The Survival Mom » Food http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:00:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Happy, Healthy, & Prepared — A FREE Ebook For You! http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-mom-book/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/survival-mom-book/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:00:01 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22091 The Survival Mom Radio Network produced over 700 shows during its very successful run. We aren’t producing new episodes now, but together, the hosts contributed to a handy ebook with tips for homesteading, survival, family life, and more. That book Read More

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Happy Healthy and Prepared ebook  www.TheSurvivalMom.com

Click to download from Kindle.

The Survival Mom Radio Network produced over 700 shows during its very successful run. We aren’t producing new episodes now, but together, the hosts contributed to a handy ebook with tips for homesteading, survival, family life, and more.

That book is completely FREE!

Here’s the link for the Kindle version of Happy, Healthy & Preparedand you don’t need to have a Kindle in order to read it. Here are complete instructions for reading Kindle books from your computer!

 

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DIY Homemade Seasoning Mixes http://thesurvivalmom.com/seasoning-mix-recipe/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/seasoning-mix-recipe/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:28:46 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21645 I felt intimidated at the thought of making my own seasoning mix recipes at first. The little packets you can buy at the store made it so easy, and they made my dinners taste good. Then, there was the night Read More

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DIY homemade seasoning mix recipes. www.TheSurvivalMom.comI felt intimidated at the thought of making my own seasoning mix recipes at first. The little packets you can buy at the store made it so easy, and they made my dinners taste good. Then, there was the night I was making fajitas and realized I did not have a fajita seasoning packet in my pantry. I didn’t even have a taco seasoning packet (it must have been at the end of the month before my major trip to the grocerey store). This was also before I had started building up our food storage.

I opened my trusted Better Homes and Gardens cookbook to see if they had a recipe for seasoning fajitas and there was. It was actually just a few seasonings and it ended up tasting great. I decided then that I could do it. I could start making our own seasoning.If


If I can make my own homemade seasoning mixes, you can, too!
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homemade seasoning mix recipes

Surprisingly, I found seasoning mixes in this cookbook. Who knew?

I wanted to do it for two reasons – to know what was in our food and to make it easier to have seasonings in our food storage. I found out it can also be more economical. Making your own seasoning mixes gives you control over what brand and type of seasoning are in your food. It only takes a few key seasoning to give you a wide range of taste options for your meals.

I would recommend having the following on hand to create your own mixes. I buy the spices I use most in bulk. Here’s a list of the most common ingredients in these mixes.

With these, and some flour and sugar, you should be all set. Below are my favorite recipes, but a quick internet or Pinterest search will give you numerous seasoning mix recipes. You’ll find many of them on The Survival Mom’s board, Switch from Store-Bought to Homemade.

Download the free mini-guide, “Switch from Store-Bought to Homemade.”

Also, save old spice and shaker bottles. You’ll need them for your new, fresh mixes. You can also buy shaker bottles new.

Fried rice

For fried rice seasoning, I just add garlic powder, cumin and cayenne to taste.

Ranch seasoning/dressing

Store in airtight container:

1 T. pepper
3/8 cup parsley
1/8 cup garlic salt
1/2 T. Kosher salt
1 T. garlic powder
3 T. dried minced onion
1/2 T. dill

Keep this mixture in an airtight container. When ready to make salad dressing, whisk together 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup sour cream and 1 tablespoon mix. Add buttermilk or milk until desired consistency is reached.

Taco seasoning

Store in airtight container:

1 part chili powder
1 part ground cumin
1 part garlic powder
1 part onion powder
1/4-1/2 part crushed red pepper

I use 1 cup of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder, and 1/4 cup crushed red pepper.

About 1/4 cup of seasoning equals one seasoning packet. You can adjust the seasonings to your taste.

Chili seasoning

Store in airtight container:

1 T. all purpose flour
2 T. dried minced onion
1/2 t. chili powder
1 t. seasoned salt (like Lawrys)
1/2 t. crushed dried red pepper
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. sugar
1/2 t. ground cumin

About 1/4 cup of seasoning equals one seasoning packet

Be sure to download this free mini-guide for more recipes, “Switch from Store-Bought to Homemade.”

Resources mentioned in article:

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The 3 Food Storage Companies I Recommend and Why — Important Update http://thesurvivalmom.com/best-food-storage-company/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/best-food-storage-company/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 15:30:50 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19494 A few weeks ago I wrote an article about the 3 food storage companies that I purchase from the most and sent it to my newsletter subscribers. Since then, I’ve received numerous questions about my selections and the best food Read More

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Survival Mom recommended food storage companies.A few weeks ago I wrote an article about the 3 food storage companies that I purchase from the most and sent it to my newsletter subscribers. Since then, I’ve received numerous questions about my selections and the best food storage company to use, so I wanted to address those here on the blog.

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Briefly, the companies that I use most often are Thrive Life*, Ready Reserve Foods, and Augason Farms. Here are my reasons:

  • Thrive Life* has an outstanding, user-friendly website, and a huge array of mostly freeze-dried foods that can be incorporated in thousands of recipes. This is my recommended form of food storage. Just-add-water meals, not so much, although I do have some of those as well for urgent emergencies. Thrive Life offers the opportunity to earn money and have foods auto-shipped, which helps stay on track with food storage goals. In short, they have some unique features similar companies do not offer. I’ve been a Thrive Life consultant for 4 years.
  • Ready Reserve Foods is a smaller, family-owned company in southern Idaho who sells mostly dehydrated, not freeze dried, fruits and vegetables, as well as many other food and survival products. They are one of the very few companies in the country who use nitrogen to package their food, which is far superior to the use of an oxygen absorber. They carry peanut butter powder and parboiled rice, which I love and have plenty of in my pantry. Their products are also competitively priced. I’ve visited their facilities and they have worked with me on and off over the years.
  • Augason Farms has been a long-time sponsor of my blog, but that isn’t why I selected them. Although many other companies carry similar products, Augason Farms foods can be found in stores across the country, like Sam’s Club, Winco, and Walmart. This is important because it makes “survival food” available to everyone who may not be able to order online. Their food is consistently good, their website immense with both products and information.

The Best Food Storage Company?

So what about other companies such as Emergency Essentials, Walton Feed, The Ready Store, and Honeyville?


The 3 food storage companies used most often by #Survival Mom. #PrepperTalk
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None of these companies are inferior, they just don’t rise to the top in the various categories that I specified — best website, dehydrated food options and nitrogen packing, and products readily available without having to place a mail order.

I’ve visited the main Emergency Essentials store in Salt Lake City and found the manager there to be friendly and helpful. The survival products they carry are priced well and I ended up buying quite a few MREs.


Which is the best food storage company?
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For a year or so I taught classes at the Honeyville Farms retail store in Phoenix and bought quite a few food items each time. One thing I noticed was that the food purchased in the store was very nicely priced but the price increased dramatically online. They advertise their low shipping cost, but obviously, the price of shipping has to be made up elsewhere, thus the increase in their online prices. This made it difficult for me to determine which of their products were priced well and which might be more expensive than other brands, whose shipping charges were higher.

Currently, a 50 pound bag of hard white wheat costs $19.99 at a Honeyville Farms store, but it’s $43.99 online. That’s quite a difference and is typical with all their food products. The $4.99 shipping charge becomes meaningless, and it also makes it very difficult to truly compare Honeyville cost and value with other companies.

TIP: Learn about wheat before buying it in quantities!

Walton Feed was the very first food storage company I encountered, and the ordering process, at least back then, was quite confusing and complicated to a newbie. Their products are good quality, we are still using the cocoa powder I bought back, and I have no complaints. If you want to take a look at their products and pricing, it’s best to place a huge order with other people, if possible, in order to save on shipping. When I did this, an 18-wheeler delivered the order to my friend’s house (she was the coordinator), and she divided up the orders for each person.

All that food is surprisingly similar. Here’s why.

One factor many don’t realize is that all this food, whether it be wheat, strawberries, corn, and everything else comes from only so many farms! Just as food processing plants package food and then place different labels on them for different brands, these farms and packing plants do the same thing. So wheat purchased from Emergency Essentials just might come from the exact same farm as Augason Farms wheat, or vice versa. There are very few plants that freeze dry produce, so it’s just logical that the food itself is the same from one company to the next, and only the label and, likely, the packaging process,is different. Exactly where the food comes from is highly confidential, and you will probably only find out the country from which it originated.

When I spoke with Ready Reserve Foods about their parboiled rice, I was informed that it was grown on a farm in Idaho, not too far from their offices. That was nice to hear! Locally grown food, whose practices can be monitored, is always best.

Food  storage mistakes abound!

Before making a large purchase of this food, even if you’re in a huge panic and think that time is running out, please don’t buy anything you aren’t familiar with and may not actually use. I have about a dozen cans of germade. It’s wheat germ, something my kids have never had and of which I only have distant memories. One of these days I’ll crack open a can and serve it to them. If they like it, great! If not, I’ll be looking on Pinterest for other recipes that call for germade!

TIP: Read my Quick Start Guide to getting prepared if you’re panicking, and even if you’re not!

One mistake I’ve made is to buy far more wheat and less rice, which in many ways is more versatile. It’s also advantageous for families dealing with gluten issues. On the upside, I have loads of wheat to barter with, and now I’ve started to look for 50 pound bags of rice that I can repackage.

TIP: If you buy food in large quantities, you’ll probably have to repackage it for the longest shelf life.

Whichever companies you choose, start with buying small quantities. Thrive Life sells small, #2.5 size cans, as well as pouches of their foods. This is a very, very good way to check the quality, taste, and versatility of a food.

This food is for more than just storage

One reader asked me if I ever actually ate this food! Right now in my kitchen, I have opened cans of freeze dried blueberries (used them in a baked oatmeal this morning), freeze dried strawberries (we use them in smoothies), freeze dried cheese (ran out of fresh cheddar one day…), oats, parboiled rice, cocoa powder, bell pepper slices, and instant milk. Although most of my food is specifically for long-term storage, it’s pretty common around here that we have to track down an ingredient that I need.

This is very handy, and in many ways, I have my own grocery store at home! Because dehydrated and freeze dried food stays fresh for months after the container is opened, I just keep it in my kitchen pantry and use it whenever I need that particular ingredient. After a while, you figure out which of these foods you should probably stock up on more than others. For me:

  1. Berries
  2. Freeze dried corn (We use it a lot in chowders.)
  3. Freeze dried sausage crumbles. These are amazing and such a great way to have sausage for pasta meals and pizza.
  4. Instant milk. Good to have on hand when we don’t have any fresh.
  5. Freeze dried bell peppers. Fresh from the store can be pretty expensive, and this is a good way to have peppers when I need them.

The bottom line

Whichever company you purchase from, try to compare prices and quantities. Also pay attention to serving sizes, especially when buying just-add-water meals. Those can be deceiving and are a topic for a separate article!

For your convenience, here are links to some of the major food storage companies:

Augason Farms

Emergency Essentials (You may see the brand name Provident Pantry associated with them.)

Thrive Life*

Honeyville

The Ready Store (Brand name of foods is Saratoga Farms.)

Walton Feed, aka Rainy Day Foods

Ready Reserve Foods

Lindon Farms

Mountain House Foods (Read my Mountain House review.)

Legacy Foods (I tried 3 of their entrees — very good!)

Resources to help you stock up

Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios  (I include 2 very full chapters on getting started with food storage, which foods to buy first, and how to keep your pantry organized.)

Food Saver Vacuum Sealer – this removes oxygen, which will extend the shelf life of your food.

Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival by Angela Paskett

*This link will take you to my personal Thrive Life website. The lowest prices from this company are reserved for customers purchasing through a consultant. Whether you make your Thrive Life purchase through my website or not, be sure to order through a consultant rather than on the main Thrive Life website where prices will be higher.

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Skill of the Month Progress Check! http://thesurvivalmom.com/skill-of-the-month-progress-check/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/skill-of-the-month-progress-check/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 16:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21621 I love our February Skill of the Month: Switch from Store-Bought to Homemade. It has challenged me to track down new recipes for things I have never tried before. Yesterday I tried brushing my teeth with bentonite clay. Look for Read More

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Switch from store bought to homemade for a multitude of products you use every day. It's healthier and smarter! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comI love our February Skill of the Month: Switch from Store-Bought to Homemade. It has challenged me to track down new recipes for things I have never tried before.

Yesterday I tried brushing my teeth with bentonite clay. Look for my article on the subject of DIY dental care coming up. I’ve tried various health-drink mixes with turmeric and cayenne, started using borax powder to clean the toilets and a ball of aluminum foil to replace dryer sheets.

Sometimes, switching from store-bought to homemade has great results and sometimes it doesn’t. The internet is full of Pinterest fails.

If you need ideas, my Pinterest board is full of them. Here are some projects I’m going to try next:

Here’s my FREE mini-guide for you!

To give you a boost this month and through the rest of the year, here’s a free copy of my brand new mini guide, “Switch From Store-Bought to Homemade.” It’s full of my own recipes, stories of things I’ve tried that worked (and failed), and links to other resources and products. If it’s helpful, be sure to share it with your friends. It will soon be available on Amazon as an ebook, but won’t be free!

Download link: Survival Mom’s Mini-Guide


Download my free mini-guide to help you switch from store-bought to homemade!
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I’d like to hear what you have tried this month. What new homemade product did you make?

 

 

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Is Your Food Storage Safe? http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-safe/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-safe/#comments Sat, 14 Feb 2015 08:15:48 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21327 Finding the right food to buy and store isn’t easy as I’m sure many of you would agree. It requires quite a bit of effort, time, and expense. Why else would there be hundreds of websites dedicated to helping people Read More

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There is one simple thing you can do to ensure that you food storage is safe!  www.TheSurvivalMom.com

Finding the right food to buy and store isn’t easy as I’m sure many of you would agree. It requires quite a bit of effort, time, and expense. Why else would there be hundreds of websites dedicated to helping people figure out their food storage? No one who puts in all that effort wants it to be wasted.

Yet, as I have helped various families with their food storage over the last five years, I have found that is exactly what happens in a lot of cases.

A LOT of food goes to waste…especially food storage.

Safe and Secure?

People buy food storage to feel safe and secure and yet when stored improperly, that food is anything but safe. When food is stored improperly, nutrients can deplete quite quickly. It will also lose flavor and texture, and could even go rancid.

Lisa has written a great article on the Six Enemies of Food Storage that details proper ways to store your food. She even links to multiple other detailed articles. I highly recommend you read it and apply her advice.

But today I want to focus on just one thing you can do to keep your food storage safe. It is very simple and something that all of us should be doing anyway for so many reasons. Ready?

Do NOT throw away your food!

Eat what you store and store what you eat.

You’ve heard that before, right? I hope you have. It is common and wise advice. Most of the families I’ve worked with have done alright with how they’ve stored their food. The #1 problem I’ve seen is that they have not used it. They bought the food 25+ years ago, set it on a shelf, and ignored it. Now it has reached the end of its shelf life.

It is so sad to watch them throw away cans and cans of food that they don’t feel comfortable with anymore. Their expired food no longer makes them feel safe and secure. They dump thousands and thousands of dollars’ worth of food into the trash for one reason: because they never used it. And while they (and I) are grateful that they were never forced to use it during a time of crisis, it is sickening nonetheless to have wasted all that money.

So, I ask, how would things have been different if they had used their food and rotated through it on a regular basis?

1. They would have known how to use it if a crisis had occurred. This confidence in your own skills brings a whole new level of peace and security.

2. They would not have wasted money, but would have instead used everything they spent their money on which is wise and prudent and responsible. The most expensive food we buy is the food we throw away.

3. The food on their shelves TODAY would be full of nutrition. Nutrition is just as important as calories, especially if you are eating your food during a crisis situation. You want your food to give you all the health and strength it possibly can, and regardless of the storage conditions, food loses nutrients over time even if it is still full of calories and technically safe to eat. The food they bought 25 years ago would have been eaten 23-24 years ago and they would have replaced that with NEW food THEN. Many of the enemies that Lisa talks about, such as light and heat would not have had much time to affect their food before they ate it. They would have eaten it when it had a high number of nutrients.

4. They would not be facing the situation of trying to replace ALL their food storage at once. Since they bought it all around the same time and it is now expiring all around the same time, they are facing trying to invest thousands to keep the same amount of food in the storage room that they have had there for years. They don’t want to lose the peace and security it bought, but starting from scratch is overwhelming. Replacing just a little at a time as you use it is smarter and less stressful.

5. Their day to day life would have been less stressful. I’m serious! I use my “food storage” every single day and it is fantastic! There are so many benefits!

  • I’m never running to the store last minute because I’m out of eggs or milk or butter. I simply use what I have stored.
  • I have healthy, freeze dried fruits and vegetables on hand to give my kids for a quick snack with no chopping, cutting or peeling required.
  • I don’t have to worry about if I forgot to thaw out the meat because I can simply add in some freeze dried meat to a meal if I do forget.

My food storage saves me from the mini everyday “emergencies,” not just the big crises. That alone makes it worth the money! No more mixed feelings when you throw away thousands of dollars of food you never used. Yes, you are grateful you never HAD to, but darn, what a waste!

The Solution:

The best way to keep your food safe from all of the enemies that Lisa talks about it to use it and replace it regularly. Store food that you enjoy eating and can incorporate into your everyday lifestyle. Try foods before buying a large supply of them. Make sure you like how your food tastes. Make sure you can cook with it and that the quality is high enough for your family.

Personally, I find this is much easier to do when I buy foods in single ingredient cans instead of the just add water meals. The just add water meals are typically full of an awful amount of additives and preservatives. Plus, they don’t taste like a regular meal. But home canned foods, freeze dried foods and some dehydrated foods can be used in everyday meals that your family is already eating without anyone knowing the difference.

What has worked for you in rotating your food regularly?

There is one simple thing you can do to ensure that you food storage is safe.

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Granola bars forever! (Made with pantry items) http://thesurvivalmom.com/granola-bars-recipe/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/granola-bars-recipe/#comments Fri, 13 Feb 2015 08:00:06 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21370 Granola bars are such an easy snack and can even be a breakfast substitute. If you can’t run to the store or are trying to eat healthier, you might be able to make them yourself with items you have in Read More

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DIY Granola bar recipe. Easy & inexpensive.  | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comGranola bars are such an easy snack and can even be a breakfast substitute. If you can’t run to the store or are trying to eat healthier, you might be able to make them yourself with items you have in your pantry. This granola bars recipe is one very easy store-bought item to start making homemade.

I’ve been making homemade granola bars for more than a year now, have tried several different tweaks to a basic recipe, and have come up with the recipe that works for us. The beauty of this granola bar recipe is that there are several variations that can be made:

You can buy generic ingredients to make it budget friendly.

You can buy organic ingredients if you are focusing on health.

You can make small changes for egg and nut allergies.

Here is my recipe – variations are below.

Granola bars
2 cups rice cereal (like Rice Krispies)
2 cups quick oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1 egg
1 cup add-ins (You choose your flavor – chocolate chips, dried fruit, mini marshmallows, nuts, flax seed, raisins, and/or cinnamon.)

Mix cereal and oats in a large mixing bowl.

In a saucepan over medium heat, mix brown sugar, peanut butter and honey until blended and smooth. Remove from heat and quickly mix in egg. Pour over cereal and oat mixture and mix. Then mix in add-ins.

Pour into 9×13 pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool on counter (or in fridge) and then cut. Store in refrigerator.

Variations to customize the basic recipe

Oatmeal – You can use regular or steel-cut oats but the granola bars may fall apart more easily and it will change the texture.

Peanut butter – You can substitute any nut butter.

Egg – This may be omitted and then the granola bars do not have to be baked. Baking them helps the bars set, but is not necessary if you do not have the egg. They may fall apart a little more if you do not add the egg.

Oh, and the granola bar crumbs that are left in the bag after they have all been eaten are great to put on yogurt or ice cream.

Have you made homemade granola bars? What recipe do you use?

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Five Food Storage Lessons Learned From WWII http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-lessons-learned/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-lessons-learned/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 08:16:02 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20583 Is there a specific term for preppers who are also hipsters? Hipster-preppers? Prepsters? If there is, then that’s what you could call my great-grandparents, Dell and Hildegarde Stringham. They were the original  preppers, long before the media started making documentaries Read More

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5 #foodstorage lessons learned from WWII.  | www.TheSurvivalMom.com

Is there a specific term for preppers who are also hipsters? Hipster-preppers? Prepsters? If there is, then that’s what you could call my great-grandparents, Dell and Hildegarde Stringham. They were the original  preppers, long before the media started making documentaries about them.

They had food storage before it was cool. They had food storage even before they called it “food storage.” We even have photographic evidence that they wore “Hipster Glasses” in the 1980s, well before it became “cool.”

Their oldest child was my grandmother, and she has made it a point to tell all our family about their experience with food storage during the second World War. Food storage is an important part of my family’s history, and we have learned much from it.

My great-grandfather, Dell, owned a cannery in the 1930s and was a member of a charitable committee for his local church. In 1939, one of the church leaders came to Dell and suggested that, as a member of this committee, he store extra food in his home. The hope was that other community members would follow the Stringham’s example. In 1939, America had not yet entered World War II, so there did not seem to be an immediate need for food storage or emergency preparedness as we think about them today. This was also well before rationing. The United Kingdom did not ration food until January 1940, and the United States did not follow suit until 1942.

The suggestion to store food may have seemed strange in 1939, but by the time the United States became fully embroiled in the war, it proved to be extremely good advice.

In the spirit of learning from history, here are five lessons that can be learned from my great-grandparents’ wartime food storage adventure:

Food Storage Lessons Learned

Lesson One: You can never have too much.

My grandmother wrote, “My father brought about 5  100-pound sacks of flour and the same of sugar and stacked them in a room over our garage. And in the basement he put cases of can goods he had canned and bought other things. . . So, Mother had bottled some fruit (like raspberries). We had lots of canned  fruits (peaches, pears, apricots, and cherries) and canned vegetables (corn, beans, peas, beets, tomatoes, etc.) and canned meat like tuna fish, salmon, [and] corned beef. We didn’t have any shortage of food in our house all during the war.”

Lesson Two: Build up your food storage supply now and not after rationing starts.

When the war started and rationing started because of the uses of metal for weapons and canned foods for soldiers rations, Mother [Hildegarde] had to go to the school and declare what food we had. Ladies were in line telling [the officials] that they had two cans of soup and a can of tuna fish. And then Mother told her list. She said everyone gasped and made a big fuss. But it was all legal and not hoarding.

TIP: A number of interesting food dishes came from this time in history.

Lesson Three: Sometimes it is better not to advertise exactly how much you have in your house.

During this period, the concept of “fairness” was very much in the public consciousness. Perhaps some didn’t think it was “fair” that the Stringham family had so much food in their house, even though they had the same ration cards as everyone else.

Lesson Four: Money you don’t have to spend on food can go toward other necessities.

Hildegarde had five children. She was able to use some of her ration cards to buy shoes for her growing children during a time when shoes were a luxury item.


What can we learn from the WWII era when it comes to food storage?
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Lesson Five: The best way to learn the ins and outs of stored food is to store it and use it.

We found there were things we didn’t do right. Weevils got into the flour. We should have had it in metal cans. Or stacked it one sack of sugar on the floor, then a sack of flour on that, and alternate sugar and flour to keep weevils from migrating to all the sacks. [When] we went to use some flour, we had to put flour in a sifter, and instead of turning the wheel, we hit the side of the sifter so the flour would go through the screen and the weevils would stay in the screen. And we ended up dumping so many cans of flour into the garden. – Wheat in cans stores so much longer.”

Do any of you have stories about food storage in your family history? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Related books you may enjoy:

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Protect your canning jar investment http://thesurvivalmom.com/protect-that-canning-jar-investment/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/protect-that-canning-jar-investment/#comments Sat, 07 Feb 2015 08:00:01 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21378 I have a problem. Well, I have more than one but this one plagues me on a continual basis.  In my house we have 16 feet.  160 toes and a TON of socks.  So many socks that I’ve given up Read More

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Protect your canning jars from breakage with these tips. | www.TheSurvivalMom.comI have a problem. Well, I have more than one but this one plagues me on a continual basis.  In my house we have 16 feet.  160 toes and a TON of socks.  So many socks that I’ve given up on sorting and mating them.  Instead they just get tossed into the sock bin.  If someone needs socks, they must go to ‘the bin’.

So how did my sock bin end up helping me protect my canning jars? Here’s the whole story.

It’s not a pleasant thing to go to the bin in search of a pair of matching socks because it means several minutes of searching for two that match. The bin is the bane of my existence.  It stares at me whenever I walk past taunting me. “SORT ME” it says. Being the stubborn soul that I am, it gets ‘dissed’ by me nearly every time.

…Until this last time. Not sure why it won this time around, but it was particularly persuasive.  It could have been that my 9 year old daughter was sucked in by  it’s tendrils or just that it was time.  So I sat down and started sorting.

My infamous sock bin.

My infamous sock bin.

Now this is not just a little bin. Seriously, my 11 year old could get in this bin with the lid closed, and often we’d see a cat or two perched on top of the sea of socks. I dug in and was determined to tackle this monster.

You might be wondering why you’ve had to sit through my sock tale.  Well for one, I want the world to know that “I SORTED THE SOCK BIN”  (taking a bow). This is a huge accomplishment, and secondly, the ones that didn’t find a mate still have a food storage related purpose, a useful life left in them.

Protecting your canning jar investment with socks, of all things!

We are going to recycle those socks into something that can help protect our investment.  We put a lot of time, energy and money into our food storage when we bottle something.  This can all be for naught if these jars get knocked around at all.  Glass likes to break if bumped too hard.

TIP: Have you ever thought of canning, or bottling, meat?

I live in earthquake country and at some point, the ground on which I stand is going to start shaking.  If my bottles aren’t ready for that shaking, I’m going to have a big mess and HUGE loss on my hands.

Here is the simple process I used to transform those mismatched socks into something I could use.

Step #1: Cut sock into four parts as shown.

Tutorial for transforming a mismatched sock into a canning jar protector. SurvivalMom.com

Cut sock into 4 parts as shown.

Step #2: Toss out the toe and heel portions of the cut-apart sock and save the other two sections for use.

Tutorial for transforming a mismatched sock into a canning jar protector. SurvivalMom.com

These are the sock parts you want to keep.

 

Step #3: Use the sock parts as illustrated to help protect your canning jars.

Tutorial for transforming a mismatched sock into a canning jar protector. SurvivalMom.com

Tutorial for transforming a mismatched sock into a canning jar protector. SurvivalMom.com

Other techniques I’ve discovered for protecting jars

Now there are some great commercial products on the market but I don’t have a ton of money to spend on those, If you do, great!  but I’d rather spend that money on more food for my family. So here are some easy and cheap ways.

Bottle box: Save the boxes that the jars came in,  The cardboard dividers will provide some protection from breakage.

Rubberbands:  Remember this post?  Well here’s another use for rubberbands.  Stretch the wide ones around the top and bottom of the jar to keep them from bumping around in the box.

Socks:  store your jars in socks, one long tube sock and protect 2 quart jars,   or cut them up in to tubes of various sizes to put on the jars.  They can even be rolled up to create even more buffer space or to secure them more snugly into a box.

Old towels:  Put the jars in a box with space in between and stuff the spaces with old towels or rag strips.

Bubble wrap:  Wrap your jars in bubble wrap or the packaging that comes in your mail order boxes.

Apple boxes:  Go to the grocery store and talk to your produce guy.  Apples sometimes come packed with puffy paper sheets in between them,  These are GREAT to wrap around the bottles…and the boxes themselves are a perfect size to fit at least 15 jars.

Sweaters: Wouldn’t that be cute for our jars to wear sweaters? There are some on Pinterest if you are into that type of thing.  I’m not going to the trouble to ‘dress’ my jars like those… but one thing my mom did was to take some left-over fleece from another project and sew it into a tube.  Then she cut the tube into about 6 inch sections.  Each of these were slipped over a jar to prevent that jar-to-jar contact in the box.

So get creative with your jars…or just stuff socks but do something to protect that investment.  Do you so something different with yours?  I’d love to hear other great ideas.

New to canning? You must own a copy of Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving!

If you want to check out products you can buy, rather than make, that will protect your canning jars, take a look at these:

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Tight Space Prepping: Make The Most Of The Storage Space You Have http://thesurvivalmom.com/finding-storage-space/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/finding-storage-space/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 08:00:16 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20437 When you are living in a condo or a small apartment, there is only so much space to keep a food storage. You need to be able to use all the storage space you have available to you. You also Read More

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Tips for finding storage space in your home. | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comWhen you are living in a condo or a small apartment, there is only so much space to keep a food storage. You need to be able to use all the storage space you have available to you. You also need to use storage space that you never considered before, thus finding storage space you didn’t know you had!

Finding storage space in your doors, walls, & ceilings!

I look at my home in three dimensions. The floor is a given space storage area. It’s the easiest space when it comes to storage. Gravity even cooperates. The spaces that we rarely use are our walls, doors, and ceiling. Here are a few tips for utilizing those spaces for storage.

  • Doors are a great place to put hooks, and hooks can be placed on every door in your home.
  • In the bathroom you can place hooks for your towels and bathrobes on the back of each door.
  • Hooks on bedroom doors can hold a laundry bag.
  • Putting hooks up in the coat closet affords you the opportunity to store more coats, jackets and other outerwear.
  • The ceiling is a great place to put stuffed animals. Stuffed animal hammocks are good for storing items that may have been taking up floor space in your rooms or closets. String them across a corner of your room.
  • Also use those hammocks for storing items like soft toys, pajamas or socks. This works particularly well for those small rooms that have small or no closet space. These hammocks, however, should never be hung over a bassinet or baby crib. Clothes or stuffed animals falling on your sleeping five year old is one thing. It’s more of a concern when these items can fall into an infant’s bed.
  • Other items that can be hung on the wall are cooking pots (especially a copper set, which can pass as decorative) mugs,(in the space on the wall between the wall cabinets and counters) and blankets, which can pass as a tapestry like decoration.
  • Utilize the space above doorways by installing an attractive shelf in that area.

Creative ideas for storing linens

Blankets are the easiest items to store. We store them by not storing them. I have had some great feedback about blankets being stored by covering both furniture or windows. Our family stores blankets at the foot of each bed. On cold nights we don’t even need to get out of bed to find a spare blanket. Extra sheets can be stored in pillow cases and used as extra pillows.

Another space-saving idea for storing blankets is to lay them flat between the mattress and box springs of a bed. You can store several on each bed this way.

TIP: 6 Reasons to Stockpile Blankets!

Closets can store more than clothes!

Now it’s time to  make your closets into water closets. ( No, I don’t mean bathrooms). Water is sometimes one of the hardest items to store. It has to take up space somewhere, and it’s heavy. In our home our stored water lives in our closets.  We keep our clothes hung up and place the five gallon bottles of water on the closet floor. Smaller water storage (refilled juice and soda bottles) get stored on the higher closet shelving. This includes the linen closet and coat closet. Even in our postage stamp apartment we can store enough water in our smaller bottles for six weeks. Perfect for times of drought or a water sanitation plant malfunction.

The only closet space we exempt from water storage is the bedroom shelves in our master bedroom closet. That space we use to store first aid and medical supplies. There is a lock on the bedroom door and the medications are stored up high. This works great if you have a toddler who likes to engineer climbing apparatus.

The closet in a child’s bedroom or playroom is ideal for keeping a home safe, since many burglars first look for valuables in a master bedroom. Disguise your safe in a toy box or cardboard box marked, “Old Toys” for both security and newly found storage space.

TIP: Check out the details on these home safes. Be sure to find the right one for your own needs.

Kitchen Storage Space

When working with kitchen cupboards you want to be able to get the most out of your space for extra food storage rather than storing other stuff. In our home this means having the minimum amount of dishes and cookware for our family. For example, we have four people in our home. We also have only four place settings of dishes. We have four glasses and four mugs. As your family grows and changes you may need to add a few things such as sippy cups and bottles (two each, one can be dirty while the other is clean). All dishes get stored in one cupboard, preferably the smallest one. When we have guests we simply get paper products. This also helps with the clean up when people come calling.

TIP: Find out why paper plates are a great item for stocking up.

Pots in our home don’t go in cupboards at all. We have found that most apartment stoves have a drawer under the oven. That is where we keep our pots, pans and other cookware. These items don’t take up any cupboard space at all.

My mixing bowls ( a new addition to the kitchen) double for storage items when I need to put leftovers in the fridge. Before I got mixing bowls I simply used pots for both mixing and storage. My favorite was the crock pot. This greatly reduced my cupboard clutter leaving room for plenty of food storage space.

Outside Storage Space

If you have any outside storage space, it is the last place you want to put your food storage. You can’t control the temperature of the storage area and your food could be compromised.

TIP: Learn about the 6 enemies of food storage. Your stored food is more vulnerable than you might think.

Instead, this is a great place for survival hardware that you don’t keep in your 72 hour kits or use on a regular basis. For example, keep your hand cranked washer and drying racks in the patio shed. The hand cranked power generator or that camp stove that can run off a car battery could live in the patio storage space as well.

What other creative storage spaces have you discovered? Visit Survival Mom’s Creative Storage Ideas Pinterest board for more tips.

 

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Skill of the Month: Switch from store-bought to homemade http://thesurvivalmom.com/switch-from-store-bought-to-homemade/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/switch-from-store-bought-to-homemade/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 16:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21210 If you are a hard-core prepper or survivalist, you may be wondering why our first 2 Skills of the Month aren’t all about ways to stock up on food, reload ammo, or tan hides. Why did I choose Getting Organized Read More

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Make the switch from store-bought to homeade: food, beauty products, cleaning supplies! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comIf you are a hard-core prepper or survivalist, you may be wondering why our first 2 Skills of the Month aren’t all about ways to stock up on food, reload ammo, or tan hides. Why did I choose Getting Organized and now, Switch from Store-Bought to Homemade?

Sometimes preppers and survivalists wear blinders that hold their focus to a very narrow view of what it really means to be prepared to survive. In an early episode of Doomsday Preppers, one of the women definitely was prepared with shooting skills and stocking up on absolutely everything imaginable, but I’ll never forget her opening a closet door and seeing a literal mountain of #10 cans. They were piled on top of each other, spilling off shelves, and there is no way that family would be able to quickly find what they needed, or even know what was on hand, especially in a sudden crisis.

Thus my emphasis over the years on decluttering and getting organized. What’s the point of stocking up in a big way if, when a sudden crisis hits, you have to leave it all behind because you can’t find what you need?

This month we’re moving our focus to another area, just as important.

Switch from Store-Bought to Homemade

On my first big shopping trip for food storage, I bought loads of salad dressings, bottles of ketchup, and cans of things like chili and ravioli. I still believe it’s important to have some store-bought items as part of your food storage since they are readily available, familiar, and inexpensive when purchased on sale and with coupons.

However, over time, those products either went bad (3 year-old salad dressings don’t do well over time!) or we used them up. I remember one day looking at all my 40+ jars of marinara sauce and thinking, “What will I do when all of these are gone someday?”

Even then, as a new prepper, I realized that I needed to know how to make things like marinara sauce, ketchup, crackers, and even breakfast cereals from scratch, and also have the ingredients to do so.

Now, with the knowledge I’ve gained over the past 7 years, I’ve added things like laundry soap, household cleaners, home remedies, soap, and lotions to that list. I mean, if I can make homemade cheese crackers, why can’t I also make homemade lip balm?

Knowledge + Skills + The correct supplies/ingredients

Starting this week our new skill will be all about collecting recipes, instructions, and supplies to begin making more and more things from scratch.

Not only will these items be healthier, since you will know exactly what goes into them, but for preppers, you’ll have the added advantage of knowing how to make necessary foods and products your family uses, along with a shopping list so you can make those things years from now.

Keep in mind that when you stock up on something like chili powder, for example, you won’t be using it just for homemade popcorn seasoning but for dozens of other recipes. Individual ingredients will be far more versatile and useful to you than store-bought, ready made items.

Does that make sense?

Let’s kick this off with these 2 recipes!

Ketchup was the first on the chopping block when I began searching out homemade recipes that were healthier and, in many instances, cheaper than homemade. I love making homemade ketchup because it is so easy to customize. Although this recipe calls for honey, we have made it with as little as 1 Tablespoon of honey and, at other times, used stevia or other sweetners.

Here’s my recipe for Homemade Ketchup:

6 oz. tomato paste

1/4 c. honey*, or to taste

1/2 c. white vinegar

1/4 c. water

3/4 t. salt

1/4 t. onion powder

1/4 t. garlic powder

Whisk all these ingredients together in a medium size saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 30 minutes and allow to cool before pouring it into a container. We use squeeze bottles but you could also recycle old ketchup bottles for this use.

I highly recommend having more than one bottle to use because you will probably end up wanting to double this recipe so you don’t have to make it too often. It stores very well in the fridge.

We have made so many variations of this, including a spicy ketchup with Tony Chachere’s seasoning salt.

*Honey, sugar, stevia, Splenda, or any other sweetener will work well here, just be sure to add a little at a time to get the taste you and your family prefer.

The second homemade recipe I wanted to share with you comes from my friend Gaye Levy who blogs at Backdoor Survival.

DIY Miracle Healing Salve

The basic ingredients are quite simple:

1  cup coconut oil (not fractionated)
1  cup extra virgin olive oil
5  tablespoon Organic Beeswax Pastilles

Along with these, you’ll add lavender, rosemary, and peppermint essential oils. This is one of Gaye’s most popular articles, and this recipe makes plenty of this salve.

Read details and instructions here.

You can do this!

How many more ordinary household items could you switch from store-bought to homemade? That’s what we are about to find out this month!

Coming soon is a webinar with author Lisa Barthuly. She has written extensively on mixing your own household cleaners and other products, and even a homemade “Vaseline”! You can buy her book on Amazon, A Simply Homemade Clean, if you want to get a jump start. That webinar is tentatively scheduled for the week of February 16. When it’s confirmed, I’ll post the details here as well as in my weekly email.

Ready to roll? What do you make from scratch that you would like to share with all of us? Post it in the Comment section. Thanks!

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