The Survival Mom » Preparedness 101 http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Sat, 31 Jan 2015 08:00:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Top 10 Products for the Beginning Prepper http://thesurvivalmom.com/top-10-products-for-the-beginning-prepper/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/top-10-products-for-the-beginning-prepper/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 08:30:53 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=7001 More than seven years ago, my husband and I realized that the downturn of our nation’s economy was beyond the normal up and down that we’ve been used to.  When we saw hard-working people lose jobs and homes, we realized it Read More

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There's no need to be a hard-core survivalist. Just stock up on some basic items to be better prepared. | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comMore than seven years ago, my husband and I realized that the downturn of our nation’s economy was beyond the normal up and down that we’ve been used to.  When we saw hard-working people lose jobs and homes, we realized it was better to be proactive than to sit and wait for the worst to happen to us.

Some of the products that every prepper should own, and that we own and use, are:

1. At least two ways to purify water if the power goes out.  I use the SteriPEN with batteries and also own the hand-crank version.  Another effective method to purify water is calcium hypochlorite.  I recommend Cal-Shock 65, and you can download directions for using this here.

2. At least two ways to cook food in a power down situation.  I’ve used the Sun Oven for years (visit the official website here) and own the Stove-Tec Rocket Stove.  The Eco-Zoom stove is another version of a highly effective, fuel-efficient stove that weighs less than the Stove-Tec.  If the prices of energy skyrocket, and it looks as though that may happen in the near future, it will be a blessing to have alternative ways to cook food without cranking up the gas or electric range.

3. Basic bulk ingredients with long shelf lives are a must.  Wheat, rice, and beans are versatile, when you add a variety of spices, herbs, and other ingredients and will last for decades.  There are food shortages around the world, droughts here in the U.S. that are affecting food production, and it’s likely we’ll experience either shortages, much higher prices, or both in the future.

4. A .22 rifle.  This is an inexpensive go-to firearm that is useful for hunting small game and is very budget friendly when it comes to ammunition.  Because the ammo is so cheap, a .22 is ideal for learning and developing marksmanship skills.  You can always move up to more expensive guns, but the skills you develop with a .22 will easily transfer to larger caliber firearms. I also like the .22 handgun as well.

5. Customized emergency kits.  These kits are sometimes referred to as Bug Out Bags, for getting out of town in a hurry, or 72 Hour Kits, packed with everything you need to survive for 72 hours on your own.  However, I recommend a Vehicle Kit, smaller kits for each member of the family, and a larger kit that contains items that will be needed by the whole family, such as extra food, an emergency toilet, and a wind-up radio.

6. A high-quality multi-tool and an all-purpose Swiss Army Knife.  There’s no need to lug an entire survival kit with you everywhere you go, but these two items are really a must have for your purse, pocket, or glove box.  By the way, when it comes to essential tools that may make the difference between survival and not, never go cheap!

7. A selection of non-GMO, heirloom seeds suitable for your climate zone.  Tough times may include expensive produce that’s difficult to come by.  You can grow your own, but there’s a very high learning curve involved.  Stock up on seeds for foods you know your family will eat.  Heirloom seeds are preferred since they haven’t been genetically modified.  Learn how to save seeds from one season to the next, but whatever you purchase,

8. Basic camping gear.  In the case of an evacuation, take this with you in case hotels are already filled.  Additionally, camping skills double as survival skills.  Learning how to locate the best camping spot, how to pitch a tent, how to cook over a fire, and how to enjoy nature are important for every member of the family to learn.  A good quality tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads (for us older folks!), and a campstove are good basics to begin with.

9. Cash.  This isn’t exactly a product, but without a supply of cash during an emergency, you and your family could be left high and dry.  Set aside some cash each month, in smaller bills, and have it ready to grab if you must ever leave your home in a hurry due to a natural disaster or some other crisis.  Figure on having enough to pay for 7 nights at a hotel, 3 or 4 tanks of gas, and enough to pay for a week’s worth of food and other supplies.

10. A good survival library.  You can download free survival manuals, but additionally, take a look at

It doesn’t take a ton of money to prepared for an uncertain future, but it does take some forethought, research and a plan.

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Survival Mom’s Top News Stories of 2014, with Tips for Preppers! http://thesurvivalmom.com/top-survival-stories-2014/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/top-survival-stories-2014/#comments Sat, 27 Dec 2014 21:28:47 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20450   2014 was the year the unthinkable happened when the Ebola virus entered the United States and millions of Americans scrambled to buy face masks and bottles of bleach. It was the year that more and more Americans saw their Read More

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Survival Mom's Top News Stories of 2014 | via www.TheSurvivalMom.com

2014 was the year the unthinkable happened when the Ebola virus entered the United States and millions of Americans scrambled to buy face masks and bottles of bleach. It was the year that more and more Americans saw their incomes continue to drop and the world shaken by the actions of a group of terrorists calling themselves ISIS.

Among the top stories of the year are lessons for preppers and survivalists everywhere. Enjoy my list of the Top 10 News Stories of 2014 and my tips for preppers.

10.  Increase in big earthquakes

It wasn’t your imagination. Earthquakes around the world were some of the top stories in 2014. In fact, there were more than twice as many large earthquakes, those measuring 7.0 and above, in just the first quarter of 2014 when compared with the average over the past 35 years.

Even random places like Ohio and Oklahoma saw their share of earthquakes, albeit much smaller ones.

For Preppers: Earthquakes can happen just about anywhere in the world, and it makes sense to know some basic earthquake survival. You can read my articles, “How to Prepare For an Earthquake”, this list of 23 tips to prepare for and survive an earthquake, and “Not-Just-for-Alaska Earthquake Survival”.

  • Be sure to train your kids in earthquake safety so they know what to do and ask to see their school’s emergency plans.
  • You should know several evacuation routes to and from your home.
  • Be prepared to walk to safety if roads become impassable. That involves being at least moderately physically fit, equipped with comfortable and sturdy walking shoes, and emergency kits for the car, home, and workplace. Those kits should contain enough supplies to last for several days.

9.  Drought and water shortages

Throughout 2014, drought continued to plague large portions of the country. Especially hard hit were Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Kansas, New Mexico, Nevada, and California. In fact, the entire state of California is experiencing the worst drought in over 1200 years, according to a tree ring study. That drought, along with higher than usual temperatures, has resulted in less agricultural, livestock, dairy, and poultry production and the accompanying unemployment of thousands of workers.

For Preppers: It’s impossible to prepare for a long-term drought. American history is filled with examples of ancient people who simply disappeared from a region, most likely due to lack of water.

  • Do store as much water as you can. If it’s kept indoors, make sure it’s either in the basement or on the main floor of the house, never upstairs due to its weight!
  • Learn and practice water preservation, including dry farming techniques.
  • Worst case scenario solution: move. The extent and effects of a very long-term drought are unpredictable. If your living situation allows, research areas with plenty of groundwater and rainfall and begin making plans to relocate.

8.  Ongoing pattern of sensationalized news stories by the mainstream media

Stories and headlines filled with questionable “facts”, non-stop coverage of over-hyped events, and unapologetically biased coverage have created a surreal version of reality. Competing news organizations claim to give us unbiased facts, but then those facts collide with each other, political alliances of journalists are exposed, and consumers are left even more confused.

Throw in an assortment of alternative news websites, such as Alex Jones and Ben Swann, and before long, I’m afraid that too many of us throw our hands up and say, “I don’t know what to think anymore. I’m checking out.”

For Preppers: Resist the urge to opt out when it comes to staying informed. Instead, learn how to separate fact from fiction when it comes to stories in the news and retain a degree of skepticism.

  • Realize that money is the driving factor and that news organizations will always follow after stories that will result in the most listeners/readers/viewers.
  • Be skeptical of any organizations or stories that quote “unnamed sources.”
  • A red flag should go up when a story is in the headlines and is dominating the news and then suddenly disappears. See #1 story, Ebola.
  • Do get information from multiple networks and news agencies, including alternative news sites.
  • Be aware that propagandists have always used images to further their message. Watch out for the selective use of images that generate strong emotional responses.
  • A well-prepared person is an informed person!

7.  North Korea’s hacking of Sony

North Korea hacked Sony’s website and released enormous amounts of embarrassing information, or did they? Was it an insider who leaked the emails? Hard to tell, but from my perspective, it’s a reminder that if a hostile country can hack into the computer system of an entertainment network, it can do the same to banks, government, power stations, and our communication system.

For those of you fearful of an EMP, a cyber-attack on our power grid would have the same results.

Sony’s hacking also illustrates that nothing online is truly secure, something else for preppers to keep in mind, always.

For Preppers: Cyber warfare is part of our 21st century reality. As much as I personally love using the internet, I’ve become aware that I need to begin moving away from my dependence on it.

  • How can you begin, or continue, developing a more self-sustained lifestyle that isn’t so dependent on outside sources of food, clean water, and other supplies?
  • Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.
  • Track your dependence on the internet, whether for personal finance, communications, entertainment or anything else. In each area, take steps to move away from that dependence.
  • Use social media only if you absolutely have to, and even then, keep personal information and photos to a bare minimum! There’s no point in putting out more information than is already being taken without your permission or knowledge!

6.  Retail data breaches

Huge companies that included Target, Home Depot, Kmart and even PF Chang’s had their data systems compromised by hackers this year. Millions of credit and debit card numbers were stolen, sometimes with their PINS, and even millions of email addresses were acquired by these cyber criminals.

In each case, the hackers were one step ahead of the retailers, who spend millions securing their information! In the case of Target, “The attackers initially found their way in via Target’s HVAC contractor…”!

Keep in mind that once a thief has your debit or credit card number, they can go on to make purchases online and never have to actually use the card itself, and there’s no need for them to have your PIN!

For Preppers: These events are yet another reminder that anything transmitted electronically is vulnerable.

  • Pay with cash whenever possible. Dave Ramsey’s envelope system isn’t just a great way to stay on budget but it also forces less dependence on the use of electronic payments.
  • Some stores accept Paypal, which keeps your debit/credit numbers stored on their servers, but even Paypal isn’t immune to hacking.
  • If you must use a debit card, process it as a credit card. This almost always requires a signature and the amount of purchase isn’t immediately deducted from your account.
  • Since hackers have also accessed millions of email addresses, be very wary of emails coming from retailers, especially those you know have been hacked. Never click on the links and if you really want to check out the information or special offer within the email, go directly to the retailer’s website.
  • Keep up to date with bank statements. Often, thieves will make small purchases, hoping you won’t notice. In time, they’ll circle back and make larger purchases/withdrawals.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year to make sure that no unauthorized accounts or loans have been opened in your name.

5.  The winter of 2013-2014

Crazy winter weather hit parts of the country that rarely see snowfall. This resulted in millions of unprepared families dealing with power outages and being stranded miles from home.

For Preppers: Just about any weather condition can hit your area. It may be called “unseasonable”, but it’s pretty amazing how often “unseasonable” weather happens!

  • Continue to prepare for the most likely extreme weather events in your area but give some consideration to things that rarely occur, such as a snow or dust storm.
  • Stay up to date with local weather reports. Utilize technology to your advantage with weather apps for your smartphone, if you have one.
  • Again with the smartphones, Red Cross has some outstanding apps that provide alerts for all kinds of weather and natural disaster events.

4.  Lower income and standard of living for an increased number of Americans.

Whenever I’ve been asked why the prepper movement has continued, my response has been, “Nothing really has changed. The unemployment level is still high, and people still feel threatened by events beyond their control.”

That continues to be the case. Pew Research reports that America now has the widest wealth gap it’s had in 30 years. The richest have recouped most or all of their losses due to the 2008-2009 Great Recession and have rebounded in a very big way. However, there has been none of that for middle- and lower-income families. In fact, the opposite is true. There has been no recovery for these millions of individuals and families. Factor in skewed statistics from the federal government, and the full impact of the Great Recession remains blurry, except to those hardest hit.

Preppers continue to face the challenge of being prepared but on less and less disposable income.

For Preppers: Take your focus off what survival experts say you must have and what you must buy. Far too many survival websites exist solely to foster fear and, not coincidentally, sales from their sites.

  • Prepare as much as possible by bolstering your knowledge and skills. Then look for ways to earn money by teaching what you’ve learned.
  • Check out my list of preparedness items to look for whenever you go to a thrift store or yard sale. Be sure to print out the list so you’ll have it handy!
  • Do try to save money. Join my 52 Week Savings Challenge group on Facebook, and if you don’t do Facebook, and I don’t blame you, then take on this challenge at home with your family.
  • Watch for a list of monthly bargains that will be posted on my website the first week of every month. I want to help you become better prepared by living more frugally!
  • Take advantage of Amazon’s many free ebooks. You can read them directly from your computer. There’s no need to own a Kindle or other e-reader.

3.  The growing threat of ISIS and radical Islam.

For the most part, the large terrorist group calling themselves ISIS, or sometimes ISIL, is thousands of miles away, yet their influence is seen here in America. Reports and images of Americans being savagely beheaded have affected us and the tepid response of our government and enraged many of us.

Many Americans consider a terrorist attack to be at the same level as 9/11, and this belief is fostered by a government that prefers euphemisms over reality. The truth is that far more terror attacks are committed by a single individual or a very small group against an individual or small group of people. It’s not all planes flying into skyscrapers.

By the way, in reference to my top story #8, you’ll notice that the link above goes to a New York Times article that very carefully buries the fact that the woman in Oklahoma was beheaded by a man who had converted to Islam in quite a radical way and yet an unnamed official is quoted as saying, “So far, there is no nexus to terrorism we are aware of.”

For Preppers: It’s important to stay informed and up to date with news, but dig deeper and don’t rely on the major news networks and agencies. Too often, stories that aren’t politically correct are buried. The murder of Brendan Tevlin is just one such story.

  • Live by the motto “You’re On Your Own”, YOYO. If a government agency or charitable organization offers real help, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
  • Practice situational awareness everywhere you go. Teach this to your kids and grandkids.
  • Be especially aware when you are in large groups of people or near streets, since there have been reports of drivers intentionally plowing their cars into groups of innocent people.
  • Know your neighbors.
  • Concealed carry is a good thing, accompanied by frequent practice sessions at the range.

2.  Increased civil unrest and racial violence

When Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, it wasn’t your everyday event. For multiple reasons it became a literal firestorm. The media made sure it played its part in exploiting emotions, which, in turn, exploded on the streets of Ferguson and beyond.

Response to rioters was nearly non-existent, with officers standing by while businesses and cars burned.

For Preppers: The riots in Ferguson are a great example of how a local event can go national, bringing with it danger and damage.

  • I wrote about staying safe during civil unrest and made a video on the same topic. Both can be found in this article.
  • 15 Tips for Staying Safe During Times of Civil Unrest” is another bit of information from my blog.
  • Stay aware of local news and national stories of riots that seem to be spreading to other cities and states.
  • Nothing beats not being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Keep your eyes open and be ready to leave an area that gives off bad vibes for any reason at all.
  • In addition to situational awareness, taking self-defense classes designed for urban survival would be a good investment.

1.  Ebola

The Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa made headlines here in the U.S. and is now the largest outbreak in history, according to the CDC. As of December 21, 2014, there have been 19,497 total cases reported and 7,588 deaths.

At first, many of us were keeping an eye on how the disease was spread and who was becoming infected. It was disconcerting, to say the least, that doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers were dying of the virus in very high numbers. Still, the virus was over there. In Africa.

When Thomas Eric Duncan entered the United States from Liberia, Ebola came with him. In spite of the best efforts of the staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Duncan died, and a short time later, 2 staff members at the hospital tested positive for Ebola.

By now, the country was in near hysteria. Ebola headlines were plastered across the internet, with fewer stories in much of the mainstream media. Sales of items like face masks, medical gloves, and bleach soared, and there was a new interest in the world of the preppers.

The one agency designed to cope with the outbreak of any type of illness, the CDC, appeared rattled and ill-prepared. Naturally, this led to an even higher level of fear

The response by the federal government was confusing but when an “Ebola Czar” was appointed, every story related to Ebola suddenly disappeared.

Claims of a false flag just add to this surreal story.

So, were there more Ebola deaths? Are there any current Ebola cases in the U.S.? It’s impossible to know.

For Preppers: It defies logic to believe that this virus disappeared overnight, with not a single new case, nor even a follow-up press conference from the CDC to declare victory.

  • Different scenario, same lessons. You’re On Your Own in a crisis, so stay aware, plan and prepare accordingly.
  • Preparing for a future pandemic makes a lot of sense, especially since the same supplies you would purchase for that event are useful for many other purposes.
  • Personally, here are a few items that I have stocked up on. All from Amazon (affiliate links) because prices seem to be the lowest and the selection highest.
    • Extra bottles of bleach. These have a shelf life, so be sure to start using it up on a rotating basis, starting at the 9 or 10 month mark.
    • Boxes of medical gloves. I keep some of these in my car as well, since they’re handy in any location with poor sanitary facilities and handling a medical emergency.
    • A number of Readi-Masks. These are lightweight and disposable.
    • Extra boxes of contractor grade black trash bags. These have multiple uses and will never go to waste around our house. (No pun intended.)

If you are working toward becoming better prepared, in general, then you are preparing for any of the events listed in my Top 10 News Stories of 2014. Well-informed people are well-prepared people, whether it’s because they have purchased the correct type of life insurance, a generator, extra food, or they keep an emergency kit in the trunk of their car.

That’s not paranoia. It’s just being smart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16 Non-Traditional Containers For Your Bug Out Bag/Emergency Kit http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-non-traditional-containers-for-your-bug-out-bagemergency-kit/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/15-non-traditional-containers-for-your-bug-out-bagemergency-kit/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2014 15:37:28 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=10665 When it comes to selecting a bag for an emergency kit, many of us veer in the direction of tactical looking backpacks, or any type of backpack at all. And, it’s no wonder. A good backpack will have multiple pockets Read More

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A backpack might not be the best choice for an emergency kit. Check out this list of non-traditional containers! | via www.TheSurvivalMom.com

When it comes to selecting a bag for an emergency kit, many of us veer in the direction of tactical looking backpacks, or any type of backpack at all. And, it’s no wonder. A good backpack will have multiple pockets and pouches to help organize your gear and supplies, they can be carried on your back, leaving hands free, but they aren’t always the right solution for every scenario.

Here are a few non-traditional containers for your bug out bag or emergency kit that maybe you haven’t considered.

A rolling suitcase on wheels

Look for sturdy wheels because if one breaks off, you’ll be carrying that suitcase. Not fun! Some of these suitcases also have backpack straps.

A Rubbermaid container with lid

You select whichever size suits your needs and space. These are a good choice because the bin itself can be used to hold water, kindling, and a lot more.

Under the bed storage container

Mine fits perfectly in the back of my Tahoe and the transparent plastic lets me see the contents.

Trash can on wheels

These hold a lot, are very sturdy, and have an attached lid. They will also be heavy and difficult to load into a truck. However, if a trailer is part of your bug out/evacuation plans, you could store a trash can, fully packed, in the trailer. Include a box of heavy-duty black trash bags to keep the interior of the trash can clean if you ever have to use it for actual trash!

Space Bags 

Great for use with softer items, such as blankets, coats, jackets, and pillows.

5-gallon buckets with lid

Again, these buckets have multiple uses besides holding your emergency kit contents. A product like the Bucket Backpack would provide an alternative way to carry the bucket longer distances.

Multiple milk crates

My husband swears by these! They are extremely durable, stack easily, but do not have lids. They’re also free if you can find a grocery store that will give you one or more.

Military duffel bag

Soft-sided means you’ll be able to shove this bag behind and between things, and they come in several sizes. Their muted colors are also a plus.

Ziploc Flexible Tote 

Inexpensive, can easily see inside the tote, and lightweight. Not heavy duty, though, if your evacuation includes trekking through the wilderness.

Diaper bag

The waterproof lining could be very helpful, especially if you have small kids and/or a baby.

Tool box

Not lightweight but could be very useful for protecting fragile items.

Metal bucket with lid

I have this one and it’s definitely a multi-purpose container.

A storage locker, preferably one with wheels

Heavy-duty black trash bags

Be sure to the buy “contractor” bags. These are amazingly resilient, stretch a bit as you stuff more into them, and are very cheap. They would be useful for packing soft things like bedding, clothing, and sleeping bags.

A messenger bag with shoulder strap 

Anything with a shoulder strap will leave both hands free and might be easier to carry than a backpack for someone with back problems.

A fisherman or photo vest 

Obviously this won’t carry as much as these other containers, but with all the multiple pockets, you could keep the most essential items close at hand.

When planning for an emergency evacuation, I recommend dividing the contents of your emergency kit into 2 or more different types of containers. For example, a 5-gallon bucket can hold food and cooking supplies and will provide an emergency toilet, a large water container, and a handy tote for firewood. Then use a Space Bag to hold sleeping bags and cold weather clothing and finally a large backpack for everything else. You’ll have 2 multi-purpose containers and a backpack large enough to hold all the essentials in case you have no choice but to continue your evacuation on foot and have to leave the bucket and Space Bag behind.

When choosing your containers, keep in mind that they might be in for a pretty rugged future. Look for:

  • Extremely durable fabrics
  • Sturdy construction
  • Heavy-duty zippers, snaps, or other closures
  • Colors that blend in
  • Non-tactical appearance. This may cause you to look too prepared and a potential target.
  • Tight fitting lids

Also keep in mind the different ages and physical capabilities of your family members. Even young kids can carry small backpacks, easing the load for parents and teens.

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5 Dollar Preps – You CAN Afford to Prepare http://thesurvivalmom.com/5-dollar-preps-%e2%80%93-you-can-afford-to-prepare/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/5-dollar-preps-%e2%80%93-you-can-afford-to-prepare/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 16:12:12 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=4111 “I can’t afford to” is definitely the number one excuse people use for not prepping. They believe this because they read about someone who has a $20,000 dollar gun collection and a basement filled with a 10 year supply of Read More

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5 Dollar preps“I can’t afford to” is definitely the number one excuse people use for not prepping. They believe this because they read about someone who has a $20,000 dollar gun collection and a basement filled with a 10 year supply of freeze dried food. That is just as unrealistic as saying that you want to buy your first house, so you attempt to get a multi-million dollar mansion. It’s just not going to happen.

By following the Survival Food Pyramid and spending just a few dollars a week on preps you will be surprised how quickly your stockpile will grow. Here is an entire list of food and gear you can get for just $5:

Food

  • Five gallons of purified water
  • 5 pounds of sugar
  • 5 pounds of flour
  • 1.5 quarts of cooking oil
  • Two cases of bottled water
  • 4 cans of fruit
  • 10 pounds of white rice
  • 2 pounds of spaghetti
  • 4 Cans of potatoes
  • 4 Cans of vegetables
  • 4 Cans of beans
  • 2 bottles of garlic powder or other spices
  • A case of Ramen noodles
  • Five packages of  instant potatoes
  • 4 cans of soup
  • 2 12 ounce cans of chicken or tuna
  • Two 12.5 ounce cans of Salmon
  • 5 pounds of oatmeal
  • 5 packages of corn bread mix
  • 3 pounds of dried beans
  • 2 jars peanut butter
  • 2 boxes of yeast
  • 8-10 pounds of iodized salt
  • A jar of instant coffee. For a buck or two more, a can of coffee.
  • 10 boxes of generic brand mac & cheese

Non-Food Items

  • A manual can opener
  • Two bottles of camp stove fuel
  • 100 rounds of .22lr ammo
  • 25 rounds of 12 ga birdshot or small game loads
  • 20 rounds of Monarch 7.62×39 ammo
  • A spool of 12lb test monofilament fishing line
  • 2 packages of hooks and some sinkers or corks
  • 3 Bic lighters or two big boxes of matches
  • A package of tea light candles
  • 50 ft of paracord
  • A roll of duct tape
  • A box of nails or other fasteners
  • A flashlight
  • 2 D-batteries, 4 AA or AAA batteries or 2 9v batteries
  • A toothbrush and tooth paste
  • A bag of disposable razors
  • 8 bars of ivory soap (it floats)
  • A box or tampons or bag of pads for the ladies
  • 1 gallon of bleach
  • Needles and thread

OTC Medications

  • 2 bottles 500 count each, 500 mg generic acetometaphin
  • 2 bottles 500 count each, 200 mg generic ibuprofen
  • 1 box 100 count, 25 mg generic Benadryl (diphenhydramine HCI)–also available at walgreens under “sleep aids.”
  • 2 bottles generic aspirin, 250 count each, 81 mg
  • 1 box of generic sudafed
  • 2 bottles of alcohol
  • a box of bandages (4×4)

What Else?

If you get just one of these things each time you go to the grocery you will be well on your way to preparedness. Add the use of coupons and shopping in thrift stores, yard sales, and dollar stores, and you will quickly find yourself well and truly prepared!

What other $5 Dollar Preps can you think of?

All prices were checked at Walmart.com as of the date of this posting.

Guest post by Lucas, founder of Survival Cache blog.

 

 

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20+ Foods that must be re-packaged for long-term storage and how to repackage them http://thesurvivalmom.com/20-foods-that-must-be-re-packaged-for-long-term-storage-and-how-to-repackage-them/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/20-foods-that-must-be-re-packaged-for-long-term-storage-and-how-to-repackage-them/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 20:11:24 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=11969 As a follow-up to my blog post about which foods you shouldn’t plan on storing long-term, here’s a list of foods typically found at grocery stores that can be stored but must be repackaged. Keep in mind, that by repackaging Read More

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Tutorial for20+ Foods that must be(3)As a follow-up to my blog post about which foods you shouldn’t plan on storing long-term, here’s a list of foods typically found at grocery stores that can be stored but must be repackaged.

Keep in mind, that by repackaging these foods you will also be protecting them from oxygen, pests, and humidity, three of the five enemies of food storage. (The other 2 are heat and light.)

  • Raisins and other dried fruit
  • Oatmeal
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Any type of cookie or cracker
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Bread crumbs
  • Cornmeal
  • Candy
  • Pancake mix (Sometimes these are packaged directly inside the cardboard box without any type of inner plastic bag.)
  • Pasta, rice, and potato convenience mixes, such as Rice-a-Roni, Pasta-Roni, instant potatoes, scalloped potato mixes, etc. (These may either have microscopic insect eggs inside the package already and/or be invaded by insects and rodents from the outside.)
  • Tea bags (Repackage for best flavor and longest possible shelf life.)
  • Dried, instant milk (If not already in a sealed can.)
  • Spices and herbs packaged in plastic bags
  • Shortening (Pack it into canning jars and then seal using a vacuum sealer.)
  • Chocolate chips, baking chips of any flavor
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • Sugar, brown sugar and powdered sugar
  • Any type of mix to make bread, cornbread, pizza dough, etc.
  • Most anything else that is packaged in flimsy plastic bags and/or cardboard. This type of packaging is not intended for long-term storage, but that doesn’t mean the food inside can’t have a longer shelf life if repackaged correctly.

Repackaging with a vacuum packing machine

A vacuum packing machine, such as the Food Saver is my own preferred method of repackaging small to moderate amounts of food. These machines can be found on eBay and Craigslist at very affordable prices. Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Cabela’s carry them as well.

Pour the food into one of the plastic bags suitable for your machine and follow the machine’s instructions for vacuum sealing the bag. Use a Sharpie to mark the date sealed on the outside as well as the name of the food. (“Golden raisins, June 21, 2013″)

If a food can be easily crushed, such as cookies or crackers, place them in a large canning jar and seal it with your machine and a jar lid attachment. This is very convenient and gives long term results. If you want to store shortening, pack it into a canning jar, place the lid on top, cover with the jar sealer and seal it. Here is more information from the Food Saver company.

All the foods on my list can be packaged in canning jars. This is especially handy if you are storing food for just 1 or 2 persons or cannot lift heavy buckets and large mylar bags.

This video shows how to seal foods in canning jars.

Some foods with sharp edges, such as pasta, can wear through the plastic storage bag. To avoid this you can seal the food and then place it in a second sealing bag and seal a second time or place it first in a zip-loc bag (do not seal) and then into the food storage bag. The machine will suck the air out of both bags, sealing them shut at the same time.

Use food safe plastic buckets

Yes, the big plastic bucket — a staple in many a prepper/survivalist pantry. These buckets are popular because they can hold a very large amount of food, making many smaller containers  unnecessary. The plastic protects food from light, and although rodents and some insects can chew their way through the bucket to the food, that takes some time, and hopefully, you’ve pest-proofed your pantry!

It’s easy to obtain 5 gallon buckets, but smaller sizes may be harder to come by. If you’re lucky enough to live near a food storage retail store, such as Honeyville Farms, you can buy them in person. Grocery store bakeries buy things like frostings and fillings in food safe buckets and those are smaller. Often they will sell used buckets and may even give them away for free.

The biggest downside to the 5 gallon bucket is its weight. I cannot easily lift one of these when it’s filled with food. Dragging it along the ground is about all I can manage. And, once the bucket is opened, you’ll have to plan on using the food inside within a reasonable amount of time, say 6 months or so if storage conditions are optimal, or reseal the bucket.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to protect the food in an opened bucket from pests and deterioration caused by heat and humidity. I recommend using Gamma Seal lids to make it easier to open and close buckets. They will also help to keep pests out of the food.

I’ve written about storing food in buckets with more details here.

Add oxygen absorbers to extend shelf life

Pour your food into a canning jar, mylar bag or a food-safe bucket of an appropriate size. Just before sealing with the lid, drop in oxygen absorbers according to this chart:

100 cc absorber            32-ounce canning jar

300 cc                             #10 can

300 cc                              1 gallon container

1500 cc                            5 gallon container

For more detailed  instructions, read this. Oxygen absorbers are available on Amazon, from food storage retail stores, and I’ve even seen them in Winco grocery stores.

I also use empty and sanitized 2-liter soda bottles for things like rice and oats and add a 100 cc absorber just before capping the bottle.

Keep mind that as you open the package of absorbers, they start absorbing oxygen. You’ll know this is happening because they get hot. Quickly place the required number of absorbers in each container with the food and then store the remaining absorbers in a canning jar. (The lid of a canning jar gives a much tighter seal than other jars.)

The process of vacuum sealing using a Food Saver removes most of the oxygen that exists inside the bag. This will prolong the shelf life of those foods. However, over time I’ve found that air can and does leak into the sealed bags. When storing these vacuum sealed bags, do check on them at least once a year to see if any have refilled with air, and if so, open the bag and reseal.

A word about dry pack canning for long term storage food

Dry pack, or oven, canning is a process that involves pouring DRY food into canning jars, heating the jars, and then sealing them with lids and rings.

To be very clear, dry/oven canning is not the same as traditional canning, which uses a water bath or pressure canner. It’s simply heating up dry foods in canning jars and then closing them with seals and lids.

Since this article was first posted, I received a number of questions about dry canning, sometimes called oven canning. At first, the method sounded like an inexpensive way to repackage dry foods but with quite a bit of research, I haven’t come up with any true advantages and there are a couple of reasons to avoid this method.

From my research, it seems like the only advantages to this process is possibly killing insect eggs with the heat and that it doesn’t require the expense of a Food Saver.

A much better way to insure insect eggs are killed is by placing tightly sealed containers of food in the freezer for at least a week.

Heating these jars in the oven does not remove oxygen, which is a necessary step in prolonging shelf life. Storing any food in glass jars continues to allow the food to be affected by light, which also deteriorates food. (Store filled glass jars in boxes, under beds, and in any container that doesn’t allow in light for longest possible shelf life.)

The possibility of glass breakage exists since canning jars are designed to be heated in wet environments, such as a hot water bath, and not in a dry oven. Canning jars are made from tempered glass, which is designed to break into hundreds of fairly harmless little particles, not shards. However, to be on the safe side, it’s best to use canning jars for their original purpose only.

How dangerous is dry/oven canning? If only dry foods, such as flour or oats are involved, I’d say the risk of a glass jar exploding in the oven is very slight. Bacterial growth in such foods is negligible as long as no moisture is present. Some nutrients will be lost due to the application of heat, but dangerous? In my many hours of research, I’m not convinced, but there doesn’t seem to be any reason to use this method, either! All it seems to do is heat up the food, maybe kill insect eggs, but little else.

The previous repackaging methods I’ve listed are far easier and more effective in lengthening the shelf life of food, which is the main point of this activity in the first place!

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The Living Off the Land Fallacy http://thesurvivalmom.com/living-off-land-fallacy/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/living-off-land-fallacy/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 07:00:39 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19054 A common plan tossed around by survivalists and preppers is this idea that in the event of martial law or some other crisis, they are going to head off to the hills, presumably for weeks or months, and just live Read More

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living off the landA common plan tossed around by survivalists and preppers is this idea that in the event of martial law or some other crisis, they are going to head off to the hills, presumably for weeks or months, and just live off the land.  While this sort of plan might appeal to the pioneer and bushcraft spirit, if nothing else, the reality is that for most people, this is just planning to fail.

Basic Problems

There are a few problems with falling into what I call the Living Off the Land Fallacy.  For starters, while the DNR isn’t likely going to be enforcing fair hunting rules, you aren’t going to be the only goofball out there with a rifle or bow.  If you’ve ever gone hunting with someone brand new to it, you know just how frustrating, even dangerous, it can be.  They don’t know how to be quiet.  They want to take shots that are risky at best.  They just don’t know what the heck they are doing, right?  Now, multiply that times a thousand as there are going to be a ton of other folks, just like that, out there looking for their own dinners.

On top of that, it won’t take long before tens of thousands of house pets are going to turn feral and be competing with you for the small game.  Granted, some folks might look at that as just being an addition of potential targets for lunch.  Even so, competition is going to be fierce.  It won’t take long before even the ubiquitous squirrel is scarce.

Fishing

What about fishing?  Okay, not a bad plan but do you really think you’re going to be the only Babe Winkelman out there wetting a line?  Plus, likely as not you’re also going to have at least a small segment of the population who will sit on the sidelines and wait for someone to reel in a good sized bass, then take it from them by hook or by crook.

I grew up in an area where deer hunting is akin to religion.  The school district darn near shuts down during gun season, given how many students head up north with their parents to see about adding a trophy to the wall.  These people have been hunting for generations and know all the tricks.  Yet, for all of that, only about a third of them are successful in a given year.  Granted, that’s big game, but still, food for thought.

Wild Edibles

As for wild edibles, that’s something to consider, but you need to know what you’re doing so as to avoid poisonous lookalikes and such.  Plus, consider the fact that the crisis may hit in the dead of winter, when not too many things are growing in abundance.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting you abandon all plans for hunting/fishing/trapping/gathering.  Instead, consider those options as ways to supplement what you’ve stockpiled and grown on your own.  Generally speaking, the plan would be to have enough food packed away to get you through at least one, if not two, complete growing seasons.  Have plans in place for growing much of your own food from seeds you harvest yourself.  Raise chickens, goats, and other potential meat sources.  Learn now the best ways to preserve meat if you don’t have access to electricity, and thus freezers.

Above all, abandon the attitude of “Me hunter. Me go kill meat for family.”  That way of thinking will indeed likely result in a death, but probably not of the four-legged variety.

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Try it Today: Build your Food Storage from Scratch with Canning http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-canning/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/food-storage-canning/#comments Sun, 09 Nov 2014 07:00:08 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=19259   Stocking your pantry with home canned goods is not only prudent, it’s a simple and inexpensive way to build your food storage. When you can up what is in season (at the peak of freshness, flavor and low price) Read More

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food storage canning

 

Stocking your pantry with home canned goods is not only prudent, it’s a simple and inexpensive way to build your food storage. When you can up what is in season (at the peak of freshness, flavor and low price) you’re taking a seasonal approach to your canning. I know that in June or July, I’ll be canning as much strawberry jam as I possibly can. I know that in the Fall it’s apple pie filling and applesauce, and in Winter it will be venison soup with fresh venison and all those potatoes and carrots I stored away from the garden!

We can year round, in bulk. We can jams, condiments, soups, fruits & veggies, chili, stews, meats and more. When I started canning I had no idea that first batch of Apricots for my husband would turn into my primary method of food preservation for our family. Canning has turned into a lifelong endeavor for me. I really enjoy it, not to mention what a blessing it is to our family.

Canning is very simple to do; fills your pantry with delicious healthy foods, and gives peace of mind. Yes, it takes time and effort, but ‘anything worth doing’ does!

Canning has become a lost art; a lost method of food preservation. Folks let themselves be intimidated, thinking, “surely it must be too difficult” – not at all. With a few safety rules engrained in your brain, the proper equipment and instruction, you can build your food storage from scratch!

In canning, there are 2 types of processing: Water Bath and Pressure Canning. We’re going to start with Water Bath canning and the supplies and tools you’ll need to get started.

Must Haves:

Canning jars

Deep kettle with jar rack

Canning jar lids and rings

Lots of old kitchen/ hand towels & hot pads

Canning Tongs & Wooden Spoon

You’ll want a “Ball Blue Book of Canning” – a must have. You can find them at Amazon, or any place that sells canning supplies & equipment, it is the “canning bible”. I constantly refer back to mine each year!

Jars! You can buy canning jars, again, at any store that carries canning equipment. They can range, from $8 to $15 per case of 12. I scour garage sales in the summer hunting good canning jars. When buying from a second hand source, be SURE to pick up every jar and inspect it for cracks and for nicks in the mouth of the jar. If the mouth of the jar has one little nick in it, the lid will not seal or if it does it won’t hold or will result in bad food that could possibly make your family sick. Make sure to double check the jars!

I often hear ‘what size jar do I use’? Well, that is relative to your family. Are there 2 of you? More than likely half pints & pints will work (depending on what you are canning and your preferences) if you have 4 or more in your family, chances are a half pint of anything is a waste of time & effort– you might want to can in only quarts! I use a variety from half pints to quarts, depending on what I am canning. Anything larger than a quart, is NOT recommended, as you may not get your food to hot enough temperatures, evenly, inside the jar due to its size and therefore your food can end up being unsafe. I tend to can in quarts for the most part, that serves our family well, fits my canners well and saves me on wasting lids.

A deep canning kettle and rack are for water bath canning and can be bought online or anywhere that sells canning equipment, or look to relatives that possibly don’t can anymore, estate, garage or tag sales! I picked up the two I have, at garage sales for $1.00 or less each–they’ve served me for years!

Canning Jar lids & Rings; you will need brand new lids to seal your jars. Lids have long been that of the metal with rubber seal, one time use only, variety. Those are great, I’ve used them for years—and the rings, are obviously something you save and use repeatedly. I’ve stocked up on these through a couple places that I found the best price for bulk buying. I’ve also discovered REUSABLE canning jar lids! These are fantastic, and can be found at www.reusablecanninglids.com I’d highly recommend checking into them. Great to have on hand, especially when ‘running to the store’ for more disposable lids, is not an option.

You will go through a lot of towels; between setting jars on them, to wiping rims (the rims of the mouth of the jar must be perfectly clean to meet with the rubber on the lids and form that ‘seal’), and of course the occasional mess to clean up! Have a bunch on hand; garage sale or thrift stores are a great place for these if you don’t already have them on hand.

You’ll want canning tongs (this is just what I call them—they are just ‘tongs’ that you’d use in everyday cooking) and a wooden spoon as well; simple things that make the job easier. Canning tongs, a magnetic wand “lid lifter” (or a plain ol’ dinner fork) will lift your lids out of very hot water; enough said. Having a wooden spoon (or a chopstick!) on hand is great for poking down into your filled jars to release any air bubbles. I pick up extra wooden spoons at garage sales often, I love to cook with them and the old ones are sturdy and last!

Some other ‘nice’ but you can ‘get by without things’ are the canning funnel to keep your foods IN the jar and save you messes and loss of spilled/lost food, I have a couple plastic ones & a stainless steel one—LOVE them all and they’ve saved me countless messes! A jar lifter is quite handy, really great tool to SAFELY lift your jars out of the water– this should be on the MUST HAVES LIST, but you can let your water cool and then get them out that way, too. The magnetic wands they have out these days are pretty nice too–but then again an old pair of tongs or a fork will do the job as well. A ladel would be wonderful for scooping hot jam or soup or chili into jars, but an old coffee mug does the job too.

As you can see, much of your canning equipment can be picked up pretty cheap (think grandma’s attic, thrift store and garage sales!), and it’s completely worth it– the food you preserve is tastier, healthier and just all around better for you and yours; not to mention it is a great way to stock the pantry as foods are in season and at their best price! This is the ONLY way for me to get healthy produce on my table year round, keep my pantry stocked and keep adding continually to my food storage. When I am not canning I attempt to keep all my canning ‘stuff’ tucked away in my water bath canner on the shelf, that way, it’s all easy to find for the next batch of whatever I am blessed to put up for my family!

I watch for things on sale at the store and as I go through my freezers or if I have a neighbor that is giving away their garden overflow…always be on the lookout for things you can put up and you’ll have those shelves stocked before you know it.

Some other items you’ll want to have stocked up and on hand for canning are:

Pectin: You can buy this by the little box or in bulk, you can get a variety from no sugar, to some sugar to full sugar to all natural (Pomona’s Pectin).

Canning Salt: Lots of varieties, and every canner has their own preference. There is standard in the box Canning Salt, Kosher Salt, Sea Salt…the list goes on…use your favorite (just not standard “Iodized”) I like Kosher Sea Salt.

Sweetners: Some folks use good ol’ “C & H Sugar”, some use raw honey, some use organic sugar and some doesn’t use any sugar and use grape juice in their jams (I do all of the above depending on the recipe and my family’s preferences). Whatever you choose, have it on hand.

Vinegars: White and Apple Cider (Braggs is fantastic).

That’s our ‘get prepared list’ for Canning 101. Get your canning supplies together and let’s stock our pantry!

Let’s start with Applesauce; it is versatile, easy to make and is great for everything from just eating out of the jar, to baking with, creating a base for baby foods and more! There are as many ways to do this, based on your taste, as there are apple varieties! For us, it goes something like this:

We take our apples (any variety or a mixture, depending on your favorites!) and wash them. My grandmother always used Pink Ladies or Jonagolds; she was right, they make the most beautiful applesauce! When stocking the pantry I’ll use whatever apples I can get a hold of. We then peel them & slice off pieces (smaller sized chunks or thinner slices-no ‘half apple’ pieces here) of apple down to the core, right into a stock or crockpot. Once we have our stock/crockpots about 3/4 full or so, I turn them on low, add in about a cup of water, and a cup of sugar. Then put the lid on and let it cook for about 30 minutes on a stove top in a stockpot or 4-6 hours in a corckpot (depending on temps, etc) , checking it every hour (or a little more often, you do not want it sticking or burning–if it gets dry, just add a bit more water) and giving it a good stir. Once it has cooked down and is the consistency/taste we want, we prepare to water bath can it.

Now, that being said, you can certainly add in some other goodies to create a different flavor to your applesauce! We’ve done ours with cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar…I’ve even heard of folks adding a few ‘red hots’ candies to each jar! Some folks will sprinkle their apples with a tiny bit of lemon juice before putting the lid on the crockpot, some cut up their apples into a bowl of water and lemon juice to prevent browning; however it will brown up a bit when cooking in the crock nonetheless. Crockpot applesauce is extremely forgiving and simply adapts to the makers personal preferences, it’s a beautiful thing! When I do make a batch with cinnamon, I just sprinkle a bit in at a time and stir, until my taste-testers unanimously agree on the end result.

I water bath my pints for 20 minutes and my quarts for 25 minutes; check your Ball Blue book or County Extension office for times based on your elevation.  Putting up homemade applesauce is a great staple for the pantry and one of the easiest ways to preserve the apple harvest.

Look for more lessons in canning and preserving– coming soon– learn to build your pantry and food storage, from scratch, through canning!

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Simple Food Storage Meals for Tight Times: Stock up on three months worth, fast! http://thesurvivalmom.com/simple-food-storage-meals-for-tight-times-stock-up-on-three-months-worth-fast/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/simple-food-storage-meals-for-tight-times-stock-up-on-three-months-worth-fast/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 07:31:51 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=7276 When a summertime monsoon storm is on the way, I quickly track down my kids, bring them indoors, and prepare to hunker down.  It’s a mom-instinct.  We  unplug the computers, make sure all the windows are securely closed and locked, and Read More

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fresh vegetables on wooden tableWhen a summertime monsoon storm is on the way, I quickly track down my kids, bring them indoors, and prepare to hunker down.  It’s a mom-instinct.  We  unplug the computers, make sure all the windows are securely closed and locked, and if my husband isn’t home, I call to make sure he’s okay.

A storm of a different kind is on its way to America and has already been wreaking havoc with family incomes and our sense of security. No one knows what the extent of the damage will ultimately be, but moms everywhere are responding to their maternal instinct to gather everyone together.  Since food and meal preparation is part of our responsibility, food storage is a basic, simple step to take in order to keep our families healthy.

Having enough groceries on hand for a period of three months is a good first goal, but if buying enough for three months is too daunting and not in the budget, start with buying enough to have a pantry fully stocked for one month.

If you’ve been losing sleep over the state of our economy or your own personal finances or you’re worried about an Ebola pandemic or just a really bad winter storm, there’s no time to waste.  Use coupons and grocery store sales to get the most bang for your buck, examine your budget for anything that can be cut (temporarily) until you’ve reached your food storage goals.

To get you started, here are some of the simplest ways to stock up.

Plan for simple food storage meals

Stock up on ingredients to make 24 batches of soup

That’s two batches of soup per week for three months. If you make a double batch, you’ll have leftovers for the next day. As a first step, buy high-quality bouillon in bulk, such as Ready Reserve Foods beef and chicken stock. I like this brand because you can buy it in larger quantities.

Add to your soup stash:

  • 1-2 #10 dehydrated potato dices.  This will provide potatoes for both soups and chowders.
  • 1 #10 can of each vegetable (dehydrated or freeze-dried) you typically use in soup: onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, corn (for chowders), mixed vegetables, etc.
  • 1 #10 can tomato powder for tomato based soups.  You can also use this to make homemade pasta and enchilada sauces.
  • 1 #10 can instant milk for chowders
  • Rice, beans, and small pasta can be added for extra bulk, calories, and variety.

Do you have to buy these ingredients? They will end up lasting longer and will be more cost effective in the long run, but go for store-bought cans of soup if that’s what it takes to get you going! Use coupons, buy generic brands, and shop store sales, and you’ll end up with a very large stash of canned soup, quick.

Calculate how many cans you’ll need for 24 meals and then set that number of cans as your goal.

Learn how to bake a loaf of homemade bread 

If you already know how to do this, stock up on enough ingredients to make a loaf of bread per day if you have more than four people in your family, or a loaf every other day for smaller family units or individuals.  Keep the recipe very simple, as your goal is to stock up quickly, using every penny and dollar wisely.

You’ll use bread for sandwiches, toast, garlic bread, French toast, bread crumbs, etc.  If you don’t have a grain mill for grinding wheat, buy enough flour for not only bread but other, occasional treats such as cookies.  Before storing the flour, place it in a container with a tight lid and freeze it for at least ten days.  This will kill off any microscopic insect eggs so there won’t be any nasty surprises when you’re ready to use the flour.

Check out this list of Depression-era meals that show just how versatile bread can be!

Plan at least 15 pasta meals

They are inexpensive and pasta is very versatile.  You can buy 15 jars/cans of ready-made pasta sauce or buy enough ingredients to make 15 batches of homemade sauce.  Plan on eating a hot vegetable and slices of garlic bread with each meal.  This utilizes your homemade bread and hot veggies can either be from your stash of dehydrated/freeze-dried, canned or frozen veggies from the grocery store, or home grown.

Whip up white gravy

A batch of white gravy is easy to whip up with flour, milk, and some form of fat (butter, bacon grease, or oil). Buy a #10 can of sausage crumbles and make your own sausage gravy served over homemade biscuits.  If you’re stocked up on ingredients for bread, you’ll only need to add a can of shortening for the biscuits.

Use butter as your fat, add a little garlic, salt, and you’ve got a nice white sauce to pour over pasta or egg noodles. With some cooked vegetables, you have pasta primavera.

Plan on a “white gravy” meal once a week with a couple of biscuits and gravy breakfasts thrown in the mix.

Tuna or chicken casserole

Tuna casserole is a simple budget-friendly dinner. Multiply the ingredients in your recipe times 12 in order to serve it once a week for three months.  Keep in mind that the size of tuna cans has been decreasing, much like those containers of ice cream that keep getting smaller and smaller!  You might have to buy more cans of tuna in order to have the same amount of actual tuna.

My recipe includes cream of mushroom soup, canned/fresh/freeze-dried mushrooms, and sometimes cheese. Use canned chicken if you can’t stand tuna, or plan on making both versions for variety.

In order to make this once a week, buy 12 cans of the soup, 12 cans of sliced mushrooms (or use freeze-dried mushrooms), and splurge on a #10 can of freeze-dried jack or mozzarella cheese.

Rice and beans can be your budget’s best friend

The classic meal of beans and rice is versatile and the ingredients can be stored for years.

Keep in mind that repetitive meals can be quite boring, so stock up on a variety of beans, buy multi-bean mixes, and different types of rice. Most importantly, stock up on spices, herbs, and seasonings! Keep them stored in a dark, dry, and cool location for longest possible shelf life.

Just this simple array of ingredients will allow you to make dozens of different dishes. Check out this recipe book for more ideas.

More simple dinner ideas

For more simple dinner ideas, buy 100-day Pantry by Jan Jackson.  Choose a recipe, multiply the ingredients by 12, and start shopping!

Your dinner menu will be complete with soup/chowder twice each week, a pasta meal or two each week, tuna or chicken casserole, white sauce with vegetables served over noodles, and two dishes of rice and beans.

Keep the simple theme going with breakfasts

Oatmeal. Oatmeal is simple.

Oatmeal makes a healthy and filling breakfast and has the added advantage of being versatile.  It’s also inexpensive.  Some stores carry oatmeal in their self-serve bins, along with beans, cornmeal, etc.  Three pounds of oatmeal will provide 30 servings.  Figure out how much you need to buy in order to have an oatmeal breakfast 3-4 times per week, one serving per person, per day.

For an easy change, make baked oatmeal.

Buy extra if homemade granola, oatmeal cookies, and homemade granola bars sound good to you.  In addition, buy 6 pounds of brown sugar and/or 2 quarts of honey, extra cinnamon, raisins, and any other add-ins you and your family enjoy.

A few other breakfast suggestions

Plan on eating pancakes (homemade or using a mix like Bisquick), French toast (from the loaves of bread you’ll be making), homemade muffins, gravy and biscuits, and eggs for the remaining breakfasts.  Leftovers are good, too.  Keep breakfast quick, easy, and filling.

Miscellaneous tips

Cooking three meals from scratch will get old fast.  There’s nothing wrong with planning on canned ravioli, chili, tuna sandwiches, canned stew, peanut butter and jelly, and even Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (stock up on instant milk and butter powder).

Freeze-dried cheese is pricey, but it can be used in quesadillas with homemade tortillas, sprinkled over a baked pasta dish, pizza, and so much more.  When it’s rehydrated, it melts and tastes just like real cheese.  In my opinion, it’s worth splurging on a can or two, and then using it as a luxury ingredient, sparingly.  I keep cheese in my freezer, but for long-term storage AND a quick way to reach your food storage goal, freeze-dried is a really good option.

Finally, make sure you have at least one alternative way to cook your food and heat up water.  If a Sun Oven is too pricey, many people make their own solar cookers.  Many moms on this blog have been using an energy efficient rocket stove, such as EcoZoom, and find them easy to use.  Should your power go out or energy rates skyrocket, cooking a few meals off the grid will be smart.

What other easy food storage ideas do you have to share?

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Get Started With Food Storage: 24 Meals Everyone Will Love! http://thesurvivalmom.com/get-started-food-storage-24-meals-everyone-will-love/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/get-started-food-storage-24-meals-everyone-will-love/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 16:00:08 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=18208  Get Started With Food Storage! I get asked on a daily basis: How do I get started with food storage? It can be very confusing because everyone you ask will give you a different answer! I’m not professing to have the best Read More

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Get Started with Food Storage: 24 Meals Everyone Will Love!

 Get Started With Food Storage!

I get asked on a daily basis: How do I get started with food storage?

It can be very confusing because everyone you ask will give you a different answer!

I’m not professing to have the best and only way to get your food storage (OK, maybe a little), but for anyone I consult with my #1 advice is:

“Store What You Eat & Eat What You Store”

Too many people go about it the opposite way (which I guess is better than nothing)! I just feel if you’re going to go through all the work and expense of buying and storing food, why don’t you benefit from it now, instead of letting it rot in a corner for TEOTWAWKI?

One of the best ways to make sure you are storing what you eat, is by doing doing just that – STORE WHAT YOU EAT! Find your family’s favorite recipes and then figure out how much food you’ll need to be able to make those meals for 3 months, 6 months, or however long you want to hide out in your home away from zombies. ;-)

You might have to make some minor adjustments to your recipes –  like having canned chicken on hand, or buying some freeze-dried fruits and veggies – but if you plan ahead you will have everything you need in case Ebola strikes your town and you need to hide out for awhile.

Food Storage Meals (That are Actually Good):

Don’t have any favorite recipes? Maybe looking to add some variety? Or do you still believe food storage is Yuck? Well don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

I went to the experts of food storage to find the very best meals out there. These are tried and true meals you can easily add to your food storage! I’m only going to share the top 24 with you, but if you need more inspiration be sure to check-out my expert panel for more recipe ideas!

The Food Storage Experts:

24 Meals You Can Make From Your Food Storage!


Let’s Get Cooking:


1- Baked Shells Casserole

2- Italian Chicken

3- Taco Soup

4- Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

5- Pasta Fagioli Soup

6- Chicken Parmesan

7- Mexican Tortilla Lasagna

8- Chicken Helper: Shelf Stable

9- Bayou Chicken Pasta

10- Pizza (A must in our home!)

11- Sweet and Sour Chicken

12- Lasagna Rolls

13- Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce

14- Quick Pantry Clam Chowder (This is seriously the best clam chowder ever…and it’s food storage)

15- Hearty Chicken Chipotle Soup

16- Hawaiian Sesame Chicken

17- Chicken Cordon Bleu

18- Chow Mein Casserole

19- Cream of Celery Condensed Soup 

20- Beef Stroganoff

21-  Blender Wheat Pancakes (It’s always fun to have breakfast for dinner!)

22- Simple Sesame Noodles

23- Creamy Enchilada Soup

24- Pantry Jumbalaya

 

 Bonus Food Storage Desserts:


Dutch Apple Pie

Rice Pudding (try it using coconut milk…yum!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Best Krispie Squares

Cake-Pops

How to Calculate How Much Food You’ll Need to Make These:

Now that you have your meals, go ahead and calculate how much food you’ll need! Make sure to substitute your own families favorite recipes! Most recipes can be adjusted with ingredients that can be stored long-term.

First, you need to decide on how long you want the food to last. For example, three months is approximately 92 days (365 days per year divided by 4) and one year is 365.25 days. Next, count the number of different meals / recipes you plan to store for. Then divide the number of days you want to save for by the number of recipes you like, whether is 24, 17, 7, or 43. This will tell you how many times you can expect to make that particular meal in your time frame.

In the examples below, the number is rounded up to the next whole number because wouldn’t you rather have a little extra than go hungry?

  • 3 Month Supply of Food Storage Meals –> 92 divided by 24 meals = 4 of each meal (3 months worth) (3.8 needed of each meal, rounded up to four)
  • 6 Month Supply of Food Storage Meals –> 183 divided by 17 meals = 11 of each meal (6 months worth)
  • 12 Month Supply of Food Storage Meals –> 365 divided by 7 meals = 52 of each meal (12 months worth)

Now that you know how many times you will make it, you can figure out how much you need to store of each ingredient and start shopping for it. Once you’ve finished your calculations, you should now have a grocery list of items that you need to complete your food storage. You can take it slow and budget it out over months/years, or you can buy it all at once – your choice!

Next Steps

This is just for one meal. You will need to decide if you want to store food for all three meals every day, two meals and assume lunch is found elsewhere, three meals plus a hearty snack, etc. Keep in mind that your meal needs may vary on different days, and almost certainly for different meals. If you always, always, always go visit the grandparents on Sunday, you may not need to store food for that meal – but you’ll probably want to make sure the grandparents have enough to cover everyone who visits on Sundays.

Once you have reached your goal, you can either extend your goal or add more items. If you have stored enough to make 7 meals for 3 months (approximately 13 of each one), you have a choice for continuing your food storage. You can add another 3 months (or whatever) of that meal, or you can choose new and different recipes and store the items for those. That might be breakfast food to start filling your tummies well for that day, or it could be more dinner items to extend how many months your food storage is good for.

The main point, of course, is that you can do any number of meals, by any number of days or months, and customize it until your heart’s content! If you have any questions or need some help with calculations, just post your question in the comments for some help.

Good luck!

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Top 10 Foods for Stocking Up http://thesurvivalmom.com/top-ten-foods-for-stocking-up/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/top-ten-foods-for-stocking-up/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 22:00:55 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=1245 You’ll want to pin this list for future reference! Click here. To get started with the basic building blocks of food storage, these are the top 10 foods I recommend. If these aren’t a good fit for your family, for Read More

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You’ll want to pin this list for future reference! Click here.

top 10 foods for stocking up

To get started with the basic building blocks of food storage, these are the top 10 foods I recommend. If these aren’t a good fit for your family, for whatever reason, stock up on the alternatives that you’re currently using. Be very aware of the enemies of food storage and always try to store your food in the most optimal conditions possible.

Wheat 

Once ground, wheat is the building block for varieties of bread, tortillas, flat bread, pizza crust and more.  I’ve stocked up on hard red wheat for hearty breads, general purpose hard white wheat, and soft white wheat for pastries.

Rice 

On its’ own, it’s a side dish.  Mixed with herbs and a vegetable or two, it’s a simple main dish.  It’s a great meal-stretcher when topped with, or served alongside, main dishes such as a stir fry.  Note: brown rice contains oils which will eventually become rancid. If you can keep it stored at very chilly temperatures, say below 60 degrees, it will be fresher, longer. Otherwise, plan on a shelf life of about a year or so.

Dried milk

Without electricity, fresh milk will go bad in hours.  In an emergency situation, fresh will be difficult to come by unless you own a cow or a goat.  Dried milk provides not only milk to drink, but milk to use as an ingredient in other dishes. Also look for shelf-stable milk that comes in cardboard cartons. It’s a very good option to dried milk.

Salt

Stock up on table salt at your local Costco.  It’s inexpensive and has multiple uses. I’ve purchased boxes of Kosher salt, along with the regular iodized table salt.

Beans

Buy canned beans and dry beans in different varieties.  Versatile,  economical and a good source of fiber. Dried beans can be ground into a powder and added to everything from cookies to soups.

Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomato puree, etc.  Watch for them on sale and then grab a few dozen cans.  Learn how to can and dehydrate tomatoes. They’re the basis for salsas, soups, stews, and sauces. I’ll bet you’ve eaten something made from tomatoes in the past 48 hours!

Other canned veggies and fruit

These will help provide important nutrients, variety to your recipes, and have a very long shelf life.  If you can’t stomach canned veggies, try dehydrating your own or purchasing freeze-dried.

Peanut butter 

High in protein, yummy on warm, freshly made bread!  Add some honey and you have a winner! Keep a new, sealed jar in emergency kits for a quick dose of protein when you might need it most.

Oil

Without oil, you’re pretty much stuck with boiling your meat and veggies. The problem is that oil goes rancid very quickly. Most oils have a shelf life of only a year. Some food storage experts recommend packing vegetable shortening in canning jars and then using a Food Saver jar sealer to vacuum out all the air/oxygen. Stored this way, shortening can stay fresh for years as long as it’s stored in a cool location. When the time comes to use it, just measure out what you need for a recipe, melt it, and you have oil. While many of us have moved away from the use of vegetable oil, this is probably the best option for having a supply of oil on hand, long term.

Dried pasta

Another meal stretcher and a kid-pleasing dish any day of the week.  My own kids have been known to dip bow-tie pasta in ranch dressing. I really, really like the egg noodles from Ready Reserve Foods, which are actually dehydrated. As they cook they expand and become thick, hearty noodles, much like the homemade noodles my mom used to make.

Sugar and honey

Okay, that makes eleven, but I’ve known women who were ready to kill when deprived of sugar for too long! Both honey and sugar will last indefinitely.

NOTE: This article was originally published on September 3, 2009. My blog had launched only 4 months prior! This list continues to be what I recommend for basic food storage, so I wanted to publish it again with additional information.

 

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