? After the seal is broken, if the bottle falls down, even though the cap is on it good, some liquid will leak out. If the liquid can leak out, things could get in! So, if you drink from a broken sealed bottle, and not going to drink again for awhile, like overnight, I would think it would be good to wrap some more tape around the cap again for another seal, just to be safe. Just a thought, in case you find it fits a situation that you find yourself in.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Karen Isaacson
June 8, 2012 at 10:43 am

Don’t be terrified of your pressure canner, learn to use it. Contact your local Extension Office and ask if they have any info; look online for more. It’s a tool. Using it properly gives you more flexibility in your food storage.

The answers to your questions are mostly online. Google is your friend; use it…it likes to be used and abused. ; )

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1shirley
June 8, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Jean, You are doing well. I have a suggestion for you and anyone else. To clean dust off cans so that you can open them, you must also be prepared to wash them with soap. During this time, you must be watchful of germs. They can grow quite well in a dark, moist place. Always remember that. Now, when you go to open a can, you must wash with soap the can before opening it or the moisture from the food will invite any germs in the dust to come right in which is not what you will want. Keep the opener clean, also. You will also want to clean up yourself from time to time. So have saved spray bottles from things like Windex or like products that are not full of chemicals, like amonia. I use a lot of Windex with Vinegar product and I save some of the bottles/spray. I wash them out. In case of need, I will fill 2 with water. One, I will add dish soap in. This way, I can wash things off, and rinse them well with the other spray, utilizing every drop of water because I spray it on. I will have other spray bottles for each person. That will make it easy to keep clean. Also, buy baby wipes for quick clean ups for people. By the way, vinegar is a great disinfectant and a nuetralizer. So, I have extra vinegar, white, for cleaning (apple vinegar for adding to food or taking a spoonful for fighting sore throats or anything) and extra bleach. Bleach is really needed after a flood or in case of spoiled food that brings on mold. Salt kills mold, too! If you see any slime anywhere, though, only use bleach. I have thought of using empty bleach bottles today to fill up water for drinking during emergency. An empty bleach bottle smells like bleach yet. I am thinking they could be the last bottles of water to drink. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? About the food under the bed, that is good. Just know that you might have trouble getting it all out. You might put the foods, marked with the date of suggested expiration on the cans, in boxes. That way, you can push the boxes out that are further away, to the other side of the bed with a broom handle. Good luck, Jean. Just think of this as an adventure. Whatever you do will help no matter what happens. None of us will feel 100% prepared. But, we will make it anyway with whatever we have and figure out the rest later. Might get a book on edible flowers, etc. Dandelion leaves are a great lettuce-like veggie that has a lot of nutrition.

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Vote -1 Vote +1D Reed
June 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Bleach does not come in bottles that you would want to use for drinking. Wrong type of plastic. But they work just great for filling a toilet for the next flush. We had to do this when our water was shut off for a repair recently. That said, if I were desperate, I’d probably drink it.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
June 15, 2012 at 12:02 am

Jean,
It’s always a good idea to look for a book at the library, or a used one online, or brand new if you can afford it for detailed, specific info. on effective dehydration. The more moisture you extract from fruits and vegetables, the longer their shelf life, but the rule of thumb is 6 months to 1 year. You can keep them in zip lock bags or shrink-wrap food saver bags (but keep in mind, in grid-down, you’ll need zip-lock) and place in food grade buckets with lids (allowing you to use your cellar). Home Depot orange paint buckets with lids cost around $3.00 and are food grade (look for the HDPE or Poly Ethylene and #2 stamped in a triangle on the bottom of the bucket to verify it’s food grade). You can also hunt for free buckets at Deli’s and restaurants—but again, always verify they contained only food items and that they come with tight-fitting lids. Glad garbage bags can be used for liners as Glad doesn’t use pesticides, or use Mylar bags if you can afford it. Place pallets down on the cellar floor to store buckets on them to avoid moisture build-up-FREE Pallets can be found just about everywhere: building sites, places that receive large shipments, lumbar yards, craigslist…just make sure the pallets weren’t used for shipping hazardous materials. If you decide on the paint buckets, always hammer down the lids. Home depot also sells bucket openers for only a few dollars, which makes it MUCH easier to open them once hammered down.

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Vote -1 Vote +1John
June 18, 2012 at 9:57 am

Get the buckets from wherever you want as said above but then order from Sportsman’s guide the Gamma seal lids , non-member is $7.97 / member price is $7.17 per. These lids after you hammer them down { as the ones above } have a removable lid { almost full size as top of bucket } it screws in / out , and seals air / water tight . check them out on line . I have a bunch of these and they are great .

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Vote -1 Vote +1cat
June 8, 2012 at 7:57 am

I have store up several water bottles-how in the world do you store enough water and where do you put it. I live where its very hot & cant leave it outside. I devoted a big closet to the water bottles and 5 gal bottles but dont feel its enough. Not when you think about drinking, cooking and bathing and flushing toilets. Any great ideas??

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1TZ
June 8, 2012 at 10:03 am

Hi Cat, You might want to invest in a good-quality water filter. You can store water outside by adding 8 drops of liquid Chlorine Bleach (uncented and has no phosphates or other additives) per gallon of water. A five-gallon container would need 32 drops. A 55-gallon drum would need 440 drops. Chlorine does not remove Giardia or Cryptosporidium, however, do filter it first before drinking.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Moon Unit
June 8, 2012 at 10:46 am

55 gallon barrels from Lehman’s with pump & purification tablets. They have LOT’s of great prepper stuff!

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1wvgrlntx
June 8, 2012 at 10:51 am

In place of using your water supply to bathe, consider buying a large box of baby wipes. I bought one at Costo – 1120 baby wipes – with a $5. off coupon for $19.99.

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Vote -1 Vote +1cat
June 9, 2012 at 8:54 am

This is an excellent idea which I plan to buy this weekend! Thank you! 🙂

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Gary
June 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm

If you live in a single family dwelling, consider using rain collection barrels, Plural. Rain falls on all sides of your roof so get the barrels set up to catch as much as possible. This water can be used directly in gardens. With basic filtering of suspended solids it can be used for toilet filling and bathing. After filtering of suspended solids, run it thru a purifier for potable uses. Make sure to get a good purifier (not just a water filter) such as a British Berkey or smaller portable units like a Katydyn if you have to go on the move.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Caribou
June 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Hi Cat,
You also have the water in the water heater. Be sure to turn it off before you start draining it as an empty water heater is very dangerous if hot. At the bottom of the heater is a drain valve to access this water. Shut off the supply valve so contaminated water from the city supply does not fill your heater and ruin what you have. The solids will settle out of the water as you heat it. You should shut off the water supply once a year and drain the heater. This is one maintenance item that most people forget to do. You can also add additional heaters in the system prior to the current water heater. Don’t hook them to power just use them as storage and to temper the water so it costs less to heat when it reaches your heater. Put these on blocks so that the valve is easier to reach. You can even put these on a well built stand and have storage underneath.

Dirty water from cleaning can be used for flushing. If you have a source of water that you do not trust that might also be used to flush a toilet. A five gallon solar shower can provide three or four showers if you are frugal and if you stand in a tub you can collect this water for flushing. I have set these out in the sun to warm and I have heated the water prior to filling.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1peggy selden
June 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I use large plastic bottles of laundry detergent and after the contents have washed my clothes; I fill the bottle with water to be held in reserve for emergency hygiene needs.(Baths or flushing,or dish washing and cleaning up without using good water.) I have marked the bottles WASH WATER and have them stored in the garage, basement and under sink.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Keith Schultz
June 8, 2012 at 8:05 am

I just had several quarts of canned venision from 2009 this month.
I store in a cool dark basement.
Canned meat can be a good protien source and it is already cooked.
I am canning on a cook stove at times now to get a feel for it.
I lost a freezer full of meat once, due to a power outage, and now prefer canning.
One could buy beef by the 1/2 or 1/4 for a better price and do some canning.
tip, large mouth jars work better to get the food out once cooked.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1rene
June 8, 2012 at 8:18 am

If you buy grains in bulk, make sure to store them with mylar bags and oxygen tabs, and maybe add some diatomaceous earth to COMBAT bugs that can lay eggs and ruin your food. You can always freeze the grains, just something to be aware of.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1davidmobile
June 8, 2012 at 10:31 am

A couple of points to add.

In most cases, the bugs/eggs that you need to take care of are in the grains at harvest/packaging/when you buy it.

Paid bulk cold (frozen) storage is an effective way of killing bug eggs.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Karen Isaacson
June 8, 2012 at 10:45 am

I add bay leaves to my vacuum-packaged foodstuffs and when sealed, freeze for 48 hours. I have flour from 2008 that I processed this way (guess that means I need to get off my backside and to bakin’ some bread) that shows NO signs of insect infestation.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Gary
June 8, 2012 at 11:55 am

I like to use Diatamaceous Earth to kill bugs. It’s also great at controlling insect in the garden (keep of the blooms, it will kill bees and butterflies too), it can be used on your pets for flea and tick control, and when taken internally helps to clean out your colon and arteries, and can be used to de-worm pets. It’s a wonderful thing but make sure you get the right kind, the stuff for swimming pool filtration is laced with chemicals that can kill you. It’s a multi-purpose item that really is cheap. And I like to watch my wife make faces when she drinks her daily “dirt”.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Colleen
June 8, 2012 at 8:28 am

@ Rhonda, there are small folding “stoves” (6″ square) that use small solid blocks of fuel about the size of an ice cube. You could easily store something that small in your utensil drawer in your kitchen along with the necessary matches. And they are very inexpensive. Just visit some of the food storage sites like The Ready Store or Emengency Essentials. I know that when storage is at a minimum, it seems like it’s impossible to prep like other folks, but fortunately there are plenty of “small” alternatives. Looking at backpacking supplies and sporting goods stores is also a good place to start when you have limited storage. Don’t be discouraged. You could probably store enough food, water, light and cooking supplies for a week in one regular sized kitchen cabinet. Happy journeys!

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+3 Vote -1 Vote +1Mel Beasley
June 8, 2012 at 8:31 am

We have a communual swimming pool where I live, in fact there are 22 pools and only 300 full time residents. That is my intended supply of water, through a filter of course.

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Vote -1 Vote +1mike
June 26, 2012 at 10:32 pm

There are things that can happen in a swimming pool that a filter won’t fix…ick.

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Vote -1 Vote +1R, Arnold
June 8, 2012 at 8:52 am

Hi, I am in a semi/rural community about an hour and ahalf from major city, I have our own back up water plan ready, I have a complete solar system supplying electricity and hot water, I have commenced stocking canned food however I would like to know what beans I should be stocking please as I have bever had to thin like this before and I am aware that in each city, town or rural community there will be those who will lead the survival mode when it does come into effect. I take this approaching time very seriously as any responsible person should.I might add that medications such as general antibiotics should not be disposed of so quickly if in fact you have half a pack left or so as these even though limited in shelf life can offer a life saving factor for certain generalized infections that may result from injuries. Please take into accout not only your own need for medications but those of immediate loved ones around you and if possible make sure you have this area covered just as much as food as you must understand infection is part of life and as we have been conditioned to recieve medication to deal with medicalk issues over the decades we should weigh up the alternitives from a herbal angle but be careful only store proven products and remember not all herbal alternatives work with everyone. Pain killers such as Paracetamol is approved for reducing fever in people of all ages.Please use common sense as this will be your biggest defense upon all fronts you will have to take the role of food administrator, medical dispenser, and community social advisor if no one else can take the position.Dont bost about what you have peronally and you wont become a target for eg; how much food and medicines you have manage to store (common sense) but for some reason bosting comes natural for some people please consider we are about to enter a new phase built upon survival of the fittest dont sell yourself out to others that have no respect for you or your loved ones.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
June 15, 2012 at 12:32 am

R, Arnold,
Whenever possible, use variety when storing beans! This will avoid what is called “Appetite Fatigue”, where otherwise healthy folks will choose to go hungry, rather than eat the same bland meal day after day. This is particularly true for children and the elderly. Get a variety of beans (split pea cook quickly for those with limited fuel, but shouldn’t be cooked in a pressure cooker as other beans can). Rice and beans combined are an excellent protein source. Add flavor and texture variety by storing a selection of spices (they’re affordable by buying in bulk), and canned stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce and the like.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Richard
June 8, 2012 at 8:56 am

Pressure cookers or the safest and fastest way to cook most beans….it uses very little water and cooks rapidly, hence low fuel cost…..spend the 80 dollars and get the 6 or 8 qt type…….also we fix stews in approx 15 min…….great for families….

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Vote -1 Vote +1JJM
June 11, 2012 at 10:56 pm

A great tool, years of proven safe use when treated responsibly and it cooks wild game tender. I purchased a pressure cooker/canner to relearn what mom did many years ago on the country farm. Walmart about $50. Only wish I’d saved up for the no gasket All American. Also recovered some copper pipe and configured to cooker as a water still to distill water for my colloidal silver generator (or if desired, make moonshine).

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Vote -1 Vote +1David ( Stormydave )
June 8, 2012 at 9:40 am

Thanks for putting it in writing. I still have Dial-up, and I like it.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1IraqVet
June 8, 2012 at 10:01 am

Thank you for the tips. The canned good route is my first route because most can just be ate right out of the can or cooked. Also rotation is easier. Less water usage initially also. Next wil be a 3 month supply of MREs for 12, also can be ate cold or heated with dirty water.
As I can afford the water storage tanks ( total 800gallons) plus the addition of a rain collection system. A generator with a fuel back up of 250 gallons for the well pump.
I will then work on freeze dried for 3 months for 12 and oincrease the months as funds are available. Eventually attaining a year supply.
One suggestion is instead of using ziplocs I have been using a food saver vacuum packer. I have found the cost is worth the extended shelf life. Just a suggestion. I have been using local farmers to find in season produce for awhile. I am lucky to be in an agricultural area but close enough to a low profile smaller town. In season produce can cost you a a third or less compared to grocery stores.
If anyone has any suggestions to help me improve my plans please post and let me know.

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Vote -1 Vote +1shirley
June 9, 2012 at 12:12 am

IraqVet, what do you mean “dirty water”?

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1schillie
June 11, 2012 at 2:51 am

if you need to boil your drinking water you can cook your food at the same time or heat
up water for baths, washing up.

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Vote -1 Vote +1mike
June 26, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Water from a mud puddle will heat an MRE.the water never touches the food.Although,MRE’s are not meant to be eaten as an everyday staple.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Ron G
June 8, 2012 at 10:26 am

I enjoyed your article about food storage. Welcome Barbara, I am looking forward to your contributions to aid us in preparing.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
June 15, 2012 at 12:07 am

Ron,

Thank you for the welcome. It’s uplifting seeing so many knowledgeable preppers on the site!

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Vote -1 Vote +1chic
June 8, 2012 at 10:27 am

Weekly, I shop at two Pavilions super markets (owned by Vons that is owned by Safeway). They have special racks with slightly damaged goods or goods they are discontinuing. They are half price. I have been using slightly damaged cans for years and have never had a problem with the contents.

I also keep aware of things on “super” sales. I eat Cheerios, Rasin Bran, etc. every morning and have about 8 or 10 boxes at any given time.

I use a felt marker to mark the “Best By….” date on my cans and boxes and use the oldest first. In a sense, my DP food doesn’t cost me anything because I don’t buy anything I would not normally use anyway.

I live alone and keep a sixty day supply of goods.

A few weeks ago I mentioned my water supply as a comment. I use one gallon milk cartons that I flush then rinse with unscented bleach. I then fill with fresh tap water and place the date. Mr Morris replied that there is a problem with such methods, but I have re-clean, and re-place the water as each container is over 6 or 8 months old. I always sample some and find nothing wrong with the taste and have found no odors. In emergency I would not be afraid to drink and it or use it for cleaning and bathing. Even if TSHTF, I may die from the water but I will be clean.

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Vote -1 Vote +1MaKettle
June 8, 2012 at 10:32 am

For storage of any consumable product I love the 5 gal pickle buckets I beg from our local burger joint. The down side is the aroma, I wash them thoroughly, let air dry over night, then add 2 tablespoons baking soda and cover, set aside for 1 week then use as needed after shaking out the soda and reserving it for cleaning.

Rhonda – I seldom see “sterno” mentioned as a cooking choice. When used with an older candle style fondue set up or cheap portable catering steam table it is a very workable single burner with about 2 hours of cook time. Several times a year your local party store should have them on sale for less than $1 each. To control the amount of heat slide the sterno lid over the flame with tongs to allow less flame, when done relid, repeat until all the gel is used.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Jan
June 8, 2012 at 10:39 am

Filling up the bathtub is good along with your water heater!! 20-40 gals already stored just shut off the supply if the source shuts down/contaminated. cAn turn off the heat too or power outage will do it for you anyway.
Rainbarrels anyone? i bought a 10 ft tent w awning and will be getting a couple of collapsable rain barrels. just put something on the tent awning to direct rainwater to top of barrel and your set. Run it through a filter before you drink or use for showers, toilets etc.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1gena
June 8, 2012 at 2:10 pm

You can buy a Water Bob or other similar things to put in your tub to store water without worrying that perhaps you didn’t have time to get it sterile enough to drink before you had to store your water. It is a one time only use device and costs less than $30, quick and easy to put in with merely a few minutes notice. Only if you use it too soon and then find out you don’t need it it cannot safely be used again. It can store up to 100 gallons of water, depending, I guess on the size of your tub.
Also how about a few of those $10 or less children’s wading pools?

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1shirley
June 9, 2012 at 12:17 am

Jan, if it’s possible, we could, also, fill up the washer. My mother would do this under a hurricane warning, as well as the bathtub and tuperware.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1michael
June 8, 2012 at 10:49 am

Rice is an excellent dried food to store and it cooks quickly-then you can add spices or veggies or canned meat to make an acceptable meal in a short time. A pound of rice can serve a lot of people on a restricted caloric intake.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Janet
June 8, 2012 at 10:59 am

To all — storing water:
You can store water in washed 2 liter soda pop bottles inside office paper boxes (the ones with lids). They fit perfectly and can be stacked. As I remember, you can store 8 bottles to a box. Of course, that requires drinking a lot of soda pop, not something I recommend for your health, so ask your soda-pop drinking neighbors, relatives and friends to save theirs for you. My daughter had her coat closet filled with water this way.
Don’t use beach bottles — not safe!
If you have a place for it, such as basement or garage, etc., also get the large water barrels that hold many gallons of water, and keep a siphon for it handy.
May I suggest that you never use an outdoor hose to fill your water containers, as they can have a build-up of bacteria inside from laying in the hot sun or from storage. This can be toxic.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Margo
June 8, 2012 at 11:03 am

I appreciate all the creative ideas shared on this blog and I do incorporate a lot of these ideas in personal planning, but I would truly appreciate additional information on living in areas that are compromised by ho/desert like conditions. Where I live on the Mexican border city where temperatures are usually well over 100 degrees from April thru October, water is at a premium and natural water is alkaline, salty and contaminated by man and nature. Currently I am feeding a family of 5 on under $100/month w/o foodstamps with a balanced diet, but run short on fresh dairy and vegetables. Most garden veggies do not survive the heat even with irrigation. There is virtually no winter season, rarely a freeze so a limited amount of (container) gardening can be done in those 4 months since I have no garden area. I do dry, freeze, and stock canned and bulk foods, have a stock of “manna” (packaged rice/soy/chicken flavored bulk mix),most of the meat protein is canned or packaged (tuna, sardines, spam, etc.) but I would like to be better prepared in the event of emergency. Any ideas?

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1gena
June 8, 2012 at 2:06 pm

If you have room, try doing some container gardening inside your house. Would make it available year round. I live in S Texas and have about the same temp range, although this year we have more rain and more water than we have had for years. I have been experimenting with container gardening on my porch this year and it seems to be doing pretty well. Lot of herbs, some tomato plants, strawberries, gonna try cucumbers next. Do buy some non hybrid seeds. MyPatriotSupply.com sells seeds at a very reasonable cost and guarantees them. They are non hybrid and non GMO and store for years as well. I’m trying some sugar beet seeds now and some corn that is specialized for use for pop corn, and have also purchased tobacco seeds to grow for bartering material. Just started them, inside, a couple of days ago and am watching them to see how they grow. And found a site on the internet which tells how to make your own sugar from sugar beets. Since most sugar you buy now is made from GM sugar beets, you might not want to buy a whole lot of commercial sugar and I’ve been hearing on TV that they are now making biofuel out of cane sugar, which means that will become more expensive and harder to get your hands on items that are made from real cane sugar.

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Vote -1 Vote +1shirley
June 9, 2012 at 12:29 am

Hey, Gena, I’m from Texas, as well. I tried indoor gardening and the only thing I had a problem with was gnats. Yep! They lined up at the doors to get in. So, I found some clear plastic to encase the containers by the windows. I found they needed less water that way, and if I made “gnat traps” with a glass here and there with vinegar and olive oil, they would zoom in there and drown. I found to inhibit mold growth in the dirt, I had to let the plants have open air at times. Brocolli does good and will continue to give you harvest. for some time. The leaves are good to add into salads, too! What do you use for fertilizer? I’m into organic. I found cinnamon is a great organic tool to keep insects out. I find it inexpensive and it’s good to keep the immune system up! (Germs don’t seem to like it anymore than insects!)

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Vote -1 Vote +1Linda
June 17, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Hi Margo, I have been growing microgreens, they are really good and very nutritious. I haven’t bought any lettuce for months. I like the sunflower “lettuce” best and the pea microgreens are really good also.They are the easiest for me to grow. You can get a good crop in a week to 10 days. I think this is the answer to the problem of “dead” food storage, when you start to crave fresh crisp food.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Sara
June 8, 2012 at 12:41 pm

I can relate to Ronda. I am pushing 75, working full time. Physically I am unable to lift much and when I do I pay for it! Walking and shopping is very hard, too. I have tried to lay in a supply of food, paper supplies, etc. Bought several of the safe plastic 7 gal. containers for water but haven’t anyone yet to help me fill them. Have a Berkey(?) Water Filter. Reading up on solar to get off the grid. Wish there was some way to meet up locally with others – less depression and more encouragement. Money is getting tight. I appreciate all the advice and ideas.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1gena
June 8, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Try filling them slowly with a pitcher, one or two gallons at a time. Where you intend to store them. I’m 65, have had several back surgeries and cannot carry much that is heavy (the doc told me nothing that weighs more than a gallon of milk, although I over do that a lot). And try to buy some of that silver solution, there is a word for it but I do not know how to spell it. It not only safely purifies water, if you follow directions, but can be used on wounds or injuries to prevent serious infections or to treat infections if you get them and cannot get to a doctor. Also try buying a food saver machine at Amazon, with the bags to use with it. That way you can buy flour, rice, corn, etc in quantity, and store them long term by adding oxygen absorbers to each container. and store them in amounts you are likely to use so you do not have to reseal left over amounts although you can do so if you have a food saver. I have the larger electric food saver and recently bought a smaller hand operated, rechargeable unit also by Food Saver which lets you vacuum pack your food for longer storage.
I do not expect to have electric power for awhile if the grid should go out, so am trying to make preparations to get by in the hot S Texas summer without AC or fans. Am buying rechargeable battery operated camping fans, plus misting units you wear around your neck to keep cool.
If you are near 75, be sure if you have medicines you have to take that you have plenty on hand even if you have to pay cash to get extra months worth. It is unlikely if there is a systematic breakdown that people will be able to purchase medicine. Dave advises consulting a doctor to try to find out if there is a way to get off as much medicine as you can before things break down. I’m now using apple cider vinegar instead of antihistamines for allergies and instead of medicine for reflux. I drink it in apple juice rather than water since it tastes so nasty and have been buying flavored drinks in powder form to use when and if I can no longer buy apple juice. Try buying things like shortening powder and/or powdered butter which will keep without refrigeration, and which you can buy at several emergency food suppliers.
I have noticed that while I have a lot of the cheaper food stocks I have little in the way of freeze dried meats, and that is my next investment in long term food storage. Once the canned food is gone then if it is still necessary to use your own stocks, I plan to move on to dehydrated or freeze dried foods and MREs. Have stocked up a lot of peanut butter MREs and MRE wheat bread which I occasionally munch down on now when I need a really simple quick meal.And MRE desserts also are quick and easy and most taste decent.
Also I have bought a lot of books on my Kindle and now realize that with the survival ones I need to respend and buy the hard back or paper back copies as Kindle and other e readers might now be available in hard times. Audio books are cool for somethings and can be backed up on MP3 players as long as you keep the batteries from running down to where you lose all you have stored on them.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1Gouchybear
June 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm

For those on a limited budget try something called “couponing”, which is nothing more than using regular coupons but taken to a whole new level. Basically, couponing is using manufacturers coupons+store coupons+bogo (buy one get one) to reduce your overall per item cost. My daughter in law will go to the store and come home with $300 retail in grocery store merchandise and only pay $50 out of pocket. It really is amazing how she does this. Check the internet (google, youtube, etc) on just exactly how to do this. Good luck!

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1gena
June 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Since Dave had suggested having some liquor on hand for a barter item, even if you don’t drink yourself, I had noticed the liquor store down the road sold a lot of little, I guess one serving, bottle of liquor. Not knowing anything about which brands were good, I asked the man to help me pick out a selection to have on hand, I told him for a big party. I bought about 25 little bottles, and tossed them into my container for barter items, and have since bought similar batches. Although the cost per serving is, I’m sure, much higher that way, I can trade one or two or even more, without having to trade a large amount and without disclosing what all I have stashed. I have also been buying those SNUs things for tobacco use where you cannot have the smoke, which I figure might also be of use in a situation where people with me might need tobacco or people who use tobacco might be desperate for a tobacco fix and wish to trade for something I need or can use or for a service I need that I cannot do myself.
I have been following Dave’s advice, similar to Barbara’s about stocking up on canned food and first aid supplies at the local dollar store. And I bought a food saver machine at Amazon, pretty cheap, to be able to store flour, sugar and stuff like that in long term manner. Plus bought oxygen absorbers to throw in each container to help keep the stuff usable.
I have also been experimenting with not only an outside garden, but growing both vegetables and herbs in containers on my back porch, which, if necessary could be brought into the house. Just realized yesterday, that I need to get some shelving and some things to collect water which would go through the containers. And learned the hard way that some cheap plant containers do not have holes in the bottom to let water out, so you end up with rotted roots. A large nail, pointed screw driver, or ice pick and a hammer solves that problem.
Also have discovered even the nicest growing plants don’t last even now if you have nothing to keep deer from eating them, bought fencing and t poles which I plan to put around the current outside gardens this weekend. And have purchased seeds for growing tobacco, which I’m really curious to see if they will grow in this climate. Plan on having plenty of good planting soil and starter trays on hand for starting plants indoors. And a lot of 3-4 or maybe 5 gallon buckets to grow stuff indoors if that becomes necessary. Bought a Water Bob or whatever you call them, plus already have around 100 gallons of water on hand, plus silver solution to use to purify that water and filters that eliminate everything but viruses from the water source.
I had been storing stuff in storage bins in the closets but am running out of room that way, and am looking at some of the other creative methods of storing but not being too obvious about it. Right now if anyone came in, all they would likely think is that I’m somewhat messy, as there is a lot of stuff out on top of cupboards, but I just explain it away as not having enough cupboard space, which is really true anyhow.
I’m thinking about buying one or more of those little kiddie wading pools for water gathering devices which should be explainable as play things for my poochers in hot weather. Lots of people in S Texas buy and use those for dogs in the summer down here. In fact, I have been known in the not too distant past to sit out in one myself to cool off. And for people once the power grid might go off, might find that a good way to avoid suffering heat stroke. And I discovered a few years ago during a heat wave where it hit over 100 ten days in a row, with the last two days hitting around 110 and I had no AC, I would also put water on my dogs to keep them from heat stroke. You would be surprised how much cooler you feel in wet clothes even when it is hotter than hell. And as long as you have gas in your vehicle, if you have an AC in that vehicle, in a heat wave, if it is safe to be outside, you can use that for brief cooling off periods, just be aware you are using both gas and running your battery down. Don’t try running the car AC without having the engine on, that will run your battery down really quick. Also if you have an inverter, again, as long as you have gas in your vehicle and a good battery, you can use all sorts of electric cooking appliances off your vehicle battery. Just be sure what you use doesn’t use more power than your inverter will allow.
We are not allowed to store gas containers near where I live, but can have them outside the houses, at a distance. I’ve noticed the neighbor stores a couple of gas containers under trees out in his yard. I do not know how safe that is, in the heat of summer, if the shade isn’t sufficient to keep it for getting too hot. If anyone knows, please let me know. Would love to be able to store some extra gasoline containers. I have propane, fuel tablets, sterno, fire wood and fire logs, and stoves for all, have bought cast iron dutch oven with tripod for outside cooking if necessary, and just for enjoyment bought a popcorn popper with the long handle for use on either an outside fire or in the fire place here. And a lot of popcorn. Plus found seeds for growing corn especially meant to be used for popcorn. And I bought seeds for sugar beets and found a recipe on the internet on how to make your own sugar out of sugar beets. I am trying some of the seeds, non hybrid, non GMO, in starter tray right now to see how well they grow of both the popcorn corn and the sugar beets.
I’;ve also been buying gradually crank rechargable flashlights to eliminate the need to have a huge supply of batteries on hand, and rechargeable batteries and battery chargers, and have bought one small power source which can be recharged by 12 Volt, AC or solar panel and bought one solar panel so far, Goal Zero, enough to recharge computers, cell phones, MP3 players and the such.
And I’m also printing up now as much of what I have downloaded information on the computer, as that service might not always be available. Doing as Dave suggested putting that info into binders for future reference.I discovered you can buy powdered gatoraide at most grocery stores, as well as some powdered fruit juices and have been slowly stocking up on those. Be careful not to buy stuff with aspertaine in them unless you are diabetic as that stuff will kill you quick as any enemy would. Also, read labels,if you are allergic to MSG as I am, be careful with storing packaged meals, such as hamburger helper, they are full of MSG. Lot of rice products, in particular those that are flavored are also full of MSG. I recently went though the pantry and took out most of the stuff with MSG and donated it to the food bank here in town.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Patriot Dave
June 8, 2012 at 2:15 pm

@Ronda: age is not an obstacle to learning new skills. In fact it will keep you mentally young. The fact you are here shows you have the right stuff. As for small storage space situation. If you do not have guests and visitors, there is no reason not to use the entire apartment – including the living room for storage. You can either purchase used cabinets or hutches. They can be office type metal or antique wood, or anything. By the way a metal storage cabinet can be modified as a faraday cage. Or even cheaper, just use opaque plastic storage containers. If guests ask, you can educate them and try to form a support group.

@Jean. You have a good landlord. Talk to her about creating a tornado-severe storm safe room in the cellar. It is something that is self contained with its own ceiling and will still be standing when the rest of the house is in the next door neighbor’s yard. In the mean time get a cheap cabinet with doors and put your canned goods in it to keep off the dust and falling debris. Although the dust will not hurt anything. Something wide enough to not fall over.

@Margo. You did not mention if you are on city water. I figure you don’t have a well. Is there an aquifer in your region? You will have to store more water than others who can catch rain or have lakes and streams. A bunch of 55 gal or even 270 gal cubes sound necessary. There is a water preservation product that will preserve water up to 5 years. A Hot tub or pool can be pricey, but a good investment, especially used. A waterbed may work as one piece of the puzzle. A b.o.b. for the bathtub is useful as another piece. Check with your local university or garden groups about growing plants in your region. Also, You may be able to plant some wild native edibles and do guerilla gardening.

In the meantime, everyone pray for revival so that God’s hand of justice will be stayed is in Nineveh (Jonah 3:4-10)

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+4 Vote -1 Vote +1crazy leonard
June 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm

since you are reading this, you surely know how to use a computer. use that computer to google the department of natural resources in your area. the state im in right now (iowa) has a link at the dnr website to the “iowa waste exchange” a website overseen by the dnr. it is where companies that have things they do not want can post them in a searchable data base. lehmans is great, but why buy 55 gal. food grade barrels when you can get them for FREE. if you have a pick-up truck or a trailer you can haul a bunch at a time, and sell some of them to recoup the cost. if you own instead of rent then you want to get the 275 gallon totes instead of 55 gal barrels. they have nice steel cages around them and stack on top of eachouther nicely they are aprox. 4’x4’x4′ square.remove the cage and pallet to sell at scrap metal yard and store them along a wall of a garage etc.. or with cage still on, bury them in back yard to store water in. run a pipe from gutters on the house to the barrels or containers, with input pipe as close to the bottom as you can get, also over flow pipe from top to your garden.hey you could dig just 2 feet deep, place your barrels or totes, put material of your choosing for a framework to create a raised bed for plants and fill with soil to at least 12 inches over the top of the containers. now you have a raised bed garden with water storage hidden unde/ inside it. look up the “world catalog” at library .it listall the books you could ever want on every subject immagimal. read, read, read. ask library about inter-library loan program. that allows you to borrow a book from any us library that is willing to loan it out. before the 09/11/201tradgy i actualy borrowed books on explosives from the “explosive ordince division” at fort mccoy, library of congress, and chemical/ biological stuff from the CDC library! why spend precious recources (frn’s) on books when you can read them for free or just postage costs. you can photocopy any or all the pages you wish if the book ws copyrighted before 1928, as their copyrights have all expired, and if someone has reprinted the book, the copyright only pertains to any added info, and not the previously published info. been a prepper( survivalist) for over 40 years.

and incase you readers do not realise it, in any time of hardship, the ladies realy suffer. so any time you can get make-up etc for cheep at yard sale, lipstick, pefume, powders, they will be worth their weight in platnium!!! if she can smell pretty, and put on some make-up every once in awhile, her spirits and emotions will soar like the eagles, even if she lives in a burned out building and almost none of the necessities to sustain life. and face it guys, it dont matter if the food tastes like stale cardboard, if it served by a pretty girl that smells good, and smileing at you, you WILL enjoy your meal!

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1FayeI
June 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm

I notice that quite a few of you mention living in “warm” climates, as I do, in Texas. For those who get a lot of sunshine, year round, one of your best (and cheapest) investments would be in solar ovens. You can make your own out of an aluminum windshield shade.

How to make a solar oven/cooker:
http://solarcooking.org/plans/windshield-cooker.htm

For those of you who are limited on space, I’ve run across numerous blogs that people have made suggestions. One lady has food under her bed, in 1 designated closet and also has bought tables for behind her couch and beside her bed that allows her to store boxes of food under them. She covers them with fabric to match her decor in those rooms and most people don’t know food is under them.

I can’t praise farmer’s markets enough as a means of getting food, cheaper, and recommend either canning or dehydrating it. If you google “how to make” then add solar or canning or dehyrating you can find a wealth of info, online. Also, “camping” or “backpacking” recipes are good as you will find a multitude of easy (some instant) meals that can campers & backpackers use.

As for water storage…I have read where milk cartons are not a good storage vessel. IF you like tea that is sold, already prepared, many of them are in heavy duty containers (compared to milk jugs) and you don’t have as high a risk of bacteria as you do with milk. Those of in Texas and southern states can buy “Sweetened Tea” in these containers. I’m sure they likely make un-sweetened too. That’s what I am using to store my water in.

If you don’t have a yard, google container gardening. If your family is small (4-5 people) you can often grow your own food in large pots. Buy “heirloom” seeds, in case you need to plant your own food should the shtf. Do NOT get genetically modified seeds as they do NOT produce seeds for the next planting season. Search how to recover the seeds of the various veggies you might want to plant.

Being raised by a southern girl, beans are a southern staple that most of we older ladies know how to cook. Soaking them, then rinsing them, gets rid the enzyme that causes gas. LOL I have saved my empty coffee cans and am storing my dry beans in them (after the cans are washed) in my pantry as it allows me to put alot in cans and then stack the cans on top of each other, rather than have bags. Except for Navy beans, 1 lb of beans & black eyed peas equals 2 1/2 cups of dry beans. The same measurement also applies to rice. 2 3/4 cups of dry Navy beans equals one pound.

While it may be a bit more expensive, it can also be useful to buy instant potatoes, pancake mixes and oatmeal in the event you are limited on fuel for cooking. Hot water is all that is needed. I am also buying canned Spam, Tuna & Chicken along with egg noodles & pasta and various cream soups (mushroom, celery, etc). This provides both protein & carbohydrates and can be cooked in the solar oven/cooker.

Purifying water with Clorax is ideal, however, the chlorine in it, over a long period, is toxic (as drinking water). Be sure you have a container like a large pitcher, that the lid can be left off of so that the chlorine can evaporate.

For those who have the means and the mechanical aptitude, there are many items that can be made that are solar and the plans are online for many things such as Solar deydrators, solar window heaters (probably not a good option for our Northern neighbors, with harsh winters)…even wind turbines (small ones). For those of you lucky enough to know an electrician or are an electriction, there are instructions on how to build solar cells and even instructions on what you need, to hook them up to your house.

Explore ALL kinds of options available…especially any easy solar project.

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+2 Vote -1 Vote +1KEN
June 8, 2012 at 3:00 pm

I HAVE AN IDEA YOU GUYS HAVE NOT MENTIONED ABOUT AN EASY COOKING SOURCE. MY AND A FREIND OF MINE HAVE STOCKED UP ON CHARCOAL YOU CAN FIND 2/ 20 LB BAGS ON SALE FROM $10 -$20 DEPENDING ON WHERE AND WHEN YOU BUY IT. WE ALSO BOUGHT THOSE CAN TYPE CHARCOAL LIGHTERS THAT ONLY USE A PIECE OF PAPER TO IGNITE IT. I THEN WENT TO HOME DEPOT AND BOUGHT A BABY WEBER GRILL, THERE ONLY $25-$30 . YOU CAN USE THE GRILL TO HOLD YOUR CHARCOAL AND YOU WOULD ONLY NEED ABOUT 6-10 COALS TO HEAT A SKILLET FOR COOKING, IT’S CHEAP, EASY TO USE AND A FEW 20LBS BAG’S OF CHARCOAL WOULD LAST QUITE A LONG TIME. GOOD LUCK TO US ALL IF THINGS GO BAD HERE IN THE USA. THAT WOULD MEAN THE REST OF THE WORLD IS ON FIRE LIKE GLENN BECK’S BEEN SAYING FOR THE LAST YEAR OR SO. GOD BLESS KEN

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Maggie
June 8, 2012 at 3:45 pm

If you are counting on beans for protein, you can shorten the cooking time by soaking them overnight before starting to cook them. Also, remember lentils, mung beans and other smaller beans. They cook a lot faster. They also make great tasting sprouts which require no cooking and deliver more nutrition than cooked beans. Soaked rice only requires 10 minutes to cook, as do amaranth, quinoa and millet. Also sproutable. Couscous is almost “instant”. There are a lot of options.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1gena
June 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Does anyone know if you can buy quantities of condiment packets such as individual ketchup and mustard and mayo packets, and if so, where can you buy them? That way you could have condiments you like to use when you want them without having to worry about refrigeration.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Bill
June 8, 2012 at 5:39 pm

Gena
To to the grocery outlet stores that sell wholesale, most will sell to anyone who walks in and does not have an account and pays cash. They carry the packets by the box. They also have large bags of beans, rice, flour and other items. Good luck.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Jerry
June 9, 2012 at 4:45 am

In my area Smart and Final has all of these in the small packets you get with fast food. I imagine any business catering to restaurants would have the same.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Patti
June 8, 2012 at 5:02 pm

My biggest concern in southwest OK is water. We are still in the middle of the worst drought for the 9th year. I can store some water for the short term (small house). but where will I FIND water for the long term? Any suggestions are welcome.

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Vote -1 Vote +1shirley
June 9, 2012 at 12:41 am

Patti, do you have dew in the early morning? If so, get a tarp, use the silver side up, put on backyard ground but arrange it so it does not blow away. Make sure neighbors do not notice it. Get up early with the sun and sop it up or somehow get it in a container. Filter, boil or something to purify it.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Wickedjulia
June 8, 2012 at 5:04 pm

My suggestion is to buy a wide variety of different foodstuffs. Last year I started working at home. The transition from being constantly on the go and purchasing the bulk of my meals out to cooking nearly 100% of the time pointed out one very glaring fact; the food I bought tended to be very bland staples. Since then a grocery outlet has opened in my neighborhood and I have started stocking up and have made a point of branching out. In my pantry, there are beans; 6 different kinds, 4 kinds of rice, different flours, lentils, canned meats, jams and condiments. I, too, shop the ‘last chance’ bin and make a point of picking up things that I use only occasionally and would not pay full price to put in my pantry.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Stephanie
June 8, 2012 at 5:44 pm

We have a group site called FreeCycle in our community. Offers are posted via email every day of things people don’t want. It’s a great way to get stuff free and get rid of stuff you can’t use to make space. I’ve even received things like camelbacks this way. It’s worth looking into and never costs money except to go pick it up.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Tom K
June 8, 2012 at 9:28 pm

I find stocking and stacking cases of bottled water is easy to store. Over 3 gallons of water in 24 bottle case. Home Depot here has had them for $2.97 a case for the last 2 months. They last for over 2 years at least..

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Vote -1 Vote +1Ken Wilcox
June 8, 2012 at 11:31 pm

This may have already been mentioned in an earlier post. You can use hand warmers available from any sportingoods or Wal Mart off the shelf in cold weater, as oxygen absorbers. One in a 5 gal bag is sufficient to get all of the oxygen out and kil all the bugs. You also need a desicant to remove traces of water, also available from sporting goods stores like Bass Pro or Cablellas.

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Mikki Chambers
June 9, 2012 at 5:44 pm

A few things about bottled water: While it can be used in an emergency, bottled water is not only acidic, but it leaches the petro chemicals and toxins from the plastic in a big way. Especially R/O water which should ONLY be drunk in an emergency since it is “DEAD WATER” and will actually leach the minerals from your body. If you know some one with an alkalizer (perferable Kangen, as it is the only one that doesn’t leach metals into the water due to medical grade materials) get as much as you can – or go in on one with a friend or family member(s) and store up as much as possible. While it will lose much of it’s “magic” – ie, microclustering and antioxidant value, it WILL hold it’s pH and will therefore not leach the toxins from plastic containers. This type of ionizer will also make 2.5 acidic water which will kill all pathogens within 30 seconds. You could plug it into a generator and make enough for say a week and then unplug it. It takes a surprisingly small amount of electricity to operate. While you do need to put potable water thru it in order to drink it, pathogens will not grow in the drinking waters. Technically, you could run potable water through a gravity feed and get enough pressure to ionize it. This actually transforms the water into an antioxidant (a much needed commodity in a crisis situation) but does, like I said take electricity. These are not however to be had for a cheap price. They are, after all a Japanese Medical device. The Jr. Model starts at $2300 and the good one – the “SD-501 is $4000. Well worth the price as it makes your water hydrate 6 X better so you are actually utilizing more of it. (so instead of drinking 50 ounces and only absorbing say, 5 or 10 ounces, you absorb 98% of it.) Yes there are cheaper machines out there, but they are cheap because they are, well…cheap. If you don’t have one of these and they are completely out of your range then find some one in your area who DOES have one and offer them a donation (as distributors are not allowed to sell the water) and get as much as they will allow you to get. Kangen water distributors are generally generous loving people who are out there educating people about proper hydration and will be happy to help you. Just google your area and “Kangen distributors” (or you can buy a unit online from any distributor, my site is http://www.TheH2omega.org) and you will not only have unlimited amounts for yourself, but your whole neighborhood.
Now as far as containers, find your local dairy and you can purchase new 1 gallon containers at a discount. Generally about .30 each. Thinking you are EVER going to get the smell and bacteria out of old milk containers is not a good idea. As far as using old bleach bottles – use your head. Bleach is intended to kill things. Yikes! If you do decide to use 5 gallon jugs, make sure they are BPA free, as these are some of the worst contenders. If you have never watched the movie “Tapped” go to topdocumentaryfilms.com and you can watch it there for free. You will never want to drink bottled water again!

I love all the great ideas about dehydrating frozen foods and shopping the farmers markets at closing. This is a great site with Good tips, and I love all these wonderful people helping each other in this way. Gives me hope. Bless you all, and keep the faith!
~Mikki C Vancouver WA

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Vote -1 Vote +1Mary G
June 9, 2012 at 10:35 pm

I vacuume seal flour, rice, dried beans, spices, brown sugar, pastas, and practically any dry goods to preserve it for years and preventing it from spoiling, getting infested with bugs or getting wet. It is a lifesaver for being prepared in a home, cabin, RV or a boat.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Al C.
June 10, 2012 at 4:42 am

Commisary case lot sales for preppers with military base access are great for stocking up on canned goods, tioletries, paper goods, etc.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Mary G
June 10, 2012 at 8:40 am

Get a Solar Oven and cook your food with free energy…the sun. I have Solar cooked the best corned beef and cabbage with carrots and potatoes! And roasted stuffed chicken with baked potatoes and vegetables comes out juicey and browned. All you need is a Solar oven, a graniteware pot with a lid and the sun. Look online as to where to purchase them. You will love it too if you live in a sunny place where it’s not too windy. :0)

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+1 Vote -1 Vote +1Donna H
June 10, 2012 at 8:56 am

Can one consider dry beans if soaked for a couple days take less time to cook? Or let them sprout with no cooking?

I read from the CDC and EPA that BPA free plasctic containers made for water and food are better without most those toxins. I wouldn’t use a water bed as a water container for drinking water… best yet is stainless steel and glass. I change my water often for long term storage and rinse out my containers with bleach to prevent bacterial infestation.

Dollar stores food and Grocery store sales are great but in my experience the food will expire in a matter of days to months. I use up the sale items and save the long term to expire food for emergencies. It is still a savings, but what I have saved was in buying dehydrated food 2 years ago when it was a lot cheaper.

When storing dry food like Oatmeal, cornmeal, flour, macaroni, pasta, mashed potatoes, etc, that come in a cardboard box or paper I immediately put them in air tight containers and kept in the dark to extend their shelf life for many years. I am eating great mashed potatoes that expired 4 years ago, I ate macaroni that was 15+ years expired, and I ate army rations of hardtack from the Korean war stored sealed in a tin for 40 years. Yeah, I made soup over the hardtack to soak and it tasted like crackers and soup and I was surprised!

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Vote -1 Vote +1Butch
June 11, 2012 at 7:01 am

Ronda, Have you thought of going to your local food pantry? Your city must have one and if you’re on a fixed income, you can get free food like can goods, rice, pasta, peanut butter etc!
As far as cooking goes, I keep my outdoor grill close to the back door all year long (even in winter) in case of a power failure!

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Vote -1 Vote +1Trevor
June 11, 2012 at 11:34 am

A great source for low cost meat is Zaycon foods. We buy a lot of the chicken (40 lbs boxes at $1.70 or so a lb) and then can/jar most of it. We also try and stock up around Thanksgiving when you can get a lot of staple canned goods for 3 for a dollar or instant potatoes and stuffing for cheap and them stick them in food grade buckets for storage.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Mary ANN
June 12, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I am enjopying the comments from one and all!.. I am a loooong time preper.. lived out of town so to speak, but also had both boy and girls scouts in my background..I am doing a serious reworking of my supplies from 30 years ago. I know the sell by date is a long time gone.. but the Mountain House and Nest foods I have had are just beginging to get kind of on the edge.. and I am dumping some.. drat.. should have started this like 10 years ago and even before and rotated. I am buying mostly freeze dried this time around as I am 83 and have diabetes and cll.. I live alone.. so these freeze dried items work up easier for me.. I don’t want to open too many #10 cans at once.. as it does take me a while to use one.. so I used two or maybe 3 and rotate those until they are gone.. I have been gardening, canning and freezing for a good many years in a northern climate. That is getting harder to do so I am really appreciating the things i can buy and rehydrate. Might I mention that, especially for us older ones.. a good multi-vitamin is a must for best results.. and, folks, profit from my experience and use and rotate your food! Blessings.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Survival Diva
June 14, 2012 at 11:57 am

Ronda,
You’re already ahead of at least 95% of the population by being aware and actively preparing. If I lived in a city, I would store MRE’s for ease of cooking when venting and cooking odors are not practical or safe. Canned goods is another alternative and can be eaten without heating in an emergency.
Barb AKA Survival Diva

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Vote -1 Vote +1Shirley Moore
June 22, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Is buying crackers good to get??? How would I store them for long shelf life and to keep bugs from them????

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Vote -1 Vote +1Debi Tucker
June 24, 2012 at 7:24 am

Have wondered about this too? How long would they last,left alone?How long would they last if put insealed package. Would like to hear an answer to this too.

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Vote -1 Vote +1mike
June 26, 2012 at 10:52 pm

I have a large plastic jar,(pretzels came in it)of Saltines.It holds almost 5 boxes.(unpackaged)They still taste fine,after a year plus.I’ve tried it with the crackers still in the plastic bags.They tend to pick up the flavor of the bag,not too tasty.A cool,dark spot in the pantry is best.

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Vote -1 Vote +1Debi Tucker
June 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Thanks for sharing. Will give this a try as a have a big glass jar I could use. I would not have thought of unwrapping them though.

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