Archive for March, 2012

Rice Diversity. Part of the image collection o...

Rice Diversity. Part of the image collection of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alright we know about the common bean what about rice? Rice is a serial grain, in the same category with corn and wheat, 1/5 of the calories eaten by humans in the world come from rice. Rice is harvested and then mulled (removing the husk) and separated from the chaff. What you have left is brown rice, the bran (the brown part) is then polished off and what you have left is white rice.

Brown Rice is nutritionally superior to white, having vitamin B1, B3, iron, magnesium, fatty acids, and a good portion of fiber that all are lost in the polishing process. Due to the oil in the bran brown rice has a much shorter shelf life:

Brown rice sealed in an oxygen starved environment (more on this later) at a constant 70 degrees will last from 1-2 years.

White rice stored the same way will last 8-10 years.

For now we will concern ourselves with white rice. There are hundred varieties of rice but they are classified into three main categories:

Long grain is long and slender, popular in America due to the fact that it will “fluff up” and not stick together popular varieties include Jasmine, Basmati and Carolina rice.

Medium Grain is shorter and stickier is used for risotto, paella, puddings, and sushi.

Short Grain shorter yet again and is also used for sushi and rice flower, due to the many varieties and “blends” between medium and short I consider these basically the same.

Rice is a staple of home storage without breaking the bank I still purchase a 25 lb bag for 20$ locally. Can you live off of ONLY rice? No! Would you want to if you could? No! Can you use rice as the backbone of a variety of dishes? Yes.

One thing I try to do is to store different varieties, a good risotto, is a long way away from prefect sticky sushi rice.

So there you have it, Jeff’s mini primer on rice hope it helps!

Diversity in dry common beans

Diversity in dry common beans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jeff, I am interested in starting to store food for “long Term”. “Great”, say I, you can start with beans and rice; in this article I will cover common beans.

The common bean background…

Beans have been harvested and cultivated as far back as you care to look into the history of such things.  There are several groups of “beans” Phasesolus vulgaris or the common bean is what I will be covering today.  Common beans include

Black Turtle Bean (Black Bean)

Pinto Beans (Brown Beans)

Kidney Bean (Chile Bean)

White Beans (Navy Beans)

Lima Bean

Beans are high in starch, protein, and dietary fiber, and are also a good source of folic acid, selenium, iron, potassium, thiamine, vitamin B6, magnesium, and zinc.

WOW Jeff that is awesome, but why beans? Well if stored in a cool dry place, dried beans will last basically forever! Woo Hoo!! They do on the other hand start to lose their nutritional values after a few years and the older they get the longer they will need to cook.

Speaking about cooking, you want to make sure that you boil your beans for at least 10 min during the cooking process. Common beans, especially red kidney beans, have a toxic compound called phytohaemagglutinin, in fact if you cook your beans in a slow cooker and they never reach a boil they will be up to 5 times more toxic. WHAT!?! You’re kidding me Jeff!! Nope! I was as amazed as you were.

One other thing before you run out and start storing beans (we will cover the storage in another post), get some and cook some! Make sure your family likes beans, get a variety of beans, cook a variety of beans a variety of ways, remember store what you eat and eat what you store.

So there ends my little post…”But wait Jeff, this is slapdash at best what about peas, garbanzos, lentils or fresh beans like green beans and snow peas?” Well those aren’t common beans and they are going to be the topic of another post…he he he

Bug Out Bag - currently

Bug Out Bag - currently (Photo credit: Steven Vance)

My father met my mother after he got out of the Marine Corps at the end of WWII they were soon married and living in a small apartment complex while my father went to college to attain a degree in psychology with a minor in sociology. One night they were awoken by the cry of fire and they jumped out of bed rushed out of the building and watched as the fire department of Colorado Springs Colorado put out the aforementioned conflagration.  Fortunately their pastor and his wife, who live a few blocks away, were able to put them up for the night and give them clothes to wear until they were able to get back into their place and get their cloths. They were fortunate they did not lose anything important they only had to clean the smoke smell out of their clothes.

What a sweet story Jeff, I am so glad that your parents were unharmed and were able to go on to produce a fine man such as yourself,  but what does that have to do with anything and who is this Bob you’re talking about?

Bob is an acronym that stands for Bug Out Bag or Bail Out Bag, the term B.O.B. is used within the prepper community. The basic idea of a B.O.B. is a backpack packed and ready to go placed in a convenient area so that you could literally just pick it up and go at a moment’s notice. My backpack is set up as if I was going camping, it has 7days worth of food, clothes, sleeping bag, tarps (instead of tents), lightweight cooking gear, bible, money, flashlights, and other miscellaneous doodads and hoo-ha’s. I also have a smaller version for my son, with changes of clothes game etc.

How far will your B.O.B. be going? There are many in these communities that think that they will be grabbing their B.O.B., head for the hills and never look back. Or their B.O.B. is getting them to their country retreat locations (more on this in later posts). I look at it in a slightly different way, I am less concerned with having to permanently leave my home and becoming Grizzly Adams, I look at it in the light of my parent’s experience. Having something to grab on the way out of a burning building or earthquake that will give me a few essentials that I will need like shoes a jacket etc. Imagine standing outside of your home in your pajamas with your family, cold no shoes, as you watch all of your stuff go up in flames. Now imagine that there is no one there to help you out…..I prefer to be ready with my friend Bob.

The Basics # 4

English: Flash flood Heavy rain caused a flash...

Image via Wikipedia

The Mindset: Ok maybe this should have been number one on the list of the basics, chalk it up to poor bloggers planning, but this is actually a critical component to your prepping. So what am I talking about what is this prepping mentality of which you speak?

Well dear reader it is a way of looking at life and situations and putting a plan in place BEFORE you are up a creek and find yourself with no means of propulsion.

Let’s say that there is an emergency, we will call this one a flash flood, you are at work your spouse is shopping and your teenage son just got out of high school. Your problem is that 2 of you can’t get home because of the flash flood, and to make matters worse the cell phones are jammed due to all the people trying to contact each other.  If you had a prepper mindset you would know that your spouse and child l know to meet up at your brothers home if anything happens, you also know that each of them has with them a couple of granola bars and at least 1 large water bottle each.

Maybe it is not even that extreme, maybe you and your teenage son went for a nice long parent child wilderness hike, you are a bit out of shape and you got caught out of doors off trail and it is starting to get dark. Since you are a prepper you have a small backpack with some food, water, an emergency blanket, flashlights, and at least 2 people know where you are and also know that it has been 45 min since you were supposed to check in and at this moment they are calling the local authorities to report what is happening.

The prepper mindset can even be simpler than that, the Kroger’s in your area is running a special, and 10 selected items for 10 dollars. You’re a Prepper and better yet you are a cheap prepper you go down and snap up 30 dollars worth of beans and soups for your pantry and save a bundle on your grocery bill for the next month.

Hopefully you are picking up what I am putting down. The prepper mindset like insurance, it is no good to you unless you have it BEFORE something happens to you. What things can you do to make sure that you are prepared for things that might occur to you and your family?

So now you have what I consider the basics, there is lots more but this is the core of it, the germ from which your mighty oak tree of readiness will grow.

Don’t stress out just keep up the little steps they are adding up.

Besides disrupting transportation, heavy ice a...

Image via Wikipedia

The Stuff: This is a broad category and I am not going to list everything that you might need, I want to stimulate you into thinking about what stuff YOU need.   

So let’s say it is winter, an ice storm has ripped down the power lines to your home your power is going to be off for a few days at least what might you need?

Well first and foremost we know that we already have a weeks worth’s of water and food, but what might we need beyond that? Candles, extra blankets, some way to cook your food if your range is an electric, a heater, some entertainment, how about a battery powered radio, flashlights, fresh batteries, or toilet paper. The lists can go on and on the main thought here is take a few minutes and think about what might happen if you lost power for a few days?

What about your vehicle? When was the last time you looked to see if your spare had enough air pressure, is it a full sized or the factory doughnut, do you have a jack to change that tire, do you know how to change that tire, how about a working flashlight, or flares?

Here is where my friends usually tell me that I am going overboard and that I can’t prepare for everything that might happen to me. I agree with them, I can’t possible have everything that I might need for everything that might happen to me. But I can have a good supply of general things that can take me a LONG way toward getting thought those emergencies/rough situations that might occur.

So Jeff, you say, your blog is Poor Man’s Prepper, but you’re sending me off with a list of stuff to buy, what’s up with that???

Well I shop on the cheap, Goodwill, Salvation Army, garage sales, Craig’s List, The Dollar Store are all great places to start picking up stuff on the cheap, oh and by the way don’t forget YOUR garage, closet and other forgotten areas. Most people have a good stock of emergency stuff placed all over their home, but do you know exactly where? Get in there find it dust it off make sure it works and keep Prepping!!!


Food: What food do you want to store? Well the easiest answer to that question is what food do you eat now?

A great motto is to “store what you eat and eat what you store.” We are still working on at least a 1 week supply, just like we did for our water. The way I started was by purchasing an extra can of this and an extra bag of that each time I went shopping, in no time I have enough stock built up for breakfast lunch and dinner for a week.

I started out with canned and dry goods, just to make it simple for myself. Spaghetti sauce, pasta, oatmeal, boxes of breakfast cereals, rice a roni, canned tuna, and spaghetti o’s are a few examples of what I picked up.

I live in an apartment with limited space so I converted a downstairs coat closet into a pantry by adding some shelving. This is where organization pays off, newest product to the back of the shelves oldest to the front, keep rotating your stock and replacing what you use.

I will cover in later posts larger quantities of food and their storage; this is just to get that first week’s worth of supplies under your belt.

Prepping is a commitment to making lots of little changes over a period of time, building as you go! You’re doing great! Keep it up.

The Basics # 1

Old system for soda water

Image via Wikipedia

Water: Most people will die after 3 days without water, and that water from your tap can become contaminated and undrinkable or even just stop flowing.

Fortunately for us not only is water your most important thing to have it is also the easiest to get and store.

How much water? Well the U.S. government recommends a 3 day supply of 1 gallon of water per person per day. We are going to start out building a 1 week supply. So for me there is myself and my son so that is 14 gallons of water. There are 3.78 liters to a gallon and I use 2 liter soda bottles so that means that I need 14 gallons = 53 liters divided by 2 = 27 soda bottles. I don’t drink soda so I asked friends and family to save their bottles and in no time I had the container that I needed washed out with hot water and soap.

Most water in most municipalities is treated and is safe to store straight from the tap. So me and my son filled up the soda bottles and capped them off and stored them in a dark closet. You of course don’t have to use soda bottles you could buy gallon jugs of water from your grocery store, or if you have a water service you could just get extra 5 gallon bottles and store them.

Will my water go bad?

In a word no, if you keep it out of the light and don’t see any green stuff growing then you are fine. Water will taste flat, after being stored for any period of time really all you need to do is pour it from one container into another container making sure you get lots of agitation to oxygenate that water.       Some people like to refill their water every year or so, this is fine if you want to just date your bottles and refill every year.

So pat yourself on the back now that you are done with step 1 you are more prepared than 95% of the United States! Woooo Hooooo!!!

I am Jeff single father of a 5 ½ year old son, I am an average guy in an average job just getting by, by the skin of my teeth, and I am a prepper.

 What is a prepper you ask?

 By my definition a prepper is someone who tries, as best they can, to put themselves in a position to be ready for any emergency that might occur by gathering knowledge and having resources on hand to deal with said emergencies. Those emergencies might be as personal as the loss of a loved one or job to natural disasters, up to total economic collapse of the country.

 Most of the preppers that I know are not, paranoid, constantly worried people who run to the hills to hide from life. They are people who want to take control of their life and fortunes and be ready for whatever unexpected things that might happen to them. By preparing themselves for the unexpected they are actually removing the worry from their lives.

 So what is Poor Man’s Prepper?

Poor Man’s Prepper is just a blog about how to ready yourself for emergencies and unexpected eventualities that might happen without spending a fortune or breaking the bank.