The Survival Mom » Preparedness 101 http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:00:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 What is junk silver? http://thesurvivalmom.com/junk-silver/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/junk-silver/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 08:00:25 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21420   Do you have a coin jug at home? Perhaps it isn’t a jug, per se, but a coffee can, glass jar, or maybe even an old fashioned piggy bank? It might be holding far more money than you realize! Read More

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What is junk silver and should I buy it?  www.TheSurvivalMom.comDo you have a coin jug at home? Perhaps it isn’t a jug, per se, but a coffee can, glass jar, or maybe even an old fashioned piggy bank? It might be holding far more money than you realize!

If you spend much time surfing various survival/prepper message boards and other forums, you’ll no doubt run across the term “junk silver.” People want to know, “What is junk silver? And, should I buy it?”

The term refers to coins containing a high amount of actual silver, unlike most common coins minted today.

Here’s the cool part. If you have a coin jug at home, odds are you probably have at least a few junk silver coins in there. While you won’t see them every day, they do still crop up regularly.

What is junk silver?

Here in the United States, junk silver coins are basically any coin (except pennies and nickels) minted in 1964 or earlier. Given that half-dollars and other larger coins are somewhat rare in most of our daily lives, we’re basically talking about dimes and quarters. If a coin is categorized as junk silver, it does not have any numismatic value to collectors.

The value in junk silver is the silver itself, not the coin’s appearance.

The only silver nickels in recent history are the “wartime” ones produced in 1942-1945. Even then, they only contain about 30% silver, whereas most junk silver coins contain 90% silver.

If after looking at the mint date you still aren’t sure if the coin is silver, a silver coin sounds very different from a non-silver one when dropped on a table. The sound is hard to describe but once you’ve heard it, you’ll recognize it pretty quickly going forward.

Why do preppers focus on junk silver?

Why is it important to know about junk silver? Well, for starters, junk silver is a very easy way to get started with collecting precious metals for possible use as alternative currency, should there come some sort of economic collapse. It takes just a few seconds at the end of the day to examine the coins in your pocket before you dump them into your coin jug.

On top of that, junk silver coins are worth far more than their face value. Generally speaking, if you have $1.40 in face value of junk silver coins, you have one troy ounce of actual silver. As of this writing, an ounce of silver is going for about $18.00 or so. I use Kitco to check prices when I’m getting ready to buy.

Now, honestly, that’s not a completely true comparison as junk silver coins aren’t actually worth the full silver spot price. But, those dimes and quarters are worth a ton more than what you’d get from a candy vending machine.

At my house, we have two separate jars, one for pennies and one for all other coins. I’ll usually glance through my spare change, checking mint dates, before tossing the coins into the appropriate jar. But, because I’m human and might miss seeing a junk silver coin, we’ll have one of our children dump out the jar and check each coin before we cash in the change. Often, they’ll find one or two coins we missed. The junk silver coins are stored away under lock and key, just in case we need them someday. If nothing else, they’ll be nice for the kids to have someday.

Resources for junk silver

A Guidebook of United States Coins 2015

The Beginner’s Guide to Gold and Silver Scrap

How to Buy Gold and Silver Bullion Without Getting Scammed

Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios  (I include an interview with a precious metals dealer and information about buying junk silver.)

Wartime silver nickels

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s my FREE mini-guide for you!

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

Download link: Survival Mom’s Mini-Guide


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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Safe and Secure?

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

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

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

Do NOT throw away your food!

Eat what you store and store what you eat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Solution:

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

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

What has worked for you in rotating your food regularly?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food Storage Lessons Learned

Lesson One: You can never have too much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Related books you may enjoy:

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

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

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

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

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

Switch from Store-Bought to Homemade

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

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

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

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

Knowledge + Skills + The correct supplies/ingredients

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

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

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

Does that make sense?

Let’s kick this off with these 2 recipes!

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

Here’s my recipe for Homemade Ketchup:

6 oz. tomato paste

1/4 c. honey*, or to taste

1/2 c. white vinegar

1/4 c. water

3/4 t. salt

1/4 t. onion powder

1/4 t. garlic powder

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

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

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

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

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

DIY Miracle Healing Salve

The basic ingredients are quite simple:

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

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

Read details and instructions here.

You can do this!

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

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

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

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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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