Tag Archives: FOOD STORAGE

Food and Water in an Emergency

If you’re visiting our blog chances are pretty good you already own water filters, emergency food supplies and a bugout bag or survival kit. If not please visit the DayOne Gear Store. There are many resources with tips and tricks to help you survive an emergency but we wanted to review some basics so you and your family are safe when disaster strikes.

Prepare your family for an emergency

The CDC offers these tips for preparing for a disaster or emergency:

Prepare an Emergency Food Supply

Keep foods that:

  • Have a long storage life
  • Require little or no cooking, water, or refrigeration, in case utilities are disrupted
  • Meet the needs of babies or other family members who are on special diets
  • Meet pets’ needs
  • Are not very salty or spicy, as these foods increase the need for drinking water, which may be in short supply

How To Store Emergency Food

  • A disaster can easily disrupt the food supply at any time, so plan to have at least a 3-day supply of food on hand.
  • When storing food, it is not necessary to buy dehydrated or other types of emergency food. Canned foods and dry mixes will remain fresh for about 2 years.
  • Certain storage conditions can enhance the shelf life of canned or dried foods. The ideal location is a cool, dry, dark place. The best temperature is 40 to 60°F. Keep foods away from ranges or refrigerator exhausts. Heat causes many foods to spoil more quickly.
  • Keep food away from petroleum products, such as gasoline, oil, paints, and solvents. Some food products absorb their smell.
  • Protect food from rodents and insects. Items stored in boxes or in paper cartons will keep longer if they are heavily wrapped or stored in airtight containers.
  • Date all food items. Use and replace food before it loses freshness.

Preparing Food

Preparing food after a disaster or emergency may be difficult due to damage to your home and loss of electricity, gas, and water. Having the following items available will help you to prepare meals safely:

  • Cooking utensils
  • Knives, forks, and spoons
  • Paper plates, cups, and towels
  • A manual can- and bottle-opener
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Gas or charcoal grill; camp stove
  • Fuel for cooking, such as charcoal. (CAUTION: Never burn charcoal indoors. The fumes are deadly when concentrated indoors.)

Prepare an Emergency Water Supply

  • Store at least 1 gallon of water per day for each person and each pet. You should consider storing more water than this for hot climates, for pregnant women, and for persons who are sick.
  • Store at least a 3-day supply of water for each person and each pet (try to store a 2-week supply if possible).
  • Observe the expiration date for store-bought water; replace other stored water every six months.
  • Store a bottle of unscented liquid household chlorine bleach to disinfect your water and to use for general cleaning and sanitizing.

Note: Caffeinated drinks and alcohol dehydrate the body, which increases the need for drinking water.

Water Containers (Cleaning and Storage)

Unopened commercially bottled water is the safest and most reliable emergency water supply.

Use of food-grade water storage containers, such as those found at surplus or camping supply stores, is recommended if you prepare stored water yourself.

Before filling with safe water, use these steps to clean and sanitize storage containers:

  1. Wash the storage container with dishwashing soap and water and rinse completely with clean water.
  2. Sanitize the container by adding a solution made by mixing 1 teaspoon of unscented liquid household chlorine bleach in one quart of water.
  3. Cover the container and shake it well so that the sanitizing bleach solution touches all inside surfaces of the container.
  4. Wait at least 30 seconds and then pour the sanitizing solution out of the container.
  5. Let the empty sanitized container air-dry before use OR rinse the empty container with clean, safe water that already is available.

Avoid using the following containers to store safe water:

  • Containers that cannot be sealed tightly
  • Containers that can break, such as glass bottles
  • Containers that have ever been used for any toxic solid or liquid chemicals (includes old bleach containers)
  • Plastic or cardboard bottles, jugs, and containers used for milk or fruit juices

For proper water storage,

  • Label container as “drinking water” and include storage date.
  • Replace stored water that is not commercially bottled every six months.
  • Keep stored water in a place with a fairly constant cool temperature.
  • Do not store water containers in direct sunlight.
  • Do not store water containers in areas where toxic substances such as gasoline or pesticides are present.

During an emergency learn how to Make Water Safe and about Finding Emergency Water Sources.

Survival Basics: 16 Ways to Conserve Water in Your Home

With the recent proliferation of water shortages caused by wonky weather patterns, finding ways to maximize the water we do have has become a focus of preppers near and far.  That said, in addition to knowing how to find, harvest, purify, and store water, it is important to develop a lifelong habit of conserving water.

The bottom line is that careful water conservation methods will allow you to make the most of limited supplies not only following a disruptive event but also day to day as you learn to make do with what you have during a drought.

Today I share 16 ways to conserve water in in your home.  We’ll begin in the bathroom since interestingly enough, that is where 75% of all household water is used.

16 Tips to Help You Conserve Water

1.  Do not keep the bathroom faucet running.

The faucet at the bathroom sink does not need to be running continuously while you brush your teeth, wash your face, or shave.  You will save between three and five gallons of water each minute your faucet is turned off.  That is a lot of water! Instead, use the stopper on the sink and drain the basin when you are done.

2.  Only flush when needed.

The toilet is not a wastepaper basket for tissues, cotton balls, or other bits of trash.  Even better, flush the solids every single time but alternate flushing the liquids.

The prepper’s motto is ‘yellow, let it mellow’, ‘brown, flush it down’.

3.  Flush using less water.

Most toilets installed before 1980 use 5 to 7 gallons of water per flush. Toilets installed between 1980 and 1993 use 3.5 gallons per flush. Toilets installed since 1994 use 1.6 gallons.

If you happen to have an older toilet, consider filling a used soda bottle or jar with water and small pebbles or marbles and place it upright in the tank.  This will cut down on the amount of water that flows through the tank with each flush.  Just be careful not to place the bottle where it will jam the flushing mechanism.  Also, make sure you don’t displace so much water that you have to double-flush.

Double flushing wastes more water than you would save.

4.  Check for leaky faucets and toilets.

It is easy to replace worn washers and since a small leak can waste many gallons of water a day, it is well worth the effort to test for leaks now.

The way to test for toilet leaks is to put a few drops of food coloring in the tank to see if the colored water appears in the bowl.  This takes about 10 minutes.  If the water color changes, you have a leak.  Not to worry, though.  Most leaks can be repaired with a kit that you can pick up at your local hardware store or on Amazon.

You can find a lot of information on toilets and toilet repairs at the Toiletology 101 website, including a free course on toilet repairs.

Keep in mind that little leaks can add up quickly.  A faucet drip or invisible toilet leak that totals only two tablespoons a minute comes to 15 gallons a day. That’s 105 gallons a week or 5,460 wasted gallons of water a year.

Are you wondering how long the parts in your toilet tank should last?  The answer is: it depends.  Replaceable parts such as flappers and washers or seals inside the refill valve may last several years. However factors such as water treatment processes, toilet bowl cleaners, and high water pressure can cause parts to disintegrate much sooner. If you touch the flapper and get black “goo” on your hands, the flapper needs to be replaced.

5.  Check for hidden water leaks.

Check for hidden water leaks elsewhere in your home by reading your water meter.  What you do is read the house water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.

Read more here…

This article was written by Gaye Levy from Backdoor Survival

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com.

This article was written by Gaye Levy and can be viewed here:

http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/survival-basics-16-ways-to-conserve-water-in-your-home/

 

BugOut Retreat

Could you Find a Bug Out Retreat After the Grid Goes Down?

If you are like me you don’t have the resources to afford a bug out retreat. My prepper ideal of a remote fortress located on hundreds of wooded acres, miles away from civilization and fully stocked with 20 years of supplies, flowing water and established orchards for me and the rest of my extended family is sadly just a dream. I hope to one day have a location that I can fall back to if I need to leave my house, but the way things are going right now at least, my isolated retreat is just my simple suburban home.

A true remote location that will provide shelter and safety isn’t something that most people can swing. It is one thing to live in a remote area but it is another to live closer to larger metropolitan areas for the convenience of work, schools and commerce while also maintaining a separate property to be used if the grid goes down. Having two homes is not something the average prepper can afford, or at least I haven’t figured out how to yet. I know that there are some that will say you have to make sacrifices now, to sell everything and move while there is still time but for a whole host of reasons my family plans to stay put and try to ride out any crisis that would head our way.

Does that mean that I don’t believe we will ever be forced to leave? No. I can see a lot of potentialreasons to bug out even if we don’t have anywhere to go, but it would be the absolute last resort. I know enough to know that the best plans can change and I can already foresee situations where what I thought would happen might turn out differently. There are no absolutes in life so I will adjust if needed.

Thinking about what I would do if I was forced to bug out led me to the concept behind this post. What if me and my family couldn’t stay in our home for any one of a dozen reasons? Where would we go? Would we be left only to bug out to the woods and try to hide there? Are there other options? What would give us the best chance of survival?

If you have to leave now

If I had the resources to be able to move to an ideal retreat location, what would I be looking for? Could I use these traits of the perfect survival retreat property to help me find a place after the SHTF that could keep my family safe? I started thinking about how I could apply these same search criteria on a much smaller scale perhaps even locally to my home to find someplace where my family would be safer. I know there are some who will say for one reason or another that you will never be safe in any location permanently. I guess they assume you would wander the wilderness forever eating moss and shrubs or else you die.

Retreat1Everything depends on the disaster you are going through and it is with articles like this that I usually have people saying how one or more of my points won’t work because of X. This will probably be no different, but to frame the discussion let’s just say that a global pandemic has hit the US very hard. The virus was so deadly that 45% of the population was killed in one year. Now it looks like the virus has run its course but the nation is crippled and most cities look more like Detroit than Mayberry.

Naturally, with a disaster on this scale, panic and rioting are common as services had ceased due to problems with supply and personnel. Cities are burned to the ground and no order existed in the town you live in. Over the last few months you have heard reports on your Ham radio of gangs roaming further out of the city and they are on track to be in your neck of the woods in a few weeks. You know that you can’t defend your home against overwhelming numbers and your neighbors were almost all decimated by the virus or have left long ago. Being prepared you were able to shelter in place and reduce your exposure but without a large group to defend your property the prospects of survival look bleak.

With the news of approaching gangs who have slowly fanned out looking for food and creating a path of destruction in their wake you have decided it is time to go. You pack up the supplies most critical to your family’s survival and head out away from the city looking for a new place to call home that will give you all of the traits of that perfect retreat location that you couldn’t afford before the SHTF.

What are the traits of good retreat?

As you set out on the road you will be looking for a new place to stay. Depending on the location you are in you would probably want to get as far away from the city as possible. Finding a new place to hunker down will be difficult and you will most likely need to find a location that is an abandoned home or building. What would you look for?

Retreat2

Running water – A location next to or very near a source of water will be crucial assuming the utilities no longer work. This is where location matters as cities routinely do not have a source of running water. If your city is not located on a river, you could improvise rain catchment systems but you would need to work out a system for storing the water. This isn’t impossible, but I think cities have their downsides. Even if half of the population was gone due to the virus, you will still be in the middle of a large area of others all competing for resources to live. Do you leave town or do you try to claim the top two floors of an abandoned building?

In the country, running water is easier to find but you are still going to treat it for disease. There is no way of knowing what is upstream but you can boil water for a minute to kill all of the active bacteria and make it safe to drink.

Away from population/ Lines of drift – The further away from people the better is what we look for in a retreat, but that assumes we have some support in the form of a larger group. You may find that you will want to stay closer to others for safety, but again each situation will be different. My preference would be to hide away but you can be attacked in the woods just as easily as in the city.

In a disaster we frequently mention the Golden Horde and you would assume if 45% of the people are dead already there would be a lot less people you would need to worry about but I would still stay as far away from interstates and secondary roads as possible. I would be looking for a place I could hide in that would be very likely overlooked by anyone out wandering around. Of course, if it is a location you found that means someone else could find it too.

Good ground for growing food – This is regional as well but if you live in an area with a short growing season it would make sense to move to a new home where you could grow food for longer each year. That may mean migrating south or east or west depending on where you live. Can you grow food in a city? Of course, it you can find good dirt and assuming the climate is more agreeable to long growing seasons. You can still garden just about anywhere in the US though but what you grow and how well you are able to garden will be factors.

Retreat3

Defensible – High ground with clear lines of sight – Does your new bug out retreat give you the ability to defend it if need to? If you are going through all the trouble to move somewhere else, you would want it to be an upgrade hopefully, right? Any location you select should ideally give you good visibility to your surroundings so that you can see who is approaching. In a city this could mean the roof of a building but I still think that is a less ideal place. Having a cabin halfway up a mountain with some cleared land would be better. What about an abandoned bank or service station? You could have security on three sides but the store front windows would be a downside.

I would be looking for a building that had no windows if those were my options; or at least windows too high for the average person to crawl in. Something like a warehouse would give you a lot of choices if it was in the right location.

This is all hypothetical but I think it is conceivable that in order to survive you could have to roam outside of your city in a worst case scenario. The same advantages of the retreats that we look for can be had in other locations too if you know what you are looking for. Will it be as nice as that dreamy prepper retreat? Probably not, but it could still give you a location that could keep you and your family alive.

Could you Find a Bug Out Retreat After the Grid Goes Down? was written by Pat Henry with Prepper Journal and can be viewed here:

http://www.theprepperjournal.com

16 Food Storage Tips for the Space Challenged Prepper

One of the more common prepper challenges is finding room for stored food and water. Lucky you if you have a large home with a basement or cellar – you have plenty of space at just the right temperature. But the rest of us? Not so much. Many people live in apartments, condos, mobile homes, RV’s or, in my case, a one bedroom cottage. This means we are cramped for normal pantry and closet space let alone space for our emergency food and water.

Couple the lack of storage space with the need to be mindful of the six enemies of food storage (temperature, moisture, oxygen, light, pests and time) and the storage problem compounds exponentially.

This does not have to be an impossible situation.  With a bit of creativity, almost everyone can find a bit of extra space for their emergency food storage.  So with that in mind, today I would like to offer some ideas for storing food for the space challenged.  I am going to do this by using my own home as an example.  In the photos below you will see the results of my walk-around assessment of usable storage space in my own home.

As embarrassing as it might seem to expose my messes and disorganization for the world to see, I think it will help give you some ideas where you too can find some extra space in your own home.

16 FOOD STORAGE TIPS FOR THE SPACE CHALLENGED PREPPER

1. Build some shelves under the stairwell

If you are like me, that awkward space under the stairwell is a big mess.  I actually cleaned this area out before taking the photo – that is how bad it was.  If you don’t want to build shelves, consider putting some buckets along the back wall then placing a board on top.  On top of this make-shift shelf you can store #10 tins or canned and packaged foods.  This is going to be the number one makeover in my home.

Read more here…

This article was written by Gaye Levy from Backdoor Survival

Gaye Levy started Backdoor Survival so that she could share her angst and concern about our deteriorating economy and its impact on ordinary, middle-class folks. She also wanted to become a prepper of the highest order and to share her knowledge as she learned it along the way. On Backdoor Survival you will find survival and preparedness tools and tips for creating a self-reliant lifestyle through thoughtful prepping and optimism.

To read more from Gaye, visit her website, Backdoor Survival. You can also follow Gaye on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest or purchase her eBook, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage on Amazon.com.

Canning 101

canning-101-collageLet’s start at the beginning in our Canning Journey with Canning 101. We will look at the different types of canning, canning terms…tools…jars and pectin.

This is just the basics but important information to learn before we continue on to other important things such as choosing our canner (water bath or pressure), walking through the canning process step-by-step and exploring and making some recipes both sweet and sour.  We also have some canning labels in store for you later this week to print out and personalize…so welcome to Canning 101, let’s begin!

Canning Types

Chutney
A combination of vegetables and/or fruits, spices and vinegar cooked for a long period of time to develop favorable flavor and texture. Usually with a sweet-sour flavor.

Conserve
A soft spread similar to jam, that is made with at least 2 kinds of fruit in addition to nuts or raisins.

Jam
A spread made by crushing or chopping whole fruits. Jams are thicker than jellies and tend to contain chunks of fruits.

Jelly
A spread made with only fruit juice rather then the whole fruit to form a smooth gel consistency.

Marmalade
A spread that contains pieces of citrus fruit and peel evenly suspended in transparent jelly.

Pickle
A perserved fruit or vegetable (usually a cucumber) in a vinegar or brine solution

Preserves
A spread in which fruit is cooked with sugar to the point where large chunks of fruit or whole fruit (usually berries) are suspended in a syrup base. The texture of preserves is not as smooth as jelly or jam.

Relish
A pickled product prepared using chopped fruits and/or vegetables cooked in a seasoned vinegar solution.

Fruit Butter
A soft spread made by slowly cooking fruit pulp and sugar to a consistency thick enough to mound on a spoon and spread easily. Spices may be added.

Fruit Curd
A creamy spread made with sugar, eggs and butter, generally flavored with citrus juice and zest. Curds are often not safe for waterbath canning because of their dairy content, so be sure to use a recipe specifically designed to be canned.

Canning Terms

Citric acid
A powder made from natural acid derived from citrus fruits. Citric acid is often used in recipes to increase the natural acid in the recipe in order to make it safe for canning. Lemon juice or lime juice may also be used for the same function, but each have their own PH level.

Fermentation
A reaction caused by intentional growth of yeast, bacteria, or mold in which natural sugars are turned into lactic acid. Examples of fermented canned foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, and some pickles.

Fingertip-tight
The degree to which screw bands are properly applied to fresh preserving jars. Use your fingers to screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight. Do not use a utensil or the full force of your hand to over-tighten bands.

Full rolling boil
A rapid boil. A boil that can not be stirred down. This boil generally occurs at about 220°F (104°C). This stage is essential for attaining a gel when making jams & jellies

Headspace
The unfilled space in the canning jar between the top of the food and the lid. Each recipe will specify the amount of headspace needed. This headspace is needed to allow for expansion when the jars are heated and also to form a strong seal once the jars are cool.

Hermetic seal 
An absolutely airtight container seal which prevents reentry of air or microorganisms into packaged foods.

High-acid food
A food with a pH level of 4.6 or lower. Most tomatoes & fruits (except figs, Asian pears, melons, bananas, dates, papaya, ripe pineapple, persimmons) are naturally high in acid. Citric acid, lemon juice, or vinegar can sometimes be included in a recipe to help raise the acidity. Fermentation can also add acidity. Only high acid foods are safe for waterbath canning.

Low-acid food
A food with a pH level higher than 4.6. Vegetables, meat, & seafood are all low acid foods. These are foods that are easier for bacterica to thrive in and need to be processed in a pressure canner to safely perserve them.

Pectin
A natural gelling agent that is derived from fruits like apples or citrus fruits. Pectin can be purchased as a powder that is added to softer fruits like strawberries to create a thick jam or jelly. Pectin is available in several varieties including low-sugar or liqud (more on that in the next post!)

Pressure canning
The use of a pressure canner to heat-process low acid foods. The pressurized steam inside the canner allows the food to reach higher temperatures and thus can kill the harmful bacteria that can be housed the the low-acid food. Pressure canned food also must be processed for the specified amount of time on the recipe.

Processing time
The time in which the filled jars need to remain in the waterbath or pressure canner. The processing time is specified in most recipes and can have variances depending on your altitude. The amount of processing time depends on many factors including the acidity level, size of jar, and type of food. The process time allows every bit of the jar to be heated to the sufficient temperature.

Re-processing
Repeating the heat processing of filled, capped jars when a lid does not seal within 24 hours. The original lid must be removed and the food and/or liquid reheated as recommended by the recipe. The food and/or liquid must be packed into clean, hot jars and covered with a new, clean lid with the screw band adjusted. The filled jars must then be reprocessed using the preserving method and full length of processing time recommended by the recipe.

Spoilage
The evidence that a food product has not been completely rid of microorganisms. If microorganisms are present, the nutrients in the food product will allow them to grow and multiply. Spoilage occurs when food products have not been processed correctly. Signs of spoilage include broken seals, mold, gassiness, cloudiness, spurting liquid, seepage, yeast growth, fermentation, slime and disagreeable odors.

Sterilization
The process of killing bacteria. Achieved by heating empty jars to a high temperature prior to filling them & then heating them again once full.

Waterbath method / boiling water method
The simplest method to preserve high-acid foods. Using a waterbath canner, water is heated to at least 212°F (100°C) to destroy molds, yeasts, and bacteria & also to seal the jar lids. The jars must be kept in the canner and covered by at least 2″ of water for the specified processing time in the recipe. You should not use this method for low acid foods.

Canning Tools

Canning Rack

A shallow (usually metal) rack that elevates the jars slightly off the bottom of the canning pot. The rack keeps the jars from being in direct contact with the heat of the stove and also allows the water to circulate and ensure that it is able to evenly come in contact with all facets of the jars. You can use a rack specifically designed for canning or you can also use a round cake cooling rack that fits in your pot – both do the job!Lid Lifter
Lids must be submerged in hot boiling water before they can be used. This process sanitizes them and also helps to soften the rubber for a better seal. This tool is designed in order to remove the lids from the boil. It is not 100% necessary, but it is helpful. It is basically a magnet on the end of a stick.  I happen to have some neat geometric magnets on my fridge that keep my fingers safe and work just as well.Jar Funnel
A funnel with a wide a opening perfect for the opening of a mason jar. This funnel will basically help you make less of a mess. It’s not necessary to use a funnel, you can also just ladle directly into jars, but you’ll find there is more clean up to do on the jars before they can be sealed.Jar Lifter/Grabber

This specially designed tool is essentially a pair of tongs with a circular grasp to pick up mason jars. It’s nessisary to safely be able to remove the jars from the boiling water.

Canning Jars

Jar: The glass part. Jars are reusable as long as they have no chips or cracks in them, so it’s important to inspect them before using.Lid: The metal circle that fits on the top. Lids have a rubber band that fuses to the glass of the jar and that is what creates your seal. You should not reuse lids and replacement packages are available just about everywhere canning products are sold.

Band: The metal ring that screws around the top of the jar and holds the lid in place. Bands are reusable, but should be cleaned well after use.

Generally, the size you use is entirely up to you.  I tend to primarily use half-pints or quarter pints for almost all of my projects, but if you have a big family you may find yourself wanting to package your goods in a larger jar.  Half gallon jars are also available and I love to have one or two around for making Iced Tea but they are pretty bulking to use for my personal canning projects.

Pectins

Pectin is a natural gelling agent that is derived from fruits like apples or citrus fruits.  Pectin is the unsung hero of jam and jelly making…it’s the ingredient that really makes the magic happen.  You don’t need pectin to make jam, but almost all modern jam recipes use pectin and for good reason.  Pectin allows jams to gel with less sugar being added and with significantly less cooking time. Comercial pectin is slightly sweet and doesn’t have much of a flavor to it.  You can find pectin at your local grocery store usually in the baking isle with the other canning supplies.
There are a few different types of pectin, but they all work pretty much the same way:
Powder: The most common state of pectin.  Sold in a small box or in a larger jar.
Liquid: Liquid pectin is basically powdered pectin that has already been disolved.  It is a bit messier and harder to work with in my opinion, but some people swear by it.
Lite or Low-Sugar: Pectin that cuts the typical jam recipe’s sugar content down by about 40% vs regular pectin.  It makes the jam a bit better for you, but I also really appreciate the resulting flavor with the low sugar recipes -it’s less in your face sweetness and allows the fruit flavor to shine through a bit more.
Freezer Jam Pectin: This is a product designed specifically for making freezer jam and no cooking is necessary to create a gel.  My understanding though is that this pectin can create runny jam more often than not. This product is not intended for traditional canning.  You can use regular pectin for freezer jam, but you can’t use this freezer jam pectin for traditional hot water bath canning and it has a bad reputation for not working as well…so, you want my advice? Skip it – use regular pectin and cook your jam even if you plan to freeze it.
This article was written by Kat from Simply-Living-Simply and can be viewed here.

Ornamental Rule Lines in Different Design 2 150x44 Canning 101