The Survival Mom » Food Storage http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Wed, 20 Aug 2014 06:00:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Top 10 Food Storage Tips from Food Storage Pros http://thesurvivalmom.com/top-10-food-storage-tips-food-storage-pros/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=top-10-food-storage-tips-food-storage-pros http://thesurvivalmom.com/top-10-food-storage-tips-food-storage-pros/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 18:40:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=17099 10) Never underestimate the importance of the staples. You may receive products in a pre-designed food storage kit that you may not want, but someone else might. Even if it’s something you don’t want or need, it may be useful Read More

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10) Never underestimate the importance of the staples. You may receive products in a pre-designed food storage kit that you may not want, but someone else might. Even if it’s something you don’t want or need, it may be useful in the future for barter, pet food, or something else entirely. (If you don’t want to buy anything that you already know your family is allergic to or just won’t eat, a pre-packaged “survival food” kit probably isn’t for you.)

food storage tips9) Use your food storage to make sure you like it and you know how to use it. Do this before a big emergency hits! Just having food is a huge step in the right direction, but if you won’t eat the food or don’t know how to cook with it, what’s the point?

8) Rule of thumb: Oxygen absorbers work for years, nitrogen works for decades. It’s a fact, there is no better storage environment for food than nitrogen. Keep this in mind when your purchasing food storage or are packaging products at home.

7) Rotate, Rotate, Rotate. Every few years, pull out some of your oldest products, use them, cook with them, learn if you like them and then replace them. This keeps fresh food storage in your pantry at all times and you get to check off #9!

6) Store for your pets. I know this may sound silly, but your pet can be your biggest asset. Whether it’s for a home alarm system, hunting buddy, or just a companion, don’t underestimate your little furr-kid.

5) Buy and store quality – It’s like a parachute, it has to work. Sure, you got it for $.10 a box, but if it has absolutely no nutritional value and actually requires more energy to prepare than you get out of it, why would you store it?

4) Don’t keep everything in one place. Imagine you have a basement where all of you food and water is perfectly organized and stored, but then a massive storm rolls through and floods your basement and you and your family are stranded in the house. The food is directly below you, but completely ruined and inaccessible. The same goes for fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and any other disaster. Get creative. Try putting some of your food under beds, at the base of closets, behind the couch, anywhere.

3) Keep your food and water in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Heat is the biggest enemy of foods and whether your foods are in Mylar bags or steel cans, that metal container will work like an oven in the heat or sunlight and cook your food, thus eliminating your nutritional value and destroying your shelf life.

2) Purchase and store foods you eat. If you’re purchasing a pre-designed unit that comes with foods you may not want, but it’s cheaper to get it that way, ignore me. BUT! If you have the option to individualize your food storage, do it! A lot of food storage companies out there today only offer combination packs of fruits or vegetables, but for me, even the thought of peaches makes me nauseous, so why would I want that? If you can find a company that sells those products individually without forcing you to purchase their variety, half of which you won’t eat, you may have a winner.

1) Your kids won’t always be kids, plan accordingly. Sure, you have a 6, 8, and 10 year old who don’t eat as much as adults, however, in just 6 short years, you’ll have a 12, 14, and 16 year olds who all can scarf down a whole pizza by themselves. If you plan on having to feed all adults, you’ll never be in the position of not having enough food when you need it.

This list contributed by the experts at Ready Reserve Foods, long-time friends of The Survival Mom and a new sponsor. Visit their website here. To get 20% off your purchases of food from Ready Reserve, use coupon code SURVIVAL.

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Why You Should Store Rubber Bands http://thesurvivalmom.com/store-rubber-bands/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=store-rubber-bands http://thesurvivalmom.com/store-rubber-bands/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 15:00:36 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16631 If you have children you might have had a vision of living-room rubber band wars pop into your head after reading the title of this article… but that’s not quite what I had in mind. Of course having things that Read More

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Rubber Bands & Food StorageIf you have children you might have had a vision of living-room rubber band wars pop into your head after reading the title of this article… but that’s not quite what I had in mind. Of course having things that can occupy kids in a time of crisis is a VERY GOOD THING but we’ll leave that for another post.

In this case, the humble rubber band can help us to rotate and maintain our food storage supplies at the level we want for our families.

My food storage room is filled with shelves that house all the items (food and non-food) that my family will need to have if we can’t go to the store for whatever reason. We use this room daily. It’s not a dusty stockpile in a bunker that will never get used. It’s constantly rotated as things are needed for every-day meals.

Maybe our supply of ketchup consists of 12 bottles of ketchup for the time period we’ve chosen, (which for our family is 1 year)  That’s one bottle per month that we use.

How do I figure out how much ketchup (or anything else) we use?

  • Write the date it was opened, either on the container itself or on the calendar.
  • Use the item as we normally would.
  • When it’s empty or used up, write that date on the calendar.
  • Figure out how long the item lasted.
  • Calculate how many we’d use in a year.
  • Multiply that number by 1.5.
  • Note this number in your Food Supply Notebook.
  • That gives me 150% of that item (you’ll find out why 150% in just a minute).

In our ketchup example, we figured that one bottle of ketchup lasts for one month in our house. That would be 12 bottles of ketchup for a year. Then we multiply that by 1.5 and we get 18 bottles of ketchup. If I’m starting from scratch, the next time there’s a great deal on ketchup, I’ll go buy 18 bottles of ketchup. (You won’t want to hear the word ‘ketchup’ again after reading this article. ;) )

We bring those bottles home and lovingly place them on their assigned ketchup shelf. Then we admire our accomplishment. I know what you’re thinking: “You can’t live on just ketchup.” Yes I know, that’s why we are doing this with all sorts of shelf stable items. Ketchup is just the example.

The next step is to employ the services of the humble rubber band.  Count back in your line of beautiful ketchup bottles to bottle number 6. Apply the rubber band to that bottle. Now we wait…we wait for that bottle to make it’s way to the kitchen. When it does that is the cue that it’s time to replenish your  ketchup supply.

“But wait,” you’re saying to yourself, “you still have 12 bottles of ketchup sitting behind the rubber-banded one.” To that I would say, “Right! Your years supply is intact!” So no matter when The Crisis happens, you have a year from that point until you run out of ketchup.

We all have personal/family level   crisis-es (I don’t know how to spell ‘Kri-seez’)  emergencies that pop up now and then. Maybe it’s a temporary job loss or a medical bill or an unplanned car repair that has you dipping into the food budget so you can’t replenish your food supplies, or maybe an extended illness or bad weather keeps you from the grocery store.

What if these scenarios happened right before a regional or national event where the grocery stores, as we know them now, aren’t available? If we use the humble rubber band method, we could rest easy knowing we still had a full-year supply for our family.

This works for everything that a rubber band can fit around. For larger things like Toilet paper, just pull out the Sharpie and write ‘restock’ on the package that the rubber-band would have been on. Many big packages have smaller packages inside them, like four packs of TP inside the larger back, that you can mark. One roll per day is my year number for that. There are 8 bums in my house, and in a crisis there would be more!

How many ketchup bottles should be in your supply?

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Food Storage: Where do I begin? http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-begin/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=food-storage-begin http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-begin/#comments Sat, 02 Aug 2014 01:00:24 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=16580 When I was finally convinced that we needed to start a supply of food storage, I kept it simple. I know there are many books, websites and planners out there to help, and I have used some of those to Read More

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food storageWhen I was finally convinced that we needed to start a supply of food storage, I kept it simple. I know there are many books, websites and planners out there to help, and I have used some of those to get some tips and suggestions after I made my initial plan, but all you really need is a pencil, some paper and some time.

Start small

I started off with a small goal – having a week’s worth of food. I decided to plan for our most likely scenarios, loss of power or blizzard. The only rules I established was that it needed to be food my family would eat and that the meals wouldn’t require anything that needed to be refrigerated once it was open, like mayonnaise. I assumed that we would just about eat everything that was prepared for that one meal and if not, we have a dog that could eat the leftovers.

Do a meal plan

I used Excel to lay out my plan, but this could be done on paper as well. I created columns for each day and then rows for each meal. It’s important to include snacks and drinks as well. I tried to include a variety of items for lunch and dinner, but some families don’t mind repetition of food.

I simply planned oatmeal for breakfast, peanut butter, tuna or chicken sandwiches or soup with bread for lunch and then chose seven dinners that I knew my family liked. I ended up with chili, spaghetti, rice and beans, chicken fried rice, pasta with chicken and vegetables, tortellini soup and taco soup. For snacks, I wrote down nuts, dried fruit and some of the typical items we keep in our pantry, like cheese crackers. For drinks, I listed one gallon of water per person and then added in dry milk, drink powder and coffee.

Make a grocery list for your food storage

After I decided what my meals would be, I went through each one and made a grocery list of what I would need for that week’s worth of food:

  1. One large tub of peanut butter
  2. Four cans of soup
  3. Two big cans of tuna
  4. Four big cans of chicken
  5. Oatmeal
  6. Raisins, etc.

I made sure to write down seasonings for the meals and ingredients for bread. I added jalapenos to the list since my husband likes his food spicier than ours.

Look for smart buys

With a list, I could then look for sales and get our supply started. It took me about a month or so to get a full week’s worth of food stashed away, but it felt like a big accomplishment. Really, I felt like I wanted to throw a party to celebrate our family being prepared. Instead, I took my children on a tour of our “downstairs pantry” and the smile on my oldest child’s face was enough celebration. She is our worrier and now she didn’t have to worry about being hungry if we lost power or were trapped by a blizzard. Mommy and Daddy were all set to take care of her.

Just do it

If you already do meal planning, using a method like this could make starting a food supply really easy. There are other steps to take once you establish food storage, but the first step is to plan. Then, follow your plan and get the food. After that you can figure out what inventory and rotation system works for you as you add to the supply. After I had a week’s worth of food, I challenged myself to get a second week’s supply, and on it goes.

How did you start your food supply? Did you use an established method or figure it out on your own? What would your advice be to someone just getting started?

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10 Reasons Why You Should Be Canning Your Own Meat http://thesurvivalmom.com/canning-your-own-meat/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=canning-your-own-meat http://thesurvivalmom.com/canning-your-own-meat/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:00:51 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=15852 You’ll be hooked, I tell you.  Once you learn how to bottle your own meats, you’ll never go back to the old way of doing it. Think about your meat habits.  Do you put up a 1/2 beef in your Read More

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canning your own meatYou’ll be hooked, I tell you.  Once you learn how to bottle your own meats, you’ll never go back to the old way of doing it.

Think about your meat habits.  Do you put up a 1/2 beef in your freezer every year? Do you buy fresh from the butcher and take it home to prepare? Do you buy in bulk and freeze what you aren’t using right away?  Do you buy canned meats?  All of these practices have their own pros and cons.  Today I’m going to share with you my top reasons for learning to bottle your own meats, and if you give it a try, your life will never be the same.

 #1 – Save freezer space

For most people, freezer space is at a premium.  If we can get those meats out of that precious space and into a bottle on a shelf then the space can be much better utilized for things like ice cream and otter pops.  You know, the important stuff.

#2 -  Buy in bulk

When we see a great ‘do-not-pass-up’ deal on meats, we’re able to take advantage of it, get our bottles filled and processed and not have to eat the same meat for every meal that week/month before it goes bad or gets freezer burned.

#3 – Use fuel you have now

In our everyday, non-emergency lives, we have fuel.  We cook, heat and cool with it all the time and don’t think much about it.  Many have the plan that when the power goes out, they’ll just pull out the camp chef and propane and bottle the meats in the freezer at that point.  I’m here to tell you that when things go crazy, there will be much more to worry about than canning your thawing meats.  Why not take care of it now when you have the time, readily available fuel and energy to get it done?

#4 – You know what goes in the bottle

No hidden ingredients.  What goes in is what comes out.  No artificial anything.  Unless you are into that sort of thing. Then by all means, add those artificial ingredients!

#5 – Painless power outages

Cooking during a power outage is so simple with bottled meats.  They are completely cooked through so we just add them to whatever recipe we are throwing together and heat it up.  No extended cooking times (which use up precious alternative fuels).

# 6 – Save money (really this reason alone should convince you)

Canned meats are expensive.  Where I live a small tuna sized can of chicken,  10 ounces, is about $3.  With my large family, a meal gets pretty pricey buying canned meats.  But I can bottle a whole quart (2 lbs) of chicken for about $3.00.  I buy my chicken in bulk, usually 80 lbs at a time for less than $2 per pound, sometimes way less.  Then I’m always eating sale price chicken.  That 80# will keep me until the next big sale when I just rinse and repeat.

#7 – Save time

With the meats thoroughly cooked, we’ve eliminated a lot of the time involved with meal prep.  It does take time to bottle the meats but that’s a concentrated and efficient amount of time that is planned for another day.

#8 – Save braincells

I’m not much of a thinker-aheader when it comes to daily meal times (I’m working on that).  With meat out of the freezer I have to think at least 8-10 hours ahead (who does that?) and sometimes most of the time it just doesn’t happen… but I can open a can of canned meats and have a meal on the table in about 20 minutes because all I have to do is assemble and heat it through.

#9 – Save the planet

Okay, we’re not really saving the planet, but canning jars are reusable so at least we’re not contributing to the landfill by using cans.  There is a little bit of an investment to get started if you buy them new but they can also be found at yard-sales or thrift stores, or just ask around your neighborhood. You might find an elderly neighbor who is happy to pass along their bottles to someone who will put them to good use.  That’s you.

#10 – Less waste

Canning jars come in all sizes.  Use the size that your family will eat in one meal.  At my house we use both quarts and pints for chicken and beef because sometimes the meal will be for all of us and sometimes the kids are off doing kid stuff and it’s just mom dad and the littles at home.

BONUS   #11 – Satisfaction

In a world where we can hire almost everything out, there is something to be said for the satisfaction of doing it ourselves.  Self-reliance in skills and knowledge brings a peace that cannot come any other way.  Providing for our families is our number one job and doing it well is a wonderful thing.

Are you convinced yet?  If you’re ready to jump in take a look at THIS ARTICLE  I wrote on the subject.  Don’t be afraid of the number of steps.  I just broke it down into tiny baby steps so anyone can do it.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes or if you have questions.  You’ll wonder why you didn’t do  it sooner.

Lisa’s note: I buy meat and chicken in bulk through Zaycon foods. The chicken breasts are fresh and about twice the size of those at the grocery store. I highly recommend Zaycon bacon, ground beef, and chicken. Click here for more info. 

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5 Tips for Maximizing Garden Produce http://thesurvivalmom.com/maximizing-garden-produce/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=maximizing-garden-produce http://thesurvivalmom.com/maximizing-garden-produce/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 10:00:24 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=15889 If you keep a garden of any size, it can be hard to keep up with a harvest that’s coming in at various points during the growing season. It can be a bit of a juggling act to eat what’s Read More

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Maximizing Garden Produce - The Survival MomIf you keep a garden of any size, it can be hard to keep up with a harvest that’s coming in at various points during the growing season. It can be a bit of a juggling act to eat what’s fresh and preserve the extra for winter eating. It’s not always easy to decide either what should be eaten fresh and what should be saved. Let’s face it – it’s all tasty!

No one wants to let all that homegrown (and earned through hard work) produce go to waste. In order to get the most out of a garden’s produce, you need to make a concerted effort to include eating and the preserving it all in your weekly meal and to-do list planning.

Here are my tips for maximizing garden produce.

What to Eat Fresh

Use up the small bits. When there are just small handfuls of various things – a few lonely peas, handfuls of greens, a radish or two – it’s probably not worth the effort to preserve them. Use these small bits up in green salads, pasta salads, stir fries, and smoothies. There’s no reason why the small fresh bits can’t be included in every meal.

For breakfast, eat toast topped with thinly sliced radishes topped and a fried egg. For a mid-day snack, toss a few berries with yogurt and maybe some greens into a blender for a smoothies. For lunch, a pasta salad with that handful of fresh peas, chopped baby carrot, and few stray cherry tomatoes is pretty darn heavenly.  For dinner, all those little bits with some rice and meat (if so desired) make a tasty, filling, and frugal meal.Maximizing Garden Produce - The Survival Mom

Is it better fresh?  Some things are just better fresh than preserved and this is somewhat of a personal preference too. Rutabagas, for instance, aren’t great canned. Unless you have a root cellar, these should be eaten fresh. On the other hand, beets are pretty tasty either pressure canned or pickled. They can be preserved for later whilst eating up the rutabaga or turnip harvest.

Zucchini freezes and dries well, but might be preferred fresh, sautéed with some onions and garlic as an immediate side dish, instead of storing tons grated in the freezer for bread later on.

What to Preserve for Later

The windfalls. When something comes in like gangbusters or a neighbor gives you 20 pounds of sweet cherries, this is the time to put in some preservation effort. When there’s too much to eat fresh before spoilage happens, pull out the canner, bags for freezing, or dehydrator, and get to work.

These are the green beans that fill many winter soups and casseroles, the frozen zucchini for Christmas loaves of bread, and the dehydrated apricots that go into morning oatmeal.

The good preservers. Like above, if your family likes canned carrots, can those while eating the peas or asparagus fresh. Tomatoes tend to come ripe in giant batches. This is the time for salsa or sauce making, rather than trying to eat them all before they rot. All those bushy, over-productive herbs, they’re easily dried and oh-so-good in winter meals and teas.

Maximizing Garden Produce - The Survival MomThe small bits that become overwhelming.  Maybe you’re eating fresh zucchini with breakfast, lunch, and dinner and having salads and snacking on radishes and still have a handful or two of various vegetables that you’re having trouble using up.

This is the time to cook up some mixed veggie soups or meat and veggie soups to save for winter. You can preserve these soups in a pressure-canner or freeze for later use and are great ways to use up odds and ends for quick, frugal meals later on. This is also a good time to stretch those jam-making skills and get creative with small batches .

In the end, everyone needs to make decisions based on their family’s preferences. There’s no point in making 18 pints of rhubarb chutney if no one likes to actually eat rhubarb chutney.  Maximizing garden produce should be all about how a family will eat that produce, not only fresh but also preserved for the leaner months of winter.

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Small Batch Fruit Preserving http://thesurvivalmom.com/small-batch-fruit-preserving/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=small-batch-fruit-preserving http://thesurvivalmom.com/small-batch-fruit-preserving/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 10:00:03 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=15966 As we work on maximizing garden produce, we need to stretch our preservation skills to include small batches. Fruit sauces, butters, and syrups are all easy and tasty ways to put up small bits of produce before any spoilage occurs. It might seem Read More

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Small Batch Fruit Preserving - The Survival Mom

As we work on maximizing garden produce, we need to stretch our preservation skills to include small batches. Fruit sauces, butters, and syrups are all easy and tasty ways to put up small bits of produce before any spoilage occurs. It might seem intimidating at first, but with a little confidence and some practice, small batch fruit preserving can quickly add up to a stocked pantry.

Making Fruit Sauces

Applesauce is probably the most common of all fruit sauces. However, almost any fruit can be made into a sauce or combined with other fruits into sauce. Pear sauce is especially yummy, as is apple-pear sauce. Apple combines well with most berries and even rhubarb.

To make a fruit sauce, simply core and chop fruit (peeling is optional) and place in a pot with an inch or two of water at the bottom. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook until the fruit is soft. Remove from heat and either mash with a potato masher for a chunky sauce, or run through a food mill or blender for a smooth sauce. Bring this sauce to a boil one more time (adding sugar and spices if desired) before putting into jars and processing in a water bath.

When canning mixtures, can to the fruit that takes the longest amount of time to process. If you make apple-cherry sauce for instance in quart jars; apples need 20 minutes but cherries need 25 minutes. Process for the longer time, 25 minutes to keep everything safe.

Making Fruit Butters

Fruit butters are basically fruit sauces that have been cooked down even more into a thick, butter-like substance. These are a bit easier and less fussy than jams and jellies. They tend to be sweetened and spiced often, but this is a personal preference. When making a fruit butter, start just like making a fruit sauce by cooking the fruit until soft. Remove from heat and puree into a think sauce. To this sauce add spices and sugar as desired: peach-honey-vanilla is quite nice as is pear anise.

Fruit butters need to cook for a while in order to remove the water content and get thick. This can be done on the stove over very low heat but requires much stirring in order to prevent scorching. An easier way to do it is to put it in the slow cooker on low, keeping the lid off. The fruit will cook down with minimum stirring and make the house smell nice too. Process in a water bath canner according to the fruit that takes the longest time for safe processing.

Making Fruit Syrups

Fruit syrups are essentially sweetened fruit juices. Berries, cherries, and grapes make especially nice syrups. A basic fruit syrup method:

  1. Crush fruit in a saucepan and heat to boiling, simmering until soft – probably 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Strain through a colander and drain until cool enough to handle.
  3. Strain the collected juice through a double layer of cheesecloth or jelly bag.
  4. Discard the dry pulp.
  5. To the pressed juice, add sugar or honey and bring to a boil, simmering for 1 minute.
  6. Remove from heat, skim off foam, and pour into jars leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
  7. Process in a boiling water bath 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude.

Ways to Use The Preserves

Obviously fruit sauces make great snacks, fruit butters are great on toast just like jam, and fruit syrups are great on pancakes or waffles.  However, their versatility goes much further:

  • Unsweetened, plain applesauce makes a great fat replacer in baked goods. Other sauces would work as well, but might change flavor slightly, so experiment.
  • Fruit butters can often be used in baked goods just like jam or jelly – tarts, cookies, bars, etc.
  • Fruit Syrups mixed with club soda or even water kefir make for an occasional fun treat that’s great for kids birthday parties!
  • For a more adult version, mix fruit syrups with vodka or brandy for a cold night toddy.
  • The sauces, butters, and syrups make great mix-ins for yogurt, oatmeal, rice, even smoothies.

Take advantage of all those small bits of fruit and watch the pantry shelves fill quickly with homemade goodness for your family to enjoy all year long.

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10 Tips for Selecting an Emergency Food Storage Company http://thesurvivalmom.com/10-tips-selecting-emergency-food-storage-company/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=10-tips-selecting-emergency-food-storage-company http://thesurvivalmom.com/10-tips-selecting-emergency-food-storage-company/#comments Sat, 05 Jul 2014 19:00:46 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=15802 If you have ever tried to find the ‘right’ emergency food company to buy from, you may have seen just how many of them are out there. They all make similar claims about being the best for various reasons. It Read More

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Emergency Food Storage

If you have ever tried to find the ‘right’ emergency food company to buy from, you may have seen just how many of them are out there. They all make similar claims about being the best for various reasons.

It can be extremely overwhelming. Whatever your reasons for buying some long term emergency food in the first place, it can leave you feeling frustrated and tempted to just throw your hands up and put it off.

I have heard people say things like, “I will buy some when I have more time to research it,” or “They are all basically the same, I will just get one of those buckets from Wally World.”

I cringe when I hear this for several reasons. The purpose of this article is not to tell you which one to buy, but more to arm you with some criteria so you can choose the best one for you and your family.

10 Tips for Selecting an Emergency Food Storage Company (not in any particular order).

  1. Price per meal. Single packs are more expensive than buying in bulk. It is also important to pay attention to how many servings are in each bag. Some companies have large 4-serving pouches of dinner entrees, while others might contain just 2 servings. This affects the price per meal.
  2. Method of cooking. Some companies sell their meals in pouches that allow you to pour boiling water directly into them and let them steep, much like cup-o-noodles. Others require a pot and fire or other heating source to cook them. Consider your situation and where you see yourself actually using these meals. Will you have a pot to use? Do you have other ways to heat water and food if the power goes out?
  3. Ingredients. This is very important. Because you are looking at food to be used during an emergency, high quality food is more important than ever. Filling up on a bunch of chemicals and preservatives will have a greater negative impact should you find yourself surviving a disaster than just sitting on a couch. Just because you’re buying emergency food doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your family’s health.
  4. Caloric value per serving. This ties in with the ingredients criteria. Going ‘low fat, low carb’ is not the smartest option in an emergency and a SHTF situation is no time to worry over eating too much. You will absolutely be burning more calories than you do on average, especially if you are bugging out. Pay close attention to how many calories you will get per serving. Make sure you are getting at least 1800 a day per adult to maintain your body’s systems.
  5. Taste. Hunger will only go so far in making food taste good. Some companies offer a free sample or smaller containers so you can taste their product, and I highly encourage you to take advantage of it. If you never try the food until you need it to survive, you may be in for a nasty surprise. Taste plays an important role in not only palatable sustenance, it can improve morale and overall feelings of ‘normality’ which will be a precious thing in a catastrophe. If you cannot get a free sample, look into buying just one or two pouches. See if the company sells single packs via the internet or in chain stores such as Walmart, REI, Cabela’s, and others.
  6. Specialized diet options. Do any of the people in your group have allergies to certain foods? Is anyone vegan or have other special needs? There are companies out there who offer large varieties of packages that suit pretty much everyone’s needs.
  7. Do they offer packs of just one item such as a bucket of freeze dried chicken? While getting a 1 month bucket for each family member is wonderful, each person will still have the same foods to choose from and it will get boring. Companies that offer supplemental foods such as rice side dishes or dried fruit will make for a nice variety.
  8. What kind of variety? Can you combine to make new creations? Companies that do not have much of a variety should be avoided. At some point, you will need to get creative and extras on the side will help greatly. Depending on the time of year, you may be able to forage or hunt for some of your food and only need to add some freeze dried chicken or dried mixed veggies to make a meal.
  9. Weight. Weight is a consideration mostly for those who are bugging out. You do not want to have a pack so heavy that you cannot make it 2 miles.
  10. Optimal storage conditions and shelf life. You want to get high quality food, but you also want something that will last a good, long time. Look into what the optimum storage conditions are and how long the food will last for that time. Then factor in what kind of storage conditions you have available and go from there. Ask yourself if you think food that should last 20 years in perfect storage conditions will only last 10 years in the conditions I have – is it still worth it? Can I improve the conditions?

 

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Food storage recipes for your sweet tooth http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-recipes-sweet-tooth/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=food-storage-recipes-sweet-tooth http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-recipes-sweet-tooth/#comments Sat, 05 Jul 2014 15:50:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=15258 Sometimes when we think about food storage, rice, beans, and, hey!, more rice and beans come to mind. This type of thinking totally misses the point of food storage recipes that taste good. Recipes made with traditional “food storage” ingredients Read More

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food storage recipes

image by lindsayloveshermac (Creative Commons)

Sometimes when we think about food storage, rice, beans, and, hey!, more rice and beans come to mind. This type of thinking totally misses the point of food storage recipes that taste good.

Recipes made with traditional “food storage” ingredients can taste just as good as fresh. Here are 2 examples shared by Augason Farms.

 

Blueberry Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk or buttermilk

5 tablespoons Augason Farms Dried Whole Eggs

1/4 cup butter – melted

1/3 cup Augason Farms White Granulated Sugar

5 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup Augason Farms Freeze Dried Whole Blueberries

Pinch of salt

Directions:

Rehydrate blueberries in lukewarm water for 15 minutes. Grease or line a muffin tin with papers. Sift dry ingredients. Beat milk, butter, vanilla, water and sugar together. Add to dry ingredients. Drain blueberries and add to muffin mixture. Spoon into muffin tin and bake at 375˚F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with sugar if desired. Makes 12 muffins.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup dry Morning Moo’s Milk Alternative
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp water
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
5 Tbsp Augason Farms Dried Whole Eggs
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 – 2 cups chocolate chips

Directions:

Make this food storage recipe by mixing Morning Moo’s Milk, oil, water and sugars together. Add vanilla; beat for 2 minutes. Mix in dry ingredients, carefully mix in chocolate chips last. Place spoonfuls of dough on greased cookie sheets and flatten. Bake at 350°F for 7 minutes.

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REVIEW: Green coffee beans – The Perfect Cuppa Joe Today and Long-Term Storage Tomorrow http://thesurvivalmom.com/green-coffee-beans/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=green-coffee-beans http://thesurvivalmom.com/green-coffee-beans/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=15441 My favorite time of the day is Coffee:30. Warning: Do not attempt to activate this person without coffee! You call it coffee, I call it Liquid Sanity. When it comes to serious coffee addictions, I think I’ve heard every joke Read More

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My favorite time of the day is Coffee:30.

Warning: Do not attempt to activate this person without coffee!

You call it coffee, I call it Liquid Sanity.

green coffee beansWhen it comes to serious coffee addictions, I think I’ve heard every joke there is. I don’t quite fall into that category myself, but when I was given a 2-pound bag of Green Colombian Coffee Beans from Coffee-Reserves and asked my coffee-addicted friends to help me out, they jumped to volunteer. I never knew so many of them just had to have that cup of Liquid Sanity every day!

The green coffee bean experiment, as one friend called it, was a rousing success. Who knew green coffee beans could be so much fun?

Not for just a cup now but long-term storage for later

As I listened to my friends’ experiences with roasting and grinding the beans and then enjoying the fruits of their labor, I was impressed with the versatility of green coffee beans. Coffee drinkers are a lot like beer drinkers. Each has his or her own preferences and often refuse to drink anything else. By using beans that haven’t yet been roasted, each person can get the customized taste and body they want for that perfect cup of coffee.

Coffee-Reserves ships all their green coffee beans packed in nitrogen, which forces oxygen out of the container, giving the beans a longer shelf life. For more protection against oxygen, an oxygen absorber is also added. I especially appreciate the fact that their bucket of green coffee beans is, in fact, a bucket of 2 lb. bags, insuring that each and every bag remains sealed and fresh until it’s opened.

The Green Coffee Beans Experiment

To launch this experiment, I identified 3 coffee-crazy friends, Amy, Joyce, and Michelle, and furnished each with one cup of green coffee beans.

Roasting the beans is the first step, and there are multiple ways to do that. We each used different techniques: hot air popcorn popper, a cast iron skillet, oven roasting, and an actual coffee bean roaster. I was very impressed that we didn’t need any specialized equipment, although out of all 4 of us, Michelle, with the coffee roaster, probably had the easiest time of it.

To make this process easy for their customers, Coffee-Reserves provides detailed instructions for roasting beans here.

Roasting reports

My friend Amy used the hot air popper and reported:

All went well as we placed about 4 ounces of the nutty smelling green beans into the hot air popper.  I let it run for a couple of minutes before adding them to make sure the popper was super hot.  I stirred the batch to make sure the temperature was consistent as the fragrance began to rise.  Some of the beans launched from the popper because I did not put a chimney globe on top to prevent them traveling.  (For the second batch I just flipped the plastic lid over to prevent loss) I hated to return the beans that popped out for fear the batch would be negatively affected by the differing temperatures.

The dog ate one of the fallen beans!  She guarded the house quite alertly that evening!!

After about four minutes of stirring we heard the first crack, only a minute or so later we heard the second crack and poured the beans into a metal colander.  We shook the colander a couple minutes and aired the medium brown beans for about forty-eight hours.

Amy said that her beans weren’t consistently a dark brown color the first time around but with a second batch, she let them roast a couple more minutes past that second crack.

Joyce roasted hers in a cast iron skillet over a gas stove. She said the process was simple enough, she just had to keep stirring the beans while they roasted. With this technique, the skillet needs to be at an extremely high temperature, at least 500 degrees Fahrenheit, so pre-heating and having a way to measure the temperature are important parts of the process.

My own roasting experience required very high temperatures as well. I chose to roast my beans in our gas oven. It was a very simple process that required placing the beans in a metal steamer. I put the steamer on a baking sheet and roasted the beans for almost 8 minutes. Since this was the first time I had ever roasted coffee beans, I didn’t leave them in the oven as long as I should have. They were browned, but not evenly and not dark enough.

Well-roasted beans will appear dark brown and oily.

It was Michelle, a true coffee fanatic, who used an actual coffee bean roaster. She has years of experience roasting green coffee beans, and the final results of her beans looked to be the best, with the beans a nice dark brown with visible oil. She said,

The green beans were identical to the ones I buy locally in smell, size, and texture. I roasted them the same way I do my African beans.

As Michelle had described her typical roasting process, I could tell I was in the presence of coffee master. She asked if I wanted a light, medium, or dark roast and said that dark roast was her favorite. I was impressed that she had the expertise to get variable results, and when she said that she loved the cup of coffee from her Coffee-Reserves beans, I was thrilled.

What about the taste?

Everyone agreed that they loved the flavor and aroma of their cup of coffee. Michelle, the coffee expert, said:

The smell of the fresh cup of coffee was delicious and the flavor was remarkably smooth. For flavor alone, I would buy the coffee.

Amy agreed and said, “My first batch smelled great and I could not wait to grind and brew!!  I ground them pretty fine and brewed six cups of coffee. The taste was very French, and a little bitter.  However, the caffeine proved the batch worthy.”

Joyce liked the flavor as well and commented on the smooth taste. She served it to a couple of friends who also liked it.

All 3 of my friends had coffee grinders. I was the odd man out and decided to grind mine using my Ninja food processor. I also had a manual grain mill that would have done the job nicely as well.

Coffee-Reserves has a real winner in their green coffee beans. They are easy for even a beginner to roast, grind, and across the board, the final cup of coffee got a thumbs up from everyone who participated in my experiment.

Tips for beginners

First, I recommend not being afraid to purchase green coffee beans if you love your coffee. I had never roasted coffee beans before, and yet I was able to get decent results on my first try using nothing but my gas oven, a metal steamer, and a baking sheet. It took more time pre-heating the oven than it did to roast the beans.

A second tip and one of the lessons we all learned was the importance of roasting very small batches at first. My friend who referred to this as an “experiment” was exactly right. If you aren’t an experienced roaster, it may take roasting 2 or 3 small batches before you get just the right timing and results. In fact, I recommend making a note on either the bucket or the bag of beans with the exact temperature and timing of your favored roasting process.

Specialized equipment does make the roasting and grinding process easier. If you stock up on green coffee beans, eventually you’ll want to make life easier by investing in a good roaster and grinder. These can be found on Amazon and in specialty stores. If you decide to use a grain mill to grind your roasted beans, consider the Wondermill Junior.

Why store green coffee beans?

For a very long time I have strongly encouraged readers to stock up on comfort foods. Rice, beans, and staples are all well and good, and necessary, but in times of stress, nothing comforts like a favorite food or beverage. For millions of people, it’s that cup of hot coffee that soothes, relaxes, and comforts.

Coffee-Reserves realized early on that their beans aren’t just good quality and priced well, but by packaging them for  long-term storage, the beans can become an important part of a family’s food storage pantry. For non-coffee lovers, they make a great item for barter as well.

Check out the green Colombian coffee beans sold by Coffee-Reserves, and tell them The Survival Mom sent you!

 

 

 

 

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How to Stretch your Grocery Budget on Taco Night http://thesurvivalmom.com/stretch-grocery-budget-taco-night/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=stretch-grocery-budget-taco-night http://thesurvivalmom.com/stretch-grocery-budget-taco-night/#comments Sun, 29 Jun 2014 12:00:35 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=15530 Tacos are a favorite with our crew. Not just tacos, I mean all things related to the humble taco. Crispy tacos, Soft Tacos, Taco Salad, and even Taco Soup. With a family of 8, it can be tough to stretch Read More

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Extending Ground Beef

Tacos are a favorite with our crew. Not just tacos, I mean all things related to the humble taco. Crispy tacos, Soft Tacos, Taco Salad, and even Taco Soup. With a family of 8, it can be tough to stretch that pound of hamburger as far as it needs to go to feed everyone. With teenage boys, it’s even tougher. If you’re like us, then you need to stretch your grocery budget.

With meat prices on the rise, family food budgets shrinking, and the kids still just as picky as ever, we sometimes have to get a little creative to make mealtimes work at our house.

When I was a kid my mom would extend the ground beef by adding TVP. Umm. Yuck!   No offense mom but texturized vegetable protein from the 70’s left a lot to be desired in the texture department. If you aren’t a child of the 70’s or 80’s just imaging those little rubber bouncy balls ground up and added to your taco meat.

It did take on the taste of whatever flavorings you used for your dish but there was no hiding that icky texture.

I’m pretty sure the TVP has improved over time because it’s still on the market with lots of variety in flavorings. But you won’t find me using it at my house…I think I must have been traumatized by TVP as a child.

Remember those picky eaters I mentioned above? If there is a ‘green thing’ visible in the dish it might as we’ll be horse manure as far as getting them to eat it. So, I have to get a little creative with my bunch.

Stretching ground beef has become a bit of a challenge, but over the years I’ve landed on a few things that work at my house. The following list is by no means all inclusive. In fact, I’m sure that there are dozens of other ways to extend ground meats but I’m a little on the lazy super busy side. I’m all about easy, convenient and fast.

Favorite Ground Meat Stretching Tactics:

  • Oatmeal - Yes the humble oat. I use Quick Oats or Rolled Oats interchangeably. It just depends on which #10 can the child fetched when I sent them after another can of Oatmeal from the food storage room. You can use the plain oatmeal as is, or if you are like my family and the oats can’t be recognized for their true selves…blend away. We end up with an oat powder that we make into a paste. The paste is added as beef is browning, about half way through the cooking time when there isn’t much pink left.
  • Potatoes - The execution of this one depends on the pickiness of your family. I’ve diced up frozen hash brown shreds, they are pretty small and blend well, but for the uber picky, the potato form of choice is potato flakes. I buy them in bulk but you can also get them in the grocery aisle. These are the ones we use to make mashed potatoes. These are very forgiving, sometimes I sprinkle them with the ground beef as its browning and sometimes I mix them into a paste first. These work great as a soup thickener too. Just add water as needed.
  • Dehydrated Re-fried beans are, by far, my favorite ‘stretcher’ for taco meat. Beans naturally go with Tacos so there’s nothing weird or foreign here. Add the beans (they look like dark cornflakes) as the ground beef is browning. I add these early on so they have time to rehydrate and I then add additional water as needed depending on how it looks.

The main thing I LOVE about these three is that they’re all shelf stable items just hanging out in the pantry waiting for me. They all have very long shelf lives and I don’t have to worry too much about rotation. Viewing shopping as an annual activity, not weekly or even monthly one, has really helped me.

When it comes to rotation and babysitting food items, I have enough to worry about just making sure the milk doesn’t get chunky or the cheese doesn’t develop green fuzzies. Who really needs one more thing to keep track of?

I’m curious if any of you were also traumatized by TVP from your childhood? If so, have you recovered?

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