Category Archives: Food and Water

How to Remove Pantry Odors

Among the many annoyances in daily life, strong odors in various areas of your home can be one of them. Say you just cooked fish in your kitchen – how do you get rid of the smell that lingers for days afterward? This is especially relevant to those who like to spend time in the kitchen, strong odors can become a nuisance extremely quickly.

Luckily, there are a several ways to absorb and reduce strong odors naturally. That’s right – you can put away the Febreze because there are plenty of other options to return areas of your home to their regular, nothing, smell.

One problem area for many people is in the pantry. Because you are storing many different types of food, for longer periods of time, the pantry is one of the number one places where strong and unpleasant odors may linger. If you’re in a disaster situation, and stuck in the house, you happen to have to go to into the pantry often as most people do. This can quickly become an annoying and unpleasant task.

So, making sure to clean the pantry often and rotating your stock to avoid items that might go bad first, is always a great way to prevent unwanted smells from drifting further. If you happen to have a hidden pantry, then you definitely do not want strong smells alerting people to it.

This is why it is so imperative to know how to get rid of these unpleasant odors in the pantry, and just about anywhere else.

baking soda

Baking Soda

The tried and true method for removing unpleasant smells has been, for a very long time, baking soda. Baking soda is often touted as a remedy for curing terrible smells because it does not just mask odors – it absorbs them completely, leaving your pantry, fridge, or any other area of your home, completely smell-free.

So, what is baking soda? First off, baking soda is sodium bicarbonate (sodium hydrogen carbonate). You’ll probably notice that this chemical makeup is reminiscent of regular kitchen salt (sodium chloride); that’s because baking soda technically is a salt.

Though baking soda typically appears as a powder, it is a crystalline like we know most salts to be. As you’ve probably noticed, baking soda is used for a great many things in the household – from cooking, to cleaning, to pest control, and many more.

This is why there are several methods to freshen up your pantry or refrigerator using baking soda:

  • The most commonly cited method is leaving a shallow dish of baking soda uncovered to the air in your pantry. Replace this container as necessary.
  • If you find that your pantry smells because something has spilled or rotted in it, you may discover that you have to clean the surface itself before the smell will truly go away. Do this by mixing a solution of baking soda and hot water (a quarter cup to a half cup of baking soda dissolved in a few cups of hot water) and using this mixture to scrub the surface. Any deeply ingrained smell won’t stand a chance.
  • If you keep your garbage can in your pantry, you can sprinkle a few tablespoons of baking soda into it to absorb any malodors in the trash as well.

coffee

Coffee

If you’ve ever gone shopping for perfume, you’ll know that coffee grounds are often placed in small containers on shelves to “clear your palette”, so to speak, for smelling different perfumes. Luckily for us, coffee grounds can be used to clear up more than perfume smells.

Similar to baking soda, coffee beans, or coffee grounds, can be used to absorb bad smells in areas of your home. However, unlike baking soda coffee grounds will be fragrant on their own, so this is a great method if you simply enjoy the smell of coffee. If you don’t like the scent of coffee, then you might want to try one of our other solutions.

The best way to use coffee as a deodorizer for your pantry is to place a few grounds, or whole beans, in a shallow dish and leave this dish in your pantry. Replace the grounds (or beans) as needed. Unfortunately, this will leave you with stale coffee, but if you have coffee that is already stale, this is a great way to get some use out of it.

Another tip is that if you have some leftover brewed coffee grounds, don’t throw those either. They can be used to scrub shelving, bins and floors that have had rotting garlic, onions, potatoes, or other strong offensive odors that could draw the attention of sensitive noses.

vinegar

Vinegar

Another miracle worker in the household world is vinegar, which has a variety of uses, from applications in gardening to cooking and cleaning. You can spray a concoction of vinegar and water onto surfaces to clean and disinfect them. So, it makes sense that this versatile acid would have deodorizing properties as well.

The reason for this is that since most smells have a pH level of above 7, which makes them a base. Vinegar is an acid. So, when vinegar molecules come into contact with odor molecules, an acid-base neutralization occurs; thus, eliminating both odors – in this case, your bad smell, and eventually, the smell of vinegar).

Vinegar smells on its own, but because of the way it eliminates odors, the vinegar smell does go away after some time. There are many ways to utilize vinegar for removing bad smells from your pantry.

  • Like coffee and baking soda, you can simply leave a shallow container of white vinegar or cider vinegar open in your pantry to neutralize bad odors. You can apply this method to any part of the house where you want to eliminate odors – not just the pantry!
  • Many people suggest simmering about a cup of white vinegar on your stove for roughly an hour to neutralize odors throughout the whole house. Make sure you leave your pantry door open so that it works in there as well.
  • For the really ingrained odors, such as rotting food or spilt items on a surface, you can also use a vinegar-water solution to scrub the area and deodorize it. There are many formulations for cleaners involving vinegar; one common ratio is one cup of white vinegar to a gallon of water. You can do some trial and error to see what ratios work the best for you. However, its recommended that you do some research beforehand to make sure that vinegar works well with the type of surface that you need to clean, as not all surfaces are compatible with vinegar.

Vinegar remains one of the most useful household items due to how diverse its uses are. Deodorizing your pantry is just one of many other uses for the chemical.

vanilla extract

photo: Brian Boucheron via Flickr

Vanilla Extract

Unfortunately, vanilla extract doesn’t have quite as many deodorizing properties as the methods listed above. Nonetheless, it does have its own strong and delightful smell that is excellent at masking malodors anywhere in the home. If you like how vanilla smells, then this might be the perfect tactic for you.

There’s a wide range of methods for using vanilla extract to mask bad odors, and some of these work better for larger areas, such as the entire kitchen or home, rather than just one space, like the pantry. However, if you keep your pantry door open while attempting these, you should see a difference in the smell throughout.

  • Bake a small amount of vanilla extract (two tablespoons) at 300 degrees Fahrenheit in an oven safe container for 20 minutes. Make sure that you place the container on the middle rack of the oven. Don’t forget it’s there, or else it could burn.
  • Similarly, you can also simmer vanilla on your stovetop for 20 minutes, or microwave it on high for a minute. Once the smell of vanilla has propagated to your satisfaction, dump out the extract and enjoy your new and pleasant-smelling home.
  • If your pantry has a lightbulb in it, you can sprinkle a few drops onto it and turn on the lights. The heat from the lightbulb will cause the extract to evaporate, scenting the air with a delicious fragrance. You can also buy rings that go around lightbulbs to disperse the smell.

While this method won’t eliminate the odor quite as thoroughly because it does not absorb or neutralize smell as well as the previous two methods. Vanilla is a strong enough ingredient to mask odor fairly well, so that your house smells pleasant instead of unpleasant. If you’re aiming for a pantry that smells like nothing, this may not be the best method for you.

dried mustard

photo byt Ron Dollete via Flickr

Dried Mustard, Sage, Mints, or Other Herbs

Add a half-cup of dried mustard into 1.5 gallons of water. Wet a sponge, paper towel, or old rag with this solution and wipe down walls, shelves, and flooring to remove the smells. You can also pour this up into a spray bottle to make applying easier.

salt

Salt

Ordinary table salt absorbs orders, as well as makes a nice scrubbing agent.

  • Sprinkle the salt on any spills or areas where jars of canned food items have gone bad and exploded in the pantry. You just need to add a little bit of water to make a paste. Softly scrub the area to remove the cause of the odor.

lemon

Lemons, and Other Acidic Fruits

Many people have heard of using lemons, and the successes of it. The ascorbic acid in many citrus fruits will eliminate rank odors.

  • Cut the lemon or citrus fruit in half and place it with the cut side up in a bowl of water. Leave this in the corners of the pantry and allow it to work its magic.
  • Another way to use citrus fruits is to make a pomander. These are extremely simple to make. Just stick cloves into the fruit until the surface is completely covered. Tie a string or twine around it and hang it up in your pantry. This will keep things smelling fresh for several years.
  • You can also mix lemon juice and water for another cleaning solution to get rid of ingrained odors on surfaces.

Miscellaneous Methods & Final Notes

The best part about many of these solutions is that these items are generally easily found in your home. Almost everyone has access to at least one of these solutions – even if you find yourself in a disaster situation and you’re stuck in your home. Now, you know that there are plenty of methods available to you for eliminating bad odors, which is great in case you’re stuck for a while.

Additionally, there are some other miscellaneous methods that can help reduce odors in your pantry.

  • Placing a dryer sheet in your pantry, or anywhere else, where you want to deodorize – even the inside of a musty book. A dryer sheet left overnight will deodorize it.
  • You can simmer a mixture of spices on your stove to get rid of bad odors throughout your home and make your home smell like autumn. Achieve this by simmering lemon or orange peels, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in water for as long as it takes to smell better, or to the scent of your liking. Make sure to leave your pantry door open or place the steaming pot of spices on a towel in the middle of your pantry. Close the door to trap the aroma inside. After a little time, you can remove the pot from the pantry after it has cooled and the scent has died down. You can also reheat this mixture to use in another room.
  • Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the corners of your pantry can mask any light malodors as eucalyptus is antibacterial and antifungal.

As you can see, there are a range of methods available for deodorizing your pantry and various areas of your home. If you find yourself stuck at home for a long period of time, like when the SHTF, then making sure your shelter is a pleasant place to be can make all the difference. These methods, through some easily accessible materials, you can be comfortable within a pleasant-smelling home.

The post How to Remove Pantry Odors appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Coffee, Green Tea or Dandelion Tea?

If you prefer coffee over tea fear not, coffee contains antioxidants as well, quinines, chlorogenic acid, and trigonelline, and is purported to help lower the risk of type II diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, colon cancer, and gout.

Be sure to keep in mind that coffee has about 85mg of caffeine per cup compared to about 40mg per cup for tea, so if you would like to benefit from the antioxidant properties but don’t want the stimulant side effect then tea it is.

Recent research has linked the consumption of caffeine with an increased risk of miscarriage, so moderation is key. We will go over some of the benefits of coffee and tea, and then take a look at alternatives that can be substituted in a post collapse situation or SHTF lack of resources.

Are coffee or tea fattening?

One important fact to keep in mind no matter which brew you prefer is that both coffee and tea are calorie free in their “natural” state. It takes adding sugar and creamers to add any calories. One way to do it would be to have your coffee in the morning when you need that pick-me-up to shake the cobwebs from your eyes and get your day started, and then drink tea throughout the day to keep the antioxidants flowing. Be sure to drink plenty of water too.

Which has more antioxidants: Coffee or Tea?

The evidence shows that both coffee and tea contain the antioxidants that may help decrease the risk of several forms of cancer and other disease, the only question is which do you prefer? Coffee is overwhelmingly the drink of choice for Americans, but tea is becoming more and more popular with an upwards of 10 billion servings consumed last year. Many countries around the world allocate the health benefits of a tea enriched diet. In China tea has been used to treat many ailments through the ages.

Are all coffee and teas the same?

One thing to keep in mind if you decide on tea is that many herbal teas do not actually contain tea. Some of these drinks do use tea as a base for the mix but many are made up purely of herbs that do not contain the antioxidant benefit that tea provides. The same can be said for instant coffee or heavily flavored novelty drinks, it may be mostly added elements that do not have the same health benefits as regular coffee. So, whether it’s coffee or tea that you prefer, drink up.

Can caffeine drinks help a workout or the workday?

For those that start each morning with a cup of coffee, you may be doing life more correctly than you thought. A dose of caffeine in the form of morning coffee each day can be a very useful to those who follow their coffee with a workout later in the day. A cup after a workout will help a person’s muscles relax post-workout too.

Boosting the work from your drink

An Australian institute conducted a study on the effects of caffeine ingested by runners at both the recreational and advanced levels. Each of the runners took an amount of caffeine equal to what would be in an 8oz coffee and each runner had an improvement in their run times of about 11 seconds per person. Coffee, and the caffeine within it, stimulates the glycogen of the body by giving the body a fatty acid to consume instead. This allows the muscles to focus only on consuming the energy rich glycogen, meaning those who are drinking coffee can have a longer workout.

Won’t coffee dehydrate you?

Many people who believe they are in the know about coffee think it dehydrates the drinker due to the caffeine in it. The ideal that caffeine dehydrates is not an uncommon one, and it came around from the majority of people being warned not to drink caffeinated drinks on summer days or face dehydration. This is simply a myth, and has been proven wrong through extensive testing.

In fact the opposite is true in some situations as a caffeinated beverage such as coffee can provide much needed fluids to those who are accustomed to them. Essentially for those who have come to rely on a strong cup of coffee as motivation, the body has adapted and relies on it as an intake of fluid.

How does it help?

Coffee will help the body by acting as a stimulant to the nervous system, with caffeine directly blocking the production of a hormone that causes the body to relax. Blocking this hormone puts the body in the famed ‘fight or flight’ stage, releasing a dose of adrenaline into the system. The rate of the heart increases, pupils dilate, muscles will tighten, and the body goes into over production releasing glucose into the blood for that extra kick of energy.

Caffeine taken into the body will also increase the amount of dopamine in the mind. Dopamine is the hormone that crates a euphoric sense of feeling, which leads to a person working out feeling better both about their exercise and themselves.

Thus drinking coffee physiologically creates a sense of happiness during a workout, making the drinker feel more alert with more energy to spend. So have another cup before your workout.

What are some alternative drinks that have the same effect as coffee and tea?

There are quite a few alternatives you can brew at home that can have the same effect as coffee or tea. This can be extremely beneficial if TEOTWAWKI happens and supplies are limited, but you want that mental clarity.

green tea

Green tea

Although not as popular as the mixed oolong teas or black teas we commonly associate with tea, green tea actually is growing as to its ability to be a fat fighter and profound ability to stabilize blood sugar for diabetics.

Brewing green tea

1 If you are out and need to make green tea properly, here are a few tips for this delightful drink.

2 Use bottled or spring water.

3 Get it up to 175 degrees on a fire, one tip is to boil it then remove the lid and let the steam out. Once the steam stops it should be the perfect temperature.

4 Steep your tea for 1 minute for the perfect green tea, bagged or loose leaves use the same time. If you go too long, it will be bitter.

5 Strain afterwards.

Protein shakes

If you have access to a blender, and want to combat fatigue, then a protein shake can be the ticket. Fruit, protein heavy compounds such as wheat germ, yogurt, quinoa, goat or cow’s milk, and even eggs can make a mood lifting drink.

Protein is needed when you are working strenuously not only by your body requirements, but to feed your brain replenishing amino acids.

Honey based drinks

All the way back to the bible, honey has been praised for its nutrient dense composition and multiple uses for its lovely taste. Just a quick drink made of hot water, honey, and lemon juice will give you an all-natural much needed energy boost while providing the calorie equivalent of a breakfast bar.

Dandelion tea

You wouldn’t think the little hardy plants we try so hard to kill every summer in the lawn would be such a great source of vitamins A, K, C, carbohydrates, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium!

This plant could be an invaluable resource post collapse a sit is a natural blood pressure stabilizer and cancer treatment. The vitamin K in it improves bone health and is a natural bone knitting and blood clotting compound.  It is also a natural blood sugar stabilizer and would help fight diabetic episodes and can prevent coma.

Making dandelion tea

dried dandelion leaves

1. Use the roots or flowers of the plant. Collect 2 cups, rinse and strain.

 

boiling water

2. Boil 3 cups of water. A roiling boil is when steam is just starting to come off.

 

steeping tea

3. Add the plant matter and cover. The oil and extracts will boil away and evaporate if you do not cover the pan.  You can add it straight, or put it in a coffee filter and tie to make a tea bag.

4. Steep for 30 minutes.

 

tea color

5. You can strain the plant matter out and compost or use it as animal feed, or leave it in. You want a rich yellow color.

 

adding honey

color of tea

6. Honey or molasses to taste. I added sugared rose petals for extra vitamin C.

finished dandelion tea

 

Making dandelion coffee for detox and liver cleanse

1. Roast the dandelion roots after chopping them finely at 300 degrees on a baking sheet for two hours.

Before roasting:

dandelion roots

 

After roasting:

cooked dandelion roots

 

2. Collect the small remains, “grounds,” when cooled and put them in a coffee filter. If you have a food processor you can run them on “fine” to get smaller grounds.

ground roots

 

3. Tie the coffee filter with unwaxed dental floss.

tied loose roots

 

4. Use this as a coffee bag and let it steep in the boiling water for 10 minutes.

coffee

 

5. Pour your cup!

coffee done

 

Wrap up

As with many foods, the more processed the food, the less it retains its natural benefits. This makes many bottled and cans drinks just sugar water basically. So hopefully our tips in the why and how of making coffee, teas, and their equivalents can help you stay healthy and strong in an uncertain world.

The post Coffee, Green Tea or Dandelion Tea? appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Homemade MREs for Your Stockpile

MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat, originated from the military. In fact, the military has a whole department in charge of the development of these unique meals. MREs are scientifically designed to last up to 5 years.

Crafted to be immediately edible, they provide an average of 1250 calories. The composition breakdown is 13 percent protein, 51 percent carbohydrates, and 36 percent fat.  One- third of the military recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals, so 3 MREs are a full days’ worth.

  • MREs are convenient to have on hand when a disaster strikes. Some of the reasons you should have MREs on hand are:
  • MREs are easy to move. Most preppers have canned foods, but they are bulky and heavy and are not so easy to just grab on the way out. Some require special preparation to eat them and, of course, you will need a can opener. If you’re traveling on foot, you will need to limit the number of cans of food that you can take with you.
  • They do not use up a lot of space and are lightweight. They can be easily put into your backpack, car, emergency kit, or home. Plus, they have an excellent shelf life.

If you want to make your own MREs, it can be satisfying, more nutritious, and much cheaper.

Keep these in mind:

  • Purchased MREs can be quite expensive. Especially if you have to pay for shipping.
  • They are also high in fat content. They were originally designed to meet the needs of someone doing heavy physical activity. When you combine that with the low water content, you are destined to get constipated.
  • They are also low in fiber and again. Another reason they lead to constipation. They have been nicknamed by some as “Meals Requiring Enemas”, and “Massive Rectal Expulsions.”
  • The sodium content in MREs can be as high as 3800 mg. That is 3x more than the average person should consume. This would make you pretty thirsty, too.
  • Because they are high in calories, high in fat, high in sodium, low in fiber and low in water, they can play havoc with the good bacteria in your stomach. Thus, causing extreme gastrointestinal distress which is not ideal when you are stuck in a sedentary situation.
  • Most importantly to some would be taste. They just don’t taste good. If you have ever eaten several of them, you’ll find they taste the same. Troops have been known to drown the entire meal in hot sauce just to get over the taste of it. There also is not much of a selection when it comes to purchased MREs.

Homemade MREs are the best for you in the long run and so much more cost effective. You won’t need to worry about the “not for human consumption-may cause diarrhea” mentality. You also won’t have to worry about packing inedible stuff such as a heater, matches, etc.

To begin, you’ll want to look into your options for packing your MREs.

Though Mylar bags are far better than plastic bags, they are also much more expensive. Though they offer a 10-12-year shelf life, they require oxygen absorbers, and high temperatures to seal the bag.

A vacuum sealer is the best way to go when creating your own MRE. Most MREs only have a shelf life of 1-3 years, depending on the contents of it.

Check out this video on vacuum packing sealing your own meals:

So what do you put in your MRE?

When making your own MREs, you will want to consider anything that can be eaten raw or cooked with water.

A complete MRE should include:

  • Utensils
  • Entrée
  • Seasoning
  • Crackers
  • Side dish
  • Spreads
  • Dessert
  • Candy
  • Dried Fruit
  • Dessert

When making your own MREs, you will want to consider anything that can be eaten raw or cooked with water.

Start looking for sales and stock up on:

  •    Bagged and canned meats: spam, tuna, chicken, salmon, sardines
  •    Ramen Noodles
  •    Instant rice and potatoes
  •    Instant oatmeal
  •    Instant drinks: coffee, tea, crystal light, Gatorade packets, Kool Aide, Hawaiian Punch
  •    Tea bags
  •    Bouillon cubes
  •    Packaged snack crackers: cheese, peanut butter, whole wheat
  •    Packets from restaurants such as pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, etc.
  •    Packets of sugar, sweeteners, etc.
  •    Granola bars
  •    Candy bars
  •    Power bars
  •    Dried fruit

Be sure to double check your stockpiles for the supplies needed to make the MREs, and arrange the type of meals you want to create. If you don’t have these in your stockpile; then start planning to add items to your stockpile to make the homemade MREs.

One example of an MRE you could put together yourself is:

Breakfast:

  • Two packs of instant oatmeal, two servings of dried fruit, and 14 oz. of water, single serve packet of coffee, spoon
  • Vacuum pack the combination without the water. You can tape the water to the outside of the bag.

Another example would be:

  1.    Canned chicken
  2.    Packet of instant chicken flavored
  3.    Packet of instant rice (such as Knorr flavored rice)
  4.    Packet of instant mashed potatoes -roasted garlic
  5.    Packet of Ramen noodles
  6.    1 tea bag
  7.    3 packets of sugar or Splenda
  8.    Packets of salt and pepper or your own seasonings (recipe below)
  9.    Packet of crackers with peanut butter or cheese
  10.  1 granola bar/energy bar
  11.  1 packet of taster’s choice instant coffee

Another packet might include:

  1.    1 vacuum sealed packet of Star-Kist Chunk Light Tuna
  2.    Ramen Noodles
  3.    Betty Crocker cheesy potatoes
  4.    Packet of flavored rice (such as Knorr)
  5.    Packet of peanuts-snack sized
  6.    Packet of Nescafe instant coffee with packets of cream and sugar
  7.    Splenda
  8.    1 bouillon cube
  9.    Packet of dried fruit
  10.  Packet of crushed red pepper or homemade seasoning packet

Try to make the meals as appetizing as possible while hitting all the major components noted in the list above. You don’t want the same boring meal every time, not to mention that members of your group may have different likes and dislikes.

Now, break out the vacuum sealer. Wrap your homemade MREs into nice little packs and seal away.

Adding your own components to your MRE is a great way to go. Try homemade preserved foods.

When you preserve your own food, you know exactly what is in it. No allergen issues, genetically modified ingredients, excess salt or sugar. Home preserving is a great way to cost- effectively make your own MREs.

Dehydrating Foods

Dehydrating foods makes them light and easy to store. Some can be dehydrated with the intention of rehydrating them later.

Dehydration is one of the oldest and best methods of food preservation. Dehydrating inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold, and yeasts by removing the water. Foods such as beef, fish, fruit, vegetables and garlic and onions are the many different types of foods that can be dehydrated.

If you have a food dehydrator, just follow the instructions. Check the web for recipes and ideas.

If you don’t have a dehydrator, use your oven. Turn the oven on to the lowest setting and cut your fruit and/or vegetable into ¼ inch slices. Place the sliced up vegetables or fruits in the oven on a lined sheet pan for about 6 to 8 hours or as long as they need.

Try your toaster oven. Toaster ovens vary so keep your eye on it. Turn the temperature of the toaster oven on its lowest setting and keep the door propped open a bit to avoid any condensation. This is one of the best ways to make beef jerky.

Sun drying is another option. This is especially good for tomatoes and herbs. Slice the fruit and/or vegetable and place them on an aluminum lined baking sheet. Leave the fruit or vegetables in a sunny spot for a few days.

For herbs, you can easily tie a string around them and hang them upside down. You can put the herbs in the sun or just let them hang out in your kitchen until they are dried. Just make sure no steam from the sink’s faucet or boiling pots on the stove reaches the drying herbs. This can caused mildew or mold on the herbs.

The most common fruits that are dehydrated include apples, apricots, berries, bananas, cherries, figs, grapes, plums, pineapple, pears, peaches, and melons.

The most common vegetables are tomatoes, carrots, beets, greens, beans, squash, onions, peas, celery, corn, pumpkin, and broccoli. These should be blanched briefly before the dehydrating process to limit the risk of food-borne illnesses. Since they will be crispy, they make great chips or a topper for your soups.

Here are some good recipes for your homemade MREs. Pick and choose according to your tastes and needs.

Southwest Seasonings

Ingredients:

4 Tbsps. chili powder

4 Tbsps. paprika

4 tsp ground cumin

2 Tblsp ground coriander

2 Tblsp dried oregano

2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 Tblsp garlic powder

2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 Tblsp salt

2 tsp black pepper

Directions:

Throw all the ingredients in a bag; then shake it up.

Store it in a vacuum-sealed bag.

Homemade Beef Jerky

Ingredients:

8 lbs. Flank steaks or 8 lbs. London Broil beef

4 tsp black pepper

4 tsp chili powder

4 tsp garlic powder

4 tsp cayenne pepper, add more to adjust to your taste

4 tsp onion powder

2 tsp liquid smoke

1/2 c. soy sauce or you can use a 1/2 c., soy sauce, low sodium

1 c. Worcestershire sauce

1 c. red hot sauce

Directions:

Trim off all the fat and cut the meat into 3-4-inch size strips.

Try to make each piece about 1/2 inch thick. (Partially frozen meat will be the easiest to cut.)

Pound out the meat lightly.

In a bowl mix the remaining ingredients; then mix or rub it on the meat.

Cover.  Next refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours or overnight.

Line the cookie sheet with tin foil and place the strips on the sheet without overlapping.

Set the oven to the low temperature (150-175°F).

Bake for about six hours; then turn the meat after 3 hours of cooking and continue to cook.

Jerky is done when meat is dried out.

Hardtack

Hardtack (aka cabin bread) is a basic type of cracker that is inexpensive and long lasting.

Ingredients:

4-5 c. of flour

2 c. of water

3 tbsp. of salt or herbs (see above seasoning recipe)

Directions:

Mix all the ingredients together and message until it comes to a smooth consistency. Flatten it out on a table or flat surface keeping a half inch or less in height. Cut into squares that are approximately 3 inches by 3 inches. Poke each square with a fork several times. If you have an oven; then bake for about 30 minutes or until crispy. If you don’t have access to an oven, wrap each square in aluminum and place it near the hottest part of the fire. Check periodically for the desired doneness. On the fire should take about 30 minutes also.

Trail Mix

Ingredients:

2 c. almonds-raw

1 c. dried apricot chopped

2 c. sunflower seeds -raw

2 c. raisins or dried cranberries

1/2 c. flaked coconut (optional)

1/2 c. chocolate or 1/4 c. carob chips (optional)

Directions:

Pour everything into a large container, cover and shake!

Store it in a vacuum-sealed bag

Spam and Pea Ramen

Ingredients:

Spam-diced

1-2 packs of Ramen Noodles

½ of peas – dried, canned, or vacuum sealed

Parmesan Cheese

Red Pepper Flakes

Directions:

Bring a saucepot of water to a full rolling boil. Add the noodles to the pot of water. If the peas are dehydrated, add them as well. Once the noodles are done, add in the Spam, parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and peas if you have not already added them.

Sweet and Spicy Tuna and Rice

Ingredients:

1 5 oz. package of Sweet & Spicy flavored tuna

1 package of instant rice

½ c. of vegetables – canned, dehydrated or vacuum sealed

Directions:

Cook the rice according to directions. If you are using dehydrated vegetables, make sure to add them while cooking the rice. When rice is done, stir in the tuna and vegetables if you have not already added them.

Cocoa Mix with Cinnamon and Nutmeg

Ingredients:

½ c. of powdered milk

3 tbsp. of cocoa powder

2 packets of non-dairy creamer

3 packets of sugar

½ tsp. of cinnamon

½ tsp. of nutmeg

Directions:

For convenience, combine all ingredients and pack in a vacuum-sealed bag for storage. You can use Ziploc bags if not storing for a long period of time.

Mix 2 tbsp. of the mix with a c. of hot water.

Add a packet of coffee if you desire.

Cooking Methods

Imagine if you did suddenly find yourself with no modern appliances. No electricity and no gas which translates to no oven, toaster oven, or microwave. Even if you do have a generator, it won’t last forever and who knows how long it will take for everything to come back up if it ever does.

The fact that you have a great supply of food is not enough. You also need to have a plan to handle the everyday processes as well such as cooking.

One item every prepper and homeowner should own is the traditional Dutch oven. It is a heavy iron kettle with a tight-fitting lid perfect for cooking meats, soups, bread, entrees and even desserts. The some of the lids have a ridge so as to hold the hot coals on top of it. The Dutch Ovens come in small, medium and large sizes with the average sized kettle being about 12 inches in diameter and holds about 6 quarts.

There are many purchasable options for cooking with no power such as propane and gas stoves, solar stoves, and rocket stoves.

Check online for stoves such as the Kelly Kettle, Solo Stove, and the Volcano Collapsible Cook Stove.

We touched on some of the basic information needed for homemade MREs, and there is still so much more out there to be addressed. Share your recipes and ideas below.

The post Homemade MREs for Your Stockpile appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

How to Stockpile Emergency Water

One of the greatest challenges to preparing your retreat for when SHTF is knowing how much water to store and how to store it.

In a disaster situation, you never know what may happen to your water sources – you may be unable to collect water for a long period of time, or have to fend off zombies from stealing your water, or may be unable to so much as leave your home. Any number of things could cause you to lose your water sources.

The big questions, then, are how much water should you store, and how do you store it? Planning for the day you can’t turn on your faucet for water will be crucial to your survival in a disaster.

How Much Water Do You Need?

Because you never know what will happen at TEOTWAWKI, we are going to assume that in the event of a disaster, you will be completely unable to access any external source of water. This means you will only be able to live off of your stockpile alone. While this may not be true, it is better to plan for the worst, than to plan for the best.

The first thing to consider when planning how much to stockpile is how much water you (and your family) will need to consume in order to survive. One common mistake a lot of preppers make is hoarding too much food and not enough water. To explain this, we refer to the rule of 3s:

  • You can live for 3 minutes without air.
  • You can live for 3 hours without shelter.
  • You can live for 3 days without water.
  • You can live for 3 weeks without food.

If you’re preparing, now, though, you have the luxury of being able to plan to have all four of these things. But taking one for granted and over preparing for the others could be a fatal mistake.

One common guideline for storing water is that one active person will generally need a gallon of water per day. Half of this will be consumed, while the other half is for personal hygiene. This technically means you can store less and simply not be as hygienic, but that comes with its own problems for survival as well (namely, disease and other such things).

Here are some other questions:

  • Is anyone in your household sick or injured?
  • Is anyone in your household pregnant or nursing?
  • Do you have any children in your household?
  • Do you live in a very hot climate?

If you answered yes to any of these, you may have a greater demand for water (up to double or triple the normal amount).

We will continue with the assumption that one person needs one gallon per day, but keep in mind any extenuating circumstances you may have that may alter individual water needs. Here’s a table with some easy calculations for stockpiling:

Number of People in Household Length of Time Water Needed
1 3 months 90 gallons
1 1 year 365 gallons
2 3 months 180 gallons
2 1 year 730 gallons
4 3 months 360 gallons
4 1 year 1,460 gallons
4 3 years 4,380 gallons

Again, this is accounting for consumption and personal hygiene only. This does not include pets, gardening, or any other use for water. Pets generally need a gallon of water every three days (depending on the size of the pet and type).

However, if you’re bugging in, we will simply assume that you are unable to tend to livestock or outside gardens. You will need some water for cooking, but this is dependent on what food you are cooking and how much of. If you are limited on fuel as well, you may not even be doing much cooking, so this number really depends on your situation.

Our advice? Stockpile what you know you’ll need based on our table above, then stockpile some more for cooking and other needs you may have.

Where Should You Store Your Water?

There are a number of containers available for storing water; however, some are more suitable for this purpose than others. For example, you should generally not reuse milk jugs to store water, as it is nearly impossible to fully remove the milk proteins from the container, and these will eventually provide a habitat for bacteria to grow in. Other types of plastic may release toxic chemicals into your water.

So how do you know what’s safe? First, let’s talk about plastic containers. There are seven commonly used types of plastic:

  • Polyethylene terephthalate (PET/PETE/polyester)
  • High density polyethylene (HDPE)
  • Polyvinyl chloride (V/Vinyl/PVC)
  • Low density polyethylene (LDPE)
  • Polypropylene (PP)
  • Polystyrene (PS)
  • Other/Polycarbonate (PC)

The three types that are considered safe for common use around food and drink are: high density polyethylene (HDPE), low density polyethylene (LDPE), and polypropylene (PP). However, this is very dependent on the conditions that the containers are stored in. For example, PET/PETE is commonly used in soda bottles and juice bottles, and if you’re not storing water for a very long time and the bottles are not stored in hot conditions, the likelihood that PET/PETE will leak chemicals into the water is low.

Even with plastic containers made from HDPE or LDPE, however, there is a chance that they can leak the chemical nonylphenol (short explanation: this is bad) into your water if they are stored in sunlight. Polypropylene (PP) is commonly used for hot food storage because it will not leak chemicals with the application of heat.

What it really comes down to is this, then: where can you store your water? Do you have a cool area available that doesn’t get any UV exposure? Then you may be able to simply reuse 2-liter bottles from soda to build up your stockpile (given that you properly wash all the containers you use).

This might be a good option for urban dwellers who lack space to store enormous containers of water, but for anyone who owns a home or retreat (or both), it might be feasible to store your water in even larger containers. For this purpose, there are containers sold specifically for water that come in sizes from 2.5-gallons to 500-whopping-gallons. Some great (BPA-free) options are below:

Many of these containers can also be bought at retailers, like Walmart, Target, your local sports store, and more. There are plenty of options for whatever space you have to store your water in, and for how much water you want to store. Some containers are collapsible, while some are meant to be stacked.

The container you buy depends on your situation. For plastic, so long as you make sure to check what kind of plastic it is and how you store it, you should be good to go in an emergency. What if you want to store your water in containers made of some other material, however?

Glass

Glass is another option for storing water, but may be less convenient than plastic for a number of reasons. First, it is heavy and easily breakable. Like plastic, you will need to be sure it is food-grade glass and stored in a cool, dark area.

Some upsides: Glass is impermeable, so it can be stored near other supplies without the water being at risk, and it will be much harder for pests or rodents to get into. Over time, vapors from stored fuel or other chemicals can penetrate plastic; on top of that, plastic is easier for pests or rodents to get into. Not only that, but glass will be much harder for zombies to steal because of its weight (not that it would be easy to make off with a 260-gallon water tank in the first place!).

Metal

The best option for storing water in a metal container is by far and away stainless steel, but one major downside is that large stainless steel containers for water cost much more than plastic. Some upsides are that, like glass, stainless steel is impermeable so vapors from nearby stored chemicals won’t eventually leak into the water. It’s also lighter than glass, so if you want to move your stores around, it will be easier.

Metal can also be stored somewhere that gets a lot of light, unlike glass and plastic. However, you should still check that your stainless steel is food-grade, and on top of that, you’ll probably want some sort of protective coating on the inside to prevent the chlorine from your tap water corroding the steel.

No matter what you decide to store your water in, do your research on the material and any precautions you need to take. You don’t want to end up in a disaster with contaminated water. In fact, because it can be so easily contaminated, most preppers filter their water in various ways to be sure it is still safe.

Watch these YouTube video reviews for more:

How Do You Filter and Purify Your Water?

There are a variety of options for filtering your water stockpile, including:

  • Using a store-bought filtration and purification system. These come in all shapes and sizes; it’s best to choose the one that suits your situation best. Be sure to look for a system that both filters and purifies the water, as these are technically two different processes (one to remove dirt/sediment/etc. and one to remove viruses and bacteria).
  • Boiling the water to kill any viruses or bacteria that may be present. If you use this method, be sure to boil the water for at least three minutes to ensure that it is safe.
  • Using a chemical like bleach (about 8 drops to every gallon), iodine, or chlorine. You should take care with chemicals, as the material that you store your water in could react with them. You also will want to make sure that you don’t use too much, as this could be harmful when you drink the water as well.

Even if your water was clean when it went into storage, there’s no guarantee that it’s still safe after being stored. Having a filtration and purification system in place ensures that your storage water remains safe for consumption. Some people even suggest rotating your water supply every 6 months to a year, but there’s very little evidence for its effectiveness.

Should You Have More Than One Stockpile? (Short Answer: Yes!)

Many people recommend having more than one stockpile in more than one place if you want to be truly prepared. This is a great option for anyone who has a retreat or a lot of space, because it ensures that you have a location for bugging out when you need to.

This also means that if your stored water supply in one place happens to go bad for whatever reason, you’ll have somewhere else with water to run to. It’s always good to have a backup plan, even for your backup plan.

The post How to Stockpile Emergency Water appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

50 Preps You Can Get Almost Free with Coupons

When a catastrophe does occur, there is usually a run-on food supplies and survival equipment. People run to the stores and stock up on food, water, firewood, generators, and sometimes just about anything they can get their hands on.

Being prepared really matters. Having a stockpile really matters. Saving money really matters.

If you’re a new prepper and just beginning to build your stockpile of food and supplies, money could be an obstacle. You don’t need to run out and buy a year’s worth of groceries in one shot. Who can afford to do that anyway?

Instead, you should look into couponing and build your stockpile gradually over time. Coupons can help you save a lot of money on preps. Your couponing habits can ensure that you have enough in your stockpile to last longer than if you ran out and purchased everything all at once. Your wallet will thank you, too.

Couponing and building your stockpile does take a little effort on your part, however, in the long run, it will be worth it. In this article, we will give you information on the basics of couponing and how to get preps for almost free, what you will want in your stockpile and great websites that will show you where the coupons and the best deals are.

Basics of Couponing

The trick to getting your prep items for free or almost free is to match coupons with the sale prices. And if you can, match up a sale, a store coupon, and the manufacturer’s coupon for extra savings. To get the manufacturer’s coupon, go directly to the manufacturer’s website. For instance, if you are searching for a particular item that you saw on sale such as Skippy Peanut Butter you would google and go to their website and click on “Get Coupon.”

Yes, it sounds like it could be time-consuming, but once you get a system down, it will be second nature. The top items you can get free or almost free are usually toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, peanut butter, soup, cereals, and toilet paper just to name a few.

Though you can’t use two manufacturer’s coupons for the same item, you can use a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon together on the same item. It’s even better if your store will double your coupons.

For example, when purchasing toilet paper, you can print or download a coupon for Charmin toilet paper for $1.50 off any ONE Charmin® Ultra Soft or Strong 6 Mega Roll, 12 Double Roll or larger (excludes Essentials and Cottonelle pack of toilet paper (excluding 4 pack ). It was priced at Walmart on sale for $3.98 for a 6 pack. After using the coupon, it became $2.48 before tax. You can get more than one pack, but you will also need more than one coupon.

However, the best deals are at your local grocery stores that have their own in-store specials, like buy one get one free or double coupons. Use your coupons with the in-store specials to get the best deals and you can get some of your preps almost free. Check to see if they have a store loyalty card.

For example, a store has Del Monte diced tomatoes on sale as buy one get one free. The tomatoes are normally about a dollar a can, therefore, you get two cans for a dollar. Now add in a coupon for .50 cents off. You just got two cans of diced tomatoes for .25 cents each. It’s even better if your store doubles coupons.

The best place to find coupons will be in the Sunday paper. There are three inserts that come out on a regular basis: Red Plum, Smart Source and Proctor and Gamble. Other great options are store coupons, company websites, magazines, and printable coupons from coupons.com and couponmom.com.  Don’t overlook the blinking coupon machines on the aisles in the grocery store and downloadable coupons.

Now that you know the basics of couponing, it’s time to move on to what you’ll need in that stockpile. You should not have any problem finding coupons or sales, if not both for the following list.

What you need in your stockpile

When disaster strikes, or even with news of a catastrophe on the horizon, there’s a good chance your local grocery stores and hardware stores will become stripped bare within hours. Panicked people will attempt to stock up on last minute supplies causing the grocery store or hardware store to turn into a battle ground.

To be ready to face an emergency when food and supplies are unobtainable, you need to invest in a long-term supply of food and survival equipment.

With the guidelines from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and by doing quite a bit of research, here is a list of foods you should stockpile (using coupons, of course) to get you through a crisis and save money.

  1. Bottled water -1 gallon per person per day plus extra for washing or adding to food.
  2. Beef jerky or turkey jerky – Dried meat is excellent for long-term storage. You can even rehydrate the jerky in soups. It will absorb the water and add flavor.
  3. Canned meat – Buy tuna, salmon, chicken, turkey and spam. Meat is the most difficult to obtain so stock up. They have a long shelf life and provide necessary protein.
  4. Powdered milk – An excellent source of vitamin D and calcium when fresh milk is not available. Good for baking.
  5. Soups – Soups and Chili can be eaten right out of the can. They have a variety of nutrients, but you will want to get low-sodium soup so as not to increase your need for water.
  6. Bullion – Good for making soup and dry bullion powder and cubes store well while taking up minimal space.
  7. Beans – Dried beans of all types are loaded with protein, fiber, and nutrients. They store extremely well for long periods of time and are easy to cook.
  8. Canned vegetables, such as green beans, carrots, and peas – can be stored and kept for a long time. They provide essential vitamins, and you can use the liquid for soup stock.
  9. Canned fruit – Provides essential vitamins and can be stored for long periods of time. Don’t throw away the packing juice as it is loaded with nutrients as well.
  10. Dried fruits – Fruit such as apricots, raisins, banana chips, and cranberries, if properly dried, can be stored for years. They provide nutrients such as potassium and fiber.
  11. Peanut butter – An awesome comfort food for most and loaded with healthy fats and proteins. A very nutritious food.
  12. Whole-wheat crackers – A good replacement for bread.
  13. Nuts and trail mixes – Another great source of protein and it stores exceptionally well.
  14. Pasta – Is a high carbohydrate food and stores extremely well not to mention filling. There are a lot of things you can do with pasta.
  15. Cereal – Purchase a healthy, multi-grained cereal. If packaged correctly, it will store for a long period of time.
  16. Power bars and granola bars – Another excellent source of carbohydrates that will store well for up to six months.
  17. Rice – Rice is a great source of carbohydrates and will store well. Buy the whole grain rice instead of quick rice as quick rice has a limited shelf life. Like pasta, there are a lot of things you can do with rice.
  18. Food for infants – Formula (canned or powdered), baby cereal, jarred foods.

Foods you might want to consider:

  1. Coffee – Needed if you drink coffee on a regular basis and don’t function well without it.
  2. Protein powders – Easy to store. A good substitute for some meals.
  3. Spaghetti Sauce (canned or in a jar) – A meal when served with pasta. You can add in other items.
  4. Summer sausage cured meats that are vacuum packed – Will last a long time. Eat plain or add to soups.
  5. Honey – Will store indefinitely and is a natural sweetener that is good for you.
  6. Sugar
  7. Salt – Essential for survival.
  8. Spices – To help hide the flavor of some foods.

Don’t forget about basic medications and supplies for your first aid kit. Also coupon friendly. (Check local drugstores for coupons and sales.)

  1. First and foremost, make sure you have a supply of any prescribed medicines needed by you or your family members. Keep an extra supply of your medication on hand at all times, just in case.
  2. Bandages and dressings for wounds: Gauze pads-Band-Aid strips for small cuts and scrapes, large bandages, Gauze rolls and First-aid tape – for the larger, serious wounds with profuse bleeding.
  3. Topical antibiotics (can go a long way in fighting infection): Neosporin or generic triple antibiotic, First-aid cream, Iodine.
  4. Pain relief: Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Bactine spray and Corizone-10 or generic (can provide relief for minor burns and scrapes or conditions that cause itching)
  5. Burns: Burn cream, Petroleum jelly, Non-stick antiseptic gauze.
  6. Orthopedic Relief: Knee and ankle braces, Elastic wraps, Wrist brace, Finger splints, Arm sling.
  7. Eye care: Saline solution, Eye drops, Eye salve, Eye pads, Eye patches.
  8. Respiratory Relief: Inhaler, Cough suppressant, Cough expectorant, Mucus relief tablets, Nasal spray, Throat spray, Benadryl or generic antihistamines (Sinus congestion and other signs of a cold or virus can become an issue if not treated).
  9. Gastrointestinal: Tums or Rolaids, Emetrol, Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate, Zantac.
  10. Dental: Floss, Cotton, Oral aesthetic such as Orajel or Anbesol, Temporary cavity filling mixture, Dental wax, Dental pick.
  11. Vitamins: You have no idea how long the crisis will last.

Items also recommended by the US Department of Homeland Security:

(Check your local home supply store and drug store for sales and coupons)

  1. Batteries
  2. Battery-powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with a tone-alert
  1. Flashlights and lanterns
  2. First aid kits
  3. Whistle or blow horn to signal for help
  4. Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities (You probably already have these)
  5. Dust masks to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  6. Moist towelettes or baby wipes, garbage bags
  7. Paper goods – toilet paper, paper towels, plates, etc.
  8. Diapers (for baby and good for using on wounds that are bleeding profusely)
  1. For disinfecting items and the living area: Iodine, Hydrogen peroxide, Bleach, White vinegar (a powerful germ-killer and disinfectant, and in an emergency, it can be used to treat skin or open wounds)
  2. Manual can opener
  3. Candles (watch for coupons and sales on air fresheners as they usually include candles)

Great Websites

Doing a quick search on the internet will result in locating coupons, and as everything is going digital these days, the coupon process of finding and using coupons has never been more streamlined.  A shopper can save by just handing a cashier their phone or customer cards and have any applicable coupons automatically deducted from their grocery bill. No browsing coupon inserts for hours and no clipping involved.

Some excellent websites are:

Couponmom. This website will show you where the item is on sale, what percentage has been discounted and if there is a coupon for the item. Click on Grocery Deals by State to find the sales at the stores in your area.

Coupon.com has printable coupons and online coupons. There are hundreds of deals on basically anything you want to buy including groceries and other prepping supplies.

RedPlum has an online version of what you find in the Sunday paper. It offers some deals and has a service called Clip free which allows you to load coupons to your store loyalty cards.

Savings.com has lots of coupon codes for both brand name and store coupons including Home Depot and Amazon.

If you have a smart phone, you need to install apps such as:

lbotta.com A great app where you earn cash back on in-store and mobile purchases with a receipt or purchase verification. You might have to watch a 1-minute video or complete a survey in some cases, but it will be worth it. Simply upload a photo/scan barcode and your account will be credited. Once you meet the threshold you can get a PayPal deposit.

Saving Star is a good way to save money on your grocery and store purchases. They were the first fully-digital grocery eCoupon rewards service. You simply select the eCoupons you want and link them to your store loyalty cards.

Target cartwheel is also great for food and other supplies you may want in your stockpile.

Checkout51 is a lot like Ibotta but has a different set of coupons that they upload every Thursday.

RetailMeNot maintains a collection of coupon websites. It is great to use in your favorite stores such as Home Depot.

Shopkick created an app for smartphones and tablets that offer customers rewards for walking into stores. It gives you exclusive deals at great stores such as Best Buy, and Target. You can earn points just by walking into the store and get more points for purchases.

Ebates is great for the online shopper looking for a deal. You can find a coupon code for just about anything, get cashback for each store code used and then you can redeem the points. Refer a friend and you can get even more cash added to your account.

Another money-saving option to look into is a barcode scanner app. It comes in handy for purchases that you are looking at. You simply scan the barcode on the item in the store and it will tell you if it is cheaper somewhere else.

Search eBay using the word “coupons” and you will find quite a few listings of coupons that can be purchased. Make sure the coupons haven’t expired and check the history of feedback on the seller before you make any purchases.

Building a significant stockpile is key for a serious prepper. However, it can be financially demanding if you don’t do your homework.

There’s no rule that says you must have a great stockpile overnight. If you’re on a budget and can’t afford to spend a lot on food items and equipment, don’t hesitate to take small steps and gradually build your stockpile.

The best way to get the most bang for your buck is to watch the weekly sales and monitor the coupons. Check the websites for manufacturer’s coupons and additional printable coupons. Upload the barcode scanner for comparison shopping.

Try the above noted and with a little know-how, time and effort, you can have a stockpile suitable for almost any crisis. By using couponing and doing a little research, you can obtain the necessities for your stockpile for almost free.

The post 50 Preps You Can Get Almost Free with Coupons appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

How to Know Your Food Is Spoiled

There are many methods and theories on how long to keep and use food, or when it has gone bad. There are some signs that are visible, and many that are not. Scientists say that not all bacteria are harmful, and there is a big difference between spoilage bacteria and actual harmful pathogens. They even say if it tastes bad, it may not be bad. They also warm us that the most harmful pathogens hat will result in illness cannot be detected by sight, odor, or smell.

We will go over some basic food spoilage signs, telltale evidence, and ways to avoid your food spoiling in the future. With food shortages, food recalls, avoiding harmful chemicals and practices used, and the hard work it goes into growing your own food- these signs and methods can be helpful in preventing any waste. Ingesting spoiled foods can be fatal. A simple bout of diarrhea can lead to dehydration and organ failure within days. Hopefully, telling when your food is spoiled can also help you and your family avoid any preventable food borne illness, so you don’t have to wait for SHTF to find this knowledge useful.

Exposed to Heat

Food items that need to be refrigerated need to carefully handled when transporting them, or they are removed from the ideal temperature. Most people do not know the temperature of their refrigerator or the fact that 1/4th of refrigerators in the US are operating at too warm a temperature for optimum safety precautions reports the Federal Transit Administration. There is a “Rule of 4’s” when dealing with leftovers or prepared foods. No more than 4 days at 40 F degrees. Most people do rely on refrigeration for their safety device.

Ways to keep your food safe

When transporting food from a restaurant, do not let it sit for more than 2 hours. From the grocery, it should not be more than 20 minutes. When using any food that needs refrigeration, not leaving it out past a few minutes can help immensely by keeping the base temperature low. Here is a FDA quick reference PDF on food temperatures.

Slime

Any tackiness or sticky feeling meats should be tossed.  Microbes cause slime. Yeast and aerobic bacteria, much like infection and phlegm, produce slime when they are manifesting their colonies. Bacteria can come from the animal, its handling, processing, transportation, or packaging.

Ways to keep your food safe

Proper handling and clean surfaces is best practice. Washing your hands and all utensils that come into contact with the food is the best way you can hope to avoid bacteria at home.

Microorganisms and food spoilage:

Mold

Ironically, most mold that you will see on breads and fruits isn’t toxic, according to Purdue University studies. They suggest just cutting a few inches past the mold and it will be fine to eat, unless you have a mold allergy. People who are sensitive to mold and ingest it may have adverse reactions.

mold on bread

Ways to keep your food safe

Keep moisture away from breads. Store them in air tight containers or packages. With fruit and vegetables, store them in baskets and use moisture whisking materials such as cloth or paper.

Freezer Burn

If you see small ice crystals or any frost on your food, that’s not from temperature or freezing too fast. That is freezer burn, and what happens when frozen food loses its moisture meaning the internal texture has changed from the surface. It usually is a signal of drastic change to its flavor, and in many ways it is still safe to eat, but it probably will not taste the same when originally frozen. If fresh food was frozen correctly it should last quite a while, at least 3-5 months.

Ways to keep your food safe

When you freeze food at zero F degree, it should be safe infinitely. Freezer burn can be prevented by safely packing foods in air tight containers or the zipping lock types of bags. Squeeze as much air out of the bag before zipping the seal as you can.

Time

With preserving meats and drying them, etc. time is for that technique. For normal food to be consumed with a meal, or food that is just purchased, a good rule of thumb is seven days past the “sell-by” date is considered safe. On that 7th day, it should be composted or used for other than human consumption.

Ways to keep your food safe

To make sure no harmful bacteria has time to develop, the rule of thumb is raw meat should only be in the refrigerator for 3 days. This includes raw chicken, beef, pork, lamb, and veal. Cooked leftovers should only be kept for 4 days or less.

Inspect Cans

Cans that show bulging or swollen sides should not be used. The internal seal could’ve been compromised and gases could be causing that expansion. Corroded metals can indicate internal problems.

If you open the can and the food appears cloudy or murky in any way, it should be thrown out. Any unpleasant odor or gas-like off-putting smells indicate spoilage.

It is especially important to dispose of any canned food you think may be compromised, do not give it to pets or use it for compost as it could contain the fatal bacteria that cause botulism. Use extreme caution with canned and jarred foods.

Changes in appearance

Produce will show signs of spoiling before any other foods, with root vegetables coming in a close second.

  • Carrots will become soft and either go pale or get darker and rustier colored.
  • Grapes will get darker and deflate, and get soft mushy spots around the stem.
  • Tomatoes will get wrinkled and start to seep fluids, the skin will sag and bunch.
  • Bananas will get darker and pull from the stems.
  • Stone fruits will get wrinkled and soften, and the texture will go soft.
  • Cucumbers and greens will get bitter and dark.
  • Leafy vegetables will darker around the edges and get slimy.
  • Avocado’s stem button will seem dark and start to mold first.
  • Cauliflower will show rust colored slime at the floret’s root base.
  • Any soft white fuzz is an indication the produce should be thrown out.

rotten grapes

Internal Gas

Much like a canned food, it can be hard to tell with eggs. Of course, when you crack it, if anything is foul smelling or “sulfur-y” it should not be consumed. For eggs you can immerse them in 4” of tap water. How they float will tell you their freshness.

  • If the egg sinks, it is fresh.
  • If it stands up, it is okay but aging. The higher it rises, the older it is.
  • When it floats, the gas has progressed into spoiling it. The gas is what makes it float.

Discoloration in Meat

When you unwrap your meat, the first thing you should do is smell it. Any foul or unpleasant odor indicates it has spoiled. If you want to be sure, let it defrost. Any tackiness or stickiness means bacterial growth has occurred, so it should be discarded.

When meat spoils it can get darker, or it can pale. It used to be they told you to check the meat bladder in the package, if it’s full of dark blood it doesn’t mean the meat is bad, but it’s not super fresh and you have less time to let it sit. The same can be said for visual appearance, the blood in the muscle will darken as it ages so that could be a sign of aged meat, or meat on the verge of going bad.

Other ways to preserve meat for survival:

Flour mites

These are pretty nasty. The worst part is you usually can’t tell they are present unless it’s an advanced colony. They come in packaged food and feed on flour, germ, and mold and can spread their presence to other dry goods. You do not want your pantry and stockpile ruined when the time comes to use it! Black dots are weevil larvae which can be killed in the same methods.

Ways to keep your food safe

To determine if you have an infestation, look at your dry foodstuffs. Any small beige “sand” around the edges of the packages or in the white flour, that’s mites. To prevent them is easy. Use air tight containers. If you do have them, or just want to make sure, they die by being cold! Freeze any food stuffs overnight and that should kill them. Wipe down your shelves with vinegar and water. They hate bay leaves, so using them as a shelf decoration would help avoid any future infestations. Some people say diatomaceous earth helps kill any shelled bugs like mites and weevils, but my pets have trouble and sneeze with it around so I do not use it.

Killing flour mites video:

A video on food spoilage and its prevention:

Final Thoughts

People who cultivate their own meat and foods from hunting, foraging, farming, and raising usually can’t just check the packaging for dates, so sight, smell, and tactile senses are a must when checking foods. They usually incorporate drying, curing, salting, and other methods of preservation for longer periods of storage. I wish I could say everything we had was from self-sufficiency, but we do store shop for some staples. In this day and age, it’s smart to use all resources to prepare and stockpile the best you can.

The post How to Know Your Food Is Spoiled appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Literally Every Way to Preserve Food

While food is not the top priority in survival situations, it is still one of the four pillars of survival.  If you go long enough without food, your body starts to eat itself. It starts by breaking down fat.  Then it tears down muscle mass.  Finally it starts to feed on internal organs and the brain itself. Early in this process you will feel weak, disoriented, and depressed.  Eventually it ends in death.

The dilemma in a SHTF scenario is how to have food supplies that will last, and how to preserve the food you acquire.  All food is susceptible to mold, bacteria, and insects if exposed to moisture and warm temperatures.  Therefore, measures must be taken to keep food in a state that allows it to last as long as possible.

Food preservation these days is simple.  Our dry food sits on a shelf, while fruits, veggies, and dairy are in the refrigerator.  Meat is stacked in a deep freeze so we can thaw it out whenever we are ready.  We have three freezers full of meat. However, these methods become difficult if we have no electricity or if that electricity is limited. There are primitive methods of preservation that have been used for thousands of years.  In this article we will cover ways to preserve your food without electricity.

Fermentation

The process of fermentation is one that is not discussed much, but is used by most civilizations.  It is accomplished by combining yeast and sugars in a way that preserves the liquid and produces alcohol.  Whether used for trading or for yourself, knowing how to complete this process is valuable.  You can ferment fruits, vegetables, sugar, or milk.  You simply add more sugar or honey until the yeast can no longer survive in the alcohol produced. The products produced can range from medicinal wines to products used to kill bacteria in water or wounds.

Freezing

The practice of freezing food can be much more difficult without electricity. When it comes to meat and fish, freezing is by far the best way to preserve your proteins.  To keep the food fresh, you will need temperatures at 30F or below.  To do this you will likely need to pile snow or ice to create a chamber for storing your food. This would only work during winter months in most parts of the world.  If you are worried about animals and you happen to have weather that keeps the air temperature below 30F, you can hang your food in a bear bag.  This would need to be at least 10 feet off the ground.

Canning

When I was a child, I spent my summers at my grandparents’ house in the Ozark Mountains.  They had an enormous garden that was easily larger than their house. Most of the fruits and vegetables that were yielded ended up in jars lining the walls of their garage.  Canning ensured that they would always have a food supply even if the garden had an off year.

Fruits, vegetables, meats, and fish can all be canned if it is done properly.  I started my canning career by making sweet pickles and then expanded from there.  We have canned everything from tomatoes to peaches to bacon to venison.  For any type of canning (water bath, pressure canning), you will need mason jars of appropriate size, lids, rings, and jar tongs to remove the jars from hot water.  Fruits and vegetables can be canned using a large pot with boiling water.  Meats typically require a pressure canner to get a good finished product.  It should also be noted that dents in the lids or rings can be an issue along with any nicks along the lip of the jar.  If a good seal is not created, the food will not be safe to eat.

Canning is an art form that can take years and years to perfect.  By adding sugar, salt, herbs, and spices you can manipulate the flavor of the finished product in several ways. For basic canning of vegetables you will need to wash the jars, lids, and rings thoroughly.  You will then need to heat all of those elements in a large pot with boiling water.  While still hot, add your prepared vegetables and liquids to the jar.  Apply your lid and ring and submerge the jars in boiling water with at least one inch of water above the lid.  After 10 minutes, use the tongs to remove the jars and set them on a towel.

Let them sit and cool for a while and then check to make sure the lid is sucked in versus bulging out.  If the jar and lid do not have a good seal, you will need to try and re-submerge the jar to create a better seal.

Cooling

While cooling your foods does not preserve them nearly as well as freezing them, there is always a need to keep them cool to preserve them for shorter periods of time.  Without electricity, your refrigerator is out of the question.  Cooling is easy during the winter, but how do you keep your foods cool in the summer months?  Try a zeer pot, also known as an evaporation cooler. For years I looked for a way to keep food cool in the summer without electricity, and then I found this method.

This design actually works with the same principle as an electric refrigerator.  For this project you will need two large clay pots with one slightly larger than the other.  Put a layer of sand in the bottom of the larger pot and set the smaller pot on top.  Then fill in the gap between the two pots with sand.

Douse the sand with water and place your food inside the smaller pot.  Cover with a white towel and place the whole device in a breezy, sunny area.  The evaporating water will cool the contents by about 30F, which should keep it in the safe range to preserve your food for a while.  You will need to keep adding water to the sand to keep it moist.

Drying/Smoking

By far my favorite method by which to preserve food is dehydration.  By removing moisture from foods, you eliminate the potential for mold and bacteria to grow.  It also leaves your food in a form that is lightweight and takes up little space.  Not all foods will dehydrate well, so you may have to blanch, boil, or pickle the foods before you dehydrate them.  You can dehydrate foods by smoking, sun-drying, and using an electric dehydrator.  For this article we will skip the dehydrator and focus on methods that require no electricity.

Sun-drying food is the easiest method by which you can dehydrate.  For this process you will need to cut your food as thin as possible.  It needs to be ¼ inch thick or less.  Scoring both sides of the food will further help with the dehydration process.  You can either build a rack on which you can place your food, or you can string up your strips of food with cordage.

Ideally, you want to put your food in a spot that has direct sunlight but is also breezy.  This will keep the flies away. It should be high enough that animals cannot reach it.  Generally, it will take several days to sun dry foods.

You will know it is done when it has the consistency of jerky.  When you squeeze the food, no moisture should come out.  You can speed up the process by adding salt and spices.

Smoking is my favorite method for preserving food.  This process dries out the food and also adds a pleasant smoky flavor. The smoke also helps eliminate bacteria, and the heat dries out the food faster.

To smoke your food you will still want to cut it into strips that are less than ¼ inch thick.  Build a fire and let it burn down to coals.  Build a tripod above the coals and either build racks or use cordage to suspend the food.  You want the heat to be mild enough to avoid actually cooking it.  You should be able to hold your hand above the coals at the height of the food for eight seconds before having to move it.  It typically takes eight to ten hours to smoke most foods.  You can add salt and spices to speed up the process.  If you want to hold in the smoke better, you can wrap a blanket or tarp around the tripod.  Just be careful that it does not melt or catch on fire.

There are two other ways to dry meat that are a not quite as common.  Curing meat is the process of using salt and sodium nitrate to draw moisture out of meat.  A mixture of salt, curing salt, and spices are rubbed all over the meat and then it is cooled for a week.  Then the meat is rinsed, wrapped in cheesecloth, and hung for anywhere from a few weeks to several years to dry and age the meat.  Salting is the process of completely encasing meat in a thick layer of salt for several days.  The salt draw the moisture out of the meat creating a hard shell of salt.  After the meat is done drying, the shell is broken and the meat rinsed and dried.

In Conclusion

As you can see, there are plenty of primitive methods for preserving foods without electricity.  The key to using these processes is having some practice before you actually need to rely upon them.  Take the time to try out these techniques now, and start to build your preserved food supply.  With a little effort and experience, you will stay fed when SHTF.

The post Literally Every Way to Preserve Food appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

14 Easy Solar Cooking Recipes

When TSHTF, you may not be able to use your oven, but you may be able to use a solar cooker which you can either buy or make for yourself. All of the recipes shown here take at most 4 hours to make and require 10 ingredients or less.

Bon appétit, but watch out for zombies!

Appetizers

Jalapeño Poppers Wrapped in Bacon

Cook time: 2hrs 30min.

Ingredients

  • Monterrey Jack cheese
  • Shredded, Cheddar cheese
  • Jalapeño peppers
  • 1 pkg of bacon slices, cut these into halves

Steps

  1. Remove the stems of the jalapeño’s peppers and cut them in half longways.
  2. Remove the seeds and rinse out the inside of the peppers.
  3. The Monterrey Jack cheese should be cut into strips just big enough to fill the peppers.
  4. Spread the shredded cheddar cheese on the top of the peppers.
  5. Wrap one bacon slice around each of the peppers. Place the wrapped peppers in the oven.

Quesadillas

Cook time: 2-3 hrs.

Ingredients

  • 3 slices roast beef, sliced into strips
  • 1 flour tortilla
  • 1/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 c shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter

Steps:

  1. Lightly grease a dark, nonstick 9in round pan with melted butter.
  2. Place the slices of roast beef and the slices of cheese on one side of the tortilla.
  3. Fold the other half of tortilla over; then press down gently
  4. Brush the top of the tortilla with melted butter
  5. Transfer the tortilla to the pan and place the pan in the solar oven
  6. Cook until the cheese melts. The tortilla should look lightly browned and crisp when done.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Cook Time: 4 hrs.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 (10.75 oz.) cans of Cream of Chicken soup
  • 1/2 pkg of dumpling noodles
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 c chicken broth
  • 1 c celery, diced
  • 1 c carrots, diced
  • 2 tbsp. butter or margarine
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into large chunks
  2. Put the chicken breasts, soup, onion, chicken broth, celery, carrots, butter, and margarine into a stockpot and mix together.
  3. Put the stockpot into the solar oven.
  4. Cook covered for about 3hrs. Just until the chicken is tender.
  5. Shred the chicken
  6. Add the noodles and additional broth or water if necessary.
  7. Return the stockpot to the solar oven for about 1hr. to let the noodles cook.

Entrees

Whole Bean Enchiladas

Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 6 whole wheat or corn tortillas
  • 1 16oz can of whole black beans
  • 1 16oz can of sweet corn (or two cups of fresh corn)
  • 1 16-ounce can of enchilada sauce
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 c of red onion, diced
  • 1/4 c cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Preheat solar oven to 350°F
  2. Combine black beans, corn, tomato, red onion, cilantro, and olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper. Place the mixture in the fridge to marinate for at least 1hr before cooking.
  3. Retrieve the mixture from the fridge and 8oz of enchilada sauce. Stir to combine. Scoop your filling into a tortilla, about 6 tbsp. at a time. Roll up the tortilla and place it into a medium-sized glass casserole dish. Repeat until you’ve filled all six tortillas.
  4. Pour the last of the enchilada sauce on top of the tortillas, and cover with cheese.
  5. Place the lid on the casserole dish and place in the solar oven for about 30 min.

When the tortillas are done, the outside should be soft, with the cheese fully melted, and the filling heated all the way through. Please don’t lift the lid on your casserole dish too much because the heat will escape and your baking time will increase as a result.

Tips:

  • For best results, cover enchiladas with a lid before putting them in the solar oven. Place oven in direct sunlight, and refocus as needed.

Pizza

Cook time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pizza crust
  • 1 organic heirloom tomato, with seeds removed, chopped finely. (It’s important to remove the watery juice around the seeds, as extra moisture could make the crust soggy in the solar cooker. This juice prevents the seeds from sprouting inside the fruit.)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 c white mushrooms, sliced
  • Fresh basil and oregano to taste
  • Salt and pepper

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Mix the tomatoes, basil, and oregano in a glass or wooden bowl
  3. Spread the mixture on the pizza crust.
  4. Add the sliced onion and mushrooms.
  5. Pop the pizza in the solar oven and cook.

Lasagna

Cook time: 1hr 10min

Ingredients:

  • 2 10oz bags of fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 7oz pkg prepared pesto, or 3/4 cup homemade
  • 12 no-boil whole-wheat lasagna noodles
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 4 c chunky tomato sauce
  • 3 c ricotta cheese
  • 1 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Steps:

  1. Set the oven out to preheat to 300-350ºF
  2. Crack one egg into a large bowl. Add the ricotta cheese and grate the Parmesan cheese over everything. Then mix and add a pinch of salt and pepper. I usually use a pepper grinder.
  3. Add spinach and pesto into the cheese mixture and stir.
  4. Spoon 3/4 c of the chunky tomato sauce and spread on the bottom of an 11 x 7 x 2-inch glass baking dish.
  5. Arrange three lasagna noodles on top of the sauce. Spread the tomato sauce over the noodles, followed by the cheese and spinach mixture.
  6. Repeat the step 5 until you run out of ingredients.
  7. Spread the remainder of the sauce on the top layer
  8. Cover the baking dish and place in the solar oven to bake until noodles are soft.
  9. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of lasagna.
  10. Continue baking for 10 minutes and let it cool down for another 10 minutes. The cheese should be melted when done.

Chili Dogs

Cook time: 1h30min

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg of hot dogs, polish sausages, or brats
  • 1 pkg of hot dog buns
  • 1 16oz can of chili
  • 1 c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Ketchup, mustard, and/or relish.

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 250-300ºF
  2. Wrap the hot dogs in aluminum foil, shiny side in, or put in a covered pot to steam and place in oven.
  3. Put in an open can of store bought chili or put the chili in a covered pot to heat.
  4. Put the hot dog buns into the oven and let them steam for about 20 minutes, so they were warm and soft.
  5. Add chili, cheese, and chopped onions, along with your favorite toppings.

Macaroni and Cheese

Cook Time: Approx. 2hrs.

Ingredients

  • 2 c uncooked macaroni noodles
  • 4 c of grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 c of milk
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 4 tbsp. flour
  • A pinch of salt

Steps

  1. Set out your solar cooker with a small cook pot that’s filled with 5c of water and a tsp. of salt. Wait about three hours for the water to boil. The temperature should be 300-350°F.
  2. Grate the cheese onto a plate.
  3. Stir the macaroni in when the water gets to a full boil,
  4. Cover the pot, adjust towards the sun, and cook for about 30 to 40mins.
  5. While the macaroni is cooking, begin to melt 4 tbsp. of butter in a separate pan. Stir in the flour.
  6. Add the milk and cook at 200-250°F until the sauce comes to a lazy boil and starts thickening. Add a pinch of salt.
  7. Grate in 3c of cheddar cheese. Stir and mix well.
  8. Place the macaroni in a casserole dish.
  9. Pour cheese mixture over macaroni and grate the rest of the cheese on top.
  10. Cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap and place inside the solar oven. Cook for at least an hour.

BBQ Ground Pork Sandwiches

Cook time: 2-2.5 hours.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 2 whole cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • ½ c coffee
  • 1 c marinade sauce
  • 3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Crumble ground pork into a large black cooking pan.
  3. Pour in 1/2 c coffee.
  4. Add Worcestershire sauce and marinade
  5. Season with chili powder, garlic, and onions
  6. Stir mixture and place pan in the oven
  7. Cook until done

Quiche

Cook time: Approx. 2 hr.

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 egg white.
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 of an onion, chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • A pinch of salt

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 300-350ºF
  2. Put 1 tbsp. butter in a pot, cover, set up facing the sun, set the timer for 15min.
  3. Add onions and garlic, stir into butter, cover, and set the timer for 30min.
  4. Take veggies out of the pot and refrigerate (for food safety).
  5. Butter the bottom half of the pot.
  6. Add the grated potatoes, salt, and olive oil. Mix and into a bowl shape that will be the crust of the quiche. Cover, adjust oven to the best light possible and set the timer for 1 hr.
  7. After 50 mins, set out the veggies and 6 eggs to come to room temperature.
  8. Whip the six eggs with the veggies, ½ can of diced tomatoes, and 2 tsp. water
  9. Pour egg mixture over potato crust, cover, adjust again, and set the timer for 30min.
  10. Check to see if the eggs are done by carefully picking up the pot (with pot holders) and swirling the pot around. Keep the lid on. If the eggs are still runny, try to swirl most of the runny-ness out to the edges. Check in another 15 – 30 mins.

Paella

Cook time: Approx. 2hrs.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. smoked Spanish sausage, cut into small pieces
  • 2 c cooked chicken, shredded or sliced into thin strips
  • 2 c rice
  • 1/2 c roasted red bell peppers
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. chicken broth
  • 1 c baby peas (if frozen, thaw before adding)
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 gram saffron

Steps

  1. Put all ingredients into a metal bowl.
  2. Set up solar oven outside.
  3. Put the metal bowl into a glass bowl and cover.
  4. Place the glass bowl on the reflector of your solar oven.
  5. Realign reflector to get optimal sunlight every 30mins. until the rice has absorbed the chicken broth.

Ratatouille

Cook time: 4-5 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 c eggplant, chopped
  • 1 c zucchini or summer squash, chopped
  • 1 c bell pepper, chopped (pick whatever color you want)
  • 1/2 c tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 c sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 8-oz can of unsalted tomato puree
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Cook your ratatouille between 200-250ºF. Hotter temperatures could soften the vegetables too much and brown the tomato sauce around the edges.
  2. Food Network star Melissa D’Arabian had a tip for layering a ratatouille: EZ-POT: eggplant, zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes. Combine with the onions, garlic, cumin and tomato puree in a large metal or glass pot. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Cover and cook for 4-5hrs, stirring occasionally. Don’t remove the lid too often. Vegetables should be tender when done

Tips:

  • To maintain consistent internal temperature, adjust the reflectors for optimal sunlight. Removing the lid too often will increase cooking time

Desserts

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies
Cook time: 30 mins. (Makes 2 doz. 3-inch cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 stick of salted butter
  • 1 c salted peanut butter
  • 1 c dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c tapioca flour
  • 1/3 c coconut flour
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. molasses
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Steps

  1. Let your sun oven preheat to around 300ºF
  2. Let all ingredients come to room temperature.
  3. Stir the sugar into the butter with a sturdy wooden spoon until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Add the peanut butter and mix until smooth,
  5. Add the molasses and the vanilla. Crack the eggs in one at a time and keep mixing to keep everything smooth.
  6. Combine the coconut and tapioca flours in a separate bowl. Mix the flours with the wet ingredients and combine until smooth.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips and mix. Add a pinch of salt to taste if necessary. The dough will be soft and gooey. If you want firmer dough, stick it in the fridge for half an hour.
  8. Spoon the cookies onto a baking sheet (parchment or a sprayed-up cookie sheet) with a spoon greased with butter or baking spray and flatten each one gently. Cookies are done when the surface appears dry and is firm to the touch.

Simplest Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of softened butter or vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 c light brown sugar
  • 1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c good quality cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c milk, water, or coffee
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Steps:

  1. Start with all ingredients at room temperature. Grease an 8 x 12 baking pan with butter or baking spray, or line with baking parchment. If you’ve forgotten to leave out your butter, you can warm it gently in a bowl in the preheating solar oven, but keep an eye on it and remove if it starts to melt. In a pinch, melted butter or vegetable oil will work fine.
  2. Preheat solar oven to 350ºF. (Anything over 300 should work, but cooking time will vary).
  3. Put the butter and sugar into a bowl. Stir the sugar into the butter with a sturdy wooden spoon.
  4. Add in the eggs one at a time and keep stirring until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  5. In another bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
  6. Add half of the dry ingredients to wet and stir until combined.
  7. Add milk or water and mix.
  8. Add the rest of the dry ingredients.
  9. Scrape batter out of the bowl with a rubber spatula and spread in baking pan evenly.
  10. Insert a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, it’s done

Tips:

  • Best results will occur when baked in the afternoon on a clear day for guaranteed full sun.

 

In short, these 14 recipes are sure to impress and won’t take all day. Please comment how these recipes have worked out for you or if you have any easy solar cooking recipes of your own.

The post 14 Easy Solar Cooking Recipes appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Making Your Own Dog Food

When considering the future and preparing for a SHTF situation, you will have to analyze the many problems you will be faced with and how you can best solve them. Part of this will be family members and their special needs. I will not debate the advantages vs. the disadvantages in considering taking your furry four-footed family members, but they do have special needs.

With the world the way it is, you may want to consider whether to even have certain dogs (or any pets) rely on you, as you will need to take and provide for them in a post-TEOTWAWKI world. You may want to make a choice based on that before bringing a dog into the family. You may want to choose one specifically for its abilities, intelligence, and trainability to be a skilled working family member and a benefit to any self-sufficient living situation.

In that regards, your family member will deserve the respect and forethought for his needs while building the stockpile in supplies and space. We are doing a series to help you and your faithful companion in survival situations and guidelines in how to prepare for them.

Today we will discuss making your own dog food for and prepping for a SHTF scenario with survival in mind.

Dogs and Their Abilities Can Be Included When Preparing for SHTF Situations

When we mention there may be a few considerations in determining a dog that will be a benefit to you or your family post-SHTF, you can choose based on a few things. All dogs can be pets, and many dogs were bred to be companions. Scientific studies show that there are many emotional benefits to having pets just as our friends. In a lonely landscape, living by yourself, or your family is in a secluded location or small community, companionship has its own merit. But in history, 90% of the breeding was for particular skills, and that is something to think on.

This is not an in-depth list, but a few ways dogs can be beneficial when SHTF. Dogs…

  • can help by hunting for us
  • can help by herding for us
  • can help by finding aftermath victims of floods, tornadoes, fire, etc
  • can help by using their inborn sense of direction to find home
  • can help by locating food and water
  • can help by being early detector of intruders
  • can help fend of predators from your livestock
  • can help by guarding children from wild animals
  • can help as a pack animal
  • can help by pulling carts or sleds
  • can help by sending messages to neighbors
  • detect illness or tainted foods and water
  • can detect ill intentions or dangerous people
  • can detect natural disasters
  • know when a storm is coming and can warn us to take cover

Food in the past Vs. Dog Food Today

In classic Rockwell paintings showing tables weighted with abundant tablescapes, or even as far back as the first depictions of primitive hunter and gatherers sitting by a fire in bone-strewn caves, dogs have waiting patiently for their masters to throw them a share of the family’s dinner. We have always made room for dogs in our life, and in sharing our food with them.

As time progressed, dinner starting coming from the supermarkets premade in boxes and bags for both humans and their faithful dogs. Overall nutrition has surrendered to convenience. In the old days, dogs ate a lot table scraps when the scraps were from non-processed foods. These days, processed people food is bad enough for your health and your dogs if he ate it, but if you tried to consume what they give dogs as food it could be downright dangerous!

When making your own dog food, it will be healthy and in an SHTF emergency, you could actually eat it as it’s based on nutritional value and whole foods.

Dogs Are Omnivores

The trend is towards making your own dog food because of the many health complications and diet related diseases increasing in dogs with obesity and heart disease being right up there. Belief may be that dogs only need meat, but that isn’t true. Dogs are omnivores and left to their own devices such as in the wild, will each a variety of foods including fruits and vegetables.

Actually, too much protein can harm a dog’s kidneys and an all-protein diet will leave out many trace elements they need. Too much protein results in hyper and aggressive dogs, and it can shorten their lifespan. The best ratio for dogs is in thirds: one third grain, one third vegetables, one third meat. We will explore that below.

Top Myths about Dog Food

With most pets being on commercial food, they should be healthy right? First, we need to take a look at why 40% of dogs are obese, there are epidemics in liver, heart and kidney disease for pets, and 50% of dogs and 40% of cats now die of cancer. This is related to commercial food and what not to do when making your own food. Let’s look at some top myths about dog food.

  • Okay, commercial dog food has corn, that’s a healthy vegetable, right?

Sadly, the corn in commercial dog food is not the fat, sweet kernels you have in mind. The corn used is usually condemned for human consumption, and even corn “dust” is considered corn for cheap feed. Corn for feed has no limit on pesticide contamination. Corn is also the base for fructose and corn syrup, which is super-fattening for humans and pets alike.

  • Well, kibble is better than canned, right?

Actually, kibble dog food is preserved by artificial means. The base is not fresh ingredients, but a hard meal devoid of nutrients. Kibble is dehydrating and linked to bloat, kidney, and bladder problems.

  • Feeding commercial food daily will help insure a balanced diet, right?

No, imagine if you consumed rancid fat, chicken parts without meat, and artificial vitamins daily. They say it’s normal that dogs have diarrhea and vomiting when introducing new foods, or switching foods. Actually, that’s proof your dog needs more variety in his diet. When your dog gets a variety of foods, like people do, it can heal their gut and they can eat anything they are supposed to. Sadly, it can take several weeks to take a dog from poor food to a good diet, as they are nutritionally deprived and the digestive system needs to heal.

  • Well, complete and “balanced” means healthy on the label, right?

No, the trials are usually over a short time with theoretical health needs. Suffering from nutrient and enzyme deficiencies take a long time to show, and are not accounted for.

Dogs and Bones Are Meant to Be, Right?

No. Cooked bones can be very harmful for dogs. They splinter after being cooked. This means they shred as they are swallowed and passed, and that can mean choking, intestinal tears, and internal bleeding. Many people feed dogs a raw diet, including things like chicken feet and bones. For bigger dogs or dogs that have full dentition and all of their teeth, it may be okay. It may be risky for domesticated dogs that are being switched to raw, without generations of natural selection eliminating the ones without the correct muzzle lengths, head shapes, strength of immunity, or correct bites to make sure raw feeding won’t harm the dog.

So many breeds have been physically changed due to selective breeding for traits other than surviving on their own, I wouldn’t risk it. I do feed a lot of raw ingredients. We just do not use cooked or raw bones, unless they are big enough not to be swallowed by our dogs. I have an older 5 lb. girl with 6 teeth, who can enjoy munching on a chicken leg bone for hours. She thinks she is a wild beastie with some prey, guarding it, and hiding it in her covers for later.

I have to make sure the others do not rob her hiding spots. My others cannot have chicken bones as they crunch them into little parts and eat them. If they happen to steal hers, they vomit bones and in the past, have passed pieces in bloody stools and spent nights in the pet E.R. not fun or cheap.

MAKE YOUR OWN DOG FOOD CHART

What Should Dog Food Be Composed Of

Dogs are omnivores and the best way to make your own dog food is to prepare it in thirds.

Dog food composition in balance

  • 1/3 white rice
  • 1/3 vegetables
  • 1/3 meats

Foods to Include for Balance

The most important ingredient: rice

The most economical and healthy way to make your own nutritious dog food for now or to prep for SHTF is using rice. I would store the rice dry and then cook and top with items from below, the rice will last 3 days cooked. You can buy in bulk from any big box store up to 50lbs pretty cheaply. Brown rice is lower in carbs and harder to digest, so starchy white rice is best for sustained living.

Vegetables

This is where dogs can get the added benefit of homegrown foods for our gardens. Green beans are simply the best for dogs with fiber and digestive friendly nutrients. Peas, carrots, and most greens dogs can digest pretty well. Corn and lima beans just pass on through, so don’t waste them.

Meat

We cook any meat pretty well. In today’s world of contamination, why take the chance on a doggie super-bug from some stock yard? Depending on your dog’s size, we pull or cut the meat into smaller chunks.

  • Chicken is the best, as it’s easy to digest and pretty inexpensive. You can use the parts like legs or thighs and remove the bones.
  • Eggs are a good protein source and on a homestead can be a daily meal. Many vets put sick dogs on a gentle rice and eggs diet.
  • Turkey is good to bake and then freeze portions per dog.
  • Tuna is good and has nice omega rich oil. Natural fish is the best.
  • Beef is good to stew and the grease is a bonus.
  • Wild game is good as long as it’s cooked well to kill any bacteria.
  • Organ meats Hearts, livers, lungs, tongues, brain, chicken gizzards are good and can be baked into treats. Organ meats are highly nutritious and pretty cheap. Grind all the organs into sausage for dogs, in the wild they go for the guts first.

 mix to freeze meat rice beans

Spices and Herbs That Are Beneficial for Dogs Throughout History

Humans have used spices and herbs for many centuries for flavoring, wound treatments, and as a remedy for ailments and diseases. So, it should not be a surprise they have treated their pets with the same holistic alternatives.

Spices for dogs can include:

  • Ginger
  • Gingko
  • Flax
  • Dill
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Plantain
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Mint
  • Sage
  • Turmeric
  • Tarragon

Herbs for dogs can include:

  • Chamomile
  • Echinacea
  • Calendula
  • Astragalus
  • Lavender
  • Bee Balm
  • Thyme

I really like adding a tsp. of coconut oil to my dogs food a few times a week, as a nutritious supplement.

Foods to Avoid

Although they may think they want it, there are quite a few foods that can be toxic to dogs and you should avoid.

  • Chocolates
  • Apple seeds
  • Currants
  • Onions
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Grapes and raisins

Drawbacks of Commercial Dog Food

Most canned food, if you look at the label, is a mix of meat that has been processed heavily and synthetic vitamins and minerals. We discussed commercial dry food above and the complications in feeding it. For me, I feed on the basics of this article anyway for their health. Commercial dog food and treats are like fast food for humans, can be indulged. But it’s not meant to be lived on.

canning green beans

Dogs Can Go Vegetarian

It may be more work, but dogs can go vegetarian if they need to.  Oats, almond milks, alfalfa powder, nut powder for amino acids, colostrum milk (tablets or powder) for those who do not want to eat meat, and still want to stockpile and prep for their pet. It can be a personal choice about the meat. I am too lazy to be vegetarian, plus I like meat too much.

A vegetarian diet for dogs may help dogs with allergies or digestive problems, or ones with a congenital heart disease who may need a less heart-stressful diet.

Here is a good video for making all natural sun cooked dog food:

stockpile cookie stuffs

Easy Way to Stockpile Food for Dogs

  • Dehydration and reconstitution make stockpiling food for dogs easier you can use dehydrated eggs, oats, potatoes, vegetables, and meats and then just add water or to the hot water when making rice to make a nice hot meal. Dehydrated food is great for hiking or scouting locations as it doesn’t weigh very much.
  • Freezing You can make large portions and freeze the food. Hand mix it, and put it into large freezer bags. Below, shelves with fat and scraps in freezer bags. The bottom is chicken and fresh meats for human and canine.
frozen fat and meat for the dogs
Photo: frozen fat and meat for the dogs

frozen food for dogs

  • Jerking meat Dehydrate meats and the fat.
  • Canning for Fido
    • Boiling, steaming and water baths are good for killing food induced illness and microorganisms in many foods. The veggies and things other than meat would do well to be canned for stockpiles.
    • Pressure canning is recommended for storing non-acid foods like meat by canning.
      • Recipe for pressure canning your own dog food:
        • 4 TBS of rice in bottle of your jar
        • Add lightly cooked meat and veggies loosely filling, leaving 2 inches at the top
        • Add broth, covering everything by one inch
        • Pressure cooker process time about 90 mins (follow directions per your equipment)
      • Recipe for grinding your own dog food. You can add bone in by grinding it with meat. Vegetables, rice, oats or anything can be added to your grinder mix. Grind once on the coarse setting, and then grind again on fine. This is a way to use bone in your canning, or you can make sausages, freeze etc.

canning for dog foods

Here is a great video on making your own dog food and pressure canning your dog food.

This is a another great one on making and dehydrating your own dog food, focused on meats:

Storage of Dry Food

Storage of dog food that is a necessity should be dog in a cool dry place. If you do choose commercial foods as to their convenience, pick one that has a meat as the first ingredients. They need to be stored with moisture wicking packs in air tight containers, as they can mold or mildew. Cheaper foods can go rancid as the oil in them can turn in heat, or just over time.

How to Use the Homestead Scraps for Dogs

Doggie sausages Collect all meat scraps in a freezer bag and then make some. (see above)

Veggie broth and broth ice cubes One thing we do, and it can be used on any self-sustaining homestead, is collect all our veggies scraps in a big freezer bag. This can be potato peels, onion parts and skins, tips, pieces, ends, stalks, shoots or just scraps. The older stuff can go into the compost bin.

But after you have a full bag, you can cook it all down in a big stock pot with water, and make your own veggie broth. Strain the broth, then it will be good up to 4 days in the fridge.

You can make ice cubes, then bag them and use them for gravy, for the dogs bowl, roux, or as a nutritious broth to add to sauces and soups instead of water.

The strained veggies then can go into the dog’s bowl, canning materials, or for the compost heap.

Do You Compost Dog Waste?

As we mentioned a compost heap, we have a complete article on SHTF sanitation with a section on using a pet’s waste. It is a no. With up to 23 million fecal coliform Bacteria per gram of feces, and many things that can live in the ground for years, please do not use pet waste in compost. In fact it shouldn’t be around water sources or any crop plants. It is considered an “anti-manure” by the CDC and can promote weed growth to crop choking plants, and be a food for algae that takes the oxygen out of water for pond life.

Dig a hole far away from your house and any food or water supplies, and dispose of it there. It is so dangerous to life, that the EPA has it on the same danger level as herbicides, pesticides, and acid drainage when it comes to ground pollutants!

Dogs Are like Kids, Don’t Let Them Get Extra Desserts (Ignore the Big, Sad Eyes)

In many cases dogs are our kids, and just as I have been guilty of it with our son, I tend to like to snack and share. Dogs are so much like small children, and will beg and eat things that can result in tummy aches and just overindulge in things that are bad for them. Dogs, like us and children, love sugar and sweets. Ours love chocolate and will steal it.

As I sit here, I hear my husband exclaiming he was robbed. He was saving a piece of chocolate from his Symphony bar for his coffee break. Well, it didn’t make it. Evidently, he left it where it could be stolen. Since milk chocolate contains low amounts of actual chocolate, it won’t hurt them. Well, it may be a time-out if he catches them next time. They will also steal cough drops, candy, vitamin-c drops, cold medicines, make-up, or anything with a scent or sweet coating. Try and keep these things away from them, although it is hard to all the time.

They also love to eat any processed meats, sweets, cookies, candy, ice cream, or canned pastas. All things I am trying to eliminate from my husband’s and our diet, and things that should be in no human or animal’s mouth. But we, and they, love it. It is a battle.

Here’s a good video for 2 ingredient treats:

We Experimented with the Treats:

We mixed equal parts of these:

cookie stuff

cookie stuffs

We mixed into clumps, and then pressed into goodly sized cookies.

We then baked at 350 for 15 mins.

Then had taste testers try them. Everyone loved them!

step

step 2

step 3

taste testers

taste tester

oats success

Emergency Dog Food Rations for Shtf or on the Move

In an emergency or crisis, when your dog can go into shock, or high energy tolls are upon his body it is a good idea to have some emergency foods on hand. These can also double as emergency food for anyone in your family due to their energy, packability, and quality calories.

  • Jerky
  • Dehydrated fat strips for the dogs, but rendered fat is good for humans too
  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Pemmican
  • Honey (jarred or those little packages; we keep them in emergency kits)
  • Dried veggies (mine love carrots, greens, green beans, broccoli, veggie chips)
  • Dried fruits (mine will eat dried apples, apricots, pears, cranberries,peaches, mango, nectarines)

 

Wrapping It Up

Hopefully this article will help you prepare for a time there might not be anywhere to buy dog food or prepared food of any sort in stores. Do not let making your own dog food from scratch be a source of anxiety by thinking you will be caught off guard or unprepared. Our forefathers and our great grandfathers fed their faithful friends by hand preparing meals for their dogs daily, so you can too.

Basically, you have only 3 options when considering SHTF and feeding your dogs:

Choice 1) You can stock up on commercial kibble and seal it up in airtight containers. They claim it can stay in there 10 years or so and still be edible, if the conditions were optimum when you stored it: moisture kept at bay, temperature stable, and dark storage space.

Choice 2) You can invest in specialty survival food that comes in Mylar bags. It’s like a pet MRE in a rodent proof bucket that conveniently stacks for you. It can be a wise investment, and it will be some investing to be sure, as it’s not super cheap.

With any of these methods, you can eat the food as well as your dog. I mean, if things come down to that choice. So why not pick the last one, the one you’re doing for yourself?

Choice 3) The best choice for me is just making my own DYI dog food like I am for my own family’s food, old school like our Founding Fathers. It is simple to do, it is what you will be doing anyway when preparing for SHTF and prepping your stockpiles, and won’t cost much more to modify and provide for your dog’s food.

Honestly, we feed our dogs in this manner now. I used to spend a lot on specialty foods and additives, but since we switched to at least 80% of their food being freshly prepared and raw or organic ingredients, and natural foods, we have seen a world of difference in their activity, energy, health and vitality.

By taking out the heavily processed and over-chemically created commercial pet food, I do believe we have extended their life and the overall quality of their lives. We enjoy our pets and I can’t see life without them now, or in any situation.

The post Making Your Own Dog Food appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Using Wax to Improve Your Food’s Shelf Life

There is perhaps no more discussed matter than that of finding the best way of improving the shelf life of food to allow for stockpiling and ensuring access after TSHTF. The matter is of special importance for those who are looking to increase the food’s shelf life without compromising their nutritional value.

The purpose of this article is to discuss the potential of wax and wax coatings as a means to preserving and increasing the shelf life of both food products and fresh produces. Various aspects will be discussed, along with very useful and important dos and don’ts of using wax to preserve food.

Why Wax?

Coating food with wax has been a popular method to preserve food since at least the late 12th and early 13th century. Of course, the process has become more sophisticated as the technologies have developed; however, there are some basic principles that have stayed the same since then.

Before we go into the specifics, it is important to understand why wax might be used out of all the other available ingredients. As well as what makes it useful in preserving food.

The most widely used type of wax is petroleum-based, artificial wax. This is precisely the main reason why wax may be used to extend shelf life, petroleum is hydrophobic (water repellent) which means that a petroleum-based wax coating will help prevent loss of water in food. This, in turn, will prevent the shrinkage of fruits and vegetables and extend their shelf life.

Food-grade wax coatings are widely used in all sorts of foods, mainly in fruits and vegetables such as apples and cucumbers. The process is quite elaborate and technical; however, it is not a particularly hard process to learn. There are many instructional videos online but you might want to check the one above. It is advised that fungicide and dye is applied along with the wax in order to effectively keep the food safe and extend the shelf life; however, there are a few things to take into account when deciding on a waxing process.

First of all you should be aware of the three main types of wax.

  • Pack out wax: For food destined for immediate consumption.
  • Storage wax: For foods intended to be stored for a long time.
  • High shine wax: This one is not really used for preservation, it is to give the food an extra shine.

As mentioned earlier, the most commonly used type of wax is petroleum-based but there are some other kinds available, such as:

  • Sugarcane wax.
  • Carnauba
  • Paraffin Wax.
  • Shellac
  • Resin

Wax is mainly used to increase the shelf life of fruits but it can also be used to increase the shelf life of the right kinds of MREs. It is a matter of knowing what you want.

Using Wax to Preserve Fresh Produce

As we mentioned, wax is mostly used on fresh fruit and vegetables. Most commercial producers wax their products and add bactericides, fungicides and many other preservatives in order to keep the food in good condition for as long as possible.

There are two main reasons for using wax as a preserving agent. First, wax will keep the moisture in and most of the oxygen out, which will slow down the ripening process; second, it eliminates the need for non-biodegradable packaging.

There is only one issue with waxing fresh produce and that is that it is not as effective as other preserving methods. While it is true that waxing slows down the ripening process, it does not stall it for long enough to be considered apt for long-term storage.

There is another major disadvantage to using wax to preserve vegetables and that is that it may compromise the overall quality of the food when applied to excess. There are documented cases where the overuse of wax set off a chain of chemical reactions on the surface of the food which posed a health threat to all who consumed it. This is why you should always check for wax if you do not produce your own fruits. Identifying whether or not wax was used is very simple, just rub it gently, if a thin, white layer comes off then you will know that it has been treated with wax and you should clean it before consuming it.

Here are a few tips on how to clean waxed fruits:

  • Washing with lukewarm water. Just use water, detergent, even food grade, may do more harm than good.
  • Wash the fruit and vegetables with vinegar. Since it contains acetic acid it is very efficient in removing the wax coating. You can also use vinegar strips to wipe them down just before eating if you do not want to remove the wax coating from everything at once.
  • If you want to be really thorough then wash your fruit and then remove the peal to insure that you do not ingest any wax.

Using Wax for Jam and Jelly

For many years paraffin has been used to seal the top of jam and jelly jars, it formed a physical seal that kept air out and prevented mold from growing. The method became less popular with the advent of canning; however, the method is still good if you want to do it the old-fashioned way.

Usually, melted paraffin wax would be poured over the hot jelly before sealing the jar. These days wax is more widely used, on account that the wax is lighter and it stays on top. As the jelly and the wax cool, it forms a seal that keeps water and air out.

Canning is the better option for extending the shelf life of products for years but if you are not looking for shorter-term packaging or if you do not know how to can and would like to have some things ready while you learn to can.

The process of adding a wax seal is quite simple, you just need to proceed as usual with the making of your jam or jelly and then, instead of adding the lid and water-bathing it, you pour a quarter inch of melted wax over the hot jelly and stir until it covered the top. When it cools, the wax seal will have formed and you will be able to close it with the lid.

Using Wax for Cheese

This is possibly the most successful application of wax with the goal of preserving food and considering that after TSHTF cheese will be a luxury item this is a valuable preservation method.

Before going on to describe how to wax cheese, you should know that the government generally warns against eating any kind of dairy product that has not been refrigerated due to the risk of contracting botulism. While it is a valid concern, there have been no reported instances of botulism where cheese was the cause.

Waxing cheese will preserve it for many years while also allowing it to age and develop flavor. It also means that the cheese will not need refrigeration, making it perfect for a post-SHTF scenario.

Soft cheeses are not good for waxing because of their high moisture content. Moisture means that there is a much higher chance of mold developing and spoiling the cheese. This is why it is better to choose hard cheeses such as Cheddar, Swiss, Gruyere, Parmesan or alike. If you have doubts of whether or not you can wax a certain cheese, all you need to do is make sure that it has 40% or less moisture content.

Remember that the cheese will age so it will not be the same cheese you started with.

To wax your cheese you will need to get cheese wax, paraffin and other types are not pliable enough or do not get hot enough to kill the bacteria (which is another advantage of waxing cheese), using cheese wax will also allow you to reuse it after you strain it, and it dries much faster than paraffin, giving bacteria less time to reach the cheese.

Here are the basic steps to waxing cheese:

  1. Dry your cheese. After pressing, lay a clean piece of cheesecloth over the top of your formed cheese and allow it to dry for a few days in a room with good air circulation and low temperature.
  2. Clean the cheese with a brine wash to remove mold, then allow it to dry for 1 or 2 hours.
  3. Heat and melt the wax. The heat will depend on whether you want to dip the cheese or paint on the wax, each process has its pros and cons. To paint it on you will need lower heat, create a double broiler by placing wax in a metal bowl and submerging it in a pot with water. Heat it up to 198-204°F. If you prefer the dipping method —which is a little more dangerous but will definitely kill all the bacteria— then place the wax in a pot and heat it directly on the stove top to 224-236°F. Be careful of wax at high temperatures since it has been known to explode.

Dipping method:

Now that the wax is hot enough you may begin the waxing process. You will need to be extremely careful with this method. Firs make sure you have a good grip on the cheese and then quickly dip it into the wax, let it cool and then repeat. Do the same with the other side, then dip half of the cheese’s edge in, let cool and repeat so that you can move on to waxing the remaining half, which is the same process.

Brushing method:

Lay an aluminum foil surface to catch the drops. Using a natural bristles brush apply the melted wax. Start with the top surface and sides, allow that to harden and then do the bottom part. You will need to work quickly and make sure to use plenty of wax. Repeat the process at least twice more.

Should I be Using Wax?

As we have seen so far, the use of wax depends on what you want to achieve, since it is quite an old-fashioned process it fails to deal with more modern problems or has been surpassed by modern technologies.

In the case of fruit and vegetables it is a good idea to wax them if you are looking down the barrel of a dry season of alike but will have access to fresh fruits at some point in the future. Waxing fruits and vegetables is not a great idea for long-term storage so if that is your purpose you should look into different methods.

In the case of jams and jellies is a slightly different matter. Creating a wax seal will definitely keep the bugs out and the bacteria from forming, it is cheaper and more effective than canning since you will not need to actually learn how to can, and sealing with wax is very simple. Jams and jellies are already meant to last for a while and adding a wax seal will definitely make them last longer. Using a wax seal is more appropriate for medium-term planning.

Cheese, however, will keep great in wax, extending the shelf life of it for years without it ever needing refrigeration (though you can refrigerate it if you want to stall the aging process). The waxing process is simple and effective. Cheese will be a luxury item after TEOTWAWKI and as such, its barter value will be through the roof. Not to mention that you will be one of the few people still able to enjoy some old-fashioned mac n’ cheese.

In short, in terms of effectively extending the shelf life of foodstuffs, wax does not really go a long way, especially in the case of fruit and vegetables. Looking into different options is the best idea. That said, in the case of cheese it has proven to be a perfect way of extending the shelf life and it does not require refrigeration, which makes it useful.

All in all, wax has been supplanted by more modern and perhaps better methods of storing. If you want to play it safe you will only use wax for cheese and for jams —remember wax only slightly increases the shelf life of jams and jellies so you may want to rotate them to ensure future access.

Disclaimer

The information in this article is provided “as is” and should not be mistaken for or be a substitute for professional advice. Always consult your physician and/or nutritionist before trying any of the advice presented on this page. Neither the author nor www.SurvivalSullivan.com or the company behind the website shall be held liable for any negative effects of you putting into practice the information in this article. If you feel sick after consuming food that has been waxed, call 911 immediately.

The post Using Wax to Improve Your Food’s Shelf Life appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

How to Make Hardtack

photo by looseends on Flick, modified under the CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license

When thinking about survival situations, food is always a priority.  Sure you can hunt, fish, or gather food.  However, having food available for bugging in or bugging out is an even better option.  In my endless hunt for survival foods, I am primarily looking to fulfill a few needs.  One is that the food must last a long time.  Another is that it must be lightweight and compact. A third would be that it must satisfy some dietary need that is hard to fulfill otherwise.

Hardtack is basically a dried biscuit that fits the profile of a good survival food.  If kept dry, hardtack can last up to 150 years, so it is ideal for your pack or your food stockpile.  Because it is dried, it is compact and lightweight.  It is also high in calories and carbohydrates.  Those are two commodities that are hard to come by in a survival situation. Another benefit of hardtack is that it is easy to make in almost any conditions.

History

This survival food has a long and proud history of proving its value.  Both the ancient Roman and the ancient Egyptian civilizations used hardtack, and typically gave it to their soldiers as rations.  It is ideal as a ration for soldiers for the same reasons it is ideal for survival situations.  Sailors crossing vast oceans would take hardtack with them for the journey.  It was baked four times to be sure it would survive the moisture from the sea.  Often the biscuits would have to be soaked in pickle brine, coffee, or water to soften them enough to eat.

Civil War soldiers were rationed several large biscuits per day and often used them as plates to eat perishable food.  They would then snack on the biscuits as they hiked.  The Union Army would bake the biscuits twice and then let them sit for six months before issuing them to soldiers.  This would ensure they were properly dried. Southern states were short on flour because of blockades put in place by the North, so when flour was available they made huge batches.

Making Hardtack (Basic Recipe)

The process of making this food is incredibly simple.  This is one of the reasons it makes for a great survival food.  You can make hardtack with only two ingredients, and you can make it in almost any conditions. Whether you have a gourmet kitchen, a gas grill, a camp stove, or a rustic campfire you can make this staple.

  • Start with two cups of flour and slowly add water. Your goal is to make it into a consistent dough that you can roll out and cut.  If it gets too watery, add more flour.  There is no point in kneading the dough since we are not making bread.
  • On a floured table, roll out your dough with a floured rolling pin until it is about ¼ inch thick. Then you can cut it into whatever shapes and sizes you like.  Think about storage and purpose.  You will want larger pieces if you might use it as a plate for other food.  If you are packing it into a small space in a pack, you will likely want smaller pieces.  It is important that all the pieces be the same shape and size so they cook at the same rate. You can use a ruler to cut a straight edge, or you can use cookie cutters, a jar, or a glass to cut various shapes.
  • Preheat the oven to 250F.
  • You next need to dock the biscuits. This means poking holes in the dough so it will dry properly and will not rise.  You can use a fork, a nail, chopsticks, or a knife to poke evenly spaced holes all the way through the dough.  As a general guide, you should cut 16 holes in a 3 inch by 3 inch square.  This is the recipe used during the civil war.
  • Place the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet, and make sure they are evenly spaced. Cook them for two hours and then flip them over to cook for two more hours.
  • Remove the biscuits from the baking sheet and place them on a cooling rack until they are room temperature.
  • Repeat the baking process cooking for another two hours on one side and two hours on the other side at 250F. Move back to the cooling rack until room temperature.

Variations

Hard tack in this form has very little flavor.  There are things you can do to make the finished product more flavorful.  However, keep in mind that the lack of moisture is what makes hardtack last as long as it does.  You cannot modify the recipe in any way that adds moisture or it will spoil sooner.

Salt is an ingredient that was often added to hardtack. Not only does it add flavor, but the human body needs some level of salt in the diet to keep functioning.  Other grains can be added to the flour for texture and flavor.  Spices can be added or a little honey can give your hardtack a sweet taste while also adding valuable sugars. Dairy products like butter or cream can be added, but they will likely go rancid within a few weeks.

Storage

There are two primary reasons why hard tack might not last as long as you would like.  One would be if moisture gets to the biscuits.  Any moisture can cause mold to form which would render the hardtack inedible.  You are best to keep your hardtack in an airtight container or bag.  Store your containers in a cool, dry place to ensure it keeps as long as possible.

The other potential issue with hardtack is damage from pests.  These biscuits are a perfect food source for bugs like weevils or for mice or rats.  For this reason you should try to keep your supply up off of the ground.  I also prefer hard, airtight containers to keep out the insects and pests that could ruin my stash.

How to Eat Hardtack

With most recipes there is no need for a section on how to eat the finished product.  However, hardtack is an exception.  The biscuits are so hard that you often have to get creative to find a good way to eat it.  As stated before, hardtack can be softened with liquids.  This could be water, coffee, milk, vinegar, or any other liquid.  It is sometimes added to stews or gravy to help thicken the dish.  Some people have been known to soften hard tack and then fry it in grease or oil.  This is one of the tastier preparations of this food.

If you are going to eat hardtack without preparing it in some way, there is a proper way to do it.  Break off a small piece and let it sit in your mouth to soften for a while.  Eventually you will get a softer consistency that you can chew.  Also be sure to have some water on hand as the flour will suck all the moisture out of your mouth.

In Conclusion

The more time that passes as a survivalist and prepper, the more I think about things like food preservation.  Whether we are talking about venison, fish, berries, mushrooms, or hardtack, it appears that dehydration is the key to long term preservation.  Keeping food cold is fine in certain circumstances.  However, without electricity there are times that keeping food cold is very difficult.

By removing the moisture from a food, you eliminate the possibility of fungus or bacteria growing in that food.  That is all that hardtack is.  It is a form of bread with all of the moisture removed. In addition to lasting years and years, this survival food is lightweight and versatile.  It is perfect to add to your bug out bag or to save for times when other food is not available.  There are dozens of ways to make and prepare hardtack to give you a variety of flavors and textures.

There is a good reason why soldiers and seamen have carried hardtack for thousands of years.  When you are pushed to the limit and need vital energy, it is a great option for a snack.  Over the years hardtack has been known as pilot bread, cabin bread, ship biscuit, sea biscuit, and sea bread.  It has had so many nicknames because of how prolific it has been in the survival of man in the worst possible conditions.

Not only do I like to keep some around the house, but I always like to take some with me on any camping or hiking trips.  If you get a chance, make some up and integrate it into your prepping or survival strategy.

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Storing Food in 2 Litter Water Bottles

Long-term food storage is a concern for many preppers, and there are at least fifty methods of storing food for long-term disasters. Most of these methods are very well and good, but they require in many cases some special skills (such as canning and vacuum sealing) that make them unsuitable for new preppers looking to start storing food ASAP. Storing food in 2 liter PET bottles is a cheap way of storing food in bulk while keeping the amount manageable enough that you can rotate it as often as it is needed.

The reason to use water bottles is that they are made out of PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which is a non-porous plastic. PET bottles provide adequate protection against moisture, and they are an excellent oxygen barrier so coupled with oxygen absorbers they make for an unmatchable food storage unit.

Storing food in such containers, as long as you follow the instructions below, will allow you to keep it safe for at least five years and up to 10. With the lightweight container you can add a few of these to your BOB as well as storing them in your cellar for when TSHTF.

Here is a cheap and easy way to start prepping. Even though you an experienced prepper, you still want to think about using this method.

What Kind of Food Can I Store?

You might think it is easy to think that you would be able to store any food if you have oxygen absorbers; some kinds of food that will not keep well if they are not stored in more specialized containers such as Mylar bags. The kind of food that you can store in water or soda bottle is dry food, that means storing grains, salt, and even sugar.

Because of the leaching effect, it is not advisable to store water for a long time in these bottles. You must remember that water is an aggressive substance and it will degrade plastic little by little; this is why even water bottles have a best-by date. PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate which in tame degrades and leach chemicals such as antimony into the water which is a metallic element similar to lead that in small doses can cause dizziness and nausea and has the potential to be fatal in larger amounts. There are safer ways to store water and just because bottled water is widely regarded as safer to drink it does not mean it is true.

Foods with high fat or oil content will not keep well in PET bottles; it is also inadvisable to store products that contain leavening. Remember when thinking about storing food in PET bottles is you want them to be as dry as possible. Doing this will stop the food from going stale quickly, or become oily, and moist products such as whole grain flours, granola, brown rice and whole grain cereals will not keep well with this method due to the naturally high oil and moisture levels.

While you can store flour, you will want to avoid pancake mixes and biscuit mixes as they contain leavenings that produce gasses over time, these build up, and you may have an exploding PET bottle in your hands. There are better ways to store leavening containing food products.

There is debate over whether or not it is advisable to store dehydrated fruits and vegetables in this way. The problem is even dehydrated fruits, and vegetables contain a certain amount of water that will spoil them over time. This could potentially result in botulism poisoning; you can store them if you can make sure that the moisture content is very low, dry food bulk suppliers tend to be able to tell you the moisture content in their products.  A rule of thumb is to check if they snap when you break them, if they do then they are dry enough to store. The advised fruits and vegetables to store in this way are apples, onions, carrots, and potatoes.

If you are thinking about storing powdered, dry milk in this way, you must make sure that it is low-fat. Otherwise, the fat will have the same effect as moisture and will not allow you to extend the shelf life of your product. You may store regular and instant low fat dry milk in this way.

Here’s a list of what you can store in this way:

  • Grains (popcorn, rice, lentils, beans, wheat)
  • Low-fat dry milk
  • Dehydrated fruit and vegetables (low moisture content)
  • Oats (rolled or steel cut)
  • Pasta
  • Salt (Pack with rice or desiccant packs to absorb moisture)
  • Sugar (pack with rice or desiccant packs to absorb moisture)

Storing Method

The method is quite simple; there are some things you must make sure to do to prolong the shelf life of your product. Start saving bottles, you can use any PET bottle on hand, but it is advisable only to use bottles that were used to store food and water so that no contamination occurs and you can be sure that it is safe to eat the food then. Here is a step-by-step overview of what the packaging and storage method is.

  1. Preparing the Bottles

You want to wash the bottles as soon as possible when the original contents are gone. This will safeguard that there will be no remains stored in the natural pores of plastic. It is not just about removing any trace of substances; you want to make sure that the bottles are sterilized so that your food can last longer without spoiling or oxidizing (in the case of rice). The traditional method of sterilizing food containers is placing them in boiling water for a few minutes to kill all the bacteria that might be nesting there.

PET is quite flimsy when it gets hot, so it will not retain its original form, it may also get thinner in certain points which will make the bottle less durable than usual. Because of this, it is advisable to mix one tablespoon of bleach in half a cup of water and then swish it around inside the bottles, after that’s done you want to rinse each bottle well (so that you do not end up eating chlorine down the line) with clean water.

You also need to make sure that the bottles can still be properly sealed, to do this you can close them up tightly with their caps and submerge them in water. If air bubbles escape it means that it is not sealed, try tightening the cap, and if bubbles still escape then your bottle might not be appropriate for this use, still you can set it aside for longer-term storage and simply use silicon to seal it.

Another thing you want to make sure of is that the bottles are perfectly dry before storing anything in them for the reasons listed above. Allowing them to dry naturally is the best choice, just placing them upside down in the dish drainer and waiting is a good way to do this but it might not work so you might want to leave them to dry in the sun with the caps off and some rice to absorb the extra moisture. If you live in an area that does not get a lot of sun then you can use a food dehydrator for this purpose, just take the trays out and place the bottles inside on low heat for a few hours.

  1. Preparing the Food

No matter how well you clean the bottles, if the food itself is not clean, then all the preparation will be for nothing. You can rinse the grains to wash off grime as long as you make sure that they are completely dry before packing. With dry powdered milk, you will not have this problem since the industrial process alone will rid the powder of dangerous bacteria. For the products that you cannot rinse you may try freezing them in Ziploc bags for a week, then taking them out to thaw before freezing them again, make sure there is no moisture left in the food while you are packing them.

  1. Get Oxygen Absorbers

Air is composed of many different gasses, but mainly nitrogen and oxygen.  Nitrogen does not harm food or promote the growth of insects. Oxygen makes up around 20% of the air and is conducive to life and oxidation, which is why you want to invest on some oxygen absorbers, which will diminish the oxygen in the container to less than 1%.

You cannot obtain this amount of oxygen reduction with vacuum packaging, which is why oxygen absorbers have become so popular. Most oxygen absorbers will need water to be activated, but your food contains enough to activate it so do not add water. An oxygen absorber packet (300cc) can service a PET bottle of anything up to a gallon capacity so that one will do per bottle.

  1. Pack the Food

Place an oxygen absorber at the bottom of the bottle to allow you to utilize the space available better and pack your food in tight, as well as allow you to use the packet’s reserve capacity to its full extent when you start using the food and reclosing the bottle.

Now fill the bottle with your chosen product. Since the mouth of two litter bottles is quite small, you will need to use a funnel, or it will take forever to fill the entire bottle. Every time you fill it give the bottle a little bang on the table so that the grains or powder will settle, thus allowing you to pack the food in tightly.

Before sealing the bottle make sure that the cap is dry and clean. Seal the lid, making sure it is tight.  If you are not using the product anytime soon, then you might want to seal the cap with silicon to ensure nothing goes in or out. The problem of sealing it with silicon is that you will have to cut the bottle open when you want to use it, which might not be ideal. You can also use duct tape for this purpose but it will not be as efficient as silicon, and unlike silicon, duct tape will not make up for a poor seal.

  1. Storing the Packed Food

Now, as with any packed food, you want to keep them in a cool, dry place and away from light. This applies to anything you want to pack for a long time. You can paint the bottles black to ensure that less light hits the food (you want to do this before packing the food), thus increasing the shelf life. Place your PET bottles in a box and keep it away from the ground so that moisture will not get to it. You will need to protect the bottles against vermin, so it is better not to use a cardboard box. Remember to label each bottle appropriately with the date of packing, especially if you painted the bottles black.

Advantages

There are many advantages to storing food in this way, the first of which is that it is very cheap, the only real investment you are making is in oxygen absorbers and desiccants. Another excellent reason to store food in this way is that it is a very lightweight, low maintenance method, making it a perfect addition to your BOB. The bottles are incredibly durable and resistant, and once they are empty you can easily use them to store water (just not long term). Think about adding one of these filled with pasta or dried bean soup to your BOB.

A lot of preppers advise that you stay away from PET when storing for the long term citing concerns over the chemicals used to treat PET. It is advised to can your food yourself by sealing them in mason jars. It is good advice, but there are a few problems with these methods too.

The problem with canning and vacuum sealing in mason jars is once you open them, the seal is broken and you will need to consume the food quickly. This does not happen with PET storage since the oxygen absorbers will maintain a low percentage of oxygen once you reseal the bottle, all you need to do is close the lid again. If you decide to seal with silicon, then you can easily cut the bottle easily whereas in a jar you would have to smash the jar open if you can’t open it, which is dangerous.

Disadvantages

There are not many disadvantages with storing food in this way. The main one is that bottles do not stack very well so they might be harder to store than mason jars or cans; you can easily find the delivery trays which have been designed to allow you to stack them up. Another disadvantage is that, since the mouth of the bottles is quite small, there is a cap to the kind of food you can store to grains and powder. You may try using 3-liter bottles, which have a larger mouth or gallon juice bottles, which tend to have a larger opening.

Moist foods stored in oxygen deprived packages can increase the risk of botulism poisoning which is a concern for many preppers thinking about using this method as long as you make sure that your bottles are dry and your food contains less than 10% moisture, storing them in this way is perfectly safe.

All that remains to say in closing is that while long-term storage of food can be hard to manage and the process may be quite daunting for any inexperienced prepper, there are ways to start and this method is cheap and easy. You can also consider this method of storage if you are a survivalist about to go camping since you can use smaller PET bottles for storing smaller amounts of food. PET bottles for storing smaller amounts of food.

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Diatomaceous Earth is Perfect for Preppers

Determining what you need for after SHTF can be a real challenge. There are so many needs to think about from growing food to first aid. That’s exactly why diatomaceous earth is perfect for preppers. It’s a natural product that can help keep people and animals healthy, protect food storage and gardens, and help filter water.

What is DE?

Diatomaceous earth or DE is essentially silica powder. It’s made from the fossilized remains of tiny ancient organisms, called diatoms, that lived in lakes, rivers, and the ocean. These remains are now mined and ground up for use in various applications.

There are food grade and non-food grade diatomaceous earthproducts available. For the most part these products are the same however the food grade is strictly regulated by the USDA ensuring that there’s been no contamination and it’s a clean and safe product for you to consume. Non-food grade DE is typically used as an agricultural and household insecticide and is not strictly regulated. For prepping purposes you’ll want to purchase the food grade kind. Don’t worry it’s still very affordable.

Food Storage

A key element in most prepper’s survival plan is food storage. Unfortunately there are many things that can compromise food. Two of those are moisture and insects. Thankfully both can be taken care of with a simple DE application.

First of all, silica readily absorbs moisture. You’ve seen those little silica gel packets in dry goods right? Well since DE is silica it can be used to the same effect accept that since it’s food grade, unlike those little packets, it can just go right in with your food. When you’re filling a container of something dry like wheat or oats just sprinkle in a thin layer of DE every few inches starting with the bottom layer. This tiny application will keep your food dry and potentially save your life in a SHTF scenario.

Doing this protects your food storage from insects live grain weevils too! Even though to humans DE feels like a soft powder it actually has little razor sharp edges. Don’t worry they won’t hurt you or your stomach, but they do hurt insects. Those little edges slice right through insect exoskeletons causing them to dehydrate and die.

Water Filtration

Diatomaceous earth is an excellent medium as a layer in survival water filtration systems. There’s some evidence that, just like cilantro, when used in filters it absorbs heavy metals just as it does in the human body. Some even believe that it kills certain viruses, bacteria, and algae. Even if this is not the case, it is effective in filtering them out of water has been used in both survival and residential uses since World War II.

There are some DE filters available for purchase. In these the DE layer is located in the filter element. If you’re looking for a pre-made DE filter make sure you look for one that is specifically for drinking water. They are often used for pools and these are not safe for drinking water.

Gardening

While food storage is still very important obviously stores will need to be replenished after TEOTWAWKI and one of the easiest ways to do that is growing a garden. Unfortunately even through the use of permaculture techniques like companion planting and crop rotation there is no guarantee that your garden will be problem free.

That’s where DE comes in. It’s ability to knock down pests is indispensable and doesn’t cover your plants with toxic chemicals. Simply dust your afflicted plants, or even the ground around them for non-flying insects, with a fine layer of DE. Note that it will need to be re-applied after rains if you’re still experiencing pests.

When your plants reach harvest time all you have to do is rinse them off and because it’s completely safe to consume you don’t have to worry about missing any.

Health

While diatomaceous earth has not been heavily studied and is not FDA approved as a treatment for any conditions there are many testimonials about its health benefits.

First off, as previously mentioned DE is almost entirely made of silica and silica is an important mineral to the human body. Silica is used by almost every vital organ and scientists believe it plays a role in bone, tendon, joint, and muscle health.

Consuming it can ensure you’re getting this essential mineral especially in a survival scenario. Many believe ingesting DE can also help absorb toxins and heavy metals in the body helping them to pass through without causing damage.

Lastly it will kill most intestinal parasites. This is extremely important in a survival situation. Internal parasites are more prevalent than people realize, and can enter your body from untreated water, constant contact with livestock, or even the dirt on your hands from gardening. Parasites can steal valuable nutrients from the body and leave you feeling fatigued and ill.

To consume DE, simply stir a teaspoon in with a glass of water and drink it. The DE is not water soluble and won’t dissolve but it’s easy enough to drink it this way. As with any natural remedy you should start slowly (try this method once a day) but you can increase up to 3 TBS throughout the day depending on your body’s needs. Just remember to take it slow!

Livestock

Just like with people DE can be used to help livestock and pets stay healthy and happy both in everyday life or a survival scenario.

DE can be used internally by adding it to animals feed or water (as with people start slowly) to treat intestinal parasites.

It can also be used externally by thoroughly rubbing it into the animals fur or feathers to kill lice, mites, and fleas. When treating animals their spaces should also be treated. Dust things like pet beds, nest boxes, and stall floors with diatomaceous earth to keep pests from spreading.

Please note whenever you’re using it directly on animals you should do so in a well ventilated area. Many animals have sensitive respiratory systems and fine dusts like DE can have harmful effects when breathed in in large amounts. Also when using on surfaces allow it to settle before allowing the animal back into that area.

Hygiene

Hygiene may not seem like a top priority after SHTF but it can actually have a big impact on both your health and morale. Diatomaceous earth has three key features that make it an excellent choice for homemade hygiene products, it absorbs moisture and odors and is mildly abrasive.

You can use DE as a deodorant and body powder. Its ability to absorb moisture can help cure athletes foot and other funguses plus keeps odor down. Again being a little smelly may not seem like a threat to your survival but getting a bit cleaner will keep your morale higher when hopping in a hot shower just isn’t an option.

Diatomaceous earth’s abrasive quality also makes it a perfect candidate for homemade toothpaste, body scrub, or shampoo. It can be combined with existing recipes or used all on its own.

As a toothpaste it can help to scrub away plaque and tartar build up and whiten teeth. It’s really great at getting rid of all those tea and coffee stains. While it’s not abrasive enough to irritate skin some people recommend that you only use in on your teeth about once per week.

As a body scrub it’s an excellent exfoliant and can help clean out pores. It’s also awesome for scrubbing off caked on dirt after a long day in the garden.

DE’s use as a shampoo helps to remove dry skin, grease, and dirt from your scalp. Plus it can even kill hair lice or mites the same way it kills garden pests.

Home

The qualities that make diatomaceous earth an excellent hygiene product also make it good for home care. It can be used to scrub a variety of surfaces or to trap odor or moisture.

It’s also good to occasionally dust mattresses and sleeping areas with DE to prevent bed bugs. They’re the last thing you’ll think about in a survival scenario but if conditions deteriorate they can spread rapidly and harbor deadly diseases.

If you want a natural, affordable, easy to store, multi-purpose product in your storage diatomaceous earth is definitely the way to go. It can help preppers solve so many problems from dirty dishes, to garden pests, to athlete’s foot, and even food spoilage!

Food grade diatomaceous earth has become very popular and can be purchased at a variety of retailers and online sites including common big box stores and Amazon.

Have you ever used diatomaceous earth?

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How to Preserve Food like the Native Americans

In the world where refrigeration is widely available, many of us don’t really think about preserving food much, because quite frankly the refrigerator does it for us. Survivalists however are aware of the fact that when the grid goes down, some if not all of the food we have in the fridge will spoil. That’s why learning to preserve foods and store them is a necessary step in survival preparation. We can learn a lot about food preservation from the Native Americans. Let’s see how to preserve food from a people who lived off of the land. Continue reading How to Preserve Food like the Native Americans

Everything You Need to Know About Expiration Dates

If there’s one thing that apocalyptic movies got right, it’s that when faced with a disaster, people will strip the shelves of the nearest grocery store bare in a matter of days. People will rush in and out, grabbing anything and everything that they think can help them survive for a considerable period. The grocery store quickly becomes a war zone and people will most likely grab anything they can regardless of the quality of the food.

Unfortunately, grabbing food and other items at random isn’t the best way to survive a disaster. You may think that by grabbing as much as you can then at least you have what you need, but if you stop and consider it, you’re only trying to survive for a few days. And who’s to say that the disaster won’t last for longer? Thus, there’s great value in taking the time to know and understand the expiration dates that your foods and other items have.

A common belief is that expiration dates usually indicate to what date food is safe to eat. These expiration dates are an indicator of an item’s quality and not the safety. If you’re trying to prepare for a critical situation, ignoring expiration date may prove dangerous as it makes you susceptible to illnesses such as food poisoning. Another problem is that your stockpile may become completely useless, especially if you ended up stockpiling food with a short shelf life.

Knowing the mechanics of expiration dates and shelf life will save you a lot of money and effort. This article will talk about expiration dates from a prepper’s perspective.

KNOW WHAT IT MEANS

Contrary to popular belief, the expiration date doesn’t only mean “best before.” Often, there are other labels that you will need to understand, especially if your goal is stockpile food that can last at least year. The only item the government requires to have an expiration date printed on it is infant formula. So, if you stockpile properly, you need to find a way to understand the somewhat arbitrary expiration dates printed on other things.

There are four labels that you need to understand:

  • sell by
  • best before
  • coded dates
  • use by date

Sell by date is a manufacturer-specific label. It indicates that date by which the manufacturer should have sold the goods. Best before date is the most common label you will see. Best before means that you must consume the food before the date printed to ensure quality and freshness. Coded dates are a little more difficult to explain as it consists of a series of numbers and letters. What you need to know about a coded date is that it functions as the goods’ ID or the tracking number and helps determine the shipping date of the product.

There’s no clear regulation as to which label you should follow, but the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that you consume the food per the “use by” date on the label. If you consume food beyond the use by date, it is no longer as fresh as it was and the quality is starting to deteriorate. Once the deterioration process of food starts, there’s no easy way to tell if it’s still safe to consume or how fast it will go from being fresh to being rotten and even poisonous.

FOODS WITH LONG SHELF LIFE

Different kinds of food mean a varying shelf life lengths. But if you’re going to start your stockpile for long-term storage, you might want to consider the goods that can last indefinitely. To help you with that task, here’s a list of goods that take 25 to an indefinite amount of years before expiring:

  1. Honey
  2. Twinkies
  3. Canned or dried beans
  4. Rice
  5. Powdered milk
  6. Salt
  7. Sugar
  8. Wheat
  9. Baking soda
  10. Dried corn
  11. Instant coffee, tea or cocoa

Aside from the items above, many spices have a shelf life ranging from two to five year. When stored properly, you may even have the chance to extend the quality well beyond the expiration date.

CANNED GOODS, MRES AND FREEZE-DRIED FOOD

When starting a stockpile, the first thing that you must consider is shelf life. You should consider how long the goods will last and if it’s enough to help you survive for a significant period. A common goal is to stockpile enough supplies for at least a year regardless of what disaster you anticipate. Stockpiling for one full year is enough to ensure that when the time comes, you and your family won’t be forced to join the fray at the nearest grocery store to survive.

The most common things that most people stock up on are canned goods, meals ready to eat (MREs), and freeze-dried foods. These goods take at most 25 years to expire, and with attention to proper storage techniques, they can last longer than the printed best before date. Thus, for you to fully maximize the potential and quality of these goods, you will need to learn a few things about expiration dates and storage for each type.

Canned Goods

The common misconception about canned goods is that they can last forever. According to USDA, this is wrong because their shelf life depends on the level of acid the food contains. If the acid level is low to moderate, like vegetables, fish, and meat, shelf life can hold be as much as five years. On the other hand, if the acid level is high, like in canned tomatoes and citrus fruits, shelf life is reduced to one and a half years. The general rule for them is that although they can last for up to five years, plan to consume them within two years from the manufacture date.

If at some point, you wonder about the nutrients and vitamins you get from eating canned goods, don’t worry. The good news is that it canned vegetables can retain the mineral content for the entirety of its shelf life. Although a percentage loss of nutrients is expected, particularly in foods containing vitamins A and C, the rate of nutrient loss diminishes with proper storage.

The best way to stockpile canned goods is to follow the first in, first out rule. Label the cans individually and make sure that you indicate the expiration date and manufacture date (if applicable) with clear visibility. Labeling canned goods in this way will ensure you know which goods are still fresh and will help you track which ones are going to expire soon.

Aanother thing about canned goods is that you can extend its shelf life by storing at room temperature away from direct sunlight or in a dark area. Regularly check the state of the storage and the cans itself. If you see any signs of deterioration like rust, or if there are dents, don’t risk eating it. The same goes if you spot any signs of leaking or bloating MRES.

Originally manufactured for soldiers and astronauts, MREs have been popular since the 1970s. Each MRE packet contains a complete and tasty meal. MREs arrive wrapped in three layers of plastic and aluminum pouches which make them perfect for stockpiling.

The shelf life of MREs varies depending on the storage temperature. The most current estimated shelf life chart is from 2010:

Temperature (F) Shelf Life (months)
120 1
110 2
100 6
90 18
80 36
70 40
60 48
50 60

As you can see, the official position is that they can be stored for a duration of one month to five years, depending on the temperature in the storage area. Of course, there have been accounts of longer shelf life reported by individuals. To extend the estimated shelf life, take care not to rip, tear, or otherwise damage the MREs packaging. Any MREs with ruptured, punctured or swelling should be discarded or used only as a last resort.

Another indicator of the quality of MREs is the time and temperature indicator (TTI) officially added to the front of the packaging in 1997. The TTI looks like a donut with bold and black outer circle and a clear inner circle. If the inner circle is lighter than the outside, that MRE is still safe for consumption.

Freeze-Dried Food

Freeze drying food is one of the most effective ways of removing moisture and water. Compared to dehydrated and sun-dried foods, freeze-dried food lasts longer and retains more vitamins and minerals. According to reports, this dehydration process removes about 98% of moisture which makes the food light and easy to carry.

The average shelf life of freeze-dried food is two to 25 years and more. The variation depends on the location of your storage and the consistency of its placement. Simply put, if you store the goods in a dry and cold location, and if you keep it in there until the time you plan on eating it, the shelf life will be longer. Heat returns the moisture, and the fluctuating temperature attracts bacteria which accelerates the process of rotting.

The only disadvantage with freeze-dried food is the freeze-drying process requires a lot of energy and effort to pull off. But aside from that, these goods can last for a very, very long time. Freeze drying makes food very light which means it is possible to carry more food with you, especially when you need to bug out.

MEDICINE

Medicine and antibiotics are one of those items that often don’t have specific information regarding the expiration dates and shelf life. In a critical situation, your situation might take a turn for the worst if you drink or otherwise use medicine that has long since expired. Fortunately, all medicine manufacturers are required to print an expiration date on the packaging. The date indicated is when the medicine will start to lose its optimal potency thereby making it less effective, and at times, fatal.

The general rule is that medicine can last for two to five years under favorable storage conditions. Solid drug forms like pills, tablets, and capsules fall into this category. Medicine in liquid form are less stable and expires faster, so shelf life is more difficult to estimate. Once you open a bottle of liquid medicine, it’s best to use it before the expiration date indicated. Injectable drugs that show signs of precipitation or look cloudy should not be used.

Interestingly, there are no studies that indicate whether it’s safe to use expired drugs. It’s believed that some of the common ones, like that for a cough and fever, can be ingested well beyond the expiration date. Those that relieve more complicated illnesses like heart failure, and diabetes should never be used beyond the date.

If you’re not sure as to whether you should still use the medicine you’ve stockpiled, consider the storage conditions. Longer shelf life and maximum potency can be achieved if it’s stored in a place that is cool, dry and dark. Avoid extreme temperatures and always check the seal.

TIPS FOR EXTENDING SHELF LIFE

  1. Get the temperature right. Extreme cold or heat can ruin just about anything in your stockpile. The safest is room temperature, but if you can find a place that is naturally cold like root cellars, that will give you the best shot at extending shelf life.
  2. Once you’ve opened or sliced through something, consume it as soon as you can. Leftovers can only last for so long (two to four day). Plus, breaking the seal is a ticking time bomb. You will only have so much time before your stockpile will be infested with bacteria and viruses
  3. Consider the packaging. This is very important because aside from the storage conditions, it is one of the things that can extend shelf life for almost double the duration. For example, good wrapped in Mylar last longer because it’s airtight and it keeps it at room temperature at least.
  4. Know the signs of rotten items. If it smells bad or if it looks weird, don’t risk it. This is especially true when it comes to medicine. Extending the cumulative shelf life of your stockpile will only work if you get rid of those that are nearing end of the line.
  5. Keep track of expiration dates. Organize your stockpile in such a way that the older goods are in front. If you can label every item, do so. Strictly adhere to the first in, first out rule.

Expiration dates can only tell you so many things. Most of the time, when you’re in a critical situation, you must trust your gut. Stick to what you know and don’t risk it if you’re not sure. It’s always better safe than sorry.

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How to Make Jerky for Your Stockpile

When you decide what types of food to keep stocked for bug-in or bug-out situations, there are dozens of good choices. Canned goods are great for bug-in situations, but nobody wants to carry all that weight in their pack if they are on the move. Another option would be MREs (meals ready to eat). These are nice to have because they give you some variety in your diet, but they can take up a lot of space in a pack and add a good amount of weight. The cost can add up quickly as well.

Meal replacement tablets do a fine job of providing all the nutrients you need to survive, but they do not taste all that great and can be expensive as well. Dried staples such as rice and beans are an excellent food source. Rice provides lots of carbohydrates for energy and beans give you some carbs but also a good amount of natural protein. However, both have to be cooked and it is often best if you soak them overnight.

I have found that the best type of food to take with you in your pack or to keep on hand in your home is jerky. This food weighs almost nothing and takes up very little space. It provides a huge amount of protein, gives you some of the oils and fats you need for energy, and tastes great as well. It does not need to be cooked once it has been prepared, so you have a handy snack on the go. It also will last a very long time as the meat has been preserved through the drying process.

When in the wild for a bug-out situation, you should have no problem finding carbohydrates and vitamins. If you have done your training and know your wild edibles then you will find a wide variety of edible plants, nuts, and berries to provide the nutrients. However, the one piece of your diet that is the most difficult to fulfill is animal protein. This provides you with the energy you need to keep moving and allows you to maintain muscle mass over a long period of time.

Sure you can hunt, but that can be very time consuming and burns lots of calories. There is also no guarantee that you will come out of your hunt with meat. You would either have to carry a heavy weapon with you or take the time and energy to build one in the wild. You can set a series of snares or deadfall traps, but most of these need bait to catch an animal. This is generally food that you could keep for yourself. It is also hard to set a trap line when you are on the move as it can sometimes take several days to have any success.

Fishing is an option to get some animal protein, but again there are drawbacks to this strategy. If you carry a rod and reel with you it will be awkward and make it difficult to traverse thick brush. There are mini and folding versions of fishing rods, but they take up a good amount of space in your pack. You could build a fish trap, set a trot line, or set up a gill net but these are again hard to execute when you are on the move. It can take quite a while before you actually catch anything.

All of these are potential sources of animal protein. However, none of them are guaranteed. The only way to be sure you will have the nutrients you need is to bring them along with you. Jerky is a great solution. You can also bring a variety of types so you do not get sick of the same flavor. You can make jerky out of beef, pork, venison, fish, and even fruit. Almost any game animal that you find in the wild can be made into jerky. Whether you are bringing it in your pack or making jerky to preserve a recent kill in the wild, this food is your solution for many problems.

The only issue is that jerky is very expensive. Just a small package can easily cost you almost $10. In addition, store bought jerky is often laced with all kinds of artificial preservatives. I personally try to avoid these chemicals if at all possible. Plus wouldn’t you rather just make it yourself? This drying process is time consuming, but with the right technique you can save a great deal of money. You can also finish the process with a product that is far better than what you buy in the store.

Here’s How to Do It…

I want to start by walking you through how to make simple beef jerky in your home. First, buy the cheapest cuts of unground beef you can find. Remember that the drying process will break down much of the fat and sinew found in cheap cuts of meat, so there is nothing wrong with saving some money. Let the meat sit out for about an hour to get it to room temperature before working with it.

Next you want to cut all the meat super thin. I suggest getting it as thin as you possibly can, but definitely less than ¼ inch thick. This will help it to dry out faster. Make sure you have a sharp knife that is large enough for the job. Once it is all cut thin, preheat your oven to 175 degrees F. Then salt and spice your meat however you like. Both salt and spices help draw moisture out of the meat and also add flavor. Remember that make jerky is a drying process, not a cooking process. Do not let your oven get above 175 degrees even if you are in a hurry to finish.

Understand that this is a preservation technique. Bacteria requires moisture to form in meat. By drying it out you prevent that bacteria from growing and avoid getting sick from the meat. If you cook the meat and then try to dry it you give the bacteria time to form. In addition, drying the meat prevents insects from laying eggs just below the surface. Without the drying process your meat would be riddled with maggots after only an hour or two of exposure in the wild.

Lay all the meat out on sheet trays, preferably up off the metal. If you have a grate or rack that you can use to elevate the meat, then that is your best bet. Elevating the meat allows air and heat to flow all around it which causes a more even drying. I suggest raising the racks of your oven up as high as they will go to keep the meat away from the hot coil. With the meat cut thin it will take up a great deal of surface area, so you may have to make your jerky in batches.

Allow the jerky to sit in the oven for at least six hours before opening it to check the meat. There is no set time as to how long this process will take. Typically it is somewhere between 8 and 12 hours. To see if the jerky is done, first squeeze a piece between your thumb and finger. If it squishes like the interior is still a bit soft, then it is not done. Also if any juices run out when you squeeze it, then the jerky needs more time. If you are still unsure, bend a piece in half. If the jerky is done it will start to crack at the bend, but it will not come completely apart.

Be aware that homemade jerky looks nothing like what you buy in the store. It will probably be a darker color, and it will probably be more shriveled up verses being nice flat sheets. Let your jerky cool at room temperature for several hours. Once it is completely cool, store your jerky in an airtight container such as a zipper bag or a Tupperware container. Your finished product should last months if not longer, but it tastes good enough that it will take some restraint not to eat it all right away.

Here is a video on how it is done.  You can do a marinade if you like, and this recipe shows you how.  I do suggest you dry it a bit longer to make sure it lasts in the wild.

Making jerky in the wild is a bit more difficult. Your biggest challenge is controlling the temperature at the cooking height. As long as you keep the temperature between 100 degrees and 175 degrees you should be fine. To test the temperature place your hand over the fire at cooking height with the palm side down. Count off the seconds you can hold it there. If you have to move your hand before getting to about seven then your fire is too hot. You can remove a log or raise up your cooking height.

As you add wood to your fire, be aware of what that does to the temperature. Normally you will get a spike in temperature as you add wood. What I like to do when I add a log is wait until it is lit and then move it off to the side so it is not touching the other logs. Then when it has burned down some I can move it back with the others. Do your hand temperature check frequently to make sure it does not get too hot.

Either before or after starting your fire, you need to build a tripod over the top. It will likely need to be at least five feet tall, but the more meat you need to dry the taller the tripod needs to be. Use green poles so they will not catch fire at the base. Prepare your meat just like the above example. Once you have determined your cooking height you can either build a rack inside the tripod or you can string up the meat. To string it up you would need to run a thin piece of cordage through the middle of the pieces of meat. Then tie it to the tripod at both ends of the string so the strand is parallel to the ground.

If you are going to have multiple racks or strands at different elevations, then your dry time will likely vary. The ones on the bottom will be done the soonest and the ones at the top will take the longest. As a batch is finished, move the next one down to its level to finish the drying faster. In the wild the smoke from your fire will also help preserve the meat. To trap the smoke near your meat you can wrap a blanket, tarp, or emergency blanket around the tripod. This will also trap more heat, so make sure you do your hand check again. Be careful not to let the corners of your blanket or tarp get too close to the fire.

Because of the fluctuation of the temperature from the fire, making jerky in the wild will take longer. Also, animals in the wild are more likely to have diseases and parasites so it is very important that the process is done correctly. You can use exactly the same process in your home or in the wild to make jerky out of fish or fruit. The drying time will vary based on the product you are drying, so give yourself plenty of time. Now that you have the perfect survival food prepared, you are ready to bug-out or bug-in with a full belly.

The post How to Make Jerky for Your Stockpile appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Cast-Iron Delicacies

A good cast iron skillet is one of the best tools you can have for your kitchen. It is also great for cooking over a campfire. Cast iron is durable, inexpensive, and easy to use. It evenly distributes heat and holds that heat for long periods of time. This means that you can avoid the hotspots you normally get cooking with a campfire. Your food will also stay warm long after you remove it from the heat.

One of the best features of cast iron is that you can move it straight from the stove to the oven. Also, a well-seasoned pan that is kept dry does not have to be washed after every use. Tiny particles of oil seal the pan and preserve its condition. Because of this, you can cook with less oil and still retain a naturally non-stick surface. In this article I will cover several of my favorite cast iron recipes and will focus on dishes that are easy to cook indoors or while camping out.

The Best Steak You Have Ever Eaten

This is not an exaggeration. Long before I ever bought my first piece of cast iron, I considered myself to be a grill master. I was convinced that I had eaten and cooked the best steaks imaginable. I was wrong. The reason you hardly ever see this steak recipe in restaurants is that it is rather time consuming and almost impossible to cook to order, but it is worth it.

One of the biggest reasons why I love this steak is that you can get a perfect medium-rare all the way through the cut of meat. In other recipes the steak will be red in the center and medium-well on the outside. Another factor that makes this steak wonderful is the salty dry sear on the outside. It makes for the most flavorful steak I have ever had. It renders the fat down to the point it is delicate and flavorful instead of chewy and dull.  Finally, you rest your steak in the middle of the process instead of at the end.  This causes it to remain juicy but still smoking hot when you take that first bite.

Ingredients:

Any thick premium cut of beef. I prefer porterhouse.

Salt

Pepper

A Cast Iron Skillet

(yes, this is the end of the list)

Step 1:

Bake your steak. In an oven you want to set your oven to 275 degrees F and cook your steak to an internal temperature of 125 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and use a cooking rack to raise it off of the baking sheet. Heavily season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper and pop it in the oven. If you are doing this over a fire, suspend your steak several feet above the flames. To check your temperature, hold your hand over the flames at cooking height palm side down. You should be able to hold it there for four to five seconds before pulling it away. This ensures that the steak will cook evenly. The cooking time for this step will vary based on the thickness of the steak. A ¾” thick steak will normally take about 20 to 30 minutes. If your steak is thicker, check it every 10 minutes or so. It should still have a red appearance but should be just starting to turn grey. It should also be developing a thin dry layer on the outside.

Step 2:

Rest your steak. Remove your steak from the heat. If you have foil you can wrap it and throw a towel over top. Otherwise, just removing it from the heat is fine. This redistributes the fluids throughout the cut. Rest for about 20 minutes.

Step 3:

Sear your steak. I like to add a little more salt before this step. Put your cast iron pan directly on the fire or stove burner. Let it get smoking hot before placing the steak in the pan, about 10 minutes. Put the steak in your pan and make sure that you get as much surface contact as possible. This creates your crust. It should only take one to two minutes per side to get a dark sear. If there is some smoke, do not worry about it. This is just part of having a very hot cast iron pan.

Your steak is ready to eat the moment you take it off the heat. There is no need to rest it again, and there should be no need for additional seasoning.

Cast Iron Cornbread

There is nothing quite as satisfying as warm cornbread slathered in butter. I have fond memories of the cornbread my grandmother cooked with almost every supper we ate. Most people think of using a cast iron skillet for meat or vegetables, but not for baking. Still to this day many people bake with their cast iron.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp bacon drippings or butter

2 cups cornmeal OR 1 1/2 cups cornmeal and 1/2 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tbsp sugar

1 egg

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

6 Tbsp butter, melted

Step 1:

Preheat your pan. Add your Tbsp. of bacon drippings or butter to the pan and place it in a 400 degree oven. If cooking over a fire, test the heat at cooking height. The ideal height would cause you to retract your hand after about two to three seconds. Adding a lid will make your cornbread cook more evenly.

Step 2:

Make the batter. Stir together all of your dry ingredients. Then add your egg, buttermilk, and melted butter. Stir together until smooth, although a few lump does not hurt anything.

Step 3:

Bake. Pour your batter into your preheated skillet. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Check your finished product by inserting a toothpick or knife in the center. When it comes out clean and the edges near the pan are starting to turn brown, it should be done.

Step 4:

Let it cool and serve. Let your cornbread rest for 10 to 30 minutes before cutting. Slice into wedges and serve.

This cornbread should be fluffy and slightly sweet. It is a filling addition to any meal.

Cast Iron Oven Baked Beans

Beans are one food that have always been near and dear to my heart. Few foods are quite so perfect at balancing a rich flavor with protein and carbohydrates for energy. There are so many different ways to turn a pot or pan of beans into something magical. In soups, chili, stew, baked beans, ham and beans, and red beans and rice, they have been a staple for my entire culinary life. If I was told I had to bug out today and I could only take one food item, it would be a bag of dried beans without a doubt.

This recipe is just one way to take your favorite variety of bean and turn it into a sweet, smoky, and rich dish which you can eat as a side dish or as your main course. You can literally use this recipe with any type of bean you like.

Ingredients:

2 pounds dry beans, soaked overnight

6 slices thick cut bacon

1 sweet onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup bqq sauce

2 tablespoons molasses

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 cups low-sodium chicken stock

Step 1:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. If you are cooking over a fire, set your cooking height so you can hold your hand over the fire for three to four seconds before pulling it away. Chop half of the bacon and cook over medium heat until the fat is rendered.

Step 2:

Add your chopped onion first and then your garlic and let it cook down. This should take about six minutes.

Step 3:

Add the brown sugar, vinegar, molasses, mustard, paprika salt and pepper. Stir until the sugar dissolves and everything is combined evenly.

Step 4:

Add the beans and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer for five minutes. Place the rest of the bacon strips directly on top.

Step 5:

Either add a lid to your pan or cover with foil. Move it to your oven or leave it over your fire. If you have a lid, throwing a few coals on top will help it cook more evenly. Cook for at least two hours and check the flavor and consistency before removing from the heat.

Step 6: Let it cool uncovered for 10 to 30 minutes. Serve by itself, on toast, or with a runny fried egg if you like.

Cast Iron Deep Dish Pizza

I have to admit that typically I am not a deep dish pizza guy. I grew up with crispy thin crust pizza in St. Louis and crunchy strombolis in Pennsylvania. However, the crispy outer crust from a cast iron skillet combined with the fluffy inner crust is pretty incredible. Also, when I think of a cast iron meal I want something hearty and filling. This dish accomplishes all of that.

You will need to start this recipe the night before, but I can assure you that it is worth the extra prep time. You can add whatever toppings you like, but I suggest toppings that will crisp up nicely. A bunch of veggies could water down the crust, so choose carefully.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

3/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup water, cold

1 tbs. olive oil, for greasing pan

1/3 cup of your favorite pizza sauce

4 oz. mozzarella & provolone mix cheese

Any toppings

Step 1:

Combine the flour, salt, and yeast in a bowl. Add the water and mix it into dough. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it set for at least 12 hours on your counter. It should roughly double in size.

Step 2:

Time to make your crust. Sprinkle a little flour in your bowl and mix until you can roll your dough into a ball. Oil your cast iron pan and place your dough ball in the center.  Press the dough down into the pan and out to the edges. Cover the pan and let it rest for at least another hour.

Step 3:

Preheat your oven to the highest setting. If you are cooking over a fire, lower your cooking height to where the flames are just below the pan.

Step 4:

Add your sauce, cheese, and toppings to your dough. Do not layer your toppings much as this pizza will cook very fast. Thick toppings could lead to a layer of raw toppings.

Step 5:

Cook your pizza. If using an oven, start your pizza over a stove top burner on medium-high heat for three minutes. If cooking over a fire, start for three minutes without a lid. Move your pizza to the oven or add the lid. Cook for 12 to 16 minutes. The crust should be golden brown, toppings should be crispy, and all cheese should be melted.

Step 6:

Let it cool. Let pizza set for five to ten minutes before slicing and serving.

This pizza has a very unique texture and is a nice change from anything you can get delivered. With dozens of combinations of toppings, you can make a new recipe each time.

Cast Iron Apple Dutch Baby

For those that have a sweet tooth, this recipe should make you smile. It works perfectly with a cast iron skillet. I also chose this recipe because apples are something I commonly take with me on hiking and camping trips. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does.

Ingredients:

3 large eggs, room temperature

¾ cup whole milk, room temperature

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 large Pink Lady apple, peeled, sliced ¼” thick

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

Step 1:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. If you are cooking over a fire, set your cooking height to where you can hold your hand over the fire for two seconds.

Step 2:

Mix eggs, milk, flour, vanilla, salt, and ½ tsp. cinnamon in a medium bowl until smooth.

Step 3:

Melt two Tbsp. of butter in your skillet. Add your apples and sprinkle with brown sugar and remaining cinnamon. Cook for about four minutes tossing regularly until the apples are softened. Move them to a plate.

Step 4:

Wipe out your skillet and let it set in the oven or over your fire for 10 minutes. Add your remaining two Tbsp. of butter and coat the bottom of the pan.

Step 5:

Add your apples to the center of your pan and then pour your batter over the top. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes. The outside should be browned and crisp while the center should still be custardy but warm. Serve by itself or add vanilla ice cream or maple syrup.

This recipe is wonderful on a cold snowy day, but we enjoy it year round. I have even made it for a sweet breakfast on occasion.

If you have made the decision to buy cast iron cookware or you have already purchased some, the first thing you need to do is season your pan. Gently scrub it with a mild soap and a soft brush. Never use steel wool or abrasive soaps on cast iron. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil over the pan. Place it upside down in a 375 degree F oven on the middle rack. Put down foil on the bottom rack to catch any drips. Let it cook for one hour and let it cool inside the closed oven. This whole process should take about four hours. Once it has cooled, your pan is ready for cooking.

Of course there are downsides to cast iron. It is easy to burn yourself, it is heavy, and you have to be cautious that it does not rust. However, for anybody that spends much time cooking from scratch cast iron is a must. It is also great for cooking over a fire, so bringing one on your camping trip is a good idea. You can find cast iron pots, pans, and lids in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and costs. You can also find this cookware in second hand stores if you want to save some cash. If you have never cooked with cast iron, I suggest you borrow a pan and try it out on a few of these recipes. I am confident you will be impressed.

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How to Rehydrate Food

Dehydrating food is a common practice that our ancestors came up with before today’s dehydrators were invented. It’s the easiest way to ensure that your survival food will be fit for long-term storage. Having a stockpile of dried foods is one of the things people consider when preparing for emergency situations.

WHY DEHYDRATE FOOD?

Some will ask why it’s necessary to have dried foods when we have something that was designed for long-term storage like canned goods. The answer is simple. Whereas canned goods are bulky and heavy, dried food take up less space and are easier to carry, which makes it perfect for bug out bags wherein the lighter it is, the better. It can be stored in room temperature and when dried properly, it retains the nutrition.

Dehydration gives your hard-earned crop a longer shelf life which means that every time you open a bag of your homegrown dried crops, your garden can immediately replace it without hurting your stockpile too much. This situation also gives you control over the quality of the meals you will have even amidst emergency and critical situations.

Because there are many crops that can be dried, you will save a ton of money that you may have been planning to spend on other survival food like canned goods. During the process of rehydration, the water or liquid you used can double as broth or soup that you can serve with your survival meals.

The most important thing to remember about dried food is that rehydrating it is not as simple as dumping it in water. It won’t magically return to its original form the moment the food is soaked in it. There’s a process for it and there are many tips on how to rehydrate your survival food.

HOW TO REHYDRATE DRIED FOOD

The best thing about rehydrating your survival food is that it’s not just about water. You can rehydrate your dried food with broth or juice to make your meal tastier and healthier. It also gives you more options of what to do with the dried food like make soup or stew. Another common misconception about rehydrating dried food is that you have to soak it in boiling water. In reality, soaking dried food in hot water has some adverse effects. Cold water works perfectly fine. If your liquid is at room temperature, that can be used for rehydrating your ingredients for soup or stew by using at as a bouillon.

Here’s a step-by-step process of how to rehydrate your survival food:

  1. Pick a container. Most people forget the importance of choosing the right one. Remember that you will be rehydrating food which means that it’s necessary to make sure that your chosen container is clean and sanitized. Do not use anything that has rust or any signs of corrosion on it.
  2. Choose a rehydrating agent. It could be water, juice or broth. Think out of the box and decide what can bring the taste of your food the most. Do not use liquid that you wouldn’t drink. Remember that the quality of the rehydrating agent is what the dried food will suck up.
  3. Fill up your container with the water, broth or juice. While there is an ideal amount of liquid that you can put in the container, don’t worry if you somehow put too much. That just means that you will have to be vigilant with the rehydration process. Also, most of the time, too much water doesn’t hurt the dried foods.
  4. Feel the temperature of the water. If it’s too hot, let it cool for a bit. Remember that there are some foods that don’t react well to hot water. In addition to this, warm water attracts bacteria.
  5. Soak in your dried food and leave it as it is for the time it will take to fully rehydrate it. Do not rush the process because you will risk serving or consuming dried food which can be off-putting and frustrating. Make a specific schedule for the day to help you rehydrate the food properly.
  6. Regularly check the rehydration process. If you think it’s enough, you may prepare the dried food. Do not remove from the water if it tastes weird or if it still feels leathery.
  7. There are times when you can rehydrate at the same time you’re cooking. An example of this is when you’re making soup. You can put the vegetables and meat in the soup as you cook it. The food will rehydrate as the soup cooks.

THE REHYDRATION TABLE

Based on the type of fruit, vegetable, grain or meat, the quantity of the water varies as well as the time of how long it’s supposed to be in the water. While there is no danger in putting too much water, you may have limited supply of it during the situation itself. Knowing the specific duration of soaking for each crop also gives you an opportunity to plan your day and prevent you from serving undercooked and still-dry meals.

This rehydration table should help give you the guidance you need.

HOW TO REHYDRATE FREEZE-DRIED FOOD

One of the most important advantages of freeze-dried food is that it takes a faster and more simple process of rehydration. Like dehydration, it also reduces the weight of the food which makes it easier to carry in times when you have to bug out. Often, freeze-dried food lasts longer than dehydrated food while maintaining the original taste and nutrients.

So, when the need comes, how exactly do you rehydrate freeze-dried food?

Here’s how:

Meat

  1. Place the meat in a bowl of warm or hot water. You don’t need to worry about how much water you should put as the meat will only take the water it needs. The benefit of using hot water is that it can cook the meat a little bit and make it tender, which means that can be eaten (if it was cooked before freeze-drying) or cooked (if it was raw beforehand) immediately after.
  2. Usually, the rehydration process will only take a few minutes. To make sure that it has been rehydrated, you can poke through the meat to determine if there are still parts of it that is frozen.
  3. When you remove it from the water, you have the option of either throwing it out or you can use as the base of your broth.

Vegetables

  1. The best thing about freeze-dried vegetables is that you can eat it as it is which makes it a tasty snack, especially if you’re moving and navigating through the wilderness. It’s a quick source of power boost that can satisfy your hunger and at the same time, give you the nutrients you will need.
  2. You can rehydrate freeze-dried vegetables by placing it in a bowl or pan of water. Like meat, it will only need a few minutes and you can start cooking while rehydrating it.
  3. For leafy vegetables, you can just spray or sprinkle some water on it to get it back to its former state. Alternatively, you can pound the frozen vegetables to make spice powder that you can just mux into water to give it the taste of the vegetables.

A pro tip about rehydrating dried food is to experiment and learn the best ways to utilize the nutrition and taste. There’s a value on learning what goes together the best before the situation calls for it. It gives you the advantages of being prepared.

Knowing what do means that you’re aware of the steps necessary to make delicious and rejuvenating meals instead of wasting time scrambling for the right process and trying to survive through unappetizing meals. It gives you one less thing to worry about in critical situations because as we know, food is an essential need for living things.

Dried food gives you the comfort of being able to consume and serve meals that will have the nutrients that you will need to survive. And doing the rehydration process right gives you fresher and tastier meals that could be your motivation to look forward to another day.

The post How to Rehydrate Food appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Can You Use Cilantro to Remove Heavy Metals from Water?

One of the things that will threaten the life of everyone during and after a natural disaster or SHTF event will be contaminated drinking water. Because of this, most preppers include one or more types of water filters or ways to purify water as part of their prepping supplies. Those that don’t store enough bottled water and don’t know how to properly filter water that they find, can end up sick and even die from disease.

In addition to harmful bacteria or other chemical contaminants, heavy metals can often end up in drinking water in large quantities, especially following a natural or man-made disaster. It’s also common for run-off that finds its way into drinking water post disaster to include other contaminants such as human excrement, trash, dissolved gases and minerals, pesticides, and various industrial products.

There are several different methods of filtering contaminated water. Most people know that boiling or distilling water are also good options when dealing with unknown water quality. The method you choose really depends on the type of disaster and the type of contaminant you feel might be in the water.

In fact, many people may already be using water filtration in their homes through water softeners. Some water softeners which use a process of ion exchange in order to reduce the amounts of magnesium and calcium that can accumulate in household fixtures and plumbing. Water softeners can also help with removing certain forms of radium and barium from drinking water but not usually other contaminants.

Other technologies for water filtration include:

  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ceramic filters
  • Distillation
  • Deionization
  • Activated carbon

Each method removes some types of contaminants but not necessarily all. For this reason, it is often wise to use more than one type of water filtration to clean water post-SHTF. This article specifically addresses using Cilantro as a method for filtering water to remove heavy metals.

Common Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heavy Metal Poisoning

  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Depression
  • White coating on the tongue
  • Night sweats
  • Skin problems or chronic rashes
  • Tingling in the hands, arms, legs, feet
  • Unsteady walk
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Dark under eye circles
  • Low body temperature
  • Allergies
  • Chronic pain-otherwise unexplained
  • Memory problems
  • Sore gums; receding gums

It’s important to note that the common warning signs of heavy metal poisoning can also be symptoms of other diseases and health issues. It’s important to do any diagnosing of heavy metal poisoning with the advice and guidance of your physician who can rule out other urgent health problems.

The Effects of Heavy Metals on Humans

If you are not already using some type of water filtration system in your home, you may want to consider it even before SHTF. The accumulation of heavy metals in the human body can be especially damaging to a developing fetus in the womb, to infants, and young children.

Heavy metal exposure has been proven to cause problems with the nervous system, as well as learning problems, behavior issues, and memory loss. Since young children are consuming more food compared to their body weight than adults, children can actually ingest increased dosages of heavy metals when eating the same food.

  • Lead
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Mercury
  • Chromium
  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Aluminum
  • Uranium
  • Calcium (can become toxic under certain conditions)

For details on how each of these heavy metals can impact the human body over time and other places they can be hiding, watch this video:

Sources of Heavy Metal in Water

  • Air emissions from industrial facilities and coal-burning plants
  • Mining and industry waste processing
  • Waste incinerators
  • Old lead-based house paints
  • Naturally occurring deposits of arsenic that dissolve in groundwater
  • Air pollution
  • Contaminated soil
  • Ingesting contaminated food such as fish and shellfish from contaminated water or fruit and vegetables grown in contaminated soil.
  • Run-off from cities and industrial areas

Using Cilantro to Filter Out Heavy Metals

So let’s say you’ve got your Sawyer Mini water filter which will filter out most other contaminants but you believe your source of drinking water may also be contaminated with heavy metals.

You can easily grow your own Cilantro, also known as coriander or Chinese parsley, to use as a filter for heavy metals. It takes about 7 to 10 days for cilantro seeds to germinate. They should be planted in fast draining soil, either in late Spring or early summer. If planting in a container, use one that is 8 to 10 inches deep. They do well in a sunny area that gets shade at least part of the day.

This video includes tips for growing cilantro, when to thin your plants, how to combat diseases that you may be faced with, and how to store it properly.

Thoroughly wash your Cilantro leaves and place a sprig or two into your drinking water and let it soak there for at least 24 hours. The heavy metals will bind to the leaves and be discarded when you discard the cilantro leaves. Ivy Tech students in Mexico discovered using cilantro is actually more effective than activated charcoal to filter heavy metals. They are working on creating a filter that uses cilantro:

You don’t have to wait for a natural disaster or SHTF scenario to detox your body from heavy metals. Our bodies actually are already accumulating heavy metals, possibly reaching toxic levels, without us even knowing it. You can have a hair analysis done that will determine the levels of toxic metals in your system and provide a baseline for you to work from as you detox.

Cilantro can be used for a variety of recipes including soups, salads, or even as a topping for different dishes. If you fear that your body has already accumulated toxic levels of heavy metals, you can detox your body gradually just by using cilantro in your diet. Try the pesto recipe in this video:

The uses for Cilantro are diverse and now include filtering or removing heavy metals from water as well as from your body. As with any change in diet, make sure you consult your physician regarding your plan to include cilantro in your diet. But in a post-SHTF scenario, having cilantro on hand to soak up any possible heavy metals prior to using your main filtration process certainly won’t hurt anything.

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What Is “Prepper Food” and Is It Different from Regular Food?

Probably one of the very first things you have ever heard about prepping is that you have to store away large quantities of food. This needs to be food that can be stored away for the long-term, perhaps enough food to last for six months to a year or longer. But what kind of food is this? Have you ever wondered if there is specialty prepper food? The answer to this question is yes and no. Confused? It’s actually more straightforward than it might seem.

Regular Food as Prepping Food

Prepper food is any food that can be stored on the shelf for a long period of time. That’s it. This does not mean that regular food is not prepper food; it just depends on how the food is packaged and stored. Any regular food can become prepper food, if it is properly packaged and stored away. So is there special prepper food? No, at least in the sense that you can turn your regular everyday food into prepper food.  Here’s how.

mountain house mexican rice can

Canned Foods

Any canned foods you purchase at the grocery store will store for a number of years under the right conditions. Canned food makes great prepper food because it can be stored for such a long time and because you can eat it right out of the can if necessary. Canned food will also provide a hot meal when you have the means to heat it and you don’t need any extra water or ingredients. Plus, depending on what you buy, you can get a complete meal in a can (think soups and stews) and you can get almost anything you could want in terms of canned food, including:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Meat
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Beans and legumes

However, you can also can your own food, which will allow you to preserve the food you grow if you keep a garden. It will also allow you to make nutritious meals (there are those soups and stews again) that you know your family loves.

Frozen

Freezing food can certainly help you store food for a few months, but that is provided you will always have functioning electricity. If the power grid goes down, all your frozen food will spoil. Having said that, you can freeze just about anything, including:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Prepared foods

Just remember that if your power does go out for an extended period of time, use up your freezer and refrigerator food first, cooking up all the meat at once so that it can be eaten, rather than wasted.dehydrated apple slices

Dehydrating

Dehydrating your food is a fabulous way to preserve it. Provided you have a dehydrator, you can dehydrate fruit, vegetables, and meat. Dehydration means to literally take the water out of the food. Without water, the food stays is less susceptible to spoilage. It can be eaten that way (think fruit leathers or beef jerky) or rehydrated and put into soups and stews and other meals.

Dried Foods

When it comes to storing away prepper food, dried foods are also ideal. Foods that are already in their dried form include beans, legumes, and grains, such as rice and wheat berries. You can also get powdered milk and powdered potatoes. These can be stored in large quantities to be used in times of emergency.

Specialty Prepper Food

So, what about specialty prepper food? Is there such a thing? Yes. Even though you can turn your everyday food into prepper food simply by storing it away under the proper conditions, you can also purchase speciality prepper food that has a long shelf-life and will keep you and your family well-fed for a long time. There are basically two types of specialty prepper food – MREs and freeze dried food.

MREs

MRE stands for Meals Ready to Eat and they are essentially military food. This is the type of food soldiers are provided with when they aren’t near a facility or camp that has a mess hall. MREs come in cases of 12 and each waterproof foil bag contains one three-course meal. When you get MREs, you can choose from so many options that the variety is pretty decent. There are even vegetarian meals available. Brands of MREs include:

MREs are a very convenient prepping food because aside from the pudding they do not require the addition of water. These meals also include a built-in heater so that you can warm up your meal no matter where you are and eat right out of the bag. They are easy to carry with you, making them a good addition to your bugout bag, and they come as a complete meal, even down to the salt and pepper.

Having said this, they are not intended for long-term survival for the following reasons:

  • They don’t always taste that good
  • They are high in sodium
  • They are low in dietary fiber
  • Their shelf-life is only 3-5 years
  • They are expensive

MREs are really only intended as an emergency food when you are on the go and there is nothing else available.

Freeze Dried Food

Freeze dried food is the other specialty food option when it comes to prepping for survival. These are regular foods that are placed in a special unit in which the moisture is literally frozen out of the food, then it is heated slightly so that the water becomes a gas and can be removed from the food. The food is then vacuum sealed in a moisture- and oxygen-proof bag. These foods are easy to rehydrate, simply by adding water, and they can generally be eaten right out of the bag. There are many different brands of freeze dried foods available, such as:

With freeze dried foods you can get a good selection of nutritionally balanced foods and they are easy to carry, even if you have to bug out. They have a very long shelf-life of up to 25 years. The only drawback is if you don’t have water, you can’t rehydrate your food. Plus, it is ideal to have warm water so you can have a warm meal, so if there is no way to heat your water, then you will be eating a cold meal.

Food Storage

A word about storing your food. As mentioned above, your food has to be stored properly. If you don’t store it properly, you will lose it, all 6 months’ or a year’s worth of it. You don’t want that to happen. There are five enemies from which you must protect your stored food. These are:

  • Light
  • Moisture
  • Oxygen
  • Heat
  • Pests

To find out the best way to protect your food stores from these five enemies, check out the article How to Fight the 5 Food Storage Enemies. Suffice it to say the best place to store your prepper food is in a dark, dry, cool place, such as a basement ora root cellar with a dehumidifier.

Mix It Up a Little

As you can see, even the specialty foods are really just your everyday foods that have been prepackaged for you so that they come already preserved and ready to be put on the storage shelf. It just means all the work has been done for you. However, no one type of prepared food is the one and only one to use. The best thing for you to do is have a combination of stocked up regular food and specialty food so that you have the ideal food for any situation in which you might find yourself.

When things go bad, you will want to ensure your family has at least some regular comfort foods and that you can eat real, freshly prepared food for as long as possible. However, if you have no MREs or freeze dried food and you have to bug out and leave all your preps behind, you might have a hard time carrying a lot of canned goods with you. You will also want to avoid something called “food fatigue,” which is when a person gets so bored of eating the same food all the time that they don’t feel like eating that food, even if it’s the only thing they have, combined with the lack of nutritional variety in their food.

Take Your Food for a Test Drive

The final piece of advice is to test-drive the foods you have chosen as your emergency food, especially if it isn’t your usual grub. You want to be sure everyone likes the foods you stock up and that they like all the regular food you have stored away. The next time you have a power outage at home, break out some freeze dried meals and see how they go down. This will also help you compare different brands and meal types.

Ultimately, you will need to choose the right prepper foods to store away for your family. You know what they will eat, you know how they like their food, and you can make the call on how much regular prepper food you will use compared to how much specialty prepper food you will store away.

The post What Is “Prepper Food” and Is It Different from Regular Food? appeared first on Survival Sullivan.

Genetically Modified Food: Can it Derail My Survival Plan?

If you’re like most preppers, your plan for long-term survival post-SHTF probably includes some type of garden as a food source. If you’ve already started gardening, you probably have heard about the debate between GMO and non-GMO foods. So how exactly could GMO impact your survival planning?

Americans are just beginning to make the link between GMO crops and processed foods containing these ingredients and the increased health problems over the last decade or so.  Huge spikes in allergies, cancers, and other illnesses, including gluten intolerance, are cause for concern. You may want to think twice about stockpiling GMO foods for a post-SHTF scenario.

Our European counterparts caught on to the risks of GMO much sooner than Americans have and simply demanded GMO labeling and now they simply avoid buying products containing GMO’s. Big name companies, like Hershey, Kraft, and Nestle claim to have removed GMO’s from their products, but only for the European markets.

What is GMO?

GMO means “genetically modified organisms” and it’s a very hot issue across the U.S. in recent years. When DNA from two different species (for example plant and bacteria, animal, or virus), are combined through artificial injection it produces a GMO. This creates a type of combination that doesn’t occur by itself in nature. GMO procedures are typically used to encourage desirable traits and discourage undesirable ones. Traditionally this has been done through manual splicing of plants or selective breeding of animals with desirable characteristics.

But naturally splicing or breeding takes time and is never 100% predictable. Consumers want aesthetically pleasing, uniform fruits and vegetables. They want apples that don’t turn brown when sliced and exposed to air and they want less bruising as fruits and vegetables are transported from farm to store to table.

Consumers who are so far removed from naturally grown food won’t buy misshapen tomatoes. Farmers wanted crops that could withstand disease and attacks by pests. So now, plants and animals are being genetically engineered in a lab to have desirable characteristics. These are the so-called GMO’s.

Benefits of GMO?

GMO is being touted by biotech companies as the solution to a food shortage, especially in third world countries. And there are many potential benefits that could arise from GMO practices in the lab:

  • Increased crop yields and greater food security
  • Reduced costs for food or drug production
  • Crops and Animals that resist diseases and pests and don’t need pesticide spraying
  • Enhanced nutrient and food quality (plants can be created with more nutrients or with pharmaceuticals to fight illness, right in the plant)
  • Crops and Animals grow bigger and mature faster
  • Crops better tolerate environmental stressors and can grow where they normally wouldn’t.

GMO Risks

The above potential benefits seem worthy of exploration. The problem is that we don’t yet know all the long-term consequences of GMO’s but here are just a few areas of concern:

  • GMO work is being conducted by big name corporations like Monsanto, Dupont Pioneer, Syngenta, and Bayer and is being called biotechnology.
  • Gluten intolerances and sensitivities have been linked to glyphosate residue found in foods originating from GMO crops.
  • Rats who were fed GM maize developed severe kidney and liver damage and malignant tumors after just 16 weeks.
  • GMO’s have been suspected of being linked to chronic ailments such as weird joint pain, rashes, allergies, asthma, digestive disorders, constipation, bowel disease, organ failure, Crohn’s, infant mortality, autism, heart and kidney disease.
  • GMO’s have been associated with Morgellons disease, symptoms include joint pain changes in vision, mental confusion, short-term memory loss, and fatigue. Some patients have reported long string like fibers coming from under their skin.
  • Monstano’s most infamous herbicide is RoundUp which contains Glyphosate, an ingredient known to be extremely toxic even in small amounts, to all forms of life. This ingredient has already been linked to cancer, birth defects birth defects, and chronic fatigue.
  • rbGH, a genetically altered bovine growth hormone given by injection to milk-producing cows included IGF-1 , which has been linked to causing cancer.
  • Genetic engineering produces Bt crops. Bt crops produce an insecticide that kills pests. The pesticide is produced within the plant as it grows! Those pesticide filled crops are then turned into food that is consumed by people.

There are some people who believe that GMO contamination, including the use of glyphosate is a subtle attempt to degrade the health of the human population. We won’t really know if there is truth to this theory until it’s too late.

Will History Repeat Itself?

To top it off, the history of these big name corporations is concerning. Although in recent years their marketing strategy has been to call themselves biotech companies, they are for all intents and purposes, pharmaceutical and chemical companies. Chemical weapons were produced for the Nazi’s by the I.G. Farben conglomerate, one that BASF and Bayer, now big biotech companies, were part of. Monsanto, one of the biggest GMO players, has produced multiple carcinogens in the past, including Dioxin, Lasso, DDT, and Agent Orange.

Which Crops Are Being Genetically Modified?

Any crop can potentially be genetically altered but the most common crops currently are corn, soybean, canola, tobacco as well as plums, nectarines, and rice. Cottonseed oil, white potatoes, tomatoes, peas, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini, and crook neck squash. You also have to be wary of any derivatives of these crops. GMO’s are also already being used to genetically modify salmon, chickens, and cows to grow bigger, produce more milk, and mature faster than normal.

What Foods Are Genetically Modified?

Genetically engineered foods have been on the shelves since the middle of the 1990’s. In fact, any food containing ingredients such as genetically engineered corn, soybeans, or canola is considered GMO and that’s more than half of all processed foods. Anything from salad dressing, to pizza, to ice cream and baking soda can contain GMO ingredients.

Other Potential Problems

First, Monsanto and other big biotech companies, have the money to lobby regulatory agencies like the FDA. The FDA is the agency that determines whether or not to flag something for further inspection by the EPA or USDA, both of which have much stricter safety guidelines. This means that the companies with the most money influence the FDA, and control how foods derived from GMO crops are labeled and whether or not they are subjected to more rigorous inspections.

Poor Reproduction

Many people who have been growing crops, saving part of the seed from those crops, and then growing more crops, know that GMO crops do not reproduce as well year after year from saved seeds as non-GMO or heritage seed. In other words, if you plant pumpkins for example, save part of the seed and then use that to plant the next year, you get an entire crop of pumpkins and can repeat that every year.

If you plant GMO seeds, grow the crop, save the seeds and use it to plant more pumpkins, you will get fewer pumpkins every year. Eventually you will plant the seeds and will get very few pumpkins and maybe none at all.

Cross-Pollination

It’s already been proven that GMO crops being planted out in the open are cross-pollinating with non-GMO crops and altering them. So the continued planting of GMO crops near non-GMO crops means that there may come a day when all of the non-GMO crops have been contaminated by GMO cross pollination. Big biotech companies, especially Monsanto, have also been gradually buying up smaller seed companies for years, especially those seed companies selling non-GMO seed.

So just for a moment, think about that. Monsanto, one of the main GMO players, could one day own all of the non-GMO seed companies. They could own all of the non-GMO seeds on the market. GMO crops are being planted out in the open and have already been shown to cross-pollinate with non-GMO crops nearby, contaminating them.

So potentially, those non-GMO crops that are contaminated may produce fewer results from seed year after year. So it stands to reason then that one day, the only seed available would be seed that doesn’t reproduce well year after year. EVERYONE who wanted to grow their own food would have to eventually purchase more seed, from, you guessed it, Monsanto owned and controlled seed companies.

How to Avoid GMO Foods

Know the common GMO crops and become familiar with their derivatives. Avoid buying them in the store or buy produce only at a local farmer’s market. Because GMO labeling is not required in the U.S., it’s more difficult to know which foods are GMO-free. There is no true GMO free certification. For help in buying GMO-free foods, visit www.nonGMOshoppingguide.com or learn more at http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/.

The best way to avoid GMO foods is to stop eating processed foods and to grow your own food from non-hybrid, heritage seeds. To accomplish this, you may have to buy seed from other countries (especially corn for example). Find out if there are GMO crops growing near your crops that could cross-contaminate your fields. You also have to pay attention to the feed that you give your animals to ensure it is not GMO contaminated in any way.

So GMO versus non-GMO is a lot to think about, but for preppers who want to take everything into consideration, it’s an issue that cannot be ignored. If your long-term survival plan includes relying on the ability to grow your own food supply, you have to research and be aware of how GMO practices could negatively impact growing food and plan for it.

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Is Tap Water Safe to Drink?

Water is a vital part of every prepper’s plans for a natural disaster or post-SHTF event. Bottled spring water is of course one option for your stockpile. But many people feel that storing tap water is a less expensive option. Tap water is so readily accessible in your home so it’s fairly inexpensive and easy to build up a cache of large quantities. But is it actually safe to use tap water to meet your drinking and cooking needs in a post-SHTF scenario?

Unlike bottled water which is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), tap water is monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This is actually a good thing. FDA regulations overall are less strict and less controlled for bottle water than those of the EPA for tap water, but does that make your tap water safe?

What Could Be in Your Tap Water?

Chlorine

Chlorine is harmless, right? It’s the stuff you add to your pool in the summertime, it must be safe. It’s a very effective disinfectant and it’s very good at killing, viruses, protozoans, and bacteria, the pathogens that cause diseases. Many diseases are caused by pathogens that like to hang out and grow in public water supplies such as pools, water storage tanks, water main walls, and other areas of public water reservoirs. So what’s the risk?

Despite its effectiveness at killing pathogens, chlorine has been a point of controversy because of its connection to cancers, including breast cancer, rectal, and bladder cancer. And in fact, if you recall, chlorine gas was a deadly weapon used during WWI. Inhalation of chlorine gas, would devastate the lungs and other body tissues. So is it a stretch to think that it is less harmful if ingested in your drinking water?

The connection between rectal and bladder cancer and chlorine is has been known for many years but a link to breast cancer and a commonly used chlorine disinfectant is more recent and less well known. One study, conducted in Hartford, Connecticut, revealed that chlorine by-products were 50-60% higher in women with cancerous breast tissue than those who were cancer-free.

Many Canadians and Europeans can rest a little easier when it comes to chlorine in tap water as many cities in these countries are already using alternative methods, like ozone, to disinfect public water supplies. For the rest of us, there are ways to remove the chlorine from our tap water. Do not think that letting the water run from the tap will remove any significant amounts of chlorine. The best way to remove chlorine is a carbon

Mercury

The exposure to mercury and the possible consequences on health from this neurotoxin varies based on several factors including the type of mercury, the age of the individual, how they come into contact with the mercury and the length of the exposure. The most unique wildcard when it comes to mercury is also the current health status of the individual.

One type of mercury, methylmercury, can be particularly problematic for unborn fetuses and those who are very young. Methylmercury poisoning is most commonly caused by eating fish containing mercury. It can cause a range of symptoms, including muscle weakness, problems with coordination and walking, hearing and speech impairment, vision problems especially with peripheral vision, and a “pins and needles” sensation in the mouth area and in extremities (feet and hands). An unborn fetus exposed to methylmercury can later have deficits in vision, fine motor, and cognitive thinking as well as language, memory, and attention span.

A second type of mercury, called inorganic mercury, is more likely found in drinking water. Overexposure to this kind of mercury can cause problems with the kidneys, the gastrointestinal tract, and the nervous system. Signs of overexposure to inorganic mercury include weak muscles, memory loss, mood swings, mental disturbances, as well as skin problems.

Fluoride

The fluoride amounts that are naturally found in surface water varies by location but typically are less than 0.3 ppm, levels in groundwater can be higher. Across the U.S., beginning in the 1940’s, chemical fluoride has been added to public water supplies for the purpose of reducing cavities. This process is called water fluoridation.

The CDC estimates that approximately 2/3 of the public water in the U.S. has been treated with chemical fluoride. The number for those utilizing community based water systems rises to almost three-fourths. Of the 30 biggest cities in the U.S., water fluoridation occurs in all but one, Portland Oregon. Residents voted against the process four times between 1956 and 2012.

The average concentration for water treated with chemical fluoride has been approximately 1ppm. But in 2015, a new recommendation from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, comes as a result of increased availability and use of other fluoride sources such as mouthwash, toothpaste, and dental treatments, and has been reduced to 0.7 ppm.

Although chemical water fluoridation is supported by many well-known and respected groups including the CDC, AMA, and the American Dental Association, there are opponents who view this as a type of group medical treatment, without individual awareness or approval. Opponents also oppose water fluoridation due to the lack of ability to monitor or control individual dosages since individuals consume water in different amounts depending on age, weight, circumstance, health condition, and other factors.

There is no doubt fluoride is harmful at certain levels of exposure. Opponents to water fluoridation believe that fluoride at high levels are connected to a variety of health problems including thyroid problems, bone fractures, and even impairment of brain function and development. The CDC also reported that over 40% of children between the age of 12 and 15 years old were victims of dental fluorosis, a known side effect of overexposure to fluoride.

Nitrates

Plants of all types need nitrogen to grow. Many people, including some farmers and commercial growers as well as individual gardeners, use nitrogen filled fertilizers in their soil so their plants and crops will grow healthier and produce more.

There is of course controversy over this practice, because things such as irrigation, rain, snow melt, etc. can cause nitrates to run off the soil and leach into the groundwater.  Animal and human manure can also contribute to nitrate run off. Any water well is susceptible to nitrate runoff but wells that are improperly positioned, shallow, or otherwise poorly dug are at greater risk.

Testing your water for nitrates is the only way to know if its contaminated and thus residential well water should be tested once every three years minimally. Test more frequently if you know your local area has a record of increase nitrate levels or if you have family members who are at risk.

High levels of nitrate in drinking water are a signal that contaminants, like pesticides or parasites, that can cause disease may be present in your water source. People at risk from high levels of nitrates in drinking water include women who are pregnant, babies less than six months old, anyone with a history of low stomach acid or a lack of methemoglobin reductase.

Unfortunately, the standard decontamination methods like using a water softener, boiling, or filtering of water, will not reduce the amount of nitrates. Even activated carbon and other types of filters won’t work reliably on nitrates. The only way to remove nitrates is through more complicated procedures such as distillation and reverse osmosis.

Wells should also have a well-positioned, sanitary, seal for the top of the well and any openings. Potential contamination sources such as your septic system, your compost pile, your garden (if you use fertilizers), animal cages, and barns, etc. should be outside a 100-foot radius of the well location.

Parasites

One of the more common parasites that can contaminate water sources is Cryptosporidium, also known as Crypto. It’s a microscopic parasite that makes its home in the hosts intestines. There are a variety of Crypto species that infect animals and humans. Crypto can be found in a variety of places including soil, food, and contaminated surfaces. But one of the most common ways Crypto is spread is through public water sources such as pools, lakes and drinking water.

Watery diarrhea is one of the most common signs of Crypto but can be accompanied by cramps, stomach pain, vomiting, dehydration, nausea, weight loss, and fever. The onset of symptoms is generally within ten days of exposure and can last several days to more than ten days for the average person. Those with compromised immune systems may need medication but most individuals will recover without treatment.

A reverse osmosis filter that is NSF Certified filter and labeled “cyst removal” or “cyst reduction can remove Crypto from contaminated water. Even water that has been filtered must be boiled before drinking as filtering does not remove all viruses and bacteria. Again, here the EPA makes things a little safer as their guidelines include methods for filtering public water systems to remove any possible Cryptosporidum.

Carcinogens (Chromium-6)

Remember the movie, Erin Brockovich from 2000? It was a true story about a woman who fought against California company, PG&E, when she discovered that they were contaminating a local water source with Hexavalent Chromium (chromium-6). She won that case and the residents of that town were awarded a huge settlement for damages.

Unfortunately, the very carcinogen that Erin Brockovich fought against back in 1993 is still the most prevalent one found in tap water all over the country. It’s not the only one, neurotoxins and carcinogens such as trimethyl benzene, carbon disulfide, arsenic, benzene, and naphthalene, have also been found in water supplies.

The best thing you can do is pay attention to any changes you notice to the smell, taste, or appearance of your tap water. If you believe your water has been contaminated, stop drinking it immediately. Use another water source that has been filtered and have your water tested. Carcinogen or neurotoxin poisoning typically starts with dizziness, headaches, or chronic stomach pain. It then progresses further and if left unaddressed can lead to serious brain impairment and fatal cancers.

Lead

Most parents know the dangers surrounding lead paint thanks to a huge awareness campaign and due diligence by health officials several decades ago. But recently there have been several news reports about lead being found in drinking water. It is possible in older homes and business buildings for lead to contaminate drinking water. This is usually caused by corrosion, especially with older pipes and faucets or the solder used to connect the pipes. Lead is able to leach into a water supply if it sits for several hours in pipes containing lead.

The only way to know if lead has contaminated your tap water is to have it tested. Your local water provider can determine whether lead exists or if your home is served by a public water system, your local water authority may have information posted on the internet.

Exposure to water contaminated with lead is most dangerous to younger victims, especially infants but it also depends on the amount of exposure and the situation. Infants who drink formula are more at risk because of the increase amount of water they drink in relation to their body weight.

Keep in mind that boiling does NOT make lead contaminated water safe for drinking. If you believe your water might be contaminated with lead, use only the cold water tap for drinking and cooking. Run a lot of water (like the shower) for at least 5 minutes first and then run the faucet for another 2 minutes before collecting water for drinking. For additional information on water testing, visit the CDC for your state.

Phthalates

These are known to leach into water from plastic containers and bottles bottled water is normally packaged in. Phthalates are actually regulated by the EPA for tap water but there is no such legal limit on phthalates for bottled water.

The good news is that the EPA does have a process for monitoring and regulating contaminants that could be found in public drinking water (such as tap water). The EPA is bound to initiate a determination about contaminants based on three basic criteria:

  • the potential for the contaminant to adversely impact the health of individuals,
  • the chance that the contaminant is present or will be present in public water supplies frequently enough or in amounts high enough to be a concern, and
  • if regulating the contaminant will provide ample chance to reduce the risk to the health of those using the water.

You can get an idea of what’s been identified in local water sources by regularly reviewing the current Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) for drinking water. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) mandates the EPA to publish an updated CCL every five years. It is used with the above three criteria to determine future regulatory decision making. For additional details about contaminant regulations of drinking water, go to the EPA website or call the hotline for safe drinking water at 1-800-426-4791.

So overall, with proper monitoring and filtering, tap water is relatively safe to drink and to store as part of your SHTF or natural disaster preparedness planning. But with all the possible known contaminants as well as new ones being discovered constantly, hopefully you won’t ever again take the safety of tap water for granted.  Do you currently filter your tap water for drinking?

Dan’s Notes:What an amazing article form Megan!

One thing I’d like to add one small thing: if you’re going to face a nuclear meltdown (cities such as New York City, Philadelphia, Dallas and San Diego are less than 50 miles from a nuclear power plant), you should NOT drink tap water. It may very well be contaminated with radioactive particles.

And if you’re eager to start your water stockpile today, here’s an eye-opening presentation I made on the topic.

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Best Water Purification Methods

Water is second only to air when it comes to survival. Without water, you cannot survive for more than three days. In other words, in any survival situation, whether the collapse of society has finally arrived or you are stranded in the bush for an unknown amount of time, having a way to purify water can literally mean the difference between life and death.

There are a number of effective ways to purify water while on the go. If you find water and don’t take the time and effort to purify it, you might end up making yourself really sick, which won’t help your survival situation. Knowing the many ways to purify water and having at least two or three of these methods at your disposal wherever you are will ensure you are well hydrated and can focus on other aspects of survival, such as getting food and finding or making shelter.

Why the Need for Water Purification

Water is not as clean as it looks, despite the fact that we use it to clean ourselves and our clothes and dishes. Even when you see a beautiful river or stream flowing that looks crystal clear, there are still things in that water that could make you sick. Many bacteria, viruses, and protozoa (a single-celled organism), as well as other types of impurities thrive in the lakes, rivers, and streams from which we take our drinking water. The water that gets piped into our homes is purified before it flows through the pipes to us, but if you get it right out of the river or lake, then you need to purify it yourself.

When I say that these things can make you sick, you might be wondering how sick. Well, to put simply, you could get a bad case of diarrhea or you could become infected with something so nasty that you will die. Yes, death can be an outcome to drinking unpurified water, so you should NOT take any chances. Some symptoms of drinking unpurified water include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, fatigue, and weight loss. There are many potential consequences to drinking unpurified water, including catching:

  • Infectious diseases
  • Diarrhea from pathogens such as E. Coli
  • Hepatitis A
  • Cholera (comes from drinking water in which there are feces); this is very deadly
  • Amoebiasis (caused by a protozoa that lives in water or sewage containing flies)

You can also ingest the following from unpurified water:

  • Chemicals from farm runoff, household waste, and industrial waste
  • Pesticides
  • Lead
  • Heavy metals, such as arsenic

Methods of Water Purification

There are many ways to purify water. Some of these you can prepare for ahead of time, such as when you are at your bug-in or bug-out locations or you have packed the necessary equipment/chemicals to carry with you when you are in the bush. There are also times when you might find yourself without convenient methods of water purification and have to wing it. The following are the best methods of water purification whether you have planned ahead of time or you need to purify water on the go, without prior planning.

Boiling It

The simplest method to purify water is to boil it. As long as you can start a fire or have a stove or some means of heating water to the boiling point and you have a pot or other metal container in which to put the water, you can purify it. Once the water reaches 100 degrees Celsius and remains at a rapid or rolling boil for at least 1 minute (3 minutes at altitudes of more than 5,000 feet/1,000 meters), it will kill off all the harmful bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in the water. Once the water has cooled down, it can be used for drinking. One of the major downfalls of this method is that it will not rid the water of any chemicals or metals.

Chemical Treatments

Chemicals can be used to purify water and this is perhaps the second easiest way to accomplish this goal. There are many chemicals that can be used to purify water. Perhaps the most readily available in a bug-in situation are bleach and iodine.

There are also chemicals that come in the form of crystals, tablets, or liquids that are designed for people to carry with them when hiking or camping. Here is a list of chemicals and how to use them:

Bleach: Make sure the bleach is pure, with no additional cleaners or scents added. You also want to ensure it is not color-safe bleach. Add 1/8 teaspoon of bleach to one gallon of water and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. DO NOT add more bleach than this as it can be harmful to humans at higher concentrations.

Iodine: Use 2% tincture of iodine and add 5 drops per liter of water and 10 drops per liter if the water is cloudy. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes. DO NOT use more than this as too much iodine can be harmful to humans, particularly to children and pregnant or nursing women.

Hydrogen Peroxide: Use 3%-10% diluted hydrogen peroxide. Because it is a weaker microbiocide, you will need more of it. Use 1/8 cup to one gallon of water. Keep in mind that this is not a method of water purification that is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but it is useful to know in a pinch.

Tablets and crystals: There are different types of water purification tablets and crystals, all of which are designed to simply be dropped into the water. Iodine and potassium permanganate can come in tablet- or crystal-form. Sodium chlorite (a form of chlorine) comes in tablet-form.

When it comes to using prepackaged chemical water treatments, please always follow the manufacturer’s directions on the product packaging. These directions will vary depending on the type of chemical being used. It is also useful to swish the water in the container when adding water purification tablets to help spread the dissolved components throughout the water.

Microfiltration and Ultrafiltration

Simply filtering water through a cloth, even a finely woven one, will not purify your water; it will remove larger particles and make the water look more visually appealing. It certainly doesn’t hurt to filter your water before you purify it. Check out this article on how to build a DIY water filter. But if you apply microfiltration or ultrafiltration, to the water, you can remove harmful bacteria and other impurities that could make you sick.

Microfiltration has an average pore size of 0.1 micron and will effectively remove protozoa from the water. However, it is only moderately effective at removing bacteria and it will not remove viruses or chemicals. Ultrafiltration has an average pore size of 0.01 micron. It is very effective in the removal of protozoa and bacteria, is moderately effective in the removal of viruses, and has a low level of effectiveness of removing chemicals.

lifestraw bottleThere are many commercial water filters on the market that will provide microfiltration of water. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some are simple filter straws, such as the LifeStraw,  which are easy to carry and can be used anywhere. Some, such as Sawyers Personal Water Bottle and Vestergaard’s LifeStraw Go, are water bottles that have a built in filter. Others, such as the MSR MiniWorks , use a ceramic filter and will attach to the top of a standard Nalgene water bottle or MSR Dromedary bag.

Solar Distillation

Distillation is a method of allowing water to evaporate and then re-condense on a surface from which it can be transferred into a container. Distillation can be a slow process, but is effective, particularly if you use a solar still. If you are in the bush or field and you need to purify water, use a clear or translucent sheet of plastic and secure it over a hole that is 3 feet deep. Place a rock in the center on top of the plastic and a container in the center of the bottom of the hole and allow the sun to work its magic.

As the water evaporates, it will condense on the underside of the plastic and will run down and drip into the container. You can put water from a river or lake into the hole to distill it, or if you are attempting to distill water from the moisture in the ground itself, you can add vegetation or even urine to the hole to increase the level of moisture that can be distilled. A great demonstration can be seen in the next video:

In a Pinch

No one wants to be without water, but if you find yourself in the wild with no equipment or tools of any kind, you still have an option left. Ultimately, if you can’t find a way to purify the water, then you might have to drink right from the source. Try to find running water, as this is better than standing water, and try to find a location as far away from animal traffic as possible.

When you find the body of water, be it a lake, river, or stream, go far enough away from the edge of the water that the vegetation has begun to grow. Then go about two or three feet beyond the edge of the vegetation and dig a hole. Dig down until water begins to seep into the hole. This water will be filtered by the sand, soil, and roots of the surrounding vegetation, but it is not guaranteed to be completely clear of pathogens.

Remember that this option is a last resort, but if you are dying of thirst (literally), then this is the best option left to you. Then all you can do is hope you don’t get sick, and if you don’t, then remember where your watering hole is so you can come back to it if you need to. A safe place to drink water is life!

 

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How to Make Pemmican

“Bugging out” is a term that has gained popularity in recent years but it’s actually not a new concept at all. Native Americans used to change camps several times a year as they followed the animal herds and their scouts spent a lot of time on the trail.

Born from a need for a portable food that could sustain them on the trail, came this mixture of dried meat and rendered suet or tallow, and called Pimikan in the Algonquin languages. The term stemmed from the Cree root word, Pimii, which meant rendered fat.

bison

Pemmican is made from powdered dried meat, historically moose, bison, elk and deer, combined with rendered fat. Used for generations by the natives and then adopted by fur traders in the 18th and 19th centuries, it is basically a mix of shredded or pounded meat and lard, compressed into cakes.

Known as the “ultimate survival food”, Pemmican is lightweight, easy to carry, and when prepared carefully, can be stored for an extended time without spoiling. So calorically dense that a small piece provides a full day of energy for a grown adult. It can sustain you during a bug out situation or simply save time if you can’t cook an entire meal.

Pemmican should not be consumed quickly. It’s best to chew a small bite over time, similar to gum. It is packed with energy in the form of fat which breaks down slowly. It can take a while to digest but will fill you up and give hours of consistent energy. The practice of adding dried fruit, for flavor became more common among non-natives, or those used to Euro-American sweet sausages.

Preservation of meat, whether deer, bison, or even beef is done by drying, and fat by rendering. Careful prep of meat and fat is key to preventing spoilage. This survival food can be stored for years or decades. For extended outdoor trips, Pemmican is packed tight in sealed containers and makes an excellent source of energy in cold weather or when hunting is poor.

The Benefits of Pemmican

Fat, the primary ingredient in Pemmican has two and a half times the energy found in grains and tubers (starch or complex carbohydrates), sugars, or meat. Without the peaks and valleys of rapid sugar breakdown, and not requiring as much water as converting excess meat for muscle replenishment, Pemmican digests slowly, and gives consistent energy over several hours.

Pemmican – Step by Step Process

1. Prepare the meat for drying. Begin by slicing the meat as thin as possible and ensuring all fat and connective tissue is removed.

2. Dry the meat either in full sun for an entire day on a well-ventilated rack or in your oven on the lowest temperature setting. If bent it should crack, if any parts remain rubbery, it’s not done yet. The amount of salt added extends shelf life.

3. Render the fat carefully. It’s crucial to get separate all meat from the fat to prevent spoilage. Heat fat pieces on low for several hours, in a crock pot, on the stove, over a low heat fire or even in your oven. Make sure to stir several times and heat until the fat has stopped bubbling. Remove any fine bits of meat from the fat with a piece of fine screen or mesh strainer.

4. Grind the meat. Put all the dried meat pieces into your food processor or blender and grind it into a powder. In an outdoor or bug out scenario, you can mince the meat into small pieces and then crush with a stone or other tool.

5. Crush berries, other fruit or nuts into a fine powder, mix thoroughly with dried meat mixture in a bowl large enough to add the fat later. The options here are plentiful, dried fruits such as cranberries, juneberries, raisins, blueberries or dried cherries. Keep in mind that the addition of extras will reduce shelf life.

6. Add the fat. The basic formula is two parts dried meat mixture to one-part fat. While it’s still hot, pour the fat into the meat/berry mixture and stir thoroughly.

7. This is the step where you can add wet ingredients such as peanut butter, honey, butter, or syrup. Add salt for taste if you like. Keep stirring or kneading until everything is thoroughly mixed. There should not be any lumps of fat or white spots.

8. Form the pemmican. ​Almond meal or another thickening agent can be used to thicken the mixture to get the right consistency. Spread into a casserole dish, let harden and cut into bars or squares. Or simply roll into small balls if you prefer.

9. Pemmican storage. ​No refrigeration needed. Store squares or balls in zippered bags in the freezer. In a power out situation, put in airtight containers and store in a dry place, cool and dark to extend shelf life. Glass jars, plastic, or pottery containers are good. Even bark containers can be used. Pemmican has been known to last more than fifty years if done correctly.

Tips & Tricks for Making Pemmican

  • Melt fat properly, use lean, organic meats when possible, and ensure meat and fruit ingredients are completely dried prior to mixing.
  • Meat used should be as lean as possible. Venison thigh and shoulder is ideal.
  • Your local butcher may be able to provide organic meat choices.
  • Suet may be found free in certain places.
  • Slicing meat across the grain will allow it to dry more quickly.
  • The more humid the area, the more thinly you need to slice the meat for drying. Thicker slices, up to ¼ inch, are possible in dry climates. If conditions are not ideal, a fire can be used to help with the drying process.
  • Dry meat in one day if possible to reduce chance for spoilage. If you cannot dry in one day, refrigerate indoors overnight to prevent meat from reabsorbing moisture.
  • Meat should crack when bent and be brittle prior to mixing.
  • Take care not to burn the fat or suet or make it smoke while rendering it.
  • The amount of fat ratio for the pemmican can be less in warmer climates or summer and should be more in the winter or in cold climates.
  • Recipes will taste better if you measure ingredient ratios equally by weight not volume.
  • Use raw honey for recipes. It is a great survival food to have on hand and is ideal for preservation of food.
  • Instead of fruit and rendered animal fat, vegans can use peanut butter. Vegetable leather can replace meat jerky.

Cautions!

  • ​Dried meat, otherwise known as jerky, can be eaten and stored also. It does not contain fat and so should NOT be used as a long term survival food. Trying to survive on jerky can be fatal.
  • Because of its high fat content, pemmican should be eaten sparingly. Use only when you are physically active and for short periods of time as needed. Pemmican can be unhealthy if you are normally sedentary.
  • An overload of protein, from any source, can cause a build-up of uric acid and lead to gout or cause you to develop kidney stones due to too much of the mineral, calcium oxalate.
  • Breath that smells like nail polish or too ripe pineapple, known as ketone breath, can be a signal of too much protein. Overconsumption of protein and subsequent ketone accumulation can lead to kidney damage.

Pemmican Recipes

Most pemmican recipes follow the same basic instructions for drying, rendering, mixing, and storage as above and include three main ingredients: Meat, Fat, and Extras. Start with one of our recipes below and experiment to find the one that suits your tastes and works well for you. Mark your pemmican with ingredients and amounts used so you can modify in the future.

Woodsmen’s Pemmican

  • 32 oz. lean meat of your choice (moose, beef, deer)
  • 24 oz. dried fruit (for a fun texture, try chunkier dried fruit)
  • 16 oz. fat
  • Unsalted nuts
  • Honey to bind

Fruit Pemmican

  • 2 pounds’ beef, kidney, or other meat dried
  • 12 ounces of your favorite dried fruit
  • fat or suet (enough to hold mixture together)

Bacon Pemmican

  • 12 to 16 ounces dried bacon
  • 4 ounces melted coconut oil
  • 8 ounces dried cranberries

Vegan Pemmican

  • 16 ounces’ dates
  • 24 ounces powdered tofu jerky
  • 16 ounces’ raisins
  • Honey as needed (use for binding, add bit by bit and mix well each time)
  • 16 ounces your choice of nuts

Modern Day Pemmican

  • 16 ounces Dried lean beef or venison
  • 8 ounces Beef suet
  • 8 ounces Seedless dried fruit (apricots, plums, grapes)

Mountain Man Survival Pemmican

  • This is a basic paste of dried meat, melted beef or pork fat, mixed with dried berries or nuts.
  • Dry meat until harder and more brittle than other recipes. Cut in strips 1 inch by ½ inch and as long as possible.
  • Pound jerky strips into powder.
  • Heat fat gradually in a large pot over the fire and let cool.
  • Set aside only the hardest and purest fat, the softer fat can be utilized for soap making if desired.
  • Mix powdered meat and fat in equal parts (50/50) with the powdered nuts and fruit.
  • Pemmican balls can be rolled up in cheesecloth and dipped in fat, wrapped in wax paper and dipped in fat, or in classical, mountain man style, simply dip the balls uncovered into melted fat.
  • Store in a cool dry place.

Long term storage capability and use of dried ingredients make Pemmican a valuable and lightweight addition to your BOB or EDC kit. It really is the ultimate survival food when made correctly and actually doesn’t taste too bad either. Made up of enough calories for a complete day’s energy, it just could be save your life.

Experiment with different meats and extras to find the perfect recipe to fit your needs and tastes. If you’ve tried pemmican, share your favorite recipe below. If you’re just learning how to make pemmican, which recipe is most appealing?

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